Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc UTMB® 2016 Preview

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I won’t be at UTMB this year, Trofeo Kima is happening the same weekend in Italy and I wouldn’t miss this high octane extreme event for anything, especially when it only happens every other 2 years.

But UTMB has a stellar line up this year. It’s going to be a cracking race.

Just in case you didn’t know, UTMB is a 170km circular journey that starts and finishes in Chamonix passing through France, Italy and Switzerland with 10,000+ meters of vertical gain on non-technical trails. In 2014 Francois D’Haene of France set the men’s course record 20:11:44 and the female course record is held by Rory Bosio (USA) who ran 22:37:26 in 2013. Rory in the process ranked in the top-10 overall that year!

Recently, UTMB has hit the headlines after a top 10 finisher in the 2015 race, Gonzalo Calisto, was tested and found positive for EPO. This came to light in June when the IAAF added Calisto’s suspension to its website. However, UTMB were not notified of this positive test? In recent weeks and months, many investigations have been made and you can read them all on this website HERE. Ultimately, this positive test has raised alarm bells and certain aspects of the testing and notification procedure need to change. I hope UTMB will have testing once again this year and they provide data and information to the media.

Racing for the main starts on Friday August 26th at 1800hrs local time and it looks like a great weekend of weather is in store for spectators, it may be a little hot for the runners. Please also remember that many other events happen in and around the UTMB, the PTL, TDS and CCC.

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Luis Alberto Hernando is in a good place! He is a new Dad, has raced less and when he has raced he has been in top form. A repeat win at Transvulcania and dominant performance at the Skyrunning World Championships for a gold medal and world title and suddenly you begin to see everything clicking into place. Luis dropped from the 2014 UTMB and then came back, one year later to place 2nd. Luis does always race from the front and hard, he tempered this in 2015 but it still may well be his achilles heel in 2016? I hope not, Luis would be a popular champion!

David Laney third at UTMB and 8th at Western States in 2015 are two very significant performances and bode well for a great 2016 UTMB. What doesn’t bode well is the most recent 20+ hour finish at Western States. It leaves a huge question mark on David’s current physical and mental ability to take on the big dance in Chamonix.

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Andy Symonds for me is the dark horse. It’s his first 100 miler and that is a huge disadvantage. But Andy knows how to race, prepares meticulously and I know he’s fired up for this race. In the past he has often played 2nd fiddle at the big races but a podium at Transgrancanaria, a victory at Lavaredo and 2nd (silver) behind Luis at the Skyrunning World Championships tells me that the time is right for the Brit who lives in France. Listen to the podcast here.

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Zach Miller is relatively easy to write about… we will see one of two performances: 1. An all guns blazing early race that potentially will open up a gap that he extends and holds on to take the biggest victory of his life! 2. As 1 but a major blow up that sees him lose the lead and drop substantial places or a resulting DNF. Think Max King at Leadville.

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Didrik Hermansen is a potential revelation in Chamonix and I do believe that he can win. I said that at Western States after I saw his run and victory at Transgrancanaria. He didn’t disappoint in the USA and he placed 2nd at WSER. UTMB is a different playground but this guy can run and hike – he is going to need all those skills in France, Italy and Switzerland. Listen to the podcast here.

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Jason Schlarb was fourth at UTMB in 2014, won Run Rabbit Run, completed Marathon des Sables. skied the Hardrock 100 course, won the Hardrock 100 with Kilian Jornet and here he is, in Chamonix, looking to do an epic double – you know what, I think he can do it! I’m not sure that he will have those extra percentages for victory, Hardrock may well have but pay to that. But I do see a potential top 5 and even the podium if the stars align. Listen to the podcast with him here.

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Gediminas Grinius 5th at UTMB in 2014 and what followed was quite a rise in the sport of ultra-running. Gediminas has an interesting back story of post-traumatic stress and it is running that helped. When you have been to hell, pain in an ultra is nothing. It’s worth remembering that this guy can dig deep. A win at Transgrancanaria, a win at UTMF and a string of top 2nd places certainly elevate GG for a top UTMB place. Listen to the podcast here.

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Tofol Castanyer won CCC and was 2nd at UTMB in 2014. He has a string of top performances and results but his recent form seems a question mark. On paper, he’s a podium contender but I said that last year and he didn’t finish. We will have to see?

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Ryan Sandes had a tough 2015 and has patiently come back in 2016 with a 3rd place in Tararwera and 4th place in Australia at the Ultra Trail. Ryan never likes to race a great deal preferring to train and prepare meticulously for key events. He has done that in the past, Western States for example only to not race at the 11th hour due to injury or illness. Apart from FKT records, Ryan’s career highlights are his win at Transgrancanaria and top results at UTMF and WSER. Ryan has been in Chamonix for some time training and I hope he will arrive at the line fresh. He has all the potential to shake up the podium. Listen to the podcast here.

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Fabien Antolinus is an under the radar runner who is known in France and not many other places. A top consistent performer at Templiers and the Ice Trail Tarentaise, Fabien backed this up last year with a 6th place finish at UTMB behind a doping Gonzalo Calisto, so, he finished 5th really. I see a potential repeat performance.

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Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras could win, could finish in the top 10, may not start and if he does start, may not finish. Yes, Miguel is a class act when the stars align but neither he or us can predict when this will happen. A highlight for sure was his UTMB 2nd behind Xavier Thevenard in 2013.

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Javier Dominguez just had a great run at the Skyrunning World Championships with 3rd place behind Luis Alberto and Andy Symonds. He also placed 3rd at Lavaredo. Although he will be in the mix he is potentially a top 5-10 finisher.

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Julien Chorier has the long game, strength and persistence for a top UTMB performance. I’ve seen him time and time again grind out great results. His victory at Ronda dels Cims a few years back is still one of the most dominant performances of running I have seen. Julien has backed that up at Western States, Hardrock, Diagonale des Fous, UTMF and of course UTMB. His best UTMB was 3rd in 2008 and in 2013 he finished 6th.

Paul Giblin for me is a dark horse. Last year he missed UTMB and compensated with focusing on Western States in 2016, he placed 5th. That’s one of the UK’s best performances at the race. He’s a runner and the 10,000m of vertical may go against his natural abilities but don’t rule him out! Listen to the podcast here.

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You have to draw a line somewhere but we also need to consider, Diego Pazoz who has illuminated several races in 2016, most notably victory at the Eiger Ultra Trail and Mont-Blanc 80km.

He could be a huge surprise as could Stephan Hugenschmidt from Germany who has had many notable results.

Zdenek Kris finished 9th at Ultra Perineu in 2015 and recently placed 5th at the Skyrunning World Championships.

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Two Frenchmen, Arnaud Lejeune who was 2nd at UTMF in 2015 and Thomas Lorblanchet who has wins at Leadville and 4th at Western States will also mix things up.

Ryan Smith, Pau Bartolo, Jez Bragg, Aurelian Collet, Ludovic Pommeret, Armand Teixeira, Jordi Bes and Bertrand Collomb-Patton all have top 10 and certainly top 20 potential.

Needless to say there is a whole stack of other male talent that have experienced UTMB before somewhere in and around the top 50. Any of these runners who could make a breakthrough performance and venture into the high ranking top 20’s or even top 10. It’s what makes the race so interesting.

