Joe aims to hang tough at Hardrock

Posted in At the Races on Thu 11 Jul ’13

© Jordi Saragossa

Joe Grant

Hardcore inov-8 athlete Joe Grant is ready to push his body to the extreme in one of the world’s toughest 100-mile mountain races tomorrow (Friday July 12). The rugged Hardrock 100 ultra-marathon course has a mind-boggling total ascent of 10,361m, plus a similar amount of descent.

By way of comparison, that far exceeds the 8,848m of ascent that would need to be tackled if summiting Mount Everest from sea level. Runners have 48 hours to complete the extreme challenge, which starts and finishes in Silverton, Colorado, US. The highest point on the course is at an oxygen-stealing 4,281m.

Joe, who will wear inov-8’s newly-updated X-Talon 212 shoe, finished second in last year’s race in a time of 25 hours and six minutes, having placed sixth in 2011.

© www.irunfar.com

Joe at Hardrock 2012

Colorado-based Joe, who was born in the UK and raised in France and Spain, said:

“I’m feeling really good about this year’s race. I’m well prepared, know the course well and am ready to bring it. With the altitude and tough terrain, Hardrock is a game of patience, and I’m ready for it.”

Summing up just how tough the course is, the official Hardrock 100 website delivers this message:

“The course is designed to provide extreme challenges in altitude, steepness, and remoteness. Mountaineering, wilderness survival and wilderness navigation skills are as important in this event as your endurance. This is a test of runners against the mountains.

“It’s on trails as much as possible and there are 13 aid stations; major aid stations will be located in the towns with less well-equipped aid stations in between. Runners are expected to be largely self-supporting between the towns.

“In order to complete the event, instead of crossing a finish line, runners are required to ‘kiss the Hardrock’, a picture of a ram’s head painted on a large block of stone mining debris.”

After finishing joint-second in the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational epic across the Alaskan wilderness in March, Joe battled a flu virus to bravely complete the 51-mile Transvulcania skyrunning race two months ago.

Since then he has trained hard at altitude, with a focus on winning the Hardrock 100. In his preview of the race, Bryon Powell, writing on the popular ultra running website iRunFar, said:

“A fresh Joe Grant might just have the best chance of winning the race this year. Joe is this year’s top returning runner after taking second place in 2012, 16 minutes behind Hal Koerner.

© Jordi Saragossa

Joe on the Transvulcania trails

“Joe’s run at the Iditarod Trail Invitational this winter can only have made him that much tougher. Aside from a disastrous go at Transvulcania, Joe’s been laying low the past few months.”

Joe is excited at the prospect of racing in inov-8’s updated model of their classic X-Talon 212 shoe, saying:

“The Hardrock course has lots of loose terrain and the weather forecast is predicting storms, so I’ll be wanting the extra grip the X-Talon 212s provide. The updated model (new for autumn/winter 2013) has a new injected EVA midsole which will make for a plush and comfortable ride – perfect for a rugged 100 miles.”

© www.inov-8.com

The 2013 X-Talon 212

Olson and Smith dominate at Western States

Posted in At the Races on Sun 30 Jun ’13

© Meghan Hicks/iRunFar.com

Tim Olson repeats at WS100

2012 WS100 winner Tim Olson took the 2013 Western States 100 by the scruff of the neck at Devil’s Thumb and dominated for the remaining the super-hot miles this weekend, though after leading by over 15 minutes at one point his lead was a mere 5 mins at the finish…

100 mile ‘rookie’ Rob Krar had a stormer in second, but the second win in as many years by Olson was probably never really in doubt after he took the lead and always looked strong in the Californian heat.

In the women’s race Pam Smith crushed the opposition to win in 18:37, good enough for 8th place overall, after starting off steadily and taking the lead around mile 38.

This year’s Western States 100 was the second-hottest race in its history, with a recorded temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit at the Auburn, CA, airport, the “official” temperature-record-keeping location for the race. It was definitely hotter in the canyons, though, and the hottest temperature I witnessed was 106F at Rucky Chucky, mile 78. But the heat didn’t seem to bother winners Timothy Olson and Pam Smith.

Read the excellent race report from the iRunFar crew, headed up by Meghan Hicks as Bryon Powell took to the start line.

© Meghan Hicks/iRunFar.com

Pam Smith wins the Western States 100 in 2013

Jones makes it six at a sweltering Snowdon

Posted in At the Races on Mon 22 Jul ’13

© Daily Post

Jones breaks the tape

After failing to finish in 2012, 5-time winner Andi Jones made it number six on Saturday, as the Englishman stormed home to win the 38th Tyn Lon Volvo International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa in stiflingly hot conditions.

With temperatures reported to be almost 30 degrees centigrade on the mid-part of this famous mountain, the runners were going to be tested to the maximum for not only their ability to handle the heat, but also the unrelentingly-tough underfoot conditions of Snowdon.

