Another season of Skyrunning concluded in Limone sul Garda with the Limone Extreme SkyRace, the final race in the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series. As expected, it was a day of high emotions that ultimately resulted in blood, sweat, tears and elation.
Although race day conditions were ideal, a new course had been created after the thunderstorms of Thursday night and Friday morning. The resulting race although the same distance (23km) had an additional 800m of elevation and descent. Work it out! 23km and 2800m of elevation gain and descent, that can only mean one thing; pain!
One thing became clear though post race, although this new course was tougher it had a unanimous nod from all the runners that the additional difficulty was a good thing; that’s Skyrunning for you!
Final races in a series can often have a forgone conclusion of who will be crowned respective male and female Skyrunner® World Series champions, not here in Limone. It was wide open and all to fight for.
Click on the images to view pre race photographs:
In the men’s race, Remi Bonnet once again proved that we have a star in the making. He followed on from the previous nights VK victory with a world-class SKY performance that left every other runner in the race trailing in his wake. It was stunning to watch. This course is tough, don’t doubt it! Remi ran every step. He has an incredible style, almost shuffling as he moves from left-to-right foot in small movements. It’s incredibly effective and ultimately impossible to follow. Despite him winning the race outright, he could not follow up his Skyrunner® World Series victory for the VK distance as he did not have a result on a Continental race, had he had this, he may well have been the 2015 champion?
Behind Remi, series leader, Tadei Pivk grabbed the bull by the horns and followed the young Swiss runner with 100% determination. His style on the climbs was in complete contrast to Remi; he almost fought the terrain! On the final long descent back down to the Lake and the finish line in Limone, I had expected Tadei to close the gap as he descends incredibly well. Alas no, the day was not for him but his 2nd place gave him the ultimate prize of the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series title.
Ever present Manuel Merillas, also a strong contender for the overall series ran a well paced race and moved from 6th, 5th and 4th to finally finish 3rd. It was a great result and ultimately secured his 2nd place in the Skyrunner® World Series rankings ahead of Martin Anthamatten who took the final podium slot despite finishing 13th on the day, no doubt carrying over fatigue from his recent victory in the USA.
In the ladies race a hotly anticipated battle between Laura Orgue and Megan Kimmel really came to fruition and as always happens in these scenarios, somebody wins, somebody looses. Laura Orgue already had the Skyrunner® World Series title for the VK distance secure before Friday’s VK race and she made the very sensible decision not to race and save her legs for the following day and Saturday’s Sky race.
Running at the front of the race, the VK specialist really embraced the additional 800m of vertical gain and used all her climbing skills to pull off a stunning victory. It was a gutsy ‘give it everything’ performance and one that Maite Maiora tried to spoil. They traded blows throughout the day and Laura managed to squeeze ahead and find those extra percentages of performance to finish just 17-seconds ahead of the La Sportiva runner.
Could Megan Kimmel finish 3rd and secure the world series title?
No! A tough day in the office and carried over fatigue from a recent victory in the USA’s Flagstaff race resulted in Megan feeling tired all day. Of course, the additional 800m of vert didn’t help. Megan finally finished 6th and just had to accept that ‘these things happen!’
Oihana Kortazar followed up a great run from the previous days VK with the final podium place ahead of Elisa Desco and Yngvild Kaspersen.
A season comes to an end and with it we have memories, emotions and passion. The 2015 Skyrunner® World Series champions are:
Laura Orgue and Remi Bonnet are the SWS champions for the VK distance.
Laura Orgue and Tadei Pivk are the SWS champions for the SKY distance.
Emelie Forsberg and Luis Alberto Hernando are SWS champions for the ULTRA distance.
Attention now turns to 2016 and the calendar of races that will once again secure the hearts and minds of the mountain running community.
Less Cloud, More Sky!
- Laura Orgue 3:18:50
- Maite Maiora 3:19:07
- Oihana Kortazar 3:22:24
- Elisa Desco 3:28:00
- Yngvild Kaspersen 3:28:40
- Remi Bonnet 2:45:25
- Tadei Pivk 2:51:08
- Manuel Merillas 2:52:52
- Jokin Lizeaga2:53:55
- Aritz Egea 2:55:47
Moments from the finish line, click on images to view larger:
RACE DAY IMAGES – more images to follow as soon as wifi becomes available
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