Episode 93 – Kimmel Zundel Donovan

TALK ULTRA LOGO

Episode 93 of Talk Ultra has an interview with lady on fire, Megan Kimmel. We also speak to Harald Zundel about running long and super hard races. We also speak with Greg Donovan about running the 4 Deserts Grand Slam and the Big Red Run in Australia. Speedgoat is with us and we have some new music and new logo!

 

00:04:43 NEWS

 

Help Nepal – Nepal images ‘FACES of NEPAL’ – order a print and all funds donated to Nepal charities https://iancorless.org/2015/04/28/nepal-appeal-nepalearthquake/

You will notice a few changes in episode 93 of Talk Ultra. Yes, we have some new music, a new logo and over the coming weeks and months we will start to add some new interview sections.

TRANSROCKIES

Notable as Rob Krar pulled out….. UTMB?

Jenn Shelton and Kathryn Ross won the ladies event

Florian Nueschwander won the male race and Shannon Thompson won the ladies

Results HERE

SIERRE-ZINAL

1 – Kilian Jornet 2:33:13

2 – William Rodriguez 2:33:17

3 – Robbie Simpson 2:33:34

1 – Lucy Wambui Murigi 2:56:48

2 – Megan Kimmel 3:02:08

3 – Elisa Desco 3:03:08

PIKES PEAK MARATHON

1 – Alex Nichols 3:46

2 – Abu Diriba 3:54

3 – Ricky Gates 3:55

1 – Hirut Guangul 4:29

2 – Hayley Benson 4:45

3 – Kim Dobson 4:46

NORTH DOWNS WAY 100

1 – Ed Catmur 18:02 (the CR is 15:44:39 set by Ed!) apparently the weather was great?

2 – Ally Watson 18:11:15

3 – Jeremy Isaac 18:56:54

1 – Sally Ford 19:20:40

2 – Maryann Devally 21:17:56

3 – Mari Mauland 21:24:37

BIGFOOT 200

1 – Gavin Woody 64:12:35

2 – Gennadii Tertychnyi 65:34:38

3 – Harald Zundel 70:32:30

1 – Gia Madole 73:28:42

2 – Van Pahn 79:00:35

3 – Tina Ure 85:14:40

 

00:28:32 INTERVIEW 

HARALD ZUNDEL

 

FAT DOG 120 miler

Nick Hollon 25 hr 7min

Bethany Lewis 30 hours

  1.  

EASTERN STATES 100

Mike Wardian 21:21 new CR

Jay Lemos 24:18

Tsutomu Bessho 24:37

Kathleen Cusick 24:57

Robin Watkins 27:30

Jennifer Brunet 29:41

Frosty and Missy is currently taking on the Nolans 14ers and FINISHED •Breaking News

Coming up Squamish, Leadville UTMB, Glen Coe, Matterhorn Ultraks

 

01:02:19 INTERVIEW

GREG DONOVAN read up and enter the Big Red Run HERE

 

01:57:46 INTERVIEW

MEGAN KIMMEL

 

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Northern Territory

The Malbunka | 133 kilometers | August 27, 2015 | website

The Namatjira | 80 kilometers | August 27, 2015 | website

Queensland

Kuranda to Port Douglas Ultra Trail Marathon | 64 kilometers | August 23, 2015 | website

Belgium

Flanders

Oxfam Trailwalker Belgium | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Bulgaria

Orehovo Ultra | 80 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Persenk Ultra | 130 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Black Spur Ultra – 100km | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Black Spur Ultra – 100km Relay | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Black Spur Ultra – 50km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Squamish 50 | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Squamish 50/50 | 130 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Squamish 50K | 50 kilometers | August 23, 2015 | website

TrailStoke Ultra | 60 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Quebec

Chute du Diable 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Chute du Diable 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

France

Alpes-Maritimes

Ultra-Trail Côte d’Azur Mercantour | 140 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

Ariège

Ultra du Montcalm | 65 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Hautes-Pyrénées

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – le Grand Trail | 80 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – l’Ultra | 160 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – Tour des Cirques | 117 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Isère

La Traversée Nord | 85 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

L’Echappée Belle Intégrale | 144 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs | 160 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs – 90 km | 90 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Loir-et-Cher

100km des Etangs de Sologne | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

50km de la Sologne des Rivières | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Rhône

La Nuit des Carbones – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

Savoie

North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) | 166 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Orsières – Champex – Chamonix (OCC) | 53 kilometers | August 27, 2015 | website

Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL) | 300 kilometers | August 24, 2015 | website

Tour de la Grande Casse | 62 kilometers | August 23, 2015 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Allgäu Panorama Ultra Trail | 70 kilometers | August 23, 2015 | website

GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run | 240 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Greece

Athens-Sparta | 245 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

Iceland

Fire and Ice | 250 kilometers | August 31, 2015 | website

India

Uttarakhand

Uttarkashi 135 | 135 miles | August 28, 2015 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Achill Ultra Marathon | 39 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

Leinster

Longford Ultra Marathon | 63 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Munster

Kerry Way Ultra | 120 miles | September 04, 2015 | website

Italy

Aosta Valley

Courmayeur Champex Chamonix (CCC) | 98 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Sur les traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) | 119 kilometers | August 26, 2015 | website

Japan

Hakusan Geotrail 100 K | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Hakusan Geotrail 250 K | 250 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Malaysia

Gunung 5 Nuang | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Most Beautiful Thing Ultra Trail Marathon – 100K | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Most Beautiful Thing Ultra Trail Marathon – 50K | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Netherlands

North Holland

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night (Summer Edition) | 75 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night (Summer Edition) – 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

New Zealand

Great Naseby Water Race 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 160 km | 160 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 60 km | 60 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Norway

styrkeprøven True West | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Peru

80 K | 80 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

80K Relay | 80 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Réunion

Cimasalazienne | 55 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Romania

Dracula 106K | 106 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

Dracula 106K 2-Day Stage Race | 106 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

South Africa

Namaqua Quest | 110 kilometers | August 26, 2015 | website

Peninsula Ultra Fun Run | 80 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Spain

Aragon

8K | 78 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Sweden

Fjällmaraton Bydalsfjällen 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

UltraVasan 90K | 90 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Taiwan

50 km of Wild Pig | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Anglesey

Ring o’ Fire | 131 miles | September 04, 2015 | website

Buckinghamshire

Ridgeway Challenge | 86 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

Cumbria

Grand Tour of Skiddaw | 44 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

Greater London

London 2 Cambridge Ultra | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

T184 | 184 miles | August 28, 2015 | website

Hertfordshire

Chiltern Way Ultra 100k | 100 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Chiltern Way Ultra 214k | 214 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Moray

Speyside Way Race | 36 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

USA

Arizona

Javelina Jangover 100K Night Trail Run | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Javelina Jangover 50K Night Trail Run | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Javelina Jangover 75K Night Trail Run | 75 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

California

Bulldog 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Castle Peak 100k | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Castle Peak 100K | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Diablo Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Headwaters Ultra – 50K | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Pioneer Spirit 50M | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Salt Point 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Tamalpa Headlands 50K | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Colorado

