Ultra D-Day Trail – 100 miles

Ultra_D_Day_Trail_©_ultraddaytrail

A non competitive adventure

Over a route between Utah Beach (Manche) and Caen (Calvados), the Ultra D-DAY 100-mile event has 7 different nations represented. The fourteen runners will run and stop at 14 ‘checkpoints’ at specific places on the route with pauses to commemorate the past key events.

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A beach landing, a torchlight crossing through Bayeux and a finish line with 3000 children.

The 14 athletes will arrive on land from the sea in Utah Beach on June 12th, 2014. They will arrive in Bayeux at the end of the day and go through the city holding torchlights. Finally, they will join the 3000 children of “Les Foulées de la Liberté” to complete the last kilometers of the ‘Ultra D Day Trail’ up to the Caen Memorial.

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Athletes running are:

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The schedule is available HERE

For more information: ultraddaytrail.com

“The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.” — Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s message to the troops before the invasion, 1944

“They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio broadcast, June 6, 1944

I should have been participating in this event and unfortunately due to the theft of my computer and all my camera equipment in Barcelona, I am no longer able to attend. It saddens me greatly not be a part of this adventure and I wish everyone all the very best and as Churchill would have said, “And what a plan! This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever occurred.’‘ — Winston Churchill to the House of Commons, June 6, 1944

Bonne Chance – Good Luck – Powodzenia – Viel Glück – Break a leg!

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The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2013 – Men’s Preview

UTMB logo. iancorless.com ©ultratraildumontblanc

UTMB logo. iancorless.com ©ultratraildumontblanc

What an exciting prospect the 2013 TNF UTMB is going to be! Just a few months ago it looked as though the 2013 edition was lacking some really strong top competition, but a surge of confirmed US entries has brought this race to life and to be absolutely honest, if a US runner doesn’t take top slot this year, then maybe they never will…

It’s a quality field and the list of top men has incredible depth. For the purposes of a preview I am going to highlight who I consider to be the contenders for the top three slots and then give notable mentions to those who most certainly stand a chance to make the top ten and if on a great day, they may make the podium.

So, who is going to win? Or should I say, whom do I think stand a chance of the podium? In no particular order, here are my contenders:

Favorites:

Jonas Buud, Anton Krupicka, Julien Chorier, Miguel Heras, Timothy Olson, Jez Bragg, Sebastien Chaigneau, Mike Foote, Mike Wolfe, Carlos Sa, Dylan Bowman, Gary Robbins, Yoshikazu Hara, Francois Faivre, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, Jean-Yves Rey and Arnaud Lejeune.

Preview:

Jonas Buud - UTMB 2012

Jonas Buud – UTMB 2012

Jonas Buud placed second last year over the shortened UTMB route behind Francois D’Haene. It was a great run and a superb confidence boost for this year’s race. His recent run at Comrades when he moved up through the field from around 40th to the podium was not only an incredible lesson in pacing but also how to execute a great race strategy. I am pretty sure that this will be something he will bring to Chamonix. Without doubt he has speed but the full UTMB is a very different race to the shortened version and in this field a podium place will be a great result.

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

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

What can we say about Anton Krupicka? With a long time out of the sport due to injury, his return seemed guaranteed at the end of 2012 when he placed 2nd behind Kilian Jornet at Cavalls del Vent. We had hoped to see Anton run at Tarawera but just a week or so before the race he pulled out due to a niggle. Racing Ronda dels Cims was on the cards but he decided an attempt at Nolans-14 was a better option; it didn’t go well leaving him in pieces on the trail. One thing that is guaranteed is that Anton is fit and can climb. His recent 2nd placing at Speedgoat is going to be a great boost and he has been in and around Chamonix for several weeks now training with Joe Grant who will be his support during the race. It may be Anton’s year?

