The tiny ski-resort of Arinsal was bustling as 300+ runners lined up to take part in the next stage of the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series, the SkyRace® Comapedrosa. The weekend also would host the ISF Skyrunning Youth World Championships over a shorter 15km course.
The SkyRace® Comapedrosa’s full course is 21km in length with a vertical ascent of well over 2,000m. The most challenging part of the course, in addition to very technical terrain, was the 1000-metre vertical climb over 2km in length to the summit of Coma Pedrosa – the highest point of the course (and Andorra) at 2,942m.
Jan Maragrit Sole, winner of last-weekends Dolomites SkyRace set the pace from the off, Rui Ueda joined him and the duo forged ahead chased by Marco De Gasperi and last year’s 2nd place at Comapedrosa, Aritz Egea
“I led the race from the beginning, I felt good and I decided to push,” said Maragrit Sole on the finish line. “I reached the summit of Coma Pedrosa in the lead and it was all downhill from there to the finish line. I feel great at the moment. The USA will be next and I will race at the RUT doing the VK and SkyRace!”
The surprise of the day was without a doubt Rui Ueda, who made the pace early on. He was later passed by Marco De Gasperi after the Italian Skyrunning legend made a stunning climb to the Coma Pedrosa summit which sits just under 3000m.He flew across the finish-line, beaming and looking incredibly fresh especially when one considers just last weekend he took a podium place in the Dolomites. Ueda held off a charging Zaid Ait Malek who ran a stunning descent. Adrien Michaud finished 5th and last year’s 2nd place Aritz Egea was just outside the top-5. De Gasperi ran 2:41:50 and Ueda 2:44:54.
The course is extremely hard – the climbs are like vertical kilometers. There is no flat running in Comapedrosa. This course suits the vertical specialist but at the same time what comes up must come down and Maragrit Sole not flew up but flew down and in the process set a new course record 2:35:36.
In the female field, few were surprised at race favourite Laura Orgué’s early charge and dominating the race from the front. She climbed hard using her VK skills and by the time she reached the summit at Coma Pedrosa she had a convincing lead over Sheila Aviles Castano, race surprise Takako Takamura, Megan Kimmel and Hillary Gerardi.
For Laura Orgué though, victory was not to be today. She gave it her all but on the descent a recurring stomach issue struck causing severe pain. She continued but struggled. Avilés Castano passed and took an incredible victory in 3:17:36. Orgue held on for 2nd in 3:19:29.
I Felt good today, particularly after last weekend’s victory in the Dolomites. I lead the race from the front and then on the descent the pain hit,” Orgue said post-race. “It really is annoying but the pain is terrible. It just slowed me down. I couldn’t push and gave way my hard-earned lead. Importantly I finished 2nd and I can take away positives of how strong I felt.”
Takamura finished an incredible 3rd in 3:26:43 and the USA’s Gerardi followed 2nd in the Dolomites last weekend with 4th here in 3:28:43. Pre-race favourite Megan Kimmel, also from the USA had a tough day but finished 5th in 3:33:22.
Next up is the Tromso SkyRace in Norway – the 2nd race in the Extreme category of the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series
The KV Arinsal kicked of the 2017 ISFYouth Skyrunning World Championships in the Principality of Andorra following on from the success of the inaugural event held in Italy in 2016.
Sixteen countries (double the 2016 number) from four continents participated. Competing in three age group categories:
A (16-17 years)
B (18-20 years)
and U23 (21-23 years)
18 medals were at stake – Gold, Silver and Bronze.
The KV Arinsal is a 3.5 km long Vertical Kilometer® which started in the town of Arinsal and finished at Alt de la Capa summit, 2,570m altitude.
16-17 age group category A
Nicolas Molina (ESP), Arnau Cases (ESP), Diego Gomes (POR), Jana Aguilar (ESP), Erin Margill (USA), Andreu Sinfreu (AND).
