Transvulcania Ultramarathon 2018 Race Summary and Images

The second race of the 2018 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series kicked today on the island of La Palma (La Isla Bonita). The stunning Fuencaliente lighthouse once again providing an epic backdrop as 1000+ head-torches rushed north for a 74km journey  of tough and challenging terrain on the islands iconic GR131 route. It was a day of mixed temperatures and the Route of the Volcanoes was bathed in glorious sun as the runners broke through a cloud inversion before heading to the mist, grey and damp of El Pilar. Pushing onwards, the wind increased causing a challenging chill that resulted in many runners reaching for wind proofs. As often happens on La Palma, push through the cloud and a new weather system awaits, it was no different for the 2018 Transvulcania. Running around the Caldera to Roques de Los Muchachos, intense heat and blue skies greeted the runners all the way. Dropping back down to the sea and Tazacorte Puerto, the only thing that remained was the final challenging climb to the finish in Los Llanos.

For the ladies’ 2016 and 2017 champion and pre-race favorite Ida Nilsson lead the charge and she never really looked back. It was a strong performance.

As often happens, the chasing group can change as the brutality of the Transvulcania route takes its toll. Monica Comas from Spain placed 2nd just 6-minutes behind Ida.

The American contingent of Kelly Wolf and Brittany Peterson placed 3rd and 4th ahead of Russia’s Ekaterina Mityaeva, their times 8:49, 8:59 and 9:13 respectively.

The men’s race proved to be a real revelation… despite the early efforts of Cody Reed, he faded around the 20km mark and then all the main contenders and protagonists made their moves. It was a close race and the long descent to Tazacorte Puerto was always going to be decisive. Pere Aurell Bove held a lead over Dmitry Mityaev, Thibaud Garriver, Marco De Gasperi and Xavier Thevenard. For perspective, it is arguably one of the closest top-5 the race has experience, 7:37, 7:38, 7:42, 7:44 and 7:47 respectively. It is fair to say, that for Pere Aurelio, this is one of the biggest victories of his career and one that he will savour for a long time.

Image gallery available HERE

Route Summary:

Leaving Fuencalientie lighthouse, black sandy trails lead to Los Canarios. From here, the route weaves in and out of pine forests – underfoot the trails are good, at times technical but it is as the runners break the tree line that the challenging volcano sections await. The arrival of the sun provides some clarity and the push begins to El Pilar and notable marker in the race progression.

At least 5km of relatively flat and easy running follow El Pilar. It provides an opportunity for the ‘runners’ to stretch their legs and either extend or reclaim lost time. A left turn and suddenly they are climbing again, high trees with a canopy of green shelter the runners and then from El Reventon the true splendor of this mountain range is exposed with Roques de los Muchachos visible in the distance.

The harder sections of technical running around the Caldera, combined with heat and altitude provided the next challenge. From the high point, 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. In the latter stage pine needles giveaway to rocks and then the final zig-zag steep path to the port follows.

At Tazacorte Puerto, a short run along the beach, a technical run through a gulley and then a relentless claim all the way to the finish line in Los Llanos would decide the overall winner of the 2018 Transvulcania La Palma

Yading VK 2018 Summary and Images – Yading Skyrunning Festival

Lung busting, calf bulging and full-on max heart rate was the order of the day for the Yading VK, the first event of the 2018 Yading Skyrunning Festival taking place in the Yading National Park, China.

The VK is notable not only for its stunning location, but also for the altitude that the race takes place at… It is the only VK in the world to go from 4000m to 5000m.

The day started with blue skies and glorious sunshine but as the 11am start approached the sky started to turn grey and a few specks of the predicted snow started to fall. It was a day of very mixed weather, at times sunny and hot, at other times bitterly cold and snowing.

– Bed Sunuwar

From the gun, Nepali runner Bed Sunuwar dictated the pace and as he approached the glacial lake in the final 25% of the race, he looked set for victory. However, last years winner, Douji from China had different ideas.

– Douji

He passed the Nepali relegating him to second. France’s ultra-running legend Francois D’Haene placed 3rd using the VK as altitude training for a long season ahed and tomorrow’s Kora Ultra.

– Francois D’Haene

Lina Elkott dictated the pace and never looked in doubt of clinching victory. She made the altitude and 1000m of vertical gain look relatively easy.

