Episode 111 – Chris Vargo, Alicia Shay and Ida Nilsson – a Transvulcania Special

A_GRAVATAR

This is Episode 111 of Talk Ultra and it’s all about Transvulcania. We speak with Chris Vargo who placed 5th, Alicia Shay who placed 4th and Ida Nilsson who blasted around the course to take the ladies victory. We have the news, a chat with Holly Rush and Speedgoat Karl is back

01:03:00 Start

80 days to the AT for Karl

00:15:32 NEWS

Transvulcania

Men

  1. Luis Alberto Hernando  – 7h04’44”
  2. Nicolas Martin – 7h10’40”
  3. Sage Canaday – 7h14’16”
  4. Andy Symonds – 7h25’04”
  5. Chris Vargo – 7h26’53”

Women

  1. Ida Nilsson – 8h14’18”
  2. Anne-Lise Rousset – 8h31’53”
  3. Ruth Croft – 8h33’32”
  4. Alicia Shay – 8h49’46”
  5. Hillary Allen – 8h54’57”

00:36:54 INTERVIEW Chris Vargo and Alicia Shay

Canyons 100k

Men

  1. Paddy O’Leary 9:35
  2. Bob Shebest 10:07
  3. Lon Freeman 10:51

Women

  1. Magdalena Boulet 10:58
  2. Erika Lindland 12:22
  3. Annie Rutledge 12:24

Miwok 100k

Men

  1. Cody Reed 9:04
  2. Chiara Omine 9:13
  3. Franz Van Der Groen 9:16

Women

  1. Aliza Lapierre 10:25
  2. Bree Lambert 10:55
  3. Katie Arnold 11:16

NDW 50

No full results online yet but Holly Rush blasted around the ladies course to smash the CR and finish 4th overall (time 7:11) and Neil Kirby 6:57 for the men’s win

01:40:17 INTERVIEW Holly Rush

DOUBLE BOB GRAHAM ROUND

Nicky Spinks has done it only the 2nd person and 1st lady to complete a double BGR in 45:30

02:28:38 INTERVIEW with Ida Nilsson

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

New South Wales

The North Face 100 Australia | 100 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

The North Face 50 Australia | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Queensland

Glasshouse 50 | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Glasshouse 80 | 80 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

The Great Wheelbarrow Race – Mareeba to Dimbulah | 104 kilometers | May 13, 2016 | website

Victoria

Ultra Marathon 60K | 60 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

Les Bières du Diable | 100 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Bhutan

The Last Secret | 200 kilometers | May 27, 2016 | website

Canada

British Columbia

100K | 100 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

50 Miles | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Ontario

Seaton Trail 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Chile

Atacama Xtreme 100 Miles | 100 miles | May 20, 2016 | website

Atacama Xtreme 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 20, 2016 | website

Atacama Xtreme 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 20, 2016 | website

China

Trail de la Grande Muraille de Chine | 73 kilometers | May 13, 2016 | website

Cyprus

Lionheart Run | 80 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Czech Republic

M.E.T.R. 60km | 60 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Finland

Oulu

NUTS Karhunkierros Trail Ultra – 160 km | 160 kilometers | May 27, 2016 | website

France

Ain

La Promenade du Bûcheron | 70 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

Trail de Haute Provence – Ultra | 72 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Aude

Challenge Cathare | 95 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Course des Seigneurs | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Cantal

La Pastourelle – Le Grand Cirque | 53 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Côtes-d’Armor

58 km | 58 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Haute-Savoie

L’intégrale | 77 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Trail des Allobroges | 64 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Haute-Vienne

Le Grand Trail du Limousin | 58 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Haut-Rhin

Trail des Marcaires | 53 kilometers | May 22, 2016 | website

Hérault

Hérault Trail | 73 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Ultra Draille | 120 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Isère

Chartreuse Maratour | 50 kilometers | May 16, 2016 | website

Lozère

Ultra Lozère | 108 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Savoie

Grand Raid 73 | 73 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Var

12,5 km | 125 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Yonne

Oxfam Trailwalker France | 100 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Yvelines

Trail des Cerfs – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 22, 2016 | website

Germany

Hesse

WiBoLT | 320 kilometers | May 25, 2016 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

TorTour de Ruhr | 230 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Rhineland-Palatinate

Keufelskopf Ultra-Trail | 85 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Saar-Hunsrück-Supertrail | 128 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Thuringia

GutsMuths-Rennsteiglauf Super Marathon | 72 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Ghana

Runathlon 50km Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | May 25, 2016 | website

Greece

Heroes Ultra | 154 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Guernsey

Guernsey Ultra | 36 miles | May 22, 2016 | website

Israel

Mountain to Valley Relay | 215 kilometers | May 18, 2016 | website

Italy

Emilia-Romagna

Nove Colli Running | 202 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Liguria

Gran Trail Rensen | 62 kilometers | May 22, 2016 | website

Veneto

Gran Raid delle Prealpi Trevigiane | 72 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Japan

100 km | 100 kilometers | May 22, 2016 | website

71 km | 71 kilometers | May 22, 2016 | website

Korea

50k | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Mayotte

Mahoraid | 70 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Netherlands

Drenthe

UltraRun van Gieten 50 kilometer | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

New Caledonia

Ultratrail des Cagous | 80 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Ultratrail des Cagous | 80 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Norway

80 km | 80 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Philippines

Hardcore Hundred Miles | 100 miles | May 20, 2016 | website

Portugal

Running Challenge Linhas de Torres | 100 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Trans 333 | 333 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Trans 333 Non Stop | 333 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Ultra Trail de São Mamede | 100 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Romania

Transylvania 100k | 100 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Transylvania 50k | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Slovenia

110 km | 110 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Spain

Balearic Islands

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls | 185 kilometers | May 20, 2016 | website

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls Costa Nord | 100 kilometers | May 20, 2016 | website

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls Costa Sud | 85 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Principality of Asturias

Ultra Trail Picos de Europa 55 km | 55 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Bielersee Ultra-Marathon | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Bielersee XXL 100 Meilen | 100 miles | May 13, 2016 | website

Turkey

Cekmekoy 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Cumbria

Keswick Mountain Festival Ultra Trail Marathon | 50 kilometers | May 22, 2016 | website

Old County Tops Fell Race | 37 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Devon

Forces March | 131 miles | May 25, 2016 | website

Perth and Kinross

110 Mile Ultra | 110 miles | May 13, 2016 | website

55 Mile Ultra | 55 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Shropshire

Apocalypse 100 | 100 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Apocalypse 50 | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Somerset

Westcountry Ultra 100 Miler | 100 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Westcountry Ultra Flat 50 miler | 50 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Westcountry Ultra Hilly 50 miler | 50 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Surrey

North Downs Way 50 | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Wiltshire

