1118 runners toed the line for the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships 80km Ultra in the endurance capital of the world, Chamonix.
Departing at 0400 the race followed the original route in contrast to last years race, which was modified due to the presence of snow at high-points.
Blue skies welcomed each and every runner and allowed an opportunity for everyone to view the splendor of this tough, technical and remarkable route. A total distance of 83.7km and 6000m of positive gain was always going to provide a male and female champion of the highest quality.
At La Flégère (km16), Transvulcania La Palma winner, Luis Alberto Hernando (SPA) was leading followed by Mike Wolfe (USA) and the winner of the 2013 edition, François D’Haene (FRA). Luis-Alberto took the bull by the horns and pushed ahead and by the Col des Montets (23km) had a lead of 5-minutes.
Luis Alberto continued to push and at Emosson dam (km32) the Spaniard had opened a convincing lead that he would continue to hold all the way to the line. However, Francois d’Haene tried everything he possibly could to close the gap. In the end, the margin was reduced to 4-mins making it a remarkably close finish.
François gave us the story of the head of the race, ‘Luis Alberto produced a great performance. He is strong on the short distance; I am stronger on longer distances. At Montenvers (km75) after getting cramps, I gave everything in the last run to the line and I gained a little time. I am very happy about my race, this course is amazing.’
Behind the 2-lead men, Mike Wolfe faded opening the doorway to the rising stars of the Southern Hemisphere; Ben Duffus (3rd), Blake Hose (6th) and Caine Warburton (9th). Clement Petitjean placed 4th after a consistently strong performance all day.
Emelie Forsberg (SWE) put early season disappointments behind her and started the World Championship event from the front and never looked back. Producing a master-class in endurance running, Emelie crossed the line in Chamonix and was crowned female Skyrunning World Champion in 12-hours 38-minutes.
Anna Frost on a roll from her Transvulcania La Palma victory confirmed that she is back with an excellent second place, 8-minutes behind her Salomon teammate.
Magdaléna Laczack (POL) was in contention all-day and produced a stand out performance to place 3rd lady ahead of Maud Gobert (FRA).
Tiredness, fatigue and endurance accompanied by magnificent landscapes and panoramic views. This is the magic and the essence of the Skyrunning World Championships.
Podium of the Mont-Blanc 80k, World Championship ultra-marathon Skyrunning
1 – Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) : 10:25:52
2 – François d’Haene (FRA) : 10:29:33
3 – Ben Duffus (AUS) : 10:52:33
1 – Emilie Forsberg (NOR) : 12:38 :49
2 – Anna Frost (NZ) : 12:46:52
3 – Magdalena Laczak (PL) : 12:58:51