Skyrunning World Championships – VK Images



Starting at 1600 in the centre of Chamonix, runners from all over the world started  tackle 3.8km and 1000m’s of vertical gain with one objective; to be the fastest possible!

A route of pure ‘mountain’ spirit, that takes a straight and direct line from the center of Chamonix to the finish at Planpraz. The VK is a pure test of strength. Similar to a prologue in the Tour de France, runner’s start at timed 30-second intervals, the fastest to the summit is the winner!

The opening sections comprise of runnable trail, however, the last section becomes more technical with rocks and this requires more commitment with notably a few aerial passages equipped with cables and ladders.

Kilian Jornet and Laura Orgue were crowned respective world champions amongst highly competitive fields.

  1. Kilian Jornet 34:18
  2. Bernard Dematteis 34:36
  3. Urban Zemmer 34:47
  1. Laura Orgue 41:29 new CR
  2. Stevie Kremer 41:37
  3. Christel Dewalle 41:50

Full results available HERE


Skyrunning World Championships 2014 – Marathon Race Summary

©iancorless.com_© rain and potentially severe weather conditions resulted in a course change for the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships SKY event. Over 2000 runners would toe the line for the event and with potential negative temperatures predicted a slight course change was made to avoid the highest section of the course at Aiguille des Posettes.

Departing the center of Chamonix in torrential rain, Kilian Jornet, Michel Lanne, Zaid Aid Malek, Tom Owens and Aritz Egea lead the way setting a relentless pace that would stretch the elastic and form an aggressive front group.

©iancorless.com_© the wet and cold conditions, Kilian Jornet was always going to be the favourite, however, Salomon teammate Michel Lanne pushed the Catalan all the way. It was only on the final ascent to La Flégère that Kilian finally opened up the gap that he would hold all the way to the line. To commemorate becoming Skyrunning World Champion, Kilian ran the final meters with his hero and Skyrunning legend, Bruno Brunod.


Michel Lanne secured a great 2nd place but a battle royal followed for 3rd place. Sierre-Zinal champion (2103) Marc Lauerstein came from behind at La Flégère caught Zaid Ait Malek and Tom Owens and pushed hard for the line but Owens didn’t give in easily, he dug deep and found something within to take the coveted final podium place.


Azara Garcia lead the ladies race over the early sections of the race closely followed by the key favourites; Elisa Desco, Megan Kimmel, Stevie Kremer and Kasie Enman.


In the cold and wet conditions, Elisa made a move during the middle section of the race and took a firm hold of the race lead and pushed ahead for an incredible victory against tough competition.


Megan Kimmel and Stevie Kremer traded blows over the final section and with Kasie Enman struggling with stomach issues, the final podium places would come down the two Americans trading blows on the final descent to Chamonix.

Megan opened the gap and 2013 Mont-Blanc Marathon champion, Stevie Kremer couldn’t respond. On the line, Stevie said, “I had a great race last year and I guess this year I wasn’t quite as good. But the competition was fierce and ultimately, I was beaten on the day by two better runners.’


The Mont-Blanc Marathon concluded the events for the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships and despite the wet and challenging conditions for the final race, the unanimous feedback has been incredibly positive. Chamonix as one would expect has been buzzing with runners and supporters from all over the world, it confirms the growth of Skyrunning and its global appeal.

Official results


1 – Kilian Jornet  (ESP) en 03:23:39

2 – Michel Lanne (FR) en 03:25:50

3 – Thomas Owens (UK) en 03:26:20


1 – Elisa Desco (ITA)en 03:53:33

2 – Megan Kimmel (USA) en 03:54:51

3 – Stevie Kremer (USA) en 03:55:36

Stats : 2291 competitors 372 women

Skyrunning World Championships – Ultra 80km Race Report


1118 runners toed the line for the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships 80km Ultra in the endurance capital of the world, Chamonix.

Departing at 0400 the race followed the original route in contrast to last years race, which was modified due to the presence of snow at high-points.


Blue skies welcomed each and every runner and allowed an opportunity for everyone to view the splendor of this tough, technical and remarkable route. A total distance of 83.7km and 6000m of positive gain was always going to provide a male and female champion of the highest quality.

At La Flégère (km16), Transvulcania La Palma winner, Luis Alberto Hernando (SPA) was leading followed by Mike Wolfe (USA) and the winner of the 2013 edition, François D’Haene (FRA). Luis-Alberto took the bull by the horns and pushed ahead and by the Col des Montets (23km) had a lead of 5-minutes.


Luis Alberto continued to push and at Emosson dam (km32) the Spaniard had opened a convincing lead that he would continue to hold all the way to the line. However, Francois d’Haene tried everything he possibly could to close the gap. In the end, the margin was reduced to 4-mins making it a remarkably close finish.

©iancorless.com_©çois gave us the story of the head of the race, ‘Luis Alberto produced a great performance. He is strong on the short distance; I am stronger on longer distances. At Montenvers (km75) after getting cramps, I gave everything in the last run to the line and I gained a little time. I am very happy about my race, this course is amazing.’


Behind the 2-lead men, Mike Wolfe faded opening the doorway to the rising stars of the Southern Hemisphere; Ben Duffus (3rd), Blake Hose (6th) and Caine Warburton (9th). Clement Petitjean placed 4th after a consistently strong performance all day.


Emelie Forsberg (SWE) put early season disappointments behind her and started the World Championship event from the front and never looked back. Producing a master-class in endurance running, Emelie crossed the line in Chamonix and was crowned female Skyrunning World Champion in 12-hours 38-minutes.


Anna Frost on a roll from her Transvulcania La Palma victory confirmed that she is back with an excellent second place, 8-minutes behind her Salomon teammate.


Magdaléna Laczack (POL) was in contention all-day and produced a stand out performance to place 3rd lady ahead of Maud Gobert (FRA).

Tiredness, fatigue and endurance accompanied by magnificent landscapes and panoramic views. This is the magic and the essence of the Skyrunning World Championships.

Podium of the Mont-Blanc 80k, World Championship ultra-marathon Skyrunning


1 – Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) : 10:25:52

2 – François d’Haene (FRA) : 10:29:33

3 – Ben Duffus (AUS) : 10:52:33



1 – Emilie Forsberg (NOR) : 12:38 :49

2 – Anna Frost (NZ) : 12:46:52

3 – Magdalena Laczak (PL) : 12:58:51

Episode 64 – Smith Batchen, Perkins, Almeida, Rasmussen





This is episode 64 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show we speak with one of the Queens of ultra running, Lisa Smith Batchen. Mark Perkins talks about his win and course record at SDW100 and Ricardo Almeida gives us a minimalist perspective of running Comrades. We speak with Claus Rasmussen in about transitioning to minimalist and barefoot running. The News, a Blog, Talk Training, Up & Coming Races and Speedgoat.

