Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2015 – Race Preview

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The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is just one week away. One of six races in the 2015 Skyrunning™ UK calendar, the ‘SGCS’ is arguably one of the most anticipated races in the UK in recent years. It was thought by many that the UK could not produce a race that would hark back to the roots of Skyrunning as seen at Trofeo Kima, the Dolomites SkyRace or Ice Trail Tarentaise. They were wrong! The UK may lack the altitude of the Alps or the Dolomites but we have mountains, routes and scrambles that will test the most experienced competitor.

Shane Ohly and Gary Tompsett, curse recce May 2015

Shane Ohly and Gary Tompsett, course recce May 2015

Shane Ohly from Ourea Events and course planner Gary Tompsett have come up with a beast of a course, a course that epitomizes the ethos of Skyrunning and in doing so, the race has turned the heads of not only the running world but also the media. 

‘We are not creating another mass participation fell or trail running event, but rather a world class Skyrunning course for experienced and competent participants,’ said Shane Ohly in a recent interview with the the BBC. ‘The Glen Coe Skyline is a fusion of mountain running and alpinism where competitors need to be skilled at both disciplines to negotiate the course.’

Never a true word has been spoken and to that end, the SGCS arguably has one of the most experienced fields assembled in any race that has taken place in the UK. A race that has required participants to ‘prove’ competence to take part has made interesting reading for the race directors and Skyrunning UK.

Looking through the 170+ runners who will toe the line on Saturday August 22nd has confirmed the depth and talent of each and every Skyrunner. A familiar thread is noted, buzz words such as Bob Graham Round, Cullin Ridge, experienced climber, Skyrunning, Dolomites and Trofeo Kima appear regularly in the entry list. It makes highlighting some of the key runners for the race difficult.

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However, one name clearly stands out, Emelie Forsberg. Emelie is the current Skyrunning World and European Champion for the Ultra distance. In less than 3-years, Emelie has risen through the Skyrunning ranks to be the female face of the sport and her presence at the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is more than a confirmation that this race is well and truly the ‘Dogs Bolx’ as one keen entrant stated!

‘I love the mountains and I love technical courses. This Salomon Glen Coe Skyline route looks amazing and a challenge. Ridge running and scrambling; I can’t wait!’ said Emelie after finishing 4th at the Dolomites SkyRace.

Jasmin Paris, fresh from victory at the Dragons Back Race will without doubt provide Emelie with a race. Jasmin’s experience of British fells and mountains may well provide a distinct advantage of the Skyrunning world champion?

Jasmin Paris - The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Jasmin Paris – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Sharon Bird is an Irish International athlete, Gabriel Lees is a British Ski Mountaineering Champion and Victoria Moseley has excelled at Scaffell Pike and the 3 Peaks Race. But the female talent does not stop here, recent V3K winner and experienced Sky and mountain runner, Sarah Ridgway will be in the mix and we also need to keep a close eye on Liz Barker, Gillian Caldwell and Sarah Ryan. The ladies race is brimming with talent and the podium is wide open.

‘The mountains provide a wonderful natural playground and non more so than those in and around Glen Coe, the 2015 edition of the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is going to be a spectacle like no other race that has taken place within the UK. We are fully aware that this race is not for everyone,’ said Ian Corless, Director for Skyrunning UK. ‘However, just like the top European races we want to invite people to come and join us for the weekend. We want a party, a celebration of running and in the process Ourea Events has in place opportunities to go into the mountains with guides and experience the race as spectators but in a safe way. This is going to be very special!’

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

Esmond Tressider may well be the odds on favourite for the men’s race as he is a previous record holder for the Cullin Ridge and has had very recent experience of racing in Europe on the Skyrunner® World Series. The last minute withdrawal of Finlay Wild increases Es’s chances but Joe Symonds will without doubt have other thoughts. Joe like Es, understands the UK mountains and fells and has extensive experience of racing in Europe.

Jim Mann - The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Jim Mann – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Jim Mann won the 2015 Berghaus Dragons Back Race with a world-class dominating performance makes him a podium favourite and potential race winner.

Florian Reichert - Tromso SkyRace

Florian Reichert – Tromso SkyRace

Florian Reichert has been racing on the Skyrunner® World Series for several years and has had great success at VK and SKY races. He recently ran the Tromso SkyRace so the ridges and scrambling at Glen Coe will play into his hands. He is however a runner a runner that loves to go fast. Expect Florian to make places in the latter stages of the race.

Konrad Rawlik recently raced at the Dragons Back race and still produced a great performance despite injury. If fully recovered, we can expect Konrad to dictate the early pace and a podium place is a distinct possibility.

Scott Forbes, Anthony Alasdair, Andrew Barrington and Edward Hamer all may prove to be dark horses on a course that will test each and every participant to the limits. The race may only be ‘just’ over a marathon in distance but the accumulated ascent of over 4000m, technical ridges and scrambling make the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline THE race of 2015 and one that looks set to create a stir for years to come.

A celebration of running, a celebration of climbing; the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline will bring to distinct sports together in a pure celebration of Skyrunning that offers a tribute and homage to the pioneering days of Marino Giacometti, Bruno Brunod and Fabio Meraldi. To that end, on Friday night before the race, 2 films will be shown: ‘THE SKY’S THE LIMIT’ that provides an insight in to Skyrunning and the yet to be released (Oct 20th), Salomon SRTV episode, ‘FAST and LIGHT.

The future of Skyrunning in the UK is very exciting and Shane Ohly sums it up when he says:

‘I sincerely hope that aspirational races like the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline will contribute to the growth of the sport both in terms of participation and general awareness within the wider running and outdoor community within the UK and worldwide, this is my goal for the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and we will be working hard to achieve this.’

 Put the dates in your diary:  Friday August 21st to Sunday 23rd 2015

Race Day is August 22nd

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Tromsö Skyrace 2015 Preview – “Soul running between the sky and the sea!”

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It’s the 2nd edition of the Tromsö Skyrace and although the 2 race directors won’t thank me for adding a spotlight onto them, one has to admit that Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet as RD’s really does add a plus to an event.

If you were a cynic, you may well think that the race just uses the two Skyrunning stars as a vehicle for promotion! If you do, you could not be more wrong! Just a glance at Facebook this last 2 weeks has provided us all with a real insight into how ‘hands-on’ Kilian and Emelie have been in getting this race off the ground and ready for an increased audience.

The duo brings a true love of the mountains and a desire for technical terrain to a larger audience and with the Tromsö Skyrace the challenge is a tough one! Edition 1 had many a runner saying that it was the most extreme and technical 45km’s they had ever run. That I am sure would place a big smile on Kilian’s and Emilie’s’ faces. Using inspirational race like Trofeo Kima as an influence on the Tromsö Skyrace, the race is set to be a classic that will run for a great deal of time.

Located in Tromsö, Norway, the race embraces the wilderness and 24-hour days with fjords and glaciers as a backdrop. In the words of Kilian and Emelie, it is “Soul running between the sky and the sea!”

In summary:

  • Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg: two world-class race ambassadors
  • Tromsö, a remarkable landscape
  • Three races
  • International yet familiar race
  • Eco-responsive race

300 runners in total will arrive in Tromsö for what I am sure will be an amazing, awe inspiring experience that they will hold and cherish for a long time to come. After all, the race does take place in the Norwegian Arctic Circle.

“First we just started to talk about how cool it was that in the north we can run 24 hours in light during the summer. And then we started to talk about what we think Skyrunning is and how we would like a race that includes all the key ingredients; trails, summits, ridges off trail aid stations, a consideration for the environment and so on! We decided to make a course that comes close to the city but still has all the key ingredients that we want in a race, summits, wilderness and technical parts! We are so happy about the route!”

 

Friday will start with a Blamann VK, 2.6km in length and 1044m of vertical gain make this race a true challenge for those who like to push themselves on a steep gradient.

The Tromsdalstind Skyrace has 19km length and 1600m elevation and the key race for the weekend is the Hamperokken Skyrace which is part of the Ultra Skyrunner® World Series and has 42km length and 4100m of vertical gain.

So who is running?

VK

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Nejc Kuhar heads up a strong VK race and as Skyrunner® World Series leader for the VK distance he is a firm favourite for the title in Tromsö.

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However, Eirik Haugsness and Thorbjorn Ludvigsen are almost certainly going to want to represent themselves highly and what is a ‘local’ race.

Rising star, Remi Bonnet will also be a key contender as will Ferran Texeido but the dark horse may well be Stian Hovind so keep an eye on him, he is my dark horse for the top of the podium.

