The RUT 2015 Race Preview

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A stunning weekend of Skyrunning takes place this weekend at the aptly named ski resort, Big Sky in Montana.

Yes, it’s time to get in a RUT with the RUT series of races.

The Skyrunner® World Series 2015 continues at a pace with VK, SKY and ULTRA events taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.

As you can imagine, with 3 races on over, a high quality world-class field will come together in Montana to do battle in earth and sky.

Friday’s Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer® has Laura Orgue and new sensation, Rémi Bonnet heading up the ladies’ and male fields on what will provide an epic Skyrunning battle as runners climb 1000m as fast possible.

Laura will have strong competition from Oihana Kortazar, rising star Yngvild Pedersen and the ever-present and persistent Maite Maiora.

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For the men, Max King fresh from a podium place at Ultravasen will need all his whit’s about him to hold off fast running from Ricky Gates, Xavier and Ferran Teixido and David Magnani.

In the Sky race (25k) which will take place on Saturday, we have the ‘A” Team of ladies. Emelie Forsberg fresh from victory at the ground-breaking Salomon Glen Coe Skyline in the UK will be looking to hold off Hardrock 100 winner and recent Nolan’s 14 FKT record breaker, Anna ‘Frosty Frost.

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But it is no 2 lady race, in actual fact, this 25km race has one of the finest ladies’ fields ever assembled with Laura Orgue, Maite Maiora, Oihana Kortazar, Stevie Kremer, Kasie Enman, Megan Kimmel, Yngvild Pedersen and Eva Maria Moreda; wow! That is one seriously stacked ladies’ field and one that is heavily biased towards Salomon. They may very well take a 1,2,3 on the podium?

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Would you like to pick a winner?

Megan Kimmel has been on fire recently despite a minor blip at Matterhorn Ultraks, Stevie Kremer as ever is a strong contender for the podium and Laura Orgue can climb like demon. I think the overall victory may well potentially come from one of these ladies, but who know? It’s wide open and that is great. Expect dome real Skyrunning fireworks.

Tom Owens at Trofeo Kima

Tom Owens at Trofeo Kima

In the 25km men’s race, Tadei Pivk, Tom Owens, Joe Gray and Marco De Gasperi head up a quality field and they will be looking to fight off strong competition from Ferran Teixido, Xavier Texeido, Sintu Yives and Jessed Hernandez. I’m going to stick my neck out and hope that Brit and fell running exponent Tom Owens takes out the win but Tadei has been a strong and dominant force over the Sky distance in 2015 and Joe Gray has been on fire lately..

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Sunday proposes a 3000m+ Ultra over 50km’s and believe it or not, we may well see Anna Frost and Emelie Forsberg do the ‘double’ and follow up Saturday’s 25km event with the Ultra. Hence why I didn’t pick them for the podium. In all honesty, Frosty and Emelie are currently better suited to the 50km event and if I were them, I’d keep my powder dry on Saturday and save it for an all explosive firework in the 50km.

In 2014, Emelie won this event ahead of Kasie Enman and Frosty placed 3rd. I think we can anticipate a similar result but with Frosty moving up 1 place and the final podium place being taken by the Mont-Blanc 80k 3rd place, Hillary Allen. We obviously can expect Ashley Erba and Kristina Pattison to disagree with this and without doubt they will be looking to shake up the podium.

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The men’s race is a little wide open but Italian Franco Colle may well be the favourite after a strong result at Mont-Blanc 80km and his recent run at Tromso Skyrace. Timothy Parr will contest the podium as will Josh Arthur and Luke Nelson. Not sure if Seth Swanson is going to run but after 2nd at Western States and 4th at UTMB (just last weekend) who would put it past him rocking up and winning this one?

It’s a big weekend of running in Montana and if anyone ever asked the question, ‘is Skyrunning on the up in the USA?’ – the answer is a definite yes! 1800 runners in total will participate in the RUT’s weekend of activities and of course a winner could come from anywhere! Expect some shocks, some surprises and maybe we will see a new star of Skyrunning shine?

The VK, SKY and ULTRA races also appear in the Skyrunner® US Series and points will be available for this series handled and co-ordinated by Ian Sharman.

It’s going to be an amazing weekend of running.

You can follow the stories through words and images on this website, via Twitter @talkultra, on Instagram @iancorlessphotography and on Facebook at facebook.com/iancorlessphotography.

In addition, the official Skyrunning Facebook page (here) and Twitter @skyrunning_com will have regular updates and news.

*Note – Ricky Lightfoot, Dakota Jones, Michel Lanne and others were listed to run but as I understand it, they ill not start.

Marmot Dark Mountains 2015 – Provisional results and Images

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The heavens opened the day before the Marmot Dark Mountains and the promise of a snowy course disappeared with each rain drop.

In many respects it was a shame. Many, including me, was excited by the prospect of a night time race with cold chilly temperatures, a clear sky and a layer of the white stuff. However, it was not to be!

