SKYRUNNER WORLD SERIES 2019: YADING SKYRUN, HIGHEST COURSE IN THE CALENDAR THIS WEEKEND
The high altitude pressure is on. On May 4th, the 2019 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series makes its second stop at the Yading Skyrun. The highest course in the calendar will see past champions attempt to win back their titles 4,600m above sea level in the majestic mountains of China. An spectacular race in which runners will be all the time over 3000 meters.
YADING SKYRUN 2019 (32k/D+2819m)
This spectacular race with 32 km and 2,819m vertical climb, begins just short of 3,000m in the center of Yading’s Shangri-La. The new route climbs for over 20km, hitting an altitude of 4,600m and passing multi-coloured Buddhist prayer flags en route to the finish line in Yading village. After a years’ absence, Team Salomon’s Megan Kimmel (USA) and Bhim Gurung (NEP), both 2016 and 2017 Yading Skyrun winners, will return to the Sichuan mountains ready to compete against a strong field of international athletes to be crowned champions of the Chinese skies once again.
Right now, it’s looking likely to be an epic battle between Megan Kimmel (USA) and Ragna Debats (NED) Team Merrell (who recently won the Marathon des Sables). The last time these two went head to head against each other was at the original Yading Skyrun in 2017, where Kimmel put on an outstanding performance, flying over the course and beating Debats to the finish line by 30 minutes. The question is: with such a strong 2018 season for Debats, can Kimmel do it again? “A lot has happened since 2017. Ragna has gotten stronger since the last time we ran so I can only hope that history will repeat itself.” says Kimmel, who placed second at the Mt. Awa Skyrace in Japan last week.
And let’s not forget “Yading pro”, Ruth Croft (NZL) Team Scott Running, who will surely give both Kimmel and Debats a run for their money. “This will be my third time in the area. There aren’t many races out there that give you the opportunity to race at 4,000m. I’ve raced Megan a lot and I find she has an aggressive racing style but I’ve never been up against Ragna so I’m looking forward to that.”
With the return of Nepalese skyrunner Bhim Gurung, 2018 men’s winner, Oscar Casal Mir (AND) Team Andorra, will have a tough time defending his title. Gurung, being no stranger to the extreme conditions and thin air of Yading could have a slight advantage over his opponents including Oriol Cardona (ESP) Team Dynafit, Marc Pinsach (ESP) Team Dynafit and Min Qi (CHN) Team Salomon. Pau Capell will also be trying to win after his victories in 160k of PatagoniaRun and the 83km of Ultratrail Cerro Rojo de México.
“I’ve just spent 10 days at the Mustang Trail Race for altitude training running with some other great Nepalese runners. I hope this will help a little for the race. I am simply going to run my own race, the way I like it.” says Gurung, the 2016 and 2017 Yading Skyrun champion, who is looking forward to improving his strategy from previous years in order to win.
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