LADIES

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio holds the course record at UTMB – nuff said! Any lady that finishes in the top-10 overall rocks. But where has Rory been since her repeat victory in 2014? Well, believe it or not, she was filming a reality TV show… really, Rory is an actress! In 2015 she won the Atacama Extreme but other than that she has been relatively low key when racing. UTMB performances are backed up by 2nd, 4th and 5th at Western States so Rory needs no other boosting. I do wonder though if she is in the ‘A’ game frame of mind of 2013 and 2014? We will find out…

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Caroline Chaverot for me is the lady that will win UTMB 2016. Caroline is a machine who smiles from beginning to end and her performances over the last 18-24 months have blown me away. She does race a great deal and I think that went against her at UTMB in 2015 when she DNF’d. This year though I have noticed a difference… she obliterated the Transgrancanaria course, she obliterated the MUT in Madeira and she became Skyrunning World Champion at the Buff Epic Trail – 2016 is Caroline’s UTMB year!

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Nuria Picas has twice finished 2nd and I would normally talk Nuria up as the winner. Last year she dropped early and since has had very mixed performances. I do believe she has the UTWT curse of running and winning too many races in a short period of time which has left her drained. I have seen this in 2016 at Transgrancanaria and most recently at the Buff Epic Trail. Of course, Nuria may well have been savvy and kept her powder dry for Chamonix – I hope so! *August 24th, Nuria will unfortunately not run the 2016 edition due to an injury.

Magdalena Boulet will be there or thereabouts but for me, this course will not allow enough running which is Magda’s strength. No doubt she will be in the mix, her 2nd at CCC proved that but 170k and 10,000m is a big difference to CCC or Western States. Listen to the podcast here.

Uxue Fraille will be out of the mix early on and keep going and produce a solid finish. Uxue’s success is all about pacing and finishing. She lets the other ladies race and fade and then she sweeps them up in the final 1/3rd. Last year she placed 2nd at UTMB and she won UTMF.

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Jasmin Paris is one lady who may well win UTMB one day. I’d love to say that 2016 will be the year but I don’t think it will happen. Jasmin runs a great deal and therefore rarely ‘peaks’ for any one race. This is sometimes a good thing but also a bad thing. Although Jasmin can run long, this will be her first big 100+ miler and the Chamonix experience may well overwhelm her. This year she blitzed the Bob Graham Round FKT to a new level and a week after getting married took bronze medal at the Skyrunning World Championships and then won Tromso SkyRace. Personally, I feel Jasmin’s forte and skill set will be best suited to the Skyrunner courses where her fell and mountain running background really shines. She will do well at UTMB but this year will be a learning curve. Don’t get me wrong though, top 5 and certainly top 3 is possible. Listen to the podcast here.

Andrea Huser like Jasmin is a non-stop racer and for me always lacks that extra 5-10% when required due to a constant element of fatigue. Her string of top 2nd and 3rd places for me confirm this. In this 2016 field, Andrea can better her 2014 7th and potentially will make the top 5 and may even challenge the podium but I don’t see a victory.

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Fernanda Maciel is a another runner who mixes many sports, races regularly and is always in and around the action. Like Andrea Huser, I see her in the mix but not taking the top slot. If we look at recent results, the consistency is there – 4th at UTMB in 2010, 3rd at MDS, 3rd at Lavaredo 2016 and a string of other podium places at UTWT races. * Fernanda will not run 23rd August. News from her doctors: “They said I was in an advanced stage of injuries to my kidneys caused by my last 2 long races due to dehydration I suffered during the races. Now my blood tests from last friday done here in Chamonix seem normal but not 100% recovered, and of course I am thinking of the UTMB on friday… I’m really sad because they only told me it today!”

Emilie Lecomte has the long game, strength and tenacity for a 170km race but she lacks the speed of many of the other ladies. A top 10 is an almost guaranteed and as other ladies fade, we can expect Emilie to move up.

Francesca Canepa and Emilie Lecomte in many ways are similar runners and Francesca has a strong history with UTMB and Tor des Geants. On her day, she can be up there and in the mix. Recently her form has been questionable.

Amy Sproston has won Hurt 100 and placed 2nd at Western States. For me, Amy is a runner but then again, Hurt has some gnarly terrain on those 20-mile loops, so, is this the year that Amy puts UTMB demons to rest? Her history is not good with the race – three starts and only one finish when she placed 8th.

Aliza Lapierre is potentially the USA’s top contender behind Rory Bosio. Her list of results in all varieties of races bodes well for a solid UTMB. But at really specific races, Transgrancanaria for example the mountainous terrain has caused her to struggle a little. Aliza like to run and although UTMB has plenty of that, it also has plenty of hands-on-knee action.

Larisa Dannis likes a running race and like many of the American ladies the increased vertical causes an issue. On paper though, she has the racing pedigree for a top performance. you don’t get 2nd at Western States by accident.

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Ester Alves is a good friend and races too much (sorry Ester). One day, Ester will pick a race and prepare meticulously for it and then excel. I saw this earlier this year when she won and dominated The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. I think what worked there was it was the first race of the season and she could therefore be specific over the winter. What has followed is a string of races in many varied locations with a list of good results but no stand out results! Ester placed 8th at the 2014 UTMB so the potential is there!

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Gemma Arenas I know well in the Skyrunning circles but this will be her first 100 and it’s a tough one with strong competition. It will be a learning curve.

Like in the men’s race, curve balls will swing in and we can expect to see these ladies’ mixing it up, Silke KoesterNicky Spinks, Sally McRae, Sarah Willis, Sophie Grant, Frederica Boifava, Joelle Vaught, Alissa St. Laurent and Manu Vilaseca amongst others.

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Skyrunning World Championships 2016 ULTRA – Images and Summary

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Luis Alberto Hernando and Caroline Chaverot were crowned 2016 Skyrunning World Champions for the ULTRA distance at the BUFF® Epic Trail Aigüestortes.

The BUFF® EPIC TRAIL 105KM, has a grueling 8,000m elevation gain and a maximum gradient of 56%, it is as tough as they come! Strict qualification standards were enforced for participants and the field was capped at 250.

It may come as no surprise that runners from all over the world arrived in Spain to take part and in total, over a stunning weekend of races, 35 countries were represented.

The Vall de Boí in the Spanish Pyrenees is without doubt a stunning location for a race; beautiful but tough. Ladies champion, Caroline Chaverot said post race, “The course is incredibly tough, particularly the last 42km. It’s one of the toughest races I have ever done! I felt good during the race but I did have some stomach issues which I need to resolve for the future. I am relatively new to Skyrunning but in 2017 I would like to devote more time to the series.”

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Luis Alberto Hernando (Sp) very much dominated the men’s race, at times he ran with Andy Symonds and at one stage he pulled away only for Andy to catch him back up. Luis then pulled away again! Andy said, “It was touch and go, the first time I caught back up but when he pulled away again I had to make a choice, risk keeping up and potentially blowing up or running to feel? I did the latter!”.

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Luis crossed the finish line to the applause of a home crowd in 12:53:42. Andy Symonds (UK) placed 2nd 30-minutes later and looked ecstatic with he result in a time of 13:25:40. Taking the bronze medal, Javier Dominguez, again for Spain flew his home flag proud of his 13:38:04.

