2017 #VK Vertical Kilometer Youth World Championships – ISF, International Skyrunning Federation

The KV Arinsal kicked of the 2017 ISF Youth Skyrunning World Championships in the Principality of Andorra following on from the success of the inaugural event held in Italy in 2016.

Sixteen countries (double the 2016 number) from four continents participated. Competing in three age group categories:

  • A (16-17 years)
  • B (18-20 years)
  • and U23 (21-23 years)

18 medals were at stake – Gold, Silver and Bronze.

The KV Arinsal is a 3.5 km long Vertical Kilometer® which started in the town of Arinsal and finished at Alt de la Capa summit, 2,570m altitude.

RESULTS

16-17 age group category A

Nicolas Molina (ESP), Arnau Cases (ESP), Diego Gomes (POR), Jana Aguilar (ESP), Erin Margill (USA), Andreu Sinfreu (AND).

18-19 year-old B category

Jan Margarit (ESP), Roberto Delorenzi (SUI), Luca Lizzoli (ITA), Giorgia Felicetti (ITA), Sora Takizawa (JPN), Irati Zubizarreta (ESP).

U23 category

Alex Oberbacher (ITA), Antonio Alcalde (ESP), Daniele Felicetti (ITA), Fatima De Diego (ESP), Claudia Sabata (ESP), Barbora Chica (CZE).

Countries competing in the 2017 Youth Skyrunning Championships are: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.

The Youth Skyrunning World Championships are held annually in different countries with a view to developing and promoting the sport and to highlight young skyrunners, giving them an opportunity to shine on the international stage.

With thanks to the La Massana Ministry of Tourism, Federaciò Andorrana de Muntanysme (FAM) and SkyRace® Comapedrosa organisers Ocisport.

 

IMAGES from the Skyrunning World Championships 2016

VERTICAL KILOMETER

For the short and steep specialists, the BUFF® EPIC TRAIL VK is 2.8 km long with 1,030m positive climb. The average incline is 30.7% and reaches a mean 50.4% at the steepest point. It is capped at 250.

SKY

The rugged BUFF® EPIC TRAIL 42KM is a point-to-point race with 3,200m positive vertical climb. Again, a highly challenging extremely technical race with a nine-hour time limit capped at 500 runners.

ULTRA

The BUFF® EPIC TRAIL 105KM, with a grueling 8,000m elevation gain and a maximum gradient of 56%, is as tough as they come. Strict qualification standards were enforced for participants, which were capped at 250.

LOGO_SKYRUNNING_WORLD_CHAMPS-768x778

Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji #UTMF 2015 Preview

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UTMF will be a VERY different race this year. First and foremost, the race date has moved from early in the year to late in the year; this is significant! Another important factor is the course. For 2015 (the 10th edition) the race will be run counter-clockwise and as such all the climbing and difficulty will come in the early stages and therefore leave the more runnable sections for later in the race; again significant!

With around 8500m of climbing and a distance over 100-miles (105) this race is a real challenge.

However, for me this years UTMF may very well be all about the UTMB.

Yes, UTMB was only 4-weeks ago and we all know the devastation that took place in and around Chamonix. It was carnage!

Much has been discussed about the DNF’s and failures at UTMB and unfortunately I think it’s a sign of the times. The racing calendar is full and race series like the UTWT encourage runners to race regularly 100km+ and 100-miles often; is too much? Francois D’Haene and Nuria Picas dominated the calendar in 2014 and where have they been in 2015?

Exhausted?

Just look at the start list here at UTMF. Many of the key players are runners who had tough, below par or DNF’s at UTMB.

Fernanda Maciel dropped with 2/3rds of the race done with severe foot pain.

Amy Sproston dnf

Gediminas Grinius dropped with over 90-miles completed.

Sondre Amdahl dropped with just over a marathon covered.

Jeff Browning dropped with a twisted ankle.

Of course, this is not all the favourites at UTMF but a pattern may be forming? All of the above have raced at one or more of the following: Lavaredo, HK100, Transgrancanaria, Western States, UTMB and now they line up at UTMF and I wonder how many post UTMF will travel to Reunion Island to take on the Diagonal des Fous (Raid de la Reunion). For many of the runners that will be 3 big 100-milers or a combination of 100-miles and 100km+ in relatively quick succession. The body may take it in 1-year but can it take year-after-year?

I merely raise the question?

So who is going to win?

©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria15-6112

THAT is a million-dollar question. Keeping in mind what I have said above, we can still expect Grinius, Amdahl and Browning to figure at the front of the race providing they have no issues. Sondre Amdahl (interview on Talk Ultra) should be the freshest of the 3 as he dropped early at UTMB and therefore it was probably just like a typical training run for him. However, what caused the ‘failure’ of his hamstring at a race that he obviously prepared meticulously for?

Jeff Browning (interview on Talk Ultra) loves the long and hard races. He dropped at UTMB but I am pretty sure he will be recovered here. He lacks some of the speed of the competition so although I think he will be in or around the top 5-10 I don’t think the podium could be his.

©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria15-6747Gediminas Grinius (interview on Talk Ultra) has continually impressed. He loves the long hard races and he closes like a demon. I do worry that he is just tired though? I may be wrong. He has the race and skill set for UTMF, pretty sure he would have prepared the course the other way around but Transgrancanaria finishes with a very runnable last 20km and look what he did there!

Okay, so that is the UTMB contingent done and dusted and arguably I am now talking about who may win the race?

©iancorless.com_SkyRun14-5202#ETRkathmandu

Gary Robbins has had a steady year with a great FKT (interview on Talk Ultra) and becoming a new Dad just a few weeks ago. He just missed the podium in 2013 and I think a podium slot may well be his this year.
©copyright .iancorless.com._1050402

Brendan Davies is a runner who I should add to the exhausted list above! He just ran the Worlds 100k and this year he did TNF100, Western States and Transgrancanaria where he had a really tough day out. He has potential to be on the podium BUT…. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria15-6833

That leaves Didrik Hermansen for the top slot and if all things go well I think he can do it. He has the running legs for the latter half of the race and as he showed at Transgrancanaria and more importantly Lavaredo (where he won) he knows how to get the job done!

As one would expect the start list is extensive at UTMF and I have picked out some key names. For sure I will have missed some other key players, in particular the local talent who I am less familiar with.

Anyone we should look out for who can take a podium place?

Uxue Fraile made the podium at UTMB and considering my thoughts at the beginning of this article, can she be recovered? Actually, I think yes? I saw Uxue at the weekend spectating at Ultra Pirineu and she looked fresh, enthusiastic and excited for the race ahead. Her talent lies in the waiting game and more often than not she picks up the pieces as others fall by the wayside. I think we will see a similar strategy here at UTMF. Don’t be surprised with a podium place! ©copyright.iancorless.com.P1060567

Fernanda Maciel was also spectating in Catalonia at the weekend! Her UTMB experience was far more dramatic and maybe traumatic that Uxue’s. Without a doubt, Fernanda has the race for UTMF as she proved last year with 2nd. Can she put the record straight so soon after UTMB?

