TROFEO KIMA 2016 Race Summary and Images – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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You cannot look at Trofeo Kima with the eyes of a pure runner; It’s beyond running! For over twenty years, ‘Kima’ as it is affectionately known, has blown the minds and the legs of all those lucky enough to toe the line.

The race is arguably the pinnacle of the Skyrunning calendar and as such it has gained a reputation as one of the most demanding and challenging races in the world. At 52km in length the distance is not intimidating, however, 8,400m of ascent and descent put the race in perspective.

Passing over seven passes of the Sentiero Roma, a well-known GR route, the race in its current form is the brainchild of the International Skyrunning Federation president, Marino Giacometti. So tough is Kima that it has a capped field of just 250 participants and the race is held every other year to add to its allure.  This is a race that one aspires too; you need to earn a place on the entry line. The challenge comes no greater. This is confirmed in the words of the previous course record holder, Kilian Jornet:

‘Picture a mountain terrain that has no paths, amidst glaciers; it is all crests, rocks, stretches of via Ferrata and all over a course that stretches 52-km. Kima is not athletics, it is mountaineering; pure Skyrunning!’

Kima takes place on mountain paths that are unmarked. Simple flickers of colour show the way through rock, granite, snow and ice. Sections of the course are so severe that fixed ropes and chains provide the only secure way to traverse vertical walls of rock or exposed ledges. Needless to say, a head for heights, an ability to look after oneself and excellent fitness make each runner’s journey on the Sentiero Roma one that they will never forget. Scaling incredible terrain on foot and at times by hand, participants will reach a high point of 2,950m at Cameraccio Pass. It is the challenging terrain that truly sets the race apart, as Giacometti describes: ‘Kima crosses the group of technical mountains in the area and passes through all of the seven refuges situated on the route. It’s a very technical race and ultimately it has become a beacon of Skyrunning’

‘Kima’ was the nickname of Pierangelo Marchetti, who with friends founded the first helicopter equipe in Italy. The mountains were Perangelo’s life; he loved them and he embraced them. Unfortunately, on July 8th 1994, while attending a rescue mission via helicopter, Pierangelo’s life was taken. Trofeo Kima was created in his memory to ensure his love and dreams of the mountains would live on.

During the 20-year history, Kima has seen the best in the world perform over this challenging course. Now part of the Skyrunner® Extreme Series, Kima is one of three ‘extreme’ races that provides points for an overall Sky Extreme Series title where two out of three races must be completed. The first race in the series was Tromso SkyRace, the second Trofeo Kima and the third being the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline in Scotland.

For many, this iconic Skyrunning and mountain running race is still unknown. It’s like a precious jewel, hidden away for fear of someone stealing it. With each edition, one link in the securing chain is removed and the extreme beauty of Kima is being revealed to an audience of adrenaline junkies. Kima is not for everyone, but if you have the experience and the courage, the Sentiero Roma rewards each who ventures on to its tough and technical terrain.

This year, Tom Owens was riding high after a string of successful results and many had tipped him as the pre-race favourite. However, a day of intense heat and clear skies most definitely played with the rule book throwing several curve balls.

In the ladies’ race, the 2016 Kima will no doubt be remembered as the return to top level racing for Emelie Forsberg. Recent surgery on her knee after an ‘acl’ injury had deprived Emelie (and us) of her presence in a race. A couple of forays into shorter races had tested her fitness and recovery but could Emelie stand 7+ hours on ‘this’ course.

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Early action came from Alexis Sevennec and Leo Viret who dictated the pace up the very long first climb pursued by Marco De Gasperi and Nepalese runner, Bhim Gurung.

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-0996Constantly fighting the terrain and each other, Sevennec and Viret lead the race for much of the way with Gurung moving up into 3rd place after Qualido. In the latter stages of the race though, De Gasperi made a move as Sevennec and Viret faded. Gurung joined the Italian Skyrunning legend and in the closing stages the two dueled to the line… in the closing stages it was Gurung who made the break crossing the line to a stunning victory and new course record time of 6:10:44. De Gasperi crossed the line also under the old course record of Kilian Jornet a spent force. He dropped to the ground exhausted from the effort and heat. Vireo closed 3rd and Sevennec smiled his way across the line in 4th. Tom Owens finished 5th after a tough and hard day in the office – his first at Tromso and 5th here still securing his place at the top of the Sky Extreme Series.

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The ladies race was all about come back girl Emelie Forsberg and she didn’t disappoint. Leading the race from beginning to end, Emelie smiled her way to the line, pretty in pink! Yes, this was one of those great comebacks that even Emelie questioned, “I planned to take it easy early on and not push too hard. My operation removed some of my hamstring and this has made my leg weaker so I need to be careful. But everything felt good today and I am so happy, this was not about winning a race, although that is great! It was about coming back with no problems and feeling good.”

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-2490Emelie finished in 7:49:06 outside Nuria Picas’s course record time of 7:36:21. Ruth Croft from New Zealand pursued Emelie all day and had a great run often hovering around 10-minutes behind.

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-2542At the line the gap was 17+ minutes and Ruth confirmed that her skills on such technical terrain are not good enough in comparison to Emelie. Kima legend and previous winner of the race, Emanuela Brizio upheld her incredible history with this race crossing the line in 3rd, 8:21:42.

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Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

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.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

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Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

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Trofeo Kima is featured in my new book, RUNNING BEYOND (information here)

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RACE IMAGES ©iancorless.com / SWS

Speedgoat Karl Meltzer #AT Appalachian Trail FKT – LIVE AUDIO UPDATE Day 19

Day19Speedgoat

We are following Speedgoat Karl Meltzer as he attempts to break the record on the Appalachian Trail. We provide day 1 to day 7 updates HERE and just recently we posted day 8 to day 14 updates HERE.

Today, day 19, we caught up with Eric (Karl’s head of crew) live from the AT to find out how Karl is doing and what progress he is making. This audio could not happen without the support and co-operation of Red Bull. Many thanks Red Bull!

Statistics show that Karl has covered 868.72 miles and has 1321.28 miles remaining after 19-days and he is currently in New Jersey.

You can listen to the audio live from the trail by clicking the ‘play’ button on the audio file below or you can click HERE for web link.

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Background information:

Karl Meltzer known as ‘Speedgoat Karl

Is one of the world’s best in endurance mountain running. He has won more 100-mile races than anyone! A regular co-host on Talk Ultra podcast, Karl has lived the highs and lows of the Appalachian Trail.

As a native of New Hampshire, trail running and hiking have always been a part of Karl’s life. 

Growing up, Karl spent many days adventuring on the Appalachian Trail with his father. 

He has always been partial to running his home course, which he often refers to as the ‘Green Tunnel’ due to the rich tree canopy.

Karl completed the ‘AT’ in 2008 in 54-days after continuing with severe tendinitis. He knew then that he could cover the 2190-mile journey quicker. He returned but failed. Last year, Speedgoat’s good friend Scott Jurek set a new record and for 14-days of that journey, Speedgoat was side-by-side with his friend telling him how to get the job done.

Fired up by helping Scott, Karl is back and with the full on support of Red Bull, Speedgoat hopes to set a new FKT for the AT in under 50-days. To add to the experience, Scott and Jenny Jurek plan to return the favour by joining him in the later stages. You can read about Scott Jurek’s incredible 2015 ‘AT’ HERE.

