REVIEW of 2016 in Trail, Mountain, Ultra and Skyrunning

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As a year comes to end, it’s always nice to be able to look back and appreciate some of the highlights that all come together that allows one to decide if it was a good or bad year. For me personally, 2016 was a cracker and I am truly thankful for all the opportunities that came up.

Looking back and deciding on what a highlight is, is of course a tricky thing. It’s very personal and it also requires a great memory. So, I will declare right from the off that these are ‘my’ highlights and yes, I am going to miss some key performances, runners, experiences and so on that should be in the list. So, please feel free to comment and remind me.

It would make sense to start in January and move through to December in a logical way… I am not going to do that, I am writing this off the cuff.

Jim Walmsley has been on fire in 2016 and ironically, despite an amazing run and course record at JFK50, FKT’s for the Rim-to-Rim and Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim in the Grand Canyon and countless other victories, it will be his Western States performance that well and truly cements Jim as one of the most exciting runners to rise in 2016. He said pre Western States that he was there to win and win with a course record. He flew along the trails and at one point was almost 30-minutes under the record. As he passed 90-miles everyone was re-writing the history books and then boom! Jim went off course. I caught up with a full and in-depth interview with Jim and you can listen to that HERE and read it HERE. Jim for many is the male Ultra-runner of the Year with victories at Stagecoach Line 55km, Franklin Mountains Trail Run, Lake Sonoma, Mesquite Canyon, Moab Red Hot 55k, Bandera 100k and the recent JFK50. 2017 is going to be a very exciting one.

Rob Young set off on a journey Across the USA looking for a new record, fame, glory and an opportunity to raise a load of money for charity. Somewhere along the way he lost a grasp of reality, perspective and ruined what was a remarkable story be cheating and deceiving the whole ultra running community. Ultimately, Rob is a story of an individual who tried to do good and maybe we should ask what went wrong rather than preach about his morals.

That brings me on to Mark Vaz. What is it with FKT’s and delusional behaviour? Mark seemed to think that running from Land’s End to John O’Groats 31-hours quicker than anyone else for the 860-mile journey was a good idea. It’s not even a convincing lie. As many pointed out, the god of ultra -running, Yiannis Kouros, couldn’t have done it as quick as Mr. Vaz claimed… oh dear!

Pete Kostelnick by contrast embraced the FKT concept and showed the world that the claims made by Rob Young are possible by smashing a 30+ year old Guinness record out of the ether by running Across the USA a full 4-days quicker than anyone else. As records go, this is an absolute doozy and when you look deep and hard into this 40+ day journey, you soon start to understand the difficulty and complexity of running 70+ miles a day. You can listen to an in-depth interview with Pete HERE and read the story HERE. In addition, we must also add to this story, Pete’s incredible and record breaking run at Badwater 135. This achievement has been overshadowed by the USA run but as a stand alone run, it’s also a cracker.

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Karl Meltzer did it, he finally completed the Appalachian Trail in a new record breaking time after failing on two previous occasions.  His time was some 10-hours quicker than Scott Jurek’s set in 2015, however, Karl did run in the opposite direction and has said, post run, he feels that they are two records. Notably, Karl helped Scott in 2015 and Scott helped Karl in 2016. It’s a remarkable story and one that truly reflects our sport of ultra-running. Karl’s record of 45-days, 22-hours and 38-minutes now sits in the record books and well and truly establishes Karl as one of ‘the’ greatest ultra-runners in the world. This is also backed up with his 38 100-mile victories and 5 victories at Hardrock 100. Listen to the in-depth interview HERE and read HERE

Talking of Hardrock 100, Kilian Jornet and Jason Schlarb held hands and crossed the line together in 2016. It was a wonderful moment that split the ultra-running audience in two. Some would have preferred a race to the line while others discussed the wonderful gesture and statement this moment made. Whichever camp you sit in, it was back-to-back victories for Kilian and a career defining moment for Jason Schlarb. Something he discussed in my in-depth interview HERE. For equality, we also need to mention Anna Frost nailing a back-to-back ladies victory. As I understand it, these three Musketeers will all return in 2017.

Aaron Denberg got a bee in his bonnet about Hardrock 100 lottery and decided to create a law suit. Many believe Mr. Denberg makes some good points but questioned if his approach was the correct one? Hardrock 100 released statements and have since removed the payment of a fee by each runner to enter the lottery, something which was apparently illegal! This will run and run (pardon the pun) but ultimately, is Hardrock a victim of it’s own success?

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Caroline Chaverot for me, without doubt, female ultra-runner of the year. This French lady has been on fire all the way from victory in Transgrancanaria early in the year to a most recent win in Hong Kong on December 2nd. Along the way, Caroline won UTMB, became Skyrunning World Champion for the ultra distance and won the IAU World Trail Championships in Portugal. Add to these incredible results, victories at Madirea Island Ultra Trail, Mont-Blanc 80km and the UTWT world title for 2016 and I lower my head and bow to Queen Caroline. Plus she has made the lottery for Hardrock in 2017… exciting!

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Adam Campbell survives a horrific fall and not only lives to tell the tale but has a remarkable recovery, listen to the interview HERE and read HERE

Lizzy Hawker sneaked from under the radar and once again picked up the gauntlet testing her personal boundaries and voyage of self-discovery. After years of injury, Lizzy completed the GHT (Great Himalayan Trail). A 1600km, east to west journey across Nepal. It was, as Lizzy promised, a “beautiful, rough, hard and unforgettable journey”. It was about many things, but also about trying to raise money to give opportunities to Nepali runners, particularly girls, for whom one chance can be a catalyst for much wider change.

Damian Hall set a new FKT on the UK’s South West Coast Path 10-hours, 15-minutes and 18-seconds for the 630-mile jaunt.

Jeff Browning, what a year…! Winner Hurt 100, 3rd at Western States, 4th at Hardrock 100 and 4th at Run Rabbit Run – that is some year, the WSER/Hardrock double a stand out and fastest combined time.

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Kilian Jornet won Hardrock 100 and attempted to summit Everest. The Summits Of My Life project continues on into 2017 after Kilian and his team decided to pull the plug on a 2016 attempt as weather detonated.

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Emelie Forsberg was quiet in 2016 after damaging her ACL and having an operation, she did however return to Trofeo Kima and put the record straight with a victory… she hopes the course record will come in 2018 when the race will take place once again. Emelie discussed her injury HERE

Beth Pascall went from strength-to-strength in 2016 and elevated the Lakeland 100 (UK) record to a whole new level by placing 4th overall. Listen to her interview HERE

Zach Miller did what he always does and lead from the front. At UTMB many predicted, me included, that it was going to be a story of glorious victory with a stunning ‘off-the-front’ performance or carnage with a monumental blow-up! In reality it was both, the blow-up came and he somehow managed to hold on for grim death to still get a top-10 place, he will win this race one day! Jump forward to December and Zach did it again at San Francisco 50. This time he had company and many are saying that ‘this’ race was one of the highlights of the year as Zach and Hayden Hawks traded blows at the front. Zach won with a course record and he took home the $10,000 prize. Hayden finished just 2-minutes back. Note that name! If you want to know what it’s like to put it ALL on the line, take a look at Zach’s final 2-minutes of that incredible 5:56:03 run.

Andrew Miller became the youngest winner of the iconic Western States and today, myself and so many others still know very little about this 20-year old. Certainly, Jim Walmsley had an impact on the kudos and plaudits that Andrew should have received. Running 15:39:36 at WSER takes some doing but I can’t help but think that Biology and chemistry are a priority as Andrew starts his sophomore year at Northern Arizona University. He will be back at WSER in 2017!

Kaci Lickteig has been nailing it and nailing it and finally got the Western States victory that she has longed for and then contrasted it with victory at the Bear 100. You can listen to Kaci’s post Western States interview HERE

Andrea Huser runs and races it would appear ‘every’ weekend. She is relentless. As I understand it, Andrea raced on thirteen occasions but I may have missed some/ She had victories at Raid de La Reunion Swiss Irontrail T201 Eiger Ultratrail 101km, Lavaredo, Trail d’Albertville, Trail Des Allobroges and Maxi-Race Annecy. Phew… any other year and the lack of Caroline Chaverot and Andrea would be female ultra-runner of the year.

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Luis Alberto Hernando won Transvulcania, became Skyrunning World Champion for the ultra distance and became IAU World Trail Champion. That is a solid year and Luis has raced less having become a Dad. Had his feet not fallen apart at UTMB, he may well have been in the running with Jim for male ultra-runner of the year.

