Nuri Picas running to the podium in Tromso earlier I’m 2017
The 2017 UTMB was billed as the ‘best ever’ and as the weather finally improves in and around Chamonix, life returns to normal for everyone and we all have an opportunity to step back and look how important this years race actually was.
I think it may well be a seminal edition and for many reasons.
The ladies race turned out to be far more unpredictable than the men’s with many of the pre-race favourites either having bad days and going slower than expected or dropping through illness or injury. This opened the doorway for an interesting top-10 and several unexpected names.
The TOP 10 Ladies
Nuria Picas25:46:43 – Came into the race not a dark horse but with a question mark. Nobody doubted the ability of this lady, she has proven time and time again that she is a dominant force in mountain running over any distance. She dominated the UTWT rankings and has placed 2nd twice at UTMB. However, in the latter part of 2015 and pretty much throughout 2016 she was missing from racing. It appeared to me that a really tough calendar and race dominance had taken its toll. 2017 has been quiet and just recently I watched her race in Tromso at the Tromso SkyRace and she placed on the podium. It still left me with a question mark though on UTMB – would she have the endurance for 25-hours of running?Nuria set the pace in the ladies race and produced a dominant performance. She built a huge gap during the night and day and it was only in the latter 20% that the race took its toll forcing her to slow. The margin she had built up so important! At the end, this margin was reduced to less than 5-minutes! Nuria is back and like many long-term fans of the sport, Nuria’s victory is a welcome one. A seminal moment.
Andrea Huser 25:49:18 – Andrea races and races. She has a physical and mental strength un-matched. A race can start badly but she has the tenacity to push on and this year’s UTMB is no different. She started down the ranking, pushed on and with over half of the race covered took control and moved to 3rd and then second. She hunted Nuria Picas down as she slowed, almost a re-run of 2016 when she hunted Caroline Chaverot down. For two years running, 2nd at UTMB.
Christelle Bard 26:39:03 – Signifies the excitement and unpredictable nature of 100-miles. Although she has had success at CCC and TDS in past year’s, Bard was not really on my radar for a top-10. My fault, I should have done more research. Experience counts though and a steady start paid dividends as she slowly but surely moved through the field. In the final 80km’s or so she moved through the field from 10th to an eventual podium slot. A seminal year for this lady!
Kaori Niwa 27:31:39 – Was not a surprise after placing 8th last-year. The 100-mile distance is all about consistency and perseverance and this is how this lady excelled. As the distance and weather conditions took its toll, Niwa pushed on and reaped the rewards. A seminal year for this lady!
Kellie Emmerson 28:13:06 – Australian Emmerson was a surprise top-10 who I think (?) was running her first 100. She is proficient over the 100km distance and maybe the most significant indicator coming into the 2017 UTMB was her 4th at Tarawera earlier this year. Her race was well executed with patience and consistency and her 100km pace kicked in the latter stages to go past St Laurent.
Alissa St Laurent 28:13:43 – Had a tough race but persevered to finally have a strong and consistent race to place 6th. She certainly slowed as the race progressed and I am sure she will be frustrated with losing that 5th place in the closing stages.
Anna-Marie Watson 28:37:16 – What a breakthrough performance for Anne-Marie, last year we had Jasmin Paris from the UK in the top-10 and this year I was expecting Beth Pascall to step up to the mark but this was all surpassed by Watson. Her progress through the sport has been quite the surprise, go back to 2008 and she placed 124th lady at CCC – cut to the 2017 UTMB and she was 7th. Wow! That is some progress and the indicators are there, from 2015 she has a string of victories and top ranked places, 2nd at the 2015 MDS, 1st Cotswold Way Challenge, 1st at Cappadocia Ultra and most recently 1st at Gran Trail Courmayeur – a seminal performance.
Amy Sproston 28:44:08 – Has a running history the length of my arm and a string of notable runs, highlights coming over many varying distances. She has been top-10 at UTMB before – 8th in 2012. Notably she has also had great results at Western States, 2nd in 2016. So, matching her 2012 position is no surprise, it looks like she paced herself well with a slow first half and then making up ground in the second half. Notably, the USA’s top female finisher!
Mariya Nikolova 29:04:16 – This Bulgarian lady was 16th at UTMB in 2015 in almost 33-hours. 2017 is breakthrough year for her and her time of 29 hours a significant improvement even when one considers the shorter course.
Robyn Bruins 29:41:11 – So, the Australian ladies have a seminal year, just like the USA men. Bruin placed 10th and in doing so arguably has one of the best results of her career. She is known in the Southern Hemisphere, but in Europe, no, she is a newbie. This result will no doubt kickstart a renaissance not only in her own running but the running of Emmerson who placed 5th.
