SKYRUNNER WORLD SERIES 2019: SERIES ARRIVE TO NORWAY WITH THE TROMSØ SKYRACE
Known as the toughest race in the calendar and being the brainchild of the king and queen of skyrunning, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, it’s no wonder why. The race follows the soul of skyrunning: a 57 km course, with 4,700m of vertical gain, that links the summits of Tromsdalstind (1238m) and Hamperokken (1404m). It features three torturous climbs, exposed ridges, scrambling sections over technical terrain, boulder fields and ice-cold river crossings. On top of that, runners will be up against the unforgiving Nordic weather: wet, wild and windy.
TROMSØ SKYRACE (57K/D+4700m): The toughest race in the calendar
This year, 888 participants of 52 nationalities will make the the most international race of the series so far, race that will test runners against the raw Norwegian nature. The elite lineup is looking as strong as ever.
The women’s race, in particular, is destined to be carnage. 2018 champion and course record holder, Hillary Gerardi, leads a strong American representation that includes, Brittany Peterson, who placed third last year and Hillary Allen, who returns to conquer the ridge she unforgettably fell from in 2017. Oihana Azkorbebeitia of Spain, Martina Valmassoi of Italy and Holly Page of Great Britain are all looking likely to give the Americans a good run for their money. Since overcoming a pre-season foot injury, Page has gone from strength to strength and her recent third-place finish at BUFF® EpicTrail, proves she’s back to her fierce self.
However, the real one to watch on Saturday will be Swedish “new girl” Johanna Åström. Her incredible second-place finish, after leading for almost three-quarters of the race at BUFF Epic Trail, saw Åström beat both Page and Gerardi at her first-ever Skyrace. Not only is she back for more, Tromsø is Åström’s training ground and course designer, Emelie Forsberg, has been acting as her mentor. Åström is, therefore, no stranger to the technical terrain and rawness of the course and she has made her way onto the rest of the field’s radar.
“Johanna Åström, I don’t know well but she kicked ass at BUFF and I think this is her kind of terrain”, said defending champion Gerardi of the newcomer, “There is a really high level of competition this year though. Brittany, for example, is in great shape and she knows the course, so I think she will definitely be the one to watch out for. Holly is coming back strong and wants it bad so I think she will put up a good fight.”
“Johanna Åström is a new name to me”, explains USA’s Brittany Peterson, “I’m so excited to see how she performs on the Tromsø terrain after her performance at BUFF.” This will be the first race of the season for Peterson who chose Tromsø because “it’s the most technical race of the series.”
As in the women’s field, 2018 champion, Jon Albon of Great Britain, will be back to defend his title on the course he knows and loves. After failing to break his 2017 record of 7h0’01” last year, Albon, who currently sits third in the overall ranking, will no doubt have his sights set on a new best time and, of course, maximum points!
“Tromsø is an old favorite. I love running in Norway, it’s so pure. You get to experience raw nature and get really stuck into technical terrain,” said the 2017 and 2018 champion,“I’ve got a lot of experience on the course, which helps, but you never know what could happen on the day. Of course, I’ll try my best and aim to win.”
Up against Albon is Zaid Ait Malek, who placed third behind Albon at BUFF Epic Trail, by less than a minute. With one win already under his belt this season, the Spanish runner is proving to be a tough one to beat. Another USA runner who returns after a fifth-place finish here last year is Cody Lind. The dark horse in the men’s field is Ander Iñarra. Until now, the Spanish runner has gone reasonably unnoticed. With a number of consistently good performances, Iñarra sits at number seven in the overall ranking – a very good outcome for the almost unknown runner, so far.
Current ranking of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series based on the best points results and taking in account the double points for this weekend.
- Sheila AVILÉS ESP 560
- Ragna DEBATS NED 500
- Elisa DESCO ITA 456
- Oriol Cardona ESP 500
- Ruy Ueda JPN 490
- Jonathan Albon GBR 350