Skyrunning Dolomites SkyRace 2015 – Race Preview

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600 athletes will take on the iconic Skyrunning Dolomites SkyRace on Sunday 19th July as the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series picks up pace hot on the heels of Zegama-Aizkorri. Azara Garcia and Tadei Pivk took top honours in Spain and they return to Italy looking for maximum points in the hope to win the 2015 series.

It’s going to be a serious battle though and one that will be hard fought.

The line up for the 2015 edition of the race is seriously impressive and we can guarantee a hot race both for the men and ladies as they race to the summit of Piz Boe and then descend as fast as possible back to the stunning Canazei.

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Christel Dewalle (4th last year) has been injured recently but turned up at the last min in Val d’Isere just last weekend and raced the VK and made the podium. It’s an ominous sign, Christel is a fierce competitor over the shorter distances and you can expect her to contest the front of the race ‘IF’ her level of fitness is back on track.

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Azara Garcia nailed Zegama-Aizkorri and therefore one has to expect her to be firing on all cylinders in Canazei. She raced the VK at Ice Trail Tarentaise last weekend but was out of the top 5, is that a sign that she may not be in 100% form?

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Megan Kimmel ran a stunning race at Mont-Blanc Marathon last year and may well be a surprise package. She doesn’t race in Europe often and this therefore will make her a dark horse. One to watch!

Anna Comet Is on the start list but I don’t think she will run after placing 5th at Ice Trail Tarentaise just last weekend. She said it was a below par performance and that she said she felt tired the whole race. No surprise after 2 great performances at Transvulcania Ultramarathon and Mont-Blanc 80km.

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Emelie Forsberg (2nd last year) has won Transvulcania Ultramarathon and last weekend won Ice Trail Tarentaise convincingly. If Emelie races (likely I think) she has all the potential to make the podium but if she does, it will be because she can descend so well. This race is a pure up and down race and a short one (22km) for Emelie. She will have a real fight on her hands to make the podium. Expect a blistering descent as we saw at Mount Marathon in Alaska recently.

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Laura Orgue (last years winner) may very well be the first lady to the summit of Piz Boe. Her climbing ability is quite incredible as she has shown time and time again on the VK circuit. However, her descending is not as good as some of the other ladies in the race and that is what makes this race so exciting. Should Laura be first to the summit, will she have enough of a gap to hold off the challengers? One year on from last years race and I am sure Laura has worked on this. A hot contender for victory and defending champion!

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Elisa Desco climbs and descends with the best in the world and is a consistent performer over the Sky distance. This race at 22km is an ideal distance for her but I think she would like some flatter run sections to use her speed. At Zegama-Aizkorri she had a tough race and gave it everything, expect no less here!

Hanny Allston is the surprise package from the Southern Hemisphere and all my Aussie friends have been telling me ‘keep an eye on this lady!’ So, keep an eye on this lady. Hanny has had success early season and she will be looking to build on that in a European race.

Mira Rai is the Nepalese sensation who just won the Mont-Blanc 80km on the back of a string of other top 5 places. An incredible talent, this 22km race will almost certainly test her. Fast and furious is what is required and the learning curve may well be a steep one. One thing is for sure, Mira’s talent and smile will sine through.

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Oihana Kortazar another hot contender for the podium who loves to race shorter distances. She can climb and descend with the best as her performances at Zegama-Aizkorri in recent years have shown. She placed 3rd at the latest edition behind Azara Garcia and Paula Cabrezo.

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Kasie Enman is the last hot contender and key podium challenger. Kasie has been racing in the US recently and just had a joint victory with Stevie Kremer at one of the latest US Skyrunning races – White Face SkyRace. Kasie won Trofeo Kima in 2014 and was pushing the pace in all the other Skyrunning races. An abundance of speed is key and the addition of great technical skills make Kasie a potential winner.

Magdalena Kozielska (5th last year) is not someone I know a great deal about. But the numbers speak for themselves, 5th last year!

Finally, Stephanie Jimenez (7th last year) is a consistent performer and strong performer over the shorter distance races. The Dolomites SkyRace is a stacked field and although we can expect a performance that adds to pressure to the front of the race, it would take a great performance to impact on the podium.

Maite Maiora may run? This hasn’t been confirmed yet. If she does, I would add her to one of the hot contenders for victory. In the last 18 months, Maite has learnt to race over the longer distances as well as excelling over the shorter distances. She placed 3rd last year in Canazei.

This race is too close to call! Below is a list of the entire elite field, I may have missed someone?

 

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Manuel Merillas (4th last year) raised heads in 2014 and in 2015 we are all fully attentive of this young talent. A great run at Zegama-Aizkorri compensated Manuel for a below par performance at Transvulcania Ultramarathon. His recent 2nd place behind Luis Alberto Hernando at Ice Trail Tarentaise (last weekend) confirmed his ability. However, does the Dolomites come too close from a big effort in Val d’Isere? I would normally tip Manuel for the win, especially in a race this short, I just wonder though if he will have that extra 5% missing?

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Aritz Egea (8th last year) is on fire this year and his performances have gone up a notch. He has an outside chance of a podium place (3rd) here at the Dolomites and if he has one of those days, he may well win. But the competition is fierce.

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Michel Lanne produced a stunning run at Mont-Blanc Marathon last year and embraces a pure mountain race with the best of them. I do think that 22km is an ideal distance for him, maybe a little too short? He is a contender for sure.

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Alexis Sevennec (5th last year) is always there or thereabouts and we can expect his presence to be felt almost certainly within the top 10, I am just not sure he has all that that is required to add pressure to the top 3 in this field but top 5 as last year is possible.

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Ionut Zinca is one of the hot favourites for the victory as he was 2nd behind Kilian Jornet. A consistent performer over the Sky distance, he has the climbing and descending ability to dominate this race has he has done in the past. Odds on favourite for victory!

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Tadei Pivk (3rd last year) nailed Zegama-Aizkorri and that elevates his odd for Canazei as a likely contender for the podium. Can he win? Of course he can.

Pere Rullan was a surprise 3rd place at Zegama-Aizkorri and with valuable SWS points gained, we can be sure that he will be looking to keep that consistency going in Canazei.

