The Coastal Challenge #TCC2019 – PHOTOGRAPHS

PHOTOGRAPHS #TCC2019 The Coastal Challenge

A portfolio of TCC2019 race images are now online, they ‘web’ resolution only.
High resolution images will be uploaded in due course when suitable wifi is available.
.

GO : HERE

The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 4

Day 4 from Coronado to Palma Sur is a unique day – starting at sea level, the route climbs to just under 1000m in 10km and then stays high with a rollercoaster of hills dropping to just over 600m at 25km and then climbing again to 900m at 30km. From here, the runners drop like stones, all the way to the finish line in Palma Sur with 37.1km covered.

Pere Aurell once again showed incredible strength and recovery powers. From the start he pulled away from the competition and powered all the way to the line for another stage victory and a securing of his overall GC classification.

Behind Pere, the day started pretty much as one would have expected with Ida Nilsson, Jorge Paniagua, Marcus Scotney and Holly Page all following and all within seconds of each other at CP1. It was clear here, that Ragna Debats, the 2018 champion and course record holder was not having a good day. She trailed the front of the race and complained of sore legs.

As the miles passed, Jorge and Holly ran strong races. The duo pushed at the front and at the line, Jorge had managed to pull away a 5-minute gap on the British runner who won the stage for the women’s category and broke Ragna’s 2018 stage CR – the women’s race this year is proving spectacular.

Ida finished 2nd woman and 4th on the stage just 3-minutes behind Holly – she is way ahead in the overall women’s ranking and now 2nd overall on GC after Marcus had a bad day!

Stage 4 proved to be a tough day both for Ragna and Marcus. Ragna complained of tired legs and ran to the line trying to conserve energy for the two days ahead. Marcus though was trying to hold on the 2nd overall – a bad nights sleep and some stomach issues unfortunately impacted on him greatly and he lost far too much time allowing Ida to move to 2nd overall on GC. Marcus is now 3rd with Jorge less than 6-minutes behind. The fight for the podium is still on!

Tomorrow’s stage is 49km from Sierpe to Drake Bay (it is the longest stage of the race) and the early stages are very runnable – this will play into the hands of Ida and Marcus – will they have the strength?

  1. Pere Aurell 4:13:25
  2. Jorge Paniagua 4:20:51
  3. Jose Fabio Madrigal 4:50:29 
  1. Holly Page 4:25:04 (3rd on stage)
  2. Ida Nilsson 4:28:42 (4th on stage)
  3. Ragna Debats 4:55:09 (6th on stage)

General Classification:

  1. Pere Aurell 16:04:50
  2. Ida Nilsen 16:42:31
  3. Marcus Scotney 17:07:24

Full results at www.webscorer.com

Follow the action as the race unfolds #TCC2019

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The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 3

Day 3 of the 2019 kicked off at 0530 this morning and what lay ahead was a tough and challenging day of hills, technical trail, waterfalls, long dusty and stony roads and relentless beach – all intensified by Costa Rican heat and humidity.

The early trails leaving Dominical Beach take the runners into 10km’s of technical river bed. It’s all rock-hopping and slip-sliding away on the wet and greasy surface. 

Nuayaca Waterfall is no doubt the highlight of the day, if not the race. The runners arrive down a small trail and the cascade greets them. They pass through and climb up a winding trail. From here on in, the terrain varies from rainforest, dusty access roads and technical trail before the beach arrives. Now the sun is high, the heat intense and it punished the runners mile after mile. A small dense rainforest is a prelude to a final section of road that leads to the finish.

Now, the heat is intense and the runners are sandwich pressed between sand and sky.

It’s a brutal day.

Pere Aurell dictated the early pace over the opening technical miles, his skyrunning background a real bonus. He pushed and pushed the pace and he opened up a considerable gap by the time of waterfall. This gap continued throughout the day until the final road section took its toll – reduced to a walk at time, Pere still finished the day first overall and first on general classification. 

Jorge Paniagua was a key chaser today pulling away from Marcus Scotney. In the early-stages. Marcus didn’t look good and at the waterfall was a long way back behind the lead men and women. Post-race he complained of a damaged toe.

However, as the stage progressed and the trail became more runnable, Marcus clawed back time in in the final 6km he caught Jorge and managed to take 6-minutes from him. It was an incredible closing run.

The story of the day was the women’s race. Early on, Ida Nilsson and Ragna Debats traded blows matching each other, stride-for-stride. Pursued by Holly Page, the top-3 ladies were in for a real battle.