Julien Chorier, Ronda dels Cims, 2013 ©iancorless.com

Julien Chorier, Ronda dels Cims, 2013 ©iancorless.com

Julien Chorier is meticulous in planning, knows the UTMB route very well and after watching him run and dominate the 2013 Ronda dels Cims, if he brings ‘that’ form to Chamonix, then he will win! He was consistent, strong and a machine. Julien has been on the podium at UTMB before, 2007 and 2008 but this was relatively early on in his run career (a former cyclist). Since then he has won Hardrock, UTMF, Raid de la Reunion and so on. He will bring his ‘A’ game to UTMB with just one position in mind. A hot favorite!

Miguel Heras, La Templiers 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras, La Templiers 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras has had a tough time recently with injury. Running UTMB was a big question mark, however, I heard just the other day that he has confirmed he will run. His training has been hampered for sure and it is impossible to say at this stage, how that will affect his race. His most recent notable performances came in 2012 with La Templiers and San Fran 50. Like Julien Chorier, he is meticulous in planning and outside of Kilian Jornet; I would have said that an in form Miguel Heras would be the stand out favorite for this race along with Julien.

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

A little like Julien Chorier, Timothy Olson picks his races, plans, trains, turns up and wins. Anyone who can win Western States two years on the run knows how to bring the ‘A’ game to the right race. Timothy placed well at Tarawera and Transvulcania but his notable words to me at the end of Transvulcania were, ‘it just needed to be longer, I was getting warmed up’. Racing at Speedgoat recently he placed in the top ten but that doesn’t reflect a lack of form, in fact the opposite, it shows focus; focus on the big target, which is now UTMB. He has been in Chamonix and getting out on the course and so will now fully understand what he needs to do come this Friday. Along with Anton, he is a key favorite for the outright win, the only thing I can see going against him is the lack of experience in a European 100-mile race particularly in the Mountains.

I am going to stick my neck out and say that in the 2013 UTMB we will see a new Jez Bragg. He will run UTMB in a way that he has never run it before. We all know he was the 2010 winner of the race but quite frankly, and no disrespect to Jez, it wasn’t the full race and that makes a big difference. In recent years things have not gone well for him and post 2012 UTMB we discussed certain health issues that may have affected his performance. With those issues under control and then his incredible run in New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail, Jez will mentally and physically be in a different place when on the start line this year and in the famous Speedgoat Karl words he will be thinking, ‘a 100-miles is not that far’.  Jez will have his best UTMB ever! Listen to Jez Bragg talk about UTMB kit HERE

Sebastien Chaigneau, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau has already had an incredible year. His win at the recent Hardrock 100 in a course record time (counter clockwise) is a dream come true for Seb. He actually only got the go ahead for that race just a couple of weeks before as he was a reserve, so, I can’t help but think his long term training was for UTMB but also meticulously preparing for the hope to participate at Hardrock. His early season win at Transgrancanaria and then 3rd place at UTMF will no doubt all take its toll. Seb has all the abilities and experience to win this 2013 edition, however, he may very well be just a touch jaded.

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote placed third last year on the shortened course and by all accounts is in great shape and has been training really hard. However, he has been plagued by injury. His second place at Hardrock 100 in 2012 most certainly means that if he his 100% fit, he will mix it up at the front of the race and be in contention for the podium.

Teammate and great friend of Mike Foote is Mike Wolfe. Mike had a year to forget in 2012 after an incredible 2011. He has loads of skill, great fitness and can run like the wind when he needs to. After some time away to recoup, Mike has now found some form and fitness in 2013. He had a win at Pocatello 50 and recently raced to a podium slot at Lavaredo Trail in Italy. Most recently he set a ‘FKT’ on the John Muir Trail with teammate, Hal Koerner. Now no doubt this was great training and great preparation for a 100-miles in the mountains, but, and this is a big but, was it too close to UTMB?

Carlos Sa placed 4th at UTMB in 2012 and earlier this year won Badwater 135. I witnessed him run at close quarters at the Marathon des Sables where he consistently performed well and eventually finished 7th overall. UTMB is a very different race and with strong competition from ‘mountain men’, Carlos will need a great day to make the top three.