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Thorbjorn Ludvigsen (7th last year) may well push the front of the race. He excels at going uphill extremely quickly as he has proven at multiple VK’s on the circuit, particularly in Canazei. In addition, he raced the Dolomites SkyRace in 2014 and placed 7th.

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My last hot favourite for the podium and victory is Brit, Tom Owens (12th last year). This race has Tom’s name written all over it. Straight up, straight down, as fast as you can. It’s just like a fell race which Tom excels at. Recently though, Tom has been racing the longer Skyrunning events which may impact on his short distance speed? I still think though that he is a podium contender and potential winner should all things go well.

Like the ladies’ race, the Dolomites SkyRace is bringing in a plethora of top male talent. There are 10 names below to keep an eye on and a full elite start list is listed below this post just in case I have missed anyone.

  • Hassan Ait Chaou
  • Jokin Lizeaga
  • Inaki Uribe-Etxebarria
  • Jessed Hernandez
  • Francesc Soler
  • Nil Cardona
  • Paolo Longo
  • Blake Hose  will not run
  • Martin Gaffuri
  • Dai Matsumoto

As per usual you will be able to view images from the race with results and report on this website.

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Skyrunning.com is the official resource for all things Skyrunning and you can access the website HERE, Facebook page HERE and Twitter HERE

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Lauri van Houten from the ISF writes about Friday’s VK below and your can read the ISF post HERE:

Tomorrow’s Vertical Kilometer® is headed by reigning world champion and 2014 record holder, Laura Orguè, fresh from her win at the recent Face de Bellevarde VK. The men’s field is led by Urban Zemmer, on the top rung of the 2014 ISF ranking.

The deep women’s field continues with Emelie Forsberg together with Salomon team mates Oihana Kortazar, Stephanie Jimenez, Kasie Enman and Paula Cabrerizio, the new Skyrunning European Vertical Champion; and top names Christel Dewalle (adidas) and Azara Garcia (Compressport) among others.

Urban Zemmer is accompanied on the La Sportiva team by top vertical specialists, Nejc Kuhar, Marco Moletto, Nadir Maguet and William Bon Mardion. Salomon will contribute Thorbjorn Ludvigsen and Remi Bonnet, and other top runners include Ferran Teixido (FEEC), Saul Padua Rodriguez, Eirik Haugsness (inov8) and many more…

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Elite Start List for the SkyRace:

CHRISTEL DEWALLE
AZARA GARCIA DE LOS SALMONES MARCANO
MANUEL MERILLAS
LUCA CARRARA
MATTEO PILLER HOFFER
PAOLO LAZZARA
MICHELE VICARIO
FABIO DELLA PIETRA
ANDREA DE BONA
OSCAR CASAL MIR
MARC CASAL MIR
MEGAN KIMMEL
EVA MARÍA MOREDA GABALDÓN
ANTONIO ROLDAN MERCADAL
JAN HAVLICEK
ANETA KOCOURKOVA
IVONA KREJCIRIKOVA
TOMAS LICHY
PETR MIL
HASSAN AIT CHAOU
DABID GARCIA
IBAN LETAMENDI
JOKIN LIZEAGA
IÑAKI URIBE-ETXEBARRIA
NAHIA QUINCOCES
AITZIBER IBARBIA
LEIRE AGIRREZABALA
ELENA CALVILLO
UXOA IRIGOIEN
ARITZ EGEA
JESSED HERNANDEZ
PERE RULLAN
PERE AURELL
FRANCESC SOLER
NIL CARDONA
ERIC MOYA
FRANCESC MARTI
DIEGO ARROYO MAZORRA
PALOMA LOBERA
ANNA COMET
MARTA MOLIST CODINA
RAGNA DEBATS
PAOLO BERT
LISA BUZZONI
CHIARA GIANOLA
PAOLO LONGO
MICHELE TAVERNARO
CHRISTIAN VARESCO
MAGDALENA KOZIELSKA
ALEXANDER CHERVYAKOV
NADEZDA KOROLYATINA
EVGENY MARKOV
DMITRY MITYAEV
EKATERINA MITYAEVA
NATALIA NESCHERET
STANISLAV SABOKAR
EMELIE FORSBERG
BLAKE HOSE
MICHEL LANNE
THORBJORN LUDVIGSEN
LAURA ORGUE
TOM OWENS
MIRKO BERNER
ELISA DESCO
MARTIN GAFFURI
ALEXIS SEVENNEC
IONUT ZINCA
HANNY ALLSTON
ANDREAS KLINGLER
TADEI PIVK
MARIA DIMITRA THEOCHARIS

 

KILIAN JORNET – The Human Carabiner

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Kilian Jornet is defining our sport and in the process is setting new records and providing inspiration to thousands, if not millions of people. Just 12-months ago, I spoke to Kilian in Zermatt. It was just days after his incredible Matterhorn Summit where he set a new record for Cervinia-Matterhorn Summit-Cervinia beating the long standing Bruno Brunod record. Looking relaxed, Kilian joins me at a table and we chat. He looks lean and in the form of his life. The sky is blue and clouds are around the base of the Matterhorn. Looking up we pause and take it in.

Interview in Spanish HERE

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It really is an incredible mountain. I turn to Kilian and ask…

IC – Do you feel nostalgic Kilian, looking up at the Matterhorn and thinking back 12-months?

KJ – Yes, I have great feelings. I-year ago I climbed from Italy (Cervinia) and today I climbed it from Switzerland (Zermatt). I have many great friends in Cervinia and very soon it will be 150-years of the Matterhorn. So many great memories; It’s such a beautiful memory.

IC – Okay, so you have just thrown this on me. You climbed the Matterhorn this morning from Zermatt?

KJ – Yes (laughs) I am not racing Matterhorn Ultraks so it’s okay. I went this morning… I was thinking to myself, it’s great weather so I decided to go. Conditions are not good though. The mountain has much more snow and the ridge was pretty icy. I had no crampons, which was a big mistake. At the summit it was very windy. I thought I might take the quick way down to Zermatt…!

IC – People say the Matterhorn is harder from Switzerland side?

