SKYRUNNER WORLD SERIES 2019: BUFF EPIC TRAIL, SUPERSKY RACE BECOMES CRUCIAL
BUFF Epic Trail 42 km (BET), the eighth race of the official skyrunning circuit takes place on Sunday, July 14th at 08:00 am. The 42 km course with 3,300m of vertical gain starts and finishes in the village of Barruera, crossing through Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park in the heart of the Pyrenees.
The race is the pinnacle event of the BUFF Mountain Festival. Since obtaining its SuperSky Race status in 2019, BET has become an even more important and prestigious race of the circuit with the level of competition and exposure reaching an all-time high. This year an incredible 40 different nationalities and 70 elites have confirmed their participation.
BUFF EPIC TRAIL 2019 (42K/D+2800m): Double points for the third SuperSky Race of the season.
The BUFF Epic Trail 42KM is a technical and spectacular course with a demanding vertical climb. It starts and finishes in Barruera, in the Vall de Boí, a historic site of Romanesque art and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Aigüestortes and Lake Sant Maurici National Park is one of the fourteen national parks in Spain and the only one within Catalonia. Located in the heart of the Pyrenees, it constitutes an excellent example of the typical ecosystems found in these high mountain areas. Overlooked by peaks more than three thousand meters tall, rivers, ravines, waterfalls and marshes are set among more than 200 mountain lakes of varying in shape and colour. A great diversity of animal and vegetal species struggle to survive in the harsh environment giving life to this protected natural area, unique in the South of Europe.
With only one more bonus race of the season remaining after this weekend (the Matterhorn Ultraks Extreme), BET is the last chance for many athletes to get their hands on double points towards the overall ranking.
Among the superstar lineup are 2018 male and female champions, Holly Page of Great Britain and Spain’s Marc Pinsach – who also holds the course record. Following her incredible comeback at Livigno after a bad foot injury, Page has expressed her excitement to return to the Pyrenees. Both will have a hard job defending their titles against the strongest lineup the 2019 season has seen.
The men’s field includes eight of the current top ten in the 2019 overall ranking. With big names such as Spain’s Pere Aurell, Zaid Ait Malek, Oriol Cardona and Luis Alberto Hernando; Ruy Ueda of Japan and Thibaut Garrivier of France, it’s proving almost impossible to choose a favourite to win. One thing we can expect to see is an intense head-to-head between the two main rivals of the first half of the season, Ruy Ueda and Oriol Cardona. The talented young stars currently share the top spot with 300 points each. “This is my second SuperSky Race and last race of the season, therefore I will give everything I’ve got until the very end. I know my strengths and I know Ruy’s so I am not afraid nor worried,” says Cardona.
Another big name in the men’s field who will be looking to make a comeback this weekend is Jonathan Albon of Great Britain. After a rocky start to his season, Albon depends on these SuperSky Race points to get back on track for the overall win. “My last Skyrace was Transvulcania so I’m looking forward to another one. BUFF is a really important race in my calendar because it’s worth double points. I haven’t done quite as well as I could have done in my previous races of the season so I can feel the pressure. A third and fourth place are nearly good enough but not exactly what I wanted. I usually struggle with the elevation so I’m going early to acclimatize this time and, hopefully, I’ll do good enough to make it into the top five and get back on track.”
In the women’s race, the level of competition is equally as impressive. Four out of the five leading ladies of the series will take their place behind the starting line in the beautiful Vall de Boí, Catalonia. Among them is USA’s Megan Kimmel who makes her return to the series after a strong start that saw her take home 3/3 podium positions to secure her third place in the overall ranking – one she’s managed to keep until now. Sheila Avilés of Spain is another big name to watch out for. Although the race practically takes place in her backyard, this will be Avilés’ first time competing at BET a race she has been looking forward to for years. After an incredible win at the last SuperSky Race in Livigno, Avilés will no doubt be more motivated than ever to grab her second win of the series and one that could shape the rest of her season.
Ragna Debats of the Netherlands and Anne-Lise Rousset Seguret of France are two more strong contenders in the women’s race. This will be the third battle of the season between the two power women. So far, Debats has managed to come out on top at both Transvulcania and Olympus Marathon but with BET being such an important race, everyone will be feeling the pressure to perform. Hillary Gerardi of the USA, Emily Hawgood of Zimbabwe and Sanna El Kott of Sweden are more big names we expect to see put up a fight for the extra points.
Let’s see the list of elite athletes
Current ranking of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series based on the best four points results, of which no more than two can be SuperSky Races, plus the SkyMasters points.
- Elisa Desco ITA 456
- Ragna DEBATS NED 360
- Megan Kimmel USA 320
- Oriol Cardona ESP 300
- Ruy Ueda JPN 300
- Thibaut GARRIVIER FRA 248