Available to read HERE
Many thanks to Fred Bousseau for his help and cooperation
Available to read HERE
Many thanks to Fred Bousseau for his help and cooperation
All images are available to purchase for personal or commercial use HERE
The 2013 Skyrunner Ultra World Series came to an exciting conclusion in Vail, Colorado on Saturday as many of the top ultra runners in the world lined up against each other for the Ultra Race of Champions. Starting at 0700 in the small town of Breckenridge and concluding in the center of Vail, some 100km later this race was always going to be an exciting nail biter and it didn’t disappoint.
Sunny skies the day before the race turned to dark grey, light rain fell and then snow. So much snow that on the highest sections of the course, particularly in the early stages of the race; eighteen inches of snow covered the ground. At 12,000 feet temperatures in the wind were around -14 deg. It was cold! However, Colorado has never looked so good. Deep blue skies, beautiful sunshine and so much snow it made one feel like Christmas.
The buzz in the small town was tangible as runners wrapped up in puffa’s and beanies waiting for the 0700 ‘GO’. It soon came and the 200+ strong field departed in a rush. Two early cash primes were won by Sage Canaday and Emelie Forsberg, a pattern was unfolding and as many had thought in pre race predictions, two outright favorites had taken the bull by the horns and were starting as they meant to go on.
However, Emelie was certainly suffering from the altitude and had to ease off allowing Stephanie Howe to take an early lead out at the front. For the men though, the field was very much a who’s who of ultra running and Dakota Jones, Rob Krar, Kilian Jornet and Jason Wolfe reeled Sage in.
At Frisco, 14-miles into the race a front group had formed and then the climb to the highest point of the course came. At an altitude of 12,000 feet and freezing temperatures, a winter wonderland awaited the runners. Kilian Jornet and Dakota Jones arrived first, running together matching stride for stride. I was convinced that if conditions remained like this Kilian would for sure dominate!
Less than a minute behind, Rob Krar followed and then Sage Canaday. Sage looked less relaxed and calm in the knee-deep snow; his arms were outstretched as he tried to balance. A string of other top contenders followed, Ryan Ghelfi, Cameron Clayton, Luke Nelson, Mike Versteeg and so on. The descent from the summit was tricky in places as running water had turned to ice.
Emelie Forsberg used the snow to her advantage and reclaimed some time from Stephanie Howe, as she ran past me on the descent she shouted, ‘I feel better now, the altitude was making me feel very uncomfortable’. However, Emelie was still one minute in arrears.
Vail Pass at 33-miles was a significant turning point in the race, Rob Krar used his speed and took hold of the race and started to push. Dakota Jones followed. A flat road section that covered approximately 19% of the course demoralized Kilian; confident that his World Skyrunner Champion title was secure he eased back and allowed Cameron Clayton to run ahead of him.
Emelie reclaimed the lead at Vail Pass and never looked back. She continually pulled away from Stephanie Howe and at the finish in Vail she had secured UROC victory and the Skyrunner Ultra World Championship title with 23-minutes to spare in a time of 12:06:34 (her first 100km). Stephanie Howe ran a great race and considering she very nearly didn’t start due to a potential injury issue, she looked super pleased with her 12:29:26. Third spot for the ladies podium went to Michele Yates in 12:46:24, considering Michele had won Run Rabbit Run 100-miler just two weeks prior, this was an incredible result for her.
The men’s race however was less formulaic. On the descent to Minturn, Dakota Jones came charging through the forests with Rob Krar 1min in arrears. He looked strong and focused.
Minturn, mile 52.5 saw runners turn and head back up the trail. Jones appeared running every step of the way and then 90 seconds later Krar appeared with hands-on-knees powering up the climb. He looked less relaxed than Jones and at this stage one would have most certainly put money on a Jones win.
Cameron Clayton was 3rd at this point, he was way too far back to contend the top slot and Kilian Jornet was far enough behind in 4th not to contend the 3rd place on the podium, so, barring a disaster, Clayton had 3rd guaranteed.