Another American joining the mix is Dylan Bowman. Dylan may well be the dark horse of the US contingent. For sure, European eyes will focus on Krupicka, Olson, Wolfe and Foote and therefore allowing Dylan a little more freedom and a little less pressure. They should take note; Dylan has had consistent top performances at Leadville and Western States. What Dylan’s resume of results lacks is experience on tough mountain courses and that will be the crux of how well he performs. Will he be able to take the ups and downs that the UTMB throws at him?  *update 26th August, pulled out due to injury

Finally, my last contender is Gary Robbins from Canada. He had time away from the sport after having some horrendous injuries that almost stopped his career. With patience and rehabilitation he came back to his nemesis, Hurt 100 and not only won, but also set a course record. He has experience of UTMB and finished outside the top fifty last year, so why pick him as a possible contender? He knows what it is about now and to be honest, a full course is probably much more preferable than a short course for Gary. Also, he placed 4th at UTMF earlier this year behind Hara, Chorier and Chaigneau… that’s good company to be running with!

Yoshikazu Hara was the surprise winner of the 2013 UTMF putting Julien Chorier and Sebastien Chaigneau in 2nd and 3rd respectively. He is coming to this years race prepared and may well cause a few shocks!

Francois Faivre trainer of the French cross-country ski team from the Jura region, was recovering from some health issues at the start of the season. After signing up for the cancelled Maxi Race and after withdrawing from the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, François felt he lost some form. He finished 9th in 2011 and 7th in 2012! UTMB without doubt is his main goal for the season.

D'Haene, Kaburaki (middle) Chaigneau UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

D’Haene, Kaburaki (middle) Chaigneau UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki is extremely experienced at UTMB and has placed from 3rd to 11th in five outings. This year he won Bighorn 100 with some incredible running in the latter stages of the race. The jury is out on 2013 and I will update with more info as and when I have it on Thursday.

Jean-Yves Rey was 6th last year and is very much a dark horse. In his early 40’s he has had some impressive results over the years, 3rd at the iconic Sierre-Zinal in 2000, winner of the CCC in 2009 but recently he started the Eiger Trail and did not finish, so, his form is unknown.

Finally, Arnaud Lejeune is in his early 30’s placed 8th at UTMB and 3rd at Raid de la Reunion in 2012. He also had a string of top results with wins in; Faverges Trail, Trail de Savoyards, Trail Glieres, Quecha Trail Fiz, Verdon canyon Challenge and the Guyan Trail at 186km long. A resident of Annecy, he has access to the UTMB terrain on a regular basis and this is a distinct advantage. However, 2013 seems to have been very quiet. He may be a surprise!

As mentioned, the race has no shortage of possible winners, for example:

Sebastien Buffard 10th at UTMB and then of course we have Marco Olmo won UTMB at the age of 59yrs and in doing so became a legend. He most certainly won’t win this year but he deserves a mention.

Marco Olmo, MDS 2013 ©iancorless.com

Marco Olmo, MDS 2013 ©iancorless.com

Other names to watch out for:

Vincent Delabarre, Siu-Keung Tsang, Jason Loutitt, Gustavo Reyes, Armando Jorge Teixeira, Zigor Iturrieta, Giuliano Cavallo, Minehiro Yokoyama, Vajin Armstrong, Paul Giblin, Adam Perry and Terry Conway.

The TNF UTMB has gained a reputation as being one of the most iconic 100-mile races in the world. With over 2,000 participants, I will have missed several contenders who will create a stir and surprise us. Do you know who they may be?

Get involved:

  1. Who is your prediction for the race?
  2. Who will have the greatest improvement?
  3. Who will shock us?

Links:

The North Face HERE

TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc website HERE

Arc’teryx Squamish 50 race summary

Adam

This weekend 500 trail runners from across the globe descended on Squamish BC for what is known as one of the toughest Ultra races on the circuit. Vancouverite Adam Campbell took first place in the 50 mile with a time of 7 hours and 37 mins in  a hard fought battle with Squamish local Jason Loutitt, who finished  second  at 7 hours and 40 mins.

In the women’s 50 mile circuit -American Kristin Moehl took first place in 9 hours and 37 mins over local Lisa Polizzi at 9 hours and 39 mins – another closely fought race.