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Caroline Chaverot (Fr) dominated the ladies race as she has done in so many races in the last 12-18 months. Powering up the climbs, she was an unstoppable force. The only downside to her performance was her downhill ability, something she says she need to improve on. Her time of 14:41:07 gave her victory by over 1-hour and a top-10 place overall. To clarify her performance, her time was 25-minutes faster than the previous course record, now held by Luis Alberto Hernando.

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Eva Moreda Gabaldon (Sp) took silver medal in15:50:01 and the UK’s Jasmin Paris took the bronze medal 15:58:15. Jasmin in particular turned a few heads, this was her first Skyrunning race but UK running fans know only too well her ability, in particular, her recent Bob Graham Round record.

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SKYRUNNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2016 PREVIEW

 

LOGO_SKYRUNNING_WORLD_CHAMPS-768x778Every two years the Skyrunning world assembles at an iconic venue and racing commences in VK, SKY and ULTRA distances to announce a male and female champion in the respective distances. Two years ago, the endurance capital of the world Chamonix, hosted the championships and this year it is Spain.

The Vall de Boí in the Spanish Pyrenees will provide a modern day coliseum where Skyrunning gladiators will battle at the BUFF® Epic Trail Aigüestortes events. A spectacular natural arena surrounded by 3,000m peaks and 200 mountain lakes. Rich in cultural history, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It may come as no surprise that runners from all over the world will arrive in Spain and over the three races, the lineup of talent is second to none. The line-up has five previous world champions returning:

Luis Alberto Hernando

Luis Alberto Hernando

Luis Alberto Hernando, Laura Orgue, Oihana Kortazar, Augusti Roc and Elisa Desco.

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In 2014, Australia were a dominant force and surprised many with break through performances, once again they return with a super strong field. The Czech Republic, Japan and Portugal are also sending talented squads, for many, it may well be a first racing in Europe or the high mountains of the Pyrenees. In total, 35 different countries will be represented.

Events start on Friday July 22nd with the VK, on Saturday 23rd it is the ULTRA and closing events on Sunday 24th is the SKY distance.

Importantly, WADA anti-doping tests will be carried out at the Championships managed by FEDME, the Spanish Mountain Sports Federation and ISF member for Spain which will sanction the events and oversee them with their referees. The organisation will be in the capable hands OCI Sport, with whom the ISF has collaborated on a number of high-profile events including the 2012 SkyGames® in Andorra and Spain.

Needless to say, the number of athletes taking part is extensive and at this stage, we may well have some late additions. Below are many of the key runners who I anticipate to do well:

VK – For the short and steep specialists, the BUFF® EPIC TRAIL VK is 2.8 km long with 1,030m positive climb. The average incline is 30.7% and reaches a mean 50.4% at the steepest point. It is capped at 250.

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Ferran Teixido from Andorra is currently ranked highly on the SWS2016 and we can expect strong competition from Saul Antonio Padua, Andrej Fejfar, Augusti Roc, Jan Margarit, Alexis Sevennec and Pascal Egli.

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Laura Orgue just did the ‘double’ in the Dolomites winning both VK and SKY and will be hot favourite on home soil. However, Christel Dewalle will have other ideas and the race may well be a head-to-head between the two. Vanessa Ortega, Yngvild Kaspersen, Therese Sjursen and Ekaterina Mityaeva.

SKY – The rugged BUFF® EPIC TRAIL 42KM is a point to point with 3,200m positive vertical climb. Again, a highly challenging extremely technical race with a nine-hour time limit capped at 500.

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Is going to be fast and furious and the lineup is stunning with Tom Owens, Blake Hose, Manuel Merillas, Pascal Egli and Marcin Swierc pushing for the top slot. But strong competition will also come from Marc and Oscar Casal Mir, Pablo Villa, Jessed Hernandez, Alexis Sevennec, Dai Matsumoto and Artem Rostovstev.

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Elisa Desco, Yngvild Kaspersen, Azara Garcia and Maite Maiora form a stunning quad of talent but Oihana Kortazar, Ida Nilsson, Marta Molist, Ragna Debats and Katrine Villumsen will make sure that the run for the line is not an easy one. Dark horse is the UK’s Jasmin Paris – watch out.

ULTRA – The BUFF® EPIC TRAIL 105KM, with a grueling 8,000m elevation gain and a maximum gradient of 56%, is as tough as they come. Strict qualification standards will be enforced for participants, which are capped at 250.

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The ultra is the big one and I have to say the talent is what one would expect when a world title is at stake. Luis Alberto Hernando may well be the one to beat on home soil but Andy Symonds after recent success in Lavaredo will push him. As will Franco Colle, Majell Backhausen, Zaid Ait Malek, Cristofer Clemente and Ben Duffs. Miguel Heras is also toeing the line and if in form, watch out! Fulvio Dapit, Leonardo Diogo, Nuno Silva, Jan Bartas and Pau Bartolo are also strong contenders.

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The ladies race is equally editing with Caroline Chaverot being the lady to beat. She has been on fire this year! Ruth Croft made the podium at Transvulcania but arguably local lady, Nuria Picas is the one to upset the apple cart. A strong fight will come from Fernanda Maciel, Anna Strakova, Gemma Arenas, Hillary Allen, Ester Alves, Kristina Pattison, Soto Ogawa and let’s not forget Mira Rai who is returning from injury.

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World titles and medals will be awarded, crowning the champions of the Ultra, Sky and Vertical disciplines together with combined titles and country ranking. A total of twenty-seven medals and a €20,000 prize purse await the champions of these prestigious competitions.

Alpina Watches, 2016 Skyrunning World Championships Official Timekeeper, will award six prestigious Alpina Horological Smartwatches to the male and female champions of each category, Vertical, Sky and Ultra.

The Vall de Boí will also host the 2016 ISF General Assembly on July 22, which will be attended by members from far and near.

Check out details of the three World Championship courses here.

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Transvulcania Ultramarathon 2016 – Skyrunner® World Series

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The glowing Fuencalientie Lighthouse once again provided a stunning back drop to the start of the 2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon, the first Ultra race in the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series.

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The majestic and beautiful trails of ‘La Isla Bonita’ provided a stunning but hard start of the race as 1000 plus runners navigated the wide start to funnel into single-track with black lava sand underfoot causing no end of traction problems.

It was a fast start, it always is and as the runners forged ahead looking of clear trail, it was the village of Los Canarios were hundreds of villagers assembled before a clear glimpse of who the main protagonists where?

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Sage Canaday as per usual, looked to gain an early lead  and buffer lead over Luis Alberto Hernando – his main rival for the top slot on the podium. A pattern was forming but it was still early days in such a long race and the heat and sun had yet to make an appearance. In the ladies race Ida Nilsson started to lay the ground work for what would result in a dominating performance.

Running out of Los Canarios, the trails are runnable and fast, weaving in and out of lush green vegetation, space finally opens up and the soft black sand returns making progress hard. At times it can be a little like running on the spot, one step forward and two steps back.

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The Route of the Volcanoes were bathed in early morning sun and suddenly the island came to life with the distant islands on Tenerife and La Gomera breaking through the low cloud.

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Sage Canaday continued to forge ahead at the from of the race, the pace was high but it was clear that this was not going to be an easy day on the trails. Chasing behind Luis Alberto Hernando, Nico Martin, Andy Symonds, Ricky Lightfoot and others battled the terrain and in and amongst the lead men, Ida Nilsson was making her presence felt leading the ladies race.