Marlborough Downs Challenge – 33 mile | 33 miles | May 15, 2016 | website

Wessex Ridgeway Relay | 100 kilometers | May 22, 2016 | website

Worcestershire

Severn Challenge | 214 miles | May 26, 2016 | website

Severn Plod Ultra | 45 miles | May 27, 2016 | website

USA

Arizona

Adrenaline 65K Night Run | 65 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Grand Canyon 100 Mile | 100 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Grand Canyon 50K | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Grand Canyon 50 Mile | 50 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

California

100 Miler | 100 miles | May 13, 2016 | website

50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

60 Miler | 60 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Cinderella Trail Run 50 km (May) | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Gold Rush 50K | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Me-Ow Quads | 104 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Me-Ow Siamese | 42 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Ohlone Wilderness 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 22, 2016 | website

PCT50 Trail Run | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Quicksilver 100K Endurance Run | 100 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Quicksilver 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Colorado

135 km | 135 kilometers | May 13, 2016 | website

Quad Rock 50 | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

The Divide 135 Ultra | 135 miles | May 13, 2016 | website

Connecticut

Trail 2 Trail Series Kettletown Park 50K | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Florida

Keys 100 Mile | 100 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Keys 50K Race | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Keys 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Georgia

Cruel Jewel 100 | 100 miles | May 13, 2016 | website

Cruel Jewel 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | May 13, 2016 | website

Peach State 300 | 300 miles | May 25, 2016 | website

Run for the Heroes – 260 Mile Run Across Georgia | 260 miles | May 25, 2016 | website

Indiana

DWD Gnaw Bone 50K | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

DWD Gnaw Bone 50M | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Kansas

Rock On! Lake Perry 50K | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Massachusetts

Ragnar Relay Cape Cod | 186 miles | May 13, 2016 | website

Minnesota

Spring Superior Trail 50 k | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

We Walk! 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Missouri

Berryman 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Nevada

Silver State 50K | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Silver State 50-Miler | 50 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Trails of Fury 50K | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

New Hampshire

Manchester 2 Monadnock Ultramarathon | 55 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

New Jersey

Mayapple 100K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Mayapple 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

New Mexico

Jemez Mountain Trail Runs 50K | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Jemez Mountain Trail Runs 50-Mile | 50 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

North Carolina

Gamelands Ultra 100K | 100 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Gamelands Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Ohio

Playin’ Possum 50k | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Tie Dye 32 Miler | 32 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Oregon

McDonald Forest 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Pennsylvania

50K | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

50-Mile | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

50 Mile Relay | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Dawn to Dusk to Dawn 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Dirty German 50K | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2016 | website

Dirty German 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 15, 2016 | website

South Carolina

Family Tree 100 Relay | 100 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Forest Freak 50k | 50 kilometers | May 21, 2016 | website

Knock on Wood 100 Mile | 100 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Tennessee

Ragnar Relay Tennessee | 196 miles | May 13, 2016 | website

Thunder Rock 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | May 20, 2016 | website

Utah

Red Rock Relay Moab Edition | 63 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Vermont

100 Miles | 100 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

200 Miles | 200 miles | May 19, 2016 | website

50 miles | 50 miles | May 21, 2016 | website

Virginia

Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

Washington

Pigtails 150 Mile Challenge | 150 miles | May 27, 2016 | website

Pigtails 200 Mile Challenge | 200 miles | May 26, 2016 | website

Sun Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | May 22, 2016 | website

Sun Mountain 50M | 50 miles | May 22, 2016 | website

Wisconsin

Ice Age Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2016 | website

Ice Age Trail 50M | 50 miles | May 14, 2016 | website

03:50:55 CLOSE

 

03:01:24

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Transvulcania Ultramarathon 2016 RACE IMAGES – Skyrunner® World Series

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Luis Alberto Hernando once again powered to glory for the third time in a row after running a very controlled and patient race. American Sage Canaday who finished third had lead the race all the way to Roques de los Muchachos, a desperate attempt to build a buffer before the long descent. Frenchman Nicolas Martin, had been in the lead pack throughout the day and with Hernando, overtook Canaday on the downhill from the 2,423 island summit, to finish second.

Ida Nilsson, from Sweden, ran an incredible race from the gun and her victory never looked in doubt, that is until the long downhill… At the highest point of the race at 2,423m Ida was leading by 30-minutes, unused to downhill running, her lead was reduced by Anne-Lise Rousset from France who placed second, and skyrunning newcomer, Ruth Croft from New Zealand, placed an excellent third less than a minute later.

Results

Men

  1. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) – 7h04’44”
  2. Nicolas Martin (FRA) – 7h10’40”
  3. Sage Canaday (USA) – 7h14’16”
  4. Andy Symonds (GBR) – 7h25’04”
  5. Chris Vargo (USA) – 7h26’53”

Women

  1. Ida Nilsson (SWE) – 8h14’18”
  2. Anne-Lise Rousset (FRA) – 8h31’53”
  3. Ruth Croft (NZL) – 8h33’32”
  4. Alicia Shay (USA) – 8h49’46”
  5. Hillary Allen (USA) – 8h54’57”

READ THE RACE REPORT HERE

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The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series is brought to you with a new management company, Geneva based SkyMan SA

SkyMan SA  is pleased to present a new Main Partner, Migu Xempower, a Chinese exercise and health management platform which also counts a rich experience in organising marathons, city and mountain races for millions of runners.

The well-established, SkyUltra and Vertical format is joined by the Extreme Seriespresented by Alpina Watches, which more than ever expresses the true spirit of skyrunning defined not only by distance, but vertical climb and technical difficulty.

Skyrunner® World Series is supported by Migu Xempower, Alpina Watches, Compressport, Salomon and Scott Sports.

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

 Facebook/iancorlessphotography

Twitter (@talkultra)

Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning

Twitter @skyrunning_com

Instagram @skyrunning

Transvulcania Ultramarathon 2016 – Skyrunner® World Series

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The glowing Fuencalientie Lighthouse once again provided a stunning back drop to the start of the 2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon, the first Ultra race in the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series.

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The majestic and beautiful trails of ‘La Isla Bonita’ provided a stunning but hard start of the race as 1000 plus runners navigated the wide start to funnel into single-track with black lava sand underfoot causing no end of traction problems.

It was a fast start, it always is and as the runners forged ahead looking of clear trail, it was the village of Los Canarios were hundreds of villagers assembled before a clear glimpse of who the main protagonists where?

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Sage Canaday as per usual, looked to gain an early lead  and buffer lead over Luis Alberto Hernando – his main rival for the top slot on the podium. A pattern was forming but it was still early days in such a long race and the heat and sun had yet to make an appearance. In the ladies race Ida Nilsson started to lay the ground work for what would result in a dominating performance.

Running out of Los Canarios, the trails are runnable and fast, weaving in and out of lush green vegetation, space finally opens up and the soft black sand returns making progress hard. At times it can be a little like running on the spot, one step forward and two steps back.