Ida made he move and slowly pursued the front of the race and increasingly opened a gap on Ragna. On the flat beach section, Ida lengthened her stride and does what she does best – run fast! She was now 2nd overall on the stage having caught and passed all the male runners ahead of her, with the exclusion of Pere. At the line, once again, she smashed the 2018 stage course record set by Ragna and earned herself another $250 CR stage bonus. Ida’s run in the 2019 TCC is incredible!

Ragna ran a solid race for 2nd but in the closing miles, Holly put an effort in and closed the margin to just 90-seconds.

With three stages complete, the general classification is interesting with Pere in a strong lead. Marcus is 2nd but notably, Ida is 3rd and just a handful of minutes behind. The fight for overall podium places is going to be an epic one.

  1. Pere Aurell 5:10:55
  2. Marcus Scotney 5:32:10
  3. Jorge Paniagua 5:38:51

 

  1. Ida Nilsson 5:20:27 (2nd on stage)
  2. Ragna Debats 5:31:20 (3rd on stage)
  3. Holly Page 5:32:50 (5th on stage)

 

Full Results HERE

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The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 2

It was a an 0400 wake up call this morning and an 0530 start. It may sound super early but believe me, the runners weren’t complaining! 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. Most had been in bed before 8pm and had maximised the time available to sleep and recover after a tough first day.

Stage 2 kicks off with a tough 39km climb and Pere Aurell was in his element as he climbed away from the rest of the field. Local runners Jorge Paniagua and Maikol Cruz chased looking really confident on the technical trail and Marcus Scotney pursued. It was early in the day for a fast pace and a long way to go, anything could happen!

Ida Nilsson today still looked incredibly strong and ran in 5th overall chased by Ragna Debats and Holly Page. Ragna looked more calm and relaxed than on day-1 and Holly complained of not feeling great.

Pere dictated the pace for the men, pushing and pushing. Could he hold on?

Behind, Marcus eventually caught the Costa Rican duo and pushed ahead confident in knowing he had gained a good chunk of time on day-1. He was now the virtual TCC 2019 leader on the road.

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.

Pere arrived first still looking strong and it was over 5-minutes later that Marcus arrived. The duo stayed that way all the way to the line. Looks like we may be in for an exciting battle for the overall lead in the coming days. Jorge managed to pull away from Maikol and at the line had gained an 8-minute gap.

Ida continued her dominance and once again broke the stage course record which was set by Ragna in the 2018 edition. Her run provided her a 5th place overall on the stage. Ragna finished 2nd looking more relaxed and confident but she still lost over 10-minutes to the Salomon runner. Holly finished 3rd and confirmed over the 2nd half of the stage she had felt better.

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

Stage Results:

  1. Pere Aurell 3:47:28
  2. Marcus Scotney 3:53:30
  3. Jorge Paniagua 4:00:12

 

  1. Ida Nilsson 4:08:46 (5th on stage)
  2. Ragna Debats 4:19:13
  3. Holly Page 4:27:44

Full stage results HERE

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The Coastal Challenge 2019 – #TCC2019 – Day 1

It was a hot day, a seriously hot day!

Leaving San Jose at 0430, runners eventually arrived at Quepos and transferred to the beach for a 0900 start. It’s tough starting so late in the morning, particularly on the first day when there is no time to adapt. However, although temperatures were high, humidity seemed lower than in 2018.

The early flat miles ticked away and it was Marcus Scotney and Pere Aurell who had a short lead over Ida Nilsson who was matching them stride-for-stride and running just 2-3m meters behind. 

Pursuing was Jorge Paniagua for the men and for the women, Ragna Debats, the 2018 champion had a slender lead over Holly Page.

A dense section of rainforest and then some fast trails to cp2  saw Marcus Scotney move ahead Ida and Pere. But Ida was running to strong and went alone to hunt Marcus down. Behind, Ragna was having a tough day in the heat and Holly moved into 2nd women.

Ida for the women was in a race of her own and finally caught Marcus at the final summit. The duo dropped to the final river crossing and it was here, Ida moved ahead and clinched the overall stage victory less than 30-seconds ahead of Marcus. Her time obliterated Anna Frosts’ stage course record by 30-minutes – incredible!

Pere Aurell was the 3rd across the line and then remarkably, Holly Page was 4th, also well under Anna Frosts’ old CR. Jorge Paniagua rounded out the men’s podium and Ragna completed the women’s.