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Diego Pazos is a name to watch and has surprised many in 2016. He’s my heads-up for the future. He had a notable result at Transgrancanaria early in 2016 but what followed was quite incredible, his victory at Mont-Blanc 80km a highlight!

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Didrik Hermansen won Transgrancanaria and then placed 2nd at Western States. That is solid and shows real diversity. What will 2017 hold for him? Listen HERE and as Sondre corrects me, Didrik ran 6:45 and 6:38 for 100k.

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Running Beyond Book was released in October and November to a worldwide audience and has been translated into Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish and of course is available in English. Containing 240-pages, this large coffee table books documents the sport of trail, ultra, mountain and skyrunning in images and words, HERE

Dan Lawson (UK) won the IAU 24 Hour European Championships in 2016 with a distance of 261.843 kilometres (162.702 mi).

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Jasmin Paris has elevated herself to a whole new level in 2016. This quiet and shy fell runner set new records for the UK’s ‘Rounds’ and in the process placed 6th at UTMB (her first 100) won Tromso SkyRace, won Glencoe Skyline, became the Skyrunner World Series Extreme Champion 2016 and in addition to countless other races, also placed on the podium at the Skyrunning World Championships for the ultra distance behind Caroline Chaverot. Interviews with Jasmin Paris HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

Joe Grant set a new record on the 14’ers in 31-days by cycling between trailheads and then summiting all the 14’ers (50+ of them) on foot to then return back to his cycle and then continue on his journey. He was self-sufficient for the whole trip. “I did set a speed record, but that wasn’t my goal,” says Grant, 33, an accomplished ultrarunner who finished second at the 2012 Hardrock 100. “The goal was to challenge myself and see the state, although the previous record served as a reference for how long I could take.” taken from trailrunningmag.

Megan Hicks also completed a ’14’ journey, the Nolans 14 in Colorado. She completed the journey in 57:19:19 to the summit of the 14th peak and then completed the journey back to the Fish Hatchery Trailhead in under 60-hours – 59:36. Her time is the fastest ever completed by a woman.

Nicky Spinks continues to inspire and while she may have lost her ‘Round’ records to Jasmin Paris, she went on to set a new benchmark with a record for a double Bob Graham Round – Nick is an inspiration! You can listen to an interview with her HERE

Ludovic Pommeret ran the most controlled and impressive UTMB ever moving from not being in contention to slowly but surely ticking off the runners ahead and taking the crown at the largest ultra in the world. Add to this victory four other victories and Ludovic is one to keep an eye on in ’17.’

Caroline Boller set new American Trail 50-mile record 5:48:01

Gina Slaby set new female 100-mile WR 13:45:49 for ‘any’ surface, Anne Trason had the previous record of  13:47:41 set in the early 90’s.

Skyline Scotland achieved a first with Glencoe Skyline achieving Skyrunner World Status in the Extreme category and as such, the 2016 edition of the race had arguably one of the best fields assembled on UK soil for a mountain race. HERE

Jon Albon transitioned from obstacle racing (something he still does and excels at) to Skyrunning and won the 2016 Skyrunner World Series Extreme category. We are going to see more of him in 2017! HERE

Samantha Gash ran across India in a project called ‘Run India’ as a means to create awareness and raise money. Covering over 3000km you can listen to her story in episode 125 of Talk Ultra out on Friday 16th December.

Ida Nilsson started the year with a win in Transvulcania, she took victory at The Rut and then in early December won San Francisco 50. Without doubt, Ida is a star of the future. Listen to Ida talk about Transvulcania HERE

Stu Leaney breaks Michael Wardian’s 50km treadmill record by just 7-seconds

Mina Guli ran 40-marathons across 7 deserts on 7 continents in 7 weeks to raise awareness for water, listen to the interview HERE

Jason Schlarb started his year by prepping for Hardrock 100 by skiing the course, listen to the interview HERE

Skyrunning and the world series (SWS) elevated to new heights with an increased circuit that traveled the globe and the addition of the new Extreme series.

And finally (maybe), Donnie Campbell just recently set a new Winter Ramsay Round record to finish a very solid year!

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So what have I missed? 

I am well aware that I will have missed some key performances in 2016 and I welcome you commenting and letting me know. Of course, many performances, races or experiences will resonate on a personal level for you. I can think of many British performances that are worthy of a nod – Jo Meek’s 2nd at the CCC, Paul Giblin 5th at Western States, Joasia Zakrzewski’s medal at the 100k World Champs for example.

Be great to hear from you…

Episode 121 – ELS2900 and Big Red Run

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Episode 121 – On this weeks show we speak with ELS2900 race director, Matt Lefort, about his super tough Andorran race. Niandi brings us a selection of audio, recorded in the Simpson Desrert, as Australia’s 2016 Big Red Run took place. Ian is interviewed by a Portuguese magazine and Speedgoat is back co-hosting!

RUNNING BEYOND BOOK is now available in Germany, Spain, Italy and the English language versions will be posted out on November 3rd. News in that the book will now also be translated to Swedish – HERE

00:09:12 Interview with Ian by Rute Barbedo from a Portuguese magazine also listen to Ian’s 1-hour interview by Tom Williams for Marathon Talk HERE

00:31:34 NEWS

LIMONE VK

  1. Philip Goetsch – SWS champ 2016
  2. Stian Angermund
  3. Patrick Facchini
  1. Christel Dewalle – SWS champ 2016
  2. Valentina Bellot
  3. Hilde Alders

LIMONE SKY

  1. Alexis Sevennec 2:46
  2. Hector Haines
  3. Kiril Nikolov

Tadei Pivk SWS 2016 champ

  1. Megan Kimmel 3:17 and CR and SWS 2016 champ
  2. Laura Orgue
  3. Celine Lafaye

THE OTTER

Marc Lauenstein defended his Otter African Trail Run title in South Africa, and set a new course record in 3:54. Robyn Owen and Stevie Kremer placed 1 + 2 with Owen winning in 4:49 to Kremer’s 4:52. Full results.

BIG DOG BACKYARD ULTRA

A 4.16-mile loop of trail every hour. Those that finish the loop in an hour move on to the next loop and this continues until the last runner standing!Babak Rastgoufard won in 28:48 and gets a place in the  Barkley Marathons.

OCR

Jon Albon becomes OCR world champion again

AUTUMN 100

Centurion Running’s Autumn 100 had 2 course records from Mark Denby 14:07:39 and Susie Chesher 15:22 – Suzie was so quick she finished 2nd overall results here

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6,700 meters  of elevation gain over just 70k (44 miles). Thirty-nine competitors started the race, and 24 managed the improbable finish. Xavier Teixido, finished in front at 13:49. Vivien Reynaud and Òscar Perez were second and third in 15:18 and 15:38.

Sonia Regueiro became a two-time finisher and winner, this time 18:59, three hours faster than her finish last year, and Cati Lladó was second in 21:26. 

00:54:56 INTERVIEW with ELS2900 RD – Matt Lefort

Pete Kostelnick if you don’t know already is aiming to break the trans-US running record, which stands at 46 days, 8 hours. Pete will likely finish in around 41 or 42 days early next week, which is utterly insane when you think about the fact that he could shave nearly five days off this record. He’s averaging 71 miles a day for the last 36 days, or in Aussie speak, that’s 114kms a day. Bowsers. Read HERE

Kilian Jornet looking for a VK record? Read HERE

02:03:30 INTERVIEW from Big Red Run

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Queensland

Blackall 100 | 100 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Blackall 100 – 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

South Australia

Heysen 105 | 105 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Victoria

Ned Kelly Chase 100km – Wangaratta Fitness Fun Addicts | 100 kilometers | October 23, 2016 | website

Barbados

Midnight 50 | 50 kilometers | October 30, 2016 | website

Canada

Ontario

50 km | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Costa Rica

Q50 Costa Rica Ultramarathon | 86 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Croatia

109,8 km | 109 kilometers | October 21, 2016 | website

161.4 km | 161 kilometers | October 21, 2016 | website

57 km | 57 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

France

Aveyron

Grand Trail des templiers | 76 kilometers | October 23, 2016 | website

Intégrale des Causses | 63 kilometers | October 21, 2016 | website

La Solitaire | 65 kilometers | October 21, 2016 | website

Trail des Hospitaliers | 75 kilometers | October 30, 2016 | website

Corse-du-Sud

Corsica Coast Race – 170 km | 170 kilometers | October 23, 2016 | website

Corsica Coast Race – 95 km | 95 kilometers | October 27, 2016 | website

Germany

North Rhine-Westphalia

Röntgenlauf Ultramarathon | 63 kilometers | October 30, 2016 | website

Greece

Rodopi Advendurun 100 miles | 100 miles | October 21, 2016 | website

Guadeloupe

Le Grand Raid | 57 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Hong-Kong

