Transvulcania La Palma 2014 – the excitement begins!

Dakota is back! But so are Kilian and Emelie, Anna Frost, Luis Alberto Hernando, Sage Canaday and Timothy Olson…the star-studded cast doesn’t end here however! Read the press release by the ISF on the up and coming, 2014 Transvulcania La Palma.

The Transvulcania Ultramarathon on the Spanish island of La Palma has made quite a name for itself.  Just a small speck in the Atlantic ocean, the race chosen to launch the Skyrunner® Ultra Series in 2012 has grown to represent a hub for many of the world’s top ultra runners, and has never looked back. This year, a Vertical Kilometer® up the gruelling downhill, gives a new twist.   

The extraordinary line-up is headed by Salomon superstars Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) winners here last year and 2013 Skyrunner® World champions.  However, look out for 2012 winners, Anna Frost (Salomon), and Dakota Jones (Montrail), returning to the Transvulcania stage after a year’s absence from the skyrunning scene. Anna’s 2012 record still stands.

 Sage Canaday (Hoka One One) 3rd last year, arrives fresh from his second win at Tarawera in New Zealand and is joined by Timothy Olson (TNF) 4th, who successfully started off the season with a third place at the recent Transgrancanaria. 

The strong American line-up doesn’t end here, but first, let’s take a look at the other big-league Spanish runners:  Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas), always a podium placer, he crossed the line hand in hand with Kilian to share the gold at the European Championships and moved on to win Cavalls del Vent.  The question is, can he pare down those 4’ that separated him from Kilian last year?  Tofol Castanyer (Salomon), 2nd at Cavalls, Agustí Roc (inov-8) three-time SWS champion and Jordi Bes (FEEC),CCC winner, join the mix. 

From France – UTMB winner Xavier Thevenard (TNF), 11th in 2013, is no doubt looking to move up for a podium spot;  Patrick Bringer (Sigvaris Sports), 5th, is making a determined come-back, together with Martin Gafurri (New Balance) 19th and a great top-10 at Tarawera recently and first-timer Sylvain Couchaud (Mizuno), 4th at the Mont-Blanc 80K.

Among the top ranked talent, Germany’s Philipp Reiter (Salomon) finished an excellent 12th last year, despite illness, and Florian Neuschwander (16th ISF ranking) who, like many other first timers, will fulfil a dream running this iconic race.

Tom Owens - Trofeo Kima

Tom Owens – Trofeo Kima

From the UK, an array of impressive newcomers to the race: Tom Owens (Salomon), 2nd behind Kilian at Kima 2012, is up and running after a year-long lay-off. Ricky Lightfoot (Salomon), 2013 AIU Champion and 2009 Zegama winner is joined by Stu Air (SCOTT Sports) and Robbie Britton (inov-8).

Robbie Britton - inov-8

Robbie Britton – inov-8

From Italy, Giuliano Cavallo (Salomon) 9th in 2012, returns after a year’s absence from running, together with Fulvio Dapit (Crazy Idea), a consistently top performer in the Sky distance over the years, he now moves up to tackle his first 83K.

Tackling their first “European” style race will be top Americans, Dylan Bowman (Pearl Izumi), Jason Schlarb (Altra), David Laney and Ryan Ghelfi (Nike Trail Team) and Ty Draney (Patagonia), while teammate Luke Nelson is back for more.

Emelie Forsberg - Transvulcania 2013

Emelie Forsberg – Transvulcania 2013

The women’s field too, represents the deepest in the five-year history of the race with new competition coming from across the Pond. The stacked field is headed by Salomon’s Emelie Forsberg and Anna Frost, respectively 2013 and 2012 winners. Nuria Picas (Buff) UTMB (2nd) and Cavalls winner, after a hard-fought 2ndplace last year, she returns with a victory from the recent Transgrancanaria under her belt.  Look out for Emma Roca (Buff), 3rd at UTMB, and Uxue Fraile(Vibram) 3rd here, another Spanish talent who is steadily but surely racking up the podiums. 

 

Nuria Picas - Transvulcania 2013

Nuria Picas – Transvulcania 2013

Italy’s young star Silvia Serafini (Salomon), 4th on the ISF Sky Ranking, has set her sights on the longest race of her rocketing career.  Also from Italy, Federica Boifava, 5th at the European Championships and new talent Alessandra Carlini, 2nd  in the Mont-Blanc 80K.  From France, Aurelia Truel (2nd IAU and 3rd at Les Templiers and Maud Gobert, 6th here in 2012.

Anna Frost

Anna Frost

Three top level American runners taking up the challenge are Krissy Moehl (Patagonia), UTMF winner, Jodee Adams-Moore (SCOTT Sports), 2nd at Speedgoat, and Cassie Scallon (Salomon) winner at Lake Sonoma and the recent MSIG Sai Kung 50 in Hong Kong. 