– Lina Elkott

Hillary Gerardi who has raced extensively on the Skyrunning circuit for the last 18 months showed great form placing second ahead of the winner’s sister, Sanna Elkott.

– Hillary Gerardi

– Sanna Elkott

Times for this VK are considerably longer than more traditional VK’s which are usually under 5km’s. This race has special consideration and covers a distance of 7km.

Many competitors took part and the difficulty of the terrain and altitude could be seen on their faces.

Attention now turns to tomorrow am when the Yading SkyRace and Kora Ultra will take place. Both events start at 0700.

Top 3 Men and Women

  1. Douji
  2. Bed Sunuwar
  3. Francois D’Haene
  1. Lina Elkott
  2. Hillary Gerardi
  3. Sanna Elkott

IMAGES available HERE

Full timings and results will be posted at http://yadingskyrun.livetrail.run/

Yading Skyrunning Festival 2018

The “2018 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series” kicks-off this weekend in China with the Yading Skyrunning Festival – VK, SKY and ULTRA.

It is going to be a weekend of high altitude action as the Yading races personify the simple ethos of running Between earth and sky – Skyrunning! The Yading Skyrunning Festval takes in numerous 6000m peaks through three races – VK, SKY  and the Yading Kora ULTRA.

The Yading Skyrun will start at 0700 on April 30th and will cover a distance of 29km. Staring in the centre of Yading’s Shangri-La, the race will start with a gradual downhill. After 3.5km, the race will hit the lowest point in the race – 2860m! From here, the only way is up – passing a small village, the race route hugs a single-track. The summit at 4700m is covered with Buddhist prayer flags and what follows is a fast descent all the way back to Chonggu Temple. Last year, Nepalese sensation Bhim Gurung produced an incredible downhill run to come from behind and take victory.

The Yading VK starts on Sunday April 29th. Covering a distance of 7km (unusally long for the VK format) the race will have an elevation gain of 1072m but starts at 3992m and concludes at over 5000m. It is the highest VK on the circuit and arguably one of the most stunning! Alpine forests, prayer flags, a glacier lake and a high pass at 5000m concludes a lung and leg busting race. It’s a race that all must try once, the scenery, landscape and views are mind-blowing.

The Yading Kora Ultra also takes place on the same day as the SKY race and takes in the Kora pilgrimage route over 46km – the finishing section is the same route as the SKY race.

This area of Yading is blessed with immense natural beauty, including the three sacred peaks (Mount Chenrezig, Jampayang, and Chenadorje) which loom over the National Park at an altitude of over 6,000m. From the 5th Dalai Lama through Joseph Rock this area has been a source of spiritual inspiration. With over 2,300m of elevation gain over the length of the course, and the finish line sitting at just over 4,000m, the race challenges beginners and elites alike.

Athletes to look out for over the weekend taking part in one or multiple events are as follows:

Francois d’Haene

Andy Wacker

Cody Lind

Oscar Casal Mir

Marc Casal Mir

Pere Rullan

Eduard Hernandez Teixidor

Robert Krupicka

Finlay Wild

and more….

 

For the ladies:

Ida Nillson

Mira Rai

Sheila Aviles

Ruth Croft

Hillary Gerrardi

Holly Page

Nuria Dominguez

and more…

 

Transgrancanaria 2018 125km – Race Images and Summary

The 2018 Transgrancanaria HG started as planned at 2300 hours from a new start in Las Palmas. In the 24-hours before the race, it had been touch and go if the race would have a delayed start due to storms that were rolling in to the island. For example, the marathon was postponed from Friday to a Saturday start.

In the hours before the start, rain storms moved through the island bringing with it strong winds and torrential rain. However, in Las Palmas it was all calm… was it the calm before another storm?

Live music, thousands of people and on the stroke of 11pm, the runners departed along the beach for one of the toughest races in the world – 125km with over 7000m of vertical gain. As the name suggests, the route is ‘Transgrancanaria’ starting n the north-east and passing all the way down the spine of the island to conclude in the south at Maspalomas. Key moments come at Arucas, Teror, Fontanales, Presa de los Perez, Artenara, Tejeda, Garanon, Tunte, Ayagaures, Parque Sur and finally the finish line in Maspalomas.