Amy Sproston dropped at UTMB with approx. 100km in her legs. She can recover from that I think. Significantly (like Gary Robbins) she is a HURT 100 winner and that will be useful here at UTMF. It’s going to be a long day out!

Victory may well come from Aliza Lapierre. Her 8th at Transgrancanaria was off the lead ladies pace but significantly she placed 4th at Western States and has raced little since. At this point in the year with a whole bunch of tired legs around her, Aliza may well be the best option to fade the least.

Dong Li placed 3rd at Transgrancanaria with a breakthrough performance, she was 2nd at HK100 and won TNF 100. Add to that a 4th place at Mont-Blanc 80km and like Aliza she may well have fresh legs for the UTMF. She is going to need them though… as far as I know, this is the first time she will race 100-miles. This is a tough debut for the distance!

©copyright .iancorless.com._1050256

Shona Stephenson has raced well here in the past and with fresh legs she may well be a contender for the podium if not for the win if everything goes well.

Nora Senn may well turn a few heads and then like the men’s race a whole wealth of local talent will infiltrate the top 10.

Who are your picks?

 

Race website HERE

Episode 60 – Foote, Scotney, Meek, Britton, Spiers

Ep60

Episode 60 of Talk Ultra – This weeks show has an interview with one of the best ‘closers’ in the ultra scene, Mike Foote. We have a series of interviews from the Iznik Ultra series of races, Marcus Scotney from the 130k, Jo Meek from the 80k and Robbie Britton from the marathon. We speak to British Bulldog, Steve Spiers. Marc Laithwaite is back for Talk Training. News, a Blog, Up and Coming Races and of course, Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.

NEWS
 
UTMF
 
  1. Francois D’Haene 19:09:13
  2. Ryan Sandes 20:18:59
  3. Mike Foote 20:54:16
 
  1. Nuria Picas 23:27:34
  2. Fernanda Maciel 23:46:24
  3. Maria Semarjian 27:16:13
 
ONER
  1. Rob Sartin 18:19:29
  2. Tom Sutton 18:40:08
  3. Max Woods 20:13:19
  1. Nicky Taylor 18:40:10
  2. Erica Terblanche 20:36:34
  3. Melanie Hawker 21:56:54
 
Iznik Races
 
  1. 130k
  • Marcus Scotney (Montane) 12:53:59 new CR
  • Mahmut Yavuz 13:11:55
  • Zhikica Ivanovski 13:53:41
  • Bakiye Duran 19:09:39
  • Svetiana Stojanoska 22:27:08
AUDIO with Marcus Scotney
80K
  • Jo Meek (Scott Running) 6:52:17 new CR first lady and first overall
  • Aykut Celikbas 7:41:34
  • Firat Kara 7:46:07 (tbc)
  • Jo Meek (Scott Running)
  • Yasemin Goktas 9:45:34
  • Ayse Beril Basliqil 9:54:45
AUDIO with Jo Meek
Marathon
  • Robbie Britton (inov-8) 3:08:19 new CR
  • Benoit Laval (Raidlight) 3:30:38
  • Duygun Yurteri 3:31:56
  • Elena Polyakova 3:47:26
  • Aysen Solak 3:51:01
  • Helen Southcott 4:14:07
AUDIO with Robbie Britton
 
Highland Fling Race 
  1. Sondre Amdahl (Norway) 07:29:15
  2. Justin Maxwell 07:46:35
  3. Neil Macnicol 07:49:08
  1. Jo Zakrzewski 08:30:29
  2. Sally Fawcett 08:38:41
  3. Elaine Omand )8:49:33
 
SDW50 – correction to results
  1. Louise Waterman Evans 7:06:08
  2. Edwina Sutton 7:09:21
  3. Sarah Perkins 7:19:43
**correction – Gemma Carter re SDW50
Oh Ian, that is really very kind of you I know it will mean a lot to Eddy and of course, it means a lot to me (I’m not in the big league YET, so every little result counts! ) thank you… See below: 1st.Edwina Sutton- 7:09:21 2nd. Sarah Perkins-7:19:43 3rd. Gemma Carter-7:32:42
Transvulcania is next week… what a showdown awaits! In-depth preview HERE
BLOG – A Glorious Boston http://www.atrailrunnersblog.com
INTERVIEW
Mike Foote has a great reputation for starting steady and moving his way up through the field. At UTMF he gave another prime example of how to do this….
AUDIO with Mike Foote
 
 
AUDIO with Steve Spiers… the British Bulldog
 
 
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat
 
 
TRAINING TALK with Marc Laithwaite
 
 
UP & COMING RACES
 
 

Australia

New South Wales

WildEndurance 100km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

WildEndurance 50km Team Challenge | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

WildEndurance event | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Queensland

Mt Mee Classic Trail 66 km Teams race | 66 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

The Great Wheelbarrow Race – Mareeba to Dimbulah | 104 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

South Australia

Hubert 100km | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Hubert 100 Miles | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Hubert 50km | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Victoria

Macedon Ranges 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 100km | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 60 km | 60 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

La Bouillonnante – 56 km | 56 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 100K | 100 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

The North Face Dirty Feet Kal Park 50 | 50 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Ontario

Seaton Trail 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

China

Trail de la Grande Muraille de Chine | 73 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Denmark

Hovedstaden

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm -100 Miles | 100 miles | May 02, 2014 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 miles | 50 miles | May 02, 2014 | website

Finland

Oulu

NUTS Karhunkierros Trail Ultra – 160 km | 160 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

France

Ardèche

Trail l’Ardéchois – 57 km | 57 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail l’Ardéchois | 98 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Bas-Rhin

Trail du Wurzel | 52 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Drôme

Challenge Charles & Alice | 148 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Les Aventuriers de la Drôme | 65 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Les Aventuriers du Bout de Drôme | 105 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Haute-Loire

Ultra Techni Trail de Tiranges | 50 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Oise

Trail’Oise – 60 km | 60 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Rhône

Ultra des Coursières | 103 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Savoie

Nivolet – Revard | 51 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Yonne

The Trail 110 | 110 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The Trail 63 | 65 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Lauf “Rund um Wolfach” | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Stromberg Extrem 54,4 KM | 54 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Lower Saxony

German 100 mile Trail Run | 100 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Bödefelder Hollenlauf 101 KM | 101 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Bödefelder Hollenlauf 67 KM | 67 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Saarland

RAG-Hartfüßler – Trail 58 km | 58 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Greece

Doliho Ultra-Marathon | 260 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Euchidios Athlos 107.5 Km | 107 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Euchidios Hyper-Athlos 215 Km | 215 kilometers | May 09, 2014 | website

Olympian Race – 180 km | 180 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Olympian Race – 62 km | 62 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Indonesia

Volcans de l’Extrême | 164 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Causeway Crossing 100K | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Causeway Crossing 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Israel