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The Route of the Volcanoes were bathed in early morning sun and suddenly the island came to life with the distant islands on Tenerife and La Gomera breaking through the low cloud.

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Sage Canaday continued to forge ahead at the from of the race, the pace was high but it was clear that this was not going to be an easy day on the trails. Chasing behind Luis Alberto Hernando, Nico Martin, Andy Symonds, Ricky Lightfoot and others battled the terrain and in and amongst the lead men, Ida Nilsson was making her presence felt leading the ladies race.

Reaching the top of the volcano section, finally some fast running to El Pilar, a key stage of the course with almost one third of the race covered. It’s the first major feed station and a place full of activity as thousands of fans assemble to cheer on the runners. It also provides a very clear opportunity to see each and every runner. Sage was looking good, as was Nico Martin but Luis Alberto was just biding his time. Ida Nilsson was almost in her own race but Ruth Croft and Ann Lise Rousset. Pre race favourites Anna Frost and Mira Rai were back in 6th and 7th and roughly stayed in these places for the whole race.

Leaving El Pilar a section of good running allows the pure runners to open their stride and make time on their rivals. It doesn’t last long though, it’s soon back to hands-on-knees euro grunt as arguably the runners enter the most stunning sections of the whole house that leads to Reventon and beyond.

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Pine needles cover the floor provide a lush carpet in-between the sharp and aggressive rocks. The sun breaks through the tress providing a stunning array of orange light that looks like golden fingers. The trails now weave left and right, up and down and to the left, Tazacorte can be seen off into the distance nestled next to the sea. the views are incredible.

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Sage Canaday continued to push ahead but Luis Alberto was also looking good and had the American in sight -it was just a matter of time! It was all to play for but the harder sections and technical running around the Caldera were looming. One plus side as the runners enter the Caldera is that the bulk of the climbing is now done, what followed was a series of rollercoaster ups and downs of at times technical rock.

Ida Nilsson had used her speed to good use to open up a huge gap, Ann Lise Rousset was chasing as was Ruth Croft but barring an accident or a lack of energy, Nilsson looked set for victory!

As the observatories approached it was clear to see that we had a race on our hands, Sage Canaday was holding his own against Luis Alberto and Nico Martin was not far behind. In the ladies race, Ida Nilsson looked just too strong – victory was on the cards!

Dropping 2400+m in 18km requires legs and nerves of steel. Believe me, it’s one hell of a ride. The early sections are open and the heat hits hard. Tree cover finally arrives and underfoot the single-track changes from dusty sand perpetuated with rocks to sand trail covered with a blanket of pine needles. The pine needles are difficult as it’s just like running on slippery grass.

Once again the trails opened up and then sections of technical rock slow the runners progress before they reach the road and the cafe at El Time. Luis Alberto had extended his lead and as he ran down the steep tarmac roads that lead to the zig-zag technical trails that lead to Tazacorte port, the writing was already on the wall for victory.

Nico Martin had moved into 2nd and was pushing hard to gain an advantage over Sage but it would require an all out effort and some serious risk taking from sage to pull back any time. The only possible scenario to pull back and gain time would come at Tazacorte and the tough and relentless climb to the finish on Los Llanos.

In the ladies race, Ida held on well and although anything could happen in the final 10km it was looking good for victory.

The heat and crowds welcomed the runners in Tazacorte and just when they thought the race was all over, a run along the beach front and a technical run up a gully were only just appetisers before the final climb to the finish line.

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The crowds had been assembled hours, the music had been blurting away and ‘Depa’ the mc for the race and been whipping the crowds into a frenzy. Suddenly the large screens showed Luis Alberto entering the final street sections, head down and pushing hard. In the finish are his wife waited with his new born baby!

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It was victory for Luis Alberto Hernando in a time of 07:04:44, Nico Martin ran a great run for 2nd place and Sage Canaday placed 3rd in times of 7:10:40 and 7:14:16.

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Ida Nilsson won the ladies race in 8:14:18 followed by Ann Lise Rousset 8:31:53 and Ruth Croft placed 3rd in 8:33:32.

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Transvulcania Ultramarathon never disappoints and I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it is arguably one of the greatest courses and finish lines out there. Add to that stunning organisation, wonderful support and a passionate island who gets behind the race, there is no mistaking why Transvulcania has become THE must race to do.

Results:

  1. Luis Alberto Hernando 7:04:44
  2. Nicolas Martin 7:10:40
  3. Sage Canaday 7:14:16
  4. Andy Symonds 7:25:04
  5. Chris Vargo 7:26:53

 

  1. Ida Nilsson 8:14:18
  2. Anne Lise Rousset 8:31:53
  3. Ruth Croft 8:33:32
  4. Alicia Shay 8:49:46
  5. Hillary Allen 8:54:57

*******

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The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series is brought to you with a new management company, Geneva based SkyMan SA

SkyMan SA  is pleased to present a new Main Partner, Migu Xempower, a Chinese exercise and health management platform which also counts a rich experience in organising marathons, city and mountain races for millions of runners.

The well-established, Sky, Ultra and Vertical format is joined by the Extreme Series presented by Alpina Watches, which more than ever expresses the true spirit of skyrunning defined not only by distance, but vertical climb and technical difficulty.

Skyrunner® World Series is supported by Migu Xempower, Alpina Watches, Compressport, Salomon and Scott Sports.

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

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Transvulcania Ultramarathon 2016 Preview – Skyrunner® World Series

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The island of La Palma one more prepares for the biggest weekend of the year:

Transvulcania!

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The Skyrunner® World Series 2016 kicked off just last weekend in China with the Yading SkyRun, now, it’s the big start for the European calendar and what a start. Transvulcania has become one of THE races to do. It’s reputation for stunning organisation, the majestic and beautiful trails of ‘La Isla Bonita’ and yes, a world-class field that that sets the bar.

Over the years, since 2012, the race distance has always been a point of conjecture. Now though, many of us are happy to say the races sits somewhere between 73-75km, which is approximately 46-miles that includes 3000+m of vertical gain.

It is a stunning race and one that is completely logical for a runner’s perspective. The point-to-point journey from sea to summit and back to sea personifies Skyrunning. The trails, although not overly technical, are some of the best trails to run on – they are stunning!

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Starting at Fuencaliente lighthouse, runners basically climb for 50km (with a drop down to El Pilar) to the caldera and the impressive Roques de los Muchachos. Many have considered this huge and impressive cauldron to be a Volcano, it is not, it is actually a large water erosion crater.

The trails, the landscape and the stunning vistas are beyond impressive. Depending on weather systems, an inversion can take place and therefore the runners run ‘above the clouds.’

Since 2012, the race has been transformed, directly attributable to Skyrunning, the ISF and the vision of Marino Giacometti and Lauri van Houten. 2016 once again steps up the reputation of the race with a stunning line up, yes, to coin a phrase, the field is stacked!