18-19 year-old B category
Jan Margarit (ESP), Roberto Delorenzi (SUI), Luca Lizzoli (ITA), Giorgia Felicetti (ITA), Sora Takizawa (JPN), Irati Zubizarreta (ESP).
Alex Oberbacher (ITA), Antonio Alcalde (ESP), Daniele Felicetti (ITA), Fatima De Diego (ESP), Claudia Sabata (ESP), Barbora Chica (CZE).
Countries competing in the 2017 Youth Skyrunning Championships are: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.
The Youth Skyrunning World Championships are held annually in different countries with a view to developing and promoting the sport and to highlight young skyrunners, giving them an opportunity to shine on the international stage.
With thanks to the La Massana Ministry of Tourism, Federaciò Andorrana de Muntanysme (FAM) and SkyRace® Comapedrosa organisers Ocisport.
Andorra will host the seventh stage of the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series with the SkyRace® Comapedrosacoming just one week after the Dolomites SkyRace and VK that took place in Italy.
Arinsal, a small ski resort within Andorra will have 300+ runnerstoe the line to take on the challenging 21 km course that includes a brutal climb of 1000m to the summit of the iconic and beautiful Coma Pedrosa at 2942m. The climb even more difficult and spectacular due to its overall distance of just 2km – yes, it’s a 50% gradient!
The opening miles are road and ease the runners into winding forest trails all the way up to the Col de les Cases (1958M), a wooded area follows and from this point the runners will encounter a stretch of ridge. Pic de les Fonts at 2748m and the Pla de l’Estany follows.
Now the beautiful and challenging climb begins, a true vertical wall of more than 1000m of positive difference in about 2km. A VK within a race! Without a marked path, the runners follow markers to the summit of Comapedrosa at 2942m. Pure Skyrunning – Less Cloud, More Sky.
The descent is by the traditional route through the Estany Negre and Coma Pedrosa refuge, until reaching Arinsal where the race started.
The Skyrunning World Youth Championships will also take place on the same weekend. The first edition took place in 2016 in Italy and it was a great success. Two events, the KV Arinsal which is the classic Vertical Kilometre will take place on July 28 and the SkyRace will take place on July 30. On offer are 54 medals distributed across three age categories – 16-17yrs, 18-20yrs and 21-23yrs. Read ISF release here.
The Contenders Men
Aritz Egea is on form this year and had a great race at Comapedrosa in 2016. He has already placed 2nd at Livignio and Buff Epic and won Olympus Marathon. He is the hot favourite in Andorra.
Jan Maragrit Sole won the iconic 20th edition of the Dolomites SkyRace last weekend and I am unsure at this moment if he will race the Youth Championships or the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series? Either way he is a hot contender for victory.
Pere Aurell Bove had a great result at The Royal Gran Paradiso recently and although this event is considerably shorter and faster, he should be in the mix. He won the race in 2015.
Kiril Nikolov placed highly at Olympus Marathon and the shorter distance events suit him, he has proved this before at races like Limone.
Hassan Ait Chaou like Egea had a great race in Andorra last year and although his form doesn’t appear to be as good as 2016, you can’t rule him out!
Eugeni Gil Ocana is having a great 2017 with strong and consistent running, Comapedrosa will suit the Spanish runner. He is top-10 potential for sure and top-5 on a good day.
France’s Adrien Michaud may well stir up the front of the race but Benat Marmisolle is a likely podium contender after a strong and solid race at The Royal Gran Paradiso – the question will be if he has recovered?
Andorran brothers Oscar and Marc Casal Mir will be focused on this race and they know the course like the back of their hands.
Breaking news may well see a last-minute entry by Skyrunning legend Marco De Gasperi. If the Italian toes the line, I would predict a podium place and I have a feeling that victory is on the cards… De Gasperi has some great form now as we saw with his 3rd place in the Dolomites, just 45-seconds behind the winner.
