RUN the RUT Sky Ultra 50km 2017 Summary and Images – Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

An incredible weekend of Skyrunning concluded at the RUT 50km in Montana today and Luis Alberto Hernando and Ragna Debats were crowned champions.

The RUT, part of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series took place in the resort of Big Sky, Montana. One of the key races in the 2017 World Series and the only race in the USA along with it’s shorter 28km Sky Race.

The 0600 start was mild in comparison to others years and a 500m climb kicked off the race making sure everyone was going to get warm pretty quickly. The first 45-minutes were undertaken in darkness and then a most incredible sunrise welcomed a new day.

Covering 50km (31 miles) the race has 3040m of vertical gain and loss and there are sections of this course, including the ascent and traverse of Headwaters ridge, as well as the ascent and descent of Lone Peak, which are extremely steep and technical. This is a true mountain course!

To many a Skyrunner, that is a calling card for a full-on, adrenaline packed mountain running adventure. Containing 60% single-track, 25% dirt road and 15% off-trail, the RUT really did provide a spectacular race.

What transpired was a stunning day of racing. Luis Alberto Hernando from Spain was head and shoulders above the competition running early on with Scott Patterson from Alaska but after the traverse of Headwaters Ridge he put the hammer down and left the completion fighting for 2nd. On the climb to Lone Peak, Hernando pushed and pushed, occasionally stopping to look to see how much gap he was opening up, by the summit it was over 10-minutes.

Patterson followed looking consistently strong ahead of a fragmented chasing group – the course, altitude and heat was really having an impact! So much so that the Alaskan faltered and a strong Morgan Elliott moved up from 4th after Lone Peak summit and into 2nd. He held this place all the way to the line crossing in 5:24 to Hernando’s 5:10.

Patterson somehow held on for 3rd but at the line he was shell of his former self. Dehydration took its toll and as he approached the line his legs gave way resulting in him crawling across the line to round out the podium in 5:33.

In the ladies, Ragna Debats followed on her incredible form to take a strong victory. She looked calm and relaxed throughout the day and post race she acknowledged how much she had loved the race, “It was an incredible day, I was looking around and relaxing but I was a little complacent. At the summit of Lone Peak I was caught by the 2nd lady and I had to put the hammer down to win the race.” Not only did she win but in the process set a new course record 6:13.

Continuing to show incredible promise, Brittany Peterson followed Debats all the way to the line. She had looked strong throughout the day, at the finish she looked as though she had energy to spare. Her time 6:18 allowing her a 20-minute margin over Kristina Pattison who placed 3rd in 6:42

  1. Ragna Debats (NED) 6:13
  2. Brittany Peterson (USA) 6:18
  3. Kristina Pattison (USA) 6:42
  4. Anna Dalton (USA) 6:43
  5. Phoebe Novello (USA) 7:42

 

  1. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) 5:10’
  2. Morgan Elliott (USA) 5:24’
  3. Scott Patterson (USA) 5:33’
  4. Pere Aurell Bove (ESP) 5:39’
  5. Chad Trammell (USA) 5:43’

RUN the RUT 2017 Race Preview

3-days, 3 races and 3 incredible experiences, Big Sky Montana hosts the Run the Rut weekend of racing. If ever a race weekend existed that should combine with a holiday experience, this is it, Big sky is located between the idyllic town of Bozeman and the iconic Yellowstone Park.

The isolated Lone Peak mountain provides a stunning backdrop for the Run the Rut races of VK, Sky and Ultra with all races climbing to its summit via technical ridge and difficult climb.

Utilizing what would be ski runs in winter, it’s easy to understand why the Rut has gained a reputation for providing a tough and technical test even for the most experienced runner.

The VK is the next race in the new VK World Circuit and this race takes place on Friday September 1st. The Sky Classic and Ultra continue the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series taking place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd respectively.