Pre-race favourite and I think many pundits odds-on for victory, Caroline Chaverot, had a tough race and dropped at midway. Chaverot, like Picas in her hey-day has been unstoppable with many races and a recent victory at Hardrock 100 may well have just taken its toll. It could be a seminal UTMB for this French lady as she decides her plans and calendar moving forward.
As often happens, many of the pre-race favourites had a tough night, day and night at the 2017 UTMB.
Magdalena Boulet, 5th last year had a bad day, Juliette Blanchett 4th last-year dropped early, long distance specialist Emelie Lecomte dropped at Courmayer, Fernanda Maciel withdrew with eye problems from the wind, snow and rain and Stephanie Violett (formerly Howe) battled on for a finish but was not in the top-10 as I and many others expected.
The 2017 UTMB is upon us and yes, it may well be the best line-up ever for this big loop of France, Italy and Switzerland which starts and finishes in the iconic mountain resort of Chamonix shadowed by the impressive and iconic Mont-Blanc.
The race for many has become the race to do and this is reflected in the growth of the main race, the UTMB and the growth of the sister events – TDS, CCC, PTL and the recent addition of OCC.
Departing at 1800 hrs on Sep 1st, the UTMB race goes in a loop via Les Contamines, La Balme, Les Chapieux, Lac Combal, Col Checrouit, Courmayer, Refuge Bertone, Refuge Bonati, Arnouvaz, La Fouly, Champex-Lac, Plan de L’au, Trient, Vallorcine, Col Des Montets, La Flegere and finally Chamonix.
The route is 171km in length with 10.000mt of vertical gain and a maximum time limit of 46-hours and 30-minutes.
2300 runners will toe the line for the 2017 edition, it is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT).
The ladies race will once again be an interesting one with the return of the 2016 champion Caroline Chaverot, 2016 2nd place, Andrea Huser, 5th placed Magdalena Boulet, 8th placed Kaori Niwa and 10th placed Sophie Grant.
However, this only provides a small glimpse of the potential top-10 for the 2017 UTMB.
Nuria Picas, Stephanie Howe (now Violett), Emilie Lecomte, Fernanda Maciel, Kaci Lickteig, Gemma Arenas are without doubt contenders for the top positions and yes, victory.
Also keep an eye on a couple of dark horses, in particular Beth Pascall from the UK.
On 2016 and 2017 performances, Caroline Chaverot is the head and shoulders favourite for 2017 victory. Her recent win at Hardrock 100 was super impressive and although 2017 started with a glitch at Transgrancanaria, Chaverot is now back in winning ways and looks set to match her incredible 2016. For me, she is the best female ultra-runner in the world at the moment.
Andrea Huser just races and races and last year came very close to Chaverot, 25:15:40 to Huser’s 25:22:56. In all honesty and no disrespect to Huser, this closeness was due to Chaverot having problems and not Huser speeding up. In reality, I think Chaverot can (and possibly will) win the UTMB with a clear 1-hour margin. Can Huser place 2nd again? Yes for sure, however, she will have her hands full.
Nuria Picas has all the potential to win the race but I am not convinced that she has 25 hours of running in her at the moment? She just placed 3rd at Tromso SkyRace which was a great training day but UTMB is going to require a completely different strength.
Magdalena Boulet is going to know what she is in for this year and therefore may well have a better race. She placed 2nd at Western States and in the following weeks and months has recovered and prepared for the big dance in France. I think we may well see her on the podium this year!
Kaci Lickteig and Stephanie Howe Violett were hot favourites for Western States and they both had tough days. Lickteig has said in advance of this year’s UTMB that she is not here to race. Howe Violett though will be here to race and for me she is a hot favourite for the podium and should all things align, she is a potential winner. She was 8th in 2015.
The UK’s Beth Pascall may well be the surprise package of the 2017 race taking the American’s by surprise and yes, even the Europeans. She is a great long distance runner and loves mountain terrain. She is also a great 24-hour runner and that is a key feature for the UTMB – running 100-miles at UTMB is not the same as running 100-miles on another course. Jasmin Paris placed 6th last-year and I think Pascall can match this and potentially go top-5.
Emilie Lecomte, Fernanda Maciel, Kaori Niwa, Aliza Lapierre, Gemma Arenas, Yulia Baykova, Sophie Grant, Amanda Basham, Amy Sproston, and Joelle Vaught are all potential top-10 runners amongst a very competitive and stacked field.
