Two ISF Skyrunning events in one day and both of them ultras! Trans D’Havet in Italy and Speedgoat in the USA. In many respects, although two races in the same series, they are chalk and cheese. Trans D’Havet is a point-to-point mountain race with some altitude, technical running and tunnels… yes, tunnels! Apparently 6km’s in total. Speedgoat is a 50km trail race in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and to clarify, the rules have been amended this year to inform all participants that they ‘must’ stick to the trail. Last years top two, Kilian Jornet and Rickey Gates are not returning but third and fourth are; Max King and Anton Krupicka. With 12,000 dollars up for grabs and $1000 premium for the first man and women to reach Hidden Peak at mile 8.3., Talk Ultra’s Mr Speedgoat and the ISF have lined up a great field of guys looking to secure points in the Skyrunning World Series (three events score)
But look at the field… Timothy Olson, Sage Canaday, Max King, Anton Krupicka, Cameron Clayton, Mike Wardian and so on, it really is a top quality field and a tough one to call.
I have to say, that despite the presence of Olson and Krupicka, I am going to to lean towards a Canaday, King and Clayton smack down with Olson and Krupicka causing some trouble in the latter stages.
Sage Canaday has performed at the top level since moving into the ultra world and although he may still be on a learning curve between 80 and 100k, I feel that this shorter race will suit his speed. He still needs to learn on technical running but as he showed at Transvulcania with the final podium place, he can nail it when required.
Max kIng in 2012 just held off Anton Krupicka in the latter stages. He made the decision to shy away from longer races in 2013 and just last weekend placed on the podium in the US Mountain Running Champs. But it wasn’t a win! He has all the speed required to win this race and although I see him as a main protagonist, I don’t see him in the top spot.
Cameron Clayton is new to ultras and has an impressive record. He has a gung ho attitude of glory or go home. He brought that to Western States and he went home… however, the shorter distance of Speedgoat will suit him and he will be out front from the gun with Sage. Question is, can he hold on?
Anton Krupicka will be fit, no doubt. But other than a second place at Cavalls del Vent in 2012, he has raced little and been plagued with issues. He was fired up for Transvulcania and then got a bug. He missed Ronda dels Cims to do his own project, Nolans 14 and then didn’t go well. So what can we expect? To be honest, I am not sure. Without doubt he prefers the longer distances but he placed fourth last year and as he has proved in the past, he can race well over the 50km to 50 mile distance.
Timothy Olson has just repeated his victory at Western States and will be riding high. However, Like Anton he likes the 100 mile distance. At Transvulcania 2013 when he placed fourth behind Sage, he said post race that he was just warming up. He has all the class needed to win Speedgoat but I think Canaday and Clayton may just have the edge over 50km.
Luke Nelson raced at Transvulcania and said post race that it was a learning curve. He has all the ability to mix it up but I see him somewhere between five and ten and not in the top five.
Benoit Laval, founder and CEO of Raidlight clothing will toe the line. He is an accomplished runner and although he placed third at Lantau 50 earlier this year and raced at Marathon des Sables, I don’t see him in contention for the podium at Speedgoat.
Michael Wardian after a prolonged rest from injury continues to bounce back with some impressive running. Although still racing on a regular basis he does seem to have eased back but in the process has had some great results. For example, just recently he ran 3:12 for 50km to set a world record indoor, a far cry from Speedgoat but you can never rule him out and almost certainly he will be running up at the front pushing the pace.
Thierry Breuil from France may mix things up however, he was recently fifth at the Trail Running Championships and although that course is nothing like Speedgoat, he may find his feet and have a great run.
Other contenders: Jorge Maravilla, Jason Loutitt and Jason Schlarb.
Speedgoat 50k – HERE
Skyrunning – HERE
A ladies preview will follow