With less then 4-miles to go, Krar and Jones were together and then Krar unleashed a break neck descent to the line that Jones later went on to say, ‘jeez, that guy was an animal on the descent. All respect. It was a great race, a pleasure to run with one so talented and the better man won’.
The better man did win; Krar broke the Skyrunner tape and then covered his face with his hands. ‘I can’t believe what just happened’. Exhausted, shocked, elated he was embraced by his wife and the victory sunk in. 2013 has been an incredible year for Krar, to put this in perspective, just a couple of years ago he thought he may never run again!
On the line, sitting in a chair, buckle in his hand, cowboy hat shadowing his face he said, ‘It was the hardest effort in my life, possibly the hardest course I have run. The course had a great mix of terrains making it a fair course’ I asked Rob, about the final climb when he was 90-seconds in arrears, ‘I caught him (Dakota) at the top. I was really hurting in Minturn I thought I was down and out but with a mile to go I caught him and pushed.’
The 2013 Ultra Race of Champions was without doubt a great race. It was a fitting finale to the Skyrunner Ultra World Series and of course, excitement now builds as the 2014 calendar in finalized. However, we do have a Vertical Kilometer and Sky Running World Champion to announce at the final race of the 2013 Skyrunner season in Limone, Italy.
All images are available to purchase for personal or commercial use HERE
Results – Men
Results – Ladies
Skyrunner Ultra World champion Classification 2013
1° Kilian Jornet 292 points
2° Sage Canady 255
3° Cameron Clayton 208
1° Emelie Forsberg 320 points
2° Francesca Canepa 266
3° Stephanie Howe 206
This gallery contains 92 photos.
All images are available to purchase for personal or commercial use HERE
This past weekend the strongest field of trail runners ever seen at a South African event took on The OTTER African Trail Run, a one-day race on the 42-kilometre Otter Trail – a popular multi-day hiking trail. But far from taking five days to complete the scenic route, the fastest runners blitz the course in less than four-and-a-half hours. K-Way athlete AJ Calitz spent the race in the thick of it to take a hard-earned third spot on the podium.
“The race started a lot slower than I expected, with the exception of Ricky, who went off the front immediately,” recalls Calitz. “I decided to run with Iain Don-Wauchope as he is the most experienced and he always sets a good pace.”
Calitz says that Lucky Miya, Kane Reilly and Thabang Madiba went after Lightfoot. He decided to hang back with Don-Wauchope.
“We figured that Ricky would either beat us by a country mile or pop completely and we would catch him.”
For most of the race Calitz ran in a four-man group with Don-Wauchope, Michael Bailey and Stuart Marais. Later, the pair broke away and they were on a sub-4h30 pace, which is what they were aiming for. Last year Don-Wauchope and Calitz were the first runners to break 4h30 at this event on the first running of the East-to-West RETTO route (OTTER in reverse). The RETTO route is said to be harder – by those who have run both; running a faster time on the OTTER course was well within the ability of both runners.
“On top of Andre’s Hut (eight kilometers to go), I had dropped Iain and caught Lucky, Thabang and Kane,” says Calitz, who made good use of his famed ability to run uphill fast.
“Iain recovered supremely well and he caught me again. I just didn’t have the legs on the downs to stay with him.”
Although Calitz caught Don-Wauchope again on another climb, Don-Wauchope pulled away again on another down.
“That proved to be too much for me,” says Calitz. “After the start, we didn’t see Ricky again; it was me and Iain racing for second and third, with Iain coming out on top.”
Back in 2011 Ryan Sandes set an OTTER course record of 4:40:15, taking eight minutes off the previous record. Until last year, when Don-Wauchope and Calitz both ran sub-4:30, it had seemed unlikely that the record could dip much lower.
And then, on Sunday, Great Britain’s Ricky Lightfoot – the recently crowned 2013 Trail Running World Champion – achieved the unthinkable. Blowing sub-4h30 out of the water, he took 25 minutes off Sandes’ record to establish 04:15:27 as the new time to beat. But, it wasn’t just an unbelievably good day out for Lightfoot; the first seven men all beat Sandes’ 2011 record and five of them ran sub-4h30. Don-Wauchope and Calitz clocked 04:24:33 and 04:27:03 respectively.
