SKYRACE COMAPEDROSA Preview – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series 

Andorra will host the seventh stage of the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series with the SkyRace® Comapedrosa coming just one week after the Dolomites SkyRace and VK that took place in Italy.

Arinsal, a small ski resort within Andorra will have 300+ runners toe the line to take on the challenging 21 km course that includes a brutal climb of 1000m to the summit of the iconic and beautiful Coma Pedrosa at 2942m. The climb even more difficult and spectacular due to its overall distance of just 2km – yes, it’s a 50% gradient!

The opening miles are road and ease the runners into winding forest trails all the way up to the Col de les Cases (1958M), a wooded area follows and from this point the runners will encounter a stretch of ridge. Pic de les Fonts at 2748m and the Pla de l’Estany follows.

Now the beautiful and challenging climb begins, a true vertical wall of more than 1000m of positive difference in about 2km. A VK within a race! Without a marked path, the runners follow markers to the summit of Comapedrosa at 2942m. Pure Skyrunning – Less Cloud, More Sky.

The descent is by the traditional route through the Estany Negre and Coma Pedrosa refuge, until reaching Arinsal where the race started.

2016 Youth Skyrunning World Championships, Italy. ©fabriziopoliti.it

The Skyrunning World Youth Championships will also take place on the same weekend. The first edition took place in 2016 in Italy and it was a great success. Two events, the KV Arinsal which is the classic Vertical Kilometre will take place on July 28 and the SkyRace will take place on July 30. On offer are 54 medals distributed across three age categories – 16-17yrs, 18-20yrs and 21-23yrs. Read ISF release here.

The Contenders Men

Aritz Egea is on form this year and had a great race at Comapedrosa in 2016. He has already placed 2nd at Livignio and Buff Epic and won Olympus Marathon. He is the hot favourite in Andorra.

Jan Maragrit Sole won the iconic 20th edition of the Dolomites SkyRace last weekend and I am unsure at this moment if he will race the Youth Championships or the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series? Either way he is a hot contender for victory.

Pere Aurell Bove had a great result at The Royal Gran Paradiso recently and although this event is considerably shorter and faster, he should be in the mix. He won the race in 2015.

Kiril Nikolov placed highly at Olympus Marathon and the shorter distance events suit him, he has proved this before at races like Limone.

Hassan Ait Chaou like Egea had a great race in Andorra last year and although his form doesn’t appear to be as good as 2016, you can’t rule him out!

Eugeni Gil Ocana is having a great 2017 with strong and consistent running, Comapedrosa will suit the Spanish runner. He is top-10 potential for sure and top-5 on a good day.

France’s Adrien Michaud may well stir up the front of the race but Benat Marmisolle is a likely podium contender after a strong and solid race at The Royal Gran Paradiso – the question will be if he has recovered?

Andorran brothers Oscar and Marc Casal Mir will be focused on this race and they know the course like the back of their hands.

Breaking news may well see a last-minute entry by Skyrunning legend Marco De Gasperi. If the Italian toes the line, I would predict a podium place and I have a feeling that victory is on the cards… De Gasperi has some great form now as we saw with his 3rd place in the Dolomites, just 45-seconds behind the winner.

It’s a stacked field and other names to watch are as follows:

Nicolas Bouvier Gaz, Brice Delsouiller, Jose Larralde, Jokin Lizeaga, Inaki Uribe-Etexbarria, Aitor Aiuria, Anartz Artola, Paul Riera, Sintu Vives, Ismail Razga, Pere Rullan, and many more runners from FEEC.

The Contenders Ladies

Laura Orgue just won the Dolomites SkyRace and is the defending champion at Comapedrosa. Orgue and Kimmel will have a real head-to-head battle for top honors.

Megan Kimmel is on fire this year and she loves the classic SkyRace distance. The 22km race will suit her down to the ground and as she has proven time and time again, she is the hot favourite victory.

Denise Dragomir had a very strong race in Livignio – she placed 2nd. She was strong on the climbs and fast on the descents which makes her a podium favourite.

Anne-Lise Rousset recently missed High Trail Vanoise through injury but if recovered with good training miles, she will be a definite contender for the podium.

Celia Chiron had a solid 2016 and it was a breakthrough year on the Skyrunning calendar. She has raced a great deal already in 2017 and I see her as a podium, top-5 for sure. *upadate: Celia will not run, confirmed 26th July. 

Hillary Gerardi has been a revelation in 2017 with a solid run in Livignio and just last weekend she placed 2nd at the Dolomites behind Laura Orgue. She is a good friend of Celia Chiron (the duo race together) so we may well see an interesting dynamic in the Comapedrosa race.

Anna Comet this year is racing shorter and faster races instead of the ultra-distance, she had a tough race in the Dolomites but it’s all learning curve – I think we will see an improved performance in Andorra.

Maria Zorroza is another contender for the top-5 and almost certainly the top-10, she will however have some strong competition from Aitziber Ibarbia and Oihana Azkorbebeita.

Laia Andreu rounds out the top-10 contenders and we can also expect Silvia Puigarnau, Paloma Lobera and Nuria Dominguez to be in the mix.

Race website HERE

2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series HERE

Jaybird X3 Wireless Earphone Review

If you are like me and enjoy running with music, you will appreciate a quality pair of earphones. Of course, the jury is out of music whilst running, particularly when racing. Many races have a no earphone policy so that you are as a runner are not distracted, can hear directions from marshals and hear other runners who may need to notify you of passing or potential hazards.

