Tromso SkyRace® 2016 Summary and Images – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

©iancorless.com_Tromso2016-6879

Not even the 24-hour daylight could illuminate the landscape, the mountains and fjords were lost. Cloud shrouded the 3rd edition of the Tromsø SkyRace®, the first race in the new Skyrunner® Extreme Series.

Tromsø SkyRace®, is the brainchild of Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, with 2 high profile race directors like this, it’s not necessary to ask, ‘how technical is the race?’ You just know it’s going to be possibly one of the toughest races out there. Previous editions have confirmed this, in 2015, Jonathan Albon won the race in a new course record 6:08:41 and Salomon Team Manager Greg Vollet said, “It was crazy, but it was awesome! Certainly one of the most difficult races in the world!”

Hundreds of runners departed from the new start (and finish) outside The Edge Hotel, Tromso. It must be noted, that this new start and finish adds 8km’s onto what was an already tough course. Running what looks like a figure of 8 drawing, the route takes in 2 mountain summits: Tromsdalstind (1.238m) and Hamperokken (1.404m) which must be run twice; out and back! Crossing snow fields, rivers, dense forest and of course technical ridges, 4600m elevation awaited the runners but that statistic is only part of the story. It’s the technicality that makes this race hard.

Steep descents, challenging terrain and the ridge running at Hamperokken requires 110% focus. This IS NOT a race for everyone.

“The Hamperokken 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.” – Jonathan Albon

It requires a level of skill, devotion and commitment that not every runner has. Purists would say that Skyrunning may well finally be harking back to the glory days of the late 80’s or early 90’s when Giacometti, Meraldi, Brunod pioneered a new sport on the slopes of Monte Rosa and Mont-Blanc.

Skyrunner® World silver medalist for the SKY distance and recent winner at SkyRace Comapedrosa, Tom Owens was the odds-on favourite for victory and it was no surprise that he dictated the pace from the front. His arrival at Hamperokken ridge in 1st place was to plan, however, the proximity of 2nd Finlay Wild and 3rd Jonathan Albon confirmed that the race ahead was going to be a tough one!. They were only separated by seconds!

The ridge offers no room to pass and crossing from one end to the other is all about being comfortable with the challenge and doing so at ones own pace. On the descent the trio stayed together but Tom moved ahead approximately 300m from the top of the final summit and made his move. Jonathan and Finlay pursued but Tom was once again running the race of his life; he was just too quick. Last years’ winner Jonathan Albon held on for 2nd and Finlay Wild placed 3rd just behind, it was an incredible race and a Brit 1, 2, 3 podium.

Tom said post-race, “This is just like three of the hardest fell races you could ever run with a load of technical sections and the ridge was just incredible. Kilian and Emelie have created a beautiful (and hard) race. What a start to the Extreme Series!”

The ladies race was dictated by pre-race favourite, Jasmin Paris and she arrived at Hamperokken ridge in 1st. Looking relaxed and composed, Jasmin was running as hard as she needed still feeling jaded from recent FKT efforts and racing. Moving along the ridge she smiled, she was having fun.

Over the final half of the course Jasmin extended her lead and victory was never in doubt.

Last year, Malene Blikken Haukoy placed 3rd and this year she was running a comfortable 2nd on home terrain. Her ony threat came from Martina Valmassoi but her lead was comfortable and she cruised to the line securing the 2nd podium slot.

Martina Valmassoi running one of the longest and hardest races of her life like the two ladies in-front of her looked settled for the final podium place and the finish line could not arrive soon enough.

Jasmin, Like Tom Owens reveled in the ‘British’ like conditions that Norway and Tromso provided, “It’s just an incredible race. I loved the ridge, it was so much fun and the terrain and temperatures made me feel at home. Now I am really looking forward to returning to Scotland for the Salomon Glencoe Skyline!”

One thing is for sure, Kilian and Emelie have created something quite special in Tromso, it has set the stage for Trofeo Kima, the Salomon Glencoe Skyline and the Skyrunner® Extreme Series. The ‘Extreme’ series may not be for everyone but Skyrunner’s can dream to achieve the skill level and fitness required to take part in the ultimate mountain running experience. For sure it’s Skyrunning but it’s Skyrunning with bells on, it’s alpinism without the clutter.

Results

Jasmin Paris 8:43:53

Malena Haukøy 9:10:20

Martina Valmassoi 9:44:02

 

Tom Owens 6:45:15

Jonathan Albon 6:53:25

Finlay Wild 6:55:03


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:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

Tromsö Skyrace 2015 – Race Summary

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-7188The mountains and fjords were lost in and amongst light persistent rain and cloud for the 2nd edition of the Tromsö Skyrace part of the ultra Skyrunner® World Series.

View race images HERE

Not even the 24-hour daylight could illuminate the proceedings, it was going to be a tough grey day. But despite the monotone, colour was in abundance; runners, race staff and marshals added that.