It’s a stacked field and other names to watch are as follows:
Nicolas Bouvier Gaz, Brice Delsouiller, Jose Larralde, Jokin Lizeaga, Inaki Uribe-Etexbarria, Aitor Aiuria, Anartz Artola, Paul Riera, Sintu Vives, Ismail Razga, Pere Rullan, and many more runners from FEEC.
The Contenders Ladies
Laura Orgue just won the Dolomites SkyRace and is the defending champion at Comapedrosa. Orgue and Kimmel will have a real head-to-head battle for top honors.
Megan Kimmel is on fire this year and she loves the classic SkyRace distance. The 22km race will suit her down to the ground and as she has proven time and time again, she is the hot favourite victory.
Denise Dragomir had a very strong race in Livignio – she placed 2nd. She was strong on the climbs and fast on the descents which makes her a podium favourite.
Anne-Lise Rousset recently missed High Trail Vanoise through injury but if recovered with good training miles, she will be a definite contender for the podium.
Celia Chiron had a solid 2016 and it was a breakthrough year on the Skyrunning calendar. She has raced a great deal already in 2017 and I see her as a podium, top-5 for sure. *upadate: Celia will not run, confirmed 26th July.
Hillary Gerardi has been a revelation in 2017 with a solid run in Livignio and just last weekend she placed 2nd at the Dolomites behind Laura Orgue. She is a good friend of Celia Chiron (the duo race together) so we may well see an interesting dynamic in the Comapedrosa race.
Anna Comet this year is racing shorter and faster races instead of the ultra-distance, she had a tough race in the Dolomites but it’s all learning curve – I think we will see an improved performance in Andorra.
Maria Zorroza is another contender for the top-5 and almost certainly the top-10, she will however have some strong competition from Aitziber Ibarbia and Oihana Azkorbebeita.
Laia Andreu rounds out the top-10 contenders and we can also expect Silvia Puigarnau, Paloma Lobera and Nuria Dominguez to be in the mix.
With a course profile that looks like a shark’s dental record and with 10-peaks to ascend and descend over a 55km course, the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series went EXTREME For the first time in 2017! 4287m of vertical gain awaited the runners in the stunning location of Ceresole Reale, Italy, a stunning mountain location towered over by the stunning 4000m peak of Gran Paradiso.
Starting at 0630, a stunning day of blue skies welcomed the runners, the early morning chill soon swept away with the arrival of the sun.
Andre Jonsson who last weekend placed 4th at High Trail Vanoise was showing incredible powers of recovery leading Zaid Ait Malek, Pere Aurell, Bhim Gurung, Benat Marmisolle, The five ran together over the first high-peak in the National Park and the second peak coming at around 12km with 2-hours 15-minutes elapsed on the clock. They were separated by seconds matching each other’s moves.
By contrast, Zegama-Aizkorri and Livigno SkyMararhon champion Maite Maiora, was showing all the ladies a clean pair of heals. She took a grasp of the race very early on and despite being chased by Katie Schide, Ekaterina Mityaev and Natalia Tomasiak amongst other.
With 4-hours elapsed, the summit of Colle della Porta at 3002m saw a surge from Pere Aurell as he ran fast through the snow fields that followed the tough climb to the summit – Andre Jonsson, Bhim Gurung and Beat Marmisolle all followed with less than a minute separating them. Following and hoping to bridge the gap was Dimitry Mityaev, Zaid Ait Malek and Hector Haines.
Maite Maiora arrived in the same location, her lead was now extended beyond 30-minutes to Katie Schide and Ekaterina Mityaev following over 10-minutes back.
The race was now on in the men’s race, the quartet watching each other and at times changing lead like in a cycling peloton however Andre Jonsson was still pushing but the elastic wouldn’t snap. Passing Colle del Nivole they had a short decent and then climbed to Colle Della Rocca Bianche at 2670m. Again, less than a couple of minutes separated the four front runners but the long descent took its toll and with the final climb to Colle del Nel at 2551m to come, the pressure was on.
