Lauenstein takes 40th Sierre-Zinal

Posted in At the Races on Mon 12 Aug ’13

© Fred Bousseau

Marc Lauenstein

If you have the time, you can relive the whole 3hour + show from RTS television on yesterday’s Sierre-Zinal race. It really is worth the watch for the drama that unfolds, befitting of one of the world’s premier mountain races…

Swiss fans were cheering aloud as Marc Lauenstein timed his effort perfectly, overtaking long-time Columbian leader Juan Carlos Cardona in the last 500m of the race, to win by just 18 seconds in 2:32:15. Course record holder and mutiple world mountain running champion Jono Wyatt (2:33:47) had a great run to hold off a fast-finishing Kilian Jornet (2:33:55) for third.

© Ski and Run

Jono Wyatt on his way to 3rd at Sierre-Zinal 2013

Briton Robbie Simpson produced one of the runs of his life to finish 5th in 2:35:32, juts 90 seconds down on Kilian.

In the women’s event, Italian Elisa Desco produced an excellent performance to win by almost 5 mins, from 2012 runner-up Stevie Kremer. Maude Mathys was third.

© Ski and Run

Elisa Desco

© Fred Bousseau

Angela Mudge

Producing yet another great performance was ‘vet’ Angela Mudge in 4th, and breaking the masters record to boot.

Some great images out there from Ski and Run and Endurance Trails, with full results via the S-Z site here (click on Classement 2013).

© Fred Bousseau

Kilian after his 4th place finish

Reactions so far
  1. Hendrik
    Aug 12, 03:44 PM

    Ran this race and it was an incredible experience. The course, the field, the crowds. Epic!

    Also, nice to see the Guardian featuring Sierre-Zinal as their sport picture of the day

  2. Hendrik
    Aug 12, 03:44 PM

    Ran this race and it was an incredible experience. The course, the field, the crowds. Epic!

    Also, nice to see the Guardian featuring Sierre-Zinal as their sport picture of the day

GB hopefuls head to World Trials…

Posted in At the Races on Sat 10 Aug ’13

© Dan Vernon

The trials for the World Mountain Running Championships take place in Whinlatter in the Lake District this Sunday and will see a clamouring for places on the UK team heading Poland early next month….

Event incorporates the up and down trial races for selection of UK teams to compete in the World Mountain Running Championships and UKA Mountain Running Championship (senior individual).

2013 sees an up and down year at the World champs, so you can expect to see some of the cream of UK mountain (and fell) running lining up in Whinlatter. Entry is on the day, but you expect the likes of Emma Clayton (senior women) and Nathan Jones (junior men) to be right up there in the hunt for places and that coveted GB vest.

Race programme

11.30am: Junior Women’s Race 4.8km, 250m climb/descent

12.00pm: Senior/U23 Women’s/Junior Men’s Race 9.6km, 500m climb/descent

1.00pm: Senior/U23 Men’s Race 14.4km, 750m climb/descent

  • Age categories/distances are in line with WMRA guidelines rather than UKA/FRA
  • Courses will be marshalled and flagged.
  • See British Athletics website here for information about selection criteria etc.

What’s new in the world of shoes?

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 09 Aug ’13

© www.irunfar.com

The 2014 Brooks Cascadia 9

iRunFar have taken a little selection from the OR show over in the US, showcasing what trail runners can expect when it comes to footwear in 2014. There seems to be a swinging towards about 6mm as an average on heel to toe drop too…

With the trend on colour options still getting more and more adventurous you can bet that trail runners the world over will be a sea of colour next year, but that takes nothing away from the fact that the technologies of the brands on offer are also keeping apace.

Read Bryon Powell’s Best Trail Running Shoes of Outdoor Retailer Summer 2013 selection here.

Sierre Zinal is this weekend…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 09 Aug ’13

© Ian Corless

Stevie Kremer

One of the world’s most iconic mountain races takes place this Sunday and as ever attracts some of the world’s top mountain runners, with the likes of Stevie Kremer, Kilian and golden-greats Angela Mudge and Jono Wyatt toeing the line at Sierre-Zinal

The latter still holds the course record of an amazing 2:29:12 from 2003 with Anna Pichrtova’s 2008 run of 2:54:26 being the best mark in the women’s class.

