The 9 Dragons Ultra 2019

The 9 Dragons Ultra presented by HOKA ONE ONE is a challenging, multi-day trail and ultra-running event taking place on the 1st to the 3rd of February 2019, in Hong Kong.

The first race, starting at midnight on Saturday, consists of an 89km (50 mile) trail run with a an elevation gain of 5,070m. Sunday features an entirely different 50km course with a further 3,550m of elevation gain.

 250 places will be available to runners who hope to aim to complete both events over the weekend –The 9 Dragons 50/50– and a further 250 will compete in either the 50 Miler(82km) or 50km race.

 Elite runners, Julien Chorier from France, Magdalena Boulet flying in from the USA and Frncesca Canepa from Italy will trade blows with local talent that includes, Ben Duffus, John Ellis, Kazufumi Ose, Chor Kin Law, Jeremy Ritcey, Hisashi Kitamura and Jacky Leung. For the women, Corinne Williams, JCY Ho and Ruth Theresia will provide the competition at the from of the race.

History

A transliteration of the Chinese 九龍, gau lung, or “Nine Dragons”, Kowloon is named for the eight mountains which rear up behind the plateau—and one final dragon besides. 

Legend goes that Kowloon was named in the year 1278 by the boy Emperor Bing, of the Southern Song Dynasty. Noticing the eight hills of Kowloon (Kowloon Peak, Tung Shan, Tate’s Cairn, Temple Hill, Unicorn Ridge, Lion Rock, Beacon Hill, Crow’s Nest), the emperor was pleased to name them the “Eight Dragons”—but a quick-witted courtier pointed out that the emperor was a dragon himself, making it nine dragons.

What was Emperor Bing doing counting mountains at the southern tip of his empire? Well, he had nowhere else to go. For the whole of the 13th century the Mongols had swept down from the steppes, moving south through China and crushing the ruling Song Dynasty. First Genghis and then his grandson Kublai Khan stormed south, pushing the Song back, and back, and back.

By 1278, Emperor Bing’s older brother, 10-year-old Emperor Duanzong of Song, had been pushed out of Fujian province and fled south to Guangdong. After Duanzong died from an illness contracted while running from the Mongols, the throne passed to 7-year-old Emperor Bing. The child was crowned at Silvermine Bay, on Lantau Island.

But Bing’s reign was not to last. The Mongols pressed onwards and just one year after the emperor’s coronation, the Song Dynasty made its final stand against the invaders. At the naval Battle of Yamen on March 19, 1279, a Mongol navy of some 50 warships smashed the Song flotilla of more than 1,000 ships to pieces. There was nowhere left to run. Lu Xiufu, the emperor’s most loyal general and statesman, picked up the 8-year-old king and leaped into the sea, in search of an honorable death. Kublai Khan had unified China under his fist, and the sun dawned on the Yuan Dynasty. 

You can visit the “Terrace of the Song Kings,” in the Sung Wong Toi Garden park in Kowloon City. It’s home to a rock carving which commemorates the two-year reign of the Song kings in Hong Kong.

But the legacy of the last emperor of the Song doesn’t lie in a rock, but in those eight dragons: The boy emperor who named a city.

RACES

The 50-mile event will begin at 11:59pm on Friday 1st of February 2019 at the Po Leung Kuk Jockey Club Holiday Camp near Yuen Long and finish at Tai Po Tau Playground. The cutoff is at 19:00pm on Saturday 2nd February.

The 50 Mile course starts at the Po Leung Kuk Jockey Club Tai Tong Holiday Camp near Yuen Long, and finishes at Tai Po Tau Playground, an 8 minute walk to/from Tai Wo MTR (East Rail line). It crosses Kowloon and the New Territories in Hong Kong from West to East. The route uses a variety of trails including the MacLehose and Wilson trails, and has an accumulative vertical gain of 5,070m.

The 50km event will begin at 07:30am on Sunday 3rd February at Tai Po Tau Playground and finish at Shing Fung Studios. The cutoff will be at 20:00pm on the same day.

The 50km course starts at Tai Po Tau Playground, an 8 minute walk from Tai Wo MTR (East Rail line) in the New Territories and finishes at Shing Fung Studios in Kowloon, running from North to South. The route uses a variety of trail including the Wilson and MacLehose among others, and has an accumulative vertical of 3,550m.

50/50 

250 places will be available to runners who hope to aim to complete both the 50 Miler and 50km events over the weekend – The 9 Dragons 50/50.

50/50 – Men

  • Julien Chorier
  • Ben Duffus
  • John Ellis
  • Kazufumi Ose
  • Chor Kin Law
  • Jeremy Ritcey
  • Hisashi Kitamura
  • Jacky Leung

50/50 – Women

  • Magdalena Boulet
  • Corinne Williams
  • Francesca Canepa
  • JCY Ho
  • Ruth Theresia

The Long Run – How long should it be?