Andre Jonsson and Bhim Gurung took the lead but Jonsson started to feel the pressure and although Gurung complained of feeling tired, he unleashed his incredible descending ability on the final 1000m to drop to the line to open a huge gap and take victory just like he did earlier in the year in China at Yading Skyrace. Jonsson earned an incredible 2nd place 10-minutes back, 6:51:37 to Gurung’s 6:41:24. Pere Aurell fought cramps to finish 3rd and Benat Marmisolle held off a charging Cristofer Clemente to finish 4th.
Maite Maiora crossed the line in 8:05:28 having dominated the ladies’ race. It was a stunning victory and confirms her as one of the best female Skyrunners in the world. Katie Schide finished 2nd and Ekaterina Mityaev finished 3rd, 8:37:02 and 8:48:23 respectively.
The 55km course wound through the Gran Paradiso National Park in the royal hunting grounds, hence the ‘Royal’ title, runners will compete with ibex and chamois. Starting at a lake at an altitude of 2000m, participants traversed five passes – the magnificent Gran Paradiso mountain provided a stunning backdrop towering over the race at 4061m. Moraines, rocks, streams and snowfields provide an ultimate extreme challenge.
Next race in the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series is the Dolomites SkyRace that will celebrate its 20th edition – a pure Sky Classic!
Ferran Teixido (Andorra) and Ekaterina Mityaeva (Russia) took top honours at the Santana Vertical Kilometer® on the island of Madeira. The VK is part of the new 2017 Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit – an off-spin from the Skyrunner World Series.
Starting the Vale da Lapa at an altitude of 780m, in the heart of the Laurissilva forest, the 4.8km course goes all the way up, 1003m to be exact through the impressive Madeira Natural Park.
Departing at 1-minute intervals on the stroke of 0900, the runners pushed their legs and lungs to the max as they took on this impressive race – a first for the island of Madeira.
The final part of the route consisted of a technical and demanding climb that culminated with a short section of via ferratta before reaching the emblematic point Encumeada Alta at an altitude of 1785m. From the summit, incredible views all over the island are possible.
VK specialist Ferran Teixido was one of the last competitors to start and he completed the course first in 41:48 gaining valuable points for the Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit. Vitor Jesus and Romeu Gouveia placed 2nd and 3rd.
Regular Skyrunning competitor Ekaterina Mityaeva showed great form and strength winning the ladies race in 51:37 and Salomon International athlete Anna Frost was a surprise last minute entrant – she placed 3rd.
Episode 121 – On this weeks show we speak with ELS2900 race director, Matt Lefort, about his super tough Andorran race. Niandi brings us a selection of audio, recorded in the Simpson Desrert, as Australia’s 2016 Big Red Run took place. Ian is interviewed by a Portuguese magazine and Speedgoat is back co-hosting!
RUNNING BEYOND BOOK is now available in Germany, Spain, Italy and the English language versions will be posted out on November 3rd. News in that the book will now also be translated to Swedish – HERE
Marc Lauenstein defended his Otter African Trail Run title in South Africa, and set a new course record in 3:54. Robyn Owen and Stevie Kremerplaced 1 + 2 with Owen winning in 4:49 to Kremer’s 4:52. Full results.
BIG DOG BACKYARD ULTRA
A 4.16-mile loop of trail every hour. Those that finish the loop in an hour move on to the next loop and this continues until the last runner standing!Babak Rastgoufard won in 28:48 and gets a place in the Barkley Marathons.
Jon Albon becomes OCR world champion again
Centurion Running’s Autumn 100 had 2 course records from Mark Denby 14:07:39 and Susie Chesher 15:22 – Suzie was so quick she finished 2nd overall results here
6,700 meters of elevation gain over just 70k (44 miles). Thirty-nine competitors started the race, and 24 managed the improbable finish. Xavier Teixido, finished in front at 13:49. Vivien ReynaudandÒscar Perez were second and third in 15:18 and 15:38.
