Transgrancanaria is upon us once again. Arguably, it is the first big European race to kick-off a new racing season. Due to it’s timing, it’s a popular race for many high-ranking elites, European and from over the pond, it allows them to race hard and recover in time for the next big targets that will come in May, June, July or beyond.
Starting in the north of the island, the race travels all the way south covering many kilometres with vertical in abundance. Starting at night, the race involves many hours of darkness before the arrival of dawn. It’s a tough race, ask anyone who has done it and they will tell you, ‘It is a brute!’
The 2019 line-up as in previous years is spectacular.
The 2018 champion, Pau Capell, returns looking for another victory. Pau had a relentless 2018 campaign and will for sure come to the race ready to give it all.
Cristofer Clemente placed 3rd in 2018 and is a master of pacing. Expect him to be out of the top-10 early on and then move up the ranks with the arrival of dawn.
Julien Chorier just raced in Hong Kong at the two stage 9 Dragons. He won the first day and placed 2nd on day-2, he lost time due to the heat and humidity and finished 2nd overall behind Kazufumi Ose. He will be in great shape for Transgrancanaria.
The UK’s Damian Hall has been on a roll these past year’s. He seems to really be honing his craft and 5th at the 2018 UTMB proves it. He recently set a FKT with Beth Pascall on the Cape Wrath trail – expect Damian to do really well!
Hayden Hawks won Lavaredo in 2018 and this race will be a step-up for him. His natural running ability and speed will be beaten down by this relentless course.
Min Qi won Hong Kong 100km and as anyone knows, Hong Kong trails are super tough – I see Min being a force to be reckoned with.
Vaidas Zlabys placed 2nd at Transgrancanaria in 2017 and although he has raced many races since, he hasn’t quite fulfilled the expectation of that 2017 performance… Will we see something special in 2019?
***Dmitry Mityaev from Russia has grown over the last 2-3 year’s with a string of excellent performances, most notably on the skyrunning circuit. He won High Trail Vanoise in 2018 and for sure, that is a great indicator that he has the potential for a podium performance here in Gran Canaria. ***pulled out with injury
Pablo Villa is a force to be reckoned with, he has raced over the shorter distances in previous editions. This year he moves up to the full distance.
What follows is a list of runners who have excelled on this course or others, placing in the top-10 or just outside. They will all be ones to watch and for sure, any of them could pull of a big surprise:
The women’s line-up is a compelling one and certainly will provide a stunning race.
***Azara Garcia won Transgrancanaria in 2017 and she is back. She is always focused and fights hard – she will be difficult to beat. ***pulled out with injury
Magdalena Laczak, the 2018 champion, also returns for battle. If she, Azara and Caroline are in good form, we could witness an epic race!
Just 18-months ago, had I seen *** Caroline Chaverot’s name on a start list, I would have said, she is the one to beat. She really was unstoppable. However, the recent year and more has not been kind with a string of health problems. It’s great to see her on the start list here and I hope we see the Caroline of 2017! ***pulled out with a broken leg
Denise Zimmerman is a fierce competitor. She has been on the podium at UTMB so her long game is not in question.
Marianne Hogan may well be a surprise package? Her 2017 UTMB performance is a great indicator that she will be able to handle Gran Canaria’s tough trails.
Miao Yao like Min Qi won Hong Kong 100 in 2018 and that elevates her to a hot favourite on this course.
Lisa Borzani, Ester Alves and Ildiko Wermescher heads-up the remaining competition amongst others.
Action starts on Friday evening, March 22nd and the first runners can be expected in Maspalomas Saturday afternoon, March 23rd.