Each week I will post a 7-day update of Speedgoat’s journey and of course, you can follow online and in real time with the help of Red Bull and the official website HERE.

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TROFEO KIMA 2016 Race Preview – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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Extreme is personified with the imminent running of the 2016 Trofeo Kima. Tough, challenging, technical, inspirational. memorable… KIMA is not for everyone! For over 20-years this race has been the example provided to the world of what a Skyrunning race can be. The vision of Marino Giacometti was way ahead of its time, but now, the world is catching up. Two years ago saw the creation of the Tromso SkyRace by ‘Kima’ stars, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg. Last year we witnessed the inaugural Glen Coe Skyline which incorporated elements of the other 2 races to create something quite unique for the UK.

In 2016, the three races combined to create a new challenge, the Sky Extreme Series – three races of which two must be completed to rank.

Kima covers 52km with 4200m of vertical gain and goes over 7 passes linked by refuges. Exposed crest, snow, ice, steep rocks, technical terrain and Via Feratta provides one of the ultimate challenges available.

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The recent Tromso SkyRace set the stage for 2016 with stunning victories by two Brits, Tom Owens and Jasmin Paris. Paris will mis Kima due to prior race commitments but her presence is confirmed for Scotland. Owens by contrast follows up his purple patch of running (silver at the Skyrunning World Champs, victory at SkyRace Comapedrosa and victory in Tromso) by running in Kima, a place where he last raced in 2012 when he placed 2nd behind Kilian Jornet. On recent form, Owens is without doubt the men’s favourite. He has pushed his stamina recently with many events and quality training but he just seems to be getting stronger and stronger!

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Jonathan Albon (UK) who won Tromso SkyRace ahead of Luis Alberto Hernando in 2015 and recently placed 2nd to Owens at the same race in 2016 has rejigged his racing plans and has decided that Kima is just too good too miss. He did say in his interview on Talk Ultra podcast (here) that he will use Kima as a learning curve but I still anticipate a top performance!

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Whilst on a UK theme, it’s important to acknowledge how the Extreme Series has really captured the hearts, minds and yes, legs and lungs of the Brits, primarily due to a race on home soil. Donnie Campbell winner of the Lakes Sky Ultra, 3×3 and many other races will test himself on Italian soil. He knows the challenge is the next logical step in his progress as a Skyrunner. Joe Symonds (*not confirmed), brother of Andy Symonds and winner of the 2015 Glen Coe Skyline will also get his Extreme campaign underway! 2015 Dragons Back Race winner, Jim Mann will also join the Kima party along with Glen Coe Skyline RD, Shane Ohly.

Main contenders for overall victory will come thick and fast from a world class line-up of experienced Skyrunner’s who know how to push to the limit on the ultimate terrain.

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Marco De Gasperi needs no introduction, the Italian was there in the beginning and still pioneers a true path in the sport.

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Sota Ogawa made the podium in Tromso and no doubt he will bring guts and determination to the Italian mountains for a repeat performance.

 

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Fulvio Dapit has raced Kima many times (6th in 2014), is arguably one of the most experienced Skyrunner’s on the start list and although he is unlikely to win the race, he will be in contention. However, he has become a new Dad recently; he may be tired!

 

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Bhim Gurung won the inaugural Yading SkyRace which kicked off the 2016 Skyrunner World Series. Just this last weekend he raced at Matterhorn Ultraks where he finished 7th. Kima’s technical terrain will be a challenge for the Nepalese runner but not the altitude.

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Eirik Haugsnes won the inaugural Tromso SkyRace and has performed consistently in technical and challenging races. A recent top-10 in Tromso once again shows he has the fitness for a repeat performance. *update 23rd August, Eirik has withdrawn from the race.

 

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Alexis Sevennec is a runner who mixes ski mountaineering and Skyrunning seamlessly. An ever-present on the Skyrunning circuit, he has always run well at the Dolomites SkyRace and most recently at SkyRace Comapedrosa.

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Manuel Merillas is a last minute entry to the race and after placing 2nd in 2014 behind Kilian Jornet, he is likely one of the hot favourites for a podium place. However, his results in 2016 have not been  as impressive as in 2014 and 2015, maybe Kima will be a turning point?

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Andre Jonsson was on fire early season and then had a couple of mixed races, particularly at the Dolomites SkyRace where he performed below expectation. At Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira, Jonsson dictated the pace from the start and looked set for a great victory only to crumble on the final climb. It’s all a learning curve and Kima will no doubt be a huge test but it’s one that he is happy to take on.

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Florian Reichert has been racing on the Skyrunning circuit for years and has always been a consistent performer who has experienced Zegama, Transvulcania, Glen Coe and so many more races. He comes to Kima with experience and an understanding of the challenge ahead.

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Philipp Reiter is racing less these days due to commitments working for Salomon, however, he always has a great level of fitness and the more technical the terrain, the happier he is. He showed this at Tromso recently. Philipp would be the first to say that podium is unlikely but he will be in and around the top 10.

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Pablo Villa has raced a great deal at the moment, SkyRace Comapedrosa and just recently at Matterhorn Ultraks. Kima is a challenging race and Villa’s performance will depend on his powers of recovery.

Dani Garcia Gomez, Iban Letamendi, Paul Hamilton, Jan Bartas, Luca Carrara, Matt Cooper, Matt Lefort, Aaron Newell, Konrad Rawlik, Leo Viret, Situ Vives Bosch, Allan Spangler and Pieter Schaaps amongst others will also toe the line in what will be a very exciting men’s race.

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The ladies race has recently been brought to life with the announcement that Emelie Forsberg will use Kima as her comeback race from a very serious injury and operation. At Tromso SkyRace, Forsberg tested her knee and fitness on the VK course and came away with a victory in a 3 up sprint for the line. The last time Forsberg raced in Kima it ended in tears; all set for what looked like to be a course record run when disaster struck with a navigation error and a huge loss of time. Chasing like a demon, Emelie pulled back places and eventually finished 2nd behind Kasie Enman. Having seen Emelie run in Tromso, I personally feel that we are going to see an on fire Forsberg on the mountain passes, the only 2 questions I will have and probably Emelie has: 1. How will the knee hold up? 2. How will Emelie’s endurance be for a 7-hour outing? If the answer the these two questions is positive, I think we will see Emelie win the race.

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Emanuela Brizio won Kima in 2010, was 3rd in 2012 and 3rd in 2014. I have no reason to doubt that Emanuela will not be on the podium again, this year I think it will be 2nd but victory is a distinct possibility.

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Ruth Croft had a great result at Transvulcania earlier this year and just won the 30km event at Matterhorn Ultraks. Kima will be a complete learning curve for Ruth, I doubt if she will have ever experienced a course that offers so much technical running.

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Nuria Dominguez was 4th at Kima in 2014 and will no doubt be in the mix – a podium place is a distinct possibility,

Natalia Tomasiak was 4th lady at Tromso Skyrace and she can therefore handle the technical terrain and distance. Her finishing time though was over 60-minutes slower than race winner, Jasmin Paris. Therefore, it’s unlikely that Natalia can contest for the win but top-5 is possible.