Mountain to Valley Relay | 215 kilometers | May 15, 2014 | website

Italy

Liguria

Gran Trail Rensen | 62 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Sardinia

Sardinia Trail | 90 kilometers | May 09, 2014 | website

Tuscany

Elba Trail “Eleonoraxvincere” | 56 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Japan

Oxfam Trailwalker Japan | 100 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Madagascar

Semi Trail des Ô Plateaux | 65 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail des Ô Plateaux | 130 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Martinique

Tchimbé du Volcan | 70 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Tchimbé Raid 110 km | 110 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Mauritius

Royal Raid 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Mayotte

Mahoraid | 70 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Peru

Jungle Ultra | 220 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Philippines

The North Face 100®, Philippines – 100 km | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The North Face 100®, Philippines – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Portugal

Madeira Island Ultra Trail 115 | 116 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Madeira Island Ultra Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Ultra-Trail de Sesimbra | 55 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Spain

Andalusia

La Legión 101 km | 101 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Balearic Islands

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls | 185 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls Costa Nord | 100 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Basque Country

Apuko Long Trail – 65 Km | 60 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail Apuko Extreme | 90 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Canary Islands

Transvulcania | 83 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Castile and León

101 Peregrinos | 101 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Bielersee XXL 100 Meilen | 100 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Turkey

Cekmekoy 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Argyll and Bute

Kintyre Way Ultra Run | 66 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Kintyre Way Ultra Run – Tayinloan – Campbeltown | 35 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

County of Pembrokeshire

Coastal Trail Series – Pembrokeshire – Ultra | 34 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Greater London

Thames Path 100 | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Hampshire

XNRG Pony Express Ultra | 60 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Kent

National 100K | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

National 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nottinghamshire

Dukeries Ultra 40 | 40 miles | May 11, 2014 | website

Oxfordshire

T60 Nigh Race | 60 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Wiltshire

Marlborough Downs Challenge – 33 mile | 33 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Worcestershire

Malvern Hills 53 Mile Ultra | 53 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Malvern Hills 83 Mile Ultra | 83 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

USA

Alabama

Run for Kids Challenge 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Arizona

Sinister Night 54K Trail Run | 54 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

California

Armstrong Redwoods 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Badwater Salton Sea | 81 miles | May 05, 2014 | website

Canyons 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Cinderella Trail Run 50 km (May) | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Diablo 50K | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Golden Gate Relay | 191 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Me-Ow Quads | 104 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Me-Ow Siamese | 42 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Miwok 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 100K | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 100 Mile | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 50 Mile | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

PCT50 Trail Run | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Quicksilver 100K Endurance Run | 100 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Quicksilver 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Whoos in El Moro 50k | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Wild Wild West 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Colorado

Cimarron 50k Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Collegiate Peaks 50M Trail Run | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Greenland Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Quad Rock 50 | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

The Divide 135 Ultra | 135 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Georgia

Cruel Jewel 100 | 100 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Cruel Jewel 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Indiana

DWD Gnaw Bone 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

DWD Gnaw Bone 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Iowa

Market to Market Relay | Iowa | 75 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Kansas

Heartland 50 Mile Spring Race | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Rock On! Lake Perry 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Massachusetts

Ragnar Relay Cape Cod | 186 miles | May 09, 2014 | website

Wapack and Back Trail Races 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Nevada

Labor of Love 100M | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Labor of Love 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Labor of Love 50M | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Ride the Wind 100M | 100 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Ride the Wind 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

New Jersey

3 Days at the Fair – 50K | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2014 | website

New York

Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Rock The Ridge 50-Mile Endurance Challenge | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain 50k | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain 50 Mile | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

North Carolina

OBX Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Ohio

50’s For Yo Momma 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

50’s For Yo Momma 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Oregon

McDonald Forest 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Smith Rock Ascent 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

South Carolina

Oconee 50k | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Wambaw Swamp Stomp 50 Miler Trail Run and Relay | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Xterra Myrtle Beach 50 km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Tennessee

Rock/Creek Thunder Rock 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Strolling Jim 40 Mile Run | 40 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Texas

Hog’s Hunt 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Vermont

PEAK Ultra Marathon – 500 Miles | 500 miles | May 13, 2014 | website

Virginia

Singletrack Maniac 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Washington

50K Ultradash | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

50 Mile Ultradash | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Grand Ridge 50K Trail Run (May) | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Lost Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

West Virginia

Capon Valley 50K Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Wisconsin

Ice Age Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Ice Age Trail 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

 

LINKS

Ultra Trail Mount Fuji 2014 Preview #UTMF2014

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 The UTWT rolls on and Japan will host what will arguably be one of the most competitive 100-mile races we will see this year… certainly over a tough course (Hardrock excluded). I say a 100-miles but actually the course is 105 with approximately 10,000 meters of altitude gain. The fifth race in the UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour) in reality, UTMF is a follow on race from Transgrancanaria as many of the big hitters will re-assemble in Japan, to do battle once again for key ranking points. Nuria Picas was always going to race on the clockwise loop around Mount Fuji, by contrast, Ryan Sandes after his success in the Canaries has shifted focus from Australia and placed his emphasis and efforts on this tough and challenging race.

utmf_map

Without doubt, at the stroke of 3pm (local time) on Friday 25th April a battle royal will unfold both in the ladies and men’s respective races. Dropout rates are usually around 30% to give an indication of how tough this race is.

utmf_elevation

Race statement:

The ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI is an unparalleled event that challenges the human spirit through the outdoor sport of trail running. By connecting mountain trails, local footpaths and forest roads around the foothills of Mt. Fuji, this 168km course allows participants to enjoy majestic 360 degree views of Mt. Fuji while experiencing the stunning natural beauty and culture of this region.’

LADIES

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas; would you want to bet against her? Nuria has transformed herself in the last 24-months into one of the most competitive and focused female mountain, trail and ultra runners in the world. Her skill, dedication and focused attitude has seen the Catalan excel over every distance and terrain. Her only nemesis has been her good friend, Emelie Forsberg. In 2013, Nuria raced TNFUTMB, her first 100-mile race and placed 2nd behind an unstoppable Rory Bosio. Earlier this year at Transgrancanaria we once again had a master class in how to prepare for, run and win a race! Without doubt, Nuria is a hot favourite for UTMF.

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa excels at tough, long and hilly races when the terrain is not too technical. To be honest; the longer, the better. A 100-km race is very much a warm up for Francesca as her impressive victories at Ronda dels Cims and Tor des Geants confirm in 2013. However, Francesca is no one trick pony. She has placed highly at shorter and faster races such as Speedgoat 50k and UROC. UTMF will without doubt suit Francesca’s running style and after her win at HK100 and second at Transgrancanaria earlier this year, Francesca will without doubt be looking for a consistently strong repeat performance and important UTWT points.