KJ – The Italians say it’s harder from Cervinia and the Swiss say it’s harder from Zermatt. (He laughs) Both routes are very similar. I prefer the Italian side, it’s a narrow ridge about 500m long and you can really run. From Switzerland you go straight to the summit. It’s really beautiful and maybe a little more complicated. For me though, the Italian side is more difficult.

IC – Did you time yourself?

KJ – Hotel to hotel was 7-hours. I had planned to go down to the Italian side and come back via the pass. But the conditions were very windy and I decided to come back on the Switzerland side. It had lots of snow all the way up. I can normally climb up in good conditions in 2.5hrs but today it was 4-hours.

IC – Not the perfect time for a FKT?

KJ – No, it was really dangerous. Normally I would see 100’s of people at the summit. Today it was just me and I saw 4-people on my way down. The weather would be okay for Mont-Blanc but not here; it’s much more complicated.

 

IC – I think it’s topical we are speaking mid season. I believe the Kilian Jornet today is a different person to 1-year ago. For me, you seem to be in perfect shape. I don’t think I have seen you so fit and strong. Would you agree?

KJ – This year I feel really well. I don’t know why? I started the season in Colorado in the winter doing plenty of high altitude meters. I was great in the ski season. It was my best season in regard to my condition. I was not tired after skiing so it was a big bonus. I have raced the same number of races but I seem to be recovering so much better. I am climbing more meters and doing fewer kilometres.

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IC – It’s not unusual for you to start your run season at Transvulcania La Palma on 4-5 days running. This year you did this. You had a great race placing 2nd behind Luis. You then went to Denali and followed this with running again becoming Skyrunning World Champion. In Denali, this is not ultra running. It’s Alpinism. So tell us, what was the experience like?

KJ – It was a hard experience and fun. The weather was bad in Alaska. We stayed 21-days in the glacier and we had 3 sunny days. Everyday was snowing but we did a great number of things. We travelled very light. We would go to 4000m camp and from here everyday we would do something… we did the west ridge and then ski, we did another ridge, then I did the record, the north summit and so on. It was really nice to see. It’s possible to do something everyday. It was really interesting. I think I was surprised to come back to Chamonix and perform so well. Really I was just going to use it as training for Hardrock. In the VK I surpassed my expectation, in the marathon I knew I could do well. I lost weight in Denali.

IC – Yes for sure. You lost weight and your legs seemed smaller. Did it feel unusual to be back in Chamonix feeling like a different person?

KJ – Yes, I had small legs. It is similar to after Alpinism. It’s good for going up but coming down it has its affects.

IC – Denali unlike the Matterhorn was very much about you going and doing it. We haven’t seen the new Summits film yet, so, what did Denali involve?

KJ – It’s Skimo. You go via the plane to Anchorage and then take anther small plane to the glacier. It’s snow all the way. We didn’t take run shoes. We just used skis everyday. We had planned to acclimatize but the weather cleared and I made an attempt on the 6th day. I may have not been adapted but I was still strong. If you stay at altitude you loose strength. I had good conditions for 3-hours but the last uphill section and all the downhill had bad conditions. It was snowing and foggy. I just hoped that I could complete the summit. I added more clothes and pushed on.

IC – How do you prepare for an event like this? Do you do extensive research beforehand on maps? You make it sound casual and matter of fact but I know it’s not.

KJ – You need to be really well prepared. It’s a dangerous mountain. I looked at maps and we planned ahead, not only for the record but other adventures. I made good preparation 2-weeks before. We did 3-days to base camp and did the west ridge and ski down. It was good to see the conditions, find out what the snow was like and see if I could ski fast from the summit. You need to open your mind.

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It was great to have a small team. We were 4-people: Seb Montaz, Jordi Tosas, Vivian Bruchez and me. It’s really quick to change plans and make decisions with a small set up. For example in 5-hours I decided to attempt the record. Everyone was ready; they all knew what they had to do. It was great. Also, the team had projects that each wanted to do. All 4 of us had aspirations to achieve things whilst in Alaska.

IC – That is what is so interesting about what you do. You have very experienced people with you. In particular, Seb, he’s a great mountaineer and cameraman. We often forget he is often doing what you are doing.

KJ – For sure. You either have a small team or a big team with multiple people, helicopters, and many cameramen. The problem is budget! For example, all our team can work independently and they can all film, even myself. I like this process. We all move in the mountain, they are happy alone and that is great. We all captured images of each other. 

IC – That is going to be great to see. You followed Denali with Hardrock 100.

KJ – Three years of waiting!

IC – Yes, you got the confirmation in 2013. We all had expectations and excitement. You were racing really strong competition, Adam Campbell, Joe Grant, Seb Chaigneau, Dakota Jones, Julien Chorier and so on. You had a remarkable day; you smashed the course record. I know from pervious chats that you wasted lots of time. What was the experience like, did it live up to expectations?

KJ – It’s a beautiful race. I have run several 100-mile races and this is the best. The ambiance, the course, the spirit, it was just amazing. I arrived 1-week before and I checked all the last 100km so that I was prepared. I knew I would be in this section at night. I didn’t know the early section; I didn’t check it at all. We all started together; Seb, Adam, Timmy, Dakota and Julien. We had a big group. I felt good from the beginning. Having said that, you always feel good early. It’s just moving. After 4-5 hours I wasn’t pushing but I was pulling away. I thought to myself, maybe I will have a good day but I wanted to be cautious for the latter stages of the race. So, I waited for Julien and then I ran to km 100 with him and then the night started. After this point, I knew the course so I decided to go. It could take 9-hours if I was feeling good. I hadn’t eaten much up to this point so from here I took energy from soup and burritos. It was also really bad weather with rain and storms. I was happy to take a little time in the aid stations.

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IC – I think you were lucky and got ahead of the worst of the storms. For example Adam Campbell had a crazy time.

KJ – Yes, this is what can happen, Handies Peak is at 4800m and 30km between aid stations, so, you are on your own. If a storm comes they don’t stop the race. You need to know what to do. If you are afraid, you stop and find shelter until the storm passes. Runners need to think and that is a good thing. We all need to think what to carry and what to do.

IC – You had Frosty (Anna Frost) and Ricky Gates as pacers. What point did they pace you?

KJ – Ricky started at 100km for the first part of the night section from Sharman. He ran around 35-40km with me. In the second part it was crazy rain. We were so cold and wet. He stopped. I continued for 10-miles alone and then met Frosty for the last 10-miles.