Devil Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Devil Mountain 50 Mile Ultra | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Leadville Trail 100 Run | 100 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Silverton Alpine 50K | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Georgia

Yeti Snakebite 50K | 50 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Yeti Snakebite 50M | 50 miles | August 30, 2015 | website

Idaho

Resort to Rock 60K | 60 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Michigan

Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Montana

Fool’s Gold 50M | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Fool’s Gold 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Ghosts of Yellowstone | 100 miles | August 21, 2015 | website

Ghosts of Yellowstone 100M | 100 miles | August 21, 2015 | website

Mystery Ranch 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Rampage the Roots Montana’s Ultra Challenge 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Nevada

51 km | 51 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Black Rock City 50km | 50 kilometers | September 02, 2015 | website

New Hampshire

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race | 80 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race 2-Person Relay | 80 miles | August 21, 2015 | website

New York

Green Lakes 100 km Trail Race | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Green Lakes 50 km Trail Race | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Twisted Branch Trail Run | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Oregon

Hood to Coast Relay | 199 miles | August 28, 2015 | website

Where’s Waldo 100k Ultra | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Pennsylvania

Baker Trail UltraChallenge | 50 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

South Dakota

50 km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Lean Horse Half Hundred | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Lean Horse Hundred | 100 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Texas

Habanero Hundred 100k | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Habanero Hundred 100 miler | 100 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Habanero Hundred 50k | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Reveille Peak Ranch – 60km | 60 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Washington

Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

02:36:45 CLOSE

 

02:38:35

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Ultra Running, Mountain, Trail and Skyrunning Review 2014

2014

Did that just happen?

Another year draws to a close and with it many races, many experiences and many highlights. I don’t need to tell you but our niche sport is progressing at an alarming rate: more runners, more races and more standout experiences, what a year!

It is no easy task being at the top of your game in our sport anymore. Competition is high at every race and past scenarios where a runner could return to a ‘fave’ race year-after-year and win it are long gone! I don’t think we will ever see a Scott Jurek or Ann Trason dominate the sport as they did in their times.

Runners at the top of the game now need to be specific, peak for races; recover and then re peak if they want to perform. The ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) and the UTWT add to the complexity of the race calendar by adding a ‘series’ element to proceedings. The need to be at your best for a series requires planning, commitment, dedication and patience. It’s way to easy to burn out… a good year, maybe two good years and then boom, gone! We have seen this happen time-and-time again. Ask Geoff Roes, ask Anna Frost, Tony Krupicka and so on. The need to balance racing and recovery is now more than ever a key component of the ultra runners weaponry and so therefore when I review a year, I do it with a sense of hesitation.

For sure, I am going to write about several runners who have excelled, who have repeatedly blown my mind with stunning performances and against all logic have recovered, come back and won again. So as I write this, please keep in mind the above. A long ultra running life must come with balance.

Also, the following summary and notes are my highlights of 2014 so I welcome your thoughts and feedback..

2014 in summary

©iancorless.com_1120572

Jo Meek followed on 2nd place lady in the 2013 Marathon des Sables (2013) with a course record performance in The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. Showing meticulous preparation and dedication, Jo just gave us all a glimpse of what was about to come!

 

©iancorless.com.IMG_2858

Ryan Sandes and Nuria Picas laid out a stall at Transgrancanaria and put on two consummate displays of ultra running prowess. Nuria lead from the front showing all the ladies a clean pair of heals whereas Ryan played the waiting game and moved through the field slowly but surely to grasp the race by the scruff of the neck in the latter stages and take a superb victory.

ryno-ryan-dgt-map-drakensberg

Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel did the DrakTraverse and in doing so they showed us that big projects in the mountains are just as exciting as racing. FKT’s love them or hate them are here to stay and I for one love the concept. Ultimately it gets back to why we all run. Ryan and Ryno with considerable help of Red Bull really put South Africa on the map and the fellas at The African Attachment produced a great film called Trevelyan to document the record.

UTMF (Ultra Trail Mt Fuji) confirmed that Nuria Picas was going to be the lady to beat in 2014. Nuria’s strength, powers of recovery and ability to push beyond the norm elevated her to a new level. Equally, Francois d’Haene showed us that he had recovered from Raid de la Reunion in 2013 and when it came to 100-miles in mountainous terrain he would be the man to beat.

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball arrived in Morocco and for the 2nd year running put an American on the top of the ladies podium and in doing so she confirmed her status as one of the best female ultra runners in the world.

©iancorless.com.IMG_9258Transvulcania14

I mentioned Anna Frost above and after 12+ months in an ultra wilderness the ever smiling lady from New Zealand returned to the volcanic island of La Palma and produced not only one of the best comebacks in our sport but in the process set a new course record for the Transvulcania La Palma course.

©iancorless.com.IMG_8491Transvulcania14

As Frosty made that comeback, up the trail in La Palma, Luis Alberto Hernando was having one of the best races of his life as he went toe-to-toe with Kilian Jornet. He pulled it off! He beat Kilian and in doing so he achieved something that so few have done. His emotions on the line in Los Llanos provided a special moment in the sport.

©iancorless.comStevie_Zegama

Zegama-Aizkorri had all the excitement and buzz of previous years and Kilian started a winning streak that placed his career on an all time high. By comparison, Pocket Rocket, Stevie Kremer took top honours confirming that her 2013 results were no flook (never in question) and that a repeat performance for the Skyrunning World Series was on the cards

Ellie Greenwood did it… she won Comrades and achieved the ultimate tick for her own bucket list but inspired so many Brits, Canadians and Americans in the process. It was quite a run and one that Ellie will take to the grave as a defining moment of her running. Jo Meek followed up victory in January’s The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica with 5th in South Africa; the ultra community looked on and asked the question: who is Jo Meek?

Kilian Jornet obliterates the record for Denali in Summits of my Life (11:48) – nuff said!

©iancorless.com©iancorless.com-1049

Luis Alberto Hernando bolstered by his Transvulcania performance laid it all on the line in Chamonix for the Skyrunning World Champions in the 80Km Ultra event. Collapsing on the finish line not only had Luis achieved a lifelong dream but he had relegated the almost unbeatable Francois d’Haene into 2nd place. Emelie Forsberg won the ladies race against Anna Frost and Kilian Jornet proved what an incredible athlete he is by working his craft in the VK and SKY race just days after setting a new Summits of my Life record on Denali. Elisa Desco became ladies SKY world champion in a highly competitive and exciting race and Laura Orgue confirmed her outright climbing ability and was crowned VK world champion.

Steve Birkinshaw

Steve Birkinshaw produced the ultimate FKT and broke a long-standing record for the Wainwrights (518km) in the English Lakes. Summiting 214 tops with an elevation gain/loss of 36,000m Steve set a new record of 6-days and 13-hours.