“This was an incredibly tough day out; I really gave all that I had,” Calitz adds.
Is a sub-4h10 the next holy grail at this race, ‘The Grail of Trail’? Next year, more international runners will join South Africa’s ever-improving best at this marathon-distance challenge. And with course times dropping every year by substantial amounts, it seems that the record is nowhere near the limit of physical ability – yet.
1. Ricky Lightfoot (Great Britain), 4:15:27 *
2. Iain Don-Wauchope (South Africa), 04:24:33
3. Andre Calitz (South Africa), 04:27:03
* Previous course record held by Ryan Sandes, 4:40:15 set in 2011.
1. Ruby Muir (New Zealand), 4:55:34 * (new record)
2. Landie Greyling (South Africa), 4:58:57
3. Nicolette Griffioen (South Africa), 5:24:57
PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.jacquesmarais.co.za / SONY
* The previous course record was held by Jeannie Bomford, 5:17:12 set in 2010.
This gallery contains 102 photos.
Not much opportunity to upload images from the trail, so apologies. Here are a few images in the build up to the race. More to follow as and when possible.
All good things must come to an end and it is no different for the Skyrunner Ultra World Series. The five series long championship is four races down with just one to go. An incredible start on the island of La Palma with Transvulcania La Palma and victories for Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg was followed with the tough and challenging 100-mile, Ronda dels Cims seeing Julien Chorier and Francesca Canepa shine. Ice Trail Tarentaise in Val D’Isère tested all with altitude, snow and ice and once again saw the ever present and dominant duo of Kilian and Emelie take convincing victories. Speedgoat 50k in Utah saw and impressive course record by Sage Canaday and a ladies victory by Steph Howe.
So with one race left. It’s all to fight for. Arguably one of the most impressive fields of 2013 will line up in Vail, Colorado for the 100-km, Ultra Race of Champions (UROC). The fifth and final event will not only see two champions from the race but also two Skyrunner Ultra World Series champions crowned (three events for five award points).
Let’s be clear, UROC is not a 100-km world championship race it is merely the final race in the Skyrunning ‘ULTRA’ world series and is such will be a decisive race in both the men’s and ladies overall classification.
UROC sees the race as a championship event for the sport of ultra distance running. This, I believe is a title they have imposed on themselves, for sure, they have a great line up and without doubt, the concept of an ultra race of champions rings true! The objective is to bring together annually the year’s best ultra runners in the first ever ‘formal’ ultra running championship event, but at the same time has the appeal of being open to one and all. It’s an admiral claim and one that ambassadors of the sport would seem at least in principal, to agree with.
“There is a growing demand for a trail ultra running event that celebrates and encourages as many top level runners as possible to come together on the same trail, on the same day, to compete in a true championship style race. In UROC, I think we finally have an event with a desire and a commitment to meet this demand. I can’t wait to toe the line in September with the field of elite runners this race draws.”– Geoff Roes, UROC 2011 Champions, UROC Elite Advisory Council Member, Two Time Ultra Runner of the Year.
“UROC is an amazing opportunity for the best in the ultra running sport to test themselves on a course that favors no one. May the best all around runner win.”– Max King
Of course, as ultra sport progresses, the desire for prize money progresses and UROC is do different. It has a very healthy set of cash prices available. The cash reward system is something that Skyrunning have had in place for some time and not only are prices award by the ISF at every Skyrunning race (VK, Sky and Ultra) they also award cash prices for the respective world champions, in each Skyrunning category.