Anticipation worldwide for the Tromso Skyrace was high, and it’s clear to understand why. The race had 2 high profile race directors in Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, it had a world class field assembled and if offered arguably one of the toughest and most challenging 45km of any race, worldwide!

“It was crazy, but it was awesome! Certainly one of the most difficult race in the world!” – Greg Vollet

4600m elevation awaited the runners but that statistic is only part of the story. It’s the technicality that makes this race hard. Steep descents, challenging terrain and the ridge running at Hamperokken requires 110% focus. This IS NOT a race for everyone. It requires a level of skill, devotion and commitment that not every runner has. 2014 champion, Eirik Haugsness summed it up when he said:

“As you can see on my face – this race is an intense experience.”

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-4645

Intense it was and I can say, having climbed all the way to the final summit and located myself on the ridge to capture the front runners, the climb or the ridge did not disappoint. On the contrary, at times it was quite intimidating!

400 runners departed from Fjellheisen at 10am and they had to run what looks like a figure of 8 course that takes in 2 mountain summits: Tromsdalstind (1.238m) and Hamperokken (1.404m). Crossing snow fields, rivers, dense forest and of course technical ridges, the race was made even more challenging with the weather and the ‘slick’ conditions underfoot.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-4585

Skyrunner® World and European Champion for the Ultra distance, Luis Alberto Hernando was the odds-on favourite for victory and it was no surprise that he dictated the pace from the front. His arrival at Hamperokken ridge in 1st place was no surprise, however, the proximity of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th was. They were only minutes behind! The charge was lead by Eirik Haugsness but Jonathon Albon was hot on his heels, as was Pascal Egli and Rolf Einar Jensen.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-4643

Post race Haugsness commented that this group of 4 had agreed not to ‘race’ the ridge. It was a wise choice. It offers no room to pass and crossing from one end to the other is all about being comfortable with the challenge and doing so at ones own pace.

“At about 1100m the famous Hamperokken ridge proper starts, this is like a combination of the Aonach Eagach (Scotland) and Crib Goch Ridges (Wales) but with fewer escape paths. It is solid grade II scrambling in parts with a few very short sections that are maybe grade III” – Shane Ohly, RD for the Glen Coe Skyline

On the descent though Albon moved ahead and went in pursuit of Hernando.

“I was running with the group and I thought, I can go quicker than this so I did,” said Albon after the race.

Albon caught Hernando before the final climb and then slowly but surely opened up a gap as the Spaniard started to seize with tiredness and fatigue. Albon took victory 17-minutes clear and although he came to this race a relative unknown, his win has turned heads. Coming from an obstacle racing background where he has been a world champion, this course suited him perfectly. It was a stunning win and boy-oh-boy is great to see a Brit on top of the podium. Hernando held on for 2nd and Einar Jensen took the final podium place.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-5085

The ladies race actually had a very similar feel to the men’s race. Race director, Emelie Forsberg had decided some time ago that she would run her own race and formulated a plan with co-race director Kilian Jornet and the team of marshals and helpers to facilitate that. Like Hernando, Forsberg is the current Skyrunner® World Champion and European Champion for the ultra distance, so although victory was a distinct possibility it was not guaranteed.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-5182

Forsberg arrived at Hamperokken ridge in 1st just like Hernando but was closely followed by Maite Maiora and Mira Rai. Norwegian Malena Haukøy was in 4th place but looked strong and composed.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-5129

Over the final half of the course Forsberg slowly extended a small lead and Mira Rai pursued. Maite Maiora took a tumble on the descent from Hamperokken and although she received no permanent injury, it did impact on her race causing her to slow. Rai moved into 2nd (who also fell) and local girl Malena Haukøy moved ahead of Maiora and took an excellent 3rd on the podium.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-5282

111 runners completed the course before the midnight cut-off time. Of course the stories and experiences of an epic day in the mountains will continue to be revealed in the coming days and weeks. One thing is for sure, Kilian and Emelie have created something quite special in Tromso. It’s a race that harks back to the roots of Skyrunning. It’s alpinism without the clutter. But be warned, this race is not for everyone and as such, just like Trofeo Kima in Italy, you need to ensure that you are prepared for the challenge that the Tromso Skyrace will throw at you. Roll on 2016.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-7205

As a footnote, it was incredible to see how Kilian and Emelie used their passion for running to provide this experience for all. Of course no event can happen without an incredible team of volunteers and helpers and at Tromsö they had this help in abundance. But Kilian was a man possessed. He was course marking, writing reports, taking photographs ensuring everyones safety on the route and to top it all off he was at the finish to welcome everyone with a smile and a medal. It was impressive to see. Bravo! And as Emelie would say:

‘All great races finish with a cinnamon bun!”

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-7095

 View race images HERE

Results

  1. Emelie Forsberg 7:09:54
  2. Mira Rai 7:23:09
  3. Malena Haukøy 7:31:29
  1. Jonathon Albon 6:08:41
  2. Luis Alberto Hernando 6:25:54
  3. Rolf Einar Jensen 6:28:51

Tromso Skyrace logo

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-7202