Salomon Sense Pro Review

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When Salomon released the original Sense. It created a storm of interest, I suppose mainly because a certain Kilian Jornet used them.

Since the original incarnation we have seen the shoe develop and the recent offerings of the Sense Ultra and the Sense Ultra Soft Ground (more grip) have been a revelation for many a runner. Low drop, arguably the sweetest fitting shoe on the market, light and of course the unique lacing system with garage. The Sense is a shoe I see all the time in races from VK to 100-miles and beyond.

There is no shortage of reviews available on the Internet. Although the shoe may not be for everyone, the general consensus is that the Sense is a must try shoe and to be honest, if the snug fit and low drop works for you, it’s difficult to look elsewhere.

So, if you are already a Sense fan, I can probably anticipate you will have the original Sense and pair of Soft Grounds or a pair of Sense Ultra and Soft Grounds. They go hand in hand as the perfect combo.

Grab your wallet because the new addition to the Salomon family, the Sense Pro is a must have for the discerning Salomon worshipper. It’s worth pointing out immediately, that if the Sense Ultra hasn’t worked for you because of the narrow fit, the Sense Pro may well address that issue.

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 City Trail is a buzzword at the moment, also known as door to trail or road to trail. Ultimately, shoe manufacturers appreciate the need and the demand for a shoe that can function on road and trail. So, basically we are looking at a hybrid shoe. The Sense Pro falls in this category. As I see it, the Salomon fellas have taken a mummy ‘Mantra’ and left it alone with daddy Sense Ultra and in time a wonderful Sense Pro has emerged as the new baby in the Salomon crèche.

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So what’s it got…?

  • Sensfit
  • Endofit
  • Lace pocket
  • Quicklace
  • Racing last

And so on and so on… you get the drift. It has all the Salomon buzz words and as we know, these buzz words work.

Slip the shoe on and boy oh boy, slippers come to mind. Of all the shoes I have tested and worn, nothing, nothing at all comes close to the wonderful sock liner of the Sense. Once you have used it and got used to it. You want it in every shoe. It literally just holds your foot in the softest and most seamless grip of any shoe tested. It’s like placing your foot in a velvet glove and then when you tension the lace, the pressure is applied in subtle way that allows no movement. For me, any shoe that has ‘Endofit’ provides the most secure feel on ay surface.

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In conjunction with low drop, in this case 6mm, you have wonderful contact with the ground. A key feature here is that 6mm drop, Salomon have decided that this is a sweet spot in drop and therefore as this shoe is not an out and out racer, it makes for a perfect choice for longer days or easy training days. If I had to draw comparisons, it’s like wearing a Formula 1 car on your feet; low ride, perfect grip, great feedback and great propriotection. If you haven’t guessed, I love the Sense Pro.

Cushioning is 16mm at the heel and 10mm at the front. By comparison, the Sense Ultra has 13mm/9mm (4mm drop) and the SG is the same. Combining elements from other shoes in the Salomon range, the Pro has an ‘OS Tendon’ (A running construction that provides better rolling and a soft rebound, used for running shoes as well as for natural running and hiking shoes in different constructions) and seamless construction. This combination makes the shoe perfect for longer days and of course as this is designed to move seamlessly from road to trail, it offers great protection.

©iancorless.com_sensepro_-0005The heel is secure and padded. One you adjust the laces and pull them tight, the fit is the sweetest out there in my opinion. It’s the combination of the sock liner, great lacing and snug heel. As I said previously, your foot is held tight. No movement. A plus side of this snug fit is the differences made in the toe box.

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If you look at the photo below you will see the difference between the Sense Ultra SG, Sense Ultra and the Sense Pro. The Pro has a slightly more squared off toe box with great protection. So, if you have found previous editions of the Sense a little too tight, the Pro may well be for you?

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Grip is where the compromise is made. That is not a negative comment, after all, the shoe is a City Trail shoe, and so, you are not going to have SG grip. In actual fact, the grip is very similar the Sense Ultra. It’s perfect for dry trails and rocks, they work well in the wet on either road or rocks but if it gets muddy, hold on to your shorts because this when you notice the compromise. Transitioning from road to trail and back again is sweet. I have done some big sections of road and find the transition perfect. I would have no issue going for a road run in them. At this stage though it’s too early to tell what impact that would have on the longevity of the sole. I currently have 120-miles in these and no sign of wear.

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Sizing is true. I use UK9.5 in the Sense Ultra and Sense Ultra SG and the Pro is the same size. However, it does feel a little roomier. It should though, that is obviously what Salomon tried to achieve with this shoe. Weight is a little more then the Ultra and SG but still lightweight.

It’s simple really; the Sense Pro has become my day-to-day go to shoe. It has all the elements required in what I need. It has low drop, but not too low, the fit is like a glove, cushioning is a little more than the Sense Ultra and therefore provides just a little more protection daily (without the loss of feel) and ultimately the shoe balances natural running, protection and feel in a perfect package.

Go get a pair…!

View the shoes at Salomon.com

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The Rut 2014 – Race Preview

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It only seems like weeks ago that I was writing a preview for the Skyrunner® World Series first ultra on La Palma: Transvulcania. Here I am, four races done and dusted and the final event looms. It has been quite a year and one that has seen some highs and lows for the runners. Going into the last event, it’s all to fight for both in the ladies and men’s races.

The Rut 50k organised by the Mike’s – Foote and Wolfe will no doubt be a great season closer. These guys have fully understood the needs of Skyrunning event and as such have provided an event that will test each and every runner.

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The top-5 men and top-4 ladies currently ranked in the Skyrunner® World Series will go head-to-head in Montana and we look set for an exciting battle. In addition, a plethora of top world talent will also toe the line amongst 500-entrants.

The current rankings have rising star, Manuel Merillas at the head followed by Tom Owens, Kilian Jornet, Sage Canaday and then Fulvio Dapit. For the ladies, Alessandra Carlini tops the table after completing 3-races in the series.

So who is going to win?

Well, I suppose we need to think about 2-scenarios, winning the race and winning the series. For the men, the series will arguably come down to a battle between Jornet and Canaday (I will go for Jornet) and for the ladies, Frost, Enman and Forsberg are the contenders (I will go with Forsberg). Alessandra Carlini of course could potentially win the race… but this is unlikely when one considers the depth.

 

MEN

©iancorless.comIMG_2670Canazei2014_kilianKilian Jornet, do I need to say anymore? He’s won everything other than 2nd at Transvulcania. KJ has set FKT’s, set course records, obliterated Hardrock 100, smashed Trofeo Kima and now The Rut is waiting! Win and Skyrunner® World Series champ.

Sage Canaday ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday wants to beat Kilian badly, really bad. I don’t mean that in a nasty way, but Sage would love to beat the master of the mountains. Form looks good but I think Sage will fall into the Ellie Greenwood category and may just lack the extra technical skills needed to beat Kilian. Considering the competition, Sage is not guaranteed 2nd (or 1st) for that matter.

©iancorless.com-0271Kima2014_ Manuel Merillas is just getting better and better. He has been making us take a 2nd look on repeated occasions and his recent 2nd at Kima and closing within 1-minute of Kilian shows the talent is just waiting to be exploited. He will be in the mix for sure.

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Tom Owens nearly pulled out of Ice Trail Tarentaise because he thought he was around 15th – 20th. That is until I told him that all the other runners were not in his race… he finished 3rd. Phew! Prior to this, Tom ran a great Transvulcania and just a couple of weeks ago once again ran a great Kima. The Rut will suit Tom and he may just push Sage… podium material!