The Long Run

Recently I have produced several articles (links below) on planning your training, walking for ultra running, base training, speed work and now I ask the question, how long should the long run be?

Short distance runners often run over distance in training. Think about it, a 10km runner may run a long slow half marathon to build endurance. A half marathon runner may run a long and slow steady 16-miles in preparation for a fast race.

This all falls apart when we go to the marathon and beyond. How often have you heard in marathon training that the long run should be 21/22 miles or 3 hours and 30 minutes in preparation for a race.

Long runs and adapting for an endurance run such as an ultra comes from not one run but a combination of all runs. It’s about your accumulative run history. They all add up to make you an endurance machine.

First and foremost, consistency is key and long runs should be progressive and based on ability and experience. A long run should test you but not break you.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON RUNULTRA HERE

Make sure you catch up on other resources that will help you plan your 2016 season:

Planning a Running and Racing Year HERE

To Base Train or not To Base Train? HERE

Base Training HERE

We also have a series of articles on walking and climbing:

Training to Walk for Ultra, Trail and mountain Races HERE

Walking, Running and Climbing with Trekking Poles HERE

Running and Walking Efficiency when Climbing HERE

Speedgoat 50k 2014 Race Preview

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The Skyrunner® World Series continues at a pace just 2-weeks after the Skyrunning World Championships where Skyrunners® participated in all three classic disciplines of VK, SKY and ULTRA. Now, attention moves to Italy and the stunning town of Canazei and the amazing Dolomites for a VK and SKY race and to the USA for the ULTRA Speedgoat 50k.

Speedgoat, as the name would suggest was created by Mr Ultra himself, ‘Speedgoat Karl Meltzer. Over the years the event has increased in profile at a pace and this year, once again, sees a quality line up both in the male and female fields.

Located at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah the 50k weave a route around the mountains offering a tough and sometimes technical day out at altitude.

This is the 3rd edition of the race in the Skyrunner® World Series and it is now also included US Skyrunner® National Series.

Men

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday is returning after setting a course record last year with a time of 5:08. On paper, he has to be the favourite again this year. The combination of runnable terrain and 50k distance suits Sage’s strengths. He will likely go out hard and hold on… he did that last year and it worked, just!

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka was hot on Sage’s heels last year and with a couple of wins under his belt in 2014, the most recent at Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Italy, one has to think that Anton may provide a real battle this year (as last year). In reality, 50k is just way too short for Anton. In a recent interview, he told me he only starts to feel good and relaxed after 3-hours. So, expect him to be hovering somewhere in the top-10 early on and then move up.

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols may be a surprise on the Speedgoat course and after missing a couple of races with injury; he may well be chomping at the bit for a good run here. In Zegama, thinks didn’t go too well leaving a question mark, however, on this course, with less travel and some decent prep I can’t help but think we will see Alex mix it up. Earlier this year he won Red Hot 55km and set a CR at Greenland 50k. One to watch!

Ricky Gates has just done a stint of pacing for Kilian Jornet at Hardrock 100 and if nothing else, that must make him feel fired up for a great run at Speedgoat. Ricky ran a great race in 2012 when ‘Kilian Gate’ kicked off and the whole switchback debacle. What is important is the time Ricky ran, 5:18. That places him as definite contender for top-5 this year.

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Mike Wolfe looked awesome in Chamonix for the Skyrunning World Championship 80k event. Trading blows with eventual 2nd place runner, Francois D’Haene, it looked like ‘Wolfepaw’ was going to make the podium. However, in the latter stages the wheels came off and he placed 8th which for many would be a great result. However, the disappointment was clear leaving Mike with question marks. The questions soon disappeared at the sight of his newborn baby though… it’s all about perspective. Mike is a class act and he will be in the mix.

Luke Nelson placed 6th last year but he was well over 30-minutes back from Sage Canaday. Considering Luke’s record and his ability over longer races (recently won Bighorn 100) he has the technical skill set to run well at Speedgoat but may well lack the speed to keep up with the front of the race, so, top-5 would be a great result.

We can also expect to see Jorge Maravilla mixing it up and potentially Hal Koerner but it may be a little too short for Hal

Ladies

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Anna Frost won with Speedgoat with 6:26 in 2012 and as we all know had a prolonged period of injury and illness afterwards. Her return to form at Transvulcania La Palma and not only winning the race, but also setting a new CR was nothing less than miraculous. Frosty seems to have the ‘love’ for running back and as we all know, when you have that, the miles fly along. A recent 2nd to Emelie Forsberg at the Skyrunning World Championships shows the form is still primed and ready to be unleashed on the Speedgoat course. Like Ricky, Frosty must also feel inspired after pacing Kilian to that Hardrock record. But Frosty won’t have an easy ride…

Ellie Greenwood was missing for much of 2013 with injury but she is back and running strong. Ellie has the outright speed to win Speedgoat but may well lack some of the technical attributes of Frosty, so, that makes for an interesting battle. Ellie’s recent win at Comrades was incredible and I think we will see something special on this course.

