2016 TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail Preview

A preview of the 2016 The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail.

By on June 22, 2016 | Comments

The North Face Lavaredo Ultra TrailThe 10th edition of The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail takes place this coming weekend in the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy. Starting at 11 p.m. CEST on Friday, June 24 in Italy (which is 3 p.m. MDT on Friday in the U.S.) in the mountain town of Cortina, 1,700 runners will face 119 kilometres of beautiful trail and 5,850 meters of vertical ascent in their journey back to Cortina. As the runners progress through the landscape, they will each take a little moment to savour a wonderful dawn amongst a backdrop of spectacular mountains.

The Lavaredo Ultra Trail is the seventh event on the Ultra-Trail World Tour.

2016 TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail — Women’s Race

Contenders for the Win

Rory Bosio - 2014 TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Rory Bosio

Rory Bosio (USA) doesn’t race many times a year but when she does the result is usually phenomenal. Bosio adores the Dolomites and the Italian crowds. Her last outing here in 2014 resulted in a win in 14:29 and 18th overall. That same year she went on to take a mind-blowing first place at UTMB for the second year in a row. Her most recent performance was at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships last December where she had, for her standards, a sub-optimal outing, finishing in 19th place. However, six months have passed and expect Bosio to be firing on all cylinders.

For sure Francesca Canepa (Italy) will be the local favourite. Renowned for racing tough routes regularly, she will be one to beat as she favours setting a fast pace from the start. Unusually for Canepa, this year she does not appear to have raced as often as in the past. However, she is clearly in form with wins at 100 Miles of Istria in April and a win of the Mozart 100k just last weekend. Last year, amongst the many races she ran, Canepa won the Cappadocia Ultra Trail 110k and 100k de la Somme in the space of two weeks in October. Last year she DNFed here at Lavaredo through injury and the previous year she placed second to Rory Bosio. Will she turn the tables this year?

Fernanda Maciel - Pre-2014 TNF UTMB

Fernanda Maciel

Since last fall, Fernanda Maciel (Brazil) tied for second at the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji, established the first women’s FKT on Aconcagua in South America, and took third at the 2016 Marathon des Sables. Further back, she was second at the 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji and fourth at the 2014 UTMB. She raced here last year, taking third and finishing 45 minutes slower than Bosio’s winning time from 2014. Podiums seem to be standard for Fernanda.

If there is someone who races virtually every month it’s Andrea Huser (Switzerland). She mixes it up with the odd 50k here and there but generally its 100k-plus and with a great deal of success. Huser completed 2015 with a third place at Diagonale des Fous and a win at TDS, a UTMB sister race. Most recently in 2016, she placed second at both Transgrancanaria and Madeira Island Ultra Trail. Oh, and we can’t forget her win at the MaXi-Race just last month.

Uxue Fraile (Spain) has logged some great results over the last 18 months, third at Transgrancanaria behind second place Andrea Huser and ninth at Transvulcania, both this year. She seems to be more suited to the longer races over the 100k mark as demonstrated at UTMF and UTMB last year with a respective win and second place. This would appear to be her first time at Lavaredo and the technical trails should suit her style. She will need some good leg speed for the section after Tre Cime before the climbs to Malga Ra Stua and Passo Giau.

Top Italians

Lisa Borzani

Lisa Borzani

Lisa Borzani (Italy) was 10th here last year. She was second earlier this year at the Hong Kong 100k. Since Hong Kong, Borzani took third at the MaXi-Race at the end of May behind winner Andrea Huser.

Federica Boifava (Italy) was second here at Lavaredo in 2012. She’s also been ninth at the 2014 Transvulcania, and she won the 132k Dolomiti Sky Run in both 2014 and 2015. Against a strong international field this weekend, a top-10 finish is likely.

Giuliana Arrigoni (Italy) has several podium finishes over the last couple of years, all under the approximately 60k range. Her last time out at this longer distance would appear to be in 2014 at the Dolimiti Sky Run where she placed third behind winner Federica Boifava but about five hours back.

Top Other International Entrants: Best of the Rest

Hillary Allen

Hillary Allen

As far as we can see, this will be Hillary Allen’s (USA) longest race to date. Her previous performances at the 50-miles-and-less distances in the last two seasons have been especially encouraging, including a second a couple weeks ago at the Ultra Skyrun Madeira and a fifth at the stacked Transvulcania in May. And her 2015 season was filled with strong mountain performances, too, including third at the Mont Blanc 80k, a course record at the Speedgoat 50k, and second at The Rut 50k. [Update June 23: Hillary Allen has decided to race the 47k Cortina Trail, one of the shorter races in the weekend’s festivities.]

Holly Rush (UK) has made a name for herself in the realm of flat and fast. In 2014, she was seventh at the Comrades Marathon and last year she won the UltraVasan 90k. She does race well on hillier terrain, too, as evidenced by her seventh last year at Les Templiers.

Whoa, Lizzy Hawker’s (UK) name is on the Lavaredo start list? Lizzy has a long history of success at UTMB and numerous super-long races like Spartathlon and 24-hour competitions. Lizzy has had some well-known injury troubles but perhaps those are behind her now. It will be interesting to see how this ultra icon fares this weekend on the Lavaredo trails in her first international race in quite some time.

Manuela Vilaseca (Brazil) is a tough runner who seems to be in the top-10 mix in long, internationally competitive ultras. She’s had fifth places at Transgrancanaria and Lavaredo last year, and she was 10th at the 2015 UTMB. This year saw her drop from Transgrancanaria so we hope she has recovered well.

Denise Zimmermann - 2015 UTMB third

Denise Zimmermann

Denise Zimmermann (Switzerland) is one of those strong European runners who races regularly. In 2015, she was sixth here at Lavaredo, fifth at Eiger Ultra Trail, and third at UTMB. Her build-up to Lavaredo this year included a sixth place at the Lauf Biel 100k only two weeks ago and a second place at Le Porte di Pietra 102k. Clearly she is in good shape.

Sophie Grant (New Zealand), who is based out of the U.K., has stepped on to the international stage in the last year we some good top-10 performances. In 2016 her sixth place at Transgrancanaria improved on her 11th place in 2015. 2015 was completed with a 12th at UTMB and a sixth at Diagonale des Fous, quite a tough two months! For sure Grant should be top 10.

Another New Zealander who resides abroad, Hong Kong this time! Marie McNaughton (New Zealand) placed eighth at Lavaredo in 2015 and will be hoping to break top 10 this year, I’m sure, having had a string of strong results in the lead-up. This year, she’s won the MSIG Sai Kung 50k and the TransLantau 100k, and she took sixth last month at the Ultra Trail Australia.

More Women to Watch

  • Yulia Baykova (Russia) 12th 2015 Mont Blanc 80k, 2nd 2016 Ultra Trail della Val Taro 100k
  • Pui-Yan ‘Wyan’ Chow (Hong Kong)  2015 Hong Kong 100k champion, 12th 2016 Marathon des Sables
  • Elisabet Margeirsdottir (Iceland) – 5th 2016 Hong Kong 100k, 15th 2015 UTMB
  • Susana Simoes (Portugal)8th 2016 Madeira Island Ultra Trail
  • Lucinda Sousa (Portugal)  8th 2016 Transgrancanaria and 7th in 2015

On the Entrants List but Not Racing

  • Stephanie Case

2016 TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail — Men’s Race

Contenders for the Win

Gediminas Grinius - 2016 Transgrancanaria

Gediminas Grinius

It was at Lavaredo in 2014 that Gediminas Grinius (Lithuania) announced himself on the international ultra scene when he took a super-strong third place behind Mike Foote and winner Anton Krupicka. He was only four minutes down on Foote and closing fast on him. We are set for a rematch of these two here in Cortina and I can’t wait to see it play out. Since that third place at Lavaredo, Grinius has been traveling the world and making his mark. In 2015 his big three races were a win of Transgrancanaria, a fourth at the Western States 100, and another win at the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. So far this year he’s been third at the Hong Kong 100k and second at Transgrancanaria.

If there is someone you can depend on in the long, tough haul, it’s Mike Foote (USA). Just look at his second place at the 2015 Hardrock 100 finish for evidence. Foote placed third at the 2014 UTMF prior to his second place here at Lavaredo two months later, ahead of third place Gediminas Grinius. Foote doesn’t race too often but when he does he comes well prepared and ready to do battle. This battle will undoubtedly be with Gediminas Grinius and let that battle commence!

Jonas Buud (Sweden) is a fast road runner who translates his speed just fine on the trails when he is able to train for them. He just completed the Comrades Marathon in 22nd place for 5:58. He won the Tarawera Ultramarathon earlier this year followed by a sixth place at Transgrancanaria. In 2015, he won the IAU 100k World Championships with a time of 6:22. He’s won the mountainous Swiss Alpine Marathon at least seven times and took second at the 2012 UTMB. He’ll contend for the win.

Julien Chorier

Julien Chorier

Does Julien Chorier (France) really need an introduction? He has a catalogue of strong race performances longer than my arm going back to 2007 when he won CCC, a UTMB sister race. Along the way he’s won Diagonale des Fous twice, Hardrock 100, UTMF, and Ronda del Cims. In 2014, he was second at Hardrock, in 2015 he was sixth at Western States 100, and this year he’s been seventh at Transgrancanaria. Julien recently had a great performance at the Ironman triathlon distance, too.

Sondre Amdahl (Norway) has had rather a quiet year so far, concentrating on Marathon des Sables where he placed ninth. He typically goes out hard and hangs on but this tactic may not work here at Lavaredo as there are several fast guys that can also keep going as they grind out the miles. Last year was a big year for Sondre with a second at the Hong Kong 100k, fourth at Transgrancanaria behind winner Gediminas Grinius, 15th at Western States, and fourth at UTMF, again behind champ Grinius.

