Big up to Gill for covering for me with an excellent trail recap last week whilst I was busy pampering my vert hungry legs scrambling ridges and fighting off horse flies in the Scottish highlands.
With Hardrock cancelled due to the amount of snow still lingering on the course back in May a handful of exciting shorter races filled its 100 mile big gap in the trail calendar last weekend. In Italy it was time for the steepest of the races in Salomon’s Golden Trail Series, the short and punchy Dolomyths Sky Race.
DOLOMYTHS RUN SKY RACE, 22km / 1700m
With Buff Epic Trail taking place last weekend there was a significant lack of big Sky Running names at the start line which paved way for two talented Swiss runners to get some well deserved time in the Salomon live coverage spotlight.
Maude Mathys (who got an instant fan in me with her ITRA profile picture where she’s wolfing down a substantial slice of cake) led the race up the 1700 m long climb to Piz Boe. As a regular visitor on the top ten at Sierre-Zinal Mathys is very familiar with the ‘what comes up must come down’ race profile of Dolomyths and made use of her climbing strength over the first half. Second to reach the top was queen of the skies Ruth Croft and in third was second Swiss Judith Wyder. On the descent down to the finish line the podium had a re-shuffle where we saw downhill specialist Wyder fly past Mathys, she said after the race that she did not notice passing her and no wonder considering how fast she was pounding the downhill. Judith crossed the line in 2:18, breaking the old course record with a whopping seven minutes. Behind Wyder Ruth Croft sailed past Maude Mathys to take second in 2:21, also well ahead of the previous course record.
1. Judith Wyder (SUI), 2:18:51
2. Ruth Croft (NZE), 2:21:56
3. Maude Mathys (SUI), 2:22:08
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Disappointed to see a great racing day tainted by a reoccurring topic in our sport. Elite presentation of the men only in the VK, and a bonus for breaking a record based on men’s time standards and nothing for a women’s time standard. How much is it to ask for men and women to receive equal recognition? #21stcentury 📷 @martiskka 🙏
There was some controversy during the race weekend in the Dolomites. First the organisers chose to hold a prize ceremony solely for the men’s podium on the VK followed by a decision to reward Davide Magninis course record in the men’s race with a prize sum whilst Wyders 7 minute record was left unrecognised. Ruth Croft took to social media to challenge the race directors who recognised their failings with apologies and promises to change things for the future.
It’s good to see an organiser admitting to mistakes made, let’s hope they stick to their word and choose to level the playing field for the 2020 edition.
Next up in the Golden Trail Series is Sierre-Zinal in August.
EIGER ULTRA TRAIL, 101 km / 6700 m & 51 km / 2680 m
This year the mighty peaks of the UNESCO world heritage site of Jungfrau-Aletsch was basking in summer sun and there were no signs of thunder storms threatening unlike last year when the organisers had to cut the long course short whilst the race was unfolding with only 100 runners making their way through the original route before check points were closed due to risk of lightning strikes.
Last years winner Kathrin Götz showcased great recovery skills by following up her win at LUT last month with a crushing victory on her home trails beating second lady Ajda Radina with over 40 minutes. In third, 30 minutes behind Radina was Helene Ogi. On the shorter course Sarah Vieuille was equally dominant and had over half an hour down to Alicia Hudelson in second and Luzia Buehler in third.
1. Kathrin Götz 14:05:27
2. Ajda Radina 14:46:46
3. Helene Ogi 15:18:30
1. Sarah Vieuille 6:00:58
2. Alicia Hudelson 6:31:26
3. Luzia Buehler 6:47:02
ANDORRA ULTRA TRAIL RONDA DEL CIMS, 170 km / 13,500 m
This race is nuts and I’m surprised that the organisers didn’t manage to sway over more OG Hardrock runners with the similar profile up an down an endless amount of rugged peaks.
Last years Tor Des Geants champion Silvia Trigueros slayed the trails of Andorra in the women’s race and won in a course record breaking time of 34:21 over 13 hours ahead of Stephanie Case who bagged second. In third was Frederique Bonnaure.
1. Silvia Trigueros (ESP), 34:21 (7th OA)
2. Stephanie Case (CAN), 47:35
3. Frederique Bonnaure (FRA), 50:10
Back to the shorter stuff now with another race in the Skyrunner World Series;
ROYAL ULTRA SKY MARATHON, 55 km / 4141 m
It might only be covering 55 km but starting at 2000 m altitude and with 10 peaks to ascend and descend this is definitely not an easy feat. This year to add insult to injury the course was made even harder with an added paradoxical combination of snow and extreme heat. That did not stop Ragna Debats from flying through the course to set a new record of 7:52:40. A sweet revenge on missing the podium at Buff Epic Trails last week for Debats. Second lady was french runner Myriam Guillot who held the lead for the initial 10 k of the race and in third was Oihana Azkorbebeitia.
1. Ragna Debats 7:52:40
2. Myriam Guillot 8:14:53
3. Oihana Azkorbebeitia 8:45:35
SPEEDGOAT 50 km / 3600 m
Another rocky, steep and snowy one is Karl Meltzer’s Speedgoat 50. 2017’s winner Anna Mae Flynn was back to reclaim her crown this year. After having sat out both Transvulcania and WS100 earlier in the year the Lake Sonoma champion was showing good form ahead of OCC by placing 15th overall in a very speeedy time of 6:30. Behind Flynn Taylor Nowlin bagged second ten minutes ahead of Michelle Hummel in third.
1. Anna Mae Flynn 6:30:15
2. Taylor Nowlin 6:37:49
3. Michelle Hummel 6:47:21
It’s a busy one again but I guess elite runner list composers just as trail round up journos need a break mid summer so i haven’t got much to write about as far as predictions go. In Austria its time for GROSSGLOCKNER ULTRA TRAIL, in Italy OROBIE ULTRA TRAIL and if you fancy an extended bimble around the strangest park in Paris the ULTRA BOUCLE DES BUTTES CHAUMONT. The race that gave us Emilie Forsberg, ARE FJALLMARATON is playing out over three courses on Swedish fells this weekend and in Italy’s Aosta Valley runners will take on the stunning course of LA THUILE TRAIL. In Switzerland we have the SWISS ALPINE and in Ireland the SEVEN SISTERS SKYLINE which is a part of the UK Sky Racing series.
IN OTHER NEWS
As expected the UTMB elite runner lists has got some late additions from the Hard Rock rooster. The women’s field hasn’t changed much but a significant upgrade regarding COURTNEY DAUWALTER is noteworthy. After dropping out of WS100 with a hip journey Dewey has made the decision to move from the slightly shorter but technical TDS to the more runnable UTMB.
Right, back to the vert mine for me! See you in seven shredders!