The Rut races have become flagship races in the USA. And are the only US based races in the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series. This is primarily due to the technical nature of the trails. You see, access to open land and mountains is not the same as in Europe. Strict land management is in place and ‘off-trail’ races just don’t exist. The Rut have managed to work around this by using the Big Sky resort which does not have to comply with land permission issues.

Vertical K

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

SkyRace

The SkyRace is the most pleasing race of the Rut weekend as the proportion of vertical gain and technical running all blend together in the most logical and pleasing course.

The men’s race has all the makings of a classic with some serious competition coming from Aritz Egea who is looking for 2017 SWS victory – he raced last weekend in Switzerland and will be tried.

But Jan Margarit is a man on form with victories at the Dolomites SkyRace and Comapedrosa, for me, he is the odds on favourite for victory! Remi Bonnet has won in the USA in past years and is the likely contender to give Margarit a tough run. However, Pascal Egli is having great year and he will no doubt be one to watch.

Eugeni Gil Ocana is on fire in 2017 and if he is not too tired after placing 2nd at Matterhorn Ultraks, he is a likely podium placed finisher. Expect strong competition to come from Julien Martinez, Oscar and Marc Casal Mir, Sintu Vives, Marc De Leon, Eduard Hernandez, Pere Rullan and Dai Matsumoto.

Laura Orgue is the hot favourite in the ladies’ race having raced well multiple times in 2017 – victory at Dolomites SkyRace and 2nd place in Comapedrossa. Hillary Gerardi has been a revelation in 2017 with a string of strong and consistent performances. Addie Bracy, Glykeria Tziatzia and Jennifer Asp (still not sure if she will run the Sky or Ultra) are also podium contenders.

SkyUltra 50km

The long course gains over 3000m of elevation and as with all the other races visits the summit of Lone Peak.

The men’s race is an interesting one with Luis Alberto Hernando missing UTMB to run here in the USA and gain valuable points for the SWS. Competition for the Spaniard will no doubt come from Italian Franco Colle who has excelled on this course in the past editions.

BREAKING NEWS (31st August)

I have also had conformation that Timothy Olson and Seth Swanson will also toe the line here at the RUT making the fight for the 50km very competitive. Olson is back to his old days with some great form as of late, he placed 10th at Transgrancanaria, 4th at Power of Four and he won Penyagolosa in Spain.

Equally, Swanson is back on a roll with 4th at San Fran 50 in December 2016, 6th at Hong Kong Ultra 100km early 2017 and 2nd at Lavaredo recently.

Matt Shyrock returns after success in the 2015 racenand a recent run at Tromso SkyRace. Pere Aurell Bove is having a great year but just last weekend raced in Switzerland at Matterhorn Ultraks – he will be tired! Australia’s Caine Warburton will be a contender for the podium as will Johan Lanz from Sweden, Russia’s Dmirtry Mityaev, Czech Republic’s Robert Krupicka and the Portugal’s Andre Rodriguez. Peru’s Remigio Huaman always runs strong and he along with Kiril Nikolov from Bulgaria round off the main protagonists for the podium.

The ladies’ race is headed up by Ragna Debats who won last weekend’s Matterhorn Ultraks. Ragna is on a roll at the moment and in great form but two 50km races in 7 days and a long-haul flight will no doubt take its toll.

 

Strong competition will come from Michelle Maier, Ekaterina Mityaeva, Kristina Pattison and Jennifer Asp.

*****

Race summaries and images will be posted on this website after each race.

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Matterhorn Ultraks 2017 Race Summary – Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

The Matterhorn provides a stunning backdrop for Switzerland’s Matterhorn Ultraks race, a 49km Skyrunning race with 3600m of positive and negative gain. Now in it’s 5th edition, the race once again is in the Migu Run  Skyrunner® World Series.

It is a magical race that provides a circular journey that starts and concludes in the picture postcard mountain town of Zermatt with the towing Matterhorn ever-present to inspire the runners.

The day started with rain and cloud. It was an ominous beginning. But by the time the runners had reached the high-point of the course at thee Gornergrat, the rain was easing, the cloud was clearing and suddenly the sun broke through. What followed was a glorious and hot sunny day.