Nathalie Mauclair Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair burst onto the scene in 2013 with a stunning top placing at Transvulcania La Palma. A relative unknown, Nathalie went on to impress her female competitors (especially Emelie Forsberg) and not only did she become IAU World Trail Champion that required pace, she also was crowned Raid de le Reunion (Diagonale des Fous) champion. Her diversity of pace, endurance and technical ability earmarks Nathalie as ‘one-to-watch’ at UTMF.

Shona Stepenson, Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Shona Stepenson, Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Shona Stephenson placed 2nd at UTMF last year but had a very mixed 2013. Shona dropped from TNFUTMB and Ice Trail Tarentaise and just recently placed 6th at Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon (also a UTWT race) where I expected her to place top-3, so, the jury is out. She will be in the game early on pushing at the front, let’s hope she can hold on and keep the momentum going.

Fernanda Maciel Everest Trail Race ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel Everest Trail Race ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel after a 3rd place at Transgrancanaria is looking for more UTWT points to boost her overall rankings. Her Everest Trail Race win in late November 2013 would appear to have boosted Fernanda’s running after a troubled 2013 season. Certainly Fernanda’s 7th at TNFUTMB and Transgrancanaria win in 2012 shows that she has all the required armory to compete with the best-of-the-best; she will just need a little luck!

Nerea Martinez Ronda dels Cims ©ianccorless.com

Nerea Martinez Ronda dels Cims ©ianccorless.com

Nerea Martinez like Francesca Canepa like races that are long and tough. Winner of the inaugural UTMF, Nerea won’t repeat that performance in 2014. She has all the required abilities but lacks the pace required that Picas, Mauclair and Canepa have in abundance. However, if it comes down to survival and pushing on through to the line, Nerea will be around and ready to mop up the places. Her 2nd place at the 2012 Tor des Geants proves that she cannot be ruled out in any race.

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger had a solid start to 2013 placing 2nd behind Jo Meek at the tough multi day race, The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. However, she was DNS at Transgrancanaria due a potential niggling injury. Recently she has been working on and providing instruction on several training camps. If in form, UTMF will suit Julia’s skill set and we can expect a top-10 performance and if she has ‘one of those days’ we may well see her top-5.

Nora Senn placed 3rd at UTMF in 2012 behind Nerea Martinez. Taking into consideration that result and the ladies previously mentioned, Nora can hope for top-10.

Hitomi Ogawa along with Kumiko Amikura and Akemi Ban may well have the hopes of Japan in their legs, placing 3rd, 4th and 6th respectively in 2013; they all have the knowledge and understanding of what UTMF requires from a race and survival aspect. Top-10 is possible for all-3 and top-5 with this quality of field would be an incredible result.

MEN

Yoshikazu Hara gets the nod first as last years UTMF champ. One could arguably say it was a lucky day… but hold on a minute, you don’t beat Julien Chorier and Seb Chaigneau on luck alone! Had Hara excelled at the 2013 TNFUTMB I would be hailing him as a potential 2014 champ as he does seem able to use some seriously fast 100km speed (6:33) on long courses. However, Hara dropped from Tarawera with injury and this leaves some huge question marks in this quality of field.

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes is on a roll… having spent a great deal of time with him on Gran Canaria and getting a great understanding of the man, his training and his thought processes, I’d find it difficult to bet against Ryan at UTMF. As we are all aware, his 2013 season was one to forget but his 2012 season had moments of brilliance and his 2014 victory at Transgrancanaria and then subsequent FKT on the Drakensberg Traverse with Rhyno Griesel will either mean ‘Sandman’ will be in the form of his life or a little jaded. What do you think?

Seb Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Seb Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Seb Chaigneau placed 3rd at UTMF in 2013 so knows the course. A tough competitor with a unique and endearing view of our sport, he is a true champion. His win at Hardrock 100 and CR in 2013 was a popular result and without doubt he would be a popular champion in Japan. His recent drop from Transgrancanaria leaves a couple of question marks but I don’t have the answers… you see, dropping from a race whilst in the lead leaves the door wide open. I think we will see Seb pushing top-3.

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera is understated and arguably one of the best ultra distance runners out there. His quiet, modest, no nonsense approach of arriving, winning and leaving a race often leaves a void in this media savvy world. However, you would have to have been in an ultra void not to notice his impressive victory at Grand Raid des Pyrenees in 2013 and then his follow on victory at Tor des Geants. Potential winner!

Francois D'Haene ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene has a vineyard and that has taken a priority. His run season now evolves around seasons, grape picking and bottling, however, it hasn’t affected Francois’s performances. When Francois races, he races in top form. His 2nd at Ice Trail Tarentaise where he raced side-by-side with fellow teammate, Kilian Jornet shows he has all the skill and speed required to win any race. He proved this with a great victory at the tough and technical Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale des Fous). This race amongst all his experiences, even his victory over a shortened UTMB course, will put him in a great place for success at UTMF.

Nick Clark The Coastal Challenge ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark The Coastal Challenge ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark; enough said really! Tough as nails, really competitive and one of the best 100-mile runners out there; his consistent performance over the ‘Grand Slam’ in 2013 was a joy to behold. Nick kicked off 2014 with a tough outing at his first multi day race at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, a race that provided Nick with a new perspective on how tough running back-to-back, day-after-day can be. With some solid training behind him and experience on tough courses such as Hardrock 100, one has to give a nod to Nick and put him on the ‘hot’ list for this race.

Mike Foote TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote has been super consistent at TNFUTMB with 3rd place at the shortened race when Francois D’Haene won and 5th place in 2013. Don’t expect to see him up front in the early stages… Mike has a canny knack of almost being out of the race and then in the latter third applying the afterburners and moving up through the field. In addition to great climbing ability, he also has speed. This natural speed will be extremely useful on the faster section of the UTMF course.

Gary Robbins TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Gary Robbins TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Gary Robbins 4th at UTMF in 2013 and recent winner at HURT100 will bring his adventure racing background, the love of the tough and gnarly and some pure old grit back to Japan and armed with knowledge, I can’t help but think that Gary will be a force this year. Of course, one must consider that this field is super stacked and to repeat 4th or move even in higher in 2014 will be a supreme effort, but Gary on his day can do it.

Thomas Lorblanchet looked to be about to break into the big time after winning Leadville 100 and placing highly at Transvulcania whilst running under Salomon colours. However, since moving to a new sponsor, Thomas appears to have been in a running wilderness. Surely a win at the highly competitive ‘Templiers’ was a great result in late 2013 but I have little else to go on… he may well surprise us.

Joe Grant Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Joe Grant Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Joe Grant recently won Alaska White Mountains 100 with a new CR; a great result! However, it is extremely difficult to say how this performance will set up Joe for UTMF. Post his impressive Iditarod performance in 2013, Joe struggled to find form (more due to fatigue) and even at his beloved Hardrock 100, he had to drop (whilst in 2nd place) with medical issues. Regularly training with Anton Krupicka, Joe is very much a new breed of ultra runner, inspired by Kilian Jornet, who combines running, climbing and time in the mountains to fulfill his passion. UTMF in principal will suit Joe 100% and if in form, we can expect him to be a main protagonist at the front of the race.

