Oww, oww, lots of racing! We’re talking about the Skyrunning World Championships in Spain, the World Mountain Running Association’s Grossglockner Berglauf race in Austria, Alaska’s Mount Marathon Race, and lots more. With this many races, let’s get right to it.
Val d’Aran by UTMB – Vielha, Spain
It was the first-ever Val d’Aran by UTMB race and with its UTMB partnership, the race was part of the last-ever Ultra-Trail World Tour. The long course went for 162 kilometers (100 miles) through the Spanish Pyrenees on a single loop gaining 10,700 meters (35,100 feet) of elevation, all inside a UNESCO World Heritage area.
Anna Carlsson (Sweden) set the inaugural women’s mark in 29:25. Kaori Niwa (Japan) completed her run in 32:22 for second, and Stephanie Case (Canada) was third in 33:56.
Feliciana Orquiola won the 105k race in 17:30, and she might’ve given us our first Paraguay reference here in This Week in Running.
Ionel Cristian Manole (Romania) was the race’s only sub-24 hour finisher, and he barely did it with a 23:56 winning time. Morgan Pilley (Australia) and Jordi Gamito (Spain) ran 24:39 and 25:32 for second and third.
In the men’s 105k, Aritz Egea (Spain) won in 13:03.
Skyrunning World Championships – Vall de Boí, Spain
It’s awkward mentally, but the 2020 Skyrunning World Championships were just contested, just like the 2020 Olympics are just coming up. The races happened over three-straight days in the Spanish Pyrenees at the Buff Mountain Festival group of races.
The weekend opened with the Vertical K, going up 1,030 meters over just 3.3k of distance. Racing a vertical K for only the second time, Marcela Vašínová (Czech Republic) still topped out first with a 41:00 summit. Early leader Oihana Kortazar (Spain) held on for second in 43:14, and Iris Pessey (France) celebrated third in 44:26.
Saturday’s 68k (42 miles) race was the Sky Ultra championships, and Maite Maiora (Spain) won in 9:23. The challenging course gained 4,889 meters (16,040 feet), and Maiora was 2:30 better than the previous course record. Maiora, age 41, won the Skyrunning World Championships five years earlier in 2016 too. Gemma Arenas (Spain) moved fast late to take second in 9:42, and Giuditta Turini (Italy) was third in 9:56.
And then Sunday’s Sky championships 42k race concluded the weekend. Vertical K frontrunners Vašínová and Kortazar repeated their first- and second-place finishes. Vašínová finished in 4:50, and Kortazar ran 4:57. Marta Molist (Spain) was third in 5:03.
Longtime Skyrunning ace Ruy Ueda (Japan) flew up in 35:06 for the Vertical K gold medal on Friday. The top-three men were all under 36:00 with second-place Daniel Osanz (Spain) chasing in 35:38, and Roberto Delorenzi (Switzerland) next in 35:55. All three were past Skyrunning Youth World Champions.
Just like Vertical K winner Ueda, Marc Casal Mir (Andorra) is a veteran Skyrunner too and his Sky Ultra win was a win for all of Andorra. Mir was 31 minutes faster than the previous course record and the top-six men all ran better than the old record. Manuel Anguita (Spain) was a very close second in 8:12, and Borja Fernández (Spain) was third in 8:26.
In the men’s Sky race, Ueda led early in a bid for a second win of the weekend, but both Manuel Merillas (Spain) and current Skyrunner World Series leader Christian Mathys (Switzerland) outran him on their way around the technical course. Merillas finished in 4:00, Mathys in 4:06, and Ueda came through third in 4:10.
Grossglockner Berglauf – Heiligenblut, Austria
Grossglockner Berglauf is a big race in Austria, and it’s typically got big views too. This year’s run happened among gray and rainy skies though. Runners took off in waves from under a series of arches and finished high up on the mountain. The race goes only uphill, running 13k and with 1,265 meters of elevation gain, and it was the second race of the 2021 World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) World Cup.
Kenyan runners swept the top-three finishes. Joyce Muthoni Njeru scored an upset win over Purity Kajuju Gitonga and Lucy Wambui Murigi. Njeru ran 1:23, 24 seconds better than Gitonga, a 1:05 half marathoner. Murigi, perhaps the best known in trail running of the three, was third in 1:28. WMRA regulars Alice Gaggi (Italy) and Charlotte Morgan (U.K.) were back in seventh and tenth.
Kenya was nearly as dominant in the men’s race. Lengen Lolkurraru (Kenya) won in 1:11, breaking free from Eritrean-born German Filimon Abraham in the final section. Abraham, the defending champ, was less than a minute back in 1:12, and Manuel Innerhofer (Austria) was third in 1:13.
The next race in the WMRA World Cup is the July 17 La Montée du Nid d’Aigle in France.
Trail des Passerelles du Monteynard – La Mure, France
Racing in southeastern France, the Trail des Passerelles du Monteynard had a 65k “Big Race” and a marathon distance 42k contest. The first two of the 65k race earned spots on the French national team for the November 2021 World Mountain Running Championships in Thailand.
Marion Delespierre triumphed in the women’s 65k in 4:14. Manon Bohard and Maryline Nakache were second and third, and longtime leader Mathilde Sagnes had to settle for fourth. Only 21 minutes separated the four with 7:06, 7:14, 7:22, and 7:27 finish times, respectively.