50 km | 50 kilometers | October 23, 2016 | website

Salomon LT 70 | 70 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

India

West Bengal

Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race | 100 miles | October 24, 2016 | website

Indonesia

Bromo Tengger Semeru 102K | 102 kilometers | November 04, 2016 | website

Bromo Tengger Semeru 170K | 170 kilometers | November 04, 2016 | website

Bromo Tengger Semeru 70K | 70 kilometers | November 04, 2016 | website

Israel

Ultra Marathon Sovev Emek – 100 Km Run | 100 kilometers | October 28, 2016 | website

Ultra Marathon Sovev Emek – 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | October 28, 2016 | website

Ultra Marathon Sovev Emek – 200 Km Run | 200 kilometers | October 28, 2016 | website

Ultra Marathon Sovev Emek – 61 Km Run | 61 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

Italy

Campania

Amalfi Coast Trail | 87 kilometers | October 23, 2016 | website

Piedmont

Lago d’Orta Ultra Trail – 55 km | 55 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Lago D’Orta Ultra Trail – 80 km | 80 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Malaysia

100K | 100 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

Namibia

Namib Desert Challenge | 220 kilometers | October 24, 2016 | website

Nepal

Annapurna 100 | 110 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Annapurna Ultra-Mountain | 85 kilometers | October 26, 2016 | website

Solukhumbu Trail | 289 kilometers | October 28, 2016 | website

New Zealand

Blackmores XTERRA Trail Challenge Waihi Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Taranaki Steelformers 100 mile Around the mountain Solo | 100 miles | November 04, 2016 | website

Oman

Oman Desert Marathon | 165 kilometers | November 04, 2016 | website

Réunion

La Mascareignes | 67 kilometers | October 21, 2016 | website

Trail de Bourbon | 93 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

South Africa

Bonitas Golden Gate Challenge | 70 kilometers | October 21, 2016 | website

Spain

Andalusia

Ultima Frontera – 166 km | 166 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Ultima Frontera – 55 km | 55 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Ultima Frontera – 83 km | 83 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Ultra-Trail Gran Vuelta Valle Del Genal | 125 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

Basque Country

Long Trail Apuko Extrem | 68 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

Ultra Trail Apuko Extreme | 110 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

Sweden

Markusloppet | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Turkey

Cappadocia Trail 60km | 62 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Trail | 110 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Derbyshire

Dusk’til Dawn Ultra | 50 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Durham

Original Mountain Marathon | 52 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Scottish Borders

Three Peaks 38 mile ultramarathon | 38 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Suffolk

Coastal Trail Series – Suffolk – Ultra | 34 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

USA

Arizona

100K | 100 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | November 04, 2016 | website

50 mile | 50 miles | November 04, 2016 | website

Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

California

50 km | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Lake Hodges 50K | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Florida

80 Mile Relay | 80 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

Jacks 50k Trail Race | 50 kilometers | October 23, 2016 | website

Mutual Mine 50K | 50 kilometers | October 30, 2016 | website

“Running for the Bay!” 50K | 50 kilometers | October 23, 2016 | website

Illinois

Chicago Lakefront 50K | 50 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

Kansas

Kansas Rails-to-Trails 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Prairie Spirit Trail Fall Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | October 29, 2016 | website

Prairie Spirit Trail Fall Classic 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Maryland

Patapsco Valley 50K | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Minnesota

Surf the Murph 50K | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Surf the Murph 50M | 50 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

Nebraska

G.O.A.T.z 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 23, 2016 | website

Nevada

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas | 195 miles | November 04, 2016 | website

New Hampshire

Ghost Train Ultra Race 100M | 100 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Ghost Train Ultra Race 45M | 45 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Ghost Train Ultra Race 60M | 60 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Ghost Train Ultra Race 75M | 75 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Ghost Train Ultra Race 90M | 90 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

North Carolina

Triple Lakes Trail 40 Mile Run | 40 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Tuna Run 200 | 200 miles | October 21, 2016 | website

Tuna Run 70 | 70 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

Uwharrie 100K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Uwharrie 100 Mile Trail Run | 100 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

Ohio

Run With Scissors Double Marathon | 52 miles | October 29, 2016 | website

Stone Steps 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 23, 2016 | website

Pennsylvania

Quad State Quad Buster | 46 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK | 50 miles | October 30, 2016 | website

Tennessee

100 Miler | 100 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Texas

50k | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | October 24, 2016 | website

Big Cedar Endurance Run 100 Miler | 100 miles | November 04, 2016 | website

Big Cedar Endurance Run 50K | 50 kilometers | November 04, 2016 | website

Big Cedar Endurance Run 50 Miler | 50 miles | November 04, 2016 | website

Cactus Rose 100 Mi Trail Run | 100 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

Cactus Rose 50 Mi Trail Run | 50 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

Trans-Pecos Ultra | 163 miles | October 23, 2016 | website

Utah

Goblin Valley Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Pony Express Trail 100 | 100 miles | October 21, 2016 | website

Pony Express Trail 50 | 50 miles | October 21, 2016 | website

Virginia

50K | 50 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

50 Mile Ultra | 50 miles | October 22, 2016 | website

West Virginia

Run Around the Gorge | 69 kilometers | October 22, 2016 | website

Wisconsin

50K | 50 kilometers | October 30, 2016 | website

03:07:14 CLOSE

 

03:10:28

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Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

Kilian Jornet chronicles his #SOML #Everest attempt in 2016

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                                        Image ©kilianjornet/ summitsofmylife

“Time was running out and conditions on the mountain weren’t changing. The unstable weather continued and there continued to be a high risk of avalanches on the higher reaches. We left the mountain feeling somewhat frustrated. We were well acclimatized and could climb without taking serious risks, but at the same time we were very satisfied with the activities that we had been able to carry out.” – Kilian Jornet

The mountain is always the boss. The day that you don’t respect the mountain may well be the last day that you spend in the playground. I am pleased to say that Kilian as an adventurer and mountaineer has progresses not only physically but mentally. He some this up well when despite obvious eagerness to reach the summit of Everest, he was able to step back and think, ‘We had to postpone the challenge of climbing Everest because a rapid ascent would expose us to the risk of accidents.’

I for one am happy to hear Kilian speak these words. The mountain will always be there.

“I’m very happy with what I’ve learned these last few weeks in the Himalayas. We’ve seen what things work and what needs to change. We have learned and personally I have grown as a climber. The expedition has left us feeling very positive in spite of not being able to reach the summit.” – Kilian Jornet

Importantly, Kilian looks at this expedition not as failure but as a stepping stone to a future successful attempt.

In his own words you can read his thoughts on his SOML post HERE.

all content Copyright © 2016 Summits of My Life, All rights reserved.

Blåmann Vertical Kilometer® 2016 Summary and Images – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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Starting from the sea and climbing directly to the 1044m of the summit of Blamann, the highest summit on Kvaloya island, the Blåmann Vertical Kilometer® is everything a Skyrunning race should be and the route personifies the sea-to-summit concept.

Unlike other VK’s, this route is more like a mini mountain race as the terrain twists and turns with a variety of mixed terrain. The early stage of soft boggy ground soon give way to huge slabs of rocks that at times require low grade climbing to cover. The use of poles offer no advantage as the race most definitely requires scrambling and ‘hands-on’ climbing.

Just 20 minutes from Tromso, the Blåmann Vertical Kilometer® is a race to embrace.

As expected, the newly crowned Skyrunning World Champion, Stian Angermund dictated the pace and the race on the steep slopes from the sea. In the early stages the course was shrouded by mist and cloud but as Stian zoomed up the climb, the mist lifted and above was a glorious day of blue skies and fluffy clouds. By the midway point, Stian had a clear lead over Andorran, Ferran Tpeixido and while other runners power walked with hand-on-knees, Stian ran looking relaxed but breathing hard.

At the summit, Stian crossed the line in 37:00 exactly, Ferran trailed by 31-seconds and David Thibaud placed 3rd in 39:50.

The ladies race turned into a ‘nail biter’ as last minute entry, Emelie Forsberg dictated the early pace obviously feeling feisty after a long recovery process from injury.