ST LAURENT, Alissa
HOWE VIOLETT, Stephanie
ARENAS ALCAZAR, Gemma
BES GINESTA, Cristina
CHOW, Pui Yan
NIMES PEREZ, Teresa
DIEZ FONTANET, Laia
CAMACHO ORTEGA, Noelia Patricia
SANTOS SOUSA, Lucinda
Ludovic Pommeret took victory in 2016 in 22:00:22 and was followed by Gediminas Grinius, Tim Tollefson, David Laney, Javi Dominguez, Zach Miller, Sebastien Camus, Julien Chorier, Giulio Ornati and Juan Maria Jimenez. A stout top-10 of which we see many return.
The 2016 race was interesting one that saw Miller go off at a reckless pace, blow-up, recover and somehow manage to finish 6th. We also saw how pacing and patience is a key element for a successful UTMB, completely reflected in Pommeret’s victory – he was in the lead early on, he dropped to 50th about 25% in the race and then somehow came back!
With such a stacked field one if the biggest questions will be, ‘who will make it beyond Courmayer?’ As in previous years, many hot favourites will fall by the wayside with pressure on a pace that is too fast early on.
I said in the ladies preview that running 100-miles (more actually – 172km) at the UTMB is not the same as running 100-miles say on a typical US course. I think this can be clearly explained when one looks at say Anton Krupicka. He had success and results at 100-miles that took 14-16 hours, UTMB requires a minimum 20-hour effort and in reality a 20-24 hour effort if you are going to be top-10. This makes a huge difference and therefore, I will put my neck on the line now and say that Walmsley, Miller and Canaday will struggle in the final 25% of the race.
I am jumping ahead though.
With a certain Kilian Jornet returning to the race, I do believe that everyone else is running for 2nd. This is not something that I ever like to write but with all due respect to the rest of the competition, if Kilian is on form I just don’t see anyone coming close. I will also say, that if the weather conditions are good, we will see him not only win the race but I do think we have the potential of a 19-hour finish and a new course record. Jornet is coming back to this race for one reason – the race! He wants the competition, he wants to be pushed and he wants to be the best of the best. Victory will be a priority and then a CR if that is feasible and possible.
Jornet does have three teammates toeing the line and they are a formidable quartet of Francois d’Haene, Tofol Castanyer and Miguel Heras. All four of these guys can win the race and in particular, d’Haene is an odds on favourite to push Jornet and should the Catalan falter, he will be there to take over the reigns. In terms of strategy, I see the Salomon quartet running together in the first 50% of the race behind the front but close enough to pounce should they need to. Jornet will be chatting and looking for company before he and d’Haene pull away in pursuit of the front. In the latter 20/25% of the race, Jornet will pull away, catch any front protagonists and take the win. Castanyer and Heras may well be top-10 with d’Haene 2nd. They have all the potential to go 1,2,3 as in 2014.
I make it sound easy don’t I. It’s 100-miles and therefore of course it is not! Anything can happen.
Jim Walmsley and Zach Miller are no doubt going to head up the front of the race, however, if they have learnt from previous exploits it would make sense that they reign themselves in over the first half of the race. Their fans will want them to go hard or go home, but, if either of them want to win the race, patience will be key. I see Miller having the edge over Walmsley. We all know Walmsley can run fast – really fast. He proved this recently at Speedgoat 50k but that race is 50k and not 172k! Miller has been injured and of course this may well impact on his ability to have a good race in 2017?
The strongest potential for US success will come from Tim Tollefson (3rd in 2016), David Laney (4th in 2016), Jason Schlarb, Dylan Bowman, Jeff Browning, Sage Canaday and Western States 2016 champ, Andrew Miller.
That is one serious US line-up and if Jornet wasn’t running, I would have potentially said that 2017 was the year when we could see an American win the men’s race!
Tollefson missed 2nd last year by just 4-minutes and Laney 3rd by 11-minutes.
It is worth noting though that the winning time in 2016 was almost one hour slower than in 2015 when Xavier Thevenard ran 21:09. That is significant especially with Jornet and d’Haene racing!
BUT, think back to 2014 when d’Haene won in 20:11:44, Castanyer 2nd in 20:55:42, Iker Karrera 20:55:42 and Jason Schlarb 4th in 21:39:44. The top-3 (all Salomon) went under Thevenard’s 2015 winning time – that is a wake-up call for everyone racing the 2017 edition!
Remember too that the course has changed over the last few years!
On paper, based on times, Jason Schlarb has the best potential to impact the podium and his potential may well have increased evermore with his early withdrawal from Hardrock 100 with illness. He is going to be fresh!
