Transgrancanaria 125km 2017 Race Preview

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From the heat and humidity of Costa Rica and The Coastal Challenge to the the Canary island of Gran Canaria and the Transgrancanaria 125km.

This is my fourth year working on the flagship 125km race and once again it appears in the UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour) calendar. The race starts on Friday evening, 24th February at 2300 hours’ local time. If it was ever in doubt, this race is a tough one! With over 8000m of positive gain, each and everyone of those 125km’s will be felt by the the time the runners reach the finish.

Starting on the north-west coast, the race travels south via the mountainous spine of Gran Canaria and then arrives at the finish, close to the sea in Maspalomas. The route is logical and therefore very appealing from a run aesthetic point of view. 

Over the years, the race has had some stellar performances and 2017 will see the return of the 2016 champions, Caroline Chaverot and Didrik Hermansen.

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Male Contenders

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Didrik Hermansen won the race last year with a high quality and well paced performance. He followed Transgrancanaria up with a stunning Western States and world-class 100km races. Didrik can mix running and climbing and therefore goes into the 2017 race as the hot favourite. Fellow Norwegian, Sondre Amdahl, tells me that Didrik is in great shape!

©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-2824©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-0660 The UK’s Andy Symonds ran a stunning race in 2016 and placed 5th – I have a felling he will be on the podium this year! His 2016 season was solid one with UTMB being his only blip. A win at Lavaredo, 2nd at Buff Epic behind Luis Alberto Hernando and 4th at Transvulcania confirms that Andy’s stepping stones to longer racing is working – 2017 will be his year and I also hear he will be racing at Marathon des Sables.

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Diego Pazos finished 3rd last year and what followed was a steady growth in the sport. I predicted he was a ‘one-to-watch’ for 2017 and I stand by that. His victory Mont-Blanc 80km confirmed that he is on the up.

©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-2663 Antoine Guillon placed on the podium previously and I have no reason to doubt that he can provide a repeat performance. In real terms, the podium may well be decided by those who pace themselves and come strong in the latter stages. Antoine may well be one of these guys – he will be able to bring the ‘long game’ to the race, something he learned when he won Diagonale des Fous (Raid de la Reunion) in 2015. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-0072

Yeray Duran is Transgrancanaria regular and is very popular within Spain and the Canary Islands. Arguably, it was Transgrancanaria that elevated his profile. He had a tough race last year but that blip is not indicative of how Yeray runs – I think we will see him up there this year.
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Julien Chorier is always a tip for the podium and victory – he is one seriously classy runner. He was 2nd at Transgrancaria in 2014 and 7th last year. Mixing Hardrock and Western States shows that Julien can mix speed and climbing perfectly – one to watch for the top-5 for sure and maybe the podium!

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Timothy Olson has raced on the island before (2014) and placed 3rd. He arrived in advance of this years race to train and prepare, something he has done on many occasions for multiple races. Normally, I would be pushing Timmy for the win but for the past year or so, the form has been missing. So, it’s difficult to predict the outcome here in the Canaries. Can Timmy win? Absolutely! So, lets cross our fingers and hope that we see a return to 2013 when this guy was on fire! 

Pau Capell won the 85km event previously and last year held hands with Diego Pazoz and crossed the line for an equal 3rd place. He will be up there!

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Fabien Antolinus is a runner I first met at Les Templiers and since then he has continually impressed with his ability to mix speed and climbing to great results. Two years ago he was 5th at UTMB but for me, his performances at Ice Trail Tarentaise were stand out. He’s a top-5 contender for sure.

iancorless-com_etr2016-8828 Casey Morgan will keep UK interest high. He’s been up there at Transgrancanaria in the past and currently he is on a roll with a series of top quality victories. I last saw him race at Everest Trail Race and he was in great shape. He followed that race with another race victory in the Spanish mountains and just recently he raced in Hong Kong with great success.

Fulvio Dapit has come close in the past and is often let down with stomach issues. He won’t make the podium but he will be up in the top-10.

Ones to watch: 

  • Freddy Thevenin
  • Daniel Jung
  • Ben Duffus
  • Gerard Morales
  • Fritjof Fagerlund
  • Nicola Bassi
  • Dimity Mityaev

and many more…

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Female Contenders

©iancorless.com_SWC2016-6618This race has Caroline Chaverot’s name written all over it and no disrespect to the other female competitors but I don’t see anyone coming close to this French lady. Caroline was on fire in 2016 and was for me, THE, female ultra-runner of the year. She was unstoppable with a sting of high-profile victories. In summary, anyone who wins UTMB, becomes UTWT champion, becomes Skyrunning World Champion and IAU World Trail Champion all in one-year deserves the upmost respect. I think she will win the race by at least 1-hour!
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I am going to throw a curve ball in and put my neck on the line with a stunning performance expectation from the UK’s Beth Pascall. She will be somewhat of a dark horse over in Gran Canaria but she has all the potential to produce a shock. She has with the UK’s Spine Race and the shorter distance, Challenge Race. She obliterated the ladies’ record at the Lakeland 100 and won the Hoka Highland Fling. One to watch! *Update 21st Feb, Beth will not race due to an injury to her foot.

Andrea Huser never stops. She is like Michael Wardian and each time she runs I am amazed with her ability to recover and race again. She doesn’t have the speed of Caroline and therefore, providing Caroline has no problems. I don’t see the Swiss lady beating her. However, she has a list of results that makes the podium almost guaranteed – victories at Lavaredo, Diagonale des Fous and Swiss Irontrail and let’s not forget 2nd at UTMB behind Caroline!


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Azara Garcia and Gemma Arenas have set their tables out in Skyrunning races and we know that have speed and can climb with the best. However, 125km and 8000m of vertical is a long way and this may well be the downfall for the Spanish duo. Gemma probably has the edge over Azara as she has excelled at Ultra Pirineu with victory. For Gemma, I see 125km possibly being a real learning curve.