Adam Campbell is back. After his stunning Hardrock I can’t help but think Adam will mix it up in Montana. I see Tom, Sage and Adam having quite the battle for the podium. Of course, this assumes that Kilian is somewhere down the trail running for victory. If not, this race may well be wide open. Adam is fast, not as fast as Sage but arguably he is better on the technical stuff.

Alex Nichols had a great run at Speedgoat but the rest of his Skyrunning exploits have been below par, especially when one compares to 2013. On paper, The Rut should suit Alex; his combination of speed, endurance and climbing ability is a perfect mix for this course.

Ricky Gates is forever consistent and on his day can compete with the best. I’m not really sure of his current form? He forever seems to be on a road trip taking things relaxed, so, he may well be a surprise package.

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Fulvio Dapit is a true mountain runner who is always in the mix. He may not be a podium contender in this field but 4th or 5th are just waiting for him. Just 2-weeks ago Fulvio had a strong run at Kima. His form is good.

Paul Hamilton was 2nd at Speedgoat and I know little else? He was a surprise then and he may well be a surprise at The Rut?

Philipp Reiter is racing but is on his way back from injury. It almost certainly means he won’t have that extra 5-10% needed to be fighting up at the front but somewhere 5th – 10th is a distinct possibility.

Jason Delaney has speed. Will probably stick with Sage and will use his speed to take advantage of the fast sections.

Ones to watch:

Luke Nelson

Oscar Casal Mir

Marc Casal Mir

Galen Burrell

Greg Vollet

Catlow Shipeck

 

LADIES

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Emelie Forsberg has had a tough 2014. Falling at Transvulcania ruined that race. An injured hand from the fall impacted on Zegama and then things clicked with victories at Ice Trail Tarentaise and the 80km in Chamonix. Matterhorn Ultraks didn’t quite go to plan and although Emelie placed 2nd at Trofeo Kima, the race was an emotional rollercoaster after going off course for 1-hour. The emotion showed! For that reason, I see Emelie producing a dominant performance here in Montana. I think she will push hard, unleash the frustrations of Kima and have a dominant win and take the Skyrunner® World Series title.

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Kasie Enman has impressed all year. 2014 has been the comeback year after a 2nd child and what a comeback… Kasie has consistently been top-5 and just 2-weeks ago won Kima ahead of Emelie. Have to say, up to marathon distance is where Kasie excels so I see a potential 3rd or 4th here!

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Anna Frost smashed Transvulcania and looked awesome. Placing 2nd to Emelie at Chamonix 80k was another top result and I am pleased to say, Frosty has been relatively quiet since. This is great news… after so much injury; this lady finally is picking the races to perform at and not wiping herself out by racing too much. Her solid victory at Speedgoat 50k on paper suggests that The Rut will be a Frosty/ Forsberg showdown. Take your pick!

Ellie Greenwood has speed and talent in buckets but may well lack that extra 10% in technical and climbing ability. Especially in comparison to the ladies listed above. So, I see Ellie in the mix and battling with Kasie for 3rd.

Kaitlin McDonald was 2nd at The Rut last year and therefore gets a nod for a possible top-5. By that I mean 5th! I see the top-4 places going to the ladies above.

Alessandra Carlini has had a great year and run consistently. For someone who lives on the coast with no mountains to train on, she has done amazingly well. In the field though, 5th would be a great result and it would round out a quality 2014 season.

Hilary Allen is not a lady I know but her result at Speedgoat 50k (4th) must make her a one-to-watch here. Like Kaitlin, she may well take 5th, it would take something special to dislodge Forsberg, Frost, Enman or Greenwood from the first 4-places.

Helen Cospolitch has always been a consistent performer but has had a quiet time recently after injury issues. This may well be just an easing back into racing… nice to give her a nod though.

Emily Linton 4th at The Rut last year may well place 6-10th.

Links:

Skyrunning HERE

Rut 50K HERE

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Episode 69 – Jornet and Marco De Gasperi

Ep69

Episode 69 of Talk Ultra and this weeks show is going to be a little different… we are recording live from a RV in the middle of Minneapolis. My co host is Kurt Decker from Twin Cities Running Co. This weeks interviews are quite special, we speak with Italian Mmountain running legend, Marco De Gaspreri and man of the moment, Kilian Jornet. The news a blog and the up and coming races.

Kurt how are you?

(We chat)

NEWS

Matterhorn Ultraks

1. Stevie Kremer 5:18:43
2. Elisa Desco. 5:22:353. Maite Maiora 5:23:19

1. Ait Malek Zaïd 4:45:012. Bundi Gion Andrea 4:52:213. Egea Aritz 4:55:17

INTERVIEW

I caught up the Marco De Gasperi, the Italian mountain running legend about his amazing career.

Trofeo Kima

Kilian Jornet 6:12:20
Manuel Merillas 6:28:33
France Sancassani 6:38:14
Kasie Enman 7:53:42
Emelie Forsberg 8:22:17
Emanuela Brizio 8:30:52

UTMB

Francois D’Haene with a new CR 20:11:44
Tofol Castanyer 20:55:42
Iker Karrera 20:55:42
Jason Schlarb 21:39:44

Notables – Dakota dropped, Timmy dropped, Anton struggled to finish

Rory Bosio 23:23:20 (14th overall)
Nuria Picas 24:54:29
Nathalie Mauclair 25:47:35

CCC

Pau Bortolo
Christophe Perrillat
Antony Gay

Anne Lise Rousset
Cristina Bes Ginesta
Aline Grimaud

TDS

Xavier Thevenard
Samir Tamang
Jordi Bes

Teresa Nimes Perez
Lisa Borzani
Nerea Martinez Urruzola

Speedgoat update

‘There isn’t really much to say, other than I fell off pace and bailed as I said I would if that happened. kinda frustrated, but life is what it is. Now I have monkey glued to my back…”

 
BLOG
 
Waiting & Being by Joe Grant – http://alpine-works.com/2011/08/waiting-and-being/

 
INTERVIEW

Kilian Jornet is without doubt the man of the moment and may well, the decade? I caught up with him in Zermatt, the day before Matterhorn Ultraks. It coincided almost to the day of his 2013 Matterhorn Summit. In the last 12-months he has progressed to a new level in my opinion. Here are his thoughts…

*This interview was recorded live and does contain some background noise – apologies

 
UP & COMING RACES

Australia
New South Wales
Great North Walk 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Great North Walk 100 Miles | 100 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Queensland
Glasshouse 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Glasshouse 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Kuranda to Port Douglas Ultra Trail Marathon | 64 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Victoria
Surf Coast Century | 100 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Walhalla Wound-Up – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 14, 2014 | website

Austria
“GRAWE” 50km Lauf | 50 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
“NKE Austria” 100km Lauf | 100 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Wörthersee Trail-Maniac 114 K | 114 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website
Wörthersee Trail Maniak 114K Superior | 114 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website

Canada
Alberta
Lost Soul 100 Km Ultra | 100 kilometers | September 05, 2014 | website
Lost Soul 100 Mile Ultra | 100 miles | September 05, 2014 | website
Lost Soul 50 Km Ultra | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
British Columbia
Finlayson Arm 50k Fat Ass | 50 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Meet Your Maker 50 Mile Trail Ultra & Relay | 50 miles | September 07, 2014 | website
Ontario
Haliburton Forest Trail 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
Haliburton Forest Trail 50 km Race | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Haliburton Forest Trail 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
Quebec
The North Face Ultra-Trail Harricana de Charlevoix (UTHC) – 65 km | 65 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
The North Face Ultra-Trail Harricana de Charlevoix (UTHC) – 80 km | 80 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website