Tollefson, Laney are the obvious contenders for top-5, they have done it before but Browning is an incredible force over 100-miles – he is patient, loves to climb and he gets the job done. Equally, Bowman is going to be raring to go for this year. We may well see the top-10 full of US runners – it is going to be a great year for them.
Luis Alberto Hernando would have been my tip for the podium but he has decided not to race – a real shame. He would have really had am impact on the front of the race if inform.
Therefore Xavier Thevenard has to be a key favourite. He is the only person to have won UTMB, TDS, CCC and OCC – impressive! He does blow hot and cold sometimes though, particularly if the pressure is on him. If he keeps a low-profile in the build up to the 2017 race I think will see him once again have a great race.
Gediminas Grinius nails the 100-mile distance and was 5th in 2014 and 2nd last year. He will be in the mix for sure but if it is a fast year, I don’t think he has the pace for a 20-hour finish.
Didrik Hermansen does have the pace but may not have the endurance, having said that, he won Transgrancanaria and was 2nd at Western States in 2016.
Pau Capell has been so consistent and is an exciting prospect at the 2017 UTMB, he won Transgrancanaria and placed 2nd at Madeira Island Ultra Trail – both races taking 13-hours. He is going to need to race for 30% (minimum) longer in Chamonix and that will be a huge learning curve.
The UK’s Andy Symonds ran the UTMB in 2016 and detonated, he will be back this year more focused. He has the potential for a great race.
Julien Chorier recently participated in Ironman Nice with a 10-hour 22-minute finish – very solid for a tough (bike) course. It’s interesting prep for UTMB but Chorier is a class act and he has been top-10 at UTMB before. He knows how to run the race. I don’t think he has the speed now to be top-3 but he has the staying power and he can pick of places and move up the ranking in the latter stages of the race.
Javier Dominguez, Vaidas Zlabys, Sebastien Camus, Yeray Duran, Scott Hawker, Carlos Sa, Sebastien Chaigneau, Yoshikazu Hara, are all potential top-10 runners… this distance and this race is so unpredictable and it rarely goes to plan or script.
From a UK perspective, Casey Morgan, Kim Collison, Damian Hall and Danny Kendall will toe the line. Hall in particular having consistently solid races.
What are your thoughts, who are going to be the surprises?
Episode 96 has a full and in-depth with Hillary Allen, rising star of the Skyrunning ranks. We also speak with Marie-Paul Pierson who takes on the challenge of her lifetime: Atacama. We have the News, Up and Coming Races and Speedboat is back!
Mention for Debbie Martin Consani who placed 5th and in 30:36 and Isobel Wykes 7th in 32:33. Plus a huge congrats to Marvellous Mimi Anderson who placed14th lady in 35:07:41 and then ran back and did the double!
1 – Uxue Fraile 25:34:02
2 – Fernanda Maciel 26:44:25
3 – Aliza Lapierre 26:44:25
1 – Gediminas Grinius 20:40:58
2 – Arnaud Lejeune 21:54:51
3 – Jeff Browning 22:01:01
1 – Mick Jurynec 19:01
2 – Dominiick Layfield 20:35
3 – Jesse Haynes 20:35
1 – Angela Shartel 22:34
2 – Cat Bradley 23:04
3 – Jenn Shelton 24:27
RUN RABBIT RUN 100
1 – Jason Schlarb 18:05
2 – Bob Shebest 19:13
3 – Andrew Skurka 20:12
1 – Emma Roca 21:42
2 – Emily Richards 22:00
3 – Kerrie Bruxvoort 22:54
1 – Kilian Jornet 12:03
2 – Zaid Ait Malek 12:12
3 – Miguel Heras 12:20
1 – Emelie Forsberg 13:39
2 – Mira Rai 13:43
3 – Nuria Picas 14:13
IAU 100k CHAMPS
1 – Jonas Buud 6:22
2 – Asier Cuevas 6:35
3 – Giorgio Calcaterra 6:36
1 – Camille Heron 7:08
2 – Kasja Berg 7:20
3 – Marlja Vrajic 7:27
1 – Magdalena Boulet 10:03:29
2 – Larisa Dannis 10:25:41
3 – Kaci Lickteig 10:56:22
1 – Justin Houck 8:53:22
2 – Mario Mendoza 9:12:09
3 – Ford Smith 9:47:17
Tor des Giants was stopped due to bad weather, Patrick Board did complete the course though in 80 hours 20 minutes. Denise Zimmerman was declared the ladies champion.
