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Mont-Blanc – VK & 80K. New countries, new records

Mira Rai, 80K winner. ©Kirsten Kortebein


Friday was a hot day in Chamonix and not just the weather. The Mont-Blanc 80K, second Skyrunner® Ultra Series race of the season, kicked off with 1,000 runners at the 4 am start.  As the mid-pack runners were still crossing the finish line, 500 participants began the vertical kilometre ascent for the European VK Championship


For the first time in Mont-Blanc 80K three-year history, American runners excelled, with Alex Nichols taking first and Hillary Allen, third. More surprises were in store with Italian Franco Collè in second place and a welcome return after a long injury for Britain’s Andy Symonds, third.


First lady was Nepal’s Mira Rai winning her first big European race and breaking the record. Spaniard Anna Comet Pascua was second, Allen third.


Alex ran a consistently strong race, the 80km represented his maximum distance to date. He was thrilled with his win, finishing in an excellent 10h31”, just 6 minutes over the 2014 record set by Luis Alberto Hernando. While the distance and 6,077m climb remain the same, some detours around villages have made the course more technical and challenging.


Mira Rai’s new record of 12h32’12” was just over 6 minutes faster than Emelie Forsberg’s World Championship win. She no doubt represents a great new talent on the skyrunning scene.


Alex Nichols, 80K winner. ©Kirsten Kortebein


The same-day European Vertical Championships had Spain, France and Italy take the gold, silver and bronze for with Norway close behind.


Fastest man to the summit was Frenchman François Gonon with a new course record in 34’07”. After the consistent Italian dominance of the VK to date, a Frenchman and two Norwegians stood on the podium, while the women’s podium was all Spanish headed by Paula Cabrerizo who also set a new record in 41’11”.


Rounding up the highly successful events were: three new records (80K women’s and men’s and women’s in the VK); the USA podium success (Alex Nichols and Hillary Allen in the 80K and Megan Kimmel 5th in the VK); the rise of Norwegian runners in the vertical discipline (including 4thand 9th places in the women’s field); athletes from 15 countries in the top ten in the two disciplines.


Hillary Allen, Mira Rai, Dong Li on 80k course. ©Kirsten Kortebein


Mont-Blanc KV results

Men

1. François Gonon (FRA) SCOTT Sports: 34’07”

2. Stian Hovind-Angermund (NOR) Varegg IL: 34’48”

3. Thorbjorn Ludvigssen (NOR) Salomon: 35’05”

4. Saul Antonio Padua Rodriguez (COL) Crazy Idea: 35’39”

5. Rémi Bonnet (SUI) Salomon: 36’01”


Women

1. Paula Cabrerizo (ESP) FEDME: 41’11”

2. Laura Orguè (ESP) Salomon: 41’29”

3. Maite Maiora (ESP) La Sportiva: 43’30”

4. Yngvild Kaspersen (NOR): 44’45”

5. Megan Kimmel (USA) Asics: 44’54”


Full race results


Paula Cabrerizo, VK winner. ©Fabio Menino


Mont-Blanc 80K results

Men

1. Alex Nichols (USA) Inov-8: 10h31’00”

2. Franco Collè (ITA) Tecnica: 11h03’11”

3. Andrew Symonds (GBR) SCOTT Sports: 11.04’52”

4. Marcin Swierc (POL) Salomon: 11h23’57”

5. Mikael Pasero (FRA) New Balance: 11h32’03”


Women

1. Mira Rai (NEP) Salomon: 12h32’12”

2. Anna Comet Pascua (ESP) Dynafit: 12h54’55”

3. Hillary Allen (USA) The North Face: 13h11’40”

4. Dong Li (CHN) Salomon: 14h09’24”

5. Elisabet Bertran Masanes (ESP) AE Matxacuca: 15h21’05”


Full race results


Skyrunner® World Series Ranking


Ultra

Men

1. Blake Hose (Salomon)

2. Cristofer Clemente (Race Land)

3. Marcin Swierc (Salomon)


Women

1. Mira Rai (Salomon)

2. Anna Comet (Dynafit)

3. Dong Li (Salomon)


VK European Champions Caberizo & Gonon. (c) Kirsten Kortebein


Partner with the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series and the European Championships, Alpina Watches awarded the VK European Champions Paula Cabrerizo and François Gonon with the new Alpina Watches Horological Smartwatch.


Two more smartwatches were awarded in the Mont-Blanc 80K, but not to the winners! The Alpina Time Prize is based timing at the highest point of the race with a bonus given to younger and older competitors, putting everyone at the same level, irrespective of the final race result. The winners were Anna Comet Pascua and Franco Collè.


Look out for the European Ultra Championship at Ice-Trail Tarentaise, Val d’Isère  on July 12 together with the challenging Face de Bellevarde VK on July 10 – both valid for scoring Skyrunner® World Series points.


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