Brendan Davies Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Brendan Davies Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Brendan Davies 5th at UTMF in 2013 has plenty of speed but lacks true mountain experience. He openly said that the 2013 edition of the race was a shock to the system and the time he lost going up, he pulled back on the fast flatter sections. I am sure Brendan will come to UTMF with more vertical training. However, this field is stacked with out-and-out mountain men. It’s going to be a tough race to keep in touch with the top-5 and repeat his 2013 performance.

Antoine Guillon 4th at Reunion and 5th at Transgrancanaria will be hunting UTWT points. I think he will be in the mix but not top-5.

Dave Mackey was one of the first runners to embrace the UTWT and I am sure we will see his presence throughout the series. One of the most respected ultra runners out there, had this been a 100km race he would be a hot favourite. But over the 100-mile distance and on this terrain, I don’t see Dave making top-5 despite his success at Western States. But he is due a big performance…

John Tidd to many will be a complete unknown, I first met him at Transgrancanaria in 2013 when he went on to place 6th running a strong and consistent race. Later in the year he repeated this consistency with 6th at UTMF and then 10th at TNFUTMB. I very much doubt he will make top-5 but top-10 is a distinct possibility.

Emmanuel Gault recently won the Eco Trail de Paris in a quick 5:40, so, he’s in good shape. However, even dating back to 2007, I am not sure he has raced over 100km. So, he may be up front in the early stages but past 80km he may well fade. It’s an unknown? Without doubt, Emmanuel specialises in French races such as Templiers, SainteLyon, CCC and so on, his recent 22bd place at Transvulcania gives us little insight into what may be achieved at the tough UTMF.

Stone Tsang from Hong Kong will potentially be a ‘one-to-watch’ after solid UTMB and HK100 performances, but he will need a great day to break top-5.

Minehiro Yokoyama,

Kenichi Yamamoto,

Koji Yamaya,

Minehiro Yokoyama,

Shougo Mochizuki

And Shinsuke Isomura have all raced UTMF in the past and in reality it is about as much insight as I can provide.

Kenichi Yamamoto Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

Kenichi Yamamoto Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

If I had to pick one runner it would be Kenichi Yamamoto. Kenichi raced against Julien Chorier in 2013 and placed 2nd. A happy and talented guy (expect film crews following him) he has had success with a top-3 at UTMF in 2012 but not against a field of this quality.

The 2014 UTMF will be quite a race. In addition to all the above, several other notable runners are taking part and it almost feels rude not to mention the ever present Christophe Le Saux, Jeremy Ritcey or Timo Meyer. But I have tried to preview who will contend top-5.

UTMF website – http://www.ultratrailmtfuji.com/en/

Runner entry list – http://www.ultratrailmtfuji.com/en/about/entrylist/

Spartathlon 2013

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SPARTATHLON is a historic ultra-distance foot race that takes place in September of every year in Greece. Arguably, it is one of the most difficult and satisfying ultra-distance races in the world because of its unique history and background.

The Spartathlon revives the footsteps of Pheidippides, an ancient Athenian long distance runner, who in 490 BC, before the battle of Marathon, was sent to Sparta to seek help in the war between the Greeks and the Persians. According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, Pheidippides arrived in Sparta the day after his departure from Athens. Inspired by the report of the Greek historian, in 1982 five officers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF), who were also long-distance runners, traveled to Greece, led by Colonel John Foden. Their purpose was to ascertain whether it was possible to cover the 250 kilometers separating the two towns in one and a half days. The enthusiastic British team showed that the report by Herodotus was entirely plausible.

A man is indeed able to cover 250 km in less than two days and in fact in less than 40 hours. After the success of the project, the architect of the feat, John Foden, began to envision the establishment of a race that would bring long distance runners to Greece from around the world to run on the trail of the ancient runner Pheidippides. The next year a multinational team of British, Greek and other enthusiastic supporters of the idea, led by Michael Callaghan, a philhellene, organized the First International Spartathlon (Open International Spartathlon Race), wherein the name for the race combines the Greek words for Sparta and Feat.

The race was held with the approval and supervision of the Athletics Federation with the participation of 45 runners from 11 countries and included the participation of women. The organizational success of this inaugural race and its broad appeal were decisive to the subsequent establishment of the annual race.

Accordingly, in 1984 the International Association “Spartathlon” was founded. Since then a yearly race has been organized each September. Why September? Because that is the time reported by Herodotus for Pheidippides run to Sparta.

Information taken from http://www.spartathlon.gr ©Spartathlon.gr

The Race

The 2013 edition of the race will start on Friday 27th September with 350 participants and for any last minute dropouts; this entry list will be topped up from a waiting list of 160 runners.

UK entrants:

  • Mark Woolley
  • Robert Pinnington
  • Lindley Chambers
  • Claire Shelley
  • James Adams
  • Drew Sheffield
  • Martin Ilott
  • Philip Smith
  • Mathew Mahoney
  • Mimi Anderson *
  • Paul Ali
  • Mike Blamires
  • Cat Lawson
  • Steve Scott
  • Pat Robbins
  • Martin Bacon
  • Mark Hines
  • Laurence Chownsmith
  • Robbie Britton *
  • Jonathan Hall
  • Peter Johnson
  • James Elson

Countries represented:

Sweden, Poland, Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Denmark, France, Spain, Netherlands, Finland, Argentina, Portugal, China, Malta, United States, Uruguay, Belgium, Austria, Brazil, Mexico, Czech Republic, Faeroe Islands, Switzerland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and of course Greece.

Spartathlon, for many is a bucket list race. It has a magic that cannot be found at other races. The distance, strict cut-off times, the heat and so on all add to the drama. The course is conducted point-to-point and elevation ranges from sea level to 1,200 meters (3,937 ft), over tarmac road, trail and mountain footpath. Aid stations are placed every 3 to 5 km and are provisioned with food, water and other refreshments as well as the runners’ personal supplies. The race is run under police and medical supervision with doctors, physiotherapists, and emergency vehicles being on call throughout the 36-hour race duration. The race is very demanding.

The course is not the most spectacular and 153 miles of roads may not appeal to many, particularly if coming from a trail or mountain running background. However, I’ve yet to meet anyone who has run this race and not loved it. For sure, the Greeks, French, Japanese, German and now a growing UK participation love this race and demand is continuing to grow.

Lizzy Hawker raced in 2012 and not only won the ladies race in 27:02:17 but placed third overall. The outright winner was Stu Thoms from Germany in 26:28:19.