MEN

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Luis Alberto Hernando is the two time defending champion and returns in 2016. His performance in 2015 was off the scale and his course record was beyond impressive. Lies really has become a star of the sport but yet still remains a relatively low key character despite being a Skyrunning World and European Champion and having placed on the podium at UTMB. Luis is without doubt the outright favourite, he knows the course like the back of his hand. He became a father in 2015 and clearly stated that he would race less in 2016 to place an emphasis, that can only mean one thing, the races he does do he will be fired up for and at 100%.

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Sage Canaday has been close but no cigar many times on the island of La Palma. His achilles heel in comparison to the pure Skyrunners is his descending ability and unfortunately for Sage, Transvulcania drops from the high point of the course right down to the sea (2400m) in one 18km drop that not only requires 100% attention but great skill. Therefore, Sage has always employed the tactic of run hard from the start, build a buffer and then hopefully hold on. On the podium twice before, Sage missed 2015 and now he is back – can he topple Luis?

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Andy Symonds for me is the one who has all the potential to not only make the podium but push Luis all the way to the one and possibly pass him. Andy was there in 2012 when Dakota Jones took top honors ahead of Kilian Jornet. It signified a break through for Andy and what followed was disaster and series of issues and problems. He finally made a comeback in 2015 and he gained some notable success especially at Mont Blanc 80km, ELS2900 and most recently at Transgrancanaria. A move from Salomon to Scott has rejuvenated Andy and he has a new enthusiasm for the sport, he is back and I think Andy can win.

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Miguel Heras is an enigma, at times inspirational and at other times frustrating, His injury woes are a continual saga and it is just impossible to predict if he will run well or not. All I can say is, if he is on form he will be up there and he has every chance of contesting the podium as he did at Ultra Pirineu in 2015. However, the odds are increasingly stacked against him with such a young and talented field, but this is Miguel Heras – you cannot rule him out!

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Ricky Lightfoot like Andy Symonds has all the potential to win Transvulcania. Just last weekend he placed 2nd at the Three Peaks in the UK sandwiched between two fellow Salomon teammates. Ricky works full time, has a family and therefore often has to fit races in at last minute and occasionally he has to cancel at last minute. He can run with the best as he proved at the IAU World Trail Championships and his fell running background sets him up perfectly for anything technical.

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Cristofer Clemente placed 7th in 2015 but went on to have a very sold 2015 Skyrunning season. He’s a quiet guy who sits below the radar and therefore is often able to surprise. His 2nd place at The Rut was arguably his best performance of 2015 and although he is maybe not always a podium contender, he is consistent if nothing else – exactly what you need for the Skyrunner World Series.

Adam Campbell is somewhat a surprise entry; I didn’t see that one coming. Since his stunning Hardrock performances, Adam took a lower profile and took to skis and ski mountaineering – no bad thing, Kilian and many others have been doing that for years. Adam’s last experience at Transvulcania in 2013 was a character building lesson in persistence and survival. His finish despite huge problems earned him respect. He has the race skills and speed for Transvulcania and if he finds his run legs, he will be a contender.

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Mike Murphy is a fellow Canadian of Adam Campbell and although you will not see his name mentioned or talked about in any previews, take note, he is one to watch! Mike is one of the gutsiest and committed athletes I know. He doesn’t race much but when he does it is at 110%. We discussed his participation at Transvulcania in 2015 and I know he has been preparing for this showdown.

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Zaid Ait Malek is a runner who embraces life and the trails. He loves life and he loves running. Even though he won Matterhorn Ultraks in 2014 one could arguably say his best performance was placing 2nd to Kilian Jornet at Ultra Pirineu in 2015. Zaid does have a habit of blowing hot and cold though. I hope he has a good race in La Palma.

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Stephan Hugenschmidt placed 5th in 2014 and the stage was set for stardom, what followed, didn’t actually follow the script that many had written. Despite a win at the TransAlpine and other wins in smaller races, the ‘big’ victory didn’t follow which leaves a huge question mark for Transvulcania 2016. My gut feeling says that we will see him top-5 again!

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Fulvio Dapit loves to run and run regularly, the distance of Transvulcania will suit him as will the technical aspects – he is a pure Skyrunner. On his day, we can really expect him to contend the top-5, however, he is prone to stomach issues which can often ruin his racing.

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Gerard Morales like his Buff team mates of Zaid and Pau has the potential to be top-10 but may just lack the additional oomph and speed to penetrate the top-5.

Pau Bartolo won TCC in 2014 and although on his day we can expect him around the top-10, I don’t see him making any inroads on the top-5.

Sylvain Court leaves a huge question mark for me? He was the winner of the IAU World Trail Championships on home ground in Annecy. Was it home advantage a purple patch? I don’t know, I really don’t. However, the trails around Annecy need respect and Sylvain did beat a tired Luis Alberto Hernando that day – what do you think?

Nicolas Martin however placed 3rd at CCC, 2nd at Templiers and was 7th in Annecy at the IAU World Trail Championships and that balance of results elevates him to a potentially higher overall placing at Transvulcania over Sylvain.

Chris Vargo had a tough 2015 but prior to this had excellent 2013 and 2014 seasons. The hard packed single-track that Transvulcania offers will suit Chris, however, the black soft sand, technical trails around the Caldera and the 18km drop to the sea may suit him less?

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Vajin Armstrong is a top class runner from the Southern Hemisphere who has all the potential to be top-10 and if he has a good day, he may come close to 5th but I don’t see the podium as a possibility.

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Vlad Ixel has raced Transvulcania before and was forced to withdraw as his shoes fella apart…. at the time of dropping, he was in and around the top-10 and looking good. Based in Hong Kong he ha regularly has a string of top quality results and like Vajin Armstrong I see him in the top-10.

Benoit Cori is a two times winner of Templiers and a recent winner of the SainteLyon night race. Two of Frances biggest races outside of the UTMB. Although Benoit can obviously run, I don’t see him beating the like of Luis, Andy, Ricky, Miguel, Sage and Zaid on a cause such as this – I may be wrong?

Ones to watch:

Julien Codert has placed 6th at Transvulcania previously.

Yeray Duran is from the Canaries and will be fired up for this race.

Aurelian Collet another French runner who like running French races.

Ion Azpiroz

Florian Reichert – been training on the island and looks fired up for a good race.

Marcin Swierc

Marco Ranchi

Nuno Silva

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and finally a huge nod of the hat for Bruno Brunod who is along with Marino Giacometti, the father of Skyrunning. In recent years he has run and raced the Tor des Geants. I for one will be interested to see how the legend performs on these wonderful trails.

 

LADIES

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Anna Frost heads up the ladies’ race and I have to say, if ‘Frosty’ is on form she will win the race. No disrespect to the other ladies but Frosty knows and loves this course, holds the course record and when in beast mode; is unstoppable. But will she be 100% fit? Her ability to climb hard, descend fast is un-matched by any other lady in the field with the exception of Mira Rai. Frosty missed the race last year with injury but won Hardrock 100, a race she will go back to this year.