But for many, music is an absolute dream when running as it provides a distraction, it helps the miles click by and I know personally that many runners listen to some excellent running podcasts such as Talk Ultra as a way of catching up on interviews and news.

With the above considered, a quality pair of earphones are essential and with growing use of wireless technology and the need and or requirement to carry a phone when training or racing, respected earphone manufacturer JAYBIRD have released the X3 – an update to the X2 model.

The X3 is a wireless pair of earphones that seamlessly sinks with a compatible device. In my test scenario I synced with an iPhone 7.

Out of the box you can immediately notice that the build quality and attention to detail is excellent. They feel solid and sturdy.

Before going any further I immediately downloaded the Jaybird App from the iTunes Store on my phone. It’s called JAYBIRD MYSOUND and is available for free.

The app takes you through the process of pairing earphones with your phone, Simply put the earphones in your ear and press the middle button for approximately 4-5 seconds. You will hear instructions in the headset. Make sure that BLUETOOTH on your phone is turned on. You will see Jaybird X3 appear in the ‘My Devices‘ – select it and then you are good to go. In the iPhone App you will see a ‘Scanning’ page – this will confirm when you are connected.

Once connected, you can use the APP to customise your earphones using a five-band EQ to fine-tune the acoustics – if you prefer more bass, more treble, or whatever, you can do this here and you can also switch between a variety of presets and user-created profiles. Importantly, the profiles and custom settings save to the X3 and not the device, therefore no matter what device you are using, your preferred preset will be used.

Click on am image for clearer view:

Before use it makes sense to charge the earphones. This is done by connecting the earphones to the supplied cable. Jaybird use their own custom design for this which works excellently. But be warned, lose this charging cable and you won’t be able to just pop out and get a replacement. Accessories are HERE.

The cable is USB compatible so you can use your laptop or a stand alone plug to charge the earphones. Once charged they last for 8-hours (12 hours with the accessory) and in testing I have found this to be true. However, using for say 60-75 minutes a day, I found it was safer to recharge after 4 or 5-days to make sure. Ultra runners who go out for a long run can expect 7-8 hours.

The earphones are supplied with a small portable pouch that will hold the earphones and the charging cable. As with nearly all earphones, Jaybird also supply accessories so that you can get the perfect fit for your ears.

Three different sizes of ‘fins’ allow the earphones to stay in the ear without moving, Three varying sizes of Comply foam tips allow you to obtain a comfortable fit ‘in’ the ear. A shirt clip and two cable-shortening clips are provided – the latter useful if you want to reduce the length of the cable. I personally found no use for them as the earphones fit so well, the cable sits comfortably around the back of the neck and it caused no issues.

Attention to detail is superb and once you have the correct sized ‘fin’ and correct sized ‘Comply tip’ you should have no need to adjust them. Of course, wear and tear will eventually require replacement and this can be obtained from Jaybird.

You will see in the above picture that the ‘in-line’ control not only doubles up as the battery and re-charge point but also the place to turn on the earphones and make ‘on-the-go’ adjustments.

How to use:

  • Put the earbuds in your ears.
  • Make sure your you have previously ‘paired’ the earphones with the device you are using. In my scenario an iPhone 7.
  • Go to the Bluetooth menu on your device, and make sure Bluetooth is turned on.
  • Press the middle button on the in-line control for approx 2-seconds
  • You will hear – ‘Power on’ then ‘Headphones connected’ it will then tell you how much battery is left.
  • Press ‘Play’ on the device and you are good to go.
  • You can adjust volume using the + and – on the inline control.
  • Press the middle button to start/ stop play
  • Tip – while music is playing, if you press and hold the middle button for 1-2 seconds it activates SIRI (on an iPhone) and then you can say (for example) ‘Play AC/DC’ and then the chosen music plays. Of course this can be a little hit and miss but it does work.
  • To turn off, press the middle button once. This stops music play. Then press and hold the middle button for 2-3 seconds and the you will hear, ‘Power off’.

IN USE

The pairing process was easy and seamless. The X3 are without doubt the most comfy and secure running earphones I have used. Everything about them is just perfect. The cable is just the correct length to allow ones head to move left and right without pulling on the earphones. Importantly you can use the X3 as over the ear or on the ear fit.

An example here of over the ear fit.

The in-line control sits just under the right ear (if used on the ear and on the left if used over the ear) and it is easy to control and adjust while moving. The earphones themselves sit securely in the ear with the ‘fin’ holding them securely in place. The X3 is sweat proof and withstood several runs in heavy rain with no issues.

Sound is excellent and I found the ‘out-of-box’ sound to have too much treble. I used the APP to add more base and tweak the sound. A real bonus!

Connection with my phone had little or no drop out. Often a problem with wireless devices. Just keep in mind that the closer the phone is to the earphones, the more stable the connection. I personally don’t like use an arm band holder and found that my phone worked best either in my running vest or by using a small waist pack.

Conclusion

At £109 the Jaybird X3 may not be the cheapest earphones on the market, however, they represent excellent value for money. The sound is excellent, the APP works great for tweaking and the in-line control with voice prompts keeps you in control of the music and the battery. Fit is superb – the best running earphones I have used.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Sound
  • Price
  • Fit
  • Comfort
  • App
  • Wireless
  • Recharging cable is neat and tidy
  • Compact
  • Sweat proof

Cons:

  • 8 hour battery will not be enough for those out for a long time
  • Lose the recharge cable and you will need a replacement from Jaybird. Not a cable you can get anywhere.

Verdict

Pretty awesome product that fits, provides great sound and for a good price.