Zugspitz Ultratrail
  1. Stephan Hugenschmidt 10:36:50
  2. Cris Clemente 11:14:39
  3. Dan Doherty 11:30:26
  1. Anne-Marie Flammersfield 13:53:21
  2. Helene Ogi 15:19:27
  3. Elena Polyakova 15:51:22
South Downs Way 100 – Miles
  1. Mark Perkins14:03:54
  2. Richard La Cock 15:11:28
  3. David Ross 15:58:54
INTERVIEW with race winner Mark Perkins
  1. Sharon Law 18:51:03
  2. Karen Hathaway 20:11:11
  3. Emily Gelder 20:11:15
West Highland Way Race 95 – miles
  1. Paul Giblin 14:20:11
  2. Robbie Britton 14:47:48
  3. Matt Williamson 16:05:07
  1. Fiona Ross 18:54:04
  2. Rosie Bell 19:02:19
  3. Keziah Higgins
Bighorn 100
  1. Luke Nelson 19:10:15
  2. Patrick McGlade 19:39:03
  3. Benjamin Bucklin 20:34:20
  1. Missy Gosney 24:30:40
  2. Gwen Scott 25:54:38
  3. Jamie Fink 26:05:05
Race the Sun – Asics Team ran the the UTMB route from dawn and they had to compile the route before sunset. They did it 15:41:35. They raced in relay against a team called Team Enduro. Article in the Guardian HERE
Steve Birkinshaw completes the Wainrights – 511km with 214 peaks (36,000m of vertical) – 6 days and 13 hours. Information HERE
Western States – going to be exciting! Race preview HERE
Skyrunning World Championships – VK, SKY and ULTRA. Race preview HERE
Lavaredo to take place with Anton Krupicka and Rory Bosio
We have the first race on the Skyrunning UK calendar, the V3K over the Welsh 3000’s – good luck everyone!
Contribute to Talk Ultra – HERE
New website and blog –
Ricardo Almeida gives us a minimalist viewpoint on running Comrades
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat 
Lisa Smith-Batchen is a queen of ultra running. An inspiring lady who has achieved so much to benefit others. On July 1st, Lisa will attempt Badwater 135 4-times, back-to-back with 2-ascents of Mt Whitney. HERE
TALK TRAINING with Marc Laithwaite
Claus Rasmussen gives us an insightful talk on barefoot/ minimalist running and how to transition, adapt and progress in a safe and manageable way if this is something you would like to try. In addition, he tells us about a future challenge… website HERE


Ronda dels Cims | 170 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Ultra iniciàtic | 103 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Ultra mític | 112 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website



3 Marathons in 3 Days | 126 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

The Big Red Run | 250 kilometers | July 02, 2014 | website


Traunsee Bergmarathon | 70 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website

Veitscher Grenzstaffellauf | 54 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website




The Sinister 7 | 146 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website

British Columbia

Scorched Sole Ultra 100 km | 100 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Scorched Sole Ultra 50 km | 50 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Scorched Sole Ultra 50 Miles | 50 miles | June 28, 2014 | website


Northwest Passage Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | July 07, 2014 | website

Northwest Passage Ultra Marathon | 55 kilometers | July 09, 2014 | website


Creemore Vertical Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website


The Ultimatexc – 50 km | 50 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website



Ardennes Méga Trail | 93 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Le Roc La Tour | 54 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


Team Trail Intermarché | 180 kilometers | June 27, 2014 | website


Ultra Trail di Corsica | 105 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website


Trail du Crabère – L’Ours | 72 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website


Grand Raid du Queyras | 132 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Raid du Queyras | 58 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

UltraChampsaur | 72 kilometers | July 06, 2014 | website


80km du Mont-Blanc | 80 kilometers | June 27, 2014 | website

La Montagn’hard 100 | 103 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website

La Montagn’hard – 60 | 60 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website


Trail du Grand Duc | 86 kilometers | June 29, 2014 | website


Grand Raid 56 Golfe du Morbihan | 177 kilometers | June 27, 2014 | website

Raid 56 Golfe du Morbihan | 86 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Trail 56 Golfe du Morbihan | 56 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


Morvan Oxygène Trail | 61 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website


Ultra trail du CANIGÓ | 84 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


L’Etoile Savoyarde | 352 kilometers | July 07, 2014 | website

Tour des Glaciers de la Vanoise | 72 kilometers | July 06, 2014 | website


Trail Nocturne du Raid Normand | 55 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website



Thüringen ULTRA | 100 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website


Olympus Mythical Trail | 104 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website


The Himalayan Crossing | 360 kilometers | July 08, 2014 | website

The SPITI | 126 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website


Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 121 km | 121 kilometers | July 04, 2014 | website

Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 66 km | 66 kilometers | July 04, 2014 | website


Pistoia-Abetone Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | June 29, 2014 | website


Lavaredo Ultra Trail | 118 kilometers | June 27, 2014 | website


Lake Saroma 100k Ultramarathon | 100 kilometers | June 29, 2014 | website

Lake Saroma 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | June 29, 2014 | website


Hornindal Rundt 75 km | 75 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website


Transjura Basic | 165 kilometers | July 04, 2014 | website

Transjura Hard | 195 kilometers | July 04, 2014 | website

Transjura Middle | 100 kilometers | July 04, 2014 | website


Ultra Trail Serra da Freita | 70 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


Grand Raid 97.4 | 100 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


Transylvania Trail Crossing 100K | 100 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Transylvania Trail Crossing 2-Day Stage Race | 100 kilometers | June 27, 2014 | website

Transylvania Trail Crossing 50K | 50 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

South Africa

Washie 100 | 100 miles | July 11, 2014 | website



Al Andalus Ultimate Trail | 230 kilometers | July 07, 2014 | website


Ultra Trail Sobrarde “Peña Montañesa” | 65 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Basque Country

Ehunmilak | 168 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

G2handiak | 88 kilometers | July 11, 2014 | website

Castile and León

Ultramarathon Atapuerca Aranda de Duero | 160 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


Gran Trail Peñalara | 110 kilometers | June 27, 2014 | website

Gran Trail Peñalara 60km | 60 kilometers | June 27, 2014 | website

Gran Trail Peñalara 80km | 80 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Oxfam Intermón Spain – Madrid | 100 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website


Lapland Ultra | 100 kilometers | June 27, 2014 | website

Swedish Alpine Ultra | 107 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website



Swiss Jura Nature Trail – 100 km | 175 kilometers | July 06, 2014 | website

Swiss Jura Nature Trail – 350 km | 350 kilometers | July 06, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

County Borough of Conwy

V3K Ultra Extreme | 89 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

V3K Ultra Marathon | 53 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


10 Peaks The Lakes – Long Course | 73 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

10 Peaks The Lakes – Xtreme | 100 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Greater London

Grand Union Challenge 100K | 100 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Grand Union Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


Great Glen Ultra | 72 miles | July 05, 2014 | website


Tour of Merseyside | 52 miles | July 06, 2014 | website



Ragnar Trail Tahoe | 136 miles | July 11, 2014 | website

Rancho Canada del Oro and Calero Park 50K | 50 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website

Western States Endurance Run | 100 miles | June 28, 2014 | website


Hardrock 100 Endurance Run | 100 miles | July 11, 2014 | website

North Fork 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

North Fork 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | June 28, 2014 | website

Silverton Double Dirty 30 | 100 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


Afton Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website

New York

Finger Lakes Fifties 50 K | 50 kilometers | July 05, 2014 | website

Finger Lakes Fifties 50 Miles | 50 miles | July 05, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Dusk to Dawn 50 Miler | 50 miles | June 28, 2014 | website


Blue Blazes Ultra | 172 kilometers | July 10, 2014 | website


Midnight Madness | 50 miles | July 04, 2014 | website

South Dakota

Black Hills 100 | 100 miles | June 28, 2014 | website

Black Hills 100k | 100 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website

Black Hills 50M | 50 miles | June 28, 2014 | website


Pedernales Falls – 60km | 60 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


Moab’s Alpine to Slickrock | 50 miles | July 05, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back | 192 miles | June 27, 2014 | website


Taylor Mountain 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | June 28, 2014 | website


Happy Jack Endurance Races 100 Mile | 100 miles | June 28, 2014 | website

More than luck takes Miya to the Skyrunning World Championships

Lucky at Ingeli


Lucky Miya is in France for the 2014 Skyrunning World Champs, which is hosted by the Marathon du Mont-Blanc. The only South African runner in the men’s race, Miya will compete in this 42-kilometre mountain run on Sunday, 29 June 2014, starting at 07h00. It just shows the global appeal of Skyrunning!

Miya hails from a road running background with an impressive 2:16:41 personal-best marathon time. His road running times remain impressive; in 2013 he ran a 1:09 half marathon.

“In 2009 I decided to try trail running as I enjoyed doing tough things, surviving tough battles makes me proud!” he says. And survive he has.

Miya made his foray into trail events with short-distance races and now favours those up to 40-odd kilometres. Although trail is his main focus, he does participate in road race in the colours of the Gallopers running club, which he started.

