|While the Aussies have been running around in circles at the Centennial Park Ultra and others have been making sandcastles and drinking piccolos at the Surf Coast Century the big boys and girls of global trail running have been finalising their plans for yet another in the epic series of Skyraces – this time the series moves on to the mighty Cavalls del Vent
Its the fourth race in the Skyrunner® Ultra Series in the rugged Cadi-Moixeró National Park, Spanish Pyrenees.The field was already stacked with the likes of Miguel Heras, Tòfol Castañer, Dakota Jones, Anton Krupicka, Joe Grant, Philipp Reiter and Terry Conway, while Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg, Nuria Picas and Emma Roca represent the women’s élite.These Ultra legends, together with a record one thousand participants, will engage in this momentous challenge on Saturday: 84 km with 12,000m vertical ascent and descent.
That’s 1,400m vertical climb every ten kilometres – an average incline of 14% with peaks of more than 20% – amount to a tough, technical Ultra to test the best.The best race attracts the best field hence fresh off the back of his record breaking Mont Blanc crossing Kilian Jornet couldnt help himself and the chance at redemption as he goes for his third attempt, has just decided to enter: “I’ve been home training and I feel strong both mentally and physically, so I decided to give it a shot – third time lucky?”
The odds as suggested by the ISF Press release are on Miguel Heras, 2010 and 2011 winner who’ll be aiming for three in a row. Another favourite is last year’s second placer, Tòfol Castañer, fresh from his CCC win. After the Series’ first race in May, theTransvulcania Ultra Marathon, the Ultra Cavalls del Vent represents another chance for American Ultra Runners to test their skills on European soil. Back for more are Transvulcania winner, 21-year-old Dakota Jones together with Anton Krupicka and Joe Grant.
Other strong contestants to look out for are Germany’s young Philipp Reiter, recent winner with Iker Karrera at the Transalpine-Run and Britain’s Terry Conway, winner of the Lakeland 100, in his first international match, while Italy’s Giuliano Cavallo is forced to stay home due to injury.
The strong women’s field is headed by Transvulcania and Speedgoat winner, New Zealander Anna Frost, who, in her usual style is already on site and eating up the miles. Sweden’s Emelie Forsberg, current leader of the Skyrunner® World Series ranking will attempt this distance for the first time. Both will face strong competition from last year’s race winner Nuria Picas and Emma Roca, third.
So will we see a sub 9 hour time for the men and sub 11 for the women ? With a field this stacked the pace is certainly going to bring out the best in the athletes and also maybe claim a few scalps along the way.
For the record I see Kilian finally achieving his goal and taking out the men’s podium followed closely by Dakota and Anton and in the women I see Anna Frost maintaining her enviable record on steep courses with Nuria Picas and Emelie Forsberg fighting for the minor placings.
Jornet currently leads both the combined Skyrunner® World Series and the Ultra Series, although the Ultra is still open with two races to go where Philipp Reiter and Dakota Jones could still make their mark. The grand final will be on October 28 with the fabulous Course des Templiers.