Philipp Reiter prepares for the Salomon SkyRun

Philipp Reiter ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter ©iancorless.comHow have the last couple of months been from a racing perspective?

 Philipp Retier has had a quite 2014 due to a problematic foot injury. The season started well with a multi day adventure at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and the iconic, Transvulcania. In June, running ground to a halt after running 100-miles in the charity D-Day celebrations in Normandy. Philipp is back on track now and I caught up with him as he prepares for the Salomon SkyRun in South Africa.

How have the last couple of months been from a racing perspective?

Unfortunately I have been injured for the whole summer from a community running event on the flat asphalt road and was not really able to run. I could not think about racing. To stay fit I was cycling quite a lot around my home town – MTB, road bike and cross-bike.
As you can imagine, it was very disappointing for me, but it is great to have a big (running) perspective now at the end of November with the Salomon SkyRun.

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Do you have any targets between now and your trip to SA?

My studies at the university started in the beginning of October, so I have enough work trying to fit everything in my day; so no races are planned in preparation. I still feel more familiar to cycling than to running at the moment which I have to change in the next weeks.

How’s training going – have you done anything specific for SA?

I have already asked a few participants about the terrain and climate at the SkyRun and figured out that the weather is changing pretty fast – hot and very dry in the valleys, freezing cold and stormy on the ridges. For the cold I can prepare at home and for the hot maybe a few sauna-sessions should be good! As the terrain is very rocky and rough I will run more off-trail at home.

Julia Bottger, Philipp Reiter and Ryan Sandes in Gran Canaria copyright Ian Corless

Julia Bottger, Philipp Reiter and Ryan Sandes in Gran Canaria copyright Ian Corless

Maybe you have been brushing up on your navigation and looking at some maps?

Yes, indeed! I was asked to scout routes for a trailrunning stage race here in Germany, so I have done quite a lot of map work trying to find the best, fastest and most beautiful spots. I mainly run around with a map in my hands which could be similar in South Africa…

 

Are you intimidated by the navigation element of the SkyRun?

Should I? It is totally new for me not to “just” follow the marks in a race but that makes it more interesting. Then it’s not only fast legs and stong lungs to be in a good position but also your brain has to work much more! I am only a bit worried as I have no experience using the compass for navigation or a mobile GPS-device apart from my watch.

The course sounds extreme, particularly if the weather turns. Have you researched the course?

No, not really. I have only watched some videos from the last editions and they made the course and the race look quite tough. It’s not the heat or the cold alone that make me worried but the extreme fast changes of both. So the backpack will be more heavy than in a “normal” race as it’s quite a lot of stuff to carry…

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

A strong local contingent will be toeing the line… Iain Don Wauchope, AJ Calitz and so on… do you know much about them?

Yes, I have heared that they are really strong and apart form their fitness they are very familiar to the race route, the climate and the terrain. They know exactly where to find water, how to climb the barbed wired fences,… So, I will just thry to follow them.

Michael De Haast has put up a great price purse should somebody post a great time, is that an incentive for you?

Aaagh, that is a good question. I have read that it’s $10.000 for the first runner who goes under 12 hours! But I guess that is almost impossible and I know that my teammate Ryan Sandes, who is an excellent runner especially in that type of terrain, needed about 12:30h last year. So I am not sure if someone can beat that. It would be a great boost for my student wallet though.

Have you been to SA before?

No, unfortunately not. But one of my climbing friends was there last year for bouldering and he was so excited that he will come back next year. He showed me some pictures – just stunning!

What are you most looking forward to?

The huge untouched landscape, some wild animals you can only see in the zoo at home (giraffes, lions, elephants,…), get to know the SA culture and how it’s connected to the European colony many years ago. Eat the famous steaks. Go running on the table mountain and explore Cape Town – quite a few things to do… maybe I will need to stay?

“The Salomon SkyRun is something completely new. I have been running in the jungle of Costa Rica, the Rocky Mountains in the USA, scrambled in the French Alps and raced on dry Spain islands but it’s was all marked. I never had to care about choosing the best and fastest way, run with a map in my hands and think about not missing the next well to fill up my water bottles. To perform good in this SA adventure I will not only need power in my legs, strong lungs and mental force but also navigation skills and the ability to read the terrain to choose the best way. It’s much more about tactics and planning! – I can’t wait!” Philipp Reiter

Philipp Reiter at the finish of Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter at the finish of Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

Like the Wind – Issue 3

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LIKE the WIND issue 3 now available

Please check out edition 3 of LIKE the WIND magazine. This is something that I am really passionate about. It is a great showcase and resource for those who are interested in all things running.