Denmark
Nordjylland
100 Miles – Around the isle of Mors | 100 miles | September 13, 2014 | website

France
Bas-Rhin
Grand Trail du HK ” The Magic Trail” | 52 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Essonne
Trail du Gâtinais | 62 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Isère
Ultra Trail du Vercors | 89 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Lot
Espagnac – Conques : du 20 au 24 septembre 2013 | 208 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website
Trail Vallée Cere et Dordogne – 53 km | 53 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Pas-de-Calais
Trail de la côte d’Opale – 62 km | 62 kilometers | September 14, 2014 | website
Puy-de-Dôme
Grand Trail du Sancy/Mont-Dore | 60 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Rhône
La Nuit des Carbones – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 05, 2014 | website
Vendée
Bol d’Air – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Vosges
L’infernal Trail des Vosges – 160 km | 158 kilometers | September 12, 2014 | website
L’infernal Trail des Vosges – 72 km | 72 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website

Georgia (Europe)
Kazbegi Mountain Ultramarathon | 53 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website

Germany
Bavaria
Chiemsee-Ultramarathon September | 108 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Lower Saxony
STUNT 100 | 100 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
North Rhine-Westphalia
P-Weg Ultramarathon | 73 kilometers | September 14, 2014 | website
Rhineland-Palatinate
Dorint-RUN50 | 50 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website

India
Chennai Trail Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Khardung La Challenge | 72 kilometers | September 14, 2014 | website

Ireland
Munster
Dingle Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
Kerry Way Ultra | 120 miles | September 05, 2014 | website

Italy
Aosta Valley
Tor des Géants | 330 kilometers | September 14, 2014 | website
Piedmont
Punt del Diau Ultrail | 65 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Trail d’Oc | 90 kilometers | September 16, 2014 | website
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Sellaronda Trail Running | 56 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Veneto
Troi dei Cimbri | 53 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website

Japan
Shinetsu Five Mountains Trail 110km | 110 kilometers | September 14, 2014 | website
Tango 100 km Ultra Marathon | 100 kilometers | September 14, 2014 | website
Tango 60 km Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | September 14, 2014 | website

Malaysia
Penang 100 km Challenge | 100 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Penang 50km Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Penang 84km Round Island | 84 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website

New Zealand
Marton-Wanganui Ultramarathon | 66 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website

Norway
Telemark’s Toughest | 81 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website

Poland
7 Valleys Run Ultramarathon of the Festival | 100 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Bieg 7 Dolin – Ultramaraton – 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Bieg 7 Dolin – Ultramaraton – 66 km | 66 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website

Romania
Ciucas X3 Ultramaraton | 105 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Transylvania Trail Crossing 106K | 106 kilometers | September 05, 2014 | website
Transylvania Trail Crossing 2-Day Stage Race | 106 kilometers | September 05, 2014 | website
Transylvania Trail Crossing 55K | 54 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website

Slovenia
Marathon Celje-Logarska dolina – 75 km | 75 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website

South Africa
100 Capital Classic – 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Bonitas Sunday Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Hout is Goud Day-Breaker | 80 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Medihelp Dolphin Coast Ultra 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website

Spain
Andalusia
Ultra Sierra Nevada 65 km | 65 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Catalonia
Ultra Trail dels Comtes d’Erill | 82 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Principality of Asturias
Ultra Trail Macizo de Ubiña “Los Güeyos del Diablo” | 64 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website

Switzerland
Valais
Trail des Dents-du-Midi – Trail découverte | 57 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website

United Kingdom
Argyll and Bute
Tiree Ultramarathon | 35 miles | September 07, 2014 | website
Cumbria
VE3K Ultra | 74 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Dumfries and Galloway
Trans Britain | 156 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
East Ayrshire
River Ayr Way Challenge | 44 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Northern Ireland
Titanic Quarter 101k | 101 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Titanic Quarter 50k | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Oxfordshire
Thames Path Challenge 100km | 100 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Thames Path Challenge 50km | 50 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Powys
10 Peaks Brecon Beacons – Long Course | 89 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
10 Peaks Brecon Beacons – Short Course | 58 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Shropshire
Double or Nothing | 70 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Stockport
Bullock Smithy | 56 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
Suffolk
Ultra Tour of Suffolk | 50 miles | September 06, 2014 | website

USA
Alaska
Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay | 175 kilometers | September 05, 2014 | website
Arizona
Javelina Jangover 100K Night Trail Run | 100 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Javelina Jangover 50K Night Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Javelina Jangover 75K Night Trail Run | 75 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Paatuwaqatsi Run 50K | 50 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
California
Diablo Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Endure the Bear 100 Miler | 100 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
Endure the Bear 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Headlands 100mi | 100 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Headlands 50mi | 50 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Headlands 75mi | 75 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Kodiak 100 Mile UltraMarathon | 100 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Kodiak 50 Mile UltraMarathon | 50 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Los Pinos 50K | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Lost Sierra 50K | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Ragnar Relay Napa Valley | 186 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Tahoe 200 | 200 miles | September 05, 2014 | website
Colorado
Devil on the Divide 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Flaming Foilage Relay | 160 miles | September 12, 2014 | website
Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile Ultra Marathon | 100 miles | September 12, 2014 | website
Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Tommyknocker 100K | 100 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Tommyknocker 50K | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Idaho
Moscow Mountain Madness | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Illinois
Evergreen Lake Ultra and a Half | 51 miles | September 14, 2014 | website
Evergreen Lake Ultras | 34 miles | September 14, 2014 | website
Kansas
Hawk 100 | 100 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Hawk 50 | 50 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Hawk Hundred 100 mile Trail Run | 100 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Hawk Hundred 50 mile Trail Run | 50 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Maryland
BRRC Gunpowder Keg Ultra 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Michigan
Freak 50K | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Hallucination 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 05, 2014 | website
LSD 100K | 100 kilometers | September 05, 2014 | website
Peace, Love & 50 mile | 50 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
River Restoration 60K Trail Run | 60 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
River Restoration 80K Trail Run | 80 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Minnesota
Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 05, 2014 | website
Superior Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
Missouri
Mark Twain 100 Mile Endurance Race | 100 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Mark Twain 50 Mile Endurance Race | 50 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Montana
The Rut 50K | 50 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Nebraska
Bohemian Alps 50 Kilometer Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Nevada
Henderson Trail Classic 55K Trail Race | 55 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
New York
Shawangunk Ridge 74-Mile Trail Run/Hike | 74 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Ohio
Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Oklahoma
Do-Wacka-Do 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
DoWackaDo 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
DoWackaDo Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Oregon
McKenzie River Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Pennsylvania
Groundhog Fall 50K | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Pine Creek Challenge 100K | 100 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Pine Creek Challenge 100M | 100 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
South Carolina
Chattooga River 50 KM Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 07, 2014 | website
Tennessee
Sandy Creek 50K | 50 kilometers | September 14, 2014 | website
Texas
Reveille Peak Ranch – 60km | 60 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Utah
Red Rock Relay Zion Edition | 187 miles | September 12, 2014 | website
Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | September 05, 2014 | website
Virginia
Odyssey 40 Mile Trail Ultra | 40 miles | September 06, 2014 | website
The Blude Ridge Relay | 208 miles | September 05, 2014 | website
Washington
Middle Fork 50K | 50 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
Plain 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | September 13, 2014 | website
Volcanic 50 Mt St. Helens | 50 kilometers | September 06, 2014 | website
Wisconsin
The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin 50 Km | 50 kilometers | September 13, 2014 | website
The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin 50 Mile | 50 miles | September 13, 2014 | website

CLOSE

LINKS

ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

UTMB 2014 – Race Preview

tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com

It’s UTMB time and the race kicks off today at 1730 and currently the lights are green for go… phew!