IC – At any point did you have the course record in mind?

KJ – Yes, you have it in your mind but I don’t race for records. I like racing a great deal. I do lots of races. My priority was to win if possible and I was also thinking of the Dolomites 1-week later…

(Laughter)

KJ – I said okay, I am doing well but don’t try to get tired! I was 20-min ahead of the record and I knew that Kyle Skaggs exploded in the latter stages when he set the record. So, if I kept my pace I knew the record was possible.

IC – As winner, you are the only male with a guaranteed place for next year. Will you be back?

KJ – Yes, for sure as it alternates direction each year.

IC – The two races are different, lets forget next year. Given what you have learnt this year, if you went back in 2-years, with what you now know. Of course weather dependant. Do you think you could make big differences to the time?

KJ – Weather is crucial and of course the feelings. Some days you feel great, like a cloud. You can’t predict these days. I had one of these days at the Matterhorn and certainly Hardrock. For sure I could go faster. I stopped 56-minutes in aid stations.

IC – And you waited for Julien 20-mins? 

KJ – Yes, I think 1-hour quicker is possible should all things align.

IC – You came back from Hardrock and surprisingly raced at Dolomites Skyrace in the VK and SkyRace just days later.

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KJ – I was happy about the VK. I was feeling recovered but after 100-miles you need recovery. The VK was super good. I placed 8th which was great. It surprised me that I could push. It motivated me for the Sky race just 2-days later.

IC – Another great victory for you, amazing really!

KJ – Yes. Thanks

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IC – Trofeo Kima is just around the corner. It’s arguably one of ‘the’ key Skyraces. Do you have any plans or intentions for Kima?

KJ – It’s difficult to discuss plans. So many variables come into play. For example, I may do some mountaineering this week, which may mean I am tired. I have The Rut and Limone Extreme too this year. After a summer of rain when the sun comes out the snow tempts me, so, I can’t resist despite what races are on my calendar.

IC – I have to say, I was watching your posts about your runs this last week. Dakota and yourself doing big days in the mountains that have lasted 7-hours. With UTMB around the corner, didn’t Dakota make that mistake before?

(Laughter)

KJ – I have often done Mont-Blanc just days before UTMB. It has altitude, great training and it doesn’t take too much energy. Dakota is strong and talented. We did this with 10-days before UTMB. He will be fine. I sometimes think he thinks too much. He needs to just run… it will be interesting to see Tony, Iker, Tofol and all the rest. I think Iker will be good. Luis Alberto he will start strong but can he maintain it? Luis has one pace, hard! Maybe he will start slower. UTMB this year will be a great race.

IC – You have Aconcagua (Summits of my Life) left for this year, December yes?

KJ – Yes, I will start in November to do ski training and then I will go back to running for Aconcagua. I’m excited as it has a high summit of 7000m. It’s not technical but it’s a tough record.

IC – And the record?

KJ – I think there are a couple of records but I don’t know the times. (In 2000 Bruno Brunod, Pelissier and Meraldi climbed from Plaza de Mulas in 3-hours 40-minutes. Carlos Sa did 15:42 from National Park Horcones.)

KJ – I will go from the entrance and I will try to achieve both records. Also, Emelie Forsberg will try a female record too.

IC – Wow, nice! I guess Aconcagua will be more like the Matterhorn?

KJ – No, it’s easier. It’s rocky but not steep. The altitude is the big issue. You can get sick and have problems so the challenge is different.

IC – It doesn’t have the danger of the Matterhorn. Ultimately, you have Everest as the last big objective. Have you thought about this yet?

KJ – It’s completely different, it’s very high, 9000m. It’s very long and this is the biggest problem. It’s to go all this way without oxygen and fast. The route is technical. I will start on the north face to prepare. It’s quiet so I will have no problems with people. I will need to prepare. I will go in spring, autumn and maybe the following spring. As per usual with all mountains, any attempt will be weather dependant. I expect to have several attempts.

IC – If you achieve Everest and complete the Summit series, where do you go next? Your list is ticked off, do you think you will comeback to some races you have done before or do you think you will create a new sport, a combination of all your skill levels?

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KJ – I have lots of projects. Today I climbed the Matterhorn, I looked around and suddenly projects appear. I think maybe I can go from here to here or in skiing I go down a steep line. It doesn’t need to be the highest or the longest. Nice mountains with not many people. I like this sport because of the beauty. I like aesthetic projects more than numbers. I have so many options to choose from.

IC – Do you think racing will still appeal?

KJ – Yes, I love racing. I love the ambiance. I also like it as training. I push I give it everything and you can’t do this alone, it’s boring. I will race for sure in skiing and maybe run less.

IC – Today I spoke to Marco De Gasperi, I took him back to ‘91’ when he was 16 and the formative days of Skyrunning. His first race!

KJ – Yes, it was Monte Rosa.

IC – Yes, Monte Rosa and he also did the VK. He reminded me of 2007 when you were 20 and you turned up at a race and placed 6th. He said you looked at him as though he was a hero. He now looks at you as the hero.

KJ – No, Marco is the hero.

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IC – 20+ years of Skyrunning. In the last 3-years Skyrunning has become bigger than ever and it continues to grow. Would you like to see the sport progress in anyway?

KJ – Every person is a carabiner. We all pass on and provide energy and it grows. The sport keeps the values of the beginning. However, it’s not just about distance, elevation and athletics. It’s about mountains and alpinism. More people are interested in being in the mountains, it’s not just about technical terrain, and we must look at what is around us too. The sport will grow for sure. We are seeing VK’s grow and longer races. I think in central Europe it will stay as it is but it will develop in other countries, for example the US. It’s important to grow and keep quality; we must keep the spirit.

IC – In ‘89’ when Marino Giacometti ran up Monte Rosa and came back down, it was pure mountain spirit. Up and down as fast as possible. I feel that Skyrunning is starting to go back to where it was 20-years ago. Maybe because we look at sport differently; but also you are providing a great influence. Do you think there is room for another sport outside of VK, Sky and Ultra within Skyrunning, maybe an extreme event?

