The Rut 2014 – Race Preview

screenshot_24

It only seems like weeks ago that I was writing a preview for the Skyrunner® World Series first ultra on La Palma: Transvulcania. Here I am, four races done and dusted and the final event looms. It has been quite a year and one that has seen some highs and lows for the runners. Going into the last event, it’s all to fight for both in the ladies and men’s races.

The Rut 50k organised by the Mike’s – Foote and Wolfe will no doubt be a great season closer. These guys have fully understood the needs of Skyrunning event and as such have provided an event that will test each and every runner.

the-mikes-730

The top-5 men and top-4 ladies currently ranked in the Skyrunner® World Series will go head-to-head in Montana and we look set for an exciting battle. In addition, a plethora of top world talent will also toe the line amongst 500-entrants.

The current rankings have rising star, Manuel Merillas at the head followed by Tom Owens, Kilian Jornet, Sage Canaday and then Fulvio Dapit. For the ladies, Alessandra Carlini tops the table after completing 3-races in the series.

So who is going to win?

Well, I suppose we need to think about 2-scenarios, winning the race and winning the series. For the men, the series will arguably come down to a battle between Jornet and Canaday (I will go for Jornet) and for the ladies, Frost, Enman and Forsberg are the contenders (I will go with Forsberg). Alessandra Carlini of course could potentially win the race… but this is unlikely when one considers the depth.

 

MEN

©iancorless.comIMG_2670Canazei2014_kilianKilian Jornet, do I need to say anymore? He’s won everything other than 2nd at Transvulcania. KJ has set FKT’s, set course records, obliterated Hardrock 100, smashed Trofeo Kima and now The Rut is waiting! Win and Skyrunner® World Series champ.

Sage Canaday ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday wants to beat Kilian badly, really bad. I don’t mean that in a nasty way, but Sage would love to beat the master of the mountains. Form looks good but I think Sage will fall into the Ellie Greenwood category and may just lack the extra technical skills needed to beat Kilian. Considering the competition, Sage is not guaranteed 2nd (or 1st) for that matter.

©iancorless.com-0271Kima2014_ Manuel Merillas is just getting better and better. He has been making us take a 2nd look on repeated occasions and his recent 2nd at Kima and closing within 1-minute of Kilian shows the talent is just waiting to be exploited. He will be in the mix for sure.

©iancorless.com-9156Kima2014_

Tom Owens nearly pulled out of Ice Trail Tarentaise because he thought he was around 15th – 20th. That is until I told him that all the other runners were not in his race… he finished 3rd. Phew! Prior to this, Tom ran a great Transvulcania and just a couple of weeks ago once again ran a great Kima. The Rut will suit Tom and he may just push Sage… podium material!

Adam Campbell is back. After his stunning Hardrock I can’t help but think Adam will mix it up in Montana. I see Tom, Sage and Adam having quite the battle for the podium. Of course, this assumes that Kilian is somewhere down the trail running for victory. If not, this race may well be wide open. Adam is fast, not as fast as Sage but arguably he is better on the technical stuff.

Alex Nichols had a great run at Speedgoat but the rest of his Skyrunning exploits have been below par, especially when one compares to 2013. On paper, The Rut should suit Alex; his combination of speed, endurance and climbing ability is a perfect mix for this course.

Ricky Gates is forever consistent and on his day can compete with the best. I’m not really sure of his current form? He forever seems to be on a road trip taking things relaxed, so, he may well be a surprise package.

©iancorless.com-0362Kima2014_

Fulvio Dapit is a true mountain runner who is always in the mix. He may not be a podium contender in this field but 4th or 5th are just waiting for him. Just 2-weeks ago Fulvio had a strong run at Kima. His form is good.

Paul Hamilton was 2nd at Speedgoat and I know little else? He was a surprise then and he may well be a surprise at The Rut?

Philipp Reiter is racing but is on his way back from injury. It almost certainly means he won’t have that extra 5-10% needed to be fighting up at the front but somewhere 5th – 10th is a distinct possibility.

