Kilian Jornet and Maude Mathys make history at Sierre-Zinal report by Salomon Running

 ZINAL, SWITZERLAND – Sierre-Zinal is a legendary trail race because of its nearly five decades of history and revered athletic performances, and on Sunday along its famed trails in the Swiss Alps another trail running legend added yet another chapter to both his own storied legacy and the race’s as well. Setting out with a blazing fast pace, Spain’s Kilian Jornet (Team Salomon) ran away from one of the most competitive trail running fields in recent memory to win in 2:25:35, shattering Jonathan Wyatt’s longstanding course record of 2:29:12 by three minutes and 37 seconds. It was Jornet’s seventh win at Sierre-Zinal in nine tries. 

📷Kilian at the 2014 Sierre-Zinal

On the women’s side, Switzerland’s Maude Mathys* (Team Salomon) also broke the Sierre-Zinal course record, winning in 2:49:20 to best Anna Pichrtova’s 2008 time by nearly five minutes.

*(In 2015 Mathys was reprimanded for an ADRV for using clomiphene, a fertility drug which features on the WADA Prohibited List under section S4: Hormone and Metabolic Modulators. Mathys was let off with a warning as the drug was being taken in the hope of getting pregnant.)

Both Jornet and Mathys won from the front, surging to the lead on the challenging early uphill. As part of the second season of the Golden Trail World Series, Sierre-Zinal had another deep, talented field.

That seemed to bring the best out of the athletes taking to the starting line at the fourth stop of the six-race Series.Jornet was chased valiantly by 2016 winner *Petro Mamu from Eritrea, who also broke the former course record, finishing just 56 seconds behind the Spaniard in 2:26:31.

*(Petro Mamu (ERI) tested positive at the doping control in Premana after both the World Mountain Running Championships and the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships. Mamu received a nine-month ban starting on 19 September 2017 after admitting to the findings and co-operating with the IAAF (reduced from 2 years).  All results of his  following 30 July 2017 were cancelled.  The substance being a medication normally used to assist with Asthma.)

American runner Jim Walmsley (Team Hoka), competing for the first time at Sierre-Zinal, was 3rd in an impressive 2:31:52. Juan Carlos Carera was 4th in 2:32:52 and Great Britain’s Robbie Simpson was 5th in 2:33:55.

Kilian Jornet grabbed the lead a few strides into the race and was alone from there on out. The course gains 2,200 meters from the start in Sierre to the finish line in the idyllic alpine village of Zinal, rolling along before a big downhill finish. Jornet wasted no time letting the competition know he was going for broke. At the Chandolin checkpoint he was ahead of Mamu by two minutes 1:05:59 and in hot pursuit of the course record set by Wyatt in 2003.

“I checked the time after the climb from the start and I knew it was good,” Jornet said. “I expected a couple guys to come with me on the first climb like Petro and Davide Magnini, but I was alone from the start after a few hundred meters. I have big respect for the record of Jonathan. He was a leader of the sport so to follow in his footsteps is a great feeling. This is special of all the victories.”

Jornet set his sights on the 31km Sierre-Zinal race with a dedicated training regimen that he knew was necessary if he was to approach the record of Wyatt. He scaled back his racing schedule this season to focus his training in an attempt to see just how fast he could be.

“I usually average about 15 races per year, and there have been years where I did 50 races between trail running and ski-mo, so you don’t train. You race and recover,” Jornet said after his win. “The goal this year was to focus on training and see if it makes a difference in the performance. I always target to win, but I plan a strategy in each race so I don’t really race full-out because I know I have another race just after, sometimes the next week. This year, the goal was to give everything and not have to worry about recovering for the next race. And I was six minutes faster than my best time here so it seemed to work. I thought it was possible to break the record, but I thought I’d be counting seconds.”

After winning in his 2019 debut at Zegama-Aizkorri Mountain Marathon in June, Jornet was appearing in his second Golden Trail World Series race of the season. Next, he will set his sights on the oldest trail race in America, the Pikes Peak Mountain Marathon in Colorado, the fifth stop of the 2019 Golden Trail World Series, on August 25th

In the women’s race, Mathys made sure Jornet wasn’t the only one breaking a record on the day. Her time of 2:49:20 was five minutes ahead of fellow Swiss Judith Wyder (Team Salomon) who finished in 2:54:20, and it broke the former course record of 2:54:26 by five minutes and six seconds. Wyder was also under the former record by six seconds. 

Mathys was 3rd at the Dolomyths Sky run in Italy a couple of weeks back, but on Sunday she used her strength in the uphill to put distance between herself and the field in the early going. She was more than three minutes ahead at the Chandolin checkpoint and was never seen again by the rest of the pack.  

Italy’s Silvia Rampazzo (Team Tornado) was 3rd with another strong effort on the Golden Trail World Series. She finished in 2:56:17. New Zealand’s Ruth Croft (Team Scott) continued her amazing consistency with a 4th place finish in 3:01:56, while  France’s Anais Sabrié was 5th in 3:01:58.  

ABOUT THE GOLDEN TRAIL SERIES:

The elite runners of the Golden Trail World Series are trying to earn points in the season-long chase for a spot in the Grand Final, which will take place in Nepal in October. The athletes must participate in three of the six races during the series in order to be eligible for the final. The top-10 men and women with the most points in their three best races will earn a trip for themselves and a person of their choice to the Grand Final. The overall final standings (and the men’s and women’s champions) of the Golden Trail World Series will be determined again by the runners’ three best finishes during the season, plus their result at the Grand Final.  

 

For up-to-date Golden Trail World Series standings

Photo credits: Martina Valmassoi and Jordi Saragossa

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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Sage Canaday reflects on Sierre-Zinal

Sage relaxing after Transvulcania La Plama, 2013

Sage relaxing after Transvulcania La Plama, 2013

The 40th edition of Sierre-Zinal is over. The results are in if you read my pre race post (here) then you will see that a few surprises came once the finish line was passed.

One of the surprises of the day was from Sage Canaday. As he says in his post race report, “After having a string of strong ultra-trail race performances for the early part of this year (two 100km wins, two 50 mile wins, a 3rd at Transvulcania and a 3rd at Mt. Washington, and a 50km win) I figured I was due to have a tough day and get “lit up” soon enough.”

It’s tough being at the top! And I have to say, to remain at the top you need to be smart. Lets look at the lessons Geoff Roes is currently giving out on how to burn out! We are not invincible. Sometimes we may think we are and I guess when you have success to the level that Sage has had in the last twelve months, then, as the multitude of race invites arrive, it must be difficult to say no!

“The thing is a lot of times you learn the most from your biggest disappointments.” It may very well be that Sage is start that learning process now. It’s a good thing. Better to learn to kick back and make smart choices in your early years and race for a lifetime than find out in 5-10 years that you can no longer carry on.

You can read Sage’s full blog post HERE

Read my Sierre-Zinal post race summary HERE

Here are some things that Sage learned  from this Sierre-Zinal experience:

Lessons Learned:

1.  Prior course knowledge is essential for not only executing proper race-day tactics/strategy, but also for specificity in training and knowing what demands will be placed on the body. I should have figured this out after Transvulcania this year.

2.  Racing ultras in the US does not carry over the same fitness required for shorter distance (or perhaps any distance) mountain races in Europe. The mountains here are steeper and less forgiving compared to running up the more reasonable slopes of US trails. I think this goes along with still not having enough vertical in my weekly training as it’s takes a certain type of musculature to be able to pull of power hiking 30% grades and then running (and switching back and forth) for hours on end. Furthermore, I should have had more intense training to generate more muscle tension in my legs…a couple Vertical K’s would’ve been much more specific prep!

3. It takes me longer than 2 weeks to recover from an ultra…even “just” a 50km like Speedgoat. I remember in my days at Hansons I had a good seven-week block averaging 130 miles a week and I hammered a 20-mile long run (with a final 3 miles in 14:50) about 3 weeks before the Boston marathon in 2010. I thought I was in the best shape of my life but I ended up tanking and had “dead legs” early on in the race. In retrospect I’ve learned that my body is fragile and I can easily overtrain (and over race) myself before I get injured or mentally “burnt-out.” My climbing legs couldn’t fire at 100% during this race and taking a full 7 days totally off after Speedgoat probably made my Vo2max drop a good 2-3% anyway. Unlike certain other ultra-mountain runners I can’t recover very fast.

On a final note. Sage will be back! No doubt. He has heaps of talent, he is young and ultimately, as he says, “The thing is a lot of times you learn the most from your biggest disappointments.”

Sierre-Zinal 2013 Race Summary

©copyright .iancorless.com.iancorless.orgIMGP0638glacierdezinal

What a race the 2013 and 40th edition of Sierre-Zinal proved to be. It was an exciting nail biter in the men’s race with a new star and the old guard shining. For the ladies, we had a new lady on top of the podium, a repeat performance for second and third and the UK showing how to be consistent and perform at the highest level.

Men’s race

Marc Lauenstein (Suisse) 2:32:14 took home the win from Juan Carlos Cardona (Colombia) who was Kilian Jornet’s pre race prediction by just 16 seconds in what proved to be a fitting climax to an incredible race. Cardona looked as though he had the race won but Lauenstein pulled something special out of the bag in the closing stages. Very little is known about Marc, however, he is a Swiss orienteering competitor and he won silver at the 2005 and 2006 World long distance orienteering championships.

Mountain running legend and Sierre-Zinal course record holder, Jonathan Wyatt (NZL) proved that experience and pure class can outwit the competition for a 3rd place in a time of 2:33:44.

Although entered in the race for some time, Kilian Jornet decided to run only in the days before the race. He was already at the Matterhorn and preparing for his next ‘Summit’. The temptation to drive from Italy to Switzerland was too great, and although he may very well have raced for ‘fun’ he placed fourth in 2:33:59. After the race he tweeted, “Super, super, happy today with Sierre-Zinal. I was here to enjoy the race and I feel super good. Finished in an unexpected 4th with my best crono!”

Robbie Simpson from the UK proved what an incredible talent he is, running for inov-8 he placed 5th in 2:35:32. It’s a world-class performance in a world-class field. A star of the future!

As you will see from my pre race summary, the 40th edition of Sierre-Zinal was such a tough race to call. Stars like Tofol Castanyer (7th), Rickey Gates (9th), Sage Canaday (17th); all proved that predictions are a fickle area to delve into, particularly in a relatively short and tough mountain race like Sierre-Zinal.

Sage Canaday runs a 2:16 marathon and has had repeated victories in 2012 and 2013. Many of those victories have come with course records. Just recently he won Speedgoat 50k ahead of runners like Anton Krupicka, Max king and Timothy Olson. Now of course here at Sierre-Zinal he may well have been running on ‘jaded’ legs. It is a distinct possibility. Post race he said, “Total muscle failure. Mountain racing in Europe is totally different from the US ultra-trail scene.” It does beg a question, are some of the top guys racing too much or do they need to be more specific in training? Certainly Rickey Gates has proven here that US male runners can perform in Europe, as did Anton Krupicka at Cavalls del Vent in the latter part of 2012. What are your thoughts?

On a final note, Cesar Costa (Martigny) has placed second at Sierre-Zinal three times before. For sure, many of us thought that 2013 may well have been his opportunity, however, he finished in thirteenth with a time 2:42:11.

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Ladies race

Placing 2nd at Sierre-Zinal in 2012, her first European race, I firmly placed my prediction on Stevie Kremer taking out the win after a stunning twelve months racing. At the finish line, Stevie didn’t disappoint, however, the top spot was not hers. In a repeat of 2012, Stevie placed second, 3:03:12 and Maud Mathys placed third, 3:04:13. It was like déjà vu.

One thing that did change though was the top slot on the podium. Unnoticed by me on the start sheet, Elisa Desco produced a career enhancing performance and she once again proved that after some time away from the sport that good things come to those who wait. Marc De Gasperi (2012 Sierre-Zinal winner) summed it up when he tweeted, “No words enough to say how much YOU deserve this victory! Brava, brava, brava!!!”

Kenyan, Hellen Musyoka set the early pace but in the end placed 4th with a time of 3:04:47 and GB mountain running legend, Angela Mudge proved that experience is what really counts when it comes to Sierre-Zinal with a great fifth place in 3:07:21.

Victoria Wilkinson from Bingley Harries in the UK produced a sterling run to place sixth overall and this was ahead of some sterling competition. For example; 2013 Speedgoat 50k winner, Stephanie Howe placed 11th, Lizzy Hawker 14th (admittedly training for UTMB), Zhana Vokueva 15th and Celine Lafaye 18th.