The 2019 TCC based on day 1 is going to be an epic race!

  1. Ida Nilsson 2 44 35
  2. Holly Page 3 04 33
  3. Ragna Debats 3 20 22

 

  1. Marcus Scotney 2 45 11
  2. Pere Aurell 2 53 00
  3. Jorge Paniagua 3 13 13

Full results at www.webscorer.com

Follow the action as the race unfolds #TCC2019

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Ragna Debats to join the The Coastal Challenge 2019 #TCC2019

The Coastal Challenge reaches new heights in 2019 celebrating 15-years of amazing racing.

The 14th edition completed in February 2018 at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, was a record breaker! Yes, course records were broken daily and Tom Evans and Ragna Debats elevated the overall CR’s to a new level obliterating the 2017 records set by the UK’s Tom Owens and New Zealand’s Anna Frost.

Time never stands still and to make the 15th edition of TCC extra special, race director’s Rodrigo Carazo and Sergio Sanchez have confirmed a new incentive for the 2019 edition of the race.

A reward purse totalling $8000 will be up for grabs as the race gets underway from the stunning beaches of Quepos, Costa Rica.

Each day, $250 will be up for grabs should the stage course records be broken by the fastest male or female. For example, in 2018, Tom Evans broke every stage record, that would have been rewarded with a $1500 payout!

Should the overall course record set in 2018 by Tom Evans or Ragna Debats be broken in 2019, $2500 will be on offer. Should the male and female record go, that is a payout of $5000.

Feel like a fast start to 2019? It comes no faster than the 15th edition of The Coastal Challenge!

After announcing a stellar line-up for 2019, (El Kott Twins HEREBartholomew HERE, Nilsson HERE, Page HERE,) today we announce the return of the Queen of TCC and the current course record holder, Ragna Debats.

  1. What attracts you to Costa Rica?

The sea, the coasts, the heat, the ambient,…  It’s a real exotic country for me!

  1. This is the 15th edition of the TCC, a special one – what do you know about the race?

I came last year, so I’ve experienced what it is like to run it. It’s a beautiful race which shows a lot of Costa Rica’s stunning beaches and rainforest. It’s a tough race because of the hot climate and some of the stages are pretty long, so it’s a real challenge!

  1. Heat and humidity will play a major factor in the race, how do you plan to adapt?

Last year I didn’t particularly prepare for the heat. The first day was horrific and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to run the next day, but my body seemed to adapt well and I felt comfortable with it. This year, I hope my body will remember the heat from last year and adapt to it from day 1!

  1. You and Tom Evans set incredible course records in 2017. There is prize money available for a new CR in 2019 – does that motivate you? Can you break the record?

I hope to break my own records. I think that last year I set good times, because most things  went smoothly. Nevertheless, when I’m self critic, I know I can improve my performances.

  1. Multi-day racing brings many different challenges to a single-stage race – what are you most looking forward to? What are you most fearful of?

I’m looking forward to meet all the other runners and share life at the camps with them. I’m also looking very forward to see all those beautiful places I ran through again. I fear all the difficulties multi stage races can bring along like stomach problems, muscle aches, blisters,…

  1. The elite line-up is incredible for 2019, you will need to be in the best shape, does that excite you?

Last year I thought it would be a good block of volume training which could serve as the base for the rest of the season. This year, the line-up is incredible as you say and I want to improve my own times, so I’ll need to be stronger. Anyway, TCC will definitely be a pillar to lean on and to look back upon during 2019 !

  1. February is early in the season, what will your winter training look like, so you will be ready for February?

I will combine running with skiing and cycling, depending on where I am and what the weather conditions are like. In January I’m going to Lanzarote for a training week with MudSweat&Trails (Dutch trailrunning platform) which could be a good preparation for Costa Rica too.

  1. I am sure you have looked at past editions of the race, viewed the stages, the profile – it is a tough race that suits a rounded athlete. You need to be able to climb, descend, handle technical trail and run on the flat – where will your strengths be?

I think I’m quite an all round runner and I can handle the heat, so the race suits me pretty well I guess.

  1. What experience do you have of multi-day racing?

Experiences of hardship, perseverance, friendship, fellowship, … Multi-day races are very intense and emotions are accordingly. I love that.

