Yading SKY and KORA ULTRA 2018 Summary and Images – Yading Skyrunning Festival

The 2018 Yading Skyrunning Festival concluded today with two incredible races, the 29km Sky Race and the 46km Kora Ultra. Both races started in Shangri La at the same time and both concluded at the Monastery in the Yading National Park.

It turned out to be quite a day for both races!

The predicted snow came and with it wind, cold temperatures and snow flurries; the landscape turned into a winter wonderland. It made the conditions very difficult for the runners. Fighting the challenging terrain and at times bitter cold, the 2018 Ultra and Sky race will be remembered for many years to come.

It was a day when finally the ever-present Skyrunner, Oscar Casal Mir topped the podium after many years of commitment to the Skyrunner World Series. He was just behind Andy Wacker at the iconic prayer flag turn and then used his descending skills to clinch victory. Andy finished just over a minute later and rising Nepali star, Bed Sunuwar placed 3rd, particularly notable after placing 2nd in the previous day’s VK.

The ladies’ race turned out to be an epic battle between Holly Page and Ruth Croft. The duo were pretty much together throughout the race with Holly having the edge.

Ruth used her road skills on some of the earlier section but it was Holly who triumphed clinching victory. Sheila Aviles clinched the final podium spot in a very competitive race.

  1. Oscar Casal Mir 3:06:26
  2. Andy Wacker 3:07:30
  3. Bed Sunuwar 3:07:57
  4. Yongning Gao 3:11:27
  5. Finlay Wild 3:13:14
  1. Holly Page 3:32:04
  2. Ruth Croft 3:33:38
  3. Sheila Aviles 3:37:20
  4. Hillary Gerardi 3:42:36
  5. Lina El Kott Helander 3:45:57

In the Kora Ultra it was a record breaking day with both the male winner and female winner beating the 2017 times; truly remarkable when one considers the conditions. This was reflected in the words of Francois D’Haene, ‘I went 10-minutes quicker than last year and still came 4th!’

The talk though was all about the ladies’ winner, Miao Yao who obliterated the field and smashed the course record setting the new level at 5:50:28. For perspective, Mira Rai was a distant second in 6:32:40. Many of the elite men could feel the pressure, the speed and skill of this lady who placed 7th overall.

The men’s race was equally impressive, let’s face it, anyone who betters Francois D’Haene deserves respect, especially when setting a CR 4:49:02, that credit goes to Dongrenjia Jia. But also a great nod to 2nd and 3rd, Yousheng Guan and Ji Dong.

  1. Dongranjia Jia 4:49:02
  2. Yousheng Guan 5:04:10
  3. Ji Dong 5:13:54
  1. Miao Yao 5:50:28
  2. Mira Rai 6:32:40
  3. Qiao Wen 8:17:44

Yading, the impressive landscape and the mountains were the true stars of the festival though. It’s an incredible place to race, run or hike and will doubt make it to many a bucket list.

IMAGES available HERE

Yading VK 2018 Summary and Images – Yading Skyrunning Festival

Lung busting, calf bulging and full-on max heart rate was the order of the day for the Yading VK, the first event of the 2018 Yading Skyrunning Festival taking place in the Yading National Park, China.

The VK is notable not only for its stunning location, but also for the altitude that the race takes place at… It is the only VK in the world to go from 4000m to 5000m.

The day started with blue skies and glorious sunshine but as the 11am start approached the sky started to turn grey and a few specks of the predicted snow started to fall. It was a day of very mixed weather, at times sunny and hot, at other times bitterly cold and snowing.

– Bed Sunuwar

From the gun, Nepali runner Bed Sunuwar dictated the pace and as he approached the glacial lake in the final 25% of the race, he looked set for victory. However, last years winner, Douji from China had different ideas.

– Douji

He passed the Nepali relegating him to second. France’s ultra-running legend Francois D’Haene placed 3rd using the VK as altitude training for a long season ahed and tomorrow’s Kora Ultra.

– Francois D’Haene

Lina Elkott dictated the pace and never looked in doubt of clinching victory. She made the altitude and 1000m of vertical gain look relatively easy.

– Lina Elkott

Hillary Gerardi who has raced extensively on the Skyrunning circuit for the last 18 months showed great form placing second ahead of the winner’s sister, Sanna Elkott.

– Hillary Gerardi

– Sanna Elkott

Times for this VK are considerably longer than more traditional VK’s which are usually under 5km’s. This race has special consideration and covers a distance of 7km.

Many competitors took part and the difficulty of the terrain and altitude could be seen on their faces.

Attention now turns to tomorrow am when the Yading SkyRace and Kora Ultra will take place. Both events start at 0700.

Top 3 Men and Women

  1. Douji
  2. Bed Sunuwar
  3. Francois D’Haene
  1. Lina Elkott
  2. Hillary Gerardi
  3. Sanna Elkott

IMAGES available HERE

Full timings and results will be posted at http://yadingskyrun.livetrail.run/