Reaching the top of the volcano section, finally some fast running to El Pilar, a key stage of the course with almost one third of the race covered. It’s the first major feed station and a place full of activity as thousands of fans assemble to cheer on the runners. It also provides a very clear opportunity to see each and every runner. Sage was looking good, as was Nico Martin but Luis Alberto was just biding his time. Ida Nilsson was almost in her own race but Ruth Croft and Ann Lise Rousset. Pre race favourites Anna Frost and Mira Rai were back in 6th and 7th and roughly stayed in these places for the whole race.

Leaving El Pilar a section of good running allows the pure runners to open their stride and make time on their rivals. It doesn’t last long though, it’s soon back to hands-on-knees euro grunt as arguably the runners enter the most stunning sections of the whole house that leads to Reventon and beyond.

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Pine needles cover the floor provide a lush carpet in-between the sharp and aggressive rocks. The sun breaks through the tress providing a stunning array of orange light that looks like golden fingers. The trails now weave left and right, up and down and to the left, Tazacorte can be seen off into the distance nestled next to the sea. the views are incredible.

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Sage Canaday continued to push ahead but Luis Alberto was also looking good and had the American in sight -it was just a matter of time! It was all to play for but the harder sections and technical running around the Caldera were looming. One plus side as the runners enter the Caldera is that the bulk of the climbing is now done, what followed was a series of rollercoaster ups and downs of at times technical rock.

Ida Nilsson had used her speed to good use to open up a huge gap, Ann Lise Rousset was chasing as was Ruth Croft but barring an accident or a lack of energy, Nilsson looked set for victory!

As the observatories approached it was clear to see that we had a race on our hands, Sage Canaday was holding his own against Luis Alberto and Nico Martin was not far behind. In the ladies race, Ida Nilsson looked just too strong – victory was on the cards!

Dropping 2400+m in 18km requires legs and nerves of steel. Believe me, it’s one hell of a ride. The early sections are open and the heat hits hard. Tree cover finally arrives and underfoot the single-track changes from dusty sand perpetuated with rocks to sand trail covered with a blanket of pine needles. The pine needles are difficult as it’s just like running on slippery grass.

Once again the trails opened up and then sections of technical rock slow the runners progress before they reach the road and the cafe at El Time. Luis Alberto had extended his lead and as he ran down the steep tarmac roads that lead to the zig-zag technical trails that lead to Tazacorte port, the writing was already on the wall for victory.

Nico Martin had moved into 2nd and was pushing hard to gain an advantage over Sage but it would require an all out effort and some serious risk taking from sage to pull back any time. The only possible scenario to pull back and gain time would come at Tazacorte and the tough and relentless climb to the finish on Los Llanos.

In the ladies race, Ida held on well and although anything could happen in the final 10km it was looking good for victory.

The heat and crowds welcomed the runners in Tazacorte and just when they thought the race was all over, a run along the beach front and a technical run up a gully were only just appetisers before the final climb to the finish line.

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The crowds had been assembled hours, the music had been blurting away and ‘Depa’ the mc for the race and been whipping the crowds into a frenzy. Suddenly the large screens showed Luis Alberto entering the final street sections, head down and pushing hard. In the finish are his wife waited with his new born baby!

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It was victory for Luis Alberto Hernando in a time of 07:04:44, Nico Martin ran a great run for 2nd place and Sage Canaday placed 3rd in times of 7:10:40 and 7:14:16.

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Ida Nilsson won the ladies race in 8:14:18 followed by Ann Lise Rousset 8:31:53 and Ruth Croft placed 3rd in 8:33:32.

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Transvulcania Ultramarathon never disappoints and I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it is arguably one of the greatest courses and finish lines out there. Add to that stunning organisation, wonderful support and a passionate island who gets behind the race, there is no mistaking why Transvulcania has become THE must race to do.

Results:

  1. Luis Alberto Hernando 7:04:44
  2. Nicolas Martin 7:10:40
  3. Sage Canaday 7:14:16
  4. Andy Symonds 7:25:04
  5. Chris Vargo 7:26:53

 

  1. Ida Nilsson 8:14:18
  2. Anne Lise Rousset 8:31:53
  3. Ruth Croft 8:33:32
  4. Alicia Shay 8:49:46
  5. Hillary Allen 8:54:57

*******

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The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series is brought to you with a new management company, Geneva based SkyMan SA

SkyMan SA  is pleased to present a new Main Partner, Migu Xempower, a Chinese exercise and health management platform which also counts a rich experience in organising marathons, city and mountain races for millions of runners.

The well-established, Sky, Ultra and Vertical format is joined by the Extreme Series presented by Alpina Watches, which more than ever expresses the true spirit of skyrunning defined not only by distance, but vertical climb and technical difficulty.

Skyrunner® World Series is supported by Migu Xempower, Alpina Watches, Compressport, Salomon and Scott Sports.

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Transgrancanaria 2016 – Elite Press Conference

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Many of the top elite runners assembled in Maslpalomas, Gran Canaria yesterday evening for the Transgrancanaria 2016 elite press conference.

In the past few years, Transgrancanaria has grown as the first big European race that in many ways sets the scene for what is to come later in the year.

The 2016 edition of the race is no different.

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2015 champion Gediminas Grinius is back and looking to defend his crown but he is going to have a tough job. He said:

“I feels no pressure now but as I stand on the start, the tension will come and then will be soon released. I am here to perform to the best of my ability.”

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Seth Swanson from the USA is considered to be a dark horse, his repeat 2nd places at the past editions of Western States and 4th at UTMB not only means that he has pace to run fast but that he can also climb and descend.

“I’m really happy to be back in Europe and the opportunity to run across an island, from the top to the bottom, is one of the unique attraction of the Transgrancanaria race.”

Julien Chorier, Yan Long Fei, Antoine Guillon, Didrik Hermansen, Jonas Buud, Tim Tollefson, Sondre Amdahl, Andy Symonds, Seb Chaigneau, Yeray Duran are just some of the other top elite men who will contest the finish line on Saturday outside the Palais de Congress in Maspalomas.

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The ladies race has less depth but two time champion Nuria Picas is back and of course a hot favourite for victory. Last years 2nd placed lady, Caroline Chaverot is also one to watch:

“I want to have a good race, a pleasant journey and I hope I don’t get lost… last year I made a couple of mistakes.”

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The USA’s Angela Shartel was also present and excited to be racing in Europe for the first time.

Dong Li, Uxue Fraile, Manuela Vilaseca, Lisa Borzani, Anrea Huser and Silvia Trigueros are also hot contenders for the top-3 podium places.

Racing starts at 2300 (local time) on Friday March 4th

Read a full race preview HERE

Transgrancanaria 2016 #TGC16 – Race Preview

©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria15-6747March rolls around once again and with it, the Transgrancanaria. Arguably, the Canarian island of Gran Canaria kicks off the serious European racing calendar with the Transgrancanaria and 2016, like all previous years, once again has a quality line up.

On first impressions, the male and female elite field may not have the depth of some previous editions, but those who are racing bring a high pedigree to the race and the action at the front, as always, will be fast and tough.