At the midway point, Emelie lead the way with Yngvild Kaspersen hot on her heals. Trailing by approximately 30 seconds, Laura Orgue and Hilde Alders pursued.

Laura was not having a good day though, the VK specialist was obviously tired from racing at the Skyrunning World Championships and last weekends victory at the SkyRace Comapedrosa.

Hilde though was on fire. She caught Yngvild and Emelie and in the closing stages it was a neck and neck race with Yngvild leading the way followed by Hilde and Emelie in third. It looked as though this would be the finishing order and then Emelie released an incredible sprint… taking a different line, she zoomed past the other two just as Hilde responded. It was like watching a sprint in the Tour de France.

Emelie crossed the line first in 44:49 (tbc), Hilde placed second and Yngvild 3rd, all separated just by seconds. Laura Orgue finished 4th having eased back.

Attention now turns to tomorrow and the Tromsø SkyRace® which will start at 0800.


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

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MIRA – The Movie

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“MIRA” is a gem among the many ultrarunning movies that are currently available. It’s a simple story that pulls at the heart, inspires and at all times remains humble. The movie, like Mira started small and has grown.

In 2014, Mira was unknown, but through the insight of Trail Running Nepal, Richard Bull and Lizzy Hawker, Mira found a home and a story started to unfold. Like any flame, if you provide the right conditions, the flame will grow, increase and yes, even rage.

In February 2015, Lloyd Belcher started to work on this project. Like any project of this nature, it was a risk. Would Mira perform, would the film find the funding required to complete it. Lloyd sums it up so well when he recently said:

“Thank you to all who believed in the value of this project when we started filming in Feb 2015 without any money but a vision of how we wanted to reach girls in Nepal with Mira’s inspirational story. So many have joined us on this journey and given in so many ways.”

The film is the story about Mira, a Nepali village girl on her pursuit to becoming a world-recognised mountain runner while racing primarily in the 2015 Skyrunner World Series.

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I have to say, I have been more than fortunate to witness Mira’s growth, not only from the outside looking in but also on the trails as I have documented in words and images her inspirational rise in the sport.

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The ridges, mountains and technical trail of Tromso, the stunning Italian Dolomites and the Spanish mountains in and around Ultra Pirineu. Mira inspired through her humility, her no-nonsense approach and a very simple approach to life. When you watch MIRA you realise why.

Unlike many other running movies, MIRA is just a great story. It’s inspiring and at times heart breaking. A fascinating watch, Mira’s life journey is told on film; from growing up in  remote Nepalese countryside with poverty, a 2-year stint in the army and a brave solo move to Kathmandu. Victory at an impromptu 50km race made Richard Bull, stop, ask questions and suddenly help Mira (along with Lizzy Hawker) take the first steps on a compelling story to competing with the best in the world.

MIRA is a film for all, runner or not, it’s just great story telling!

Watch the trailer

But most importantly rent and watch the movie. Proceeds will directly benefit initiatives to empower Nepali girls to participate in sports. 

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The movie ‘Mira’ is now available online here

 https://vimeo.com/ondemand/miraraifilm

Glen Coe Skyline goes EXTREME and makes Skyrunner World Series 2016

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The International Skyrunning Federation is pleased to announce that the Skyrunner World Series calendar will have a new addition to VK, SKY and ULTRA for 2016 and future years. See the full release and calendar HERE.

They are going Extreme!

Trofeo Kima has long been a pinnacle race for Skyrunning enthusiasts worldwide. A jewel in the Skyrunning crown and the words of Kilian Jornet sum it up so well:

“Picture a mountain terrain that has no paths, amidst glaciers; it is all crests, rocks, stretches of via Ferrata and all over a course that stretches 50-km. Kima is not athletics, it is mountaineering; pure Skyrunning!”

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The bi-annual race returns in 2016 and due to increasing demand for adventurous and demanding courses, the ISF have created a new series called SKY EXTREME.

Three countries, three awesome races, a real opportunity to embrace the ethos of where earth meets sky!

The series will start in Norway with the TROMSO SKYRACE in August, we will then move to Italy for TROFEO KIMA in late August and then the final race will be in the UK with Scotland’s GLEN COE SKYLINE in September.

Although it will be possible to race each race in its own right, to qualify for the series you will be required to run two races.

The rewards? Skyrunner World Series Extreme Champion 2016.

“My vision of so many years ago is finally coming full circle,” said ISF President, Marino Giacometti. “I was ahead of my time! After our first records and races restricted to athletes-climbers on the summit of Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc, Trofeo Kima become the symbol of Skyrunning. Kima has always been for a select few but the growth and demand for more challenging races is now finally coming to fruition with the inspiration that Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg have provided. Tromso Skyrace and Glen Coe Skyline are great additions to the Skyrunner World Series and Sky Extreme is a new and exciting step for Skyrunning! ” 

Needless to say, the addition of EXTREME to the Skyrunner World Series is great news for a UK audience and UK based runners.

“I had a dream 2-years ago when Skyrunning UK was launched in the UK that in 3-years we would host a SWS event. That dream is now a reality and with it the worlds best will come to Scotland in September to race in the mountains of Glen Coe!”– Ian Corless, Skyrunning UK Director.

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You can follow Skyrunning on line HERE and HERE

You can follow the Skyrunning UK Series HERE and HERE

You can view the three Sky Extreme Races via the following links:

TROMSO HERE

TROFEO KIMA HERE

GLEN COE SKYLINE HERE

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FAST and LIGHT Salomon SRTV – Skyrunning

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Watch the film, Fast and Light at the bottom of this article

A trickle of piano noise from the local music school weaves its way through open window shutters left ajar to allow some breeze… the heat of the day can be stifling. It feels and sounds like a scene in a movie. Cobbled streets, stone arches, a wonderful old square, the chatter of children playing and the smell of a freshly brewed cappuccino in the air.

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Biella, or should I say, the International Skyrunning Federation HQ (and home of Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti) is atop a hill in a walled village close to the Aosta valley, just over an hour from Chamonix and in close proximity to Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn. It seems the perfect location for the home of pure mountain running. Biella lies in the foothills of the Alps in the Bo mountain range near Mt. Mucrone and Camino.

It is midway through the 2014 season, between Ice Trail Tarentaise and Trofeo Kima, I spend time with Lauri and Marino in Biella at their home in the mountains (Casina) Corteno Golgi and at Trofeo Kima to get an inside look at what makes this couple tick and how the Skyrunning calendar and its logistics fall into place. The African Attachment with Greg Fell, Dean Leslie and Kelvin Trautman were also filming for Salomon Running. Today, 20th Oct the preview film will be made live. ‪#‎FastandLight‬ is for me a special moment. I hope you enjoy the film and the related articles and images that are currently published worldwide to coincide with the films release.

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Mountains dominate the life of Marino and Lauri. It’s not a job; it’s a passion that dominates 12+ hours of every day. You will see the dynamic duo at all the Skyrunner® World Series races every year. In total, that is 15-events in 3-disciplines, VK, SKY and ULTRA. But these worldwide events are just the visible face of what the ISF does! Behind the scenes it’s a frenetic highly pressured scene of telephone calls, emails, logistical planning and negotiations that make the Skyrunner® World Series tick.

“We moved here as the sports brand Fila were based here. In the 90’s they were a key sponsor for Skyrunning,” says Lauri van Houten, Executive Director for the International Skyrunning Federation, “When Fila folded, we were left with a dilemma; should we stay or should we go? Stay we did and it feels natural and relaxed to be here now.”

It’s a scenario far removed from 1989 when Giacometti set a record running from the village of Alagna to the summit of Monte Rosa. 25-years of mountain running and today, iconic names such as Bruno Brunod and Fabio Meraldi are once again being talked about in the same breath as Kilian Jornet.

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Bruno Brunod

“Older generations were already Skyrunners. My grandfather crossed the mountains working for example. ‘We’ as Skyrunners added more speed but in essence it has always been the same thing, Skyrunners have always existed.” Bruno Brunod says. 

“What I liked was going quickly to the summit. I felt the same when I was a kid in the pastures, I always ran up and down the summits that surrounded me. It is something I felt inside, something I liked.”

In 2012, Skyrunning went through a revival. After careful and strategic planning, the ISF launched the new Sky Ultra Marathon Series with Transvulcania La Palma and a seminar, ‘Less Cloud, More Sky.’ The sport moved up a notch and became something that runners all over the world aspired to. It’s been called the ‘the next big thing’ but as Giacometti explains:

“There is nothing new in Skyrunning. It is just now that everyone is catching up with our vision from so many years ago.”