Lisa Borzani likes the long and mountainous races such as Tor des Geants and Ronda dels Cims – that will set her up well for this tough and challenging Transgrancanaria course. She may lack the speed but as others fade, she will continue to push strong. 

Manuela Vilaseca was 5th at Transgrancanaria two-years ago and in this line-up, I believe the podium is a possibility – a win would only really come should Andrea and Caroline have bad races.  

Ildiko Wermescher would be a long shot for the podium but a top-5 and certainly a top-10 is a distinct possibility. 2016 seemed to be a below par year but 2014 saw the German lady place 4th at Transgrancanaria.
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Debbie Martin-Consani is my dark horse for a shake up in the ladies’ rankings. Like Beth Pascall, she is a Lakeland 100 winner and she has excelled at other 100-milers and races like Spartathlon, she ha s also raced in a GB vest. Word on the street (or the hills) is that Debbie has been going up and down those Scottish mountains to prepare for this 125km race. 

Ones to watch:

  • Yulia Baykova
  • Jen Benna
  • Laura Barrera
  • Caroline Rohrl
  • Laia Diez

and many more…

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Everest Trail Race 2016 #ETR2016 – Arrival Kathmandu

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The 2016 Everest Trail Race has begun… as with all races, it starts with a journey and as I am sure you all know, some are more bearable than others. This was a good one! We departed Heathrow on Nov 6th in the early evening, a 4-hour flight to Istanbul was followed with a short wait time before a red-eye flight through the night to arrive in Kathmandu for midday the following day.

The Nepal/ Kathmandu impact hits immediately – noise, colour, cars, motorbikes, buses, dust and people are everywhere!

A short journey to our hotel is followed by a simple pre-registration of athletes; the official race briefing will take place tomorrow. Everyones tired but a new day has kicked in leaving everyone unsure if they should be eating lunch or breakfast? Eyes are watery and red, hair is a little dishevelled and wild, but the anticipation of the 2016 ETR has everyone wired and excited.

It’s time to unpack, prepare and organise equipment for the race that starts in three days time but first a little exploring – the bustling streets of Tamil await and provide a quick and rapid immersion into the wonders of Nepal and it’s people.

Tomorrow, Monday, is a day of organised exploring to the Monkey Temple and Durba Square; a hub of history for this region of Nepal.

Sleep deprived, it’s a short day for everyone, bed calls and tomorrow the 2016 Everest Trail Race experience really begins for all concerned.

Racing starts on Thursday10th November

Day 1 – Departing Jiri at 0900 runners will cover two major peaks, Mali at just over 2400m and Deurali Pass (2700m).

Day 2 – Leaving Bhandar, non-stop climbing follows a short 4km descent; firstly, to Gompa (Golla) at 3010m, a small downhill section follows of 2km and then a climb to Pikey Peak at 4068m. It’s a tough-tough day and the sting in the tail comes at the very end with a very short and steep ascent to Jase Bhajyang.

Day 3 – Jase Bhanjyang to Kharikhola

Stage 3 is all about running downhill, however, the finish is brutal ascent to Kharikhola at 2100m. Leaving Jase Bhanjyang runners have a short ascent of 2km to 3800m and then an 8km descent to Jumbesi, CP1. A 6km climb to just over 3000m is then followed with a 4km descent to Lharpa and CP2. Another 3km climb to 3000m and then a brutal leg-sapping drop from 3000m to 1500m in 10km before the final sting in the tail, a 3km climb to the finish.

Day 4 – Kharikhola to Llegada

Departing the monastery, a small descent awaits the runners of just 4km before a long tough climb to Kari La (CP1) at 2900m. From here the course goes up and down all around 2700/2800m for approximately 10km before a very steep descent to CP2 at Surke (2200m). A continual climb to CP3 at Cheplung continues to the arrival at Phakding/ Llegaga. 

Day 5 – Phakding to Llegada

Leaving Phakding at 2600m runners will only gain 200m in the first 8km. CP1 Namche Bazar is at 10km  (3400m).  Phunki Tenga at 17.5km (3300m) now will offer the runners the most spectacular views of Everest and the other 8000m peaks. This sight will spur them on for the kick in the tail; the 2km climb from 3300m to 3700m and the finish at Tengboche.

Day 6 – Thyangboche to Lukla

The final stage of the ETR re-traces much of the same ground of Day-5 but (obviously) in the opposite direction. The main difference comes after Phakding when the trail splits and participants go left climbing to the finish in Lukla.

Limone Extreme 2016 #SKY – Skyrunner® World Series

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The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series was up for grabs but news on the start line was one of drama… Tadei Pivk was unable to start after waking with a fever, Marco De Gasperi had been delayed in Milan on a flight from the USA and last year’s winner, Remi Bonnet decided not to start after taking a fall in training just days earlier. For the ladies’ race, a likely series win would come from Laura Orgue who needed to win the race or Megan Kimmel who needed to finisher in 2nd place should Orgue win.

At the finish line on the shores of Lake Garda, Alexis Sevennec once again proved his supremacy with another stunning victory! For the ladies, Megan Kimmel confirmed her incredible mountain running and descending ability to take not only the victory in Limone but also the Skyrunner® World Series title.

We have witnessed some spectacular performances in the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series and the final race in Limone Extreme provided a special close to the 2016 season.

Laura Orgue had not started the Friday VK in a hope to give an all-out effort for victory. Using her impressive abilities at climbing she led the way on the long steep and technical first climb. Celine Lafaye followed closely in second but where was Megan? Megan was way back and was either struggling or running a tactical race… it was the latter. As Laura pushed at the front, Megan slowly closed the gap and on the final decent that drops to the lake she opened up and finally pulled away to take victory in a time of 3:17:35 and with it the Skyrunner® World Series crown. “Last year I lost the series title at Limone and this year I ran cautiously in the early stages, I was just hoping not too cautiously. When I eventually closed on Celine I was feeling good and then Laura and myself were running side-by-side. I decided to go knowing that I mustn’t let Laura win and me placed 3rd otherwise the title would go to Laura – I pulled it off!”

