Ultra Pirineu 2016 Preview – Skyrunner® World Series

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The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series championship for the ULTRA distance will be decided in Spain this coming weekend at the Ultra Pirineu located 2-hours north of Barcelona in the Parc Natural del Cadí Moixeró.

A 110km race with 6800m of ascent, Ultra Pirineu is a seriously tough way to end a season. As the last race in the calendar, a 20% points bonus is available and therefore a good placing is required to guarantee a podium place for the 2016 series.

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Cristofer Clemente, recent winner of the RUT placed 5th at Ultra Pirineu in 2015 and this year is leading the Skyrunner® World Series ranking. He will be looking for a strong showing in the race but more importantly, he will be working out calculations to make sure that he retains his position at the top of the series.

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Roger Viñas has been a revelation in 2016 consistently racing and performing to accumulate points and place within the top-3 of the Skyrunner® World Series. His presence at Ultra Pirineu is two-fold just like Cristofer, have a good race but more importantly retain his position within the ranking.

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Legendary runner Miguel Heras, will toe the line and he is no stranger to the Ultra Pirineu. He placed 1st in the race in 2010 and 2011 and in 3rd in 2015. Miguel is one of the most talented runners in the world but is often prone to injury. When he is in-form, he is often unstoppable and he may well be looking for the good old days of 2010 and 2011 in 2016. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-0586

Pau Capell has consistently grown as a runner over the past few years and this was confirmed with victory at the TDS and a strong performance at Transgrancanaria earlier this year – along with Cristofer, I see Pau being a potential winner of the race. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-0993

Yeray Duran, although not contesting the Skyrunner® World Series is a potential winner of the race and like Pau has slowly but surely impressed over the last couple of years with strong and dominant performances. ©iancorless.com_HTV2016-2444

Dimitry Mityaev had a stunning race at High Trail Vanoise which unfortunately left him injured. However, if he is fit and has the form shown in France, he may well be a podium contender. ©iancorless.com_HTV2016-2710

Marcin Swierc currently is placed 4th in the Skyrunner® World Series and his placing and the placing of Roger Vinas and Cristofer Clemente may well be instrumental in his opportunity to move up and on to the podium – remember a 20% bonus is available.

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Nuno Silva (5th) Remigio Huaman (6th) and Fulvio Dapit (8th) are all top-10 contenders on the Skyrunner® World Series and with this race coming so late in the season, many possibilities are available for a jump upon the rankings.

Francesc Soler, Cristobal Adell and Toti Bes make up the other main contenders for the top-10 places.

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In the ladies’ race, Ida Nilsson is without doubt the hot favourite for victory after showing fine form at the season’s opener in La Palma, Transvulcania! Recently, Ida backed this up with victory at the RUT. Ida does like to run and the relentless 6800m of vertical in Spain will test her. ©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7685

The USA’s Hillary Allen (2nd on ranking) is making the long journey to Spain to participate in the final race of the series in the hope to gain more points after placing 2nd at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and 3rd at the RUT.

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Gemma Arenas, like Hillary, has been consistently gaining points in the Skyrunner® World Series in 2015. She won in Madeira and last year placed 4th at Ultra Pirineu. A recent ‘dnf’ at UTMB may well leave Gemma feeling a little tired? It’s all to fight for in Spain.
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Anna Comet (6th) and Kristina Pattison (5th) have been ever-presents on the 2016 series and they have both placed consistently. Here in Spain, they may well find that little extra to move up the rankings and gain additional important points. Tina Bes will also be a contender for the podium.

©iancorless.com_SWC2016-6255 A huge ball may well come from Maite Maiora who usually prefers the SKY distance. In recent years she has raced longer distances and we have seen her on the podium at races such as Transvulcania. Recently she was crowned Skyrunning World Champion at the Buff Epic. The terrain here in Spain suits this fierce competitor.

As with any race, we can expect surprises. Action starts on Saturday and you can follow as the race unfolds via the usual social media feeds and live via tracking on the race website.


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

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Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2016 Race Summary and Images – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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Extreme! Yes, it was… that was the consensus as the Skyline Scotland’s Salomon Glencoe Skyline drew to a conclusion after only its 2nd edition.

Last year, Skyrunning superstar Emelie Forsberg, travelled to Scotland to take part in the first edition of the race. She placed 2nd overall and won the female category. After the race she said that ‘this’ race truly is one of the best races out there!

Cut to 2016 and Skyline Scotland developed a VK race and SKY race to join the Glencoe Skyline which had gained the approval from the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) to be one of three races that would make a new ‘SkyExtreme’ category in 2016. This three race series also include Tromso SkyRace and the iconic, Trofeo Kima.

Many had said that Skyrunning in the UK was not possible.

Ask again – not one participant in the 2016 edition of the race would question the legitimacy of how extreme this race was.

Gaining Skyrunner® Extreme Series status also has a huge impact on the participants taking part. It’s fair to say, that the 2016 edition of the race had arguably one of the greatest fields ever assembled for a mountain race.

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Coming into this edition, Jonathan Albon and Tom Owens were the hot favourites to take away the title of Skyrunner® Extreme Series champion and in the ladies race, Jasmin Paris after victory in Tromso was a likely female champion.

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The race played out as expected with Tom Owens and Jon Albon pushing each other throughout the early stages of the race with strong competition coming from Marc Lauenstein, Finlay Wild and Salomon team manager, Greg Vollet. It was Jonathan Albon though that snapped the elastic pulling away for Tom Owens running on home soil. Pre-race predictions were blown out of the water and Jonathan crossed the line first in a blistering 6:33:52. To put this time in perspective, it is over 1-hour faster than the 2015 course with additional distance and vertical gain.