Elizabeth Barker like Natalia ran Tromso and finished 7th. A top-10 is a possibility in Italy.

Zuzana Urbancova, Kristina Aluzaite, Elisabet Bertran Masenanes, Olga Lyjak, Tanya Pacheco, Kathrin Schambeck and Hana Krajnikova are all running and may well contest the top-10 or top-5 podium places.


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

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.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc UTMB® 2016 Preview

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I won’t be at UTMB this year, Trofeo Kima is happening the same weekend in Italy and I wouldn’t miss this high octane extreme event for anything, especially when it only happens every other 2 years.

But UTMB has a stellar line up this year. It’s going to be a cracking race.

Just in case you didn’t know, UTMB is a 170km circular journey that starts and finishes in Chamonix passing through France, Italy and Switzerland with 10,000+ meters of vertical gain on non-technical trails. In 2014 Francois D’Haene of France set the men’s course record 20:11:44 and the female course record is held by Rory Bosio (USA) who ran 22:37:26 in 2013. Rory in the process ranked in the top-10 overall that year!

Recently, UTMB has hit the headlines after a top 10 finisher in the 2015 race, Gonzalo Calisto, was tested and found positive for EPO. This came to light in June when the IAAF added Calisto’s suspension to its website. However, UTMB were not notified of this positive test? In recent weeks and months, many investigations have been made and you can read them all on this website HERE. Ultimately, this positive test has raised alarm bells and certain aspects of the testing and notification procedure need to change. I hope UTMB will have testing once again this year and they provide data and information to the media.

Racing for the main starts on Friday August 26th at 1800hrs local time and it looks like a great weekend of weather is in store for spectators, it may be a little hot for the runners. Please also remember that many other events happen in and around the UTMB, the PTL, TDS and CCC.

MEN

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Luis Alberto Hernando is in a good place! He is a new Dad, has raced less and when he has raced he has been in top form. A repeat win at Transvulcania and dominant performance at the Skyrunning World Championships for a gold medal and world title and suddenly you begin to see everything clicking into place. Luis dropped from the 2014 UTMB and then came back, one year later to place 2nd. Luis does always race from the front and hard, he tempered this in 2015 but it still may well be his achilles heel in 2016? I hope not, Luis would be a popular champion!

David Laney third at UTMB and 8th at Western States in 2015 are two very significant performances and bode well for a great 2016 UTMB. What doesn’t bode well is the most recent 20+ hour finish at Western States. It leaves a huge question mark on David’s current physical and mental ability to take on the big dance in Chamonix.

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Andy Symonds for me is the dark horse. It’s his first 100 miler and that is a huge disadvantage. But Andy knows how to race, prepares meticulously and I know he’s fired up for this race. In the past he has often played 2nd fiddle at the big races but a podium at Transgrancanaria, a victory at Lavaredo and 2nd (silver) behind Luis at the Skyrunning World Championships tells me that the time is right for the Brit who lives in France. Listen to the podcast here.

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Zach Miller is relatively easy to write about… we will see one of two performances: 1. An all guns blazing early race that potentially will open up a gap that he extends and holds on to take the biggest victory of his life! 2. As 1 but a major blow up that sees him lose the lead and drop substantial places or a resulting DNF. Think Max King at Leadville.

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Didrik Hermansen is a potential revelation in Chamonix and I do believe that he can win. I said that at Western States after I saw his run and victory at Transgrancanaria. He didn’t disappoint in the USA and he placed 2nd at WSER. UTMB is a different playground but this guy can run and hike – he is going to need all those skills in France, Italy and Switzerland. Listen to the podcast here.

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Jason Schlarb was fourth at UTMB in 2014, won Run Rabbit Run, completed Marathon des Sables. skied the Hardrock 100 course, won the Hardrock 100 with Kilian Jornet and here he is, in Chamonix, looking to do an epic double – you know what, I think he can do it! I’m not sure that he will have those extra percentages for victory, Hardrock may well have but pay to that. But I do see a potential top 5 and even the podium if the stars align. Listen to the podcast with him here.

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Gediminas Grinius 5th at UTMB in 2014 and what followed was quite a rise in the sport of ultra-running. Gediminas has an interesting back story of post-traumatic stress and it is running that helped. When you have been to hell, pain in an ultra is nothing. It’s worth remembering that this guy can dig deep. A win at Transgrancanaria, a win at UTMF and a string of top 2nd places certainly elevate GG for a top UTMB place. Listen to the podcast here.

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Tofol Castanyer won CCC and was 2nd at UTMB in 2014. He has a string of top performances and results but his recent form seems a question mark. On paper, he’s a podium contender but I said that last year and he didn’t finish. We will have to see?

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Ryan Sandes had a tough 2015 and has patiently come back in 2016 with a 3rd place in Tararwera and 4th place in Australia at the Ultra Trail. Ryan never likes to race a great deal preferring to train and prepare meticulously for key events. He has done that in the past, Western States for example only to not race at the 11th hour due to injury or illness. Apart from FKT records, Ryan’s career highlights are his win at Transgrancanaria and top results at UTMF and WSER. Ryan has been in Chamonix for some time training and I hope he will arrive at the line fresh. He has all the potential to shake up the podium. Listen to the podcast here.

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Fabien Antolinus is an under the radar runner who is known in France and not many other places. A top consistent performer at Templiers and the Ice Trail Tarentaise, Fabien backed this up last year with a 6th place finish at UTMB behind a doping Gonzalo Calisto, so, he finished 5th really. I see a potential repeat performance.

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras could win, could finish in the top 10, may not start and if he does start, may not finish. Yes, Miguel is a class act when the stars align but neither he or us can predict when this will happen. A highlight for sure was his UTMB 2nd behind Xavier Thevenard in 2013.

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Javier Dominguez just had a great run at the Skyrunning World Championships with 3rd place behind Luis Alberto and Andy Symonds. He also placed 3rd at Lavaredo. Although he will be in the mix he is potentially a top 5-10 finisher.

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Julien Chorier has the long game, strength and persistence for a top UTMB performance. I’ve seen him time and time again grind out great results. His victory at Ronda dels Cims a few years back is still one of the most dominant performances of running I have seen. Julien has backed that up at Western States, Hardrock, Diagonale des Fous, UTMF and of course UTMB. His best UTMB was 3rd in 2008 and in 2013 he finished 6th.

Paul Giblin for me is a dark horse. Last year he missed UTMB and compensated with focusing on Western States in 2016, he placed 5th. That’s one of the UK’s best performances at the race. He’s a runner and the 10,000m of vertical may go against his natural abilities but don’t rule him out! Listen to the podcast here.

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You have to draw a line somewhere but we also need to consider, Diego Pazoz who has illuminated several races in 2016, most notably victory at the Eiger Ultra Trail and Mont-Blanc 80km.

He could be a huge surprise as could Stephan Hugenschmidt from Germany who has had many notable results.

Zdenek Kris finished 9th at Ultra Perineu in 2015 and recently placed 5th at the Skyrunning World Championships.

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Two Frenchmen, Arnaud Lejeune who was 2nd at UTMF in 2015 and Thomas Lorblanchet who has wins at Leadville and 4th at Western States will also mix things up.