Laura had run much of the race out front but looked relieved to finish just over a minute slower than Megan, her time 3:18:42. Celine Lafaye placed 3rd in 3:19:22 and Skyrunner® World Champion for the ULTRA distance and the 2016 UTMB champion, Caroline Chaverot, placed 4th. An incredible result for the lady who loves and excels at longer races. Quite a year for her and she has already said that Skyrunning will be an objective in 2017.

For the men, the non-start of Tadei Pivk did provide an opportunity for Hassan Ait Chaou to ‘take’ the title, however, he would have needed to run a great race and place on the podium. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen and therefore Tadei Pivk once again (also in 2015) is the Skyrunner® World Series champion from his impressive results and consistency earlier in the year.

A race was left to run and Stian Angermund lead the charge early on ahead of Marco Moletto, no doubt reeling from missing victory the previous night in the VK by just 1-second. Although looking good early on, the efforts from the previous night and minimal recovery before the 11am start took its toll and both Stian and Marco faded opening the doorway for an in-form Alexis Sevennec who forged a final lone path to a stunning victory in 2:46:49. Brit, Hector Haines and started high up on the first climb and held on to arguably one of his best podium places stirring local heads with 2:51:41 2nd place. Bulgarian Kiril Nikolov took the final podium place in 2:52:04. Early protagonist, Marco Moletto who had looked a potential podium finisher placed 5th looking tired and Stian placed 7th.

The final ranking for the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series SKY distance has Tadei Pivk 1st, Hassan Ait Chaou 2nd and Kiril Nikolov 3rd. For the ladies’ Megan Kimmel is champion, Laura Orgue 2nd and Yngvild Kaspersen 3rd.

Roll on 2017!


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

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Ultra Pirineu 2016 Race Summary and Images – Skyrunner® World Series

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Ultra running to Spain is like football to the UK, the fans are a passionate motivated bunch of individuals who come together as a whole to create a cohesive army of fanatical supporters. Baga, the home of Ultra Pirineu is located in Catalonia; it may come as no surprise that the Catalans take support to the next level. The final race in the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series, the race was always going to be a competitive one!

110km in length, with 6800m of positive gain, the race takes place in the Cadi-Moixero Natural Park. On paper, the route looks almost like a badly drawn figure of eight laid on its side. The profile, a little like the dental record for a great white shark as it includes several key peaks, the highest coming very early in the race with just 14km covered at Niu, 2500m high. Comprised of primarily trail (75%), the route also includes a small percentage of asphalt and track. It’s a tough and challenging race that has often been made considerably more challenging due to inclement weather.

The Cadi-Moixero Natural Park is the hub for the racing, established in 1983, it stretches more than 30km over the mountain ranges of Serra de Moixero and Serra del Cadi; both part of the Pre-Pyrenees.

From the off, the racing is hard. The narrow streets of Baga, an enclosed medieval square start and the charge of 1000 runners at the toll of 0700 make the opening minutes a heart pounding, adrenaline rushed sprint. Ironic for a race that will take the winner 12+ hours.

Immediately it’s hand-on-knees and straight into the first and highest climb of the day. It’s a dangerous mountain to start a race with. The effort and commitment just to get to the top requires a 100% effort, and this is all coming in the opening hours of a very long day on an exceptionally tough course. Finally breaking the tree line, the rugged terrain reveals itself and the first peak, with refuge, finally will come into sight. On a clear day, the views are incredible. The crowd support phenomenal. It’s a frenzy of noise, cowbells and screaming. In the men’s race, Remigio Huaman dictated the early pace followed by Miguel Heras. Gemma Arenas started the day as she would continue, from the front followed by Hillary Allen. The race was on between the two of them for the SWS 2016 title – if either won the race, they would be the champion for 2016.

What goes up must come down and the first descent is single track, off-camber trails with technical sections in and amongst trees. Sections of via ferratta are present on rock; a clear sign of the severity of the terrain. Rolling terrain provides some respite but it is early days.

Dropping down, a short climb at 28km, ‘Serrat’ leads to another long descent and an aid at ‘Bellver.’ A third of the race completed, a long and relentless series of climbing takes place over the following 25km’s through ‘Cortals’ and ‘Aguilo’ to the 2nd highest point of the race at 2300m, Pass de Gassolans. Miguel Heras had now built up a lead of over 20-minutes. It was a lead he would not relinquish… behind, Remigio, after strong opening km’s had dropped from the race opening the doorway for Jessed Hernandes and Cristofer Clemente was pacing his race well slowly moving up. Gemma Arenas was still leading the ladies race with a gap of approximately 12-minutes, Hillary was 2nd and Anna Comet had moved into third.

Alternating hiking and running, the race is all about economy of effort for those at the front of the race, it’s about effort management to sustain the energy to the line and hopefully victory. For everyone else, it is survival. At 70km covered, the race may well be considered to be downhill to the finish in Baga, but no, the race has a series of false flats with a couple of brutal cardiac moments that arrive at 86km and 96km; the latter a technical ascent of 1000m to Sant Jordi at 1500m altitude. It’s a stunningly scenic canyon and if it was maybe not for uncontrollable fatigue, it would be a highlight of the race.

The final 10km drop to the line is broken up with another 200m climb with 6km or so to go, the rapturous high-five welcome from thousands in Baga providing some compensation for the efforts left on the mountains and trails of the Cadi-Moixero Natural Park.