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The ladies VK race is wide open and maybe not surprisingly, Emelie Forsberg may well be a hot favourite for victory.

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Azara Garcia will almost certainly contend the podium, as will Therese Sjursen and Ekatarina Mityaaeva.

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Mira Rai will also run but I think the Nepalese runner is still finding her feet in these short vertical races. I am sure she will be looking to the Ultra on Sunday for her best performance.

 

ULTRA

I fully appreciate that 42km is not an ultra, so please don’t email in and point this out! The Tromso Skyrace gains ‘ultra’ status due to the demanding course, technicality and because of the time it will take to complete the course. As we said earlier, this is NO easy race! If in doubt, the winning time from 2014 was 6:38:30!

Men

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Skyrunning World and European Champion for the Ultra distance, Luis Alberto Hernando will toe the line in Tromso and one has to say, he is the man to beat. He has been on fire in 2014 with victory and Transvulcania, Ice Trail Tarentaise and 2nd place at the IAU World Trail Championships.

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Franco Colle equally has been a revelation in 2015. His victory at Tor des Geants in 2014 placed him on the radar for any race over 100-miles but this year he has nailed Mont-Blanc 80km and Ice Trail Tarentaise. One to watch!

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Last years winner, Eirik Haugsness is going to have his work cut-out to top the podium in 2015 but Tromso is a race that holds a special place for him and that always adds so those essential extra percentages when you need to dig deep.

Philipp Reiter has had a quiet 2015; no doubt university has placed a demand on his time. Tromso however will suit the young Germans skill set and I am almost certain we can expect to feel his presence at the front of the race.

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Cristofer Clemente adds to the front-end action and has consistently performed well in 2015 with a string of top 10 placing.

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Salomon team manager, Greg Vollet can never be ruled out of the front end action and I see that Canadian Adam Campbell is on the start list but I am not sure if he will run after a sterling effort at Hardrock 100.

Local talent will provide a huge surprise factor and here Emelie provides me with some valuable inside information:

Lars Eirik Skjervheim is a member of the Norwegian ski mountaineering team and a very good runner. He has had a struggle with an injury but if he is in good shape he could be on the podium, I think?

Ola Hovdenak was 2nd in 2014 and loves technical trail.

Sven Are Paulsen is a Tromsö X- country skier, that last year got really into Skyrunning! Top 10!

Kristian Ulriksen is a fast roadrunner from Tromso; lets see how he handles the technical trails.

And finally,

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Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz, Zigor Iturrieta (in hospital for an operation), Florian Reichert, Jan Bartas and Stu Air will all figure in or around the top 10 and my dark horse tip goes to Dan Doherty who may well be the surprise package of the whole race.

 

Ladies

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Mira Rai may well excel in the tough and challenging conditions of Tromso. Her victory at Mont-Blanc 80km was a revelation but recent races at the Dolomites VK and Dolomites Skyrace were mixed. Maybe they were too short? Tromso may well be short in distance but in time, it’s a long race that will play into Mira’s hands.

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Maite Maiora is a Skyrunning specialist and specializes in the Sky distance. However, she nailed Transvulcania in 2014 and that therefore elevates her up the ‘one-to-watch’ to THE one to watch.

Australian rising star, Lucy Bartholomew will also run the race and this will be a big test. But I strongly believe it’s a test that she will rise too. The podium may well be a long shot this early in her career but I don’t think she will be too far off.

Malene Hakoy is a Norwegian ski mountaineer, she won Hornidal runt this year and placed second overall… one to watch!

Hilde Aders placed top 10 in the Dolomites VK and placed 2 in Hornidal Runt this year.

Finally, a real dark horse shout out for Shiri Leventhal; I am sure she won’t thank me for pointing a spotlight at her but she made the podium at Everest Trail Race a few years ago and may well be a surprise package. Also, Heather Ohly from the UK may well make an impact on the top-10.

Needless to say, Tromsö Skyrace is going to over a seriously exciting weekend of running in an amazing part of the world and what almost certainly will be and incredible course.

I can’t wait!

You can follow the race in words and images here at iancorless.com on Facebook HERE on Twitter @talkultra and on Instagram @iancorlessphotography

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Zegama-Aizkorri 2014 In-Depth Race Preview

Kilan and Hernando copyright Ian Corless

Kilan and Hernando copyright Ian Corless

The heat subsides on the island of La Palma, the waves continue to splash on the shoreline and a new week begins. It’s only 10-days since the incredibly successful, dramatic and exciting Skyrunning Transvulcania La Palma. But wait a minute, days away, the iconic mountain race, Zegama-Aizkorri kicks off. Ask anyone about ‘Zegama’ and they say, it’s ZEGAMA! Nothing more needs to be said… it’s a race that excites mountain runners like few other races do.

Zegama Map iancorless.com

It’s a brutally fast and technical race that is not for the feint hearted. Located in a natural park, Aizkorri-Aratz, it brings respect and excitement to every mountain runner that toes the line.

Zegama Profile Zegama this year may very well just be a classic in the making, we had fireworks at Transvulcania, but one look at this line-up and I think we may well have fireworks once again but this time on the proportions of a New Year’s Eve get together…

Kilian Jornet, Luis Alberto Hernando, Marco De Gasperi, Tom Owens and Pablo Villa illuminate a top-quality men’s field.

Emelie Forsberg, Maite Maiora, Stevie Kremer, Kasie Enman, Elisa Desco and Nuria Picas add no element of softness to the race line up, these ladies are as tough as nails and may well take down a few of the top ranked men.

So, what is going to happen on the trails and mountains of the Aizkorri-Aratz?

Tech specs:

A medium mountain route over the Aratz massif and the Sierra of Aizkorri, which includes the four highest peaks in the Basque Autonomous Region (Aratz – Aizkorri –Akategi and Aitxuri). Starting in the town of Zegama (296m) the race climbs up to the high point of Otzaurte (652m) and then follows a mountain pass and a route along paths and mountain tracks of great natural beauty. It combines forests with steep rocky slopes and high grazing land. It is very technical and with a high level of difficulty.

Date: 25th of May, 2014

Start and finish: Zegama ( guipúzcoa ) –09:00 start.

Total length: 42.195 km.

Control points: 14
Refreshment points: 13

Flying sprint: Aizkorri (22.58 km)

Accumulated height gain: 5.472 meters

Maximum altitude: 1.551m Aitxuri

Minimum altitude: 296m Zegama.

Technical percentage of course: 70% approx.

Climate: medium mountain, possibilities of intense heat, strong winds, fog or rain.

Time limit: 8 hours.

Closing time of check points: Click the button to see the control time

 

MEN

Kilian Jornet, Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Kilian Jornet, Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

The men’s race is full of talent and like Transvulcania, a winner could come from any direction; are we due a surprise? However, based on the La Palma showdown, one has to conclude that Luis Alberto Hernando and Kilian Jornet are HOT favourites for the win.

Luis Alberto Hernando Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Luis Alberto Hernando Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Luis Alberto Hernando fulfilled a dream at La Palma and coming to Zegama he will either be immensely satisfied and looking for a victory loop or he will be fired up and ready for more… I’m going with the latter! He’s a fierce competitor and his powers of recovery post Transvulcania will be good. Zegama suits Luis and he only ‘just’ missed out on the win in 2013 by seconds, pushing Kilian Jornet all the way to the line.

Kilian Jornet Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Kilian Jornet Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Kilian Jornet now has one race under his belt and all the competition will now know that his training is done… I joke, but Kilian usually only needs one race to loosen up and he is back in his stride. If we look at 2012, Kilian placed 3rd at Transvulcania and then just 1-week later dominated Zegama in atrocious conditions. For sure, Kilian doesn’t like heat and he will be hoping for cooler conditions come the weekend of the 24th. If he could choose, he would like rain, some snow and wind. If we get those conditions, Kilian will almost certainly be hot favourite. Should we get sun, heat and calm conditions, I think Kilian is still the hot favourite BUT it will be close, very close.

Marco De Gasperi Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Marco De Gasperi Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

So close that Marco De Gasperi will almost certainly make Kilian and Luis potentially repeat the Zegama finish of 2013 or we may have a ‘replay’ of the Kilian and Marco sprint from the Dolomites Skyrace in 2013. One thing is for sure, the legend that is Marco De Gasperi will be pushing the Spaniard and the Catalan over every meter of this course and if he is not pushing them, he will be leading them. Marco keeps telling me that he is getting old but class is permanent and that class will shine in Zegama.