Ryan Smith, Pau Bartolo, Jez Bragg, Aurelian Collet, Ludovic Pommeret, Armand Teixeira, Jordi Bes and Bertrand Collomb-Patton all have top 10 and certainly top 20 potential.

Needless to say there is a whole stack of other male talent that have experienced UTMB before somewhere in and around the top 50. Any of these runners who could make a breakthrough performance and venture into the high ranking top 20’s or even top 10. It’s what makes the race so interesting.

LADIES

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio holds the course record at UTMB – nuff said! Any lady that finishes in the top-10 overall rocks. But where has Rory been since her repeat victory in 2014? Well, believe it or not, she was filming a reality TV show… really, Rory is an actress! In 2015 she won the Atacama Extreme but other than that she has been relatively low key when racing. UTMB performances are backed up by 2nd, 4th and 5th at Western States so Rory needs no other boosting. I do wonder though if she is in the ‘A’ game frame of mind of 2013 and 2014? We will find out…

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Caroline Chaverot for me is the lady that will win UTMB 2016. Caroline is a machine who smiles from beginning to end and her performances over the last 18-24 months have blown me away. She does race a great deal and I think that went against her at UTMB in 2015 when she DNF’d. This year though I have noticed a difference… she obliterated the Transgrancanaria course, she obliterated the MUT in Madeira and she became Skyrunning World Champion at the Buff Epic Trail – 2016 is Caroline’s UTMB year!

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Nuria Picas has twice finished 2nd and I would normally talk Nuria up as the winner. Last year she dropped early and since has had very mixed performances. I do believe she has the UTWT curse of running and winning too many races in a short period of time which has left her drained. I have seen this in 2016 at Transgrancanaria and most recently at the Buff Epic Trail. Of course, Nuria may well have been savvy and kept her powder dry for Chamonix – I hope so! *August 24th, Nuria will unfortunately not run the 2016 edition due to an injury.

Magdalena Boulet will be there or thereabouts but for me, this course will not allow enough running which is Magda’s strength. No doubt she will be in the mix, her 2nd at CCC proved that but 170k and 10,000m is a big difference to CCC or Western States. Listen to the podcast here.

Uxue Fraille will be out of the mix early on and keep going and produce a solid finish. Uxue’s success is all about pacing and finishing. She lets the other ladies race and fade and then she sweeps them up in the final 1/3rd. Last year she placed 2nd at UTMB and she won UTMF.

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Jasmin Paris is one lady who may well win UTMB one day. I’d love to say that 2016 will be the year but I don’t think it will happen. Jasmin runs a great deal and therefore rarely ‘peaks’ for any one race. This is sometimes a good thing but also a bad thing. Although Jasmin can run long, this will be her first big 100+ miler and the Chamonix experience may well overwhelm her. This year she blitzed the Bob Graham Round FKT to a new level and a week after getting married took bronze medal at the Skyrunning World Championships and then won Tromso SkyRace. Personally, I feel Jasmin’s forte and skill set will be best suited to the Skyrunner courses where her fell and mountain running background really shines. She will do well at UTMB but this year will be a learning curve. Don’t get me wrong though, top 5 and certainly top 3 is possible. Listen to the podcast here.

Andrea Huser like Jasmin is a non-stop racer and for me always lacks that extra 5-10% when required due to a constant element of fatigue. Her string of top 2nd and 3rd places for me confirm this. In this 2016 field, Andrea can better her 2014 7th and potentially will make the top 5 and may even challenge the podium but I don’t see a victory.

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Fernanda Maciel is a another runner who mixes many sports, races regularly and is always in and around the action. Like Andrea Huser, I see her in the mix but not taking the top slot. If we look at recent results, the consistency is there – 4th at UTMB in 2010, 3rd at MDS, 3rd at Lavaredo 2016 and a string of other podium places at UTWT races. * Fernanda will not run 23rd August. News from her doctors: “They said I was in an advanced stage of injuries to my kidneys caused by my last 2 long races due to dehydration I suffered during the races. Now my blood tests from last friday done here in Chamonix seem normal but not 100% recovered, and of course I am thinking of the UTMB on friday… I’m really sad because they only told me it today!”

Emilie Lecomte has the long game, strength and tenacity for a 170km race but she lacks the speed of many of the other ladies. A top 10 is an almost guaranteed and as other ladies fade, we can expect Emilie to move up.

Francesca Canepa and Emilie Lecomte in many ways are similar runners and Francesca has a strong history with UTMB and Tor des Geants. On her day, she can be up there and in the mix. Recently her form has been questionable.

Amy Sproston has won Hurt 100 and placed 2nd at Western States. For me, Amy is a runner but then again, Hurt has some gnarly terrain on those 20-mile loops, so, is this the year that Amy puts UTMB demons to rest? Her history is not good with the race – three starts and only one finish when she placed 8th.

Aliza Lapierre is potentially the USA’s top contender behind Rory Bosio. Her list of results in all varieties of races bodes well for a solid UTMB. But at really specific races, Transgrancanaria for example the mountainous terrain has caused her to struggle a little. Aliza like to run and although UTMB has plenty of that, it also has plenty of hands-on-knee action.

Larisa Dannis likes a running race and like many of the American ladies the increased vertical causes an issue. On paper though, she has the racing pedigree for a top performance. you don’t get 2nd at Western States by accident.

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Ester Alves is a good friend and races too much (sorry Ester). One day, Ester will pick a race and prepare meticulously for it and then excel. I saw this earlier this year when she won and dominated The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. I think what worked there was it was the first race of the season and she could therefore be specific over the winter. What has followed is a string of races in many varied locations with a list of good results but no stand out results! Ester placed 8th at the 2014 UTMB so the potential is there!

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Gemma Arenas I know well in the Skyrunning circles but this will be her first 100 and it’s a tough one with strong competition. It will be a learning curve.

Like in the men’s race, curve balls will swing in and we can expect to see these ladies’ mixing it up, Silke KoesterNicky Spinks, Sally McRae, Sarah Willis, Sophie Grant, Frederica Boifava, Joelle Vaught, Alissa St. Laurent and Manu Vilaseca amongst others.

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Speedgoat Karl Meltzer #AT Appalachian Trail FKT – Day 8-14 Update

day16karl

Last week we provided an update of Speedgoat Karl’s first 7-days on the ‘AT’ as he tries to set an ‘FKT.’ You can read that HERE

Karl is now 16-days into his journey and in Connecticut. Below we provide an update of days 8 to 14.

Day 8 New Hampshire

Today on all levels was challenging. After a long and challenging day yesterday, Karl continued his hike but slowed his pace down. A highlight of today was that Karl reached the summit of Mt Washington as conditions were harsh. Dense fog, cold air and gusty wind made the hike anything but easy. Karl continued after a late summit to Crawford Notch where he had a very late arrival. Though he is pushing himself, it’s important to note that getting in late also means less rest, which is critical in any situation and especially when you are trying to set a record.

Day 9 Mt Lafayette, NH

Karl left on time today, however, when reaching the Knife’s Edge, our crew could tell from his demeanour that he is becoming even more exhausted with every step. Thankfully Karl made a trail companion through the Knife’s Edge that accompanied him for a while. It’s important to remember that as much as this is a physical feat, it’s mental too! Karl said that this hiker was important because at some points he helped keep the pace steady. Karl eventually lost the hiker on the downhill but nonetheless, every person Karl runs into on this journey is important to his success. While hikers’ journeys and motivations are diverse as the trail itself, the challenges of the trail reveal the common bonds between them. Karl decided to stop one stop early at Flume Gorge to catch up on rest and recharge his body for another long day on the Green Tunnel.