KJ – Yes. I think an extreme sport would be a great idea. It has been done before as you say. It’s really important though to understand that this is mountaineering fast and not running.

IC – Alpinism without the clutter?

KJ – Yes, it’s not about being strong or fast it’s about how you climb! You need confidence and you need self-awareness. It’s another level. It will come as the sport grows but it is not for all. It’s not about kilometres it’s about mountain experience.

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IC – Kilian, once again thank you so much for your time and the inspiration.

KJ – Thank you for everything.

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Article ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Please credit as and when appropriate when sharing

Thanks

I would like to thank Kilian Jornet for his time and generosity.

Marino Giacometti and Lauri Van Houten from the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation)

Salomon Running

Seb Montaz

Jordi Saragossa

And all the wonderful races throughout the world that provides us all the opportunity to live our dreams.

Dolomites SkyRace 2014 – Results and initial images

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Kilian Jornet (Salomon) has done the unthinkable… just 7-days after winning and setting a new course record at the legendary Hardrock 100 in America, the Catalan has won the Dolomites SkyRace.

It’s impossible to convey or express the ability that Kilian Jornet harnesses within his slender frame. The word, ‘Legend’ is used a great deal in our sport but in Kilian Jornet we have someone that not only deserves the title but almost re-defines it.

  1. Kilian Jornet 2:03:50
  2. Ionut Zinca 2:05:20
  3. Tadei Pivk 2:05:21
  4. Manuel Merillas 2:07:29
  5. Alexis Sevennec 2:07:54

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Laura Orgue (Salomon) produced an incredible weekend doube, winning the VK on Friday and the SkyRace on Sunday. The incredible uphill machine opened up a huge gap on the ascent to Piz Boe and held off a charging Emelie Forsberg who moved up from 4th, some 7-minutes back at the summit to just over a minute at the line. Incredible racing!

  1. Laura Orgue 2:26:17
  2. Emelie Forsberg 2:27:40
  3. Maite Maiora 2:31:58
  4. Christel Dewalle 2:35:53
  5. Anna Kozielska 2:36:23

Full Results to view HERE

RACE IMAGES HERE

 

Kids racing – Dolomites SkyRace, Canazei

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Great to see an afternoon of sport dedicated to runners of the future in Canazei. Athletes from Team Salomon Running were on hand to help out, pace, support and motivate.

Jono Wyatt paced one group and apparently found the pace a little tough at the front. Tom Owens just 1-week after placing 3rd at Ice Trail Tarentaise had to ease back in the 1.8km race as the pace was relentless.

Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg were on hand to cheer and support.

Great atmosphere, great buzz and the sun was shining throughout. A great day and great way to give back to the sport.

 

Dolomites Vertical Kilometer #VK 2014 – Race Day Images

©iancorless.comIMG_5887Canazei2014

Incredible sunshine, clear skies and huge crowds welcomed runners from all over the world for Canazei Vertical Kilometer, part of the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series.

Runners departed in waves of approximately 25-runners to tackle the steep and grassy slopes of the VK.

For the men, last years 2nd place Urban Zemmer produced a dominant performance pulling away from his La Sportiva teammates, Nejc Kuhar and Marc Moletto for a convincing win. Last years winner Kilian Jornet placed 7th which was an incredible performance comjng just days after his Hardrock 100 win and course record.

For the ladies, VK specialist Laura Orgue fought off a strong battle from Christel Dewalle and Antonella Confortola, last years winner placed 3rd.

Men

  1. Urban Zemmer 32:51
  2. Nejc Kuhar 33:45
  3. Marc Moletto 34:04
  4. Philip Gotsch 34:18
  5. Rhorbjorn Ludvigsen 34:31

Ladies

  1. Laura Orgue 38:14
  2. Christel Dewalle 38:34
  3. Antonella Confortola 39:36
  4. Victoria Kreuzer 40:42
  5. Francesca Rossi 41:30

 

Dolomites SkyRace 2014 Race Preview

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Hot on the heels of the Dolomites VK, just 2-days later, a super stacked field of elite and non-elite runners will tackle the incredible slopes of the Dolomites. Starting in the town of Canazei, the Skyrunner® World Series Dolomites SkyRace® has for many years represented an ideal playground for the world’s top athletes.  The steep technical course and spectacular panoramas it offers has runners coming back for more time and again.  On Sunday, 600+ runners will start the race. Last year, Kilian broke the male ascent record set by Augusti Roc to Piz Boe and Emelie Forsberg broke the female descent record set by Angela Mudge.

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The quality of runners, particularly in the men’s field is very deep and therefore a surprise could come from anywhere.

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Kilian Jornet has just run 100-miles and as you read this he will be toeing the line in the Vertical Kilometer. Kilian says he feels good but he is absolutely sure that the running and winning of Hardrock 100 will impact on his performances in the Dolomites. I can understand his caution… however; we are talking about Kilian Jornet so topping the podium in Canazei is a distinct possibility.

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Tadei Pivk had a great race last year taking the 3rd podium place and a repeat performance on a course he knows well is a distinct possibility. Marco De Gasperi will not race this year due to injury so does that open the door for Tadei?

Ionut Zinca and Alexis Sevennec rounded out the top-5 last year over 7-minutes behind a storming Kilian Jornet. Both Ionut and Alexis appear to be in great form at the moment. Ionut in particular is currently lying 4th in the Skyrunner® World Series so he will be looking for more valuable points.

Zaid Ait Malek - Haria Extreme

Zaid Ait Malek – Haria Extreme

Aritz Egea and Zaid Ait Malek are extremely strong performers over the SKY distance and we have seen them both excel at races such as Zegama-Aizkorri and last years, Limone Extreme. At the Skyrunning World Champions in Chamonix, Aritz ran a great race with a top-10 finish. However, Zaid had a bad day at the office after looking like podium potential in the early stages.

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Eirik Haugsness had the race of his life at the Skyrunning World Championships producing an excellent top-10 performance in the wet and cold conditions. Eirik has all the potential for a repeat top-10 performance in this super stacked field and should things go well, a top-5 is a distinct possibility.

Bernard Dematteis and Martin Dematteis are an exciting addition the SkyRace and they will be looking to bring fast running and vertical climbing ability to contest with the front of the race. They showed everyone a clean pair of heals in Transvulcania running one of the shorter races and it’s fair to say that this duo will potentially cause some fireworks in Canazei.