  1. Racing starts very early in Costa Rica, with the sun! An early finish allows for relaxation on the beach, you can even have a beer – combining racing and relaxation is a key of TCC. It is a ‘Pura Vida’ race – tell us about your hopes and desires for the 2019 edition.

Yes!  In fact, my strongest memory is of the start of day 2. When we lined up at the start it was still dark and we didn’t wait for a specific time of the day to start the race, but for the first daylight to reach the forest in which we were camping. Just enough light to be able to start running without a head light. We were all standing there, in expectation of what the day would bring us. It was such a great moment!!

  1. What three music choices would sum up your racing style?

I really have no idea. I have never associated  my running with music…

  1. Tell us about your nutrition and hydrations strategies for the race?

Together with my nutritionist Anna Sauló we will set up a strategy. Hydration is very important so I will sacrifice minimalist running and carry enough liquid along to satisfy my needs.

  1. Tell us about key equipment such as shoes and apparel that you will use?

Last year I had quite  big bag which I had to carry to my tent from the drop off place. This year I’ll try to have a lighter bag: 2 pairs of running equipment , sleeping and shower gear, a bikini, a thermo, and alimentation.

  1. Open question – Feel free to tell us something, anything!

I hope to have inspired people to participate in TCC ! I highly recommend this race to everyone who is up for a magnificent adventure!

  1. Tell us about your greatest achievement/ result in 2018?

My triple crown: Penyagolosa Trails (Trail World Championship IAAF), Ben Nevis Ultra (Skyrunning World Championship ISF) and the Overall World Championship (Overall Skyrunning World Series ISF).

It’s been an unbelievable amazing year!

Please list a summary of your career highlights for 2017 and 2018:

1 World Champion Snowshoe running (Saranac lake) and World Champion/European champion Skyrunning Ultra

2 1st place and course record Olympus Marathon, 2017

3 1st place Matterhorn Ultraks, 2017

4 1st place and course record The Rut 50K (American Championship)

5 1st place and course record TCC, 2018

6 World Champion Trail (Penyagolosa Trails), World Champion Skyrunning Ultra and Overall Skyrunning World Champion

7 1st place and course record Madeira Skymarathon

8 1st place High Trail Vanoise 

*****

TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, travelling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.

You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE and the the 2018 edition HERE

Follow in 2019 #TCC2019

Twitter @talkultra

Instagram @iancorlessphotography

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

The Coastal Challenge

Facebook HERE

Website (UK) HERE

Website (Global) HERE

#tcc2019 #thecoastalchallenge #tcc19

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Marcus Scotney to join the The Coastal Challenge 2019 #TCC2019

The Coastal Challenge reaches new heights in 2019 celebrating 15-years of amazing racing.

The 14th edition completed in February 2018 at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, was a record breaker! Yes, course records were broken daily and Tom Evans and Ragna Debats elevated the overall CR’s to a new level obliterating the 2017 records set by the UK’s Tom Owens and New Zealand’s Anna Frost.

Time never stands still and to make the 15th edition of TCC extra special, race director’s Rodrigo Carazo and Sergio Sanchez have confirmed a new incentive for the 2019 edition of the race.

A reward purse totalling $8000 will be up for grabs as the race gets underway from the stunning beaches of Quepos, Costa Rica.

Each day, $250 will be up for grabs should the stage course records be broken by the fastest male or female. For example, in 2018, Tom Evans broke every stage record, that would have been rewarded with a $1500 payout!

Should the overall course record set in 2018 by Tom Evans or Ragna Debats be broken in 2019, $2500 will be on offer. Should the male and female record go, that is a payout of $5000.

Feel like a fast start to 2019? It comes no faster than the 15th edition of The Coastal Challenge!

TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, travelling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.

You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE and the the 2018 edition HERE

Following on from the announcement that UTMB 3rd place and Everest Trail Race winner, Jordi Gamito will race in 2019 (Here) – We now announce the return of Marcus Scotney. Marcus is an experienced multi-day racer having won The Dragons Back Race and the Cape Wrath Ultra in the UK. He toed the line at TCC in 2017 and was gunning for the podium until a huge navigational error pulled him out of the classification – he is coming back to put the record straight!

What attracts you back to Costa Rica?

Undo the wrong turn I made in this year TCC, Costa Rica is an amazingly beautiful place to run with such friendly people.

This is the 15th edition of the TCC, a special one – what do you know about the race after racing in 2018?

It gets very HOT during the day and it takes you through stunning scenery with golden beaches, dense technical forests trails and rivers to cross and run up.