From Japan, Hiroko Suzuki (Salomon), 2nd at UTMF last year, may find the distance a little short and the elevation a little high for her long distance running skills. 

The Ultramarathon presents a daunting 8,525m ascent and descent over the 83 km course, which starts at sea level on the Atlantic coast and travels along the island’s backbone to the summit of the volcano at 2,423m before descending again to the sea and finishing in the town of Los Llanos.  The records to beat are:6h54’09” Kilian Jornet (2013) and 8h11’31” Anna Frost (2012).

The Vertical Kilometer® ascends the steep cliff face from the sea front at Tazacorte for 6.6 km single track with a 40% incline before settling into a “flatter” final section to finish at 1,160m altitude.  The overall incline averages 30%.

The world’s top Vertical specialists will race on this newly designed course for the first time, with the super-strong La Sportiva team headed by World ChampionUrban Zemmer and top ranked athletes Marco Facchinelli, Marco Moletto, Nejc Kuhar and Nadir Mague.

Brothers Bernard and Martin Dematteis and Oscar and Marc Casal (Race Land) also stand out in the men’s field. 

The women’s field is strongly represented by Salomon with World Champion Laura Orgue together with Emelie Forsberg, Anna Frost, Silvia Serafini and Antonella Confortola, joined by Sierre Zinal winner Elisa Desco.

Kilian Jornet, like his team mates, Emelie, Anna and Silvia, will,of course, race both! 

Note the dates:

May 8, Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer®, and May 10, Transvulcania Ultramarathon.

Links:

Follow on Twitter @talkultra

Follow on Facebook – Here

Skyrunning Here

Credits:

  • Press Release ©ISF 
  • All images ©iancorless.com

Hardrock 100 Lottery Results

hardrock-100-logoIn case you missed it, the Hardrock 100 lottery results were announced on Saturday. Ironically, many ultra fans were following #TNF50 in San Francisco via twitter and as the race unfolded, updates from Hardrock 100 came in lighting up twitter with all sorts of excitement and anticipation for the 2014 race.

From the Hardrock 100 site:

“Thanks to the whole Board of Directors and our host board member Blake Wood, our 2014 Lottery was a hoot and went without a wrinkle. The starter list will be updated on Ultrasignup in the next few days. See Hardrock 100 Entrant List on Ultrasignup for the list once it is ready.”

“In the meantime, see the image below for a snapshots of the starters list! That is the posterboard with the actual physical tickets taped in place. Did you doubt that we actually draw tickets??”

Image ©hardrock100

Image ©hardrock100

If you are not familiar with Hardrock 100 and the race. Each year only two people are guaranteed an entry; last years male and female winners, so, in this case that is Sebastien Chaigneau and Darcy Africa.

The rest is a lottery and a lottery for very few places.

The 2013 draw saw a change in how these tickets are drawn but firstly you can’t just throw your name in the hat. Each person must comply to entry criteria:

“The Hardrock Hundred is a “post-graduate” run. For safety reasons, not as an attempt at elitism, we cannot accept novice runners. The challenges faced during the HRH are much more than the exertion and fatigue expected from running 100 miles, and require the ability to navigate the course with uncertain conditions that may include:
  • High Elevation
  • Long, steep climbs
  • Extended distance and time between aid stations
  • Severe weather, including heat, cold, rain, hail, and lightning
  • Water and snow crossings
  • Exposure to potential for falls
Any runner attempting the HRH must understand that these challenges exist and they must be prepared to make decisions for his or her own safety under uncertain conditions without any expectation of assistance. While there is no guarantee that the runner is prepared for every eventuality, finishing a qualifying event gives some evidence of being prepared for the HRH. Finishing a qualifying event additionally improves the chances for a runner to finish the HRH” taken from Hardrock 100 website ©hardrock100

You can read the full qualification criteria HERE

So the Lottery, how did it work this year and what changes were made? Taken form Hardrock 100 website ©hardrock100

Each year, we are faced with the difficult problem of how to choose 140 starters from nearly six times that many applicants, while still respecting the values that make Hardrock Hardrock. The Board feels that our ideal mix of runners would be 25% first-time Hardrockers, 25% veterans (i.e. >= 5-time finishers), and 50% everyone else. To preserve this mix, we are replacing our single weighted lottery with three weighted lottery pools, each with its own wait list:

  1. First-timers – 35 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone who has never started a Hardrock. The intention is to increase the likelihood for applicants with many DNS’s to get into the run. Modeling suggests that giving applicants 2^N tickets, where N is the number of previous DNSs, will ensure that those with the most DNSs will get in, while still giving first-time applicants a chance. “DNS” includes both those who were on the wait list and those who withdrew from either the wait list or start list.
  2. Veterans – 35 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone who has five or more Hardrock finishes, with the following qualification: an applicant who DNFs in two consecutive attempts beginning in 2012 will be placed into the “Everyone else” pool until they complete the run in a subsequent year. Applicants will get one ticket for each previous Hardrock finish. The number in this pool is about the same as the number of 5-time finishers bypassing the lottery in each of the past few years, and so comes close to preserving this feature.
  3. Everyone else – 70 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone not in one of the previous two lotteries. The algorithm for ticket allocation will be unchanged from the current one. Modeling suggests that the chances of being selected from this lottery will be better than under the current system.