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

Wild expansive space, high mountains and the 3100m Gornergrat provides the high point of the race and the first indication of how the race would play out. Marco De Gasperi was pushing the pace closely followed by Aritz Egea and Eugeni Gil.

In the ladies’ race, Ragna Debats was already dictating the race and the pace but Sheila Aviles and Laia Andreu were very close and chasing together.

A 1000m drop from the summit is broken by a small climb at Riffelalp and then Furi follows at 24km at 1880m. Two short sharp climbs follow, the first to Schwarzsee at 2583m and approximately 28km covered. Here De Gasperi was leading Gil Ocana, Anthamatten and Egea – it was all too close to call! For the ladies, Debats was still at the front, but like the men, anything could happen.

A drop down to 2200m from Schwarzsee was followed with another 500m+ climb and then what follows is mostly a flat runnable plateau that gently weaves up, down and left to right all the way to Trift. De Gasperi had taken the lead now and was flying, Gil Ocana chased but the Italian was looking too strong – he really wanted this victory, it was clear to see. Anthamatten was now in 3rd and Egea in 4th.

A short kick up of 100 to 200m follows Trift and then a fast and furious drop of almost 1000m over a distance of 6km leads to the finish line in Zermatt and the assembled crowds. De Gasperi sealed victory in a new course record, bettering Kilian Jornet’s time and this 2017 course was 1km longer – an incredible run.

Gil Ocana held on for an excellent 2nd and Anthamatten placed 3rd. Once again Egea ran an excellent 4th place.

We also witnessed the race of a rising star, Petter Engdahl who placed 5th.

Debats finally managed to open a gap in the latter stages taking a convincing victory ahead of Laia Andreu who had shadowed Debats all the way to Trift.

Aviles placed 3rd followed by Laurance Yerly and Michaela Mertova.

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

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Results:

1. Ragna Debats (NED) 5h52’05”
2. Laia Andreu (SPA) 5h53’22”
3. Sheila Avilés Castaño (SPA) 6h00’17”
4. Laurence Yerly (SUI) 6h15’45”
5. Michaela Mertova (CZE) 6h20’36”

‪1 – Marco De Gasperi (4h42’31”)‬
‪2 – Eugeni Gil Ocaña (4h45’15”)‬
‪3 – Martin Anthamatten (4h48’59”)‬
4 – Aritz Egea (4h53’50”)
5 – Petter Engdahl (5h00’46”)

Dolomites SkyRace Race Summary and Images – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

The Migu Run Skyrunner World Series 2017 continued a pace with the 20th edition of the Dolomites SkyRace. It was always going to be a memorable one and the race didn’t disappoint!

Thunderstorms, rain and low cloud resulted in a delayed start by 30-minutes. It was hoped that this delay would allow the weather to clear. The rain did stop but the cloud came lower. Unfortunately, the final section of climb to the summit of Piz Boe at 3252m was pulled from the race for safety reasons. This resulted in less kilometers and less vertical gain and ascent.

Course records of course don’t count in situations like this, the previous bests held by Kilian Jornet and Megan Kimmel. Neither of these stars were running today, however, defending champions Tadei Pivk and Laura Orgue, respective 2016 winners were expected to dictate the race.

Laura Orgue did not disappoint, her 4th from the previous day’s VK soon forgotten, the Spaniard dictated the pace and looked strong throughout. At the new summit of the race her margin of lead was in the minutes and all she needed was a sold descent to Canazei to seal victory once again – she did it! Laura’s time 2:36:29 almost 90-seconds quicker than rising Skyrunning star, Hillary Geraldi from the USA who produced a stunning descent to go past early 2nd placed runner Hilde Alders who held on for 3rd, their times 2:37:55 and 2:39:55.

Silvia Rampazzo placed 4th, Zuzana Krchova 5th, Magdalena Kozielska 6th, Oihana Azkorbebetia 7th, Stephanie Jimenez 8th, Katrine Villumsen 9th and Paola Gelpi rounded out the top-10.