Like the Wind magazine is a collection of stories about running, from the track, trail and road. There are personal anecdotes, inspirational tales and wonderful pictures, all designed to inspire and delight

Launched in February 2014, Like the Wind magazine is printed on responsibly sourced paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, so that it is as sustainable as it is beautiful. With a wonderful weight, this magazine looks and feels fantastic and is a real treat to read and collect.

I, like all the other contributors provide our services free of charge. Any profit the magazines makes goes to our designated charities.

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In edition 3, I have an article and images on the inspiring Kilian Jornet. If you would like a copy, please go HERE 

Starting next week, LIKE the WIND will have a Pop Up store in London for 1-week (info HERE) please come and check it out.

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I will be doing a photography workshop on Thursday 30th in the afternoon (book HERE).

I hope to see some of you at some point during the week.

Raid de la Reunion #DiagonaledesFous 2014 Race Preview

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With 5-summits over 2000m, the Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale des Fous) is a great season closer for the UTWT. Now in its 22nd edition, ‘Reunion’ as it is affectionately known has gained legendary status within ultra running circles, not only because of some epic battles that have taken place on the course but also because of the fans, terrain and the tough 164km course and 9000m+ of ascent.

MEN

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Francois D’Haene, winner of the 2013 edition and recent winner of the TNFUTMB is without doubt the hot favourite. Currently, he is arguably one of the best 100-mile mountain runners in the world.

Lithuanian, Grinius Gediminas who is 2nd in the overall UTWT ranking may well be a surprise package after a solid and impressive 5th at TNFUTMB and 3rd place at Lavaredo. Will Reunion be one race too many? I don’t think so. He seems to have his head screwed on.

The ever-present Antoine Guillon who recently placed 3rd at Tor des Geants lies 3rd in UTWT rankings and is a consistent performer. I don’t see him winning but a top place is a distinct possibility. Reunion is a tough and long race though. As we have seen in past editions, anything can happen.

©iancorless.com.IMG_7127Transvulcania14Xavier Thevenard after winning the 2013 TNFUTMB seemed to go into a little bit of a meltdown with the weight of expectation placed upon him. However, he recently came out of the whole with a win at TDS. In doing so, he became the only runner to win at UTMB, CCC and TDS, quite a result. Xavier may well feel at home on Reunion. I think we will see a good run.

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera is a machine on tough courses as his 2013 Tor des Geants confirms. He raced well at Reunion in 2012 but his recent joint 2/3rd with Tofol Castanyer behind Francois D’Haene is a sure sign that he is in form for the 164km adventure. Question is, can he beat Francois?

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Pascal Blanc is serious contender and knows the course like the back of his hand. He has a string of top-10 finishes, his highest place being second. In this field his experience will really count.

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Julien Chorier impressed me no end at Ronda dels Cims in 2013 and then placed 2nd behind Kilian at Hardrock 100. He is meticulous in planning and if he has no back issues, he may very well be the one who can push his fellow Frenchman, Francois D’Haene to the line.

©iancorless.com.IMG_9119Transvulcania14Jason Schlarb (current interview on Talk Ultra) surprised me with 4th at UTMB. He has certainly honed his European mountain skills in 2014. Reunion however is a little more extreme and may well shock Jason. He seems motivated though and the opportunity to race such a quality field will excite him. Expect him to be out of the mix early on and then work his way through the devastation.

Freddy Thevenin placed second last year behind Francois D’Haene but I don’t see him making the podium this year. He is a top-10 contender for sure.

©iancorless.com.IMG_3848MDS2014Christophe Le Saux never stops… I am not sure but I think he has done every race in the 2014 UTWT. That is seriously impressive. He will be in the mix, likely top-10 but not a contender for the podium.

I am going to give a shout out for Stuart Air. He’s a Brit who has had quite a year… he ran Hardrock 100 and now Reunion. Great to see someone local, (a Brit) mixing it up with the best in the world.

Ones to watch:

David Pasquio – 5th in 2013

Sondre Amadahl – 7th at UTMB

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki

Javier Dominguez

On a final note, Ryan Sandes leads the 2014 UTWT rankings but will not race.

 

LADIES

Nathalie Mauclair ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair returns as the 2013, defending champion and I wouldn’t want to bet against her. She ran a great race in 2013 ahead of Emelie Forsberg and in 2014 the French lady has had a string of great results, notably 3rd at UTMB and Western States, Nathalie has speed and endurance; a lethal combination. However, the speed can sometimes upset the apple cart by running too hard/ fast too early.

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Julia Bottger won the 2014 Ronda dels Cims and knows the Reunion course well. She loves long and technical mountain races and as her results at Tor des Geants show, she will be a definite podium contender here on the island. Julia has had a busy year though. It started in Costa Rica at The Coastal Challenge and post Reunion she still has the Salomon SkyRun to do.

