Taming the Dragon – 2017 Dragons Back Race Preview

Jim Mann – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Travelling from the North of Wales to the South via the ‘Dragons Back’ – the 2017 edition of the Berghaus Dragons Back Race looks set to have all the makings of a classic. A gigantic 315km route awaits the runners as they make the journey over multiple days. 

Day 1 in its own right is a tough day in the mountains as the best of Wales provides a stunning backdrop and stage setter for the race. In past editions, the opening day has proved too much for many… will 2017 be the same? It’s expected that 30% of those who start will not begin day 2 – a frightening statistic! 

Jim Mann, winner of the 2015 edition of the race has decided to return and defend his crown. After a tough 2016, Jim has recently returned to form after in ‘Winter Round’ record breaking run. Mann completed the Charlie Ramsay Round, the Paddy Buckley Round and the Bob Graham Round all within 1-month and set a new benchmark for the triple. 

British ultra-running pioneer Jez Bragg toed the line in 2015 but was forced to withdraw through illness, no doubt he will look to put the record straight in 2017. However, Cape Wrath 2016 champion Marcus Scotney will want to make sure he continues a winning streak of Ourea Events multi-day success with a strong performance.

Nickademus Hollon from the USA is well known in the ultra-world but may well fly under the radar of the UK based runners. Hollon was the youngest runner to complete the infamous Barkley and has placed 2nd at the Tor des Geants. He loves a challenge and although the UK mountains may well be new to him, we can anticipate a strong performance.

Alistair Hubbard and Neil Talbot may very well be the other prime contenders to take top honors on this journey through Wales. Hubbard has won the expert category on the Great Lakeland 3-Day – a great build up race to the Welsh multi-day adventure.

With the absence of Jasmin Paris, the ladies’ race is open but many are tipping Carol Morgan as a potential favorite. Her recent victory at The Spine is a standout result and it confirms that she can keep pushing even when tiredness and sleep deprivation are prevalent.

Sabrina Verjee is a regular Ourea Event competitor and participated in the 2015 Dragons Back Race where she placed 14th overall. It’s fair to say that Verjee has improved since then and she recently won the Great Lakeland 3-Day.

Italian Emanuela Marzotto came to running late in life and has made up for lost time with a sting of back-to-back performances in the world’s biggest ultras and multi-day races. Her experience in the Marathon des Sables was no doubt instrumental in her success in winning the 2016 Cape Wrath Ultra. Without doubt, she will have her hands full racing against Morgan and Varjee in Wales. 

A final nod goes to Canada’s Emily Compton who is a complete unknown on UK soil but she has accumulated a string of top-10 results dating back to 2012. Notable markers being 3rd at Vulcano Ultra Trail in 2013 and 5th at Yakima Skyline Rim 50k in 2016.

Action begins on May 20th when runners will arrive in Wales ahead of the May 21st start.

You can follow the daily action via this website in words and images and on Twitter – @talkultra and on Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

TRANSVULCANIA ULTRAMARATHON 2017 PREVIEW – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

The 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series kicked-off in April in China with Yading SkyRun – a 29km ‘SKY CLASSIC’ event that set a new benchmark in high altitude sport. Attention now turns to the iconic Transvulcania Ultramarathon, the first ‘Ultra’ race in the 2017 calendar.

Transvulcania and the island of La Palma has become arguably one of the most well-known races around the world after its inclusion in the SWS in 2012. The motto, Less Cloud, More Sky is personified by this point-to-point course that climbs from sea level all the way up to extended periods of running well above 2000m. The drop from Roques de Los Muchachos has gained a reputation as one of the toughest and most challenging in the world – 2426m in 18km. Tazacorte Port offers some recovery but the final 5km kick up to the finish line in Los Llanos is brutal and in past editions has been a decisive part of the race.

Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg and Ida Nilsson have shone the light for the ladies in recent years and for the men, Dakota Jones, Kilian Jornet and Luis Alberto Hernando have set the benchmark of how to cover this tough and challenging course in record times.

The 2017 edition of the race looks set to have all the makings of a classic with a stunning world-class field.

Luis Alberto Hernando will not defend his title this year leaving an opportunity for a new male champion. In the ladies’ race, Ida Nilsson will return and after showing incredible form in China at the Kora Ultra – she is without doubt the hot favourite for victory on the trails of the GR131.

The Men’s Race

The race for victory in the men’s category will be a terrifying one as many of the world’s best will go head-to-head.