For the 2013 edition of the race, all entrants are of interest. For many, Spartathlon is a journey about completion and not competition. However, two people are of interest and for opposite reasons. Firstly, Robbie Britton from the UK is coming to Spartathlon for the first time but he is potentially an exciting prospect for the overall with a solid 100-mile result at the South Downs Way 100 in a time of 15:43:53 and 239.008km at the World 24-hour championships. Robbie has said in his blog, “I’m right excited about getting to Sparta now and can’t wait for the great challenge of this historic race. We’ve got a solid British team heading out there; including a few Grand Union Canal Race winners, one of whom is attempting a double Spartathlon and it should be a great atmosphere out there. After a strong showing from the Brits at UTMB and The Grand Slam of Ultra Running, I guess we best put a bit of effort into Spartathlon now too…” Bog here

Secondly, Mimi Anderson will be doing Spartathlon her own way in 2013… she raced in 2011 and surprised herself with her performance. So much so, this year she is coming back to do it twice! Yes, twice.

Mimi’s press release:

‘Marvellous’ Mimi Anderson, the 51 year-old grandmother from Smarden in Kent who is a triple long distance running Guinness World Record holder and already the legendary finisher of several ‘doubles’ of extreme long distance races for which the one-way normal run would be beyond most mere mortals, is about to attempt probably her most daring double – a two-way run of the iconic Spartathlon race held in Greece each year.

Traditionally there are about 20 runners from the UK each year and Mimi first ran the race in 2011 when she finished 3rd lady overall and the 1st UK finisher in 32 hours 33 minutes 23 seconds. She has decided to return in 2013 and having completed the normal race on her previous visit, she will be attempting the double this year (a distance of 306 miles), which is believed to have only ever been done once before. It has certainly never been done by anyone from Britain and no female has ever attempted it.

Mimi’s plan is to do the race first then, all being well, start the return leg at midnight on Saturday night.  She will be running the race itself to achieve the best time she can and then attempting the return leg in in the same tough 36 hours maximum time allowed for the race.

Her husband Tim and friend Becky Healey will be crewing for her during the event and the reason for starting the return leg at midnight on the Saturday is to enable the crew to get some sleep – otherwise it becomes too dangerous for them to be driving safely!

Mimi will be running to raise money for her usual cause – the 10 Million Metres Campaign, which was set up by Alex Flynn when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 4 years ago.  People can donate on the Justgiving site at www.justgiving.com/marvellousmimi1

The 2013 event for sure will be exciting for all involved and for those watching. If you would like more information, please go to the race website.

Links:

All entrants can be viewed here

Live Tracking for race day here

Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT) response from FPerrin

Hi Ian,

I will try to answer as clearly as possible. I understand that you want the progression of the sport. Be assured that I feel the same. I am open to any discussion if it can make the project better.

1. It’s an ultra world tour over multiple distances and terrains. Therefore, does a runner need to do different distance and different terrain to be the world champion?

Maybe was I not clear enough during the presentation, sorry for that. The runner who will
have the best results at the end of the Ultra-Trail World Tour will
be the “UTWT 2014 Champion”, NOT the “Trail Running 2014 Champion”!
For me, it is a completely different vision.

2. Your criteria stipulates a minimum two editions, min 500 entrants and
open to ALL! What will happen with races like Western States? It’s
a lottery with only 20 guaranteed places and an entry limit under
500. More like 397 entries.


There was a precision of “around min 500 entrants” :-)… the first objective of the project was to bring together the most emblematic races of the world, the races of all our dreams… well… we could not imagine it without the Western States… “Open to all” means for us that elite athletes and average runners are running together, that the races are not reserved for elites. The UTWT will change nothing to the entry rules of the different races. The WS100 has its specific rules, the UTMB too, and the UTMF… each race will keep complete control over its organization.

3. How will a multi stage race such as MDS fit into this series? And
are you planning to add more multi day events?

Well, some of us ran it, and are completely sure that the MDS has all its place in the UTWT, that it shows all the diversity of trail running. The race directors all agreed on this initial list which will soon be completed with other races.

4. It would appear, at least to me that the UTWT may almost be perceived as a travel agent to a series of races over the world. What are the benefits that
UTWT will bring to elite and non-elite runners? Why would we join the UTWT?

For non-elite runners, but also for elite runners, the main reason is -for me- the “challenge” over the years, and the promise to discover different races, terrains, people, countries. The project was born at the UTMF this year: we were discussing how enriching it was for us to discover this country, the runners from Japan and from other countries, the specific trails of Mt. Fuji… We started to list the races that we had already finished, and our “wish-list” races… and it all started. This project is about culture, passion, traveling, and common values. For elite runners, I hope that they will have the same motivation than non-elite, but I think that an other reason should be -for me again-be part of a circuit which story will be told all over the year.

5. Do the runners need to purchase ‘The Passport’?

The first idea was to make it free.We will decide it with the race directors, but maybe the runners will have to pay a small participation if we send it through postal mail.

6. Does it cost each runner any extra to be part of the UTWT?

No.

7. What are the races paying to be part of the UTWT and what does that bring what are the benefits?

They pay a contribution of 15’000 EUR, which will be 100% used for the promotion of the Ultra-Trail World Tour, and the travel fares of the athletes.

8. Who is the UTWT? Who are the people involved, for example WAA, UTMB all seem involved. Can we have clarification?

The 2 main partners (and operationals) are Jean-Charles Perrin (eco-trail de
Paris race director), and myself, Fabrice Perrin. We are not relatives. Cyril Gauthier from WAA is also involved (no operational role), and we asked Catherine and Michel Polett (from UTMB) to be part of it too, but they have no operational role.

9. What are the elite packages. It was mentioned that they will get travel and hotels for Elite1. Is this open ended, will all eligible elites get this package?

We will try to help the athletes at the maximum (travel and lodging), with the money that we will be able to raise. We will discuss this fall the rules with the race organizers.

10. What prize money will be available at each race and will prizes be split. Elite and non elite?


Each race will keep its rules. Some have prizes, some not. The UTWT will not change this.

11. A world champion is awarded each year, make and female. What do they get, what remuneration will the world champion receive and in addition, will you have non elite world champions too?

No “remuneration” is planned so far for 2014. Again, I would like to precise that it will not be a “world champion”, but an “UTWT Champion”. The non-elite will be in the same ranking than the elite runners.

I would like to thank the UTWT and Fabrice for the answers to the above questions. It really does clarify some initial questions. I am sure more questions will arise and I feel confident that the UTWT will provide responses as and when required.

UTWT – Ultra Trail World Tour analysis

“We could make runners stash their own gatorade bottles (glass) and run with the horses, but it’s not 1974.” Craig Thornley, Western States race director.

It’s a good place to start. The world of trail, mountain, road ultra running is changing. In recent years we have seen rapid growth. Runners, elite and non elite want to test themselves on ever demanding courses and ultimately test themselves against each other and see who comes out on top.

However, ultra running is not quite like any other sport. It places extreme demands on the body. Pushed too hard and the body breaks… ask Geoff Roes what he thinks.

So, although an Ultra Trail World Tour sounds attractive caution is needed. But before we worry about those aspects, we first need to look at what this UTWT entails.