Nerea Martinez  ©iancorless.com

Nerea Martinez ©iancorless.com

Nerea Martinez like Julia embraces tough. She placed 2nd at Ronda dels Cims and has had a string of top results ranking top-5 at Transgrancanaria, UTMF, TDS and she placed 6th at Lavaredo.

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Uxue Fraille knows how to pace herself and can play the waiting game. As the other ladies falter and fail, expect Uxue to move up and contend the podium. Placing 3rd at Transvulcania was a great result early in 2014 and recently placing 5th at UTMB confirms that a podium place at Reunion is a distinct possibility.

Denise Zimmerman placed 3rd at Tor des Geants and although I am sure the other ladies have acknowledged her presence in the race, she may well be a surprise to watchers and followers. Denise is no one trick pony as she has made the podium at Transgrancanaria and placed highly at UTMB in the past.

Finally, Lisa Borzani may mix things up and although she finished 2nd at the 2014 Tor des Geants, I don’t see her having the gusto to rally once again for another big effort. Particularly when you look at her recent results. Back-to-back podium places at Tor and TDS must leave you jaded.

Alexandra Rousset may pull something out of the bag. She placed 4th in 2012 and has won the race previously (2004).

Notably, UTWT series leader Nuria Picas will not run and in addition, neither will Fernanda Maciel and Francesca Canepa.

 

2500 runners will toe the line and more information is available HERE

Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 – Race Report

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Misty skies, gale force winds, relentless climbing, technical terrain and an incredible field of runners made the inaugural Mourne Skyline MTR a day to remember.

Concluding Skyrunning UK’s first year, the Mourne Skyline MTR really was a fitting end to what has been an incredible year. The course, organisation and the field of runners made this a special and unforgettable day in the mountains.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-6576The addition of Skyrunner® World Series champion (2013 and 2014) Stevie Kremer did provide some icing on the Mourne cake. However, ‘Pocket Rocket’ was not isolated… Jo Meek, British Ultra Trail Champion, provided more than enough pressure on the Colorado based Skyrunner on what proved to be one of the most exciting ladies mountain races I have followed for some time. Sharon Trimble, Diane Wilson and Shileen O’Kane would bring local knowledge and fell experience to the mix making this a classic in the making.

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As expected, Kremer pushed hard from the off and after leaving the Donard Forest the trail became steeper and more technical playing to the Colorado runners strength. Although a gap opened up, it was nothing substantial and Meek maintained a gap keeping Kremer in sight. After passing over the saddle, runners were hit by gale force winds and low cloud as they headed out to Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Meelmore and then an anticlockwise loop that would eventually return them to Slieve Meelmore and then run back to the finish. Conditions were brutal… thankfully the previous nights torrential rain had disappeared. Had it not, runners and marshals would have had a very testing day!

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Wilson, Trimble and O’Kane in many respects were running for third such was the pace of the front two ladies. On the flat, Meek would catch Kremer and then pull away. The relentless and rollercoaster nature of the terrain and mountains would then allow Kremer to pull back and pass on the climbs. This to and froing made for an exhilarating competition of willpower, mental strength and endurance. The latter half of the course, on paper, looked made for Kremer as climb and after climb would allow her to open a gap. However, Meek was having none of it. Running with blinkered vision, Meek fought the technical terrain and chased. ‘I was swearing at the terrain and my own frustrations in managing my technical ability,’ said Meek. Kremer was having no easy ride too, ‘that is the hardest race I have ever done! Harder than Zegama Aizkorri it was just brutal. Relentless climbing, technical and with the wind it was just soooo hard!’

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After CP4, Kremer opened up a gap and extended this on the steep ascent to Slieve Commedagh. Battered by the winds, Kremer put her head down and now pushed hard to the highest point of the course, Slieve Donard. Turning at the summit and descending down the lead extended and on the final technical descent to Newcastle the gap really opened up eventually providing Kremer a winning time of 4:24.2 to Meek’s 4:30.3. The time gaps don’t reflect how close this race was! Post race, Meek was very philosophical, ‘I really did push and race hard but the relentless ankle twisting and gnarly terrain beat me down and in the latter stages as Kremer pulled away I eased off a little knowing that 2nd place was secure.’ Diane Wilson placed 3rd producing a great run on home soil in a time of 4:45.4.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-1133 In the men’s race, local man, Allan Bogle pushed hard in the early stages closely followed by Kim Collison, Eoin Lennon and just 5 seconds back, J Marshall Thomson. It was close, and unlike the ladies race a winner looked likely to come from any of the front contenders. Particularly when one looked at the contenders looking for honours. Ally Beaven, David Steele and Paul Navesy all showed previous results that would mean they could never be ruled out of a podium place.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-0112 ©iancorless.com_Mourne-0130 British Ultra Trail Champion, Collison showed his class at descending and moved away from the other men but Lennon was never going to relinquish the lead without a fight. These two fought a hard battle all day and Lennon showed the wounds of war as blood tricked down his leg.