Transgrancanaria is a tough, tough course with some brutal and relentless climbing, particularly in the opening kilometers under darkness. What follows is a rollercoaster of Canarian landscape that leads the runners from the north of the island, all the way down to the south, with a finish close to the sea. It’s a logical and pleasing crossing of the island.

Past editions of the race have been criticized for the final 10-20km that involved running in what felt like a concrete tube, I have been informed that a new finish route is planned and so therefore we can expect finish times different to previous editions.

This route, the island, the weather and the unpredictable nature that a 125km route brings guarantees that we are in for a special battle. Now in its 3rd edition as part of the UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour) the 2016 Transgrancanaria will be an exciting race.

Map

Heading up the male line-up is 2015 champion, Gediminas Grinius. We coined a phrase last year that Gediminas has become the #GrinReaper. He lived up to that reputation in the 2015 race when he closed like a demon to win the race against a world-class field. Gediminas has been a revelation over the past 2-years and his rise in the sport has been great to watch. Without doubt, he is a hot favourite for the 2016 win.

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Didrik Hermansen and Sondre Amdahl will not be far behind Gediminas, this duo raced side-by-side in 2015 and on that occasion, Hermansen took the 2nd podium place. He followed this with a win at Lavaredo and 3rd at UltraVasen. This duo have had an equally impressive rise in the sport over the last 2-years, particularly Amdahl who races regularly. He follows up Transgrancanaria with his first multi-day race; Marathon des Sables. Sondre placed 4th at Transgrancanaria last year and 4th at UTMF, his best result coming at Hong Kong 100 where he placed 2nd.
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An exciting prospect is the USA’s Seth Swanson. Seth is very much a runner who is below the radar in Europe, however, his podium (2nd) back-to-backs at Western States elevate him to a complete surprise package on the Canarian trails of Gran Canaria. The big question will come with the relentless hands-on-knees climbing that Transgrancanaria brings. Of course, he placed 4th at UTMB so I have it on good authority that Seth can look after himself… one to watch for the win! ©iancorless.com_EcoTrailMadeira2015-9101

Julien Chorier always impresses me on tough and technical courses, in addition to his all around climbing ability, he can run with the best too. His experiences on Gran Canaria are also good (2nd in 2014 behind Ryan Sandes), he knows the course, he has been on the podium and we can expect a top drawer performance that will contest the podium once again. Julien placed 6th at Western States, so if he is in a neck-to-neck with Swanson later in the race, my money is on Swanson. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria15-6897

Antoine Guillon is a UTWT regular and in the past has raced every race in the calendar, he often misses the big victory because of this but his consistency is 100%. You can almost predict that if injury does not hit h will be in the top-10 and has a good chance of top-5. He placed 3rd last year and also won Raid de la Reunion. ©iancorless.com-9303Kima2014_

Like Swanson, Yan Long Fei will also be another surprise package for the podium and potential win. His gentle rise in the sport has been special to watch and his recent 2nd place result in Hong Kong 100 will boost his confidence for Transgrancanaria. ©iancorless.com_ITT2015-0065

Andy Symonds is back on form after extended injury and this course will suit the Brit who lives in France. The only question may come with the distance and potential time on feet, 125km is a long race for Andy but he does have plans to extend his range and Transgrancanaria is a good place to start. Andy had 5 victories in 2015, the last coming at Ultra Trail Atlas Toubkai ahead of Julien Chorier. He also completed the super tough and technical ELS2900. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria15-7329

Yeray Duran represents the local talent; he always performs well on a race that may well be the highlight of his year. Other top names to watch are Pau Capell, Toti Bes, Jordi Camito, Pau Bartolo and the return of Sebastien Chaigneau.

*Late additions to my entry list come no bigger than Miguel Heras (ouch! if he is on form he could crush it), Jonas Buud is super fast and can climb as we have seen at UTMB and Skyrunning hot shot Franco Colle will love this 8000m+ course.
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Nuria Picas heads up the ladies’ field and is the two time defending champion. I wouldn’t want to bet against her on this course and one only needs to look at her pal mares for a confirmation of her ability. Nuria had 4 victories in 2015 that included Grand raid Reunion, arguably though her most impressive year is 2014 with 7 victories and 2nd at UTMB.
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Caroline Chaverot has been a revelation over the past 2-years and her growth in the sport phenomenal. Like Nathalie Macular, she is a wife and a mother who manages to race at the highest level. Caroline placed 2nd behind Picas in 2015 but went on to win at Lavaredo and the Eiger Ultra Trail. I saw Caroline in December while I was in La Palma, she was training on the Transvulcania route. If it all comes together, she can win and certainly make the podium.

Uxue Fraile has always impressed me with her waiting game and patience. She is not the fastest lady in the race but she has the patience and the long game. She proved this in 2015 with a victory at UTMF and 2nd at UTMB. Axe’s last time at Transgrancanaria was in 2014 with 6th place, I think the podium may well be hers in 2016.

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Andrea Huser placed 4th at Transgrancanaria in 2015 and then followed up with 12 races where she ranked in the top-5 at all of them with Matterhorn Ultraks the exception where she placed 8th. One would arguably say that she races too much… she is relentless. I get tired looking at her result sheet but an early season race may well mean she is fresh!

Silvia Trigueros may mix things up for the podium as her recent 3rd place at Hong Kong 100 confirms. This result is backed up with a solid 2015 and in particular a top result at UTMB where she placed 4th.
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Dong Li placed 3rd last year and backed this up with strong performances at TNF100 in Australia and the 80km Mont-Blanc.

Lisa Borzani recently placed 2nd at Hong Kong 100 and therefore this elevates her to a contender for the Transgrancanaria podium. However, her results do seem to blow hot and cold, this is reflected with 14th at the Eiger and 10th at Lavaredo.

Manuela Vilaseca placed 5th last year and with this lady’s line-up, I think we can expect a repeat performance. Her 5th place at Lavaredo backs this up as does her 10th at UTMB.

The wild card is Angela Shartel who I know little about but her results are impressive; 1st Bear 100 mile, 1st Cruel Jewel 100 mile, 1st at Crown King Scramble 50k and that is just 2015 – watch this space.

Race website HERE

Racing takes place this coming weekend March 4th – 6th and you can view images, read reports and follow the racing on all my usual channels.

Twitter – @talkultra

Website – iancorless.com

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Facebook – facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Logo Transgrancanaria

Episode 101 – Mal Law, Jo Meek, Lucja Leonard

A_GRAVATAR

This is Episode 101 of Talk Ultra. We speak with Jo Meek who is back in form after almost a year of injury. Mal Law talks about HIGH FIVE-0 and Lucja Leonard talks all about weight loss in Talk Training. Dare I say it, but the PED debate has started in ultra, trail and mountain running and we discuss what is happening! Speedgoat is here.

00:01:31 Show Start

00:08:30 NEWS

Help Nepal – Nepal images ‘FACES of NEPAL’ – order a print and all funds donated to Nepal charities HERE

TRAINING CAMP in Lanzarote with Elisabet Barnes 28th Jan to Feb 4th HERE

DRUGS, PEDs, EPO are becoming a reality in our sport READ HERE and your thoughts.

