YADING SKYRUN 2019: VICTORY FOR MEGAN KIMMEL AND RENJIA JIAE
Renjia Jiae (CHN), Team Toread, wins his first skyrace on home turf, crossing the finish line to a roaring applause from the emotional and excited people of Yading. Megan Kimmel (USA), Team Salomon, once again proves herself unbeatable at high-altitude, winning the women’s race for a third time.
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YADING SKYRUN 2019 (32k/D+2819m): Victory for MEGAN KIMMEL and RENJIA JIAE
Pure blue lakes, green grasslands, sacred snow-covered mountains and high altitude presented runners with a truly unforgettable experience at the Yading Skyrun on May 4th 2019. The second race of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series was destined to be an epic showdown between the Europeans and a strong group of Chinese runners with a reputation for being aggressive runners. In the end, it was Chinese newcomer, Renjia Jiae (CHN), Team Toread, who triumphed over everyone with a time of 3h12’21” for the 32 km course with 2,819m vertical climb.
“This is a very meaningful win for me. I’ve done a lot of trailrunning but this is my first Skyrace. It was a great experience.” said the local idol. “I love the length of the skyrunning races. This is exactly the distance I feel comfortable with and also the high level of competition. I’m happy that the Skyrunner World Series came to my country and gave me the opportunity to run with these international, elite runners. They have very good downhill skills. Especially Oriol, he was so fast on the way down, I just had to try my best and keep the distance. I look forward to travelling to foreign countries to participate in more Skyrunning races.”
Second place went to Oriol Cardona (ESP), Team Dynafit, who finished six minutes behind Jiae with a time of 3h18’38”, securing his second podium position of the season. “I was really surprised by the speed of Renjia Jiae at the beginning. He started fast and I just stayed in second place for the remainder of the race trying to keep up with him.” With two second place finishes, Cardona climbs to the top of the 2019 overall ranking, a position he’s looking to hold on to. “I’m happy to have another second place this season. In Japan it was a Japanese runner who won and now in China it’s a Chinese runner, so my next race is the Skyrace des Mathesyins in France – I just hope there is not a French runner there.”
Third place finisher Bhim Gurung (NEP), Team Salomon, crossed the finish line in 3h28’09”. The 2016 and 2017 Yading Skyrun Champion was “delighted to return to the race and mountains that I missed so much last year.” Fourth was 2018 winner Oscar Casal Mir (AND), in 3h31’51”, followed by Marc Pinsach (ESP), Team Dynafit in 3h38’53”.
In the women’s race, Megan Kimmel, once again made it look like a walk in the park placing sixth overall with a time of 3h53’40”. This marks the third time Kimmel has won in Yading. In fact, she has become so well known here that locals say her body was built for these mountains. “It was a great course this year. More technical and challenging than before with another uphill and a longer descent.” said the USA native who lead the race from beginning to end, finishing 30 minutes ahead of Ragna Debats (NED), Team Merrell. “I don’t know how far ahead I was. I didn’t look back for the entire time. I think the fact I live at altitude might give me a slight advantage but it’s also the style of the race – it just fits to me.” said Megan.
Both Debats, who finished second with a time of 4h27’06”, and Ruth Croft (NZL), Team Scott, who finished third in 4h37’39”, struggled with the 4,000m+ altitude of the race. “I felt the altitude, especially in the first part of the race.” said Debats, who was able to overtake Croft on the climb and move into second place early on.
Croft, who suffered from the beginning, explained it was “just one of those days where you know it’s just going to be tough from the start.” The New Zealander still managed to pull off an impressive finishing time of 4h37’39”, almost 2 hours ahead of Jing Li (SGP) in fifth and Lichun Qui (CHN), both taking over 6 hours to complete the course.
The 2019 Yading Skyrun presented a diverse field of all-round athletes prepared to climb the extra mile to be crowned the best skyrunner in the world. The next one will be Transvulcania next weekend.
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