Cash Purse: (awarded by UROC)
Champions Male/Female: $5000.00
Runner Up Male/Female: $2000.00
Third Place Male/Female: $1500.00
Fourth Place Male/Female: $1000.00
Fifth Place Male/Female: $500.00
Other Race Premiums will include $250 King/Queen of the Mountain, $250 First Male/Female to Copper MT Ski Area and $250 for the Winners of the Corporate Cup Challenge
The course in detail (please note, the 2013 route is a ‘new’ route)
Overall Distance: 100K
Course Type: Point-to-Point
Estimated Total Vertical Gain: 13,245 feet
Elevation loss: 12,379 feet
Maximum altitude: 12,408 feet or 3782 meters at the Ten Mile Pass between Peak 5 and Peak 6
Percent of paved road: 19%
Technical Features: The Ultra Race of Champions crosses 4 passes or peaks above 12,140 feet or 3700 meters.
Aid Stations: 9
Time Limit: 19 hours 30 minutes
Interactive Route Map – http://www.mapmyrun.com/us/breckenridge-co/uroc-vail-2013-route-112588745
Content taken from UROC website ©
THE 2013 RACE
Stacked! It’s a word we have used multiple times in 2013 but if ever a race was stacked, it’s the 2013 edition of UROC. In the men’s race I have thirty-two names of note! Yes, thirty-two.
For the ladies race it is an equally impressive field with fifteen names that stand out and shine,
It would be quite possible to look at the lists above and say, take a pick. Anyone of the listed runners on the right day could come away with victory.
As with all previews, I have to put my neck on the line and look at the likely contenders.
Kilian Jornet has gone from strength to strength and just never really seems to have a bad day. His list of results and achievements in 2013 is second to none. Not only is he performing at the highest-level at all three disciplines in the Skyrunning calendar (VK, Sky and Ultra) but he is also setting record in his ‘Summits’ project. In actual fact, as I write this he is in Russia for an attempt at Mt Elbrus. So, how will Kilian perform at UROC? He will be at the front, pushing and without doubt will be highly competitive. Can he win? Of course, it’s Kilian. However, the lack of really high mountains, technical terrain and 19% of road will not play to the Catalans abilities.
If ever a course was made for Sage Canaday, this course is probably it. The mixture of trail, road and climbing ticks all the right boxes and we all know after a disappointing performance at Sierre-Zinal, Sage took some rest and has been extremely focused on performing in Vail. Add to this his win and course record at Speedgoat 50k and a top placing at Transvulcania; Sage is also in a great place for the overall Skyrunning World Series title.
Previous winner of UROC, Max King will be looking to repeat his 2012 performance. A world mountain running champion and 2:15 ‘ish’ marathon runner, Max, like Sage has the ability to win once again. However, he is mixed things up in 2013 and he is short on racing long. UROC at 100-km may just be a little too long?
Rob Krar until recently was relatively unknown, however his FKT at the rim-to -rim-to rim rectified that. Having secured a place at Western States at a previous race he went to his first 100-miler with respect. At the finish, he had placed top three and in doing so is now without doubt a one-to-watch. For sure, the 100-km distance will suit all aspects of Krar’s running abilities and he won’t mind 19% of road too… his background is well established in road running.
Dakota Jones recently pulled out of TNFUTMB and has been pretty quiet in 2013. However, if Dakota is turning up, you can guarantee he is running to win. Nobody would question that Dakota may very well be standing on top of the podium come the 28th.
Cameron Clayton will love the UROC course and as per usual he will be fired up and ready to race. He loves to push hard from the start and hold on. If he does this it at UROC, he will have no shortage of followers. However, the secret is to keep at the front! Cameron’s recent races have been a little mixed and he was nursing a foot problem. He came through Matterhorn Ultraks well and that must bode well for UROC.
Rickey Gates has already had a full season of racing and travelling. He is always a consistent top ten performer and as he has shown in Europe this year, he has had great results in France and Italy on some tough and technical European mountains.
Matt Flaherty has performed real well over 50m with a win at American River 50, fourth at Ice Age Trail and second at Cayuga Trail in June. He has been relatively quiet since then so maybe UROC is his ‘A’ race?
Dylan Bowman had a great Western States finishing just behind Ian Sharman; however, just recently he had to pull out of TNFUTMB with injury. The question mark for Dylan will be if he has the form after some time off.
