2019 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail Preview

Taking place on the Portuguese island of Madeira, which is located in the Atlantic Ocean about 600 kilometers (370 miles) off the coast of Morocco, the 2019 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail (MIUT) fires off of at midnight on Saturday, April 27 West European Summer Time (or 5 p.m. on Friday, April 26 U.S. Mountain Daylight Time). At 115 kilometers (71.5 miles) in length and with 7,200 meters (23,600 feet) of climbing, the MIUT course runs point-to-point from the sleepy, seaside village of Porto Moniz on the island’s northwest shore to the bustling town of Machico on the island’s southeast coast. In between, the course spiders over each of the island’s high mountain ranges–including the island’s high point of Pico Ruivo (1,861 meters/6,106 feet)–traces miles of historic-but-still-used irrigation levadas, and ultimately cascades back down to the finish line at sea level.

MIUT is the seventh race of this year’s Ultra-Trail World Tour, and is a ‘series’-level race.

The course records are 13:05:44 for the men (François D’Haene, 2017) and 15:00:55 for the women (Caroline Chaverot, 2016).

Of course, iRunFar is covering the race live, so stay tuned!

2019 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail Men’s Preview

On the entrants list of top men, you’ll find a couple superstars, a bunch of guys with a lot of proven success at these rough mountain ultramarathons, and then still a bunch of dudes whose maximum capacity we’ve perhaps not yet seen. All in all, it’s a fascinating collection.

Headliner Men

2017 UTMB - François D'haene

François D’haene

France’s François D’haene (pre-race interview) tops the list of headliner men. Now, François doesn’t win every race he enters, but he’s pretty much won all the big ones at least once, and sometimes a bunch. He’s the MIUT course-record holder, which he set two years ago at the front of the best competitive field MIUT had seen… until this year. Among his top races since then have been a win of the 2017 UTMB, second at the 2018 Western States 100, and a tie for the win at the 2018 Diagonale des Fous. Expect him to be casual, and to crush.

Andris Ronimoiss (pre-race interview) of Latvia is the men’s defending MIUT champion. He also ran MIUT in 2017, improving his time by over 45 minutes in taking the win last year. He almost unbelieveably followed that up just two weeks later with an 11th place at the Trail World Championships. I can’t tell if that was a situation of striking when the iron was hot or just imagine what the guy could have done had he been fresh. In either case, what a two-week span he had. Also, he was sixth at the CCC last year.

Tim Tollefson

The USA’s Tim Tollefson (pre-race interview) has the capacity to challenge for the win, but he seems a better bet for the podium. Why do I say that? Because he has a now-immense collection of podium finishes at these big mountain ultras around the world, a pair of UTMB third places (2016 and 2017), a second place at CCC (2015), and a third place at the Lavaredo Ultra Trail (2018) as examples. He’s raced a couple 50ks in prep for MIUT, including winning the 2019 FOURmidable 50k. His Strava says he’s been nursing knee pain the last couple weeks, so let’s hope the taper does him good.

Maxime Cazajous of France has been running longer mountain ultras for at least eight years, and some of his top results of the last year are second at the 2018 Mont-Blanc 90k and third at the 2018 Diagonale des Fous 80 minutes off winner François D’Haene. He should be in the mix.

2018 UTMB - Robert Hajnal

Robert Hajnal

Remember when Romania’s Robert Hajnal stormed last year’s UTMB and took second, and went from a guy Eastern Europe was pretty excited about to a guy the whole world was interested in? Yeah, me, too. That was one of trail ultrarunning’s most interesting stories for me. He also took a solid 15th at the 2018 Trail World Championships a few months before UTMB. Inquiring minds want to know, what’s 2019 going to look like for Robert?

Here’s another guy who goes around just quietly kicking ass. In 2018, the USA’s Seth Swanson took third at Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji and was sixth at the Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile, among his other races. Going back to 2017, that year also saw him take second at the Lavaredo Ultra Trail.

[Update April 22: Sebastien Camus is reportedly out with injury.] France’s Sebastien Camus has, I believe, three MIUT finishes. In 2016 and 2018, he was third and fourth respectively. In 2017, he was an hour slower, which put him back in 16th among that year’s competitive field. Not a stranger to these big mountain ultras, he was also ninth at the 2018 Diagonale des Fous.