Jason Delaney has speed. Will probably stick with Sage and will use his speed to take advantage of the fast sections.

Ones to watch:

Luke Nelson

Oscar Casal Mir

Marc Casal Mir

Galen Burrell

Greg Vollet

Catlow Shipeck

 

LADIES

©iancorless.com-9494Kima2014_

Emelie Forsberg has had a tough 2014. Falling at Transvulcania ruined that race. An injured hand from the fall impacted on Zegama and then things clicked with victories at Ice Trail Tarentaise and the 80km in Chamonix. Matterhorn Ultraks didn’t quite go to plan and although Emelie placed 2nd at Trofeo Kima, the race was an emotional rollercoaster after going off course for 1-hour. The emotion showed! For that reason, I see Emelie producing a dominant performance here in Montana. I think she will push hard, unleash the frustrations of Kima and have a dominant win and take the Skyrunner® World Series title.

©iancorless.com-0553Kima2014_

Kasie Enman has impressed all year. 2014 has been the comeback year after a 2nd child and what a comeback… Kasie has consistently been top-5 and just 2-weeks ago won Kima ahead of Emelie. Have to say, up to marathon distance is where Kasie excels so I see a potential 3rd or 4th here!

©iancorless.com.IMG_9312Transvulcania14

Anna Frost smashed Transvulcania and looked awesome. Placing 2nd to Emelie at Chamonix 80k was another top result and I am pleased to say, Frosty has been relatively quiet since. This is great news… after so much injury; this lady finally is picking the races to perform at and not wiping herself out by racing too much. Her solid victory at Speedgoat 50k on paper suggests that The Rut will be a Frosty/ Forsberg showdown. Take your pick!

Ellie Greenwood has speed and talent in buckets but may well lack that extra 10% in technical and climbing ability. Especially in comparison to the ladies listed above. So, I see Ellie in the mix and battling with Kasie for 3rd.

Kaitlin McDonald was 2nd at The Rut last year and therefore gets a nod for a possible top-5. By that I mean 5th! I see the top-4 places going to the ladies above.

Alessandra Carlini has had a great year and run consistently. For someone who lives on the coast with no mountains to train on, she has done amazingly well. In the field though, 5th would be a great result and it would round out a quality 2014 season.

Hilary Allen is not a lady I know but her result at Speedgoat 50k (4th) must make her a one-to-watch here. Like Kaitlin, she may well take 5th, it would take something special to dislodge Forsberg, Frost, Enman or Greenwood from the first 4-places.

Helen Cospolitch has always been a consistent performer but has had a quiet time recently after injury issues. This may well be just an easing back into racing… nice to give her a nod though.

Emily Linton 4th at The Rut last year may well place 6-10th.

Links:

Skyrunning HERE

Rut 50K HERE

******

If you like what we do at iancorless.com please consider a donation to help us keep this work going HERE

donate-button

Speedgoat 50k 2014 Race Preview

default-post-img

The Skyrunner® World Series continues at a pace just 2-weeks after the Skyrunning World Championships where Skyrunners® participated in all three classic disciplines of VK, SKY and ULTRA. Now, attention moves to Italy and the stunning town of Canazei and the amazing Dolomites for a VK and SKY race and to the USA for the ULTRA Speedgoat 50k.

Speedgoat, as the name would suggest was created by Mr Ultra himself, ‘Speedgoat Karl Meltzer. Over the years the event has increased in profile at a pace and this year, once again, sees a quality line up both in the male and female fields.

Located at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah the 50k weave a route around the mountains offering a tough and sometimes technical day out at altitude.

This is the 3rd edition of the race in the Skyrunner® World Series and it is now also included US Skyrunner® National Series.

Men

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday is returning after setting a course record last year with a time of 5:08. On paper, he has to be the favourite again this year. The combination of runnable terrain and 50k distance suits Sage’s strengths. He will likely go out hard and hold on… he did that last year and it worked, just!