No longer a fringe sport, ultra running now attracts top international athletes and marathoners who want to push to the next level and challenge themselves on uneven terrain. This weekend runners from 9 different countries, 23 states and 7 provinces took part in 3 different race distances over the course of the day.

With distances of 50 miles, 50km and 23km to choose from, each of the runs is uniquely about pushing personal limits –  pushing those limits hard and pushing them far.  On the 50 mile course,  the back half is more difficult than the first. To reach the finish line is victory in itself.

Gary Robbins, one of the two main organizers and no stranger to Ultra Running, couldn’t be happier with how the event went and the finishers’ reactions to how incredibly tough the course was.

“ Nothing pleases me more than having my fellow ultra runners loathe me while they are running this course and many an expletive was issued at me as they crossed the line – but ultra runners have a peculiar sense of humour – they need it to get through these races, I know they enjoyed every bit of the pain!”

“The conditions were great, weather was perfect and it was impressive to see how close some of the top finishers were; all the distances were tightly fought, highly completive races”– Robbins, who personally greeted almost every finisher at the race, adds that “watching everyone else come over the line – that’s truly what makes this event so rewarding. The first time ultra runners, the average daily runners, all pushing their own personal limit, that’s truly inspiring!”

Squamish

The event, now in its second year, is sponsored by North Vancouver based Arc’teryx, a brand that is no stranger to extremes. The company had its own team of runners participating over the 3 distances..

Adam Campbell, the  overall first place finisher in the 50 Mile (7:37:23); Anne- Marie Madden, who took the podium as the first place winner in the women’s 23km (2:08:13); and Catrin Jones, who placed first in the women’s 50km (5:51:52).

Jones, who is relatively new to ultra running, chose one of the hardest courses to “ease” into the sport, but said she was extremely pleased with her achievement considering she hadn’t felt as prepared as she had wanted to be.

“I’m training for the Francophone Games at the moment, where I’ll be representing Canada in the marathon, so I’ve been focusing on road running rather than trails so I was a little scared as well as excited going into this. There was a lot of diversity in the course, tough climbs and scrambles, lots of big power hikes but some beautiful rolling switchbacks and wood work too. A challenging course set in a beautiful area, ultimately I loved it!”

For 2014, the Arc’teryx Squamish 50 is set to become a Trail Race Festival held over three consecutive days. The idea-is to incorporate a film festival element into the event.  Watch for the next Arc’teryx Squamish 50 to take place August 8,9 &10, 2014.

Full Results HERE

The North Face announce team for UTMB

©iancorless.com.iancorless.orgIancorless_utmb206facesofutmbThe North Face have announced the team line up for the 2013 UTMB and what a line up…

Seb Chaigneau fresh from an impressive Hardrock 100 win will be gunning for the top the podium in Chamonix.

The queen of UTMB, Lizzy Hawker is currently recovering from injury, fingers crossed she will toe the line.

Jez Bragg certainly will provide great interest at the event this year. A previous winner of the shortened version he has always struggled to repeat his form. However, after solving some diet issues and conquering the Te Araroa in New Zealand, I think we will see a new Jez ready to do battle of the circular route of Mont Blanc.

Fernanda Maciel also has had some injury issues but she would appear to be well on her way to recovery.

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Rory Bosio has consistently performed well at both Western States and UTMB, she will be looking for a repeat performance.

Zigor Iturrieta has already had a busy 2013 and once again he will line up to battle against a race he conquered in 2010 with a third place on the podium.

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Mike Wolfe has had some time away from the sport but is back. He has recently had a top placing at Lavaredo Trail and it will be great to see Mike back in Europe.

Mike Foote made the podium in 2012 over a shortened race distance, he will certainly be hoping to move up at least one place higher this year.

©iancorless.com.iancorless.orgiancorless.orgP1060557_SnapseedfacesofUTMBfacesofUTMB

Timothy Olson has had two seriously impressive years, a Western States course record in 2012 and then a back-to-back victory in 2013. This will be his first time racing in Chamonix and without doubt he will be gunning for the top slot!

