The RUT 2015 Race Preview

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A stunning weekend of Skyrunning takes place this weekend at the aptly named ski resort, Big Sky in Montana.

Yes, it’s time to get in a RUT with the RUT series of races.

The Skyrunner® World Series 2015 continues at a pace with VK, SKY and ULTRA events taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.

As you can imagine, with 3 races on over, a high quality world-class field will come together in Montana to do battle in earth and sky.

Friday’s Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer® has Laura Orgue and new sensation, Rémi Bonnet heading up the ladies’ and male fields on what will provide an epic Skyrunning battle as runners climb 1000m as fast possible.

Laura will have strong competition from Oihana Kortazar, rising star Yngvild Pedersen and the ever-present and persistent Maite Maiora.

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For the men, Max King fresh from a podium place at Ultravasen will need all his whit’s about him to hold off fast running from Ricky Gates, Xavier and Ferran Teixido and David Magnani.

In the Sky race (25k) which will take place on Saturday, we have the ‘A” Team of ladies. Emelie Forsberg fresh from victory at the ground-breaking Salomon Glen Coe Skyline in the UK will be looking to hold off Hardrock 100 winner and recent Nolan’s 14 FKT record breaker, Anna ‘Frosty Frost.

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But it is no 2 lady race, in actual fact, this 25km race has one of the finest ladies’ fields ever assembled with Laura Orgue, Maite Maiora, Oihana Kortazar, Stevie Kremer, Kasie Enman, Megan Kimmel, Yngvild Pedersen and Eva Maria Moreda; wow! That is one seriously stacked ladies’ field and one that is heavily biased towards Salomon. They may very well take a 1,2,3 on the podium?

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Would you like to pick a winner?

Megan Kimmel has been on fire recently despite a minor blip at Matterhorn Ultraks, Stevie Kremer as ever is a strong contender for the podium and Laura Orgue can climb like demon. I think the overall victory may well potentially come from one of these ladies, but who know? It’s wide open and that is great. Expect dome real Skyrunning fireworks.

Tom Owens at Trofeo Kima

Tom Owens at Trofeo Kima

In the 25km men’s race, Tadei Pivk, Tom Owens, Joe Gray and Marco De Gasperi head up a quality field and they will be looking to fight off strong competition from Ferran Teixido, Xavier Texeido, Sintu Yives and Jessed Hernandez. I’m going to stick my neck out and hope that Brit and fell running exponent Tom Owens takes out the win but Tadei has been a strong and dominant force over the Sky distance in 2015 and Joe Gray has been on fire lately..

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Sunday proposes a 3000m+ Ultra over 50km’s and believe it or not, we may well see Anna Frost and Emelie Forsberg do the ‘double’ and follow up Saturday’s 25km event with the Ultra. Hence why I didn’t pick them for the podium. In all honesty, Frosty and Emelie are currently better suited to the 50km event and if I were them, I’d keep my powder dry on Saturday and save it for an all explosive firework in the 50km.

In 2014, Emelie won this event ahead of Kasie Enman and Frosty placed 3rd. I think we can anticipate a similar result but with Frosty moving up 1 place and the final podium place being taken by the Mont-Blanc 80k 3rd place, Hillary Allen. We obviously can expect Ashley Erba and Kristina Pattison to disagree with this and without doubt they will be looking to shake up the podium.

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The men’s race is a little wide open but Italian Franco Colle may well be the favourite after a strong result at Mont-Blanc 80km and his recent run at Tromso Skyrace. Timothy Parr will contest the podium as will Josh Arthur and Luke Nelson. Not sure if Seth Swanson is going to run but after 2nd at Western States and 4th at UTMB (just last weekend) who would put it past him rocking up and winning this one?

It’s a big weekend of running in Montana and if anyone ever asked the question, ‘is Skyrunning on the up in the USA?’ – the answer is a definite yes! 1800 runners in total will participate in the RUT’s weekend of activities and of course a winner could come from anywhere! Expect some shocks, some surprises and maybe we will see a new star of Skyrunning shine?

The VK, SKY and ULTRA races also appear in the Skyrunner® US Series and points will be available for this series handled and co-ordinated by Ian Sharman.

It’s going to be an amazing weekend of running.

You can follow the stories through words and images on this website, via Twitter @talkultra, on Instagram @iancorlessphotography and on Facebook at facebook.com/iancorlessphotography.

In addition, the official Skyrunning Facebook page (here) and Twitter @skyrunning_com will have regular updates and news.