Andrew Hamilton set a new FKT for the Nolans 14 of 53 hours 39 mins – 1 hour better than John Robinsons previous FKT.
Episode 91 of Talk Ultra brings you with interviews Mont-Blanc 80km winner, Alex Nichols, we speak with WSER ladies winner Magdalena Boulet and we also chat with Gary Robbins about his FKT. Emelie Forsberg is back for a Smiles and Miles and this week Niandi Carmont co-hosts as Karl is getting ready for Speedgoat.
FKT for Gary Robbins – In Washington on the 95-mile Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier, Gary Robbins ran 18:52 to cut just over two hours from Kyle Skaggs’s previous supported record, which had stood since 2006.
SCOTT JUREK completes the AT 46 days 8 hours 7 or is it 8 minutes? article HERE
MARCO DE GASPERI set a new FKT. He raced from Courmayeur up 15,780-foot Mont Blanc in 6:43:52, just under the previous 6:45:24 mark that had stood since 1995. The route covers nearly 50k while gaining 12,303 feet of elevation.
COLORADO 14ers RECORD After 9 days, 21 hours, and 51 minutes, Andrew Hamilton had climbed all 58 of Colorado’s 14000-foot peaks and was the new FKT holder.
KILIAN JORNET RELEASES DÉJAME VIVIR SECOND FILM OF HIS PROJECT SUMMITS OF MY LIFE
The film chronicles the challenges experienced while climbing Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Mount Elbrus as part of the Summits of My Life project. The film includes close-up and personal moments of Kilian Jornet’s life, as well as those of his friends who have accompanied him in these challenges.
“Déjame Vivir reflects a way to approach mountains. It explanis what we do but espcially why we do it, where our motivation came from by going back to the origins of this sport. The title intends to reflect what we do and represent that we want to go to the mountain the way we like it, being aware of the risks and what can happen but without pretending to be role models to anyone” said Jornet.
Puigcerdà, March 27th 2014 Kilian Jornet releases Déjame Vivir (Let Me Live), the second film of his personal project Summits of My Life. This 62-minute film directed by Seb Montaz, shows the challenges Jornet and his friends faced on mountains around Europe during 2013. The film, shot in five languages, portrays Kilian Jornet defying his own limits to make a childhood dream come true by following in the footsteps of the pioneers of Skyrunning to become the World Champion.
Déjame Vivir shows attempts to break records on Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Mount Elbrus. Intimately portrayed and unveiling the human side, each challenge is also a reflection of the values that sustain the project Summits of My Life. Déjame Vivir is, ultimately, a collage of experiences that allow the viewer to get to know Kilian Jornet and what he does from a much closer viewpoint.
Kilian declared: “Déjame Vivir reflects a way to see the mountains, mine and a group of friends that we like to go explore the mountains in a light and dynamic and where disciplines get mixed and we can either run, ski, climb… The film explanis what we do but especially why we do it, and where our motivation came from, going back to the pioneers of this sport. I think it’s a movie where spectatos will understand that, at the end, what is important in projects is not the final goal but the way we challenge ourselves to get there”
The title of the film is not accidental, as director Seb Montaz explains: “Kilian often sang the song Déjame Vivir during filming. At that time, I did not know what the lyrics meant. But he then explained that the song title meant: “let me live” and I found that had quite a symbolic meaning: one person, Kilian, who wants to be allowed to fulfil his dreams. This is also the underlying philosophy of the project Summits of My Life, and so we thought that was quite appropriate.”
The film will be available for download or purchase on DVD as of today, March 27th at 7pm on the Summits of My Life website, although the official presentation will take place in the coming months.
A FILM FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT AFRAID TO LIVE
The second year of the Summits of My Life challenges began on Mont Blanc in July, where Jornet managed to break the ascent speed record with a time of 04h 57′. As well a sporting success, this story is also a hymn to friendship, as Jornet did not want to attempt the record alone and so he went with his friend Matheo Jacquemoud. Although the latter suffered a fall during descent and Jornet had to finish the journey alone, he has always stated that it was a joint record.
In late August, in pursuit of a childhood dream, Kilian Jornet broke the ascent and descent record on the Matterhorn, in a time of 2h 52′. Bruno Brunod, who held the previous record and had been Jornet’s idol since childhood, also stars in this part of the film. In fact, Déjame Vivir follows in the footsteps of the pioneers of Skyrunning, a group of mountaineers who conceived a different way to approach the mountains: using the minimum of materials with the objective of breaking speed records. Kilian Jornet, together with all those who practice this sport, are the legacy of that generation of mountaineers led by Bruno Brunod and Marino Giacometi, among others. The film is, thus, also a tribute to these pioneers who inspired Jornet.