Heat and humidity will play a major factor in the race, how do you plan to adapt?

I hope to get into a heat chamber again and run with lots of layers on, and praying we don’t have such a cold winter in the UK than this year.

Ragna Debats and Tom Evans set incredible course records in 2017. There is prize money available for a new CR in 2019 – does that motivate you? Can you break the record?

Tom was on fire this year, him and Hayden raced as hot as the air temperature was, it will take some beating.

Multi-day racing brings many different challenges to a single-stage race – what are you most looking forward to? What are you most fearful of?

I’m looking forward to running such a beautiful and well organized race, being immersed in the jungle and the spectacular trails and beaches.

I’m most fearful of missing a pink tape ribbon and missing a turn, I wouldn’t live it down if I did that again!

The elite line-up is incredible for 2019, you will need to be in the best shape, does that excite you?

Yes I am super excited to be returning and running with and getting to know the other elite runners. Knowing the course now means I know what I need to focus on to improve on this years performance.

 

February is early in the season, what will your winter training look like, so you will be ready for February?

Lots of miles in the Peak District this winter, focusing on ascent each week and adding some tempo running into the mix.

And doing a pink ribbon awareness course; getting Jen to hang Pink Ribbons out on runs for me to follow and stay focused on.  

I am sure you have looked at past editions of the race, viewed the stages, the profile – it is a tough race that suits a rounded athlete. You need to be able to climb, descend, handle technical trail and run on the flat – where will your strengths be?

I know most of my way around the course now so know what to expect.

My strength is on the technical trail and the steep climbs, I will be working on my flat speed for the 2019 edition of the race.

 

What experience do you have of multi-day racing?

2016 – The Cape Wrath Ultra Trail

2017 – The Dragons Back Race

2018 – The Coastal Challenge DQ’d

2018 – Ut4M Challenge Grenoble

Racing starts very early in Costa Rica, with the sun! An early finish allows for relaxation on the beach, you can even have a beer – combining racing and relaxation is a key of TCC. It is a ‘Pura Vida’ race – tell us about your hopes and desires for the 2019 edition.

Not getting lost!!!!

What three music choices would sum up your racing style?

Senser – Stubborn

Nick Cave and the bad seeds – The Mercy seat

John Martin – Small hours  

Tell us about your nutrition and hydrations strategies for the race?

It gets very hot very quickly in the morning I will be drinking plenty of water, I will carry 3 soft flasks like this year and always keep a spare bottle filled. I will use a mixture of Clif Bloks and Mountain Fuel Jellies.

 

Tell us about key equipment such as shoes and apparel that you will use?

Scott Supertrac Ultra’s. Montane VIA Fang Shirt. Suunto 9

Open question – Feel free to tell us something, anything!

I will not get lost this year!

Tell us about your greatest achievement/ result in 2018?

2nd Cappadocia Ultra Trail

Please list a summary of your career highlights for 2017 and 2018:

1 – Winning and setting a new CR for the 2017 Dragons Back Race

2 – Running in the 2018 Coastal Challenge.

3 – 2nd 2018 Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Turkey

4 – 5th 2018 UtM4 Challenge Grenoble 160km

5 – 6th Mozart 100km Austria

6 – 1st Dark Peak Runners 50km

Follow in 2019 #TCC2019

Twitter @talkultra

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facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

The Coastal Challenge

Facebook HERE

Website (UK) HERE

Website (Global) HERE

#tcc2019 #thecoastalchallenge #tcc19

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Twitter – @tcccostarica

ISF Skyrunning World Championships 2018 Summary

“Gale force winds, torrential rain, freezing cold and the occasional burst of sunshine tell the story of the 2018 Skyline Scotland series of events. For the first time, the ISF skyrunning world championships were held on UK soil combining of the classic VK, SKY and ULTRA distances. On the 4th day, the event center in Kinlochleven was transformed for the skyrunner world series, Glen Coe Skyline – 4 days, 4 events and 1000’s of runners; a truly memorable experience for running in the UK.”

I wrote a summary of the 2018 World Championships for IRUN4ULTRA

YOU CAN READ THE ARTICLE HERE

You can view image galleries form the VK, SKY, ULTRA and EXTREME races HERE

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Ultra Skymarathon Madeira #USM2018 Race Summary and Images

The USM, Ultra Skymarathon Madeira – 55km of tough, challenging and mountain terrain to get over, the next race in the the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series.