Dolomites SkyRace Race Summary and Images – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

The Migu Run Skyrunner World Series 2017 continued a pace with the 20th edition of the Dolomites SkyRace. It was always going to be a memorable one and the race didn’t disappoint!

Thunderstorms, rain and low cloud resulted in a delayed start by 30-minutes. It was hoped that this delay would allow the weather to clear. The rain did stop but the cloud came lower. Unfortunately, the final section of climb to the summit of Piz Boe at 3252m was pulled from the race for safety reasons. This resulted in less kilometers and less vertical gain and ascent.

Course records of course don’t count in situations like this, the previous bests held by Kilian Jornet and Megan Kimmel. Neither of these stars were running today, however, defending champions Tadei Pivk and Laura Orgue, respective 2016 winners were expected to dictate the race.

Laura Orgue did not disappoint, her 4th from the previous day’s VK soon forgotten, the Spaniard dictated the pace and looked strong throughout. At the new summit of the race her margin of lead was in the minutes and all she needed was a sold descent to Canazei to seal victory once again – she did it! Laura’s time 2:36:29 almost 90-seconds quicker than rising Skyrunning star, Hillary Geraldi from the USA who produced a stunning descent to go past early 2nd placed runner Hilde Alders who held on for 3rd, their times 2:37:55 and 2:39:55.

Silvia Rampazzo placed 4th, Zuzana Krchova 5th, Magdalena Kozielska 6th, Oihana Azkorbebetia 7th, Stephanie Jimenez 8th, Katrine Villumsen 9th and Paola Gelpi rounded out the top-10.

In the men’s race, VK and Sky specialist Remi Bonnet dictated the pace on the climb and has a substantial gab over David Magnani, Martin Anthamatten, Ruy UedaMarco De Gasperi, Jan Margarit and who’s who of Skyrunning talent. Pre-race favourite, Tadei Pivk, was in the latter half of the top-10 and not looking good!

 

At the high-point of the course the wild and rough descent to the line follows. It’s not for the feint hearted and Remi Bonnet was forced to reduce his pace protecting an injury that almost kept him out of the sport in 2016. This opened the doorway for David Magnani and Marco De Gasperi.

However, it was Jan Margarit who seized the bull by the horns and in his own words, “I ran the fastest descent that I could!” Fast it was, he moved from 5th to take the lead. The pressure was now on with a neck-for-neck race to the line, it was so close but Margarit held on by just 22-seconds to beat Magnani to the line, De Gasperi followed in 3rd just 23-seconds later. It was the close! A real race and just 45-seconds separated the top-3 runners – 2:06:20, 2:06:42 and 2:07:05. All credit to Skyrunning legend De Gasperi who is twice the age of the duo ahead of him.

Remi Bonnet held on for 4th, Martin Anthamatten 5th, Pascal Egli 6th, Martin Stofner 7th, Tadei Pivk 8th, Yuy Ueda 9th and Nadir Maguet rounded out the top-10.

It was a day like no other, fast racing, unpredictable weather and the confirmation of Skyrunning legends and the rise of new ones – just how a 20th edition of a race should be.

Attention now turns to this coming weekend and the Comapedrosa SkyRace in Andorra, in addition to a 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series race, the Skyrunning Youth Championships will also take place.

 

Dolomites Vertical Kiolmeter® #VK 2017 Summary and Images – Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit

Kicking off  a weekend of racing, the Dolomites Vertical Kiolmeter® started today celebrating 20-years of Skyrunning in Canazei, the VK now part of the newly formed Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit.

Yes, a total of 20,000m climbed and 48km’s covered, if you have raced every year? The Dolomites VK still stands as one of the best. It’s a course that goes direct to the sky in pretty much a direct line. Departing at an altitude of 1450m Skyrunners reach the high point of Spiz 2465m with a total distance of 2.4km covered. The Dolomites VK is considered one of the toughest on the circuit due to the short, steep course and underfoot, much of the terrain is grass. Poles are not essential but recommended.

Starting in waves of 20 runners, regular departures occurred until just after 10am when a gap of 20-minutes was made before the male and elite waves departing at 1030 and 1040am.

It was a beautiful day, that is until the men arrived near the summit when a storm rolled in, for the ladies, it was clear and dry.

Course records date back to 2016 and 2014 when Philip Gotsch ran an incredible 31:34 and Laura Orgue ran 38:14.

Unlike many other VK’s were runners depart in timed intervals, similar to a time-trial say in the Tour de France, in Canzaei, the runners depart together so it becomes very clear who is leading the race.

For the ladie’s this was Axel Mollaret who started like a greyhound out of the blocks and never relinquished the pace until she reached the finish line. She was well clear of the competition and this was reflected in her winning time of 37:39 – a new course record, fitting for a 20th edition.

Susanna Saapunki was next 1-minute and 24-seconds later – this is a huge gap in a VK and Victoria Kreuzer was 3rd almost another 1-minute back finishing in 40:07.

VK specialist and previous course record holder Laura Orgue was not having a good day – she finished 4th, a rarity. After the race she said, “I just had heavy legs today, I felt as though I couldn’t push and run the way I like. I am racing the SkyRace tomorrow so I hope this will have loosened me up?”

The men’s race was a close affair with Remi Bonnet back from injury and chasing an inform and flying Patrick Facchini.

Patrick was unstoppable though and missed the male course record crossing in 32:43. Post race he said, “If I had known I was close to the CR I would have found some extra energy…!”

Remi Bonnet placed 2nd in 33:17 and VK specialist and Dolomites regular, Nejc Kuhar, was 3rd in 33:52.