Miguel Heras arrived first in just over 12-hours (12:05). Finally, some luck for the Spaniard who has had some intense highs and lows over the years. Jesse Hernandes and Cristofer Clemente placed 2nd and 3rd, 12:40 and 12:47 respectively.. Cristofer successful in his bid to be the Skyrunner World Series Champion in 2016.

As darkness came, so did the rain. Torrential rain! Hillary Allen pursued Gemma hard over the final km’s, she could potentially smell the Skrunner crown… However, Gemma held on to win in 15:20. Hillary completed in 15:37 and Anna Comet placed 3rd in 15:49. Gemma was crowned 2016 Skyrunner World Series champion.

Full results HERE

Final Skyrunner World Series Ranking 2016 for the Ultra distance

Gemma Arenas 290 points

Anne-Lise Rousset 276 points

Hillary Allen 272 points

Cristofer Clemente 294 points

Nicolas Martin 188 points

Roger Vinas 180 points


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

Ultra Pirineu 2016 Preview – Skyrunner® World Series

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The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series championship for the ULTRA distance will be decided in Spain this coming weekend at the Ultra Pirineu located 2-hours north of Barcelona in the Parc Natural del Cadí Moixeró.

A 110km race with 6800m of ascent, Ultra Pirineu is a seriously tough way to end a season. As the last race in the calendar, a 20% points bonus is available and therefore a good placing is required to guarantee a podium place for the 2016 series.

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Cristofer Clemente, recent winner of the RUT placed 5th at Ultra Pirineu in 2015 and this year is leading the Skyrunner® World Series ranking. He will be looking for a strong showing in the race but more importantly, he will be working out calculations to make sure that he retains his position at the top of the series.

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Roger Viñas has been a revelation in 2016 consistently racing and performing to accumulate points and place within the top-3 of the Skyrunner® World Series. His presence at Ultra Pirineu is two-fold just like Cristofer, have a good race but more importantly retain his position within the ranking.

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Legendary runner Miguel Heras, will toe the line and he is no stranger to the Ultra Pirineu. He placed 1st in the race in 2010 and 2011 and in 3rd in 2015. Miguel is one of the most talented runners in the world but is often prone to injury. When he is in-form, he is often unstoppable and he may well be looking for the good old days of 2010 and 2011 in 2016. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-0586

Pau Capell has consistently grown as a runner over the past few years and this was confirmed with victory at the TDS and a strong performance at Transgrancanaria earlier this year – along with Cristofer, I see Pau being a potential winner of the race. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-0993

Yeray Duran, although not contesting the Skyrunner® World Series is a potential winner of the race and like Pau has slowly but surely impressed over the last couple of years with strong and dominant performances. ©iancorless.com_HTV2016-2444

Dimitry Mityaev had a stunning race at High Trail Vanoise which unfortunately left him injured. However, if he is fit and has the form shown in France, he may well be a podium contender. ©iancorless.com_HTV2016-2710

Marcin Swierc currently is placed 4th in the Skyrunner® World Series and his placing and the placing of Roger Vinas and Cristofer Clemente may well be instrumental in his opportunity to move up and on to the podium – remember a 20% bonus is available.

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Nuno Silva (5th) Remigio Huaman (6th) and Fulvio Dapit (8th) are all top-10 contenders on the Skyrunner® World Series and with this race coming so late in the season, many possibilities are available for a jump upon the rankings.

Francesc Soler, Cristobal Adell and Toti Bes make up the other main contenders for the top-10 places.

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In the ladies’ race, Ida Nilsson is without doubt the hot favourite for victory after showing fine form at the season’s opener in La Palma, Transvulcania! Recently, Ida backed this up with victory at the RUT. Ida does like to run and the relentless 6800m of vertical in Spain will test her. ©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7685

The USA’s Hillary Allen (2nd on ranking) is making the long journey to Spain to participate in the final race of the series in the hope to gain more points after placing 2nd at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and 3rd at the RUT.

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Gemma Arenas, like Hillary, has been consistently gaining points in the Skyrunner® World Series in 2015. She won in Madeira and last year placed 4th at Ultra Pirineu. A recent ‘dnf’ at UTMB may well leave Gemma feeling a little tired? It’s all to fight for in Spain.
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Anna Comet (6th) and Kristina Pattison (5th) have been ever-presents on the 2016 series and they have both placed consistently. Here in Spain, they may well find that little extra to move up the rankings and gain additional important points. Tina Bes will also be a contender for the podium.

©iancorless.com_SWC2016-6255 A huge ball may well come from Maite Maiora who usually prefers the SKY distance. In recent years she has raced longer distances and we have seen her on the podium at races such as Transvulcania. Recently she was crowned Skyrunning World Champion at the Buff Epic. The terrain here in Spain suits this fierce competitor.

As with any race, we can expect surprises. Action starts on Saturday and you can follow as the race unfolds via the usual social media feeds and live via tracking on the race website.


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

TROFEO KIMA 2016 Race Summary and Images – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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You cannot look at Trofeo Kima with the eyes of a pure runner; It’s beyond running! For over twenty years, ‘Kima’ as it is affectionately known, has blown the minds and the legs of all those lucky enough to toe the line.

The race is arguably the pinnacle of the Skyrunning calendar and as such it has gained a reputation as one of the most demanding and challenging races in the world. At 52km in length the distance is not intimidating, however, 8,400m of ascent and descent put the race in perspective.

Passing over seven passes of the Sentiero Roma, a well-known GR route, the race in its current form is the brainchild of the International Skyrunning Federation president, Marino Giacometti. So tough is Kima that it has a capped field of just 250 participants and the race is held every other year to add to its allure.  This is a race that one aspires too; you need to earn a place on the entry line. The challenge comes no greater. This is confirmed in the words of the previous course record holder, Kilian Jornet:

‘Picture a mountain terrain that has no paths, amidst glaciers; it is all crests, rocks, stretches of via Ferrata and all over a course that stretches 52-km. Kima is not athletics, it is mountaineering; pure Skyrunning!’