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Tom Owens suffered with foot issues throughout the race but battled all the time. He finished 2nd in 6:37:21. Zegama-Aizkorri and Matterhorn Ultraks winner Marc Lauenstein, although not competing for the Skyrunner® Extreme Series title was always a potential contender for victory or the podium and he didn’t disappoint in finishing 3rd in 6:54:37. As Marc came to the end of one of the more technical sections of the race, the infamous Aonach Eagach, he said, “This is one seriously technical and challenging race!”

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Local man and Ben Nevis expert, Finlay Wild placed 4th and Greg Vollet 5th, their times 7:00:57 and 7:10:19.

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In the ladies’ race, Jasmin Paris lead from the gun and although Ruth Croft did catch her at one point, Jasmin placed her foot on the gas and pulled away becoming not only a convincing Salomon Glencoe Skyline winner but also a Skyrunner® Extreme Series champion. Quite incredible when you consider that just recently she placed 6th at UTMB. Jasmin’s time of 8:15:56 will be considered a CR for this new course.

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Malene Bikken Haukoy ran a savvy race pacing herself in the early stages to move up through the field and eventually place 2nd in the ladies’ race in 8:23:04. Her podium finish in Tromso SkyRace also providing valuable points for the Skyrunner® Extreme Series.

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Sarah Ridgway is now the leader of the Skyrunning UK Series and her 3rd place on the ladies podium showed incredible consistency, her time 8:44:40.

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Ruth Croft found today’s course a challenge after placing 2nd at Trofeo Kima recently. Despite difficulties though, Ruth ran a strong race gaining valuable points for the Skyrunner® Extreme Series.

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Martina Valmassoi rounded out the top 5.

The Salomon Glencoe Skyline route features long and sustained sections of scrambling terrain, which is roughly equivalent to moderate standard rock climbing. In addition, the race traverses high and remote mountainous terrain, which is at times impossible to retreat from and may be subject to severe and rapidly changing weather. The day started in glorious sunshine but as predicted, a weather system arrived late morning making the crossing off the Aonach Eagach a wet one with limited visibility due to clag and mist.

As expected, the race had many dropouts due to the severe course and inclement weather in the latter half of the day. Ultimately though, the feedback and response has been incredible.

2016 was the start of really big things for the UK Skyrunning scene and the Salomon Glencoe Skyline is not only paving the way and setting the benchmark within the UK but also for Europe and farther afield.

RESULTS

  1. Jonathan Albon 6:33:52
  2. Tom Owens 6:37:21
  3. Marc Lauenstein 6:54:37
  4. Finlay Wild 7:00:57
  5. Greg Vollet 7:10:19
  1. Jasmin Paris 8:15:56
  2. Malene Bikken Haukoy 8:23:04
  3. Sarah Ridgway 8:44:40
  4. Ruth Croft 9:10:33
  5. Martina Valmassoi 9:14:37

Extreme Series ranking. Final*
Men
1. Jonathan Albon (GBR) – 208 points
2. Tom Owens (GBR) – 205.6 points
3. Finlay Wild (GBR) – 164.4 points
4. Andew Fallas (GBR) – 143 points
5. Sota Ogawa (JAP) – 128.4 points

Women
1. Jasmin Paris (GBR) – 220 points
2. Malene Haukøy (NOR) – 193.6 points
3. Ruth Croft (NZL) – 172 points
4. Martina Valmassoi (ITA – 152.4 points
5. Natalia Tomasiak (POL) – 127.6 points

Click on an image to view in a gallery

Images available at iancorless.photoshelter.com

Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace 2016 Results and Images

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Uncompromising mountain running, ridges, scrambles, steep ascents, boggy ground and a bucket full of technical running made the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™ the UK’s Zegama! Following in the tradition of Skyrunning iconic race, Zegama-Aizkorri, the inaugural Salomon Ring of Steall has been touted by all who run it as one of the toughest 25km’s they have ever run! A sentiment echoed by race winner and Skyrunning World Champion for the VK and SKY distance, Stian Angermund: “That was one incredibly tough and beautiful race. Wow, so technical and relentless. The ridges were long and challenging and the climbing kept coming. It really is an incredible race and one that I loved. I’d love to do more races like this!”

“A variation of the classic ‘Ring of Steall’ ridge-walking route this 25km / 2,500m mountain race has spectacular views of Ben Nevis from the Mamores and includes short sections of easy scrambling.”

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Stian followed up his 2nd place in the previous day’s VK with a stunning win in an incredible 3:25:28. Race predictions stated that a 4-hour race was possible, but more like 4 to 4:15. A true reflection on the talent of the Salomon runner.

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Mamores VK winner Alexis Sevennec did a role reversal with Stian placing 2nd in3:29:04, also an ‘off-the-scale’ time.

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Adrien Perret placed 4th in the Mamores VK and today moved one step up to take the final podium place in 4:00:51.

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In the ladies’ race, Georgia Tindley did the ‘double’ winning the Mamores VK and then backing up with a stunning Ring of Steall victory in 4:39:20.

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Hollie Orr and Jessica Tullie had a neck-and-neck race for 2nd and 3rd with Hollie ‘just’ taking the 2nd podium slot, their times 4:51:53 and 4:52:29

This Skyrunning race route incorporated two lofty ridges within the Mamores, including the Devil’s Ridge, which provides a thrilling and airy traverse with Glen Nevis visible ahead and as a yawning drop far below, and Ben Nevis beyond and towering above.

The Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™ is set to become a classic Skyrunning event.

Race results HERE

More images to follow and images available for purchase HERE

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Glen Coe Skyline is featured in my new book, RUNNING BEYOND (information here)

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Salomon Mamores #VK Vertical Kilometre 2016 Results and Images

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The Salomon Mamores VK™ kicked off the Skyline Scotland weekend of racing with the UK’s first ever VK (Vertical Kilometre) race and what an incredible success… The pure ethos of sea to summit was personified with the Mamores VK that provided all runners with a challenging 1000m vertical climb over a distance of 5km in a course that was split into thirds. Skyrunning at its best!