Without doubt, it was an exceptional weekend of racing and of course, from a UK perspective, it is great to see Robbie Simpson, Angela Mudge and Victoria Wilkinson flying the flag at the front of the top European races.

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You can actually watch all the action from the 2013 Sierre-Zinal here:

http://www.rts.ch/video/sport/athletisme/5125770-revivez-la-40e-edition.html

Glacier de Zinal

Had a free morning yesterday, 13th August, before heading home from Sierre-Zinal and I went on a 5 hour run (hike) into the Glacier de Zinal with Salomon running athlete, South African, Linda Doke.

We had the most incredible run/hike and reached 2886m Cabane de Mountet  in front of  an amphitheater of mountains and ice:

Zinairothorn 4221m, Wallenkuppe 3903m, Ober Gabelhorn 4063m, Matterhorn 4476m, Pte de Zinal 3789m and Dent Blance 4357m.

The most incredible backdrop to ANY run I have done.

 

Sierre Zenal round up

De Gasperi and Cardona

What a day !

Marco de Gasperi after a turbulent 7 months in 2012 returned to form in a race that he loves! You can listen to what he had to say the day before the race HERE

Initially Marco de Gasperi and Cardona (Columbia) raced neck and neck going through 10km’s side by side. But Marco looked relaxed and in control. Post race in a finish line interview (listen HERE) he told me that the Columbian looked tired and he decided to push hard on the descent. We had discussed only the day before the race how he practices the skills to run down technical trail quickly.

He soon opened a gap and ran into the finish with a gap of just under 6 mins to prove to everyone that Marco is back!

Cardona obviously struggled with the pace and the effort that Marco had dictated and relinquished second place to Cesar Costa from Martigny. Cesar crossed the line in 2:37:39 in comparison to Marco’s 2:31:69.

David Cardona did hold on to third place though in 2:38:06

British men excelled in what was a very tough field with 43 year old and previous winner of Sierre Zenal (in his younger days as he told me) Billy Burns taking a great 9th place (2:43:38) in front of Tom Owens in 12th (2:45:56) and Joe Symonds in 18th (2:48:42).

In post race chats with both Tom and Joe they said how they had been going well running in the top 10 but the altitude had hit them making it really tough when racing along the plateau.

Tom Owens leading Joe Symonds

Billy Burns on the other hand who lives locally was adjusted. He kept saying to me post race “You know I’m over 40 don’t you? You know, don’t you?” He seemed really stoked at gaining a top 10 in an incredibly tough field. So he should!

The Ladies Race

Aline Cmboulive – FR – Ladies winner

Well, I guess the ladies race didn’t quite go to plan… or should I say, it didn’t quite go to the form book! Pre race favourites such as Oihana Kortazar and Nuria Picas didn’t have the races they wanted with Oihana dropping early and Nuria arriving at the finish looking in real pain.

Aline Camboulive from France moved ahead of the ladies field early on and maintained the gap all the way to the finish.

Stevie Kremer – USA

Big surprise of the race was American, Stevie Kremer who ran an incredible race to finish just 1:30 down on the winner for second place. She had been my pre-race dark horse! I had several chats with her prior to race day and although we all knew little about her she seemed motivated and very modest about her ability. On the finish line she looked as though she had just run a 10K !

Third placed lady some 6 mins behind the winner was Maud Mathys from Ollon.

Surprise of the day came from a last minute entrant! Non other than Lizzy Hawker. Apparently, she had phoned the race organiser at the 11th hour, obtained and entry and slipped into the race as a ‘training run’ (her words) on the back of some serious UTMB training. She still placed 9th!

Lizzy had this to say on the finish: listen HERE

Lizzy Hawker

Once again Sierre Zinal confirms itself as a race for everyones bucket list! At 31km’s it is a manageable distance for all. With two starts, one at 0500 am for the walkers and slower runners and then 0900 for the main runners it provides everyone with a possibility to experience the scenery, the altitude and the climbs of this beautiful area of Switzerland.