The ladies’ race was dominated by Polish runner Magda Laczak who pushed from the front right from the start. She opened a gap early on and pulled away as the miles past to finally finish 40-minutes ahead of the ever present and indestructible Andrea Huser, their times 15:18:37 and 15:58:11. Third placed lady was Ekaterina Mityaeva who is new to the UTWT ranks but over the past years has gained a strong reputation in the Skyrunner Works Series. Her form was good to close strongly and pass Fernanda Maciel for the final podium place. Fernanda had run a strong race early on but faded in the last quarter to finally finish 6th being passed by Beth Pascall from the UK and Eva Sperger. The ladies race had notable drop outs with some key favourites haveng a tough night, in particular Caroline Chaverot, Francesca Canepa and Emilie Lecomte.

For the men, Pau Capell as defending champion was the man to beat and he looked relaxed with expectation on his shoulders. He ran smart, calm and cool as Frenchman Aurelien Collet dictated the pace from the front. At the iconic Roque Nublo the duo were less than a minute apart and Aurelien must have felt like a hunted animal. Pau eventually made his move and he opened a gap immediately which he extended to the line finishing in 12:42:08 ahead of Aurelien’s 12:56. A strong attack had been expected from the USA’s Tim Tollefson and certainly over the first third of the race his presence was felt, however, a recurring injury kicked in and he was forced to drop. Cristofer Clemente took over the reigns and running his longest ever race he surprised himself taking the final podium slot in 13:22. Daniel Jung placed 4th.

Results:

  1. Pau Capell – 12:42:08
  2. Aurelién Collet – 12:56:39
  3. Cristofer Clemente – 13:22:48
  1. Magda Laczak – 15:18:37
  2. Andrea Huser – 15:58:11
  3. Ekaterina Mityaeva – 16:12:48

Race website http://www.transgrancanaria.net

Full Results http://transgrancanaria.livetrail.net

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The Coastal Challenge 2018 #TCC2018 – Stage 2

It was a 0400 wakeup call this morning and an 0530 start. It may sound super early but believe me, the runners weren’t complaining! Most had been in bed before 8pm. The advantages of an early start are simple, it gives the runners a good 2-3 hours before the heat starts to take its toll.

Today’s stage was a tough 39km kicked off with a climb. Tom Evans, Hayden Hawks and Timothy Olson dictated the pace for the men, matching each other stride-for-stride. At the summit they could be heard talking actively, so, it’s fair to say they were easing into the day! For the ladies, Ragna Debats stamped her mark on the race by pushing immediately and opening a huge lead over the chasers.

The course rolled up and down with a series of hard, stony and dusty access roads that connected sections of rainforest. At 16km another high point was reached, just over 700m and then it was all pretty much downhill before reading the beaches of Dominical and a flat but hot run to the finish.

Debats was in a league of her own today, she pushed and pushed eventually crossing the line in 4:24:25. To put this in perspective, 2016 TCC winner Ester Alves, finished 2nd lady in 5:15:58, 3rd lady was Suzanna Guadarrama and Mirta Reaple and Josephine Adams were 4th and 5th.

Hawks and Evans pushed the pace for the men, finally pulling away from Olson. The duo ran side-by-side and although they tested each other, the duo crossed the line together in 3:41:52. Olson had a good day, relishing the more technical and hilly terrain to finish 3rd in 3:48:17 with Marcus Scotney and Michael Wardian placing 4th and 5th.

Tomorrow’s stage and 47.4km is a tough one that runs from Dominical Beach to Bahia Ballena.

Stage Results:

  1. Tom Evans 3:41:52
  2. Hayden Hawks 3:41:56
  3. Timothy Olson 3:48:17
  4. Marcus Scotney 4:00:28
  5. Michael Wardian 4:21:41

 

  1. Ragna Debats 4:24:25 (6th on stage)
  2. Ester Alves 5:15:58
  3. Suzanna Guadarrama 5:30:26
  4. Mirta Reaple 5:42:18
  5. Josephine Adams 6:01:35

 

Full stage results HERE

Overall classification HERE

Follow the action as the race unfolds #TCC2018

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Lanzarote Training Camp 2018 Day 4

No pain, no gain – well, that is what they say! Today, was ‘pain’ morning at the Lanzarote Training Camp when all the participants did at least 6 reps of a volcano.