As his experience has grown, Miya has increased his trail race distances, competing in staged races too.  His trail prowess was clearly demonstrated in October last year when he posted a 4:29 time at the famed marathon-distance The Otter African Trail Run. This earned him a highly respectable fifth place in this fiercely competitive event.

Miya’s path to the Skyrunning World Champs was guaranteed when he won the inaugural Ingeli Skymarathon, which was held in Kokstad in April. He covered the 42-kilometre course distance in 3:37:19, five minutes ahead of his nearest rival. Miya is representing South Africa at these World Champs and is the only South African runner competing in the men’s race; Landie Greyling will run in the women’s race.

In preparation for this event Miya has put in tough hill sessions at this favourite training venue, the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve in the South of Johannesburg.

The Marathon du Mont-Blanc course profile shows a massive climb from 17 to 21 kilometres; those hill sessions are going to count when Miya hits that demanding ascent.

“Absolutely, this will be the toughest section of the course but I believe I’m naturally strong to survive it,” he says.

Having competed on the road racing scene, Miya has experience, a strong head and enough cool to keep his composure under pressure. Surrounded by the best-of-the-best in trail running, he is sure to be tested.

“My road speed and racing experience will definitely help me to deal with the pressure and competition but I will still need huge strength, power and a good race plan. My aim for the race is to be safe and enjoy the run. To finish in the Top 15 or Top 10 will be a bonus!”

Conditions for the race (in Chamonix) are expected to be cloudy and cool with a low of 8°C and high of 21°C. There is a chance of storms. In the mountains… well, it is anyone’s guess as conditions can change in a heartbeat.

“We are so excited for Lucky,” says K-Way brand manager Nick Bennett. ‘We’ve kept an eye on him for a while and were delighted to have him join our K-Way athlete family earlier this year. Lucky is a talented runner and his transition from road to competitive distance trail running has been effortless. He is light, quick and agile. We’re only seeing the start of what he is capable of and we’re delighted to see him competing abroad for the first time in such a prestigious event.’

There’s no shortage of exceptional runners preparing to race. Miya will be in the mix with eight previous Skyrunner World Champions. The event has attracted athletes from 65 countries.

“I’m so excited and I can’t wait to be there!” he says a day before his departure for France.

“It has been a dream to compete abroad and this is an incredible opportunity. It will be an amazing experience.”

The Marathon du Mont-Blanc starts at 07h00 on Sunday, 29 June 2014. The race starts from the town of Chamonix in France. The men’s race record of 3:30:41 is held by Kilian Jornet.

Skyrunning HERE

In-depth race preview HERE


The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2014 Preview



What a weekend of trail, mountain and ultra running is about to unfold over the weekend of June 27th – 29th. The Skyrunning World Championships take place in Chamonix; the iconic Western States 100-mile run in the USA and in Italy, the Lavaredo Ultra Trail is almost being forgotten with the hype of the other two events.

Now in it’s 8th year, The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail run over 119-km with 5850m of positive incline is a serious undertaking. The Dolomites provide an incredible backdrop for the race and the route includes peaks – Crystal, Tofane, Cinque Torri, and the spectacular Tre Cime.

Lavaredo Profile

Included in the UTWT it’s a double whammy weekend for the series with participants accumulating points at Western States and Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Continuing a tour of the world, this weekends races are number seven and eight. Six races have already taken place in China, Spain, New Zealand, Morocco, Japan and Australia.

Current leaders in the UTWT are as follows:

  1. Antoine Guillon (WAA) – 520-points
  2. Ryan Sandes (Salomon) – 466 points
  3. Brendan Davies (inov-8) – 445 points
  1. Nuria Picas (Buff) – 564 points
  2. Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) – 505 points
  3. Nerea Martinez (Salomon) – 427 points

Interestingly, we will see the top-3 men looking and hunting for points this weekend with Sandes and Davies at Western States and Guillon at Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Picas and Maciel however will look to excel in Chamonix at the Skyrunning World Championships and forego the opportunity to accumulate more points. Martinez will race at Lavaredo Ultra Trail and a podium place will allow the Spaniard to close the gap.

International athletes numbers have increased considerably at Lavaredo Ultra Trail from 33% in 2013 to 50% in 2014 with over 56-nations represented.


Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©

Several names stand out, in particular, The North Face UTMB winner Rory Bosio. Rory had an incredible record breaking run at the 2013 TNFUTMB and if Rory brings a fraction of the that form to Italy, she may well be unstoppable.

Francesca Canepa ©

Francesca Canepa ©

Francesca Canepa will do her utmost to stop Bosio. Francesca won Lavaredo in 2012 and has been a top and consistent performer at tough, technical and mountain races all over the world.

Katia Fori placed 4th at TNFUTMB in 2013 but her recent form is a little unknown. Katia knows the Lavaredo course after placing 3rd in 2012.

Nerea Martinez will be looking for a podium place and it is a distinct possibility after consistent performances already this year with 5th place at HK100 and Transgrancanaria.

I was looking forward to seeing Brit, Lizzie Wraith, race against these ladies, however, Lizzie has decided to race the 80km event at the Skyrunning World Championships and arguably will have a much tougher race as she toes the line against Nuria Picas, Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg and Ruby Muir amongst others.


Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©

Mike Foote takes top billing after taking a podium place at UTMF. Mike loves the mountains and we can expect a classic run from Mike. Expect him to be running 5th – 10th early on and then charging in the latter stages to move forward for a podium slot and potential victory.


One person who will be looking to stop the ‘Foote’ charge is Anton Krupicka. Anton has had a tough couple of years. In and out of injury, Tony has shown glimpses of past form (UTMB 2013) and then seen them disappear with injury flaring up again. A recent win at a relatively low-key 50-mile race (Jemez) has provided Anton with a confidence boost and in a recent conversation with him, he told me he has good form and he feels good. Fingers crossed. If Anton has no flare-ups during the race we can expect a podium place at minimum.

Antoine Guillon has failed to make top-3 at any UTWT event but is Mr. Consistent. I would anticipate the same here at Lavaredo Ultra Trail with a top-10.

Dave Mackey continues his UTWT and after placing 8th at HK100 and struggling at UTMF, one would hope that Dave would take Lavaredo out a little slower and use his speed in the latter stages. On paper, Dave could be top-5.

Scott Hawker may well be the surprise package and I know he is looking for a top-quality run. He will have a real confidence boost after placing 5th at HK100.


Yeray Duran had a break through performance at Transgrancanaria and may well turn a few more heads at Lavaredo. He is well known in Spain and particularly the Canary Islands but in Italy and France, less so.

Ones to watch:

John Tidd

Cyril Cointre

Emmanuel Gault

Filippo Canetta

Stefano Gregoretti

Christophe Le Saux



27th June 2014 11 p.m.

Cortina d’Ampezzo (BL) 
Dolomites – Italy

119 km / 5.850 m+

Time limit: 31 hours

No. Participants: 800 max


Race website HERE

Live Tracking HERE


Skyrunner® Series UK launches with V3K

V3K logo


It is finally here, the start of the Skyrunner® Series UK commences this weekend over the classic Welsh 3000’s in the heart of Wales.

An epic challenge awaits each and every participant as they cover 55 km’s, 15-peaks and over 4000m’s of vertical gain. ‘Where earth meets Sky’ is our ethos and the Welsh 3000’s will provide this in abundance.

Providing a classic mountain challenge, the V3K provides a point-to-point race over a route that has become revered for many a runner and walker. Crib Goch needs little introduction and provides the toughest section of the whole route.

V3K Route

Kirsch Bowker, RD for the V3K explains, ‘the launch of the Skyrunner® Series UK is a significant moment and to be involved right from the start is quite incredible for us. The route has it all from fast running to really technical rough terrain. It must rank as some of the most technical terrain covered by a UK mountain race.’