Attention now turns to tomorrow, Saturday, and the Dolomites SkyRace. Weather systems are currently moving in and out of Canazei and thunderstorms are rolling in. We could be in for a very exciting and dramatic day of Skyrunning!

Sandes of Time – Ryan Sandes at the 2017 #WSER Western States Endurance Run on IRUN4ULTRA

I recently caught up with South Africa’s Ryan Sandes after his impressive victory at the 2017 Western States. You can listen to a full and in-depth interview HERE on Talk Ultra podcast.

Ryan’s story is one that inspires and it just shows what is possible.

“An impulsive decision one Sunday afternoon completely changed my life back in 2008. Could I run 250km, self-supported through a Desert? Without another thought, I maxed out my credit card and entered a race I knew almost nothing about. The lead up to the Gobi Desert Race consumed me but most importantly it enabled me to dream.”

You can read the full article on IRUN4ULTRA HERE

Dolomites SkyRace Preview – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

Twenty years, yes, twenty years the Dolomites SkyRace has existed – It’s a classic, no doubt! The simple ethos of starting low and getting high as quickly as possible and returning makes this race an ever present on the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series. In twenty years, a family has been built reflected in the Dolomites VK which is usually two days before the SkyRace and the many Children’s race that are run the day before.

Shadowed by the stunning peak of Piz Boe at 3152m, the town of Canazei hosts the start and finish of the race. At 22km in length, the race has 10km of climbing and 22km of descending. In principal, it’s a simple race that is made complex with the variables of weather, snow, ice, technical terrain, altitude and speed. It’s important to climb strong, however, the descent often proves to be a key deciding factor. What goes up, must come down and with 12km to play with, an exceptional descender can make any lost ground on the 10km climb.

4-hours 30-minutes are allocated for participants to complete the course starting and concluding in the Piazza. It’s a fast race and course records currently stand with Kilian Jornet and Megan Kimmel, their times 2:00:11 and 2:25:57 recorded in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

IMPORTANTLY the 2017 edition of the race will be longer at 23.5km with an additional 200m of vertical gain.

Added interest can be noted in the record for the ascent and descent, a key feature of this race. Augusti Roc Amador and Laura Orgue have recorded 1:16:47 and 1:29:30 of the ascent and Fabio Bonfanti and Angela Mudge hold the records for the descent, 00:43:35 and 00:58:47.

In 2016 Tadei Pivk and Laura Orgue were the champions recording times of 2:03:38 and 2:27:42 respectively.

The 2017 Edition

The 20th edition has one of the best fields ever assembled in the history of the Dolomites SkyRace. Over 100 elite runners will toe the line and therefore it is impossible to look at each runner individually. We will therefore concentrate on the potentials for top-3 and we will also look at the likely contenders for the top-10 who may well male top-5 and on a good day, may make the podium.

Notably, past winners Megan Kimmel, Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet will not be running.

MEN

Tadei Pivk heads up the men’s race as the Skyrunner World Series past champion and defending champion of the Dolomites SkyRace. Tadei had injury issues earlier in the year but has now put them behind him with a great victory in Livigno SkyRace.

Marco De Gasperi is a legend in Skyrunning and recently just missed out on victory at Zegama-Aizkorri. Marco also came close to pipping Kilian Jornet for Dolomites victory a few years back and lost out in a head-to-head sprint for the line – could this be Marco’s year? It would be a popular victory!

Alexis Sevennec crosses between ski mountaineering and Skyrunning and excels at both. He has a solid history with the Dolomites race and in 2016 had great runs at Trofeo Kima and Limone.

Hassan Ait Chaou had a stunning 2016 and seems to be lacking that extra 5% this year, however, he can never be ruled out and the distance and format of the Dolomites race suits him.

Jan Margarit is one of the rising stars within the Salomon Team and has all the potential to have a great race here in Italy. He has been a little quiet in the 2017 so far – he will hopefully come fresh to Canazei.

Martin Anthamatten is past winner of the Matterhorn Ultraks and on his day, can go head-to-head with the best. Like Sevennec he is also a skier and ski mountaineer – the crossover with Skyrunning is a formula that has been proven to work.

 

Pascal Egli had a solid race earlier in the year in China at Yading SkyRun and has excelled at the Dolomites race in past editions. He is most definitely a contender for the top-5.

VK specialist Marco Moletto in many respects is a surprise entry for the SkyRace, however, we can expect to by one of the front contenders if not in the lead at the summit. The question will come in regard to his descending ability?

Remi Bonnet is now finding form after many injury issues in 2016. If we look back to 2015, this young Salomon runner was unstoppable at the VK distance and he scored impressive victories at Sky races at the USA’s Rut and Italy’s Limone. If he is in great shape, we can expect top-5 and a podium if not victory is a distinct possibility.

Micha Steiner has raced Dolomites on many occasions and is always in the mix for the top-10. Could this be the year for a break out performance?

Francois Gonon may well impact on the front of the race, on his day he can mix it with the best but I am currently unsure of his form? One to watch.

Kiril Nikolov raced in China earlier in the year recently had a solid race at the Olympus Marathon in Greece. Top-10 potential for sure.

Andre Jonsson keeps racing and racing an in the past two weekends placed 4th at High Trail Vanoise and last weekend placed 2nd at the Royal Gran Paradiso – both races long and tough. The pace at Canazei may well just be too much for a tired body but who knows… Andre could pull out a surprise performance.

Another VK specialist, William Bon Mardion is showing on the start list. Like Moletto, we can expect a strong performance in the first 10km’s of the race as they climb all the way to the summit of Piz Boe – how will the 12km drop to Canazei go?

