Lone Peak VK Summary and Images – 2017 Vertical Kilometer World Circuit

The Vertical Kilometer World Circuit continues in Montana, tUSA with Run the Rut, today it was the Lone Peak VK. It may not be the steepest VK on the circuit but it certainly is dramatic with the finish line high in the sky, Lone Peak summit was always visible.

The route is steep and direct in the early stages following mainly expansive ski trails. At the Bone Crusher, the runners go to the impressive Alto ridge, here it gets steep, gnarly and technical with plenty of hands-on-knees action and scrambling with some via ferrata before the final sections of exposed rock and loose terrain to the summit.

The early stages were always going to be about finding a rhythm and tackling the early steep and slippery gradients. The route was wide though and overtaking was no issue. The mass start soon became single-file as the gradient took it’s toll. Mike Popejoy was the main protagonist Scott Patterson, race RD Mike Foote and JP Donovan following.

For the ladies, Laura Orgue was in her own race extending a convincing lead on the early slopes and once at halfway, she eased off the pressure knowing victory was secure. Behind, Jennifer Kunzman, Beth Shumante and Rachel Poulton followed.

Altitude played a key factor in the Lone Peak VK, starting above 2000m is very difficult for those with little or no adaptation. When combined with challenging terrain, this only adds to the problem. Unlike other VK’s the Lone Peak VK is unique with its mixture of surfaces. The loose and large rocks create many frustrations as often it stops participants getting a rhythm, this is contrasted by the early sections when it’s possible to find a good momentum despite the steep gradients. The summit arrives at a lung busting 3400m altitude.

Through Bone Crusher, Laura Orgue was over 10-minutes clear of the competition but the men’s race was much closer with Mike Popejoy holding a 30-second lead over JP Donovan and then Mike Foote followed further back

In the final section to the summit, the terrain becomes much steeper and underfoot it is very lose. This played into JP Donovans skill set and he took the lead and victory, 21-seconds ahead of Mike Poejoy and Mike Foote finished 3rd another 18-seconds back.

Laura Orgue crossed the line in 54:29 and Jennifer Kunzman and Beth Shumnante placed 2nd and 3rd, their times 1:08:38 and 1:09:46 respectively.

Attention now turns to Saturday’s 28km event which starts at 0800, both Orgue and Donovan will try for the double! It will prove to be fast race, the mixed terrain includes single track, jeep roads, alpine ridge lines and at the summit of the iconic Lone Peak a gnarly and technical descent brings the runners back to the resort of Big Sky where the race started.

Results:

1. JP Donovan (USA) – 47’27”

2. Mike Popejoy (USA) – 48’48”

3. Mike Foote (USA) – 50’06”

4. Scott Patterson (USA) – 51’18”

5. Jan Margarit Solé (ESP) – 51’41”

 

1. Laura Orgué (ESP) – 54’29”

2. Jennifer Kunzman (USA) – 1h08’38”

3. Beth Shumate (USA) – 1h09’46”

4. Rachel Poulton (USA) – 1h10’44”

5. Emily Kipp (USA)- 1h14’51”

Dolomites Vertical Kiolmeter® #VK 2017 Summary and Images – Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit

Kicking off  a weekend of racing, the Dolomites Vertical Kiolmeter® started today celebrating 20-years of Skyrunning in Canazei, the VK now part of the newly formed Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit.

Yes, a total of 20,000m climbed and 48km’s covered, if you have raced every year? The Dolomites VK still stands as one of the best. It’s a course that goes direct to the sky in pretty much a direct line. Departing at an altitude of 1450m Skyrunners reach the high point of Spiz 2465m with a total distance of 2.4km covered. The Dolomites VK is considered one of the toughest on the circuit due to the short, steep course and underfoot, much of the terrain is grass. Poles are not essential but recommended.

Starting in waves of 20 runners, regular departures occurred until just after 10am when a gap of 20-minutes was made before the male and elite waves departing at 1030 and 1040am.

It was a beautiful day, that is until the men arrived near the summit when a storm rolled in, for the ladies, it was clear and dry.

Course records date back to 2016 and 2014 when Philip Gotsch ran an incredible 31:34 and Laura Orgue ran 38:14.

Unlike many other VK’s were runners depart in timed intervals, similar to a time-trial say in the Tour de France, in Canzaei, the runners depart together so it becomes very clear who is leading the race.

For the ladie’s this was Axel Mollaret who started like a greyhound out of the blocks and never relinquished the pace until she reached the finish line. She was well clear of the competition and this was reflected in her winning time of 37:39 – a new course record, fitting for a 20th edition.

Susanna Saapunki was next 1-minute and 24-seconds later – this is a huge gap in a VK and Victoria Kreuzer was 3rd almost another 1-minute back finishing in 40:07.

VK specialist and previous course record holder Laura Orgue was not having a good day – she finished 4th, a rarity. After the race she said, “I just had heavy legs today, I felt as though I couldn’t push and run the way I like. I am racing the SkyRace tomorrow so I hope this will have loosened me up?”

The men’s race was a close affair with Remi Bonnet back from injury and chasing an inform and flying Patrick Facchini.

Patrick was unstoppable though and missed the male course record crossing in 32:43. Post race he said, “If I had known I was close to the CR I would have found some extra energy…!”

Remi Bonnet placed 2nd in 33:17 and VK specialist and Dolomites regular, Nejc Kuhar, was 3rd in 33:52.

Attention now turns to tomorrow, Saturday, and the Dolomites SkyRace. Weather systems are currently moving in and out of Canazei and thunderstorms are rolling in. We could be in for a very exciting and dramatic day of Skyrunning!

Face de Bellevarde VK 2017 Race Summary and Images – 2017 Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit

Starting at 1600 hours, runners departed on timed intervals of 1-minute for the Face de Bellvarde, VK, part of the 2017 Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit. Temperatures were relatively cool after a morning of sun and cloud cover removed any strong and direct heat thus making conditions excellent for a hard effort.

Last years winner Gachet, was never going to have an easy run and strong threats came from Remi Bonnet, finally returning from injury. Pre-race favourite William Bon Mardion also pushed hard with a hope for victory. Gachet held on though, crossing the line in 33:57 to Bonnet’s 34:41 – a convincing victory. Bon Mardion 3rd in 35:19.

In the ladies race, it was all change with a couple of pre-race favourites not starting. This opened the doorway for France’s Jessica Pardin who took a convincing victory over Marianna Jagercikova, 43:08 to 43:43 respectively.

VK specialist Stephanie Jimenez placed 3rd but said she had struggled with the altitude, her time 44:57.

Full results are available HERE

Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit information HERE

Next race on the calendar – VERTICAL CABANERA – SPAIN HERE

Santa Caterina VK 2017 Summary and Images – Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit

Michele Bosacci and Valentina Belotti were the 2017 champions of the Santa Caterina VK, the 6th race in the Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit.

The route starts from Santa Caterina (1,739 m) and climbs 1000m to Costa Sobretta (2,739 m). Starting at 3pm in the centre of Santa Caterina, the runners departed en-mass. The early road section allowing for a fast getaway and then the 2.9km course soon pointed upwards as the runners fought position through a mixture of terrain – grassland, pastures, ski pistes and trails across scree slopes. The final section is equipped with a fixed rope to guarantee participants’ safety as they fought to the finish line.

Michle Boasacci dictated a song pace ahead of Nejc Kuhar, Patrick Facchin and race director Marco De Gasperi. However, despite a last minute surge by Kuhar, Bosacci had too large a gap before entering the final technical section of via feratta where it would have been almost impossible to pass.

Boascci took the victory in 34-minutes 56-seconds, Kuhar crossed 18-seconds later and Facchin held of De Gasperi finishing in 35:40 to the race directors 35:41.

For the ladies, Valentina Belotti had a convincing lead over 2nd placed lady, Susanna Saapunki and her victory never looked in doubt. She crossed the line in 41:26 in comparison to the Finish ladies’ 42:23.

Pre-race favourite and VK specialist Francesca Rossi finished 3rd despite nursing a knee injury, her time 43:08.

Attention now turns to Sunday for the 34km Livigno SkyMarathon, the next race in the Migu Skyrunner World Series.

Santana Vertical Kilometer® #SVK – Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit

Ferran Teixido (Andorra) and Ekaterina Mityaeva (Russia) took top honours at the Santana Vertical Kilometer® on the island of Madeira. The VK is part of the new 2017 Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit – an off-spin from the Skyrunner World Series.

Starting the Vale da Lapa at an altitude of 780m, in the heart of the Laurissilva forest, the 4.8km course goes all the way up, 1003m to be exact through the impressive Madeira Natural Park.

Departing at 1-minute intervals on the stroke of 0900, the runners pushed their legs and lungs to the max as they took on this impressive race – a first for the island of Madeira.

The final part of the route consisted of a technical and demanding climb that culminated with a short section of via ferratta before reaching the emblematic point Encumeada Alta at an altitude of 1785m. From the summit, incredible views all over the island are possible.

VK specialist Ferran Teixido was one of the last competitors to start and he completed the course first in 41:48 gaining valuable points for the Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit. Vitor Jesus and Romeu Gouveia placed 2nd and 3rd.

Regular Skyrunning competitor Ekaterina Mityaeva showed great form and strength winning the ladies race in 51:37 and Salomon International athlete Anna Frost was a surprise last minute entrant – she placed 3rd.

Full results will be available HERE

Attention now turns to the Ultra SkyMarathon® Madeira which will start at 0600 on Saturday June 3rd.

 

YADING SKYRUN 2017 PREVIEW – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

The “2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series” kicks-off this weekend in China with the Yading Skyrun.

It is going to be a weekend of high altitude action as the Yading races personify the simple ethos of running in the Sky! The Yading Skyrunning Festval takes in numerous 6000m peaks through three races – VK, SKY CLASSIC and the Yading Kora Ultra. It will be a weekend that encapsulates challenge and reward.

The Yading Skyrun will start at 0700 on May 2nd and will cover a distance of 29km and is the only race of the weekend in the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series. Staring in the centre of Yading’s Shangri-La the race will start with a gradual downhill. After 3.5km, the race will hit the lowest point in the race – 2860m! From here, the only way is up – passing a small village, the race route hugs a single-track. The summit at 4700m is covered with Buddhist prayer flags and what follows is a fast descent all the way back to Chonggu Temple.

The Yading VK starts the weekend on May 1st starting at noon. Covering a distance of 7km (unusally long for the VK format) the race will have an elevation gain of 1072m but starts at 3992m and concludes at 5000m. This is a first for Skyrunning! Alpine forests, prayer flags, a glacier lake and a high pass at 5000m concludes a lung and leg busting VK!

The Yading Kora Ultra also takes place at 0700 and takes in the Kora pilgrimage route over 46km.

This area of Yading is blessed with immense natural beauty, including the three sacred peaks (Mount Chenrezig, Jampayang, and Chenadorje) which loom over the National Park at an altitude of over 6,000m. From the 5th Dalai Lama through Joseph Rock this area has been a source of spiritual inspiration. With over 2,300m of elevation gain over the length of the course, and the finish line sitting at just over 4,000m, the race challenges beginners and elites alike.

           Tadei Pivk placed 2nd in the 2016 Yading Skyrun

The “2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

The Chinese company, Migu Run, under the name of Migu Xempower, was the Series’ main sponsor in 2016.

The 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series features 22 races in 11 countries and will reward the champions in the various categories a € 60,000 end of season prize purse.

The Chinese company Migu Run, the creator and owner of an advanced online and offline exercise and health management platform, has been announced as the new long-term title sponsor of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series beginning in 2017.

The Series is structured in three categories, Sky Classic, Sky Extreme and Sky Ultra, counting 22 races in 11 countries stretching from April to October.

Yading is the highest race of the circuit reaching 4,664m altitude. The Yading Skyrun will be organised by China Mountain Trails (CMT), a subsidiary of Migu Run, entrusted with spearheading the trail and mountain running events.

Note for 2017 the ‘new’ VERTICAL KILOMETER® WORLD CIRCUIT HERE

The rapidly expanding appeal of climbing 1,000 metres sky-high has prompted the creation of this circuit to showcase some of the best races across the world – for starters, sixteen races in eight countries.

The circuit is a Skyrunner® World Series spin-off, launching with double the number of races. They include the world’s shortest and fastest races, the first and only triple VK, some 20-year-old classics and some exciting new ones. With the aim of expanding in the future, the number of races may be increased throughout the season.