Marathon des Sables – Stage 1 Results

The Marathon des Sables started for the 32nd time on Sunday and as predicted the racing was fierce.   The first of six stages had the runners cover 30.3km, a good Sunday run!

The top three in the men’s race was a Moroccan affair but they have some British company hot on their heels.

Place Name Time
1st Mohamed El Morabity 2:10:36
2nd Rachid El Morabity 2:10:54
3rd Abdelkader El Mouaziz 2:11:17

 

Top Brits

Place Name Time
4th Thomas Evans 2:11:58
8th Andy Symonds 2:15:46
12th Andrew Fargus 2:23:56

 

The women’s race has opened up with previous MDS winner Elisabet Barnes leading the way by six minutes.

Place Name Time  
1st Elisabet Barnes 2:38:13 21st overall
2nd Nathalie Mauclair 2:44:57 28th overall
3rd Aziza Raji 2:54:36 43rd overall

 

Other contenders

Fernanda Maciel – 4th         3:01:36

Emilie Lecomte – 5th             3:03:57

Melanie Rousset – 6th    3:04:31

 

Top Brits

Place Name Time
109th Jennifer Hill 3:18:45
173rd Josephine Adams 3:40:13
189th Susannah Chan 3:43:22

 

Its early days in the MDS with five stages of racing left including the long stage on day 4 of 86.2km.

Marathon des Sables

Event preview

Marathon Des Sables – Kirsten Kortebein

The 32nd edition of the fabled Marathon Des Sables is due to start in several days. The circus will be back in the desert corralling over thirteen hundred participants to cover roughly 250km over six days. MDS is a foot race where participants have to be totally self-sufficient carrying all food and mandatory equipment. But the whole event would be nothing without the support staff, one for every two participants, the 2 helicopters and 1 light aircraft, 25 buses, 4 camels and 57 medical staff, the list goes on…….  It’s a logistics exercise comparable with an army brigade making sure that there is ample water, tents and manned check-points etc.

Race preview

We are in line for some very exciting multi day desert racing at this year’s Marathon des Sables. The men’s race could be summarised as potentially a repeat performance of previous year’s but El Morabity’s gap last year was reduced to only a few minutes so it could lead to a shake up on the podium. The women’s race has all the ingredients for some very exciting racing.  There are probably five or six fighting it out for the top spot which could make every day a challenge and any slip up absolutely crucial.

The Men’s race

Top Moroccans

2016

2015 2014 2013

2012

Rachid El Morabity

1st

1st

1st

Abdelkader El Mouaziz

2nd

2nd

7th

Aziz El Akad

3rd

3rd

5th

3rd

Samir Akdar

6th

4th

8th

Salemeh Al Aqra

5th

2nd

2nd

1st

Mohamed Ahansal

11th

3rd

1st

2nd

The table above shows the top Moroccans performances over the last five years. The podium has been dominated by these guys and it would come as a huge surprise if it wasn’t the same this year.

The following guys are confirmed for this year.

Rachid El Morabity – El Morabity has got to be the one to beat having won the last three editions of the race.  Morabity’s winning gap last year was only four minutes compared to fourteen minutes the previous year, both times to El Mouaziz.  He also came second at OCC in 2016 and is entered for CCC this year.

Abdelkader El Mouaziz – El Mouaziz has a deep marathon pedigree with a 2:06 PB and having raced some of the most competitive road marathons over a decade or more, mainly London & Chicago.  He has translated that marathon speed to the rough terrain of the desert and multi day racing.  The last two years placing second to El Morabity but having a healthy gap to a third placed El Akad.

Aziz El Akad – El Akad has placed third in the last two years but will he have enough to challenge the likes of El Morabity and El Mouaziz?  The one hour gap to second at this level is substantial amount to bridge.

Samir Akhdar – A solid top five finisher but Akdar will be looking to make the podium for the first time.

Andy Symonds – Symonds has got to be the top non Moroccan at this year’s event. He has lots of talent, fast and excels on mountain courses. How will he fare in the desert against some of the best multi day racers in the world?  It certainly will be interesting to track his progress.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki – Kaburaki has tons of mountain racing pedigree earned at UTMB, Hardrock, & Western States, although a few years ago. He placed second last year at Ultra Fiord Patagonia.  A top ten finish would be a good result.

Marco Olmo – Olmo has raced MDS many times and has won the various age categories from M55, M60 and now M65 for the last three years.  Who else can beat the Italian Olmo?

 

Women’s Race

Nathalie Mauclair – Second at last year’s MDS, Mauclair will undoubtedly be seeking the top spot this year, especially as last year’s winner Sedykh is not competing. Her closest rivals are likely to be 2015 winner Elisabet Barnes and Brazilian Fernanda Maciel. Mauclair has won Diagonal des Fous twice and UTMB during 2013 to 2015, by comparison 2016 was a much quieter racing year for her.