In the men’s race, VK and Sky specialist Remi Bonnet dictated the pace on the climb and has a substantial gab over David Magnani, Martin Anthamatten, Ruy UedaMarco De Gasperi, Jan Margarit and who’s who of Skyrunning talent. Pre-race favourite, Tadei Pivk, was in the latter half of the top-10 and not looking good!

 

At the high-point of the course the wild and rough descent to the line follows. It’s not for the feint hearted and Remi Bonnet was forced to reduce his pace protecting an injury that almost kept him out of the sport in 2016. This opened the doorway for David Magnani and Marco De Gasperi.

However, it was Jan Margarit who seized the bull by the horns and in his own words, “I ran the fastest descent that I could!” Fast it was, he moved from 5th to take the lead. The pressure was now on with a neck-for-neck race to the line, it was so close but Margarit held on by just 22-seconds to beat Magnani to the line, De Gasperi followed in 3rd just 23-seconds later. It was the close! A real race and just 45-seconds separated the top-3 runners – 2:06:20, 2:06:42 and 2:07:05. All credit to Skyrunning legend De Gasperi who is twice the age of the duo ahead of him.

Remi Bonnet held on for 4th, Martin Anthamatten 5th, Pascal Egli 6th, Martin Stofner 7th, Tadei Pivk 8th, Yuy Ueda 9th and Nadir Maguet rounded out the top-10.

It was a day like no other, fast racing, unpredictable weather and the confirmation of Skyrunning legends and the rise of new ones – just how a 20th edition of a race should be.

Attention now turns to this coming weekend and the Comapedrosa SkyRace in Andorra, in addition to a 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series race, the Skyrunning Youth Championships will also take place.

 

High Trail Vanoise Preview – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

The 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series arrives in Val d’Isere, France this wwekens for the High Trail Vanoise and the Face de Bellevarde VK (VK World Circuit) kicks off the action at 1600 on Friday when runners will climb this classic downhill ski route all the way to the summit.

Skyrunning legend Marco De Gasperi, held the record of 34:51 set on this course many years ago last year Xavier Gachet broke it! This year, Nejc Kuhar will be looking to set a new benchmark along with Marco Moletto. The young runner won’t have it all his own way though, Ferran Teixido, current leader in the SWS rankings will be looking for a strong performance and the ever-present Hannes Perkmann, William Bon Mardion and Marc Faccinhelli will push all the way to the summit.

For the ladies, Francesca Rossi ultimately may be the one to beat! Ekaterina Mityaev and Stephanie Jimenez will be putting on a hard-fought battle along with Corinne Favre and Jennifer Fiechter, but can they beat Laura Orgue’s time of 40:52?

High Trail Vanoise is the main event of the weekend – Ice, snow, glaciers, high altitude, the High Trail Vanoise course has it all. Crossing the iconic Col D’Iseran at 2764m is merely just a taster, at 67km in length, runners will climb and descend many 1000’s of meters with a total vertical gain of 5400m – the high point of the course is the impressive Grande Motte at 3653m.

Luis Alberto Hernando heads up the men’s field, he recently became IAU World Trail Running champion for a 2nd year in a row – Luis has excelled in Val d’Isere in recent years and he is without doubt the one to beat!

Nicolas Martin won the race last-year and apparently, HTV is a priority race for 2017. It’s going to be interesting to see Luis and Nicolas go head-to-head, a little like a few years ago when Francois d’Haene and Luis raced each other – that day Francois won.

Aurelien Dunand-Pallaz recently lead the Ultra Skymarathon Madeira but was pipped to the line by Skyrunner Extreme Champion Jon Albon, we can expect Aurelien to figure at the front of the race along with 3rd place at USM, Dmitry Mityaev who is having a strong year in the world series, he also knows HTV well having podium last year.