 

TNF50

1 – Zach Miller 6:12

2 – Dylan Bowman 6:20

3 – Ryan Bak 6:26

1 – Megan Kimmel 7:13

2 – Ellie Greenwood 7:23

3 – Larisa Dannis 7:25

MSIG LANTAU

1 – Francois D’Haene 5:42

2 – Eirik Haugsness

3 – Upendra Sunuwar

1 – Maud Gobert 7:08

2 – Marie McNaughton

3 – Rebecca Nakuwa

VULCANO ULTRA TRAIL 100k

1 – Cristofer Clemente 12:31 held off Joe Grant for the win

2 – Manuela Vilaseca 15:48 ran away with the ladies race ahead of Veronica Bravo

SAINT E LYON France

Benoit Cori (Templars winner) finished with Nicolas Martin joint 1st 5:07 and Corali Bugnare took out the ladies wins 6:32

HARDROCK 100 entries HERE 

WSER entries HERE

00:55:55 INTERVIEW with JO MEEK HERE

01:37:19 TALK TRAINING this week Lucja Leonard tells us how loosing weight and running changed her life HERE

02:04:09 INTERVIEW with MAL LAW and the HIGH FIVE-0 Challenge HERE

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

New South Wales

Coast to Kosciuszko | 240 kilometers | December 11, 2015 | website

Queensland

Kurrawa to Duranbah and Return – 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2015 | website

Narawntapu 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2015 | website

Victoria

Duncan’s Run-Hundred | 100 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website

Duncan’s Run-Hundred – 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

53 km | 53 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website

Costa Rica

Moonrun Monteverde Ultra Trail | 62 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

French Guiana

100 Bornes du Père Noël | 100 kilometers | December 18, 2015 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Eisweinlauf | 65 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Lower Saxony

  1. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website
  2. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website
  3. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | December 13, 2015 | website
  4. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | December 13, 2015 | website
  5. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website
  6. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website
  7. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | December 20, 2015 | website
  8. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | December 20, 2015 | website

India

Haryana

Running And Living – 105.5 km | 105 kilometers | December 14, 2015 | website

Running And Living Marathon and a Half – 63.3km | 63 kilometers | December 14, 2015 | website

Madagascar

Nosy Be Trail – 60 km | 60 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Sweden

Blåfrusen Ultramarathon | 70 kilometers | December 13, 2015 | website

USA

Arizona

Desert Solstice 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | December 19, 2015 | website

Desert Solstice 50K Run | 50 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website

California

Malibu Canyon Trail Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Rodeo Beach 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Woodside Ramble 50K | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2015 | website

Colorado

Sawmill 50K+ | 34 miles | December 12, 2015 | website

Florida

50K Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Ancient Oaks 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | December 19, 2015 | website

Deer Dodge 50K | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Deer Dodge 50 Miler | 50 miles | December 12, 2015 | website

Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic 50M | 50 miles | December 12, 2015 | website

Indiana

HUFF 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website

Massachusetts

Seth’s Fat Ass 50 | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Ohio

Bigfoot 50K | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

First Day of Winter 50K | 50 kilometers | December 20, 2015 | website

Oregon

Frozen Trail Runfest 50K | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Tennessee

Bell Ringer 50k | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Lookout Mountain 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | December 19, 2015 | website

Texas

Brazos Bend 100 Miler | 100 miles | December 12, 2015 | website

Brazos Bend 50 Miler | 50 miles | December 12, 2015 | website

Houston Running Festival 100K | 100 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website

Houston Running Festival 100 Mile | 100 miles | December 19, 2015 | website

Houston Running Festival 50K | 50 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website

Houston Running Festival 50 Mile | 50 miles | December 19, 2015 | website

Texas Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | December 12, 2015 | website

Texas Trail 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | December 12, 2015 | website

Virginia

Hellgate 100K | 100 kilometers | December 13, 2015 | website

Seashore Nature Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | December 19, 2015 | website

Washington

Deception Pass 50K | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2015 | website

03:01:20 CLOSE

03:04:20

ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

Can of worms! Desco, EPO, PEDs and TNF50

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It is the TNF50 this weekend in San Francisco. iRunFar as per usual did a race preview and what a line up! The $10,000 prize money a huge incentive to attract top runners for a last big push before a well earned end of season rest.

The iRunFar article was updated on Nov 27th with a last minute entrant: Elisa Desco from Italy.

I firmly believe that many in the San Francisco race would not know who Elisa was unless they followed WMRA (World Mountain Running) or Skyrunning. Elisa in recent years has performed exceptionally well in Skyrunning and in 2014 was crowned Skyrunning World Champion for the SKY distance in Chamonix.

iRunFar went on to say:

[Added November 27] Italian mountain runner Elisa Desco was just added to the entrants list. I don’t believe she’s raced longer than 46k before, I do think this is her first race in the U.S., and I know this will probably be the flattest trail race she’s participated in, but she is a likely podium favorite. She’s been a regular on the international Skyrunning circuit for years, and this year she finished third in the Sky division of the Skyrunner World Series, including a win of the just-over-a-marathon’s-distance Matterhorn Ultraks. From 2010 to 2012, Elisa served a two-year ban from the IAAF after she tested positive for EPO at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships.

I was well aware of Elisa’s positive test and lets be clear here, since 2012 I have spent a great deal of time with Elisa and her husband, Marco De Gasperi. De Gasperi himself a 6x WMRA champion and legend in the world of mountain and Skyrunning.

Many a long night talking with Marco discussing the positive test. (I would like to be clear here and state that I am being as impartial as I possible can.) It’s a story of how Marco tried to fight to clear Elisa’s name, a story of what he considered major flaws with the testing procedure and a fight for honour. One that he eventually had to give up on. He wrote an article in 2011 on his own website. I provide a Google translation of that article, obviously this is not a perfect translation but you get the gist! HERE

From a USA perspective, Facebook exploded with a series of very angry posts. Ethan Veneklasen in particular commented on multiple channels:

I am DEEPLY disappointed to see that Elisa Desco (Italy) was added last week to the start list for this weekend’s North Face Endurance Challenge and is widely considered a favorite for the podium. From 2010-2012, Desco served a two-year ban from the IAAF for testing positive for EPO at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships.

For the last several years, we have speculated about whether doping has arrived in our beloved sport. If there was any question before, let me be clear…that day has arrived! This is VERY, VERY sad indeed. 

On a related note, I am delighted to see that US Skyrunning is taking proactive steps to move the International Skyrunning Federation toward enforcing lifetime ban for convicted dopers.

The can of worms was well and truly opened. No bad thing! It’s good to get the PED debate out in our sport and ensure at this very early stage that PED’s are not tolerated or accepted in our sport.

I 100% agree that I do not and will not tolerate drugs in any sport and of course, in particular the sport I love, watch, follow and photograph.

However, is Elisa getting a fair deal? Has this turned into a witch hunt?

The facts are when Elisa tested positive, no lifetime ban existed for doping. She was sentenced for 2-years, she did her time and she is now back. This of course does pose the question, ‘should runners be allowed back?’

Elisa has been drug tested 2-times in the last 18-months (maybe more) and both tests were clean. To clarify, one of those tests were made at the Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix where she was crowned world champion.

Elisa may very well have taken PED’s? The ban would suggest so but Marco and Elisa 100% say not! Of course, Lance did the same and look how good a liar he was.