David Schneider has been quiet this year and may well just sneak under the radar. We saw some excellent performances from David in 2013 and this will be his first Skyrunning race for 2014, I expect he will want to make an impact.

Who else is hot!

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen

Nicolas Pianet

Matheo Jacquemoud

Miguel Caballero

Manuel Merillos

Jordi Bes Ginesta

Fabio Bazzana

 

Ones to watch:

Etienne Van Gasse

Oscar Casal Mir

Marc Casal Mir

Hassan Ait Chau

Dabid Garcia

Inake Uribe

Es Tressider

Espen Mikkelsen

Matteo Piller Hoffer

Marco Viscentini

Gionni Morocutti

Michele Zannier

Marco Errath

Marco Marcuzzi

Mirco Lazzara

Michele Vicario

Marco Segrado

Andrea De Bona

Eric Diaz

David Lopez

Dani Tristany

Alfredo Gil

Paolo Bert

Michele Tavernaro

Aleksander Ivakin

Just Sociats

Pere Aurell

Josep Vines

Pere Rullan

Antonio Roldan

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg decided not to run the Vertical Kilometer as she felt she needed a little more recovery and easier running after her victory at the tough (and long) Ice Trail Tarentaise just last weekend. This is a wise move and on this pure Skyrunning course, Emelie is hot favourite for the win.

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Maite Maiora placed 4th behind Emelie last year almost 11-minutes back, however, Maite is a different runner this year and I personally think we can expect to see her pushing closer to the front.

Antonella Confortola is spreading her works from her favourite VK distance and tackling the slopes of Piz Boe. Antonella will be a contender for the podium as will the other VK specialist, Laura Orgue. Laura doesn’t seem to run many races outside the VK distance, however, when she does she performs at the highest level. These two ladies will bring an interesting dynamic to the race. 

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Stephanie Jiminez is a pure short distance mountain runner and VK specialist and the Dolomites SkyRace will suit her skill set. Stephanie will be in the mix, pushing all the other ladies to the line.

Victoria Wilkinson from the UK is an exciting prospect. A string of top quality results and performances on home soil bode well for a strong performance here in the Dolomites. The biggest question marks will come in adaptation to altitude and the tough, long, steep and technical terrain that this course offers.

Celine Lafaye has had a quiet 2014 but can’t be ruled out of a top-5 performance. I am just not sure of her current form?

 

Ones to watch:

Leire Agirrezabala

Uxoa Irigoien

Paola Romanin

Maria Dimitria Theocharis

Laia Andreu Trias

Montse Martinez Guerrero

Anna Comet

Lisa Buzzoni

Chiara Gianola

Eva Moreda

 

Race Results from 2013:

Men

1. JORNET KILIAN (ESP) SALOMON SANTIVERI – 2h00’11”

2. DE GASPERI MARCO (ITA) GS FORESTALE – 2h00’14”

3. PIVK TADEI (ITA) CRAZY IDEA – 2h04’10”

4. ZINCA IONUT (ROU) VALETUDO SKYRUNNING – 2h07’26”

5. SEVENNEC ALEXIS (FRA) CRAZY IDEA – 2h07’58”

Women

1. FORSBERG EMELIE (SWE) SALOMON 2h26’52”

2. SERAFINI SILVIA (ITA) SALOMON AGISKO – 2h36’55”

3. DOMINGUEZ NURIA (ESP) TEAM ESPANA – 2h37’41

4. MAIORA MAITE (ESP) TEAM ESPANA – 2h37’58

5. WISNIEWSKA DOMINIKA (POL) – TEAM POLAND – 2h40’30”

 

Skyrunning HERE

Dolomites SkyRace HERE

 

Vertical Kilometre Canazei, Dolomites 2014 Race Preview

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The Vertical Kilometre located in the heart of Canazei is one of the toughest and most beautiful VK’s in the Skyrunner® World Series.

Starting in a lush green field the course takes a direct line to the summit, initially through dense forests the course then opens up to show the Dolomite mountain range in all their beauty.

The course is not technical at all. However, what is misses in technicality is compensated for in gradient and difficulty. The whole course is grass and forest path and as such is very slippery, especially if the ground has had recent rain. In sections, the course is well over a 50% gradient and therefore, the use of poles is almost essential.

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Unlike Chamonix or the recent Val D’Isère VK, the Canazei VK is run in ‘waves’ and not individually with ‘timed’ starts. This therefore creates an interesting dynamic on the mountain and also brings an element of tactics into play as we saw in 2013 when Kilian Jornet made a move in the final 100-meters to move past to fellow runners, take the lead and not only win the race but set a course record.

Waves will have approximately 25-runners and the key elite waves will depart (local time) 11:00, 11:04 (ladies) and 11:08.

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The start list for 2014 as usual is extremely impressive and we can certainly expect to see a battle royal on the steep grassy slopes of Canazei.

Men

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Remarkably, just days after winning and setting a new course record at Hardrock 100, Kilian Jornet will toe the line not only in the VK but the SKY race. Under normal circumstances one would have to say that any runner would be tired… but this is Kilian! So, he’s the favourite.

Urban Zemmer will push Kilian as in 2013 and this time will be waiting and prepared should Kilian ‘make a move’ in the final meters. If Zemmer has the strength, he will look to turn the tables in 2014.

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The Dematteis brothers, Bernard and Martin will definitely be contesting the top-5 places and how they perform will very much depend if they decide to use ‘poles.’ They are pure runners and although one can run this VK course, I would say that you are at a disadvantage without them! To put this in perspective, even Kilian uses poles and that doesn’t happen very often.

2013 3rd place, Philip Gotsch returns and although I am not up to date on his current form, one has to give top billing based on his 2013 performance.

Marco Moletto will hopefully bring his top-quality VK form to Canazei and almost certainly will be looking to be in the mix at the front end of the race. His winning performance 36:50 at Val D’Isere will give him a boost, however, the competition is greater in the Dolomites.

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Nejc Kuhar had a strong showing in Val D’Isere (2nd just 8-secs behind Moletto) at the VK Face Bellevarde and although the Dolomites VK course has different characteristics, we can expect the La Sportiva runner to be close to the top-5.