Kima takes place on mountain paths that are unmarked. Simple flickers of colour show the way through rock, granite, snow and ice. Sections of the course are so severe that fixed ropes and chains provide the only secure way to traverse vertical walls of rock or exposed ledges. Needless to say, a head for heights, an ability to look after oneself and excellent fitness make each runner’s journey on the Sentiero Roma one that they will never forget. Scaling incredible terrain on foot and at times by hand, participants will reach a high point of 2,950m at Cameraccio Pass. It is the challenging terrain that truly sets the race apart, as Giacometti describes: ‘Kima crosses the group of technical mountains in the area and passes through all of the seven refuges situated on the route. It’s a very technical race and ultimately it has become a beacon of Skyrunning’

‘Kima’ was the nickname of Pierangelo Marchetti, who with friends founded the first helicopter equipe in Italy. The mountains were Perangelo’s life; he loved them and he embraced them. Unfortunately, on July 8th 1994, while attending a rescue mission via helicopter, Pierangelo’s life was taken. Trofeo Kima was created in his memory to ensure his love and dreams of the mountains would live on.

During the 20-year history, Kima has seen the best in the world perform over this challenging course. Now part of the Skyrunner® Extreme Series, Kima is one of three ‘extreme’ races that provides points for an overall Sky Extreme Series title where two out of three races must be completed. The first race in the series was Tromso SkyRace, the second Trofeo Kima and the third being the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline in Scotland.

For many, this iconic Skyrunning and mountain running race is still unknown. It’s like a precious jewel, hidden away for fear of someone stealing it. With each edition, one link in the securing chain is removed and the extreme beauty of Kima is being revealed to an audience of adrenaline junkies. Kima is not for everyone, but if you have the experience and the courage, the Sentiero Roma rewards each who ventures on to its tough and technical terrain.

This year, Tom Owens was riding high after a string of successful results and many had tipped him as the pre-race favourite. However, a day of intense heat and clear skies most definitely played with the rule book throwing several curve balls.

In the ladies’ race, the 2016 Kima will no doubt be remembered as the return to top level racing for Emelie Forsberg. Recent surgery on her knee after an ‘acl’ injury had deprived Emelie (and us) of her presence in a race. A couple of forays into shorter races had tested her fitness and recovery but could Emelie stand 7+ hours on ‘this’ course.

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-2048

Early action came from Alexis Sevennec and Leo Viret who dictated the pace up the very long first climb pursued by Marco De Gasperi and Nepalese runner, Bhim Gurung.

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-0996Constantly fighting the terrain and each other, Sevennec and Viret lead the race for much of the way with Gurung moving up into 3rd place after Qualido. In the latter stages of the race though, De Gasperi made a move as Sevennec and Viret faded. Gurung joined the Italian Skyrunning legend and in the closing stages the two dueled to the line… in the closing stages it was Gurung who made the break crossing the line to a stunning victory and new course record time of 6:10:44. De Gasperi crossed the line also under the old course record of Kilian Jornet a spent force. He dropped to the ground exhausted from the effort and heat. Vireo closed 3rd and Sevennec smiled his way across the line in 4th. Tom Owens finished 5th after a tough and hard day in the office – his first at Tromso and 5th here still securing his place at the top of the Sky Extreme Series.

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-2104

The ladies race was all about come back girl Emelie Forsberg and she didn’t disappoint. Leading the race from beginning to end, Emelie smiled her way to the line, pretty in pink! Yes, this was one of those great comebacks that even Emelie questioned, “I planned to take it easy early on and not push too hard. My operation removed some of my hamstring and this has made my leg weaker so I need to be careful. But everything felt good today and I am so happy, this was not about winning a race, although that is great! It was about coming back with no problems and feeling good.”

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-2490Emelie finished in 7:49:06 outside Nuria Picas’s course record time of 7:36:21. Ruth Croft from New Zealand pursued Emelie all day and had a great run often hovering around 10-minutes behind.

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-2542At the line the gap was 17+ minutes and Ruth confirmed that her skills on such technical terrain are not good enough in comparison to Emelie. Kima legend and previous winner of the race, Emanuela Brizio upheld her incredible history with this race crossing the line in 3rd, 8:21:42.

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-1828


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

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Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

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Twitter @skyrunning_com
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Trofeo Kima is featured in my new book, RUNNING BEYOND (information here)

RunningBeyond_JKT

RACE IMAGES ©iancorless.com / SWS

#EPO #CALISTO #UTMB – Statement from COMPRESSPORT

CALISTO - PRESS RELEASE

Another week passes and it’s important not to let the momentum drop around the positive test of Gonzalo Calisto at UTMB in 2015. This is possibly even more important with the proximity of the 2016 event which is just weeks away.

If you are coming to this story new, you can read my post below:

Post 1 UTMB faces positive EPO test HERE

Post 2 Michel Poletti HERE

Post 3 IAAF HERE

Post 4 Update IAAF and Catherine Poletti HERE

Post 5 Gonzalo Calisto statement HERE

Post 6 ITRA statement HERE

Post 7 DRUGS in Mountain, Ultra and Trail #EPO #UTMB

I am pleased to say, today, Compressport have replied to my emails and forwarded me a press release that I assume will be distributed through the appropriate channels in due course.

I have been vocal that brands and sponsors MUST act accordingly when an athlete is found positive and I therefore applaud Compressport for stepping up to the plate and sending out a clear message. And I quote:

“Given the evidence surrounding Gonzalo Callisto’s alleged actions, we determined that our relationship with Gonzalo no longer aligns with out companies mission and core values.”

This is a big step for Mountain, Ultra, Trail and Skyrunning and as a fellow colleague said, “Nicely worded, clear and unequivocal and shows compressport in a really good light!”