More importantly, the 2015 Marmot Dark Mountains took place with no rain… yes, no rain! Conditions were less than perfect though. The ground was sodden with the previous days torrential rain and melted snow and although the evening started relatively calm the wind increased hour-by-hour and by the early hours of the morning, the wind and wind chill was having an impact on everyone.

Taking place in the Howgills, runners started to race at 1900-hours with elite duo Alex Pilkington and Tim Higginbottom first off! Kim Collison and Adam Perry departed at1940-hours and it was immediately apparent that they were on a mission!. Completing the top trio, Steve Birkinshaw partnered with Jim Mann and they departed at 2000-hours chasing the other runners down.

What followed was a masterclass of navigation and speedy running from Collison and Perry. They blazed a trail around the Howgills and the ‘projected’ best case scenario finish time of 11-hours was blown out the fells when the finish line dibber confirmed a time of 8-hours and 34-minutes. Quite incredible.

Higginbottom and Pilkington had had some problems early on finding a control. Equally, Birkinshaw and Mann had also had a  problem. However, Birkinshaw said after the race that his form was just not up to running at the required pace. Hardly surprising after his Wainwrights record.

There were four linear courses that follow the standard Elite, A, B and C format of ordinary mountain marathons and two score format courses. Feedback post race was excellent and a dry night on the fells was extremely welcome.

Results below are provisional and will be confirmed by Ourea Events asap.

Elite

1st Kim Collison / Adam Perry 08:34:54

2nd Steve Birkinshaw / Jim Mann 10:41:46

A

1st and 1st Mix Catherine Litherland / Ross Litherland 09:49:54

2nd Andy Thompson / Rob Brown 10:10:35

3rd Chris Baynham-Hughes / Max Wainwright 10:51:05

1st Women and 4th Steph Jones / Sally Ozanne 11:26:51

1st and 1st Vet Bryan Stadden / Andy Creber 09:15:33

2nd and 2nd Vet Tim Martland / Jim Allen 09:51.35

3rd Jamie Rennie / David Rennie 10:02:02

C

1st Greg Weatherhead / Kevin Drew 07:55:21

2nd James Parratt / Neil Garrido 09:21:14

3rd and 1st Mix Emma Van Der Gucht / James Pawson 09:34:30

Long Score

1st David Adcock / Ben Turner 404 in 10:00:33

2nd and 1st Mix Digby Harris / Kirsty Hewitson 295 in 09:55:28

3rd and 1st Female Jo Gillyon / Catherine Evans

4th and 1st Vet Simon Caldwell / Carmen Elphick

Short Score

1st, 1st Mix, 1st Vet Jonathan Aylward / Kate Boobyer 235 in 07:38:37

2nd and 2nd Mix Scott Collier / Anne Edwards 235 in 07:42:15

3rd Darryl Watton and Andy Bell

The Howgill Fells are hills in Northern England between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. The fells are bounded by the River Lune to the north by upper reaches of the River Lune and to the east by the River Rawthey. The Howgill Fells include two Marilyns: The Calf – 2,218 ft (676 m) and Yarlside – 2,096 ft (639 m) and a number of smaller peaks, including five Hewitts. Parts of the southern Howgill Fells lie within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, though they have been within the modern county of Cumbria since the county boundary changes in 1974. They were originally shared by the West Riding of Yorkshire and WestmorlandThe name Howgill derives from the Old Norse word haugr meaning a hill or barrow, plus gil meaning a narrow valley. – wikepedia

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The Rut 2014 – Race Preview

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It only seems like weeks ago that I was writing a preview for the Skyrunner® World Series first ultra on La Palma: Transvulcania. Here I am, four races done and dusted and the final event looms. It has been quite a year and one that has seen some highs and lows for the runners. Going into the last event, it’s all to fight for both in the ladies and men’s races.

The Rut 50k organised by the Mike’s – Foote and Wolfe will no doubt be a great season closer. These guys have fully understood the needs of Skyrunning event and as such have provided an event that will test each and every runner.

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The top-5 men and top-4 ladies currently ranked in the Skyrunner® World Series will go head-to-head in Montana and we look set for an exciting battle. In addition, a plethora of top world talent will also toe the line amongst 500-entrants.

The current rankings have rising star, Manuel Merillas at the head followed by Tom Owens, Kilian Jornet, Sage Canaday and then Fulvio Dapit. For the ladies, Alessandra Carlini tops the table after completing 3-races in the series.

So who is going to win?

Well, I suppose we need to think about 2-scenarios, winning the race and winning the series. For the men, the series will arguably come down to a battle between Jornet and Canaday (I will go for Jornet) and for the ladies, Frost, Enman and Forsberg are the contenders (I will go with Forsberg). Alessandra Carlini of course could potentially win the race… but this is unlikely when one considers the depth.

 

MEN

©iancorless.comIMG_2670Canazei2014_kilianKilian Jornet, do I need to say anymore? He’s won everything other than 2nd at Transvulcania. KJ has set FKT’s, set course records, obliterated Hardrock 100, smashed Trofeo Kima and now The Rut is waiting! Win and Skyrunner® World Series champ.