The first third was runnable trail that may well have lulled everyone into a false sense of security. What followed was a wall of vertical fell with no path, just a line of orange flags leading to the sky.

As the fell submitted out, an arrow pointed left and the final section was a stunning rocky ridge that lead to the summit at 1000m+.

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The Scottish weather played its part too, throwing everything at the runners in a 4-hour time window; Sun, cloud, clag, rain and strong winds. It was the luck of the draw what you received, however, for 4-runnners, the weather could have thrown anything at them and they would have still flew up the course. Experienced Skyrunners, Stian Angermund (VK world champion), Alexis Sevennec and Francois Gonon took the top 3 spots with Sevennec pipping Angermund by just 7-seconds, 42:17 to 42:25. Francois Gonon placed 3rd 44:48 and Adrien Perret was 4th in 44:57.

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In the ladies race, Georgina Tindley pipping Stephanie Provan to the top slot by 33-seconds, 54:34 and 55:01 respectively. Zoe Procter was 3rd in 58:45.

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Following the well established International Skyrunning Federation ‘VK’ format, participants followed a marked course gaining 1000m of height in less than 5km. Participants were set off at timed intervals with the winner having the fastest overall time to the summit. The Salomon Mamores VK was the UK’s first VK and feedback has been incredible. This format is just what the UK needs to spice up racing for all abilities!

Whilst physically arduous, the Salomon Mamores VK™ route does not include technical terrain that requires any scrambling or rock climbing experience. As such, the race was suitable for any runner who is up for the challenge.

RESULTS HERE

 

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Kilian Jornet postpones Everest dream – Breaking News!

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Kilian Jornet returns from Everest without having climbed the world’s highest mountain. Bad weather conditions during the final stage of the expedition have forced him to abandon the attempt to climb Everest via the north face.

It was always going to be touch and go and a risky adventure. Kilian was well aware of this and I wrote about some of my thoughts here before his attempt.

Today, 15th September, having spent three weeks at base camp on the north face of Everest (6,000m) acclimatising and preparing for the challenge of climbing the world’s highest mountain, Jornet and the Summits of My Life team postponed the the Everest challenge until a later date.

Read the full story HERE on the Summits of my Life website.

Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2016 Preview – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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Skyrunning reaches new heights in the UK this September with the Skyline Scotland series of events – VK, SKY and EXTREME. In just three years, Skyrunning in the UK has progressed from zero races to a well-established portfolio of races that bring the ethos and principles of pure Skyrunning onto UK soil.

In 2015, the Glen Coe Skyline provided a race that was considered by the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) as a pinnacle event and plans were hatched. In 2016 we saw the launch of the Skyrunner® Extreme Series – three races, three ultimate challenges and Glen Coe Skyline was included alongside Kilian Jornet’s and Emelie Forsberg’s Tromso SkyRace and the iconic Trofeo Kima.

In addition to this, Shane Ohly (Ourea Events) in conjunction with Skyrunning UK was well aware of the growth potential and possibilities that Glen Coe area has to offer, therefore, new for 2016 will be the UK’s first ever VK – Salomon Mamores VK. Yes, folks, 1000m of vertical gain in one push. In addition to this a new SKY distance race has been added, the Salomon Ring of Steall SkyRace.

The VK and SkyRace will have eligible points for the Skyrunning UK Series but not the Skyrunner® Extreme Series, that honour is given to the pinnacle event, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline.

Tromso and Kima are done and dusted and boy oh boy there has been some seriously exciting racing. At Tromso, it was a Brit 1,2,3 with Tom Owens, Jon Albon and Finlay Wild taking top honours. In the ladies’ race it was Jasmin Paris who topped the podium.

At Kima it was all change with Nepalese runner, Bhim Gurung taking top honours and Owens and Albon missing the top podium places. Finlay Wild was missing saving his energy for Scotland and Jasmin Paris ran UTMB and placed an incredible 6th. Emelie Forsberg made her return to high level racing after month and months of rehabilitation after ACL surgery. She won! It was a dream comeback for the Salomon runner and hopes were raised that the 2015 Glen Coe Skyline winner would return… Unfortunately, no. Emelie is taking her rehabilitation seriously and has now gone to India for 1-month to work on her yoga skills ahead of the 2016/17 ski mountaineering calendar.

So, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is all to fight for from a male and female perspective with valuable Skyrunner World Series points up for grabs.

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The men’s race is going to be a nail biter. Tom Owens racing on home soil must be the favourite, particularly after victory in Tromso. He placed just off the podium in Kima and so therefore overall position and the 20% bonus points that come with the final race will be crucial. Tom had a purple patch of running recently with back-to-back incredible results, maybe he was a little tired at Kima but I think he will be rested and fired up for the Scottish race.

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Although not confirmed, Skyrunning and Trail Running Nepal are doing their best to obtain a visa to allow Bhim Gurung to race in Scotland. With a victory at Kima, his chances of sealing the SkyExtreme title are very high. His race in Kima against Skyrunning legend, Marco De Gasperi was phenomenal. Also take into consideration he broke the course record set by Kilian Jornet. If Bhim makes it to Glen Coe it is going to be very exciting to watch.

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Jonathan Albon was the 2015 champion at Tromso and placed 2nd this year. He ran Kima very much as a learning curve knowing full well that Glen Coe is a race that he can excel at. It’s all to fight for and the points combinations between Bhim, Tom and Finlay make the SkyExtreme champion an unknown…

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This is Finlay Wild’s home ground and after placing 3rd at Tromso, home advantage here at Glen Coe is going to provide a great boost for the man who excels in the mountains.

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Alexis Sevennec ran in the lead for much of Trofeo Kima only to relinquish a podium place in the latter stages of the race. However, he has points for the Extreme Series and with such a quality field here in Scotland, it’s all to fight for.

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Marc Lauenstein and along with Stian should not be ruled out for overall victory at Glen Coe. This guy is on fire and with a victory at the iconic Zegama-Aizkorri and a recent victory at Matterhorn Ultraks, Marc is one to watch. This is Marc’s first Extreme race and he can therefore not qualify for the series.