Finally, Mike Wolfe. Wolfepaw is back, his FKT on the John Muir Trail with Hal Koerner was a great run. But turning up at TNFUTMB with all that running and time in his legs was just too much and he dropped relatively early on. With some RnR post Chamonix; with luck Mike will be fit and firing on all cylinders in Colorado.
I could go on… just look at the list above. So many names to choose from and so many could be in this preview, Mike Wardian for one has been a podium finisher at UROC before, don’t rule him out.
Emelie Forsberg has been dominant in 2013. Her performances and her ability over multiple distances and terrain are second to none. However, UROC will be her first 100km race, this will provide a new challenge for Emelie. Like Kilian, this course may well prove to be lacking altitude and technicality but Emelie does like to run fast, just as she proved at San Francisco last December.
Devon Yanko (Crosby-Helms) has had a quiet 2013, her only significant result was second at Chuckanut 50k. She has started a bakery and apparently that is the priority. But I am sure she will be coming to UROC with a win in mind. To be honest, Devon may well pull it off. She is a great marathon runner and the 100km distance suits her (4th at Comrades in 2012). The road section will allow her to push and that may very well be all she needs to make a decisive move. Her list of results is impressive, very impressive.
Francesca Canepa has had quite a 2013. With a win at Ronda dels Cims, top placing at Ice Trail Tarentaise and just recently a return win at the super tough, 330km, Tor des Geants. UROC for sure will be too fast and not hard enough for Francesca; she also may very well be just a little tired!
Helen Cospolich is a three times finisher at TNFUTMB, her best performance came in 2011 with 6th so she packs endurance punch. She recently returned to Mont Blanc but had to drop through illness. She has recently been training on the UROC course and has now covered the whole route; without doubt, Helen will be looking to put TNFUTMB behind her with a podium in Vail. In 2013 she already has had a string of top placing’s, second at Desert Rats, third at Miwok 60km, second at Silver Rush 50m and finally third at Power of Four 50km in early August.
Darcy Africa once again has had a string of top three places in 2013. At Telluride she placed second, second at Squaw Peak 50, third at Coyote Cohorts Backbone 68m but importantly she has won at Hardrock 100 (again) and Miwok 60km. Darcy has a little of everything and on her day could win at UROC.
Steph Howe has had two great results in 2013, victories at Speedgoat 50k and Gorge Waterfalls 50k. The big question mark comes if she can take that speed to double the distance?
Kristina Folcik will be smiling all the way around UROC that is for sure. She had a great race at Cayuga and will hope to bring that winning form to this race. She says on her blog (dangergirldh.com) that she is, ‘an ordinary girl living a not so ordinary life’.
Ashley Arnold placed 16th at Leadville 100 (won the ladies race) recently and 15th at White River 50m; so, one would think that she currently has the form to contend the podium. Ashley is certainly more consistent over the 50k and 50m distance so the 100km may just be a stretch for her considering the speed that this race will be run. Leadville is a very different race to UROC.
Kerrie Bruxvoort placed 1st at Run Rabbit Run 50 on Sept 13th so she must come to UROC a little tired and jaded. Earlier this year she placed 16th at Western States so that contrast between the two races is high. Despite this contrast, Kerrie has won Quad Rock 50 and Zane Grey this year, so, the 50m distance is her forte, can she stretch out her performance for those other twelve miles.
Tracy Hoeg has had a quiet 2013 but in 2012 she had repeated success over 50km and 50m with a fourth, two third places, a second place and a win. As far as I know, her results beyond 50-miles are sparse, so Tracy comes to UROC a relative potential dark horse.
Fernanda Maciel has been racing a lot in 2013 but she has been plagued with a few niggles. At the CCC she was having a great race but an old injury flared up causing her to drop. Certainly longer races suit her but this may just not be technical enough.
Finally, Anita Ortiz, Speedgoat winner from 2008 will join UROC. She has quite a pedigree but it is almost impossible to say what her current form is like. She has been a US Mountain Running Champion several times, won Western States and she has also won Pikes Peak, so, she has a great mix of endurance, speed and altitude adaptation; she may be a surprise on the day!