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Revelation of the race, was Colorado based J Marshall Thomson (Stevie’s fiancé) who raced in the top-5 all day and despite having never raced on ‘typical’ UK terrain pulled out a top-drawer run to place 3rd. ‘That was some of the most crazy terrain I have ever run. It was relentless. The terrain was beyond technical. You had no idea where to put your feet and I can’t tell you how many times I fell over… I loved it!’ said Thomson.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-6344 Collison won the race in 3:57.0 an incredible time in very tough conditions. Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Mourne Skyline MTR had predicted a win time of 4-hours, however, with conditions on the day, we expected this to be optimistic. For Collison and Lennon to both run sub-4 is a real testament to the competition between the two front men.

Thomson moved up into 3rd place and brought a truly international flavour to the men’s podium, his time of 4:08.3 reflecting his ability.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-0433The 2014 Mourne Skyline MTR has firmly established itself as a must-do race after just one edition. The combination of location, local infrastructure, great organisation, enthusiastic locals and a brutal course will guarantee that demand will be high for the 2015 edition.

Covering 35km and a total elevation gain of 3370m, the Mourne Skyline MTR is everything a Skyrunning race should be. I for one can’t wait for 2015.

RACE IMAGES HERE 

You can purchase race images HERE

RESULTS WOMEN Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race

Stevie Kremer 4:24.2 (10th overall)

Jo Meek 4:30.3

Diane Wilson 4:45.4

Sharon Trimble 5:02.1

Shileen O’Kane 5:03.1

RESULTS MEN Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race

Kim Collison 3:57.0

Eoin Lennon 3:59.4

J Marshall Thomson 4:08.3

Ally Beaven 4:12.0

David Steele 4:15.0

Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 Race Preview – what a line up!

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Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Mourne Skyline MTR provides us with an in-depth preview of this coming weekend’s Mourne Skyline MTR. The final race in the 2014 Skyrunning UK calendar.

This coming weekend, will see the phenomena that is ‘Skyrunning’ reach the shores of Northern Ireland for the first time. The Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race, hosted by popular running website www.nirunning.co.uk, will see a plethora of talent take to the stunning Mourne Mountains.

The Mourne Skyline MTR will see a sell-out field, including Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon), who last weekend was crowned Skyrunner® World Series Champion, over the ‘Sky’ distance for the second time at the incredibly scenic Limone Extreme in Italy where Kremer covered a 24.5k course incorporating 2000m of ascent.  Stevie will have strong competition from Jo Meek who in 2014 became British Ultra Trail Champion, took    5th place at the iconic Comrades and won  The Coastal Challenge with a new course record.

Covering a gruelling but incredibly scenic 35k course incorporating 3,370m of ascent. The Mourne Skyline MTR includes Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard, which stands at 850m above sea-level and it will be the final peak, before the athletes descend quickly into the Donard Park finish area.

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Former adventure racer and newly crowned British ultra-running Champion Kim Collison will be high in confidence after his victory at the Lakeland 50 trail race in July (2014).  This noteable achievement followed an excellent (joint) win at the notoriously tough Fellsman 61 mile ultra in the Yorkshire Dales in April (2014). Kim, who completed the Bob Graham Round in 2009, also collected a prize at the Scafell trail race and finished well up the field at the Transvulcania La Palma Ultra.

American athlete J Marshall Thomson (Dynafit) hails from Colorado and is an experienced and successful trail runner, with numerous mountain race victories to his name.  Most recently, Marshall secured a win at the Power of Four 50k in Aspen, having smashed the course record.  Looking back,Marshall also proved his worth at the Pikes Peak marathon, where he narrowly missed a podium spot after finish fourth in what was a classy field.

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Irish international Paul Teirney proved himself over 100 miles when he claimed the runners up spot at the Lakeland 100 mile race in 2012; since then, Paul, a former Wicklow Way 82 mile Ultra record holder (13 hours 38mins), finished second at the Wicklow Way Ultra in both 2013 and 2014.

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England based Jayson Cavill has been one of the most impressive performers of the inaugural Skyrunning UK Series, having placed on the podium at two of the three races.  The Pickering Running Club member followed up his second place finish at the V33K with a win at the Peaks Skyrace; he (Jayson) also won the gruelling Blakey Blitz Fell Race back in April (2014).