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Mira Rai just placed 2nd at the Three Peaks in the UK. A clear sign of pure class… fell running is far removed from what she is used to. Mira’s story is an inspirational one and along with Jo Meek, I believe that Mira has all the potential to contest the top of the podium. Mira in my opinion will get the edge over Jo due to her technical ability – the 18km descent is going to be a crucial element of the race.

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Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek had some tough times with injury but she returned in late 2015 placing 2nd at Everest Trail Race and then 8th at TNF50. I would say in both of those races she was on the comeback trail and although Transvulcania will throw some significant obstacles at her, I do believe her natural fast speed will be a huge advantage. I can’t help think that Jo will adopt a Sage Canaday approach, pushing hard in the early stages when she can run looking to build a time buffer and then when the trails get gnarly, she will do her best to consolidate. A bonus for Jo is the final push from Tazacorte to the finish. If in contention, Jo will have the speed to close out the race.

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Ida Nilsson is my dark horse for the race and top tip for the podium. I can hear you all say now, Ida who? Believe me and trust me, barring injury or problems, Ida will be contesting the podium.

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Anna Comet finished 2nd at Transvulcania last year and had a great year of Skyrunning. I think it’s fair to say that Anna may well have raced too much in 2015. I think she learnt that lesson and will race less in 2016. The podium is there for the taking and I have no reason not to see Anna top-5.

Alicia Shay falls a little in the Jo Meek category. She is a fast runner who is looking to find her trail feet. Transvulcania offers a good mix and does allow the ‘runner’ to perform as Sage Canaday has shown. Alicia will be looking to follow in Sage’s footsteps but I do think she is in for a European learning curve. I see Jo and Alicia leading the race early on, what happens from the Caldera to the sea with all come down to bravery and adaptation.

Uxue Fraile will start steady and work her way through the field. She knows how to race this course and races tactically. It’s one of caution. She allows the other ladies to race hard and then detonate and then she does what she does best, close with great skill and consistency and picks up the pieces for a top-5. Her 2015 was stunning with a win UTMF and 2nd at UTMB. I do believe though that Transvulcania is not long enough or hard enough for Uxue to win.

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Christel Dewalle is the known un-known if that makes sense. A VK specialist, Christel has had good results in many ultras and her inclusion into Transvulcania is an interesting one. My gut reaction tells me that we may well see a surprise.

Gemma Arenas is a runner who may well drift under the radar but her 4th place at Ultra Pirineu confirms her ability.

Magdalena Laczak was 5th last year and went on to improve throughout 2015. In many respects she is a dark horse.

 

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7699Hillary Allen may well be the hottest property from the USA in regard to Skyrunning. She may not be the fastest of the American ladies but she can handle and embraces the technical trail. Hillary proved this at Mont Blanc 80km and on home soil at The Rut.

Anne-Lise Rousset placed 5th in 2014 and she has the potential to place in a similar position in 2016. Considering the competition, she would need a stunning run (or others to have a bad run) to make the top-3.

Jodee Adams-Moore will be between top-5 and top-10 based on previous form but she does have the potential for a break through performance. Had Transvulcania not contained the Caldera and the 18km drop to Tazacorte, I would rate Jodee’s chances higher.

Kristina Pattison was 6th at Mont Blanc 80km and Transvulcania in 2015 and therefore along with Hillary Allen, is the best prospect for an American breaking the top-5.

Ones to watch:

Manu Vilaseca

Zoe Salt

Gabriela Sanchez Cabezas

Adrian Vargas

Juliette Benedicto

 *****

The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series is brought to you with a new management company, Geneva based SkyMan SA.

SkyMan SA is pleased to present a new Main Partner, Migu Xempower, a Chinese exercise and health management platform which also counts a rich experience in organising marathons, city and mountain races for millions of runners.
The well-established, Sky, Ultra and Vertical format is joined by the Extreme Series presented by Alpina Watches, which more than ever expresses the true spirit of Skyrunning defined not only by distance, but vertical climb and technical difficulty.

Skyrunner® World Series is supported by Migu Xempower, Alpina Watches, Compressport, Salomon and Scott Sports.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the

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2016 Skyrunner® World Series launches

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2016 Skyrunner® World Series launches
– new races, a new partner, all-round rebranding and website, the Series is set to reach new heights.

The Series’ new management company, Geneva based SkyMan SA, is pleased to present a new Main Partner, Migu Xempower, a Chinese exercise and health management platform which also counts a rich experience in organising marathons, city and mountain races for millions of runners.

NEW WEBSITE HERE – http://skyrunnerworldseries.com

SkyMan SA brings a  breath of spring air across the Skyrunner® World Series just before the 2016 season kicks off and the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series launches. The series kicks off with Yading Skyrun in China, the course reaches a high point of 4664m in China’s Sichuan Mountains. Followed by a world-class line up at the stunning Transvulcania Ultramarathon, the race calendar expands to stretch across the globe. Six new races and a calendar that features twenty-three races in total, the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series is set to be the best yet, especially with the new Extreme category that combines Tromso, Trofeo Kima and Glen Coe in an adrenaline packed trio of races that hark back to the roots of the sport pioneered by Marino Giacometti. This series is sponsored by Alpina Watches and is joined by the well established Sky, Ultra and Vertical formats.

Skyrunner® World Series is also delighted to count on the continued support of Alpina Watches, together with the three Official Pool Suppliers, Compressport, Salomon and Scott Sports.

©iancorless.com_IMG_8821Kima2014_Kilian Jornet, the sport’s best known figure and organiser of the Extreme Series’ Tromsø SkyRace® in Norway, comments:

“When I started to run I was inspired by the images of Bruno Brunod, Fabio Meraldi and Marino Giacometti climbing (and descending) technical ridges, passing climbers and alpinists with just a pair of running shoes – and amazing technical skills! I’m very glad that today there’s an Extreme Series with this alpine philosophy and, as an organiser, to share my passion for scrambling and travelling light on big mountains.”

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The Skyrunner® World Series is known for attracting the best athletes in the sport at each event. They compete for an end of season prize purse of €36,000, in addition to the prize purse of over €100,000 distributed across all races.

The Skyrunner® World Series is known for attracting the best athletes in the sport at each event. They compete for an end of season prize purse of €36,000, in addition to the prize purse of over €100,000 distributed across all races.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-1300Mike Foote, world class trail runner and organiser of The Rut events in the rugged Montana mountains, adds:

“It’s an honour to be a part of the 2016 Skyrunner World Series. As the organisers of three events here in the United States, it is exciting to host many of the world’s best. I love the ethos of skyrunning. Steep, technical and dramatic courses inspire me as an athlete and it has been such a pleasure to also organize events with these traits here in my backyard.”