Nicolas Martin from France placed 2nd in 2016 and excelled at Skyrunning is without doubt a hot favourite for victory.

Hayden Hawks a rising star from the USA who is setting a fast trail following in the footsteps of Walmsley and Miller. He will go out all guns blazing. He already has two victories over the 50km and 55km distance in 2016 and 2nd at Chuckanut 50km.

 

Pau Capell from Spain who is currently on a roll after victory at Transgrancanaria and 2nd at MIUT (Madeira Island Ultra Trail) will without doubt be a contender for the podium if not victory. He’s on fire at the moment!

UTMB reigning champion Ludovic Pommeret from France had a great 2016 with three victories, a 2nd, 3rd and 5th place in Maxi Race China, MSIG Lantau 50 and the IAU World Trail Champs. In 2017, he has only raced once, March, at the Trail du Ventoux and he placed 2nd.

Xavier Thevenard also from France who is the only runner to win all UTMB events – OCC, TCC, TDS and UTMB.  In March he placed 8th behind Pommeret’s 2nd at Trail du Ventoux but recently placed 3rd at MIUT behind Francois D’Haene and Pau Capell – maybe the form is coming?

Tom Owens from the UK is in fine form now after a stunning victory at The Coastal Challenge and in Costa Rica and 2nd at the ‘Three Peaks’ in the UK. He has raced in La Palma before and struggled with the heat, this year will be a different story.

Remigio Huaman from Perú recently raced at MDS and excelled with a top placing. He is new to Skyrunning but he laid some great foundations in 2016.

And finally, Hardrock 100 winner Jason Schlarb from the USA rounds out the top challengers for the podium places after a solid The Coastal Challenge earlier this year and a recent win at Zion 55km.

Dimitris Theodorakakos from Greece has also raced well in La Palma in the past and he will be a contender ahead of one of the strongest male fields this island has ever seen:

Diego Camacho,

Dmitry Mityaev,

Nuno Silva,

Roger Viñas,

Jan Bartas,

Fulvio Dapit,

Daniel Jung,

Daniel Aguirre,

Manuel Anguita,

Thomas Angeli,

Lamnbert Santelli,

Iván Ortiz,

Héctor Haines,

Francesc Sole,

David López Castán,

Davide Cheraz,

Santiago Obaya,

Ignacio Conde,

Antonio Manjón,

Martin Schedler,

Zdenek Kriz,

Peter Fankhauser,

Ernest Ausiro,

Santos Gabriel Rueda,

Alejandro Fraguela,

Basilio Labrador,

José Carlos Vera,

Francisco Javier Rodríguez,

Santiago García,

Pere Aurell,

Agustín Luján Maldonado,

Iván Cáceres,

Chico Santos,

Martial Collomb,

and Xavier Teixido.

 

The Ladies Race

Ida Nilsson from Sweden will be head and shoulders above the rest of the field if she shows anything of the form she had at the recent racing in China at the Yading Skyrunning Festival. In 2016, she won Transvulcania and The Rut in addition to the Endurance Challenge 50 in December.

Anne Lise Rousset from France had a very solid 2016 and took a stunning victory at High Trail Vanoise. Two 2nd’s at The Rut and Transvulcania most certainly make her a potential winner in 2017.

Andrea Huser from Switzerland is relentless in her racing calendar. This year she has already taken two victories and one second place at Ultra Trail Tai Mo Shan, MIUT and Transgrancanaria. She will without doubt be in contention for a top placing but for me, will lack the speed needed to win this race.

Hillary Allen from the USA had a solid year Skyrunning in 2016 with a string of podium places at The Rut, Ultra Pirineu, Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and Transvulcania. It’s fair to say she was tired at the end of the year and I believe that Transvulcania kicks-off her 2017 campaign.

 

Kristina Pattison also from the USA like Hillary Allen had a strong 2016 with a sting of top places typically between 4th and 6th.

Ragna Debats from Holland was 3rd at the IAU World Trail Champs in 2016 – a stand out performance. Just last weekend she placed 2nd in China at the Yading races. She will be in the mix for the top-5.

Mimmi Kotka from Sweden won the CCC in 2016 along with Gran Trail Courmayeur and Trail des Balcons d’Azur – I think she may well be a surprise package of the 2017 edition of Transvulcania.

Cassie Scallon from the USA has won three races in 2017 already – Gorge Waterfalls 50km. Nine Trails 35m and La Cuesta Ranch Trail Run. However, her victory at Bandera 100km in 2016 is her stand out performance. More importantly, her 16th placing at Festival de Templiers is maybe more relevant to Transvulcania.