Lets be clear here, Callisto’s positive test has never really been about the individual for me. At first it was about the system, how a positive test was almost hidden, how UTMB were not notified of the positive test and ultimately what the repercussions are/ were for the sport. This is not a witch hunt!

Our sport is potentially at the early stages of doping and I can’t stress enough how important it is that we all – runners, races, sponsors, brands and so on set and send a very clear message.

We now need MOVISTAR AVENTURA TEAM (web here) who sponsor Calisto to clarify their stance in regard to this positive test and the implications for their brand and race team.

The press release from UTMB, ITRA and now COMPRESSPORT set the example.

#cleansport

As usual I welcome your thoughts.

How Do We Keep Doping Out of Trail Running? by Outside Online

Calisto_OutsideOnline

I have been very vocal lately about the doping scandal around Gonzalo Calisto and his positive test for EPO at the 2015 UTMB. Outside Magazine contacted me and and asked for my input based on my articles and research as listed below.

Post 1 UTMB faces positive EPO test HERE

Post 2 Michel Poletti HERE

Post 3 IAAF HERE

Post 4 Update IAAF and Catherine Poletti HERE

Post 5 Gonzalo Calisto statement HERE

Post 6 ITRA statement HERE

Post 7 DRUGS in Mountain, Ultra and Trail #EPO #UTMB

********

You can now read an article by Meaghen Brown published on Outside Online

Over the past few years, rumors have swirled in ultrarunning circles about how some frequent podium finishers seem so resilient to the endless, hard, mountain miles. But when news broke in mid July that Ecuadorian ultrarunner Gonzalo Calisto had been busted in a positive EPO test and subsequently disqualified from the prestigious Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, it marked an important turning point for a sport that has thus far maintained a pretty wholesome image.

 

“To be honest, it breaks my heart,” says professional ultrarunner Mike Foote, who’s twice placed in the top five at UTMB. “The ultrarunning community prides itself on a deep we-are-in-this-together mentality, and Calisto being busted for EPO undermines this culture and this mutual respect and celebration of one another.”

You can read the full article online HERE

Episode 116 – Beth Pascall and Donnie Campbell

A_GRAVATAR

This is Episode 116 of Talk Ultra and We speak with Beth Pascall who obliterated the female record at the UK’s Lakeland 100 and placed 4th overall in the process. We also speak with Donnie Campbell who won the Lakes Sky Ultra. We have the news, results and Niandi Carmont co-hosts while Speedgoat Karl goes for a jog on the AT!

Karl is on the AT check it out and follow – http://atrecord.redbull.com/karl-meltzer-mobile/p/1

00:15:00 NEWS

SKY RUNNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS images HERE

Luis Alberto Hernando and Caroline Chaverot were crowned champions for the ULTRA in 12:53 and 14:41 of the 105km course with 8000m of vert. Andy Symonds and Javier Dominguez were 2nd and 3rd and Eva Moreda and Jasmin Paris were 2nd and 3rd in the ladies. HERE

Stian Angermund did a double winning the VK and SKY. He ran 3:56 for the SKY to beat Tom Owens and Ismail Razga. Maite Maiora won the ladies race in 4:42, Azara Garcia placed 2nd and Elisa Desco 3rd. HERE

In the VK it was Stian Angermund and Christel Dewalle who took top honours. HERE

KENDAL MOUNTAIN RUN

Dakota Jones and Emelie Forsberg both had two great runs and returns to form to win in 1:37 and 1:59. In the men’s race Daniel Hadis placed 2nd and Timmy Parr 3rd. Sarah Pizzo and Taylor Nowlin were 2nd and 3rd respectively in the ladies’ race.

BADWATER 135

Pete Kostelnick set a new CR** of 21:56 beating Valerie Nunes 2007 record. Harvey Lewis placed 2nd and Dan Lawson from the UK 3rd.

Alyson Venti won the ladies race with a new CR**too in 25:53 – 23 minutes better than the old CR. Brenda Guajardo was 2nd and Nikki Wynd 3rd.

** The race now starts at night as opposed to the morning start and may very well influence the new CR’s?

SKYRACE COMAPEDROSA HERE

Male:

  1. Tom Owens 2:40
  2. Hassan Ait Chaou 2:41
  3. Aritz Egea 2:44

Female:

  1. Laura Orgue 3:14
  2. Oihana Kortazar 3h17
  3. Angela Castello 3h20

LAKES SKY ULTRA

Donnie Campbell and Sarah Ridgeway, champions at the 2nd edition of the LAKES SKY ULTRA their respective times 07:30:40 and 8:38:46 and new CR’s.

Second place went to Neil Talbott and Sophie Grant with Alexander Beaven and Katie Boden placing 3rd.

00:26:22 INTERVIEW DONNIE CAMPBELL

FKT RECORD

Yassine Diboun and Scott Loughney set the new Supported FKT on the Oregon Section of the PCT running the length of the state in 8 days 12 hours & 5 minutes (Finishing the 453 mile journey yesterday). Brian Donnelly still holds the overall FKT of 7 days 22 Hours & 37 minutes (Respectively unsupported).

Gonzalo Calisto, 5th at 2015 UTMB tests positive for EPO

Post 1 UTMB faces positive EPO test HERE

Post 2 Michel Poletti HERE

Post 3 IAAF HERE

Post 4 Update IAAF and Catherine Poletti HERE

Post 5 Gonzalo Calisto statement HERE

Lizzy Hawker has just completed a solo foot circumnavigation of monte Rosa on the Tour de Monte Rosa.  Approximately 170km and 11,700m of elevation change in just over 37 hours. She returned to grachen after leaving the church square at 4am on Friday.

