The 2018 Yading Skyrunning Festival concluded today with two incredible races, the 29km Sky Race and the 46km Kora Ultra. Both races started in Shangri La at the same time and both concluded at the Monastery in the Yading National Park.
It turned out to be quite a day for both races!
The predicted snow came and with it wind, cold temperatures and snow flurries; the landscape turned into a winter wonderland. It made the conditions very difficult for the runners. Fighting the challenging terrain and at times bitter cold, the 2018 Ultra and Sky race will be remembered for many years to come.
It was a day when finally the ever-present Skyrunner, Oscar Casal Mir topped the podium after many years of commitment to the Skyrunner World Series. He was just behind Andy Wacker at the iconic prayer flag turn and then used his descending skills to clinch victory. Andy finished just over a minute later and rising Nepali star, Bed Sunuwar placed 3rd, particularly notable after placing 2nd in the previous day’s VK.
The ladies’ race turned out to be an epic battle between Holly Page and Ruth Croft. The duo were pretty much together throughout the race with Holly having the edge.
Ruth used her road skills on some of the earlier section but it was Holly who triumphed clinching victory. Sheila Aviles clinched the final podium spot in a very competitive race.
- Oscar Casal Mir 3:06:26
- Andy Wacker 3:07:30
- Bed Sunuwar 3:07:57
- Yongning Gao 3:11:27
- Finlay Wild 3:13:14
- Holly Page 3:32:04
- Ruth Croft 3:33:38
- Sheila Aviles 3:37:20
- Hillary Gerardi 3:42:36
- Lina El Kott Helander 3:45:57
In the Kora Ultra it was a record breaking day with both the male winner and female winner beating the 2017 times; truly remarkable when one considers the conditions. This was reflected in the words of Francois D’Haene, ‘I went 10-minutes quicker than last year and still came 4th!’
The talk though was all about the ladies’ winner, Miao Yao who obliterated the field and smashed the course record setting the new level at 5:50:28. For perspective, Mira Rai was a distant second in 6:32:40. Many of the elite men could feel the pressure, the speed and skill of this lady who placed 7th overall.
The men’s race was equally impressive, let’s face it, anyone who betters Francois D’Haene deserves respect, especially when setting a CR 4:49:02, that credit goes to Dongrenjia Jia. But also a great nod to 2nd and 3rd, Yousheng Guan and Ji Dong.
- Dongranjia Jia 4:49:02
- Yousheng Guan 5:04:10
- Ji Dong 5:13:54
- Miao Yao 5:50:28
- Mira Rai 6:32:40
- Qiao Wen 8:17:44
Yading, the impressive landscape and the mountains were the true stars of the festival though. It’s an incredible place to race, run or hike and will doubt make it to many a bucket list.
IMAGES available HERE