What follows is a list of athletes that without doubt makes the Glen Coe Skyline THE most exciting and stacked field ever assembled on UK soil. Skyrunning UK had a plan 3-years ago to bring the world’s best to the UK. In 2016 we have achieved that. This line-up is world class. What is important to remember is that in many respects two races are taking place in Glen Coe – the race for the podium and the race for points so that one male and one female can be crowned Sky Extreme Champion 2016.

In alphabetical order:

Jan Bartas – Jan is a regular runner on the Skyrunning circuit and has recently raced at the Skyrunning World Champs where he placed 27th on the men’s race and most recently he raced Trofeo Kima.

Donald Campbell – racing on home soil. He had a below par performance at Kima but will look to put the record straight here.

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Kim Collison had a great race at the Skyrunning World Championships and with a strong background in fell, mountain and and adventure racing he is without doubt another UK talent who will be a contender in the upper ranks.

Pascal Egli – A Skyrunner who will no doubt mix things up at the front of the race who will be looking for victory or podium place. – Injured

Mike Foote – The TNF athlete needs no introduction as he has been around the ultra-scene for years. He is best known for strong and consistent performances at UTMB and notably, he is the race director (along with Mike Wolfe) at the RUT VK, SKY and ULTRA – cancelled

Andrew Fallas raced at Tromso with a strong and consistent performance and will without doubt be one to watch. He recently had a below par performance at Matterhorn Ultraks.

Martin Gaffuri – Team Manager for the Scott Team is no slouch when it comes to racing and running in the mountains. Last year, Martin had a great run and placing at the super technical ELS2900 in Andorra, so, we can expect a sold run.
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Eirik Haugsness – Won the inaugural Tromso SkyRace and followed with a strong performance in 2015. In 2016 he had a strong run in Tromso but below par for him. He missed Kima saving his strength for Scotland.

Gareth Hughes – Is a UK based runner who has performed consistently on the Skyrunning UK Series where he is one of the top performers, he will no doubt relish the opportunity to test himself against such a world-class field.

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Rolf Einar Jensen – Was 3rd at Tromso SkyRace in 2015 and just off the podium in 2016. He is a strong runner who knows how to handle the tough, technical and challenging terrain that Scotland will offer. Tromso’s terrain and weather is very similar to Scotland – he’s one to watch!

Oli Johnson – Another UK based fell runner who excels on muddy, technical and boggy terrain. He’s had good results in the Skyrunner World Series in previous years and has also contested the Skyrunning UK Series with a strong performance at the V3K. – withdrawn

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Andre Jonsson – Has been a revelation in 2016 with a string of strong results in the Skyrunner World Series. He raced Trofeo Kima just a couple of weeks ago and he’d be the first to admit that it was a learning curve… One that he loved. He will be in the mix in Scotland.

Ricky Lighftoot – Could very well win Glen Coe. He has all the skill sets to excel on this terrain as he has proven countless times in past years. Ricky though can’t contest the SkyExtreme title as this will be his first race. – withdrawn

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Jim Mann – The Dragons Back 2015 champion raced at Tromso and Kima and under normal conditions he’d be a contender for the top places. However, life seems to be getting in the way for Jim and he’s using 2016 for experience.
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Luke Nelson – Raced Tromso and just recently raced the VK and SKY race at the RUT in Montana. Luke loves the mountains and technical terrain and we can expect a strong performance.

Pavel Paloncy – Is a winner of The Spine race and comes from an adventure racing background. For sure he will be in the mix in Scotland but on this terrain over this distance, I think he will lack the speed to contend for the podium.

Konrad Rawlik – Ever consistent in the mountains and fells. We won’t see him on the podium but he will hover around the top-10.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-4836Philipp Reiter – Tromso and Kima are ticked off for Philipp and if he was ‘just’ able to run and train he would have been a contender for the overall series. However, like for many of us, life and work has got in the way. However, don’t rule him out. This guy has natural talent and he will certainly be in the top-10 mix.

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Christophe Le Saux – Has raised the series and as many of you may well know, this guy races a great deal! He’s a huge character, very friendly and although he won’t be in contention for the series podium, you can expect to see him around the top 10 to 20.

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Joe Symonds – Last year’s Glen Coe Skyline winner has not raced at Tromso or Kima so will only be looking for Glen Coe glory. However, he will have his hands full as I am sure he is aware. He has the advantage of racing and winning last year, he also has home advantage.

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

Esmond Tressider – Es almost certainly could have contested the overall series had been available to race at Tromso or Kima. As it stands, he will only race Glen Coe but he is one to watch. Last year he was living and training in the flat lands despite a love of the mountains. That has changed recently and he has been able to train on more specific terrain.

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Greg Vollet – Team Manager for Salomon often beats the athletes he manages… He comes from a professional mountain biking background and is known for his fast descending. Just last weekend he placed 2nd at The Rut 50k. Greg won’t be contesting the series but he will be in the mix at the front end of this race!

Notable mentions for Jayson Cavill and Ally Beavan who are racing on home soil who are solid performers in the Skyrunning UK series.

Do I need to say that the men’s race is going to be an incredible and exciting battle?

The ladies’ race has less depth. It’s often the case in all Skyrunning racing but in the SkyExtreme Series this is even more so due to the challenging nature of the courses.

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Jasmin Paris is without doubt the favourite for the race victory and overall series title after her victory at Tromso. This is also helped by the fact that Emelie Forsberg (who won Kima) will not race. I have to say, I would have loved to see these two run against each other again on this course. In 2015, Emelie beat Jasmin. Jasmin’s biggest question mark will be her recovery from 6th place at UTMB? It was a few weeks ago but the deep fatigue from such a big race lies within and you only find out how tired you are when you try to race again…
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Marlene Bikken Haukoy – Had a solid race once again at Tromso with a repeat podium place, she was also on the podium in 2015. Marlene is a rock solid racer with a string of top placed runs. Like I have said before, Norway is very similar to Scotland and we can expect her to on the podium.