Runners not selected in the first two lotteries WILL NOT be rolled over into the third lottery. If fewer than 35 “veterans” apply, the unused slots will be added to the “everyone else” pool.

A separate wait list will be maintained for each lottery. When a runner withdraws from the start list, a runner will be taken from the wait list for the lottery from which the withdrawn runner was chosen.

The previous year’s winners will continue to bypass the lottery, but they will count against the lottery pool they would have been in.

The Outcome

First and foremost, the big news is Kilian Jornet’s name came out of the hat and this not only creates a great buzz about what he can do at this race but also it is one step closer for Kilian completing his ‘bucket list’. He is without doubt going to put a great emphasis on this race in 2014 and late last night he tweeted:

“in the @hardrock100 🙂 I will need to (re)think about next summer calendar…”

The prospect of Kilian racing against Seb Chaigneau is something that excited us all but then the names continued to be drawn form the tub:

Jared Campbell – regular Hardrock entrant and winner in 2010. This year Jared did the Hardrock and Ronda dels Cims double.

Joe Grant – once again has an angel sitting on his shoulder and gets an opportunity to come back and win his dream race. Second in the past behind Hal Koerner he is going to want to seize this opportunity after a troublesome 2013 race.

Julien Chorier – winner of Ronda dels Cims in 2013 and winner of Hardrock 100 in 2011. He is going to bring meticulous planning to this race and without doubt elevates the competition to a higher level.

Timothy Olson – Western States two times winner now gets a chance to compete at the iconic Hardrock and against a top quality field.

Dakota Jones – Dakota prepared meticulously for this race in 2012 and maybe just too meticulously leaving his best performance on the route in training. Dakota, like Joe is going to relish this opportunity to come back and move up the podium.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki – regular performer at TNFUTMB, he will like all the others be in his lament on this course.

Ty Draney – competitor at Ronda dels Cims this year and along with Jared Campbell, someone who loves the rough and tough terrain.

Scott Jaime – maybe less well known (particularly in the UK) but he has finished Hardrock multiple times and that counts for a great deal on a course like this.

Finally, a mention for Brit, Stuart Air. Stuart is relatively new on the ultra scene but in 2013 he completed Ronda dels Cims and Tor des Geants. He may not be in the league of some of the names above but expect a surprise… he has time to prepare and focus.

Two notable names are high up on the wait list, both drawn no2 which almost certainly means they will get a run; Adam Campbell and Jeff Browning.

Notable names that did not get an entry are quite long, however, a couple stand out. In particular:

Anton Krupicka – shame really, TK in this line up would have made the race an absolute classic.

Iker Karrera – equally, Iker after his Tor des Geants performance would have relished Hardrock with this current field.

Nick Clark – can you imagine if Nick had made the cut too; wow.

Ian Sharman

Mike Wolfe

Gary Robbins

Mike Foote and so on…

The ladies race has less depth than the men’s field but reigning champion Darcy Africa is going to take some beating. She has the race dialled now and knows how to not only pace it, but also win it!

Rhonda Claridge – placed 2nd at Hardrock in 2012 and therefore will be able to push at the front of the race with a complete understanding of what will be required to win the race.

Jen Segger – has just had a baby and so may still be in shell shock at the prospect of taking on the Hardrock course, however, she did tweet yesterday that surely going up and down mountains with a baby on your back is good training!

Helen Cospolitch – had hoped to nail a solid TNFUTMB in 2013 but it didn’t go to plan, so, the prospect of Hardrock 100 is going to be a great boost going into the Christmas period.

Diana Finkel – was 3rd at Bear 100 and has won Hardrock 100 four times in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2009 and 2010 Diana was 3rd and 2nd overall respectively. Need I say anymore… Darcy Africa is going to need to pull out all the stops for a 2014 victory.

As it currently stands I think that covers the main contenders for the ladies race and looking at the wait lists, it doesn’t appear that any other big hitters stand a chance of a run. More notable, are the ladies who didn’t get a place:

Kerrie Bruxvoort

Nikki Kimball

Claire Price

Joelle Vaught

Jenn Benna

Meghan Arbogast

And Ann Trason amongst others.

Without doubt, the 2014 Hardrock 100 is looking like a classic race in the making, certainly from a male perspective. If the weather is good, one can anticipate one of the fastest Hardrock races in history and we may well see a course record.

Don’t know about you, but July 11th 2014 is going to be an exciting prospect.

Hardrock 100 website HERE