The day had started with first ever running of the Snowdon Super Cup / Cwpan yr Wyddfa – a demonstration, uphill-only race to the summit of Snowdon, starting at 11am on race day and featuring recent European Mountain Running Champs 5th-placer, Steve Vernon, Scots-based Ethiopian runner Wegene Tafese and GB international female runner Olivia Walwyn, amongst the starters. The event was sponsored by the Snowdonia National Park and finished outside of the flagship Hafod Eryri visitors centre and cafe on the summit.

© Neale Lewis-Jones

Tafese leads Vernon at the Snowdon Super Cup

Tafese and Vernon quickly took hold of the race and matched each other stride for stride until the raced reached the crucial Allt Goch incline, one of the steepest parts of the course. It was here that the Ethiopian runner took flight and opened up a 25 metre gap on Vernon, this proved to be decisive as he extended his advantage gradually over the final mile to win by around 50 metres and 16 seconds by the finish line, in 40:53. Ireland’s Brian MacMahon (first runner to the summit in the 2012 Snowdon International) finished a very good third.

The women’s race proved to be a far more clean-cut affair as top UK mountain runner Olivia Walwyn took hold of the race from the gun and ran a controlled race to record a clear win in 50:45, ahead of Wales’ Gina Paletta and Siobhan Evans.

© Ray Wood Photography

Olivia Walwyn with her Super Cup trophy!

The heat had even played a significant hand in this uphill-only race and was a taster of what the runners could expect in the up and down race later in the day, however all participants were also full of praise for the inaugural event and with this success event organisers were confident that the event can move on from this spring-board race to become an annual fixture.

© Ray Wood Photography

Glyn Griffin digs in at the Super Cup

Speaking after the race Tafese commented, “It was a very good race, very hard and challenging”, with Walwyn adding, “I don’t really like the heat and was hoping it would cool off as we got up the mountain, but it didn’t seem to happen, it was very hot!”.

However, the Super Cup was merely a starter in this great day, as 2pm neared and the main course of 10 hot and challenging miles was about to be served up for the record number of 550 starters of the race, now it’s 38th year.

Race organiser Stephen Edwards was clearly expectant of yet another memorable race, as he stated just before the start:

“This is going to be a great race, the atmosphere is electric here in Llanberis and the heat along with the tough conditions on the mountain will make for a memorable event for every single one of these runners. I think Andi Jones means business today, he is looking really focussed this afternoon!”

And so it proved, as guest starter and long-time event volunteer Dic Jones got the runners underway Englishman Jones hit the front as the runners wound their way out of Cae’r Ddol in Llanberis and onto the early tarmaced slopes of Snowdon. It was apparent from his cadence that the Stockport runner was setting his stall out very early, and was intent that there would be no repeat of 2012 where he faltered on the ascent only to pull out of the race before half-way.

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Andi Jones on Allt Moses

Behind local runner Alun Vaughan and 2012 winner Murray Strain were keeping Jones within sight, however the leader was in no mood to hang around as he had a considerable advantage through halfway and onto the first part of the Clogwyn section up Allt Moses.

In the women’s event pre-race favourite, and 2011 winner, Pippa Maddams was running strongly, returning to the sport after giving birth some 5 months ago. Alongside the Cumbrian was Ireland’s Sarah Mulligan, who was running a steady tempo as she aimed to be the first ever Irish winner of the women’s race.

Meanwhile Andi Jones was driving for the summit and reached the peak in 43:01, a

Emelie reflects in Chamonix

Posted in Through the Lens on Tue 02 Jul ’13

© www.salomonrunning.com

Emelie Forsberg

After her stellar rise to the top of international trail and skyrunning over the last 12 months, Salomon International runner Emelie Forsberg takes some time out to reflect on her year and the Mont Blanc Marathon this last weekend…

World champion and ranking leader of the Skyrunner World Series Emelie Forsberg, Salomon tells us her story and express feelings from this years Chamonix Marathon, 42 km long, with positive vertical gain of 2511 m and an elevation loss of 1490 m. A tough racing against teammate Stevie Kremer.

Watch the Chamonix Marathon 2013 with Emelie Forsberg here

Kilian and Emelie reign, once again!

Posted in At the Races on Mon 22 Jul ’13

© ISF

High fives all round!

While Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg rack up the wins taking both the Vertical and Sky titles in the European Skyrunning Championships, Italy leads the national ranking with 622 points, followed by Spain and France.

Full ISF release

Spain leads the medal count however, with two gold and a bronze, followed by Italy and Sweden.

The men’s race today was another battle of giants, with Kilian Jornet and Marco De Gasperi duelling for the title. The pair raced closely together on the ascent – only seconds apart, alternating the lead. As they summited the Piz Boè massif, Kilian had no more than a 10 second advantage.