Elisabet Barnes – Winner of MDS in 2015, last year’s race did not go to plan and she missed out on the podium. Since then she has placed second at the Grand to Grand ultra and a fourth place at this year’s The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica.  Barnes will be looking to regain that top spot for sure!

Fernanda Maciel – A tough competitor who regularly places top five or podium at some of the world’s toughest mountain races.  Last year placed third at MDS.  Maciel will surely be looking to move further up the podium this year.

Emilie Lecomte – In 2016 Lecomte raced the Grand to Grand ultra a similar multi stage race in the US and won. She also placed third at the Madeira Island Ultra Trail.  Lecomte seems to excel on the tough gnarly courses like Diagonal des Fous and UTMB. How will she perform on the fabled dunes at MDS?

Melanie Rousset – A recent third place at Transgrancanaria will surely boost Rousset’s confidence coming into MDS.  She has placed sixth, fifth and fourth at Diagonal des Fous in recent year’s.  It will be interesting how she tackles multi day desert racing.

Ester Alves – Alves has recent experience of multi day racing at The Coastal Challenge placing third. She won the Madeira Island Ultra Trail in 2015

Federica Boifava – Italian Boifava has won a lot of races many of them in the marathon to 80km range. It will be exciting to see how she performs in multi day desert racing. Likely to place highly if she doesn’t go off to fast in the early stages.

Moroccans

Aziza Raji – Top Moroccan in 2016 placing fifth.

Meryem Mahfoud – Second at Nomads Run 60km 2017.

Houda Taoufiq Mabileau – Third at Nomads Run 60km 2017.

Touda Didi – Tenth at MDS in 2011.

Ultrarunning News from Around the Globe

In this month’s column we bring you news from the opening rounds of the Ultra Trail World Tour and the latest UTWT standings, as well as a selection of news from the blogs.

Vibram Hong Kong 100

The opening round of the 2017 Ultra Trail World Tour in Hong Kong had improved conditions with some milder temperatures and rain. Yanqiao Yan from China captured the win but a decent margin of twenty six minutes over Italian Daniel Jung. Sage Canaday was the top American in third place. Other notable finishers in this early season head to head were Didrik Hermansen 4th, Tim Tollefson 5th, Seth Swanson 6th and Julien Chorier 10th.

Nuria Picas returned to her winning ways in dominant fashion with an emphatic victory over China’s Linming Chen by some thirty five minutes and in the process besting the old course record by over forty minutes.DSC_5103
New Zealand athlete and Hong Kong based Marie McNaughton took third place in what appears to be her fastest time on this course.

 

 

 

Vibram Hong Kong 100

Men Time
1 Yanqiao Yun 09:35:11
2 Daniel Jung 10:01:35
3 Sage Canaday 10:03:50

 

Women Time
1 Nuria Picas-Albets 11:18:57
2 Linming Chen 11:53:47
3 Maria McNaughton 12:26:19

Tarawera Ultramarathon

American Jim Walmsley cruised to victory unchallenged in an incredibly fast record time of 7:23 leading from virtually the get go. Walmsley was more than forty five minutes ahead of second placed Jonas Buud who is no slouch when it comes to fast trails.

Tarawera Ultramarathon

The final spot on the podium was for New Zealand’s Sam McCutcheon. Other notable finishers in this hotly contested race in New Zealand were Gediminas Grinius in 5th, Matt Flaherty 7th and Michael Wardian 8th.

In a similar vein the women’s race was won by leading from the front, Camille Herron beating second place Magdalena Boulet by around twenty four minutes. It was a narrow margin for third placed Cecilia Flori who was only ninety seconds behind Boulet. Fiona Hayvice who won last year in 10:34 finished sixth in 10:06 such was the step up in competition this year. Fernanda Maciel took 7th and Sophie Grant 10th.

Tarawera Ultramarathon 102km

Men Time
1 Jim Walmsley 07:23:32
2 Jonas Buud 08:10:58
3 Sam McCutcheon 08:12:35

 

Women Time
1 Camille Herron 08:56:00
2 Magdelena Boulet 09:20:13
3 Cecilia Flori 09:21:42

Transgrancanaria

Trangsrancanaria is the first UTWT race of the season in Europe with a distance of 125km and with 8,000 metres of ascent it is a serious early season challenge. The runners traverse from the north of the island to the south and the massed crowds on the beach of Maspalomas.

This year’s men’s winner was a richly deserved Pau Capell in a fast time of 13:21 beating Didrik Hermansen’s winning time from 2016 by a huge twenty minutes. Lithuanian Vaidas Zlabys placed second fourteen minutes later with Hermansen settling for third place this year.

Other top ten finishers included Diego Pazos 8th, Andy Symonds 9th and Timothy Olson 10th.