Tom Owens Transvulcania 2014 ©iancorless.com

Tom Owens Transvulcania 2014 ©iancorless.com

Tom Owens had a superb Zegama in 2011 and 2012 and then disappeared in 2013 with injuries. However, Tom is back! A recent 2nd behind Ricky Lightfoot at the Three Peaks in the UK and a stunning 6th at Transvulcania, his first ultra, without doubt elevates Tom to hot and he will be looking for a podium place. For Tom to place 6th in an ultra and then drop down to his preferred distance, SKY, can only mean that he has an even greater chance of rocking the cart. His strong fell running background is a perfect fit for this race. Podium potential for sure.

Tadei Pivk Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Tadei Pivk Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Tadei Pivk produced a stunning run in 2013 taking the final podium place ahead of Zaid Ait Malek. Both of these runners will make an impact one again. In particular, Zaid has progressed in the last 12-months with a series of quality results and performances. He’s a small guy with a huge character and personality. They will both be up at the front.

Zaid Ait Malek Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Zaid Ait Malek Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne will be leaving his helicopter at home and once again lacing up his ‘Sense’ to test himself against the best in the world. He will be in the mix, he always is, however, he just needs that touch of extra luck to help him move up to the very front end of a pure mountain race like this. Michel had a string of top-3 performances in 2013, a notable 2nd to Francois d’Haene at Mont-Blanc 80km a highlight. Just recently he placed 2nd at Trail du Ventoux, so, the form is good.

Pablo Villa Transvulcania 2014  ©iancorless.com

Pablo Villa Transvulcania 2014 ©iancorless.com

Pablo Villa is going to be on a high after top-10 at Transvulcania and like Tom Owens will be looking to carry the momentum on here. It’s going to be a tough call and although I don’t see him contesting the podium, the Scott runner will be in the mix if recovered.

Oli Johnson inov-8 ©iancorless.com

Oli Johnson inov-8 ©iancorless.com

Inov-8, Skyrunning partner are sending a very strong field that can be broken down into several levels. I see the strong performances coming from Eirik Haugsnes, Aritz Egea and Alex Nichols. Anyone of these guys could make the top-10. Oli Johnson placed top-10 at Mont-Blanc Marathon in 2013 and will represent the UK at the up and coming Skyrunning World Champs, he has the run ability and skill set to excel at Zegama, however, I am not sure he is 100% at the moment, so, I think he will have a presence at the front end, his performance will very much depend on his progression in the last 2 to 3 weeks. Pierre Laurent Viguier recently won Trail du Citadelles but like Robbie Britton, this race may well be too short, too technical and too fast for them to excel. I see Zegama, as being a learning curve and Chris Steele will no doubt embrace the opportunity and give it all he has.

AJ Calitz in Europe, early 2013. Zegama-Aizkorri

AJ Calitz in Europe, early 2013. Zegama-Aizkorri

Alex Nicholls gets a nod in the inov-8 line up but we have other quality overseas competition coming from Cameron Clayton (USA), AJ Calitz (South Africa) and we should have had Vlad Ixel arriving from the Southern Hemisphere, however, recent injury has put a stop to that. A real shame, Vlad is my hot-tip as one of the new ‘surprises’ in the trail and ultra world. No worries, we will get to see him perform in June at the World Champs. AJ Calitz pushed at the front end of the 2013 Zegama and then it all went pear shaped when he tried to follow Kilian on one of the descents, he hit the deck and his race was over… AJ swore he would be back and he is! I still think he is in for a learning curve experience but I do expect to see him in the mix. Cameron has all the speed needed to race at the front but this race is like no other. It’s fast, furious, relentless and technical. The question for Cameron will be can he use all that natural ability and perform on what for him, will be very technical terrain?

Martin Gaffuri Transvulcania Half Marathon ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri Transvulcania Half Marathon ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri raced really well in 2013 earning some very cool Skyrunning stripes. He started 2014 with a warm up in Costa Rica laying a great foundation and at Transvulcania he raced the half-marathon so as not to use up too much energy and gain a confidence boost. However, the race didn’t go well… just a bad day I am sure. However, it may play on Martin’s mind? Martin has the right skill set, speed and downhill ability to do well at Zegama so we will just have to see what happens.

To be honest, Zegama has an elite list that extends well beyond 50 runners, so, here are a few notable mentions that we can almost certainly expect to see in the mix:

  • Cristobal Adell – potential top-10
  • Alfredo Gil – potential top-10
  • Jokin Lizeaga – potential top-10
  • Greg Vollet – Team Manager for Salomon. Don’t be surprised to see Greg beat some of his own athletes and he may well make top-10.
  • Thorbjorn Ludvigesen
  • Fabio Bazzana
  • Florian Reichert still new to Skyrunning and on a learning curve but may make the mix?
  • Stephan Wenk
  • Hassan Ait

Who have I missed? In a field this stacked, it’s impossible to account for everyone, particularly local runners who I may not know too well but who will excel on local terrain.

Check out the men’s elite field at http://www.zegama-aizkorri.com/en

LADIES

Emelie Forsberg copyright Ian Corless

Emelie Forsberg copyright Ian Corless

Rewind to Transvulcania and I think we may well see some similar performances with the exception of Frosty who will not be racing at Zegama. What we have, is a who’s who of female mountain running and it’s wide open.

Nuria Picas Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas is on fire! As I write this, she has just won TNF100 in Australia setting a new course record. Add to this win, two incredible 2013 wins, one at the 105-mile UTMF and the other at Transgrancanaria and Nuria is the female to beat at any distance and on any course. However, she pulled out of Transvulcania (correctly in my opinion) and although Nuria is on the start list for Zegama, I expect a similar withdrawal this coming week? However, should she race, she will be pushing at the front, of this I have no doubt. The question mark will come on how fresh she will be for a short, fast mountain race after racing 100km’s or more in the early part of 2013. Nuria placed 2nd in 2013 behind Emelie Forsberg and finished just seconds ahead of Stevie Kremer. It’s an exciting prospect. Update 21/05/14 : Nuria will not race stating that recovery is paramount after her win in Australia.

Emelie Forsberg Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg is just off skis and other than running half of the Transvulcania VK and a couple of hours in the Transvulcania main event, has little running in her legs. Add to this a bad fall in La Palma, stitches and some recovery time and Emelie may well be going to Zegama the most underprepared ever. She was relatively underprepared in 2012 when she arrived an unknown, however, look what has happened since… She has said to me that Zegama is no longer an ‘A’ race and she will use it to find form, however, Emelie on an off day is still a formidable force and I still see her in the mix. Emelie won Zegama in 2013 and pretty much everything else in her long and demanding season. When knocked off the top slot, particularly in mountain running, it was by Stevie Kremer! Firstly at Mont-Blanc and then at Limone, so, Emelie will be taking Zegama with one eye on the trail and the other on Stevie.

Stevie Kremer copyright Ian Corless

Stevie Kremer copyright Ian Corless

Stevie Kremer is also just off skis but unlike others, Stevie does maintain some running during the winter months. It may not be a great deal of hours or mileage but that connection with trail certainly puts her in a good place for the first race of the season. She showed this last year at Zegama when she flew down the final descent (she says she can’t descend) and nearly caught Nuria for 2nd place. Notorious for being nervous on the start, Stevie turns that energy into exciting running. She can climb with the best and although she thinks that she can’t contest the downhills, she can! Stevie just needs to believe it. My tip for the race victory!

Maite Maiora Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Maite Maiora Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Maite Maiora is a class act when it comes to mountain running. Her recent 2nd place at Transvulcania shows a new side to this slight but extremely strong runner. With added endurance, boosted confidence and great technical ability, Maite will be in the mix at Zegama and testing the other ladies to the limits. I see her on the podium; the question will be at which level? To be honest, if her recovery has gone well post La Palma, I see her going head-to-head with Stevie.

Elisa Desco Transvulcania VK ©iancorless.com

Elisa Desco Transvulcania VK ©iancorless.com

Elisa Desco returned to racing in 2013 and won the highly prestigious Sierre-Zinal. Her recent win at the Transvulcania VK and half marathon confirms that her form is good. Elisa has all the right elements to perform well at Zegama and without doubt she is podium material. The ladies field is so strong, it may well just come down to who makes the least mistakes? Elisa won’t make many!

Uxue Fraile Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Uxue Fraile Zegama 2013 ©iancorless.com

Uxue Fraile once again produced an incredible race in Transvulcania. I said in that preview that she lacks the outright speed of some of her rivals, however, what she does have is staying power and true grit. So, should any lady falter, Uxue will be in the mix to take places. I see this happening again at Zegama. She will definitely be in the top-10, probably in the top-5 and may just sneak the podium.