Zuzana Urbancova from the Czech Republic placed 7th at Trofeo Kima and 8th at USM in 2016 – she is contender for the top-10 and maybe the top-5 if she has a good day!

Corrine Malcolm from the USA was 6th at The Rut in 2016 and a recent 2nd at the Yakima Skyline Rim 50km shows that 2017 form is coming.

Verónica Bravo from Chile has a great pedigree in adventure racing and has won The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica.

Ekaterina Mityaeva from Russia has slowly but surely made her presence felt in the Skyrunning world, her best result 4th at Ultra Pirineu.

Maïlys Drevon placed 2nd at Mont-Blanc 80km and heads up a string of other top-female contenders will be chasing the ladies above:

Eva María Moreda,

Raquel Martínez,

Sara Longoni,

María Yolanda Fernández,

Tracy Dean,

Natalia Román,

Noelia Camacho,

Ana Begoña González,

Elisabeth Margeirsdottir,

Manikala Rai,

Svetlana Buravova.

Action kicks-off in La Palma on Thursday with the Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer, the second race in the ‘new’ 2017 VERTICAL KILOMETER® WORLD CIRCUIT HERE

The main event of the weekend, the Transvulcania Ultramarathon starts on Saturday the 13th at 0600 hours. The route begins at Faro de Fuencaliente and continues through the “Gran Recorrido” trail GR 131, also known as ‘Ruta del Bastón’, until Puerto de Tazacorte. Connecting with the GR 130, Camino Real de la Costa, the route continues until the finish line located in Plaza de España – Los Llanos de Aridane.

*****

The “2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

The Chinese company, Migu Run, under the name of Migu Xempower, was the Series’ main sponsor in 2016.

The 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series features 22 races in 11 countries and will reward the champions in the various categories a € 60,000 end of season prize purse.

The Chinese company Migu Run, the creator and owner of an advanced online and offline exercise and health management platform, has been announced as the new long-term title sponsor of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series beginning in 2017.

The Series is structured in three categories, Sky Classic, Sky Extreme and Sky Ultra, counting 22 races in 11 countries stretching from April to October.

Episode 134 – Timothy Olson and Kate Driskell

Episode 134 of Talk Ultra brings you two interviews. Niandi Carmont talks with Kate Driskell who is about to take on an epic multi-day challenge and Ian talks with Timothy Olson about his return to the top of the podium. We have the news and Speedgoat is back to talk about winning again and his new film about the Appalachian Trail FKT.
00:05:50 INTERVIEW with KATE DRISKELL 
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NEWS
The Three Peaks, UK
Tom Owens had victory in his grasp but went of course in the latter stage opening the doorway for Murray Strain. Tom finished 2nd and Chris Holdsworth 3rd – 2:49, 2:53 and 2:54 the times.
Victoria Wilkinson won once again and set a new CR 3:09:19. Nichola Jackson and Charlotte Morgan placed 2nd and 3rd.
The Canyons 100k
Bob Shebest and Cat Bradley took top honours results HERE
Highland Flag Race 
Rob Sinclair, Andrew Turkey and Michael Jones placed 1, 2 and 3 in 6:41 (new course record) 7:17 and 7:29.
Nicola Adams Hendry won in 8:16 ahead of Morgan Windram and Rachel Newstead in 8:37 and 8:55.
Thames Path 100
Mari Maurland and Michael Stocks took respective female and male victories in 16:55 and 14:57.
Zane Grey 50
Karl Meltzer won again in 9:32 and Amber Reimondo took the ladies honours in 11:29. Results HERE
Finally, mountaineering legend Ueli Steck was killed whilst in the Himalayas. Reports are mixed on what exactly happened, however, Steck was on Nuptse and apparently fell several 1000 feet to his untimely death. Outr thoughts go out to his family and the climbing community.
01:43:30 INTERVIEW with TIMOTHY OLSON
UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Northern Territory

TRACK Outback Race | 520 kilometers | May 17, 2017 | website

Queensland

Glasshouse 50 | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2017 | website
Glasshouse 80 | 80 kilometers | May 14, 2017 | website

Victoria

100km | 100 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
60 km | 60 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

52 km | 52 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website
Trail de Lesse 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Canada

Alberta

Run for the Braggin’ Rights | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Run for the Braggin’ Rights – Relay | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

British Columbia

100K | 100 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50 Miles | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
The North Face Dirty Feet Kal Park 50 | 50 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Ontario

