US runner and 2011 World Mountain Running Champion, Kasie Enman, underlined her class and entered the world of skyrunning with dramatic fashion this weekend as she crushed a high-quality women’s field at the 20th edition of the classic 32km Italian mountain race Giir di Mont.
The event featured as round two on the Skyrunner® World Series and contains a former-winner role call of the some of the all-time greats of world mountain running.
In the men’s race Tofol Castanyer kept a steady and determined rhythm, as he came from behind to take a superb victory in front of the enthusiastic crowd gathered at the finish in the town of Premana, in the Lecco region of northern Italy.
For Enman the race signifies a transition from short-distance mountain races to longer races, though with a 2:37 marathon to her name no one could dispute the US athlete’s endurance. So this, coupled with her undeniable climbing ability, should have served notice that something like this was bound to happen for the Vermont runner.
Leading from the gun, Enman gradually built a lead that was to be a pretty staggering 18+ minutes at the finish as she closed in 3:45:50 for a new course record.
As almost 830 runners set out at 8 am the heat was to once again feature as a critical factor in this race. Eventual men’s winner Castanyer was happy to watch early on as Romanian Alin Zinca earned a short lead on Spain’s Luis Hernando and Italian Nicola Golinelli. As the race hit the spectacular and tough climb that led to the channeled summit of Larec after 14 kilometers, Zinca was powering away gaining almost a minute on Hernando, who was in-turn a handful of seconds up Golinelli, Tom Owens and Castanyer.
As they hit the slopes of Premaniga at around 22k Hernando had taken over and was making his way through the increasingly large crowds ahead of a strong-looking Castanyer.
But with a transfixed look about him Spaniard Castanyer was now closing-in on compatriot Hernando, and with a noticeably better cadence he drew alongside on the climb, with UK runner Owens looking increasingly strong now in third.
After a relative status quo for the next few kilometers, the final stages were to be the most exciting. As they hit the descent of Deleguaggio, Castanyer made a move that was ultimately prove decisive.
On the spectacular downhill he first took the lead, to gain the best lines on the tricky descent, and then powered away from a tiring Hernando. Despite the technical nature he managed to extend his advantage to enter Premana alone and amid the adulation from the mass of spectators he broke the tape in 3:19:19. Tom Owens used his outstanding descending skills to good effect overtaking Hernando and chasing Castanyer to the line, to finish a superb second in 3:21:24, with Hernando making up the podium in 3:22:52. With Golinelli in fourth and Zinca in fifth, less than eight minutes separated the top 5 men.
The women’s race had proved a very different affair as Enman took command of the race from early on and was never troubled by the chasers, including Dolomite SkyRace winner Emelie Forsberg, 2011 Skyrunner World Series champion Oihana Kortazar and Italy’s Silvia Serafini.
As with the men’s event that heat was to prove decisive as many athletes tolled in the sun, this certainly a factor for Forsberg who could only manage fifth on the day. However, this does not detract from the dominant nature of Enman’s win, which produced a winning margin few could dispute as anything other than huge.
Serafini (4:04:26) was to prove the best of the rest as she finished in second place ahead of round one Zegama winner Kortazar (4:08:49). Maria Serrano in fourth made up the top 5.
2012 Giir di Mont Results
- Tofol Castanyer (Salomon) – 3:19:19
- Tom Owens (Salomon) – 3:21:24
- Luis Hernando – 3:22:52
- Nicola Golinelli (Arc’teryx) – 3:24:19
- Alin Zinca – 3:27:00
- Kasie Enman (Salomon) – 3:45:50
- Silvia Serafini (Salomon) – 4:04:26
- Oihana Kortazar (Salomon) – 4:08:49
- Maria Serrano – 4:10:33
- Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 4:12:58
The Skyrunner® World Series now moves to Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland on August 12, for one of the classic races on the circuit.
All photos courtesy of Newspower Canon.