Starting in the early hours of Saturday morning, the V3K offers an incredible challenge because of the successive ascents and descents. It’s a tough challenge and one that must not be underestimated.

Approaching Elidir Fawr Llewelyn in the background_Alogo

‘The route ranks on a par with some of the races featured in the Skyrunner® World Series. Of course, the terrain in Wales may not be as high as the Alps or Dolomites but believe me, when images show the beauty and the majesty of this course, I firmly believe it will become an iconic Skyrunning race in the UK.’ Ian Corless, Director for Skyrunning UK said, ‘Kirsch and her team have done an incredible job in the build up to this race. We are now in that exciting time when the race is imminent and anticipation is high. It’s going to be a great day and an incredible start to the Skyrunner® Series UK’

‘I adore this route. I have covered every inch of this course time and time again.’ said Kirsch. ‘The hardest section of the course is down Crib y Ddysgl and then the ascent of Crib Goch and the traverse of its pinnacles.’


Over 100-participants will toe the line from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Netherlands, China, Italy, Spain, Poland and Germany. It’s just the start the series needed and with follow on events such as The Peaks SkyRace in August, the 3×3 Ultra in early October and the Mourne Skyline MTR in Northern Ireland, the stage is set for an incredible series of races that will be expanded on in 2015 and moving forward.

A long-term aim has always been to bring the Worlds best mountain runners to our shores and provide a showcase for our sport to expand and grow. The news that Skyrunner® World Series 2013 champion, Stevie Kremer (Salomon) will race the Mourne Skyline MTR later this year is a sure sign that the V3K will be the start of something very special in the UK.

Stevie Kremer © This growth would not be possible without the incredible support of the run community, enthusiastic and dedicated race organizers and importantly race sponsors. The Skyrunner® Series UK is incredibly grateful and thankful of the support and sponsorship provided by inov-8, Rocktape and Raidlight.

A final word from Kirsch, ‘we are having a festival/party at the finish with free food. We really want a crowd to welcome folk as they arrive. We really do want lots of people here!’

Scott T2 Palani (Ladies) Road Shoe Review

Scott T2 Palani_1

Niandi Carmont wanted a special outfit for her 14th Comrades ultra marathon, and why not! If you are going to push the boat out and test yourself (for the 14th time) over just under 90 km’s on the roads from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, you may as well look good, feel good and importantly be comfortable and efficient. Niandi picked up a full running outfit provided by Scott Running and here, Niandi reviews the T2 Palani road shoe.

Niandi Carmont Comrades

Reviews to follow of: Scott eRide Tank, Light Socks and Skort.

Scott is not a brand name widely associated with running but more often than not conjures up images of cycling. Perhaps we need to rethink our preconceived ideas about household brand names. This is the second Scott model I’ve tested although the first road shoe (read the T2 Kinabalu review HERE). The timing was right as I was in pre-Comrades training and looking for a shoe not only for race day but also a shoe to see me through the last couple of months of my race build-up.

Scott T2 Palani_2

The first thing I noticed when I lifted them out of the shoe-box was the weight – at 7.4 oz, this is a lightweight shoe. However it also boasts AeroFoam midsole cushioning which makes it a good compromise in terms of weight and cushioning for the long-distance ultra-runner not seeking to go minimalist. The outsole offers great grip providing great traction on the road, which is a typical Scott shoe feature. Drainage holes on either side of the toe-box keep your feet relatively dry in wet weather conditions. The shoe I tested is a women’s specific fit.

500-meters into my first run I knew that I was going to get on with this shoe. What I like about Scott shoes is the unique patented eRide geometry of their shoes. The rocker shape creates a very stable midstance for a more efficient running style. It might have something to do with the fact that I heel-strike with my right foot and I felt that the shoe helped provide me with a more economical stride. Instead of my heel smacking on the ground, I felt the rocker provided me with more bounce and forefoot lift off. The eRide is a great concept compensating for the lack of sensory feedback and proprioception due to cushioning.


Scott say about eRide, ‘Get that fleet-footed feeling with our eRide range. The unique rocker shape creates a very stable midstance, promoting the faster and more efficient running style that runners strive for. You`ll be rocking as the miles roll by.’

Basically the unique heel shape causes the foot to roll forward, converting impact energy into forward motion. This is another plus for ultra-runners who irrespective of individual biomechanics will eventually heel strike. Thus the shoe is not only more energy efficient, reducing fatigue through heel striking over long distances but also provides a smoother ride and a more natural midfoot strike.

1. Healthier body position

2. More energy efficient

3. Natural midfoot strike

4. Lower profile heel

5. Smoother ride

6. Minimal and lighter weight

My perceptions of the shoe for this first one-hour training run were thus extremely positive and I subsequently adopted the shoe as my Comrades race shoe. I tested it for every road run over the 2 months preceding Comrades and found that it was a great all-weather road shoe. In very wet road conditions in the UK the drainage holes prevented the shoe from becoming water-logged and in South Africa on the hot tarmac the breathable mesh upper kept my feet relatively cool. Also the grippy outsole on the inside of the arch and the outer side of the toe box provided great grip on wet road.

Scott T2 Palani_3

The toe-box is very roomy even with the narrower female-specific fit and provides ample room for toes to splay or for runners with wider feet. Heel-striking has caused my right arch to collapse slightly. As a result the foot is wider and I often have an issue with chafing as well as a Taylor’s bunion on the outside of my foot which the toe-box accommodated perfectly.

The shoe is neutral with an 11mm drop from heel to forefoot. Cushioning 15mm at the front and 26mm at the rear.

Lastly this shoe is EXTREMELY durable. That is definitely a Scott quality – very little sign of heel wear through heel striking on the outer side of my right foot and this NEVER happens with any other brand of shoe. I’ll definitely get more mileage out of this racing shoe than with other rival products and in the long run (sorry about the pun!) save on my shoe budget!

Scott say, ‘The T2 Palani is a high performance, lightweight neutral trainer and racing shoe for the roads. Unbeatable for anything from short races to marathons as well as all fast training units, it incorporates all essential ingredients of a winning lightweight running shoe.’ 

Tech specs:

Category – Performance

Weight – 210g

Forefoot – 15

Heel – 26

Heel to toe drop -11mm


  • eRide
  • eRide flow
  • AeroFoam

Size – US 5-11


  • Upper: Mesh/Synthetic Overlays
  • Lower: EVA/rubber

View the product on Scott Running HERE

Niandi Carmont

Niandi Carmont

Niandi Carmont – Niandi is South African born, a former resident of Paris, she now lives in the UK. A runner for over 20-years; Niandi has completed Comrades Marathon 13-times, Washie 100 2-times and has finished well over 100 marathons and ultras  all over the world. Currently residing in the UK, Niandi splits her work life between the UK and France.

Skyrunning World Championships 2014 – In-Depth Preview


Worlds collide in the endurance capital of the world this week when 28-nations congregate for the 2014 Skyrunning World championships.

*Please note, this preview will be updated with many potential changes within the coming days as we are made aware of any withdrawals.

The best-of-the-best will assemble to do battle over the classic Skyrunning distances of VK, SKY and ULTRA in the amazing endurance arena that is Chamonix. 

3400 athletes representing 28-nations will toe 3-separate start lines over an incredible weekend of racing starting on June-27th at 0400 with the 80km ULTRA event. The same day at 1600-hours the 4th edition of the Vertical Kilometer will start from the center of Chamonix. At 0700-hours on Sunday 29th, the 12th Mont-Blanc SKY Marathon will take place.

An epic weekend of racing!

The depth of talent travelling from all around the world is quite mind blowing and thus, making a prediction from such high quality fields is an endurance task in its own right. So, I have provided a list, ‘Ones to watch’ and for each race I have made my predictions that we can expect to don the podium for the ladies and the men. It’s no easy task…

No less than eight Skyrunner® World Series Champions will be present.