Day 10 Flume Gorge, NH

Karl finished the trek through the White Mountains at the end of Day 10. Not surprisingly, the White Mountains took a toll on both Karl’s feet and mentality. Karl is starting to form blisters around the bottom of his feet, as expected Karl got to his final destination before sunset which provided him plenty of opportunity to eat a good meal and relax before getting sleep. The crew brought Karl one of his favourite foods on the train, ice cream! It lifted his spirits. Karl’s attitude is amazing. The night ended well with jokes and laughter.

Day 11 Hanover, NH

Karl picked up the pace as he headed towards the city of Hanover. Karl arrived in Hanover before expected and instead of sitting to eat and replenish, he insisted on walking while eating to keep the pace. He is an absolute machine! Karl experienced a dramatic shift in landscape as he ran through the city of Hanover – buildings and cars surrounded him as the AT guided him onwards and out of the city. While the change in scenery was welcomed, the surroundings were blurred by very severe storms in the area. A system rolled in during the morning hours and another one later in the night. Torrential rain and lightening caused Karl to arrive later than usual at 9:45pm. Though he won’t be getting normal hours of sleep to lead him into the day 12, he will have a running companion which hopefully will allow him mentally and physically to keep record speed pace.

Day 12 Wallingford, VT

Hello Vermont! Karl had a friend come and run part of the trail with him today which was instrumental in keeping good and efficient pace. Day 12 was a quick day, relatively speaking. However, there was a swarm of bees on part of the trail. Eric, (Karl’s are chief) went ahead as Karl is no fan of bees – Eric got stung! Thankfully for Karl, Eric must have given the bees all they needed and it was a clear passage. As the terrains flattens out from the White Mountains, Karl will hopefully pick up pace a little allowing him to gain more time.

Day 13 Stratton-Arlington Rd, VT

Karl continued to trek south and is crushing the pace once again with an amazing attitude. The terrain is still mountainous but nothing like the harsh terrain of the White Mountains, the Green Mountain National Forest is kinder. Karl shaved off his beard today, it prevent flies, fleas ticks and other bugs getting a free ride and it’s a little cooler! The temperatures on the trail vary a great deal but is seasonally hot. Karl finished the day early catching the crew off guard. Even Karl Sr was taken by surprise, he had intended to join Karl on the final stretch in. Cheryl (Karl’s wife) prepared dinner and the route was planned for tomorrow. Bed by 9pm and hopefully the energy batteries will be restored for tomorrow.

Day 14 Mt Greylock, MA

Karl’s morale is high as he continues south. Eric (Karl’s crew) says this is down to a new iPod with new music. It keeps Karl occupied and at pace while running. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are another key element! Some rain today and bad weather today but Karl pushed on and is till, at times, arriving earlier than anticipated at certain points. The highest point in Massachusetts, Mt Greylock was the finish for Karl’s run today. A big meal and a nice bed waited. Though the terrain is less mountainous, roots still remain throughout the trail. In moments of fatigue, this can be extremely tough. The view from Mt Greylock was that of another planet, fog was so thick they could only see 2-5 feet. Green trees that surround the trail gave it a very eerie feeling.

Current stats show Karl has covered 757.4 miles with 1432.6 remaining. Please keep in mind that these figures are current at the time of writing.

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Matterhorn Ultraks 46k 2016 Race Summary and Images– Skyrunner® World Series

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The Matterhorn provides a stunning backdrop for Switzerland’s Matterhorn Ultraks race, a 46km Skyrunning race with 3600m of positive and negative gain. Now in its 4th edition, the race once again is in the Skyrunner® World Series – a magical race that provides a circular journey that starts and concludes in the picture postcard mountain town of Zermatt.

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The day started well with wispy white clouds penetrating the blue of the sky, we all knew though that it wasn’t going to last… with 2 hours of running the sky turned grey, the rain arrived and low mist enveloped the mountains; the beautiful Matterhorn was gone!

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Wild expansive space, high mountains and the 3100m Gornergrat provides the high point of the race and the first indication of how this mountain game of chess was going to play out. Christian Mathys was a surprise arrival pushing the pace closely followed by Marc Lauenstein (pre-race favourite) and Nepalese runner, Tirtha Tamang.

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In the ladies’ race, Megan Kimmel from the USA was already dictating the race and the pace opening up a substantial gap on a chasing Elisa Desco from Italy and Michaela Mertova who was looking very strong.

It’s a brutal opening 14km to open any race and as such, those opening km’s can be decisive in who crosses the finish line first.

Megan Kimmel from the USA ran hard from the gun in 2015 setting the pace against a world-class field, “Anytime you get the rhythm in the up, the down, or the flat, the body is abruptly put into one of these other actions.  It is steep enough to grind you to a walk on a lot of the uphill and has fair bits of technical descent.”

A 1000m drop from the summit is broken by a small climb at Riffelalp and then Furi follows at 24km at 1880m. Two short sharp climbs follow, the first to Schwarzsee at 2583m and approximately 28km covered. Here Mathys was leading Tamang and Launstein followed minutes behind. It was difficult to tell if Lauenstein was going through a bad patch, he just smiled and pushed on.

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Kimmel picks up her race, “I was comfortably leading the race for the first 30k. When I mean comfortable, I mean it seemed fairly effortless in a racing sense.  I was moving with the terrain on the uphill’s and I was holding back on the descents because it was a long race with a lot of transitions.” Kimmel’s lead was substantial and she was running her own race. Behind, barring an accident, the other ladies were running for 2nd.

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A drop down to 2200m from Schwarzsee was followed with another 500m+ climb and then what follows is mostly a flat runnable plateau that gently weaves up, down and left to right all the way to Trift. Lauenstein had taken the lead now and was flying, Mathys chased but the gap was opening up with every minute that passed.

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A short kick up of 100 to 200m follows Trift and then a fast and furious drop of almost 1000m over a distance of 6km leads to the finish line in Zermatt and the assembled crowds. Lauenstein sealed victory in 4:47:01, just a few minutes outside Kilian Jornet’s course record. Mathy’s held on for an excellent 2nd in 5:51:56 and Tamang placed 3rd in 4:53:03. Once again Hassan Ait Chaou ran an excellent 4th place and last year’s winner and course designer, Martin Anthamatten finished 6th.

Kimmel, the 2015 Dolomites SkyRace winner, after strongly leading the ladies race for the whole race, clinched victory with 20+-minute lead to Michaela Mertova, their respective times 5:23:15 and 5:46:21. Cilia Chiron backed up her great Dolomites SkyRace performance with 3rd and Oihana Kortazar placed 4th. Elisa Desco who had run in 2nd place did not finish due to a fall.

Skyrunning is not just about the uphill and more often than not, it’s the downhill that determines the winner. Today was all about patience and consistency. Racing is often a mental journey as much physical, Kimmel and Lauenstein today proved this at the Matterhorn.