The 2018 edition was arguably the greatest field ever assembled at the USM with a who’s who of elite mountain runners. Heading up the men’s field was last years winner, Jonathan Albon. For the ladies, it was difficult to pick a favourite byut gut instinct said that either Emelie Forsberg on the recent IAU World Trail Champion, Ragna Debats, was the favourite.

Weaving up and down mountains, around beaches, through dense undergrowth, up a riverbed and of course plenty of climbing and descending, the USM course is a unique one – It’s not an ordinary Skyrunning course!

Experienced runners start a little slower for this race and Jonathan Albon and Ragna Debats did just that, placing themselves away from the first three over the early sections of the course, there is a reason…

The USM has a brutal start, just 1km to warm up and then a climb of 1400m. Light rain followed the runners over the early miles until they broke through the cloud – on the other side, blue skies and a different day.

A section of via ferrata at around 6km was followed by a little descending and a final push for the highest point of the day. Dmitry Mityaev from Russia was the first to arrive no doubt feeling confident after a great result at Transvulcania recently. Marco De Gasperi and Franco Colle followed and then Andre Jonsson and Jon Albon.

Emelie Forsberg lead the ladies to the summit and Mira Rai pursued with Ragna Debats a little further back. Emelie was on a mission and looked strong, Mira unfortunately was suffering with stomach issues and eventually had to ease off opening the doorway for Ragna to pursue Emelie. Behind Hillary Gerardi, Ekaterina Mityaev, Nuria Picas and many others followed.

Descending over the summit, the cloud inversion was clearly visible – the landscape awe-inspiring. It was quite special to see so many mountains and trails all above the cloud.

Running the ridges and several more climbing sections, the front of the race didn’t really change until they returned back to the coast. Franco Colle had dropped and now the men’s race had Dmitry leading Marco and Jonathan in 3rd- they were all close though. A descent to the sea was followed by a steep short climb and then another descent which was followed by a section of riverbed littered with boulders. Albon made his move, the obstacle course world champion was in his element and he pulled away from the other two with ease. Marco looked in trouble though and eventually he would ease back out of the top 5. Andre Jonsson though was revived, he moved from 4th and eventually would take a great 2nd ahead of the Russian and then Pau Capell and Dani Jung placed 4th and 5th.

Emelie lead through the riverbed but Ragna was close. With a tough climb to go, it was anyones race. Behind, Nuria Picas had moved from way back into 3rd and looked very strong. The battle at the front was intense and eventually Ragna opened a 1-min gap to finish ahead of Emelie.  Nuria Picas would hold on for 3rd.

“USM is one of if not the hardest races out there, I loved it last year and I loved it this year.” said Albon. “It is a course made for me with my obstacle course racing background and it was nice to race today tactically and it alcove together!”

 

For Ragna, “Emelie pushed hard and really wanted the win, she never gave up trying and it was so tough to finally make a move. It is so pleasing to win against such incredible competition.”

RESULTS:

  1. Ragna Debats 6:46
  2. Emelie Forsberg 6:47
  3. Nuria Picas 6:58
  4. Hillary Gerardi 6:59
  5. Ekaterina Mityaeva 7:01

 

  1. Jonathan Albon 5:48
  2. Andre Jonsson 5:55
  3. Dmitry Mityaev 5:57
  4. Pau Capell 5:58
  5. Dani Jung 6:07

RACE IMAGES AVAILABLE HERE

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Ultra Skymarathon Madeira #USM 2018 – Race Preview

The 2018 Skyrunner World Series arrives in Madeira for the Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira, USMfor short. It’s a 55km race with a whopping 4000m of vertical gain. Anna Frost, a regular on the island sums it up, “The place is incredible, it has diversity of nature, amazing vertical gain and of course, the sea provides stunning backdrop to amazing technical and mountainous terrain.”

 

Created specifically for the Skyrunner World Series, the USM is a serious challenge and includes tough terrain and at times, climbing expertise to grade 2 is required. The race, in many ways, is like no other race on the calendar. The sea provides an aspect rarely found in Skyrunning races as they more often than not, take place in-land, in mountainous areas. Leaving the town of Santana, the race heads into the mountains taking single-track, working a route that takes in the highest point of the island. From here, the route drops to the sea before finally climbing once again and returning to Santana for the finish. However, before the finish, runners must work their way up a river, boulder hopping; it’s a little spice to mix the racing up.