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-1676Ruth Croft placed 2nd behind Emelie Forsberg at Trofeo Kima and has now decided to run in Scotland in the hope to gain valuable ranking points and with a 20% bonus there is everything to fight for. The battle for the series title between Ruth, Jasmin and Malena is an exciting one!

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Sarah Ridgeway – Is currently 2nd in the Skyrunning UK Series and ultimately will be looking for a maximum of points to secure her 2016 title. However, she is extremely competitive and has experience of competing on a world-stage. Sarah won’t be phased by the competition in Scotland, on the contrary, she will love it. A podium place for sure but which one?

©iancorless.com_LSU2015-2-31Beth Pascall is a force on the UK scene with some incredible performances at The Spine Race, Dragons Back and most recently she obliterated the Lakeland 100 female course record. Beth will relish the opportunity to mix things up with the other ladies and she may well pull of a surprise victory!

Naila Jornet Burgada – Kilian Jornet couldn’t make Glen Coe, apparently there is some big peak he is trying to set an FKT on in the Himalayas… Not to worry, Kilian’s sister, Naila will join us. Not a pure runner, Naila is very much a skier, ski mountaineer and rock climber, however, all these skills will come together on the Glen Coe course. It’s going to be great to see her take part!

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Lizzie Wraith – Is a previous winner of the Lakeland 100, she made the podium at the Dragons Back Race and we can expect her to be in the mix for the top 5 and most likely the podium. Although not a pure Skyrunner, Lizzie has dipped her toe in the UK series and placed well at the Mourne Skyline MTR in Ireland.

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Martina Valmassoi from the Salomon International Team has raced on the Skyrunning Circuit for 2-years now. Last she placed 3rd at The Rut and earlier this year she had a strong performance in Madeira. Just last week she raced at The Rut once again but dropped with stomach issues. Martina did race at Tromso with a solid performance so we can expect her to mix things up at the front in Scotland and of course she will be looking for valuable series points.

Natalia Tomisiak, Zuzana Urbancova and Olga Lyjak will also be ones to watch in what will be an exciting and stunning ladies race.

 

VK and SKY Preview

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For the UK’s first ever VK there are several notable names to watch. Firstly, and most importantly is Skyrunning World Champion for the VK and SKY distance, Stian Angermund from Norway. I think it’ stair to say that the time he sets in the VK race is one that may last for some years to come…

However, Francois Gonon from France is the 2015 Skyrunning European VK Champion and if one person can push Stian it is him.

From a UK perspective eyes will be on Graham Gristwood who is the 2010 World Orienteering Champion tackling his first VK. Jim Mann, Joe Symonds and Martin Mikkelsen-Barron will also run.

In the ladies’ race, Lizzie Wraith is looking to do the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline double.

Salomon Ring of Steall SkyRace

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Stian Angermund is the Skyrunning World Champion for the Sky distance and it’s an honour to have him come and race on UK soil. The similarities between Norway and Scotland are going to suit him and we can expect him to blast around the course and without doubt he will contest for the top of the podium.

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Francois Gonon is the most likely person to push Stian to top the podium in the SkyRace and we can expect him to blaze a fast trail to the line.

Bjorn Verduijn currently leads the Skyrunning UK Series ranking and he will be looking to consolidate his lead with a top placing and maximum points.

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In the ladies’ race, Raidlight sponsored Joanna Zakrzewski is a likely contender for the top spot. She is Scotland based and has great experience racing on a big stage. She has placed highly at Comrades in South Africa, is a GB 100km runner and has completed races like the Dragons Back.

Importantly, many runners from the UK will be looking for points in the Skyrunning UK Series. Please make yourself familiar with the main names and overall contenders HERE.

More race information and full entry lists are available:

Info

Action starts on Friday September 16th with the VK, the SkyRace is on the 17th and the weekends main event will take place on the 18th.

Skyline Scotland will be the pinnacle of the UK’s running calendar and a whole weekend of activities are planned. Please check out the website HERE.

Film shows, meet and greet the athletes, talks with Q&A possibilities and of course 3 amazing races that you can come and watch for free! Information HERE.

  • Taking centre-stage on Friday night will be the awesome Jasmin Paris who will be talking about her record breaking Bob Graham and Ramsay Rounds followed by questions from the audience.  We’ll follow this with a screening of the Best of Sheffield Adventure Film Festival winner, The Barkley Marathons.
  • On Saturday night the spotlight will be on Salomon athletes Tom Owens and Joe Symonds (2015 Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ winner) who will be introducing two Salomon films including Fast and Light and Bob Graham Round followed by a question and answer session. After the interval you can settle down to watch the Best of Sheffield Adventure Film Festival films: 3022 FeetThere on the Periphery and Curiosity.

Important

*Please check the race website on information in regard to spectating HERE. The main race takes place on some very challenging and exposed terrain. For the safety of runners, volunteers and supporters, we request that you do not go to certain areas. Please also appreciate that this is the UK, the weather can change in minutes. Be prepared with warm layers, waterproof clothing, hat, gloves and please make sure you have food and water to last whilst on the mountain.


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

Glen Coe Skyline is featured in my new book, RUNNING BEYOND (information here)

RunningBeyond_JKT

 

RUN the RUT 2016 SKY 28km Summary and Images – Skyrunner® World Series

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An integral part of the Skyrunner® World Series, the RUT 28km is considered by many in the US and Europe to be a pure Skyrunning race with a logical course that goes up and down with an abundance of technical trail. The race offers extremely steep and technical terrain in many sections of the course and loose rock is a real hazard.

Covering 28km what this race lacks in distance is made up for in technicality and challenge. With 2375m of vertical gain this 28km course is basically the RUT 50km on steroids as it includes all 3 major climbs of its bigger brother.