Results for all race HERE


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

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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Episode 117 – Debbie Martin-Consani, Jonathan Albon, Martin Yelling

A_GRAVATAR

This is Episode 117 of Talk Ultra and it’s a packed show. We talk with Jonathan Albon who last year won the Tromso SkyRace and this year placed 2nd. Debbie Martin-Consani talks about running long and her recent CR at the North Downs Way 100 in the UK. We also speak to my fellow podfather and good friend, Martin Yelling, about his inspiring, ‘Long Run Home.’ The News and Niandi co-hosts.

Karl is on the AT and he is now through the first week and everything seems to be going well. Each week I will post a 7-day update on my website, days 1-7 are HERE

RUNNING BEYOND BOOK is going to be available from October in Italy with Germany, Spain and the UK following – HERE

00:07:24 NEWS

TROMSO SKYRACE HERE

Jasmin Paris 8:43:53

Malena Haukøy 9:10:20

Martina Valmassoi 9:44:02

Tom Owens 6:45:15

Jonathan Albon 6:53:25

Finlay Wild 6:55:03

The VK which was run the day before saw Stian Angermund confirm his form from the Skyrunning World Championships with a strong victory and Emelie Forsberg won a nail biting sprint for the line to show us all she is on her way back. Read and view images HERE.

00:16:07 INTERVIEW JONATHAN ALBON

SIERRE ZINAL

It was a Kenyan victory for Petro Mamu ahead of the UK’s Robbie Simpson and Francesco Puppi from Italy was 3rd. In the ladies race, Michelle Maier took a great victory in 2:58 ahead of Lucy Wambui Murigi and Elisa Desco was 3rd.

TRANSROCKIES

120 miles over 6 stages and victory went to David Laney/ Ryan Ghelfi in the men’s race and Amanda Basham/ Keely Henninger for the women.

NORTH DOWNS WAY 100

Male:

  1. Neil Kirby 16:46:21
  2. James Poole 17:20:27
  3. John Stocker 18:03:26

Female:

  1. Debbie Martin-Consani 18:34:54 (6th overall)
  2. Annabelle Stearns 21:41:32
  3. Wendy Shaw 22:33:55

00:50:14 INTERVIEW DEBBIE MARTIN-CONSANI

MONTANA BRIDGE RIDGE RUN

This 20 mile race gets a mention as Jim Walmsley of Western States fane was apparently flying ahead of course record and then…. a lack of confidence saw him backtrack, WSER is obviously haunting him. Turns out he was on the correct course, he turned around and this time won but missed the record.

Gonzalo Calisto, 5th at 2015 UTMB tests positive for EPO – Compressport have now released a statement which is a really positive sign. Read HERE.

ANGELES CREST 100

Guillaume Calmaettes 19:14

Dominick Layfield 19:30

Dominick Grossman 19:57

Jenny Welch 26:51

Maria Lourdes Rivera 27:02

Selina Nordberg 28:54

SRI CHIMNEY SELF-TRANSCENDENCE 3100mile

It was the 20th edition of the 3100m journey and Yuri Trosteny completed the distance first in  46 days and just 94-minutes faster than Asprihanal Aalto. Asprihanal won the race in 2015 in a record 40 days. This time he came from behind and on one day he ran 86 miles to try to steal victory – 94 minutes super close! Yuri ran consistently more than 63 miles everyday!

When this show comes out it will be the Matterhorn Ultraks in Switzerland and then the week after it’s UTMB with a super stacked field and the iconic Trofeo Kima in Italy.

01:56:30 INTERVIEW MARTIN YELLING

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Northern Territory

Alice Springs 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Belgium

Flanders

Oxfam Trailwalker Belgium | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Bulgaria

Orehovo Ultra | 52 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Persenk Ultra | 157 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Wild Boar Ultra | 104 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Black Spur Ultra – 100km | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Black Spur Ultra – 100km Relay | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Black Spur Ultra – 50km | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Squamish 50 | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Squamish 50/50 | 130 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Squamish 50K | 50 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

TrailStoke Ultra | 60 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Ontario

Iroquoia Trail Test – 50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Quebec

Trans Vallée | 67 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Finland

Eastern Finland

100 km | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

France

Alpes-Maritimes

Ultra-Trail Côte d’Azur Mercantour | 140 kilometers | September 02, 2016 | website

Ariège

Ultra du Montcalm | 65 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Hautes-Pyrénées

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – le Grand Trail | 80 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – l’Ultra | 160 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – Tour des Cirques | 117 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Isère

La Traversée Nord | 85 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

L’Echappée Belle Intégrale | 144 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs | 160 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs – 90 km | 90 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Loir-et-Cher

100km des Etangs de Sologne | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

50km de la Sologne des Rivières | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Savoie

Courmayeur Champex Chamonix (CCC) | 98 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) | 166 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Orsières – Champex – Chamonix (OCC) | 53 kilometers | August 25, 2016 | website

Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL) | 290 kilometers | August 22, 2016 | website

Sur les traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) | 119 kilometers | August 24, 2016 | website

Tour de la Grande Casse | 63 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Vienne

Trail des Castors – 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Germany

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

75 km | 75 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Saarland

RAG-Hartfüßler – Trail 58 km | 58 kilometers | August 28, 2016 | website

Iceland

Fire and Ice | 250 kilometers | August 29, 2016 | website

The Iceland Trek | 84 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

India

Uttarakhand

Uttarkashi 135 | 135 miles | August 26, 2016 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Achill Ultra Marathon | 39 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Kerry

Kerry Way Ultra | 120 miles | September 02, 2016 | website

Longford

Longford Ultra Marathon | 63 kilometers | August 28, 2016 | website

Wicklow

Wicklow Coastal Ultra Trail Marathon | 50 kilometers | August 28, 2016 | website

Japan

Hakusan Geotrail 100 K | 100 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Hakusan Geotrail 250 K | 250 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Kenya

Tsavorun | 84 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Morocco

65 km | 65 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

New Zealand

Great Naseby Water Race 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 160 km | 160 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 60 km | 60 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Norway

styrkeprøven True West | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Peru

80 K | 80 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

80K Relay | 80 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Réunion

Cimasarun | 55 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Romania

Dracula 106K | 106 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Dracula 106K 2-Day Stage Race | 106 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Vlad Tepes 52K | 52 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

South Africa

Namaqua Quest | 110 kilometers | August 24, 2016 | website

Peninsula Ultra Fun Run | 80 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Spain

Aragon

8K | 78 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Sweden

Fjällmaraton Bydalsfjällen 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

UltraVasan 90K | 90 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Switzerland

Grisons

Swiss Irontrail T141 | 147 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Swiss Irontrail T81 | 89 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Obwald

MOUNTAINMAN Ultra | 80 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Valais

Ultra Tour Monte Rosa | 117 kilometers | September 01, 2016 | website

Ultra Tour Monte Rosa – Stage Race | 117 kilometers | September 01, 2016 | website

Vaud

Ultra Trail du Barlatay | 87 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Anglesey

Ring o’ Fire | 131 miles | September 02, 2016 | website

Buckinghamshire

Ridgeway Challenge | 86 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

East Sussex

100km | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

England

Ultra Great Britain | 200 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Greater London