Sarah Vieuille led the women’s marathon in 4:14. Camille Chaigneau was second in 4:28 and triathlete Alexandra Cassan-Ferrier ran 4:42 for third.
In the 65k, Nicolas Martin and Thibaut Garrivier ran one-two to earn national team spots, and Romain Maillard was third. Martin and Garrivier broke free for 5:50 and 5:53 finishes, and Maillard trailed in 6:14. Just back from pacing a teammate at the Western States 100, Ludovic Pommeret was fourth in 6:15.
Thomas Cardin won the men’s marathon ahead of Cédric Fleureton and Antoine Thiriat. The three ran 3:28, 3:33, and 3:35.
Mount Marathon Race – Seward, Alaska
The 93rd (!) Mount Marathon Race took place on Wednesday, July 7, a few days later than its typical July 4 date. The change happened to minimize crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic. The race is roughly 5k in distance with a steep 2,974-foot climb and descent back to town.
Race locals Hannah Lafleur and Ruby Lindquist went one-two at the front of the women’s race. The pair ran 51:24 and 51:38. It was Lafleur’s second-straight win. She summited just fourth but ran a race-best 11:44 downhill. Two-time winner Christy Marvin was third in 52:21 and set a new master’s record, and first-to-the-top Rose Frankowski finished fourth in 52:56.
David Norris won for the third time in three tries. He set the course record in 2016, and won this year in 43:27. He was way ahead at the top and cruised down, finishing over two minutes better than everyone else. Sam Hendry (Canada), a collegiate skier for Utah, was second in 46:00, and Darren Thomas was third in 46:09.
Further down, fan favorite Dakota Jones was seventh in 47:02.
Silverton Alpine Marathons and Kendall Mountain Run – Silverton, Colorado
I love the timing here. The Silverton Alpine Marathons were on Saturday, a day ahead of the Kendall Mountain Run, and then both are one week ahead of the Hardrock 100. It’s all in Silverton.
On Saturday in the Silverton Alpine Marathons, Corinne Shalvoy got to fifth overall and led the women’s 50k in 4:52. Kathryn Ross won the concurrent marathon in 4:19.
A day later in the 12-mile Kendall Mountain Run, runners tagged the 13,066-foot summit before racing back to town. Lauren Gregory, a former high-school track and cross-country standout, and more recently University of Arkansas runner, won the women’s race in 1:52. This was the race’s 44th year and the course has changed some over the years, but Gregory set a new course record. She was three minutes better than Stevie Kremer‘s 2015 run. 2020 champ Allie McLaughlin was second in 2:01 and world-class snowshoer Michelle Hummel was third in 2:02.
William Mitchell won the men’s 50k in 4:21, and Adam Merry ran a quick 3:30 for the men’s marathon win.
Cam Smith won the men’s Kendall Mountain Run. He’s best known as a ski mountaineer, but his 1:41 finish ranks just inside the modern race’s all-time top 10. Logan Moore was second in 1:44 and Dakota Jones, back from Alaska, was third in 1:44 too.
Looking deeper, Zach Miller started his path back from long-term injury. He was seventh in 1:50.
Silver Rush 50 Mile – Leadville, Colorado
A big field of 615 runners from 47 states and five countries raced through the mining district east of Leadville. The course ran out-and-back, starting at 10,200 feet and going above 12,000 feet four times.
Lindsey Herman, just 23 years old, won the women’s race in 8:02. She sprinted down the characteristic Leadville red-carpet finish. Blake Wegman and Letitia Dusich placed second and third with 8:20 and 8:33 runs.
Scott Spillman took the men’s crown in 6:40. It was just a few minutes back of the race’s 2019 winning time. Christopher Hammes and Patrick Cade followed in 7:03 and 7:08.
Additional Races and Runs
High Trail Vanoise – Val d’Isère, France
Several race distances were contested at High Trail Vanoise, in and around a French Alps ski resort. French runners took most of the top positions. Oana Mihalcea (France) and Mikael Pasero (France) won the 70k race in 12:47 and 10:36, and Anna Darmograi (Ukraine) and Benjamin Roubiol (France) won the 41k in 6:52 and 5:59. Full results.
Vol State 500k – Dorena Landing, Missouri
The Vol State 500k started on July 9 and runs clear until July 19. It’s 314 miles from Missouri, across Tennessee, to Georgia. Running without a crew, or in the race’s “screwed” class, 24-hour and multi-day veteran Bob Hearn finished in 76:09. The finish was a three- and ten-hour improvement on the former crewed and screwed records, respectively. Hearn also ran in 2020, finishing as the first man but second overall, with an 84:03 finish. Running with a crew, Ariela Flory was the first women’s finisher and only the second woman ever to finish faster than four days. Running without a crew, Bev Anderson-Abbs won the women’s “screwed” division, breaking her own course record by seven hours. Full results (when available).
Next Weekend – Hardrock 100 – Silverton, Colorado
iRunFar separately previewed the Hardrock 100 and has more coverage coming too. Sabrina Stanley won in 2018 and will return, and she’s up against Courtney Dauwalter and three-time winner Darcy Piceu. Dauwalter just won the nearby San Juan Solstice 50 Mile in new course-record time. Similarly, men’s 2018 winner Jeff Browning is back, but perhaps also not given favorite status. François D’haene (France) is a three-time UTMB winner, among other big wins around the world, and Dylan Bowman is expected to challenge up front too.
Call for Comments
What’d you see or do this weekend that you can pass to us in the comments?