Sylvain Court (France) is the reigning IAU Trail World Champion, a victory achieved in May of 2015. Since then, his results haven’t quite matched the hyper focus and fitness he had for that race, as he was 10th at the 2015 Les Templiers and 16th at Transvulcania last month.

2016 would seem to be a breakthrough year for the 24-year-old Pau Capell (Spain). He won the Ultra Trail Australia recently after coming fourth at the Hong Kong 100k in January and third at Transgrancanaria in March. At both the Hong Kong 100k and Transgrancanaria, Pau finished behind Gediminas Grinius. His big 2015 performance was a sixth at CCC, a UTMB sister race.

Top Italians

Undoubtedly the local favourite, Fulvio Dapit (Italy) placed 16th at Transvulcania this year and sixth at Madeira Island Ultra Trail. This latter result would seem to be a distance milestone as most of Dapit’s previous success has come at 50 to 75k races. Dapit was a DNF here last year, so he’s probably got surmounting that on his mind.

Ivan Geronazzo (Italy) was third and fifth here at Lavaredo in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Stefano Trisconi (Italy) placed fourth at Lavaredo in 2013.

Top Other International Entrants: Best of the Rest

Andy Symonds (UK) has been a top talent on the ultra scene for a while now. Over the last couple years his top finishes have been third at the 2015 Mont Blanc 80k, fifth at the 2015 Transgrancanaria, and a wicked fourth at Transvulcania last month. Last year he won the Ultra Trail Atlas Toubkal, beating second place Julien Chorier in the process.

Nick Clark

Nick Clark

Nick Clark (British but lives in the USA) finished ninth here last year and he’s back, having focused on this race in his training and looking to move way up in the rankings. 2015 was otherwise a quieter year on the big scale for Nick, but the guy has oodles of top performances in the last decade in tough mountain races. He just recently won the burly 2016 Jemez Mountains 50 Mile.

Since his first attempt at Lavaredo in 2014 where he placed seventh, Scott Hawker (New Zealand) has made steady progress on the international ultra scene, coming second at the Ultra-Trail Australia last year and sixth this year behind winner Pau Capell. His fourth place at Lavaredo in 2015 was a great stepping stone. If his previous markers of progress are indicators, Scott could podium here.

Yeray Durán (Spain) took an emotional third place at Lavaredo last year. He recently came second at the Reventon El Paso 55k in April in the lead-up after a disappointing 17th at Transgrancanaria this past March. Duran wears his heart on his sleeve and will give it his all.

Jez Bragg

Jez Bragg

Jez Bragg (UK) is another guy who we haven’t seen compete on the international scale in a while. The 2010 UTMB winner has been fairly quiet internationally since running the 3,000k-plus Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand in 2013, though he did follow up that massive adventure with a 10th at UTMB that same year. We are eager to see him race again.

Pau Bartoló (Spain) created a stir with a win at the CCC, a UTMB sister race, in 2014. Last year he went and won another UTMB sister race, TDS. Other strong 2015 performances were sixth at Tarawera and ninth at Ultra Trail Australia. He’s had a rough go of 2016 so far, dropping from both the Hong Kong 100k and Transvulcania.

More Men to Watch

  • Sébastien Buffard (France) – 12th 2015 Diagonale des Fous, 14th 2016 Madeira Island Ultra Trail
  • Javier Domínguez (Spain) – 5th 2014 Diagonale des Fous, 9th 2016 Transgrancanaria
  • Anthony Gay (France) – 3rd 2014 CCC
  • Gary Gellin (USA) – 10th 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
  • Moisés Jiménez (Chile) – 10th 2015 Lavaredo
  • Keita Kobayashi (Japan) – 9th 2015 UTMF
  • Tom Payn (UK) – Winner 2015 Race to the Stones 100k in 2015, 2:17 marathon PR
  • Andrius Ramonas (Lithuania) – Fifth 2016 Ultra Trail Australia
  • Sange Sherpa (Nepal) – 21st 2015 Lavaredo, 4th 2015 Eiger Ultra Trail, 8th 2015 UTMF, 10th 2016 MaXi-Race
  • Freddy Thevenin (France) 13th 2015 Lavaredo, 3rd 2015 Diagonale des Fous
  • Siu-Keung ‘Stone’ Tsang (Hong Kong) – 18th 2015 UTMB, 8th 2016 Hong Kong 100k
  • Fernando De Samaniego Steta (lives in the USA) – 12th 2016 Way Too Cool 50k

On the Entrants List but Not Racing

  • Miguel Heras
  • Jorge Maravilla

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Who do you see winning the men’s and women’s races? How about the rest of the podium?
  • Whose fitness and preparations do you know about?
  • Is there anyone else you would add to these lists who you think will contend for the top 10? Let us know who and why you think so.
Ian Campbell
Ian Campbell runs a successful financial services consultancy based in London, UK. Ian balances his spare time between family, running, photojournalism, travel, and work. Not necessarily all in that order and never equally proportioned! He loves to run and has completed many marathons and ultras. Ian is also race director of the Croydon Ultra.