Remigio Huaman, Andre Jonsson, Daniel Garcia Gomez, Jan Bartas, Nuno Silva and Scott Hawker head up the competition for the front of the race but it’s a stacked field and we can’t rule any of the runners below making an impression on what is a very tough race – patience pays dividends!

Xavier Teixido, Alexey Kurochkin, Artem Rostovstev, Clement Ripoll, Marc Puig, Francesc Sole Duocastella, Lars Olaf Haaheim and Nicola Alfieri.

Megan Kimmel fresh from victory in Chamonix will be looking to for maximum points in France, her form is great now, she recently beat Transvulcania champion Ida Nilsson by over 10-minutes! Local French lady Anne-Lise Rousset may well have other thoughts though, she won the race last year with a dominant performance and she knows this course well – it will be a tough race! Travelling from the USA, Kristina Pattison will be looking to repeat her performance from last year and hopefully better it.

Ekaterina Mityaeva is moving un from the ‘classic’ distance in 2017 and has already showed some great results, particularly at USM recently. HTV will be a tough challenge but the podium is there for the taking. Nuria Dominguez, Manikala Rai, Eva Maria Moreda and Ildiko Wermescher are all names to watch.

But the greatest threat for the podium will come from Ragna Debats who recently won with a new CR in Greece, Francesca Canepa who took victory at the tough Scenic 113k, the USA’s Hillary Allen who won USM and Gemma Arenas who was the world series champion in 2016 – it’s going to be quite a battle!

Olympus Marathon 2017 Summary and Images – 2017 Migu Skyrunner® World Series

Olympus Marathon 2017 Summary

It’s not every day that you get to run with the gods, but nearly 1000 runners toed the line to participate in the 2017 Olympus Marathon, the next race in the Migu Skyrunner® World Series. 

The course is tough and beautiful with two directions, up and down. The first half of the race climbs from just 3m above sea level in the sacred city of Dion and the runners climb to 2700m and the impressive Mt. Olympus. Will they be a sacrifice to Zeus? From here, the race drops down and the runners retrace history and myth and finish in Litochoro.

 The race was very much controlled by two outstanding Skyrnunner’s, Aritz Egea and Ragna Debats. Egea just last weekend placed 2nd behind Tadei Pivk at the Livigno SkyMarathon, here he led from the front setting a blistering pace. Victory was never in doubt and this was confirmed when he crossed the line with a new course record 4:24:26.

 “I am feeling very good this year, I think it’s maybe the best form I have ever had. Last year I wasn’t motivated… Sometimes you need a break and I am now reaping the rewards.”

 Previous course record holder, Jessed Hernandez was 2nd in 4:43:12 and a late surge placed Kiril Nikolov 3rd ahead of local favourite and one of the pre-race favourites, Dimitrios Theodorakakos, their times 4:44:32 and 4:46:13.

 For Debats, a very full racing calendar is pushing this lady to the limits but she is handling the strain well. Under the intense heat of a Greek sky she lead the race from the front and took victory with a new course record 5:18:20.

“It was a good day, I am very happy with the victory. I will need to make sure I plan some rest but I am feeling good.”

 Laura Sola de Miguel ran in 2nd place for the whole day and this was her finishing position almost 10-minutes behind Debats in 5:32:05. Glykeria Tziatzia had run in 3rd for the duration of the race and looked strong and confident, however, in the closing miles the heat and strain of the day took over and her pace dropped allowing Hillary Allen to pass and take the final podium place in 5:37:13. A heartbroken Tziatzia crossed the line in 5:46:04 – a name to watch for the future! 

It was a long, hot and tough day for all, when crossing the line the fatigue and dehydration from a tough race was clear to see. The consensus confirmed an incredible course – beautiful and brutal!

A break in the Migu Skyrunner World Series next weekend will see the action continue in Spain and France, with the Buff Epic Trail and High Trail Vanoise.

