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

The North Face Endurance Challenge, San Francisco, 50-mile Championships Preview (Men)

San Francisco 50 TNFEC50

My head hurts… it’s December, what happened to the ‘off-season’. Not only do we no longer have an off-season but The North Face have arguably assembled one of the most competitive fields in the 2013 season. Way back in April I was writing about the ‘race of the year’. Of course, it was Transvulcania La Palma. This was followed by another ‘race of the year’, Western States. I then followed this with another race of the year, Zegama and so on… you get the picture! Ultra running and mountain running is booming and as such, we are all seeing the benefits, not only from a watching and a following perspective but also from a racer perspective. It is now possible to have several peaks in one year and TNF may very well have hit on a winning formula with such a competitive race in December.  It’s late enough in the season to have recovered from recent previous efforts, such as UROC or Run Rabbit Run and equally far enough away from ‘key’ races in 2014 to allow for adequate RnR.

Okay, deep breath… here we go.

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras returns after winning the race in 2012. His time of 5:33 in lousy conditions confirmed his ability if any was needed. Having said that, Miguel is used to rough-n-tough weather and as such, may very well have excelled in the conditions over his US contemporaries. Also the 2012 race did have issues over course marking which did lead to several runners going astray. I take nothing away from Miguel, he is a class act and although 2013 has been a difficult season for him, his second place at TNFUTMB proves that he is back. He followed this with a quality performance at Cavalls del Vent so without doubt he is a contender for the win. However, this field is stacked.

Dakota Jones UROC 2013 ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones UROC 2013 ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones is back racing and embracing the trails after a quiet start to 2013 and some escape in the mountains. In addition, Dakota became an ‘RD’ in 2013 which primarily caused him to miss TNFUTMB and refocus on UROC. That refocus nearly worked and certainly with 5-miles to go at UROC he looked as though he had the race in the bag. However, Rob Krar pulled something out of the bag and relegated Dakota to second that day. In fine form, Dakota departed for Japan to repeat his 2012 win at Hasetsune Cup, however, disaster struck and he had a tough day and a dnf. Without doubt, Dakota will be recovered and focused on winning at San Francisco. He will be looking for a repeat performance similar to San Juan Solstice 50m when he broke Matt Carpentar’s record.

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday will bring his speed to this race and along with Cameron Clayton and maybe, Max King. They will be out at the front pushing the pace. Sage has had a mixed 2013 in the sense that he has occasionally pushed and failed below his own demanding standards. His great runs at Tarawera, Transvulcania La Palma and Lake Sonoma may well fall into insignificance in Sage’s own mind as I feel he may well dwell on his performances at Sierre-Zinal and UROC. Don’t get me wrong; I am a big Sage fan. He has all the ability to go out and win San Fran but I just wonder what effect recent performances will have on his confidence. In real terms, caution may well prove a huge bonus allowing him to hold back early on and keep his powder dry for the final 30% were he can use all that natural speed and ability. Unfortunately Sage has Flu – will not start

Cameron Clayton Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton will be feeling somewhat inspired and motivated coming into San Fran after his 3rd place at UROC behind Rob Krar and Dakota Jones. Cameron was 3rd at this race last year and although he has had a full season, you can’t rule him out from pulling something special out of the bag for that $10,000 prize. His 2013 season has been fulfilled with top placing’s at Transvulcania and Lake Sonoma, however, he has had a few below par performances which I think ultimately were more due to a niggling foot and other health issues. All looks good now though.

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar, wow, what can we say about Rob that hasn’t already been said. Arguably, one of ‘THE’ ultra runners of the year after his rim-to-rim exploits, Western States run (his first 100) and then his incredible win at UROC. He raced just the other weekend at JFK50 and dropped leaving question marks in his own mind. However, the ‘drop’ may very well have just saved his legs and without doubt, don’t be surprised if he is on top of the podium at the end of the weekends festivities.

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson repeated his victory at Western States, always the sign of a true champion when you can go back to a race and do it again…! He raced at Tarawera and made the podium, he just missed the podium at Transvulcania and dug real deep at TNFUTMB. Surprisingly after such a tough TNFUTMB he then raced Run Rabbit Run on what must have been a tired body. He certainly has an autopilot but I can’t help but think this race will be all about fulfilling sponsorship requirements and showing face. Having said that, showing face will probably still result in a top-10 and should he get his race face on, don’t be surprised if Timmy gets a podium place.