As one would expect, a quality line up and men and ladies will toe the line to run the circular route around Mont-Blanc.

As was shown last year in the men’s race, predicting a winner, even a top-3 can be a tricky thing. One thing is for sure; Thevenard will not do the double as he won TDS just the other day. In doing so, he has become the first runner to win CCC, UTMB and TDS. I like that, it shows a level of skill and speed over multiple distances and terrain.

So, UTMB will roll out and without doubt we will see some drama on the trails. Unfortunately, last years 2nd place, Miguel Heras will not run. Once again injured! Will he ever get a break?

Francois D'Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene is a past winner on the shortened course and for me he has blossomed into one of the best 100 runners out there. His Raid de la Reunion last year and his early season win and sub 20-hours in Japan must make him a hot fave!

Luis Alberto Hernando copyright iancorless.com Luis Alberto Hernando is one guy who I would love to see make the podium. For 12-months he has been building up to this race and wins at Transvulcania and the 80km Skyrunning World Champs must put him in a great place. BUT, he hasn’t run a 100 before and he does like to push. He will need to be patient for 100km and then start racing if he wants any chance of success.

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Tofol Castanyer like Luis is stepping up to the 100. Winner of the CCC he has all the skills and ability to do something special.

 

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera completes a strong Salomon line up and is a hot favourite for the win. He is a beast on tough and technical races and for sure having disappointment with course cancellations in the past, Iker will be looking to make this one count.

Dakota Jones UROC ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones is due a big race. Dropping from Hardrock 100 will certainly have stoked the fire for a great performance here but maybe the ankle isn’t 100%? He has done some epic days with Kilian in and around Mont-Blanc; so, let’s hope he has his day.

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote consistent at UTMB and a great record over long distance races. You won’t see him in the top-10 early on but he will close hard (as usual) eat up those who are struggling and move up the ranks. I don’t see him winning put podium is always a possibility.

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson put his eggs in the Hardrock basket and they got smashed with one of those gutsy, ‘I’m gonna finish no matter what days.’ Respect! Of course, Timmy can win this race, his success this year will all come down to how well he has recovered from HR100. If he is in shape, podium potential and of course a win is a distinct possibility.

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka had the race sewn up for me last year. He was on fire looking relaxed and incredible at every moment. However, the relentless injury problems ruined his day and he has been in and out of injury for 2-years. He had a couple of great early season results, Lavaredo in particular and then dropped from Speedgoat with injury. I have a feeling that Anton will win the race or not finish. I hope he has his day; it’s long overdue.

Jez Bragg TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Jez Bragg will have a solid run; he always does and like Foote, will start way back and work his way to the front. Top-10 would be a great result.

Fabian Antolinus will be an interesting inclusion. He ran a great race at Ice Trail Tarentaise and of course he has continually impressed in French races such as Templiers. UTMB? I would say a top-20 for sure and top-10 if he has a great day.

Hal Koerner is 100m beast and like Mr Meltzer can run 100’s for breakfast. His experiences with UTMB have been somewhat mixed so it is great to see him back and I hope he puts a great race together. He could surprise a few people!

Carlos Sa is a really talented athlete who races road, trail, multi-day, mountains and so on. He has all the ability and potential to create a stir in the top-5. In the past he has gone off course, so this year I hope he nails the route and pushes with the best.

Jason Schlarb has been mixing it up in Europe for a while now. This can only be a really good thing. He raced at Transvulcania and the Skyrunning 80k; so, he has an understanding of what is needed. He may make top-10?

Scott Hawker will be one of the top runners from the Southern Hemisphere who has spent time in Europe this year. Ice Trail Tarentaise would have been a great prep ground.

*****

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio dominated the race last year with arguably one of the most impressive female performances ever. A win at Lavaredo shows that the build up has been good and her recent obscurity can only mean training and training hard. She will be impossible to beat if she repeats the form and condition of 2013.

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Nuria Picas was 2nd last year in her 1st 100 and has gone on to run big races all over the world and in most cases, win them too! Without doubt, Nuria can win this race but she must be tired? In contrast to Rory who will be fresh as a daisy.

Nathalie Mauclair ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair winner of Reunion last year and top ranked at Western States, Nathalie brings a mix of speed, endurance and climbing ability and for me, barring issues, will make the podium!

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Fernanda Maciel like Nuria has been on the UTWT roller coaster of exhaustion. Fernanda won’t be fresh but like many of the other top ladies can produce a really strong 100 and keep pushing even when fatigued. Her 2014 results alone show what a talent she is.

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Laurence Klein, now this is an interesting inclusion. The MDS queen on this terrain leaves a huge question mark. She can run quick, for sure has run some impressive times in races such as the Ecotrail de Paris, however, this 100-mile course and vertical will be something new. Interested to see this one plays out.

Uxue Fraille is a consistent performer at around 80-100km but I think this is the first 100 she will run? Always there or thereabouts, Uxue closes well and picks off the others as they crumble. I see more of the same at UTMB.

Ashley Arnold is a question mark and the US’s hope outside Rory. I don’t think this tough mountain 100 will play to her strengths, particularly based on recent results. However, this ladies field has quality but not depth, so, top-10 for sure and top-5 if on a great day.

Rounding out the top ladies, we have 2-Brits, Claire Price and Lizzie Wraith. Both ladies raced the Skyrunning 80km and may well sneak into the top-10. Shona Stephenson has struggled at UTMB in the past but knows how to run 100’s and is top-10 potential and Meghan Arbogast, Simona Morbelli and Leila Degrave round out my ones to watch!

 

You can follow the race live via the UTMB website and Twitter

UTMB LVE HERE

 

KILIAN JORNET – The Human Carabiner

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Kilian Jornet is defining our sport and in the process is setting new records and providing inspiration to thousands, if not millions of people. Just 12-months ago, I spoke to Kilian in Zermatt. It was just days after his incredible Matterhorn Summit where he set a new record for Cervinia-Matterhorn Summit-Cervinia beating the long standing Bruno Brunod record. Looking relaxed, Kilian joins me at a table and we chat. He looks lean and in the form of his life. The sky is blue and clouds are around the base of the Matterhorn. Looking up we pause and take it in.

Interview in Spanish HERE

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It really is an incredible mountain. I turn to Kilian and ask…

IC – Do you feel nostalgic Kilian, looking up at the Matterhorn and thinking back 12-months?

KJ – Yes, I have great feelings. I-year ago I climbed from Italy (Cervinia) and today I climbed it from Switzerland (Zermatt). I have many great friends in Cervinia and very soon it will be 150-years of the Matterhorn. So many great memories; It’s such a beautiful memory.

IC – Okay, so you have just thrown this on me. You climbed the Matterhorn this morning from Zermatt?