In September, and to put an end to the second year of challenges, Kilian Jornet, Seb Montaz and some members of the technical staff travelled to the Caucasus for a record attempt on Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe. Following the Elbrus Race, a mythical race that climbs up to the summit of Elbrus at 5,642m, Jornet tried to beat the existing record. Bad weather conditions forced him to abandon without reaching the summit. Undoubtedly, another example of the inner philosophy of Summits of My Life, a project that highlights the idea that the experiences and knowledge acquired along the way are what matters, rather than the actual fulfilment of a goal.
Déjame Vivir puts all these challenges as well as other everyday scenes into images that help us to get to know athlete Kilian Jornet more intimately. Nourished by the feats of past heroes of this sport, Kilian adapts it to our times. A person who asks to be allowed to live according to his own philosophy and values and who surrounds himself by loved ones, not fearing to face upcoming challenges. For example, this year, 2014, Jornet will attempt to break speed records on McKinley (6,196m) and Aconcagua (6,959m).
PRESENTATIONS OF DÉJAME VIVIR
Déjame Vivir world premier will be an online broadcast on March 27th. This will allow the Project’s worldwide audience to view it simultaneously. So, at 7pm central European time an online connection to the project website will be established and Jornet himself is going to present Déjame Vivir. The official trailer of the film will also be broadcast.
Various screenings in different cities will follow, the dates of which are yet to be confirmed. The first one will be in Barcelona sometime in May with a similar format to A Fine Line, which gathered together as many as 1,500 spectators at the Palau de la Música. Apart from these presentations, the film will be available on DVD or for downloading from the project website. The campaign Friends of Summits of My Life is open to those who identify with the project values and are willing to contribute to it. Summits of My Life is Kilian Jornet’s personal project, in which he will try to set ascent and descent records for the most important mountains on the planet. The project lasts four years, and is planned to culminate in 2015 with the record attempt on the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. Summits of My Life is closely linked to certain values and to a purist and minimalist way of understanding mountains, which is why the climbs will be as self-sufficient as possible, searching in this way for the maximum bond between man and mountain.
The Project will be recorded in four films, which will show the experiences of each year. The first, « A Fine Line », directed by Sébastien Montaz-Rosset, narrates the first year of the project and is an emotional journey across the spectacular peaks of the Alps in the company of a small group of extraordinary mountains athletes in search of their own particular idea of happiness.
Read my interview with Kilian Jornet
Just days after his successful MATTERHORN SUMMIT. HERE
You can also listen to the interview on Ep43
Episode 43 – We have an extended and in-depth interview with Kilian Jornet about his Matterhorn Summit record. We have a selection of audio from the TNFUTMB – Rory Bosio, Anton Krupicka, Joe Grant, Nuria Picas and Jez Bragg. We speak to Jo Meek who placed 2nd lady at MDS and what the future holds for her. We have Talk Training, the News a blog, smiles and miles with Emelie Forsberg and of course, Mr Speedgoat.
After the extraordinary sell-out of the three Skyrunning World Championship events in Chamonix, France, we’re pleased to announce the slots available for countries participating.Eighteen medals and individual world titles are at stake in each discipline – Vertical, Sky and Ultra, and a further six for thecombined titles based on the best results of the Vertical KM and Mont-Blanc Marathon.
Three more medals will be awarded to national teams based on the best results of three men and one woman across all three disciplines.
A total of twenty-seven glittering medals and a €25,000 prize purse await the champions of these prestigious competitions which, for the first time, include the Ultra distance.
More than 30 nations will participate and, unlike the previous Championships, dominated by Italy, Spain and France, “new” skyrunning nations like Australia and New Zealand, Czech Republic, Japan, Poland, South Africa and USA are raring to show their talent and make their mark in Chamonix.
The “test run” for the new Mont-Blanc 80K course was held in June, together with the KM Vertical and the Mont-Blanc Marathon which were Skyrunner® World Series races.
So, here’s the low down on the three World Championship races:
June 27 – the Mont-Blanc 80KM features a challenging 6,000 metres of vertical climb along ridges, over snow fields and traversing glaciers in a point to point loop.
Records: Francois D’Haene with Michel Lanne, 9h45’57” and Caroline Chaverot, 13h10’05”, 2013.
June 27 – short and steep, the Vertical KM points 1,000 metres skywards. A timed race, it will test your VO2 max to the limit.
Records: Saul Antonio Padua,34’34” and Christel Dewalle in 41’33”, 2013 .