©iancorless.com_IMG_8267Zegama14

Kasie Enman was flying at Zegama-Aizkorri and that was after a red-eye flight, no sleep and jet lagged. Powering up the climbs in the lead, we thought a surprise win was on the cards. It wasn’t to be, the fatigue hit in the latter stages and she placed 5th. Kasie is on the comeback trail after having a baby and I can’t help but think she will get stronger and stronger. Kasie’s performances at the Skyrunning World Championships were creditable but not reflective of her ability. Kasie’s 4th in the SKY race shows the improvements are coming and the podium at Speedgoat may be in her grasp.

Tina Lewis may well be a dark horse! Tina has been away from racing for sometime and although entered in several races in 2014, she was a no show. However, her daily exploits on Facebook are inspiring and if she can bring it all together on race day, I think we will see a potential top-5?

Other ladies to watch who will mix it up with the front:

Kerrie Bruxvoort, Ashley Arnold, Bethany Lewis, Joelle Vaught and of course so many more…

Skrunning HERE

Speedgoat 50k website HERE

SKYRUNNING 2014 Calendar Announced – SWS14 #SWS14

Kilian Jornet Trofeo Kima 2012 ©iancorless.com

Kilian Jornet Trofeo Kima 2012 ©iancorless.com

The ISF is pleased to announce the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series. Fifteen quality races, three disciplines, the same winning formula. The 2014 Series will offer participants benefits amounting to 1,000 race slots230 free entries125 accommodation slots and 50 travel slots.

Five Sky, five Ultra and five Vertical races are distributed across six nations in three continents.

The Sky Series comprises some of the best races in the history of the sport and welcomes back Zegama, Dolomites SkyRaceCourse de Sierre-Zinal celebrating its 41st year, Zermatt’s Matterhorn Ultraks launched this year and Limone Extreme tying up the Series.

Opening the season in May will be the almost legendary Transvulcania Ultramarathon.  In its third successful year on the Skyrunner® World Series, the event will be enhanced with a spectacular “sea to sky” Vertical Kilometer®, where contestants climb up the same rugged, steep descent of the long distance race.

The Ultra Series heads over to France for a repeat of the 65 km Ice-Trail Tarentaise over the snow-covered peaks above Val d’Isère.  A Vertical Kilometer® will also take place here.  From 1996 five editions were held on the imposing Face de Bellevarde, where the first world record was set.

Utah’s Speedgoat 50K returns on the Ultra Series followed by the biennial Kima Trophy.  Probably the most emblematic skyrunning event, it will celebrate its 20th anniversary with skyrunning legends Bruno Brunod and Fabio Meraldi.

Concluding the Ultra Series in September, we welcome new entry, The Rut 50K, in Montana’s appropriately named Big Sky resort. Organised by two American Ultra running icons, Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe, it’s set to make its mark on the international scene. Here, America’s first World Series’ Vertical Kilometer® will also take place in the rugged Montana mountains.

The Italian Dolomites, home of the 2013 European Championships, are again back on the calendar with a SkyRace® and Vertical Kilometer® double.

Italy’s incredibly spectacular and gruelling Limone Extreme SkyRace® and Vertical Kilometer® will again host the World Series final in October on Lake Garda.

462 kilometres across the three disciplines are set off by no less than 36,150 metres vertical climb with inclines between 16% and 50%.

The reward for this gruelling programme? Benefits amounting to US $ 200,000$ 120,000 cash prizes, $ 25,000 World Series final prizes and $ 55,000 worth of benefits.

The rewards don’t finish here however.  There’s more in store with the new Skyrunner® card.  Details will be revealed in January 2014.

2014 Skyrunner® World Series

Team partners are a growing success story with two partnership formulas to choose from. At least ten principal outdoor brands are involved. See here for further information for team entries in the World Series.