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Sage Canaday ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday wants to beat Kilian badly, really bad. I don’t mean that in a nasty way, but Sage would love to beat the master of the mountains. Form looks good but I think Sage will fall into the Ellie Greenwood category and may just lack the extra technical skills needed to beat Kilian. Considering the competition, Sage is not guaranteed 2nd (or 1st) for that matter.

©iancorless.com-0271Kima2014_ Manuel Merillas is just getting better and better. He has been making us take a 2nd look on repeated occasions and his recent 2nd at Kima and closing within 1-minute of Kilian shows the talent is just waiting to be exploited. He will be in the mix for sure.

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Tom Owens nearly pulled out of Ice Trail Tarentaise because he thought he was around 15th – 20th. That is until I told him that all the other runners were not in his race… he finished 3rd. Phew! Prior to this, Tom ran a great Transvulcania and just a couple of weeks ago once again ran a great Kima. The Rut will suit Tom and he may just push Sage… podium material!

Adam Campbell is back. After his stunning Hardrock I can’t help but think Adam will mix it up in Montana. I see Tom, Sage and Adam having quite the battle for the podium. Of course, this assumes that Kilian is somewhere down the trail running for victory. If not, this race may well be wide open. Adam is fast, not as fast as Sage but arguably he is better on the technical stuff.

Alex Nichols had a great run at Speedgoat but the rest of his Skyrunning exploits have been below par, especially when one compares to 2013. On paper, The Rut should suit Alex; his combination of speed, endurance and climbing ability is a perfect mix for this course.

Ricky Gates is forever consistent and on his day can compete with the best. I’m not really sure of his current form? He forever seems to be on a road trip taking things relaxed, so, he may well be a surprise package.

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Fulvio Dapit is a true mountain runner who is always in the mix. He may not be a podium contender in this field but 4th or 5th are just waiting for him. Just 2-weeks ago Fulvio had a strong run at Kima. His form is good.

Paul Hamilton was 2nd at Speedgoat and I know little else? He was a surprise then and he may well be a surprise at The Rut?

Philipp Reiter is racing but is on his way back from injury. It almost certainly means he won’t have that extra 5-10% needed to be fighting up at the front but somewhere 5th – 10th is a distinct possibility.

Jason Delaney has speed. Will probably stick with Sage and will use his speed to take advantage of the fast sections.

Ones to watch:

Luke Nelson

Oscar Casal Mir

Marc Casal Mir

Galen Burrell

Greg Vollet

Catlow Shipeck

 

LADIES

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Emelie Forsberg has had a tough 2014. Falling at Transvulcania ruined that race. An injured hand from the fall impacted on Zegama and then things clicked with victories at Ice Trail Tarentaise and the 80km in Chamonix. Matterhorn Ultraks didn’t quite go to plan and although Emelie placed 2nd at Trofeo Kima, the race was an emotional rollercoaster after going off course for 1-hour. The emotion showed! For that reason, I see Emelie producing a dominant performance here in Montana. I think she will push hard, unleash the frustrations of Kima and have a dominant win and take the Skyrunner® World Series title.

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Kasie Enman has impressed all year. 2014 has been the comeback year after a 2nd child and what a comeback… Kasie has consistently been top-5 and just 2-weeks ago won Kima ahead of Emelie. Have to say, up to marathon distance is where Kasie excels so I see a potential 3rd or 4th here!

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Anna Frost smashed Transvulcania and looked awesome. Placing 2nd to Emelie at Chamonix 80k was another top result and I am pleased to say, Frosty has been relatively quiet since. This is great news… after so much injury; this lady finally is picking the races to perform at and not wiping herself out by racing too much. Her solid victory at Speedgoat 50k on paper suggests that The Rut will be a Frosty/ Forsberg showdown. Take your pick!

Ellie Greenwood has speed and talent in buckets but may well lack that extra 10% in technical and climbing ability. Especially in comparison to the ladies listed above. So, I see Ellie in the mix and battling with Kasie for 3rd.

Kaitlin McDonald was 2nd at The Rut last year and therefore gets a nod for a possible top-5. By that I mean 5th! I see the top-4 places going to the ladies above.

Alessandra Carlini has had a great year and run consistently. For someone who lives on the coast with no mountains to train on, she has done amazingly well. In the field though, 5th would be a great result and it would round out a quality 2014 season.

Hilary Allen is not a lady I know but her result at Speedgoat 50k (4th) must make her a one-to-watch here. Like Kaitlin, she may well take 5th, it would take something special to dislodge Forsberg, Frost, Enman or Greenwood from the first 4-places.

Helen Cospolitch has always been a consistent performer but has had a quiet time recently after injury issues. This may well be just an easing back into racing… nice to give her a nod though.

Emily Linton 4th at The Rut last year may well place 6-10th.

Links:

Skyrunning HERE

Rut 50K HERE

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