BIELLA

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Biella is a wonderful place. Calm and relaxing, to me, it is typically Italian. Located opposite a music school, the ISF headquarters and home of Marino Giacometti and Lauri van Houten resonate a calm and tranquility that seems far removed from the full-on days in and around and Skyrunner® World Series.
The sun shines and the daily bustle of Italian life provides a wonderful soundtrack that penetrates ones’ mind. Cars rumble over cobbled streets as they scoot off to work, mothers are heard chastising their child©iancorless.comIMG_5035ren as they amble to school. The click of an espresso machine and that wonderful noise as pressured water works its way through fresh coffee and the smell, oh the smell! Nothing beats a fresh coffee in the morning. It’s 7am and Marino is kicking off his day with a good strong shot of the dark stuff before donning glasses and opening his computer.

The office is adorned with memorabilia from 20+ years of travel and racing. The door plaque sums it up’ Skyrunners.’ In the corner, magazines are stacked in chronological order documenting a lifetime in sport.

Lauri joins us looking a little tired. Yesterday was another 18-hour day. It’s normal… it shouldn’t be but it is!

“What does a normal day look like for you Lauri?” I tentatively ask, knowing full well the answer.

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“How long have you got? I have no idea; I am speechless. I am a person that gets bored easy. This job is NEVER boring! I may have 5-spreadsheets open, 50 e-mails to look at, and a schedule of things to address and amend and then I need to coordinate with athletes, teams, team managers and race directors and media. My day starts with email. I often think oh my goodness and then the first forty or so emails arrive and then a daily grind starts. In addition to this, sometimes language is a challenge. I speak English, Italian, German but I have emails from Russia, Turkey, Greece, Afghanistan and so on. As I said, my day is never boring.”

Trofeo Kima is just around the corner. For many, me included, ‘Kima’ is the epitome of Skyrunning. Kilian Jornet sums it up well when he says:

“Picture a mountain terrain that has no paths, amidst glaciers; it is all crests, rocks, stretches of via Ferrata and all over a course that stretches 50-km. Kima is not athletics, it is mountaineering; pure Skyrunning!”

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Preparations are well underway for the race and in just 24-hours we will all need to travel to Milan for a press conference and then a journey will follow to the mountains, to Corteno Golgi and a stay at Marino’s mountain house, the ‘Casina’ before an onward journey to the Kima race itself.

“I m a hub, the person in the middle,” says Lauri. “But often you can’t plan how a day will unfold. I have a ‘to do’ list that obviously needs to get done but then things happen daily that need to be addressed immediately. It’s all about time management and you just can’t stick to a too rigid schedule as the guidelines constantly move and change. Kima is imminent and therefore many questions and problems arise. We also have a press conference in Milan, that requires work.”

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Marino looks over at us, he peeps over his glasses and smiles. My question. “Tell me where you come in Marino?” Seems to suggest that I am implying he does nothing.

“Now it’s difficult. We have so many races. I look at race profiles initially and it is easy to see from a quick glance what will and will not make a good Skyrunning race. Remember, my experience was mountaineering but we had to adapt my dreams for a worldwide audience. I look for mountains and mountains provide races and opportunities. I also need to consider locations, countries and how the schedule comes together.”

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The phone rings and Marino joins Fabio Meraldi in a conversation. Walking out of the office into the sunlight, Marino strides around the garden in animated discussion. The Italian sounds like bird song and with arms waving and gesticulating, plans are made for Kima and a series of interviews that will be filmed by The African Attachment on a new film about Skyrunning called, ‘Fast and Light.’

“Tell me about Trofeo Kima, because you designed this course, yes?”

“Kima is on the course of the Sentiero Roma. It’s a well known via ferrata route. It crosses the group of technical mountains in the area and passes through all the 7-refuges. We did the race in reverse for safety reasons but it is still a very technical race and ultimately it has become a beacon of Skyrunning. Ironically, for a Skyrunning race the course does not go to the summits! It is just not possible. However, it is a pure expression of Skyrunning.”

It is easy to look at the ISF calendar and see the Skyrunner® World Series and think easy! However, it takes 365-days to make those 15+ days happen. When one season ends, plans start immediately, if not before for the following season.

“We are no longer race organisers.” Lauri says, “We did in the past! We organised many races in logistically difficult places, such as Tibet, Mexico, Nepal and so on. I think we organised over 80-races! The World Series is a collection of races that we coordinate.”

Marino was a visionary and many like to call him the ‘Father’ of Skyrunning.

“Skyrunning differs to other sports and this is the discipline we launched in the late 1990’s. Skyrunning has always existed; all across the world it is just that it became a formalised sport. I therefore consider myself the father of Skyrunning for the aspect of race organisation because when it started 25-years ago nobody talked about this.”

Emails ping on arrival, the phone rings repeatedly and I suddenly realise that our day is going to be way too busy to continue discussing the working life of the ISF. Taking a place at my desk, I open my laptop and get on with my work in preparation for Kima. I sneak an opportunity pre lunch to stroll around the town, take in a cappuccino and photograph Biella. Lunch provides a break and in true Italian fashion, everything stops. It provides an opportunity to relax, take in a glass of wine and eat fresh and wholesome food in a meze style.

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“Marino is brilliant,” Lauri says as she pours white wine into my glass. “He took on the role of food shopping and preparation to allow me more time to work on logistics. It really is a life saver.”

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Marino is a fit man, he is lean, dark skinned from many hours outdoors and one may well think that is to be expected from someone who heads up the ISF and the sport of mountain running. It would be easy to assume that Marino spends 4 to 8-hours a day on the mountains, fulfilling his dreams and working his ISF role in and around his passion! In reality, Marino cycles or runs for 30-minutes a day. Somewhere deep inside I wonder, does he have regrets and then I find myself asking the question, “Do you regret the decisions you made all those years ago, to race direct and not race?”

“I made my choices. What can I say, for 2 to 3-years I was very disappointed with myself. I had run around Everest for example, but not to the top. Now I can’t go back. It’s a question of mountain mentality; I was born in a small valley, a small village with no sun in winter. You try to survive everyday and this forms your mentality. In my next life I hope to relax and enjoy simple pleasures.”

“But you must have dreams, aspirations. Do you have a bucket list; do you want to achieve anything else?”

“I want to go back to the mountains… it is just a dream! In 2016 I would like to go to the Everest North Face with Bruno and Kilian. I know it is impossible… but I can dream.”

It’s not often that I am stuck for words, but as I look into his eyes I feel sad. To me it seems as though Marino has given up on his personal dreams.

“Do you believe you can only live your dreams when you leave Skyrunning behind?”

“Skyrunning is our baby. But the baby has grown up. We would be lost without Skyrunning and we will be on board for as long as we can but obviously, in the near future we will hand over more duties to other people. Many of the people we work with are all very knowledgeable and passionate. That is stimulating and exciting. Skyrunning is here to stay, as we both are, have no fear!”

BIELLA gallery:

MILAN – Trofeo Kima press conference

Milan is not far away and it’s on our way to the ‘Casina’ thus making the Kima press conference logical and workable into a day of travel. We are late but Marino drives like an Italian! A clean white shirt, Armani jeans and Mr ISF looks pretty darn dapper. Lauri is dressed in black with large shades. I suddenly feel very British. Italians do ‘style’ with ease and of course, where better to look sharp than Milan. I have no choice, I am on a working trip and my wardrobe doesn’t extend to looking cool.

It’s hot in the city and the traffic irritates me after the quiet of Biella. Walking into a large office block we are escorted to the 4th floor and Kima delegates greet us. It’s all kisses and handshakes. Old friends meet new friends and the banter is relaxed.

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A large table with place names adds formality to the event. Marino takes his place and the conference begins. It’s a show for local press and global papers and all part of the valued process to promote the ISF, Skyrunning and give valued exposure to race sponsors.

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Post the conference, a meeting takes place and Kima is discussed. Great emphasis is placed on schedules in regard to the helicopter. Kima is so technical and demanding that a helicopter is the only way to transport media around the event. Bad weather; no media!

Helicopters are expensive but at Kima we often have 2-helicopters at our disposal for 8+ hours. It may well be why I enjoy the race so much. It’s an adventure. Believe me, to be afforded the opportunity to see the worlds best runners on arguably the best course is something I will never take for granted.

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“We have to do these press conferences, it’s important for all concerned but it’s a drain on our valuable time and for every hour, minute and second we are here, more and more emails and questions flood into our respective in-boxes,”Lauri says as we rush to the car for our onward journey to the Casina. “It has a knock on effect for tomorrow and the days after, what can you do?”