© Ian Corless
© Ian Corless

Kilian takes control in the Dolomites

The couple descended the steep rocky gorge, every so often exchanging words as they both raced under course record time. As they reached the town centre and the last red-carpeted stretch leading up to the finish line, Kilian lengthened his stride and opened a 3” gap between them to close in 2h00’11”.

Marco was visibly disappointed, stating, “I gave it everything I had.”

© Ian Corless

Marco

An excellent Tadei Pivk rolled in just four minutes later to give Italy both the silver and bronze medals. Romanian Ionut Zinca was fourth and Alexis Sevennec representing France, fifth.

Emelie Forsberg was out on her own for the entire race – in fact, without other competition up front, she had difficulty pacing herself. She clocked in with a time of 2h26’52” – just 52” over her winning time last year and took the gold for Sweden.
Italy’s Silvia Serafini ran an excellent race, closing second in 2h36’55” taking the silver. Nuria Dominquez and Maite Maiora for Spain were 3rd and 4th respectively, with 5th place going to Dominika Wisniewska of Poland.

© Ski and Run

Silvia Serafini

The Dolomites SkyRace® has for many years represented an ideal playground for the world’s top athletes. The steep technical course and spectacular panorama has runners coming back for more time and again.

Today, 540 runners finished the race – the top 60 men within half an hour of the new course record.

A total of 23 European nations were ranked to date. Look out for the final race on July 27, when the Ultra distance will be disputed for the European title at the Trans D’Havet, Vicenza.

Follow the action on twitter and facebook

European Skyrunning Championship

Medal count
Spain – 2 gold / 1 bronze
Italy – 1 gold / 3 silver / 2 bronze
Sweden – 1 gold / 1 silver
Czech Republic – 1 bronze

National ranking
1. Italy – 622 points
2. Spain – 558 points
3. France – 480 points
4. Sweden – 380 points
5. Czech Republic – 216 points

Race results
Men
1. JORNET KILIAN (ESP) SALOMON SANTIVERI – 2h00’11”
2. DE GASPERI MARCO (ITA) GS FORESTALE – 2h00’14”
3. PIVK TADEI (ITA) CRAZY IDEA – 2h04’10”
4. ZINCA IONUT (ROU) VALETUDO SKYRUNNING – 2h07’26”
5. SEVENNEC ALEXIS (FRA) CRAZY IDEA – 2h07’58”

Women
1. FORSBERG EMELIE (SWE) SALOMON 2h26’52”
2. SERAFINI SILVIA (ITA) SALOMON AGISKO – 2h36’55”
3. DOMINGUEZ NURIA (ESP) TEAM ESPANA – 2h37’41
4. MAIORA MAITE (ESP) TEAM ESPANA – 2h37’58
5. WISNIEWSKA DOMINIKA (POL) – TEAM POLAND – 2h40’30”

Full race results are here

Join the action on twitter and facebook

Reactions so far
  1. Tony Mollica
    Jul 23, 03:50 AM

    Congratulations to Emilee and Killian! Nice running Marco! There is no disgrace in giving your all and finishing second to Killian.

Entries open for Marmot Dark Mountains™

Posted in At the Races on Tue 02 Jul ’13

© www.marmot-dark-mountains.com

In January, earlier this year, atrocious weather brought heavy snow to much of the country. Whilst most people opted to cranked up the heating, a few select runners were testing themselves at a new mountain marathon called Marmot Dark Mountains™

This event takes the classic two-day mountain marathon format and gives it a new… darker twist. Rather than two days of running with an overnight camp in between, Marmot Dark Mountains™ packs everything into one, long winter’s night.

In the last few days entries for the 2014 event have opened (via this link).

© www.marmot-dark-mountains.com

With many of the course at the inaugural event selling out, the 2014 race has added an extra score course to help cope with demand. The challenging line up of courses include Elite, A, B, C, Short Score and Long Score and promises to satisfy the full range of nocturnal deviation competitors enjoy.

The location changes each year but for 2014 the event is going to be in Northern England and is less than 1.5 hours drive from Manchester. Precise details of the event location are only revealed at the beginning of January 2014 but the event area is described by Race Director, Shane Ohly as:

“Absolutely fantastic. It is one the best upland areas in England and amazingly, it hasn’t had a mountain marathon event for many years. With the success of the 2013 event, new courses for 2014, an amazing area and the continued support of sponsors Silva and Marmot, I am very confident that Marmot Dark Mountains will be a big success in 2014”.

In a bid to make the event open to a wider range of competitors, the organisers have reduced the difficulty of the navigation on the easiest course. Ohly continues:

“Based on our 2013 experience we will be making the C Course slightly easier to navigate around by only using major features and/or linear features as checkpoints on this course. Each of the other courses will get progressively harder with the Elite Course having the hardest navigation”.

The organisers have also confirmed that there will be a £500 cash prize for the winning elite team so competition is expected to be intense on this course.