©iancorless.comIMG_0918

Ice Trail Tarentaise in the stunning resort of Val D’Isere allowed Francois d’Haene to once again excel in the snowy and cold mountains of this tough, technical and amazing Skyrunning course. Running head-to-head with Luis Alberto Hernando (again) with less than 20km’s to go, Francois moved ahead and took top honours. Emelie Forsberg took a back-to-back victory at the race and confirmed that her ability at the 80km distance was unmatched.

Kilian ©jordisaragossa

Hardrock 100 will go down in the history books as one of THE runs of all time. It was the most stacked field ever, it was a who’s who of ultra running and the prospect of Kilian Jornet finally getting an opportunity to test himself on what many consider to be the ultimate course was just way too exciting. Like a script from a screenplay, Kilian bided his time, pulled away, hung out waiting for Julien Chorier and then by his estimations ‘wasted’ 55-minutes in aid stations and still smashed the record. KJ’s victory guarantees an entry for next year when the course is run the opposite way; I wonder… could we see Kilian set two CR’s?

Western States was all about Rob Krar doing his thing and coming back for a repeat victory (14:53:22). This quiet unassuming man let his legs do the talking and produced what was the start of a trio of 100-mile successes. Max King in his first 100-miler set a blistering pace early on and eventually placed 5th… more on him later! Stephanie Howe was crowned ladies champion in 18:01:42.

©iancorless.comIMG_3077Canazei2014

The Skyrunning Dolomites Skyrace was remarkable for two reasons. Laura Orgue progressed from a VK specialist to a SKY victor and remarkably Kilian Jornet, just 7-days after Hardrock ran the VK on Friday (placing top-10) and then won the SKY race on Sunday against the best in the world; ridiculous.

Sierre-Zinal, the epic mountain race in Switzerland was finally won by Pocket Rocket herself, Stevie Kremer after placing top-3 on two previous attempts. It was a defining moment for the little lady from Crested Butte and post race she said if she could only win one race, Sierre-Zinal would be it. A pattern is forming… yes, those two words: Kilian Jornet. Yes, he did it again!

©iancorless.com-0691Kima2014_

Trofeo Kima (Italy) only happens every 2-years and is arguably the jewel in the Skyrunning crown. It’s a kick-ass race of epic proportions and if I could only ever cover one race as a photographer, Kima would be it. Combining running, climbing, descending, chains, ropes, ladders and vertical drops it is a course that is made for Kilian Jornet. Needless to say the Catalan won and in doing so, he set a new course record. Emelie Forsberg look set to take the ladies crown but a lapse of concentration mid race took Emelie of course and loose approximately 1-hour. Despite chasing like a demon, Emelie could not pull back the time on ladies winner, Kasie Enman.

©iancorless.comIMG_9657UTLD2014

The British Ultra Trail Championships crowned Jo Meek and Kim Collison as respective champions in two exciting races on the Lakeland 50 course.

Iker Karrera and Nura Picas won Buff Epic Trail in ‘testing’ conditions.

UTMB provided confirmation that Rory Bosio is one of the best female mountain runners in the world. Her 2013 course record performance was epic but as we all know, to come back and win again confirms the accolades. Nuria Picas placed 2nd and gets a nod here as her list of performances and results (on the UTWT) are off the scale. If anyone questioned who is the best 100-mile mountain runner in the world at the moment – Francois d’Haene backed up his incredible UTMF performance with an outstanding UTMB run against a stellar field.

Rob Krar backed up victory at WSER with a stunning Leadville 100 victory and set the stage for a repeat ‘Ultra Runner of the Year’ award.

Run Rabbit Run came pretty close after Leadville and to my surprise we saw Rob Krar toe the line. I was a little surprised. Rob has always been one of the more savvy runners on the circuit in that he peaks, recovers, trains and then re peaks. For Rob to run 100-miles so soon after Leadville was a surprise! Maybe the big prize bucks were a motivating factor? Anyway, what do I know… he took the win and the bucks! Nikki Kimball followed up 5th at WSER with the biggest payday victory of her career and she shed a few tears to show how much it meant.

--©iancorless.com.IMG_7416Transvulcania14_kilian

Skyrunning Limone Extreme confirmed Stevie Kremer as Skyrunner® Word Series Champion for the 2nd consecutive year but the big news came via Kilian Jornet. His victory in the VK confirmed him as Skyrunner® World Series Champion in all 3 Skyrunning disciplines – VK, SKY and ULTRA. If any of us needed confirmation of the Catalans all around ability, this was it!

Ultra Pirineu (Cavalls del Vent in the past) had Nuria Picas and Luis Alberto Hernando take top honours – unstoppable!

USA’s The Rut set the benchmark for Skyrunning in the USA with universal accolades about the course. It may come as no surprise that Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg took top honours and respective Skyrunner® World Series titles.

Raid de la Reunion became the Francois d’Haene show. He followed up his 2013 victory with a repeat consummate performance. Dare I say, ‘he makes 100-miles in the mountains look easy!’ Nathalie Mauclair also produced a quality back-to-back victory and along with great runs on the UTWT circuit set herself firmly at the top of the best female ultra runners in the world.

Doha finally became the venue for the 100km world championships and Ellie Greenwood backed up an incredible Comrades victory and placed herself on top of the world with a stunning performance. Big shout here too for the British ladies, Joasia Zakrzewski and Jo Meek who both placed in the top-5 ad took home team gold. Max King showed amazing depth of ability, speed and performance in taking the male victory ahead of some of the fastest men in the world.

©iancorless.com_SkyRun14-0445#ETRkathmandu

Iain Don Wauchope smashes the Salomon SkyRun record in South Africa and Landie Greyling tops the ladies podium.

Rounding out the year, Sage Canaday and Magdalena Boulet took top honours at San Francisco 50.

Phew…

Wait a minute! Kilian Jornet gets the last word. As I write this Mr Jornet is attempting another summit, Aconcagua. Only appropriate that we should end a year on a real high… Just below 7000m to be exact.

Get involved:

I am going to have missed races, missed performances and no doubt you will remind me of what they are. I welcome that. I’d love you all to comment (below) on what 2014 has meant to you and what/ who in your opinion deserves a tip of the hat.

MY 2014 AWARDS

  • Male ultra runner of the yearFRANCOIS D”HAENE (Rob Krar came close)
  • Female ultra runner of the yearNURIA PICAS
  • Best male performanceKILIAN JORNET for Hardrock 100
  • Best female performanceANNA FROST for Transvulcania La Palma and ELLIE GREENWOOD at Comrades
  • Best single stage raceTROFEO KIMA
  • Best multi day raceEVEREST TRAIL RACE
  • Best FKTSTEVE BIRKINSHAW, The Wainwrights
  • Biggest surprises of 2014ZACH MILLER and the rise of JO MEEK. The AUSSIES at the Skyrunning World Championships.
  • Stand out athlete of the year – KILIAN JORNET
  • Best cinematography – The African Attachment and Seb Montaz
  • Best film – Dejame Vivir

Anything else worthy of a mention?

Personal message:

On a personal note, 2014 has been an incredible year! I have travelled the world and in the process I have attended and worked on 31-races. From the humidity of Costa Rica, to the heat of the Sahara and the cold of the Himalayas, my job has afforded me the privilege to watch, observe and photograph the best runners in the world work their craft.

 

I am eternally grateful to each and every race, race director and of course I must give huge thanks to Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti from the ISF for the continued support and opportunities they have afforded me in allowing me the opportunity to work on and cover the Skyrunner® World Series.

 

I must also give a huge thanks to every single person who listens to my podcast, Talk Ultra, reads this website and ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ my respective Facebook and Twitter feeds.

I am eternally thankful.

 

Now roll on 2015 and lets do it all again!

Join STEVIE KREMER in London for a run and talk

©iancorless.comStevie_Matterhorn

Meet Stevie Kremer

Freestak on behalf of Ian Corless and Talk Ultra

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 from 18:30 to 22:30 (BST)

London, United Kingdom

Stevie Kremer has had an exceptional 2014, the highlight of which has to be winning the Matterhorn Ultraks 46K in a new course record, her third win in the Skyrunner® World Series SKY distance. This victory along with wins at Zegama-Aizkorri and Sierre-Zinal has secured another Skyrunner World Series title for 2014 which will conclude at Limone Extreme on October 11th.

Stevie will join us for a run, talk and Q&A opportunity just days after Limone Extreme on route to the final Skyrunning UK event in 2014, the Mourne Skyline MTR which will take place in Ireland on October 18th.

Stevie has had a whirlwind couple of years, in 2013 she was crowned Skyrunner® World Series champion after securing victory ahead of Emelie Forsberg at the final race of the year in Italy. This year, in addition to three victories at Zegama-Aizkorri, Sierre-Zinal and Matterhorn Ultraks, Stevie won the combined title at the Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix.

©iancorless.comStevie_Zegama

Ian Corless, photographer/ writer at iancorless.com and creative director/host of Talk Ultra, has set up the opportunity for a group of runners to join Stevie for a run on Hampstead Heath followed by a Q&A session over a few drinks. This event has been set up in collaboration with freestak Ltd and Like the Wind magazine.

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The run will last between 45 and 60 minutes and will just be a social event at an easy pace. Afterwards there will be a chance to order dinner at the pub where we will be retiring to catch up with Stevie and ask all the burning questions we have for her.

©iancorless.comStevie_Portrait

FAQs

What are my transport/parking options?

The nearest tube to the pub is Kentish Town or Gospel Oak on the Overground. For more informationclick here.

Can I leave bags at the venue?

You can leave bags at the venue and someone will stay with them while everyone goes running. We can’t take responsibility for any loss or damage to items left however.

Will there be food available?

The pub cooks fresh dishes which can be ordered in advance. Everyone who books a ticket will be contacted before the event to see if they want to order some food.

What do I get for my money?

Everyone who pays for a place on the run will get a drink after the run. Food will be extra and can be paid for at the bar.

PLEASE NOTE – This is a ticket ONLY event and numbers are very limited (just 30-places). You can purchase a ticket HERE for £5.00.

Location:

The Dartmouth Arms
35 Dartmouth Park Rd
London
NW5 1SP 

United Kingdom

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 from 18:30 to 22:30 (BST)

Sierre-Zinal 2014 – Race day images and summary

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Another incredible day on the trails and mountains between Sierre and Zinal. The 2014 edition of the race was always going to be hugely competitive with an incredibly deep field both for the ladies and the men.

Kilian Jornet rallied in the closing stages of the race and pulled back race leader, Jo Gray and then used his blistering downhill ability to open an incredible gap of just over 1-minute. His time of 2:31:54 was a personal best for the Catalan on this course but was outside Jono Wyatt’s 2003 course record of 2:29:12.

Stevie Kremer made it 3rd time lucky and finally topped the Sierre-Zinal podium after placing 2nd for the past 2-years. Stevie took the race on from the front and held off Sierre-Zinal ever presents, Maud Mathys and 2012 winner, Aline Camboulives.

Race Results:

MEN

1. Jornet Burgada Kilian (ESP) 2:31.54
2. Gray Jo (USA) 2:32.58
3. Costa Cesar (SUI) 2:34.07
4. Gonon François (FRA) 2:34.56
5. Simpson Rob (GBR) 2:35.13
6. Zinca Ionut (ROM) 2:35.44
7. Schneider David (SUI) 2:36.32
8. Wyatt Jonathan (NZL) 2:38.54
9. Bostrom Marten 2:39.26
10. Pivk Tadei (ITA) 2:40.23

LADIES

1. Kremer Stevie (USA) 3:03.12
2. Mathys Maude (SUI) 3:03.59
3. Camboulives Aline (FRA) 3:06.42
4. Dewalle Christel (FRA) 3:06.59
5. Orgue Laura 3:13.04,4
6. Enman Kasie 3:13.18
7. Dragomir Denisa-Ionela 3:16.10
8. Lafaye Celine 3:16.44
9. Rampazzo Silvia 3:17.44
10. Mihaylova Milka 3:19.10

Sierre-Zinal 2014 – Pre race images

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Sierre-Zinal is also known as the “Course des cinq 4000” for the five classic 4,000m peaks, including the Matterhorn, which are above the route. The stunning scenery of Switzerland’s Valais Alps makes for beautiful surroundings and a very demanding course in a race that attracts a top-class international field.

The course is in two distinct sections. The first half, from Sierre to Chandolin, is a seemingly endless, steep climb through forest and alpine meadow, ascending 1500m in just over 10km. The gradient only shallows on the approach to Chandolin, and the next section is faster and much more runnable, over fire roads and along narrow tracks through rocky areas. Nava is the race high point at 2,425m and from then on for around the final 7km, the course is mostly downhill over rocky paths to finish with a steep descent into Zinal – a perfect last section for those who like descending.

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Anna Pichrtova is the women’s course record holder and she says, ‘I love the path from Nava to the finish very much, fantastic views and quite fast running, because I love steep downhill, I really enjoy the last 3km on twisty wooded technical trails. The finish is exciting because so many people warmly welcome you as a hero.’

©iancorless.com_IMG_0566SierreZinal_2014_New Zealand and world champion Jonathan Wyatt is the course record holder, and the winner’s roll reads like a who’s-who of mountain running: Ricardo Mejía, Marco De Gasperi, Kílian Jornet, Billy Burns, Angéline Joly, Angela Mudge and Véronique Marot.

Local people support the race enthusiastically: spectators cheer runners on along the route and especially at the end where the entire village seems to turn out to welcome finishers. There is also a walkers’ class which starts in darkness at 5am, four hours before the main race.

READ THE 2014 RACE PREVIEW HERE

Copy (c) Ultimate Running Races

Photos (c) iancorless.com

Sierre-Zinal 2014 In-depth Race Preview

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal.

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal.

Just one mention of the name: Sierre-Zinal and the emotions stir in even the most experienced mountain runner. For over 40-years, the 31-km point-to-point course from Sierre to Zinal with a total elevation gain of 2200m and just 800m of descent has been the battle ground for some epic battles. In 2014 the tradition will continue and with it a new moment in history… I have a feeling that this year may well be a record year! It’s a bold statement. Jonathan Wyatt set the current male record of 2:29:12 in 2003 and the female record of 2:54:26 was set by the Queen of Sierre-Zinal; Anna Pichtrova (now Strakova) in 2008.

iancorless.orgSierre Zinal 1sirrezinal

Image ©iancorless.com

The Sierre-Zinal course is unique in profile, starting low, the runners immediately go into a tough long climb that is followed by fast running with a slight drop to the line. It suits a rounded athlete; one who can climb with the best, keep pace with the fastest and then descend like a demon. Who’s your pick? On August 10th, 4000 runners will depart Sierre and head to the mountain arena that is Zinal. I for one can’t wait!

Who is going to win? 

Kilian Jornet and the Matterhorn ©iancorless.com

He is on a roll and with current form I am going all out, laying it on the line and predicting Kilian Jornet with not only victory but a new course record (weather permitting.) The Catalan’s current form is arguably the best we have witnessed. His 2014 so far has illuminated the history books and leaves us all wondering… what will Kilian go on to achieve in his lifetime. His natural ability, humility and passion for the sport is endless and I for one feel very content that I am here to witness ‘The Kilian Years!’

Marco De Gasperi ©iancorless.com

Marco De Gasperi has been struggling with injury but when on form, Marco is one of the few runners to push Kilian and push him hard all the way to the line. In many respects, The Sierre-Zinal course may well suit Marco more? We saw this in 2011 when Marco pipped Kilian to the line in the 2nd fastest time ever seen on the course. In 2012, Marco returned and won once again. However, Kilian was not present. The showdown that awaits this year may well prove to be one of the eagerly anticipated editions of this iconic race.

Juan Carlos Cardona placed 2nd in 2013 and along with course record holder, Jono Wyatt one has to assume that the duo will be upfront, pushing the pace and looking to repeat 2013 performances.

Robbie Simpson, Chamonix 2013

Robbie Simpson, Chamonix 2013

Brit, Robbie Simpson had a breakthrough performance in 2014 and I for one sincerely hope that he can at least repeat or better his performance. His current form is very good and the opportunity to race against such a quality field is something that he will embrace.

Tom Owens Trofeo Kima 2012 ©iancorless.com

Tom Owens Trofeo Kima 2012 ©iancorless.com

Robbie will not have it all his own way though and I see Tom Owens moving up a level and following up his already impressive 2014 placing at the Transvulcania La Palma, Skyrunning World Championships and Ice Trail Tarentaise with a podium place in Zinal. Currently on a sabbatical from work, the time is right for Tom. Quality training and more importantly, quality rest. One to watch!

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Ionut Zinca is on form. He showed his class at Limone Extreme in 2013 and once again adorned the podium behind Kilian Jornet at the Dolomites Skyrace. On his day, Ionut is a definite podium contender.

Jo Gray from the USA is an ever present at Sierre-Zinal. His current form appears to be excellent and although he may not make the podium, a top-10 placing is a definite possibility.

Tofol Castanyer on his day needs 100% respect, particularly in a mountain race. His presence here will not only make his competitors make a mental note but also firmly place a target on his back as one to follow should he make a move.

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Aritz Egea goes from strength-to-strength and will be a fierce competitor with a top-10 placing guaranteed should he continue the form shown at Zegama-Aizkorri, Skyrunning World Championships and most recently at the Dolomites Skyrace. Aritz will be top-5 at the summit of the long climb but may slip back as the running becomes faster and flatter.

©iancorless.comIMG_7059Canazei2014

Zaid Ait Malek will be smiling. Guaranteed! Zaid broke onto the circuit in 2013 and like others has progressed into ‘hot’ on the trail, mountain and Skyrunning circuit. Without doubt top-10 potential and should he have a great day, top-5.

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols may very well upset the apple cart for everyone! The Sierre-Zinal course will suit him right down to the ground and will play into his hands; he loves mountain running on faster trails where he can unleash his speed. His recent top result at Speedgoat 50k bodes well!

©iancorless.comIMG_2843Canazei2014

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen goes from strength to strength not only in the VK distance but in the Sky distance. His ability and rounded running style will suit the Sierre-Zinal course and after 2 impressive runs in the Dolomites, we can expect Thor to push at the front of the race.

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David Schneider heads up the competition from Switzerland and Cesar Costa will make them an unstoppable duo. David has recently become a Dad so he may be a little sleep deprived but his recent performance at the Dolomites Skyrace shows he has lost none of his speed.

Florian Reichert will be looking to transfer his fast marathon pace and VK ability to a course that plays into the German’s hands. Of all the Skyrunning courses, Sierre-Zinal on paper appears to be the perfect fit for Florian. His recent performance at the Skyrunning World Championships shows his form is good.

Ones to watch:

  • Fabio Bazzana
  • Dabid Garcia
  • Hector Haines
  • Saul Antonio Padua
  • Robert Krupicka
  • Nicolas Pianet
  • Julien Rancon

The elite line up has great depth. I am sure I have missed some possible top-10 contenders? You can view the list HERE

 

THE LADIES

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Elisa Desco pipped Stevie Kremer to the top slot in 2013 and will be looking to do the same in 2014. Elisa recently beat Stevie at the Skyrunning World Championships and just this last weekend placed 1st at Fletta Trail. Elisa is going to be the one to beat!

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Stevie Kremer has raced at Sierre-Zinal a couple of times now and hasn’t made the top slot. 2014 may well be the year that elevates her up a slot and she is crowned champion. In real terms, I wonder if this course has enough climbing? Certainly in the early stages, Stevie will be at the front of the field and may well lead the race. However, as the course flattens off and comes more runnable, Stevie looses some of her advantage. If I were Stevie, I’d run hard from the gun and open up a gap…

©iancorless.com_IMG_8267Zegama14

Kasie Enman is back! I have been continually impressed by the progression and story of Kasie. Now a mother of 2, Kasie is on the comeback trail after her 2nd child and her recent improvements in all her races can only mean that the American will be ‘one-to-watch’ on this course. Placing in the top-3 at Speedgoat 50k must have provided a real boost not only to her confidence but fitness. Now in Europe for an extended period, expect Kasie to create a stir.

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VK specialist Laura Orgue turned the tables upside down at the recent Dolomites Skyrace relegating Emelie Forsberg to 2nd place. For sure, Laura will embrace the opening kilometres of the Sierre-Zinal route, as they are all uphill. However, as the course flattens one has to question will she be able to hold any advantage gained to the line.

©iancorless.comIMG_3218Canazei2014

Victoria Wilkinson created a stir at the Dolomites Skyrace and I am 100% convinced that she will make her presence felt here in Zinal. Like so many other Brits before her, Victoria is grounded in fell running and the technical skills and ability that style of running brings. The transition is often seamless as we have seen with Tom Owens, Andy Symonds and so many more… one to watch!

Stephanie Howe along with Kremer and Enman adds more US firepower to what is already a very strong line up! Sierre-Zinal may well be a little short for Steph, however, if she can transfer he ability from longer races to this fast mountain race, we may well see an upset. In 2014 alone, Steph has won Western States, Mesquite Canyon 50k and placed 2nd at Lake Sonoma 50.

Christel Dewalle is an ever present on the podium. Her ability of VK and SKY distance is second to none and the French lady will without doubt be contesting the top-5 and arguably the podium.

Aline Camboulive and Maud Mathys both return. Aline won the race in 2012 in 3:02:58 and Maud placed 3rd in 2012 and 2013. This year the competition is arguably a little stronger and more competitive. Add Celine Lafaye to the mix and if any of this dynamic trio makes the podium, they will have had a great race.

Ones to watch:

  • Tessa Hill
  • Leire Agirrezabala
  • Caroline Chaverot
  • Ana Conde
  • Helen Bonsor
  • Christy Mahon

Female Elite start list HERE

LINKS

Skyrunning HERE

Talk Ultra on Twitter HERE

Talk Ultra on Facebook HERE

SKYRUNNING 2014 Calendar Announced – SWS14 #SWS14

Kilian Jornet Trofeo Kima 2012 ©iancorless.com

Kilian Jornet Trofeo Kima 2012 ©iancorless.com

The ISF is pleased to announce the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series. Fifteen quality races, three disciplines, the same winning formula. The 2014 Series will offer participants benefits amounting to 1,000 race slots230 free entries125 accommodation slots and 50 travel slots.

Five Sky, five Ultra and five Vertical races are distributed across six nations in three continents.

The Sky Series comprises some of the best races in the history of the sport and welcomes back Zegama, Dolomites SkyRaceCourse de Sierre-Zinal celebrating its 41st year, Zermatt’s Matterhorn Ultraks launched this year and Limone Extreme tying up the Series.

Opening the season in May will be the almost legendary Transvulcania Ultramarathon.  In its third successful year on the Skyrunner® World Series, the event will be enhanced with a spectacular “sea to sky” Vertical Kilometer®, where contestants climb up the same rugged, steep descent of the long distance race.

The Ultra Series heads over to France for a repeat of the 65 km Ice-Trail Tarentaise over the snow-covered peaks above Val d’Isère.  A Vertical Kilometer® will also take place here.  From 1996 five editions were held on the imposing Face de Bellevarde, where the first world record was set.

Utah’s Speedgoat 50K returns on the Ultra Series followed by the biennial Kima Trophy.  Probably the most emblematic skyrunning event, it will celebrate its 20th anniversary with skyrunning legends Bruno Brunod and Fabio Meraldi.

Concluding the Ultra Series in September, we welcome new entry, The Rut 50K, in Montana’s appropriately named Big Sky resort. Organised by two American Ultra running icons, Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe, it’s set to make its mark on the international scene. Here, America’s first World Series’ Vertical Kilometer® will also take place in the rugged Montana mountains.

The Italian Dolomites, home of the 2013 European Championships, are again back on the calendar with a SkyRace® and Vertical Kilometer® double.

Italy’s incredibly spectacular and gruelling Limone Extreme SkyRace® and Vertical Kilometer® will again host the World Series final in October on Lake Garda.

462 kilometres across the three disciplines are set off by no less than 36,150 metres vertical climb with inclines between 16% and 50%.

The reward for this gruelling programme? Benefits amounting to US $ 200,000$ 120,000 cash prizes, $ 25,000 World Series final prizes and $ 55,000 worth of benefits.

The rewards don’t finish here however.  There’s more in store with the new Skyrunner® card.  Details will be revealed in January 2014.

2014 Skyrunner® World Series

Team partners are a growing success story with two partnership formulas to choose from. At least ten principal outdoor brands are involved. See here for further information for team entries in the World Series.

SKY
1. SPAIN: Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri – 42 km – Zegama – May 25
2. ITALY: Dolomites SkyRace® – 22 km – Canazei – July 20
3. SWITZERLAND: Course de Sierre-Zinal – 31 km – Valais – August 10
4. SWITZERLAND: Matterhorn Ultraks – 46 km -Zermatt – August 23
5. ITALY: Limone Extreme SkyRace® – 23 km – Limone sul Garda – October 12

ULTRA

1. SPAIN: Transvulcania Ultramarathon – 83 km, La Palma – May 10
2. FRANCE: Ice Trail Tarentaise – 65 km, Val d’Isère – July 11
3. USA: Speedgoat 50K, Snowbird, Utah – July 19
4. ITALY: Trofeo Kima – Aug 31
5. USA: The Rut 50K, Big Sky, Montana – September 14

VERTICAL
1. SPAIN: Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® – May 8
2. FRANCE: VK Face de Bellevarde, Val d’Isère – July 11
3. ITALY: Dolomites Vertical Kilometer®, Canazei – July 18
4. USA: Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer® – September 12
5. ITALY:  Vertical Grèste de la Mughéra, Limone sul Garda – October 10

*Legend

SKY – races more than 22 km and less than 50 km long with at least 1,300m positive vertical climb (SkyRace® and SkyMarathon®)
ULTRA – races over 50 km long that exceed the SkyMarathon® parameters (Ultra SkyMarathon®)
VERTICAL – races with 1,000m positive vertical climb not exceeding 5 km distance (Vertical Kilometer®)
 

Skyrunner®, SkyRace®, SkyMarathon®, Vertical Kilometer® are registered trademarks

Press Release ©ISF

Limone Extreme Race Preview – the 2013 Skyrunner VK and SKY World Series final.

ISF Logo 2013 ORNG+GREY TRANS

The 2013 Skyrunner World Series comes to an end in Italy this coming weekend at the Limone Extreme amidst the stunning backdrop of Lake Garda. It has been an incredible year, three disciplines; VK, SKY and ULTRA have been raced throughout the world over a total of fifteen races (five in each discipline). The ULTRA championship was decided in Vail, Colorado where Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg were crowned Skyrunner Ultra World Champions. This coming weekend, world champions will be announced in the VK and SKY disciplines.

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The Limone Extreme course was designed by Skyrunning legend, Fabio Meraldi. As one would expect, it is a true Skyrunning race with steep, sharp vertical over technical terrain. For example, the VK has 1,100m gain in 3km, climbing from the shores of Lake Garda, the race is extremely unique as it takes place as light fades and the course becomes illuminated by torches.

The SKY course by contrast is very similar to the course in Canazei. At 23.5km it is a short race, however, in contrast to the Dolomites race it does have less vertical ascent. Starting at Lake level runners will tackle 2002m of vertical ascent over a looped course. At the summit, stunning views of the surrounding area and lake are offered, however, participants will have no time to enjoy the view; a long and technical descent to the lake awaits. Often open and exposed, this course requires 100% concentration. Skyrunning legend, Marco De Gasperi set the men’s record of 2:13:34 in 2012 and Deborah Cardone holds the ladies best in a time of 3:02:08.

THE SKY RACE

MEN’S RACE

Kilian Jornet ©iancorless.com

Kilian Jornet (Salomon) irrespective of his performance at Limone will be crowned World Champion. His three victories in previous races means he is unbeatable. It once again proves Kilian’s ability as a runner but also his ability over multiple distances. One thing is for sure though, he likes to win and he likes to race. The Limone Extreme course will suit his skill levels and it will also fulfill his desires to be at one with the mountain. Without doubt he is an outright favourite for the win.

Luis Alberto Hernando ©iancorless.com

With the absence of Marco De Gasperi due to injury, Kilian will have his hands full with Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas). Kilian and Luis have had an incredible season pushing each other to new levels and better performances as they both attempted to win the ULTRA and SKY series. Luis currently second overall on the SKY series will be looking to consolidate that position and coming from a recent win at Cavalls del Vent he will be looking to maybe topple Kilian and finish the series by topping the podium ahead of the Catalan.

Tofol Castanyer ©iancorless.com

Following Luis at Cavalls del Vent, Tofol Castanyer (Salomon) will join the party on Lake Garda. Tofol has had a very mixed season. Plagued with injury and bad luck, the latter half of his season has seen a return to form. The Limone course suits his natural abilities. *not racing 08/10/13

Alex Nichols ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols (inov-8) has the skill level and speed to move up from 4th overall on the SKY series and move ahead of Jokin Lizeaga Mitxelena (EMF). The two are separated by just 32-points. It will require a top performance by Alex. In the past, Alex has often commented that his descending has let him down, however, just recently he flew down the descent at Pikes Peak proving that he has been working on this!

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Unfortunately, Nicola Golinelli (Arc’teryx) who is currently 5th on the ranking will not perform due to injury; this leaves the door open for Erik Dagsson Haugsness (inov-8) to chase his teammate, Alex. Whatever the outcome, UK brand inov-8 will be extremely happy to have two runners in or around the top five in the first season competing in the Skyrunner World Series.

Zaid Ait Malek - Haria Extreme

Zaid Ait Malek – Haria Extreme

One name to watch and look out for in the Limone race is Zaid Ait Malek. This quiet Moroccan has had an incredible season consistently making the podium, often behind Luis Alberto Hernando, however he is without doubt a star for the future. He raced earlier in 2013 at Zegama-Aizkorri and placed an excellent 4th but he has progressed and matured in the following months.

Finally, David Schneider is making a first time appearance for inov-8 at Limone Extreme and it shows how as a brand, inov-8 are looking to the future. They are already committed to a 2014 season and they are laying the foundation now. David is an accomplished runner and comes from a strong orienteering background. He attracted the attention of inov-8 with an 11th overall at the highly respected Sierre-Zinal race earlier this year. Limone will be a great initiation into Sky racing and the technicality it brings.

Other names to watch:

Dai Matsumoto, Ryan Bak, Florian Reichert, Eric Diaz Martin, Didier Zago

Fulvio Dapit, and Nicola Golinelli.

LADIES RACE

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

It is very much a Salomon showdown for Limone with Emelie Forsberg, Stevie Kremer and Silvia Serafini going head-to-head not only for the final race win but the overall title. In real terms, the outright world title will be decided between Emelie Forsberg and Stevie Kremer. These two pocket rockets have had an incredible season and excitement is most certainly building as we anticipate who will come out on top in Italy. Separated by just ten points, 288 to 278, Stevie and Emelie will have a battle royal ahead. I for one can’t wait to see how this one unfolds. Emelie has been Miss Consistent in 2013 showing a skill and ability level beyond her years.

Stevie Kremer ©iancorless.com

Stevie Kremer has been equally impressive. Stevie produced maybe one of the performances of the year with an incredible win and course record at Mont Blanc Marathon. Stevie’s biggest issue may very well be out of her control, she can actually make the long trip from Colorado just two days before the race.

Silvia Serafini ©iancorless.com

Silvia Serafini has blossomed into an incredibly consistent and dominant runner. She gives herself quite a punishing schedule, regularly racing and regularly winning at all disciplines. Currently 3rd in the SKY ranking with 226 points she would need a podium finish and Emelie and Stevie not to finish or finish outside of the points to move up the classification. Irrespective of overall positions, Silvia, racing in Italy will be looking to push as hard as possible and hopefully win the race outright.  *injured 08/10/13

Oihana Kortazar ©iancorless.com

Oihana Kortazar returns to SKY racing after a quiet 2013 and has all the ability and talent to push her Salomon teammates all the way and don’t be surprised if she is on the podium at the finish. *not racing 08/10/13

Anna Lupton ©iancorless.com

Anna Lupton (inov-8) currently placed 6th overall will be looking for a strong and consistent performance to consolidate her 2013 season. The podium may just be out of reach but keep an eye on her.

Finally I am going to tip a hat to Brit, Tracy Dean. This will be her first ever Skyrunning race. Tracy is a strong fell runner and has recently represented GB at the world trail championships. I don’t think we will see her up at the front end but it will be interesting to see how she performs.

Other names to watch:

Maud Gobert and Tessa Hill.

THE VERTICAL KILOMETER

A race within a race! Our attention splits for the Limone VK, for once, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg are not in contention for the overall World title. However, they will both most certainly be looking for outright victory in the Limone race. Emelie and Kilian have not placed an emphasis on the VK circuit this year and therefore have not accumulated enough points to qualify, however, when they have raced the VK distance they have performed consistently well. Kilian won in Canazei and placed 2nd at Mont Blanc, Emelie by contrast was 4th at Mont Blanc and 2nd at Canazei; both will be up at the front in Limone.

Urban Zemmer leading at Canazei VK

Urban Zemmer leading at Canazei VK

The men’s race is a who’s who of VK racing with the top seven in the rankings performing. Marco Facchinelli is currently leading with 236-points followed by Ferran Teixido Marti Ventosa 2nd with 216-points. In 3rd Joan Freixa Marcelo, 180-points and then the real interest starts, Urban Zemmer, 2012 champion and current VK world record holder is chomping at the bit with 168-points. Interestingly, Marco Facchinelli will need to finish in the top three if he wants to keep the world title, however, should Urban Zemmer win and Facchinelli drop to 4th, the title could be Zemmer’s. It is going to be an interesting race.

Other names to watch:

Oscar Casal Mir 5th, Xavier Teixido Marti Ventosa 6th, Marco Moletto 7th. And in addition, Erik Dagsson Haugsness (inov-8) will compete in the VK in addition the SKY race.

Antonella Confortola at Canazei VK

Antonella Confortola at Canazei VK

Vanessa Ortega Trancon currently leads the VK series with 236-points closely followed by Alba Xandri Suets on 228-ponts and the 2012 VK champion, Laura Orgue is 3rd with 188-points. Brit Tessa Hill is 4th with 156-points and it is all to play for. The addition of Emelie Forsberg and Antonella Confortola will add an interesting element to this race as they are both more than capable of taking the 1st and 2nd places, if this happens, 3rd place and the points awarded will be very important in deciding who will be the 2013 Skyrunner VK World Champion.

An exciting weekend of racing is about to unfold; the VK takes place on Friday and the SKY race Sunday.

LINKS

Follow the action as it unfolds on twitter @talkultra on Facebook HERE and via this website.

Skyrunning HERE

Limone Extreme HERE

Scott eRide Grip 2

Scott eRide Grip 2

 

Scott are renowned for cycling and skiing products. I know first hand the quality of the cycling products, In my previous life as a cyclist and triathlete I had used Scott extensively for bikes, clothes, shoes and helmets. However, Scott as a running brand grabbed my attention when I witnessed Marco de Gasperi crossing the finish line of Sierre-Zinal in first place. In chatting with him I became aware that particularly in the UK they are pretty much unknown.

De Gasperi wins

 

As often happens a series of events post Sierre-Zinal meant that I had several samples to test. Ironically this coincided with myself picking up a knee injury and as such I had to pretty much put all product testing to one side until I got better.

eRide Grip2

 

My eRide Grip 2 had tempted me for a few months, the glowing yellow tempting me to take them out. As my injury progressed, finally in November 2012 I was able to resume some running and take the Scott’s for a spin. Or should I say several spins.

Weighing in at 336g for a UK9.5 this compares well to other shoes in direct comparison. For example a Salomon Speedcross 3 is 350g and a Salomon S-Lab Softground is 367g for the same size. For a lightweight comparison, The North Face Single Track Hayasa is 280g and the Salomon Sense Ultra is 230g.

The heel to toe drop is 11mm and as such allows direct comparison to the Speedcross 3 and Softground. Also, a key element of the eRide Grip 2 is the aggressive outsole.

eRide Grip2 sole

 

The outsole really is aggressive and as such makes running on all terrains a pleasure. It grips well on rocks, grass, mud, sand, lava and works incredibly well on road and hard trails. The shoe has a very cushioned feel and provides real comfort over longer distances. I was really impressed how the shoe felt on the road. Of course this shoe is not for that type of surface but if you are ever out training or racing and need to transfer from trails don’t worry. This shoe can handle it!

The upper is a very breathable and lightweight mesh. A bumper at the front of the shoe provides adequate protection from rocks and other objects but not as much protection as other brands on the market. The tongue is free fitting and not very padded but perfectly comfortable.

The laces have an elastic feel and work really well. Get the shoe tightened and tied and then don’t worry. In use I never had to re tighten my laces and that included some outings of up to 9 hours. A neat addition 2/3 of the way down the laces is an elastic that stretches from one side of the show to the other.This allows you to hold the excess laces in place so they don’t bounce and flap around. Not as ground breaking as Salomon’s ‘Garage’ but it does the job and it is a welcome addition

The heel area is reinforced very well and provides a real secure and comfortable area. It is this area that provides real security on the trail holding the foot firm. Padding is excellent but at the back of the shoe this padding may come a little high for some… I had no issues whatsoever but I have heard one or two comments referring to this.

One of the key features of the shoe is eRide. eRide is designed to offer a faster foot transition when on the ground by providing a ‘rocker‘ platform. The unique rocker shape creates a very stable midstance, promoting the faster and more efficient running style that runners strive for.

Scott eRide Rocker

 

Now depending on your foot strike you may feel a real benefit from this rocker or you may feel a faster transition if you are already a mid to forefoot runner. Certainly if you are a heel striker, as the diagram shows you will hit the ground with the rear of the shoe and the ‘rocker’ will then help you transfer quicker to the propulsion phase. This will increase efficiency and reduce strain. On any downhill section, the rocker works really well allowing you to strike with the heel and efficiently move forward to the next step. Another key feature (and you will see this in the image of the sole above) is that the sole has NO raised arch. Therefore the eRide Grip 2 has a solid platform from which to strike the ground and this once again reduces inefficiency.

Scott boast the benefits of eRide as follows:

  • 1. Healthier body position
  • 2. More energy efficient
  • 3. Natural midfoot strike
  • 4. Lower profile heel
  • 5. Smoother ride
  • 6. Minimal and lighter weight

Refreshingly when I looked for technical specifications for the shoe, the Scott website provides minimal information:

  • Category: Trail Running
  • Weight: 340g USM 9
  • Heel to toe drop: 11 mm
  • Technologies: eRide Push-through plate High traction rubber
  • Lace: bungy
  • MaterialUpper: Mesh/Synthetic Overlays Lower: EVA/rubberSize run

It may be me but that really is a stripped down description of a shoe, No fancy names, no technical jargon I don’t understand… it’s simple. The only term that needs clarification is the eRide and they provide a very good description and breakdown of that.

TESTING

Initially I was running in these shoes for 30-45 mins on soft, muddy and wet terrain in the UK winter. Comfort was noticeable immediately. I enjoyed the feel of the shoe around my foot. The heel area offered security and for a mid to forefoot striker the eRide did help propel me forward allowing me to keep my cadence high and short. My runs from home always require me to do at least 1 mile on the road before I can get to the trail. The shoe really did feel comfortable over this hard unforgiving terrain. I was surprised at this particularly considering the aggressive sole.

When on the trail the aggressive sole immediately did it’s job providing security and grip were other trail shoes had failed. I must point out here that it performed on a par with Salomon Speedcross 3, Salomon S-Lab Softground and the Sportiva Raptor.

In December I went to the island of La Palma to run on the Transvulcania La Palama course. The only shoe I took was the eRide Grip 2. It was an opportunity to test the shoe on a daily basis on some tough and gnarly terrain but also a great opportunity to use the shoe for hours in contrast to minutes.

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I ran, walked and hiked over the Transvulcania course for 12 days. A short day was 2 hours, a long day was 9 hours. I ran over rocks, ran through lava fields, made my way through pine forests, ran along beaches, navigated through boulders and crossed rivers. At no point did the shoes let me down. No hot spots and no blisters. I had all day comfort in conjunction with firm grip on a multitude of terrain. Was I impressed? Absolutely.

Any negatives?

After two weeks on the Transvulcania course I threw the shoes away. No, not because I didn’t like them… but I had worn the sole away (at least in areas). This makes me question if the compound of the sole is maybe too soft? But then again, would I want Scott to change this? My answer is a definite NO.

I do believe that the sole compound is ideal for offering grip on a multitude of surfaces. On hard and wet rocks the eRide Grip 2 performed exceptionally well, had the compound been harder that may very well not have been the case.

Did the sole wear down too quickly? Arguably yes but then again the Transvulcania course is like running on sandpaper (coarse sandpaper). In addition to the abrasive lava we had to contend with sharp jagged rocks, boulders, gravel and a multitude of surfaces that would have worn any shoe down. My partner ran for 2 weeks with me in a different shoe and brand and had a similar scenario.

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Conclusion

A great trail shoe that offered a secure, firm and cushioned fit on a multitude of surfaces and terrain. The eRide technology certainly helped with an efficient run stride and overall comfort level was excellent.

Sizing is true to size.

If you need an all round trail shoe then the eRide Grip 2 is a strong recommendation.

You can see all Scott Running products HERE

The 2013 model is now available in a new colour way – blue/black

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Faces of Ultra

A selection of images from my personal project, ‘Faces of Ultra‘ have been published in the January edition of Running Fitness.

You can view more images at the website www.facesofultrs.com

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