France’s Sylvain Camus is two years younger than his brother, Sebastien. In 2018, he came over to the U.S. to take third at the Zane Grey 50 Mile. Then, in the fall, he was eighth at the 2018 Diagonale des Fous. And the DdF results show him finishing just five seconds faster than his older brother! What’s the story there? Was it a sprint finish, a gentlemen’s agreement, a tie not marked as such, or something else? Someone fill us in.

Switzerland’s Diego Pazos has been running mountain ultras for about eight years, but he started to emerge at the front around 2014. In 2018, his top run was a fifth place at the TDS while 2017 saw him take fourth at the Diagonale des Fous.

Germain Grangier of France seems like a runner who is on his way up in the sport. Last year, he won the 85k race at MIUT, and then followed that up by winning the MaXi-Race Annecy and taking fifth at the CCC. With that year now on the resume, I’m really interested to see how his 2019 susses out.

Other Men to Watch

  • Thomas Angeli (France) – 4th 2018 Mont-Blanc 90k; 7th 2017 OCC
  • Guillaume Beauxis (France) – 7th 2018 Lavaredo Ultra Trail; 3rd 2017 Diagonale des Fous
  • Donnie Campbell (U.K.) – 3rd 2018 Mont-Blanc 90k
  • Ivan Camps (Spain) – 7th 2018 CCC
  • Luis Duarte (Portgual) – 10th 2018 Ultra Pirineu
  • Luis Fernandes (Portugal) – 6th & 8th 2019 & 2018 Transgrancanaria
  • Francisco Freitas (Portugal) – 9th & 12th 2018 & 2017 MIUT
  • Thorbergur Jonsson (Iceland) – 6th & 9th 2017 & 2016 CCC
  • Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon (France) – 7th 2018 Ultra-Trail Cape Town; 9th 2018 CCC
  • Martin Kern (France) – 7th 2018 Tarawera Ultramarathon 100k
  • David Lutzardo (Spain) – 5th 2018 Transgrancanaria
  • Walter Manser (Switzerland) – 2nd 2017 Zugspitz Ultratrail
  • Jérôme Mirassou (France) – 6th 2018 TDS
  • Romain Olivier (France) – 8th 2019 Transgrancanaria; 6th 2018 Diagonale des Fous
  • Giulio Ornati (Italy) – 10th 2018 Mont-Blanc 90k; 8th 2017 MIUT
  • Petter Restorp (Sweden) – 11th 2018 UTMB; 10th 2018 Transgrancanaria
  • Sebas Sánchez (Spain) – 10th 2018 MIUT
  • Lambert Santelli (France) – 5th 2018 Mont-Blanc 90k
  • Sangé Sherpa (Nepal, lives in France) – 6th 2018 Ultra-Trail Cape Town
  • Alberto Vinagre (Spain) – 10th 2019 Transgrancanaria; 12th 2018 MIUT

2019 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail Women’s Preview

Even though it’s only spring, some of the big hitters are in town and it should be all fireworks for this batch of ladies. Here we go.

Headliner Women

Mimmi Kotka - UTMB 2018

Mimmi Kotka

Mimmi Kotka (pre-race interview), who is from Sweden but who lives in France, is the defending women’s champion and her win last year was carried out in the second-fastest time on the modern course iteration. In 2016, 2017, and up until about mid-year last year, Mimmi was unstoppable at these sorts of mountain ultramarathons, along the way racking up wins at the CCC (2016), TDS (2017), Mont-Blanc 90k (2017 and 2018), MaXi-Race Annecy (2018), the list goes on. She hit a roadblock at the 2018 UTMB and dropped out, saying afterward she probably shouldn’t have started given she was tired and nursing some niggles. After time off, she returned to take sixth at Diagonale des Fous and third at the Ultra-Trail Cape Town late last year. She should be a force here.

You know how the saying goes, Jill of all trades, master of none? Scratch that in the USA’s Courtney Dauwalter (pre-race interview). As long as the race is long, Courtney has proven a master of it. The woman had a 2018 that was just unheard of. To start, she won Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji, the Western States 100, the Tahoe 200 Mile… but there was so much more. Already this year she’s won the Tarawera 100k and the Behind the Rocks 50 Mile, the latter of which a half hour faster than she won it last year. Watch out, world.

Maite Maiora - 2018 Trail World Championships

Maite Maiora

Until a couple years ago, I really thought of Spain’s Maite Maiora as a shorter-distance mountain specialist, stuff like burly mountain marathons and shorter. But over the last couple of years it seems that she’s trended toward longer races. Last year in longer races, she was fifth at the Trail World Championships and winner of the Hiru Haundiak 100k in Basque Country, Spain where she lives. Among her shorter races, she was sixth at the always-competitive 2018 Giir di Mont.

I’m pretty keen to watch Katie Schide (pre-race interview), who is from the USA but who lives in Europe, race. She’s been up and up on the Euro longer-distance mountain running scene in the last couple years, but this is the first time her schedule and mine intersect. Her top result in 2018 was a second place in a stout field at the CCC. Also last year, she was here on Madeira Island and won the 85k-distance MIUT race.

Kaytlyn Gerbin

The USA’s Kaytlyn Gerbin is another one of those quiet crushers. The last couple years she’s been steeply climbing the trail ultrarunning ranks, doing things like taking fourth and, then, second at the last two editions of the Western States 100, taking 10th at the 2018 Trail World Championships, and winning the 2018 The Bear 100 Mile. Kaytlyn’s already opened her 2019 with a second place at Transgrancanaria.

France’s Audrey Tanguy adds some flavor to the women’s competition. Last year, she took second at the 85k MIUT race behind winner Katie Schide. Then, she took second again at the Mont-Blanc 90k behind Mimmi Kotka. After that she broke free of all the competition to win the TDS. She closed her big 2018 season with a tie for second place at the Diagonale des Fous. Audrey had been running mountain ultras before 2018, but the year was certainly emergent for her.

It’s gonna’ be hard for France’s Jocelyne Pauly to top the second half of her 2018 season, because she came in third at UTMB and, then, followed that up with a win at the Diagonale des Fous. Though she’d been a successful trail ultrarunner for several years before that, none of her results were close to this caliber. I’m really excited to see what she gets up to in 2019.

Other Women to Watch

  • Ester Alves (Portugal) – 12th 2019 Transgrancanaria; 2nd 2018 Coastal Challenge
  • Claire Bannworth (France) – 13th 2019 Transgrancanaria; 9th 2018 Transvulcania
  • Elizabeth Borgersen (Sweden) – 7th 2018 TDS
  • Lisa Borzani (Italy) – Winner 2017 Tor des Géants
  • Sophie Grant (New Zealand, lives in Europe) – 12th, 15th, 10th, & 12th going backward at the last four UTMB editions
  • Nathalie Henriques (France) – 14th 2018 UTMB; 7th 2017 MIUT
  • Martina Kirschner-Trimmel (Austria) – Winner 2018 Mozart 100k
  • Francesca Pretto (Italy) – Winner 2018 Trans d’Havet
  • Geraldine Prost (France) – 2nd 2018 MaXi-Race Annecy but more than 3 hours behind winner Mimmi Kotka

Women on the Entrants List but Not Running

  • Caroline Chaverot (France) – Reportedly nursing a foot injury

Call for Comments

  • Who do you call for the men’s and women’s winners?
  • And who do you think will round out the respective podiums?
  • Who is primed for a surprise top run?
  • Is there anyone not listed in this preview who you think could go top 10? Leave a comment to let us all know. Thanks!
Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Managing Editor and the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running.' The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 7 comments

  1. Alessandro Locatelli

    Great preview Meghan!
    One quick extra nugget: Francesca Pretto also crushed Tot Dret last september (if I remember correctly she was 4th overall)

    #teamPretto

  2. Meghan Hicks

    Jacobs and Jackie, ha! I spend months in the first part of the year trying to type 2019, not 2018. Now I try to type 2018 and instead get 2019. ;-) Good eyes, and it’s fixed!

Post Your Thoughts