Seaton Trail 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Chile

Atacama Xtreme 100 Miles | 100 miles | May 19, 2017 | website
Atacama Xtreme 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 19, 2017 | website
Atacama Xtreme 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 19, 2017 | website

China

Trail de la Grande Muraille de Chine | 73 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website

Cyprus

Lionheart Run | 80 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Denmark

Hovedstaden

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm -100 Miles | 100 miles | May 05, 2017 | website
Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

France

Ain

La Promenade du Bûcheron | 70 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Drôme

Challenge du Val de Drôme | 153 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Les Aventuriers de la Drôme | 66 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Les Aventuriers du Bout de Drôme | 111 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Haute-Loire

50 km | 50 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website
80 km | 80 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Rhône

Ultra des Coursières | 102 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Var

12,5 km | 125 kilometers | May 14, 2017 | website

Yonne

The Trail 110 | 110 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
The Trail 63 | 65 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
The Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Yvelines

Trail des Cerfs – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2017 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Stromberg Extrem 54 KM | 54 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Juni | 108 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Hesse

Bilstein-Marathon BiMa 53+ | 53 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Greece

300 of Sparta | 378 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website
Euchidios Athlos 107.5 Km | 107 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Euchidios Hyper-Athlos 215 km | 215 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website
Heroes Ultra | 156 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Indonesia

100 km | 100 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website
60 km | 60 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website
Volcans de l’Extrême | 164 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website

Israel

Mountain to Valley Relay | 215 kilometers | May 10, 2017 | website

Italy

Lombardy

Laggo Maggiore Trail | 52 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Sardinia

Sardinia Trail | 90 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website

Kazakhstan

70 km | 70 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Kenya

TSAVOEKIDEN | 84 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
TSAVORIDE | 84 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Tsavorun | 84 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Korea

100K | 100 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website
50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Madagascar

Semi Trail des Ô Plateaux | 65 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website
Ultra Trail des Ô Plateaux | 130 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website

Malta

55 km | 55 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Martinique

Tchimbé Raid | 91 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website

Mauritius

Royal Raid 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Morocco

3 étapes | 77 kilometers | May 19, 2017 | website
Trans Atlas Marathon | 280 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website
Trans Atlas Marathon “CHALLENGE” | 120 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website

Netherlands

Drenthe

UltraRun van Gieten 50 kilometer | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Friesland

Pieter-ROG-pad Special Waddeneilanden | 450 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

New Zealand

Kauri Ultra | 70 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Nicaragua

100k | 100 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Philippines

Hardcore Hundred Miles | 100 miles | May 19, 2017 | website
Mayon 360º | 80 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Spain

Balearic Islands

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls | 185 kilometers | May 19, 2017 | website
Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls Costa Nord | 100 kilometers | May 19, 2017 | website

Basque Country

100 km | 100 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Canary Islands

Transvulcania Ultramaratón | 73 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Principality of Asturias

Ultra Trail Picos de Europa 55 km | 55 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Bielersee Ultra-Marathon | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Bielersee XXL 100 Meilen | 100 miles | May 12, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Argyll and Bute

Kintyre Way Ultra Run | 66 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

North Yorkshire

Hardmoors Ultra 110 | 110 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Perth and Kinross

110 Mile Ultra | 110 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
55 Mile Ultra | 55 miles | May 14, 2017 | website

Surrey

North Downs Way 50 | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website

Wiltshire

Marlborough Downs Challenge – 33 mile | 33 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Worcestershire

Malvern Hills 105 Mile Ultra | 105 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Malvern Hills 34 Mile Ultra | 34 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Malvern Hills 44 Mile Ultra | 44 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Malvern Hills 52 Mile Ultra | 53 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

USA

Alabama

Run for Kids Challenge 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

California

100 Miler | 100 miles | May 19, 2017 | website
200 Miler | 200 miles | May 18, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50M Run | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Armstrong Redwoods 50K | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
Golden Gate Relay | 191 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Gold Rush 50K | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Horseshoe Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
Miwok 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
PCT50 Trail Run | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Whoos in El Moro Race Spring Edition 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Colorado

Greenland Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
Quad Rock 50 | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website

Georgia

Cruel Jewel 100 | 100 miles | May 19, 2017 | website
Cruel Jewel 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | May 19, 2017 | website

Idaho

Priest Lake 50K Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Indiana

DWD Gnaw Bone 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
DWD Gnaw Bone 50M | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website

