The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 6

The 2019 The Coastal Challenge today came to an end on the stunning beaches of Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula.

Pere Aurell and Ida Nilsson are the champions after a masterclass of multi-day running. The duo ran amazing races and Ida obliterated the 2018 record of Ragna Debats and in the process set 4 female stage records and placed 2nd overall. Holly Page set two stage records also.

The 22km final day is a stunning day, starting and finishing on Bahia Drake, the loop is like a mini Coastal Challenge all compressed into one stage. Waterfalls, rainforest, plantations, dusty fire trail, water crossings, beaches, coves and the stunning Pacific as a backdrop as the runners make the way to the finish.

The dynamic of the day was the staggered start for the top-6 after the mass start at 0700.

They were released as follows:

6. Ragna Debats 07:01:00

5. Holly Page 07:03:00

4. Jorge Paniagua 07:06:00

3. Marcus Scotney 07:10:00

2. Ida Nillson 07:15:00

1. Pere Aurell 07:21:00

 

The race was on between Jorge and Marcus and in the early stages, Jorge opened a gap on the technical trail. However, as soon as the trail became more runnable, Marcus unleashed his natural fast pace and secured his 3rd overall on GC.

After a tough stage 5, Pere was keen to make sure he won the 2019 TCC and by the waterfall, he had caught Ida for the 6-minute time gap. He then ran to the line and secured his victory ahead of the incredible Ida, who placed 2nd overall and dominated the women’s race.

Ida won 4-stage CR bonus’ worth $250 each and $2500 for a new CR – That is $3500 for her week in Costa Rica.

Holly Page was the first to cross the line holding off the top-5 runners and catching all those before her – in the process she set a new stage CR and in addition to her female CR on stage 4, she netted $500. On timing, Pere was the stage winner just missing Tom Evans 2018 stage-6 record. Marcus was 2nd and Holly 3rd.

The finish-line was full of emotion as an epic journey has come to an end. The 2019 TCC will go down in history for the incredible performances of all the runners, but the truly inspiring story his how the top-3 women placed in the top-6 overall, with Ida 2nd on the podium – truly epic!

For now though, it’s all about Pere and Ida celebrating victory. This evening, the awards will take place on the beach with a roaring camp fire. 2020 will see the 16th edition of the race and I am sure we can expect another spectacular race.

PURA VIDA

Stage Results:

  1. Pere Aurell 2:00:00
  2. Marcus Scotney 2:06:32
  3. Holly Page 2:07:04
  4. Ida Nilsson 2:08:12
  5. Sebastian Jones 2:13:55

Overall standings, male/ female after 6-stages:

  1. Pere Aurell 23:10:23
  2. Marcus Scotney 24:01:03
  3. Jorge Paniagua 24:17:21
  1. Ida Nilsson 23:36:03
  2. Holly Page 24:50:38
  3. Ragna Debats 26:16:06

General Classification:

  1. Pere Aurell 23:10:23
  2. Ida Nilsen 23:36:03
  3. Marcus Scotney 24:01:03

Full results at www.webscorer.com

Follow the action as the race unfolds #TCC2018

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The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 5

It was the longest day of the 2018 The Coastal Challenge and what a day! At 49km, it was only 2km more than day 3 but coming at this stage in the race, it is always a tough one.

 Runners departed camp via bus for a short bus ride to the Sierpe river and then a ferry across to the other side with the arrival of daylight. At 6:15am, they were released.

Much of todays race is very runnable on wide gravel roads and much of that chat pre-stage was that it was ideal for Ida and Marcus. It’s great if you can run, but for many it’s a tough day. Technical forest sections break up the distance and then at 2/3rd of the race covered, the runners turn right on a loop around the peninsula, running through forest trails before finally dropping to the beach and taking a small boat from one side to the other. Once across the estuary, it is 9km’s to the line with the final sections on the beach to the stunning Drake Bay, a Unesco Heritage Site

It was a day of drama, with the main podium contenders all running close together to checkpoint. Notably, Jorge was running side-by-side with Pere at the head of the race. Ida chased and then Marcus. Just before the right turn for the loop around the peninsula, Pere made his move and pulled away from Jorge.

Behind, Ida chased and Marcus was looking strong and gaining time.

Holly Page was some way back but looking relaxed and comfortable in the intense heat.