The UTWT was launched on September 1st amidst the Ultra-Tour du Mont-Blanc. The fact that the race was not over and that many runners were still trying to get to the finish line may well have been a touch of bad timing. Admittedly though, many press leave immediately after the event so this may very well have been a logistical issue.

One by one, the initial races were announced and with them a representative from each race came to the stage.

2014 confirmed races are as follows:

  • January 18th Vibram Hing Kong 100
  • March 1st The North Face Transgrancanaria
  • March 15th Vibram Tarawera 100km
  • April 4th to 14th Marathon des Sables
  • April 25th Ultra Trail Mt Fuji
  • June 27th The North Face Lavaredo Trail
  • June 29th Western States
  • August 29th The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

So, this takes us up to August and apparently other races have been asked to participate and we can expect confirmation of these, on or before September 15th.

Of course, alarm bells initially ring at the presence of Western States. Secondary alarm bells ring at the presence on Marathon des Sables but I will come onto that later.

How does it work?

The UTWT will propose an international competitive circuit in partnership with the International Trail Running Association. The events should already be open to the widest public and will offer ‘everyone’ a unique chance, throughout each year, to participate. Question: How does that relate to Western States with limited capacity and demand far outweighing places available? Also, Marathon des Sables… UK entrants for example are on a three year waiting list.

In each race points are awarded to every runner and therefore at the end of the year, a male and female UTWT world champion will be announced. To attract elite athletes, certain events will have Ultra Trail Series status and these will offer more important weighting in the ranking. (I assume this will be for races like Western States?)

Runners will be presented with a Passport. This can be ordered online before the end of the year, it was not made clear if these passports need to be paid for? When you complete a race, you are awarded a visa, this is added to your passport and shows your completion.

The minimum race distance will be 100km, races must have had two previous editions to qualify and already have 500 minimum participants (again, Western States has less than 400). A minimum of twenty countries will be represented and be emblematic venues.

So, how do you become World Champ?

All finishers in every race will be awarded points according to his performance. These points will be added to the International ranking and updated after each race. This ranking will be available on line at the UTWT website. The circuit will be an International competitive circuit in partnership with the ITRA (International Trail Running Association).

As mentioned, a limited number of races will be called Ultra Trail Series and you may only use two best performances from these races in building up points for the world title. In total, three races score, so, you could have two UTS races and one other.

A world champion lady and male will be announced each year.

ANALYSIS

Okay, first and foremost, we don’t have the complete picture, so, you will need to be patient.

The press conference was slick, enticing and all was going well until a call for questions came. I jumped in and asked about Western States…

It’s not just ‘any’ race, it has a limited field, it’s a desirable race, what is the impact and so on a and so on.

The answer was vague and very unconvincing. In actual fact it was embarrassing. One comment that came from the stage was, “it’s early days and we haven’t worked these things out yet”. Not a good start.

One journalist asked several questions:

Will you have doping control? YES

Will you have prize money? EACH INDIVIDUAL RACE CAN HAVE PRIZE MONEY, IT’S UP TO THE RACE. We did not have clarification though if the world title had a prize, other than the ‘title’ of world champ.

What will the elites get? ELITE 1 RUNNERS WILL GET TRAVEL AND HOTELS PAID FOR. But they never clarified if that is open to all elite 1. Lets say 50 want to do Western States, will they all get hotels and travel?

The series very much seems like the Skyrunning concept, is this competition or are you offering something different?. THE RACES WILL BE 100km OR MORE AND ON VARIED TERRAIN, SKYRUNNING WORK TO A SPECIFIC FORMAT AND WITH THE ODD EXCEPTION, ALL RACES ARE UNDER 100k. I agree, the UTWT is very different to Skyrunning, it is taking some principles from the Skyrunning ethos, for example, a series of races, three qualify out of five and the winner is world Skyrunner champion but the terrain is varied. Skyrunning look at altitude and technical.

At this point, the stage participants could feel more and more questions were coming and the conference was drawn to a close quite quickly.

Overall, it started well and ended badly. It certainly appears that the UTWT team wanted to maximise the UTMB as a platform to launch but they had far too many question marks and lack of answers to leave me feeling reassured or convinced.

POINTS TO CONSIDER

I have to say, I like a championship that includes mixed terrains and distances. That will provide a true rounded athlete. However, the UTWT never specified how runners enter, so, for example, to qualify, do you have to do one 100k, one 100m and one stage race? Do you have to do one on sand, one in the mountains and one jungle for example? Without this specified, I could maybe do three 100k races on fast trail and get maximum points if that is what I was best at? We need clarification.

World destinations, iconic races are great. I can see the beauty and excitement of going to New Zealand, Hong Kong and so on, BUT these races already exist and to be honest, if I went to one it would be highly unlikely I would go to another. Far too expensive for the average pocket.

Travel and hotels for elites are all well and good but who is paying? Surely that is what sponsorship from a team is about. I am we’ll aware that places are offered and expenses paid already exists but this is very much in conjunction with a race, the RD and the athlete. Blanket travel and hotels need to be paid for and by someone and that will come down to the everyday runners and the races themselves who I am assuming are paying a yearly fee to be part of the UTWT. Transparency is needed here. Many figures have been mentioned that ravces are paying 15,000 to 30,000 euro to be part of UTWT. I believe this to be speculation.

The UTWT title needs additional incentives. Prize money! However, that has no bearing on all the other runners. I can’t help but think that only a small few (who are rich enough) will travel to several continents to experience the world tour.

What will the races get out of it? Well, recognition and exposure for one. But, I know I go back to Western States, does that race need more exposure… Does it need more entries, does it need more PR? Same applies for UTMB, you already have to get points and enter a lottery, so, if you get a ‘Passport’ does it mean you get automatic entry in a UTWT event? Confusing!

MDS is a completely different race to all the others, to have just one stage race and no others would be long term problematic. In addition, I am not even sure it should be in this series. A great race but is a unique race.

We also need to think about the runners, all the runners. The calendar is increasingly becoming larger with more and more choice. Do we really need to insist that participants run three races over 100k to be a world champion? In addition, for this to be a true championship, one of those three races would need to be a 100-miles.

Ultra is not always better when longer. I wonder if some races under 100k should be allowed?

Why not have an Ultra World Tour and include road? Comrades is an iconic race for example and surely a true ultra world champ should be able to run road too?

Are we seeing the creation of an ‘Ironman’ for trail or is this ‘just’ a series of races with quite simply a world title?

I’d like to know who is beyond this with clear transparency. I have experienced many things in the last twelve months that I have questioned and now suddenly they all add up. For example, late 2012 WAA (What an Adventure) became the official pack for MDS. At the 2013 MDS, Catherine Poletti was present at the finish in the Sahara and then WAA became the official supplier of the blue UTMB bag. Also, I believe that Catherine Poletti visited Western States to view the event… So, is the UTWT an extension of the UTMB organisation and what does it mean? Is this good or bad? I merely ask the question.