Surprises could come from anywhere with a field that has so much depth and it may well be that I have missed some key names from the extensive start list. One thing is for sure, Saturday’s 20th edition is going to be an exciting race.

WOMEN

Laura Orgue returns as a past winner and the fastest female to the summit, The VK specialist who runs Sky races is the odds-on favourite for victory. However, she will have run the VK race the day before and that may just take the edge off?

Ragna Debats is on the start list and would almost certainly be a contender for the podium – she is having a great year! However, I believe she will miss the Dolomites and will be looking for some rest and recovery ahead of the Tromso SkyRace in early August.

Aitziber Ibarbia is always a contender at the Sky distance and we can expect her to make an impact at the front of the race.

Ekaterina Mityaev like Ragna Debats is on the start list and would be a contender for the top-5, however, she placed 3rd just last weekend at the Royal Gran Paradiso and I believe she will miss the Dolomites race.

Hillary Gerardi from the USA had a strong performance at Livigno SkyRace and went on to have some solid results at other races such as the Chamonix VK and Pierre Menta. I think she will be a surprise package in the race and will turn a few heads.

Addie Bracy also from the USA won the USA Mountain Running Championships in 2016, so, she has plenty of speed. Placing 10th at Zegama-Aizkorri would suggest that she still has something to learn on a real mountain. Dolomites will certainly test her but top-10 is on the cards.

Maria Zorroza finished just over 1-minute clear of Bracy at Zegama-Aizkorri and some 20-minutes off the winning time. Therefore, a top-10 is a distinct possibility and a top-5 would see her having a great day!

Norway’s Hilde Alders may well have a great race in Italy. The Dolomites course will suit the Mizuno sponsored runner.

Katrine Villumsen had a solid race behind Megan Kimmel and Ragna Debats in China earlier this year – if she has a good day, a top-5 is a distinct possibility and she may well just make the podium.

Ever-present Stephanie Jimenez has raced in Canazei many times and always is in the mix – I expect no different this year.

Anna Comet has been missing so far, this year in the Skyrunning calendar after concentrating on the IAU World Trail Championships – the Dolomites will see a return to her racing fast and light in a full-on mountain race.

Names to watch:

Laia Andreu, Victoria Kreutzer, Stine Haustreis, Lisa Buzzoni, Beatrice Delflorian, Francesca Rossi, Lara Mustat, Axelle Mollaret, Svetlana Buravova, Jennifer Asp, Chiara Gianola, Susanna Tervo, Lucia Dobrucka

Full SWS Calendar available HERE

Luis Alberto Hernando and Elisabet Barnes head to Nepal – Everest Trail Race #ETR 2017

IAU World Trail Champion and Skyrunning European Champion Luis Alberto Hernando has confirmed he will join the 2017 Marathon des Sables Champion Elisabet Barnes on the start line of the 2017 Everest Trail Race.

Luis Alberto is not new to the ETR (Everest Trail Race), he participated in 2013. After winning the first stage he was unfortunately reduced to a walk but went on to complete the whole race and in the process, he had an incredible experience soaking in the best of what the Himalayas and Nepal must offer. he needs no introduction to the mountain running world, Luis Alberto is the best! His race results, experiences and friendly nature have made the Spaniard one of the most admired and respected runners in the world.

His recent victory at High Trail Vanoise crowned him the Skyrunning European Champion and in the coming weeks he is preparing for the UTMB. Nepal has an impact on a person – the people, the landscape, the scenery, the trails – it really is a magical place and Luis Alberto is obviously keen to return in November to race after his 2013 experience.

Two-time Marathon des Sables Champion Elisabet Barnes is certainly tipping her toe into new experiences and new challenges in 2017. A specialist in multi-day running, the ETR format will suit her.

However, mountains, elevation and technical terrain are all part of a new learning process. In 2017, Elisabet will test her ability at altitude and challenging terrain at Transrockies in the USA. This will be followed with a shorter multi-day race in a colder climate. The two races no doubt providing an excellent base for the 160km journey from Jiri back to Lukla via Tyengboche in November.

Tracing the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hilary, the ETR is wonderful mountain experience that all abilities can embrace. It’s tough for sure – elevation gain, technical terrain and variable temperatures bring a unique challenge. Add to this self-sufficiency (runners must carry all they need for the week but food and a tent is provided) and the race becomes so much more than about wining and times; it’s a journey for the mind and the body. First time participants are changed when they experience Nepal and the Himalayas on foot. The 2017 edition of the race will be no different. Iconic mountains such as Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Tamseku, and Makalu amongst others provide the most stunning backdrop to the race.

Excellent organization and a small field make the ETR one of ‘THE’ bucket list races in the world. Images tell the story and you can view galleries and read reports from the 2016 edition using the links provided.

2016 Image Gallery HERE

You can also read daily accounts of the 2016 edition

Day 1 HERE

Day 2 HERE

Day 3 HERE

Day 4 HERE

Day 5 HERE

Day 6 HERE

For more information and global entries go to www.eversttrailrace.com

and UK entries to www.everesttrailrace.co.uk

 

Royal Ultra SkyMarathon® Gran Paradiso Race Summary and Images – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

With a course profile that looks like a shark’s dental record and with 10-peaks to ascend and descend over a 55km course, the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series went EXTREME For the first time in 2017! 4287m of vertical gain awaited the runners in the stunning location of Ceresole Reale, Italy, a stunning mountain location towered over by the stunning 4000m peak of Gran Paradiso.

Starting at 0630, a stunning day of blue skies welcomed the runners, the early morning chill soon swept away with the arrival of the sun.