Ryan Sandes Gran Canaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes Gran Canaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes has had ‘one of those years’ that he will be keen to get over! I was with Ryan in Gran Canaria in March, he was all fired up for an exciting season ahead and then injury hit forcing him to miss Western States. Healed, Ryan returned to Leadville in the hope of repeating his 2011 victory, however, injury reappeared. He has tackled some personal projects in South Africa and recently raced in Patagonia. Ryan will be looking to finish 2013 on a high and may just well go under the radar after a quiet year.

Max King La Palma ©iancorless.com

Max King La Palma ©iancorless.com

Max King has not had a repeat of his 2012 season. Winner of the 2012 JFK and UROC, Max was an unstoppable rollercoaster and along with sage Canaday was just on fire. In 2013 he had planned to mix things up and race at different distances and represent the USA in multiple disciplines, it didn’t go to plan and he has been plagued with an ankle problem. If he is recovered and inform, Max will be up at the helm with Cameron and Sage dropping fast minute miles an looking to be the last man standing at the end.

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols placed 5th last year and will come to this race confident after a great 2013 season racing in the Skyrunning calendar. In particular, he has plenty of speed uphill and has improved his down hill speed. 2013 may well just be the year that he moves a couple of places higher on the podium.

Francois D'Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene was last years 2nd place, approximately 13-mins behind his Salomon teammate, Miguel Heras. Francois has raced less in 2013 due to the pressures of owning a vineyard, however, when he has raced, he has been in top form. His was 2nd at Ice-Trail Tarentaise behind Kilian Jornet, he was joint winner at Mont-Blanc Marathon 80k Ultra with Michel Lanne and his recent dominance at the super tough Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale de Fous) means that his presence at San Fran surely means he is a podium contender. *Update “Finally my season ends sooner than expected …since my fall in Death Valley tuesday with a shock in the ribs I hope but I have finally abdicate … So I would support the team tomorrow.”

Michel Lanne Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne is another consistent performer who may well do very well at this race. He had a great run with teammate Francois D’Haene at Mont-Blanc but then picked up an injury. In addition, he has also become a dad! December may well prove to be a great time of year; his life will have settled a little, he will be over his injury and without doubt he will be excited to race in the US.

Dylan Bowman UROC ©iancorless.com

Dylan Bowman UROC ©iancorless.com

My final hot tip for a podium place goes to Dylan Bowman. Dylan had a great Western States and turned up at TNFUTMB in the form of his life but had a freak training accident, which caused him to miss the race. He has a new coach and he is going to be looking to release some of that UTMB frustration.

So who else… it seems crazy that I am not writing about the names below in more depth. But I have previewed above who I think may well take out the top-3 slots

  • Mike Wolfe – was 11th last year and set an incredible FKT this year with Hal he could win this race!.
  • Adam Campbell – 4th last year and I may regret not adding him above?
  • Mike Foote – great 2013 UTMB but been quiet recently.
  • Hal Koerner – Think he will be on TNF duty.
  • Karl Meltzer – Karl says he has no chance in such a fast and ‘short’ field. If it were a 100-miles he would be listed above.
  • Matt Flaherty – another who should maybe be above but he was 2nd at JFK just a week ago, maybe a little tired?.
  • Mike Wardian – anything can happen…. Mike is an unpredictable phenomenon.
  • David Riddle – may or may not race with injury?
  • Gary Gellin – 9th last year.
  • Ryan Ghelfi – 5th at UROC and I may regret not adding him above too.
  • Rickey Gates – mixed 2013 but always a contender.
  • Jorge Maravilla – top 20 in 2012.
  • Martin Gaffuri  – great season on the Skyrunning calendar.
  • And finally, Greg Vollet who continues to amaze and surprise every time he races.

So, there you have it. A super stacked crazy race to end the year, the top-3 are any bodies guess. I have tried to provide a little insight but just don’t be surprised if we see a completely unexpected performance and a surprise win.

Ladies preview HERE.