*Note – Ricky Lightfoot, Dakota Jones, Michel Lanne and others were listed to run but as I understand it, they ill not start.

Transvulcania Ultramarathon 2015 – Race Summary and Images

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No matter which way you look at it, no matter how you write it, the 2015 Transvulcania Ultramarathon was the Luis Alberto Hernando and Emelie Forsberg show.

Kicking of the 2015 Skyrunner World Series, Transvulcania was always going to be a great race and showdown that started the ISF ball rolling.

The dynamic duo of Luis Alberto and Emelie were beyond impressive and as such have provided a great impetus for the 2015 series.

Emelie Forsberg fresh off skis (and a win at Mezzalama) lead the race from the front and slowly but surely extended a lead that extended to over 30-minutes by the time the finish line arrived in Los Llanos. ‘It was so hot out there,’ Emelie said, ‘I am fresh off skis and cold temperatures and to run in this intense heat was so hard but I am extremely happy. It’s a dream come true to win this race again.’

Luis Alberto by contrast played a waiting game in the early stage. A feisty Zach Miller went off the front trying to fulfill a pre race promise that he would win the race. But Luis kept in contact and at Pico De La Nieves he made his move opening a gap of just a couple of seconds. As the kilometers passed, the Spaniard produced a master class of mountain running and when he turned the after burners on, there was no stopping him. As he entered the final kilometers he knew the course record was a possibility and he pushed and pushed providing all those watching a skin tingling and inspiring finish to snatch the course record by a couple of minutes. ‘I took it easy; I let the others dictate and then just pulled away. I felt good the whole way and it’s just incredible to win here again. I had no problems.’

It was a day of shocks though. The men’s field was super stacked and many of those we expected to contend the podium either did not start or faded and/ or pulled out. Miguel Heras did not start, Ryan Sandes dropped early saying he had no energy and Timothy Olson, Mike Foote and so many more just had a tough day on La Isla Bonita; the beautiful island.

Dani Garcia Gomez took a surprise 2nd place and Australian sensation, Blake Hose took the final podium place showing a distinct promise of an exciting future. ‘I am more than happy,’ said Blake, ‘I was taking it easy and went through some rough patches but so did everyone else by the sounds of it. To get the podium here in this quality of field is incredible, now some short races!’

Dakota Jones sprinted for 4th ahead of a charging Zach Miller and although he improved on his 2014 performance, it was easy to see that Dakota was a little perplexed by his run. However, he was very philosophical post race.

Landie Grayling was potentially going to provide Emelie with some competition after her win at Buffalo Stampeed (in Australia) but like her South African teammate, Ryan Sandes, Landie said she had no energy. Everest Trail Race winner Anna Comet Pascua started down the field and moved her way through to 2nd on the podium, albeit 30-minutes behind Emelie. Myriam Marie Guillot Boisset placed 3rd just under 2-minutes ahead of American, Alicia Shay. Magdalena Laczak rounded out the top five.

Transvulcania with the help and inspiration of the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) in just 4-years has become one of the most iconic and prestigious ultra marathons in the world. The 2015 edition has secured this reputation. It’s not just running; it’s an island coming together to create a beautiful harmony that celebrates running. With arguably one of the most impressive and logical (sea-summit-sea) courses, the race is a pleasure to behold. I for one am booking a place for the 2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon; I suggest you do too!

Check out Skyrunning HERE

RESULTS

Ladies:

  1. Emelie Forsberg 8:32:59
  2. Anna Comet Pascua 9:02:57
  3. Myriam Marie Guillot Boisset 9:15:06
  4. Alicia Shay 9:17:49
  5. Magdalena Laczak 9:23:45

 

Men:

  1. Luis Alberto Hernando Alzaga 6:52:39 – NEW CR
  2. Dani Garcia Gomez 7:21:28
  3. Blake Hose 7:25:23
  4. Dakota Jones 7:28:59
  5. Zach Miller 7:29:00

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Transvulcania La Palma 2015 – Race Preview

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It’s here, the big dance, the mega showdown, the big kahuna, the dogs bolx, yes, no matter what you call it, Transvulcania is here and guess what? This race is stacked higher than the Shard!

In 2012, the ISF joined the La Palma party and in just three years the race has become ‘the one’ to do in the early season. I am biased, no doubt. I have been all over the island following the race and I have even had a couple of holidays exploring the trails. It is the most perfect running environment and the Transvulcania course is wonderful in its simplicity. Start at the sea, run all the way up and up, run around the Caldera and then drop like a stone and back to the sea for the final uphill finish to Los Llanos.

