Matterhorn Ultraks Race Summary

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The inaugural Skyrunner World Series,  Matterhorn Ultraks, saw a stellar field line up in the centre of Zermatt, Switzerland at 0700, Saturday 24th August to do battle over 46 km in the fourth race of the ‘Sky’ series.

Salomon duo, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg topped the podium in what is proving to be a stunning and dominant year for the pair of them. Kilian Jornet, racing after his incredible ‘Matterhorn Summit’ set only couple of days previously expressed how beautiful the course was. On questioning, he said, ‘I felt a little tired today after the efforts of Wednesday, but this course was really beautiful and it was nice to be on the other side of the Matterhorn’.

Emelie Forsberg had a similar response, ‘Wow, it’s such a beautiful course with glacier at Gornergrat and then of course the Matterhorn ever present while we run. However, my legs felt heavy today… I don’t understand it! To be honest, I don’t like it…’ laughing she continued, ‘I’m really happy to win, it has been a great first edition’.

Departing Zermatt at 0700 with the arrival of day light, runners departed and headed upwards to the highest point of the course at nearly 3000m to the ‘Scott Summit’ at Gornergrat. First runner to arrive was Egea Caceres Aritz in 1:40:36 (winning the Scott summit prize) closely followed by Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas) and Kilian Jornet (Salomon).Not only was the race moving much faster than pre race predictions but also some of the main anticipated protagonists were having a tough day. Philipp Reiter (Salomon) and Tofol Castanyer (Salomon) had stomach issues and had to restrain their efforts, Philipp would go on to finish 19th but Tofol was forced to withdraw. Cameron Clayton Salomon) from the US who had placed top 5 at Pikes Peak just the previous weekend was also struggling with some chest issues.

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Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) was the first lady to arrive at the ‘Scott Summit’ followed by team mates, Oihana Kortazar (Salomon) and Silvia Serafini (Salomon). Emelie continued to push at the front of the race and at Schwarzee she looked comfortable and relaxed. However, behind Silvia Serafini was caharging and not only had she closed the gap on Emelie but she had moved into second place.

The front of the race took shape, Kilian Jornet and Luis Alberto Hernando run together, step-by-step just as they have so many times before this year. However, just before Trift on the plateau with Matterhorn providing a stunning backdrop, Kilian opened up a gap that he would maintain all the way to the finish for another victory.

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Behind Kilian and Luis a really great battle was unfolding, Sierre-Zinal Marc Lauerstein had been caught by Nicola Golinelli (Arc’teryx) and with another great surge, Nicola followed up his impressive performance at Mont Blanc Marathon with 3rd place on the podium here in Zermatt. Swiss runners, Marc Lauenstein, Sierre-Zinal winner, and Ultraks ambassador Martin Anthamatten were fourth and fifth respectively.

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The women’s field was comfortably led by Emelie Forsberg,  Silvia Serafini once again showed that with each race she is becoming more experienced, more confident and more dominant. Her impressive showing at the Dolomites Skyrace was followed up here with another great 2nd place.

Oihana began to weaken and loose time leaving third place open for Nuria Dominquez (Buff) to take third, Anna Lupton (inov-8) from the UK had a great run for fourth and Ragna Debats (FEEC) placed fifth. Anna said on the finish line, ‘that is the most incredibly beautiful race I have ever done but it was also the hardest’.

Four teams from Spain competed in the event, counting no less than five men and five women in the top ten.  A result that confirms Spain’s dominance in the sport.

The Sky Series final, hosted by the Limone Extreme, will take place in Italy on the slopes above Lake Garda on October 13, where the world’s top skyrunners will compete and the champions will be crowned.

RACE DAY IMAGES HERE

Race results

Men

1. Kilian Jornet (ESP) – Salomon Santiveri – 4h43’05’’

2. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) – adidas – 4h44’47’’

3. Nicola Golinelli (ITA) – Arc’teryx – 4h45’57’’

Women

1. Emilie Forsberg (SWE) – Salomon – 5h41’16’’

2. Silvia Serafini (ITA) Salomon Agisko – 5h44’37’’

3. Nuria Dominguez (ESP) – Buff- 5h59’19’’

More information at skyrunning.com

Dolomites Vertical Kilometer 2013 – Race Images

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Dolomites Vertical Kilometer, 2013 Race Summary

©copyright .iancorless.com._1060855Just 12 hours before the start of the Dolomites Vertical Kilometer, Canazei was under heavy rain and thunderstorms. As we all looked up to the summit finish, the same thought passed through each end every mind; I hope it clears up for tomorrow!