Andre Jonsson who last weekend placed 4th at High Trail Vanoise was showing incredible powers of recovery leading Zaid Ait Malek, Pere Aurell,  Bhim Gurung, Benat Marmisolle, The five ran together over the first high-peak in the National Park and the second peak coming at around 12km with 2-hours 15-minutes elapsed on the clock. They were separated by seconds matching each other’s moves.

By contrast, Zegama-Aizkorri and Livigno SkyMararhon champion Maite Maiora, was showing all the ladies a clean pair of heals. She took a grasp of the race very early on and despite being chased by Katie Schide, Ekaterina Mityaev and Natalia Tomasiak amongst other.

With 4-hours elapsed, the summit of Colle della Porta at 3002m saw a surge from Pere Aurell as he ran fast through the snow fields that followed the tough climb to the summit – Andre Jonsson, Bhim Gurung and Beat Marmisolle all followed with less than a minute separating them. Following and hoping to bridge the gap was Dimitry Mityaev, Zaid Ait Malek and Hector Haines.

Maite Maiora arrived in the same location, her lead was now extended beyond 30-minutes to Katie Schide and Ekaterina Mityaev following over 10-minutes back.

The race was now on in the men’s race, the quartet watching each other and at times changing lead like in a cycling peloton however Andre Jonsson was still pushing but the elastic wouldn’t snap. Passing Colle del Nivole they had a short decent and then climbed to Colle Della Rocca Bianche at 2670m. Again, less than a couple of minutes separated the four front runners but the long descent took its toll and with the final climb to Colle del Nel at 2551m to come, the pressure was on.

Andre Jonsson and Bhim Gurung took the lead but Jonsson started to feel the pressure and although Gurung complained of feeling tired, he unleashed his incredible descending ability on the final 1000m to drop to the line to open a huge gap and take victory just like he did earlier in the year in China at Yading Skyrace. Jonsson earned an incredible 2nd place 10-minutes back, 6:51:37 to Gurung’s 6:41:24. Pere Aurell fought cramps to finish 3rd and Benat Marmisolle held off a charging Cristofer Clemente to finish 4th.

Maite Maiora crossed the line in 8:05:28 having dominated the ladies’ race. It was a stunning victory and confirms her as one of the best female Skyrunners in the world. Katie Schide finished 2nd and Ekaterina Mityaev finished 3rd, 8:37:02 and 8:48:23 respectively.

The 55km course wound through the Gran Paradiso National Park in the royal hunting grounds, hence the ‘Royal’ title, runners will compete with ibex and chamois. Starting at a lake at an altitude of 2000m, participants traversed five passes – the magnificent Gran Paradiso mountain provided a stunning backdrop towering over the race at 4061m. Moraines, rocks, streams and snowfields provide an ultimate extreme challenge.

Next race in the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series is the Dolomites SkyRace that will celebrate its 20th edition – a pure Sky Classic!

all images ©iancorless.com

A full image gallery will be uploaded to iancorless.photoshelter.com HERE

Episode 138 – Ryan Sandes and Hillary Allen

Episode 138 of Talk Ultra brings and we bring you a full and in-depth interview with Western States 2017 Champ – Ryan Sandes. We also bring you an interview with the USA’s Hillary Allen who is very much pioneering a path for female mountain runners in Europe. We have the news, ultra chat and this weeks co-host is the 2017 Marathon des Sables champion, Elisabet Barnes.
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00:18:26 NEWS
Firstly, as we record this Hardrock is kicking off. Going to be an exciting race this year… my predictions are for Caroline and Kilian taking the wins. You Elisabet? You have raced against Frosty, Nathalie is a teammate, you were at TCC with Jason – you have some real insight into the runners this year…
High Trail Vanoise and European Championships
Luis Alberto Hernando proves once again he is one of their best in the world by taking victory ahead of Arnaud Durand-Pallaz and Dimitry Mityaev and in the process becoming Skyrunning European Champion. For the ladies’ Megan Kimmel (on fire at the moment) took victory ahead of Ragna Debats and Mimmi Kotka. Ragna was crowned 2017 European Champion.
Buff Epic Trail (series of races)
Eugeni Gil beat Skyrunner World Series leader Aritz Egea (Classic distance) and Adrien Michaud was 3rd – times4:08,4:11and4:16.
Oihana Azkorbebeitia pipped Celia Chiron in a very close finish – just 26 seconds!5:07was the winning time. Laura Sola placed 3rd in5:10.
Ronda del Cims
Antoine Guillon and Lisa Borzani won the ‘classic’ 170km event which has a whopping 13,500m of vert! This year they had a new event, the Euforia which at 233k proved a challenge too far for many… Julian Morcillo and Nahuel Passerat took the victories.
Mount Marathon
Ever since Kilian and Emelie went and raced in Alaska, Mt Marathon is now a one-to-watch and this year Scott Patterson took the male win and Allie Ostrander for the women. Emelie Forsberg still holds the ladies’ record.