At this stage we do not have any answers. Paul Charteris from Tarawera ultra was prepared on Sunday at the press conference, although he did not attend he was online and responded to my tweets. He also had a press release ready and he has been open and transparent. Equally, Transgrancaria have been proactive and the team at Lavaredo I spoke with personally. They all want the races to be valued, increase in size and stature and be part of something bigger. I think Craig Thornley and team are having a harder time. Western States is the holy grail and change here will be difficult and in many cases not welcome. The sport must move on and grow and that means all the sport, Craig in many ways is correct when he tweeted, “We could make runners stash their own gatorade bottles (glass) and run with the horses, but it’s not 1974.”

So what do YOU think?

I don’t have the answers and I will have missed many points. Please provide some input.

*Please note, for reasons of clarity, I do work alongside the ISF Skyrunning Federation and my thoughts and comments in this posting are impartial and with the pure objective of what is the best for our sport.

Ultra Trail World Tour announcement (UTWT)

Ultra-Trail® World Tour: bringing together the most emblematic trails (of 100km or more) in the World.

Chamonix, 1st September 2013
The organizers of:

– The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
– Marathon des Sables
– The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®
– The North Face® Transgrancanaria
– The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra-Trail
– Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon
– Vibram® Hong Kong 100
– Ultra-Trail® Mont. Fuji

have today announced at Chamonix their participation in the 2014 Ultra-Trail® World Tour.

International circuit, shared values
The races in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour, in their specific natures, illustrate all the diversity of trail: steep paths of the Alps, California trails, hills and beaches of Hong Kong, Moroccan desert…
The races’ many different formats will present participants with a real adaptation challenge .

Between The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra-Trail and the Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon, between the Ultra-Trail Mont Fuji and The North Face® Transgrancanaria, participants will need very different qualities to win, or simply to become a finisher.

While being fundamentally different, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour races will have common values, which they are proud to share and to promote. Ethics, equality in sports, self-respect, respect for others, for the Environment…
Taking part in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour will be the opportunity, throughout the years, to discover cultural and sporting differences. Every continent will be visited: Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Oceania… providing opportunities to enhance their sporting culture, create new friendships, and to feed on emotions in order, one day perhaps, to be a “finisher” in all the events!

Simple criteria of eligibility

Long distance trail running races of at least 100km.
Emblematic venues.
Popular races (around 500 runners minimum).
International events (a minimum of 20 countries represented).
Minimum 2 realized editions
An annual ranking for the award of the title of champion of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour
Any “Finisher”, according to his performance, will be assigned a number of points and be integrated into the international ranking , updated for each race, and available online at http://www.ultratrailworldtour.com site.
The Ultra-Trail® World Tour will propose an international competitive circuit, in partnership with the International Trail Running Association (http://www.i-tra.org).

With the goal of bringing together top athletes, a limited number of races will be labelled «Ultra-Trail® Series». Only the 3 best results should be taken in consideration, with a maximum of 2 “Ultra-Trail® Series”.

At the end of the year, after the last race, the titles of “Ultra-Trail® World Tour 2014” champion, male and female, will be awarded.
Who will win? Encourage your favorites!

A passport for all races
By the end of 2013, all runners planning to participate in one or more stages of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour can order their “Ultra-Trail® World Tour” passport on the http://www.ultratrailworldtour.com site.
Whenever they are “finishers” in a racing circuit, they receive a visa to stick in this passport.
Participation in one of these circuit races will automatically imply integration in the rankings for the Ultra-Trail® World Tour of the given year .

2014, a year full of promise
For its very first year, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour will be present on all the continents, with a dozen venues spaced out throughout the year.
The following have already been confirmed:
– January 18th: Vibram® Hong Kong 100 (Hong Kong, China)
– March 1st: The North Face® Transgrancanaria (Spain)
– March 15th: Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon (New Zealand)
– April 4th to 14th: Marathon des Sables (Morocco)
– April 25th to 26th : Ultra-Trail Mt.Fuji® (Japan)
– June 27th to 29th : The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail (Italy)
– June 29th: The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (USA)
– August 29th: The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® (France, Italy, Switzerland)

Other emblematic races will soon be confirming their participation.

Many questions were left unanswered at the press conference. It felt as though the organisation wanted to monopolise on the media presence available for the UTMB and spread the UTWT news.

Importantly, when I asked questions directly about Western States the answer was less than reassuring. I can’t help but think all those who love WSER will be asking serious questions.

I will update more on this but please respond? Make your points here.

For in depth live coverage from the press conference go to @talkultra twitter feed and follow by blow-by-blow comments from 0930 French time. Or use #UTWT and follow the thread.

More to follow

photo 5

Ronda dels Cims – Awards Ceremony and Summary

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Julien Chorier and Francesca Canepa dominate the 177km 2013 Ronda dels Cims.the second race in the Skyrunning Ultra series.

It was without doubt an incredible and dramatic race in Andorra. Due late season snow and potential storm risk on Friday night, certain safety measures had been made and the course was modified to ensure runners safety. It did mean a little less elevation, however, this was compensated for by additional km’s, making the final distance 177km and a total elevation gain of 12,200m.

Described as one of the hardest 100+ mile races in the world, it did not disappoint. An International field lined up in Ordino on Friday for the 0700 start. The awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon affirmed the International representation with five different nationalities on the podium.

Frenchman Julien Chorier dominated the race from the front and I have to say, it is possibly one of the most impressive performances I have been fortunate to witness. He looked so calm, relaxed and focused. Kenichi Yamamoto from Japan placed second and along with his impressive entourage of photographers and camerman proved not only his ability to run but also how popular he is with the crowds and supporters. Matt Copper from Australia completed an impressive podium and produced a really solid run. He had been at the front of the race over the initial twenty kilometers and then settled in third, however, a fall into a stream during the night meant extended time at a refuge to warm up, this saw him loose a couple of places and drop to fifth. However, as daylight broke his batteries became recharged and he pushed as hard as he could to gain places and eventually finish third.

For the ladies, Francesca Canepa from Italy dominated after 65km’s and never looked back. She is a specialist in long distance races such as TNF UTMB and Tor des Geants, so, a top performance was expected here; she didn’t disappoint. She did say after the race that it was the hardest race she has ever done!. A late surge by Olga Mankò from the Ukraine elevated her to second on the podium and Emilie Lecomte, from France, after leading the race over the first 35% of the race faded but bravely battled for a hard won final podium place.

Please Note:

Talk Ultra will have interviews with Francesca Canepa (1st), Matt Cooper (3rd), Jared Campbell (7th) and Ty Draney (8th) on the next show, out Friday 28th June.

Men

1. Julien Chorier (FRA) – Salomon – 28h41’06”

2. Kenichi Yamamoto (JAP) – Houdini) – 31h12’00”

3. Matt Cooper (AUS) – Salomon – 31h24’54

Women

1. Francesca Canepa (ITA) – Montura-Vibrio – 36h18’55”

2. Olga Mankò (UKR) – 38h19’47”

3.  Emilie Lecomte (FRA) – Quechua -39h30’14”

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