SKYRUNNING EXTREME SERIES KICKS OFF AT GRAN PARADISO WITH MAITE MAIORA AND BHIM GURUNG AS LEADERS
The first of the 2017 Skyrunning Extreme races kicked off in Italy´s Royal Ultra Skymarathon yesterday over a 55k/D+4144m course. Spain´s Maite Maiora and Nepal´s Bhim Gurung took the first victory in the season at Gran Paradiso National Park.
ROYAL ULTRA SKYMARATHON 2017 RACE REPORT
From an unusual start on top of a dam, high mountain terrain and natural and artificial lakes, the race enjoyed a special atmosphere with Navy and Military fanfares welcoming the athletes across the finish line. Set in the ex-Royal hunting grounds of the Gran Paradiso National Park near Turin, the race shares common features with the legendary Kima Trophy with which it alternates as a biennial event.
The three-race Extreme Series was introduced last year. It counts two out of three for the final rankings and end-of-season prizes in the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series. With the addition of the first Sky Extreme race, the Overall ranking category is now open. The scoring is based on one race in each category with a maximum of five results. Morcoccan Zaid Ait Malek leads the men’s ranking while the women competitors still have to qualify in every category.
A strong line-up of top ranked runners joined 270 athletes from 27 nations who flocked to the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series inaugural Sky Extreme category. Amid turquoise lakes and towering peaks, the picture-postcard event featured a demanding 4,141m vertical climb over 55 km up and down seven cols, moraine and snow fields reaching 3,002m altitude, as seen in the race profile below.
Sweden’s André Jonsson set off at a hot pace in a tight group alternating the lead with Frenchman Beñat Marmissolle, Gurung and Spaniard Pere Aurell – all pushed by Russian Dmitry Mityaev, Ultra ranking leader.
Gurung, 2016 Kima winner, was no less than five minutes off the leader and on the final descent and just 6km from the finish, exclaimed “I’m so tired. I’m so tired!’ Jonsson added, “That’s when he overtook me!” Gurung dug deep to close with a sweeping win in 6h41’24” setting the record on the new course and taking the Sky Extreme ranking lead. Losing ten precious minutes on the downhill, Jonsson took second in 6h51’37”, his first World Series podium, while Aurell closed third in 6h52’48”.
Racking up the titles is World Champion and Sky Classic ranking leader, Spaniard Maite Maiora who now also leads the Sky Extreme ranking. Super-strong form and a steady pace were the key to success with an 8h05’28” first place finish. “The first and second descents were very tough. I went out hard from the beginning but never gave it for granted that I would win. The last descent was also hard. I would say ‘Extreme’ is a well-chosen name!”
Next Sky Extreme at Tromsø SkyRace in Norway, organised by skyrunning super-stars Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg on August 5.
SKYRUNNING EXTREME RESULTS
1. Bhim Gurung (NEP) – 6h41’24”
2. André Jonsson (SWE) – 6h51’37”
3. Pere Aurell (ESP) – 6h52’48”
4. Beñat Marmissolle (FRA) – 6h57’36”
5. Cristofer Clemente (ESP) – 6h59’48”
1. Maite Maiora (ESP) – 8h05’28”
2. Katie Schide (USA) – 8h37’02”
3. Ekaterina Mityaeva (RUS) – 8h48’23”
4. Roser Español (ESP) – 8h55’10”
5. Raffaella Miravalle (ITA) – 9h03’10”
SKYRUNNER WORLD SERIES 2017 CALENDAR
Sky Classic; Sky Extreme y Ultra.
SKY CLASSIC: Eleven races, ranging in distance from the 21k at Comapedrosa to the 46k at Zermatt. Rankings include 20% bonus points given out at Zegama, Matterhorn and Limone. The title goes to the best five results among the eleven races.
- May 2 Yading Skyrun, 30 km, China
- May 28 *Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri, 42 km, Spain
- June 18 Livigno SkyMarathon®, Italy
- June 24 Olympus Marathon, Greece
- July 8 Buff Epic Trail 42KM, Spain
- July 22 Dolomites SkyRace, 22 km, Canazei, Italy
- July 30 SkyRace Comapedrosa, 21 km, Andorra
- August 26 *Matterhorn Ultraks «46K», Zermatt, Switzerland
- September 2 The Rut 25K, Montana, USA
- September 16 Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace, 29km, Kinlochleven, UK
- October14 *Skyrunning Extreme – 23 km, Limone sul Garda, Italy
SKY EXTREME: Four races for the most technical and diferential category in Skyrunning. The winner comes out of the best tow results, with Tromso enjoying a 20% bonus for the rankings.
- July 16 Royal Gran Paradiso, 53 km, Ceresole Reale, Italy
- August 5 *Tromsø SkyRace®, 53 km, Tromsø, Norway
- September 17 Salomon Glen Coe Skyline, 55 km, Kinlochleven, UK
- August 26 Matterhorn Ultraks «X-K», Zermatt, Switzerland – TBC subject to course
SKY ULTRA: Up to eight ultras here, including spanish Transvulcania and Ultrapirineu, ranging in length from the 50k at The Rut to the 113k offered at the new addition at Lugano. High Trail Vanoise wil be the one to enjoy a 20% bonus here and winner comes out of the best three results.
- May 13 Transvulcania Ultramarathon, 75 km, La Palma, Canaries, Spain
- June 3 Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira, 55 km, Madeira, Portugal
- June 9 Scenic Trail 113K, Lugano, Switzerland
- July 8 *High Trail Vanoise, 68 km, Val d’Isère, France
- August 12 Devil’s Ridge Ultra 80K, Gobi Desert, China – TBC
- September 3 The Rut 50K, Montana, USA
- September 16 Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra, 100 km, Kinlochleven, UK
- September 23 Ultra Pirineu, 110 km, Bagà, Spain
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