Kasie Enman is coming over from the USA and will add an interesting dynamic o the race. She’s a fast lady and as Stevie says, she is without doubt one to watch. The trails and technicality of Zegama may not allow Kasie to unleash her natural speed, however, I don’t see her being off the pace. The biggest question will come in her form, as this is a return to racing after having a child.

The ladies race has less depth than the men’s field, however, you can expect to see the ladies listed below in or around the top-10.

  • Oihana Azkorbebeitia last big win in 2012, Puebo de Gran Fondo and has had top ranking at Zegama before. This is her comeback after having a baby. You can’t rule her out…
  • Nerea Ambilibia
  • Aitzibier Ibarbia
  • Stephanie Jiminez strong run at Transvulcania VK and just coming into form.  Will not race, Stephanie says she is not ready for 42k yet.
  • Silvia Miralles
  • Landie Greyling strong South African runner, 5th at Kepler Challenge and 2nd at Addo Elephant.

Who have I missed? It’s impossible to account for everyone, particularly local runners who I may not know too well but who will excel on local terrain.

YOU CAN CHECK THE FULL LIST HERE

Trail Magazin, Germany 2013

 

Matterhorn Ultraks Race Preview

image copyright Matterhorn Ultraks - www.

image copyright Matterhorn Ultraks – www.

On the Italian border of the Canton of Valais in the west of Switzerland, at the end of the 30 km-long Nikolaital, lies Zermatt, the village at the foot of the Matterhorn, the most photographed mountain in the world. Zermatt epitomizes their image of Switzerland; high alpine, awe-inspiring and original. Almost one-third of the 4,000-metre mountains in the Alps are grouped around this word-famous health resort, which has been visited by mountaineers from all around the world since the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. The hotels and restaurants are world-class, and the ski area is not only the highest in the Alps – it is also one of the best developed and most convenient in the world. The climate is of an excellent quality; with 300 sunny days a year, there is less rainfall than anywhere else in Switzerland. The air in Zermatt is clear, dry and clean, because, since 1947, only electric cars without a combustion engine are allowed to operate in the village. Things are a little different in Zermatt. Zermatt – A world of its own.

The ISF Skyrunning Matterhorn Ultraks is the penultimate race in the SkyUltra series. It will be a magical race, 46 km long with 
D+ : 3’600 m | D- : 3’600 m. It has a great combination of wild open spaces, high mountains and a course that will require a thrilling combination of speed and technique. The highest summit of Gonnergrat at 3100m will be a test for all, however, at the summit it offers incredible panoramic views and of course, the ever-present Matterhorn will dominate.

Want to race? limited places are still available at ultraks.com

Men

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Kilian Jornet comes to this race the outright favorite. At the ISF Skyrunning European Championships he came away with three gold’s in VK, Sky and Ultra. Post Trans D’Havet he moved over to Cervinia (Italy) and he is now preparing meticulously for his next ‘Summit’, a speed attempt up and down the Matterhorn itself. He will be prepared and adapted for everything that the Ultraks can throw at him.

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Breaking news just in, 14th August. Luis Alberto Hernando to join the line up at Ultraks. Of course this is great news. Luis is one person that has pushed Kilian Jornet throughout 2012. He placed second at Transvulcania, he pushed Kilian to the line at Zegama, placed third at Mont Blanc and of course, Kilian and Luis crossed the line together to be crowned European Skyrunning Champions at Trans D’Havet. One thing is for sure, Luis will push Kilian and all the other contenders for the top spot right to the line!

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Tofol Castanyer has had a troubled early 2013 with a series of injuries, however, a win at Salomon Four Trails and a second place at the recent Giir di Mont means he is coming back in form. If he has a good day, he will certainly be up at the front pushing with Kilian.

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Michel Lanne secured a joint win with teammate, Francois D’Haene at the Mont Blanc Marathon ultra event but then had to miss Trans D’Havet due to an injury.  Michel, along with Tofol, Philipp, and Cameron will dictate the early pace at the front and as his reputation confirms, he has all the ability and potential to make the podium. *injured

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Philipp Reiter romped to a great podium place at Ice Trail Tarentaise and was ready to repeat his performance or move up the podium at Trans D’Havet, however, a bad fall in the first 30% of the race unfortunately meant some time in hospital and recuperation. At this stage his recovery is progressing well and we hope that he will toe the line in Zermatt.

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Cameron Clayton has had a very impressive rise in the ultra world. He is young and races just one-way; hard! He applied that principal at Transvulcania La Palma and lead the race in the early stages but later faded to still secure a top placing. At Western States, his first hundred miler, he applied the same principal but came unstuck. Just the other weekend he raced at Speedgoat 50k but I am sure this was very much ‘getting back into racing’ race post Western. If he is making a trip from the US to Zermatt, you can be sure of one thing; he will turn up to run hard and win. Question is, will he be able to? Most certainly he has all the ability to mix it up at the front and push his peers. Cameron is an exciting addition to the race line up.

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Nicola Golinelli had a great race at Mont Blanc Marathon and then placed in the top fifteen at Dolomites Skyrace. It wasn’t a great race for him; he certainly would have expected to be at the front end of the race. So, with that in mind, Nicola will be looking to put the record straight at Ultraks.

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Florian Reichert and Didier Zago, both had similar stories to Arc’teryx teammate, Nicola Golinelli. Great racing and top ten placing’s at Mont Blanc and then below par performances in Canazei at the Dolomites Skyrace. Didier is experienced and will bounce back, Florian however is new to Skyrunning and once again found the Dolomites and its combination of steep gradients and snow another learning curve. However, he is a sub 2:30 marathon runner and the Ultraks course will suit his abilities.

Ben Abdelnoor is coming to Zermatt after an impressive win and new course record at the Lakeland 50 in the UK. For sure he is going to relish the opportunity to push against some of the best in the world. Joining Ben we have his new inov-8 teammate, Erik-Dagsson Haugsness. Erik from Norway placed fifth at Mont Blanc Marathon and is certainly a name to watch in the future.

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Tadei Pivk has consistently performed in 2013 with great results at Zegama and Dolomites Skyrace; without doubt he will be coming to Zermatt to move from third place on the podium to second or even the top. Watch this space, without doubt he will add spice to the front of the race.

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Stuart Air from the UK is starting to get a reputation for himself within the Skyrunning calendar. With little fanfare he turned up at the brutal Ronda dels Cims and placed thirteenth overall, he then followed this up with nineteenth at Ice Trail Tarentaise. He will participate at Matterhorn Ultraks as a guest for Scott Running. At 46km, the race may very well be a little too short and too fast for him, but it will be great to see how he performs.

The men’s field at Ultraks has great depth, Nicolas Pianet, Dai Matsumoto and representation from Russian Skyrunning, Diedre-Matxacuca, Euskal Herriko Mendi Lasterkarien Selekzioa and the FEEC will mean that an iconic and fast race awaits us.

Ladies

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Emelie Forsberg, how can you bet against her? Her rise in the sport is meteoric and after winning at San Francisco in late 2012, Emelie has rarely been off the top of the podium. Her 2013 result sheet is incredible and like Kilian, she is becoming a dominant leader in the sport. Her recent results and performance ability at any distance from VK to Ultra puts her way ahead of the competition at Ultraks. I honestly don’t see anyone coming close, particularly if Emelie decides to push.

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Silvia Serafini does offer a glimmer of hope at the front of the race and like Emelie, Silvia has also had a speedy rise in the sport. Just recently everything has started to click. A podium place at Dolomites Skyrace and while Emelie was dominating Trans D’Havet; Silvia topped the podium at Giir di Mont. For sure, Silvia will be Emelie’s biggest rival at Ultraks.

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Anna Lupton had a troubled performance at Zegama and then found some consistency at Mont Blanc Marathon. She has recently raced in Poland and will be coming to the Matterhorn with several weeks’ recovery and training, so, she may well perform as she would expect and add some pressure to the front of the race.

Ragna Debats, Aitziber Ibarbia Beloki, Anna Comet Pascua, Paloma Lobera Grau and Eugenia Miro Figueras all have the potential to make the podium and it will be interesting to see who has the strength on the day to push the outright favorites to the line.

LINKS: 

Skyrunning HERE

Race start list HERE

Matterhorn Ultraks website HERE

Race start 0700 am 24th August 2013.

Skyrunning European Championships

The ice at Ice Trail Tarentaise hasn’t even melted and just 48 hours later we ae looking ahead to the third edition of the European Skyrunning Championships which start this coming Friday, the 19th. with the Vertical Kilometer®. The series of events will have seven world champions representing sixteen nations.

