Royal Ultra SkyMarathon® Gran Paradiso – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

We go EXTREME! Yes, the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series kicks-off the Extreme category in Italy with the Royal Ultra SkyMarathon® Gran Paradiso – 55km, 4287m of vertical and the high-point coming at 3002m.

The course profile is a sharks tooth profile with no less than 10-peaks over the 55km course. Significant points coming at 5km, 12km, 25km, 27km and then a succession of repeated peaks over the final 15km before the final drop from just under 2600m to 1570m. It’s going to be brutal!

The 50km course winds through the Gran Paradiso National Park in the royal hunting grounds, hence the ‘Royal’ title, runners will compete with  ibex and chamois. Starting near a lake at an altitude of 2000m, participants will traverse five passes – the magnificent Gran Parasido mountain will provide a stunning backdrop towering over the race at 4061m. Moraines, rocks, streams and snowfields provide an extreme challenge.

Names to watch (alphabetical order):

MEN

Jan Bartas is a regular on the Skyrunning circuit and while he may not be a contender for the top-3, he will be in the mix for the top-10.

Cristofer Clemente has grown and grown as a trail and mountain runner. His performances in Skyrunning have elevated him to top the world stage and recently he produced a stunning run in the IAU world champs. He’s a favorite for the win.

Kim Collison is one of the UK’s best on his day. Recent injury problems have reduced his training and he is still unsure if he will be able to toe the line…

Bhim Gurung on his day can handle the distance and technical terrain and beat the best in the world. He can descend like a demon and he will be up at the front end for sure.

Hector Haines is slowly but surely coming a dominant force on the Skyrunning SWS. He excelled at Limone SkyRace and recently he had a great run at Transvulcania Ultramarathon. Hector may well win this race!

Andre Jonsson just had a great run at High Trail Vanoise and he will most certainly be a top-10 and on a normal day he would be top-5, however, I think he may be a little jaded after HTV.

Dimitry Mityaev placed 3rd at High Trail Vanoise and like Jonsson is almost certainly going to be tired in Italy, however, he has the strength to potentially dig-deep and make top-5.

Shane Ohly on his day has the potential to turn a few heads, he’s not likely to make the podium but in recent months he’s been showing some great form.

Pavel Paloncy is as strong as an ox and will trade blows with the best, however, on this course I think he will lack speed to contend for the podium.

Konrad Rawlik is a solid mountain runner who like Ohly has all the potential to mix it with the best in shooting for a top-10 slot.

Roger Vinas rose through the Skyrunning ranks in 2016 with a series of solid performances, he is a top-10 potential and if he’s on a good day he may well make an impact on the top-5.

Zaid Ait Malek raced recently in Spain so may well be tired, however, he has all the speed, endurance and skill to make the podium and yes, win the race!

LADIES

Sophie Grant has recently placed 10th a Tararwera Ultra, 4th at Transgrancanaria and 11th at Mont-Blanc 80km – the Royal will bring a whole new challenge to this British runner and she has all the potential to turn heads with a podium place.

Aitziber Ibarbia is a regular competitor in the SWS calendar and is without doubt a contender for the top-5 and a potential top-3.

Maite Maiora is the odds-on favorite for victory after winning Zegama-Aizkorri and the recent Livigno SkyMarathon.

Emanuele Manzoli placed 3rd at the Royal in 2015 and brings course knowledge and experience. A recent victory at  Trail Alta Vai Nure.

Ekaterina Mityaev is a new name and face in Skyrunning and she is excelling after moving up from shorter distance races to ultras. In 2016 she placed 4th at Ultra Pirineu and in 2017 she was 7th at Transvulcania, 2nd at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and she was 3rd at Mont-Blanc 80km – podium potential for sure!

Katie Schide is a relative unknown on Italian soil but she placed 7th at Speedgoat 50km in 2015 and won Antelop Island 50k. No results show for 2016 but 2nd at Moab’s Red Hot 55km in 2017 shows she is in form! Backed up in Livignio and recent racing in France.

Natalia Tomasiak was 7th at Glen Coe Skyline in 2016 and 6th at Trofeo Kima, A recent win at Stubai Ultratrail shows good form.

Zuzana Urbancova 8th at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and a string of other top-10 results confirm that a top-10 is a distinct possibility and top-5 is possible on a good day.

Susan Van Duijl and a whole host of other top female contenders will make this an exciting race.

Race information HERE

Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® 2017 Summary – Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit

Transvulcania VK – May 2017

The island of La Palma today hosted the 2nd Vertical Kilometer® (VK) in the new 2017 Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit.

The series started just last weekend in Italy with with the Trentapassi Vertical, rising 1,000m above Italy’s Lake Iseo with two new race records. Read the report HERE.

To clarify, a VK is a uphill mountain race that climbs for 1,000m over a course that is less than 5 km in length. Certain courses on the circuit do obtain special dispensation – Transvulcania one case in point.

The route here in La Palma covers over 1200m of vertical gain over a distance of 7.6km and re-traces sections the Ultramarathon course along the GR131 and concludes at the forest lookout tower at an altitude of 1600m with stunning views of the Aridane valley and the north east of the island.

The VK circuit is a Skyrunner® World Series spin off – previously, the Vertical Kilometer® discipline was included in the SWS, it now has its own category that will allow more races in an ever increasing market. In 2017 there are seventeen races in eight countries.

Featuring  the world’s shortest and fastest races, the first and only triple VK, some 20-year-old classics and some exciting new ones, the 2017 Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit will produce some very exciting races.

From sea to sky, up cliff faces, volcanoes, mountain summits and ski runs, this gravity-defying sport is for anyone ready to push their limits – today in La Palma, Transvulcania provided a wonderful showcase for the sport as runners departed from Tazacorte Puerto.

The line-up for the VK was impressive with Stian Angermund, Saul Padua, Ferran Teixido, Remi Bonnet and Ondrej Fejfar heading up a world-class field. Transvulcania Ultramarathon champion Luis Alberto Hernando, also toed the line along with Arley Luque, Jose Manuel Leon, Daniel Garcia, Diego Simon, Joan Freixa and many more.

Stian Angermund dominated with a strong and. course record performance ahead of Luis Alberto Hernando and Saul Padua. His time of 00:47:22. Hernando ran 48:39 and Padua 50:41.

Yuri Yoshizumi headed up the ladies’ competition with Virginia Perez, Daniella Moreno, Gabriela Sanches, Zuzana Kirchova and Zuzana Urbancova, and a return to racing for Stephanie Jimenez after giving birth to her first child recently.

Christel Dewalle from France was an entrant in the race but withdrew from the competition on Tuesday May 9th. This morning, May 11th, the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) released a communique that related to a doping infringement by Dewalle under WADA rules that related to the Skyrunning World championships in 2016. Dewalle has received a 4-month ban from the sport effective from May 8th and her results from said World Championships will be removed. See the communication HERE.

Yuri Yoshizumi pushed hard up this long course to clinch victory ahead of Stephanie Jimenez and Zuzana Kirchova, the times 00:59:28, 01:01:18 and 01:04:33 respectively.

Attention now turns to the main event of the weekend, the Transvulcania Ultramarathon that starts in the early hours of the morning on Saturday at Fuencalienti lighthouse. You can read the race preview HERE.