At the peninsula. Pere was first in the boat and crossed with no sign of any other runners. Jorge and Ida arrived together and shared a boat. Minutes later, Marcus arrived. It was all going to come down to the final 9-km’s!

What happened next, could not have been predicted. Pere struggled with exhaustion, the heat and sickness from a restless night before. He was reduced to a walk. Ida on the other hand went from strength-to-strength.

Ida left Jorge, pursued Pere, passed him and once again won the stage outright obliterating the previous female stage CR set by Ester Alves by almost 45-minutes – it was an incredible performance.

Marcus bided his time. Closed on Jorge and the duo fought an epic battle to the line. Marcus was 2nd just over 30-seconds ahead of the Costa Rican runner.

Pere finally arrived 20-minutes after Ida – he looked broken!

With the final stage tomorrow, an epic battle will unfold between Jorge and Marcus for the final podium spot on GC. Also, Pere and Ida have a potential fight. Pere has a lead of 17-minutes, one would normally say that is more than enough. However, after today, anything can happen…!

Holly Page finished 2nd woman and Ragna Debats lost time in the closing miles due to a navigation error, however, she did finish 3rd on the stage.

Tomorrow’s stage is a loop of Drake Bay – it’s a stunning day that manages to encompass all the previous 5 days in one loop. The top 6-runners will depart after the main group.

The starting times will be:

Mass start 07:30:00

6. Ragna Debats 07:31:00

5. Holly Page 07:33:00

4. Jorge Paniagua 07:36:00

3. Marcus Scotney 07:40:00

2. Ida Nilsson 07:45:00

1. Pere Aurell 07:51:00

Overall standings, male/ female after 5-stages:

  1. Pere Aurell 21:10:22
  2. Marcus Scotney 21:54:30
  3. Jorge Paniagua 22:00:49
  1. Ida Nilsson 21:27:51
  2. Holly Page 22:43:34
  3. Ragna Debats 23:54:00

General Classification:

  1. Pere Aurell 21:10:23
  2. Ida Nilsson 21:27:51
  3. Marcus Scotney 21:54:30

Full results at www.webscorer.com

Follow the action as the race unfolds #TCC2018

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The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 4

Day 4 from Coronado to Palma Sur is a unique day – starting at sea level, the route climbs to just under 1000m in 10km and then stays high with a rollercoaster of hills dropping to just over 600m at 25km and then climbing again to 900m at 30km. From here, the runners drop like stones, all the way to the finish line in Palma Sur with 37.1km covered.

Pere Aurell once again showed incredible strength and recovery powers. From the start he pulled away from the competition and powered all the way to the line for another stage victory and a securing of his overall GC classification.

Behind Pere, the day started pretty much as one would have expected with Ida Nilsson, Jorge Paniagua, Marcus Scotney and Holly Page all following and all within seconds of each other at CP1. It was clear here, that Ragna Debats, the 2018 champion and course record holder was not having a good day. She trailed the front of the race and complained of sore legs.

As the miles passed, Jorge and Holly ran strong races. The duo pushed at the front and at the line, Jorge had managed to pull away a 5-minute gap on the British runner who won the stage for the women’s category and broke Ragna’s 2018 stage CR – the women’s race this year is proving spectacular.

Ida finished 2nd woman and 4th on the stage just 3-minutes behind Holly – she is way ahead in the overall women’s ranking and now 2nd overall on GC after Marcus had a bad day!

Stage 4 proved to be a tough day both for Ragna and Marcus. Ragna complained of tired legs and ran to the line trying to conserve energy for the two days ahead. Marcus though was trying to hold on the 2nd overall – a bad nights sleep and some stomach issues unfortunately impacted on him greatly and he lost far too much time allowing Ida to move to 2nd overall on GC. Marcus is now 3rd with Jorge less than 6-minutes behind. The fight for the podium is still on!

Tomorrow’s stage is 49km from Sierpe to Drake Bay (it is the longest stage of the race) and the early stages are very runnable – this will play into the hands of Ida and Marcus – will they have the strength?