© www.marmot-dark-mountains.com

Key Event Information
Website: www.marmot-dark-mountains.com
Date: 25/26th January 2014
Venue: Northern England
Entry: £90 per team of two
Courses: Elite, A, B, C, Short Score and Long Score

UK goes long this weekend…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 26 Jul ’13

© www.lakeland100.com

With the TR24 (Thunder Run) and the Lakeland 100 and 50 races this weekend, the UK entertains two of the longest and certainly one of the hardest ultra races…

The L100 is fast-becoming one of the premier 100 milers in the UK and certainly with 6,300m of ascent it’s amongst the toughest. 2012 winner Terry Conway (we understand) is back and will be hard to beat. Full details at the UTLD site.

Down in Derbyshire and Catton Park it’s the adidas Thunder Run:

adidas Thunder Run is a 24 hour off-road relay race against the clock. Whether you run solo or in a team of 2-8 it’ll test your tactics, endurance, speed and team work. It’s an exhilarating, rewarding and tiring race with a great atmosphere.

Women’s solo winner from 2012 Sarah Gardner-Hall is back for more and you can follow all of the action via the website and the TR24 Facebook page.

© www.tr24.co.uk

Heptonstall gears-up for fell running festival

Posted in At the Races on Tue 02 Jul ’13

© www.woodentops.org

This Saturday sees one of the best fell races on the calendar, as Heptonstall in Yorkshire gets ready for a festival of fun and a cracking 6 mile fell race, which takes in 1500ft of climb as it winds it’s way up and back…

© Heptonstall Fell Race

Heptonstall Festival Fell Race takes place on Saturday as local runners take on a Germanic theme to raise funds for the village festival despite the on going closure of Lee Wood Road. Heptonstall Hurrier’s decided that with sufficient planning the challenging Category A Fell Race could be staged on its usual July date, with minimal impact on traffic flows.

Read the full preview here

© www.woodentops.org

Holly Page at the 2012 Heptonstall Fell Race

Euro Skyrunning champs conclude with Trans D’Havet

Posted in At the Races on Sun 28 Jul ’13

© ISF

Luis Alberto and Kilian arm in arm at Trans D’Havet

It’s gold medals again for Spain and Sweden, with Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, the indomitable winning duo, taking the stage this weekend, together with an incredible Luis Alberto Hernando who crossed the finish line in tandem with Kilian….

Today’s final stage of the European Skyrunning Championships took place with 450 participants headed by some of the strongest international skyrunners at the Trans D’Havet. The Ultra marathon features 80km up and down Italy’s “Piccole Dolomiti” with 5,500 metres of gruelling ascent and descent, 52 tunnels stretching for six kilometres, five hours of darkness, and 40° of heat…

Full story via the ISF

New Welsh ‘behemoth’ unveiled

Posted in At the Races on Wed 12 Jun ’13

© Matthew Roberts

This Saturday’s Cwm Pennant is according to the organisers – a “behemoth of a race” and the first running of any event in this magical valley in North Wales. The 17 mile race takes in 5500ft of climbing and will be a serious undertaking for the majority of runners, so be prepared!

Matthew Roberts states:

The going is rough in parts, navigation could be very tricky in low cloud and water is scarce on the route. This is sheep country so absolutely no dogs!

Runners should park as instructed on arrival. There will be tea / coffee, cakes and refreshments available at the hostel before and after the race as well as changing facilities with the River Dwyfor nice and close for a post race dip. As the race entry form stipulates you need to have completed in two category A / B long races or at least two category AM races beforehand. Come prepared with full kit and possibly a spare water bottle.

More detail via the FRA site here.

Race description

© Matthew Roberts

Start – Cwm Pennant Youth hostel 1100hrs GR: 524437

From the hostel head along the minor road as directed until reaching a farm gate at 534441. Follow an old grassy track onto marsh land and continue on to the old Cwm Pennant tramway. From here, head generally SE to E before hitting the Cwmystradllyn road at GR 551441. Follow this for 200 metres until you reach on old iron farm gate. Go through this gate and a number of other gates before reaching checkpoint 1.

Checkpoint 1: Tal y Llyn track junction. GR: 559449
From the track junction head N and NE, going through a gate and over two stiles. The second stile at GR 559449 will take you onto the flanks of Moel Hebog. NOTE – the route is marked from the start up to this point. In poor visibility navigation from here could be tough, but roughly head NNE for checkpoint 2.

Checkpoint 2: Summit of Moel Hebog, 782metres. GR: 565469
From the summit of Hebog the route now follows most of the Paddy Buckley route (for those of your familiar with this). Head NW dropping steeply to Bwlch Meillionen, avoid veering off to the SSW or ENE. Reach the Bwlch at GR 560475. From here climb through a cleft in the rock heading NW and reach the rocky summit of Moel yr Ogof at GR 556479 and 655metres.