Iancorless.com and iancorlessphotography are once again pleased to announce that they will be the official photographer and media partner for 2016 SKYRUNNER® WORLD SERIES.

You can follow through all the usual media channels, in particular Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and make sure you follow all the ‘official’ Skyrunning feeds.

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2016 SKYRUNNER® WORLD SERIES

SKY
April 30: Yading Skyrun – 29 km, Sichuan – China
May 22: Maratón Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri – 42 km, Zegama – Spain
June 26: Livigno SkyMarathon® – 30 km, Livigno – Italy
July 17: Dolomites SkyRace® – 22 km, Canazei – Italy
July 31: SkyRace® Coma Pedrosa – 22 km, Andorra
August 20: Matterhorn Ultraks 46K – Zermatt – Switzerland
September 3: The Rut 28K – Big Sky Montana – USA
October 15: Limone Extreme SkyRace® – 23 km, Limone sul Garda – Italy

EXTREME
August 7: Tromsø SkyRace® – 50km, Tromsø – Norway
August 28: Kima Trophy – 50 km, Sondrio – Italy
September 18: Salomon Glen Coe Skyline – 53 km, Glen Coe – UK

ULTRA
May 7: Transvulcania Naviera Armas Ultramarathon – 74 km, La Palma – Spain
June 4: Ultra SkyMarathon® Madeira – 55 km, Madeira – Portugal
July 10: High Trail Vanoise – 68 km, Val d’Isère – France
September 4: The Rut 50K – Big Sky, Montana – USA
September 24: Salomon Ultra Pirineu – 110 km, Bagà – Spain

VERTICAL
May 5: Kilómetro Vertical Transvulcania Binter- La Palma – Spain
June 24: Santa Caterina Vertical Kilometer® – Sondrio – Italy
July 8: Kilomètre Vertical Face de Bellevarde – Val d’Isère – France
July 15: Dolomites Vertical Kilometer® – Canazei – Italy
August 5: Blamann Vertical – Tromsø – Norway
September 2: Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer® – Big Sky, Montana – USA
October14: Limone Extreme Vertical Kilometer® – Limone sul Garda – Italy

A Day in the Cumbre Nueva to Punta de las Roques – Transvulcania Ultramarathon

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Yesterday, I planned a little outing with Niandi. No plans really, in all honesty, we didn’t even know which section of the Transvulcania course we would go on. The main problem with running on the Transvulcania course is logistics. In real terms, you always need to run out-and-back routes.

We ended up going to El Pilar, an early and key aid station that comes approximately one third into the Transvulcania race. It’s about a 50-min drive from Tazacorte (where I am staying) which is the end of the GR131 route before the final push up to Los Llanos and the finish of the Transvulcania race.

El Pilar allows easy access to the Volcano Route section and a direct option back to the coast and  Fuencaliente lighthouse, as such, it is the route most people take.

We decided to go north, head out of El Pilar and follow the GR131 into the Cumber Nueva in the direction of Roques de los Muchachos.

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Leaving El Pilar, looking out to the west you get to see Los Llanos, Tazacorte and the sea in the distance. These tropical, muddy, forest trails provide the Transvulcania runners some of the easiest running so far in the race but eventually this comes to an end at Reventon Pass and the climb up to Punta de los Roques.

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The Cumbre Nueva and following sections are for me one of the most stunning sections of the Transvulcania route. From Reventon Pass to Punta de los Roques in particular is stunning! Onwards to Pico de las Nieves, the trails open up and the push to Roques de los Muchachos leads to the final drop to Tazacorte . Mixing rocky terrain with stunning vegetation, the route is incredible from a running and visual perspective. It is also very prone to an inversion; where the cloud drops below the high points creating a stunning almost dream like backdrop.

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The mist comes in, visibility is reduced, the temperature drops and suddenly you feel like you are in a different place. You question, ‘will the good weather come back?’

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Then suddenly, you break through the cloud, the white fluffy clouds are below and a wonderful blue backdrop adds an amazing palette to run or walk against.

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Single track trails of good running constantly creep up beyond 2000m to Punta de los Roques and the Refugio. Here stunning views of the Caldera de Taburiente are possible and off in the distance, the observatories of Roques de los Muchachos can be seen.

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Around every corner a surprise. It doesn’t matter if you are running or walking, these trails offer so much.

The Transvulcania route is always a constant surprise and I am always amazed at how the terrain, weather, vegetation and views change as you move through the route. Our day in the Cumber Nueva was a special one, topped off with this stunning image as Niandi ran around a mountain corner, the inversion clearly visible and if one image sums up skyrunning, this may be it.

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You can view daily images from our stay in La Palma HERE

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Merry Christmas

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MERRY CHRISTMAS 

Dear all, a heartfelt Merry Christmas to all those who have made 2015 a very special year.

It has been quite a journey. All the races, race directors, runners, teams, sponsors and of course. all the followers of this website who view my images, read my words, listen to Talk Ultra and get involved in this wonderful and crazy sport.

I thank you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas from the trails of La Palma.

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Roques de los Muchachos, La Palma – Transvulcania Ultramarathon

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The island of La Palma has always ticked many boxes for me, it’s a quiet island that lacks tourism, it has incredible all-year round weather and of course it hosts the Transvulcania Ultramarthon.

I’ve been coming here since 2012; it never disappoints. This year I’m here to find some quiet time to write content for my book, Running Beyond. But I am also here for a long overdue holiday, to spend time with Niandi (who gets neglected with all my travel) but also to get back to some regular time on the trails.

Notice I said, ‘time on the trails’ and not running. To be honest, I’ll take the running if the body will allow, it’s not important though, I just need the head space and the isolation the trails out here bring.

We have no plans other than to work and get objectives done each day and then spend the rest of time doing what makes us happy. Yesterday, I was up early and decided I wanted to be finished with work by midday. My plan was to head up into the mountains and run/ walk/ hike around the rim of the Caldera de Taburiente. In the Transvulcania Ultramarathon, this is often referred to as Roques de los Muchachos but actually Roques is the end of the section where the observatories are located and then the long 18km drop and descent to Tazacorte Port.

It’s an incredible place and one of the key sections of the Transvulcania Ultramarthon due to its elevation of 2400+m and the stunning views it provides to the east and the west. In the east one can see the islands of TenerifeEl Hierro and La Gomera and they are visible in the photos. The terrain here varies greatly from technical rocky sections of jagged and irregular rock to sandy and dusty trail. Although the trail goes up and down, in real terms most of the climbing is done by the time you reach Pico de la Nieve at 2232m.

Niandi and myself accessed the GR131 (Transvulcania route) at Pico de la Nieve as a trail, the PR LP 3 comes in from the main access road (LP4).

From the road it’s a 20-30min hike in to the GR131 and then it’s possible to follow the Transvulcania route on an out-and-back to Roques de Los Muchachos (approx 10km, 20km round trip).