Should athletes receive lifetime bans? Yes, if we are 100% sure that they cheated, then yes! But I would want those tests to be 100% secure. I am not sure that is always the case and this has been discussed elsewhere. Questions have been raised about Elisa’s positive test! This is not a post to fight for Elisa, not at all. It’s a post to say that we sometimes need to take a step back and this case provides a great opportunity for debate and a catalyst for change.

Today, 5th December, Runners World have posted an article HERE and the headline says:

Ultrarunners Want Convicted Doper Out of Weekend Race

Powerful headline and some of the contents in the article make for interesting reading. 2014 race winner, Magdalena Boulet says: “I guess the kind way to say it is that I’m disappointed that the race organization allowed her into the elite field,” This was followed up with, “I don’t care if a doper served their ban and are technically eligible to race. If they still want to run for the love of the sport, they are welcome to, but I guarantee that they would slowly go away,”

Fellow podcaster, Eric Shranz commented, “For a sport that values camaraderie and inclusiveness, Desco will be on the outside of that group due to her past, and that’s a place she’s earned,” Schranz said. “But then again, maybe we need her to podium this weekend to really force an honest conversation about how we want to grow as a sport and how we’ll handle the PED problem.”

On publication of the Runners World article, Ethan Veneklasen who was very vocal on social media said via his Facebook page, “Very glad to see Runners World covering this important issue! Thanks to all who have contributed to helping get this discussion going. ‪#‎cleansport‬

I agree. This is a discussion that almost certainly needs to take place. Elisa unfortunately is now at the centre of this debate. Her presence in San Francisco is now compromised and should she decide to run, I can’t help but think it will result in an early withdrawal. This debate and all the negativity will have a huge impact on her and many reading this will say; good!

Four points are raised:

  1. Are The North Face making a mistake in allowing Desco to run? (TNF50 does not have drug testing or a policy re convicted dopers.)
  2. Should a positive test, irrespective of when that happened, mean that a runner should be banned of life?
  3. How do we confirm that a positive test is 100% positive?
  4. The ultra community have a voice, they are saying in this scenario, “Sure the rules say 2yrs and back in, but the community doesn’t!”

I often tell a story, when I was cycling at elite level. Caffeine was a banned substance. If I had too many espressos or too much Coke, I could run the risk of being positive in a test so I had to be careful. Now caffeine is okay and even gels are rammed with the stuff. You can take as much as you like and it does boost performance. But it’s legal now. What is okay and what is not ok becomes cloudy; my advice is stick to the rules. The athletes who really want to perform/ win will always look for an advantage. I just want that advantage to be a legal one. Of course in Elisa’s case the drug in question is EPO, you don’t accidentally take EPO! It would require planning, deception and money. Ultimately this is a completely different story and I firmly believe why the reaction has been so severe.

The positive test is what everyone jumps on, I get that. A definitive proof that Elisa doped!

Like I said, we all make mistakes and I get the ‘one strike and out’ scenario. However, my bank took £22 out of my account years ago. I told them they were wrong in no uncertain terms. ‘No!’ they relied. “It’s not possible for us to make this mistake.’ I battled on for 3-months. It wasn’t the money that was important, it was the principal. Eventually I had a letter from the bank confirming an error had been made due to an ‘anomaly.’

In the above scenario it was just £22. With drugs in sport and PEDS it may well be a ruined career and life ban. Of course, if we can 100% confirm that someone was cheating, lets ban them. I just want a ban to be 100% – are we there yet?

Ian Sharman, race director for the U.S. Skyrunner Series, is pushing for life bans for convicted dopers for all Skyrunning events globally: “This isn’t a reaction to an individual, but a response to the widespread doping uncovered recently in athletics in general. We can’t change our rules at this point without the rules being changed for the entire International Skyrunning Federation, so that’s where we’re aiming to make the change so we can send a clear signal that cheating isn’t acceptable,”

Anthony Forsyth commented on a Facebook in response to a comment I made:

“From my perspective the frustration is not towards Elisa, who is doing what she can, but towards TNF that are allowing her to race. There is a general consensus that we want a clean sport – on this we agree. But there is also a general consensus that those who have cheated, who have stolen prize money and results from other athletes, have had their opportunity to be a part of our sport, of our family, and have crapped with contempt on that opportunity. They are no longer welcome. The term witch hunt refers to the guessing of guilt. Guilt has been proven. Sure the rules say 2yrs and back in, but the community doesn’t. As I said, my vent is with TNF. In allowing her to race they have misunderstood our sport, our family and our values. They need to educate themselves. And people need to stop buying their stuff until they do.”

The above is a powerful statement and one that I get. Anthony is clearly saying here this has nothing to do with if ‘doing the crime, so do the time!’ It is so much more, it’s about how the community are not prepared to accept back someone into the sport even though they may now be clean. It is very much the scenario, one strike and you are out!

On a final note to add fuel to the fire. On December 2nd CONI posted:

The Public Prosecutor’s office of NADO ITALY defers 26 athletes and asks for two years of disqualification. Dismissal is suggested for another 39 cases

Read the article HERE

Dismissal for 39-cases including

DE GASPERI Marco for the disputed accusations (art. 2.3 and art. 2.4 of the Anti-Doping Sport Code);

DESCO Elisa for the disputed accusations (art. 2.3 and art. 2.4 of the Anti-Doping Sport Code);

What are your thoughts? Would love to hear them.

Read THIS by Scott athlete, Andy Symonds. He nails it for me!

UPDATE 18th December, ELISA DESCO speaks with competitor.com HERE

Episode 99 – Giblin ELS2900 Grant

A_GRAVATAR

Episode 99 of Talk Ultra we talk all about ELS2900 with RD Matt Lefort and 3rd place overall, Andy Symonds. Sophie Grant talk Raid de la Reunion and Paul Giblet from the UK wins Javekina Hundred beating Speedgoat! Niandi is here too looking like a Druid.

00:01:30 Show Start

00:07:50 NEWS

Help Nepal – Nepal images ‘FACES of NEPAL’ – order a print and all funds donated to Nepal charities HERE

TRAINING CAMP in Lanzarote with Elisabet Barnes 28th Jan to Feb 4th HERE

iancorless.com 2016 Calendar, not many left! HERE

ELS2900 read HERE

00:17:15 INTERVIEW

MATT LEFORT race director for ELS2900

1 – Jokin Lizeaga 14:48

2 – Nicolas Darmaillacq 15:37

3 – Andy Symonds 16:11

 

1 – Sonia Regueiro Rodriguez 21:51

01:01:52 INTERVIEW

ANDY SYMONDS 3rd place ELS2900

OMAN DESERT MARATHON

Elisabet Barnes has one every stage and as we record she is ranked in the top-10 and is guaranteed overall female victory.

We will have Elisabet on the next show to tell us about it and tell us about her plans for 2016.