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1080748Helen Cospolich, Jason Loutitt complete the TNF North American line up and then we look at Japan. Tsuyoshi Kaburaki heads the TNF line up and can never be ruled out for a great performance at this iconic race. He will be followed by Hiroaki Matsunag and Minehiro Yokoyama.

©iancorless.com.iancorless.orgiancorless.orgP1000542_SnapseedfacesofUTMBfacesofUTMB

Finally, The North Face will complete the team with runners from China and Brazil. Yun Yanqiao, Xing Ruling and Stone Tsang for TNF China and Manu Vilaseca, Ligia Madrigal (Costa Rica) and finally Felipe Guardia(Costa Rica).

Ligia Madrigal in Costa Rica

Ligia Madrigal in Costa Rica

Without doubt, the 2013 TNF UTMB is going to be an exciting race. The TNF line up along with strong competition from the likes of Julien Chorier, Anton Krupicka and Dakota Jones it does mean that we can expect fireworks in the mens race.

UTMB_TNF Athletes_2013

Speedgoat 50k Preview – The Mens Field

Speedgoat

Two ISF Skyrunning events in one day and both of them ultras! Trans D’Havet in Italy and Speedgoat in the USA. In many respects, although two races in the same series, they are chalk and cheese. Trans D’Havet is a point-to-point mountain race with some altitude, technical running and tunnels… yes, tunnels! Apparently 6km’s in total. Speedgoat is a 50km trail race in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and to clarify, the rules have been amended this year to inform all participants that they ‘must’ stick to the trail. Last years top two, Kilian Jornet and Rickey Gates are not returning but third and fourth are; Max King and Anton Krupicka. With 12,000 dollars up for grabs and $1000 premium for the first man and women to reach Hidden Peak at mile 8.3., Talk Ultra’s Mr Speedgoat and the ISF have lined up a great field of guys looking to secure points in the Skyrunning World Series (three events score)

But look at the field… Timothy Olson, Sage Canaday, Max King, Anton Krupicka, Cameron Clayton, Mike Wardian and so on, it really is a top quality field and a tough one to call.

I have to say, that despite the presence of Olson and Krupicka, I am going to to lean towards a Canaday, King and Clayton smack down with Olson and Krupicka causing some trouble in the latter stages.

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1080170_Snapseed

Sage Canaday has performed at the top level since moving into the ultra world and although he may still be on a learning curve between 80 and 100k, I feel that this shorter race will suit his speed. He still needs to learn on technical running but as he showed at Transvulcania with the final podium place, he can nail it when required.

iancorless.orgIancorless_transvulcania_019

Max kIng in 2012 just held off Anton Krupicka in the latter stages. He made the decision to shy away from longer races in 2013 and just last weekend placed on the podium in the US Mountain Running Champs. But it wasn’t a win! He has all the speed required to win this race and although I see him as a main protagonist, I don’t see him in the top spot.

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Cameron Clayton is new to ultras and has an impressive record. He has a gung ho attitude of glory or go home. He brought that to Western States and he went home… however, the shorter distance of Speedgoat will suit him and he will be out front from the gun with Sage. Question is, can he hold on?

Anton Krupicka, La Palma copyright iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka, La Palma copyright iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka will be fit, no doubt. But other than a second place at Cavalls del Vent in 2012, he has raced little and been plagued with issues. He was fired up for Transvulcania and then got a bug. He missed Ronda dels Cims to do his own project, Nolans 14 and then didn’t go well. So what can we expect? To be honest, I am not sure. Without doubt he prefers the longer distances but he placed fourth last year and as he has proved in the past, he can race well over the 50km to 50 mile distance.

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Timothy Olson has just repeated his victory at Western States and will be riding high. However, Like Anton he likes the 100 mile distance. At Transvulcania 2013 when he placed fourth behind Sage, he said post race that he was just warming up. He has all the class needed to win Speedgoat but I think Canaday and Clayton may just have the edge over 50km.

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Luke Nelson raced at Transvulcania and said post race that it was a learning curve. He has all the ability to mix it up but I see him somewhere between five and ten and not in the top five.