Please Note:

A course recce for Trans D’Havet will take place on Tuesday July 23rd and Wednesday July 24th. You can download a PDF document with information HERE

On July 25th at 1500 we will have an introduction to Skyrunning with Salomon athlete, Philipp Reiter. This will involve a ‘live’ interview followed with Q&A and then ISF President, Marino Giacometti and Dr Roi (Sky Doc) will provide a small talk and answer questions. Information available HERE

Schedule:

The Dolomites will again host two of the events in the three-year history of the Championships.  The record on the unforgiving Vertical Kilometer® course just 2,1 km long, stands at 33’16” by world record holder Italian Urban Zemmer and Antonella Confortola in 39’13” back in 2008 when the course was inaugurated.

The classic Dolomites SkyRace® favoured by the world’s top runners offers a new challenge after record-breaking performances here this year by Kilian Jornet in 2h01’52”, and the three top women, Sweden’s Emelie Forsberg, American Kasie Enman and Spaniard Mireia Mirò – all under record time.  Forsberg’s record stands at 2h26’00”. The challenging and often technical course represents one of the toughest proving grounds for the relatively short distance: 22 km but with 1,750m climb to the summit of the Piz Boè which, at 3,152m altitude, towers above the start and finish of the race in Canazei.

The much anticipated Ultra is embodied by the Trans d’Havet, a point to point 80 km long with 5,500m vertical climb traversing the Piccole Dolomiti in the Veneto Region.  The route, technical in stretches, includes 6 km of tunnels dating back to the First World War, created by General D’Havet, to whose name the race is dedicated. At the launch this year, the men’s winning time was 10h58’44”, no doubt destined to fall with the top European runners participating here in 2013.

Participants

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Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg will test their powers of recovery and just five days after impressive victories in what many are now considering an iconic Skyrunning race, the Ice Trail Tarentaise, they will toe the line for all three events in the European Championships.

It is going to be difficult to bet against them, certainly Kilian has the ability, powers of recovery and experience to top the podium in all three events. However, Luis Alberto Hernando has pushed Kilian close in three events already in 2013 and he will most certainly be keen to move one place on the podium higher.

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Nuria Picas missed Ice Trail Tarentaise so that she could save all her energy for the ultra race, she desires the Euoropean Championship crown and keeping in mind Emelie Forsberg’s recent calendar and the fact that she will have participated in the VK and Sky race the weekend before, one has to say that Nuria may well be the favourite for the Trans d’Havet race.

Michel Lanne joint winner of the Mont Blanc Mrathon Ultra race will almost certainly be a hot favourite at Trans d’Havet along with an in-form Philipp Rieter who took third place at Ice Trail Tarentaise.

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The Sky distance race will be extremely competitive, Nicola Golinelli (4th Mont-Blanc Marathon) Florian Reichert (9th at Mont Blanc), Tadei Pivk (3rd at Zegama), Matheo Jaquemoud, Augusto Roc (three time world champion), Didier Zago and Dimitris Theodrakakos will go head-to-head for the title.

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However, so will Kilian Jornet. On this course, I don’t see Kilian loosing, however today, 17th July, we have had confirmation that Kilian’s favourite sparring partner, Marco De Gasperi will toe the line. Not only is this great news for the race but it is great news for us. No doubt after the head-to-head battle at Mont Blanc we will see a repeat performance on the slopes os Canazei.

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The ladies Sky race will be equally competitive with Emelie Forsberg, Celine Lafaye (2nd Mont Blanc), Maite Mayora Elizondo and Silvia Serafini as strong favourites. However, nobody will have an easy run with strong competiton coming from Zhanna Voueva, Laura Orgue, Stephanie JiminezRagna Debats to name but a few.

Maite Mayora Elizondo at Haria Extreme

Maite Mayora Elizondo at Haria Extreme

The Vertical at Canazei is regarded as one of the toughest. It is incredibly steep, to put this in perspective, even Kilian Jornet used ‘poles’ in 2012. Without doubt Kilian is a strong favourite but the men’s field has real quality and ‘VK’ specialists; Urban Zemmer will lead the charge for the title, closely followed by Marco Facchinelli, Tadei Pivk, Didier Zago, and Augusti Roc.

Antonella Confortola will be the hot favourite for the ladies. Emelie Fosberg will push hard but she is still learning in the VK as is Zhana Vokueva. Tessa Hill from the UK is slowly becoming a VK specialist and she stated at Mont Blanc that she was already seeing a progression from her 2012 form. The ever present Corinne Favre is always a contender, as is Laura Orgue. Sivia Serafini, Celine Lafaye, Maite Mayora Elizondo and Ragna Debats will double up with the Sky race and have every possibility to make the podium in both races.

Antonella Confortola

Antonella Confortola

To date, the sixteen countries entered are: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden.

The winning formula?  Easy: the European Skyrunning Championships are open with individual titles at stake in each discipline. Ranking is based on the sum of the highest points scored in two out of three events.  The national title is based on the score of the first three men and one woman in all three events.

Links:

Skyrunning HERE

Coverage and imagery will be provided by iancorless.com via Facebook Talk Ultra and Twitter

Episode 39 – Nikki Kimball, Nick Clark, Alex Nichols, Florian Reichert

TU39

Nick Clark returns for Clarky’s Corner with an update on his Western States and a look ahead to his next 100 in the Grand Slam. We have an interview with Ultra Running legend, Nikki Kimball about her running career and another podium finish at Western States. Alex Nichols talks Mont Blanc Marathon and in Talk Training we speak with Florian Reichert about the transition from road running to trail and mountains.

00:00:00

00:00:45 INTRO 

00:09:21 NEWS

Western States

  1. Pam Smith (La Sportiva) – 18:37:21
  2. Nikki Kimball (The North Face) – 19:21:43
  3. Amy Sproston (Montrail) – 19:25:11
  4. Meghan Arbogast (SCOTT Sports) – 19:30:50
  5. Rory Bosio (The North Face) – 19:52:09
  6. Aliza Lapierre (Salomon) – 20:04:46
  7. Emily Harrison (AdiUltra) – 20:28:40
  8. Denise Bourassa (Patagonia) – 21:44:37
  9. Leila Degrave (Inov-8) – 21:59:26
  10. Abby McQueeney Penamonte – 22:36:29

 

  1. Timothy Olson (The North Face) – 15:17:27
  2. Rob Krar – 15:22:05
  3. Mike Morton (Allied Van Lines) – 15:45:21
  4. Ian Sharman (SCOTT Sports) – 16:20:25
  5. Dylan Bowman (Pearl Izumi) – 16:32:18
  6. Nick Clark (Pearl Izumi) – 16:56:23
  7. Jesse Haynes (INKnBURN) – 17:44:36
  8. Paul Terranova – 17:56:29
  9. Yassine Diboun (Inov-8) – 18:44:02
  10. Karl Meltzer (Hoka One One) – 18:51:55

00:21:27 CLARKEYS CORNER –Nick Clark ran the 2013 Western States and now lines up for his second 100 in the Grand Slam just a few weeks later. 

Mont Blanc Marathon

Men

1° Kilian Jornet 3h30’41 NEW COURSE RECORD

2° Marco De Gasperi 3h31’42

3° Luis-Alberto Hernando-Alzaga 3h36’14

Ladies

1° Stevie Kremer 4h03’16 NEW COURSE RECORD

2° Emelie Forsberg 4h25’10

3° Céline Lafaye 4h35

00:40:37 INTERVIEW with Alex Nichols

Vetical Kilometer

Men

1. Saul Antonio Padua (COL) – 34’34”

2. Kilian Jornet (ESP) – Salomon – 34’53”

3. Erik-Dagssøn Haugsnes (NOR) – Il Pioner – 35’02”

4. Alexy Sevennec-Verdier (FRA) – Crazyonisag – 35’10”

5. Urban Zemmer (ITA) – La Sportiva – 35’40”

Women

1. Christel Dewalle (FRA) – Team Terre de Running – 41’33”

2. Laura Orgué (ESP) – Salomon Santiveri – 42’53”

3. Antonella Confortola (ITA) – Salomon – 42’55”

4. Emelie Forsberg (SWE) – Salomon – 44’55”

5. Tessa Hill (GBR) – Arc’teryx – 45’39”

 

Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Mens:

1.         Spehler Sebastien            07:39:35

2.         Wolfe Mike  08:13:47

3.         Geronazzo Ivan     08:14:15

 

Ladies:

1.         Cheryl Beatty          09.31.09

2.         Federica Boifava  09.54.56

3.         Lizzie Wraith            09.57.14

World Trail Championships

  • Gold – Ricky Lightfoot (Great Britain and NI) 5:36:03
  • Silver – Florian Neuschwander (Germany) 5:45:16
  • Bronze – Julien Rancon (France) 5:54:21

 

  • Gold – Nathalie Mauclair (France) 6:38:45
  • Silver – Aurelia Truel (France) 6:55:51
  • Bronze – Maria Chiara Parigi (Italy) 7:00:30

 

Dodo Trail 50k in Mauritius

  1. Rene Paul Vitry 5:39:30
  2. Vishal Ittoo 5:46:36
  3. Fabrice Armand 5:48:06

 

  1. Cecile Ciman 7:15:03
  2. Marie Noelle Bourgeois 7:23:46
  3. Helene Haegel 7:39:40

01:15:51 BLOGS – Dylan Bowman – Western States http://dylanbowman.com/2013/07/western-states-100/

‘My race was playing out perfectly.  The early morning miles were appropriately subdued and I had the pleasure of sharing time with many men whom I idolize and consider to be good friends.  Shortly after Red Star Ridge, Rob Krar and I fell into a similar pace and remained together for virtually all of the ensuing 45 miles.  In my mind, we were executing things perfectly – sitting behind the lead pack early before methodically and intentionally moving through the field in the middle third of the race.’

01:17:00 TALK TRAINING –On this weeks talk training we speak with Arc’teryx and inov-8 athlete Florian Reichert about his transition from middle distance and road running to trail/ mountain running and his participation on the Skyrunning World Series

01:46:25 INTERVIEW –This week we speak to a legend of female ultra running, her Western States history alone sets her apart,  she won the race in 2004, 2006 and 2007 and she was 4th in 2009, 3rd in 2010 and 2011, 5th in 2012 and just this year placed 2nd.– Nikki Kimball

02:34:10 MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat Karl

02:37:37 RACES – Up and coming races for the next two weeks worldwide

Australia

Queensland

Kokoda Challenge | 96 kilometers | July 13, 2013 | website

 

Costa Rica

Maratón Internacional Challenge IRAZU – 62 km | 62 kilometers | July 21, 2013 | website

 

France

Aveyron

Tripou-Trail – 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 20, 2013 | website

Bas-Rhin

Trail du Pays Welche | 50 kilometers | July 14, 2013 | website

Corrèze

L’EDFi du Lac | 100 kilometers | July 13, 2013 | website

Le Tour du Cardant | 65 kilometers | July 13, 2013 | website

Finistère

100 km de Cléder | 100 kilometers | July 21, 2013 | website

Haute-Loire

Grand trail Stevenson – Course Individuels | 165 kilometers | July 12, 2013 | website

Grand trail Stevenson – Relais | 167 kilometers | July 12, 2013 | website

La Loire Integrale | 1025 kilometers | July 17, 2013 | website

Savoie

Ice Trail Tarentaise Val d’Isère | 65 kilometers | July 14, 2013 | website

la 6D Treck | 100 kilometers | July 24, 2013 | website

Ultra Trail du Beaufortain | 103 kilometers | July 20, 2013 | website

 

Germany

Rhineland-Palatinate

Bärenfels Ultra Trail | 64 kilometers | July 13, 2013 | website

 

India

La Ultra – The High | 222 kilometers | July 23, 2013 | website

La Ultra – The High 111 | 111 kilometers | July 23, 2013 | website

ZENchallenge Ladakh – 100K | 100 kilometers | July 21, 2013 | website

 

Mongolia

Mongolia Action Asia 3 day ultra 100km | 100 kilometers | July 20, 2013 | website

Mongolia Action Asia 3 day ultra marathons 60k | 60 kilometers | July 20, 2013 | website

 

South Africa

Griffin 50 Mile | 50 miles | July 20, 2013 | website

Washie 100 | 100 miles | July 19, 2013 | website

 

Spain

Basque Country

Ehunmilak | 168 kilometers | July 12, 2013 | website

G2handiak | 82 kilometers | July 12, 2013 | website

 

Turkey

RunFire Cappadocia Ultra Marathon | 220 kilometers | July 20, 2013 | website

 

United Kingdom

England

Fairlands Valley Challenge – 50km | 50 kilometers | July 21, 2013 | website

Lyke Wake Race | 42 miles | July 13, 2013 | website

The 50 Mile Challenge | 52 miles | July 26, 2013 | website

The Montane Lakeland 100 | 100 miles | July 26, 2013 | website

Scotland

Clyde Stride Ultra Marathon | 40 miles | July 13, 2013 | website

 

USA

Arkansas

Midnight 50K | 50 kilometers | July 20, 2013 | website

California

Badwater Ultramarathon | 135 miles | July 15, 2013 | website

Cuyamaca 3 Peaks 50K | 50 kilometers | July 13, 2013 | website

Colorado

Hardrock 100 Endurance Run | 100 miles | July 12, 2013 | website

Leadville Silver Rush 50 | 50 miles | July 14, 2013 | website

Kansas

Psycho Psummer 50K | 50 kilometers | July 13, 2013 | website

Montana

Devil’s Backbone 50 Miles | 50 miles | July 13, 2013 | website

Nevada

Tahoe Rim Trail 100M | 100 miles | July 20, 2013 | website

Tahoe Rim Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | July 20, 2013 | website

Tahoe Rim Trail 50M | 50 miles | July 20, 2013 | website

Oregon

Mt Hood Pacific Crest Trail Ultramarathon | 50 miles | July 13, 2013 | website

Pennsylvania

Viaduct Trail 150 Mile Ultramarathon | 150 miles | July 26, 2013 | website

South Carolina

Cremator 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | July 20, 2013 | website

Texas

El Scorcho | 50 kilometers | July 21, 2013 | website

‘The Shoe’ at Muleshoe Bend LCRA Park – 60k | 60 kilometers | July 13, 2013 | website

Vermont

Vermont 100k Endurance Race | 100 kilometers | July 20, 2013 | website

Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Race | 100 miles | July 20, 2013 | website

Washington

Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage | 190 miles | July 19, 2013 | website

Wisconsin

DWD Devil’s Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | July 13, 2013 | website

DWD Devil’s Lake 50M | 50 miles | July 13, 2013 | website

Wyoming

Happy Jack Endurance Races 100 Mile | 100 miles | July 13, 2013 | website

02:39:35 SHOW CLOSE

02:46:20 END

LINKS and DOWNLOADS:

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

Website – talkultra.com

European Skyrunning Championships 2013

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Italy will host the third edition of the biennial championships. The Vertical and Sky disciplines will take place in Canazei, Trento, on July 19 & 21. The Ultra distance, for the first a championship discipline – will be celebrated in Vicenza, on July 27. The skyrunning “hall of fame” is unveiled

The third edition of the European Skyrunning Championships kicks off in Italy with not just Europe’s best, but no less than seven world championsrepresenting sixteen nations.  The events will mark the first European Ultra title, as well as the Vertical and Sky distances.

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Taking on all three disciplines will be super-champs Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, for whom only the sky is the limit.  A number of other athletes will take on the three-race challenge but mostly the specialists are aiming for medals in their preferred categories.

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The strong Spanish team includes 2011 Skyrunning World Champion Luis Alberto Hernando who will take on the Ultra with 2012 Ultra Champion Nuria Picas.

Luis Alberto Hernando copyright iancorless.com

 

Nuria Picas copyright iancorless.com

The twelve team members also include three-time World Champion, Agustì Roc and Vertical Champion Laura Orguè

Silvia Serafini copyright iancorless.com

Italy will be aiming at the Vertical and Sky distances with a robust line-up headed by Vertical World Champion Urban Zemmer and Antonella Confortola who took third at the recent KM Vertical in Chamonix. The Italian squad is supported by Nicola Golinelli (4th Mont-Blanc Marathon), Marco Facchinelli currently heading the SWS Vertical Series together with Marco Moletto (ranked 4th).  Silvia Serafini (4th in Mont-Blanc Marathon), will race both distances while Stephanie Jimenez will take on the SkyMarathon®.  

Many more world-class names have signed up to represent their county in the European Championships.  Among them, the strong French team: Michel Lanne, Emilie Lecomte, Matheo Jacquemoud, Didier Zago, Celine Lafaye and Corrine FavrePhilipp Reiter and promising “new” skyrunner Florian Reichert (Germany); Ferran Teixido and Oscar Casal Mir (Andorra); Zhanna Vokueva (Russia); Csaba Nemeth (Hungary); Ionut Zinca (Rumania); Tessa Hill(Great Britain).  

