Summer temperatures might have come and gone but by golly it is pretty out in the green right now so once you've hovered your eyes over the following paragraphs I suggest that you head out of the door and steer your stride towards a woodland of your choice. Aaaand to make that happen ASAP lets keep this intro ramble thing short as the leg wear of a fellrunner and get down to the biz.
THAMES PATH 100 100 miles / 579 m
That elevation profile might look laughable on paper but if you ask me a pancake flat 100 miler could prove to be a lot harder and certainly more damaging than an undulating one. I mean this is the race I refuse to even pace due to it's relentless nature, my achilles are phantom aching just thinking about a 20-ish hour trot along the thames. O.U.C.H! Last year the entrants were tortured with tropical temperatures and the race suffered one of the highest drop out rates in its history, this weekend the weather was looking better albeit a tad chilly at night so it's no surprise that a couple of northern gals claimed the top two. The race itself was a hot hot hot one though with podium positions changing between each check point for most of the day. Team GB 24 hour runner Wendy Whearity took an early lead and reached the first stop at Walton on Thames a minute ahead of pre race favourite Ingrid Lid and Rebecca Lane. Twelve miles later Lid was running up front just two minutes ahead of Debbie Martin-Consani and Leanne River in third. At the half way mark Debbie had taken a thirteen minute lead ahead of River in second and Kelly Pepper and Ingrid Lid were running together in third. With temperatures dropping and one marathon still to go at the checkpoint in Streatley Debbie Martin-Consini had increased her lead to fourteen minutes but chasing her in second place was now Ingrid Lid and shortly behind her the early leader Whearity was back in podium position.
Norwegian Lid ran well through the night and kept gaining ground on Martin-Consini up front but it was not enough and in the end the SDW 100 champion had to bow down for the Scottish centurion veteran Debbie who held on to hear lead into the finish. Wendy Whearity could not keep pace with the northern power houses through the cold hours and came in on third place just under forty minutes behind Lid.
I'm impressed by the diversity of D-M-C who lives and trains on rocky ground up in Scotland but can still bust out some serious speed on the tow paths of Thames! Equally in awe of the young runner Lid whose instagram told she was suffering from a cold over the race weekend.
1. Debbie Martin-Consani (10 OA) 17:40:08
2. Ingrid Lid 17:48:25
3. Wendy Whearity 18:26:12
Full Results here;
YADING SKY RACE 32 km / 2819 m
How cool does this second instalment in the Skyrunning world series look?! No wonder Megan Kimmel has made sure to book a return journey to race the high altitudes of Yading three times! This year she and her fellow sky queens were facing an altered and extended course featuring a new technical climb and long descent. Next to Kimmel on the start line was Ragna Debats who was taking on her first race since winning MDS last month. Going from desert on sea level to ridges in the clouds at 4000 m was a transition to tough even for Debats and she could not keep up with Kimmel who took a thirty minute win an placed 6th OA. Incredible performance from Kimmel who confirmed that this is a race that is like tailored for her strengths and she could reap the advantages of living and training on high altitude. Third behind Megan and Ragna was Ruth Croft who later said she was not having a good day and struggled from the start, "it was just one of these days where you know it's just going to be tough from the start".
1. Megan Kimmel (USA) 3:52:40
2. Ragna Debats (NED) 4:27:06
3. Ruth Croft (NZL) 4:37:39
TRANSVULCANIA 74 km / 4350 m
It's time to head back to the Canaries for the third race in the Skyrunning World series and what has become a favourite tune up race for the European and international trail elites. Just like Tansgrancanaria and MIUT the course across the volcanic island of La Palma is a steep and technical affair. The last couple of years Ida Nilsson has dominated this race but the current course record holder wont be returning to defend her crown in 2019.That does not mean that there's any shortage of crushers to threaten her 9:04:17 time from 2017 though. The above mentioned Megan Kimmel for example proved last year that she can run strong over consecutive race weekends and although Transvulcania does not reach the altitude of Yading the terrain of La Palma suits her running very well. Ekaterina Mityaeva has showed good strength at Transvulcania before and after having an easy start to the season chances are high that the Ultra Pirineu champion is going all in for a podium spot this year. China's speedy young runner Miao Yao is back in Europe and likely hungry for a canary-revenge after DNF-ing at Transgrancanaria earlier in the year. She obliterated a field containing Ida NIlsson at CCC last summer and could do with a good confidence boost ahead of her return to Mont Blanc to tackle UTMB in August. YiOu Wang is yet to have a successful race on European trails and is likely to hold back ahead of WS100 next month so might not be a top contender this time around but I'm still curious to see how she will do on this more technical underfoot. Another runner who might not quiet reach the top 3 (yet) but I will be following with interest is Scottish runner Rachel Normand. She has gone from strength to strength and won the Highland Fling last year after placing third in 2018. I know she has spent some time training in the Canaries over the winter and I'm curious to say the least to see how she will do in an international race. Other runners to look out for is Ragna Debats, Emily Hawgood, Jasmin Nunige and Kristin Berglund.
ULTRA TRAIL SNOWDONIA 50 miles / 5000 m 100 miles / 10140 m
This newcomer quickly gained reputation as one of the toughest race series in the UK and having been there for its inaugural edition i can confirm that it is. Running mainly off the beaten track the course takes runners up and down what seems like every peak in Snowdonia, including 3 trips up and down Snowdon itself. Last year the 100 mile version had 13 finishers and out of those survivors one was a woman and not any woman but the mighty Jamie Aarons who followed up her win at UTS with placing third at Tor Des Geants last year. She will be returning to hunt another golden goat trophy this weekend and I don't see anyone in the list of registered runners who could challenge her to it. Similarly unchallenged on paper in the 50 mile version is Nikki Spinks. She is also a returnee with knowledge of the course and having trained for Barkley over winter I struggle to think that anyone will come near her after the first climb.
That's all folks!