 

Limone Extreme 2016 #SKY – Skyrunner® World Series

iancorless-com_limonesky2016-8940-copy

The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series was up for grabs but news on the start line was one of drama… Tadei Pivk was unable to start after waking with a fever, Marco De Gasperi had been delayed in Milan on a flight from the USA and last year’s winner, Remi Bonnet decided not to start after taking a fall in training just days earlier. For the ladies’ race, a likely series win would come from Laura Orgue who needed to win the race or Megan Kimmel who needed to finisher in 2nd place should Orgue win.

At the finish line on the shores of Lake Garda, Alexis Sevennec once again proved his supremacy with another stunning victory! For the ladies, Megan Kimmel confirmed her incredible mountain running and descending ability to take not only the victory in Limone but also the Skyrunner® World Series title.

We have witnessed some spectacular performances in the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series and the final race in Limone Extreme provided a special close to the 2016 season.

Laura Orgue had not started the Friday VK in a hope to give an all-out effort for victory. Using her impressive abilities at climbing she led the way on the long steep and technical first climb. Celine Lafaye followed closely in second but where was Megan? Megan was way back and was either struggling or running a tactical race… it was the latter. As Laura pushed at the front, Megan slowly closed the gap and on the final decent that drops to the lake she opened up and finally pulled away to take victory in a time of 3:17:35 and with it the Skyrunner® World Series crown. “Last year I lost the series title at Limone and this year I ran cautiously in the early stages, I was just hoping not too cautiously. When I eventually closed on Celine I was feeling good and then Laura and myself were running side-by-side. I decided to go knowing that I mustn’t let Laura win and me placed 3rd otherwise the title would go to Laura – I pulled it off!”

Laura had run much of the race out front but looked relieved to finish just over a minute slower than Megan, her time 3:18:42. Celine Lafaye placed 3rd in 3:19:22 and Skyrunner® World Champion for the ULTRA distance and the 2016 UTMB champion, Caroline Chaverot, placed 4th. An incredible result for the lady who loves and excels at longer races. Quite a year for her and she has already said that Skyrunning will be an objective in 2017.

For the men, the non-start of Tadei Pivk did provide an opportunity for Hassan Ait Chaou to ‘take’ the title, however, he would have needed to run a great race and place on the podium. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen and therefore Tadei Pivk once again (also in 2015) is the Skyrunner® World Series champion from his impressive results and consistency earlier in the year.

A race was left to run and Stian Angermund lead the charge early on ahead of Marco Moletto, no doubt reeling from missing victory the previous night in the VK by just 1-second. Although looking good early on, the efforts from the previous night and minimal recovery before the 11am start took its toll and both Stian and Marco faded opening the doorway for an in-form Alexis Sevennec who forged a final lone path to a stunning victory in 2:46:49. Brit, Hector Haines and started high up on the first climb and held on to arguably one of his best podium places stirring local heads with 2:51:41 2nd place. Bulgarian Kiril Nikolov took the final podium place in 2:52:04. Early protagonist, Marco Moletto who had looked a potential podium finisher placed 5th looking tired and Stian placed 7th.

The final ranking for the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series SKY distance has Tadei Pivk 1st, Hassan Ait Chaou 2nd and Kiril Nikolov 3rd. For the ladies’ Megan Kimmel is champion, Laura Orgue 2nd and Yngvild Kaspersen 3rd.

Roll on 2017!


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

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

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Ultra Pirineu 2016 Race Summary and Images – Skyrunner® World Series

iancorless-com_ultrapirineu2016-1960

Ultra running to Spain is like football to the UK, the fans are a passionate motivated bunch of individuals who come together as a whole to create a cohesive army of fanatical supporters. Baga, the home of Ultra Pirineu is located in Catalonia; it may come as no surprise that the Catalans take support to the next level. The final race in the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series, the race was always going to be a competitive one!

110km in length, with 6800m of positive gain, the race takes place in the Cadi-Moixero Natural Park. On paper, the route looks almost like a badly drawn figure of eight laid on its side. The profile, a little like the dental record for a great white shark as it includes several key peaks, the highest coming very early in the race with just 14km covered at Niu, 2500m high. Comprised of primarily trail (75%), the route also includes a small percentage of asphalt and track. It’s a tough and challenging race that has often been made considerably more challenging due to inclement weather.

The Cadi-Moixero Natural Park is the hub for the racing, established in 1983, it stretches more than 30km over the mountain ranges of Serra de Moixero and Serra del Cadi; both part of the Pre-Pyrenees.

From the off, the racing is hard. The narrow streets of Baga, an enclosed medieval square start and the charge of 1000 runners at the toll of 0700 make the opening minutes a heart pounding, adrenaline rushed sprint. Ironic for a race that will take the winner 12+ hours.

Immediately it’s hand-on-knees and straight into the first and highest climb of the day. It’s a dangerous mountain to start a race with. The effort and commitment just to get to the top requires a 100% effort, and this is all coming in the opening hours of a very long day on an exceptionally tough course. Finally breaking the tree line, the rugged terrain reveals itself and the first peak, with refuge, finally will come into sight. On a clear day, the views are incredible. The crowd support phenomenal. It’s a frenzy of noise, cowbells and screaming. In the men’s race, Remigio Huaman dictated the early pace followed by Miguel Heras. Gemma Arenas started the day as she would continue, from the front followed by Hillary Allen. The race was on between the two of them for the SWS 2016 title – if either won the race, they would be the champion for 2016.

What goes up must come down and the first descent is single track, off-camber trails with technical sections in and amongst trees. Sections of via ferratta are present on rock; a clear sign of the severity of the terrain. Rolling terrain provides some respite but it is early days.

Dropping down, a short climb at 28km, ‘Serrat’ leads to another long descent and an aid at ‘Bellver.’ A third of the race completed, a long and relentless series of climbing takes place over the following 25km’s through ‘Cortals’ and ‘Aguilo’ to the 2nd highest point of the race at 2300m, Pass de Gassolans. Miguel Heras had now built up a lead of over 20-minutes. It was a lead he would not relinquish… behind, Remigio, after strong opening km’s had dropped from the race opening the doorway for Jessed Hernandes and Cristofer Clemente was pacing his race well slowly moving up. Gemma Arenas was still leading the ladies race with a gap of approximately 12-minutes, Hillary was 2nd and Anna Comet had moved into third.

Alternating hiking and running, the race is all about economy of effort for those at the front of the race, it’s about effort management to sustain the energy to the line and hopefully victory. For everyone else, it is survival. At 70km covered, the race may well be considered to be downhill to the finish in Baga, but no, the race has a series of false flats with a couple of brutal cardiac moments that arrive at 86km and 96km; the latter a technical ascent of 1000m to Sant Jordi at 1500m altitude. It’s a stunningly scenic canyon and if it was maybe not for uncontrollable fatigue, it would be a highlight of the race.

The final 10km drop to the line is broken up with another 200m climb with 6km or so to go, the rapturous high-five welcome from thousands in Baga providing some compensation for the efforts left on the mountains and trails of the Cadi-Moixero Natural Park.

Miguel Heras arrived first in just over 12-hours (12:05). Finally, some luck for the Spaniard who has had some intense highs and lows over the years. Jesse Hernandes and Cristofer Clemente placed 2nd and 3rd, 12:40 and 12:47 respectively.. Cristofer successful in his bid to be the Skyrunner World Series Champion in 2016.

As darkness came, so did the rain. Torrential rain! Hillary Allen pursued Gemma hard over the final km’s, she could potentially smell the Skrunner crown… However, Gemma held on to win in 15:20. Hillary completed in 15:37 and Anna Comet placed 3rd in 15:49. Gemma was crowned 2016 Skyrunner World Series champion.

Full results HERE

Final Skyrunner World Series Ranking 2016 for the Ultra distance

Gemma Arenas 290 points

Anne-Lise Rousset 276 points

Hillary Allen 272 points

Cristofer Clemente 294 points

Nicolas Martin 188 points

Roger Vinas 180 points


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

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

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

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