Transvulcania La Palma 2014 is now available to view for International viewers
Film by Dreamteam Television
Transvulcania La Palma 2014 is now available to view for International viewers
Film by Dreamteam Television
It’s the day after the 2014 Transvulcania La Palma and Anna Frost opens the door of her apartment in Tazacorte in a bikini. A huge smile welcomes me and as I enter, she tells me, ‘I hope you’re hungry, we have cooked lunch.’
Sitting on the terrace, the sun beats down and I suddenly feel in holiday mood. It’s only after 20 to 30 minutes of chatting, laughing and eating that I realize I am here to interview Frosty! It’s crazy, it’s difficult to believe that less than 24-hours earlier, Frosty was pushing herself to her limits on the GR131 in one of the greatest comebacks this sport has seen.
We go some way back and I feel fortunate that I have not only shared time on the trails with the Kiwi but I have also often discussed her running and the problems she has had over the past 12-18 months. It’s been quite a battle. Just 1-year ago, I was sitting in the same apartment, drinking a beer surrounded by Timmy Olson, Cameron Clayton, Emelie Forsberg and others… they were all celebrating a successful 2013 edition of ‘Transvulcania’. Frosty enjoyed and participated in those celebrations despite the disappointment of not racing, the time wasn’t right and ultimately she had made the tough, but correct decision not to race.
A jump to the present; 12-months of ups and downs, finally, the struggles are over and we can all celebrate, a touch of Frost…
IC: I am joined by Frosty, laughing as usual, what a comeback!
AF: It’s nice to be back!
IC: Nice to see you back. It has been a tough old time. I guess winning the 2014 edition is like a time lapse; it’s where it all started back in 2012.
AF: Exactly, like I said, it was more than a win yesterday. Just standing on the start line was a win. Getting through the race was a win. You know, feeling competitive, feeling strong, going through ups and downs. Feeling yuck and then feeling good. You know how it is, it was a great feeling… the bonus of winning was incredible but the bonus to run and finish healthy is superb.
IC: The Transvulcania finish is one of the best out there too.
AF: Oh yeah, it’s an extreme one.
IC: Just 48-72 hours ago you said you didn’t have your 2012 form and I purposely in my race preview took the pressure off you. Of course, I said you could win, but this race was more about coming back and finishing healthy. Emelie was going to be at the race and we thought Nuria would be but she dropped out. She made the correct decision in my opinion.
AF: Yes I agree.
IC: You know what, the sport is in a learning curve at the moment. Runners are going to have to be far more savvy on when to race and when not.
AF: Yes Nuria is smart and she is a great runner. She has new objectives this year. She has Australia (a race she just won in a new CR) very soon and she is competing in the UTWT. She would have loved to be here and we would have loved it too but as you say, correct decision.
IC: A couple of months ago we were in Costa Rica. You were going to race a multi day but you had some bad news literally just days before the start. It was a tough time eh? You had to respect the recovery process and it seems as though in such a relatively short time you have come a long way. How and why are you finally finding a way to manage everything?
AF: I think I was patient. I have had no expectations. I took all the pressure off myself. I just wanted to be healthy and fit. If I hadn’t been I wouldn’t have raced Transvulcania. I haven’t pushed the miles or the hours. I would run an hour a day and no more. Once I could run an hour strong and comfortably then I would add more… I was cycling, walking, paddle boarding… I went back to basics and added core strength. I though I was strong; I did lots of work on it but in fact I was strong in one area but in another area I was weak. It was doing me no good. I am back to basics and I even focus on breathing while walking and running. I am doing yoga and I am calm with the racing. When I arrived in La Palma 3-weeks ago I knew I had 2 solid weeks to get ready. This terrain is hard. I was tired a week ago coming to taper so I knew I felt good. It seems as though I got it right. I wasn’t tired in the race and had no injuries… it worked!
IC: Lets talk about that 2-weeks of quality training. It will provide an insight and it will also tell us how you approached this race and maybe contrast it to 2012. I think back a couple of years, to 2012. You trained like a demon. You openly said, ‘I have trained like hell for this.’
AF: In 2012 I had 6-weeks of solid training. In this heat, on this terrain and your body gets drilled. Everything is extreme; the wind, the heat, the cold, everything… this time I had 2-weeks and I attempted 2 similar weeks to 2012 the only difference was I did many more hard weeks 2-years ago. For example, I did 4-5 hour runs, 3 times a week and the rest was 5-hours of training a day. Maybe running for 2-3 hours followed with yoga, swimming and cycling. I spiced it up.
IC: That’s a big training block.
AF: It was solid!
IC: I was thinking you wouldn’t have done that much… impressive! The course has altitude, much of the race is up around 2000m, and it can feel like a cold in your chest. Anyone who wants to run well in La Palma does need to acclimatize. How important is it for you?
AF: My first runs felt like that. The altitude kicked my butt. I felt sick, I felt tired and I could hardly move. But I think once you have spent time at altitude you adapt. For example, I was in Nepal in 2013 and that adaptation carries over and your body soon learns and switches on. I just need 2-3 runs and I feel okay.
IC: La Palma is not an easy place to train on the course, as you do need a fair amount of driving to access certain pints. I guess Tazacorte is as good as any… you can run up and down to Roques de los Muchachos.
AF: That’s what I love about this island. It’s tiny but intricate. You can go the same place and find a new trail, a new sight and a new experience; La Palma has so much to see.
IC: Lets talk about the race. Emelie was coming off skis and I have to say, I don’t think I have seen Emelie look so nervous before.
AF: Yes, she did seem nervous.
IC: Maybe it was the weight of expectation? Nuria of course wasn’t racing and my dark horse tip was Maite Maiora. I am pleased to say she didn’t let me down with 2nd place. After that, the ladies race was open. Krissy Moehl, Jodee Adams-Moore I guess was a contender, certainly early on she was in the mix in the top-3 but she struggled later on. Uxue Fraile always picks off people and she is strong in the latter stages and once again she placed 3rd. When you were racing did you realize Emelie was out?
AF: No, early on Emelie and I ran together. The start is chaos, people sprint and then suddenly you are in a 1-meter wide trail. Rocks are everywhere, it’s a black sandpit and it’s dark. Along with that you have supporters making noise… it really is bonkers. To get around people you have to go around the rocks. It’s volcano after all, the floor moves. You could hear people fall. I heard some commotion over someone falling and then a little later I could hear Emelie. I saw she had blood on her hand and I asked if all was ok? She said, ‘Yes.’ So we pushed on… after Los Canarios, around 7km I knew Emelie wasn’t around. I didn’t think too much of it. I just assumed she would come back to me. However I never saw her again. I was at Pico de Neive…
IC: So that ‘s 40K?
AF: Yes, 40k. I saw Jono Wyatt and asked about Emelie and Jono told me she was out. I said, ‘No way!’ I really wanted to run with Emelie. It was hard; I know only too well what it’s like to make that decision. I don’t think Emelie had a choice. It was a bad cut. Emelie wanted to race, she would have been strong I am sure.
IC: You pretty much took the race by the scruff of the neck and lead from the start. It’s all very well feeling good, feeling confident and being at the front… we can use Sage Canaday as an example, he takes the front, opens a gap and then he has to run scared. Sage does it to gain a buffer, as he doesn’t descend well, so he tries to keep Kilian and Luis at bay. But for you, you were chased for the whole race.
AF: Yes, you run scared. You have no idea… people try to help. Apparently in one place I was 20-min ahead, then 1k later it was 6-mins and so on and so on. You can’t rely on the info so you just have to run hard.
IC: How do you manage your effort? I guess the temptation can be to push, push and push. As you said, you can’t rely on info but you do have Salomon teammates at key feed stations so that does provide some security. Arnau for example told me about a story about Miguel Heras and San Fran. Arnau told Miguel he was 1st and Miguel heard ‘3rd’. He won the race but he was wrecked… he ran so hard.
AF: Yes he won by 30-min!
IC: Yes, great win though.
AF: Anything can happen so you have to run to the best of your ability. You can loose 6-min in a couple of miles if you have a bad patch. A race of this distance takes so much out of you, so, you just have to run your own race. If you push too hard, run someone else’s race, you will blow up! I know this course so well; I know every aspect of it. I know exactly how an effort should feel on every part of the course and I know how hard to push. I know when I can rest, when to climb, when to let go. I am fortunate to have this course nailed in my memory. But water, food, pace and self-awareness are so important. It can be over in seconds.
IC: From the start at Fuencaliente to Tazacorte, that’s the bulk of the trail. Where are the areas that you think are the most strenuous and the most difficult on the course?
AF: For me it’s the downhill. It’s a weakness for me. I want to get to the top of the hill as quick as I can…
IC: But that is 50k of running uphill?
AF: Yes, it’s part one of the race. Race one finishes here and then I start part two on the downhill. I ran the first half well but felt off in the second half as I was cramping a little. I eased a little but I was worried that I would give away time. It was about maintaining an effort, I felt okay in Tazacorte and then the third part of the race starts, Tazacorte to the line. It is about turning pain off and going for it.
IC: It’s easy to look at a course and worry. Many would worry about 50k uphill in a 73k race. The course is so varied; it has flat sections, long climbing sections, pine forest and plenty of technical train. It adds so much different stress. The Caldera weaves in, out and over, it’s a fantastic place to run but when racing it’s extremely difficult. It’s risky in this section. Do you take risks.
AF: A little of both, you are right, risk going too fast and you risk going over?
IC: I think that is what happened to Emma Roca?
AF: Yes, she was chasing 3rd place and went over on her ankle. She managed to hold on to 4th though. For me, I know I need to push because I need a buffer for the downhill but if you fall over, you can give it all away.
IC: The downhill is tough eh? It changes constantly. Dusty trail, pine trail which is extremely slippery by the way and then you have really tough rocks that are extremely technical.
AF: Oh yeah, the pine is slippery and then the lower you get the heat increases.
IC: The zigzag path to Tazacorte, another tough section, how long does it take to go from the summit to the sea?
AF: Around 90-min!
IC: Wow, that is a long time of 100% concentration.
AF: Yes, it’s really tough. When you come down the zigzags you can hear the crowds in the port… it is uplifting. I also had guys I was overtaking shouting encouragement, ‘Go Anna, go Anna.’ It was brilliant.
IC: In Tazacorte you had a course change this year, same distance but 2k of road was replaced with a riverbed trail. It was going to make the course slower… it certainly wouldn’t suit the faster ‘roadies’ but it would suit you, Kilian and Luis. While you are in the section, your watch had stopped so you had no idea of time, also, you didn’t know how far back Maite was, so, what impact did that 2km course change make?
AF: Your legs are like jelly after running downhill for 90-min. In the port I just refocused. The riverbed wasn’t a surprise but when you hit the beach and your feet sink it isn’t great… particularly knowing the road is just at the side. Mentally it is exhausting but it is a beautiful trail. You have cliff walls and you do get some shade. For me, I just knew it was nothing in the bigger picture, I knew I could hold on and keep going at a decent pace.
IC: You are making your way to the finish, you can hear the crowds from some way off…
AF: It’s amazing; you can hear the noise from a long way off. The final stretch seems miles away. I assumed the record was off! I was appreciating the time and I was enjoying the crowds. It was crazy, they were Mexican waving, cheering and clapping. It’s such a long way… It was only on the final few 100-meters that I realized that the course record was on. I turned the corner, saw the official clock and I took a breath and had to push and push for the record. It was a huge surprise. I was amazed!
IC: You were amazed, so were we! No disrespect but you said you didn’t have 2012 form, the course was tougher and Maite wasn’t on your heels so to come away with a new CR is quite incredible. It was 1min10sec yes?
AF: About that!
IC: Amazing comeback, amazing victory, you must be on cloud-9?
AF: Oh yeah… I got to the line and I pumped my first through the finishing tape. It was a massive relive mentally, not for the day, not for the win, not for the record… It was more than a yearlong race. It was a massive mental relief.
IC: And Emelie was there to give you the Champagne.
AF: Amazing, I saw her arm and I was thinking, ‘Oh my goodness.’ But it was brilliant to share that moment.
IC: Do you feel a weight off your shoulders; do you feel in a good place? Moving forward, how do you take what you have learnt and what is the impact?
AF: I am happy. It’s a dream come true to finish injury free and feeling great. Of course the CR is a bonus! I have shared the experience and not just the people who were racing but also all those people who have followed and believed in me for the last 2-years. So many people are going through similar situations, hopefully what I have done will inspire people! The learning for me is patience, listening to my body and talking. We all need to talk, ask questions, seek help, don’t just ask one person, ask many and be open. Try different things, together we can help each other.
IC: This year’s race for me was the ‘Dream Race’, your victory is extremely popular and Luis Alberto topping the podium is such a popular win, he is one of the best in the world. He has often played 2nd fiddle to Kilian and now he has the win, the big win!
AF: Absolutely, it has been an incredible race and at the awards, Luis reached across to me and whispered, ‘I will never forget this day!’ It was just awesome.
IC: Frosty, we all will never forget this race! Many, many congratulations on such an incredible comeback it has been a pleasure to watch, support and follow. We all love a touch of Frost!
You can win Frosty’s signed Transvulcania La Palma T-Shirt by entering:
Follow Skyrunning and check out the 2014 calendar at www.skyrunning.com
Dakota is back! But so are Kilian and Emelie, Anna Frost, Luis Alberto Hernando, Sage Canaday and Timothy Olson…the star-studded cast doesn’t end here however! Read the press release by the ISF on the up and coming, 2014 Transvulcania La Palma.
The Transvulcania Ultramarathon on the Spanish island of La Palma has made quite a name for itself. Just a small speck in the Atlantic ocean, the race chosen to launch the Skyrunner® Ultra Series in 2012 has grown to represent a hub for many of the world’s top ultra runners, and has never looked back. This year, a Vertical Kilometer® up the gruelling downhill, gives a new twist.
The extraordinary line-up is headed by Salomon superstars Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) winners here last year and 2013 Skyrunner® World champions. However, look out for 2012 winners, Anna Frost (Salomon), and Dakota Jones (Montrail), returning to the Transvulcania stage after a year’s absence from the skyrunning scene. Anna’s 2012 record still stands.
Sage Canaday (Hoka One One) 3rd last year, arrives fresh from his second win at Tarawera in New Zealand and is joined by Timothy Olson (TNF) 4th, who successfully started off the season with a third place at the recent Transgrancanaria.
The strong American line-up doesn’t end here, but first, let’s take a look at the other big-league Spanish runners: Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas), always a podium placer, he crossed the line hand in hand with Kilian to share the gold at the European Championships and moved on to win Cavalls del Vent. The question is, can he pare down those 4’ that separated him from Kilian last year? Tofol Castanyer (Salomon), 2nd at Cavalls, Agustí Roc (inov-8) three-time SWS champion and Jordi Bes (FEEC),CCC winner, join the mix.
From France – UTMB winner Xavier Thevenard (TNF), 11th in 2013, is no doubt looking to move up for a podium spot; Patrick Bringer (Sigvaris Sports), 5th, is making a determined come-back, together with Martin Gafurri (New Balance) 19th and a great top-10 at Tarawera recently and first-timer Sylvain Couchaud (Mizuno), 4th at the Mont-Blanc 80K.
Among the top ranked talent, Germany’s Philipp Reiter (Salomon) finished an excellent 12th last year, despite illness, and Florian Neuschwander (16th ISF ranking) who, like many other first timers, will fulfil a dream running this iconic race.
From the UK, an array of impressive newcomers to the race: Tom Owens (Salomon), 2nd behind Kilian at Kima 2012, is up and running after a year-long lay-off. Ricky Lightfoot (Salomon), 2013 AIU Champion and 2009 Zegama winner is joined by Stu Air (SCOTT Sports) and Robbie Britton (inov-8).
From Italy, Giuliano Cavallo (Salomon) 9th in 2012, returns after a year’s absence from running, together with Fulvio Dapit (Crazy Idea), a consistently top performer in the Sky distance over the years, he now moves up to tackle his first 83K.
Tackling their first “European” style race will be top Americans, Dylan Bowman (Pearl Izumi), Jason Schlarb (Altra), David Laney and Ryan Ghelfi (Nike Trail Team) and Ty Draney (Patagonia), while teammate Luke Nelson is back for more.
The women’s field too, represents the deepest in the five-year history of the race with new competition coming from across the Pond. The stacked field is headed by Salomon’s Emelie Forsberg and Anna Frost, respectively 2013 and 2012 winners. Nuria Picas (Buff) UTMB (2nd) and Cavalls winner, after a hard-fought 2ndplace last year, she returns with a victory from the recent Transgrancanaria under her belt. Look out for Emma Roca (Buff), 3rd at UTMB, and Uxue Fraile(Vibram) 3rd here, another Spanish talent who is steadily but surely racking up the podiums.
Italy’s young star Silvia Serafini (Salomon), 4th on the ISF Sky Ranking, has set her sights on the longest race of her rocketing career. Also from Italy, Federica Boifava, 5th at the European Championships and new talent Alessandra Carlini, 2nd in the Mont-Blanc 80K. From France, Aurelia Truel (2nd IAU and 3rd at Les Templiers and Maud Gobert, 6th here in 2012.
Three top level American runners taking up the challenge are Krissy Moehl (Patagonia), UTMF winner, Jodee Adams-Moore (SCOTT Sports), 2nd at Speedgoat, and Cassie Scallon (Salomon) winner at Lake Sonoma and the recent MSIG Sai Kung 50 in Hong Kong.
From Japan, Hiroko Suzuki (Salomon), 2nd at UTMF last year, may find the distance a little short and the elevation a little high for her long distance running skills.
The Ultramarathon presents a daunting 8,525m ascent and descent over the 83 km course, which starts at sea level on the Atlantic coast and travels along the island’s backbone to the summit of the volcano at 2,423m before descending again to the sea and finishing in the town of Los Llanos. The records to beat are:6h54’09” Kilian Jornet (2013) and 8h11’31” Anna Frost (2012).
The Vertical Kilometer® ascends the steep cliff face from the sea front at Tazacorte for 6.6 km single track with a 40% incline before settling into a “flatter” final section to finish at 1,160m altitude. The overall incline averages 30%.
The world’s top Vertical specialists will race on this newly designed course for the first time, with the super-strong La Sportiva team headed by World ChampionUrban Zemmer and top ranked athletes Marco Facchinelli, Marco Moletto, Nejc Kuhar and Nadir Mague.
Brothers Bernard and Martin Dematteis and Oscar and Marc Casal (Race Land) also stand out in the men’s field.
The women’s field is strongly represented by Salomon with World Champion Laura Orgue together with Emelie Forsberg, Anna Frost, Silvia Serafini and Antonella Confortola, joined by Sierre Zinal winner Elisa Desco.
Kilian Jornet, like his team mates, Emelie, Anna and Silvia, will,of course, race both!
Note the dates:
May 8, Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer®, and May 10, Transvulcania Ultramarathon.
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More fun, new trails and new experiences…. love these trails, this island and the company.
Scott Running athlete, Sage Canaday has been burning a trail quite literally in all his recent races. Not only has he been winning, but he has been setting CR’s in almost all his runs. Without doubt he is in form. Along with Cameron Clayton and Adam Campbell, Sage will bring speed and pace to the front of the Transvulcania race.
However, this course is unlike any other race he has run. The long up hill sections of very mixed terrain will break his running stride, in addition, it is going to be hot. These are things that Sage acknowledges may very well throw a curve ball into his race plans. The long descent from the top of the course to Tazacorte will also not be ideal for Sage. But as he says, he is learning every day. I am sure he will learn something new on May 11th.
It’s not always the racing that leaves memories but often what happens around the racing. In 2012, arguably, one of the best fields ever assembled on the island of La Palma to take part in the Transvulcania La Palma.
This film was actually a trailer for Kilian’s Quest Season 4 ‘Living Legends’.
But it shows some great times and experiences and ultimately it shows what running is about… having fun!
Without doubt, the International Skyrunning Federation and the organization of the 2012 edition of the Transvulcania La Palma created a race that ultra runners throughout the world had been waiting for. A showdown! The best-of-the-best racing ‘head-to-head’ on a tough and technical mountain route on the island of La Palma.
Billed as the ‘race of the year’ the tough La Palma course did not disappoint. Both the ladies race and the male race created a topic of discussion, not only during and after the race but also before it… the build up, the media and the buzz was unparalled.
The 2012 race is now history; Dakota Jones triumphed over the volcanic course and in doing so created a moment in ultra history that will be talked about for years to come. Anna Frost for the ladies produced a performance that was nothing short of miraculous. She smashed the female course record and confirmed herself as one of the most dominant forces in mountain running. So strong was her performance, she actually almost made the top 10 overall.
On May 11th, once again we will have one of the greatest ultra fields assembling in ‘La Isla Bonita’ to climb, sweat and survive over one of the most beautiful run courses I have had the pleasure to witness.
Anna Frost is returning in the hope to defend her title. Once again she will arrive on the island weeks in advance and prepare meticulously in the hope not only of taking out the win once again but maybe beating her own CR and creeping into the top 10. She has had a quiet winter and raced at El Cruce 3 day stage race for a 3rd lady place and just recently ran a relay with Rickey Gates at Tarawera ultra in New Zealand. *update 5th May, Anna is having some ongoing health issues and her presence in the 2013 Transvulcania is currently 50/50. Anna’s priority is her health and as much as we want ‘Frosty’ in the race,more importantly we want her healthy. Best wishes Anna.
**6th May – “I have decided not to race Transvulcania” Anna Frost has announced she will not run the 2013 Transvulcania – you can read a post HERE**
Nuria Picas will return to push Frosty to the limit. Nuria had an incredible 2012 and most certainly stepped up a notch. With incredible diversity and wins at iconic races such as Trofeo Kima and Cavalls del Vent, Frosty and the rest of the ladies will have their hands full stopping the Catalan charging over the course and taking the win.
Missing from the 2012 race, Emelie Forsberg, now more relaxed at the 50-mile distance will join her friends and sparring partners to make an incredible three Musketeers at the front of the field. Emelie burst onto the 2012 race season and impressed with every race performance, she can run down hill like no other as she proved at Pikes Peak. She also placed 2nd or 3rd behind Frosty and Nuria for most of 2012 but she finished of the season with an incredible win at San Francisco. Emelie has all the potential to win at Transvulcania. She started 2013 with a win over the marathon distance at Transgrancanaria and recently raced Tarawera as a relay with Francois d’Haene.
Silvia Serafini like Emelie has had an incredible rise in 2012. An incredible talent who is new to the longer distances may very well find Transvulcania La Palma a learning curve race. However, she has the ability, passion and dedication to push at the front. *Update May 5th via email: I decided together with Greg (Salomon International Team Manager) and Fabio (Team Manager) not to race at Transvulcania. I have to run the ‘Great Wall marathon’ the week after, and Zegama on the 26th.
Emilie Lecomte is renowned for running long distance races and performing at the highest level. In 2012 she set a female record for covering the GR20 in Corsica and she finished the season with a win at Diagonale des Fous on Reunion Island. Without doubt she has all the ability to make her presence known at the front end of the race. I just wonder if 80km’s is just a little too short for her?
Fernanda Maciel from Brazil has had some great results. In 2008 she was 4th at TNF 80k in California. In 2009 she won the TDS and in 2010 she placed 4th lady at UTMB. She may well be a dark horse in the ladies with no Frosty and Maud Gobert, Fernanda may well make top three and if she has a great day, she may take the top slot. In 2012 she was first at The North Face Transgrancanaria 123k. In June, she finished second at TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail. She placed at the TNFUTMB and in October, she ran the 860k Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Maud Gobert from France had a strong 2012 season and raced throughout the year but ultimately, the key performance came at the end of the year placing 3rd behind Emelie Forsberg at San Fran 50. After a quiet winter it will be interesting to see how she progresses. Maud was 6th at Transvulcania 2012 in 9:54:40. *Update 7th May, Maud will not race and go to Zegama two weeks later instead.
Notable mentions go to
Boy oh boy… the men will have a battle. On paper, the 2013 race has all the makings of a classic. Kilian Jornet, Miguel Heras, Anton Krupicka, Timothy Olson, Mike Foote, Francois d’Haene, Philipp Reiter, Cameron Clayton, Thomas Lorblanchet, Sage Canaday, Tofol Castanyer, Gustav Reyes and so many more.
With no Dakota Jones (winner 2012) and no Andy Symonds (2nd in 2012) first roll call goes to Kilian Jornet. Kilian placed 3rd in 2012 after being in the lead with Dakota and Andy for the best part of 74k. However, in the final km’s just after the long hard descent to Tazacorte Port, Kilian was hit with fatigue and dehydration. He crossed the line and promptly passed out. It’s not often we see Kilian look ‘human’ but at Transvulcania he did. We must point out that only 7 days previous he had taken off his ski’s after a long racing season. The question is for 2013 will he allow himself more preparation time? It certainly looks as though he has. Nobody doubts Kilian’s ability and his incredible 2012 season confirms that he is the main favourite for Transvulcania.
Anton Krupicka injured for most of 2011 and 2012 returned with a bang in the latter half of 2012 and got a great 2nd place behind Kilian at Cavalls del Vent. His 2013 season was due to see him start his year at Tarawera in New Zealand but he pulled out just 10 days. He did say he had a hip injury that was very much on the mend but he didn’t want to take any risks. He will be arriving in La Palma in form, in shape and without doubt running with only one objective, to win the race!
Sage Canaday has burst on to the ultra scene and has pretty much left the community looking on in wonder. A 2:16 marathon runner he has introduced that speed to the longer races and although as he says himself, he is still learning he is dominating and setting course records. He blazed a trail at Bandera 100k and set a new CR in early 2013 and just recently set the trail on fire at Tarawera. Mid race he was over 12 minutes ahead but at the end that had been reduced to just 3 minutes. Transvulcania is a runnable course but the elevation may be more demanding on Sage and his learning curve may very well take a sharp swing in the ‘up’ direction. However, with his speed and ability he can win the race. In particularly, if Sage is in contention at Tazacorte Port, the final kilometers of the race include road and if Sage gets chance to use his speed it could be devastating.
2012 Western States winner and course record holder, Timothy Olson is almost duplicating the racing calendar of Anton. They had planned to face up against each other at Tarawera and then follow with Transvulcania and TNF UTMB. Timothy without doubt has all the potential to create a stir. With a new sponsorship deal with The North Face, 2013 looks like it will be an incredible year. He raced early on in 2013 at Bandera 50k and although he won the race his pace wasn’t fast (by his standards). Going in to Tarawera ultra he said he had trained well and that he was in form. He was! Trailing Sage Canaday by over 12 minutes at half way he reeled Sage in and at the finish was just 3 minutes behind to take 2nd place. I can’t help but feel that Timothy is just warming up and I am now moving him up to a ‘favourite’ for Transvulcania.
Miguel Heras had a mixed early part to 2012 but finished it of with a podium place at La Course des Templiers and a win at San Francisco. In form he is most certainly one to beat and he will be mixing it with Kilian at the front end of the race… can he win? Absolutely. He raced the 119km Trangrancanaria but pulled from the race relatively early on. *Update 7th May, Miguel Heras will not start the 2013 Transvulcania.
Francois d’Haene, 4th at Transvulcania in 2012 and winner of the shortened TNFUTMB has all the potential to make the podium and even win the race. He just needs a perfect day. Like Kilian he has the advantage of already racing over the course. He will know how to pace himself. He raced at El Cruce early in 2013 and made the podium behind Max King. He has also just raced at Tarawera in New Zealand.
German, Philipp Reiter, like Emelie Forsberg created a name for himself in 2012 with consistently top-notch performances. At the 2012 edition of the Transvulcania he had a few issues early on, which cost him a top 10 place. However, he battled on and finished side by side with Joe Grant. He raced at the 83km Transgrancanaria in 2013 and placed 2nd behind Ryan Sandes. I spent several days with Philipp in Gran Canaria and he is definitely looking to arrive on the island of La Palma to improve on his 2012 placing.
Thomas Lorblanchet figured well in the 2012 race but had a breakthrough moment when he took the win at Leadville 100 ahead of Tony Krupicka. He has secured a new sponsorship deal for 2013 with Asics so it will be interesting to see how he performs.
*Tofol is not racing. Apparently we had some confusing information and Tofol had not planned to race at Transvulcania – apologies
Tofol Castanyer adds more Salomon weight to an already packed field. Tofol was the 2010 Skyrunning World Series champion. He always packs a punch when racing and his stunning performance at the CCC in 2012 proves this. He was 5th at Sierre-Zinal, he won at Giir di Mont Skyrace, 6th at Dolomites Skyrace and 3rd at Mont Blanc Marathon amongst others. He had a long 2012 season and suffered like many others at Cavalls del Vent. Without a doubt he will me a main contender at Transvulcania.
Adam Campbell had a mixed 2012. I was with him in the Pyrenees for an Arx’teryx media camp mid year and his plan was to race TNF UTMB. However, a recurring injury saw him return home and not race at the iconic 100-miler that ultimately was reduced to 100k. Once recovered he managed to set a new Guinness World Record for the marathon by running in a business suit and then at San Fran 50 he competed with the best, including Sage Canaday, however, he managed to go off course and gave away any chance of a win. Adam once again had an injury issue early season but he has assured me all will be good by May.
Joe Grant has just finished the 350 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational in joint 2nd place in just over 6 days. Having interviewed him several times about this event before and after one can only speculate how his recovery will be. He has openly said that the 6 day experience was much harder than he anticipated but relatively quickly afterwards he felt recovered. In fact, he has already been for an easy run to start the build up for his run season. Joe races Transvulcania in 2012 and finished just outside the top 10. He will be looking to move in the field this year but his big objective is improving on his 2012 2nd place at Hardrock 100.
Luis A Hernando is a Skyrunning specialist and was the 2012 Skyrunning World Series champion and ranked 2nd last year. He loves the mountains and technical terrain and excels at the ‘marathon’ distance. The question is not his ability to perform at the highest level but if 83km’s will be be too far?
Dave Mackey **update April 1st 2013 – Dave Mackey has withdrawn from the race –
needs no introduction. He has been running for years with a string of consistent results. He has also placed highly at Western States, 4th in 2012 with a masters record, so he will be coming to the island of La Palma with high hopes. At Bandera 100k 2013 he finished 2nd behind Sage Canaday but he will have been getting the miles in since then and you can be sure that he will be ready to mix it up and push hard against the best.
Dave James has a very strong reputation on the US ultra scene. He is a USATF national champion and has run some incredible times over the 100 mile distance, his PR is 13:06:52.. He has already had an an impressive 2013. He secured another win at the multi stage, The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and then just one week later raced at Fuego Y Agua to get second place behind Nick Clark. He is racing The Lost Worlds Tuscany event and just 7 days later the Causeway Crossing. he will head to La Palma for Transvulcania, just two weeks later he will race at Zegama and then the big one! Ronda del Cims in Andorra. A super tough 100 miler that has a profile that looks like JAWS dental records. Without doubt Dave will be competitive but he has a busy diary… he is going to need to keep some powder dry.
Notable mentions also go to Gustav Reyes who placed 17th at Transvulcania, Armando Teixeira who was 2nd Transgrancanaria, 7th Cavalls Del Vent 2012 and 11th UTMB all in 2012 and Miguel Caballero who was 6th in the Skyrunning World Series last year. Also, Santi Obaya, Toti Bes, Zigor Iturrieta.
The surprise package may come from Marathon des Sables expert and champion, Mohamad Ahansal. Mohamad has just won his 5th ‘MDS’ and will be travelling to La Palma with great fitness. I for one will be very curious to see how he performs on this course and terrain.
Don’t hold your breath
2013 without doubt will once again be an iconic race. But don’t hold your breath… we have time to go yet and in that time we may even have more names to add.
The current records of 6:58:54 set by Dakota Jones in 2012 and 8:11:31 by Anna Frost are incredibly fast. However, we do have two incredibly talented and fast fields assembled. Will records fall in 2013? The 83km Transvulcania La Palma course course with 8525m of ascent and descent offers the perfect volcanic arena to watch one of the key races of 2013 unfold.
The growth of Skyrunning and ultra running has been incredible in just the last 12 months. Transvulcania La Palma has set the benchmark for all other races to follow. As 2010 Western States winner, Geoff Roes said:
“It was great to be at such a great race. It had everything you would want from a race. A point-to-point course with unique trail for the entire route. Tough climbs of mixed terrain. Amazing scenery. A finish line in the center of town with amazing crowds, it was like the Tour de France. It is certainly one of the most appealing events I have done. In my mind it has nothing lacking….”
I for one can’t wait to see what May 11th has in store.
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