  1. Pere Aurell 4:13:25
  2. Jorge Paniagua 4:20:51
  3. Jose Fabio Madrigal 4:50:29 
  1. Holly Page 4:25:04 (3rd on stage)
  2. Ida Nilsson 4:28:42 (4th on stage)
  3. Ragna Debats 4:55:09 (6th on stage)

General Classification:

  1. Pere Aurell 16:04:50
  2. Ida Nilsen 16:42:31
  3. Marcus Scotney 17:07:24

Full results at www.webscorer.com

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The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 3

Day 3 of the 2019 kicked off at 0530 this morning and what lay ahead was a tough and challenging day of hills, technical trail, waterfalls, long dusty and stony roads and relentless beach – all intensified by Costa Rican heat and humidity.

The early trails leaving Dominical Beach take the runners into 10km’s of technical river bed. It’s all rock-hopping and slip-sliding away on the wet and greasy surface. 

Nuayaca Waterfall is no doubt the highlight of the day, if not the race. The runners arrive down a small trail and the cascade greets them. They pass through and climb up a winding trail. From here on in, the terrain varies from rainforest, dusty access roads and technical trail before the beach arrives. Now the sun is high, the heat intense and it punished the runners mile after mile. A small dense rainforest is a prelude to a final section of road that leads to the finish.

Now, the heat is intense and the runners are sandwich pressed between sand and sky.

It’s a brutal day.

Pere Aurell dictated the early pace over the opening technical miles, his skyrunning background a real bonus. He pushed and pushed the pace and he opened up a considerable gap by the time of waterfall. This gap continued throughout the day until the final road section took its toll – reduced to a walk at time, Pere still finished the day first overall and first on general classification. 

Jorge Paniagua was a key chaser today pulling away from Marcus Scotney. In the early-stages. Marcus didn’t look good and at the waterfall was a long way back behind the lead men and women. Post-race he complained of a damaged toe.

However, as the stage progressed and the trail became more runnable, Marcus clawed back time in in the final 6km he caught Jorge and managed to take 6-minutes from him. It was an incredible closing run.

The story of the day was the women’s race. Early on, Ida Nilsson and Ragna Debats traded blows matching each other, stride-for-stride. Pursued by Holly Page, the top-3 ladies were in for a real battle.

Ida made he move and slowly pursued the front of the race and increasingly opened a gap on Ragna. On the flat beach section, Ida lengthened her stride and does what she does best – run fast! She was now 2nd overall on the stage having caught and passed all the male runners ahead of her, with the exclusion of Pere. At the line, once again, she smashed the 2018 stage course record set by Ragna and earned herself another $250 CR stage bonus. Ida’s run in the 2019 TCC is incredible!

Ragna ran a solid race for 2nd but in the closing miles, Holly put an effort in and closed the margin to just 90-seconds.

With three stages complete, the general classification is interesting with Pere in a strong lead. Marcus is 2nd but notably, Ida is 3rd and just a handful of minutes behind. The fight for overall podium places is going to be an epic one.

  1. Pere Aurell 5:10:55
  2. Marcus Scotney 5:32:10
  3. Jorge Paniagua 5:38:51

 

  1. Ida Nilsson 5:20:27 (2nd on stage)
  2. Ragna Debats 5:31:20 (3rd on stage)
  3. Holly Page 5:32:50 (5th on stage)

 

Full Results HERE

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The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 2

It was a an 0400 wake up call this morning and an 0530 start. It may sound super early but believe me, the runners weren’t complaining! The advantages of an early start are simple, it gives the runners a good 2-3 hours before the heat starts to take its toll. Most had been in bed before 8pm and had maximised the time available to sleep and recover after a tough first day.

Stage 2 kicks off with a tough 39km climb and Pere Aurell was in his element as he climbed away from the rest of the field. Local runners Jorge Paniagua and Maikol Cruz chased looking really confident on the technical trail and Marcus Scotney pursued. It was early in the day for a fast pace and a long way to go, anything could happen!

Ida Nilsson today still looked incredibly strong and ran in 5th overall chased by Ragna Debats and Holly Page. Ragna looked more calm and relaxed than on day-1 and Holly complained of not feeling great.

Pere dictated the pace for the men, pushing and pushing. Could he hold on?

Behind, Marcus eventually caught the Costa Rican duo and pushed ahead confident in knowing he had gained a good chunk of time on day-1. He was now the virtual TCC 2019 leader on the road.