Paul Navesey (Centurion Ultra Running Team) is another athlete worth watching; after a note-worthy 2013, Paul has brought his form into 2014, winning the Centurion South Downs Way 50 miler in a new course record.  The talented distance runner also showed his speedy age when taking second place at the Canterbury 10 mile road race in 56:27.

Another man known for his ability over shorter distance and not mentioned above is Jens Jakob Anderson (Denmark); the ‘www.runrepeat.com’ website creator has a 5k personal best of 15:58, which he may hope to put to use on the final 3.1 mile descent off Slieve Donard to the finish in Donard Park.

On the local front, Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) has already proved himself against the best in the UK this year.  In memorable foggy conditions, the City of Derry Spartan secured an excellent win at the British Championship race at Slieve Donard just before the summer.  He (Allan) went on to take sixth place in the overall British Championships standings.  Also on Allan’s CV are wins at the Balearic Mountain Running Championships inMallorca and an impressive top spot at the Lurig Challenge 2014.

Although having raced sparingly in the mountains recently, North Belfast Harriers man Andrew Annett has a classy history and if focussed on this event, he’ll play a major part at the front.  In 2013, Andrew, who was part of North Belfast Harriers winning team at the NI & Ulster (Road) Relay Championships two weeks ago, finished in thirteenth place at Snowdon International Mountain Race last year (2013).  More recently, he has clocked 1:11:31 for his first ever half marathon (on the road), and 5k and 10k bests of 15:48 and 32:38 respectively.

Established Irish international Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) will also toe the line as he prepares for the World 100k Championships in Doha (November 2014) and he’ll be joined on the men’s start line by no less than eleven Northern Ireland international’s, which will include the in-form David Steele (Newcastle AC), Deon McNeilly (Newcastle AC), Sam Herron (Mourne Runners), Dale Mathers (Newry City Runners) and Ryan Stewart (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) amongst others.  Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC), Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers), Nicki McPeake (Unattached), Matthew Hewitt (East Coast AC) and Gary Bailey (Unattached) all have vast knowledge of the Mourne Mountains and will therefore have high hopes of finishing well up the field.

Stevie Kremer copyright Ian Corless

Stevie Kremer copyright Ian Corless

In truth, the ladies field at the Mourne Skyline MTR has attracted a lot more attention in the international press than the aforementioned men’s line-up.  Much of this is because of the addition of current Skyrunning World Series Champion Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon). The American international burst onto the scene after winning the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) ‘Long Distance’ event in 2012; Stevie proved this wasn’t a ‘one hit wonder’ when she went on to take second place at the world famous Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race in the same year.

From there, the down to earth athlete has grown in stature, winning the Limone Extreme, Marathon Du Mont-Blanc Skyrace’s in 2013, and with it, the Skyrunning World Series.  Now, Stevie is one of the superstars of the Skyrunning circuit and one of the most respected (and in-form) athletes in the World.  After wins at the Matterhorn Ultraks, Zegama and Sierre-Zinal this year, and a second place finish at the Limone Extreme Skyrace last weekend, Stevie retained her Skyrunning World Series Champion status (at ‘Sky’ distance).

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Another athlete who is in-form at the moment and will also grace the Central Promenade start-line is Jo Meek (Scott); theEngland based athlete has enjoyed an incredible 2014.  After finishing in second place at the Marathon Des-Sables in 2013 it would have been easy for Jo to sit on that success, but the dedicated runner took confidence from it and hammered into 2014, and on doing so, she (Jo) has won the Le Grand Trail du St Jacques (70k), Transylvania Trail Traverse (106k), Iznik Ultra (80k) and the Pembrokeshire Coastal Marathon (27.8 miles); interestingly, in Pembrokeshire, Jo finished in first place overall!  An excellent year was made all the better when Jo was crowned British ultra-running Champion after winning the Lakeland 50 trail race in July (2014).

The list of Champions continues in the form of Sharon Trimble (North Belfast Harriers) and Diane Wilson (Dromore AC).  Originally from Northern Ireland, Sharon is an Irish international who lives in Scotland – Alongside Sarah McCormack (’GTR’ competitor), Sharon is a World Mountain Running Championship medallist.  The 2:51:44 marathoner is also a former Scottish ultra-running Champion and a regular on the podium over all terrain; with her knowledge of the course and if she is on top form, Sharon is a real threat to Stevie and Jo.  Diane is the current Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Champion and a lady who knows the Mourne Mountains exceptionally well; Diane also won the Hill & Dale Series in 2014 and clocked a new course record when winning the Carrantuohill mountain race in Ireland; interestingly, Carrantuohill is Ireland’s highest peak.  Diane also claimed a top ten finish at the Ben Nevis mountain race in Scotland this year (2014), taking seventh place.