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka was hot on Sage’s heels last year and with a couple of wins under his belt in 2014, the most recent at Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Italy, one has to think that Anton may provide a real battle this year (as last year). In reality, 50k is just way too short for Anton. In a recent interview, he told me he only starts to feel good and relaxed after 3-hours. So, expect him to be hovering somewhere in the top-10 early on and then move up.

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols may be a surprise on the Speedgoat course and after missing a couple of races with injury; he may well be chomping at the bit for a good run here. In Zegama, thinks didn’t go too well leaving a question mark, however, on this course, with less travel and some decent prep I can’t help but think we will see Alex mix it up. Earlier this year he won Red Hot 55km and set a CR at Greenland 50k. One to watch!

Ricky Gates has just done a stint of pacing for Kilian Jornet at Hardrock 100 and if nothing else, that must make him feel fired up for a great run at Speedgoat. Ricky ran a great race in 2012 when ‘Kilian Gate’ kicked off and the whole switchback debacle. What is important is the time Ricky ran, 5:18. That places him as definite contender for top-5 this year.

©iancorless.com©iancorless.com-1260

Mike Wolfe looked awesome in Chamonix for the Skyrunning World Championship 80k event. Trading blows with eventual 2nd place runner, Francois D’Haene, it looked like ‘Wolfepaw’ was going to make the podium. However, in the latter stages the wheels came off and he placed 8th which for many would be a great result. However, the disappointment was clear leaving Mike with question marks. The questions soon disappeared at the sight of his newborn baby though… it’s all about perspective. Mike is a class act and he will be in the mix.

Luke Nelson placed 6th last year but he was well over 30-minutes back from Sage Canaday. Considering Luke’s record and his ability over longer races (recently won Bighorn 100) he has the technical skill set to run well at Speedgoat but may well lack the speed to keep up with the front of the race, so, top-5 would be a great result.

We can also expect to see Jorge Maravilla mixing it up and potentially Hal Koerner but it may be a little too short for Hal

Ladies

©iancorless.com.IMG_9289Transvulcania14

Anna Frost won with Speedgoat with 6:26 in 2012 and as we all know had a prolonged period of injury and illness afterwards. Her return to form at Transvulcania La Palma and not only winning the race, but also setting a new CR was nothing less than miraculous. Frosty seems to have the ‘love’ for running back and as we all know, when you have that, the miles fly along. A recent 2nd to Emelie Forsberg at the Skyrunning World Championships shows the form is still primed and ready to be unleashed on the Speedgoat course. Like Ricky, Frosty must also feel inspired after pacing Kilian to that Hardrock record. But Frosty won’t have an easy ride…

Ellie Greenwood was missing for much of 2013 with injury but she is back and running strong. Ellie has the outright speed to win Speedgoat but may well lack some of the technical attributes of Frosty, so, that makes for an interesting battle. Ellie’s recent win at Comrades was incredible and I think we will see something special on this course.

©iancorless.com_IMG_8267Zegama14

Kasie Enman was flying at Zegama-Aizkorri and that was after a red-eye flight, no sleep and jet lagged. Powering up the climbs in the lead, we thought a surprise win was on the cards. It wasn’t to be, the fatigue hit in the latter stages and she placed 5th. Kasie is on the comeback trail after having a baby and I can’t help but think she will get stronger and stronger. Kasie’s performances at the Skyrunning World Championships were creditable but not reflective of her ability. Kasie’s 4th in the SKY race shows the improvements are coming and the podium at Speedgoat may be in her grasp.

Tina Lewis may well be a dark horse! Tina has been away from racing for sometime and although entered in several races in 2014, she was a no show. However, her daily exploits on Facebook are inspiring and if she can bring it all together on race day, I think we will see a potential top-5?

Other ladies to watch who will mix it up with the front:

Kerrie Bruxvoort, Ashley Arnold, Bethany Lewis, Joelle Vaught and of course so many more…

Skrunning HERE

Speedgoat 50k website HERE