CASINA – Corteno Golgi 

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The ‘Casina’ is a mountain house in Corteno Golgi close to Marino’s birthplace of San Antonio. Spread over 2-floors it is almost two completely different buildings. Upstairs is all wood, a combination of rustic/ modern and a wonderfully relaxing place that has been heavily influenced by Lauri. Downstairs is the original building, un-touched for years and one that harks back to Marino’s past. The garage is a Skyrunning museum of ice axes, helmets, shoes, race bibs, clothing, videos and old slides.

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Surrounded by green fields and mountains on either side I suddenly see Marino in a new light. He his home! He points at peaks and explains his childhood; his passions and I suddenly feel very honoured and privileged.

“The African Attachment (TAA) arrive tomorrow Ian and you are going to be able to spend a couple of days in the mountains with Marino. They are filming a piece on Skyrunning and they want to take Marino back to his childhood, revisit old haunts and film Marino running in the mountains.”

I met Dean Leslie and Greg Fell from TAA at Transvulcania La Palma back in 2012 and since then we have kept in-touch and often crossed paths at races all over the world. I am excited at the guys arriving and the opportunity to work alongside them and shoot stills, a real perk of the job. Photographer, Kelvin Trautman is directing the film and although I haven’t met him before, we soon hit it off and I realise that what is in store; two awesome days in the mountains.

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The evening is amazing. The sky is adorned with clouds and as we climb with cameras, Marino runs to the instructions of Kelvin.

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Looking for ridges and technical lines, Marino embraces the challenge and is arguably having the most fun he has had in ages.

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Days don’t get much better than this… at the summit of Monte Padrio the light is incredible and as the sun disappears for the day we are rewarded with a colour palette of orange, red and gold. Marino is in silhouette on the Skyline and I realise I am in a moment, a moment that I won’t ever forget.

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Sleep is not something you need when working with the ISF. The following day starts early with a short drive and we are suddenly looking at Marino’s childhood home.

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Marino’s childhood home

Marino laughs as he recounts boyhood memories. “I used to go mushroom picking in this area.”

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Following him up the trail, Kelvin wants Marino to go back 50-years to those mischievous days as a boy. Immediately Marino finds a mushroom, he removes his Buff and ties a knot in one end to create a cloth bag. Moving left to right on the trail, the bag slowly fills with the rewards from the land.

“In the Valle Campo Vecchio I would go skinny dipping in the river.”

Marino may well have regretted this sentence as just an hour later he was running along grass banks barefoot and then submerging himself in the ice cold river water from the mountains.

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Today, Marino may well have fulfilled some of those dreams that he thought might not ever come back. It was special.

The warmth of the log burner in the Casina provided that ultimate feeling of contentment that one longs for after a day in the mountains. Marino’s body was aching, his legs heavy from the repeated running but beneath a tired façade I knew he had had a good. Red wine had been decanted to glasses and dinner was moments away.

As we relax into the evening, the Casina provided a very different ambiance to Biella. It’s more relaxed. The pressures and deadlines still exist, they have not gone away but the mountains and mountain life make us all realize why we are here. It provides perspective.

Eager to resume my questions from the previous day, I hold back. Now is not the time… it has been a great day, a great couple of days and we need to savour the moments.

“We have plans for some very exciting races at high altitude that will be very technical in future years.  2012 was an important stepping-stone. Less Cloud. More Sky was an important phase in the development of Skyrunning. One thing that was apparent is the desire from runners for technical and high altitude sport. So, here we are following our heritage for a new era.”

My concerns of talking shop are eroded away as Lauri brings our conversation to present day.

“So, am I correct in assuming that we won’t see races like Templiers or UROC in future ISF race calendars?” I ask.

“We needed to expand, to grow and introduce Skyrunning to a new audience. Templiers and UROC allowed this to a certain extent but we will go back to our roots moving forward. In America it is harder to find courses but we are working on this. UROC was a high altitude race just not technical. The Rut has shown we can find the correct style of course. We would love to do a race from Cervinia or Chamonix to the summit of Mont-Blanc but we can’t do this for everyone!”

“Do you think it is a happy coincidence that the revival of Skyrunning coincides with the rise of Kilian Jornet?”

“Absolutely, however, it is no coincidence. Bruno Brunod was Kilian’s hero. Kilian followed his dreams and the inspiration Bruno provided, Kilian is now the epitome of Skyrunning. When we first met Kilian in 2006, he impressed immediately. He was a natural Skyrunner. We all know the history; he was born in the mountains and as such he has just developed in an organic way. As I said, a natural.”

Kilian Jornet

Conversation turns to the day’s events; Lauri is eager to enquire how filming went. We laugh as Marino explains in detail his plunge in the ice-cold water of the river and how his fingers turned blue.

“Kelvin worked Marino hard today with his demands but it was great fun. This area, the mountains and the small village are all quite special. I can understand completely why Marino loves to escape here.”

Another fried mushroom is removed from the platter and added to my plate. To think, just this morning Marino was collecting these very mushrooms from his childhood haunts. He had prepared them in the traditional manner and the simple delicacy provided the perfect accompaniment to the surroundings and company.

The Casina gallery:

Filming with The African Attachment gallery:

TROFEO KIMA

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Emelie Forsberg looked into the lens of the TAA camera, smiled in a way that only Emelie can and with a nervous and infectious giggle whispered the words:

“Two years ago in my first year of racing I was fortunate to race at Trofeo Kima. I looked at this course and thought; really… you can run a race on this course?”

©iancorless.com-8663I too had found my first Kima experience equally mesmerising. My breath had been taken away by the drama and severity of the course. I had never seen anything quite like it and the impact was profound. Hopping from one section of the course to another via helicopter added some serious icing to the Kima cake.

A vertical wall of rock and suddenly a flash of red and white. Kilian appears, hand-over-hand as he descends via chains and then flies past us with a wave as though running a 5k. He looks so incredibly relaxed.

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Kasie Enman is the first lady and this provides some confusion. Emelie Forsberg had had a convincing lead; what had happened? Finally, Emelie arrives 5th lady, in tears but running like a demon. She had gone off course and lost almost an hour. Trying to claw back time she takes risks; 4th place, 3rd place and then 2nd, was it possible to take back victory?

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Unfortunately, no! Kasie Enman held on to a convincing lead and the records will show that the American was the 2014 Kima ladies champion. In the male race, Kilian Jornet had the race of his life and in doing so broke his own course record.

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Fabio Meraldi makes an appearance and like a long lost son is embraced into the arms and hearts of the Skyrunning throng:

“I remember the feeling, like a drug, feeling this moving energy… I still get goose-bumps just talking about it.”

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The party atmosphere continues and minutes after the award ceremony, clouds turn from grey to black and a warning clap of thunder alerts everyone that a change is coming. The heavens open and rain falls from the sky like a series of rods being thrown. It’s a biblical storm and we all look at each other and simultaneously shake our heads. Lauri relays our thoughts, “Wow, thank god this rain and storm did not arrive during the race.”

Another race over, another successful event but there is no rest. This evening a glass of red and a nice meal but tomorrow it’s back to the grind. Another race is only weeks away and like déjà vu the process will repeat itself.

“Lauri, and you, your dreams?”

“To expand Skyrunning and see the growth continue with the collaboration from those who love the sport as we do.”

“Will you ever be able to let go?”

“Why, why would I want to let go? This is my life: I love it. Maybe I would like less stress but I like challenges, I like work and I don’t like to be bored.”

I smile knowing full well that her words are true and that in all honesty, I already knew the answer.

“One thing is for sure, I won’t be in the Bahamas filing my nails everyday, I can guarantee that will never happen.”

 

The KIMA galleries:

******

FastandLight Salomon SRTV

Fast and Light is released on October 20th 2015 at 1600 via Salomon SRTV HERE

Credits and thanks

Quotes from Bruno Brunod, Fabio Meraldi, Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet are taken from the film, FAST and LIGHT. ©TheAfricanAttachment and ©SalomonRunning.

Many thanks to Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti the ISF and Skyrunning.

Many thanks to Trofeo Kima and all the staff.

All images and content ©iancorless.com

A series of articles will be published worldwide to coincide with the release of Fast and Light and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the editors and creatives involved in this process.

Look out for articles in: Adventure Types – Australia/ NZ, Canadian Running Magazine – Canada, Trail Chile – Chile, TRAIL Magazin – Germany, Ski Alper – Italy, Trail Run – Japan, Poland, ALERG – Romania, Running The Cape – South Africa, Outdoor Fitness Magazine – UK, Like The Wind – UK, Nature Trail – France, Spain and many more.