KJ – Yes (laughs) I am not racing Matterhorn Ultraks so it’s okay. I went this morning… I was thinking to myself, it’s great weather so I decided to go. Conditions are not good though. The mountain has much more snow and the ridge was pretty icy. I had no crampons, which was a big mistake. At the summit it was very windy. I thought I might take the quick way down to Zermatt…!

IC – People say the Matterhorn is harder from Switzerland side?

KJ – The Italians say it’s harder from Cervinia and the Swiss say it’s harder from Zermatt. (He laughs) Both routes are very similar. I prefer the Italian side, it’s a narrow ridge about 500m long and you can really run. From Switzerland you go straight to the summit. It’s really beautiful and maybe a little more complicated. For me though, the Italian side is more difficult.

IC – Did you time yourself?

KJ – Hotel to hotel was 7-hours. I had planned to go down to the Italian side and come back via the pass. But the conditions were very windy and I decided to come back on the Switzerland side. It had lots of snow all the way up. I can normally climb up in good conditions in 2.5hrs but today it was 4-hours.

IC – Not the perfect time for a FKT?

KJ – No, it was really dangerous. Normally I would see 100’s of people at the summit. Today it was just me and I saw 4-people on my way down. The weather would be okay for Mont-Blanc but not here; it’s much more complicated.

 

IC – I think it’s topical we are speaking mid season. I believe the Kilian Jornet today is a different person to 1-year ago. For me, you seem to be in perfect shape. I don’t think I have seen you so fit and strong. Would you agree?

KJ – This year I feel really well. I don’t know why? I started the season in Colorado in the winter doing plenty of high altitude meters. I was great in the ski season. It was my best season in regard to my condition. I was not tired after skiing so it was a big bonus. I have raced the same number of races but I seem to be recovering so much better. I am climbing more meters and doing fewer kilometres.

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IC – It’s not unusual for you to start your run season at Transvulcania La Palma on 4-5 days running. This year you did this. You had a great race placing 2nd behind Luis. You then went to Denali and followed this with running again becoming Skyrunning World Champion. In Denali, this is not ultra running. It’s Alpinism. So tell us, what was the experience like?

KJ – It was a hard experience and fun. The weather was bad in Alaska. We stayed 21-days in the glacier and we had 3 sunny days. Everyday was snowing but we did a great number of things. We travelled very light. We would go to 4000m camp and from here everyday we would do something… we did the west ridge and then ski, we did another ridge, then I did the record, the north summit and so on. It was really nice to see. It’s possible to do something everyday. It was really interesting. I think I was surprised to come back to Chamonix and perform so well. Really I was just going to use it as training for Hardrock. In the VK I surpassed my expectation, in the marathon I knew I could do well. I lost weight in Denali.

IC – Yes for sure. You lost weight and your legs seemed smaller. Did it feel unusual to be back in Chamonix feeling like a different person?

KJ – Yes, I had small legs. It is similar to after Alpinism. It’s good for going up but coming down it has its affects.

IC – Denali unlike the Matterhorn was very much about you going and doing it. We haven’t seen the new Summits film yet, so, what did Denali involve?

KJ – It’s Skimo. You go via the plane to Anchorage and then take anther small plane to the glacier. It’s snow all the way. We didn’t take run shoes. We just used skis everyday. We had planned to acclimatize but the weather cleared and I made an attempt on the 6th day. I may have not been adapted but I was still strong. If you stay at altitude you loose strength. I had good conditions for 3-hours but the last uphill section and all the downhill had bad conditions. It was snowing and foggy. I just hoped that I could complete the summit. I added more clothes and pushed on.

IC – How do you prepare for an event like this? Do you do extensive research beforehand on maps? You make it sound casual and matter of fact but I know it’s not.

KJ – You need to be really well prepared. It’s a dangerous mountain. I looked at maps and we planned ahead, not only for the record but other adventures. I made good preparation 2-weeks before. We did 3-days to base camp and did the west ridge and ski down. It was good to see the conditions, find out what the snow was like and see if I could ski fast from the summit. You need to open your mind.

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It was great to have a small team. We were 4-people: Seb Montaz, Jordi Tosas, Vivian Bruchez and me. It’s really quick to change plans and make decisions with a small set up. For example in 5-hours I decided to attempt the record. Everyone was ready; they all knew what they had to do. It was great. Also, the team had projects that each wanted to do. All 4 of us had aspirations to achieve things whilst in Alaska.

IC – That is what is so interesting about what you do. You have very experienced people with you. In particular, Seb, he’s a great mountaineer and cameraman. We often forget he is often doing what you are doing.

KJ – For sure. You either have a small team or a big team with multiple people, helicopters, and many cameramen. The problem is budget! For example, all our team can work independently and they can all film, even myself. I like this process. We all move in the mountain, they are happy alone and that is great. We all captured images of each other. 

IC – That is going to be great to see. You followed Denali with Hardrock 100.

KJ – Three years of waiting!

IC – Yes, you got the confirmation in 2013. We all had expectations and excitement. You were racing really strong competition, Adam Campbell, Joe Grant, Seb Chaigneau, Dakota Jones, Julien Chorier and so on. You had a remarkable day; you smashed the course record. I know from pervious chats that you wasted lots of time. What was the experience like, did it live up to expectations?

KJ – It’s a beautiful race. I have run several 100-mile races and this is the best. The ambiance, the course, the spirit, it was just amazing. I arrived 1-week before and I checked all the last 100km so that I was prepared. I knew I would be in this section at night. I didn’t know the early section; I didn’t check it at all. We all started together; Seb, Adam, Timmy, Dakota and Julien. We had a big group. I felt good from the beginning. Having said that, you always feel good early. It’s just moving. After 4-5 hours I wasn’t pushing but I was pulling away. I thought to myself, maybe I will have a good day but I wanted to be cautious for the latter stages of the race. So, I waited for Julien and then I ran to km 100 with him and then the night started. After this point, I knew the course so I decided to go. It could take 9-hours if I was feeling good. I hadn’t eaten much up to this point so from here I took energy from soup and burritos. It was also really bad weather with rain and storms. I was happy to take a little time in the aid stations.

Kilian ©jordisaragossa

IC – I think you were lucky and got ahead of the worst of the storms. For example Adam Campbell had a crazy time.

KJ – Yes, this is what can happen, Handies Peak is at 4800m and 30km between aid stations, so, you are on your own. If a storm comes they don’t stop the race. You need to know what to do. If you are afraid, you stop and find shelter until the storm passes. Runners need to think and that is a good thing. We all need to think what to carry and what to do.

IC – You had Frosty (Anna Frost) and Ricky Gates as pacers. What point did they pace you?

KJ – Ricky started at 100km for the first part of the night section from Sharman. He ran around 35-40km with me. In the second part it was crazy rain. We were so cold and wet. He stopped. I continued for 10-miles alone and then met Frosty for the last 10-miles.

IC – At any point did you have the course record in mind?

KJ – Yes, you have it in your mind but I don’t race for records. I like racing a great deal. I do lots of races. My priority was to win if possible and I was also thinking of the Dolomites 1-week later…

(Laughter)

KJ – I said okay, I am doing well but don’t try to get tired! I was 20-min ahead of the record and I knew that Kyle Skaggs exploded in the latter stages when he set the record. So, if I kept my pace I knew the record was possible.

IC – As winner, you are the only male with a guaranteed place for next year. Will you be back?