The course rolled up and down with a series of hard, stony and dusty access roads that connected sections of rainforest. At 16km another high point was reached, just over 700m and then it was all pretty much downhill before reading the beaches of Dominical and a flat but hot run to the finish.

Pere arrived first still looking strong and it was over 5-minutes later that Marcus arrived. The duo stayed that way all the way to the line. Looks like we may be in for an exciting battle for the overall lead in the coming days. Jorge managed to pull away from Maikol and at the line had gained an 8-minute gap.

Ida continued her dominance and once again broke the stage course record which was set by Ragna in the 2018 edition. Her run provided her a 5th place overall on the stage. Ragna finished 2nd looking more relaxed and confident but she still lost over 10-minutes to the Salomon runner. Holly finished 3rd and confirmed over the 2nd half of the stage she had felt better.

Tomorrow’s stage and 47.4km is a tough one that runs from Dominical Beach to Bahia Ballena.

Stage Results:

  1. Pere Aurell 3:47:28
  2. Marcus Scotney 3:53:30
  3. Jorge Paniagua 4:00:12

 

  1. Ida Nilsson 4:08:46 (5th on stage)
  2. Ragna Debats 4:19:13
  3. Holly Page 4:27:44

Full stage results HERE

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The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 1

It was a hot day, a seriously hot day!

Leaving San Jose at 0430, runners eventually arrived at Quepos and transferred to the beach for a 0900 start. It’s tough starting so late in the morning, particularly on the first day when there is no time to adapt. However, although temperatures were high, humidity seemed lower than in 2018.

The early flat miles ticked away and it was Marcus Scotney and Pere Aurell who had a short lead over Ida Nilsson who was matching them stride-for-stride and running just 2-3m meters behind. 

Pursuing was Jorge Paniagua for the men and for the women, Ragna Debats, the 2018 champion had a slender lead over Holly Page.

A dense section of rainforest and then some fast trails to cp2  saw Marcus Scotney move ahead Ida and Pere. But Ida was running to strong and went alone to hunt Marcus down. Behind, Ragna was having a tough day in the heat and Holly moved into 2nd women.

Ida for the women was in a race of her own and finally caught Marcus at the final summit. The duo dropped to the final river crossing and it was here, Ida moved ahead and clinched the overall stage victory less than 30-seconds ahead of Marcus. Her time obliterated Anna Frosts’ stage course record by 30-minutes – incredible!

Pere Aurell was the 3rd across the line and then remarkably, Holly Page was 4th, also well under Anna Frosts’ old CR. Jorge Paniagua rounded out the men’s podium and Ragna completed the women’s.

The 2019 TCC based on day 1 is going to be an epic race!

  1. Ida Nilsson 2 44 35
  2. Holly Page 3 04 33
  3. Ragna Debats 3 20 22

 

  1. Marcus Scotney 2 45 11
  2. Pere Aurell 2 53 00
  3. Jorge Paniagua 3 13 13

Full results at www.webscorer.com

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adidas Terrex Two Boa Shoe Review

I have used adidas shoes for many years both in road and trail versions, Adizero Adios were a personal favourite and recently I enjoyed using the Skychaser based on the laces and the excellent Continental outsole.

The Terrex range which is basically the outdoor/ trail running line of adidas really has some excellent products, so, when I was sent a pair of TERREX TWO BOA to test I was intrigued and interested.

The BOA® system (more info HERE) has been around many years. I actually first used the Boa fastening system on cycling shoes and to this day, I still do; it is my preferred method for fastening. Trail running, I used a pair of The North Face shoes way back in 2008 and recent years I have seen the system used in running packs, inov8-8 and Raidlight have used the fastening system in many products.

So, the BOA system for the new adidas really had me interested.

THE SHOE

First off, the Terrex Two Boa is a great looking shoe, it comes in several colour options, but the black/white version I have on test is my favorite. The BOA system sticks out on the side of the shoe with the very obvious fastening dial, it is the USP of the shoe. If you are new to BOA, the system works by one lace threaded through the shoe. Press the BOA button and you engage the ‘lock’ system, turn the dial and the lace pulls tight. The more you turn, the tighter the laces become. To release, you pull the BOA button, and this works like a quick-release and the lace immediately becomes lose.

