2016 Skyrunning



World Circuit

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Surprises and certainties at Tromsø – it’s back to the roots!

Luis Alberto Hernando, 2nd Tromso SkyRace. (c)iancorless.com

It was a surprise win at the Tromsø SkyRace®, third leg of the Skyrunner® Ultra Series, by Londoner Jonathan Albon in what turned out to be one of the toughest races in skyrunning history.

The women’s field was no surprise however, with World and European Ultra Champion Emelie Forsberg powering through the driving drizzle to victory, her second after Friday’s Vertical Kilometer®. To add to her weekend’s achievements, she was also co-organiser of the events on the Norwegian island of Tromsø, north of the Arctic Circle, with Kilian Jornet, for once, on the other side of the fence.

Kilian Jornet Tromso SkyRace organiser. (c)iancorless.com

Sunday’s tough and technical 45 km course counted a gruelling 4,400m vertical gain, starting at sea level and summiting two peaks at 1,238m and 1,404m over extremely steep and rocky terrain, all the more treacherous due to the persistent rain. Albon’s winning time was 6h08’31”, half an hour faster than Eirik Haugsnes’ 2014 record.

“It was nothing like I’ve ever done before and certainly, the hardest race I’ve ever done. I didn’t expect to win,” commented Albon. Race favourite, Skyrunning Ultra Champion, Luis Alberto Hernando, had a hard day of it, holding the lead until the highest summit half-way through the race, hounded by a group of four strong contenders:  Eirik Haugsnes, Albon, Pascal Egli  and  Rolf Einar Jensen. After gaining the final single-track ridge, Albon, feeling strong, accelerated on the downhill to close 17 minutes ahead of Hernando. Jensen was third.

Eirik Haugsnes 2014 winner Tromso SkyRace. (c)iancorless.com

Emelie raced strong from the start, confident on the ground she knows and loves so well, with young Nepali talent Mira Rai, winner at the Mont Blanc 80k, not far behind and Spaniard Maite Maiora. Mira was just 1’ from Emelie at the Hamperokken summit, 23 km into the race, when Emelie switched to her favourite downhill mode to easily take the win, closing in 7h09’54”. Mira, visibly tired from racing in the difficult conditions, finished an excellent second 13’ later. Third woman was Norwegian Malena Haukøy 7h31’29”.

New names, new talents. It’s clear that in recent times the Norwegians have shown they are extremely talented skyrunners and for sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of them on the podiums of the toughest skyrunning races on the international scene.  It was also good to see Swiss runners excelling on the VK podium and a Londoner, from a completely different background (obstacle racing champion), winning such a technically challenging race in the face of World Champion competition.

Tromso SkyRace. (c)iancorless.com

111 runners out of a capped field of 200 completed the course before the midnight cut-off time, testimony to the punishing terrain and difficult conditions. The Tromsø VK and SkyRace® have represented the most challenging races in skyrunning history, a sure sign skyrunning continues to hold true to its mountain heritage.

Tromsø SkyRace® results

1. Jonathon Albon (GBR) Clif Bar : 6h08’41”
2. Luis Alberto Hernando:(ESP) adidas:  6h25’54”
3. Rolf Einar Jensen (NOR): 6h28’51”

1. Emelie Forsberg (SWE) Salomon: 7h09’54”
2. Mira Rai (NEP) Salomon: 7h23’09”
3. Malena Haukøy (NOR): 7h31’29”

Tromso SkyRace winners Emelie Forsberg and Jonathan Albon. (c)iancorless.com

Provisional Skyrunning Ultra Ranking (extract)

1. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) adidas: 288 points
2. Marcin Swierc (POL) Salomon: 220 points
3. Franco Collé (ITA) Tecnica: 210 points

1. Emelie Forsberg (SWE) Salomon: 300 points
2. Mira Rai (NEP) Salomon: 288 points
3. Anna Comet (ESP) Dynafit: 244 points

Alpina Smart Time Prize winners Mira Rai & Luis Alberto Hernando. (c)iancorless.com

The Tromsø SkyRace® represented one of the races selected for the Alpina Smart Time Prize, where a luxury Alpina Horological Smartwatch is awarded to the winners – but not necessarily of the race!

The prize formula is based on timing at the highest point of the course, in this case, Hamperokken at 1,404m altitude. A bonus, together with an exclusive algorithm is given to younger and older competitors, putting everyone at the same level, irrespective of the final race results.

The winners of the Alpina Smart Time Prize were Mira Rai and Luis Alberto Hernando.

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