 

Episode 92 – Albon and Frost

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Episode 92 of Talk Ultra – We speak with Tromso SkyRace winner, Jonathan Albon and we have an inspiring chat with ladies Hardrock 100 winner, Anna Frost. The news and Speedgoat is back after a really busy month racing and working.

00:27:57 NEWS

Help Nepal – Nepal images ‘FACES of NEPAL’ – order a print and all funds donated to Nepal charities https://iancorless.org/2015/04/28/nepal-appeal-nepalearthquake/ 

SPEEDGOAT 50K

  1. Sage Canaday 5:13
  2. Alex Nichols 5:41
  3. Dan Kraft 5:57
  1. Hillary Allen 6:37
  2. Emily Richards 6:52
  3. Abby Rideout 7:00

TROMSO SKYRACE Race Report HERE and Race Images HERE

1 – Jonathan Albon 6:08:41

2 – Luis Alberto Hernando 6:25:54

3 – Rolf Einar Jensen 6:28:51

1 – Emelie Forsberg 7:09:54

2 – Mira Rai 7:23:09

3 – Malena Haukey 7:31:29

00:48:49 INTERVIEW

JONATHAN ALBON – Race report by Jonathan HERE

How scary…?

BADWATER

Pete Kostelnick 23:27:10

Oswaldo Lopez 25:38:32

Mick Thwaites 26:23:10

Nikki Wynd 27:23:27

Pam Reed 31:24:34

Jill Anderson 34:04:14

LAKELAND 100

Paul Tierney 20:42:07

Marco Consani 21:45:50

Jason Lewis 23:01:39

Carol Morgan 25:47:32

Katie Boden 28:36:19

Isobel Wykes 29:23:52

50 RESULTS

Jayson Cavill 8:04:24

Matty Brennan 8:28:24

Paul Grundy 8:28:54

Sally Fawcett 8:43:43 – 4th overall

Debbie Martin-Consani 9:04:30

Mel Varvel 9:21:57

SELF TRANSCENDENCE 3100

Aalto Ashprihana ran 3100 miles in 41 days!

01:25:04 INTERVIEW

ANNA FROST

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Northern Territory

Alice Springs 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

Queensland

Lamington Eco Challenge Two Marathons on Two Consecutive Days | 84 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

River Run 100 | 100 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

River Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

Belgium

Flanders

100 km Dodentocht® | 100 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

Wallonia

Trail des Fantômes – 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

Trail des Fantômes – 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

Canada

Alberta

Iron Legs 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

British Columbia

Fat Dog 100 Trail Race: 120 mile | 120 miles | August 14, 2015 | website

Fat Dog 100 Trail Race: 50 mile | 50 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Fat Dog 100 Trail Race: 70 mile | 70 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Ontario

Creemore Vertical Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Iroquoia Trail Test – 50K | 50 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Quebec

Trans Vallée | 67 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

Chile

52K Aculeo | 52 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Colombia

Ultra Trail Parque Los Nevados – 59 km | 59 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail Parque Los Nevados – 93 km | 93 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Denmark

Sjælland

NDURE Trail 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

NDURE Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

France

Hautes-Pyrénées

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – l’Ultra | 160 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – Tour des Cirques | 117 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Isère

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs | 160 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Loiret

L’Orleans-Océan | 410 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Vienne

Trail des Castors – 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Germany

Berlin

100MeilenBerlin | 100 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Monschau Ultra-Marathon | 56 kilometers | August 09, 2015 | website

India

Jammu and Kashmir

La Ultra – The High | 222 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

La Ultra – The High 111 | 111 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

Indonesia

Mount Rinjani Ultra | 52 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Connemara 100 | 100 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

Ulster

Quadrathon | 169 kilometers | August 13, 2015 | website

Kenya

Amazing Maasai Ultra | 75 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Netherlands

North Holland

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night (Summer Edition) | 75 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night (Summer Edition) – 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Poland

Bieg Grania Tatr | 71 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Romania

VLC Ultra TrailRun Petrimanu 56 | 56 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Spain

Aragon

Calcenada Vuelta al Moncayo – 104 km | 104 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Canary Islands

Haría Extreme Ultra | 80 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Sweden

Björkliden Arctic Mountain Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

Björkliden Arctic Mountain Marathon 70 km | 70 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

Stockholm Ultramarathon 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Stockholm Ultramarathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Sweden Sky Race 24 – 117 km | 117 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Sweden Sky Race 24 – 57 km | 57 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Tierra Arctic Ultra | 120 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Trans Scania | 246 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

Switzerland

Grisons

Swiss Irontrail T141 | 147 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

Swiss Irontrail T201 | 202 kilometers | August 13, 2015 | website

Swiss Irontrail T81 | 89 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

Trail Marathon 70 KM | 70 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Ticino

Ultra Race – 130 km | 128 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Ultra Race – 50 km | 51 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Ultra Race – 80 km | 81 kilometers | August 07, 2015 | website

Vaud

Ultra Trail du Barlatay | 87 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Zurich

Raidlight Sardona Ultra Trail | 82 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Inov-8 Roseland August Trail – 32 Mile | 32 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Inov-8 Roseland August Trail – The Plague | 64 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Gloucestershire

Oxford Ultra | 65 miles | August 14, 2015 | website

Thames Challenge | 184 miles | August 13, 2015 | website

Windsor Ultra | 43 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Sheffield

Ultra Tour of the Peak District | 60 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

South Lanarkshire

John Lucas Memorial Run | 50 miles | August 16, 2015 | website

Suffolk

Stour Valley Path 100km Ultra Run | 100 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Surrey

North Downs Way 100 | 100 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

Wiltshire

Salisbury 54321 50K Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | August 09, 2015 | website

USA

Alaska

Nifty Fifty 50K | 50 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Resurrection Pass 100 Mile Ultra Trail | 100 miles | August 07, 2015 | website

Resurrection Pass 50 Mile Ultra Trail | 50 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

California

100K | 100 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

100M | 100 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

50M | 50 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Cinderella Trail Run 50 km (Aug) | 50 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Cool Moon 100M | 100 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

Cool Moon 50M | 50 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

Crystal Springs 50 Km Trail Run (summer) | 50 kilometers | August 09, 2015 | website

Ragnar Trail Tahoe | 136 miles | August 14, 2015 | website

Run on the Sly 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

Skyline 50K | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Colorado

Beetle Kill 100k Endurance Run | 100 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

Beetle Kill 200k Endurance Run | 200 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

Beetle Kill 50k Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | August 14, 2015 | website

GORE-TEX TransRockies Run – Run3 | 59 miles | August 11, 2015 | website

GORE-TEX TransRockies Run – TRR6 | 120 miles | August 11, 2015 | website

Ragnar Relay Colorado | 200 miles | August 07, 2015 | website

Silverheels 100 Mile Endurance Run | 102 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

Silverton 1000 – 100 Miler | 100 miles | August 18, 2015 | website

Telluride Mountain Run | 38 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

Idaho

Standhope 60K | 60 kilometers | August 18, 2015 | website

Standhope Ultra Challenge | 83 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Massachusetts

TARC Summer Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

TARC Summer Classic 50M | 50 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Michigan

Marquette Trail 50 Kilometer | 50 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Marquette Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Minnesota

Ragnar Relay Great River | 200 miles | August 14, 2015 | website

Montana

Ghosts of Yellowstone | 100 miles | August 21, 2015 | website

Ghosts of Yellowstone 100M | 100 miles | August 21, 2015 | website

Nevada

Marlette 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

New Hampshire

100 Miler | 100 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

50 Miler | 50 miles | August 16, 2015 | website

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race | 80 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race 2-Person Relay | 80 miles | August 21, 2015 | website

New Jersey

100k | 100 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

50k | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

50M | 50 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

New York

Beast of Burden Summer 100 Miler | 100 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

Beast of Burden Summer 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

Catskill Mountain 100K Road Race | 100 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

Catskill Mountain 100K Road Relay | 100 kilometers | August 16, 2015 | website

Team Relay Race | 234 miles | August 14, 2015 | website

The Mighty Mosquito 99 Mile Trail Relay | 99 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Death Before DNF Ultra 100 Miler | 100 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Drop to 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

North Dakota

Badlands 50K | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Badlands 50 miler | 50 miles | August 08, 2015 | website

Oregon

Elkhorn Relay | 203 miles | August 07, 2015 | website

Post Canyon 50k | 50 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Pennsylvania

Eastern States 100 | 100 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Texas

Colorado Bend – 60k | 60 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Utah

Skyline Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | August 15, 2015 | website

Vermont

100on100 Heart of Vermont Relay | 100 miles | August 15, 2015 | website

Virginia

Martha Moats Baker Memorial 50Km | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Washington

200 Mile S2S | 200 miles | August 14, 2015 | website

Angels Staircase 50K | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Angels Staircase 60K | 60 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Bigfoot 200 Mile Endurance Run | 205 miles | August 07, 2015 | website

West Virginia

Kanawha Trace 50K | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Wyoming

El Vaquero Loco 50K | 50 kilometers | August 08, 2015 | website

Zambia

MOSI-OA-TUNYA TRAIL | 85 kilometers | August 13, 2015 | website

02:05:52 CLOSE

02:11:17

 Links:

 

http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/Episode_92_Albon_Frost.mp3

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

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

Jonathan Albon – Tromsø Champion Race Report

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Listen to a full in-depth interview with Jonathan Albon on

TALK ULTRA Podcast Episode 92 out on Friday 7th August.