T184 | 184 miles | August 26, 2016 | website

Hertfordshire

Chiltern Way Ultra 100k | 100 kilometers | August 28, 2016 | website

Chiltern Way Ultra 200k | 200 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Moray

Speyside Way Race | 36 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Sheffield

Ultra Tour of the Peak District | 60 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

USA

California

100K | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

100M | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

50M | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Bulldog 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Castle Peak 100K | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Diablo Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Tamalpa Headlands 50K | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Colorado

Devil Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Devil Mountain 50 Mile Ultra | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Leadville Trail 100 Run | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Silverton Alpine 50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Georgia

Yeti Snakebite 50K | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Yeti Snakebite 50M | 50 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Idaho

Standhope 60K | 60 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Michigan

Marquette Trail 50 Kilometer | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Marquette Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Montana

Fool’s Gold 50M | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Fool’s Gold 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Ghosts of Yellowstone | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Ghosts of Yellowstone 100M | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Mystery Ranch 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Rampage the Roots Montana’s Ultra Challenge 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Nebraska

50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Nevada

51 km | 51 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Black Rock City 50km | 50 kilometers | August 30, 2016 | website

Marlette 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Ruby Mountain Relay | 184 miles | August 19, 2016 | website

New Hampshire

100 Miler | 100 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

50 Miler | 50 miles | August 21, 2016 | website

New York

Twisted Branch Trail Run | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Oregon

Hood to Coast Relay | 199 miles | August 26, 2016 | website

Where’s Waldo 100k Ultra | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Pennsylvania

Baker Trail UltraChallenge | 50 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Rhode Island

100 miles | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

South Dakota

50 km | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Lean Horse Half Hundred | 50 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Lean Horse Hundred | 100 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Texas

Habanero Hundred 100k | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Habanero Hundred 100 miler | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Habanero Hundred 50k | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Reveille Peak Ranch – 60km | 60 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Utah

Skyline Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Washington

200 Mile S2S | 200 miles | August 26, 2016 | website

Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

03:07:19 CLOSE

 

03:11:03

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Website – talkultra.com

Matterhorn Ultraks 46k 2016 Race Preview – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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The stunning Matterhorn provides the stunning backdrop for Switzerland’s Matterhorn Ultraks race, a 46km Skyrunning race with 3600m of positive and negative gain – the next race in the Skyrunner® World Series 2016. It’s a magical race that provides a circular journey that starts and concludes in the picture postcard mountain town of Zermatt.

Wild expansive space, high mountains and the 3100m Gornergrat provides the high point of the race where the ever present lone peak of the Matterhorn shadows the race and runners with its majestic beauty.

Zermatt, located 1600m above altitude provides the focal point for this high altitude race. It’s a town of contrasts, tourists flood in to trawl the streets, shop and snap ‘selfies’ while in and amongst them, hardcore mountaineers head upwards with packs, ropes, cramp-ons and ice axes. Like a photo on a luxury box of chocolates, Zermatt is a beautiful place steeped in history. It’s a logical start and finishing place for such an iconic race.

Renowned for its tough opening kilometers, the Matterhorn Ultraks immediately heads to the sky via Sunnegga at 2260m all the way to the high point Gornergrat at 3130m. It’s a brutal 14km to open any race and as such, those opening km’s can be decisive in who crosses the finish line first.

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2015 Champions, Martin Anthamatten and Elisa Desco return to Switzerland for the 4th edition of the race and as such they are the favourites. Desco just last weekend placed 3rd at Sierre-Zinal, the question mark will be, as she recovered? For Anthamatten, his last performance was at the Skyrunning World Championships.

It’s fair to say the men’s race is wide open, no doubt impacted upon by the recent Tromso SkyRace and next weekend’s Trofeo Kima. SWS race leader, Tadei Pivk is currently injured and that leaves an opening for valuable points.

Bhim Gurung who won the inaugural Yading race excelled at the high altitude in China and although this race tops out at 3100m in Switzerland, it will not register on the Nepalese runner’s radar. Strong competition and maybe the hot favourite will be Marc Lauenstein.

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Hassan Ait Chou has a solid history in Zermatt and his recent podium at the SkyRace Comapedrosa indicates that he may well be in for a good run. Pablo Villa, Oscar Casal Mir and Marc Casal Mir will also contend the podium along with Adrien Michaud.

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Lining up against Desco is Megan Kimmel who had a stunning race in 2015 only to later in the latter stages. Something tells me that won’t happen this year and for me, she is odds on favourite for victory!

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Oihana Kortazar leads the other podium contenders after a recent top placing at SkyRace Comapedrosa and Celia Chiron who placed 3rd at the Dolomites SkyRace will no doubt be looking for a repeat performance. Ragna Debats, Aziziber Ibarbia and Marta Molist are other top runners who will be at the ‘pointy’ end of the race!

Course records were set in 2013 by Kilian Jornet and 2014 by Stevie Kremer, their respective times 4:43:05 and 5:18:43.

Race day is Saturday 20th August and the Matterhorn Ultraks 46k race will get underway at 0730


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

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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RUNNING BEYOND BOOK – Spanish, Italian, German, UK Announcements

Book Cover

RUNNING BEYOND is progressing at a pace and my UK publisher, Aurum, has now confirmed distribution and availability of the book in Italy, Germany and Spain. For the UK edition, it will be available via AMAZON and it is possible to pre-order a copy HERE.

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Italy will have first availability on October 6th via RIZZOLI (HERE) and the title will be ULTRA RUNNING.

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The German edition ‘ULTRA LAUFE‘ will be available via DELIUS KLASSING HERE

Ein Marathon ist Ihnen nicht genug? Dann versuchen Sie es doch einmal mit einem Ultralauf! 100 Kilometer nonstop mal durch die Wüste, mal auf die höchsten Gipfel dieser Welt, und das Ganze eine Woche lang am Stück. Der Fantasie beim Erfinden extremer Lauf-Events sind keine Grenzen gesetzt, und weltweit finden Herausforderungen dieser Art immer mehr begeisterte Anhänger.

Dieser prächtig gestaltete Bildband ist eine wunderbare Hommage an die Ultralauf-Szene und stellt die 35 härtesten Rennen vor – von den USA über Europa, Marokko, Südafrika bis hin nach Nepal und Australien.

  • Inklusive aller Top-Events, vom Zugspitz Ultratrail über den Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc bis zum Marathon des Sables
  • Detaillierte Beschreibungen aller Läufe, inklusive Fact-Sheets, Topos und Karten zu allen Rennen
  • Vorstellung der Stars der Szene, u.a. Lizzy Hawker, Kilian Jornet, Mimi Anderson und Scot Jurek

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German Screenshot

The Spanish edition ‘TRAIL RUNNING‘ is published via LUNWERG and will be available HERE

« …Trail Running te sumerge en el aura de cada carrera, te hace sentir lo que sintieron los corredores y es lo más cerca que vas a llegar sin haber estado allí.», Kilian Jornet

Sinopsis de Trail Running:

De la mano de Ian Corless y a través del objetivo de su cámara, el lector de Trail Running se adentra en un mundo fascinante, hecho de trepidantes retos, paisajes que cortan la respiración y conmovedoras historias humanas. 