Emilie Lecomte copyright iancorless.com

The Netherlands are not new to skyrunning after their first experience at the 2012 SkyGames®.  They are led by Ragna Debats, 5th at Mont-Blanc Marathon. New entries include a very strong representation from the Czech Republic with no less than thirteen team members they are determined to make an impression on the international skyrunning scene.

To date, the sixteen countries entered are: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Rumenia, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden.

The events kick off on July 19 in Canazei, Trento, Italy with the Vertical Kilometer®, followed by the Dolomites SkyRace® on July 21.  The Ultra distance will be disputed at the Trans d’Havet just six days later in the nearby Veneto Region on July 27.

With such a deep field in every category, records are likely to tumble.

The record on the unforgiving Vertical Kilometer® course, just 2,1 km long, stands at 33’16” by Urban Zemmer and Antonella Confortola39’13”, back in 2008 when the course was inaugurated at the SkyGames® .

Antonella copyright iancorless.com

The Dolomites SkyRace® favoured by the world’s top runners offers a new challenge after record-breaking performances last year by Kilian Jornet in2h01’52 and Emelie Forsberg, in 2h26’00. The challenging and often technical course represents one of the toughest proving grounds for the relatively short distance:  22 km but with 1,750m climb to the summit of the Piz Boè which, at 3,152m altitude, towers majestically above the start and finish of the race in Canazei.

Moving on to the much anticipated Ultra, the Trans d’Havet is an 80 km point to point with 5,500m vertical climb traversing the Piccole Dolomiti in the Veneto Region.  The route, technical in stretches, includes 6 km of tunnels. 

Course records at last year’s launch were: 10h58’44” by Daniele Palladino (ITA) and Francesca Canepa (ITA) 11h44’45’’.

The winning formula?  Easy: the European Skyrunning Championships are open with individual titles at stake in each discipline. Ranking is based on the sum of the highest points scored in two out of three events.  The national title is based on the score of the first three men and one woman in all three events.

Vertical

Dolomites Vertical Kilometer®, Canazei, Trento, July 19

Sky

Dolomites SkyRace®, Canazei, Trento, July 21

Ultra

Trans d’Havet, 80k, Piovene R, Piccole Dolomiti, Vicenza – July 27

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Skyrunning Website HERE

Florian Reichert: From earth to sky – the interview

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Florian Reichert is a fast roadrunner! With a track and field background and a specialty at middle distance, his first marathon was an impressive sub 2:30. However, he has only run one road marathon and that was just last year. In 2013 with sponsorship from Arc’teryx and inov-8, Florian has progressed to trail and mountain running. Always seeking a new challenge, he didn’t start the easy way and ease himself in, no; anything but… he threw himself in at the deep end with possibly one of the most iconic and competitive mountain marathons on the calendar, the ISF Skyrunning Zegama-Aizkorri. I catch up with Florian in a wonderful chalet in the shadow of Mont Blanc. We are on an inov-8 athlete retreat and just a couple of days previous; Florian placed top 10 in his second Skyrunning event, the Mont Blanc Marathon

IC: Welcome Florian it’s great to find some quiet time and have this chat.

FR: Thanks Ian, it’s great to be here and having this opportunity to talk. 

IC: Florian you come from a very quack road running background. You started in 1996/97. You have some very impressive and fast times. What is it that got you into running?

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FR: I have always enjoyed pushing myself to the limit. I used to play soccer as many Germans boys do, but I was looking for a sport that would allow me some independence. I wanted the success to come from myself and it was natural that I found running. From early on I enjoyed being alone and running long distances. It was actually my Physical Education teacher that spotted my potential and I was introduced to track and field.

IC: You specialized in middle distance running?

FR: Yes I was a middle distance guy running the 800m and 1500m. I barely broke the 4min barrier but I noticed that I didn’t have the ability to go faster, so I transitioned to 5k and then 10k. My PR is 14:50 for 5k and 30:50 for 10k. Gradually the distances I ran became longer, it seemed to suit my abilities better. I eventually ended up running my first marathon in 2012.

IC: You have made the transition from middle distances to half and marathon distance but as you say, you actually only ran your first marathon last year and you went sub 2:30. Impressive by any standards what was your actual time?

FR: I ran 2:26 and placed 8th at the German championships. It was lots of work, three to four months of solid preparation. I enjoyed training for the marathon but I felt at the end I was getting very stressed and almost bored. I was fed up of checking time, kilometers, laps etc. I was obsessed by time. This year I wanted a different challenge. I needed some freedom.

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IC: You mentioned that you were getting bored and that stress was building. Irrespective of the distance you race, if you are competitive that stress level can come with any distance. If you looked at your marathon, a 2:26 debut is impressive but did you think to yourself even if I train even harder my potential maybe 2:20, maybe a 2:15 and therefore, no disrespect, but in marathon terms that is quite pedestrian. We have seen with Sage Canaday and Max King, both who run around 2:15 that they have made the choice to move from marathon to trail and ultra. Therefore, did you think; I will move to a smaller pond and become a faster person?

 

FR: Yes, partly correct.  With a great deal of effort I may have run a 2:20 marathon but realistically it may have been a 2:22, so, even as you say, if I had run a 2:15 that would still get me nowhere. Particularly with the quality of African runners in marathon fields. I have always loved being in the mountains and nature so the bigger aspect of my transition is that I wanted to get away from the track, the road, the clock and hit the trails and mountains.

IC: So this year you have moved to trails and to mountain running. You have been fortunate to get sponsorship with Arc’teryx and inov-8. You have clothing and shoes covered. Of course both are involved in Skyrunning. However you are racing at all Skyrunning events for Arc’teryx. You have been thrown in at the deep end particularly with Zegama-Aizkorri. It’s all very well being quick but that doesn’t mean a good performance in a Skyrunning race. So many different aspects are required, yes you will need strong legs, yes you will need big lungs… but Skyrunning is about technique, skills, descending and ability to adapt to terrain. Zegama was a great outing for you. You had a great performance. You were at the front on the climbs early on but the big thing for you was the descents and the technical attributes that are needed to descend. What was it like?

FR: Zegama was such a special experience for me. I was very nervous before the race because I had no idea what was coming up. I knew that the distance was a marathon but the time would be long. As I said, I ran my first marathon last year in just under 2:30; this race took Kilian nearly four hours in 2012. I had never run for that long before, not even in training. I was anxious of what would lie ahead. In the end I was 33rd but in the early stages and particularly the halfway point I was in the top ten. I felt really good but the descending was my nemesis. You are right; I had a big learning curve when going downhill. I really need to work on that. Technical sections in races will require big improvements and commitment from myself. I have a long way to go. For example, the Mont Blanc Marathon was less technical and therefore I had a far more comfortable race. It suited my abilities better, but hey, Zegama was a great start.

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IC: Coming from a middle distance road background what was your training like pre Zegama and from what you learnt at Zegama, what changes have you made between races?

FR: I come from a region in Germany that is flat. I have some mountains close by but it only has a peak of 1000m, so, my longest ascent maybe is 600-700m, no more. That makes it difficult to train for Skyrunning. But one of my favorite all time workouts are repetitions like hills, intervals and fartlek. I have beautiful woods all around me where I live. It’s great for speed work. I do repetitions of 1k with ascents of 250-300m and if I do that five or six times then it works well. I can get a 1000m of ascent. I have definitely changed my regime. I don’t go on the track much anymore, maybe once a week. Prior to 2013 I would have been on the track three or four times a week. I run long, I run up to thirty six to thirty eight kilometers now but before it was low twenties. So, yes, I have made some big changes.

IC: In terms of the terrain that you now train on, are you doing fewer roads?

FR: For sure, for the road marathon I always trained on the road. Now I hardly go on the road. I only go on trail. I go on forest paths, fire trail but I try to do single track whenever possible.

IC: Many will read this who are coming from a road background or maybe they are trail runners who have no experience of Skyrunning. They may think, I would really like to try a Skyrunning race but think it is beyond them. What advice would you give to make the transition?

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FR: Most importantly they need to find a rhythm. You must find it in training but you must also find it in racing. When preparing for a Skyrunning race of course you need to run hills, you need to work on technique, if possible you need to be in the mountains. Get as much vertical as possible but also work on descents. It is important not to be stressed. Don’t worry about time. It means nothing in these tough and technical races. Rhythm is so important, keep to a pace that you can maintain.

