The 2016 Ultravasan 90k, with the replacement of 5 kilometers of dirt road with technical singletrack and rain leading up to and into the race, was set up to be slower than last year. That ended up being the case in the men’s race, but not so for the women with defending champ Jasmin Nunige (pre- and post-race interviews) setting a new course record. The men’s field saw numerous lead changes with Jarle Risa (post-race interview) coming home the victory. Keep reading to find out how both races played out.
Thanks to the Vasaloppet organization for making our coverage of Ultravasan possible!
2016 Ultravasan Men’s Race
The men’s race at this Ultravasan 90k was incredibly dynamic. A pack of nine men–Jonas Buud (pre-race interview), Geoff Burns (pre-race interview), Fritjof Fagerlund, Emannuel Gault, Arnaud Perrignon, Steve Way, Wouter Decock, Elov Olsson, and Patrick Reagan–sprinted past the 13-kilometer mark together and onto the race’s singletrack-trail section. The next 10+ kilometers saw Ranno Erala and Jarle Risa make up two minutes to join the pack, while it dropped Burns, Wouter, and Way two-plus minutes off the lead group. Reagan led the group into the aid station to take home the ~€500 sprint prize at Mångsbodarna (23.5 km).
By 31k, Olsson, Reagan, and Fagerlund were running off the front with Risa and Perrignon 40 seconds back. Another spot back, the reigning champ Buud was running awkwardly on an injured Achilles that would soon lead him to withdraw from the race.
Arnaud Perrignon took home the second sprint prize (~€1,000) in Evertsberg with less than 30-second lead on Reagan, Fagerlund, and Risa with Olsson still within a minute of the lead. Way and Erala were the next to chase with another couple minutes back to Decock. Burns hung around in ninth with Gault in tenth ahead of dropping.
By Oxberg at 62k, Fagerlund had taken the lead and built an 80-second cushion on second-place Risa. Reagan, Perrignon, and Way ran 3-4-5, respectively, three, four, and five minutes off the lead with Wouter just behind Way. Further back, Patrik Gustafson Björkqvist and Patrik Wikström had worked there way up into ninth and tenth.
Fagerlund held onto his lead through the final ~€500 sprint prize 71k in at Hökberg. However, Risa followed a mere fifteen seconds back and the writing was on the wall. Reagan continued on a few minutes back in third, while Way moved up into fourth a bit over five minutes off the lead with Decock another minute back as Perrignon fell back through the field.
Ten kilometers later, Risa had a two-minute lead on Fagerlund and was flying along. Reagan and Way continued on in third and fourth with the biggest question among the top four being whether Reagan would pass Fagerlund on the way to the finish. He wouldn’t and the top four would finish in the same positions with Decock and Erala taking fifth and sixth.
2016 Ultravasan Men’s Results
- Jarle Risa — 6:11:49 (pre- and post-race interviews)
- Fritjof Fagerlund — 6:16:05
- Pat Reagan (Compressport) — 6:18:12
- Steve Way — 6:21:40
- Wouter Decock — 6:23:23
- Ranno Erala — 6:25:41
- Patrik Gustafson Björkqvist — 6:28:08
- Elov Olsson (SCOTT) — 6:31:06
- Arnaud Perrignon (ASICS) — 6:36:48
- Patrik Wikström — 6:37:33
2016 Ultravasan Women’s Race
[Women’s race narrative by Tim Peeters.]
In the women’s race, eventual winner Jasmin Nunige of Switzerland took control right from the start, never to let go, winning in 6:54:32 to break the course record by eight minutes. Jasmin led coming off the roads at 13 kilometers before heading onto the most technical stretch of Ultravasan and never ran outside the top two the whole day. That is not to say she had an easy race at all. Sweden’s marathon phenom Isabellah Andersson–in her debut ultra–gave her a serious run for her money, exchanging the lead with her numerous times, including coming through Evertsberg at 47k in first, before eventually dropping out at the Oxberg aid station at 62km with muscle cramps.
A few minutes off Jasmin’s pace, Seatlle’s Sarah Bard (pre- and post-race interviews) ran well throughout the race. With the lead duo obviously pushing each other she didn’t relinquish too much time, while running her own race in third for two thirds of the race. After Isabellah dropped out she consolidated her second place handily finishing in 7:07:34.
Claiming the final podium spot at Ultravasan looked a long way off to Cassie Scallon (post-race interview) about 30km in, when a bad fall on the slick trails left her with a bloody and painful knee back in fifth place. It took her about 10 miles to regain her composure before she started chipping away at Sweden’s Åsa Lundin’s 10-minute cushion. After finally overtaking the Sweden at Hökberg (71km), Scallon comfortably retained third finishing in 7:27:55.
Throughout the first half of the women’s race we saw a bunch of women trading places in the top 10, but Sweden’s Sofia Smedman (7:47:05) and Norway’s Aud Elisabeth Stuhr (7:58:57) ran smart throughout eventually claiming 4th and 5th.
2016 Ultravasan Women’s Results
- Jasmin Nunige (adidas) — 6:54:32 (pre- and post-race interviews)
- Sarah Bard (Altra) — 7:07:34 (pre- and post-race interviews)
- Cassie Scallon (Salomon) — 7:27:55 (post-race interview)
- Sofia Smedman — 7:47:05
- Aud Elisabeth Stuhr — 7:58:57
- Stina Höglund — 8:07:39
- Kerstin Rosenqvist — 8:08:07
- Sylvaine Cussot — 8:11:30
- Eva Öhlund — 8:24:04
- Jenny Ramstedt — 8:28:01
Thanks to Tim Peeters for his field work in reporting the women’s race at Ultravasan. Thanks also to Reine Karlsson and Johan Eriksson for their excellent guidance along the course on race day.