SKY
1. SPAIN: Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri – 42 km – Zegama – May 25
2. ITALY: Dolomites SkyRace® – 22 km – Canazei – July 20
3. SWITZERLAND: Course de Sierre-Zinal – 31 km – Valais – August 10
4. SWITZERLAND: Matterhorn Ultraks – 46 km -Zermatt – August 23
5. ITALY: Limone Extreme SkyRace® – 23 km – Limone sul Garda – October 12

ULTRA

1. SPAIN: Transvulcania Ultramarathon – 83 km, La Palma – May 10
2. FRANCE: Ice Trail Tarentaise – 65 km, Val d’Isère – July 11
3. USA: Speedgoat 50K, Snowbird, Utah – July 19
4. ITALY: Trofeo Kima – Aug 31
5. USA: The Rut 50K, Big Sky, Montana – September 14

VERTICAL
1. SPAIN: Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® – May 8
2. FRANCE: VK Face de Bellevarde, Val d’Isère – July 11
3. ITALY: Dolomites Vertical Kilometer®, Canazei – July 18
4. USA: Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer® – September 12
5. ITALY:  Vertical Grèste de la Mughéra, Limone sul Garda – October 10

*Legend

SKY – races more than 22 km and less than 50 km long with at least 1,300m positive vertical climb (SkyRace® and SkyMarathon®)
ULTRA – races over 50 km long that exceed the SkyMarathon® parameters (Ultra SkyMarathon®)
VERTICAL – races with 1,000m positive vertical climb not exceeding 5 km distance (Vertical Kilometer®)
 

Skyrunner®, SkyRace®, SkyMarathon®, Vertical Kilometer® are registered trademarks

Press Release ©ISF

Causeway Crossing Race Report

©copyright .iancorless.com._1100598

Sun broke the horizon just 30 or so minutes before the 0600 start of the 100k, the first of three events in the Lost Worlds Racing, Causeway Crossing series. It would be followed with a 50k starting at 1300 in the Quarry and a 25k starting at 1530 at the final turn point in the 100k event.

Races from all over the world lined up for the start of the second edition of the Lost Worlds Causeway Crossing. Representation came from Japan, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, UK and Ireland.

Starting in Waterfoot in the Glens of Antrim, the race passed through areas of local beauty such as Larry Bane quarryCarrick-A-Rede, the Moyle Way and the Causeway Coastline including the Giants Causeway.

As often happens, the longest event of the day always attracts the most attention, however, the 50k event certainly had some names to watch.

However, as the “3,2,1 and GO” was being uttered by race director, Tim Holmstrom, Jonny Steede flew off like a rabbit that had just been scared in headlights and really, that is the last that any runner saw of him all day… of course, they did get an opportunity to see him run back against them later in the day as he returned along the ‘Causeway’ to secure a very impressive win over his first 100k race. Jonny had recently won the Wicklow Way 51k and was a ‘hot tip’ going into this race. His time of 8:35:23 was very impressive.

Jonny Steede - copyright Ian Corless

Jonny Steede – copyright Ian Corless

Fast man, Dave James was over in Europe from the USA and just the weekend before Ireland had taken part in Lost Worlds Racing Tuscany event and was now on the start line for the 100k. It is worth pointing out that Dave is in Europe for several weeks. In just seven days he will be lining up against the best in the world at Transvulcania La Palma and then just two weeks later he will go to Zegama before attempting, in June,  the brutal Ronda del Cims 100m mountain race in Andorra. Dave also like to race on a regular basis, but with the proximity of Transvulcania he was never going to push too hard at the Causeway Crossing. He ran a very solid second place behind a dominant Jonny Steede but by the time he arrived at the 50k point he was approximately 40 mins in arrears of the fast man up front and decided to call it a day and prepare for the next race in just a week.

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Noel Brick took 2nd place after gaining some places in the latter stages of the race. When I saw him at the Giants Causeway he said he was tired and hurting but he would push on… push on he did crossing the line in 11:20:26 ahead of Ronald Peacock 11:58:10.

Local runner Hannah Shields is somewhat a legend in Irish running and she fulfilled her pre race ‘favourite’ billing by running a smart race despite some calf niggles. Always smiling, always chatting she powered her way through the 100k and not only did she win the ladies race convincingly in 12:13:33 but she also finished sixth overall.

Hannah Shields - copyright Ian Corless

Hannah Shields – copyright Ian Corless

Susanne Hastrup from Sweden took 2nd place in 14:10:27 and Amy Beggs (tbc – possibly Mette Kildermoes in 15:01:30) crossed the line in 15:01:30 for third making it a truly international podium.

The 50k race started at Larrybane Head Quarry (the halfway point for the 100k and finish line for all races). Runners headed out along the coast as a cold, strong wind blew in from the sea. Running around the Giants Causeway they turned at  Dunluce Castle before heading back to the finish line at Larrybane Head Quarry this time via the Giants Causeway.

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Hot tip and last minute entrant to the race was Scot, DR Andrew Murray. He pushed hard from the beginning of the race and gradually built an advantage over his rivals to finish in 3:55:54 in first place. He was very enthusiastic when I caught up with him, “How could you not enjoy this… it’s a beautiful coastline. I had a great day out with some great views”.