June 29 – The Mont-Blanc Marathon – the 42 km course starts in Chamonix and finishes at 2,016m altitude, gathering 2,511m elevation gain and 1,490m on the downhill, this beautiful trail offers some of the best scenery of the Mont Blanc massif. Records: Kilian Jornet, 3h30’41”, 2013 and Stevie Kremer, 4h03’20”, 2013.
Chamonix, it is fair to say, is probably the most iconic and spectacular sports arena to stage a World Championship. The expert organisers are the Club des Sport de Chamonix, which manages year-round major international sports events.
Held every four years, the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships will represent the second edition since the inauguration of the ISF in 2008 and the first time with the ultra distance, attracting long distance runners from around the world.
Marino Giacometti, ISF President, commented: “We’re proud to present the World Championships in Chamonix and, with the support of the Club des Sport, we’re confident the events will be a perfect showcase for skyrunning and draw the best athletes in the world for some intense competition.”
ISF Member countries and countries wishing to participate should submit the Team Entry Form below.
Mathéo and I synchronised our watches, switched on the stopwatch and gave each other five for luck before starting to run. It was 4:50 am, and it wasn’t cold in the church square in Chamonix. We were in shorts and thermal T-shirts, but nerves and excitement probably did not let us think about anything other than the challenge ahead. Mont Blanc, as majestic as ever, was just waking up and, from the square, we could spot the headlamps of those who had spent the night at the mountain refuge and were now preparing to reach the summit.
We are ascending well, within the estimated time. Upon arriving at the crack of Grands Mulet, we rope together for safety reasons as large amounts of snow have accumulated there this year. Halfway up, we spot Seb and Vivien, who have come to give us support and to film us. The sun is barely rising and the scenery is breathtaking. We are both using sticks to help us to climb and move faster. The marks we gouged into the ground a few days ago have lasted, and we follow them, so we can move fast and carry on with the ascent.
“Once again I got
a lesson, the weather and the conditions set the rules, we play and
the mountain decides. I’m nothing out there! Scary Saturday. Thank
you thank you thank you PGHM Chamonix Mont-Blanc.” Emelie Forsberg
This is a translation from an article in La Dauphine (original HERE)
This article is for information only
and is not a representation of my personal thoughts or opinions on
the situation that occured.
On the evening of Saturday 7th September, PGHM had to land from a caravan to recover
two “climbers”, a man and a woman on the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix on the Frendo Spur. Called in the late afternoon, rescuers were unable to take off with the helicopter service due to bad weather announced for nearly a week.
But what the team of the Gendarmerie mountaineering Chamonix does not say (as is the rule in Gendarmerie) is the identity of one of the rescued: the icon of the trail and ski mountaineering Kilian Jornet. The woman who accompanied him (Emelie Forsberg) was dressed lightly. The issue in the world of mountaineering is: when are tights and sneakers appropriate on the North Face of Mont Blanc?
They have been warned repeatedly. Jean-Louis Verdier (guide and assistant in charge of security in the mountains, Chamonix) stated that, “mountain practice must be undertaken with adequate equipment so that you can face bad weather. I’m very angry when I see the continued rise of sneakers despite our requests”. Guides are repeatedly angry as the meet more and more trailers in sneakers as they follow Kilian Jornet in the examples he gives on the route of Mont Blanc. They all run a great risk as they follow the Catalan hero. Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg both issued a message of thanks to PGHM Chamonix via Facebook. Kilian said, “now and then, the mountain reminds us that she is stronger … and everyday teach us lot of lessons!”.
also via social media said, “Once again I got a lesson, the weather and the conditions set the rules, we play and the mountain decides. I’m nothing out there! Scary Saturday. Thank you thank you thank you PGHM Chamonix Mont-Blanc .
Kilian Jornet, a winner of many of the brutal ultra-trails has set numerous records such as Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and so on, but where is the security in that? In Kilian’s defense, Christophe Profit in his time also made the first solo Bonatti Pillar of the Dru in climbing shoes and light canvas pants.
Article taken from Le Dauphine and translated 8th Septmber 2013.
