Lung busting, calf bulging and full-on max heart rate was the order of the day for the Yading VK, the first event of the 2018 Yading Skyrunning Festival taking place in the Yading National Park, China.
The VK is notable not only for its stunning location, but also for the altitude that the race takes place at… It is the only VK in the world to go from 4000m to 5000m.
The day started with blue skies and glorious sunshine but as the 11am start approached the sky started to turn grey and a few specks of the predicted snow started to fall. It was a day of very mixed weather, at times sunny and hot, at other times bitterly cold and snowing.
From the gun, Nepali runner Bed Sunuwar dictated the pace and as he approached the glacial lake in the final 25% of the race, he looked set for victory. However, last years winner, Douji from China had different ideas.
He passed the Nepali relegating him to second. France’s ultra-running legend Francois D’Haene placed 3rd using the VK as altitude training for a long season ahed and tomorrow’s Kora Ultra.
Lina Elkott dictated the pace and never looked in doubt of clinching victory. She made the altitude and 1000m of vertical gain look relatively easy.
Hillary Gerardi who has raced extensively on the Skyrunning circuit for the last 18 months showed great form placing second ahead of the winner’s sister, Sanna Elkott.
Times for this VK are considerably longer than more traditional VK’s which are usually under 5km’s. This race has special consideration and covers a distance of 7km.
Many competitors took part and the difficulty of the terrain and altitude could be seen on their faces.
Attention now turns to tomorrow am when the Yading SkyRace and Kora Ultra will take place. Both events start at 0700.
Top 3 Men and Women
- Bed Sunuwar
- Francois D’Haene
- Lina Elkott
- Hillary Gerardi
- Sanna Elkott
IMAGES available HERE
Full timings and results will be posted at http://yadingskyrun.livetrail.run/