Benoit (front) at MDS copyright iancorless.com

Benoit (front) at MDS copyright iancorless.com

Benoit Laval, founder and CEO of Raidlight clothing will toe the line. He is an accomplished runner and although he placed third at Lantau 50 earlier this year and raced at Marathon des Sables, I don’t see him in contention for the podium at Speedgoat.

Michael Wardian after a prolonged rest from injury continues to bounce back with some impressive running. Although still racing on a regular basis he does seem to have eased back but in the process has had some great results. For example, just recently he ran 3:12 for 50km to set a world record indoor, a far cry from Speedgoat but you can never rule him out and almost certainly he will be running up at the front pushing the pace.

Thierry Breuil from France may mix things up however, he was recently fifth at the Trail Running Championships and although that course is nothing like Speedgoat, he may find his feet and have a great run.

Other contenders: Jorge Maravilla, Jason Loutitt and Jason Schlarb.

Links:

Speedgoat 50k – HERE

Skyrunning – HERE

A ladies preview will follow

Speedgoat 50k 2012 – Ultra Skymarathon Series

Start training now….. cuz’ it’s gonna hurt!

What else would you expect from Speedgoat Karl Meltzer. In 1989, Karl moved to Utah and in his own words became a ‘ski bum’. But in 1990 he started to run and in 1996 he became an ultra runner. To date he has 55 race wins, 47 of them in ultras. He has won Hardrock 100 5 times, Wasatch 100 6 times, Massannutten 100 3 times and in addition to this he has run the Appalachian Trail, 2176 miles in 54 days, 21 hrs and 12 min and recently, in 2010, he did the Red Bull Human Express running from CA to St Joseph, MO a distance of 2064 miles in 40 days. So, he likes races that are tough, long or a combination of both.

Speedgoat 50k is no different. What it lacks in distance it makes up for in severity and vertical gain.

This race consists of 11,420′ of total climbing. With the whole race taking place above 7600′, with the majority above 9200′. Karl is proud when he says:

“it is the most technical race east and west of Snowbird Ski Resort.”

Rocky, Rooty, snowy, very steep hills, even steeper descents all over nasty, wet rocky terrain. If you like a fast 50k, this race is NOT for you. Needless to say, there is nothing easy about it. If you enjoy tough races, this race is for you.

photo by Jared Campbell

The 2012 edition of the Speedgoat 50k is now part of the new Skyrunning Ultra Skymarathon Series. The first race in the series was the 80km Transvulcania La Palma in the Canaries, won by Dakota Jones in the mens race and Anna Frost in the ladies race.

Ultra SkyMarathon® Series

*SPAIN:  TRANSVULCANIA ULTRA MARATHON – La Palma – May 12 
USA:  Speedgoat 50K – Snowbird, Utah – July 28
ITALY:  Trofeo Kima UltraSkyMarathon® – Valmasino, Sondrio – August 26
SPAIN:  Cavalls del Vent – Cadi-Moixeró Natural Park – Pyrenees – September 29
FRANCE:  La Course des Templiers – Millau, Grands Causses – October 28

Race Director – Speedgoat Karl Meltzer

The addition of Skyrunning to the Speedgoat 50K means that it’s profile for this year will be greatly increased. When I spoke to Karl, his excitement was palatable:

“I’m stoked, the race is gonna be sick. We have a stacked field and in the mens race it is almost impossible to predict who will triumph the field it is so competitive. Anton Krupicka is using this race as his ‘comeback’ after a long lay off, last years winner Nick Clark will toe the line and from Europe we have Thomas Lorblanchet from France, young star Philipp Reiter and of course the ‘king’ himself, Kilian Jornet from Spain. In the ladies race we have a great field but it’s less deep than the mens and providing that Frosty (Anna Frost) is fit and well she is the out and out favourite but Nikki Kimball will be hot on her heels”

Karl also added;

“This year we are proud to announce a $10,000 prize purse, with a few extra $1000 for incentive bonuses on the mountain. Top 3 runners will recieve the cash awards.”