Checkpoint 3: Summit of Moel yr Ogof, 655metres. GR: 556479
Continue along the ridge crossing a stile at GR 555479. Continue along the ridge, skirting to the left of the rocky tors of Moel Lefn before arriving at the summit and checkpoint 3, the summit of Moel Lefn.

Checkpoint 4: Summit of Moel Lefn, 638metres, GR: 553487
From the summit of Moel Lefn head NNE, this section is rocky and rough so take care, especially in wet conditions. Be sure not to navigate N, NNW, NW or W as this will take you to the sheer cliffs of Craig Cwm Trwsgl. The route snakes its way through Craig Cwm Trwsgl arriving at Bwlch Cwm Trwsgl at GR 552497. Importantly here, follow the signage and don’t head NNE into the woodland! The route now veers around the eponymous Y Gyrn before arriving at checkpoint 4, Bwlch y Ddwy-elor.

Checkpoint 5: Bwlch y Ddwy-elor, 420metres, GR: 552504
This is roughly half way and there’ll be a cut off of 2.5 hrs here. This will be the first official water and refreshment point so get fuelled up. Next comes the second biggest climb of the route as you head NW towards Trum y Ddysgl. Importantly at GR 543514 you do not head NE to the summit but head SW towards Tal y Mignedd.

© Matthew Roberts

Checkpoint 6: Below Trum y Ddysgl, 700metres GR: 543514
The next section has one particularly dangerous section at GR 540513. On your NW side there’s a sheer drop of hundreds of feet so take care. The next section is the best running of the route but also the route highlight as you head W to the summit and enormous obelisk of Tal y Mignedd and checkpoint 5.

Checkpoint 7: Mynydd Tal-y-Mignedd, 653metres, GR: 535514
From the obelisk head SSW, at GR 534508 there’s another tricky and rough rocky descent which can be avoided with local knowledge. Again take care in wet conditions. Arrive at Bwlch Dros-bern before readying for another tough, steep and rocky climb. The route veers NNW before skirting back onto the ridge and heading WSW for the rocky plateau of Craig Cwm Silyn. Avoid veering off to the N or S here. The next section could be tricky in

Unpredictable conditions contribute to a memorable 7th edition of The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Posted in At the Races on Tue 02 Jul ’13

© The North Face® / Alo Belluscio

Nike Woolfe on the Lavaredo trail

US athletes Mike Wolfe and Mike Foote, raced to 2nd and 5th respectively at the 7th edition of The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Cortina, Italy, last Sunday, as the race program had been changed and reduced due to unseasonably wintry conditions…

Thirty centimetres of snow on the high altitude paths and in particular along the Tre Cime Lavaredo, the Val Travenazes, the Cinque Torri and the Passo Giau, left the organisation with no choice but to postpone the departure of the race to Saturday 8am and to shorten it down from 118K to 85K.

The unexpected last minute changes did not affect the enthusiasm of the 745 runners supported by an international crowd and welcomed on the day by perfect race weather, sun and mild temperatures.

From the start, The North Face® athletes Mike Wolfe and Mike Foote dictated the pace and reached the half way Misurina check point (42K) looking strong and ready to push for victory.

Due to course changes, the two American athletes lost their way, and continued off course towards Tre Cime di Lavaredo instead of turning down to Val Rienza. They covered an additional 6 km and accumulated height gain of 500 meters reaching the Auronzo refuge planned in the original race program. The two athletes now found themselves 30 minutes behind the race leader, in 9th and 10th positions respectively. With such a hefty diversion, they had to come up with a new race plan.

Mike Wolfe accomplished an impressive second half of the race, overtaking seven runners including Italian athlete Ivan Geronazzo in the final descent from Lago Ghedina, and crossed the finish line in second place. Mike explains:

“Realizing that I followed the wrong race course for 45 minutes, I felt stunned but did not want to quit. I started racing again, giving everything that I had. I cannot believe that I reached the second spot on the podium and I am very proud of my team mate Mike Foote being 5th. We experienced such a special race in an amazing landscape.”

Fellow countryman, Mike Foote stated:

“We both lost a huge amount of time and energy but we stayed strong and we played as a team encouraging each other. Recovering from this adversity was challenging. I felt mentally down for a while and it was hard to catch up but I am really impressed with today’s results. The surroundings and the scenery are striking, I have never run in such a location in my life!”

© The North Face® / Alo Belluscio

Mike Foote

Fantastic victory for 25-year-old Frenchman Sebastien Spehler who ran his first ultra trail ever and reached the 1st spot on the podium. Coming from a short distance race background his achievement is even more impressive.

Both Mike Wolfe and Foote will be back in Europe for the 2013 Edition of The North Face® Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc®, 26th August / 1st September, Chamonix, France.

The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2013 – Men’s Category
1. Sebastien Spehler (FRA) 07:39:35
2. Mike Wolfe (USA) 08:13:47
3. Ivan Geronazzo (ITA) 08:14:15
4. Stefan Trisconi (ITA) 08:19:31
5. Mike Foote (USA) 08:19:43

© The North Face® / Alo Belluscio

Woolfe on his way to second place

The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2013 – Women’s Category
1. Cheryl Beatty (CAN) 09.31.09
2. Federica Boifava (ITA) 09.54.56
3. Lizzy Wrailth (UK) 09.57.14

For further information on race highlights, athletes, trail-running products and upcoming events:

Web: www.thenorthface.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenorthface
Twitter: http://twitter.com/thenorthfaceEU #LUT13
Instagram: @thenorthface #lut13

Fines takes control at Blisco

Posted in At the Races on Sun 28 Jul ’13

© Andy Holden

Second-placer at Blisco Finlay Wild, on the climb

This weekend’s Blisco Dash race proved to underline Helen Fines’ favourite status for the 2013 women’s British Fell Running title, with the Calder Valley runner striding out a clear winner in Cumbria at round 3 of this year’s series…

In the men’s race the Championship is still wide open as Simon Bailey raced home ahead of a class men’s field, though with the Blisco race his first appearance in the 2013 Championship the Mercia man cannot figure in the this year’s overall standings, but is now in a good position in the English champs, for which Blisco was a counter and therefore a ‘double header’!

Fines is certainly having a very good season and showed yesterday why this year could well be her year in terms of the British title after finishing runner-up in 2012. With Lauren Jeska a non-starter through injury it was to be Vic Wilkinson and Jasmin Paris who would pose the main threat to Fines on the day.

As it turned out the form-book remained solid, with Fines (45:26) coming home over a minute clear of Wilkinson (46:31) and Paris almost 30 seconds further back in 46:59. All three (plus Judith Jepson in 4th with 47:10) were inside the old course record.

© Andy Holden

Helen Fines strides out at Blisco

The win makes it two first places and a second for Fines, meaning that only Wilkinson can still possibly challenge for the title after her win at Yetholm and second place at Blisco – and a win at the Peris Horseshoe final round in September would put Wilkinson equal on points with Fines. However, a win for the Calder Valley runner would put things beyond all doubt and give her a maximum 96 points, so it’s all hypothetical at the moment! The win also put Fines firmly in charge in the English fell champs for 2013.

Meanwhile, in the men’s championship Scots mountain man Finlay Wild has nudged ahead of Rob Jebb in the overall standings, after an excellent second place behind Bailey yesterday, with Jebby making up the top 3.

Still, it appears that Bailey was a dominant figure on the steep Blisco slopes, winning in a very good 37:32, over 30 seconds up on Lochaber man Wild (38:10) and Bingley runner Jebb (38:21). Going into the race Borrowdale’s Morgan Donnelly was in the hot seat in the Championship standings, however a 9th place at Blisco meant that Morgan now drops to third in the overall.

The men’s championship is in essence still wide open, with Wild, Jebb, Donnelly and indeed Lloyd Taggart still in the hunt for the 2013 title at Peris. Fascinating stuff!

Full men’s results via the FRA are here, with the women’s Blisco positions here. Images to follow…

Steve finds a fresh take after injury

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 12 Jun ’13

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

External life factors have made top fell runner Steve Birkinshaw take stock this last year or so, this added to a knee injury which forced the Borrowdale man out of the OMM late last year after his big win at the 2012 Dragon’s Back Race..

© team.inov-8.eu

Steve Birkinshaw

In this excellent Berghaus article Steve explains how life’s rich tapestry has made him look at things a little differently in 2013.

Kilian’s Classik – day three…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 04 Jul ’13

© www.salomonrunning.com

Jono in full flight!

Day 3 of the 2013 Kilian’s Classik week saw the Salomon International team get to grips with some future kit testing and some tech coaching from uphill master Jono Wyatt…

Salomon report

There was plenty of wind at 2750m on the ridge above Font Romeu for the third day of the Kilian’s Classik. But it was a good chance to test jackets and protection by the team runners and our junior guest runners.

Coming down the mountain tested a variety of skills (including skiing on the snow!) where we could see plenty of skills. Running in our big group also makes the snow fights much more fun too!

© www.salomonrunning.com

Greg Vollet strides out in Font Romeu

Then its photos for the runners with the next season’s products in focus, followed by one of the week’s big success stories so far. This was the lesson in uphill running. It was really interesting to hear from some real specialists such as Jonathan Wyatt (winner of 6 World Mountain titles) about how they deal with the steep up hills.

Different techniques were tried and tested against each other by the athletes with the highlight being the race uphill between our two camera guys! Another fun day has ended at the Kilian’s Classik and now we look forward to more fun and trails as the sun rises on a new day in Font Romeu.

Day 3 images are here

© www.salomonrunning.com

Stevie Kremer

Course records and big dollars at Speedgoat 2013

Posted in At the Races on Mon 29 Jul ’13

© www.irunfar.com

Sage Canaday wins the Speedgoat 50k

Sage Canaday underlined his speed and endurance qualities at this weekend’s big US ultra the Speedgoat 50k, as he raced away from a super-high quality field to take the win, the course record, and a fistful of dollars…

By winning ahead of a fast-finishing Anton Krupicka, Jason Schlarb, Max King, Luke Nelson and Timothy Olson, taking the Hidden Peak prime, the race and the course record of Rickey Gates, he captured $4500 – and with it only added to the notion that he is probably the US’ premier shorter distance ultra runner in 2013.

Tony Krupicka’s effort should not be underestimated either. He also broke the 2012 record of Gates and was by all accounts eating into Canaday’s lead towards the end of the race, cutting a 9 minute deficit at mile 21 to just 1 min 30 by the finish.

The North Face’s Stephanie Howe was a narrow winner of the women’s race ahead of Jodee Adams-Moore, with 8 women going under 7 hours on this tough and dusty 50k, masterminded by the speedgoat himself Karl Meltzer.

Full report, images and results now online via the ever-present iRunFar crew

Police put a stop to Scottish hill race

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 14 Jun ’13

© www.scottishhillrunners.co.uk

Glen Rosa from Goatfell

Let’s hope this isn’t the thin end of the wedge as far as issues with the authorities go for fell and mountain race organisers. The 20km Glen Rosa race is renowned for it’s beauty, but tomorrow’s race will not go ahead as planned…

It seems that the police in the region have been in conflict with the Arran MRT and their purpose for being at the race.

The SHR notice points out “Without MRT cover, the Glen Rosa race cannot go ahead. This could have serious repercussions for any other hill races or events dependent on Mountain Rescue cover.”

More here

Reactions so far
  1. Steve Webb
    Jun 17, 09:31 PM

    A real shame. There are a bucket load of threats to races of all kinds, mainly under the guise of health and safety. This development is a new type of development and I hope it doesn’t occur again or elsewhere.
    Mountain rescue teams make so many great races possible and are very modest when thanked. Sad to see that their goodwill has been undermined here.

Mountain runners continue weekend of GB success…

Posted in At the Races on Mon 08 Jul ’13

© Emma Clayton

The GB senior men’s team pick up the silver

The 2013 GB & NI crack team of mountain runners headed out to Bulgaria this weekend for the European MR Champs, and returned home with a pretty decent medal haul, to add to those won by the Brits at the Trail World Champs in Wales…

With Steve Vernon (5th) leading the men to team silver, Emma Clayton (6th) leading the women to team bronze and the junior women taking a team silver, it was a pretty good day’s work from the Brits in Borovets.

After 6 straight wins at these championships Ahmet Arslan was beaten to the title this year by Italy’s Bernard Dematteis, and with Alex Baldaccini taking the silver, the Turkish dynamo had to settle for third. Steve Vernon’s fifth place finish should not be underestimated either.

The Stockport man was less than a minute off an individual medal, and with Chris Smith having a stormer in 8th and Orlando Edwards in 18th, the trio did enough for the bronze. Robbie Simpson finished in 29th.

© borovets2013.eu

The women’s podium with Andrea Mayr centre

In the women’s event Clayton was equally impressive, leading the charge for the GB girls, up against some of the world’s best mountain runners, never mind just Europe. Swiss legend Andrea Mayr was the dominant force in the women’s race, winning by over a minute from Valentina Belotti and Slovenia’s Mateja Kosovelj.

© Emma Clayton

Emma Clayton in the zone ahead of the 8.8km women’s race

Backed-up by Olivia Walwyn (21st) and Sarah Tunstall (25th), the British women did enough to sneak a brilliant bronze.

Catriona Graves led the junior women to silver with an excellent 6th and 2012 champion Annabel Mason was 8th. With Max Wharton in 18th leading the junior men to 7th in the team standings it had been a preety decent weekend in Bulgaria.

Further reports from European Athletics, British Athletics and Athletics Weekly, with full results links on the EMRC 2013 website here.

Some images via Emma Clayton here with more to follow…

Giir di Mont – in pictures

Posted in Through the Lens on Wed 31 Jul ’13

© Ski Alper

Zinca takes the plaudits at Giir di Mont 2013

Giir di Mont is always a spectacle. With the (usual) intense heat, huge crowds on the route and at the start / finish town of Premana, and emotive images telling tales of exhaustion and elation…

Ionut Zinca took a narrow win ahead of Tofol Castanyer and these shots by Ski Alper depict all of the above!

Reactions so far
  1. pablo
    Aug 1, 02:52 PM

    Hola! ma la terra gira veramente intorno al sole opurre è un qualcosa che sembra logico?

  2. Max Biaggi
    Aug 1, 03:00 PM

    Buon Viaggio Fabio!!!