ISF Sky Ranking

Kilian Jornet & Marco De Gasperi Mont-Blanc Marathon ©iancorless.com

Kilian Jornet & Marco De Gasperi Mont-Blanc Marathon ©iancorless.com

The top 100 men and 50 women in the ISF Sky ranking announced today offer more food for thought after the Ultra rankingannounced earlier. Twenty-one races in five continents were selected in the Sky category.  The top 100 men count 487athletes from 37 nations while the top 50 women are calculated out of 216 athletes from 29 nations.

 

The overall ranking has been devised for the three skyrunning disciplines based on 54 races in 2013 (24 Ultra, 21 Sky and 10 Vertical). One of the principal aims was to take into account the quality of the field and the time relative to the winner, along with a proprietary ISF algorithm and other factors.

 

Some considerations on the ranking per country for the two distances:

In the Ultra distance France, Spain and USA count four, three and three athletes respectively in the top ten overall. If we take the mean value of the points of the top three ranked athletes per nation, the men’s results show Spain leading (247,649), followed by USA (245,363) and France (236,344).

 

The women’s Ultra ranking presents a more varied picture however, with, apart from the nations mentioned above, Sweden, Italy and New Zealand featuring. Again, taking the mean value of the top three per nation, Spain leads with (194,477), followed by France (192,846) and USA (190,065).

 

The Sky discipline with respect to the Ultra counts more nations in the top ten men’s and women’s rankings, with athletes fromfive nations.  Again, Spain’s prowess dominates with four men and four women in the top ten overall.  In both cases Italy, the cradle of skyrunning, boasts two men and three women in the top ten. In the men’s field, using the above mean value,Spain again leads the ranking with (262,317) followed by Italy (235,146).

 

The women’s Sky ranking is led by Spain (251,559) followed by Italy (234,246).

 

Here’s a general overview on the calculations previously published in the Ultra news:

The ranking was elaborated on the basis of the participation and results obtained by the athletes in the international races selected by the ISF.

 

In calculating the points, the ranking is based on a proprietary ISF algorithm specifically studied for outdoor running, taking into account a consolidated algorithm used by the International Ski Federation.

 

Fifty-four races were selected for the 2013 season (24 Ultra, 20 Sky and 10 Vertical) – see ISF announcement in March.  The selection was aimed at identifying the world’s most prestigious races with the greatest number of elite athletes participating, as indicated in the ISF news in January.

 

In each selected race, the first 30 men and first 15 women were counted. For each athlete, points were calculated on the basis of:  the final position, the time relative to the winner and the number of elite athletes ahead or behind.

 

The final points were calculated on the average of the three best results of the season obtained by each athlete.  For athletes who did not participate in at least three of the selected races throughout the season, a penalty of 11% was applied to those who participated in only two races, and 22% was applied to those who participated in just one.

 

The 2014 ranking will be based on 2013, but with a more precise indication of the elite athletes based on the previous year’s ranking.

 

The ISF ranking will be complete at the end of the 2015 season as the points will be calculated on the average of the previous three seasons with a weighted coefficient for each year.

 

The ISF assesses the yearly performances in their whole within the context of the results and performance

in each race.  As in other disciplines, it does not analyse the performance in absolute terms due to the many variables in outdoor running (vertical climb, type of terrain, climate, level of the competition… etc), the comparison between different races or different editions of the same race, would be too approximate.”

 

Following on from the Ultra and Sky distances, the Vertical will be announced next.  Subsequently, all the runners will be listed by country.

 

2013 Sky ranking

Top 100 men

Top 50 women

 

2013 ISF Ultra ranking

Top 100 men

Top 50 women

Article ©ISF

 

You know you are an Ultra Runner when… ?

I asked the question on Facebook and I got an incredible response. In actual fact, the answers keep coming in, so, I will try to add and update on a regular basis.

But here goes… ‘You know you are an Ultra Runner when… ?’

Look at some of the names who have posted too. A few Talk Ultra interviewees crop up.

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Holly Rush you consider running to your friend’s house for lunch and she lives 30 miles away…

Carl Wibberley A marathon is a training run.

Ben Wittenberg You sell your road bike to buy a Fenix gps.

Wayne Sylvester 26.2 sounds like an aid station.

George Knights you can count your toenails on one hand.

Chris Beaven You’re diagnosed with atrial fibrillation…

Ceri Careful Roberts When you’ve vomited all over yourself, then get going again.