THE DRUIDS

1 – Lee Muir 10:45:33

2 – Mark Ford 11:49:41

3 – Tim Beckett 11:51:18

 

1 – Maree Jesson 12:47:32

2 – Laura Garriod 14:20:07

3 – Katherine Barrett 14:33:52

ECOTRAIL FUNCHAL, MADEIRA – HERE

80km results HERE

1 – Arnaud Lejeune 8:30:09

2 – Fabien Antolinus 8:49:46

3 – Leonardo Diogo 9:51:17

 

1 – Anna Conclaves 12:43

2 – Hailey Fletcher 18:08:28

3 –

40km results HERE

1 – Julien Chorier 4:29:55

2 – Marco Silva 4:33:57

3 – Virgilio Ornelas 4:46:07

 

1 – Luvox Franco 5:53:43

2 – Alice Sousa 6:11:50

3 –  Marina Freitas 7:08:12

UTWT 2016 calendar

Honk Kong 100

Tarawera

Transgrancanaria

MDS

Madeira Island Ultra Trail

Ultra Trail Australia

Western States

Lavaredo

Eiger Ultra Trail

UTMB

UTMF

Diagonale des Fous

JAVELINA JUNDRED

1 – Paul Goblin 13:49

2 – Michael Carron 15:21

3 – Brett Sanborn 15:47

Speedgoat was 5th (man) 16:31

1 – Devon Yanko 14:52 and 2nd overall

2 – Tony Littlehales 19:24

3 – Tracy Dimino 20:10

01:39:46 INTERVIEW

SOPHIE GRANT Raid de la Reunion profile HERE

02:35:36 INTERVIEW 

PAUL GIBLIN

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Australian Capital Territory

Stromlo Running Festival – 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website

Victoria

Upstream 50km Challenge | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Upstream 50km Challenge | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Cambodia

The Ancient Khmer Path | 220 kilometers | November 27, 2015 | website

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Trail La Transtica – Course Aventure | 115 kilometers | November 18, 2015 | website

Costa Rica Trail La Transtica – Course Extrême | 196 kilometers | November 18, 2015 | website

Egypt

100 Km Pharonic Race | 100 kilometers | November 20, 2015 | website

France

Dordogne

Trail de l’Asterius | 58 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website

Haute-Loire

Raid nocturne Le Puy-Firminy | 68 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website

Manche

A la Belle Etoile 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Nord

Trail Extrème Lillois – 75 km | 75 kilometers | November 15, 2015 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon November | 108 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Lower Saxony

  1. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website
  2. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Hong-Kong

Oxfam Trailwalker Hong Kong | 100 kilometers | November 20, 2015 | website

India

Maharashtra

Oxfam Trailwalker India – Mumbai | 100 kilometers | November 20, 2015 | website

Italy

Emilia-Romagna

Ultra K Marathon | 50 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website

Luxembourg

Trail Uewersauer | 50 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website

Namibia

Desert Ultra | 250 kilometers | November 13, 2015 | website

New Zealand

Molesworth Run | 84 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Portugal

Trail AM | 60 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website

South Africa

Salomon Sky Run 100 km | 100 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Salomon Sky Run 65 km | 65 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Spain

Canary Islands

UMNR | 79 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Tunisia

Marathon des Oasis | 120 kilometers | November 16, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Powys

Beacons Ultra | 45 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Swansea

Coastal Trail Series – Gower – Ultra | 34 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

USA

Alabama

Dizzy Fifties 40 Mile Trail Run | 40 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

Dizzy Fifties 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Dizzy Fifties 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

Tranquility Lake 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Arizona

Colossal-Vail 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Colossal-Vail 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Pass Mountain 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

California

Chimera 100 Miles | 100 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Chino Hills Spring Trail Series 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Mt. Tam Trail Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

San Joaquin River Trail 100K Run | 100 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

San Joaquin River Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Spooner’s Cove 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 15, 2015 | website

Spooner’s Cove 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 15, 2015 | website

Spooner’s Cove 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 15, 2015 | website

Florida

Cottonmouth 100 | 100 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Georgia

Tortoise and the Hare 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Illinois

Tunnel Hill 100 Miler | 100 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Tunnel Hill 50 Miler | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Maryland

JFK 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

Rosaryville Veteran’s Day 50k | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Stone Mill 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Massachusetts

Nougat Trail 100K | 100 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Nougat Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

New York

Madhattan Run | 32 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Old Glory Trail Trot 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Old Glory Trail Trot 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Old Glory Trail Trot 50 mile Relay | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Ohio

Bill’s Bad Ass | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Flying Feather 4 Miler | 43 miles | November 26, 2015 | website

Fuzzy Fandango 50 K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Tennessee

Upchuck 50K Trail Running Race | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Texas

50K | 50 kilometers | November 26, 2015 | website

Wild Hare 50K | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Wild Hare 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

Utah

Antelope Island 50K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Virginia

50K | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

50 Mile Ultra | 50 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

Washington

Doppler 50k | 50 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website

Grand Ridge 50 K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

03:05:47 CLOSE

A SPAR AGUS😉A spar agus

03:09:18

ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

A_GRAVATAR

Scott Els 2900 Alpine Run

pic by https://www.facebook.com/jordisaragossa

                                   pic by https://www.facebook.com/jordisaragossa

Press release from Scott Running re the Scott ELS 2900 Alpine Run

Race directors: Matt Lefort and Carles Rossell

You can listen to two interviews on Episode 99 of Talk Ultra podcast, one with Matt Lefort and the other with 3rd placed runner, Andy Symonds. The show will be released Fri 13th Nov and will be available on this website and on iTunes HERE

At midnight on October 31st, the 37 participants of the inaugural edition of the SCOTT Els2900 Alpine Run started from the Refugi Estanys de la Pera. Their goal, link all 7 peaks over 2900m high in Andorra, in less than 24h.

Unlike other ultra running events, participants were required for sole mandatory equipment a phone, a harness, two 60cm runners and a minimum of two carabiners. The rest was up to the athletes, leaving everyone’s personal experience dictate what to bring to move as fast and light as possible without putting one’s life at risk. So is the true essence of the sport, initiated 25 years ago by a handful of pioneers who did run up and down Mount Blanc and Monte Rosa. Such legends, Pep Ollé and Matteo Pellin, were actually involved into setting up the ropes to secure the Cresta dels Malhiverns section.

pic by https://www.facebook.com/jordisaragossa

                                    pic by https://www.facebook.com/jordisaragossa

Even though the risk factor is never down to zero being out in the mountains, the race organizers lowered it considerably by carefully selecting each participant based on their experience in such terrain. This is how elite athlete were denied entry, while much less popular yet highly skilled mountain people made the cut to create a crowd of humble and like minded peers.

The 70km route took the most direct line between each peaks, amounting a gruelling 6800m of elevation gain, through rocky cols, over exposed ridges, steep couloirs and even a via ferrata section that was performed at night.

pic by https://www.facebook.com/jordisaragossa

                                    pic by https://www.facebook.com/jordisaragossa

At this game, Jokin LIZEAGA (ESP) was the best on the day, taking the win in14h48, followed by Nicolas DARMAILLACQ (FRA) in 15h37 and Andy SYMONDS (UK) in 16h11 wrapping up the mens podium. The woman’s fields made of two at the start line will only see Sonia REGUEIRO RODRIGUEZ (ESP) cross the finish line at the Refugi de Coma Pedrosa in 21h51, crowning her 2015 winner of the SCOTT Els2900 Alpine Run.

True camaraderie was shown until the end where race winner Jokin welcomed the last out of the 22 runners who completed the course (Paul Marie, FRA) and popped a bottle of Cava with the whole crew who had joined to witness the scene.

pic by https://www.facebook.com/jordisaragossa

                                      pic by https://www.facebook.com/jordisaragossa

All images ©scott ©jordisaragossa

Find out more about the race here and SCOTT Running here 

Andy Symonds wrote an interesting post about the race HERE