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The highest point of the race comes at Lone Peak which tops out just above 3000m. Altitude, technical running and exposure from the elements, cold and strong winds makes the 28k one seriously tough race!

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Three wave starts with 5-minute gaps avoided congestion on the course with all the top elites departing in wave 1 on the stroke of 0800. Despite forecasts for inclement weather, conditions were excellent for running and maybe just a little chilly for spectating. The summit of Lone Peak was shrouded in mist and cloud and remained that way for much of the day as the wind moved one block of cloud only replace it with another.

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Dakota Jones returning to racing after a lay off with injury was the early protagonist pulling away and extending a gap over an inform Hassan Ait Chaou.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_SKY-2998Climbing up to Lone Peak summit Dakota was looking relaxed and barring a fall or injury was looking strong for victory. Hassan equally looked relaxed and calm, constantly looking forward he had his eyes on the American in the distance with one objective, to chase him down.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_SKY-1413Michael Barlow pushed and following behind was a small group of 3 containing Kiril Nikolov, Jan Megabit Sole and Timmy Parr.

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In the ladies race it came as no surprise that Megan Kimmel took the bull by the horns and lead the race from the front as she so often does. Victory at the 2015 edition of the race no doubt helping with her confidence levels and her ability to judge her pace and effort over the 28km. Yngvild Kaspersen pursued and behind last year’s 2nd place, Laura Orgue was holding off Najeeby Quinn and Sarah Pizzo.

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On the descent of Lone Peak as the runners made their way to the latter sections of the course, disaster struck for Dakota and he rolled an ankle that would later cause him to pull out of the race. This opened the door for Hassan and he never looked back crossing the line for a well-earned victory almost 8-minutes ahead of 2nd place. Behind all hell was breaking loose and Bulgarian Kiril put in a big effort to place 2nd ahead of Jan Megabit Sole and Michael Barlow who had a head-to-head full on sprint for the line. Timmy Parr placed 5th and Lone Peak VK winner, Andrej Fejfar placed 6th.

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It may come as no surprise that lady on fire Megan Kimmel once again pulled off another incredible Skyrunning victory showing that she is ‘the’ lady to beat at the moment. Yngvild ran a very strong 2nd and crossed the line with a huge smile just over 7-minutes back and Laura Orgue, winner of the previous days VK finished 3rd despite having taken a fall.

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Post-race, many of the runners expressed how technical the downhill section was but Megan Kimmel took it all in her stride:

“I felt good today and I was certainly more confident having run and won the race last year. The temperatures were ideal for running, yes, it was a little cold and windy at the Lone Peak summit but that didn’t last long. This is a really technical course in places and I was happy to consolidate my lead and take no risks. I will now race in Limone in October.”

Hassan Ait Chaou is certainly on form and this is a well-deserved victory:

“The race was okay, I suffered with the altitude and it caused me headaches but I kept the pace. I held myself back on the first climb and then pushed hard on the downhill. I am really happy to take this victory!”

Attention now turns to Sundays 50km event which will start at 0600 local time and the weather forecast is not good – fingers crossed! You can read a preview of the race HERE.

Results:

1    Megan Kimmel 3:36:26

2    Yngvild Kaspersen +7:05

3    Laura Orgue +19:50

 

1    Hassan Ait Chaou 3:06:40

2    Kiril Nikolov +7:55

3    Jan Megabit Sole +8:20


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

RUN the RUT 2016 VK Summary and Images – Skyrunner® World Series

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The Skyrunner® World Series continues in Montana, the USA with three races at Run the Rut, today it was the Lone Peak VK. It may not be the steepest VK on the circuit but it certainly is dramatic with the finish line high in the sky and always visible. Well, that would have been the case had the VK route not been changed… Weather in this area can change in just 5-minutes and storms had been predicted for the afternoon. It’s always a tough call for a RD but Mike Foote took the cautions to heart and had his team mark an alternative route. He made a call at midday and decided on an alternative route that reduced the climb by 300m to 700m vertical gain and a distance of 2.3 miles.

The route was somewhat steeper and more direct in the early stages and followed the ethos and principals of Skyrunning perfectly, start low, get high! At the Bone Crusher, the runners should have gone to the impressive Alto ridge, here it gets steep, gnarly and technical with plenty of hands-on-knees action and scrambling with some via ferrata before the final sections of exposed rock and loose terrain to the summit. The re-route missed this section, dropped down a short descent and then once again climbed up through a steep section of loose rocks and scree. It was challenging but considerably less challenging than the original route.

The early stages were always going to be about finding a rhythm and tackling the early steep and slippery gradients. The route was wide though and overtaking was no issue.

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Ondrej Fejfar and Jan Margarit Sole pushed from the start and both looked very strong at the midway point before the more technical sections started. Ondrej looked in control though holding a good gap.

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In the ladies race Cynthia Arnold looked to be closing the gap on the expected victor and leader Laura Orgue. Laura looked less comfortable than normal, occasionally looking behind to see where Cynthia was but I think all along it was about doing enough to win and not expending too much energy. Maria Zorroza was running a strong race in 3rd but would she stay ahead of her team-mate Aitziber Iberia ?

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In the men’s race, Ondrej was in a class of his own on this shorter course and finished clear of Jan by 24 seconds.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_VK-0935Scott Patterson was a surprise 3rd (he is a ski mountaineer) ahead of race director, Mike Foote who looked to be having a blast on his new course, Salomon Team Manager, Greg Vollet finished 5th.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_VK-2761Surprise of the day was expected winner, Ferran Teixido who finished 7th obviously having a below par day potentially due to the more runnable re-route and altitude?

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In the ladies’ race Laura finished a strong 1st 41-seconds clear of Cynthia and Maria 3rd +2:16 back.