In 2012, Dakota Jones was crowned ‘El Presidente’ along with Anna Frost, in 2013 it was the Kilian nd Emelie show and in 2014 Luis Alberto Hernando finally topped the podium with a returning Frosty. La Palma has become a place of inspiration and the series of races that unfold over the Transvulcania weekend are now considered one of the pinnacles in the ISF Skyrunner® World Series.

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As you would expect, 2015 is upholding the traditions of the three years that have gone before it and dare I say, it may very well be the best line up ever assembled?

I suppose many will say, aaagh but Kilian is not running! True, KJ has other mountains to climb. For sure he will be missed but hey, Everest looms and he needs to prepare.

Don’t despair. Luis Alberto Hernando, Dakota Jones, Ryan Sandes, Timothy Olson, Miguel Heras, Tofol Castanyer, Manuel Merillas, Jason Schlarb, Fulvio Dapit, Blake Hose, Zach Miller, Jorge Maravilla and Mike Foote (and so many more) are going to illuminate those volcanic trails. It’s been some years since a volcano erupted in La Palma but the heat generated from these runners may well get the fires burning.

*Frosty returns for the ladies but as I write, she is struggling with injury. It’s been a roller coaster for the NZ speedster and I more than most have seen the trials and tribulations that Anna has had to deal with. I just hope she finds that spark for the race that we all know she has. Just last week, 2013 winner Emelie Forsberg has declared her intentions to run. Last year she fell early on and it ruined her day. This year, she is back admittedly just off skis. One would say that Emelie will need this race to find her running legs but you can never rule her out. South African, Landie Greyling is on fire at the moment and Anne-Lise Rousset, Alicia Shay, Alessandra Carlini, Anna Comet, Ester Alves, Magdalena Laczak and so many more are going to test the Frost and Forsberg duo.

*Breaking news, 25th April – unfortunately Anna Frost has withdrawn from the race. Get well soon Frosy.

Previewing the 2015 edition of this race may very well turn into a mini novel, so, grab a beer (irrespective of the time of day), pull up a chair, grab some snacks and read on.

MEN

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Luis Alberto Hernando was on fire in 2014 and was a welcome winner of Transvulcania finally relegating Kilian to 2nd place. Following up with victory in the Skyrunning World Championships his season was one to savour. On paper, he’s the one to beat. He races with a strength, force and commitment that are seldom seen. He only has two speeds though, fast and resting. It has been his downfall in the past (2014 UTMB) but the Transvulcania course is the perfect distance for him. Luis is odds on favourite for victory.

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Dakota Jones will not make things easy for Luis though. Victor in 2012, Dakota returned in 2014 and had a disappointing race by his standards. With Kilian absent and Dakota now running in Salomon colours, maybe he is primed as the one to take over the reigns at the front?

Dakota has some serious Salomon company and to be honest, anyone of these big hitters could win – Ryan Sandes, Tofol Castanyer and Miguel Heras. Pick a name! I honestly find it impossible to say how these runners will place come the big day. In all honesty, should Luis have an off day, we could potentially see a Salomon 1, 2 and 3.

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Ryan is running Transvulcania for the first time so this puts him at a slight disadvantage. In addition to this, the South African has had a few injury issues over the winter. I know only too well that he has his eyes and focus on Western States this year; so, Transvulcania may well be a stepping stone race.

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Tofol Castanyer was 4th last year at Transvulcania and 2nd at UTMB. Do you want to bet against him? I don’t and I wouldn’t. He is a class act and has the race skills to dominate the race. He is without doubt podium potential.

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras if on form is another hot property on the La Palma trails. On his day, he is one of the best in the world. However, Miguel does have the potential to just keep pushing and pushing resulting in a series of injury woes. His return to form at UTMB a couple of years ago was a wonderful thing to see… it would be pleasure to see a repeat performance at Transvulcania.

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Timmy Olson loves La Palma. A little too much in my opinion! For me, Timmy left his 2014 Transvulcania performance on the trails in training. He just loves to run… I think he has realised that less is more and he has now taken on a coach to keep him on the straight and narrow. He has been quiet in 2015 which can only mean he is preparing for Transvulcania. In 2015 he’s going to be in fine form and he is going to get in and amongst the Salomon team and you know what, he may just win!