The shoe is 5mm drop and cushioned with 19.5mm at the front and 24.5mm at the rear of EVA. The drop is a great compromise and sits in a nice middle ground, however, I wonder why adidas chose 5mm instead of the more obvious 4mm?

The upper is seamless mesh with TPU overlays and is extremely comfortable. The heel box is plush, comfortable and holds securely. The toe box is very wide – very wide! So, if you need wide shoes, the Terrex Two Boa should be on your list to check out, it is one of the widest shoes I have used.

The outsole is by the German company Continental™(more info HERE) who are famous for making car and cycling tires. The outsole is one of the stars of the adidas Terrex range – it has incredible grip in the dry and wet. In my opinion, it is one of the best outsoles. The Terrex Two Boa has a classic ‘trail’ outsole that is designed for trails without too much mud.

IN USE

As I said, the Terrex Two Boa is a great looking shoe. Slipping the shoe on you immediately feel how comfortable the upper is and how cushioned the shoe is. They feel like slippers. You also notice how wide the toe box is. Engaging the BOA system, I tightened the lace by turning the dial and when I felt I had the appropriate tension on my instep I stopped.

I always use any run shoe in my apartment for one day to get a feel of the shoe. My immediate thoughts on the Terrex Two Boa was comfy, cushioned and excellent grip. However, with the wide toe box, I found that I wanted to add more and more tension to the lace to hold my foot secure. But once tightened, the BOA system never comes lose. A great plus.

On my first run which is on a classic 8-mile loop that includes a little of everything – mud, trail, dry single-track, stones, rocks, climbs, descents and also 2-miles of road, I was impressed with the shoe. They are really comfortable. The cushioning provides a nice bounce without losing a feel for the ground below. The Continental™ grip is really great – it grips everything and on rocks it is superb, be they wet or dry. It is a reassuring outsole.

Midway through the run I decided that I didn’t have my laces tight enough. There were two reasons for this:

  1. When the trail was technical, and I was changing direction, my foot was moving inside the shoe. This is not good!
  2. The toe box is wide, and I think maybe a little too wide for me. But to compensate for such a wide toe box, I needed to make the laces tighter. To hold my foot secure.

So, I turned the dial, the laces tightened, and they immediately felt better. On all runs that followed, I made sure I really tightened my laces to the maximum. It made my runs so much more pleasurable.

As a trail shoe, the Terrex Two Boa worked exceptionally well. It handled everything on my normal trail/ test loop and the mile of road at the beginning and the end was extremely comfortable. It would be a great ‘jack of all trades’ shoe.

PROS and CONS

The USP of the shoe is the BOA system and this may well put some people off immediately – does it over complicate something that doesn’t need to be complicated? One thing is for sure, break a lace when out running or racing and you are screwed… But the laces rarely break, however, the chance it can happen may be enough for some.

I often like to adjust my laces (I have a high instep) so that I can have good tension at the bottom and the top of the lacing section, but a little lose towards the top. With BOA there is no option for this. Turn the dial and it tightens as one.

I personally found the toe box so wide I wanted to really have the laces tight. However, once really tight I enjoyed the shoes. If trails were rocky and technical, I would prefer to use a shoe that had a precision fit. The Terrex Two Boa just had too much room for me. BUT for long-distance trail runs, the shoe is really comfortable. The toe box allows their toes to splay and the cushioning provides great comfort.

The Continental™ grip is a winner but if you are going in mud, you need a more aggressive outsole.

CONCLUSION

There is a great deal to like in the Terrex Two Boa. It is a great ‘all-rounder’ and as such I can see this really appealing to runners who are transitions from road to trail and need something that can handle a little of everything. If you have wide feet, check these out, they may well be the shoe you have been looking for. The looks of the shoe are great, and the outsole is excellent, the upper comfortable and has no hot spots. The BOA system works really well and only you can decide if the system is something that you can use and be happy with. I personally love the system, it works really well, once tightened it doesn’t come loose and when you have finished a run, you just pull the dial and you can slip the shoes off. The downsides are the lack of ability to adjust tension at different points – they are either tight or loose. The other aspect, although I had no issues or worries, if the lace breaks, you need to send the shoes away to be fixed.