Though not as long as some of the big European skyraces these days, runners still face 19 miles and a hefty 7,200ft of climb, and after climbing out of Sierre at the start runners head up to the race highpoint of 2425m before plummeting back to Zinal.

2012 champion Aline Camboulives returns to defend her S-Z crown, however we think that US athlete Stevie Kremer must be in the hot-seat when it comes to the women’s race, after a pretty impressive 2013 to date.

In the men’s race it’s hard to look beyond Kilian, but with top US talent Sage Canaday, Rickey Gates and Max King, along with Spain’s Tofol Castanyer and Eritrean Weldemariam Teklay also down to race, things should be very interesting.

Look out for Brits Robbie Simpson and Victoria Wilkinson too as they test themselves against the very best. Full start lists are here

Tom stays positive on the road to recovery

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 06 Aug ’13

© www.salomonrunning.com

Tom Owens – always positive

Tom Owens’ 2013 season has been a bit of a washout, to date. After the Salomon and Scotland international skyrunning specialist was diagnosed with ruptured peroneus longus tendon in the spring he underwent some pretty extensive surgery…

Some 6 months later and Tom is on the comeback trail after a few months of successful rehabilitation. We caught up with the Glasgow-based runner for a few minutes on his year so far, and what lies ahead:

——————————

MST: 2013 has been a pretty frustrating year for you so far Tom, tell us about what happened.

TO: My peroneal tendon started hurting and became mega swollen during a run at the start of February this year. The pain and swelling remained consistent despite rest & the ankle kept giving way. An ultrasounds scan at the start of May revealed a ruptured peroneus longus – worse than the physios expected … no wonder it wouldn’t heal! My frustrating year ended once I knew the only choice was surgery – it was a big relief to have a proper diagnosis. Operation was in June to fix the tendon and the surgeon also repaired my ATFL ligament which I ruptured playing football several years ago & had never properly healed. The surgery went very well.

© Tom Owens

MST: When you get such an injury it must be pretty hard to stay focussed on the long-range picture and how you might be out for a whole season?

TO: Once I knew the tendon was ruptured I accepted there would be no hill season this year, so the tendon has plenty of time to get strong.

TO: I do miss running but now I’ve been out for 6 months I’ve got pretty used to it! Life has slowed down & I’ve been kept busy enough with other stuff. Also works been good & I’ve been putting in the hours while I can.

MST: Have you been watching with interest on the whole skyrunning, fell running and trail running scene? Or like some other elite athletes do you find it hard to watch the success of others when you are injured?

TO: I’ve missed the running scene & have enjoyed hearing what’s going on, especially when friends are running in races. I don’t feel upset or angry just pretty detached from it all. I’m a pretty lousy sport follower at the best of times (with the exception of the Tour de France this year) & am notoriously bad on social media….fortunately Mud Sweat & Tears keeps me up to date 😉

© Tom Owens

Tom has still been attending fell races!

MST: What have you been doing to stay ‘fit’, if anything?!

TO: When I was in plaster, getting about on crutches was a good work out. Especially living in a top floor tenement flat! The last few weeks I’ve been able to start strengthening the tendon with thera bands and introducing balance work. I’ve also focused on strengthening my injured leg which had wasted away due to the dormancy.

TO: Cardio fitness has been less important than the strength work. I did a few short sessions in the hydrotherapy pool and then progressed to some short sessions on the cross trainer. The last couple of weeks I’ve returned to cycling for some potters including commuting to work. I now feel confident clipping into the pedals again & so should be able to get some decent rides in now. Hopefully the aerobic fitness will return quickly.

MST: You have been in situations before where you have had injuries to overcome, and you have come back stronger than ever. is the prognosis looking good on this one, and when you might be back training and ‘race action’?

TO: I’m physically well rested & mentally more chilled out than I’ve ever been! The ankle is feeling great & moving well. Luckily I’ve felt no pain since the surgery. I’ve been given the nod to try a run in one weeks time & have got some orthotics which should help. It’s going to be a slow build up but exciting times!

TO: I’m not sure about racing timescales. Although fitness should return quickly, mentally it might take a while longer till I can fully trust the ankle on descents. But whatever the level, I’ll be back in the hills in due course!