Former NIMRA Champion and current Northern Ireland international Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) will also play a major part in proceedings.  Despite suffering a broken wrist over the summer, the talented athlete, who placed within the top ten in her Vet45 category at the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in last month (September 2014).  Respected ultra-runners Susan McCartney (Up and Runners) and Joanne Curran (BARF) should also finish well up the field – Like, Shileen, Susan has enjoyed an excellent year despite setbacks. The England based athlete had knee surgery earlier this year, but has still managed to win the Mourne Way 52 mile Ultra and claim a very credible twenty second place in the CCC race at UTMB (Ultra trail du Mont-Blanc). Comrades Ultra finisher Joanne Curran has really begun to show good form beyond marathon distance and a win at the Causeway Coast Ultra earlier this month, where she came through late on, has re-iterated her potential over the longer distances.

Runner up at the Peaks Skyrace, Kim England (Pickering AC), will also perform well, as will the likes of Hazel McLaughlin (Lagan Valley AC), Taryn McCoy (BARF), Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC), Violet Linton (LV), Denise Mathers (Newry City Runners), Miriam Bridge (City of Derry AC), Angela Stevenson (Newcastle AC) and Kathleen Monteverde (BARF).

2014 has bee the inaugural year for Skyrunning UK. The Mourne Skyline MTR is the final race of the series and looks set to be a classic!

It’s difficult to believe that in less than 12-months, Skyrunning UK has grown in to ‘the’ series to be involved in. The line up for the 2014 Mourne Skyline MTR confirms we are on the up…

Limone Extreme SKY – Image Gallery

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Limone Extreme SKY results:

  1. Petro Mamo 2:14:25
  2. Kilian Jornet 2:14:55
  3. David Schneider 2:19:58
  1. Maite Maiora 2:47:05
  2. Stevie Kremer 2:49:03
  3. Elisa Desco 2:52:40

2010 Skyrunner® World Series titles:

Men

  1. Kilian Jornet Burgada (Salomon Santiveri)
  2. Ionut Zinca (Valetudo)
  3. Zaid Ait Malek (Buff)

Women

  1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon)
  2. Maite Maiora (La Sportiva)
  3. Elisa Desco (Scott Sports)

Skyrunning Limone Extreme SKY – Race Report

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The 2014 Skyrunner® World Series came to a dramatic conclusion in Limone on the banks of Lake Garda today. Although the final race was a formality for Stevie Kremer and Kilian Jornet (both unbeatable after 3 victories) a battle commenced and what a battle…

The Limone Extreme course is a true ‘classic’ Skyrunning race. In simple terms, it’s straight up, run across a ridge (going up and down) and then descend back to lake level and finish under the banner after running 26.5kms and climbing/ descending 2000m. Easy huh? Well, no. But you knew than answer to that one didn’t you.

Petro Mamo from Eritrea (2012 WMRA champion) produced the race of his life to beat the king of the mountains, Kilian Jornet. Kilian on the finish line said that he had very sore legs after putting his efforts into the previous nights Vertical Kilometre. However, one can understand why. His victory in the VK confirmed another Skyrunner® World Series title and he is now world champion in VK, SKY and ULTRA all in the same year! A first and in all honesty, I personally don’t ever see anyone have the versatility and ability to win a series of events that are so diverse.

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David Schneider excelled on the first half of the course in 2013 but faded on the technical downhill. This year bolstered after a great performance at Sierre-Zinal produced an incredible race to finish 3rd ahead of Skyrunning legend, Marco De Gasperi.

On a hot and muggy day, many runners talked about the difficult conditions. Humidity was high and after the previous nights heavy rain, certain sections of the course were very slippery.

Leading the ladies early on, VK specialist Laura Orgue pushed hard with a small lead over Stevie Kremer. Christel Dewalle was showing great powers of recovery running in 3rd after winning the previous nights VK and the ever present, Maite Maiora looked strong in 4th.

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As the race progressed, Maite with fresh legs made a move and took the lead grasping the race by the horns. Stevie Kremer pursued but couldn’t catch the La Sportiva runner as she pushed hard knowing that victory would mean she would finish the series 2nd overall.

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Elisa Desco battling the tough conditions fought hard, catching Dewalle and Orgue and finished 3rd securing her overall place on the podium of the Skyrunner® World Series.

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2014 has been an incredible year. We have see the confirmation of Kilian Jornet and Stevie Kremer as the King and Queen of SKY and in the process we have witnessed the growth of new stars such as Maite Maiora, Elisa Desco, Manuel Merillas, Ionut Zinca and Zaid Ait Malek.

Skyrunning is on the up. NO DOUBT!