Eirik Haugsnes had a disappointing Chamonix VK but followed up with a great performance in the Chamonix Sky race. Eirik like to run VK’s and therefore this VK may not suit his skill set. It will be interesting to see if he uses poles.

Nadir Maguet, Thorbjorn Ludvigsen, Alexis Sevennec and Tadei Pivk will all be in the mix. It’s anyone’s to call.

Ones to watch:

  • Matheo Jacquemoud
  • Marco Facchinhelli
  • Dabid Garcia
  • Inaka Uribe
  • William Bon Mardion
  • Joan Freixa Marcelo
  • Marc Pinsach
  • Juan Navarro

Ladies  

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2013 champion Antonella Confortola returns and on a course were poles play an integral part in race success, one has to tip Antonella for the win again. Last weekend, Antonella paced 2nd behind Laura Orgue in Val D’Isere saying that, ‘I ran too hard in the early stages.’ However, Antonella beat her VK time for the same course set some 10-years earlier.

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Laura Orgue despite her skiing background is less familiar with poles and this may put her at a disadvantage on this course. But, Laura knows how to run VK’s and she will be in the mix for sure.

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Emelie Forsberg says she is still learning how to run a VK but she placed 2nd on this course in 2012, so we may very well see a repeat performance despite Emelie placing out of the top-3 in Val D’Isere.

Christel Dewalle cannot be ruled out of any VK race and she is a last minute entry here in Canazei. Last weekend, Christel won the ‘Altispeed’ race in Val D’Isere.

Iva Milesova was only 8-seconds behind Emelie in 2013 and if the Czech runner has the same form, top-5 is a great possibility. It will all come down to the speed of the race and if anyone can match the pace set by Confortola.

Maite Mairoa and Stephanie Jiminez will both be in the mix and although great mountain vertical runners they are not as familiar with using poles. I believe that doth will use them for Canazei so it will be interesting to see how they get on.

Ones to watch:

  • Celine Lafaye
  • Leire Agirrezabala
  • Uxoa Irigoien
  • Francesca Rossi
  • Alba Xandri

 

Links:

Skyrunning HERE

Dolomites Skyrace and VK website HERE

2013 race summary HERE

Race results 2013:

  1. Kilian Jornet 32:43 – SPA – * new course record
  2. Urban Zemmer 32:50 – ITA
  3. Philip Gotsch 32:54 – ITA
  1. Antonella Confortola 41:02 – ITA
  2. Emelie Forsberg 43:01 – SWE
  3. Iva Milesova 43:09 – CZE

The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2014 Preview

Lavaredo

 

What a weekend of trail, mountain and ultra running is about to unfold over the weekend of June 27th – 29th. The Skyrunning World Championships take place in Chamonix; the iconic Western States 100-mile run in the USA and in Italy, the Lavaredo Ultra Trail is almost being forgotten with the hype of the other two events.

Now in it’s 8th year, The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail run over 119-km with 5850m of positive incline is a serious undertaking. The Dolomites provide an incredible backdrop for the race and the route includes peaks – Crystal, Tofane, Cinque Torri, and the spectacular Tre Cime.

Lavaredo Profile

Included in the UTWT it’s a double whammy weekend for the series with participants accumulating points at Western States and Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Continuing a tour of the world, this weekends races are number seven and eight. Six races have already taken place in China, Spain, New Zealand, Morocco, Japan and Australia.

Current leaders in the UTWT are as follows:

  1. Antoine Guillon (WAA) – 520-points
  2. Ryan Sandes (Salomon) – 466 points
  3. Brendan Davies (inov-8) – 445 points
  1. Nuria Picas (Buff) – 564 points
  2. Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) – 505 points
  3. Nerea Martinez (Salomon) – 427 points

Interestingly, we will see the top-3 men looking and hunting for points this weekend with Sandes and Davies at Western States and Guillon at Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Picas and Maciel however will look to excel in Chamonix at the Skyrunning World Championships and forego the opportunity to accumulate more points. Martinez will race at Lavaredo Ultra Trail and a podium place will allow the Spaniard to close the gap.

International athletes numbers have increased considerably at Lavaredo Ultra Trail from 33% in 2013 to 50% in 2014 with over 56-nations represented.

Ladies

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Several names stand out, in particular, The North Face UTMB winner Rory Bosio. Rory had an incredible record breaking run at the 2013 TNFUTMB and if Rory brings a fraction of the that form to Italy, she may well be unstoppable.

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa will do her utmost to stop Bosio. Francesca won Lavaredo in 2012 and has been a top and consistent performer at tough, technical and mountain races all over the world.

Katia Fori placed 4th at TNFUTMB in 2013 but her recent form is a little unknown. Katia knows the Lavaredo course after placing 3rd in 2012.

Nerea Martinez will be looking for a podium place and it is a distinct possibility after consistent performances already this year with 5th place at HK100 and Transgrancanaria.

I was looking forward to seeing Brit, Lizzie Wraith, race against these ladies, however, Lizzie has decided to race the 80km event at the Skyrunning World Championships and arguably will have a much tougher race as she toes the line against Nuria Picas, Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg and Ruby Muir amongst others.

Men

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote takes top billing after taking a podium place at UTMF. Mike loves the mountains and we can expect a classic run from Mike. Expect him to be running 5th – 10th early on and then charging in the latter stages to move forward for a podium slot and potential victory.

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One person who will be looking to stop the ‘Foote’ charge is Anton Krupicka. Anton has had a tough couple of years. In and out of injury, Tony has shown glimpses of past form (UTMB 2013) and then seen them disappear with injury flaring up again. A recent win at a relatively low-key 50-mile race (Jemez) has provided Anton with a confidence boost and in a recent conversation with him, he told me he has good form and he feels good. Fingers crossed. If Anton has no flare-ups during the race we can expect a podium place at minimum.

Antoine Guillon has failed to make top-3 at any UTWT event but is Mr. Consistent. I would anticipate the same here at Lavaredo Ultra Trail with a top-10.

Dave Mackey continues his UTWT and after placing 8th at HK100 and struggling at UTMF, one would hope that Dave would take Lavaredo out a little slower and use his speed in the latter stages. On paper, Dave could be top-5.