Controvery over UTMB, the Polettis and the term, ‘ULTRA TRAIL’

LAKELAND 100

Michael Jones 20:30:03

Marco Consani 21:13:17

Chris Bookham 21:26:49

Beth Pascall 21:29:36 (4th overall)

Fiona Mayley Peterson 29:08:33

Ashleigh Bennett 29:25:15

01:05:50 INTERVIEW BETH PASCALL

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

New South Wales

Altra Centennial Park Ultra100km | 100 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Altra Centennial Park Ultra 50km | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Northern Territory

The Malbunka | 133 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

The Namatjira | 80 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Queensland

64km Kuranda to Port Douglas Ultra Trail Marathon | 64 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Kuranda to Port Douglas Ultra Trail Marathon | 64 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Lamington Eco Challenge Two Marathons on Two Consecutive Days | 84 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Austria

Dirndltal Extrem Ultramarathon | 111 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Belgium

Flanders

100 km Dodentocht® | 100 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Wallonia

Trail des Fantômes – 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Trail des Fantômes – 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Bulgaria

Persenk Ultra | 157 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Wild Boar Ultra | 104 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Canada

Alberta

Iron Legs 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

British Columbia

Fat Dog 100 Trail Race: 120 mile | 120 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Fat Dog 100 Trail Race: 50 mile | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Fat Dog 100 Trail Race: 70 mile | 70 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Ontario

50K | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

75K | 75 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Quebec

Trans Vallée | 67 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Colombia

Ultra Trail Parque Los Nevados – 59 km | 59 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Ultra Trail Parque Los Nevados – 93 km | 93 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Denmark

Sjælland

NDURE Trail 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

NDURE Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

France

Isère

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs | 160 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Savoie

Courchevel X Trail 54 km | 54 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

EDF Cenis Tour 50 | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

EDF Cenis Tour 73 | 73 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Allgäu Panorama Ultra Trail | 70 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Berlin

100MeilenBerlin | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Lower Saxony

Süntel-Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Monschau Ultra-Marathon | 56 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

India

Jammu and Kashmir

La Ultra – The High 111 | 111 kilometers | August 11, 2016 | website

La Ultra – The High 222 | 222 kilometers | August 11, 2016 | website

La Ultra – The High 333 | 333 miles | August 11, 2016 | website

Ireland

Donegal

Quadrathon | 169 kilometers | August 11, 2016 | website

Galway

Connemara 100 | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Kenya

Tsavorun | 84 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Latvia

Cēsis ECO Trail 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Madagascar

Boby Trail | 80 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Namoly Trail | 50 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Mauritius

Xtreme Dodo Trail | 50 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Montenegro

1500 km | 1500 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

3000 km | 3000 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Norway

Bèrghem Ultra90 Hare Hunting 2016 | 90 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Peru

80 K | 80 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

80K Relay | 80 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Portugal

Ultra-Trail Nocturno da Lagoa de Óbidos | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Réunion

Trail du Grand Ouest | 60 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Romania

VLC Ultra TrailRun Petrimanu 56 | 56 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

South Africa

Merrell Whale of Trail | 53 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Spain

Aragon

Calcenada Vuelta al Moncayo – 104 km | 104 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Catalonia

Ultra | 104 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Sweden

Björkliden Arctic Mountain Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Björkliden Arctic Mountain Marathon 70 km | 70 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Tierra Arctic Ultra | 120 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Trans Scania | 246 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Switzerland

Grisons

Swiss Irontrail T141 | 147 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Swiss Irontrail T201 | 202 kilometers | August 18, 2016 | website

Swiss Irontrail T81 | 89 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Trail Marathon 70 KM | 70 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Tanzania

Kilimanjaro Stage Run | 260 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Inov-8 Roseland August Trail – 32 Mile | 32 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Inov-8 Roseland August Trail – The Plague | 64 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

England

Round the Rock Ultra | 46 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Gloucestershire

Oxford Ultra | 65 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Thames Challenge | 184 miles | August 11, 2016 | website

Windsor Ultra | 43 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

South Lanarkshire

John Lucas Memorial Run | 50 miles | August 14, 2016 | website

Suffolk

Stour Valley Path 100km Ultra Run | 100 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Surrey

North Downs Way 100 | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Wiltshire

Salisbury 54321 50K Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

USA

Alaska

Nifty Fifty 50K | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Resurrection Pass 100 Mile Ultra Trail | 100 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Resurrection Pass 50 Mile Ultra Trail | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Arizona

Vertigo 63K Night Trail Run | 63 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

California

Angeles Crest 100 mile endurance run | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Cinderella Trail Run 50 km (Aug) | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Cool Moon 100M | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Cool Moon 50M | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Crystal Springs 50 Km Trail Run (summer) | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Skyline 50K | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Colorado

GORE-TEX TransRockies Run – Run3 | 59 miles | August 09, 2016 | website

GORE-TEX TransRockies Run – TRR6 | 120 miles | August 09, 2016 | website

Ouray 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 05, 2016 | website

Ragnar Relay Colorado | 200 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Silverheels 100 Mile Endurance Run | 102 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Silverton 1000 – 100 Miler | 100 miles | August 16, 2016 | website

Telluride Mountain Run | 38 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Wild West Relay | 200 miles | August 05, 2016 | website

Idaho

Standhope Ultra Challenge | 83 miles | August 18, 2016 | website

Wild Idaho 50K Enrudance Run | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Wild Idaho 50M Enrudance Run | 50 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Massachusetts

TARC Summer Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

TARC Summer Classic 50M | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Minnesota

Ragnar Relay Great River | 200 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Montana

HURL Elkhorn 50 K Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Nevada

Ruby Mountain Relay | 184 miles | August 19, 2016 | website

New Hampshire

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race | 80 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race 2-Person Relay | 80 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

New Jersey

100k | 100 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

50k | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

50M | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

New York

Beast of Burden Summer 100 Miler | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Beast of Burden Summer 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Team Relay Race | 234 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