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Jason Schlarb gave me the surprise of 2014 by placing 4th at UTMB. I don’t doubt his ability; I just didn’t see that one coming. Jason is going to be fired up for this year’s race and a good winter of consistent training and no injuries is always a good sign.

Manuel Merillas was a revelation in 2014 and his 7th place at the 2014 Transvulcania does not reflect his growth in the sport. Manuel was one of the few runners too push Kilian in 2014 and I see him as being a real force in 2015. His 2nd at Trofeo Kima proves his potential. 

Blake Hose is the new star of Australia and after placing 6th at the Skyrunning World Championships, he really made the world look on and wonder what the future may hold. Well come May we will know, Blake is lining up against the best in the world.

Jorge Maravilla was 7th at TNF 50 last year and then placed 2nd at Tarawera. He loves to run and the Transvulcania course may well just suit his skill set. The ultimate test will come when he drops down 18km in the latter stages of the race. If he is in contention, will he have the downhill skills to hold on to the mountain goats?

It goes on…

Clement Petitjean (4th Skyrunning World Championships), Mike Foote (2nd at Lavaredo) Zach Miller, Josh Arthur, Pau Capell (1st Transgrancanaria Advanced), Vlad Ixel, Aurelien Dunand Pallaz, Carlos Sa, Christophe Le Saux, Marcin Swierc, Oscar Casal Mir, Cristofer Clemente Mora, Paul Hamilton, Pablo Villa, Florian Reichert, Dimitris Theodorokakos, Phudorjee Lama Sherpa and Ashur Youssefi-Dizagetakieh.

 

LADIES

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Frosty, if well (and that is a question mark at the moment) will take some beating. She proved this in 2012 and then backed this up in 2014 with a course record performance. I was with Anna in Costa Rica in February and she was in fine form until plantar fasciitis reared its head causing her to pull out of the race whilst in the lead.  *Breaking news, 25th April – unfortunately Anna Frost has withdrawn from the race. Get well soon Frosy. 

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The late entry of Emelie Forsberg is a great addition to the race. Emelie ran a great race in 2013 and although she is only just off skis, like Kilian, Emelie seems to be able to transfer seamlessly. I see the race potentially being a head-to-head with Frosty.

Anna-Lise Rousset was the ladies winner at CCC and for sure, that is going to transfer well to La Palma. Having said that, she placed 5th at TV last year and although I don’t see her contesting the top of the podium, 2nd or 3rd is possible.

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Landie Greyling seems to have moved things up a notch recently… she won the Salomon SkyRun in late November and just recently topped the podium at Buffalo Stampede in Australia. If Frosty and Emelie are in form, I don’t think Landie has the race (yet) to beat them but I don’t think she will be far off.

Alicia Shay will debut on the island and that for sure is a disadvantage, however, the American has the potential to shake up the front of the race as her 6th place at TNF showed.

Magadalena Laczak placed 8th at Templiers and was the surprise 3rd place at the Skyrunning World Championships. I am not sure of her recent form but based on those two results alone, one has to assume that she will be in the mix.

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Alessandra Carlini has continued to impress and in 2014 stepped up one more rung on the Skyrunning ladder placing 2nd at Ice Trail Tarentaise, 6th at Trofeo Kima and 10th at Transvulcania. One year on, can she contest the top-5?

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Anna Comet won the Everest Trail Race in November and looked impressive each day as she dominated the event. A ski mountaineer, her skill set is perfect for La Palma and although it’s her first time on the volcanic trails, I think we will see her do well.

Ester Alves placed 8th at UTMB and 6th at Transgrancanaria in 2014. Two solid performances! The podium may well be a long shot but top-5 is a distinct possibility and you never know, she may have a great day… if she dies, anything can happen!

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It’s also worth keeping an eye on the 2015 130km Iznik Ultra winner, Zoe Salt. Zoe may well go under the radar, as she doesn’t race too often, however, lets not forget she did place 3rd at Marathon des Sables in 2013. Angels Lloobera, Laura Mustat and Yurena Castillo add additional depth to the ladies field.

Phew… so who are your picks for the male and female podiums. The men’s race is wide open, the female race maybe less so but we can’t predict Frosty or Emilie’s form. One thing is for sure; it’s going to be an incredible day of racing.

The Skyrunner® World Series once again has support from Active Patch 4U, Salomon, Scott, Compressport, Arc’teryx, La Sportiva and new sponsor, Alpina Watches.

 

Follow all the action in words and images on this website, @talkultra on Twitter and of course, skyrunning.com and @Skyrunning_com