Some numbers for the record: 

  • 8 Skyrunner® World Series Champions
  • 28 national teams
  • 38 countries participating  
  • 46 top 20 ranked athletes 
  • 3,400 participants in the thee disciplines
  • 25,000 euros cash prizes

Individual world titles are at stake in each discipline as well as a combined title, based on the best results of two out of three races. Countries will be ranked according to the best results of three men and one woman in all three disciplines.

€ 25,000 cash prizes will be awarded and anti-doping controls will be carried out.


Chamonix VK The 4th annual Vertical Kilometer

Race start 16:00 Friday June 27th 

A route of pure ‘mountain’ spirit, that takes a straight and direct line from the center of Chamonix to the finish at Planpraz. Climbing 1000 vertical meters in 3.8km it’s a pure test of strength. Similar to a prologue in the Tour de France, runner’s start at timed 30-second intervals, the fastest to the summit is the winner!

The opening sections comprise of runnable trail, however, the last section is comprised of rocks and requires more commitment with notably a few aerial passages equipped with cables and ladders.


  • Kilian Jornet – 34:07
  • Christel Dewalle – 41:33



The Dematteis brothers will without doubt be serious contenders after strong performances at the VK at Transvulcania La Palma. Like the Super Mario Brothers, these guys bring excitement and drama to any race.


Saul Antonio Padua last years winner will have competition this year, however, his performance in the VK last year was world class. What do you think, another win?


Kilian Jornet fresh from another Summit of my Life record may well not have much running in his legs but it has never slowed him before and why would it slow him this time?


Eirik Haugsness placed 3rd last year and very much feels comfortable with the effort level required for a quality performance over the VK distance. He prefers a course that allows him to run and Chamonix provides exactly such a course, at least over the first 700-meters.


Urban Zemmer is a class act on any VK and a specialist at the discipline. However, the Chamonix VK does not really suit his style. He will be in the mix but not on top of the podium. Zemmer was Skyrunner ® World Series Champion in 2013 and despite my thoughts, would almost certainly like the World title too! He placed 5th last year.

Alexis Sevennec placed 4th last year and comes from a ski mountaineer background, as so many VK specialists do. I don’t see him making the podium but he will be close, very close!

Finally, Marco Facchinelli placed 2nd in the Skyrunner® World Series in 2013 and like Zemmer will be looking to stamp his authority on the VK.

Ones to watch:

  • Kilian Jornet (Esp)
  • Saul Antonio Padua (Col)
  • Oscar Casal Mir (And)
  • Marc Casal Mir (And)
  • Aritz Egea (Esp)
  • Martin Gaffuri (Fra)
  • Alexis Sevennec (Fra)
  • Greg Vollet (Fra)
  • Didier Zago (Fra)
  • Tom Owens (Gbr)
  • Bernard Dematteis (Ita)
  • Martin Dermatteis (Ita)
  • Marco Facchinelli (Ita)
  • Urban Zemmer (Ita)
  • Dai Matsumoto (Jap)
  • Eirik Haugsness (Nor)
  • Thorbjorn Ludvigsen (Nor)
  • Jono Wyatt (Nzl)
  • Joakim Lanz (Swe)
  • Alex Nichols (Usa)
  • Marco Moletto (Ita)



Christel Dewalle set a course record on the VK in 2013 and will be looking for a repeat performance. Her strength and endurance was confirmed in 2013 with a top-quality 2nd place at Ice Trail Tarentaise.


Laure Orgue Skyrunner® World Series Champion in 2013 is a VK specialist and as shown on many occasions previously will be looking to push as hard as possible for victory in Chamonix.


Antonella Confortola on her day is one of the best VK specialists on the circuit, particularly when using poles. The Chamonix VK may be too runnable for Antonella but she will without doubt be up at the front as she was in 2013 when she placed 3rd.


Stevie Kremer like Emelie is not a VK specialist but her mountain ability is quite incredible. How will she perform on the VK, well, it’s a question mark? After a stunning run at Zegama-Aizkorri one can assume that Stevie will be in the mix.


Kasie Enman flew up the early climbs at Zegama-Aizkorri and led the race early on before Stevie Kremer reeled her in and took the lead. Because the VK is a flat out effort, I can’t help but think we will see Kasie create some fireworks.


Finally, Brit, Tessa Hill has honed and fine-tuned her VK skills in recent years and without doubt, the Chamonix course suits her running VK style. Tessa was 3rd in the 2013 Skyrunner® World Series and placed on 5th at the 2013 Chamonix VK.

 Ones to watch:

  • Laura Orgue (Esp)
  • Christel Dewalle (Fra)
  • Stephanie Jiminez (Fra)
  • Janine Frost (Gbr)
  • Tessa Hill (Gbr)
  • Antonella Confortola (Ita)
  • Anna Eriksmo (Swe))
  • Landie Grayling (Sa)
  • Kasie Enman (Usa)
  • Stevie Kremer (Usa)
  • Axelle Mollaret (Fra)


The 12th annual Mont-Blanc SKY Marathon.

Race start 07:00 Sunday June 29th 

This year yet again athletes from 65 countries will compete in an exceptional and very technical course.

After starting from the center of Chamonix (1035m) it is a climb up the Arve valley by passing through the hamlet of Lavancher before reaching Argentiere (1250m).

In direction of Le Planet the course rejoins the Balcon Nord trail before re-descending in the direction of Montroc. Tré le Champ then it is the Col des Montets (1461m) at the heart of the Aigulles Rouges nature reserve.

By the Diligences route the runners cross the hamlet of Buet before rejoining Vallorcine (1260m) nestled at the end f the valley on the Swiss border. The climb begins toward the Aiguillette des Posettes (2200m). Efforts are rewarded by a sumptuous panorama of the Mont-Blanc range and the Chamonix valley. Facing the Aiguille du Tour and its glacier the trail descends by following the Crete des Fretes.

After several technical passages to the village of Le Tour (1453m) it is a return to tranquility on the path that longs the Bisme stream and then to Montroc (1382m). The runners cross through the hamlet of Frasserands and Tré le Champs before rejoining the historic trail of the Mont-Blanc Cross, at the heart of the Aiguilles Rouges facing the entire massif. The path rises up to La Flegere (1875m). After traversing the beautiful Charlanon combe (1812m) there is a soft little climb inviting everyone to take in the scenery.

Then the slopes intensify before the finish at Planpraz (2050m) the intermediary station of the Brevent that offers one of the most spectacular views of the Mont-Blanc. Race description ©Club Des Sports De Chamonix Mont-Blanc


  • Kilian Jornet – 3:30:41
  • Stevie Kremer – 4:03:16



Check the list out below… what a line-up. Last year we had a battle royal with Kilian Jornet, Marco De Gasperi and Luis Alberto Hernando. Only Kilian returns! Marco De Gasperi is not available to race and Luis has moved up to the Ultra distance. So, what is going to happen?


No surprise, Kilian Jornet is odds on favourite. He won last year and why wouldn’t he this year? He certainly has less running in his legs than any other year but he lives and breathes the mountains and his need to run in preparation for a running race is somewhat distorted in the way the rest of us function.

My dark horse and potential apple cart shaker is Vlad Ixel. He is not a name many European runners will know but after some quality runs in the Southern Hemisphere, I firmly believe that Vlad will be the surprise of the whole 2014 Skyrunning World championships.

Michel Lanne

Michel Lanne

Michel Lanne was the joint winner of the 80km event with Francois d’Haene in 2013 and knows the mountains and terrain like the back of his hand. A recent quality performance at Zegama-Aizkorri confirms good form.

I’m pretty excited from a British perspective! We have a return to top flight racing for *Andy Symonds after a horrendous 2013 due to injury. Tom Owens pushed Kilian in 2012 and like Andy Symonds had a 2013 to forget. Oli Johnson placed 10th last year in Chamonix and Martin Cox seals the quartet of top UK talent. *injured

Zaid Ait Malek

Zaid Ait Malek

Zaid Ait Malek will smile is whole way around the marathon route and will potentially take (or just miss) the podium. He is an incredible mountain running talent.