 

There are many reasons Tromsø SkyRace was set to be one of the highlights of my year. Although a race, I was most looking forward to running in the mountains, crossing streams and the wilderness that this event was set to deliver. There were two race distances – the Tromsdalstind (short) and Hamperokken (long). I’d be taking on the full Hamperokken skyrace which is actually classed as an ultra, more for the time it would take to complete as a opposed to the distance, which was only a modest 45km but had a huge 4400m of elevation gain.

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Knowing this was what lay before me it was with a sadistic smile that I learnt the night before the race that the ski lift to the start wouldn’t open in time so we would have to make our own way up to the start! ‘A good warm up’ Kilian said – well, he was probably right.

Jonathan’s race stats:

45.1km Distance

4,373Elevation

5:48:11 Moving Time

8:10/km Avg Pace

5,842 Calories

screenshot_557 screenshot_558

 

After reaching the start it wasn’t long before we were off. In an attempt to run my own race (unlike in previous races this year) I tried to start easy, warming up into it. It was hard judging were I was placed anyway as the short course started at the same time so I was content with just running. I started with the mindset that I didn’t care where I would place, I would run in the mountains and enjoy myself. So that is what I did. It wasn’t until the top of the first summit, Tromsdalstind, where we turned for a big descent splitting from the short course that I started to get a feel that I was in the top 10.

The summit was covered in snow and the route turned to just drop of the other side of the plateau over what looked like a cliff. It wasn’t until getting closer that you could see it was in fact an extremely steep snowy slope with a rope to assist descent. Thankfully this section wasn’t long but there were plenty more snow fields to slip and slide down on the rest of the descent. The majority though was on loose rocky terrain and steep muddy tracks. Before long I was reaching the valley floor and out of the thick fog, for the first time I could see further than a couple of hundred meters and the sight was surreal.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-4640I had settled into a position next to a Swiss guy called Pascal Egli. He seemed to have the same happy attitude I had towards the race and we talked, joked and laughed as we crossed one of the only flat sections on the course between the two mountains.

Reaching the base of the big climb, Hamperokken, we were still together. After a third of the climb I let him go. I had by this point learnt he had come third in the Dolomites skyrace and had only finished something like 40 seconds behind Stian Angermund in the Tromsø vertical kilometer. I definitely didn’t feel worthy to be holding with him and felt I was either holding him back or I was pushing too hard. As it happened he never got more than 10m away. Running the majority but hiking the steepest gradients we were making good time…and catching people, passing two on the climb we just got another two as the ridge started. This put us in a group of 4 with only 1 guy ahead in the lead.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-4585I noticed one of our group was Eirik Haugsnes. I’m not sure there would be anyone I would rather be following through what was one of the craziest sections of any race I have ever done. Eirik was last years winner and lives in the Troms area.

Describing the Hamperokekn ridge is difficult. For much of it I was using both my hands and feet for purchase. At one point of the razor edge ridge we had to jump a gap from one rock to another. It was funny to see how our little contingent had gone from racing to simply traversing this dangerous section together. I found myself at the back of the group least experienced in this sort of scrambling and twice found rocks tumbling down towards me from above.

The last 50m ascent to the top was described by Kilian in the race briefing as grade 3 scrambling. I’d describe it as ‘f***ing scary’. With this done it didn’t take long for the race to resume; as soon as we summited the group split as we started to descend. We had crossed paths with the leader, Alberto Hernando, on the way up and were only 2 minutes behind after over 3 hours of racing!

The descent was again as technical as it gets with large boulder fields and steep snowy slides. One particular section that sticks in my mind is where we traversed on snow just 5meters above where it dropped into freezing blue water of a big lake – one slide and you were toast (or ice more likely).

It was shortly after this point that the race started in earnest for me. As the four of us reunited crossing a boulder field it was clear my VJ Irocks were providing far more grip than my competitors shoes. This enabled me to pull away skipping over the rocks bouncing from boulder to boulder. Reaching more even ground with a small lead I just decided to run on and kept putting one foot in front of the other as fast as possible all the way back to the valley floor.

1125066_origComing back into the aid station I learnt I was 1 minute 30 seconds behind Alberto in first. Not thinking I had a hope in hell of catching him I continued to run at a comfortable but fast pace enjoying the brief flat section. Just two kilometers later I noticed I was gaining on a competitor traveling in the same direction as me, I double took not believing my eyes but I had just closed a big lead in next to no time. Coming up behind him I startled him as I don’t think he was expecting to see an Englishman popp up to say hello. I moved passed and at the foot of the last big climb heard a yelp from behind. I immediately stopped and turned, starting to head back, but he shouted at me motioning to continue. It looked as if he had gone over on his ankle. Obeying his command I turned back to the climb ahead.

I knew in my head this was a deciding moment. I would either start to climb and feel good or I would feel terrible and my chances would be nil. Either way I would know within a couple of hundred meters…so I started to climb. I can’t say it was easy but I was doing it. Moving uphill I was pleased with the strength I had. This section was too steep to run or even hike in some places, so using hands and feet I steadily clawed my way up.

About half way I hit the first of the snowfields, remembering coming down with such speed I was now confused as to whether I was meant to follow the same line back up. The snow was only just soft enough to dig a little purchase in with my feet and every step forward resulted in sliding half of one back. So wrapping a buff around each hand I started to claw my way up this too. Hand over foot I slowly made progress.

After 900m of climbing and 300 vertical meters from the top I started to hear the whisper of cow bells on the summit. Knowing the climb was nearly done worsened my condition, but slowly, painfully I was getting there, all the while thinking I had competitors hot on my heels. The last 40 meters were back up the same steep snow slope with a rope and thankfully some snow stairs someone had made (legends). Using the rope to help haul myself up I was there. 3rd and final big climb done and all I could say was ‘I’m f***d’ as a response to everyone’s encouragement.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-6804

Now for the descent and a slow gradual climb towards the finish. It wasn’t time to relax, energy started to flow back as I took my first few steps downwards and concentration took over brute force. The path was rocky and technical but also twisting. The thick fog made it hard to see the flags and I had to once backtrack 10meters up to find the correct route. Kicking myself, I still thought I was being hunted by my competition.

This technical path soon gave way to a sweeping trail following a small river and down into the woods and the last aid station. Now just 6km of undulating but climbing track remained and I started to play with the idea I had done it.

I managed to keep a run going the entire way and soon found myself going past groups of people cheering and ringing cowbells. I was getting closer but every time the trail dipped I thought it was for the final time to the finish, only to find another rise around the corner. I still had no idea how far back my competitors where but couldn’t bring myself to gun it, so keeping a safe pace where I knew I would have some gas in the legs for a sprint finish I finally crested the last rise and dropped round to the finish. Giving my now wife a hug I then crossed the finish line and had done what I would always have thought to be impossible…I had won a skyrace.
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This post is published with permission from ©jonathanalbon
Read a race summary here
View race images here
Jonathan Albon is an athlete first known for his success within the up and coming UK obstacle course racing (OCR) scene. He has now taken his exploits global, adding the title of OCR World Champion and Spartan World Champion to his name. Jonathan has enjoyed a busy 2014 where he has proved unbeaten in OCR as well as winning races such as Man v Horse, The Welsh 1000m Peaks Race and TelemarksHelten. He also achieved a remarkable 14th place finish in the Limone Extreme Skyrace and now victory at Tromso SkyRace.
website HERE