An integral part of the Skyrunner® World Series, the RUT 28km is considered by many in the US and Europe to be a pure Skyrunning race with a logical course that goes up and down with an abundance of technical trail. The race offers extremely steep and technical terrain in many sections of the course and loose rock is a real hazard.
Covering 28km what this race lacks in distance is made up for in technicality and challenge. With 2375m of vertical gain this 28km course is basically the RUT 50km on steroids as it includes all 3 major climbs of its bigger brother.
The highest point of the race comes at Lone Peak which tops out just above 3000m. Altitude, technical running and exposure from the elements, cold and strong winds makes the 28k one seriously tough race!
Three wave starts with 5-minute gaps avoided congestion on the course with all the top elites departing in wave 1 on the stroke of 0800. Despite forecasts for inclement weather, conditions were excellent for running and maybe just a little chilly for spectating. The summit of Lone Peak was shrouded in mist and cloud and remained that way for much of the day as the wind moved one block of cloud only replace it with another.
Dakota Jones returning to racing after a lay off with injury was the early protagonist pulling away and extending a gap over an inform Hassan Ait Chaou.
Climbing up to Lone Peak summit Dakota was looking relaxed and barring a fall or injury was looking strong for victory. Hassan equally looked relaxed and calm, constantly looking forward he had his eyes on the American in the distance with one objective, to chase him down.
Michael Barlow pushed and following behind was a small group of 3 containing Kiril Nikolov, Jan Megabit Sole and Timmy Parr.
In the ladies race it came as no surprise that Megan Kimmel took the bull by the horns and lead the race from the front as she so often does. Victory at the 2015 edition of the race no doubt helping with her confidence levels and her ability to judge her pace and effort over the 28km. Yngvild Kaspersen pursued and behind last year’s 2nd place, Laura Orgue was holding off Najeeby Quinn and Sarah Pizzo.
On the descent of Lone Peak as the runners made their way to the latter sections of the course, disaster struck for Dakota and he rolled an ankle that would later cause him to pull out of the race. This opened the door for Hassan and he never looked back crossing the line for a well-earned victory almost 8-minutes ahead of 2nd place. Behind all hell was breaking loose and Bulgarian Kiril put in a big effort to place 2nd ahead of Jan Megabit Sole and Michael Barlow who had a head-to-head full on sprint for the line. Timmy Parr placed 5th and Lone Peak VK winner, Andrej Fejfar placed 6th.
It may come as no surprise that lady on fire Megan Kimmel once again pulled off another incredible Skyrunning victory showing that she is ‘the’ lady to beat at the moment. Yngvild ran a very strong 2nd and crossed the line with a huge smile just over 7-minutes back and Laura Orgue, winner of the previous days VK finished 3rd despite having taken a fall.
Post-race, many of the runners expressed how technical the downhill section was but Megan Kimmel took it all in her stride:
“I felt good today and I was certainly more confident having run and won the race last year. The temperatures were ideal for running, yes, it was a little cold and windy at the Lone Peak summit but that didn’t last long. This is a really technical course in places and I was happy to consolidate my lead and take no risks. I will now race in Limone in October.”
Hassan Ait Chaou is certainly on form and this is a well-deserved victory:
“The race was okay, I suffered with the altitude and it caused me headaches but I kept the pace. I held myself back on the first climb and then pushed hard on the downhill. I am really happy to take this victory!”
Attention now turns to Sundays 50km event which will start at 0600 local time and the weather forecast is not good – fingers crossed! You can read a preview of the race HERE.
1 Megan Kimmel 3:36:26
2 Yngvild Kaspersen +7:05
3 Laura Orgue +19:50
1 Hassan Ait Chaou 3:06:40
2 Kiril Nikolov +7:55
3 Jan Megabit Sole +8:20
About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.
The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.
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