Jono Wyatt – do I need to say anymore? He’s a mountain running legend. Jono has been there and done that for decades. You can NEVER rule him out as way saw at Sierre-Zinal last year.

Alex Nichols

Alex Nichols

USA has fast men *Alex Nichols (7th in 2013) If Alex is in great shape, it would be feasible for him to place in the top-10. However, this is a top quality field and the pressure will be on.  *injured

Didier Zago placed 6th last year but I believe he is taking a more casual approach to running these days. So my final shouts will go to Eirik Haugsness (5th last year) and up and coming star, Thorbjorn Ludvigsen.

Ones to watch:

  • Oscar Casal Mir (And)
  • Marc Casal Mir (And)
  • Vlad Ixel (Aus)
  • Miguel Caballero (Esp)
  • Aritz Egea (Esp)
  • Zigor Iturrieta Ruiz (Esp)
  • Kilian Jornet (Esp)
  • Jokin Lizeaga (Esp)
  • Augusti Roc (Esp)
  • Nicolas Bouvier (Fra)
  • Thibaut Baronian (Fra)
  • Martin Gaffuri (Fra)
  • Michel Lanne (Fra)
  • Didier Zago (Fra)
  • Martin Cox (Gbr)
  • Oli Johnson (Gbr)
  • Tom Owens (Gbr)
  • Andy Symonds (Gbr)
  • Florian Reichert (Ger)
  • Fabio Bazzana (Ita)
  • Dai Matsumoto (Jap)
  • Toru Myahara (Jap)
  • Zaid Ait Malek (Mor)
  • German Silva (Mex)
  • Tineke Van Den Berg (Ned)
  • Eirik Haugsness (Nor)
  • Thorbjorn Ludvigsen (Nor)
  • Jono Wyatt (Nzl)
  • Marcin Swierc (Pol)
  • Andre Castro (Pol)
  • Lucky Miya (Sa)
  • Marc Lauenstein (Sui)
  • Alex Nichols (Usa)



Stevie Kremer won the race last year with a new course record and one has to tip her as the hot favourite, particularly after her strong and dominant performance at Zegama-Aizkorri.


Maite Mairoa is on a roll at the moment after a stunning Transvulcania and Zegama-Aizkorri performance. Maite has always been a dominant force in mountain running but this last 12-months has seen a change. She is a different runner and one that can push the best-of-the-best.


Elisa Desco won Sierre-Zinal ahead of Stevie Kremer in 2013 and then placed behind Stevie at Zegama. This can only mean that we are in for a high quality battle in the Chamonix arena.

Kasie Enman looked like she was going to throw race predictions out of the window at Zegama-Aizkorri but faltered in the latter stages when fatigue hit. Long haul travel or mother duties could be to blame but one thing is for sure, several weeks on I think we will see a much stronger and more dominant runner who will mix things up in Chamonix.

Final shout goes to Jo Meek from the UK who will be tipping her toe in the Skyrunning world. Jo was unknown last year bur 2nd place lady at Marathon des Sables, winning The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, a win at the Iznik Ultra and CR and most recently 5th placed lady at the iconic Comrades Marathon shows that Jo has all the speed required to do well! The biggest test for Jo will be the long climbs and technical running. I’m going to be seriously interested to see how this race goes.

 Ones to watch:

  • Jo Brishetto (Aus)
  • Nuria Dominguez (Esp)
  • Maite Maiora (Esp)
  • Aline Camboulive (Fra)
  • Juliette Benedicto (Fra)
  • Stephanie Jiminez (Fra)
  • Jo Meek (Gbr)
  • Antonella Confortola (Ita)
  • Elisa Desco (Ita)
  • Silvia Serafini (Ita)
  • Sharon Broadwell (Nor)
  • Landie Grayling (Sa)
  • Zhana Vokueva (Rus)
  • Kasie Enman (Usa)
  • Stevie Kremer (Usa)


The Mont-Blanc ULTRA 80km

Race start 04:00 Friday 27th

In 2013 the first edition left it’s mark in everyone’s minds. The technicality, beautiful scenery and paths delighted all runners. For the first runner and the last runner, the challenge was the same! Among fatigue, visions of gorgeous mountains, capricious weather, heat and snow, all the necessary ingredients for an extraordinary event beyond the norm came together for the birth of a legend…

After an early start (4:00am) from the center of Chamonix Mont-Blanc the runners will rise directly up to the Bellachat Hut (2246m) from where they will see the first rays of sunlight shining on the summit of the Mont-Blanc. After a short rest they will leave Brevent (2525m) to descent to Planpraz (1st refreshment post). At the heart of the Aiguilles rouges, a trail will take them to the Flegere and then to the chalet des Cheseryus before descending to the Col des Montets via la Tete au Vent.

The hamlet of the Buet (1330m) will mark the beginning of a long technical loop starting with the Tré les Eaux valley, then a demanding ascent up to the Col du Corbeau (2602m). Most likely with some snow still on the ground runners will enter into Swiss territory and head up the

Col de la Terrasse (2643m). In this mineral world the descent to the Emosson dam will require keen attentiveness on the final snowfields. Very soon the pastures of the Loriaz will allow the muscles to relax after over 50km of effort. But the rest period will be short-lived because once Vallorcine is crossed (1260m) the ascent of the aiguillette des Posettes will burn the calves and pump the cardio!

Facing the Mont-Blanc the descent along a ridge will require utmost caution to get through the numerous steps and reach the village of Le Tour and then Argentiere (1260m). Runners will then re-descend along the Balcon Nord in the direction of Chamonix and take the Marathon race route in reverse.

The final difficulty will be the climb up to Signal (2200m), running next to one of Chamonix’s most famous tourist sites, the Mer de Glace. A last balcony at the foot of the Aiguilles des Grands Charmoz de Blaitiere and the Fou will take the runners to the Plan d’Aiguille (2200m), which overhangs the Arve valley. 1200m lower the finish line will honor the deserving finishers…. Race description ©Club Des Sports De Chamonix Mont-Blanc


  • Francois d’Haene and Michel Lanne – 9:45:57 (joint record 2013)
  • Caroline Cheverot 13:10:05




Luis Alberto Hernando dominated Transvulcania La Palma this year and has decided to move up from the SKY distance (placed 3rd last year) to the ULTRA distance at Mont-Blanc. On his day he is one of the best in the world and I am sure Luis will be using this race as an opportunity to understand the mountain ready for his first UTMB later in the year.


Francois d’Haene won the race last year and after consummate performances at Raid de la Reunion and the recent UTMF, one has to say that he is odds on favourite here!


UTMB 2013 winner Xavier Thevenard has the perfect combination of skills to excel and place on the podium. His recent performance at Transvulcania was disappointing but these things happen in racing… I think Xavier will be a podium contender. In addition, he has just had a warm up on the UTMB route with his Asics team trying to beat the sun!

Ricky Lightfoot’s presence in the race really does excite me and if he shows some of the quality and skill shown at races such as The Otter in South Africa, The World Trail Running Champs and the Three Peaks then we are in for some real excitement. 

Mike Wolfe makes the journey from the USA and loves mountains with technical trail. He has performed at the highest level at UTMB before and will be looking to transfer those experiences to the 80km course.

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©

Philipp Reiter, Adam Campbell, Jason Schlarb, Matt Cooper, Pablo Villa and the list goes on! It’s going to be an epic race.