Scott Hawker may well be the surprise package and I know he is looking for a top-quality run. He will have a real confidence boost after placing 5th at HK100.

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Yeray Duran had a break through performance at Transgrancanaria and may well turn a few more heads at Lavaredo. He is well known in Spain and particularly the Canary Islands but in Italy and France, less so.

Ones to watch:

John Tidd

Cyril Cointre

Emmanuel Gault

Filippo Canetta

Stefano Gregoretti

Christophe Le Saux

 

Details:

27th June 2014 11 p.m.


Cortina d’Ampezzo (BL) 
Dolomites – Italy


119 km / 5.850 m+

Time limit: 31 hours


No. Participants: 800 max

 

Race website HERE

Live Tracking HERE

UTWT HERE

Marco De Gasperi – Vertical Kilometer® Hints ‘n’ Tips

Marco De Gasperi ©iancorless.com

Marco De Gasperi is a legend of mountain and Skyrunning. At the age of 16 he gained special permission to climb Monte Rosa with ISF president, Marino Giacometti and a small group of like-minded adrenaline filled mountaineers. It was the birth of Skyrunning.

The rest his history, Marco has six-world titles and a list of victories from races all over the world. Today at 36-years old, Marco is still one of the few runners who can push Kilian Jornet all the way to the line. In 2013 he did just that with an incredible race at Mont-Blanc Marathon and once again at the Dolomites SkyRace.

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Born in Bormio (in the Alps) a hub for skiing and short-track skating. Living at 1200m provided Marco with advantages, however, he only found his true vocation at the age of 10-years. Marco had tried to adapt to Skiing and Nordic Skiing but the reality was soon apparent; he just didn’t have the required size and bulk required to be competitive. The mountains beckoned; daily he would leave the town, climb a peak and return in the same day.

At 12-years old an encounter with Adriano Greco introduced him to the winter past time of ski mountaineering and running in the summer months. Adriano was very much a coach and guide for Marco. He was introduced to a new aspect of sport, a new discipline that was at its birth. In 1994, Marco ran his first Vertical Kilometer® on the slopes of the Matterhorn.

Marco’s knowledge is invaluable in regard to mountains and how to run them! I chatted to the ‘legend’ while he was helping to coach future stars of the sport on a training camp in Portugal

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Do you do any specific training for a Vertical Kilometer®?

My season always includes mountain races and races with plenty of climbing, so, I like to devote myself with specific training in the gym to build strength. For example, I use leg extension, leg press and other exercises such as squats. I also do up and down reps on a large box (60cm high), this is great for strength and endurance. It is also important to apply yourself outside and of course finding a steep incline of 30% and running at a smooth and consistent pace is ideal; it’s difficult to run all the way but I always try.

The Vertical Kilometer® is very demanding and runners incorporate different techniques to reach the summit in the fastest and most efficient way. Hands-on-knees and ‘poles’ are two methods; do you have a preference?

Application very much depends on the individual needs and demands of each runner and the course. For example, you will find many VK specialists come from a Ski Mountaineering background and therefore they are very well adapted and practiced with the use of poles. Certainly, when slopes become much steeper, poles offer an advantage as they help balance the center of gravity and thus provide a more advantageous position. In principal though, I prefer to try and run!

Marco De Gasperi ©iancorless.com

Aerobically it is very easy to just ‘tip over the edge’ with a VK, do you have any special techniques in training to help to pace yourself?

You need to train and understand the muscular and mental aspects that are required to race a VK well. The correct pace is easy to find if your mind is prepared for the challenge ahead. Take long hills in training at an easy pace, try to keep running and enjoy the process have fun! If I don’t have the possibility to train on long steep hills I like to find a short hill that is steep and I do reps at a faster pace than racing… I walk back down to allow recovery and then repeat

Walking for many will be a key element of a successful VK. I am well aware that you will try to run as much as possible. However, do you practice walking?

Long and steep mountains are very difficult, it’s all about efficiency and yes, sometimes it is far more efficient to walk. It’s about balance; I run for as long as possible but a good climber knows when to switch to maintain rhythm and speed. You want to avoid building up too much lactic acid. I consider myself to be a good ‘walker’ and I am happy to switch as and when required. As for practice, no not really, just go out in the mountains and hike. It’s a perfect way to combine fun and training.

Marco De Gasperi ©iancorless.com

You have already mentioned indoor training and strength work. Have you ever trained on a treadmill and what about core and stability training?

Core and stability is very important, without doubt it provides benefits. Every week I do 3-4 sessions of five key exercises to work on this. In regard to a treadmill; it’s not the best way to train for a VK but maybe you have limited options? It can obviously be better than nothing. Just make sure you have it at an incline and work hard.

In regard to particular VK training, is it better to train on shorter or longer mountains; do you have a preference?

I have many years in the sport, in my opinion; I think that too many long mountains are not good for the specific demands of a VK. In particular, as a race approaches keep sessions in the 30-50 minute bracket.

Tricky question for you Marco, other than yourself (obviously) who do you regard to be the best runners at the VK distance?

You are very kind! I am going to split this. Urban Zemmer with poles, Berny Dermatteis without using poles and Valentina Belotti. I guess it comes as no surprise that these runners are all Italian but the records show that they have the fastest times.

Finally Marco, if you had to provide three invaluable tips for running a Vertical Kilometer® what would they be?

  1. Do 6-7 reps 3 times on a trail that is not too steep, rest by walking down.
  2. Make sure you have easier days between hard sessions
  3. To race and perform well on race day, your legs must be very relaxed and recovered.

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Marco De Gasperi is a true champion, not only on the trails and slopes of the mountains but also off them. A gentleman, professional and perfect ambassador for our sport, he gives of his time and experience freely.

As always, it’s a pleasure to speak and learn more about such a wonderful athlete. Thanks Marco!

SWS Vertical Kilometer® Calendar 2014

SPAIN: Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® – May 8
FRANCE: VK Face de Bellevarde, Val d’Isère – July 11
ITALY: Dolomites Vertical Kilometer®, Canazei – July 18
USA: Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer® – September 12
ITALY:  Vertical Grèste de la Mughéra, Limone sul Garda – October 10

Links: