Tom Owens to race The Coastal Challenge 2017 #TCC2017

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Tom Owens is without doubt one of the most inspiring runners from the UK who performs consistently on the world stage. Fell runner, ultra runner and Skyrunner, Tom has pushed the world best.

Back in the day, Tom forged a reputation for himself with Andy Symonds at the Transalpine run where the duo were a formidable force. In recent years, Tom has mixed fell running and Skyrunning. In 2012, Tom placed 2nd behind Kilian Jornet at the iconic Trofeo Kima, he looked set to dominate the Skyrunning circuit but injury hit. Time away and keeping fit doing cyclocross, it was 2014 when the Glasgow based runner finally re-emerged at Transvulcania.

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Transvulcania was a surprise return… renowned for running shorter races, Tom stepped up to 70+km – an unknown commodity. Class shone through and he placed 6th. A 3rd at Ice Trail Tarentaise and then 4th at Trofeo Kima and we all knew – Tom was back.

2015 started really well with a win overseas at the Buffalo Stampede in Australia, 6th at Matterhorn Ultraks and arguably his best result came with 4th in the IAU Trail World Championships in Annecy.

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Roll on to 2016 and Tom focused on the Skyrunning Extreme Series that combined all the elements that make Tom, the great runner that he is. Technical trails, altitude, distance and an ability to adapt to an ever-changing landscape. Victory at Tromso SkyRace and 5th at Trofeo Kima set Tom up for a potential overall title.

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Going into the Glencoe Skyline, a head-to-head being Tom and Jon Albon whet everyones appetites. On the day, Albon excelled and it was 2nd for the Scot.

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As 2016 comes to a close, Tom is looking ahead to 2017. Not known for his ability to handle heat and humidity, I wondered why Costa Rica?

“It looks beautiful, exciting and warm! I always like to escape the Scottish Winter for a week big volume warm weather running in January or February –  it seems to set me up well for the rest of the year.”

And what about the heat and humidity?

“The heat and humidity will be massively challenging. I’ve not worked out how to run well in these conditions. It will be my first big block of running in 2017 and so interesting to see how the body holds up. I also find running in sand really tough…”

Costa Rica may well prove to be much more of a test of running. We all know Tom can handle the rough and technical stuff – the river and bouldering sections will put the fell/ Skyrunner in the terrain that he loves. But Costa Rica will have sand too, albeit not soft sand. It may well be a whole new learning curve.

“It’s going to be  real challenge for sure but that is what makes it interesting! I will be at a disadvantage against pure multi-day runners but I will embrace it. Running day-after day is not really a problem, I love the technical stuff but it’s the heat and humidity that will really test me as I have already mentioned. I have really suffered in such races with cramps (I’m a big sweater) such as at Transvulcania, Buffalo Stampede and the recent World Trail Champs.”

Scotland and the UK is not going to be the ideal place train for a Costa Rican race in February, I wondered if Tom had any specific training plans to be prepared?

“I’m looking forward to trying some different strategies to cope with the heat – I hope the TCC will help me with the some of the other objectives that will take place in remainder of the year. In regard to training, I will aim to get back into regular running mid/late December or early January and build up some endurance. Beyond Coastal Challenge I have no 2017 plans yet. I only ended the 2016 season a couple of days ago – it was a really long (from Feb till end October) and fun season but now i’m enjoying a break and not doing any planning at the moment.” 

Competition in the men’s race will be fierce, the recent announcement of Sondre Amdahl’s participation will no doubt focus the mind of Tom and the other male competitors. But a physical and mental rest is required before thinking about 2017. One thing is for sure, Tom always races to win and he will be prepared come February.

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About the race:

The Coastal Challenge is a multi-day race over 6-days starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, The Coastal Challenge is an ultimate multi-day running experience.

Intense heat, high humidity, ever-changing terrain, stunning views, Costa Rican charm, exceptional organisation; the race encompasses Pura Vida! Unlike races such as the Marathon des Sables, ‘TCC’ is not self-sufficient, but don’t be fooled, MDS veterans confirm the race is considerably harder and more challenging than the Saharan adventure.

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Hugging the coastline, the race travels in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range via dense forest trails, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beaches backed by palm trees, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains. At times technical, the combination of so many challenging elements are only intensified by heat and high humidity that slowly but surely reduces even the strongest competitors to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line.

The Coastal Challenge which will take place Feb 10th – 19th, 2017.

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

ENTRIES ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR THE 2017 EDITION

Email: HERE

Website: HERE

Facebook: HERE

Twitter: @tcccostarica

More information:

Read the full 2016 race story HERE

View and purchase images for the 2016 race HERE

Follow #TCC2017

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Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2016 Race Summary and Images – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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Extreme! Yes, it was… that was the consensus as the Skyline Scotland’s Salomon Glencoe Skyline drew to a conclusion after only its 2nd edition.

Last year, Skyrunning superstar Emelie Forsberg, travelled to Scotland to take part in the first edition of the race. She placed 2nd overall and won the female category. After the race she said that ‘this’ race truly is one of the best races out there!

Cut to 2016 and Skyline Scotland developed a VK race and SKY race to join the Glencoe Skyline which had gained the approval from the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) to be one of three races that would make a new ‘SkyExtreme’ category in 2016. This three race series also include Tromso SkyRace and the iconic, Trofeo Kima.

Many had said that Skyrunning in the UK was not possible.

Ask again – not one participant in the 2016 edition of the race would question the legitimacy of how extreme this race was.

Gaining Skyrunner® Extreme Series status also has a huge impact on the participants taking part. It’s fair to say, that the 2016 edition of the race had arguably one of the greatest fields ever assembled for a mountain race.

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Coming into this edition, Jonathan Albon and Tom Owens were the hot favourites to take away the title of Skyrunner® Extreme Series champion and in the ladies race, Jasmin Paris after victory in Tromso was a likely female champion.

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The race played out as expected with Tom Owens and Jon Albon pushing each other throughout the early stages of the race with strong competition coming from Marc Lauenstein, Finlay Wild and Salomon team manager, Greg Vollet. It was Jonathan Albon though that snapped the elastic pulling away for Tom Owens running on home soil. Pre-race predictions were blown out of the water and Jonathan crossed the line first in a blistering 6:33:52. To put this time in perspective, it is over 1-hour faster than the 2015 course with additional distance and vertical gain.

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Tom Owens suffered with foot issues throughout the race but battled all the time. He finished 2nd in 6:37:21. Zegama-Aizkorri and Matterhorn Ultraks winner Marc Lauenstein, although not competing for the Skyrunner® Extreme Series title was always a potential contender for victory or the podium and he didn’t disappoint in finishing 3rd in 6:54:37. As Marc came to the end of one of the more technical sections of the race, the infamous Aonach Eagach, he said, “This is one seriously technical and challenging race!”

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Local man and Ben Nevis expert, Finlay Wild placed 4th and Greg Vollet 5th, their times 7:00:57 and 7:10:19.

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In the ladies’ race, Jasmin Paris lead from the gun and although Ruth Croft did catch her at one point, Jasmin placed her foot on the gas and pulled away becoming not only a convincing Salomon Glencoe Skyline winner but also a Skyrunner® Extreme Series champion. Quite incredible when you consider that just recently she placed 6th at UTMB. Jasmin’s time of 8:15:56 will be considered a CR for this new course.

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Malene Bikken Haukoy ran a savvy race pacing herself in the early stages to move up through the field and eventually place 2nd in the ladies’ race in 8:23:04. Her podium finish in Tromso SkyRace also providing valuable points for the Skyrunner® Extreme Series.

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Sarah Ridgway is now the leader of the Skyrunning UK Series and her 3rd place on the ladies podium showed incredible consistency, her time 8:44:40.

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Ruth Croft found today’s course a challenge after placing 2nd at Trofeo Kima recently. Despite difficulties though, Ruth ran a strong race gaining valuable points for the Skyrunner® Extreme Series.

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Martina Valmassoi rounded out the top 5.

The Salomon Glencoe Skyline route features long and sustained sections of scrambling terrain, which is roughly equivalent to moderate standard rock climbing. In addition, the race traverses high and remote mountainous terrain, which is at times impossible to retreat from and may be subject to severe and rapidly changing weather. The day started in glorious sunshine but as predicted, a weather system arrived late morning making the crossing off the Aonach Eagach a wet one with limited visibility due to clag and mist.

As expected, the race had many dropouts due to the severe course and inclement weather in the latter half of the day. Ultimately though, the feedback and response has been incredible.

2016 was the start of really big things for the UK Skyrunning scene and the Salomon Glencoe Skyline is not only paving the way and setting the benchmark within the UK but also for Europe and farther afield.

RESULTS

  1. Jonathan Albon 6:33:52
  2. Tom Owens 6:37:21
  3. Marc Lauenstein 6:54:37
  4. Finlay Wild 7:00:57
  5. Greg Vollet 7:10:19
  1. Jasmin Paris 8:15:56
  2. Malene Bikken Haukoy 8:23:04
  3. Sarah Ridgway 8:44:40
  4. Ruth Croft 9:10:33
  5. Martina Valmassoi 9:14:37

Extreme Series ranking. Final*
Men
1. Jonathan Albon (GBR) – 208 points
2. Tom Owens (GBR) – 205.6 points
3. Finlay Wild (GBR) – 164.4 points
4. Andew Fallas (GBR) – 143 points
5. Sota Ogawa (JAP) – 128.4 points

Women
1. Jasmin Paris (GBR) – 220 points
2. Malene Haukøy (NOR) – 193.6 points
3. Ruth Croft (NZL) – 172 points
4. Martina Valmassoi (ITA – 152.4 points
5. Natalia Tomasiak (POL) – 127.6 points

Click on an image to view in a gallery

Images available at iancorless.photoshelter.com

TROFEO KIMA 2016 Race Preview – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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Extreme is personified with the imminent running of the 2016 Trofeo Kima. Tough, challenging, technical, inspirational. memorable… KIMA is not for everyone! For over 20-years this race has been the example provided to the world of what a Skyrunning race can be. The vision of Marino Giacometti was way ahead of its time, but now, the world is catching up. Two years ago saw the creation of the Tromso SkyRace by ‘Kima’ stars, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg. Last year we witnessed the inaugural Glen Coe Skyline which incorporated elements of the other 2 races to create something quite unique for the UK.

In 2016, the three races combined to create a new challenge, the Sky Extreme Series – three races of which two must be completed to rank.

Kima covers 52km with 4200m of vertical gain and goes over 7 passes linked by refuges. Exposed crest, snow, ice, steep rocks, technical terrain and Via Feratta provides one of the ultimate challenges available.

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The recent Tromso SkyRace set the stage for 2016 with stunning victories by two Brits, Tom Owens and Jasmin Paris. Paris will mis Kima due to prior race commitments but her presence is confirmed for Scotland. Owens by contrast follows up his purple patch of running (silver at the Skyrunning World Champs, victory at SkyRace Comapedrosa and victory in Tromso) by running in Kima, a place where he last raced in 2012 when he placed 2nd behind Kilian Jornet. On recent form, Owens is without doubt the men’s favourite. He has pushed his stamina recently with many events and quality training but he just seems to be getting stronger and stronger!

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Jonathan Albon (UK) who won Tromso SkyRace ahead of Luis Alberto Hernando in 2015 and recently placed 2nd to Owens at the same race in 2016 has rejigged his racing plans and has decided that Kima is just too good too miss. He did say in his interview on Talk Ultra podcast (here) that he will use Kima as a learning curve but I still anticipate a top performance!

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Whilst on a UK theme, it’s important to acknowledge how the Extreme Series has really captured the hearts, minds and yes, legs and lungs of the Brits, primarily due to a race on home soil. Donnie Campbell winner of the Lakes Sky Ultra, 3×3 and many other races will test himself on Italian soil. He knows the challenge is the next logical step in his progress as a Skyrunner. Joe Symonds (*not confirmed), brother of Andy Symonds and winner of the 2015 Glen Coe Skyline will also get his Extreme campaign underway! 2015 Dragons Back Race winner, Jim Mann will also join the Kima party along with Glen Coe Skyline RD, Shane Ohly.

Main contenders for overall victory will come thick and fast from a world class line-up of experienced Skyrunner’s who know how to push to the limit on the ultimate terrain.

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Marco De Gasperi needs no introduction, the Italian was there in the beginning and still pioneers a true path in the sport.

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Sota Ogawa made the podium in Tromso and no doubt he will bring guts and determination to the Italian mountains for a repeat performance.

 

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Fulvio Dapit has raced Kima many times (6th in 2014), is arguably one of the most experienced Skyrunner’s on the start list and although he is unlikely to win the race, he will be in contention. However, he has become a new Dad recently; he may be tired!

 

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Bhim Gurung won the inaugural Yading SkyRace which kicked off the 2016 Skyrunner World Series. Just this last weekend he raced at Matterhorn Ultraks where he finished 7th. Kima’s technical terrain will be a challenge for the Nepalese runner but not the altitude.

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Eirik Haugsnes won the inaugural Tromso SkyRace and has performed consistently in technical and challenging races. A recent top-10 in Tromso once again shows he has the fitness for a repeat performance. *update 23rd August, Eirik has withdrawn from the race.

 

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Alexis Sevennec is a runner who mixes ski mountaineering and Skyrunning seamlessly. An ever-present on the Skyrunning circuit, he has always run well at the Dolomites SkyRace and most recently at SkyRace Comapedrosa.

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Manuel Merillas is a last minute entry to the race and after placing 2nd in 2014 behind Kilian Jornet, he is likely one of the hot favourites for a podium place. However, his results in 2016 have not been  as impressive as in 2014 and 2015, maybe Kima will be a turning point?

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Andre Jonsson was on fire early season and then had a couple of mixed races, particularly at the Dolomites SkyRace where he performed below expectation. At Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira, Jonsson dictated the pace from the start and looked set for a great victory only to crumble on the final climb. It’s all a learning curve and Kima will no doubt be a huge test but it’s one that he is happy to take on.

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Florian Reichert has been racing on the Skyrunning circuit for years and has always been a consistent performer who has experienced Zegama, Transvulcania, Glen Coe and so many more races. He comes to Kima with experience and an understanding of the challenge ahead.

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Philipp Reiter is racing less these days due to commitments working for Salomon, however, he always has a great level of fitness and the more technical the terrain, the happier he is. He showed this at Tromso recently. Philipp would be the first to say that podium is unlikely but he will be in and around the top 10.

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Pablo Villa has raced a great deal at the moment, SkyRace Comapedrosa and just recently at Matterhorn Ultraks. Kima is a challenging race and Villa’s performance will depend on his powers of recovery.

Dani Garcia Gomez, Iban Letamendi, Paul Hamilton, Jan Bartas, Luca Carrara, Matt Cooper, Matt Lefort, Aaron Newell, Konrad Rawlik, Leo Viret, Situ Vives Bosch, Allan Spangler and Pieter Schaaps amongst others will also toe the line in what will be a very exciting men’s race.

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The ladies race has recently been brought to life with the announcement that Emelie Forsberg will use Kima as her comeback race from a very serious injury and operation. At Tromso SkyRace, Forsberg tested her knee and fitness on the VK course and came away with a victory in a 3 up sprint for the line. The last time Forsberg raced in Kima it ended in tears; all set for what looked like to be a course record run when disaster struck with a navigation error and a huge loss of time. Chasing like a demon, Emelie pulled back places and eventually finished 2nd behind Kasie Enman. Having seen Emelie run in Tromso, I personally feel that we are going to see an on fire Forsberg on the mountain passes, the only 2 questions I will have and probably Emelie has: 1. How will the knee hold up? 2. How will Emelie’s endurance be for a 7-hour outing? If the answer the these two questions is positive, I think we will see Emelie win the race.

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Emanuela Brizio won Kima in 2010, was 3rd in 2012 and 3rd in 2014. I have no reason to doubt that Emanuela will not be on the podium again, this year I think it will be 2nd but victory is a distinct possibility.

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Ruth Croft had a great result at Transvulcania earlier this year and just won the 30km event at Matterhorn Ultraks. Kima will be a complete learning curve for Ruth, I doubt if she will have ever experienced a course that offers so much technical running.

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Nuria Dominguez was 4th at Kima in 2014 and will no doubt be in the mix – a podium place is a distinct possibility,

Natalia Tomasiak was 4th lady at Tromso Skyrace and she can therefore handle the technical terrain and distance. Her finishing time though was over 60-minutes slower than race winner, Jasmin Paris. Therefore, it’s unlikely that Natalia can contest for the win but top-5 is possible.

Elizabeth Barker like Natalia ran Tromso and finished 7th. A top-10 is a possibility in Italy.

Zuzana Urbancova, Kristina Aluzaite, Elisabet Bertran Masenanes, Olga Lyjak, Tanya Pacheco, Kathrin Schambeck and Hana Krajnikova are all running and may well contest the top-10 or top-5 podium places.


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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Episode 117 – Debbie Martin-Consani, Jonathan Albon, Martin Yelling

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This is Episode 117 of Talk Ultra and it’s a packed show. We talk with Jonathan Albon who last year won the Tromso SkyRace and this year placed 2nd. Debbie Martin-Consani talks about running long and her recent CR at the North Downs Way 100 in the UK. We also speak to my fellow podfather and good friend, Martin Yelling, about his inspiring, ‘Long Run Home.’ The News and Niandi co-hosts.

Karl is on the AT and he is now through the first week and everything seems to be going well. Each week I will post a 7-day update on my website, days 1-7 are HERE

RUNNING BEYOND BOOK is going to be available from October in Italy with Germany, Spain and the UK following – HERE

00:07:24 NEWS

TROMSO SKYRACE HERE

Jasmin Paris 8:43:53

Malena Haukøy 9:10:20

Martina Valmassoi 9:44:02

Tom Owens 6:45:15

Jonathan Albon 6:53:25

Finlay Wild 6:55:03

The VK which was run the day before saw Stian Angermund confirm his form from the Skyrunning World Championships with a strong victory and Emelie Forsberg won a nail biting sprint for the line to show us all she is on her way back. Read and view images HERE.

00:16:07 INTERVIEW JONATHAN ALBON

SIERRE ZINAL

It was a Kenyan victory for Petro Mamu ahead of the UK’s Robbie Simpson and Francesco Puppi from Italy was 3rd. In the ladies race, Michelle Maier took a great victory in 2:58 ahead of Lucy Wambui Murigi and Elisa Desco was 3rd.

TRANSROCKIES

120 miles over 6 stages and victory went to David Laney/ Ryan Ghelfi in the men’s race and Amanda Basham/ Keely Henninger for the women.

NORTH DOWNS WAY 100

Male:

  1. Neil Kirby 16:46:21
  2. James Poole 17:20:27
  3. John Stocker 18:03:26

Female:

  1. Debbie Martin-Consani 18:34:54 (6th overall)
  2. Annabelle Stearns 21:41:32
  3. Wendy Shaw 22:33:55

00:50:14 INTERVIEW DEBBIE MARTIN-CONSANI

MONTANA BRIDGE RIDGE RUN

This 20 mile race gets a mention as Jim Walmsley of Western States fane was apparently flying ahead of course record and then…. a lack of confidence saw him backtrack, WSER is obviously haunting him. Turns out he was on the correct course, he turned around and this time won but missed the record.

Gonzalo Calisto, 5th at 2015 UTMB tests positive for EPO – Compressport have now released a statement which is a really positive sign. Read HERE.

ANGELES CREST 100

Guillaume Calmaettes 19:14

Dominick Layfield 19:30

Dominick Grossman 19:57

Jenny Welch 26:51

Maria Lourdes Rivera 27:02

Selina Nordberg 28:54

SRI CHIMNEY SELF-TRANSCENDENCE 3100mile

It was the 20th edition of the 3100m journey and Yuri Trosteny completed the distance first in  46 days and just 94-minutes faster than Asprihanal Aalto. Asprihanal won the race in 2015 in a record 40 days. This time he came from behind and on one day he ran 86 miles to try to steal victory – 94 minutes super close! Yuri ran consistently more than 63 miles everyday!

When this show comes out it will be the Matterhorn Ultraks in Switzerland and then the week after it’s UTMB with a super stacked field and the iconic Trofeo Kima in Italy.

01:56:30 INTERVIEW MARTIN YELLING

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Northern Territory

Alice Springs 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Belgium

Flanders

Oxfam Trailwalker Belgium | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Bulgaria

Orehovo Ultra | 52 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Persenk Ultra | 157 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Wild Boar Ultra | 104 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Black Spur Ultra – 100km | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Black Spur Ultra – 100km Relay | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Black Spur Ultra – 50km | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Squamish 50 | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Squamish 50/50 | 130 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Squamish 50K | 50 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

TrailStoke Ultra | 60 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Ontario

Iroquoia Trail Test – 50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Quebec

Trans Vallée | 67 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Finland

Eastern Finland

100 km | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

France

Alpes-Maritimes

Ultra-Trail Côte d’Azur Mercantour | 140 kilometers | September 02, 2016 | website

Ariège

Ultra du Montcalm | 65 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Hautes-Pyrénées

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – le Grand Trail | 80 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – l’Ultra | 160 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – Tour des Cirques | 117 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Isère

La Traversée Nord | 85 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

L’Echappée Belle Intégrale | 144 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs | 160 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs – 90 km | 90 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Loir-et-Cher

100km des Etangs de Sologne | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

50km de la Sologne des Rivières | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Savoie

Courmayeur Champex Chamonix (CCC) | 98 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) | 166 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Orsières – Champex – Chamonix (OCC) | 53 kilometers | August 25, 2016 | website

Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL) | 290 kilometers | August 22, 2016 | website

Sur les traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) | 119 kilometers | August 24, 2016 | website

Tour de la Grande Casse | 63 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Vienne

Trail des Castors – 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Germany

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

75 km | 75 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Saarland

RAG-Hartfüßler – Trail 58 km | 58 kilometers | August 28, 2016 | website

Iceland

Fire and Ice | 250 kilometers | August 29, 2016 | website

The Iceland Trek | 84 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

India

Uttarakhand

Uttarkashi 135 | 135 miles | August 26, 2016 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Achill Ultra Marathon | 39 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Kerry

Kerry Way Ultra | 120 miles | September 02, 2016 | website

Longford

Longford Ultra Marathon | 63 kilometers | August 28, 2016 | website

Wicklow

Wicklow Coastal Ultra Trail Marathon | 50 kilometers | August 28, 2016 | website

Japan

Hakusan Geotrail 100 K | 100 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Hakusan Geotrail 250 K | 250 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Kenya

Tsavorun | 84 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Morocco

65 km | 65 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

New Zealand

Great Naseby Water Race 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 160 km | 160 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 60 km | 60 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Norway

styrkeprøven True West | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Peru

80 K | 80 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

80K Relay | 80 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Réunion

Cimasarun | 55 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Romania

Dracula 106K | 106 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Dracula 106K 2-Day Stage Race | 106 kilometers | August 26, 2016 | website

Vlad Tepes 52K | 52 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

South Africa

Namaqua Quest | 110 kilometers | August 24, 2016 | website

Peninsula Ultra Fun Run | 80 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Spain

Aragon

8K | 78 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Sweden

Fjällmaraton Bydalsfjällen 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

UltraVasan 90K | 90 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Switzerland

Grisons

Swiss Irontrail T141 | 147 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Swiss Irontrail T81 | 89 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Obwald

MOUNTAINMAN Ultra | 80 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Valais

Ultra Tour Monte Rosa | 117 kilometers | September 01, 2016 | website

Ultra Tour Monte Rosa – Stage Race | 117 kilometers | September 01, 2016 | website

Vaud

Ultra Trail du Barlatay | 87 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Anglesey

Ring o’ Fire | 131 miles | September 02, 2016 | website

Buckinghamshire

Ridgeway Challenge | 86 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

East Sussex

100km | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

England

Ultra Great Britain | 200 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Greater London

T184 | 184 miles | August 26, 2016 | website

Hertfordshire

Chiltern Way Ultra 100k | 100 kilometers | August 28, 2016 | website

Chiltern Way Ultra 200k | 200 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Moray

Speyside Way Race | 36 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Sheffield

Ultra Tour of the Peak District | 60 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

USA

California

100K | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

100M | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

50M | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Bulldog 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Castle Peak 100K | 100 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Diablo Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Tamalpa Headlands 50K | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Colorado

Devil Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Devil Mountain 50 Mile Ultra | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Leadville Trail 100 Run | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Silverton Alpine 50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Georgia

Yeti Snakebite 50K | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Yeti Snakebite 50M | 50 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Idaho

Standhope 60K | 60 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Michigan

Marquette Trail 50 Kilometer | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Marquette Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Montana

Fool’s Gold 50M | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Fool’s Gold 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Ghosts of Yellowstone | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Ghosts of Yellowstone 100M | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Mystery Ranch 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Rampage the Roots Montana’s Ultra Challenge 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Nebraska

50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Nevada

51 km | 51 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Black Rock City 50km | 50 kilometers | August 30, 2016 | website

Marlette 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

Ruby Mountain Relay | 184 miles | August 19, 2016 | website

New Hampshire

100 Miler | 100 kilometers | August 21, 2016 | website

50 Miler | 50 miles | August 21, 2016 | website

New York

Twisted Branch Trail Run | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Oregon

Hood to Coast Relay | 199 miles | August 26, 2016 | website

Where’s Waldo 100k Ultra | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Pennsylvania

Baker Trail UltraChallenge | 50 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Rhode Island

100 miles | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

South Dakota

50 km | 50 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Lean Horse Half Hundred | 50 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Lean Horse Hundred | 100 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

Texas

Habanero Hundred 100k | 100 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Habanero Hundred 100 miler | 100 miles | August 20, 2016 | website

Habanero Hundred 50k | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Reveille Peak Ranch – 60km | 60 kilometers | August 27, 2016 | website

Utah

Skyline Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | August 20, 2016 | website

Washington

200 Mile S2S | 200 miles | August 26, 2016 | website

Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 27, 2016 | website

03:07:19 CLOSE

 

03:11:03

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Website – talkultra.com

Tromso SkyRace® 2016 Summary and Images – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

©iancorless.com_Tromso2016-6879

Not even the 24-hour daylight could illuminate the landscape, the mountains and fjords were lost. Cloud shrouded the 3rd edition of the Tromsø SkyRace®, the first race in the new Skyrunner® Extreme Series.

Tromsø SkyRace®, is the brainchild of Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, with 2 high profile race directors like this, it’s not necessary to ask, ‘how technical is the race?’ You just know it’s going to be possibly one of the toughest races out there. Previous editions have confirmed this, in 2015, Jonathan Albon won the race in a new course record 6:08:41 and Salomon Team Manager Greg Vollet said, “It was crazy, but it was awesome! Certainly one of the most difficult races in the world!”

Hundreds of runners departed from the new start (and finish) outside The Edge Hotel, Tromso. It must be noted, that this new start and finish adds 8km’s onto what was an already tough course. Running what looks like a figure of 8 drawing, the route takes in 2 mountain summits: Tromsdalstind (1.238m) and Hamperokken (1.404m) which must be run twice; out and back! Crossing snow fields, rivers, dense forest and of course technical ridges, 4600m elevation awaited the runners but that statistic is only part of the story. It’s the technicality that makes this race hard.

Steep descents, challenging terrain and the ridge running at Hamperokken requires 110% focus. This IS NOT a race for everyone.

“The Hamperokken ridge is difficult. For much of it I was using both my hands and feet for purchase. At one point of the razor edge ridge we had to jump a gap from one rock to another. It was funny to see how our little contingent had gone from racing to simply traversing this dangerous section together.” – Jonathan Albon

It requires a level of skill, devotion and commitment that not every runner has. Purists would say that Skyrunning may well finally be harking back to the glory days of the late 80’s or early 90’s when Giacometti, Meraldi, Brunod pioneered a new sport on the slopes of Monte Rosa and Mont-Blanc.

Skyrunner® World silver medalist for the SKY distance and recent winner at SkyRace Comapedrosa, Tom Owens was the odds-on favourite for victory and it was no surprise that he dictated the pace from the front. His arrival at Hamperokken ridge in 1st place was to plan, however, the proximity of 2nd Finlay Wild and 3rd Jonathan Albon confirmed that the race ahead was going to be a tough one!. They were only separated by seconds!

The ridge offers no room to pass and crossing from one end to the other is all about being comfortable with the challenge and doing so at ones own pace. On the descent the trio stayed together but Tom moved ahead approximately 300m from the top of the final summit and made his move. Jonathan and Finlay pursued but Tom was once again running the race of his life; he was just too quick. Last years’ winner Jonathan Albon held on for 2nd and Finlay Wild placed 3rd just behind, it was an incredible race and a Brit 1, 2, 3 podium.

Tom said post-race, “This is just like three of the hardest fell races you could ever run with a load of technical sections and the ridge was just incredible. Kilian and Emelie have created a beautiful (and hard) race. What a start to the Extreme Series!”

The ladies race was dictated by pre-race favourite, Jasmin Paris and she arrived at Hamperokken ridge in 1st. Looking relaxed and composed, Jasmin was running as hard as she needed still feeling jaded from recent FKT efforts and racing. Moving along the ridge she smiled, she was having fun.

Over the final half of the course Jasmin extended her lead and victory was never in doubt.

Last year, Malene Blikken Haukoy placed 3rd and this year she was running a comfortable 2nd on home terrain. Her ony threat came from Martina Valmassoi but her lead was comfortable and she cruised to the line securing the 2nd podium slot.

Martina Valmassoi running one of the longest and hardest races of her life like the two ladies in-front of her looked settled for the final podium place and the finish line could not arrive soon enough.

Jasmin, Like Tom Owens reveled in the ‘British’ like conditions that Norway and Tromso provided, “It’s just an incredible race. I loved the ridge, it was so much fun and the terrain and temperatures made me feel at home. Now I am really looking forward to returning to Scotland for the Salomon Glencoe Skyline!”

One thing is for sure, Kilian and Emelie have created something quite special in Tromso, it has set the stage for Trofeo Kima, the Salomon Glencoe Skyline and the Skyrunner® Extreme Series. The ‘Extreme’ series may not be for everyone but Skyrunner’s can dream to achieve the skill level and fitness required to take part in the ultimate mountain running experience. For sure it’s Skyrunning but it’s Skyrunning with bells on, it’s alpinism without the clutter.

Results

Jasmin Paris 8:43:53

Malena Haukøy 9:10:20

Martina Valmassoi 9:44:02

 

Tom Owens 6:45:15

Jonathan Albon 6:53:25

Finlay Wild 6:55:03


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.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

Tromsø SkyRace® 2016 Preview – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

©iancorless.com_GlenCoeMay2015-6308

Skyrunning goes EXTREME this weekend with the Tromsø SkyRace® the first race of three in the new Skyrunner® Extreme Series which also includes the iconic Trofeo Kima and the soon to be iconic, Salomon Glencoe Skyline in the UK.

A double whammy weekend of running that starts with the Blåmann Vertical Kilometer® and concludes with the Tromsø SkyRace® is the brainchild of Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg. Needless to say, the dynamic Skyrunning duo have something quite special in store.

On Friday, 15 countries will participate in the tough, challenging, leg hurting, lung busting Blåmann Vertical Kilometer® as they climb 1000 vertical meters over the short distance of 2.7km. Starting on the shores of the sea, the race really does encompass the ethos of ‘sea-to-sky’ perfectly and concludes at the altitude of 1044m at Store Blåmann.

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Double Skyrunning World Champion (SKY and VK) Stian Angermund is without doubt the hot favourite for victory after two incredible performances in Spain. Running on home soil, Stian will without doubt be fired up to impress. Strong competition will come from Ferran Teixodo, Hannes Perkmann, Rolf Einar Jensen, Allan Spangler, Pieter Schnapps and Ferran and Jordi Lorenzo.

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Laura Orgue took silver medal in the Skyrunning World Championships just 2-weeks ago for the VK distance and last weekend she held off a charging Oihana Kortazar at the SkyRace Comapedrosa to take a stunning victory. Laura has said she is feeling a little tired but without doubt, she is the favourite for victory in Tromso. Yngvild Kaspersen, like Stian, will be running on home soil and although the VK is not her speciality, we can expect a top performance. Other strong competition will come from Natalia Tomasiak and regular VK competitor, Therese Sjursen.

Saturday’s Hamperokken SkyRace® is a beast of a course and has some of the most technical and challenging sections ever witnessed in a Skyrunning race. Designed by Kilian and Emelie the race has been instrumental in inspiring the new Extreme Series which harks back to the early pioneering days of Giacometti, Meraldi and Brunod.

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Covering a ‘new’ distance of 53km (the old distance was 45km) and 4600m of vertical terrain, the race really is a challenge for those taking part. This is reflected in the 2015 winning time of Jonathan Albon’s 6:08:41. Jonathan will return this year no doubt looking for a repeat victory as he starts his ‘Extreme’ journey in 2016.

©iancorless.com_SWC2016-6148

Arguably Jonathan’s biggest threat will come from the UK’s Tom Owens who is on fire at the moment. Tom placed silver at the Skyrunning World Championships for the SKY distance and last weekend took a stunning victory at the SkyRace Comapedrosa where he said post race, “I felt brilliant today, my legs were superb!” If Tom makes the journey to Norway, he will push Jonathan, no doubt!

©iancorless.com_GlenCoeMay2015-5741

For me though, the one to watch will be Finlay Wild. Finlay spent his teens and early twenties mountaineering in summer and winter throughout Scotland and abroad. His local mountain Ben Nevis provided an obvious running challenge and he went on to win the Ben Nevis Race six times. In 2012, Finlay set new course records on Glamaig, Glen Rosa Horseshoe and Sliochmay. In 2013 he set a new record on Scotland’s Cullin Ridge knocking 15-minutes of the old record to set a benchmark time of 2:59. He may very well be the real surprise package of the race!

Also watch out for Andrew Fallas, another Scottish runner relatively unknown in Skyrunning circles but the ‘Extreme’ element is bringing the fell/ mountain runners into a new playground.

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Norwegian Rolf Einar Jensen made the podium at the Tromso race in 2015 and with race experience, local knowledge and an ability to run fast over this technical terrain, one can expect him to equal if not better his past results. Equally, Eirik Haugsness who won the first edition of the Tromso race 2-years ago brings experience to the start line. It’s going to be tight up at the front and Philipp Reiter will add to the pressure.

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Luke Nelson is flying over from the USA, he is a prolific ultra runner and an ever present on the Skyrunning circuit in the USA. This year Luke is looking to compete in the Extreme Series. Matt Cooper from Australia has experience of Trofeo Kima and once again will return this year, to the Italian classic; Tromso kicks off his ‘Extreme’ campaign and he will make his presence felt.

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Sota Ogawa makes up the last of the top men who will contest the podium after placing 9th at Sai Kung 50k in 2015.

Surprises will no doubt come from the UK’s Jim Mann who is an experienced fell runner and winner of the 2015 Dragons Back Race. Also watch out for Konrad Rawlik who has just married the ladies hot favourite for victory, Jasmin Paris.
ELS2900 race director, Matt Lefort will also run along with Zigor Iturrieta, Christophe Le Saux and Alfred Gil Garcia amongst others. It’s going to be a cracking race!

Finally a notable mention in the men’s race for Tim Shieff. Tim is one of the worlds most successful ‘Freerunners’ and is an expert in Parkour. In 2009 he was crowned World Champion after winning the Barclaycard World Freerun Championships. Although Tim is new to Skyrunning, he has completed the Skyrunning UK’s V3K and in a recent chat, Tim told me, ‘running is my new passion and particularly Skyrunning. The technical courses that Skyrunning offer are a great extension of Freerunning and Parkour.’  I wonder, could Tim surprise everyone like Jonathan did last year?

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The ladies race has less depth but Jasmin Paris from the UK, in my opinion, will make an impact on the circuit in a huge way in 2016. Last year she placed 2nd behind Emelie Forsberg at Glencoe Skyline and just a couple of weeks ago, Jasmin took the bronze medal at the Skyrunning World Championships for the ULTRA distance. This all came on the back of minimal training due to her recent wedding. Jasmin’s legs may well feel a little tired in Tromso but the course, the technical sections and all the climbing will suit her… watch out ladies!

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Martina Valmassoi recently placed well at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and comes to Tromso with plenty of high mountain experience. Both Natalia Roman Lopez (who placed 7th at the recent High Trail Vanoise and 26th at Transvulcania) and Kathrin Shambeck (who was 53rd at Matterhorn Ultraks last year and 27th Transvulcania in 2013) will also look to make the top-5.

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Malene Blikken Haukoy may well be a dark horse after a victory at Homindal Rundt 70k in 2015 and her 3rd place at the Tromso race in 2015. 

Both Blåmann Vertical Kilometer® and the Tromsø SkyRace® are capped for safety and environmental reasons. It’s an important element of running in such a stunning part of the world and they are both ecologically sustainable.

Gnarly, gruelling, technical, beautiful and challenging; Skyrunning goes EXTREME this weekend, don’t miss it!

Course records are 6:08:41 and 7:09:54 for the men’s and ladies’ races held by Jonathan Albon and Emelie Forsberg, will we see a new benchmark set in 2016?


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.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

SkyRace® Comapedrosa 2016 Race Summary and Images – Skyrunner® World Series 2016

©iancorless.com_Comapedrosa2016-7052

SkyRace® Comapedrosa – Skyrunner® World Series 2016

The SkyRace® Comapedrosa really did personify everything that a Skyrunning race should be today as the Skyrunner® World Series 2016 moved at a fast pace. The race route was tough, technical, had loads of climbing and plenty of time up in the sky at altitude. In many respects, it’s a course of two halves – the early stages weave up steep forest paths and then in the latter half, after summiting the highest point of the course, the iconic peak of Comapedrosa, the terrain becomes almost permanently rocky and technical.

©iancorless.com_Comapedrosa2016-7549

Laura Orgue and Tom Owens were champions of the day and with two new course records! What makes the result of the dynamic duo more impressive is that they both achieved ‘silver,’ just last weekend at the Skyrunning World Championships organized by the ISF.
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The tiny ski-resort of Arinsal in Andorra hosted 370 runners as they toed the line to cover the 21.2km course with a vertical ascent of over 2,000m+. Much of the pre-race talk had been about ‘the wall,’ a technical 1000-metre vertical climb over the short distance of just 2km to the summit of the Comapedrosa at 2,942m, the highest peak in the principality of Andorra.

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Aritz Egea lead the race on the climbs and reached the summit of Comapedrosa with Tom Owens, Oscar Casal Mir and trailing Alexis Sevennec. Egea who has not been inform of late struggled to keep the second place after Owens passed him on the last long technical descent but the revelation came from Hassan Ait Chaou who closed from outside the top-5 to take 2nd on the podium. ©iancorless.com_Comapedrosa2016-7090

Egea held on for 3rd and post-race said, “I’m very happy with third. This year has been a little complicated for me, I’ve not been very motivated, so this a good surprise. The course is really, really tough but I love this kind of race, especially the steep climbs.” ©iancorless.com_Comapedrosa2016-7048

Tom Owens had contemplated not racing but sometimes last minute decisions work, “I was un-decided if I should run?” said Owens. “Today I felt great, sometimes it’s nice to race with no expectation. I was 6th or 7th on the first climb but running on those ridges was just brilliant. The descents were great for me…and move quite quickly and pull back places.”

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Pull back places Owens did and on that final descent he gave it everything and moved up from the 3rd to take victory in a new CR, knocking 6-minutes of the old record of 2:46:42.

Owens continued, “My weakness is on the steep climbs. The other guys would just pull away… then I eased back on the second climb. We all pretty much reached the summit of the second climb at the same time and from there I knew I had to concentrate.”

Surprisingly, the top three in the male podium all crossed the finish line today under the previous CR, a true sign of a fast, furious and highly competitive race.

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Laura Orgue ran an impressive time of 3:12:27 in the ladies’ race beating the previous CR of 3:21:15 held by Oihana Kortazar who would place 2nd. Like Owens, Orgue had achieved a silver medal just last weekend in the Skyrunning World Championships and although victory and CR were hers, she complained of not being her normal self. A VK specialist, Orgue loves to climb but today it was the worst part of her race… the other female runners must be terrified if she has a good day!

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Oihana Kortazar, placed 2nd and was also very happy to beat her own course record, no doubt due to the blistering pace of Orgue, “In this race I prefer the ascents to the descents, which are very, very technical. Andorra has some really tough terrain and I welcome the challenge. My next race is Matterhorn Ultraks in Zermatt.”

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Third was Àngela Castelló in 3:20:13. As with the male podium, the top three in the female podium all came in under the previous CR.

Attention now turns to next weekend and the first race in the EXTREME series, the Tromso SkyRace.

 

Provisional Race Results

Male:

  1. 1.Tom Owens 2:40
  2. Hassan Ait Chaou 2:41
  3. Aritz Egea 2:44

Female:

  1. Laura Orgué 3h14′
  2. Oihana Kortazar 3h17′
  3. Angela Castello 3h20′


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.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

Skyrunning World Championships 2016 SKY – Images and Summary

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The Vall de Boí in the Spanish Pyrenees today provided a modern day coliseum where Skyrunning gladiators battled at the BUFF® Epic Trail Aigüestortes SKY event, the 2nd race in the 2016 Skyrunning World Series.

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The rugged BUFF® EPIC TRAIL 42KM is a point-to-point race with 3,200m positive climb in a spectacular natural arena surrounded by 3,000m peaks and 200 mountain lakes. Rich in cultural history, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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It’s a highly challenging and extremely technical race with a nine-hour time limit, the racing field was capped at 500.

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Starting at 0930 under chilly temperatures, the day remained dry but on all the summits temperatures dropped significantly and wind chill was high.

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Tom Owens was a driving force in the men’s race and the Brit reveled in the tough and technical terrain, something he loves. In the early stages he held strong but a charging Stian Argemund had other ideas. With a gold medal already in the bag from the previous day’s VK, Stian ran a calm and relaxed race and moved from 4th to 1st with over half distance covered. Owens, a downhill specialist said post-race, “I thought I would bring him back on the next descent and although I closed on him, as soon as the terrain pointed up, he would pull away. He was so strong on the climbs, no wonder he won the VK!”

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Stian did hold on to the finish (3:56:47) and in the process secured a 2nd gold medal at the 2016 games. Tom Owens took silver in 4:01:59 and Ismail Razga kept the Spanish home crown happy with bronze in 4:05:56.

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The ladies race was an exciting one and Spanish runner Maite Maiora secured one of the biggest victories of her life after also placing 3rd in the previous days VK.

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Azara Garcia, also from Spain, chased hard all day and came off so close in the final stages closing the gap to Maiora by less than 2 minutes, 4:42:15 to 4:44:04. Garcia was happy though, gold and silver to Spain!

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Elisa Desco from Italy seemed to struggle in the early stages of the race but rallied to eventually finish 3rd to receive the Bronze medal with a time of 4:46:43.

LOGO_SKYRUNNING_WORLD_CHAMPS-768x778

SKYRUNNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2016 PREVIEW

 

LOGO_SKYRUNNING_WORLD_CHAMPS-768x778Every two years the Skyrunning world assembles at an iconic venue and racing commences in VK, SKY and ULTRA distances to announce a male and female champion in the respective distances. Two years ago, the endurance capital of the world Chamonix, hosted the championships and this year it is Spain.

The Vall de Boí in the Spanish Pyrenees will provide a modern day coliseum where Skyrunning gladiators will battle at the BUFF® Epic Trail Aigüestortes events. A spectacular natural arena surrounded by 3,000m peaks and 200 mountain lakes. Rich in cultural history, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It may come as no surprise that runners from all over the world will arrive in Spain and over the three races, the lineup of talent is second to none. The line-up has five previous world champions returning:

Luis Alberto Hernando

Luis Alberto Hernando

Luis Alberto Hernando, Laura Orgue, Oihana Kortazar, Augusti Roc and Elisa Desco.

©iancorless.com_©iancorless.com-3368MontBlancVK_2014

In 2014, Australia were a dominant force and surprised many with break through performances, once again they return with a super strong field. The Czech Republic, Japan and Portugal are also sending talented squads, for many, it may well be a first racing in Europe or the high mountains of the Pyrenees. In total, 35 different countries will be represented.

Events start on Friday July 22nd with the VK, on Saturday 23rd it is the ULTRA and closing events on Sunday 24th is the SKY distance.

Importantly, WADA anti-doping tests will be carried out at the Championships managed by FEDME, the Spanish Mountain Sports Federation and ISF member for Spain which will sanction the events and oversee them with their referees. The organisation will be in the capable hands OCI Sport, with whom the ISF has collaborated on a number of high-profile events including the 2012 SkyGames® in Andorra and Spain.

Needless to say, the number of athletes taking part is extensive and at this stage, we may well have some late additions. Below are many of the key runners who I anticipate to do well:

VK – For the short and steep specialists, the BUFF® EPIC TRAIL VK is 2.8 km long with 1,030m positive climb. The average incline is 30.7% and reaches a mean 50.4% at the steepest point. It is capped at 250.

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Ferran Teixido from Andorra is currently ranked highly on the SWS2016 and we can expect strong competition from Saul Antonio Padua, Andrej Fejfar, Augusti Roc, Jan Margarit, Alexis Sevennec and Pascal Egli.

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Laura Orgue just did the ‘double’ in the Dolomites winning both VK and SKY and will be hot favourite on home soil. However, Christel Dewalle will have other ideas and the race may well be a head-to-head between the two. Vanessa Ortega, Yngvild Kaspersen, Therese Sjursen and Ekaterina Mityaeva.

SKY – The rugged BUFF® EPIC TRAIL 42KM is a point to point with 3,200m positive vertical climb. Again, a highly challenging extremely technical race with a nine-hour time limit capped at 500.

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Is going to be fast and furious and the lineup is stunning with Tom Owens, Blake Hose, Manuel Merillas, Pascal Egli and Marcin Swierc pushing for the top slot. But strong competition will also come from Marc and Oscar Casal Mir, Pablo Villa, Jessed Hernandez, Alexis Sevennec, Dai Matsumoto and Artem Rostovstev.

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Elisa Desco, Yngvild Kaspersen, Azara Garcia and Maite Maiora form a stunning quad of talent but Oihana Kortazar, Ida Nilsson, Marta Molist, Ragna Debats and Katrine Villumsen will make sure that the run for the line is not an easy one. Dark horse is the UK’s Jasmin Paris – watch out.

ULTRA – The BUFF® EPIC TRAIL 105KM, with a grueling 8,000m elevation gain and a maximum gradient of 56%, is as tough as they come. Strict qualification standards will be enforced for participants, which are capped at 250.

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The ultra is the big one and I have to say the talent is what one would expect when a world title is at stake. Luis Alberto Hernando may well be the one to beat on home soil but Andy Symonds after recent success in Lavaredo will push him. As will Franco Colle, Majell Backhausen, Zaid Ait Malek, Cristofer Clemente and Ben Duffs. Miguel Heras is also toeing the line and if in form, watch out! Fulvio Dapit, Leonardo Diogo, Nuno Silva, Jan Bartas and Pau Bartolo are also strong contenders.

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The ladies race is equally editing with Caroline Chaverot being the lady to beat. She has been on fire this year! Ruth Croft made the podium at Transvulcania but arguably local lady, Nuria Picas is the one to upset the apple cart. A strong fight will come from Fernanda Maciel, Anna Strakova, Gemma Arenas, Hillary Allen, Ester Alves, Kristina Pattison, Soto Ogawa and let’s not forget Mira Rai who is returning from injury.

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World titles and medals will be awarded, crowning the champions of the Ultra, Sky and Vertical disciplines together with combined titles and country ranking. A total of twenty-seven medals and a €20,000 prize purse await the champions of these prestigious competitions.

Alpina Watches, 2016 Skyrunning World Championships Official Timekeeper, will award six prestigious Alpina Horological Smartwatches to the male and female champions of each category, Vertical, Sky and Ultra.

The Vall de Boí will also host the 2016 ISF General Assembly on July 22, which will be attended by members from far and near.

Check out details of the three World Championship courses here.

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Zegama-Aizkorri 2016 Race Preview – Skyrunner® World Series

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Zegama is Zegama! Ask anyone about Zegama-Aizkorri and the answer will be, ‘Zegama? well, Zegama is Zegama!’

Yes, it is a unique race! The Skyrunner® World Series 2016 roles on from Transvulcania Ultramarathon on the island of La Palma and now transfers to mainland Spain, the Basque country – Zegama!

Due to it’s location, early season date and unpredictable weather, Zegama-Aizkorri has seen many epic battles. Catalan mountain running legend, Kilian Jornet has won the race an incredible six times. The combination of challenging terrain, vertical gain and descent and typically bad weather fall into the Catalans hands perfectly. It’s a race where strength of mind must be matched by the strength of the body.

A quiet and sleepy place, Zegama is transformed on race weekend into a mecca of mountain running. The course is reassuringly predictable, however, as past editions have shown, the weather adds the variety and a glorious sunny warm edition can be followed with a snowy, wet and miserably cold edition.

Taking in a loop over the Arratz massif and the Sierra of Aizkorri. Otzaurte provides an early indication of form on the day but it’s on the legendary climb of Sancti Spiritu where thousands of spectators line the trail where the action starts to unfold.

Taking in the four highest peaks in the Basque Autonomous Region; Arratz, Aizkorri, Akategi and Aitxuri the highest at over 1500m. Zegama-Aizkorri is a classic mountain marathon distance race with 5472m of vertical gain.

A ridge run at altitude leads to the final summit. Scrambling over rocks the final descent arrives which leads to the roads of this sleepy town, now transformed into a hub of colour and noise.

Zegama is Zegama!

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The race is notable for it’s history and one man alone has shone brightly at Zegama – Kilian Jornet. Many thought the Catalan would not run in Zegama in 2016 due to his exploits in mountaineering and his ‘Summits of my Life’ project, not so – Kilian will run!

‘Kilian posted on Twitter on May 17th, ‘Last long training before Zegama done, 13h 6500m in technical terrain 🙈🙈🙈’

Needless to say, Kilian is the favourite!

In all honesty, as one would expect, the quality of the line up at Zegama is exceptional, particularly in the men’s race. The ladies race is without doubt one of the weakest line-ups in recent years – Emelie Forsberg is injured, Laura Orgue is injured, Elisa Desco is injured, and the race is also missing, pocket rocket, Stevie Kremer amongst others.

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Luis Alberto Hernando just blitzed the Transvulcania course once again and although you can’t rule him out, I can’t help but think he will just miss that extra few percent (due to fatigue) of energy needed and required to top the podium. He will fight all the way to the line though and he will unleash a breakneck descent for potential victory.

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Remi Bonnet has looked for an opportunity to race Kilian for sometime. Yes, he is that keen… he has been tipped by many, me included, that he may well be ‘the next big thing’ in the world of Skyrunning. He is an incredible talent in the VK discipline and as he showed at the Rut in Limone, he is also an incredible talent at the Sky distance. Remi could well push Kilian all the way to the line but I will still give KJ the nod for victory.

©iancorless.com_DolomitesSkyRace2015-1920Tadei Pivk was a man on fire in 2015 and was champion of the Skyrunner World Series. He has already started his 2016 well with races in Italy and a recent 2nd place at Yading SkyRun in China. Tadei love Zegama- Aizkorri and he always finds the form to make an impact on the podium.

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Saul Padua is a VK specialist and a very good one! He recently won the Transvulcania VK and in 2015 he dipped his toe in the Sky distance, in particular the Dolomites where he lead the charge to the summit only to loose his lead on the descent. I can’t help but feel that Zegama will be a similar scenario – he will run top-5 early on but potentially will loose places on the long descent to the line. If the weather is bad and it looks as though it may be, I think that will impact on his race even more.

Marc Lauenstein is yet to be confirmed as running but if he does, he could really shake things up. He recently won the Three Peaks in the UK ahead of Ricky Lightfoot and Tom Owens. The UK fells are actually the perfect training ground for Zegama, so, if Marc runs – watch out!

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Manuel Merillas like Tadei has illuminated the Skyrunner World Series with a string of world-class performances over multiple distances. He was 3rd at Limone behind Remi Bonnet and Tadei and at Lantau 2 Peaks he placed 2nd behind Remi relegating Tadei to 3rd. For sure, Manuel will be in the mix for a podium place.
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Marco De Gasperi needs no introduction to any follower of mountain or Skyrunning. The guy is a legend, he has been there and done it and still manages to pull out great results from the bag. you can never rule the Italian out but younger and faster competition keep coming, making racing at a high level increasingly harder. No longer running

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Tom Owens is yet to be confirmed as participating although he is on the start list. Tom is made for Zegama with a strong background in fell running. The terrain and mountains in this region of the Basque country offer the Scot a unique playground and what that he embraces. His recent podium place at the Three Peaks in the UK shows he is in form.

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Aritz Egea is the ever consistent Skyrunner with a string of victories, podium places and top-10 results. He does have the ability to win Zegama, he just needs a little luck. Expect him to go out hard, potentially lead the race early on with the hope of clinging on to a lead to the finish.

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Ionut Zinca like so many listed above has the potential to win and almost certainly make the podium. An ever-present on the Skyrunning circuit with consistent results at Zegama, the Dolomites, Limone and so many more, if Ionut is on form, we can certainly expect him to push throughout the race for the top slot.

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Zaid Ait Malek raced Transvulcania and therefore may well be a little tired for Zegama. However, he knows how to run this race and has placed well within the top-10, I don’t see him winning but top-5 is possible.

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Jokin Lizeaga and Eirik Haugsness head up the leading runners for a top-10 placing along with Pere Rullan, Pablo Villa (tbc), Hassain Ait Chaou, Jessed Hernandez and Nil Cardona.

LADIES

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Megan Kimmel heads up the ladies race after a recent victory at Yading SkyRun and an impressive 2015 Skyrunner World Series season. To say Megan has been on fire would be an underestimation and it was actually a real surprise that she did not win the 2015 Skyrunner World Series – a below par performance at Limone Extreme ruined her chances. But her string of victories, particularly at the Dolomites SkyRace when she beat Laura Orgue elevated her to ‘hot’ for all the Skyrunning races – watch out!

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Yngvild Kaspersen is the female equivalent of Remi Bonnet. In 2015, her first racing season, she rose through the ranks with a series of impressive runs both in the VK and Sky distance and she was rewarded with victory in Hong Kong at the Lantau 2 Peaks in horrendous conditions. If conditions in Zegama are wet, cold, miserable and slippery underfoot, Yngvild may well shine and take victory!

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Maite Maiora is an ever-present on the Skyrunning circuit and only races one way; hard! Over the winter she took time out for an operation and therefore her training may well have been compromised. On her day, Maite is without doubt podium potential and in and amongst this ladies field, I think she has every chance of a top-3 slot.

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Azara Garcia won Zegama and then had a string on injury issues which leaves many question marks about her form? If she is fit and well, then we can expect Azara to give Megan a race.

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Oihana Kortazar is yet to be confirmed as running but she recently raced the marathon distance in Transvulcania. A lady who knows the mountains and trails of Zegama very well, I would expect a podium place.

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Anna Comet raced Transvulcania and had to pull out with an injury. Although her name is on the start list I question if she will run? My gut feeling though is that this race is maybe too short for her skills; a longer race suits her better.

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The same applies for Portugal’s Ester Alves. A great long distance runner who can handle technical trail, the short sharp shock of Zegama may well be too much of an ask for a podium place. Top-10 is a distinct possibility for both.©iancorless.com-9069Kima2014_

Paula Cabrerizo and Nuria Dominguez head up the charge behind the three ladies above, both have all the ability to make the podium and yes, a victory is possible.

Marta Molist Codina, Aitziber Iberia and Eva Maria Moreda Gabaldon form the next wave of contenders and of course, we have to anticipate surprise performances that we just can’t account for. Alicia Shay placed 4th at Transvulcania Ultramarathon and although on the start list, she will not run.

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The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series is brought to you with a new management company, Geneva based SkyMan SA

SkyMan SA  is pleased to present a new Main Partner, Migu Xempower, a Chinese exercise and health management platform which also counts a rich experience in organising marathons, city and mountain races for millions of runners.

The well-established, SkyUltra and Vertical format is joined by the Extreme Seriespresented by Alpina Watches, which more than ever expresses the true spirit of skyrunning defined not only by distance, but vertical climb and technical difficulty.

Skyrunner® World Series is supported by Migu Xempower, Alpina Watches, Compressport, Salomon and Scott Sports.

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View the Zegama galleries from 2014