Kansas

Rock On! Lake Perry 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Maine

39.3 Mile Maine Coast Challenge | 39 miles | May 14, 2017 | website
Big A 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Massachusetts

43 Miler | 43 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
50 Miler | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Ragnar Relay Cape Cod | 186 miles | May 12, 2017 | website

Michigan

Nevada

Vegas Valley Voyage 3 Day Assisted | 80 miles | May 11, 2017 | website
Vegas Valley Voyage 6 Day Assisted | 150 miles | May 11, 2017 | website

New Jersey

50K | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2017 | website

New Mexico

Cactus to Cloud Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

New York

50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50 Mile | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Kids Fun Run | 1000 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

North Carolina

100 Mile | 100 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Ohio

50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Oregon

50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
McDonald Forest 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Pennsylvania

50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50-Mile | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
50 Mile Relay | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Dawn to Dusk to Dawn 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

South Carolina

Forest Freak 50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Knock on Wood 100 Mile | 100 miles | May 12, 2017 | website

Texas

50K | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
50k Ultra-marathon | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
50 Mile Ultra-marathon | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
50 Mile Ultra Relay | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Vermont

100 Miles | 100 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
200 Miles | 200 miles | May 11, 2017 | website
50 miles | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website

Virginia

100K | 100 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Washington

50 Miler | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Lost Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Wisconsin

Ice Age Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Ice Age Trail 50M | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
02:40:13
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KARL EGLOFF SETS NEW WORLD SPEED CLIMBING RECORD ON MOUNT ELBRUS AND WINS THE REDFOX ELBRUS SKYMARATHON, RUSSIA.

Kilimanjaro (2014) and Aconcagua (2015) speed climbing record holder, Karl Egloff, this past weekend set a new world record in Russia while running the RedFox Elbrus SkyMarathon.

Egloff bettered the previous record set by Vitaly Shkel from Russia by 18-minutes. The previous record of 4:38 now stands at 4-hours 20-minutes.

Starting at Azau Glade at an altitude of 2450m, the course goes up to 5642m where runners turn around and then re-trace back down to 2450m at Azau. Like the recent racing in China at the Yading Skyrunning Festival, the Elbrus race sets a new benchmark in Skyrunning. The 25km course has a lung and leg busting altitude gain of 3300m.

Now in its 8th year, thew Red Fox Elbrus race weekend has a series of races that personify the ethos of Skyrunning. In addition to a Vertical Kilometer and SkyMarathon race, the weekend also includes a ski and snowshoe race. Twenty nationalities and over 500 participants joined the action over an incredible weekend.

all images ©redfoxelbrus

With this third record, Karl gets one step closer to his objective of doing the 7 Summits records in speed climbing.

His current record for Kilimanjaro is 6:42 and Aconcagua is 11:52.

You can read about Karl Egloff HERE and HERE.

You can also listen to the podcast HERE.

Marathon des Sables 2017 Summary on IRUN4ULTRA

The 2017 Marathon des Sables concluded in April and here on IRUN4ULTRA is a summary of the daily action and a selection of images.

“It must be noted that the Marathon des Sables is so much more than elite runners going fast. The finish line is one full of stories, emotion, tears and laughter. The example of Louis from Luxembourg, Duncan Slater from the UK and so many more cannot go unnoticed.”

Go HERE to read the full post.

2017 IMAGE GALLERIES HERE

YADING SKYRUN 2017 RACE IMAGES and SUMMARY – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

Skyrunners Get High In China

The 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series kicked-off this weekend in China with Yading Skyrun – a 29km ‘SKY CLASSIC’ event that set a new benchmark in high altitude sport.

Yes, Skyrunner’s got high in China with a personification of racing in the sky – 4700m to be exact!

Staring in the centre of Yading’s Shangri-La the race started at 0700 with a gradual downhill to ease the legs and mind into a gruelling day amongst some of the finest trails, mountain and sky that China has to offer. After 3.5km, the race will hit the lowest point – 2860m! To place this in perspective, most races in Europe ‘top-out’ at 2800m! From here, the only way was up – passing a small village, the race route hugs a single-track that weaves through the mountains and reaches the race summit at 4700m. Buddhist prayer flags make an iconic and memorable end to hours of climbing and what follows is a fast descent all the way back to Chonggu Temple and the finish line.

Yading is blessed with immense natural beauty, including the three sacred peaks (Mount Chenrezig, Jampayang, and Chenadorje) which loom over the National Park at an altitude of over 6,000m. From the 5th Dalai Lama through Joseph Rock this area has been a source of spiritual inspiration.