Tough, technical and vertical is all the rage. The support of key brands: Salomon, inov-8, Compressport, Scott and Arc’teryx combined with the vision of Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti confirms that we are at a pivotal point in the sport. A new year, a new World Series is just around the corner… are you going to be part of the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series? I for one know that I will.

We draw passion from the mountains but it’s in the sky that we can live our dreams.

Less cloud, more sky!

Limone Extreme SKY results:

  1. Petro Mamo 2:14:25
  2. Kilian Jornet 2:14:55
  3. David Schneider 2:19:58
  1. Maite Maiora *times to follow
  2. Stevie Kremer
  3. Elisa Desco

2010 Skyrunner® World Series titles:

Men

  1. Kilian Jornet Burgada (Salomon Santiveri)
  2. Ionut Zinca (Valetudo)
  3. Zaid Ait Malek (Buff)

Women

  1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon)
  2. Maite Maiora (La Sportiva)
  3. Elisa Desco (Scott Sports)

 

 

 

Skyrunning Limone Extreme VK Results and Images

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As light faded over Lake Garda, the worlds best Skyrunners departed the town of Limone and headed up… up 1000 vertical meters for the final of the 2014 Skyrunner(R) World Series.

Leading from the front, Kilian Jornet almost didn’t need a head torch as he illuminated the trail with his speed. Last years winner and Skyrunner(R) World Series 2013 champion, Urban Zemmer followed but the writing was on the wall. Kilian looked impressive, relaxed and despite high humidity looked as cool as a cucumber.

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37:27 after the start, fireworks confirmed Kilian’s arrival at the summit, Zemmer placed 2nd 37-seconds later.

Zemmer’s La Sportiva team mate, Marco Moletto placed 3rd.

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For the ladies, a suer motivated Christen Dewalle lead 2013 Skyrunner(R) World Series champion Laura Orgue all the way to the summit producing a strong and world class performance.

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Laura Orgue forever strong over the VK distance held on to 2nd place 2-minutes behind Dewalle.

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Antonella Confortola had a battle for third place but held on recording a time of 48:16

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Kilian’s victory confirms that he is now Skyrunner(R) World Series champion in VK and ULTRA distances. Tomorrow’s SKY race will make history… Kilian Jornet will be crowned Skyrunner(R) World Series champion in all three disciplines. A first!

If ever proof was needed of the Catalans supreme form and ability, this is it! We are experiencing history and in years to come we will look back and say, ‘do your remember?’

Bravo Kilian.

Results

Kilian Jornet 37:27
Urban Zemmer 38:05
Marco Moletto 38:19

Christel Dewalle 44:51
Laura Orgue 46:51
Antonella Confortola 48:16

Limone Extreme 2014 Race Preview

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All good things must come to an end… at least for this year! The 2014 Skyrunner® World Series concludes this weekend in the mountains that surround Lake Garda.

On Friday the VK will commence as the light fades and darkness surrounds the mountains. Sunday the SKY race takes place over a course of 23.5km’s and 2000m +/-. Two races, one great weekend of running and at conclusion we will have newly crowned male and female Skyrunner® World Series champions for both VK and SKY distances.

As one would expect, these two races are attracting a who’s who of the Skyrunning world.

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Vertical Kilometre

In the VK, La Sportiva and Salomon are fielding two very strong teams. Illuminated by the glow of head torches, a very interesting battle will unfold.

©iancorless.comIMG_2050Canazei2014 Urban Zemmer is the outright favourite after winning Limone Extreme in 2013 and in the process winning the Skyrunner® World Series. However, La Sportiva teammates, Nejc Kuhar, Nadir Maguet, Marco Facchinhelli and Marco Moletto will be looking to pull rank and gain valuable points.

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Kilian Jornet has been training hard and as we all know, can never be ruled out when it comes to head-to-head racing uphill. Add to the mix, Marco De Gasperi and Thorbjorn Ludvigsen and the Limone Extreme VK looks set to be a classic.

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For the ladies, 2013 Skyrunner® World Series champion, Laura Orgue, like Zemmer is the outright favourite. This lady has been unbeatable uphill in 2013 and I don’t think Limone will be any different.

©iancorless.comIMG_3879Stevie Kremer will push and push and look to gain an advantage as will Christel Dewalle, Antonella ConfortlaEmelie Forsberg, Sara Longoni, Francesca Rossi, Beatrice Delflorian and surprise entrant, Julia Bleasdale. Julia is an exciting prospect from the UK and I am extremely keen to see how this Olympian performs.

 

SKY RACE

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Do you want to bet against Kilian Jornet? No, me neither. Kilian has excelled in 2014 and other than placing 2nd to Luis Alberto Hernando at Transvulcania; the Catalan has won every rave (VK’s excluded). Kilian has been training hard and Limone will see one chapter close for 2014 before the transition to skis and another Summit attempt in December.

