It’s the final countdown. The final countdown! This week is all about UTMB, and that includes big-and-little sister races CCC, TDS, and OCC. We preview all of it, and recap the just-happened Skyrunner World Series races Kima Trophy and Matterhorn Ultraks too. Well, let’s do this!
Kima Trophy – Valmasino, Italy
The Kima Trophy is exceptionally technical, requiring the use of fixed chains at a number of big exposures. The 52-kilometer run packs in 4,200 meters (13,800 feet) of climbing, only happens every other year, and is part of the Skyrunner World Series.
Taper? Don’t care. There’s less than a week between this one and this Friday evening’s UTMB megafight—let’s be precise, a little over five days between when one race ends and the next starts—but Kilian Jornet (Spain) couldn’t help himself. Kima might be his favorite race, and truly in his element, Jornet won in 6:09:19 and set a new course record. Typically unbeatable, Jornet has been even better than that so far this year.
Alexis Sévennec (France) was a close second in 6:11, and then there was a gap to everyone else. Pere Aurell (Spain), André Jonsson (Sweden), and Leo Viret (France) were third, fourth, and fifth in 6:20, 6:25, and 6:29, respectively.
Hillary Gerardi (USA) is having a big year in the mountains too. She won the women’s race in 7:37, a mere one minute back of the course record. Don’t forget that she won the similarly technical Tromsø Skyrace this year too.
Robyn Owen (South Africa) and Mira Rai (Nepal) followed the winner two and four minutes later, respectively, and Brittany Peterson (USA) and Martina Valmassoi (Italy) were fourth and fifth in 8:01 and 8:04.
Matterhorn Ultraks – Zermatt, Switzerland
The 49k Matterhorn Ultraks race runs nearby the ever-present Matterhorn, and runs up 3,130-meter (10,285 feet) Gornergrat. The big loop gains and loses 3,600 meters (11,800 feet) in total, and just like Kima, this one too was part of the Skyrunner World Series. The competitive field surely weighted more heavily to Kima though.
Less than two minutes separated the lead-three men with race co-designer and local mountain guide Martin Anthamatten (Switzerland) winning in 5:00. Second-place Marc Casal (Andorra) followed exactly one minute later, and Genis Zapater (Spain) was third in 5:02. In 2017, Anthamatten was third and Casal seventh.
It was an all-Spanish women’s podium with Skyrunning newcomer Virginia Perez winning in 5:56. Laia Andreu and Mayi Mujika were second and third in 6:01 and 6:22, respectively.
The next Skyrunner World Series race is next weekend’s The Rut 28k in Montana.
Memorial Partigiani Stellina Susa – Susa, Italy
History was on the right side of the Memorial Partigiani Stellina Susa. The route crosses a symbolic place from World War II, and the race itself celebrated 30 years, marking the occasion with the a return to its original 14.4k course that gains 1,630 meters (5,350 feet).
Johan Bugge (Norway) and Francesco Puppi (Italy) were just 50 seconds apart at the finish. Bugge’s 1:19 placed him first, and Puppi thus was runner-up in 1:20. Timothy Kirui (Kenya) was third in 1:22.
Sarah McCormack (Ireland) was a decisive women’s winner in 1:35, and Muthoni Njeru (Kenya) edged Gloria Giudici (Italy) for second. The chasers each ran 1:39 with Njeru in front by 38 seconds.
Other Races and Runs
Cascade Crest 100 Mile
Men’s 2015 and 2016 champ Jesse Lang returned to the throne. Lang’s 18:03 is the second-best time ever at Washington state’s Cascade Crest 100 Mile race. Yitka Winn topped the women’s group in 23:03. Full results (when available).
Tamalpa Headlands 50k
The longtime San Francisco Bay Area, California Tamalpa Headlands 50k was won by Stephen Kersh and Emily Richards in 4:04 and 4:53, respectively. Full results.
Under Armour Mountain Running Series
The three-race/venue Under Armour Mountain Running Series went to Vermont. Daniel Sinclair continued his hot streak, winning in 4:18. Britta Clark dominated the women’s run in 5:23, 26 minutes up on her competition. Full results.
Next Weekend – UTMB – Chamonix, France
Expect Jim Walmsley (USA) and Kilian Jornet (Spain) to lead among the front-race pushers with any of Tim Tollefson (USA), Xavier Thévenard (France), Zach Miller (USA), and Luis Alberto Hernando (Spain) joining. If the hype here wasn’t huge already—I’m talking about those epic Walmsley Strava weeks—surely Jornet just added more fuel to the fire with that win at Kima.
A pair of high-profile withdrawals—Núria Picas (Spain) and Christelle Bard (France)—have thinned the group of women’s favorites, but look for Clare Gallagher (USA), Mimmi Kotka (Sweden), and perhaps Caroline Chaverot (France) to challenge for the win.
Next Weekend – CCC – Chamonix, France
UTMB remains the big show, but the event’s lesser races aren’t so lesser anymore. CCC is a 101k run with 6,100 meters (20,000 feet) of elevation gain from Courmayeur, Italy to Chamonix, France.
- Jared Burdick (USA) — 3rd 2018 Bandera 100k
- Pau Capell (Spain) — 2nd 2018 Lavaredo Ultra Trail
- Aurélien Collet (France) — 2nd 2018 Transgrancanaria
- Marco De Gasperi (Italy) — 4th 2018 Transvulcania
- Rachid El Morabity (Morocco) — 1st 2018 Marathon des Sables
- Thomas Evans (U.K.) — 3rd 2018 Trail World Championships
- German Grangier (France) — 1st 2018 MaXi-Race International
- Harry Jones (U.K., but living in Thailand) — 3rd 2018 Ultra-Trail Australia
- Jorge Maravilla (USA) — 10th 2017 CCC
- Min Qi (China) — 1st 2018 Vibram Hong Kong 100k
- Cody Reed (USA) — 2nd 2018 Bandera 100k
- Andris Ronimoiss (Latvia) — 1st 2018 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail
- Erik Sorenson (USA) — 8th 2016 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships
- Vaidas Žlabys (Lithuania) — 4th 2018 Tarawera Ultramarathon
Capell has had a great 2018 thus far, winning Transgracanaria and the Eiger Ultra-Trail, and finishing second at both the Lavaredo Ultra Trail and Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji. He looks a safe bet for another podium run.
- Laia Cañes (Spain) — 2nd 2018 Trail World Championships
- Cecilia Flori (Italy, but living in New Zealand) — 5th 2018 Western States 100
- Azara Garcia (Spain) — 1st 2017 Transgrancanaria
- Fiona Hayvice (New Zealand) — 5th 2017 Western States 100
- Amy Leedham (USA) — 5th 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
- Maite Maiora (Spain) — 2nd 2017 CCC
- Ida Nilsson (Sweden) — 1st 2018 Transvulcania
- Jasmine Nunige (Switzerland) — 1st 2016 Ultravasan
- Anne-Lise Rousset (France) — 2nd 2016 Transvulcania
- Katie Schide (USA) — 1st 2018 MaXi-Race International
- Miao Yao (China) — 1st 2018 Vibram Hong Kong 100k
Nilsson had a great string of victories dating back to 2017 before falling to, gasp, second at both the 2018 Mont-Blanc Marathon and Ultravasan 90k. She gets the presumptive favorite nod here.
Camille Herron’s (USA) name is still on the entrants list, but she’s recovering from injury.
Next Weekend – TDS – Chamonix, France
TDS definitely has a best-ever field. This one is a 121k (75 miles) run, also from Courmayeur, Italy to Chamonix, France, but going the opposite direction from the CCC on some lesser-known and more-technical trails. It gains 7,300 meters (24,000 feet) of elevation.
- Zaid Ait Malek (Spain) — 3rd 2017 Transvulcania
- Fabien Antolinos (France) — 1st 2017 Lavaredo Ultra Trail
- Dylan Bowman (USA) — 1st 2018 Tarawera Ultramarathon
- Sylvain Camus (France) — 3rd 2017 TDS
- Tòfol Castanyer (Spain) — 9th 2017 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships
- Julien Chorier (France) — 2nd 2014 Hardrock 100 Mile
- Fulvio Dapit (Italy) — 4th 2017 Lavaredo Ultra Trail
- Ben Duffus (Australia) — 2nd 2018 Ultra-Trail Australia
- Emmanuel Gault (France) — 1st 2017 EcoTrail de Paris
- Hayden Hawks (USA) — 1st 2018 Lavaredo Ultra Trail
- Tom Owens (U.K.) — 1st 2018 Three Peaks Race
- Ludovic Pommeret (France) — 3rd 2017 CCC
- Dmitry Mityaev (Russia) — 1st 2018 High Trail Vanoise
- Diego Pazos (Switzerland) — 9th 2017 Ultra-Trail Cape Town
- Marcin Świerc (Poland) — 2nd 2017 CCC
- Pablo Villa (Spain) — 13th 2018 Trail World Championships
Hawks stepped off the race volume this year, and the results have been great. Perhaps though both the distance and the mountain terrain better favor a few others in this strong group.
- Rory Bosio (USA) — 3rd 2018 Broken Arrow Skyrace 52k
- Kellie Emmerson (Australia) — 4th 2018 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail
- Kathrin Götz (Switzerland) — 1st 2018 Eiger Ultra Trail
- Megan Kimmel (USA) — 1st 2018 Pikes Peak Marathon
- Corrine Malcolm (USA) — 9th 2018 Western States 100
- Marie McNaughton (New Zealand, but living in Hong Kong) — 7th Eiger Ultra Trail
- Alissa St. Laurent (Canada) — 6th 2017 UTMB
Götz versus Kimmel. Who you gots? Ugh, I’m sorry for that.
YiOu Wang (USA) is registered, and though social media shows her in the Alps, we believe she’s not racing as she also recovers from injury.
Next Weekend – OCC – Chamonix, France
OCC is a 55k run from Orsière, Switzerland to Chamonix, France, and gains 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) of elevation.
- Thibaut Baronian (France) — 2nd 2018 Reventón Trail Marathon
- Eugeni Gil (Spain) — 5th 2016 Matterhorn Ultraks
- Tim Freriks (USA) — 1st 2018 Black Canyon 100k
- Dani Garcia (Spain) — 5th 2017 Trail Sacred Forests
- Nico Martin (France) — 1st 2016 MSIG Lantau 50k
- Adrien Michaud (France) — 19th 2018 Trail World Championships
- Ruy Ueda (Japan) — 9th 2018 Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon
One hundred miles was a long race for Freriks, and I bet he’ll find better success here than at the recent Western States 100.
- Lucy Bartholomew (Australia) — 3rd 2018 Western States 100
- Ruth Croft (New Zealand) — 1st 2018 Speedgoat 50k
- Amandine Ferrato (France) — 14th 2018 Trail World Championships
- Eli Gordon (Spain) — 1st 2017 OCC
- Marianne Hogan (Canada, but living in USA) — 5th 2017 Mont-Blanc Marathon
- Lucie Jamsin (France) — 1st 2018 Trail du Ventoux
- Andrea Huser (Switzerland) — 2nd 2018 Transgrancanaria
- Kelly Wolf (USA) — 1st 2018 Tarawera Ultramarathon
Croft has had a tremendous 2018 and likely will be unchallenged here.
Call for Comments
- Next weekend is a lot. Will you try to follow along with all of the UTMB series of races?
- More fast runners are registered for the CCC, TDS, and OCC than we have room to preview here. Comment to let us all know if there’s someone we haven’t mentioned who you think can compete for a top-five position in one of these races and why.
- The UTMB previews have benefited from robust discussion in their respective comments fields. What are your thoughts then on CCC, TDS, and OCC?