So as Karl has pointed out this is a stacked field. But who will win the race and can the course record of 5:43:20 set by Kevin Shilling set in 2010 be taken down… certainly one would think that if the record is going to fall, this may very well be the year!

Predictions MEN:

Anton Krupicka has been racking up his training and made the decision not to race at Hardock and make sure that his recovery from injury was more controlled. Speedgoat 50k is his first race in 18 months and one has to assume that if he is turning up, he is turning up to race!

Anton Krupicka

Kilian Jornet missed Western States after a tragedy during one of his ‘Summits‘ attempts but returned to racing form with a Vertical K win at Mont Blanc and then a win in the Mont Blanc Marathon. He was then in Spain for the Kilian Classic and then this coming weekend, 20-22nd July he will be racing in Italy at the Skyrunning Dolomites race. The Speedgoat will certainly suit Kilian.

Kilian Jornet

Nick Clark had seemed a little despondent with his racing form in early 2012. He had expressed to me on several occasions that he just wan’t ‘firing’ on all cylinders. Particularly his race in Zegama made him re think. But re think he did and once again turned up at Western States and came away with a podium place. Nick has won the Speedgoat before and holds the third fastest time on the course at 5:46:38. You can never rule Nick out.

Nick Clark

Max King is not an ultra runner as such but he is a mountain runner and on paper is the fastest marathon runner at the race. Max also had a disappointing race at Zegama but the 50k distance and this course may very well play into his hands.

Max King

Joe Grant has previously run the Speedgoat race and holds one of the fastest top 10 times with 6:12:15 (almost half an hour slower than Nick) but in 2012 he has increased strength and has excellent form. However, Speedgoat falls just 2 weeks after Hardrock 100 and after a superb 2nd place at that super tough 100 miler one has to ask if Joe will have recovered to be able to ‘race’ at Speedgoat.

Jason Loutitt is a top mountain runner and has placed 2nd at the IAU Ultra Trail Championships, has won Hurt 100 and is quick over the marathon distance. All these elements make him a real contender for the Speedgoat title.

We said this field was stacked and from Europe we have Thomas Lorblanchet and Philipp Reiter, both of these runners raced at Transvulcania La Palma and placed well. Philipp in particular has won several races and most recently was victorious at the Salomon 4 Trails. The fifth fastest time ever recorded at Speedgoat was set by Erik Storheim with 6:08:42 in 2009 he has race experience and along with Nick Pedatella they may prove to be the dark horse outsiders.

Predictions LADIES:

Anna Frost is the out and out favourite after a stunning run at the Transvulcania La Palma, she not only obliterated the ladies record but made big inroads to the overall results and nearly creep into the top 10 overall. However, she has recently posted on her blog “Currently placing a question mark over this race with fatigued legs still keeping my two feet on the ground.” so we are unsure if she will race…

Frosty – Anna Frost

Nikki Kimball is back on form! No doubt. She showed some real emotion on the finish line of the Transvulcania La Palma with a stunning 3rd place and then pre Zegama with tired legs I asked her how she intended to race “I’m gonna kick ass!” and she did placing in the top 10. Her most recent top 5 at Western States in 18:31 is a further indication that she will be turning up at Speedgoat to run and race hard.

Nikki Kimball

Meghan Arbogast is fast! Certainly she is more suited to the flatter, fast courses and she excels on the road. She placed 10th lady at Western States in 19:45. Meghan will be up at the front of the ladies race and the shorter distance may well play into her speed hands!

A fight for the podium may very well come from Julie Bryan who has had two wins in 2012, admittedly over shorter terrain and more notably Kerrie Bruxvoort who has won 3 50k races; Golden Gate Dirty Thirty, Greenland Trail and Mesquite Canyon. My outsider would be Bethany Lewis.

 

photo by Jared Campbell

You can hear pre race chat and post race chat with race director, Karl Meltzer in a Meltzer Moment on Talk Ultra. Episode 14 will be released on Friday July 27th with pre race chat and episode 15 released on Friday August 10th will have analysis, results and hopefully some interviews from the race. Shows are available on iTunes and Libsyn

Race Website HERE

Skyrunning (ISF) HERE