Dave Douglas One minute you swear you’ll never do it again, the next your’e looking at a bigger challenge!

Brock Currie Instead of memorizing what street you need to turn right on, you need to remember what city the street is in.

Nick Molina half of the dishes you take out of your dishwasher are water bottles.

Todd Fultz When you substitute (in conversation) hours ran, instead of miles ran…..

Scott Harris you take the time to read all the comments nodding approvingly at each one.

Carter Swampy You have wiped with a $15 pair of socks.

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Karin Walder when you Change your Garmin to a Suunto because the Garmin only lasts 8 hours.

Tony Villano When you’re reading posts from Talk Ultra.

BE Murphy The length of the Adelaide Hills just because it is beautiful…

Sam Robson How do you know you’re an ultra runner and not a trail runner though? Or a mountain runner? Or a mountain trail runner? Or a…

Scott W. Kummer When duct tape becomes an option!

Sarah Girard Am I an ultra runner when I think of running through nature for 100 km as romantic and beautiful? I have never done more than 46km though.

Иван Димитров when… you run a mountain 100k, then hop on a mountain bike and do the route a second time in hope to make it to the cut-off time…

Gary Robbins You spend three hours listening to a podcast about ultra running…entirely while running…and it wasn’t even your long run.

Catra Corbett waking up at 3am and thinking you have to get ready to run a 100 miler. Realizing you don’t have another race for 3 weeks. LOL.

Nige Webber When you injure yourself and are told not to run for 2 weeks and you interpret that as one week.

Paul PT McCleery When you have to repeat the distance of your next race to everyone !

Jeffrey Wong you take pictures of your disgusting feet and then post them on Facebook: proudly!

James Short Your long run involves a train ride to get home.

Jeremy Spainhour That moment you realize you know more about running injuries than your PT… and you stop going to him.

Tammy Clauser Wuerth When you feel like you’re like giving birth to a baby. Then you say you will never do it again …but after a short break and a little foreplay you are ready to do it all over again:-)

Adam Lloyd When you need 3 shits in one race.

Dreama Lehman when you are not even sore after putting a 90 mile week in!

Russell Thomas when you go to bed before the dog!

Todd Fultz When you find yourself after 4-5 hours running singing to the trees, & every now then you swear something’s singing back!

Helen MacDermott Peeing in a toilet seems … unnatural.

Francis Pardo 1. You are signed up for more than one ultra at any given time. 2. When you think of a race and say: that’s equal to “x” number of marathons.

Ed Kumar When a dark moment lasts 20k or more and you’re fine with it.

Majo Majo You have more shoes than your girlfriend.

Chris Bair When there is no such thing as too much.

Johannes Kind When you run the last 20K on a sprained ankle.

Steve Blythe You check Talk Ultra on FB when you’re out with your wife!

David Mould 26.2 miles is speed work.

Tim Steele Your race outlasts your Garmin and two sets of headlamp batteries.

Ben Brindley When you decide running dusk till dawn is a great idea.

Darren Hutchings People say there’s something wrong with you.

Tim Steele You have more difficulty with the taper than with the race.

Neisa Condemaita When you apply super glue to your blisters so you can keep running.

Paul Beck a 4+ hour training run is your weekly long run, followed up by 2+ hours the next day.

Matthias Kodym you peel off the skin from your heels and think about the next run.

Scott W. Kummer you utter the words “only a 50”!

Paul Wathan you pick 210km with 14,000ft of elevation gain in a race to complete as your first distance over the marathon! 

Mike Saporito 3-4 hour runs are recovery runs.

Mark Connolly You are injured.

Marissa Harris Only a 50 miler, It’s just a day race!

Steve Perkins You finish your first 50 miler then go home to sign up for a 100.

Martin Bell You just keep going!

Dat Le 50K’s become training runs for 100 milers.

Kate Driskell You enter a 50km race 3 weeks before the race, having done no specific training for anything in the last 5 months, having not run further than 9km in the last  five months, have never run a marathon by itself ever, run the race, start at the back and pass half of the field of athletes in the last 5km of the race and run at pretty much the same pace through the whole 50km. Then enter an 80km race in 6 months time to have something to do after you get all of those pesky triathlons out of the way (they’re cross-training anyway, right?).

Steel Town Runner …the Barkley Marathons doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea!

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