Clear up it did and on the stroke of 10am, the Vertical Kilometer opened the 2013 ISF Skyrunning European Championships. Covering 1000 vertical meters in just 2.4km, Canazei is regarded as one of the toughest vk’s on the circuit and it most certainly did not disappoint.

A last minute entry from Saul Antonio Padua, winner of the VK in Mont Blanc added some last minute spice. He was here to win, no doubt, but he wasn’t going to have it easy. Kilian Jornet fresh from another victory, this time at the Ice Trail Tarentaise was looking in great form. Urban Zemmer who had a disappointing run at Mont Blanc was here to put the record straight and this course would suit his brute force. Tadei Pivk, fourth at Zegama would also be a contender, Augusti Roc and Kilian’s Chamonix-Mont Blanc-Chamonix buddy; Matheo Jacquemond would also be pushing at the front.

From the gun, Saul Antonio Padua placed his cards on the table and dictated the pace closely followed by all the contenders. Bent double, each and every runner battled the gradients. But Saul Antonio seemed to be too keen for the win… slowing from his effort, Urban Zemmer went past him and pushed hard. Closely followed Philip Gotsch and of course, Kilian Jornet. With 300m to go they were lined out moving in harmony, right leg, left leg as both arms worked together as though connected by a brace to help provide the force through poles to get up the gradient as fast as possible.©copyright .iancorless.com._1150164

Through the large inflatable arch at the Col, Kilian Jornet made his move, sprinting past the two contenders for the crown he produced an all out effort, relegating Zemmer to second and Gotsch to third.

The ladies started five minutes after the men and pre race favorite and 2012 winner, Antonella Confortola took the lead. Two poles outstretched in front of her she powered herself up the 1000m of elevation. If you ever need an example of how to use poles, watch Antonella.

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Emelie Forsberg is relatively new to VK but her all around ability and strength was shining through, her victory at last weeks Ice Trail Tarentaise was causing her no problems as she pursued Antonella. Iva Milesova was a surprise third place very closely pursued by Silvia Serafini. The first two podium places were guaranteed barring a disaster but the third place was up for grabs, could Silvia put in a surge and make up ground in the final 100-150 meters. A final turn confronted each participant with a vertical wall of grass. Iva surged as Silvia surged and the gap was held, the final podium place be rewarded to Iva Milesova.

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Attention now turns to Sunday and the Sky Race. Many VK runners will toe the line in Canazei come Sunday morning, will they have recovered and who are your predictions?

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1160546Spain and Italy head the European Skyrunning Championship with Kilian Jornet and Antonella Confortola doing the honours.

The final European Skryunning ranking is based on the sum of the highest points scored in two out of three events.  The national title is based on the score of the first three men and one woman in all three events.

Follow Sunday’s second championship event with the Dolomites SkyRace® – a fast and technical 22 km course, it rises from Canazei to the 3,152m summit of the Piz Boè and back.  Snow will be among the technical features the all-star line up will look forward to – for some of the eighteen countries participating, a first.

RESULTS

  1. Kilian Jornet 32:43 – SPA – * new course record
  2. Urban Zemmer 32:50 – ITA
  3. Philip Gotsch 32:54 – ITA
  1. Antonella Confortola 41:02 – ITA
  2. Emelie Forsberg 43:01 – SWE
  3. Iva Milesova 43:09 – CZE

Vertical medal count

1. Italy 314 points

2. Spain 268 points

3. France 240 points

Full race results

More information at http://www.skyrunning.com

Transvulcania Race Summary

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Transvulcania La Palma in 2012 was billed as the race of the decade…. that is until the 2013 edition of the race came around. Without doubt the race was stacked and finally we would have a show down of the best of the best racing head to head in the men’s and ladies fields.

The start of race week saw a couple of key withdrawals, firstly the ‘Queen’ as Nuria Picas calls her, Anna Frost. Anna has been plagued with niggles since late 2012 and as much as she would have loved to race, she made the correct long term decision and withdrew.

Miguel Heras, also withdrew midweek. Knee issues had not improved and he would therefore, like Frosty, play safe.

Pre race build up was quite incredible as one elite athlete after another arrived at Hotel Sol La Palma on the coast. I did a series of pre race interviews which can all be viewed on the ‘home page’ of this website. One of those interviews had been with Anton Krupicka (Here), finally he was fit, healthy and he was looking forward to the opportunity to one again race Kilian on a course that he had only encountered as a spectator in 2012. But would he race…. ?