Los trails descritos aquí son los más duros e inspiradores del planeta. Será imposible no compartir la emoción de quienes los han corrido y no comprender el alcance de sus hazañas deportivas. Toda una invitación a la aventura y a la superación personal.

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Additional information can be found HERE

If you’d like to contact to arrange a book signing or for any other media, please use the form below and I will respond asap.

Montrail TRANS ALPS Shoe Review

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Montrail call themselves, ‘The original trail running brand!’ And to USA based runners they may very well be. But to Europeans, they are just a name and in all honesty, I very much doubt that they have seen a Montrail run shoe, let alone used one. Of course, in the last 18-24 months that has all started to change and that is directly attributable to the UTMB.

Yes, when The North Face jumped ship sponsoring the big loop around France, Italy and Switzerland the American brand jumped it. Of course nothing is straight forward and UTMB sponsorship comes in the name of Columbia, Mountain Hardwear and Montrail. All three brands are under the same umbrella and are interconnected.

Topher Gaylord is president of Columbia’s Mountain Hardwear brand and ironically he was the man who originally set up the TNF sponsorship deal – what goes around, comes around.

As one commentator said, “Montrail was once the biggest brand in the American trail running scene, but many other brands have created more buzz in the past few years. This should certainly help create more traction for Montrail, which was acquired by Columbia in 2006.”

So as you see, a picture starts to form and although the above information doesn’t tell you if the Montrail FluidFlex FKT shoe is any good, what it does do is provide some perspective.

Dakota Jones, Ellie Greenwood and Max King have worn Montrail shoes in the past and I often looked on wondering how these shoes performed? Unfortunately, being based in Europe, the possibility to get hold of shoes was either extremely difficult or zero. With UTMB sponsorship, Montrail (Columbia and Mountain Hardwear too) are looking for increased exposure on a world platform.

Last year I tested and reviewed a limited edition UTMB Montrail shoe HERE. I recently reviewed the FluidFlex FKT HERE and I recommend you read that review before getting to grips with TRANS ALPS.

Montrail Trans Alps

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After the curve ball of the FluidFlex FKT I had high hopes for the Trans Alps. Opening the box and taking a first peak in I saw similarities immediately, the cushioning of the two shoes looked very familiar. However, as I peaked at the outsole I immediately became aware that the FluidFlex FKT and Trans Alps are like chalk and cheese – no similarity at all. Picking up the right shoe made the differences marked. The Trans Alps is heavy… I called a couple of friends, they quickly popped over to my apartment, and together they helped me remove the left shoe from the box; my back is far too fragile to lift out both pairs!

I joke of course but at 412g each for a UK9.5 these shoes are the heaviest running shoes I have ever tested.

Overall looks are pleasing, a strong blue contrasted by yellow works. Like the FluidFlex FKT the Trans Alps is on the face of it a simple shoe. So where does all the weight come from?

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Let’s first of all take one step back and clarify what this shoe is for and look at some simple specs.

The Trans Alps is a shoe that is intended to appeal to all with key buzz words like: Protection, Durability and Support. I agree, it does all these things with a huge tick. I still haven’t decided if the shoe is ‘neutral?’ It feels neutral, just neutral with support in a bullet proof casing. The Trans Alps has a full length ‘TrailShield’ to protect pretty much 100% from anything the trail can throw at you. In addition, a rubberized rock guard and reinforced toe and heel cap boosts protection to the max and with 6mm lugs on the outsole I had to start to wonder if I was looking at an approach shoe or a scrambling shoe and not a running shoe.

Ultimately, Montrail don’t try to sell or big up the Trans Alps as anything other than what is, the shoe does exactly what it says on the tin – a mountain running shoe that offers rigidity, support, aggressive traction while providing a smooth ride.

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The FluidFoam midsole was something that I loved on the FluidFlex FKT, especially the flex grooves which allowed me to run with a responsive and propulsive forefoot strike. In the Trans Alps that is all gone – yes the shoe is cushioned, it has 18mm at the rear and 10mm at the front (8mm drop) but the outsole and full length TrailShield removes any connection with the terrain leaving a flat and lifeless run, albeit protected! But this shoe is designed to protect and yes it does that with bells on. What I am getting at here is that if you require a mountain shoe and ultimate protection, this shoe does the job. If you want a trail shoe for some occasional aggressive trail and daily runs, this shoe is over engineered and too lifeless for that.

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The fit of the shoe is excellent with a padded tongue that is gusseted and sewn into the upper. If you read my shoe reviews regularly you already know I am a huge fan of this. In the Trans Alps it works well but not as well as in the FluidFlex FKT. The main reason for this is that the Trans Alps feels a ‘roomier’ shoe? I went for my normal UK9.5 but I would maybe like to try a UK9 for comparison, keep this in mind when purchasing or testing. The toe box has plenty of room allowing for good toe splay and/ or swelling. The heel box is Snug and secure.

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Drop at 8mm is perfect and completely appropriate for a shoe of this build. The drop allows for long days out and when you get a little tired or your form falters, the 8mm will work well and not punish you. The Trans Alps works exceptionally well when walking – I’d go as far to say that if you are a walker looking for something lighter and more ‘shoe’ like for mountain days out that may involve some jogging, this would be a good choice as an alternative to boots.

©iancorless.com_Montrail-06547The upper is simple, breathable and seamless. A real plus as this should almost certainly reduce the risk of getting blisters or rubbing from any seams. Reinforcement comes on the side of the uppers from thermoplastic strips which leads to the lace holes. Pull the laces tight and this along with the gusseted tongue holds the foot secure. The mesh is breathable and durable.

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The outsole has 6mm aggressive lugs which run the length of the shoe providing grip on a multitude of surfaces. Although aggressive, the grip is not great on mud or sloppy trail. It’s ok, at best adequate, but the Trans Alps is certainly not a shoe I would choose for regular running on this type of terrain. The Trans Alps excels in the mountains where rocks, scree, boulders and all sorts of obstacles and irregular objects can get in the way. But the shoe and sole is so inflexible it does contradict itself at times. It all comes down to compromise. At times I loved the rigidity as it offered confidence, at other times I wanted the shoe to flex more to allow me and my feet to reach more challenging places.

In conclusion, the Trans Alp is not a bad shoe if you use it for its intended use – tough mountain days either running, running and jogging, jogging/ walking or even just walking. Personally I feel it fits the latter options better. I spend many a long day in the mountains with a camera bag covering ground at a slower pace and I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Trans Alp for this use. As a run shoe, it lacks feel, responsiveness and excitement for me. It’s a shoe that you can turn to any day and it will do its job. A little like practical workwear, it will do the job but you are not excited to wear it. Having said all this, the Trans Alp will suit male and female runners who require a sturdy/ bullet proof shoe. It may well be that you are taller and heavier and a flimsy shoe just is ‘too’ flimsy for you and this where the Trans Alp has a place. Also, although not a shoe for a ‘racer,’ if you participating in a multi-day event on a mix of terrain, I am pretty sure the Trans Alp would be as solid on day 6, 7 or 8 as it was on day 1.

Finally, this shoe has lots of pluses – plush and secure fit, 8mm drop, cushioning, rigidity, stability, durability and if this criteria is high on your list, check it out. The Trans Alp is definitely not, responsive, light, fast with a connection for the ground or surfaces that you will run on.

Montrail website HERE