FINAL THOUGHT

The Terrex Two Boa for me is a great shoe that I can use for pretty much any run, be that road or trail. It’s a perfect travel shoe when you may be compromised on space and just need a shoe that can handle a little of everything. For those runners who don’t want to spend a great deal of money on shoes and have a specific shoe for trail, road, mountain and say sand for example, then the Terrex Two Boa would be a great option as a one shoe does all. The price is good too at £109 rrp – BUT, they are wide and for many runners, they may well be too wide?

What adidas say:

“Feel the flow and discover your potential on any terrain in these trail running shoes. Built with a breathable mesh upper, the shoes have a thick midsole cushioning that delivers long-range comfort for off-road training and competition. They feature a Boa® Closure System that offers unmatched adjustability and security to meet the demands of rigorous trail use. A grippy Continental™ Rubber outsole holds the trail in all conditions, wet or dry.”

Terrex shoe range HERE and HERE (female)

Terrex clothing range HERE and HERE (female)

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Sky Erciyes – Sky Ultra Trail 2018 – Images and Summary

The Erciyes Ultra Skytrail was a seriously tough and challenging 64km race with 3000m of vertical gain held under an incredible hot and sunny Turkish day. A high altitude race, it starts and concludes at 2200m. Over the 64km it reaches 2600m on two occasions but it rolls along repeatedly dropping and rising. With over 40km covered, the route drops to just over 1600m and then once again climbs back to 2600m over 10km – it is tough! HERE

The men’s race had a triple whammy of Kemal Kukul, Cevdet Alyilmaz and Mehmet Zahir Kul who ran within minutes of each other all day, they crossed the line in 8:38:12. In the ladies’ race it was Aylin Savaci Armador who took top honours in 11:50:52 ahead of Sevil Toker and Deniz Berke, their times 12:02 and 14:40.

60km results HERE

The 25km goes around high plateau, often higher than 2000mt. Occasionally, the trail runs over eroded lava rock surfaces, the event is a point-to-point and concludes at the ski centre. HERE

The event was a result repeat from the previous day’s VK (here) with Ahmet Arslan taking victory over Pau Capell. The duo ran close together in the early stages but Capell was feeling some soreness in his thigh and took and extended break to ease it off. Arslan pulled away and at the line the gap was 4-minutes, 2:13:37 and 2:17:06 – the duo obliterating the old course record. Serdar Unalan placed 3rd in 2:52:31 after Ahmet Bayram holding that position for most of the day.

As in the VK, Elena Polyakova once again took victory, her time 3:12:53 which was good enough for 7th overall. Bike Geckinli and Esther Koopmanschap were 2nd and 3rd.

25km results HERE

The 10km is trail run that takes places along the eastern hills of the Erciyes Volcano in Kayseri. The distance is about 12 km with an elavation loss of 830 m+. HERE

 

10km results HERE

Mount Erciyes is the highest mountain in Central Anatolia, the mountain has a radius of 18 km and covers and area of 1100 km2. The race hub for the weekend was the Ericyes Ski Resort, near the city of Kayseri. For many centuries Kayseri has been an important hub on the silk road. In ancient times the city was famous for the fast horses bred in her stables. throughout history it took different names under different kingdoms, consecutively, Mazaka in Tabal kingdom period, Eusebia during Capadyoccian Kingdom, Caeseria in Roman period and Kayseri in under Turkih reigns of Karamanoglu, Selçuk and Ottoman Kingdoms.

All images will be posted HERE should you wish to purchase

Ultra Skymarathon Madeira #USM2018 Race Summary and Images

The USM, Ultra Skymarathon Madeira – 55km of tough, challenging and mountain terrain to get over, the next race in the the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series.

The 2018 edition was arguably the greatest field ever assembled at the USM with a who’s who of elite mountain runners. Heading up the men’s field was last years winner, Jonathan Albon. For the ladies, it was difficult to pick a favourite byut gut instinct said that either Emelie Forsberg on the recent IAU World Trail Champion, Ragna Debats, was the favourite.

Weaving up and down mountains, around beaches, through dense undergrowth, up a riverbed and of course plenty of climbing and descending, the USM course is a unique one – It’s not an ordinary Skyrunning course!

Experienced runners start a little slower for this race and Jonathan Albon and Ragna Debats did just that, placing themselves away from the first three over the early sections of the course, there is a reason…

The USM has a brutal start, just 1km to warm up and then a climb of 1400m. Light rain followed the runners over the early miles until they broke through the cloud – on the other side, blue skies and a different day.