Martin Rea  and Shane Whitty had a fight for second place but it was the man from North Belfast (Martin) who pushed ahead in the latter stages to cross the line in 4:07:02 with just over three minutes lead over Shane who finished in 4:10:36 for third place.

Jolene Mellon from Ireland started the race as she meant to go on and dominated the 50k event from beginning to end. She crossed the line 4 mins ahead of Col Conway, finishing times 4:49:48 and 4:53:58 respectively. Stefani Jackenthal from the USA, before the race had said how excited she was to be running on this course, she is a journalist and sports writer, so the challenging course and a solid third place will almost certainly make a feature in an up and coming article, her time 5:07:54.

Stefani Jackenthal - copyright Ian Corless

Stefani Jackenthal – copyright Ian Corless

The final event of the day, the 25km started at the final turn point for the 100k and 50k races. Karen Alexander flew away from the start and never looked back… running up the climb out of the Giants Causway she made the gradient look easy. So easy that not only did she win the ladies race but the 25k race overall. Her finish time of 1:53:17 very impressive.

Karen Alexander - copyright Ian Corless

Karen Alexander – copyright Ian Corless

Patrick Thompson was the first male runner home in 2:00:33 taking a win in the category but ultimately was second place overall.  Chris Heaney had a sprint for the line and secured third place by just 2 seconds in 2:01:09 ahead of fellow American, Kalle Kraften. Laura O’Driscoll was second in the ladies race in 2:06:45 and Helena Dornan third in 2:13:31.

RESULTS

100k

  1. Jonny Steede 8:35:23
  2. Noel Brick 11:20:26
  3. Ronald Peacock 11:5810
  1. Hannah Shields 12:33:33
  2. Susanne Hastrup 14:10:27
  3. Amy Beggs 15:46:30 (tbc) possibly Mette Kildermoes in 15:01:30

50k

  1. Andrew Murray 3:55:54
  2. Martin Rea 4:07:02
  3. Shane Whitty 4:10:36
  1. Jolene Mellon 4:49:48
  2. Col Conway 4:53:58
  3. Stefani Jackenthal 5:07:54

25k

  1. Patrick Thompson 2:00:33
  2. Chris Heaney 2:01:09
  3. Kalle Kraften  2:01:11
  1. Karen Alexander 1:53:17
  2. Laura O’Driscoll 2:06:45
  3. Helena Dornan 2:13:31

A portfolio of RACE PHOTOGRAPHY is available to view HERE

Images will be available to purchase from May 8th using this LINK HERE

LINKS

  • Lost Worlds Racing – Here
  • The Causeway Crossing – Here

Thanks

To the Lost Worlds Racing staff, Ryan and Justin at NI Running and all the local hospitality and help.

A beautiful start to a day... - copyright Ian Corless

A beautiful start to a day… – copyright Ian Corless

Max King smashes ‘Way to Cool 50k’

‘Way to Cool’ is almost perfectly named as a way to cool Max King smashed the previous course record at the 24th running of the 50k event.

Iancorless_transvulcania_019

The Way to Cool 50k is traditionally the ‘start’ of the Northern Californian race calendar and as such is always a great indicator of form for the coming season.

Max King, previously interviewed on episode 23 on Talk Ultra (available HERE) continued his outstnding performances from 2012 and pulled away from strong competition and set a new CR of 3:08:50. This CR is over 9 mins clear of the previous record set by Uli Steidl (2003). Chris Vargo was 2nd over 10 mins back and Leor Pantilat took the last podium place.

In the ladies race Meghan Arbogast once again proved that age is not an issue and apparently overcame a 4-5 min deficit in the final 10k of the race and took the lead from Rory Bosio who finally finished 2nd and Jennifer Pfeifer finished 3rd. Meghan had a winning time of 4:06:46

Men
1. Max King, 3:08:50 (course record, old record 3:18:17 by Uli Steidl, 2003)
2. Chris Vargo  3:18:44
3. Leor Pantilat 3:21:51
4. Galen Burrell 3:26:01
5. Chris Eckman 3:33:31

Women
1. Meghan Arbogast 4:06:46
2. Rory Bosio 4:07:38
3. Jennifer Pfeifer 4:14:10
4. Danielle Windemann 4:17:46
5. Tera Dube 4:25:18

UROC – La Sportiva

La Sportiva

 

January 18th, Vail, CO and Boulder, CO– The Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) and La Sportiva have entered into a partnership for 2013.  By signing on as a major sponsor, La Sportiva will support the Ultra Race of Champions’ mission as The Ultra Running Championship and bring together the best of the best, on one course, on one day.  The Ultra Race of Champions is presented by Competitor Magazine.

uroc

The Ultra Race of Champions was recently selected as the 2013 Skyrunner® World Series Ultra Final: this is the first time that any Skyrunner® World Series Ultra Final has been held in the USA.  “It’s a match made in heaven” says J. Russell Gill III, UROC’s Event Director and CEO of Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports.  “With the Ultra Race of Champions as the Skyrunner® World Series Ultra Final, La Sportiva’s mountain heritage is a perfect fit for the race”.