Sonia Regueiro became a two-time finisher and winner, this time 18:59, three hours faster than her finish last year, and Cati Lladó was second in 21:26.
00:54:56 INTERVIEW with ELS2900 RD – Matt Lefort
Pete Kostelnick if you don’t know already is aiming to break the trans-US running record, which stands at 46 days, 8 hours. Pete will likely finish in around 41 or 42 days early next week, which is utterly insane when you think about the fact that he could shave nearly five days off this record. He’s averaging 71 miles a day for the last 36 days, or in Aussie speak, that’s 114kms a day. Bowsers.Read HERE
SkyRace® Comapedrosa – Skyrunner® World Series 2016
The SkyRace® Comapedrosa really did personify everything that a Skyrunning race should be today as the Skyrunner® World Series 2016 moved at a fast pace. The race route was tough, technical, had loads of climbing and plenty of time up in the sky at altitude. In many respects, it’s a course of two halves – the early stages weave up steep forest paths and then in the latter half, after summiting the highest point of the course, the iconic peak of Comapedrosa, the terrain becomes almost permanently rocky and technical.
Laura Orgue and Tom Owens were champions of the day and with two new course records! What makes the result of the dynamic duo more impressive is that they both achieved ‘silver,’ just last weekend at the Skyrunning World Championships organized by the ISF.
The tiny ski-resort of Arinsal in Andorra hosted 370 runners as they toed the line to cover the 21.2km course with a vertical ascent of over 2,000m+. Much of the pre-race talk had been about ‘the wall,’ a technical 1000-metre vertical climb over the short distance of just 2km to the summit of the Comapedrosa at 2,942m, the highest peak in the principality of Andorra.
Aritz Egea lead the race on the climbs and reached the summit of Comapedrosa with Tom Owens, Oscar Casal Mir and trailing Alexis Sevennec. Egea who has not been inform of late struggled to keep the second place after Owens passed him on the last long technical descent but the revelation came from Hassan Ait Chaou who closed from outside the top-5 to take 2nd on the podium.
Egea held on for 3rd and post-race said, “I’m very happy with third. This year has been a little complicated for me, I’ve not been very motivated, so this a good surprise. The course is really, really tough but I love this kind of race, especially the steep climbs.”
Tom Owens had contemplated not racing but sometimes last minute decisions work, “I was un-decided if I should run?” said Owens. “Today I felt great, sometimes it’s nice to race with no expectation. I was 6th or 7th on the first climb but running on those ridges was just brilliant. The descents were great for me…and move quite quickly and pull back places.”
Pull back places Owens did and on that final descent he gave it everything and moved up from the 3rd to take victory in a new CR, knocking 6-minutes of the old record of 2:46:42.
Owens continued, “My weakness is on the steep climbs. The other guys would just pull away… then I eased back on the second climb. We all pretty much reached the summit of the second climb at the same time and from there I knew I had to concentrate.”
Surprisingly, the top three in the male podium all crossed the finish line today under the previous CR, a true sign of a fast, furious and highly competitive race.
Laura Orgue ran an impressive time of 3:12:27 in the ladies’ race beating the previous CR of 3:21:15 held by Oihana Kortazar who would place 2nd. Like Owens, Orgue had achieved a silver medal just last weekend in the Skyrunning World Championships and although victory and CR were hers, she complained of not being her normal self. A VK specialist, Orgue loves to climb but today it was the worst part of her race… the other female runners must be terrified if she has a good day!
Oihana Kortazar, placed 2nd and was also very happy to beat her own course record, no doubt due to the blistering pace of Orgue, “In this race I prefer the ascents to the descents, which are very, very technical. Andorra has some really tough terrain and I welcome the challenge. My next race is Matterhorn Ultraks in Zermatt.”
Third was Àngela Castelló in 3:20:13. As with the male podium, the top three in the female podium all came in under the previous CR.
Attention now turns to next weekend and the first race in the EXTREME series, the Tromso SkyRace.