It’s a challenging morning and the vertical gain is designed to replicate the largest jebel that has appeared in all the latest editions of Marathon des Sables.

Steep with lose gravel for the climb and the descent is a mixture of stone, lose rocks and sharp lava – a gravel road section allows some recovery before a repeating.

It was a hot day and although the session was tough – everyone loved it!

A break for lunch and then Elisabet Barnes did a practical workshop of foot care. It’s an essential session that prepares everyone with all the relevant skills to allow them the flexibility to be self-sufficient when racing. Elisabet also showed and demonstrated foot taping as a preventive measure against blisters.

At 6pm, the day concluded with an easy 5 or 10km shake-outrun to loosen the legs!

Why not join our 2019 Training Camp?

More information HERE

Lanzarote Training Camp 2018 Day 3

A long day on the trails this morning with our 40-participants split into 5 groups moving along the stunning coastline on Lanzarote. The technical trails are a challenge and it is fair to say, they are a much greater challenge than those encountered at say, MDS.

Reassuringly, our run/ walk group covered 25km in less than 4-hours. Perfect and a great confidence boost for the race.

The sun was shining, the skies were blue and the ever present wind that is always in Lanzarote, blew in off the sea to help make perfect running conditions.

It was a hot day though and that could be seen on one or two red faces after the run… Remember the sun cream folks!

A break for lunch and then at 4pm a talk/ discussion by MDS 2017 3rd place, Tom Evans.

Tom talked about nutrition and the differences and requirements of each participant. No two runners are the same. For example, the simple calorie needs and differences between a ‘fast’ runner. ‘mid’ runner or ‘walker.’

The type of food you will eat and how it is made up – carbs, protein and fats. For example, 1 to 1.5g of carbs per KG of body weight is considered ideal, 1.5g per KG of protein and 1g of fat per KG – but is that possible in a multi-day race?

As the question: What is normal for you? YOU need to know what you need! All valuable lessons and questions.

For example, a typical day for Tom:

  • Breakfast – Porridge and nuts
  • Whilst running – 2 x GU gels and 100g of Tailwind
  • Recovery – 2 x 70g of weight gain protein shake
  • Dinner – 100g freeze dried meal (LYO) and Pip & Nut peanut butter
  • Hydration – 6 x Nuun tablets

Typically 2623 calories for 665g weight

Hydration, needless to say, so important in any race! You need to sweat to cool muscles, remove toxins and keep ones core cool. Sodium replacement is key.

Tomorrow is another full-day with hill reps in the morning, a foot care workshop and easy shoe-out run!

Why not join our 2019 Training Camp?

More information HERE

Marathon des Sables PERU 2017 #MDSPeru Day 2

After a late arrival in camp last night, day one in bivouac was an admin day with equipment checks and the deposit of personal belongings. It’s a day that often drags as runners work through all their belongings deciding what to take and what not. Once they drop their case, that is it! No going back. If you have forgot something, you have forgotten it.

It’s all about balancing essentials with luxuries. The ‘racers’ keep things to a minimum trying to get the pack to 6.5kg (the minimum) plus water. This mean no luxuries! The pack weight is pretty much all food, maybe a change of socks, a sleeping bag, seeping mat and of course compulsory items. Once water is added, race pack weight is usually around 8kg on race day 1. This gets lighter as the days pass and the runner eats the contents.

Other runners decide to carry other items to make the week in the desert. However, for every gram carried, this is additional weight to add a burden to ones body and slow you down – it is a fine balancing act. To put this into perspective the heaviest pack weight recorded today was 12kg.

At admin check, medical forms are scrutinised, compulsory items are checked, packs are weighed and the runner is asked to provide an excel doc of food contents to make sure they have enough for the 6-days ahead.

A small number of select runners, those most likely to make the top-10, are also asked to contribute to the ITRA health passport system by providing a blood sample. At the 2017 edition of the race, this is not compulsory.

To conclude the day, a dance by locals was performed and then a compulsory briefing was given outline the week ahead.

Once dinner is concluded, the runners are then self-sufficient.

Race Day 1 has an 0730 start in Cahuachi with 37.2km yo cover before the finish in Coyungo. It is a day of pretty much all downhill starting at an altitude of just over 350m and concluding a little higher than sea level.

You can read a preview of the 2017 MDS Peru HERE