The Skyrunning World Series, the Altra U.S. Skyrunner Series, the La Sportiva Mountain Cup, and the World Mountain Running Association all hosted events around the world this weekend, and all are among the highlights of this week’s column.
Skyrunning World Championships – Spanish Pyrenees, Spain
The BUFF Epic Trail Aigüestortes group of races hosted the biennial Vertical K, Sky, and Ultra division Skyrunning World Championships. The long-course race stretched 105k (65 miles) with some 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) of climbing. Superstars Luis Alberto Hernando of Spain and Caroline Chaverot of France dominated their respective races. Hernando finished in 12:53 and Chaverot in 14:41, both new course records.
The UK’s Andy Symonds and Spain’s Javier Dominguez were second and third in 13:25 and 13:38. Spain’s Eva Moreda and the UK’s Jasmin Paris ran 15:50 and 15:58 to finish second and third in the women’s race. The deep women’s field also included fourth-place Maud Gobert, fifth-place Fernanda Maciel, and sixth- and seventh-place Kristina Pattison and Hillary Allen of the U.S.
Norway’s Stian Angermud-Vik, already the Vertical K race winner, also won the 42k competition in 3:56, five minutes in front of second-place Tom Owens of the U.K. The “Sky” championship race gained 3,200 meters (11,000 feet) on a point-to-point course. Spain’s Maite Maiora topped the women’s group in 4:42. Maiora was also third in the Vertical K race.
Francois Gonon of France was victorious in the 21k race at 2:11, and Yngvild Kaspersen of Norway was the women’s best in 2:41.
Badwater 135 Mile – Death Valley, California
Pete Kostelnick and Aly Venti both set new course records on the point-to-point run across Death Valley. The race now starts at night as opposed to the historic morning start.
Kostelnick, who was side-by-side with eventual third-place finisher Dan Lawson as late as mile 72, finished in 21:56. The time was nearly an hour better than Val Nunes’s 2007 record and some 91 minutes better than Kostelnick’s own 2015 winning time. Kostelnick, who ran the Western State Endurance Run in 19:55 three and a half weeks earlier, is expected to take on the transcontinental run record later this year.
2014 race winner Harvey Lewis overtook Lawson somewhere between miles 90 and 122 and finished second in 23:40. Lawson would then lock into a third-place tie with Australia’s Mick Thwaites in 23:52.
In the women’s race, Venti ran 25:53 to break Jamie Donaldson’s 2010 course best by 23 minutes. Venti dropped from last year’s race, but finished almost three hours better than her 2014 winning time. She was fifth overall.
Brenda Guajardo held off 2015 winner Nikki Wynd for runner-up honors. Guajardo finished in 28:40 and Wynd in 29:06.
Kendall Mountain Run – Silverton, Colorado
Daniel Hadis summited 13,066-foot Kendall Mountain first, but Dakota Jones ran him down on the way back to Silverton. Jones would finish the Altra U.S. Skyrunner Series Sky-division race in 1:37, just over a minute in front of second-place Hadis, and just over two minutes back of Joe Gray’s 2014 course record. Hadis, a Colorado Springs-based Ethiopian, reportedly holds a 1:03 half marathon best. Timmy Parr, second in 2015, was almost a full minute better than a year ago in finishing third in 1:40 this year.
In her first race back from injury suffered during the ski mountaineering season, Emelie Forsberg dueled with former University of Michigan runner Sarah Pizzo over the full 12-mile course. Forsberg would win out in 1:59, Pizzo a close runner-up 25 seconds back. Taylor Nowlin was third in 2:03.
The next Altra U.S. Skyrunner Series event is the August 6 and 7 Audi Power of 4 Vertical K and 50k in Colorado.
