Kicking off a weekend of racing, the Dolomites Vertical Kiolmeter® started today celebrating 20-years of Skyrunning in Canazei, the VK now part of the newly formed Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit.
Yes, a total of 20,000m climbed and 48km’s covered, if you have raced every year? The Dolomites VK still stands as one of the best. It’s a course that goes direct to the sky in pretty much a direct line. Departing at an altitude of 1450m Skyrunners reach the high point of Spiz 2465m with a total distance of 2.4km covered. The Dolomites VK is considered one of the toughest on the circuit due to the short, steep course and underfoot, much of the terrain is grass. Poles are not essential but recommended.
Starting in waves of 20 runners, regular departures occurred until just after 10am when a gap of 20-minutes was made before the male and elite waves departing at 1030 and 1040am.
It was a beautiful day, that is until the men arrived near the summit when a storm rolled in, for the ladies, it was clear and dry.
Course records date back to 2016 and 2014 when Philip Gotsch ran an incredible 31:34 and Laura Orgue ran 38:14.
Unlike many other VK’s were runners depart in timed intervals, similar to a time-trial say in the Tour de France, in Canzaei, the runners depart together so it becomes very clear who is leading the race.
For the ladie’s this was Axel Mollaret who started like a greyhound out of the blocks and never relinquished the pace until she reached the finish line. She was well clear of the competition and this was reflected in her winning time of 37:39 – a new course record, fitting for a 20th edition.
Susanna Saapunki was next 1-minute and 24-seconds later – this is a huge gap in a VK and Victoria Kreuzer was 3rd almost another 1-minute back finishing in 40:07.
VK specialist and previous course record holder Laura Orgue was not having a good day – she finished 4th, a rarity. After the race she said, “I just had heavy legs today, I felt as though I couldn’t push and run the way I like. I am racing the SkyRace tomorrow so I hope this will have loosened me up?”
The men’s race was a close affair with Remi Bonnet back from injury and chasing an inform and flying Patrick Facchini.
Patrick was unstoppable though and missed the male course record crossing in 32:43. Post race he said, “If I had known I was close to the CR I would have found some extra energy…!”
Remi Bonnet placed 2nd in 33:17 and VK specialist and Dolomites regular, Nejc Kuhar, was 3rd in 33:52.
Attention now turns to tomorrow, Saturday, and the Dolomites SkyRace. Weather systems are currently moving in and out of Canazei and thunderstorms are rolling in. We could be in for a very exciting and dramatic day of Skyrunning!