Ones to watch:

  • Xavier Teixido (And)
  • Matt Cooper (Aus)
  • Pieter Schaaps (Bel)
  • Chico Santos (Bra)
  • Jason Loutit (Can)
  • Jan Bartas (Cez)
  • Martin Saenz (Ecu)
  • Pao Bartolo (Esp)
  • Luis Alberto Hernando (Esp)
  • Pablo Villa ((Esp)
  • Sebastien Buffard (Fra)
  • Sylvain Couchaud (Fra)
  • Yann Curien (Fra)
  • Francois d’Haene (Fra)
  • Benoit Girondel (Fra)
  • David Pasquio (Fra)
  • Xavier Thevenard (Fra)
  • Ricky Lightfoot (Gbr)
  • Philipp Reiter (Ger)
  • Giuliano Cavallo (Ita)
  • Steffan Ruzza (Ita)
  • Yoshito Kondo (Ita)
  • Ronnie Duinkerken (Ned)
  • Phudorjee Lama Sherpa (Nep)
  • Leonardo Diogo (Pol)
  • Johan Lantz (Swe)
  • Jason Schlarb (Usa)
  • Mike Wolfe (Usa)




Anna Frost is back and in the space of just over a month has put some really tough times behind her, topped the podium with a new CR at the Transvulcania La Palma and has then followed this up with some quality training. Frosty appears to be in a great place both physically and mentally. Frosty is my hot tip but….


Nuria Picas is in the race and Nuria has not stopped winning in 2014. She has become an unstoppable force in mountain running and ultra running. The only blip was a recent withdrawal from Zegama-Aizkorri but that shows us nothing. It was basically one race too many and Nuria had the sense to stop. Frosty and Nuria are great friends and it has been sometime since they shared trails together. Expect them to run next to each other for some time chatting and then a head-to-head battle in the latter stages.

Emelie Forsberg’s 2013 has already been extremely interesting, a bad fall wiped out her Transvulcania and this then impacted on Zegama-Aizkorri. Emelie is not used to finishing off the podium and I am 100% convinced we will see an inform and fired up Emelie in Chamonix. Plus she is going to be racing against Frosty and Nuria. Wow!

We will finally get to see Southern Hemisphere talent Ruby Muir trade blows and I for one am excited to see the outcome. Ruby shot to prominence from not only winning Tarawera in 2012, but also doing it in Vibram Five Fingers. I am unsure of the shoe choice for the 80km race, it’s irrelevant. I do know that we are in for a fast race and one that Ruby may well lead?


Fernanda Maciel has been trading blows with Nuria Picas on the UTWT circuit and has had a string of top-3 places to confirm that she will be in the mix in Chamonix. However, despite Fernanda’s obvious ability, I don’t think she will have the speed required for the top slot.

Finally, Brits Claire Price and Lizzie Wraith may well fly the flag for Blighty. Claire lives in Hong Kong and has been a consistent performer at the highest level. Lizzie by contrast is based in the UK and shot to prominence after winning and setting a new course record on the Lakeland 100 course.

Ones to watch:

  • Anna Frost (Nzl)
  • Ruby Muir (Nzl)
  • Fernanda Maciel (Bra)
  • Dong Li (Chn)
  • Anna Strakova (Cze)
  • Uxu Fraile (Esp)
  • Nuria Picas (Esp)
  • Lauren Gaussens (Fra)
  • Maud Gobert (Fra)
  • Claire Price (Gbr)
  • Lizzie Wraith (Gbr)
  • Alessandra Carlini (Ita)
  • Emelie Forsberg (Swe)

The 2014 Skyrunning World Championships will be an incredible showcase for running. Like you, I can’t wait for all the excitement to unfold.

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Western States 2014 – Race Preview


An incredible weekend of trail and mountain running will unfold on the 27th – 29th of June. In Europe, the Skyrunning World Championships will take place on the trails of the endurance capital of the world, Chamonix.

Across the pond in Squaw Valley, the super bowl of trail will take place. The best male and female trail runners will arrive to do battle over the 100-mile distance in what is arguably, the most iconic ultra race in the world, Western States.

One could say that WSER has come a long way since the 70’s when Gordy Ainsleigh blazed a trail, but in reality, little has changed. WSER is still a relatively low key 100-miler that gains worldwide attention due to the history and the quality of the competition.

2014 will not have previous winner and course record holder, Ellie Greenwood on the start line. Equally, we will not have 2-time winner, Timothy Olson. So, does that mean it’s wide open?

Unlike me, I am going to make a prediction from the off!

Men’s champion 2014 – Rob Krar

Rob Krar UROC ©

Ladies champion 2014 – Nathalie Mauclair

Nathalie Mauclair ©


The Ladies

I can hear the gasp! Nathalie who?

You may be right, I am sticking my neck out here and although Nathalie Mauclair hasn’t run Western States before, I am going to go on my gut feelings, the love of a dark horse prediction and basically put it all on the line and say, Nathalie can do it! Nathalie was a relatively unknown last year and a quality run at Transvulcania La Palma placed her on the map. Winning the World Trail Running championships proved it was no fluke and then to top it all, Nathalie only went on to win Raid de la Reunion, arguably one of the toughest 100-miles races on the calendar. Those three results alone show fast running over technical terrain, just good old fast trail running and the ability to endure, hike and last on a trail for a long time. Nathalie may well turn heads at WSER and although UTMF didn’t go to plan earlier this year, if Nathalie has good form and she has no injuries I am going to stick to my guns and say, Nathalie for the win!

Last years winner, Pam Smith has experienced both ends of the WSER spectrum and understands what it is like to be on top of the podium and way down the field struggling just to finish. Post WSER in 2013, Pam went on a blitz with a 14:11:26 at Desert Solstice for 100-miles, a win at ORRC Autumn Leaves 50m and 5th at Run Rabbit Run. A relatively quiet start to 2014 can only mean one thing, Pam has been in hiding and training; training hard!


Nikki Kimball cannot be ruled out in any race, especially WSER. Nikki knows how to run the race, loves the heat and although she may not be the fastest lady, (on paper) experience counts for so much. This came to fruition last year with 2nd place. I remember Nikki crying at the finish of Transvulcania, she said, ‘I am back!’ Injury issues put to one side, Nikki now races less but when she races, she makes it count. Great proof of this is her win at the 2014 edition of Marathon des Sables. Nikki will be in the mix.

Stephanie Howe if the early 2014 performances are anything to go by,  is on a roll. A 2nd place 7:33:24 at Lake Sonoma 50m and a win at Mesquite Canyon 50km  must have the female competition looking over and thinking, ‘we gotta keep an eye on her!’ They do. I think Stephanie will move up and almost certainly break top-5 and to be honest, any podium place is for the taking if it all comes together on the day. A 2nd behind Emelie Forsberg at UROC and a win at Speedgoat 50k just proves the potential.

Kaci Lickteig is not a runner I know a great deal about. But what I do know is that she ran 6-races in 2013 and won every one! In 2014, Kaci placed 2nd at Rocky Raccoon 100-mile, 3rd at Sonoma just 10-min behind Steph Howe’s first place and recently won Ice Age Trail 50m in May. That is a lot of racing and will either mean that Kaci will be in the form of her life in Squaw or just a little jaded. If it’s the former, I see top-5!

Emily Harrison placed 7th last year in 20:28 but on recent form at Lake Sonoma 50m (7:26:15 for the win) and Casumett 50k (3:15:01), one has to think that Emily will break top-5 and stir things up. One year on with more experience, Emily will potentially have a break through performance.

Meghan Arbogast like Nikki Kimball knows WSER like the back of her hand and to put this in perspective she placed 4th last year and 2014 will be Meghan’s 8th WSER. A recent 5th place at Tarawera in New Zealand shows good form but in reality, it may well mean nothing. Meghan now lives on the WSER course and in 2014 we may well see her in the best form ever. Can she get the coveted sub 18:30 time she so desires? It may not be politically correct but you have to take your hat off to this lady, not many 50+ runners can kick the butt of runners considerably younger.

Rounding out the top-10 or maybe sneaking top-5

Liza Howard in 2014 was 1st at Umstead 100-mile and 2nd at Bandera but I don’t think will race?