Featuring 22 races in 11 countries, the Yading Skyrun was a great start for the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series. The pure ethos of racing in the sky was personified by this season opener. Skyrunning was grounded as a high-altitude sport in the early 90’s and now, some 25+ years later, Skyrunning reaches new heights – 4700m to be exact!

Yading, located in China’s Sichuan province provided a perfect arena for modern day running gladiators to battle amongst the incredible landscape and high-altitude that this area has to offer.

Megan Kimmel approaching the 4700m summit of the race.

The ladies race was all about 2016 Yading champion Megan Kimmel. She returned to China from her home in the USA and showed the competition a clean pair of heals in what was a strong and stand out performance that will most definitely have the completion looking at the calendar ahead and wondering how do we beat this outstanding performer.

“I loved China last-year when I raced here. The team at China Mountain Trails are incredible and the races they offer are unique. I live at altitude but here I get to race really high. Don’t underestimate the difficulty that this brings. I am very happy to kick-off my Skyrunning year with this victory.”

Ragna Debats finished 3rd in 2016 and this year moved up one place finishing 2nd ahead of Katrine Villumsen – their times 4:06:42 and 4:13:21 to Kimmel’s impressive 3:33:55.

Andy Wacker, here leading the race eventually finished 2nd.

The men’s race was somewhat of a nail-biter and nobody could have predicted that Bhim Gurung would repeat his 2016 victory. USA based Andy Wacker (who placed 3rd in the previous day’s VK) lead the race at a relentless pace. At one point, he had opened up a large gap on the chasers – Pascal Egli, Duo Ji and Bhim Gurung. However, at the highest point of the race at 4700m and with just over 5km’s to go – Gurung unleashed a relentless downhill that reeled in all the competition. Skyrunning may very well be about the uphill, but as so many races have shown, (the Dolomites SkyRace a great example) what goes up must come down and Gurung was without equal in China. He crossed the line in a new course record  3:06:51. Wacker held on for 2nd in 3:08:23 and Ji edged out Egli for 3rd in 3:08:49.

Unlike many races in the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series Yading was very unique due to the the high-altitude. It was noticeable amongst the elite athletes as they fought against oxygen debt. Lower down the field though, runners battled the conditions to achieve their own personal goals. China offered a very unique and awe-inspiring start to 2017 and for sure, China holds a bright future for new events with China Mountain Trails and Migu Run.

Attention now turns to the now iconic island of La Palma and the Transvulcania Ultramarathon which has become a flagship of the ‘SWS’ ever since the iconic 2012 edition – Less Cloud, More Sky! Follow the action from May 11th through to May 14th.

Also take place over the weekend in China:

The Yading VK started on May 1st starting at noon. Covering a distance of 7km the race had an elevation gain of 1072m – starting at 3992m and concluding at 5000m, a first for Skyrunning! Read the race report and view the images HERE.

Yading Kora Ultra winner, 敏 祁

The Yading Kora Ultra started alongside the Yading Skyrun and extended its race loop from the Chonggu Temple to take in the Kora pilgrimage route over 46km. The latter stages of the race were the final 5km’s of the ‘classic’ race from the 4700m summit all the way down the single-track  to the finish line at 3992m. With over 2,300m of elevation gain over the length of the course, and the finish line sitting at just over 4,000m, the race challenges beginners and elites alike. The race was fast and furious with Salomon Running International athlete Ida Nilsson taking an incredible victory in 6:05:02 and placing 6th overall. 妍星 马 placed 2nd in 7:52:30 and  Yasuko Nomura 3rd in 9:22:07. The men’s race was won by 2:16 marathon runner, 敏 祁 in 5:19:28. Francois d’Haene placed 2nd and 晶 梁 3rd, 5:28:07 and 5:48:13 respectively.

Yading Kora Ultra ladies winner, Ida Nilsson.

******

About the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

The “2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series”. The Chinese company, Migu Run, under the name of Migu Xempower, was the Series’ main sponsor in 2016.

The 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series features 22 races in 11 countries and will reward the champions in the various categories a € 60,000 end of season prize purse.

The Chinese company Migu Run, the creator and owner of an advanced online and offline exercise and health management platform, has been announced as the new long-term title sponsor of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series beginning in 2017.

The Series is structured in three categories, Sky Classic, Sky Extreme and Sky Ultra, counting 22 races in 11 countries stretching from April to October.

Yading is the highest race of the circuit reaching 4,664m altitude. The Yading Skyrun will be organised by China Mountain Trails (CMT), a subsidiary of Migu Run, entrusted with spearheading the trail and mountain running events.