Course Profile

RESULTS

Top 10 Men

Top 10 Ladies

Marco de Gasperi – Sierre Zinal

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

It’s the day before Sierre Zinal and I caught up with Skyrunning legend, Marco de Gasperi.

Marco, now 35 years old started running in the mountains very young. He participated in his first Sky Race when 15/16 years old.

You can listen to his thoughts HERE

Or via Talk Ultra HERE

*Please note this is recorded ‘live’ in Zinal so sound quality may be affected by external sources.

Marco de Gasperi stretching his legs before Sierre Zinal 2012

Marco de Gasperia brief history

PLACE OF BIRTH: Bormio (So)

MAIN CATEGORY PLACINGS VICTORIES AND JUNIORS
1995-1996: Victory in World Cup racing teams in the mountains
1995: Class 7 ° C. World Mountain Running EDINBURGH (SCO)
1996: Class 3 ° C. Italian cross-country corporate SALSOMAGGIORE (Pr)
1996: Class 1 ° C. Italian mountain running after 3 races
1996: Class 1 ° C. World Mountain Running Telfes (Aut)

INDIVIDUAL WINS WORLD CUP
1997: C. World mountain running MALE ‘SVATANOVICE (CZE)
1999: C. World Mountain Running KINABALU PARK (MAS)
2001: C. World mountain running ARTA SPA (ITA)
2003: C. World Mountain Running Girdwood, Alaska (USA)
2007: C. World Mountain Running OVRONNAZ (SUI)
WIN World Cup team: 11
1997-1998-1999-2000-2001-2002-2003-2004-2007-2008-2011

WIN the European Cup team: 12
1997 -1998 – 1999 – 2001 -2002 -2003 -2004 – 2005 – 2007 -2008 – 2009-2010

Main results of European Mountain Running Championships:
Gold: 2004 Korbielow (POL)
Silver: 2002 Madeira (POR), 2007 Cauterez (FRA), 2009 Telfes (AUT)
Bronze: 1998 Sestriere (Turin), 2005 Heiligenblut (AUT), 2008 Zell am Harmersbach (GER), 2010 Separeva Banya (BUL)

PLACINGS Italian Mountain Running Championships:
Individual (after 3 races): Gold: 2002, 2003, 2004
Silver: 1999, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011
Bronze: 1997.2000, 2001, 2006, 2008
A relay: Gold: 2001 – ’02-’03-’04-’05-’07-’08-’09 – ’10

MAJOR VICTORIES IN INTERNATIONAL
Race LJUBIJANA Šmarna Gora (SLO) 1999, 2000
Snowdon Race LLAMBERIS (WAL) 2001
International WMRA Grand Prix (6 races) 2001
Strassenlauf Ferleiten Grossglockner (AUT) 2003
Mount Kinabalu Climbathon KINABALU PARK (MAS) 2003, 2010 (2h33’56 “Record)
Hochfelln Berglauf BERGEN (GER) 2006, 2008
Sierre – Zinal Zinal (SUI) 2008, 2011
Interlaken Jungfrau Marathon (SUI) 2010
Skyrunning European Championship Valmalenco-Valposchiavo (Ita – Sui) 2007 2h32’02 “Record

VICTORIES IN Vertical Kilometer:
VAL D’Isère (FRA) FILA Vertical Kilometer, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 (34’51 “Record)
VAIL (USA) 1999 FILA Vertical Kilometer
Cervinia (AO) FILA Vertical Kilometer 1998
ANDORRA Vertical Kilometer Sky Games 2006
CHIAVENNA (So) Chiavenna – Lagunch 2008 (Time 31’42 ‘.9), 2009
ARLES SUR THUR (FRA) Vertical World Series 2011
ANBOTO (SPA) Anboto Vertical Kilometer 2011

VERTICAL RACES:
MILAN – Pirelli Skyscraper Vertical Sprint 1, 2007, 2009 (Time 3’41 “)
TAIPEI (TWN) – TAIPEI Up Run 1, (2007-2010) 2nd (2008,2009,2011) (Time 11’09 “)
SAN PAULO (BRA) – NESTLE ‘Corrida Vertical Building 1, 2010 (Time 3’34 “)
NEW YORK (USA) Empire State Building Run Up 2 ° 2009 (10’21 “)
LONDON (GBR) THE GARKIN 2 ° 2010