Needless to say it’s a stunning section of trail and I have to say, one of my favourites in the world. Key sections are Pico de la Cruz, Piedra a Llana, Marro Negro, Pico de la Cruz and Fuente Nueva before arriving at Roques de los Muchachos.

If you are a runner, hiker, walker or basically someone just looking for an inspirational day on trail with stunning views, I can’t recommend this enough.

Yesterday for me was one of those special days; from early afternoon, through to sunset and then finishing off in the dark with just a headlight, the moon, the stars and Niandi for company.

Niandi and myself didn’t worry about pace, time, or anything for the that matter. We just moved, stopped, took photographs and soaked in a magical place.

So magical, I wanted to share the journey in images.

Transvulcania Ultramarathon 2015 – Race Summary and Images

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No matter which way you look at it, no matter how you write it, the 2015 Transvulcania Ultramarathon was the Luis Alberto Hernando and Emelie Forsberg show.

Kicking of the 2015 Skyrunner World Series, Transvulcania was always going to be a great race and showdown that started the ISF ball rolling.

The dynamic duo of Luis Alberto and Emelie were beyond impressive and as such have provided a great impetus for the 2015 series.

Emelie Forsberg fresh off skis (and a win at Mezzalama) lead the race from the front and slowly but surely extended a lead that extended to over 30-minutes by the time the finish line arrived in Los Llanos. ‘It was so hot out there,’ Emelie said, ‘I am fresh off skis and cold temperatures and to run in this intense heat was so hard but I am extremely happy. It’s a dream come true to win this race again.’

Luis Alberto by contrast played a waiting game in the early stage. A feisty Zach Miller went off the front trying to fulfill a pre race promise that he would win the race. But Luis kept in contact and at Pico De La Nieves he made his move opening a gap of just a couple of seconds. As the kilometers passed, the Spaniard produced a master class of mountain running and when he turned the after burners on, there was no stopping him. As he entered the final kilometers he knew the course record was a possibility and he pushed and pushed providing all those watching a skin tingling and inspiring finish to snatch the course record by a couple of minutes. ‘I took it easy; I let the others dictate and then just pulled away. I felt good the whole way and it’s just incredible to win here again. I had no problems.’

It was a day of shocks though. The men’s field was super stacked and many of those we expected to contend the podium either did not start or faded and/ or pulled out. Miguel Heras did not start, Ryan Sandes dropped early saying he had no energy and Timothy Olson, Mike Foote and so many more just had a tough day on La Isla Bonita; the beautiful island.

Dani Garcia Gomez took a surprise 2nd place and Australian sensation, Blake Hose took the final podium place showing a distinct promise of an exciting future. ‘I am more than happy,’ said Blake, ‘I was taking it easy and went through some rough patches but so did everyone else by the sounds of it. To get the podium here in this quality of field is incredible, now some short races!’

Dakota Jones sprinted for 4th ahead of a charging Zach Miller and although he improved on his 2014 performance, it was easy to see that Dakota was a little perplexed by his run. However, he was very philosophical post race.

Landie Grayling was potentially going to provide Emelie with some competition after her win at Buffalo Stampeed (in Australia) but like her South African teammate, Ryan Sandes, Landie said she had no energy. Everest Trail Race winner Anna Comet Pascua started down the field and moved her way through to 2nd on the podium, albeit 30-minutes behind Emelie. Myriam Marie Guillot Boisset placed 3rd just under 2-minutes ahead of American, Alicia Shay. Magdalena Laczak rounded out the top five.

Transvulcania with the help and inspiration of the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) in just 4-years has become one of the most iconic and prestigious ultra marathons in the world. The 2015 edition has secured this reputation. It’s not just running; it’s an island coming together to create a beautiful harmony that celebrates running. With arguably one of the most impressive and logical (sea-summit-sea) courses, the race is a pleasure to behold. I for one am booking a place for the 2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon; I suggest you do too!

Check out Skyrunning HERE

RESULTS

Ladies:

  1. Emelie Forsberg 8:32:59
  2. Anna Comet Pascua 9:02:57
  3. Myriam Marie Guillot Boisset 9:15:06
  4. Alicia Shay 9:17:49
  5. Magdalena Laczak 9:23:45

 

Men:

  1. Luis Alberto Hernando Alzaga 6:52:39 – NEW CR
  2. Dani Garcia Gomez 7:21:28
  3. Blake Hose 7:25:23
  4. Dakota Jones 7:28:59
  5. Zach Miller 7:29:00

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Transvulcania La Palma 2015 – Race Preview

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It’s here, the big dance, the mega showdown, the big kahuna, the dogs bolx, yes, no matter what you call it, Transvulcania is here and guess what? This race is stacked higher than the Shard!

In 2012, the ISF joined the La Palma party and in just three years the race has become ‘the one’ to do in the early season. I am biased, no doubt. I have been all over the island following the race and I have even had a couple of holidays exploring the trails. It is the most perfect running environment and the Transvulcania course is wonderful in its simplicity. Start at the sea, run all the way up and up, run around the Caldera and then drop like a stone and back to the sea for the final uphill finish to Los Llanos.

In 2012, Dakota Jones was crowned ‘El Presidente’ along with Anna Frost, in 2013 it was the Kilian nd Emelie show and in 2014 Luis Alberto Hernando finally topped the podium with a returning Frosty. La Palma has become a place of inspiration and the series of races that unfold over the Transvulcania weekend are now considered one of the pinnacles in the ISF Skyrunner® World Series.

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As you would expect, 2015 is upholding the traditions of the three years that have gone before it and dare I say, it may very well be the best line up ever assembled?

I suppose many will say, aaagh but Kilian is not running! True, KJ has other mountains to climb. For sure he will be missed but hey, Everest looms and he needs to prepare.

Don’t despair. Luis Alberto Hernando, Dakota Jones, Ryan Sandes, Timothy Olson, Miguel Heras, Tofol Castanyer, Manuel Merillas, Jason Schlarb, Fulvio Dapit, Blake Hose, Zach Miller, Jorge Maravilla and Mike Foote (and so many more) are going to illuminate those volcanic trails. It’s been some years since a volcano erupted in La Palma but the heat generated from these runners may well get the fires burning.

*Frosty returns for the ladies but as I write, she is struggling with injury. It’s been a roller coaster for the NZ speedster and I more than most have seen the trials and tribulations that Anna has had to deal with. I just hope she finds that spark for the race that we all know she has. Just last week, 2013 winner Emelie Forsberg has declared her intentions to run. Last year she fell early on and it ruined her day. This year, she is back admittedly just off skis. One would say that Emelie will need this race to find her running legs but you can never rule her out. South African, Landie Greyling is on fire at the moment and Anne-Lise Rousset, Alicia Shay, Alessandra Carlini, Anna Comet, Ester Alves, Magdalena Laczak and so many more are going to test the Frost and Forsberg duo.