Yading VK – Summary and Images

Starting at 3992m and concluding at 5000m, the Yading VK covers a distance of 7km (unusally long for the VK format) and a total elevation gain 1072m.  This is a first for Skyrunning! Alpine forests, prayer flags, a glacier lake and a high pass at 5000m.

Without doubt, this is a special VK! The altitude makes this race something quite unique and very different to other VK’s around the world. It’s one to add to your bucket list!

Starting at midday en-mass, the anticipated winning time of approximately 75-minutes was obliterated by Duo Ji (吉 多) a local Chinese runner – his time of 1:01:48 stunning on a course of this length and altitude.

Pascal Egli placed 2nd and Andy Wacker 3rd in a close fought battle, their times 1:04:08 and 1:05:09 respectively.

In the ladies race, Ida Nilsson produced a dominant performance crossing the line in 1:19:45 and she placed 6th overall. Silke Bender and Angela Flynn placed 2nd and 3rd.

Full results here

The Market – Morocco

“To visit Morocco is still like turning the pages of some illuminated Persian manuscript all embroidered with bright shapes and subtle lines.”

– Edith Wharton, 1927

 

It’s about escape, my time in a place. Wandering and looking from within. The rich treasures a place holds. The people about daily life – I sneak in, capture a moment and take it away trapped for ever for others to see.

“… I wish I could tell you the wonder of the souks and marketplaces; the brilliant overflowing of spices, olives, fabrics; the witchcraft stalls; the fishmongers; the piles of mint and thyme scenting the air . . . and even more than this is the wonder of its becoming familiar, the sufficiency and contentment in knowing the names of things, the words to tell the taxi drivers, the sense and reason behind the lives of Moroccans …”

– Melissa Manlove, ‘Letter from Morocco’, Travelers’ Tales

YADING SKYRUN 2017 PREVIEW – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

The “2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series” kicks-off this weekend in China with the Yading Skyrun.

It is going to be a weekend of high altitude action as the Yading races personify the simple ethos of running in the Sky! The Yading Skyrunning Festval takes in numerous 6000m peaks through three races – VK, SKY CLASSIC and the Yading Kora Ultra. It will be a weekend that encapsulates challenge and reward.

The Yading Skyrun will start at 0700 on May 2nd and will cover a distance of 29km and is the only race of the weekend in the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series. Staring in the centre of Yading’s Shangri-La the race will start with a gradual downhill. After 3.5km, the race will hit the lowest point in the race – 2860m! From here, the only way is up – passing a small village, the race route hugs a single-track. The summit at 4700m is covered with Buddhist prayer flags and what follows is a fast descent all the way back to Chonggu Temple.

The Yading VK starts the weekend on May 1st starting at noon. Covering a distance of 7km (unusally long for the VK format) the race will have an elevation gain of 1072m but starts at 3992m and concludes at 5000m. This is a first for Skyrunning! Alpine forests, prayer flags, a glacier lake and a high pass at 5000m concludes a lung and leg busting VK!

The Yading Kora Ultra also takes place at 0700 and takes in the Kora pilgrimage route over 46km.

This area of Yading is blessed with immense natural beauty, including the three sacred peaks (Mount Chenrezig, Jampayang, and Chenadorje) which loom over the National Park at an altitude of over 6,000m. From the 5th Dalai Lama through Joseph Rock this area has been a source of spiritual inspiration. With over 2,300m of elevation gain over the length of the course, and the finish line sitting at just over 4,000m, the race challenges beginners and elites alike.

           Tadei Pivk placed 2nd in the 2016 Yading Skyrun

The “2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

The Chinese company, Migu Run, under the name of Migu Xempower, was the Series’ main sponsor in 2016.

The 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series features 22 races in 11 countries and will reward the champions in the various categories a € 60,000 end of season prize purse.

The Chinese company Migu Run, the creator and owner of an advanced online and offline exercise and health management platform, has been announced as the new long-term title sponsor of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series beginning in 2017.

The Series is structured in three categories, Sky Classic, Sky Extreme and Sky Ultra, counting 22 races in 11 countries stretching from April to October.

Yading is the highest race of the circuit reaching 4,664m altitude. The Yading Skyrun will be organised by China Mountain Trails (CMT), a subsidiary of Migu Run, entrusted with spearheading the trail and mountain running events.

Note for 2017 the ‘new’ VERTICAL KILOMETER® WORLD CIRCUIT HERE

The rapidly expanding appeal of climbing 1,000 metres sky-high has prompted the creation of this circuit to showcase some of the best races across the world – for starters, sixteen races in eight countries.

The circuit is a Skyrunner® World Series spin-off, launching with double the number of races. They include the world’s shortest and fastest races, the first and only triple VK, some 20-year-old classics and some exciting new ones. With the aim of expanding in the future, the number of races may be increased throughout the season.

Iznik Ultra 2017 Race Summary and Images

The 2017 edition of the Iznik Ultra in Turkey took place just this last weekend. It was an unusually cold year with a constant chill in the air, especially for those runners starting at midnight undertaking the tough and challenging 140km distance. With five events on offer – 140km, 90km, 50km, 15km and a 5km run designed to engage the local community – Iznik Ultra weekend is very much a family experience.

Surrounded by eight countries, the Republic of Turkey is ideally located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and this therefore makes it a country of significant geographical importance. On arrival in Istanbul one is immediately aware of the countries Muslim population, literally a mosque is every two to three hundred meters apart. But despite recent news warning of danger on visiting Turkey – I see nothing of the threat. Relaxing in Istanbul, talking with the locals – everything to me appears normal and this is my fifth visit to this beautiful place.

It is what I love about the Iznik race, the ability to stopover in Istanbul and explore. The blue Mosque named because of its blue Ottoman tile interior dates back to 1609, the Fire Tower stands 85m tall on the skyline near the Grand Bazaar and was built in 1828 by Mahmud 11, the Hippodrome known better as Sultanahmet Square was built by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus in 203AD and served as a meeting place for politicians, for chariot races, wrestling, boxing and other athletic activities and this arena could hold some 100,000 spectators. It’s possible to have a history lesson on foot.

Iznik situated on the Lake Iznik in the province of Bursa is a short ferry boat and 1-hour drive from the bustling noise and colour of Istanbul.

Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman influence has left several monuments for the tourist. The City Walls at 14,520 ft in circumference are used in the 2017 edition as a key feature of the 140km race. Coming after just 700m, under the illumination of artificial light, it provides an impressive spectacle.

An ancient theater, the Yenisehir Gate, St Sophia Cathedral (Orhan Ghazi Mosque) and the Green Mosque (Yesil Camil) named after the green tiles that adorn it.

Using the Lake as a backdrop, the 140km, 90km and 50km Iznik Ultra races basically cover part or the whole of the Lake as the race route weaving in and out of the mountains that surround the lake travelling in an anti-clockwise direction.  It is in the last 60km’s of the 140km and 90km races and all of the 50km that includes tough climbs and quad breaking descents.

Turkey is not known for ultra running. Despite it’s geographical location, it’s history and the multi-cultural influences placed upon it, ultra is a sport for the few. But over the years the Iznik races have grown and that is reflected in the number of races on offer and the increased participation. This is all down to race director Caner Odabasoglu and his MCR Racesetter team.

Accommodating, friendly and warm, the Turkish people embrace a sport that they know little about and welcome the runners with open arms. The locals, who’s priority is working the land, finding food to put on the table in many ways look on, not quite understanding why people would run, for fun!

Predominately trail, less than 20% of the course is road and these sections are purely used as a transition from one section of trail to the next. A course with demanding terrain, stunning views and quiet, small and un-spoilt villages. Terrain underfoot at times is rocky, rutted, muddy and often slippery. The climbs are tough and demand pacing, particularly if running the longer event is a real skill. Especially with some new sections added in 2016 that predicated a lengthy 10km road section.

In the 140km event, Elenena Polyakova, an ever-present in Iznik and racing in Turkey won the ladies race with a strong performance in what turned out to be very tough conditions after 17 hours – her time 20:22. Kemal Kukul dominated the men’s race with a course record 16:08. Full 140km results here.

Hasan Ozturk had a convincing 20+ minute lead in the 90km to take victory in 9:06. Aysen Sola won the ladies race in 10:22 and placed 5th overall. Full 90km results here.

In the 50km, Mehmet Aydingor took top honours in 4:57 with Asli Stercelik winning the ladies race in 6:20. Full 50km results here.

Race Website HERE

Turkey enlightens a natural curiosity in any adventurer with the wonderful Istanbul and Iznik by contrast, relaxes the mind and body with a kicked back and simplistic view on modern day life.

For this looking to combine the two, Turkey and the Iznik Ultra provide a great opportunity.

RESULTS for the 2017 edition of races available HERE