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal.

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal.

Marco De Gasperi if fit is potentially the one person to push Kilian all the way to the line and if firing on all cylinders, may well take the glory away from the Salomon runner. I personally have waited all year for this head-to-head to happen and the prospect is exciting.

Waiting in the wings is a plethora of Skyrunning talent who will be looking to upset the apple cart and history shows that anything can happen.

©iancorless.com-0271Kima2014_Manuel Merillas is hot property at the moment and after strong performances in the Skyrunner® World Series, his presence at Limone adds an exciting element to proceedings. Recent top-3 performances at Trofeo Kima and The Rut add weight to a very strong case that we see a surprise on the shores of Lake Garda.

Ionut Zinca had a great result at Limone last year and recently placed well, once again at Dolomites Skyrace. I would anticipate Ionut having a great race, he’s a fierce competitor and top performer.

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Zaid Ait Malek won the Matterhorn Ultraks and is without doubt a contender for the podium at Limone. However, Aritz Egea has performed consistently all year and at just under 24km’s, the Limone course plays to his strengths.

©iancorless.com_IMG_5986aSierreZinal_inov8_2014_Michel Lanne had a great run at the Skyrunning World Championships and a glimmer of that strength will intimidate the competition.

Alex Nichols is one again making the long journey from the USA and has great potential to mix it with the best, however, 2014 has been a tough year and his current form is unknown.

Tadei Pivk will also be a hot contender for the top-5.

Did we say THIS FIELD IS STACKED…. !

Rounding out the hot contenders for the top-5 places are Jono WyattAlexis Sevennec, Thorbjorn LudvigsenDavid Schneider and Nicola Golinelli.

Look out for:

  • Didier Zago
  • Matheo Jaquemond
  • Fabio Bazzana
  • Florian Reichert
  • Oli Johnson
  • Gary Priestley
  • Hassan Ait Chau
  • Marco Moletto
  • Marc Pinsach

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Stevie Kremer already has the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series sewn up, so, this will take the pressure off and allow Stevie a trouble and stress free run. As we all know though, she probably will still nail it and has every chance of taking away the victory.

©iancorless.com©iancorless.com-3368 Elisa Desco, Emelie Forsberg and Laura Orgue will do everything in their respective powers to ensure that Stevie does not have another victory. In all honesty, the ladies race is wide open. Laura Orgue has displayed pure class going up hill and certainly, the first half of the Limone course will suit her racing style. I expect to see Laura to be leading at the summit; the question will come if she can hold of the charging train of Forsberg, Desco and Kremer. Very few ladies can go downhill like Emelie Forsberg and if she is in contact during the 2nd half of the race, Emelie will potentially take top honours.

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Elisa Desco is a very rounded athlete uphill and downhill, at 23.5kms the distance will suit the Italian and with valuable points at stake, we can expect a 100% committed effort for victory.

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Maite Maiora started the year with a bang at Transvulcania and has continued to bang the drum all the way throughout 2014. For sure, Maite stepped up a level this year and along with Desco, Forsberg and Kremer, she has been a force to be reckoned with. The podium is a distinct possibility but it’s going to be a battle.

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Victoria Wilkinson had a great race at the Dolomites Skyrace and has continued to excel on the UK Fell running scene. The podium may just be out of reach but top-5 is a distinct possibility.

Anna Lupton has been missed in 2014 with injury. Arguably, Anna has been the UK’s most consistent performer in previous Skyrunning events and it’s great to see her back on a start line.

Tessa Hill has been a little quiet in 2014 but has committed herself to Limone and has recently posted, ‘My main way of preparing for this is to get as much climb in the legs as possible and then top things up on the bike.’

Julia Bleasdale is a British Olympian who raced the 5000m and 10,000m at the London Olympics. She placed 8th in both finals. Julia tipping her toes into the Skyrunning world is a great boost for the sport and Skyrunning in the UK. However, Julia understands the challenge ahead, “I hear so many great things about Skyrunning, but I do not underestimate the strength required to compete in this extreme discipline! So I am delighted to mix things up at the end of the season for variety. I love running in the mountains as they give you depth in your strength, but track athletes cannot transform themselves in just a few weeks to be ready for this!”

Stephanie Jiminez excels at the Sky distance and Limone will suit the skill set of the Salomon athlete. Her experience sets her apart from the competition and on her day, she can beat the best in the world.

Ones to watch:

  • Deborah Cardone
  • Elisabet Beltran
  • Marta Molist
  • Paloma Lobera
  • Anna Kosova
  • Azara Garcia
  • Leire Agirrezabala

Links

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Images and photography HERE and HERE

SKYRUNNING HERE