ISF

“La Sportiva is headquartered in the Dolomites, Italy which is also where the International Skyrunning® Federation was born ” says Dr. Francesca Conte, Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports’ President and native of northern Italy.  “La Sportiva’s history and experience with mountain running and World championship events makes it the perfect partner for UROC”.

The race, which includes three events, the Ultra Race of Champions 100K, the Über Rock 50K and Cruxy Half Marathon, will take place in Vail, Colorado on September 28th, 2013.  The courses for all three events are perfectly suited for the La Sportiva brand, and the three distances will challenge runners of all backgrounds.  The Ultra Race of Champions course will start on Main Street in Breckenridge, Colorado and finish in Vail Village, crossing several high mountain passes.  The 50K and Half Marathon courses will take place on and around Vail Mountain.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the 2013 Ultra Race of Champions and Skyrunner® World Series Ultra Final!  We have a great history of working with Francesca and Gill and know they will put together a fantastic event.  This is going to generate excellent exposure for the elite field of athletes here in the States as they’re pitted against the toughest of the international competitors and is a huge success for the Mountain Running community as a whole” says Ian Achey, Events and Promotions Manager for La Sportiva.  La Sportiva will be an exhibitor at the Champions Village, the UROC Expo in Vail.

Royal Parks Ultra

The inaugural Royal Parks Ultra took place today on a sunny and warm day in the capital. London really is quite a beautiful place when the sun shines on it!

A misty cool morning gave away to blue skies and warm temperatures.

I was at the race with the very kind help and cooperation of Salomon who had two star athletes taking part;

 Dimitrios Theodorakakos and Silvia Serafinii

They both won! Silvia running so quickly that she was 4th overall and this may very well have been a top 3 had she not been of course multiple times through poor course marking and complacent marshalling. Dimitrios ran 3:25:19 and Silvia 3:39:15.

Dimitrios almost lost the race due to errors from course marking and marshalling…. from a comfortable lead he ended up being neck and neck with 2nd place Julian Rendell  and then pushed away again in the closing stages to secure victory!

Dimitrios said “the course markings are terrible and the marshals are too busy on phones… by the time they realised I was there it was too late… six times I went of course. The organisers seriously need to look at some significant improvements for next year!’

Silvia confirmed “I went off course so many times… it’s terrible! If I am running a ‘marked’ course I want it to be marked. Today was too stressful. It as all very well when running slower and you have the time to look around but if you are racing I just want to concentrate on speed and effort… not worrying if I am course”

Not great! Considering the ultra had a small field in comparison to the Half Marathon (12,000) the race had some great pluses. A wonderful course around the parks of London, post race massage, good food provisions post race and a great setting. If only they could get the course marking to that standard… in addition, each runner got a wooden medal; a nice touch!

This race has great potential and will be a perfect race for those venturing up from marathon distance. It includes road and easy trail and at 50k it is the perfect step up distance.

Here are images from the day.

Jury of Appeal ?

Events that arose in the recent Speedgoat 50k seem to have opened a can of worms! Is racing and applying race rules so difficult?

Let’s face it, in the ultra world on a course of say 100 miles, how will it ever be possible to ensure a runner abides by the rules?

At Speedgoat 50k confusion arose over the difference between ‘trail’ racing rules for the US and Skyrunning rules. Had RD Karl Meltzer stipulated a race rule pre race that corners ‘must not be cut’ then I guess we would have clearly had a DQ for Kilian. Under the circumstances Karl made, in my opinion, the best decision possible. End of story! Moving forward RD’s will learn from this and ensure that rules are clear before a race begins.

Taken from The Examiner
For this year’s 57th running of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon to be held the weekend of August 18-19, the Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc., board of directors has announced that a three-member jury of appeals will be in place to review and handle any race day issues affecting runners to include visible course cutting, unsportsmanlike conduct, and the awarding of prizes and prize money.

“Even though rules and regulations at the Pikes Peak events are very specific, there is always a chance that runners misinterpret them. We want to provide a forum whereby any course infractions can be reviewed and considered thoughtfully and thoroughly before a runner is disqualified from the event,” said Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc., President Ron Ilgen.