The Mighty Mosquito 99 Mile Trail Relay | 99 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

North Carolina

Death Before DNF Ultra 100 Miler | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Drop to 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

North Dakota

Badlands 50K | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Badlands 50 miler | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Ohio

100 Mile | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

50 Mile | 50 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

50 Mile Back Half | 50 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Oregon

Elkhorn Relay | 203 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Post Canyon 50k | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Pennsylvania

Eastern States 100 | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Viaduct Trail 100 Mile Ultramarathon | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Viaduct Trail 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Texas

Colorado Bend – 60k | 60 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Utah

Kat’cina Mosa 100K Mountain Challenge Run | 100 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Ultra Adventure Tushars 100 Mile | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Ultra Adventure Tushars 93K | 93 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Vermont

100on100 Heart of Vermont Relay | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Moosalamoo Ultra – 36 M | 36 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Virginia

Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Martha Moats Baker Memorial 50Km | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Washington

Bigfoot 200 Mile Endurance Run | 205 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Wisconsin

50K Run | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Wyoming

El Vaquero Loco 50K | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

01:54:00 CLOSE

02:01:36

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

Stitcher You can listen on iOS HEREAndroid HERE or via a web player HERE

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

Website – talkultra.com

DRUGS in Mountain, Ultra and Trail #EPO #UTMB

EPO-Doping-Offers-No-Benefit-to-Athletes-286x300

Last week and the week before, EPO, DOPING and the UTMB was the hot topic after Gonzalo Callisto’s positive test. Everyone was talking about it… this week it’s all gone quiet. That can’t happen! You can catch up on my posts below.

Post 1 UTMB faces positive EPO test HERE

Post 2 Michel Poletti HERE

Post 3 IAAF HERE

Post 4 Update IAAF and Catherine Poletti HERE

Post 5 Gonzalo Calisto statement HERE

Post 6 ITRA statement HERE

There are far too many questions unanswered, there are far too many people being quiet and if we want to eradicate doping from Mountain, Ultra and Trail running – we need to keep talking and discussing.

I was approached by Outside Magazine and they asked me a few questions. I am pretty sure that what gets used or published will be an edited version and with that in mind here are my thoughts, un-edited.

In light of the latest news from UTMB, what you think this positive test means for the sport? 

One has to embrace the positive test as a good thing as it confirms that preventative measures against doping are working. This positive was an ‘in competition’ test which only confirms the need for out of competition testing and blood passports. Of course, the answer is always that testing is too expensive. We have to act now and be proactive. I don’t have the answers but I do feel that we could start to address certain issues that would help. Maybe it’s time that we ask (for example) the top 100 male and top 50 female runners as listed on ITRA to pay for a regular medical? Sage Canaday recently released a full report on his medical status to ‘prove’ he is clean; that’s a good thing! (See below). Athletes of course may well say that they can’t afford it but this is where sponsors come in maybe? We cannot keep making excuses as to why we can’t but find ways to make sure we can! We are at the very early stages of doping in our sport and if we don’t act now it will only become worse and God forbid, we could end up like cycling or athletics.

Do you think doping is really becoming something to worry about, or is this a case of an outlier?

We need to worry, yes! This is not the first positive test, it maybe a high profile conviction, but it would be foolish to think that this is an isolated incident.

Are people starting to talk about doping more in ultarunning than before? Or maybe a better way of asking this is how are the athletes you know, talking about this subject and what it means for the sport?

I certainly have witnessed more discussion about doping and of course this was highlighted at the end of 2015 at San Francisco 50. This was a moment when the sport really looked at itself and many questions were asked. It actually became quite nasty at times and I think a sense of perspective was lost. For example, WMRA (World Mountain Running Association) and Skyrunning have been testing athletes for many years. They have very much paved the way but they acknowledge they can only do so much. In competition testing costs 1000’s of euros or dollars for one event and of course, only urine can be tested. Many say it takes an idiot to to be caught ‘in competition’ but it happens. I go back to blood passports – we really need them for elite, professional and sponsored runners. Some races do not have a ‘PED’ policy and San Francisco highlighted the need for races and RD’s to address this in the rules of the race. Western States for example has re-written its race rules to say that any runner who has had a positive conviction cannot race. Many runners have asked for a lifetime ban for any positive test and they have been vocal about this. I personally am reluctant to go down this route… I do believe that mistakes can happen in drug testing but I am not an expert. This creates a whole new debate and raises questions about the lasting effects of a doping program. For example, we used to have two positive tests and out, I liked that but apparently that has been deemed unfair?

Are people starting to test more for doping than in previous years? What has this looked like?

As mentioned previously, WMRA and Skyrunning have been testing for many years but not at all events. Skyrunning for example had its World Championships in Spain in July, they had three events, VK, SKY and ULTRA and WADA performed tests at all three race distances. The problem comes, once again with cost. At the Skyrunning World Championships, 12 athletes were tested. The make and female winner in each category (making 6) and then 6random tests. Let’s assume testing at an event is $10,000 – who pays? Do we add a surcharge on every runners entry fee? Does that race find a sponsor to cover the cost? Do we rely on a wealthy donor or do we approach all the major brands in the sport and say, you must pay! It’s a complex matter and this is why doping control is a rarity in contrast to the norm. Let’s look at races such as Speedgoat 50k, Run Rabbit Run and San Francisco 50 – these races have some substantial prize money, in some scenarios it could mean a pay check of $10,000+ for a win. Yet nobody has any idea if the winner is clean? Moving away from trail running and looking at ultra road running, Comrades in South Africa has huge prize money and it has a very chequered past with doping: Max King, Ellie Greenwood, Sage Canaday and Michael Wardian (amongst others) have all witnessed the impact of it first hand.

What is your own experience with testing?