One thing is for sure, UROC will certainly be an exciting race and great way to end the Skyrunner Ultra World Series.
UROC website HERE
Episode 44 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show we have a long distance theme. We have an interview with Nickademus Hollon who just recently placed 7th overall at Tor des Geants. We also have an in-depth chat with Ian Sharman about his incredible summer running the Grand Slam. We also speak to Nick Clark in his regular Grand Slam slot, Clarky’s Corner. We speak to Brit, Emma Clayton about her silver medal in the WMRA worlds in Poland. The news, Talk Training, a blog, up and coming races and of course, Speedgoat Karl.
Run Rabbit Run
00:15:08 INTERVIEW Ian Sharman Grand Slam Interview
Tor des Geants
1. Geoffrey Gikuni Ndungu 2:50:28
2. Petro Mamo 2:52:49
3. Viktor Röthlin 2:53:21
4. Robert Krupicka 3:00:48
5. Hosea Tuei 3:02:12
1. Andrea Mayr 3:20:20
2. Aline Camboulives 3:25:08
3. Martina Strähl 3:25:23
4. Sabine Reiner 3:25:59
5. Stevie Kremer 3:27:09
The North Face Endurance Challenge (Wisconsin) 50mile and 50K
Nicholas Wied emailed in… The 50 Mile
1. Tyler Sigl (Green Bay, WI) 5:38:49;
2. Brian Condon (Madison, WI) 5:55:43;
3. Adam Condit 6:08:38.
This is crazy because Ian Sharman set the CR last year at 5:55.
This is Tyler’s 1st ultra, he is a 2:15 marathon guy who works a full time job and trains on the side. He lowered Ian’s record by almost 20 minutes, INSANE!
Another note, Brian Condon running his 3rd ultra and 2nd 50 miler (he also took 2nd behind David Riddle at Ice Age 50) ran the same time as Ian’s CR.
1.Molly Culver 7:51:12;
2.Wendy Lilly 8:20:03;
3. Holly Fearing 8:32:42.
1.Andy Nesheim 4:01, 2. Brian Udovich 4:08, 3. Andrew Hollatz 4:14.
1. Lorena Campos (Chile) 4:21, 2. rin Seffrood 4:38, 3. Bri Famera 4:40.
Kilian & Emelie – rescued
On a final note, in the Sun Newspaper (not that I read the Sun) a snippet said, “Rab Lee from Bowness and pal, Mark Howlett set a new World Record for running 68.2 miles – three legged, non stop in 24 hours at the Glenmore24 – BONKERS
Kilian Jornet – http://www.kilianjornet.cat/en/blog
“This is a warning that the mountain is a hard and dangerous place, even when precautions are taken. One must be humble in the mountains, because a high price can be paid for our failures, especially when travelling light. We must accept and be aware of the risks that we are prepared to take individually and with the people who accompany us, depending on our physical and technical skill and also our experience.”
01:31:14 15 MIN OF FAME with Brit Emma Clayton
01:43:09 TALK TRAINING – Marc Laithwaite
This week’s interview is with Nickademus Hollon. Nick is not your normal runner… he seeks out the tough and the extreme. We interviewed Nick earlier this year when he became the youngest and one of only 14 people to finish the Barkley. Just recently, he took on the Tor des Geants in Italy.
03:04:05 MELTZER MOMENT
and Ugly –
03:09:15 SMILESandMILES with Emelie Forsberg – firstname.lastname@example.org
03:34:42 CLARKY’S CORNER – discusses Wasatch and his summer on the trails going head-to-head with Ian Sharman
03:51:48 Up & Coming RACES for the next two weeks
Figeac – St-Cirq-Lapopie – Conques : du 20 au 24 septembre 2013 | 208 kilometers | September 20, 2013 | website
The North Face Endurance Challenge-Georgia Gore-Tex® 50 Mile | 50 miles | September 28, 2013 | website