00:33:11 Lets go to an interview with HILLARY ALLEN
Badwater 135
Wataro Lino took the 2017 title in 24:56:19 ahead of Marco Bonfiglio and Harvey Lewis III. The almost ‘unbetable’ Pete Kostelnick finished 6th in 28:18 – he also had a below par IAU 24hr champs.
Sandra Villines was ladies’ champ ahead of Amy Costa and Pamela Chapman-Markle – times 34:34:43, 35:30:19 and 35:48:31 respectively.
IAU 24 HR Champs
Patrycja Berenznowska ran an incredible 160.5 miles to take the ladies win – wow! For the men, it was a nail biter with Yoshihiko Ishikawa beating Johan Steene by less than 1-mile! 166.26 to 166.61.
FKT news – Andrew Hamilton finishedthe Nolans14 in 53h 42m going north to south. Apparently he started with 30 miles already in his legs… he tagged the Mount of the Holy Cross first making it 15 peaks not 14.
WESTERN STATES
Well, Western was a surprise huh? I have written about my thoughts on Jim Walmsley but I welcome your outlook Elisabet?
It was a day of surprises and the ladies’ race was an open book with many of the pre-race favourites having bad days – only Magda Boulet rallied for 2nd behind an inspired Cat Bradley taking the win.
My thoughts on Jim Walmsley and Lighting The Fire HERE
Good friend Ryan Sandes ran a classy well placed race to take a huge victory – so well deserved.
01:50:24 Interview with RYAN SANDES
UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Queensland

96 km | 96 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
River Run 100 | 100 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website
River Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website

Victoria

You Yangs 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

La Chouffe Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Brazil

Ultraaratona dos Perdidos | 105 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website

Bulgaria

65km Tryavna Ultra | 65 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Broken Goat 50K | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Ontario

50 Km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
GORE-TEX 50 Mile | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

Quebec

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Pandora 24 Ultra X Trail 100M | 100 miles | July 22, 2017 | website

Finland

Lapland

135 km | 135 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website
55 km | 55 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

France

Corrèze

L’EDFi du Lac | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Le Tour du Cardant | 65 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Drôme

86km | 86 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Eure

Tour de France en Courant | 2750 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Haute-Garonne

52 km | 52 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website
52 km Relais | 52 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website

Hautes-Alpes

Sky Race Max de Montgenèvre | 57 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Sky Race Max de Montgenèvre | 57 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Isère

La Grande Course | 65 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website
Oisans trail tour relais 2 | 80 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Oisans trail tour relais 4 | 80 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Oisans trail tour relais 5 | 80 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Jura

L’intégrale | 110 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Relais de 2 coureurs | 110 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Grand trail de la Vallée d’Ossau | 73 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Savoie

62 km Mad’ Trail | 62 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Ultra Trail du Beaufortain | 105 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Juli | 108 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Brandenburg

Berliner MauerwegNachtlauf | 62 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Greece

Kronion Ultra | 70 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Iceland

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon | 55 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
The Iceland Trek | 84 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website

India

Jammu and Kashmir

120 km | 120 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Back to Back Marathon | 84 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Back to Back Ultra | 78 miles | July 22, 2017 | website
Ultra Marathon | 39 miles | July 22, 2017 | website

Italy

Piedmont

Bettelmatt Trail – 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
BUT – 83 km | 83 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Sicily

Etna Trail | 64 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 121 km | 121 kilometers | July 28, 2017 | website
Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 66 km | 66 kilometers | July 28, 2017 | website

Veneto

Asolo 100 km | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Asolo 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Trans d’Havet Ultra | 80 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Kenya

Amazing Maasai Ultra | 75 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Mauritius

Xtreme Dodo Trail | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Papua New Guinea

Kokoda Ultra Marathon | 96 kilometers | July 26, 2017 | website

Philippines

Catarman 2 Allen Northern Samar | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
TransCebu Ultramarathon 105 Km | 105 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
TransCebu Ultramarathon 55 Km | 55 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website

Portugal

Running Challenge Linhas de Torres | 100 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Romania

Marathon 7500 Elite | 90 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website
Ultransilvania | 101 kilometers | July 28, 2017 | website

Russia

Golden Ring Ultra Trail T100 | 100 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website
Golden Ring Ultra Trail T50 | 50 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website

Singapore

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Slovakia

Nízkotatranská stíhačka | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Spain

Andalusia

Ultra Sierra Nevada | 103 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
USN Trail | 62 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Aragon

Gran Trail Aneto-Posets | 109 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Vuelta al Aneto | 58 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Cantabria

Sweden

Swedish Alpine Ultra | 107 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Eiger Ultra Trail E101 | 101 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Eiger Ultra Trail E51 | 51 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Valais

Swiss Alps 100 | 160 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Swiss Alps 50 | 80 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Turkey

100 Miles | 100 miles | July 28, 2017 | website
75 km | 75 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
80K Ultra Maraton | 80 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
ORDU Ultra Trail | 80 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Buckinghamshire

Chiltern Ultra Challenge “Intro” 50km Ultra | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

City of Bristol

Kennet & Avon Canal Race | 140 miles | July 28, 2017 | website

Cumbria

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

East Riding of Yorkshire

The Montane Lakeland 100 | 100 miles | July 28, 2017 | website

Glasgow City

Clyde Stride Ultra Marathon | 40 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

Hertfordshire

Fairlands Valley Challenge – 50km | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Oxfordshire

100 km | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Day 1 50km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Day 2 50km | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Scotland

50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Shropshire

Wenlock Olympian Run | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Wenlock Olympian Walk | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

USA

Arkansas

Full mOOn 50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

California

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website
Harding Hustle 50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Ragnar Trail Tahoe | 136 miles | July 21, 2017 | website
Salt Point 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
San Francisco Ultramarathon | 52 miles | July 23, 2017 | website
Santa Barbara 100K | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Santa Barbara 100 Mile | 101 miles | July 14, 2017 | website

Colorado

Hardrock 100 Endurance Run | 100 miles | July 14, 2017 | website
High Lonesome 100 | 100 miles | July 28, 2017 | website
Never Summer 100km | 100 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Idaho