This weekend…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 14 Jun ’13

© Andy Holden

Buckden Pike action 2011

Round 2 of the English Fell Champs and the Buckden Pike race leads the way this weekend, and at 3.7 miles and almost 1600ft of climb this will be a lung-busting test for some of England’s best short-distance fell running exponents…

The race is over 30 years old and has a couple of fell legends (Colin Donnelly and Carol Greenwood) as its record holders and with it being a Championship counter there should be some furious racing at the head of affairs.

At the other end of the spectrum is the brand new Cwm Pennant race, almost 17 miles long and in it’s first year. None the less this Welsh beast should prove a great challenge and if local boys and girls are to be believed it could be a classic in it’s own right in the future.

© Matthew Roberts

Elsewhere there is the brilliant and super-tough Great Lakes Run, the epic Vegan Welsh 3000’s race and up in Scotland the Seven Hills of Edinburgh.

Much more besides with all details via the FRA, WFRA and SHR.

Ice Trail Tarentaise – where earth meets sky

Posted in At the Races on Tue 09 Jul ’13

© International Skyrunning Federation

Francios d’Haene at Ice Trail 2012

This weekend sees the latest test for some of the world’s best mountain and trail runners – including Kilian Jornet and Anna Frost – as the Skyrunner® World Series heads to France and the stunningly tough Ice-Trail Tarentaise (ITT)…

ISF release

The next skyrunning Ultra adventure unfolds with a world-class line-up and enough kilometres climb and snow to test the best. The Ice-Trail Tarentaise (ITT), for the record, counts 65 km with 5,000m vertical ascent and descent, reaches a high point of 3,653m and touches five peaks skimming the 3,000m mark in Val d’Isère July 14. Snow is not an option!

© www.icetrailtarentaise.fr

Heading the line-up are top stars Kilian Jornet, (leading the SWS Ultra ranking with Julien Chorier) after his win in Transvulcania has also put the Mont-Blanc Marathon under his belt. Salomon team-mate Francois D’Haene (2012 race winner, UTMB winner and 4th at Transvulcania 2012, won the new Mont-Blanc 80K last week in tandem with Michel Lanne) is of course starred as a strong favourite. Germany’s young Philipp Reiter, third in the 2012 SWS Ultra ranking, has been logging up experience and miles and is expected to perform well on this challenging, technical course.

Spaniard Jordi Bes, a Transvulcania top ten finisher, will no doubt do likewise here. American Rickey Gates is back in Europe for more skyrunning races after an excellent 10th place at Transvulcania in 2012. Italian Fulvio Dapit, a consistently strong performer in the Sky distance over the years is moving up to longer distances and will enjoy the terrain.

France’s own Nicolas Pianet, winner of the Mont-Blanc Marathon in 2010 and 2011, placed 11th in the face of the super-strong competition last week. The Ice-Trail will represent another challenge the athlete is up for.

As recent events have proven, the Skyrunner® World Series women’s field is ever more competitive. The 100-mile Ronda dels Cims winner, Francesca Canepa will face Nuria Picas (2102 SWS Ultra champion) together with World champion Emelie Forsberg, with Mont Blanc still in her veins after last weekend’s Vertical, Marathon and her personal record to the summit and back from Chamonix.

© International Skyrunning Federation

Anna Frost, 2012 Transvulcania winner and 6th in the Mont-Blanc Marathon, is well on the way to recovery after a long period of injury and, as usual, will giver her best. Australian Shona Stephenson, 9th at Mont-Blanc has been honing her skills in the high mountains. Emelie Lecomte, winner of the 2012 Diagonale des Fous and an excellent 3rd at Ronda dels Cims, will no doubt prefer the longer distance after her participation in the Mont-Blanc Marathon.

The are joined by Germany’s Julia Boettger, 3rd at Diagonale des Fous and winner of TNF 100 Philippines and the 2011 Zugspitz Ultatrail.

The ITT, effectively the second edition after the inaugural event in 2010 which suffered major changes due to bad weather, lies in the high mountains in the heart of the Killy Espace and the Vanoise National Park. The start and finish are in Val d’Isère, the internationally renowned ski resort.

The race may be new, but skyrunning has celebrated a number of key events here since 1996 including seven Vertical Kilometres between 2,000m and 3,000m altitude over a 3km course.

Marco De Gasperi set the standing world record on this course in 2002 in 34’51”. In 2001 and 2002. two ISF “24 Hour Record” events were carried out here reaching a record 7,575m altitude set by Italian Adriano Greco.

It’s true that mountains at 3,000m offer a challenge to all who set foot here. This year’s heavy snowfalls add an element of adventure (and technique) to test the most skilled skyrunners. However, recent warm weather has taken its toll and much of the snow has melted although stretches over snow will remain.

The organisers will issue a statement regarding the course and safety measures after a meeting held Monday afternoon so check for updates which will be issued on this site, Facebook and the race website over the next few days.

More than 500 runners will join the big names in this challenging contest -Europe’s highest race in true skyrunning style – where earth meets sky.