Although the inclusion of a jury of appeals is not groundbreaking, for instance the World Mountain Running Championships includes in their regulations a requirement that a jury of appeals be appointed, the majority of mountain and trail running events do not have an appointed jury.

USA Track & Field (USATF), the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States, has several published documents regarding meet personnel, referees, and jury of appeals for events they administer or sanction. Although mountain and trail running falls under the umbrella of long distance running, many of the events staged in the U.S. are not sanctioned by USATF and therefore operate with their own rules, regulations, or guidelines.

As more prize money is introduced into trail and mountain running events, there is more at stake than just a finisher medal.

As Ilgen states, “With athletes vying for a share of an increased prize purse this year, (it was announced last month that $54,000 is up for grabs at Pikes Peak), we want to insure that rules are adhered to and everyone in the race is competing on a level playing field.”

Just a few weeks ago, the Speedgoat 50K had an issue with a top runner reported to have cut the course. Without a jury in place, race director Karl Meltzer had to make a tough decision affecting the outcome of the race and the awarding of prize money. It was a ‘live and learn’ experience and something Meltzer doesn’t want to repeat in the future. He agreed that a referee in place at the event would have made the decision a lot easier.

Some of the items that could be addressed by the jury of appeals at the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon include visible course cutting – either noticed by race officials who will be stationed throughout the course, or by other athletes in the race. This constitutes grounds for disqualification. Issues on marathon day related to an athlete hampering another athlete’s progress on race day related to an uphill runner not yielding to the faster downhill runner – possible grounds for disqualification. Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated and is possible grounds for disqualification. Runners may take aid at specified aid stations, or take aid from supporters along the trail, or carry their own aid. However, taking oxygen prior to the completion of the race (even if medically necessary), is grounds for disqualification.

The Pikes Peak festivities kick off Thursday, August 16, at 1:00 p.m. with a press conference and reception for media and athletes. This event is open to the public and will be held at Manitou Springs City Hall. On Friday, August 17, the expo and packet pickup opens in Memorial Park in Manitou Springs at 9:00 a.m.

The Pikes Peak Ascent start time for the first wave of runners is 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 18, with the second wave heading up the mountain at 7:30 a.m.. The culminating event, the Pikes Peak Marathon, will start at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 19. Follow the Pikes Peak races as they unfold on Twitter @runpikespeak.

Speedgoat 50k 2012 – Ultra Skymarathon Series

Start training now….. cuz’ it’s gonna hurt!

What else would you expect from Speedgoat Karl Meltzer. In 1989, Karl moved to Utah and in his own words became a ‘ski bum’. But in 1990 he started to run and in 1996 he became an ultra runner. To date he has 55 race wins, 47 of them in ultras. He has won Hardrock 100 5 times, Wasatch 100 6 times, Massannutten 100 3 times and in addition to this he has run the Appalachian Trail, 2176 miles in 54 days, 21 hrs and 12 min and recently, in 2010, he did the Red Bull Human Express running from CA to St Joseph, MO a distance of 2064 miles in 40 days. So, he likes races that are tough, long or a combination of both.

Speedgoat 50k is no different. What it lacks in distance it makes up for in severity and vertical gain.

This race consists of 11,420′ of total climbing. With the whole race taking place above 7600′, with the majority above 9200′. Karl is proud when he says:

“it is the most technical race east and west of Snowbird Ski Resort.”

Rocky, Rooty, snowy, very steep hills, even steeper descents all over nasty, wet rocky terrain. If you like a fast 50k, this race is NOT for you. Needless to say, there is nothing easy about it. If you enjoy tough races, this race is for you.

photo by Jared Campbell

The 2012 edition of the Speedgoat 50k is now part of the new Skyrunning Ultra Skymarathon Series. The first race in the series was the 80km Transvulcania La Palma in the Canaries, won by Dakota Jones in the mens race and Anna Frost in the ladies race.

Ultra SkyMarathon® Series

*SPAIN:  TRANSVULCANIA ULTRA MARATHON – La Palma – May 12 
USA:  Speedgoat 50K – Snowbird, Utah – July 28
ITALY:  Trofeo Kima UltraSkyMarathon® – Valmasino, Sondrio – August 26
SPAIN:  Cavalls del Vent – Cadi-Moixeró Natural Park – Pyrenees – September 29
FRANCE:  La Course des Templiers – Millau, Grands Causses – October 28

Race Director – Speedgoat Karl Meltzer

The addition of Skyrunning to the Speedgoat 50K means that it’s profile for this year will be greatly increased. When I spoke to Karl, his excitement was palatable:

“I’m stoked, the race is gonna be sick. We have a stacked field and in the mens race it is almost impossible to predict who will triumph the field it is so competitive. Anton Krupicka is using this race as his ‘comeback’ after a long lay off, last years winner Nick Clark will toe the line and from Europe we have Thomas Lorblanchet from France, young star Philipp Reiter and of course the ‘king’ himself, Kilian Jornet from Spain. In the ladies race we have a great field but it’s less deep than the mens and providing that Frosty (Anna Frost) is fit and well she is the out and out favourite but Nikki Kimball will be hot on her heels”

Karl also added;

“This year we are proud to announce a $10,000 prize purse, with a few extra $1000 for incentive bonuses on the mountain. Top 3 runners will recieve the cash awards.”