McCall Trailrunning 40 Mile Classic | 40 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

Kansas

Psycho Psummer 50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Maine

Down East Sunrise Trail Team Relay | 102 miles | July 21, 2017 | website

Maryland

Catoctin 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Rosaryville 50k Trail Runs | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Montana

50 Mile | 50 miles | July 14, 2017 | website
50 Miles | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Seeley Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website

Nevada

Tahoe Rim Trail 100M | 100 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Tahoe Rim Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Tahoe Rim Trail 50M | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

New York

50K | 50 kilometers | July 28, 2017 | website

Oregon

44 Mile | 44 miles | July 22, 2017 | website
67 Mile | 67 miles | July 22, 2017 | website
Relay | 69 miles | July 22, 2017 | website
Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run 50M | 50 miles | July 22, 2017 | website

Texas

60k | 60 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Vermont

Vermont 100k Endurance Race | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Race | 100 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

Washington

50K | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Emory Corwine Memorial Ruck Race | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Kaniksu 50 | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage | 190 miles | July 14, 2017 | website
CLOSE
02:58:20
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I’m Ian Corless and she is Elisabet Barnes.
Keep running
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Royal Ultra SkyMarathon® Gran Paradiso – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

We go EXTREME! Yes, the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series kicks-off the Extreme category in Italy with the Royal Ultra SkyMarathon® Gran Paradiso – 55km, 4287m of vertical and the high-point coming at 3002m.

The course profile is a sharks tooth profile with no less than 10-peaks over the 55km course. Significant points coming at 5km, 12km, 25km, 27km and then a succession of repeated peaks over the final 15km before the final drop from just under 2600m to 1570m. It’s going to be brutal!

The 50km course winds through the Gran Paradiso National Park in the royal hunting grounds, hence the ‘Royal’ title, runners will compete with  ibex and chamois. Starting near a lake at an altitude of 2000m, participants will traverse five passes – the magnificent Gran Parasido mountain will provide a stunning backdrop towering over the race at 4061m. Moraines, rocks, streams and snowfields provide an extreme challenge.

Names to watch (alphabetical order):

MEN

Jan Bartas is a regular on the Skyrunning circuit and while he may not be a contender for the top-3, he will be in the mix for the top-10.

Cristofer Clemente has grown and grown as a trail and mountain runner. His performances in Skyrunning have elevated him to top the world stage and recently he produced a stunning run in the IAU world champs. He’s a favorite for the win.

Kim Collison is one of the UK’s best on his day. Recent injury problems have reduced his training and he is still unsure if he will be able to toe the line…

Bhim Gurung on his day can handle the distance and technical terrain and beat the best in the world. He can descend like a demon and he will be up at the front end for sure.

Hector Haines is slowly but surely coming a dominant force on the Skyrunning SWS. He excelled at Limone SkyRace and recently he had a great run at Transvulcania Ultramarathon. Hector may well win this race!

Andre Jonsson just had a great run at High Trail Vanoise and he will most certainly be a top-10 and on a normal day he would be top-5, however, I think he may be a little jaded after HTV.

Dimitry Mityaev placed 3rd at High Trail Vanoise and like Jonsson is almost certainly going to be tired in Italy, however, he has the strength to potentially dig-deep and make top-5.

Shane Ohly on his day has the potential to turn a few heads, he’s not likely to make the podium but in recent months he’s been showing some great form.

Pavel Paloncy is as strong as an ox and will trade blows with the best, however, on this course I think he will lack speed to contend for the podium.

Konrad Rawlik is a solid mountain runner who like Ohly has all the potential to mix it with the best in shooting for a top-10 slot.

Roger Vinas rose through the Skyrunning ranks in 2016 with a series of solid performances, he is a top-10 potential and if he’s on a good day he may well make an impact on the top-5.

Zaid Ait Malek raced recently in Spain so may well be tired, however, he has all the speed, endurance and skill to make the podium and yes, win the race!

LADIES

Sophie Grant has recently placed 10th a Tararwera Ultra, 4th at Transgrancanaria and 11th at Mont-Blanc 80km – the Royal will bring a whole new challenge to this British runner and she has all the potential to turn heads with a podium place.

Aitziber Ibarbia is a regular competitor in the SWS calendar and is without doubt a contender for the top-5 and a potential top-3.

Maite Maiora is the odds-on favorite for victory after winning Zegama-Aizkorri and the recent Livigno SkyMarathon.

Emanuele Manzoli placed 3rd at the Royal in 2015 and brings course knowledge and experience. A recent victory at  Trail Alta Vai Nure.

Ekaterina Mityaev is a new name and face in Skyrunning and she is excelling after moving up from shorter distance races to ultras. In 2016 she placed 4th at Ultra Pirineu and in 2017 she was 7th at Transvulcania, 2nd at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and she was 3rd at Mont-Blanc 80km – podium potential for sure!

Katie Schide is a relative unknown on Italian soil but she placed 7th at Speedgoat 50km in 2015 and won Antelop Island 50k. No results show for 2016 but 2nd at Moab’s Red Hot 55km in 2017 shows she is in form! Backed up in Livignio and recent racing in France.

Natalia Tomasiak was 7th at Glen Coe Skyline in 2016 and 6th at Trofeo Kima, A recent win at Stubai Ultratrail shows good form.

Zuzana Urbancova 8th at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and a string of other top-10 results confirm that a top-10 is a distinct possibility and top-5 is possible on a good day.

Susan Van Duijl and a whole host of other top female contenders will make this an exciting race.

Race information HERE