SKY GRAN CANARIA UPHILL FINALISSIMA WORLD CUP WMRA WIN SCOUT ADKIN & JOE STEWARD
SKY GRAN CANARIA UPHILL FINALISSIMA WORLD CUP WMRA WIN SCOUT ADKIN & JOE STEWARD . Our WMRA sections brings to us the first race of the finalissima, Sky Gran Canaria Uphill.
GB’s Joe Steward and Scout Adkin open the Valsir Mountain World Cup Finalissima at Sky Gran Canaria with victories in the uphill race
WMRA SKY GRAN CANARIA UPHILL
Adjusting at pace is the key to successful mountain running as conditions, terrain and as it turned out, even distances can change in the blink of an eye.
A weather alert was issued for the heat and possibility of forest fires. And this meant the 6km uphill race at the Sky Gran Canaria Finalissima of the Valsir Mountain World Cup – traditionally the opening event on this action-packed weekend – was reduced to 4km on a significantly altered route. Not only was the race shorter, it also didn’t climb above 400m as a result of the restrictions.
In the brutally hot conditions (36 degrees at the start) it was Britain’s Joe Steward who quickly made the best of a tough situation for the organisers and world’s best athletes alike as he raced to victory in the Sky A4Uphill event in 17:42. Steward was a top 10 finisher, placing eighth at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck earlier this summer, but recent form included a win at races like Canfranc, earlier September or Challenge Stellina mountain race in Italy in August so he lined up as the man to beat. Second was Kipngeno an third Allen.
The women’s race was equally exciting as Scottish Scout Adkin once again demonstrated the superb form she is currently enjoying. She was a winner Portugal, early July at Montemuro vertical run. Indeed, she was also an early starter in the race that spanned 40 minutes from the first gun and had to watch as the field tried – and failed – to match her 21:17 finish time. Looking incredibly strong on the technical section going into the final climb, it would clearly take something special to beat the Scot, bronze medallist in last year’s European Off-road running champs on neighbouring island, La Palma. The podium was Saapunki second and Njeru theird.
WMRA SKY GRAN CANARIA UPHILL
As for the race in Gran Canaria, it featured a fast opening kilometre as the runners eased out of the coastal village of Agaete, climbed steadily before the tough final ascent to Lomo del Manco on the volcanic rock paths the Canary Islands are so well known for.
And to make it fascinating, the race also featured athletes starting every 30 seconds. This created a superb spectacle with the result in doubt all the way to the finish line not unlike the time trials the Tour de France cycle race is so well known for. With no specific order, it was a case of hitting the climbs flat out; tactics were for another day and the two longer races (35km and 22km) on Saturday and Sunday. The full result of day one can be found here.
Friday’s race really was a test of the highest order with the field combining speed, strength, and endurance, not to mention technical skills to discover who really is the best mountain runner in the world. And it was also the perfect scene setter for what promises to be a weekend full of drama and excitement.
Friday 13th October 16.30 UTC+1: vertical uphill race (6.2k, +976m), starts at Agaete
Saturday 14th October 10.00 UTC+1: long distance race (35k, +2200m/-2200m), starts at Tunte
Sunday 15th October 09.30 UTC+1: classic race (20.5k, +740m/-1970m), starts at Artenara