© www.salomonrunning.com

Tom in race action at Giir di Mont in 2012

World Trail on TV

Posted in Through the Lens on Mon 05 Aug ’13

© worldtrailwales2013.org

The 2013 4th IAU Trail World Championships were a triumph for Wales in staging international sporting events. The event was also a triumph for UK athletics as Ricky Lightfoot took individual men’s gold, the UK men team gold and a team bronze for the UK’s women…

A 26-minute TV highlights package was aired on Sunday morning on Channel 4 in the UK and can be relived on the C4OD via this link. Viewers outside of the UK will need to wait a little longer with the programme to be aired on Sky and Eurosport in the coming weeks (TX dates to follow).

© Phil Rees Photography

Ricky takes a superb gold in Llanrwst

Ricky makes light work of Borrowdale

Posted in At the Races on Mon 05 Aug ’13

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

Ricky Lightfoot on his way to a 2013 Borrowdale win

After a convincing win at last year’s race, Ricky Lightfoot won the classic Borrowdale fell race on Saturday. The Cumbrian took the 17-mile beast in his stride, after a few weeks which have seen him win the IAU Trail World title and finish 7th at Giir di Mont…

Showing now real signs of the effects of his gruelling race schedule Ricky took off from the start and had over a minute lead at CP 1. He steadily built this over a class field including Rob Jebb and Lloyd Taggart, to win by almost 5 minutes by the finish in 2:51:24. Jebby held off Lloyd for second, with a returning-to-form Chris Steel running strongly for 4th.

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

Chris Steele leads Rob Jebb early on

It was also a testament to the man and to the sport of fell running, that course record-holder and fell running legend Billy Bland was out there marshalling and shaking the hands of the runners as they passed by at one of the early check points, and we’re sure there was a little air of mutual admiration as Ricky passed Billy in this shot!

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

“How do?” – Ricky bumps into Billy

In the ladies race Nicky Spinks took a great win in 3:53:13, ahead of Kerry Cornforth and Catherine Spurden, showing that the Dark Peak runners’ strength really comes out in the longer fell races.

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

Nicky Spinks

Full results via the Borrowdale site here, with some lovely images by Paul Dobson here.

Kosovelj and Confortola take WLDMRC titles

Posted in At the Races on Mon 05 Aug ’13

© www.corsainmontagna.it

Mitja Kosovelj takes his second WLDMRC title

For Mitja Kosovelj it was more of the same at this weekend’s World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in Poland, as the Slovenian took a convincing win to add to his title form 2011…

In the women’s race it was new ground for Italian Antonella Confortola though, as the Salomon athlete took her first title in emphatic style. Report from the IAAF can be found here.

© www.corsainmontagna.it

Antonella Confortola

We’ll have more in the way of reaction from the weekend later in the week, however from a British perspective it was another successful international trip as Wales’ Andy Davies stormed through in the last 11km of the 44km race, coming from outside of the top 10 to take a superb silver medal – just ahead of 2013 Giir di Mont winner Ionut Zinca.

Davies’ run was also good enough to push Wales into the bronze medal position in the team race.

In the women’s event there were some excellent performances from English and Scots athletes, with Scotland’s Claire Gordon leading the charge in fourth place, just 5 minutes outside of a medal.

A couple of excellent runs from consistent WLDMRC performers Anna Lupton (5th) and Helen Fines (6th) followed for England, with Scot Helen Bonsor backing up Gordon with a great run in 7th. With Jasmin Paris in 11th, this meant that the Scottish team had done enough for silver behind Italy, and ably backed up by Holly Rush in 12th, Lupton and Fines helped England to the team bronze.

Full results are here with race images and an interview with Andy Davies to follow.

This weekend…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 02 Aug ’13

© SportSunday

Ricky Lightfoot at the 2012 Borrowdale race

After lots of international and championship racing this last few weeks there are some great UK fell races to brighten up your weekend, as some of the top racers head to the brutal Borrowdale race amongst others…

The legendary Borrowdale Fell Race is on tomorrow – 17 miles of classic climbs, taking in over 6500ft of ascent over the likes of Scafell Pike.

© Ian Charters

The Borrowdale profile!

This is another one of those races that commands a Billy Bland course record that may never be beaten (an incredible 2hrs 34 mins!). 2012 winner Ricky Lightfoot is down to race once again, though after a tough Giir di Mont race only last weekend it will be interesting to see how the Ellenborough runner’s legs have recovered!

Up front, expect to see Rob Jebb and Lloyd Taggart, with some of the fast Borrowdale boys including Simon Booth and Chris Steele, along with 500 others! Things getting underway from Rosthwaite Village Hall, Borrowdale at 11am, and tp get you in the mood you can watch footage of the 2009 Borrowdale Fell Race here.

In Wales the beautiful short Y Garn race has been cancelled, so North Wales runners will have to venture over the border this weekend for their fell running fix! In the South there is the Llanthony Show, nr Chepstow.

Meanwhile up in Scotland there is a very busy programme with no less than 6 races to choose from, including the excellent shortie that is the Creag Dhubh Hill Race

Full info all of the racing online from respective Welsh, English and Scottish associations here WFRA, FRA and the SHR sites.

The weather forecast for Wales and the North West of England is for sunshine on Saturday and on Sunday sunshine and showers, heavy in places, with Scotland a little drier on Sunday – weather from the Met Office here.

Enjoy!

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Laying the seed of thought…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 31 Jul ’13

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

Ben Abdelnoor is having a pretty good 2013. The Ambleside and inov8 runner won the classic Wasdale a few weeks back, along with the Old County Tops earlier in the year. Last weekend he realised his goal of 2013 – winning the Lakeland 50.

Here Ben tells us how it all panned out on the trails and fells around Coniston:

——————————

The Lakeland 100 is a race that has caught my imagination in a way no other race has, or probably ever will. For the last three years I’d come out and supported the event as it passed through Ambleside; the route passes my front door. Three years ago I cheered on my girlfriend in the 100 mile event.

She passed through Ambleside late at night in the cold and rain, struggling and in pain, but determined to finish; I remember being quite emotional at the time. I’d then proudly watched her finish in Coniston to take the victory after a tortuous 32 hours. That same year I’d witnessed the awesome talent, and an incredible neck-and-neck battle, between Andrew James and Jon Morgan in the Lakeland 50 event. James had won by a few minutes to set a new course record of 7 hours 47 minutes.

A hundred miles involves running through the night, sometimes two. And I’ve watched those 100-mile runners: the agony, the pain, the limping, the tears and the suffering. I didn’t want that. Plus, I like going to bed at night – so that settled it; I’d give the 50-mile event a go.

Planning and race preparation

For me this was going to be my big target for the season. I run on the fells rather than the trails and a 4-hour fell race is what I’d call a ‘big’ event. Early in the season I’d competed in a 37-mile fell race, taking 7 hours, with a similar amount of ascent to the 50, so I knew I had the ability to make it round the course.

Next up was working out what pace to run at. Using the splits from Andrew James’ 2010 victory, I paced the legs from Ambleside to Coniston, and from Pooley Bridge into Ambleside. My training consisted of long runs (2-3 hours), as well as some longer fell races (20+ miles). Mentally I prepared by poring over the map and memorising the route: every climb, every twist of the path and every bit of terrain. I use mentally imagery a lot to help me prepare, and would picture myself running strong throughout the course of the race.

Obviously this wasn’t going to happen, but it builds confidence and self-belief.

A Quick Start!

Marcus Scotney was a fellow competitor who I knew to be a favourite in the race, and with good reason. He’d won a hilly Windermere Marathon in 2 hour 38 minutes, and had marked up a victory at the Coniston Trail Marathon, coming within 30 seconds of the course record. So, when we set off on a loop of Dalemain before heading out onto the route I tried not to panic as he disappeared across the fields. By Pooley Bridge I was informed he was already 4 minutes ahead!

There can be few more pleasurable places to run than along that eastern shore of Ullswater. As I ran I thought to myself, ‘you can keep your Dolomite mountains and Alpine pastures, I want the picture-postcard Lake District.’ A smooth and inviting lake sparkling under a warm sunshine, brown and green slopes rising up to the summits of Helvellyn and the Dodds, and a fine track to tread my feet upon.

By the first checkpoint at Howtown three of us were following Marcus, not that we could see him. By the time we dropped into checkpoint two at Mardale, after a sweltering traverse along Haweswater Reservoir, we were down to two.

And, as I headed off from a quick checkpoint turn-around, up a stiff climb over Gatesgarth Pass, I was on my own. I say on my own, but actually I had the Lakeland 100 runners for company who’d set off the previous evening. Without them I think I would have struggled. I don’t think it was any coincidence that my two low points in the race were the times when I had no 100 runner to aim for and no one to offer, or receive, encouragement to or from.

Taking the lead

By Kentmere I’d been running for over four hours, but was still looking forward to the climbing. I was finding the flat sections a bit of a struggle, dropping to what felt like a rather slow pace a little too easily. I was buoyed on by spotting Marcus up ahead, who I’d

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!!!

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

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…

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

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

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.

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

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

Ricky Lightfoot: “It was a good race for me..”

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 10 Jul ’13

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

Thumbs-up for Ricky!

Given a few days to download exactly what he achieved, Ricky Lightfoot has put in words his IAU world title winning run the weekend. Humble and relaxed as ever, the Cumbrian-based Salomon athlete explains to MST how the day panned out…

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“What a weekend – nerves, shock, surprised, amazed, humbled! I don’t want to say I was due a big run, but my initial goal earlier in the year was to qualify for the Great Britain Team to go to the World Championships in Wales, I achieved that by finishing 2nd in the trial which was the Highland Fling, a great race which isn’t to be underestimated.

I had qualified for the World Trail Champs, so I was happy, and though the trial race was run at the end of April it gave me just over 9 weeks to train. I did have a few races penciled in so I had to fit my longer runs and speed work in around them.

July came around quick and before I knew it I was in Wales with the Great Britain team for the opening ceremony. A few pictures and a chance to look at the course the day before, I ended up in bed due to being ill, so the first I saw of the course was on the day of the race!

A meal in the Grand Hotel in Llandudno and an early night were on the cards. We were up at 6.30 for breakfast in the Grand Hotel then down to the start for 8am. The first I see of the course is the long stretch of road which leads up to the forest where we were to run 5 ×16km laps.

Some more pictures and an interview later and the start was upon us. I went for the new Salomon Fellraiser – good grip, light and comfortable which on a hot day like today was most important. We gathered inside the stone circle with the 18 other nations, in race previews there were to be strong teams from France (reigning Men’s & Women’s Team Champions), Italy and the USA to name but a few.

The race started on the bridge so being the last team to leave the stone circle meant we were first on the start, a quick briefing and a count down to the start and we were off.

I quickly got to the front to avoid any bottle necks, the pace was quick but steady, after climbing up through the forest a small group began to pull away from the rest of the field – three French guys, a Norwegian, a German and a Argentinian I think, I didn’t really take much notice at this point as there was a long way to go!

We went through one lap in just over the hour, it was the start of the second lap where a couple of the guys dropped off the pace and I was left with France’s Julien Rancon and his team.

© Al Tye / www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Rancon leads through the Saw Bench

I knew the French would be strong, Julien and the previous World Trail Champion from Connemara Erik Clavery, and the bronze medalist Patrick Bringer.

I not sure if it was the way they run but, in turn the three French guys were taking turns at running hard and easing off, this would continue for the next 10 miles or so. I stuck with it and tried to keep my pace steady, we came round to the 3rd lap and two of the French guys dropped off the pace so I was left with Julien.

It was at this point that he put a huge effort in on the first climb on the 3rd lap, I stuck with him until the top and put another effort in on the rough undulating track, when to my surprise I dropped him, I didn’t know if this was race tactics or if he was tired so I pushed on.

At the beginning of the 4th lap I had pulled out a 2 minute lead, this wasn’t ideal as there was still the best part of 20 miles to run. I worked hard and felt strong, picking a Kinetica Gel and some water up at every opportunity from the excellent GB support crew which were manning two stations along the route.

© Al Tye / www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Ricky tries to cool off

It came round to the last lap pretty quick, someone was there to give me an update, the gap was 5 minutes, great, it wasn’t much but at least I was pulling away.

I didn’t relax though, as from previous experience in the Highland Fling I knew if it

4 Trails is underway…

Posted in At the Races on Wed 10 Jul ’13

© www.4trails.de

The Salomon 4 Trails got underway in Garmisch today, with Salomon athlete Tofol Castanyer easily taking the spoils. The 4-stage event will cover around 160 kilometers and take in 10,000 metres of ascent over the four days…

In the women’s race Scot’s runners Claire Gordon and Angela Mudge took the top two places with Claire putting a mighty eleven and a half minutes into Angela after stage one.

Top snappers Klaus Fengler and Kelvin Trautman got some lovely shots, and the first stage results are here.

© www.4trails.de