09th September, Kilian Jornet has released a post on his website HERE Translation “On September 8, I was making a run to the north face of the Aiguille de Midi, the Frendo spur track, one that I had previously done very light. It was a good time to leave well
before the bad weather and we had climbing equipment (ice and rock) necessary. I was short-sighted to think that there would be warmer temperatures and not to take more jackets. In the last rocky ledge we lost a lot of time taking the wrong route. At 50 meters from the summit of the Aiguille de Midi, the weather degenerated quickly and continued to do so, it could haven endangered myself and company. I decided to call the PGHM. It is the PGHM who got us to the top of the Needle, no more worries, we were a little cold. I want to take this opportunity to thank the work as always of the very professional and efficient mountain rescue.”“This is a warning that the mountain is hard and even if you are careful it is dangerous, and we must be humble in the face of it because this was our fault, especially when one is lighter. We must accept and be aware of the risks we want to take individually and those that join us, depending on our personal ability, technical ability as well as our experience.”Kilian Jornet. Emelie Forsberg has also posted a heartfelt and honest post at emelieforsberg.com
Iam I not humble enough? Have I the wrong picture of what I actually can do in the mountains? Have I overestimated my abilities?
Kilian and I went out climbing on Frendo Saturday morning. We had checked the weather, checked the route and we had in our mind that we could do the epron pretty fast. We estimated the time with the experience we had before. We know that we can move pretty fast in that kind of terrain.
We went climbing in a good pace. And when we reached the icy ridge we had only been out for a few hours. I thought to myself that woooha this must go really wrong if we don´t make it up there before 5 pm.
After the icepart we decided to go more in the rocks instead of the most common way up that was on the steep ice. That was in our plan the whole way, because we didn´t bring the proper gear for the ice. And that we knew before we started.
On the rock, I started to became a bit stressed. I was finding a way up that was a bit loose and I also didn´t have the best feelings after the icepart where I hurted my foot.
We took time climbing up, rappelling down, trying to find another way and so on we did for a while.
I became so cold and I couldn´t focus my thought very well. I was stressed and felt captured. We started to talk about possibilities. Rappelling down or try to do the last part even if we didn´t know if we could reach the summit that way or the last way out; call the rescue.
That was a hard decision it´s hard to know if we (I) could have manage go on without danger. I think that I could have manage all my power to go on, but with the cold and stress I had I really wasn´t sure about the risk Tahat t meant.
At 4.30 we called the rescue. They couldn´t make it with the helicopter so it took some time. When they came they was professional and everything went smooth.
One thing I wished is that they could have given us an estimated time of arrival. 5 hours of staying in the cold or power up for making a safe rappelling. I don´t know what was the best.
Afterwards I have thought a lot about this and I have came up with some answers to my first questions.
We underestimated the conditions and we didn´t make up a plan B if we would take longer time than normal.
And to the question why are you out on Frendo with only running shoes? I guess everyone needs to find his own way to approach things. And for me as a runner and a “hobby” climber I love the light way to approach mountains. This is how I want to do it. And this is how I feel comfortable. What is important is that we need to find our own comfortzon.
I thought Frendo was inside my zone, but with the conditions it was and the stupid mistake I did to not take a lot of extra warm clothes. It went wrong. I can also blame myself for being the weakest in the ropeteam. Without me I think Kilian would have been able to rappelling down or find a way up. And now people who don´t like this way of approaching mountains are very happy to say- look what we told you- this is wrong.
We are people. We make mistakes and learn from them. But this is still the way I love to be in the mountains. Light and fast.
Ultimately, I think many people have been waiting for this to happen. They have been waiting for Kilian to need help and now that he has they have jumped on it and are using this against him…
Everyday, people are rescued in the mountains. Some people just shouldn’t be there and they get caught out, others are experienced and situations change and create hazard and danger. It is the nature of the beast. Kilian in particular is experienced and knowledgeable. For sure, he made an error on clothing, he has admitted that, but he was prepared for climbing. He had all the necessary equipment (ropes, ice axe etc etc). Like so many others before him, situations changed and he made the correct decision to seek outside help. His ‘experience’ kicked in. He assessed the situation, looked at the options, evaluated the pros and cons and his conclusion was to sit tight and make a call. He isn’t the first and he for sure won’t be the last.
We can all learn!
I have been very open with Kilian and Emelie on the adventures that they pursue in the mountains when talking and interviewing them. On several occasions I have been keen to clarify that what they do is dangerous and demands respect. Both Kilian and Emelie are experienced in the mountains and understand the risks that they take. They are trying to find a personal summit and for them, the summit becomes increasingly more dramatic. Is this right or wrong? I am inspired, I look on in awe and I know MY ability. I know that I could not do what they do and therefore I know my place. The question comes for those who don’t know individual abilities and the ones who think they are much better than they actually are. Ultimately, acknowledge your limits and be safe one and all. The mountains are a dangerous place, be prepared for the worst and respect the environment in which you play and seek adventure. Thank goodness both Kilian and Emelie are safe and acknowledge the role that PGHM Chamonix Mont-Blanc played.