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Altitude played a key factor in the Lone Peak VK, starting above 2000m it is very difficult for those with little or no adaptation. When combined with challenging terrain, this only adds to the problem. Unlike other VK’s the Lone Peak VK is unique with its mixture of surfaces. The loose and large rocks create many frustrations as often it stops participants getting a rhythm, this is contrasted by the early sections when it’s possible to find a good momentum despite the steep gradients.

Attention now turns to Saturday’s 28km event which starts at 0800, you can read a preview HERE. This event, as last year, will prove to be fast, the mixed terrain includes single track, jeep roads, alpine ridge lines and at the summit of the iconic Lone Peak a gnarly and technical descent brings the runners back to the resort of Big Sky where the race started.  The race has 2375m of vertical gain with a low point of 2286m and a high point of 3403m. Ones to watch are Laura Orgue and Yngvild Kaspersen who will also have run the VK and Megan Kimmel who is the outright ladies favourite. In the men’s race, Marc Lauenstein and Dakota Jones head up a strong mens field.

Results:

1 Ondrej Fejfar 29:26

2 Jan Margarit Sole +00:24

3 Scott Patterson +1:07

4 Mike Foote +1:21

5 Greg Vollet +1:52

 

1 Laura Orgue 34:20

2 Cynthia Arnold +00:41

3 Maria Zorroza +2:16

4 Aitziber Iberia +3:33

5 Jenny Wolfe +3:59

RUN the RUT 2016 Preview – Skyrunner® World Series

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Big Sky Montana hosts the Run the Rut weekend of racing, the next step in the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series; 3-days, 3 races and 3 incredible experiences. Located between the wonderful town of Bozeman and the iconic Yellowstone Park, if ever a race existed that should combine with a holiday experience, this is it.

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Big Sky sits between Bozeman and Yellowstone and the isolated Lone Peak mountain provides a stunning backdrop for the Run the Rut races of VK, Sky and Ultra. The advantages of using a ski resort as a race hub are clear to see. Utilising what would be ski runs in winter, it’s easy to understand why the Rut has gained a reputation for providing a tough and technical test even for the most experienced runner.

In just a couple of years the Rut races have become a flagship race in the USA. This is primarily due to the technical nature of the trails. You see, access to open land and mountains is not the same as in Europe. Strict land management is in place and ‘off-trail’ races just don’t exist. The Rut have managed to work around this by using the Big Sky resort which does not have to comply with land permission issues.

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Vertical K

On Friday the VK kicks off the action from the Big Sky Resort up to the summit of Lone Peak at an altitude just short of 3000m gaining 3,632 feet in just over three miles.

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Ondrej Fejfar from the Czech Republic is potentially one of the favourites for a podium place but without doubt, Ferran Teixido is the odds-on winner as he currently heads up the SWS VK ranking. Chris Mocko (plans to run all 3 races over the weekend) placed 7th at the 2016 Western States 100 which obviously shows great ability, how that transfers to a VK is difficult to say. Experienced Skyrunner Luke Nelson who recently raced in Norway at the Tromso SkyRace will look to do the double here at the Rut also racing in the SkyRace too. Brendan Trimboli was the recent winner of Squamish 50k, again, like Mocko, it’s difficult to predict how these skills will transfer to an all out VK effort… We can expect Brendan to be in the mix. Seth Swanson is also on the start list as is Jan Margarit and both could potentially produce a surprise in this all out vertical race.

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Laura Orgue is without doubt the heads and shoulders favourite for the VK, this is her speciality. Recently she has been a little jaded and she had a below par performance at the VK in Tromso, however, I predict a victory at Lone Peak. Strong competition will come from Laura’s teammate Yngvild Kaspersen and we can anticipate Corrine Malcolm and Sarah Bard to contest the podium. As a note, Laura and Yngvild will also run the SkyRace.

SkyUltra 50km

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The ultra gains 10,500 feet of elevation and as with all the other races visits the summit of Lone Peak but in a less pleasing and aesthetic run. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great course but the SkyRace has the more logical and pure course.

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The men’s race is an interesting one with Cristofer Clemente and Matt Skyrock both returning after success in the 2015 race. Cristofer has been injured of late so this race may well provide a return to form.

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Mike Aish 2nd at the recent Leadville Silver Rush is potentially a contender for the podium and Matias Saari, Morgan Elliott and Paddy O’Leary are all expected to be in the mix with recent victories at Angels Creek 50m, Power of Four 50k and Canyons 100k respectively. Noah Brautigam placed just outside the top-10 in the same race last year and he may well contest a higher place this year. Chris Mocko would have been a contender for the podium but he will already have a VK and SkyRace in his legs. Nicholas Martin is the odds on favourite for victory and he will no doubt slip under the radar but watch out, victory is his for the taking! Finally, Roger Vinas is also one to watch.

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The ladies’ race is an interesting one with Ida Nilsson heading up the field after her impressive Transvulcania victory, however, the Rut has many technical sections and Ida does like to run… Still my tip for victory (or 2nd*)! Alicia Shay may well push Ida for the first past the post and in all honesty, it could go anyway. Ashley recently won the Flagstaff SkyRace and Alicia was 4th behind Ida at Transvulcania.

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Hillary Allen was 5th last year but has progressed considerably in the last 12-months, for me, she is a stronger runner and providing that she is fresh a higher placing is a possibility this year.

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Martina Valmassoi and Kristina Pattison placed 3rd and 4th in the 2015 edition and both have been racing and strong and consistently recently – the top 5 is wide open! Anna Comet will also race and like all the ladies mentioned before her, she has podium and almost definitely top-5 potential. Strong competition will also come from Denali Strabel, Anne Wheatly, Sarah Woerner. But I save the big surprise for the last, expect Anne Lise Rousset* to be the wild card who takes the bull by the horns and wins the race outright or at worst as a head-to-head battle with Ida for victory and takes 2nd.

SkyRace

For me, the SkyRace is the most pleasing race of the Rut weekend as the proportion of vertical gain and descent, technical running all blend together in the most logical and pleasing race.