So as Karl has pointed out this is a stacked field. But who will win the race and can the course record of 5:43:20 set by Kevin Shilling set in 2010 be taken down… certainly one would think that if the record is going to fall, this may very well be the year!

Predictions MEN:

Anton Krupicka has been racking up his training and made the decision not to race at Hardock and make sure that his recovery from injury was more controlled. Speedgoat 50k is his first race in 18 months and one has to assume that if he is turning up, he is turning up to race!

Anton Krupicka

Kilian Jornet missed Western States after a tragedy during one of his ‘Summits‘ attempts but returned to racing form with a Vertical K win at Mont Blanc and then a win in the Mont Blanc Marathon. He was then in Spain for the Kilian Classic and then this coming weekend, 20-22nd July he will be racing in Italy at the Skyrunning Dolomites race. The Speedgoat will certainly suit Kilian.

Kilian Jornet

Nick Clark had seemed a little despondent with his racing form in early 2012. He had expressed to me on several occasions that he just wan’t ‘firing’ on all cylinders. Particularly his race in Zegama made him re think. But re think he did and once again turned up at Western States and came away with a podium place. Nick has won the Speedgoat before and holds the third fastest time on the course at 5:46:38. You can never rule Nick out.

Nick Clark

Max King is not an ultra runner as such but he is a mountain runner and on paper is the fastest marathon runner at the race. Max also had a disappointing race at Zegama but the 50k distance and this course may very well play into his hands.

Max King

Joe Grant has previously run the Speedgoat race and holds one of the fastest top 10 times with 6:12:15 (almost half an hour slower than Nick) but in 2012 he has increased strength and has excellent form. However, Speedgoat falls just 2 weeks after Hardrock 100 and after a superb 2nd place at that super tough 100 miler one has to ask if Joe will have recovered to be able to ‘race’ at Speedgoat.

Jason Loutitt is a top mountain runner and has placed 2nd at the IAU Ultra Trail Championships, has won Hurt 100 and is quick over the marathon distance. All these elements make him a real contender for the Speedgoat title.

We said this field was stacked and from Europe we have Thomas Lorblanchet and Philipp Reiter, both of these runners raced at Transvulcania La Palma and placed well. Philipp in particular has won several races and most recently was victorious at the Salomon 4 Trails. The fifth fastest time ever recorded at Speedgoat was set by Erik Storheim with 6:08:42 in 2009 he has race experience and along with Nick Pedatella they may prove to be the dark horse outsiders.

Predictions LADIES:

Anna Frost is the out and out favourite after a stunning run at the Transvulcania La Palma, she not only obliterated the ladies record but made big inroads to the overall results and nearly creep into the top 10 overall. However, she has recently posted on her blog “Currently placing a question mark over this race with fatigued legs still keeping my two feet on the ground.” so we are unsure if she will race…

Frosty – Anna Frost

Nikki Kimball is back on form! No doubt. She showed some real emotion on the finish line of the Transvulcania La Palma with a stunning 3rd place and then pre Zegama with tired legs I asked her how she intended to race “I’m gonna kick ass!” and she did placing in the top 10. Her most recent top 5 at Western States in 18:31 is a further indication that she will be turning up at Speedgoat to run and race hard.

Nikki Kimball

Meghan Arbogast is fast! Certainly she is more suited to the flatter, fast courses and she excels on the road. She placed 10th lady at Western States in 19:45. Meghan will be up at the front of the ladies race and the shorter distance may well play into her speed hands!

A fight for the podium may very well come from Julie Bryan who has had two wins in 2012, admittedly over shorter terrain and more notably Kerrie Bruxvoort who has won 3 50k races; Golden Gate Dirty Thirty, Greenland Trail and Mesquite Canyon. My outsider would be Bethany Lewis.

 

photo by Jared Campbell

You can hear pre race chat and post race chat with race director, Karl Meltzer in a Meltzer Moment on Talk Ultra. Episode 14 will be released on Friday July 27th with pre race chat and episode 15 released on Friday August 10th will have analysis, results and hopefully some interviews from the race. Shows are available on iTunes and Libsyn

Race Website HERE

Skyrunning (ISF) HERE