 Last year, Jon Albon won the race in style, “USM is one of if not the hardest race I have ever done. It was relentless terrain of ups and downs; the variety is incredible, and I loved the river bed section. This race is up there with my all-time favourites. I will definitely be back!” 

For the ladies’ it was Hillary Allen who took the top honours, of course, our thoughts and best wishes go out to Hillary as she slowly but surely returns to fitness and racing after a horrific fall at Tromso SkyRace.

So, who are the 2018 contenders for victory?

One could say, that this year, the USM has the most stacked field ever in the history of the race. It’s a who’s who of the world’s best.

LADIES RACE

 Ragna Debats arguably tops the ladies’ field after her stunning victory at the World Trail Championships, add to this, a super solid 2017 season on the Skyrunning calendar, and she will be the one to beat.

Gemma Arenas has raced in Madeira before and has had great success; she won! Gemma knows the course, knows the challenges and will certainly be in the mix.

 Malene Haukoy like technical race, she as placed well in Tromso and Glencoe and the 55km of USM will suit her. One to watch for sure! 

Hillary Gerardi goes from strength-to-strength, she likes technical, she loves vert and therefore USM is made for her. Her recent success over the VK distance and top placing at Yading in China means she is in great shape.


Ekaterina Mityaeva like Hillary seems to get stronger with each race. She has just had atop placing at Transvulcania and I think it’s fair to say that the more challenging terrain of Madeira will suit her skills in contrast to the more runnable and faster, Transvulcania.

Emelie Forsberghas been away from the sport over the winter concentrating on Skimo and just this weekend will race Zegama. Zegama for Emelie, despite great success in the past may well be just a little short and fast for this early in the season, so, USM will suit her far more. She is one of the best in the business and you can never rule her out. 

Martina Valmassoi was missing for much of 2017 with injury, she is now back and recently had a victory! USM will no doubt be a push this early in the season, but Martina knows the course and has done well in the past.

Nuria Picas was always the one to beat in any Skyrunning race. In recent years, Nuria moved to the longer UTWT series and she excelled at the longer distance. In 2017 she raced Tromso and now in 2018, she runs USM for the first time. It’s Nuria Picas, so, expect something special.

Anna Mae Flynn and Brittany Peterson both raced Transvulcania and just missed the podium. It’s fair to say that USM is far more ‘European’ than Transvulcania… the trails more technical, rutted and challenging, therefore it will be interesting to see how the duo handle the change. One thing is for sure, they both know how to run, Transvulcania showed us that! 

Mira Rai would probably prefer a longer course than 55km, however, Mira is always one to watch and USM will be no different. One thing is for sure, she will smile her way around the course. 

MEN’S RACE

Jonathan Albon is the returning champ and based on his 2017 race and his overall SWS championship victory, it’s fair to say that he is the favourite for the 2018 win. His recent 4th at the World Trail Champs confirms good form and we all know he prefers technical and challenging terrain.

Dmitry Mityaev gets stronger and stronger, he did well in 2017 and just recently made the podium at Transvulcania, Dmitry will be in the mix in Madeira, for sure.

Marco De Gasperi was 4th in La Palma recently and admitted post-race that he didn’t take enough risks. This was primarily due to the races distance, he rarely races over 42km and Transvulcania’s 75km was an unknown. With USM being 55km, I think we will see a different Marco and is we all know, he is the Skyrunning master!

Pau Capell is an interesting addition to the race. He is without doubt a master over longer distances and as we saw in 2017, he can do welt Skyrunning after a top run at Transvulcania. He is a savvy and clever runner and I expect him to trade blows with the best in Madeira.

Andre Jonsson races everything and usually very consistently. He once led USM from the front only to be passed in the latter stages. I would anticipate he will have a similar tactic in 2018.

Alex Nichols i

Alex Nichols was a pioneer for American’s running in Europe on the Skyrunning circuit. In recent years he has moved to longer distances, in particular, 100-miles. He is a class act who manages to combine speed and technical ability – he is one to watch!

Cody Lind had a tough race in China with a below par performance. That will have no doubt knocked his confidence, but I think we wills him back at the front in Madeira and looking to impact on the front of the race for atop-5and maybe podium.

Franco Colle, Luis Fernandes, Daniel Jung, Armando Teixeira, Phillip Reiterand Fulvio Dapit make up the other main contenders for the male podium, it is going to be an exciting race!

Action starts on Saturday June 2nd at 0600.

 

Race website HERE

 

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