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Marc Lauenstein after placing 2nd at Zegama-Aizkorri (behind Kilian) and recently winning Matterhorn Ultraks heads up the race along with an inform Dakota Jones. This duo certainly brings an interesting dynamic to the race and we can expect a proper head-to-head battle, especially with Dakota’s recent win at Squamish 50k and victory at Broken Arrow SkyRace. For me though, Marc gets the nod! Hassan Ait Chaou has been on fire this year and although he hasn’t taken a big victory he has always been close, recent highlights came at SkyRace Comapedrosa and Matterhorn Ultraks. Micha Steiner is a rising star of the Skyrunning ranks and we can expect him to do well, he was racing at an extremely high level at the recent Dolomites SkyRace until a couple of falls knocked his confidence. Eric Strabel may well be the one who really shakes things up as he has been a dominant force in Alaska. His results at Mount Marathon will bode well for the ascent and descent of Lone Peak. Luke Nelson, Justin Ricks, Timmy Parr are all runners who will be in the mix, the race is possibly a little short for Luke but Justin and Timmy have local knowledge – it will play a huge advantage. Kirin Nikolov, Greg Vollet (?), Ondrei Fejfar, Ted Farley, Michael Barlow and Eugeni Gil Ocana make up the other top contenders for the top-10.

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It’s fair to say the ladies’ race will be all about Megan Kimmel and Laura Orgue. It’s going to be an exciting head-to-head and one that I think Megan will take. She has been on fire and her recent victory at Matterhorn Ultraks was impressive. Laura can no doubt push Megan but with a VK in her legs and recent fatigue I think she may well be racing for 2nd. But Yngvild Kaspersen is not to be ruled out, this lady goes up and down super quick and after a break through victory in Hong Kong last year and victory at Zegama-Aizkorri in 2016, the Rut podium is there for the taking! Ragna Debats is 2nd in the SWS and is performing consistently well in 2016 – that is what the series is all about! I see her in the mix but not on top of the podium. I have Ashley Erba listed in the SkyUltra too but I think her strength may well fall in the SkyRace and considering this race is before the ultra, this is where the performance will come. Marta Molist, Sarah Pizzo, Maria Zorroza and Aitziber Ibarbia are all ones to watch for top-10 placings.

Matterhorn Ultraks 46k 2016 Race Summary and Images– Skyrunner® World Series

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The Matterhorn provides a stunning backdrop for Switzerland’s Matterhorn Ultraks race, a 46km Skyrunning race with 3600m of positive and negative gain. Now in its 4th edition, the race once again is in the Skyrunner® World Series – a magical race that provides a circular journey that starts and concludes in the picture postcard mountain town of Zermatt.

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The day started well with wispy white clouds penetrating the blue of the sky, we all knew though that it wasn’t going to last… with 2 hours of running the sky turned grey, the rain arrived and low mist enveloped the mountains; the beautiful Matterhorn was gone!

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Wild expansive space, high mountains and the 3100m Gornergrat provides the high point of the race and the first indication of how this mountain game of chess was going to play out. Christian Mathys was a surprise arrival pushing the pace closely followed by Marc Lauenstein (pre-race favourite) and Nepalese runner, Tirtha Tamang.

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In the ladies’ race, Megan Kimmel from the USA was already dictating the race and the pace opening up a substantial gap on a chasing Elisa Desco from Italy and Michaela Mertova who was looking very strong.

It’s a brutal opening 14km to open any race and as such, those opening km’s can be decisive in who crosses the finish line first.

Megan Kimmel from the USA ran hard from the gun in 2015 setting the pace against a world-class field, “Anytime you get the rhythm in the up, the down, or the flat, the body is abruptly put into one of these other actions.  It is steep enough to grind you to a walk on a lot of the uphill and has fair bits of technical descent.”

A 1000m drop from the summit is broken by a small climb at Riffelalp and then Furi follows at 24km at 1880m. Two short sharp climbs follow, the first to Schwarzsee at 2583m and approximately 28km covered. Here Mathys was leading Tamang and Launstein followed minutes behind. It was difficult to tell if Lauenstein was going through a bad patch, he just smiled and pushed on.

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Kimmel picks up her race, “I was comfortably leading the race for the first 30k. When I mean comfortable, I mean it seemed fairly effortless in a racing sense.  I was moving with the terrain on the uphill’s and I was holding back on the descents because it was a long race with a lot of transitions.” Kimmel’s lead was substantial and she was running her own race. Behind, barring an accident, the other ladies were running for 2nd.

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A drop down to 2200m from Schwarzsee was followed with another 500m+ climb and then what follows is mostly a flat runnable plateau that gently weaves up, down and left to right all the way to Trift. Lauenstein had taken the lead now and was flying, Mathys chased but the gap was opening up with every minute that passed.

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A short kick up of 100 to 200m follows Trift and then a fast and furious drop of almost 1000m over a distance of 6km leads to the finish line in Zermatt and the assembled crowds. Lauenstein sealed victory in 4:47:01, just a few minutes outside Kilian Jornet’s course record. Mathy’s held on for an excellent 2nd in 5:51:56 and Tamang placed 3rd in 4:53:03. Once again Hassan Ait Chaou ran an excellent 4th place and last year’s winner and course designer, Martin Anthamatten finished 6th.

Kimmel, the 2015 Dolomites SkyRace winner, after strongly leading the ladies race for the whole race, clinched victory with 20+-minute lead to Michaela Mertova, their respective times 5:23:15 and 5:46:21. Cilia Chiron backed up her great Dolomites SkyRace performance with 3rd and Oihana Kortazar placed 4th. Elisa Desco who had run in 2nd place did not finish due to a fall.

Skyrunning is not just about the uphill and more often than not, it’s the downhill that determines the winner. Today was all about patience and consistency. Racing is often a mental journey as much physical, Kimmel and Lauenstein today proved this at the Matterhorn.

Results for all race HERE


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning