Ultra SkyMarathon™ Madeira 2015 #USM2015

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The Ultra SkyMarathon™ Madeira (#USM2015) will take place on the13th and 14th June 2015 on the beautiful island of Madeira, Portugal.

Continuing the growth and expansion of Skyrunning globally, for the first time, USM will see its integration in the Skyrunner® National Series Spain, Andorra & Portugal. A set of 6 ultra distance races, USM will be the only race that takes place in Portugal.

Comprising of three races of different distances, USM will have:

  • Ultra SkyMarathon® Madeira (USM 55 km 4000 m D +)
  • Santana Sky Race (SSR 21 km 1350m D +)
  • and the Mini Sky Race (MSR 13km 400m D +).

It’s going to prove to be an exciting weekend of racing as runners from all over the world will travel to Madeira, not only to race but also to soak up the beautiful scenery, talk with the locals and indulge in the excellent food that only Portugal can offer.

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Stevie Kremer needs no introduction to Skyrunning aficionados and her incredible 2014 and Skyrunner® World Series title has recently been followed up with a great start to 2015 with victory at the Buffalo Stampede in Australia. This lady from Crested Butte is going to take some beating.

Ricky Lightfoot is the 2014 IAU World Trail Champion, winner and course record holder for the ‘Otter’ in South Africa and victor and course record holder for the DoDo Trail in Mauritius. On his day, he is an incredible force in any fell, trail, mountain or Skyrunning event.

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Zaid Ait Malek burst onto the Skyrunning scene in 2013 with a top placing at Zegama-Aizkorri. His enthusiasm, big smile and huge presence are a great contribution to any race. His victory at Matterhorn Ultraks in 2014 was a highlight and for sure, he will be looking for a podium place in Madeira.

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Aritz Egea is a ‘Sky’ distance specialist and his ability to climb and descend with equal ability has seen him dominate races all over the world. A consistent top-10 finisher he will be looking to gain valuable points in Portugal.

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Alessandra Carlini really made a mark on the Skyrunning circuit in the past two years and she has proven, that despite living in the flat lands next to the sea, she has an ability to climb and descend with the best. Her performances improve when the races get longer, so, expect Alessandra to turn a few heads in the 55km race.

It won’t be easy running for Stevie, Ricky, Zaid, Aritz or Alessandra… a plethora of other top runners will toe the line looking for glory in Portugal:

  • Ester Alves (winner at this year’s Madeira Island Ultra Trail)
  • Nuno Silva (Winner, Falcotrail SkyMarathon 2014)
  • Luis Fernandes (winner at this year’s Madeira Island Ultra Trail)
  • Manuel Faria (Winner USM 2014)
  • Unai Santamaria (3rd USM 2014)

It’s not too late to enter any of the races in Madeira and a special discount is available if you enter before the end of April.

What you waiting for? Join some of the worlds best on the beautiful trails of Madeira.

Santana is a northern municipality of Madeira Island, renowned since 2011 as World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It is known by the typical A-thatched houses, symbol of Madeira and Portugal and offers a wide variety of surroundings such as the laurel forest, mountainous areas surrounding Pico Ruivo and São Jorge hills and the outstanding cliffs of the north of the island.

I will be at the event photographing and reporting on the action as it unfolds. You can follow on Facebook and Twitter – @talkultra

Promo video: https://vimeo.com/125025950

Race website HERE

Registration HERE

Race weekend program HERE

Skyrunning Limone Extreme SKY – Race Report

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The 2014 Skyrunner® World Series came to a dramatic conclusion in Limone on the banks of Lake Garda today. Although the final race was a formality for Stevie Kremer and Kilian Jornet (both unbeatable after 3 victories) a battle commenced and what a battle…

The Limone Extreme course is a true ‘classic’ Skyrunning race. In simple terms, it’s straight up, run across a ridge (going up and down) and then descend back to lake level and finish under the banner after running 26.5kms and climbing/ descending 2000m. Easy huh? Well, no. But you knew than answer to that one didn’t you.

Petro Mamo from Eritrea (2012 WMRA champion) produced the race of his life to beat the king of the mountains, Kilian Jornet. Kilian on the finish line said that he had very sore legs after putting his efforts into the previous nights Vertical Kilometre. However, one can understand why. His victory in the VK confirmed another Skyrunner® World Series title and he is now world champion in VK, SKY and ULTRA all in the same year! A first and in all honesty, I personally don’t ever see anyone have the versatility and ability to win a series of events that are so diverse.

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David Schneider excelled on the first half of the course in 2013 but faded on the technical downhill. This year bolstered after a great performance at Sierre-Zinal produced an incredible race to finish 3rd ahead of Skyrunning legend, Marco De Gasperi.

On a hot and muggy day, many runners talked about the difficult conditions. Humidity was high and after the previous nights heavy rain, certain sections of the course were very slippery.

Leading the ladies early on, VK specialist Laura Orgue pushed hard with a small lead over Stevie Kremer. Christel Dewalle was showing great powers of recovery running in 3rd after winning the previous nights VK and the ever present, Maite Maiora looked strong in 4th.

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As the race progressed, Maite with fresh legs made a move and took the lead grasping the race by the horns. Stevie Kremer pursued but couldn’t catch the La Sportiva runner as she pushed hard knowing that victory would mean she would finish the series 2nd overall.

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Elisa Desco battling the tough conditions fought hard, catching Dewalle and Orgue and finished 3rd securing her overall place on the podium of the Skyrunner® World Series.

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2014 has been an incredible year. We have see the confirmation of Kilian Jornet and Stevie Kremer as the King and Queen of SKY and in the process we have witnessed the growth of new stars such as Maite Maiora, Elisa Desco, Manuel Merillas, Ionut Zinca and Zaid Ait Malek.

Skyrunning is on the up. NO DOUBT!

Tough, technical and vertical is all the rage. The support of key brands: Salomon, inov-8, Compressport, Scott and Arc’teryx combined with the vision of Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti confirms that we are at a pivotal point in the sport. A new year, a new World Series is just around the corner… are you going to be part of the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series? I for one know that I will.

We draw passion from the mountains but it’s in the sky that we can live our dreams.

Less cloud, more sky!

Limone Extreme SKY results:

  1. Petro Mamo 2:14:25
  2. Kilian Jornet 2:14:55
  3. David Schneider 2:19:58
  1. Maite Maiora *times to follow
  2. Stevie Kremer
  3. Elisa Desco

2010 Skyrunner® World Series titles:

Men

  1. Kilian Jornet Burgada (Salomon Santiveri)
  2. Ionut Zinca (Valetudo)
  3. Zaid Ait Malek (Buff)

Women

  1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon)
  2. Maite Maiora (La Sportiva)
  3. Elisa Desco (Scott Sports)

 

 

 

Limone Extreme 2014 Race Preview

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All good things must come to an end… at least for this year! The 2014 Skyrunner® World Series concludes this weekend in the mountains that surround Lake Garda.

On Friday the VK will commence as the light fades and darkness surrounds the mountains. Sunday the SKY race takes place over a course of 23.5km’s and 2000m +/-. Two races, one great weekend of running and at conclusion we will have newly crowned male and female Skyrunner® World Series champions for both VK and SKY distances.

As one would expect, these two races are attracting a who’s who of the Skyrunning world.

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Vertical Kilometre

In the VK, La Sportiva and Salomon are fielding two very strong teams. Illuminated by the glow of head torches, a very interesting battle will unfold.

©iancorless.comIMG_2050Canazei2014 Urban Zemmer is the outright favourite after winning Limone Extreme in 2013 and in the process winning the Skyrunner® World Series. However, La Sportiva teammates, Nejc Kuhar, Nadir Maguet, Marco Facchinhelli and Marco Moletto will be looking to pull rank and gain valuable points.

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Kilian Jornet has been training hard and as we all know, can never be ruled out when it comes to head-to-head racing uphill. Add to the mix, Marco De Gasperi and Thorbjorn Ludvigsen and the Limone Extreme VK looks set to be a classic.

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For the ladies, 2013 Skyrunner® World Series champion, Laura Orgue, like Zemmer is the outright favourite. This lady has been unbeatable uphill in 2013 and I don’t think Limone will be any different.

©iancorless.comIMG_3879Stevie Kremer will push and push and look to gain an advantage as will Christel Dewalle, Antonella ConfortlaEmelie Forsberg, Sara Longoni, Francesca Rossi, Beatrice Delflorian and surprise entrant, Julia Bleasdale. Julia is an exciting prospect from the UK and I am extremely keen to see how this Olympian performs.

 

SKY RACE

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Do you want to bet against Kilian Jornet? No, me neither. Kilian has excelled in 2014 and other than placing 2nd to Luis Alberto Hernando at Transvulcania; the Catalan has won every rave (VK’s excluded). Kilian has been training hard and Limone will see one chapter close for 2014 before the transition to skis and another Summit attempt in December.

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

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

Marco De Gasperi if fit is potentially the one person to push Kilian all the way to the line and if firing on all cylinders, may well take the glory away from the Salomon runner. I personally have waited all year for this head-to-head to happen and the prospect is exciting.

Waiting in the wings is a plethora of Skyrunning talent who will be looking to upset the apple cart and history shows that anything can happen.

©iancorless.com-0271Kima2014_Manuel Merillas is hot property at the moment and after strong performances in the Skyrunner® World Series, his presence at Limone adds an exciting element to proceedings. Recent top-3 performances at Trofeo Kima and The Rut add weight to a very strong case that we see a surprise on the shores of Lake Garda.

Ionut Zinca had a great result at Limone last year and recently placed well, once again at Dolomites Skyrace. I would anticipate Ionut having a great race, he’s a fierce competitor and top performer.

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Zaid Ait Malek won the Matterhorn Ultraks and is without doubt a contender for the podium at Limone. However, Aritz Egea has performed consistently all year and at just under 24km’s, the Limone course plays to his strengths.

©iancorless.com_IMG_5986aSierreZinal_inov8_2014_Michel Lanne had a great run at the Skyrunning World Championships and a glimmer of that strength will intimidate the competition.

Alex Nichols is one again making the long journey from the USA and has great potential to mix it with the best, however, 2014 has been a tough year and his current form is unknown.

Tadei Pivk will also be a hot contender for the top-5.

Did we say THIS FIELD IS STACKED…. !

Rounding out the hot contenders for the top-5 places are Jono WyattAlexis Sevennec, Thorbjorn LudvigsenDavid Schneider and Nicola Golinelli.

Look out for:

  • Didier Zago
  • Matheo Jaquemond
  • Fabio Bazzana
  • Florian Reichert
  • Oli Johnson
  • Gary Priestley
  • Hassan Ait Chau
  • Marco Moletto
  • Marc Pinsach

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Stevie Kremer already has the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series sewn up, so, this will take the pressure off and allow Stevie a trouble and stress free run. As we all know though, she probably will still nail it and has every chance of taking away the victory.

©iancorless.com©iancorless.com-3368 Elisa Desco, Emelie Forsberg and Laura Orgue will do everything in their respective powers to ensure that Stevie does not have another victory. In all honesty, the ladies race is wide open. Laura Orgue has displayed pure class going up hill and certainly, the first half of the Limone course will suit her racing style. I expect to see Laura to be leading at the summit; the question will come if she can hold of the charging train of Forsberg, Desco and Kremer. Very few ladies can go downhill like Emelie Forsberg and if she is in contact during the 2nd half of the race, Emelie will potentially take top honours.

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Elisa Desco is a very rounded athlete uphill and downhill, at 23.5kms the distance will suit the Italian and with valuable points at stake, we can expect a 100% committed effort for victory.

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Maite Maiora started the year with a bang at Transvulcania and has continued to bang the drum all the way throughout 2014. For sure, Maite stepped up a level this year and along with Desco, Forsberg and Kremer, she has been a force to be reckoned with. The podium is a distinct possibility but it’s going to be a battle.

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Victoria Wilkinson had a great race at the Dolomites Skyrace and has continued to excel on the UK Fell running scene. The podium may just be out of reach but top-5 is a distinct possibility.

Anna Lupton has been missed in 2014 with injury. Arguably, Anna has been the UK’s most consistent performer in previous Skyrunning events and it’s great to see her back on a start line.

Tessa Hill has been a little quiet in 2014 but has committed herself to Limone and has recently posted, ‘My main way of preparing for this is to get as much climb in the legs as possible and then top things up on the bike.’

Julia Bleasdale is a British Olympian who raced the 5000m and 10,000m at the London Olympics. She placed 8th in both finals. Julia tipping her toes into the Skyrunning world is a great boost for the sport and Skyrunning in the UK. However, Julia understands the challenge ahead, “I hear so many great things about Skyrunning, but I do not underestimate the strength required to compete in this extreme discipline! So I am delighted to mix things up at the end of the season for variety. I love running in the mountains as they give you depth in your strength, but track athletes cannot transform themselves in just a few weeks to be ready for this!”

Stephanie Jiminez excels at the Sky distance and Limone will suit the skill set of the Salomon athlete. Her experience sets her apart from the competition and on her day, she can beat the best in the world.

Ones to watch:

  • Deborah Cardone
  • Elisabet Beltran
  • Marta Molist
  • Paloma Lobera
  • Anna Kosova
  • Azara Garcia
  • Leire Agirrezabala

Links

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Follow on Skyrunning

Images and photography HERE and HERE

SKYRUNNING HERE

Skyrunning World Championships 2014 – Important Information

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Since the creation of the Mont-Blanc Cross in 1979, the Mont-Blanc Marathon in 2003, the Vertical Kilometer in 2011 and the Mont-Blanc 80KM in 2013, the Club des Sports de Chamonix has never ceased to improve events. This year with the Skyrunning World Championships, the organisers once again confirm the quality of the event and announce new changes: a bigger race expo, the creation of a bridge at Tre Le Champs to secure the road crossing, a new finish line for the Cross and Marathon, and finally a more in-depth Web TV diffusion.

At the end of June 2014, 6500 runners and over 13000 of their supporters are expected in Chamonix for the Mont-Blanc Marathon weekend. The race expo that reunites sports manufacturers and the different trail races found throughout the world will open their doors on the Place du Mont-Blanc on June 26, 27 & 28 2014. The expo provides an area to purchase last minute items for the race and to also discover the latest summer trends.

The race-bib pick-up (previous years at the ENSA gymnasium) will be positioned at the Place du Mont-Blanc square in a big tent especially erected for the occasion.

Program

  • Race-bib pick up at the Place du Mont-Blanc in Chamonix
  • Thursday June 26, 2014: 10:00am – 20:00
  • Friday June 27, 2014: 3:00am – 4:00am for the 80KM and 10:00am – 20:00 for the other races
  • Saturday June 28, 2014: 7:00am – 20:00
  • Sunday June 29, 2014: 5:00am – 6:30am

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Friday June 27, 2014:

Place du Triangle de l’Amitié

4:00am : Start of the MONT-BLANC 80KM

18:00 – midnight : Meal offered to runners of the 80KM (sports complex)

16:00 : Start of the VERTICAL KM

From 18:00 onwards: Meal offered to runners of the Vertical KM (sports complex)

20:30: Awards ceremony

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Saturday June 28, 2014

Paragliding Landing Field

8:30am: Start of the MONT-BLANC CROSS

9:00am: Start of the MONT-BLANC 10KM (start in 3 waves)

11:30am: Mini- Cross (starts depending on age categories)

12:00pm: Mini-Cross Raffle

Richard Bozon Sports Complex

From 11:00am onwards: Buffet for Mont-Blanc Cross (free for runners of the cross)

From 18:30 onwards: Pasta Party for the Mont-Blanc Marathon

Place du Triangle de l’Amitié

15:30: Award ceremony for the Mont-Blanc 10KM

16:00: Award ceremony for the Mont-Blanc CROSS

16:30: Award ceremony for the Mont-BLanc 80KM

17:00 Raffle

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Sunday June 29, 2014

Place du Triangle de l’Amitie

7:00am: Start of the MONT-BLANC MARATHON

17:00: Raffle for the Mont-Blanc Marathon

Richard Bozon Sports Complex

From 11:00am onwards: Buffet for Mont-Blanc Marathon (free for marathon runners)

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Important Information:

New Finish Line & New Viewpoints!

The large mass of people the past few years at the finish line (Planpraz at Brevent) for the Mont-Blanc Marathon & Cross no longer offered a satisfactory experience for runners nor the public.

The finish line will now be on the plateau just before the top of the cable car station of Planpraz (near the paragliding take-off area).

To reach the finish line runners will take-on one final ‘wall’….the public will be in close proximity to support the athletes in their last effort as they benefit from the most beautiful view of the Mont-Blanc range.

Follow the events live via WebTV

In 2012, 10,000 connections were registered during the Vertical KM. In 2013 there were 125,000 connections during the weekend (diffused live for an average of 3 hours per day).

This year the organizers once again will be offering WebTV for users with a complete program, events diffused live, official presentations of athletes each evening, exclusive interviews with the world’s best, and many other surprises.

Even from the other side of the world people will be able to be at the heart of the event on www.montblancmarathon.fr

 

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2013 Skyrunner® World Series Champion, Stevie Kremer to race Northern Ireland’s Mourne Skyline MTR

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Fresh from victory at the 2014 Zegama-Aizkorri Skyrunner® World Series, Skyrunning UK are pleased to announce that Salomon athlete, American Stevie Kremer will race the brand new Mourne Skyline MTR on October 18th 2014.

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Stevie is arguably the best female SKY distance runner on the scene at the moment. Winning Mont-Blanc Marathon, Pikes Peak and Limone Extreme in 2013, secured Stevie the Skyrunner® World Series title and elevated the pocket rocket from Colorado from hot, to super hot!

With her infectious smile and ability on the mountain, Stevie will be an incredible asset not only to the Mourne Skyline MTR race but to all trail and mountain running in the UK.

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“Creating Skyrunning UK was all about bringing the ethos and feel of European events to our shores and in time, creating some of the buzz as witnessed in the Alps, Pyrenees or the Dolomites,’ said Skyrunning UK director, Ian Corless ‘Stevie is at the forefront of Skyrunning, she is an incredible talent, a bubbly personality and to have her arrive on our shores and race is a dream come true. It was always my aim… in reality, I had hoped this would happen in 2017 but to have Stevie join us in year one is just incredible and the boost we all need.’

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Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Mourne Skyline MTR can’t believe his luck. ‘When we announced our race we had an incredible response with entries flooding in. To now find out that Stevie Kremer will join us for the inaugural event, really is the icing on the cake. Racing is about every runner; from first to last. However, elite runners provide inspiration for all of us and Stevie leads by example; she is a role model for Skyrunning and we will be honoured by her presence at our race.’

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A long-term aim has always been to have a new UK event included in the Skyrunner® World Series, should that happen, the best-of-the-best will travel to the UK to race. Stevie’s presence in year one provides a pathway to that objective. The world’s top teams and athletes pitting themselves against UK athletes. Imagine it; imagine what that would do for the sport in the UK! We have some great races and although we have attracted International athletes in the past to Snowdon and Ben Nevis, it has almost gone un-noticed. The time is now right. We all need to pool together and help grow the sport.

Lauri van Houten, executive director for the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) had this to say, ‘The Skyrunner® National Series were created to grow Skyrunning on a national level globally – to give as many runners as possible the “feel” of a Skyrunning race and a chance to win a place in an international World Series event. The UK Skyrunning races hold enormous promise and look set to attract an international field. Stevie’s decision to take part in Northern Ireland is a great boost for the race and the new Skyrunner® UK National Series.’

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Salomon athlete, Andy Symonds summed the thought process up perfectly, ‘The UK may lack the altitude of the Italian Alps, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have proper mountains! Steep, rough, beautiful mountains are a plenty in the UK – so let’s organize some Skyrunning races up them!’

The sport is growing at all levels. In time a series of UK based Skyrunning teams similar to the model that inov-8 have created is a distinct possibility. The Skyrunner® National Series provides not only a great structure for the sport but it also provides a springboard for UK athletes to race in other countries but equally, we hope to attract foreign athletes to race on home soil.

Speaking from Colorado, Stevie said, It looks amazing and it’s during my fall break, so I am in! I love the idea of that much climbing.’

Stevie Kremer’s presence in 2014 at the Mourne Skyline MTR has started the ball rolling much sooner than we anticipated…

Let’s keep it rolling!

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Follow Skyrunning UK HERE

ISF HERE

Skyrunning UK 2014 Calendar: HERE

V3K

  • 28th June 2014
  • Distance: 55km
  • Elevation: 4000m +/-
  • Race venue: Nant Gwynant
  • Race website: HERE

Peaks SkyRace enter HERE

  • August 3rd
  • Distance: 29.7m
  • Elevation gain: 2012m
  • Elevation loss: 2012m
  • Website: HERE

 

3×3 Ultra enter HERE

  • 4th October 2014
  • Distance: 80km
  • Elevation: 4000m +/-
  • Race venue: Keswick, Cumbria.
  • Race website: HERE

Mourne Skyrline MTR enter HERE

  • 18th October
  • Distance: 35km
  • Elevation: 3370m
  • Race venue: Newcastle, Northern Ireland.
  • Race website: HERE

Skyrunning UK is sponsored by:

inov-8 logo

Rocktape Logo

 

Zegama Aizkorri 2014 – Pre Race Images

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The 2014 edition of the Skyrunning Zegama-Aizkorri starts today, Sunday 24th at 0900 in the town of Zegama.

Read my in-depth race preview HERE

Images and stories will be posted throughout the day (and afterwards) so please stay tuned to this website, @talkultra on Twitter and Facebook.