KJ – Yes, for sure as it alternates direction each year.

IC – The two races are different, lets forget next year. Given what you have learnt this year, if you went back in 2-years, with what you now know. Of course weather dependant. Do you think you could make big differences to the time?

KJ – Weather is crucial and of course the feelings. Some days you feel great, like a cloud. You can’t predict these days. I had one of these days at the Matterhorn and certainly Hardrock. For sure I could go faster. I stopped 56-minutes in aid stations.

IC – And you waited for Julien 20-mins? 

KJ – Yes, I think 1-hour quicker is possible should all things align.

IC – You came back from Hardrock and surprisingly raced at Dolomites Skyrace in the VK and SkyRace just days later.

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KJ – I was happy about the VK. I was feeling recovered but after 100-miles you need recovery. The VK was super good. I placed 8th which was great. It surprised me that I could push. It motivated me for the Sky race just 2-days later.

IC – Another great victory for you, amazing really!

KJ – Yes. Thanks

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IC – Trofeo Kima is just around the corner. It’s arguably one of ‘the’ key Skyraces. Do you have any plans or intentions for Kima?

KJ – It’s difficult to discuss plans. So many variables come into play. For example, I may do some mountaineering this week, which may mean I am tired. I have The Rut and Limone Extreme too this year. After a summer of rain when the sun comes out the snow tempts me, so, I can’t resist despite what races are on my calendar.

IC – I have to say, I was watching your posts about your runs this last week. Dakota and yourself doing big days in the mountains that have lasted 7-hours. With UTMB around the corner, didn’t Dakota make that mistake before?

(Laughter)

KJ – I have often done Mont-Blanc just days before UTMB. It has altitude, great training and it doesn’t take too much energy. Dakota is strong and talented. We did this with 10-days before UTMB. He will be fine. I sometimes think he thinks too much. He needs to just run… it will be interesting to see Tony, Iker, Tofol and all the rest. I think Iker will be good. Luis Alberto he will start strong but can he maintain it? Luis has one pace, hard! Maybe he will start slower. UTMB this year will be a great race.

IC – You have Aconcagua (Summits of my Life) left for this year, December yes?

KJ – Yes, I will start in November to do ski training and then I will go back to running for Aconcagua. I’m excited as it has a high summit of 7000m. It’s not technical but it’s a tough record.

IC – And the record?

KJ – I think there are a couple of records but I don’t know the times. (In 2000 Bruno Brunod, Pelissier and Meraldi climbed from Plaza de Mulas in 3-hours 40-minutes. Carlos Sa did 15:42 from National Park Horcones.)

KJ – I will go from the entrance and I will try to achieve both records. Also, Emelie Forsberg will try a female record too.

IC – Wow, nice! I guess Aconcagua will be more like the Matterhorn?

KJ – No, it’s easier. It’s rocky but not steep. The altitude is the big issue. You can get sick and have problems so the challenge is different.

IC – It doesn’t have the danger of the Matterhorn. Ultimately, you have Everest as the last big objective. Have you thought about this yet?

KJ – It’s completely different, it’s very high, 9000m. It’s very long and this is the biggest problem. It’s to go all this way without oxygen and fast. The route is technical. I will start on the north face to prepare. It’s quiet so I will have no problems with people. I will need to prepare. I will go in spring, autumn and maybe the following spring. As per usual with all mountains, any attempt will be weather dependant. I expect to have several attempts.

IC – If you achieve Everest and complete the Summit series, where do you go next? Your list is ticked off, do you think you will comeback to some races you have done before or do you think you will create a new sport, a combination of all your skill levels?

Kilian Jornet-iancorless.com ©sebmontaz all rights reserved

Kilian Jornet-iancorless.com ©sebmontaz all rights reserved

KJ – I have lots of projects. Today I climbed the Matterhorn, I looked around and suddenly projects appear. I think maybe I can go from here to here or in skiing I go down a steep line. It doesn’t need to be the highest or the longest. Nice mountains with not many people. I like this sport because of the beauty. I like aesthetic projects more than numbers. I have so many options to choose from.

IC – Do you think racing will still appeal?

KJ – Yes, I love racing. I love the ambiance. I also like it as training. I push I give it everything and you can’t do this alone, it’s boring. I will race for sure in skiing and maybe run less.

IC – Today I spoke to Marco De Gasperi, I took him back to ‘91’ when he was 16 and the formative days of Skyrunning. His first race!

KJ – Yes, it was Monte Rosa.

IC – Yes, Monte Rosa and he also did the VK. He reminded me of 2007 when you were 20 and you turned up at a race and placed 6th. He said you looked at him as though he was a hero. He now looks at you as the hero.

KJ – No, Marco is the hero.

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IC – 20+ years of Skyrunning. In the last 3-years Skyrunning has become bigger than ever and it continues to grow. Would you like to see the sport progress in anyway?

KJ – Every person is a carabiner. We all pass on and provide energy and it grows. The sport keeps the values of the beginning. However, it’s not just about distance, elevation and athletics. It’s about mountains and alpinism. More people are interested in being in the mountains, it’s not just about technical terrain, and we must look at what is around us too. The sport will grow for sure. We are seeing VK’s grow and longer races. I think in central Europe it will stay as it is but it will develop in other countries, for example the US. It’s important to grow and keep quality; we must keep the spirit.

IC – In ‘89’ when Marino Giacometti ran up Monte Rosa and came back down, it was pure mountain spirit. Up and down as fast as possible. I feel that Skyrunning is starting to go back to where it was 20-years ago. Maybe because we look at sport differently; but also you are providing a great influence. Do you think there is room for another sport outside of VK, Sky and Ultra within Skyrunning, maybe an extreme event?

KJ – Yes. I think an extreme sport would be a great idea. It has been done before as you say. It’s really important though to understand that this is mountaineering fast and not running.

IC – Alpinism without the clutter?

KJ – Yes, it’s not about being strong or fast it’s about how you climb! You need confidence and you need self-awareness. It’s another level. It will come as the sport grows but it is not for all. It’s not about kilometres it’s about mountain experience.

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IC – Kilian, once again thank you so much for your time and the inspiration.

KJ – Thank you for everything.

*****

Article ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Please credit as and when appropriate when sharing

Thanks

I would like to thank Kilian Jornet for his time and generosity.

Marino Giacometti and Lauri Van Houten from the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation)

Salomon Running

Seb Montaz

Jordi Saragossa

And all the wonderful races throughout the world that provides us all the opportunity to live our dreams.

Matterhorn Ultraks 2014 – Race images and results

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The 2014 Skyrunner World Series Matterhorn Ultraks really was an incredible race. The weather showed Zermatt and the surrounding mountains in all it’s beauty and a Moroccan and American topped the podium showing how truly international Skyrunning has become.

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Moroccan Zaid Ait Malek finally fulfilled the potential he has shown in many races in 2013 and 2014 and topped the podium in Zermatt. Known for his incredible smile, Zaid really showed the rest of the field a clean pair of shoes as he blazed a trail around the Ultraks tough and challenging 46km course.

Stevie Kremer, followed impressive wins at Sierre-Zinal and Zegama-Aizkorri to complete a triple and take a dominant lead in the Skyrunner World Series. Despite a long haul flight from Colorado and only arriving at 2000 hours, the night before the race, ‘Pocket Rocket’ produced a dominant performance confirming that at the SKY distance, she is currently the one to beat!

Top 3-ladies

1. Stevie Kremer 5:18:43
2. Elisa Desco. 5:22:35
3. Maite Maiora 5:23:19

Top 3-Men

1. Ait Malek Zaïd 4:45:01
2. Bundi Gion Andrea 4:52:21
3. Egea Aritz 4:55:17

Matterhorn Ultraks 2014 – In-depth race preview

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‘Wow, it’s such a beautiful course with the glacier at Gornergrat and then of course the Matterhorn is ever present while we run.’ Emelie Forsberg

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The Matterhorn Ultraks returns, 1-year on and boy does time fly. The Skyrunner® World Series Matterhorn Ultraks is the penultimate race in the SKY series, followed by Limone Extreme, Italy in October. A magical race over 46 km with 
D+ : 3’600 m | D- : 3’600 m. Combining wild open spaces, high mountains and a course that requires climbing ability, speed and technique. The highest point is Gornergrat at 3100m and this ascent will be a test for all. Panoramic views accompany every runner for the duration of the event and the ever-present Matterhorn will dominate.

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Zermatt, the village at the foot of the Matterhorn is located on the Italian border of the Canton of Valais in the west of Switzerland. The Matterhorn is arguably the most photographed mountain in the world. Zermatt epitomizes Switzerland, high alpine, awe-inspiring and original. Almost one-third of the 4,000-metre mountains in the Alps are grouped around this word-famous health resort, which has been visited by mountaineers from all around the world since the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.

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View 2013 race image HERE

Read Kilian Jornet’s Matterhorn Summits interview HERE

RACE PREVIEW

MEN 

Kilian Jornet will be in Zermatt, however, it looks like the Catalan will be in a supporting role for the 2014 edition of the race after a hectic last few weeks and months. Luis Alberto Hernando who placed 2nd last year will also not be taking part as he prepares for UTMB, therefore, this leaves the door well and truly wide open for a new and fresh podium.

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

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

Marco De Gasperi needs no introduction. Way back in the day, Marco’s Skyrunning career started in and around the slopes of the Matterhorn. This year Marco has struggled with injury, he keeps telling me, ‘I’m getting old and I get more and more little niggles.’ We all know that when this Italian mountain goat is in form, he is unstoppable. His recent poor race at Sierre-Zinal was due to stomach issues, a problem that can hit any of us at any time. So, if Marco feels good, he is my top tip for the 1st podium place.

Michel Lanne

Michel Lanne

Michel Lanne missed Ultraks last year and I am sure he will be looking to make amends this year. His 2nd place behind Kilian at the Skyrunning World Championships clearly states that Michel is great form. If he carries that form over the Zermatt, I think we can expect to see a place on the podium and if all things align, he may well take the top slot.

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Thorbjorn Ludvigsen has been on a roll lately with a series of performances that have impressed, particularly over the VK distance. His recent run at Sierre-Zinal by his own admission was below par. However, the Ultraks course will suit his strong climbing and fast running.

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Marc Pinsach placed 6th overall at Ultraks last year and not only is he a good friend and sparring partner of Kilian Jornet, he has a similar background, which bodes well for this course.

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Eirik Haugsness had a great race in the 2013 edition of the race and after a strong showing at the Skyrunning World Championships and the Dolomites Skyrace; Eirik will be gunning for top-5 and ideally the podium. It’s within reach!

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Zaid Ait Malek continues to run the Skyrunning circuit with a string of strong performances. A regular top-10, he is currently missing the form or the break that would repeat his 2013 Zegama performance. He has all the ability both as a climber and pure runner. Ultraks may well be his breakthrough race of 2014.

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Aritz Egea an ever present at Zegama-Aizkorri, Dolomites Skyrace and Sierre-Zinal will be looking for another consistent top-10 performance. Aritz complained of not feeling great at the recent Sierre-Zinal and placed just outside the top-20. An unusual blip for the Basque country runner; Ultraks will be a better race, I am sure.

Jordi Bes Ginesta was the winner of the 2013 CCC and placed 11th at Matterhorn Ultraks in 2013. His recent top-10 at Ice Trail Tarentaise, backed up with 17th at Transvulcania must give him a billing as top-10.

Florian Reichert has had a strong year of consistent performances and will be looking to improve on his 66th placing at Ultraks in 2013. That placing is not indicative of Florian’s ability and more importantly his current form.

Nicolas Pianet 13th at Ultraks in 2013 and will be looking to break top-10 this year.

Ones to watch (not in order):

  • Oscar Casal Mir
  • Marc Casal Mir 21st at Transvulcania in 2014 and an ever-present on the Skyrunning circuit.
  • Hassan Ait Chau strong showing at the recent Sierre-Zinal.
  • Dabid Garcia
  • Inaki Uribe-Etxebarria
  • Julien Navarro
  • Ryan Bak 1st place Peterson Ridge Rumble 20m and Horse Butte 10m in 2014. Recent form?
  • Mathieu Martinez 5-top results in 2013 with 2-victories at Le Grand Defi des Voseges and Trail des Marcaires
  • Es Tressider
  • Artem Rostovstev
  • Hector Haines an ever-present top performing Brit. Top-20 would be a great result.
  • Yan Longfei

LADIES

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Emelie Forsberg returns and after missing Sierre-Zinal to race a ‘home’ race, I can’t help but think that she will be super motivated to repeat her race victory form 2013. Last year, although taking a strong 1st place, Emelie complained of feeling tired with heavy legs for the whole race. Most certainly, she will be looking for fresh legs this year and she is going to need them! The competition is fierce.

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Stevie Kremer just recently finally won Sierre-Zinal after 2-years of 2nd places. In addition, this last weekend Stevie placed top-5 at the Pikes Peak ascent. Travel is a big issue for Stevie and one of the important factors is managing the fatigue that comes with it. Ultraks will be no different for the Colorado based lady. No one lady is dominating the Sky distance this year, so although Stevie can certainly win the race, like Emelie, she is going to need her ‘A’ game.

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Elisa Desco has arguably shown incredible consistency in the Skyrunner® World Series this year. Well, that was until she dropped from Sierre-Zinal with stomach issues. Current Skyrunning World Champion, we have seen Elisa go head-to-head with Stevie on many occasions and Ultraks will be no different. It’s going to be one seriously interesting race and it’s difficult to call out a winner.

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Kasie Enman has been on the comeback roll and we were seeing consistently better and better performances and as Kasie settled back into racing and training. Her recent 2nd at Speedgoat 50k was a great performance and a real confidence boost. Although Kasie had a strong run at Sierre-Zinal, I did expect her to contend the podium. However, nothing is guaranteed when you have a busy family life, 2-children and travel thrown into the mix. Now based in Europe for several weeks, Kasie may well be more relaxed, fresher and ready to thrown down the gauntlet at Ultraks. Watch out ladies!

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Maite Maiora produced an incredible performance at the 2014 Transvulcania La Palma placing 2nd and has followed up this form with a string of top-10 performances; a highlight 3rd at Zegama-Aizkorri. A consistent and regular performer on the Skyrunner® World Series, Maite will be in the mix at Ultraks looking to repeat the form from La Palma. Placing 6th at the Skyrunning World Championships against many of the same ladies present in this race, I am sure Maite will be looking to improve and make top-5.

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Stephanie Jiminez like many of the ladies above is a Skyrunning ever-present. Racing over the VK and SKY distances, Ultraks will be at the ‘longer’ end of the distances Stephanie likes to race, so, that will impact on her performance. Having said that, she knows how to run in the mountains and for sure, top-10 is a distinct possibility.