 

IC: Yes, you mentioned that your home has no mountains. We are currently in Chamonix surrounded by trails and wonderful peaks everywhere, however, for most of us; mountains like this are just possible in training. If your home does not have these options, as you say, it is important to be creative. You mentioned a climb and doing repeats. It is such an important element, you can go up for a few hundred meters ascent, come down and repeat.

 

FR: Yes, it is all about working with what you have. Be creative as possible. Running offers so many possibilities. We mentioned fartlek; it is a great training method. You don’t need to be high if you have a hilly or undulating course that you can do repeats on. Of course you have to take into account speed, I need to train at a higher speed at home than say here in Chamonix. This morning I climbed six or 700 meters but I was going pretty slowly because of the gradient. At home I can go so much quicker. It has worked out okay for me.

 

IC: Distance means nothing in the mountains, you can be on a trail for two hours but you may only cover five or six miles. The transition you have made post Zegama has been impressive. Admittedly I think the Mont Blanc course suited you much more than Zegama. However, it still had some serious climbs and descents and in the latter half it just went up, up and up with a summit finish. Mont Blanc Marathon was a proper Skyrunning race, you placed in the top ten and that is significant. Not only do you have ability but also you have learnt so much in a short space of time. What goes through your mind when you stand on a start line with Kilian Jornet, Marco De Gasperi and Luis Alberto Hernando? 

FR: Actually I was in the second row just behind Kilian and Marco on the start line. I admire these guys so much, fantastic runners but more importantly fantastic people. Friendly, generous and a pleasure to know, the opportunity I have been given is incredible, I must thank Arc’teryx. Without them I would not be racing. They took a risk, they had a fast roadrunner that had some reasonable times and they accepted my proposal to race on the Skyrunning calendar. Although I suffered in both races, I don’t think I have ever been so exhausted before but I enjoyed every step.

IC: You also had two teammates in the top ten at Mont Blanc, Nicola Golinelli who placed fourth and Didier Zago who placed sixth. You placed ninth which is an excellent result for Arc’teryx… three men in the top ten!

FR: Yes, correct. I only met Nicola and Didier here in Chamonix for the first time. They are great guys; they have already passed on so much knowledge to me. It was Nicola that instilled the ‘rhythm’ thought process in me. He told me not to be stressed and to run my own race. We have a great team and it’s great to be part of it. Of course I must mention inov-8 too as they provide my shoes. The inov-8 team had great results also at Mont Blanc Marathon.

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IC: The Mont Blanc weekend has been incredible; so many races too choose from. An 80km and a 10km but importantly you ran the VK (Vertical Kilometer). The VK is such an incredible event, 1000m vertical gain in 3.8km. VK’s are simple; you go up as quickly as you can. According to Skyrunning rules the gradient will always be around 30-35%. VK’s are a great way to start in mountain running. Anyone in theory can take part providing you show some basic experience. VK’s are about walking and running. It requires a technique, I am sure if I did a VK everyday I would get fit very quickly. You did your first VK here in Chamonix, once again thrown in at the deep end, what was it like?

FR: First of all the VK is a great addition to the Skyrunning format. I ran about 38 minutes, if I compare that to my 10k PR which is 30:50 then I ran 8min longer for less than half the distance… so you can appreciate the severity. However, if you look at that objectively, many people can run a 10k so I think a VK is a great starting point if you want to make the transition from road to mountain. I was actually surprised after the VK that I didn’t feel as tired or as battered as if I had run a road10k. Going up creates less impact, it’s tough on the lungs and heart but the muscles don’t get too beaten up. That would not happen if I had run road race.

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IC: Yes, great point. Relatively no impact in a VK, you start at the bottom and go up. Even when running you are going slow, it’s controlled, the moment you get that control wrong you blow up and you are forced to walk. If you are not adapted though it does work the achilles, hamstrings and lower back so that can cause some knock on effects. Funny you equated it to a 10k, to put it in perspective it took you 8 mins longer to run 6k less than your 10k PB. Doesn’t take much working out does it, tough race! What is next for you, I know you are concentrating on the ‘Sky’ distance, which is usually around a marathon; do you have any plans to move to the ultra distance?

FR: Yes, ultra distance will tempt me; Transvulcania seriously tempts me, I love the look of that race and the incredible field that it attracts. It seems like such an incredible race, I have to say that for at least the next twelve months I am going to stick with the Sky distance, it works to my abilities and it will suit my speed. But a natural progression will take place, I am sure ultra will make its way on my calendar.

IC: It has been great to catch up with you Florian. I am looking forward to following your progress over the rest of 2013, I wish you the very best of luck.

FR: Many thanks Ian and many thanks to the sponsors and Skyrunning.

Links:

Florian on Facebook – HERE

Skyrunning – HERE

Arc’teryx – HERE

inov-8 – HERE

Mont Blanc Marathon and inov-8

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Team inov-8 placed five athletes in the top-10 men and women at the 2013 Mont Blanc Marathon – a brutal Alpine route which included 2,511m of gruelling ascent and 1,490m of daredevil descent. Watch their story of exhaustion, elation and commitment.

Video by Dave MacFarlane (website)

on YouTube HERE

Read the Mont Blanc Marathon race report HERE

Read all about the inov-8 athlete retreat and apparel testing HERE

Images from Mont Blanc Marathon HERE

inov-8 launch new apparel range

The British-born brand is renowned for its production of stripped back, high-gripping footwear for committed athletes wanting to run fast on all terrains. Now, as it celebrates its tenth anniversary, the company is set to explode onto the off-road apparel market with an ultra-lightweight, athletic-fitting range.

International mountain runners have tested all the new jackets, base layers, tees, tights and shorts on the UK and Europe’s most challenging trails, summits and ridges.

Team inov-8 members, a selected group of committed athletes operating at the top of their sport, are currently wearing the new clothing range at an inov-8 off road running retreat in the Alps.

Last weekend, as part of the Chamonix-based retreat, athletes competed in both the Mont Blanc Vertical Km and Mont Blanc Marathon races.

Alex Nichols, who finished seventh in a world-class marathon field, said: “The range is ultra-comfortable and lightweight.

“You can tell it has been designed with the hardcore runner in mind and features things other companies often forget – like elasticated hems and the small stuff sacks which many of the items can be packed into.

“It feels fast to run in and because it is athletic-fitting it never gets in the way of natural movement.

“It is also a really deep range so, as a runner, you are equipped with everything you need to deal with all weather conditions out on the trails and mountains.”

inov-8’s global team of athletes will continue to wear the range when competing at the head of ultra distance and sky running races across the world in 2013.

Australian inov-8 duo Shona Stephenson and Brendan Davies wore garments from the new range when finishing second woman and fifth male respectively in the 100-mile Ultra Trail Mt Fuji race in Japan.

Brendan said: “I love the new apparel range and have been wearing it at all altitudes, in all conditions and over all distances. It has stood up to all challenges.

“In keeping with the inov-8 ethos it is minimalist and lightweight, thus very fast to run in.

“The shorts are super-comfortable, while the Stormshell and Windshell jackets have tamed the weather conditions I’ve worn them in.”

Wayne Edy, inov-8 founder, added: “We are really excited about our first apparel range, which we have designed for athletes wanting to push boundaries, gain an edge and win races.

“Every fabric, seam and zip has been minutely scrutinized to ensure we deliver outstanding apparel that will allow runners to play at the extremes – and do so faster.”

Included in the range is the Race Elite Thermoshell.

The unique shell features Revershell technology, providing two insulation options. On one side there is a stitch-through design to offer body mapped breathability in key areas. On the reverse side, the stitch-through is removed, offering 10% more warmth.

Weighing in at just 260g for men and 220g for women, the Race Elite Thermoshell boasts air permeable Primaloft Sport technology on one side and a highly windproof Pertex Quantum outer fabric on the warmer reverse.

England international mountain runner and Transalpine-run stage winner Ben Abdelnoor has been part of the testing team for inov-8’s new apparel.

He said: “The clothing is super light and athletic fitting but still gives great freedom of movement.

“I’ve worked it to the extreme on gruelling mountain runs and it has stood up to all challenges.”

The lightest Race Elite Windshells in the range weigh just 70g for men and 60g for women, while there’s also a super-breathable, fully waterproof Race Elite Stormshell jacket at 150g for men and 140g for women.

Action images copyright iancorless.com
Apparel images copyright inov-8

All the Race Elite shorts, made using a four-way stretch material for ultimate comfort, boast a durable water repellent finish. Meanwhile, the base layers and short-sleeved race tops are Polygiene treated to stop odor-causing bacteria from settling into the material.

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