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