The day before the race, Tony complained of fever, chills and aches and then at approximately 1800 he confirmed, “I am going to pull out. I race to win and I don’t like to bail. The way I feel now will just not do me or my performance justice”. Needless to say it was a huge blow not only for Tony, who certainly needs some good luck at the moment, but the race and all the other runners.

The Race

Early starts of 0200 to 0300 and then 1000+ runners assembled at the lighthouse at Fuencaliente. It is just an incredible start and atmosphere. On the strong of 0600 they left the coast and turned left, headed immediately onto the GR131 trail and like a series of ants with head lamps and red tail lights they disappeared into the darkness.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1110250The Men’s race

The mens’s race ultimately came down the three runners, Sage Canaday, Luis Alberto Hernando and Kilian Jornet. But that would not do justice to those runners behind, Timothy Olson ran a very clever race starting a little steadier and working his way up through the field to a solid fourth. Cameron Clayton, played an early role pushing up front with Sage but paid the price and dropped back a little. Of course we should forget dark horse, Patrick Bringer who eventually finished fifth.

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During the race one key issue arose… stomach problems! Francois D’Haene, Philipp Reiter, Joe Grant, Luke Nelson and Adam Campbell were all hit by a bug (maybe what TK had?) and spent much of the 83km’s either running for the bushes or vomiting. A real shame!

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But up ahead, Luis Alberto Hernando showed all his skills as Skyrunning world champion and forged up the tough and sometimes technical course to have an approximate two minute lead ahead of Kilian Jornet at Roques de los Muchachos, the high point of the course at 2956m.

Kilian put all his incredible descending skills to use on the ‘drop’ from the summit to the sea and the port of Tazacorte. This is the place in 2012 when he stumbled and the heat hit him! Not this year, he pushed ahead and arrived to an incredible finish in the town of Los Llanos to the applause and cheers of 1000’s of spectators. Not only did he win but he set a new CR*. Luis Alberto Hernando arrived just over four minutes later and he looked ecstatic (and tired) with a second place. Completing the podium was Sage Canaday who performed exceptionally well in his first European mountain race.

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  1. Kilian Jornet – 6:54:09 NEW COURSE RECORD* – pre race interview HERE
  2. Luis Alberto Hernando – 6:58:31 (*beat the old course record)
  3. Sage Canaday – 7:09:57 – pre race interview HERE
  4. Timothy Olson – 7:11:53 – pre race interview HERE
  5. Patrick Bringer – 7:17:19
  6. Francois d’Haene  – 7:17:43
  7. Cameron Clayton  – 7:17:47
  8. Miguel Caballero Ortega – 7:30:49
  9. Cristofer Clemente – 7:37:40
  10. Marcin Świerc – 7:52:21

The Ladies

Emelie Forsberg one again proved herself to be a star in the making. She literally only started running again just over a week ago and she had a battle royal with Nuria Picas. They pushed each other along the 83km’s of the Transvulcania course but ultimately Emelie found something in the latter stages and crossed the line first, just outside ‘Frosty’s’ CR from 2012.

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1080920Nuria, gave the race everything and was tired and emotional on the line. She has a big heart, not only in terms of her generosity but also passion and power. She loves to race and in particular, she loves to race against Emelie. Without doubt the two of them created a spectacular show on the trails of the GR131, today, it was Nuria’s turn to be second behind Emelie, just over six minutes difference.

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1090005Final spot on the podium went to Uxue Fraile. She ran a very smart race. She started behind many of the front runners and slowly worked her way up through the field. She had experience of the course as she placed fifth in 2012. What was impressive was how much quicker she covered the 83km’s. In 2012 she was ninety minutes behind Frosty, this year she was just over thirty one minutes behind Emelie.

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  1. Emelie Forsberg – 8:13:22 
  2. Nuria Picas – 8:19:30 – pre race interview HERE
  3. Uxue Fraile  – 8:44:48
  4. Nathalie Mauclair  – 8:46:14
  5. Emilie Lecomte  – 10:14:05
  6. Karine Samson  – 10:37:05
  7. Mar Ferreras – 10:47:57
  8. Raquel Antonia Delgado – 10:51:33
  9. Luciana Moretti – 11:02:54
  10. Lidia Gomez – 11:16:37

You can listen what Anna Frost had to say in a pre race interview HERE

It was an incredible day, an incredible experience, a beautiful island, a beautiful course with an incredible field. The race fulfilled all expectations and our congratulations go to Kilian & Emelie on two incredible performances.

Links

  • Transvulcania La Palma – HERE
  • Skyrunning – HERE

RACE DAY IMAGES HERE

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