Ones to watch:

  • Leire Agirrezabala
  • Uxoa Irigoien
  • Laia Andreu Trias
  • Anna Comet I Pascua

 

Not running:

  • Kilian Jornet
  • Mike Wolfe
  • Tom Owens
  • Pablo Villa
  • Stephan Wenk

 

Race results from 2013

Men

  1. Kilian Jornet (ESP) – Salomon Santiveri – 4h43’05’’
  2. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) – adidas – 4h44’47’’
  3. Nicola Golinelli (ITA) – Arc’teryx – 4h45’57’’

Women

  1. Emilie Forsberg (SWE) – Salomon – 5h41’16’’
  2. Silvia Serafini (ITA) Salomon Agisko – 5h44’37’’
  3. Nuria Dominguez (ESP) – Buff- 5h59’19’’

LINKS:

Skyrunning HERE

Matterhorn Ultraks HERE

Race Images 2013 HERE

Seven wacky world records you’ll never believe ©redbull

kilian-jornet-record-mckinley Image © 2014 Summits of My Life

kilian-jornet-record-mckinley Image © 2014 Summits of My Life

Great to see Kilian Jornet and Steve Birkinshaw listed in this Red Bull article, ‘Seven wacky world records you’ll never believe.’

Steve Birkinshaw

Mountain-running 36 vertical kilometres

Type: Distance Record
Who: Steve Birkinshaw
Where: England
Hazards: Bad weather, injury, exhaustion
Insanity level: 6
Status: Done

Listen Steve Birkinshaw talked about this on Talk Ultra, episode 65 HERE

The stats speak for themselves: 512km in distance, 36km straight up, 214 peaks. Running all the way. That’s the impossible challenge ultra runner Steve Birkinshaw set himself around a loop of England’s hill country, the Lake District…..

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Kilian Jornet

A lightning ascent of America’s highest mountain

Type: Speed climbing/skiing
Who: Kilian Jornet
Where: Denali, USA
Hazards: Cold, altitude, storms, exposure, avalanches
Insanity Level: 9
Status: Done

It’s impossible to write about records in the mountains without mentioning one man – Kilian Jornet. The Spanish mountain athlete has broken so many of them it’s difficult to know which one to select……

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

All content ©redbull.com

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Ryan Sandes goes back to his roots

©craigkolesky

©craigkolesky

Trail running extraordinaire, Ryan Sandes, who by the way is currently leading the Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT) rankings, is going back to where it all began and will be taking part in RacingThePlanet’s seventh Roving Race, on the picturesque island of Madagascar from the 31st of August 2014 to the 6th of September 2014.

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“I am really excited to be travelling to Madagascar for the first time, to take part in Racing the Planet Madagascar. This is going to be an epic experience with lots of wild life and some pretty crazy conditions,” says Ryan. “As this is a self-supported multi day race I will need to get used to running with a 7-9kg backpack again. I have taken a 4 week break after Western States 100, so I am feeling well rested and looking forward to the next adventure.”

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Starting from the beaches of the Indian Ocean, the course follows the coast along white sandy beaches, lush green rice paddies and across vast savannah. It includes Baobab trees, red and grey limestone formations known as Tsingy and a mixture of flora and fauna found only in Madagascar. The format of the course follow is the same as previous races in the 4 Deserts Race Series – 250km, 7 day, 6-stage completely self-supported endurance race.

Madagascar, sometimes known as the Eighth Continent, is the world’s fourth largest island. As with previous RacingThePlanet races that Ryan has taken part in, on day’s 1 to 4, competitors will run 40km each day, then have a long day on day 5 – 80km – and a short 10km sprint on the last day for the final finish line.

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With temperatures averaging between 30-40°C accompanied by humidity, Ryan should be in his comfort zone. Approximately 250 competitors from 40 countries around the world will compete, made up of roughly 80% male and 20% female competitors. The race leaders are expected to complete the race in around 26 hours, with the slower competitors taking up to 70hours. For more info on the race please visit the race website or follow Ryan Sandes and Facebook and Twitter.

Ryan was kind enough to forward d me the excellent photo at the header of this post.

‘Here’s a photo you are welcome to use of me running with crocs. Credit is Craig Kolesky. See you soon!’ Ryan Sandes

I asked Ryan, ‘Is it a real situation or a photo comp?’

His reply, ‘No it’s real;-) we put Perspex on water for me to land on but I was nervous – the crocs weren’t too big though. Only big enough to eat my leg, not my whole body;-)’

We wish the ‘Sandman’ all the very best on his journey back in time.

Giir di Mont 2014 results – It’s Kilian and Emelie!

Kilian Jornet at the Dolomites SkyRace 2014

Kilian Jornet at the Dolomites SkyRace 2014

Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg top the podium at the 22nd edition of Giir di Mont in Italy.

Kilian Jornet set a new course record 3h12’36 once again placing Ionut Zinca in 2nd place ahead of Salomon teammate, Thor Ludvigsen.

Emelie Forsberg just one week after placing 2nd to Laura Orgue in Canazei topped the podium ahead of Skyrunning legend, Emanuela Brizio and Silvia Rampazzo.

Fulfilling pre race expectations, Spain and Sweden did not disappoint with respective winners, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg dominating the 900 strong 2014 edition and the 22nd running of the iconic, Giir di Mont.

Kilian Jornet placed 1st, 8’43 ahead of the Romanian Ionut Zinca and 9’08” on the Norwegian Thor Ludvigsen. Setting another course record, if any confirmation was needed, Kilian Jornet is at the forefront of trail, mountain and Skyrunning. His incredible career goes from strength-to-strength. The last 2-weeks in particular have seen the Catalan dominate and set a new course record at Hardrock 100, just days later place the top-10 in the Canazei VK. With minimal recovery, Kilian then raced and won the Dolomites SkyRace and now and incredible victory and course record at Giir di Mont. He is unstoppable!

Emelie Forsberg at the Dolomites SkyRace 2014

Emelie Forsberg at the Dolomites SkyRace 2014

Emelie Forsberg like Kilian is also pushing herself with a busy race schedule. Triumphant at Ice Trail Tarentaise, Emelie just 7-days ago placed 2nd at the Dolomites SkyRace and now victory at Giir di Mont. Emanuela Brizio placed 2nd 6’31 behind the Swede and Silvia Rampazzo was 10’12 back.

The Giir di Mont course id 32km’s long and has 2400m of vertical. Pat of the Italian Skyrunning National Series, the race has long been one of the iconic Skyrunning races and is on many a runners bucket list.

Results and Info from original Italian text on: http://www.giirdimont.it ©

Results HERE 

MALE

1 Kilian Jornet Salomon 3:12:36

2 Ionut Zinca Valetudo Skyrunning Italy 3:21:19

3 Thor Ludvigsen Salomon 3:21:44

4 Fabio Bazzana Salomon 3:22:26

5 Zaid Ait Malek Buff Pro Team 3:24:32

 

FEMALE

1 Emelie Forsberg Salomon 4:06:25

2 Emanuela Brizio Valetudo Skyrunning Italy 4:12:56

3 Rampazzo Silvia Valetudo Skyrunning Italy 4:16:37

4 Deborah Benedetti AS Premana 4:33:22

5 Teocharis Dimitra Team Aldo Moro Paluzza Dynafit 4:34:21