Denise Bourassa has finished WSER twice and placed 8th in 2013

Leila Degrave placed 9th in 2013

Beth Cardelli arrives from the Southern Hemisphere where she is a consistent top performer. Beth run WSER in 2011 and placed 12th with 22:16:28. If she has a good day, top-10 is within her potential for sure.

Shaheen Sattar took her WSER slot with 3rd at Rocky Raccoon and backs up her place with 2nd at Leadville in 2013.

Ones to watch:

Larisa Dannis in 2014: 3rd Ice Age Trail 50m, 1st Land Between The Lakes 50m and 4th at Rocky Raccoon

Tera Dube in 2014: 4th at Miwok 100k, 9th Lake Sonoma 50m. 4th Ray Miller 50m

Sally McRae in 2014: 6th at Lake Sonoma and 2nd at Ray Miller 50

Silke Koester in 2014: 2nd Zane Grey 50m. and 4th at Bandera 100k



The Men

Rob Krar was on fire in 2013. Relatively unknown until that incredible win at Leona Divide and then the FKT in the Grand Canyon. I remember interviewing him post that incredible rim-to-rim-to-rim and he spoke about WSER and how the 100-mile distance was a complete mystery to him and how he would give it the utmost respect. Well, the respect worked and he took out 2nd place. Following that up with a stomping UROC win ahead of Dakota Jones and then TNF50 victory gave Rob the award of Ultra Runner of the Year and rightly so! With no Timothy Olson in the race, Rob along with Ryan Sandes will have huge targets on their backs. Rob can handle that pressure and for me is the hot favourite.


Ryan Sandes missed WSER last year after getting injured and what followed was a year to forget for Ryan. However, he has more than put that annus horribilis behind him with an incredible start to 2014 with a win at Transgrancanaria, a FKT on The Drakensberg Traverse and quality run at UTMF behind Francois d’Haene. Ryan knows how to run WSER and his 15:03:36 behind Olson’s 14:46:44 in 2012 shows he has all the potential to top the podium, providing he isn’t too tired. Krar ran 15:22 last year against Olson’s 15:17 so a battle royal is predicted.


If in form, Miguel Heras could very well upset the apple cart. Miguel has had a real rollercoaster with injury and just earlier this year had to miss Marathon des Sables with injury. Word is, that Miguel is in great shape and ready, if that is true, watch out! Looking back to 2011, Miguel had 6-victories that included Transvulcania La Palma, Ronda dels Cims and Cavalls del Vent, that is some result sheet. Add to that his incredible 5:33:13 at San Fran 50 in 2012 and 2nd at UTMB in 2013 and Miguel can win WSER, no doubt!

Ian Sharman has been very quiet, sacrificed a quality run at Comrades and for one reason only, to have the best run possible at WSER. Ian has a great record at WSER and has continually moved up through the ranks, 5th in 2012 and 4th in 2013. Pulling off 4th whilst continuing on for ‘Grand Slam’ victory and a new Grand Slam record was nothing short of miraculous. Ian will have his work cut out in 2014 against a top quality field.

Nick Clark

Tough guy, Nick Clark needs no introduction. He’s pushed and pushed at WSER and last year pushed Ian Sharman for the Grand Slam and actually held the combined CR, albeit for just 30-min or so before Ian took it over! Clarky is focused on WSER once again and so desperately wants that top slot. He has placed 3rd twice and run under 16-hours a couple of times. Now a vet, statistics would say that in this field he would be hard pushed to podium but you can NEVER rule him out. He would be a popular winner!

Along with Nick Clark and Ian Sharman, British hope will rest in Jez Bragg. I had actually forgot what great results Jez had had at WSER. In 2009 he placed 3rd in a time of 16:54:35 and 4th in 2011 going 1-hour quicker in 15:55:08. Placing 15th male in 2012 was a blip and of course since then, Jez had a little ‘jolly’ in New Zealand. The Te Araroa expedition needed considerable rest and recovery. Placing 10th male at UTMB in 2013 shows us that Jez is on his way back. However, WSER has moved on in the last couple of years and Jez is going to need to be in great shape to contest the top-5.

Dylan Bowman

Dylan Bowman has changed his training and outlook since the 2013 UTMB, a race he was forced to miss with a last minute injury. Getting back in shape and improving fitness gave D’Bo 5th at San Fran 50 in December 2013. Following this up with a great 9th place at Transgrancanaria, Dylan was truly devastated with the effort that Canarian race took. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone so affected by a race. Jump ahead and for sure, we can expect a prepared and ready D’Bo for WSER. His recent win at Ray Miller 50 in 6:23:17 means a great deal and his WSER record of 5th in 2013, 7th in 2012 shows that a break through performance is due. 2014 may well be the year?

Excitement will circulate around the 100-mile debut performance of Max King. Max is super talented with incredible depth and ability over a variety of distances. A WMRA world Champion, a fast marathon runner and consistently performant over the 50k and 50m distances, Max potentially could be an unstoppable force over the WSER route. However, I don’t think it will be this year! Records show that as the race gets longer, Max starts to slow a little and more importantly has terrible trouble with his stomach. I think Max is going to need a consistent WSER run just to find his feet. The difficulty will be if Max can hold back the reigns in the first half of the race. If he does, we may well see him in the top-10. If not… it may be a struggle to finish. In 2014, Max has already had to great results with a win at Ice Age Trail 50m in 5:41:07, 7th Lake Sonoma 50m in 6:37:20 and a win at Chuckanut 50k in 3:35:42. I wonder, could he hold that pace for 100-miles?

Rounding out my potential top-10: Thomas Lorblanchet, Brendan Davis and Jorge Maravilla.

Thomas Lorblanchet seemed to disappear after his victory at Leadville. He left Salomon and joined Asics and then just recently the click started to happen. Thomas won Course des Templiers, arguably one of the biggest trail races in France at the end of 2013. His recent 6th at Trail Du Ventoux 46km in March provides little information on his current form. But I often assume, no news is good news and he has the potential to be a surprise package.

Brendan Davies is so focused on WSER. I posted a recent photo of him training on a treadmill, fully dressed with a face maravillamask on and heaters blowing on him. Pure dedication! Maybe too dedicated? He races a lot and races fast. Already this year he has toed the line Narrabeen all nighter 12-hour, MSIG Sai Kung 50, Tarawera, UTMF and TNF100 in Australia. Brendan likes to run and prefers trail if it’s not too technical. So, WSER will play into his hands.

Finally, Mr. Smiler, Jorge Maravilla will be looking to improve on his 8th at WSER from 2012. Jorge had a blip in 2013 placing 23rd but his recent win at Bandera 100km and US Trail Championship title must go a long way in boosting his confidence.

To be honest, WSER has so much depth that a winner and certainly a top-10 finisher could come from anywhere, so, although the following names don’t make my top-10 prediction, anyone of them could!

Chris Price may well be the big surprise after 4th at Hardrock and 2nd at Zane Grey.

Karl Meltzer is preparing for the AT and lacks the speed of many of the other guys but he can run 100-miles with his eyes closed, knows how to pace the perfect race and loves to sweep up as everyone crumbles.

David Laney has already raced a great deal in 2014 – 2nd at Chuckanut 50k and Bandera 100k. This will be his 1st 100-miler.

Matt Laye won Rocky Raccoon 100 in February… should he be in the top-10 prediction?

Vajin Armstrong has been a dominant force in the Southern Hemisphere running for some time and in 2013 he ventured to Europe and placed 2nd at Swiss Alpine Marathon and Zugspitz. A win at Bedrock 50 in 2014 is backed up with 3rd at Tarawera, 4th at Hong Kong 100 and 13th at Transvulcania.

Yassine Diboun placed 9th at WSER in 18:44.

Dominic Grossman winner of Angeles Crest 100 in 2013.

Ones to watch:

Paul Terranova

David Eadie


And a notable mention for Steve Spiers.


Who have I missed and what do you think?

One thing is for sure; it’s going to be quite a race.