A section of via ferrata at around 6km was followed by a little descending and a final push for the highest point of the day. Dmitry Mityaev from Russia was the first to arrive no doubt feeling confident after a great result at Transvulcania recently. Marco De Gasperi and Franco Colle followed and then Andre Jonsson and Jon Albon.

Emelie Forsberg lead the ladies to the summit and Mira Rai pursued with Ragna Debats a little further back. Emelie was on a mission and looked strong, Mira unfortunately was suffering with stomach issues and eventually had to ease off opening the doorway for Ragna to pursue Emelie. Behind Hillary Gerardi, Ekaterina Mityaev, Nuria Picas and many others followed.

Descending over the summit, the cloud inversion was clearly visible – the landscape awe-inspiring. It was quite special to see so many mountains and trails all above the cloud.

Running the ridges and several more climbing sections, the front of the race didn’t really change until they returned back to the coast. Franco Colle had dropped and now the men’s race had Dmitry leading Marco and Jonathan in 3rd- they were all close though. A descent to the sea was followed by a steep short climb and then another descent which was followed by a section of riverbed littered with boulders. Albon made his move, the obstacle course world champion was in his element and he pulled away from the other two with ease. Marco looked in trouble though and eventually he would ease back out of the top 5. Andre Jonsson though was revived, he moved from 4th and eventually would take a great 2nd ahead of the Russian and then Pau Capell and Dani Jung placed 4th and 5th.

Emelie lead through the riverbed but Ragna was close. With a tough climb to go, it was anyones race. Behind, Nuria Picas had moved from way back into 3rd and looked very strong. The battle at the front was intense and eventually Ragna opened a 1-min gap to finish ahead of Emelie.  Nuria Picas would hold on for 3rd.

“USM is one of if not the hardest races out there, I loved it last year and I loved it this year.” said Albon. “It is a course made for me with my obstacle course racing background and it was nice to race today tactically and it alcove together!”

 

For Ragna, “Emelie pushed hard and really wanted the win, she never gave up trying and it was so tough to finally make a move. It is so pleasing to win against such incredible competition.”

RESULTS:

  1. Ragna Debats 6:46
  2. Emelie Forsberg 6:47
  3. Nuria Picas 6:58
  4. Hillary Gerardi 6:59
  5. Ekaterina Mityaeva 7:01

 

  1. Jonathan Albon 5:48
  2. Andre Jonsson 5:55
  3. Dmitry Mityaev 5:57
  4. Pau Capell 5:58
  5. Dani Jung 6:07

RACE IMAGES AVAILABLE HERE

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Transvulcania VK by Binter – 2018 Race Summary and Images

The island of La Palma today hosted the Winter Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® (VK) one of many VK’s in the 2018 Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit.

Just last weekend in Italy the Trentapassi Vertical, rising 1,000m above Italy’s Lake Iseo took place and many of the runners who participated followed up with the VK in La Palma.

To clarify, a VK is a uphill mountain race that climbs for 1,000m over a course that is less than 5 km in length. Certain courses on the circuit do obtain special dispensation – Transvulcania one case in point.

The route here in La Palma covers over 1200m of vertical gain over a distance of 7.6km and re-traces sections of the Ultramarathon course and concludes at the forest lookout tower at an altitude of 1600m and stunning views of the Aridane valley and the north east of the island.

From sea to sky, today in La Palma, the BBinter Transvulcania VK provided a wonderful showcase for the sport as runners departed from Tazacorte Puerto. However, the usual glorious skies of blue and intense sunshine were replaced with cloud, grey and at times, light rain.

The line-up for the VK was impressive with Stian Angermund, Pascal Egli, Aritz Egea and Ondrej Fejfar heading up a world-class field.

Pascal Egli dominated with a strong performance ahead of Stian Angermund-Vik and Rui Ueda. Their times 47:55, 48:03 and 48:08.

Christel Dewalle set blistering pace and set a new course record ahead of Laura Orgue and Zuzana Krchova. Their times 56:52, 57:19 and 1:01:13.

Attention now turns to the main event of the weekend, the Transvulcania Ultramarathon that starts in the early hours of the morning on Saturday at Fuencalienti lighthouse. You can read the race preview HERE.

Full set of race images available HERE