*Breaking news, 25th April – unfortunately Anna Frost has withdrawn from the race. Get well soon Frosy.

Previewing the 2015 edition of this race may very well turn into a mini novel, so, grab a beer (irrespective of the time of day), pull up a chair, grab some snacks and read on.

MEN

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Luis Alberto Hernando was on fire in 2014 and was a welcome winner of Transvulcania finally relegating Kilian to 2nd place. Following up with victory in the Skyrunning World Championships his season was one to savour. On paper, he’s the one to beat. He races with a strength, force and commitment that are seldom seen. He only has two speeds though, fast and resting. It has been his downfall in the past (2014 UTMB) but the Transvulcania course is the perfect distance for him. Luis is odds on favourite for victory.

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Dakota Jones will not make things easy for Luis though. Victor in 2012, Dakota returned in 2014 and had a disappointing race by his standards. With Kilian absent and Dakota now running in Salomon colours, maybe he is primed as the one to take over the reigns at the front?

Dakota has some serious Salomon company and to be honest, anyone of these big hitters could win – Ryan Sandes, Tofol Castanyer and Miguel Heras. Pick a name! I honestly find it impossible to say how these runners will place come the big day. In all honesty, should Luis have an off day, we could potentially see a Salomon 1, 2 and 3.

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Ryan is running Transvulcania for the first time so this puts him at a slight disadvantage. In addition to this, the South African has had a few injury issues over the winter. I know only too well that he has his eyes and focus on Western States this year; so, Transvulcania may well be a stepping stone race.

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Tofol Castanyer was 4th last year at Transvulcania and 2nd at UTMB. Do you want to bet against him? I don’t and I wouldn’t. He is a class act and has the race skills to dominate the race. He is without doubt podium potential.

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras if on form is another hot property on the La Palma trails. On his day, he is one of the best in the world. However, Miguel does have the potential to just keep pushing and pushing resulting in a series of injury woes. His return to form at UTMB a couple of years ago was a wonderful thing to see… it would be pleasure to see a repeat performance at Transvulcania.

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Timmy Olson loves La Palma. A little too much in my opinion! For me, Timmy left his 2014 Transvulcania performance on the trails in training. He just loves to run… I think he has realised that less is more and he has now taken on a coach to keep him on the straight and narrow. He has been quiet in 2015 which can only mean he is preparing for Transvulcania. In 2015 he’s going to be in fine form and he is going to get in and amongst the Salomon team and you know what, he may just win!

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Jason Schlarb gave me the surprise of 2014 by placing 4th at UTMB. I don’t doubt his ability; I just didn’t see that one coming. Jason is going to be fired up for this year’s race and a good winter of consistent training and no injuries is always a good sign.

Manuel Merillas was a revelation in 2014 and his 7th place at the 2014 Transvulcania does not reflect his growth in the sport. Manuel was one of the few runners too push Kilian in 2014 and I see him as being a real force in 2015. His 2nd at Trofeo Kima proves his potential. 

Blake Hose is the new star of Australia and after placing 6th at the Skyrunning World Championships, he really made the world look on and wonder what the future may hold. Well come May we will know, Blake is lining up against the best in the world.

Jorge Maravilla was 7th at TNF 50 last year and then placed 2nd at Tarawera. He loves to run and the Transvulcania course may well just suit his skill set. The ultimate test will come when he drops down 18km in the latter stages of the race. If he is in contention, will he have the downhill skills to hold on to the mountain goats?

It goes on…

Clement Petitjean (4th Skyrunning World Championships), Mike Foote (2nd at Lavaredo) Zach Miller, Josh Arthur, Pau Capell (1st Transgrancanaria Advanced), Vlad Ixel, Aurelien Dunand Pallaz, Carlos Sa, Christophe Le Saux, Marcin Swierc, Oscar Casal Mir, Cristofer Clemente Mora, Paul Hamilton, Pablo Villa, Florian Reichert, Dimitris Theodorokakos, Phudorjee Lama Sherpa and Ashur Youssefi-Dizagetakieh.

 

LADIES

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Frosty, if well (and that is a question mark at the moment) will take some beating. She proved this in 2012 and then backed this up in 2014 with a course record performance. I was with Anna in Costa Rica in February and she was in fine form until plantar fasciitis reared its head causing her to pull out of the race whilst in the lead.  *Breaking news, 25th April – unfortunately Anna Frost has withdrawn from the race. Get well soon Frosy. 

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The late entry of Emelie Forsberg is a great addition to the race. Emelie ran a great race in 2013 and although she is only just off skis, like Kilian, Emelie seems to be able to transfer seamlessly. I see the race potentially being a head-to-head with Frosty.

Anna-Lise Rousset was the ladies winner at CCC and for sure, that is going to transfer well to La Palma. Having said that, she placed 5th at TV last year and although I don’t see her contesting the top of the podium, 2nd or 3rd is possible.

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Landie Greyling seems to have moved things up a notch recently… she won the Salomon SkyRun in late November and just recently topped the podium at Buffalo Stampede in Australia. If Frosty and Emelie are in form, I don’t think Landie has the race (yet) to beat them but I don’t think she will be far off.

Alicia Shay will debut on the island and that for sure is a disadvantage, however, the American has the potential to shake up the front of the race as her 6th place at TNF showed.

Magadalena Laczak placed 8th at Templiers and was the surprise 3rd place at the Skyrunning World Championships. I am not sure of her recent form but based on those two results alone, one has to assume that she will be in the mix.

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Alessandra Carlini has continued to impress and in 2014 stepped up one more rung on the Skyrunning ladder placing 2nd at Ice Trail Tarentaise, 6th at Trofeo Kima and 10th at Transvulcania. One year on, can she contest the top-5?

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Anna Comet won the Everest Trail Race in November and looked impressive each day as she dominated the event. A ski mountaineer, her skill set is perfect for La Palma and although it’s her first time on the volcanic trails, I think we will see her do well.

Ester Alves placed 8th at UTMB and 6th at Transgrancanaria in 2014. Two solid performances! The podium may well be a long shot but top-5 is a distinct possibility and you never know, she may have a great day… if she dies, anything can happen!

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It’s also worth keeping an eye on the 2015 130km Iznik Ultra winner, Zoe Salt. Zoe may well go under the radar, as she doesn’t race too often, however, lets not forget she did place 3rd at Marathon des Sables in 2013. Angels Lloobera, Laura Mustat and Yurena Castillo add additional depth to the ladies field.

Phew… so who are your picks for the male and female podiums. The men’s race is wide open, the female race maybe less so but we can’t predict Frosty or Emilie’s form. One thing is for sure; it’s going to be an incredible day of racing.

The Skyrunner® World Series once again has support from Active Patch 4U, Salomon, Scott, Compressport, Arc’teryx, La Sportiva and new sponsor, Alpina Watches.

 

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