Three races ranging in distance from 30k to 110k followed the trails around Austria’s highest peak at the Grossglockner Ultra Trail event. The 110k (68 mile) race climbed 6,500 meters (21,000 feet) while running along 14 glaciers and crossing seven valleys. Third a year ago, Gerald Fister finished in a first-place tie with fellow Austrian Florian Grasel in 15:13. Kristen Berglund won the women’s race in 18:43. Over 50k, Austria’s Markus Stock topped Lithuanian star Gediminas Grinius. The two ran 4:48 and 4:50. It was Grinius’s final preparatory race before UTMB. Sandra Koblmüller was a big winner in the women’s race at 5:42. Full results.
Scott Patterson, a national-class Nordic skier who was fourth at this year’s Mount Marathon Race, repeated as men’s winner at Alaska’s Crow Pass Crossing. It was Patterson’s fourth win at the 22.5-mile backcountry race and, in the race’s 33rd year, his 2:58 finish time was the race’s fourth-fastest ever. Eric Strabel was second in 3:02, just 12 seconds ahead of third-place AJ Shirack. Christy Marvin, who was this year’s Mount Marathon Race champion, scored her third-straight women’s win here. Her 3:29 finish ranks as the race’s fifth fastest. Caitlin Patterson and Katie Krehlik were second in third in 3:44, with Patterson 16 seconds ahead. Full results (when available).
The breakout summer of Hayden Hawks continues. A former Southern Utah University runner, he first made the U.S. Mountain Running Team, then won the Speedgoat 50k, and just now pocketed $1,000 as the winner of Oregon’s Siskiyou Out Back 15k. The race was part of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. Hayden’s wife Ashley Hawks won the women’s race. Full results (when available). The sixth and final race of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup is next weekend’s Jupiter Peak Steeplechase 16-miler in Utah.
Slovenia’s Grintovec Mountain Running Race climbs almost 2,000 meters over 10k and was part of the World Mountain Running Association’s world cup. Eritrean Petro Mamu was the first to the top of the uphill race in 1:22. Mamu is a 2:15 marathoner and the 2012 World Mountain Running champion. Kenya’s Francis Wangari was second in 1:23, 49 seconds behind the race winner, and Rok Bratina of Slovenia was third in 1:23, 37 seconds back of Wangari. 2014 race winner Isaac Toroitich of Kenya was just fourth in 1:26. Italy’s Antonella Confortola won the women’s race in 1:39, three minutes in front of local runner Lucija Krkoc. Full results.
The Coast Mountain Trail Series’ Buckin’ Hell 50k was a wild trip up and down oceanside peaks. Peter Sammon and Karine Thavaillaud ruled the technical course with 5:16 and 6:25 winning times, respectively. Full results.
Next Weekend – White River 50 Mile – Crystal Mountain, Washington
This year’s women’s race could be its most competitive in recent memory. Camille Herron is ready to step back onto the trails, and she’ll see Jodee Adams-Moore, Keely Henninger, Catrin Jones, and Bev Anderson-Abbs all on the starting line.
Last time out, Herron finished fourth at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. She’s since moved to Michigan and jumped on the trails. “I’m starting to feel like my old self. I’ve been able to get on trails almost daily, do some hill and technical terrain sessions, and it’s generally much hillier than Oklahoma,” she cheered.
Despite her near-immediate success at road ultras, Herron explains that she wants to be more than just a road runner. “I have the same curiosity with trail ultras that I had with the road ultras. You don’t know what’s possible until you try! The trails are certainly more popular domestically, and the change in scenery is enjoyable. The speed of the best road ultrarunners tends to translate very well to the trails, so I hope to emulate the great multi-terrain athletes. I was always a better cross country than track runner and preferred the more natural scenery and terrain.”
With her hamstring injury of this spring behind her, Herron hopes this race goes better than her last, though she plans to approach it much the same as she always has. “White River 50 should be a much better and less painful experience! I always race by effort, within myself, going zen, and focusing on maintaining a level head no matter what.”
Though listed among the entrants, Larisa Dannis is not expected to race.
Call for Comments
We were able to gather results from the Siskiyou Out Back 15k, but not the 50k and 50-mile races. Readers, can you share results from those races as well as any others you took part in or followed this weekend?