The Skyrunner® World Series continues at a pace just 2-weeks after the Skyrunning World Championships where Skyrunners® participated in all three classic disciplines of VK, SKY and ULTRA. Now, attention moves to Italy and the stunning town of Canazei and the amazing Dolomites for a VK and SKY race and to the USA for the ULTRA Speedgoat 50k.
Speedgoat, as the name would suggest was created by Mr Ultra himself, ‘Speedgoat Karl Meltzer. Over the years the event has increased in profile at a pace and this year, once again, sees a quality line up both in the male and female fields.
Located at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah the 50k weave a route around the mountains offering a tough and sometimes technical day out at altitude.
This is the 3rd edition of the race in the Skyrunner® World Series and it is now also included US Skyrunner® National Series.
Sage Canaday is returning after setting a course record last year with a time of 5:08. On paper, he has to be the favourite again this year. The combination of runnable terrain and 50k distance suits Sage’s strengths. He will likely go out hard and hold on… he did that last year and it worked, just!
Anton Krupicka was hot on Sage’s heels last year and with a couple of wins under his belt in 2014, the most recent at Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Italy, one has to think that Anton may provide a real battle this year (as last year). In reality, 50k is just way too short for Anton. In a recent interview, he told me he only starts to feel good and relaxed after 3-hours. So, expect him to be hovering somewhere in the top-10 early on and then move up.
Alex Nichols may be a surprise on the Speedgoat course and after missing a couple of races with injury; he may well be chomping at the bit for a good run here. In Zegama, thinks didn’t go too well leaving a question mark, however, on this course, with less travel and some decent prep I can’t help but think we will see Alex mix it up. Earlier this year he won Red Hot 55km and set a CR at Greenland 50k. One to watch!
Ricky Gates has just done a stint of pacing for Kilian Jornet at Hardrock 100 and if nothing else, that must make him feel fired up for a great run at Speedgoat. Ricky ran a great race in 2012 when ‘Kilian Gate’ kicked off and the whole switchback debacle. What is important is the time Ricky ran, 5:18. That places him as definite contender for top-5 this year.
Mike Wolfe looked awesome in Chamonix for the Skyrunning World Championship 80k event. Trading blows with eventual 2nd place runner, Francois D’Haene, it looked like ‘Wolfepaw’ was going to make the podium. However, in the latter stages the wheels came off and he placed 8th which for many would be a great result. However, the disappointment was clear leaving Mike with question marks. The questions soon disappeared at the sight of his newborn baby though… it’s all about perspective. Mike is a class act and he will be in the mix.
Luke Nelson placed 6th last year but he was well over 30-minutes back from Sage Canaday. Considering Luke’s record and his ability over longer races (recently won Bighorn 100) he has the technical skill set to run well at Speedgoat but may well lack the speed to keep up with the front of the race, so, top-5 would be a great result.
We can also expect to see Jorge Maravilla mixing it up and potentially Hal Koerner but it may be a little too short for Hal
Anna Frost won with Speedgoat with 6:26 in 2012 and as we all know had a prolonged period of injury and illness afterwards. Her return to form at Transvulcania La Palma and not only winning the race, but also setting a new CR was nothing less than miraculous. Frosty seems to have the ‘love’ for running back and as we all know, when you have that, the miles fly along. A recent 2nd to Emelie Forsberg at the Skyrunning World Championships shows the form is still primed and ready to be unleashed on the Speedgoat course. Like Ricky, Frosty must also feel inspired after pacing Kilian to that Hardrock record. But Frosty won’t have an easy ride…
Ellie Greenwood was missing for much of 2013 with injury but she is back and running strong. Ellie has the outright speed to win Speedgoat but may well lack some of the technical attributes of Frosty, so, that makes for an interesting battle. Ellie’s recent win at Comrades was incredible and I think we will see something special on this course.
Kasie Enman was flying at Zegama-Aizkorri and that was after a red-eye flight, no sleep and jet lagged. Powering up the climbs in the lead, we thought a surprise win was on the cards. It wasn’t to be, the fatigue hit in the latter stages and she placed 5th. Kasie is on the comeback trail after having a baby and I can’t help but think she will get stronger and stronger. Kasie’s performances at the Skyrunning World Championships were creditable but not reflective of her ability. Kasie’s 4th in the SKY race shows the improvements are coming and the podium at Speedgoat may be in her grasp.
Tina Lewis may well be a dark horse! Tina has been away from racing for sometime and although entered in several races in 2014, she was a no show. However, her daily exploits on Facebook are inspiring and if she can bring it all together on race day, I think we will see a potential top-5?
Other ladies to watch who will mix it up with the front:
Kerrie Bruxvoort, Ashley Arnold, Bethany Lewis, Joelle Vaught and of course so many more…
Speedgoat 50k website HERE