The women’s race was dominated by Spain’s Azara Garcia in her first race of over 100 kilometres. A challenging last 40 kilometres where she had difficulty eating and drinking made the closing efforts more intriguing but Garcia still managed to eclipse second place Andrea Huser by over forty five minutes. In third place was Melanie Rousset less than fifteen minutes behind.

Other top ten finishers Ildiko Wermescher 5th, Juliette Blanchette 7th, Lisa Borzani 8th and Manuela Vilaseca 10th.

Transgrancanaria

Men Time
1 Pau Capell 13:21:03
2 Vaidas Zlabys 13:35:38
3 Didrik Hermansen 13:50:06

 

Women Time
1 Azara Garcia 16:25:20
2 Andrea Huser 17:15:45
3 Melanie Rousset 17:30:40

 

News from the blogs

Kilian Jornet

In the continuing adventure ‘Summits of My life’ Jornet recently announced he will once again go back to Everest. On his return he has a full bag of trail racing, Marathon du Mont Blanc, Hardrock and UTMB amongst others. Somewhere in all this racing he will travel to the UK to take on the famous Bob Graham Round.

http://www.kilianjornet.cat/en/blog/2017-calendar/ 

Manuela Vilaseca

Brazilian ultra runner and mountain biker, Manuela “Manu’ Vilaseca trains hard and invariably finishes top ten in some of the tougher mountain races such as UTMB and Transgrancanaria. ‘Catch me if you can’ is Manu’s catch phrase!   More regular updates on her athlete Facebook page.

http://manuvilaseca.com/site/

Andrea Huser

Find out more about Andrea Huser on her Facebook page.  Swiss athlete Huser loves the mountains. Looks like this year she will spend some time in the US in preparation for Western States at the end of June.

Francesca Canepa

Italian Francesca Canepa looks like she is heading to Croatia to compete in the 100 miles of Istria a UTWT event. Checkout her Facebook page to keep up to date.

Gediminas Grinius

Lithuanian athlete Gediminas Grinius came on the scene about two years ago at Lavaredo Ultra Trail and has continually impressed showing it was not a fluke performance. I like his mantra ‘Time is Time’ so don’t look for his blog which is not regularly updated but check out his Facebook page for updates. He is currently running in the US.

Mike Wardian

Does he really need an introduction… Mike races practically every weekend and sometimes both days or indeed in the morning and then in the evening. He is scheduled to run Western States at the end of June and then Hardrock three weeks later. Even with MW’s prodigious racing calibre that is a tall ask…. bring it on!!

http://mikewardian.com

UTWT Standings

Here is a recap on scoring for UTWT events. These are points awarded to the winner of the various category races.

Three rounds of this year’s Ultra Trail World Tour have been raced, Vibram Hong Kong 100 (Pro), Tarawera Ultramarathon (Pro) and Transgrancanaria (Series).

 

Place Series with Bonus Series Pro Challenger
1st 1300 1000 700 400
2nd 1124 865 605 346
3rd 1021 785 550 314
4th 948 729 510 292
5th 891 685 480 274

Leading the way after three races are Didrik Hermansen with 1,295 points and Azara Garcia with 1,000 points. IMG_2256Transgrancanaria as a Series race commands more points than the Pro races (Vibram HK and Tarawera). Critically, later on in the season Marathon des Sables and UTMB are the only two Series with Bonus races and could prove crucial to who wins the 2017 UTWT.

 

Up and coming races

Marathon des Sables – April 7th-17th

100 Miles of Istria – April 7th-9th

Patagonia Run 2017 – 145k – April 7th-8th

Madeira Island Ultra Trail – April 22nd

Penyagolosa Trails – April 22nd

Thames Path 100 – April 29th – 30th

 

LAVAREDO ULTRA TRAIL – RESULTS & PHOTO GALLERY

An exciting race unfolded at the 2016 Lavaredo Ultra Trail with Great Britain’s Andy Symonds dominating the race from start to finish and setting a new course record in a time of 12:15:06. Switzerland’s Andrea Huser demonstrated her solid racing credentials at this 119km distance with a deserved win in a time of 14:32:39.

2016 Lavaredo Ultra Trail – Men’s Race

The scene was set in the mountain town of Cortina in the Italian Dolomites; and 119km of sweet trails and beautiful vistas was on the menu. The weather in the days ahead of the race had steadily risen in temperature from the low teens to a very warm 30 degrees Celsius.  But fortunately just two hours before the start, the heavens opened and relieved the heat, making it a bit more bearable.  As the runners amassed at the start line, pre-race nerves and anticipation were swapped for readiness for the 11p.m. start time.  The gun went off and the runners charged down the paved streets of Cortina with a large crowd cheering them all the way.  It was sign of things to come as the pace never even settled, it was frenetic from the start and it didn’t cease.  By the time they had reached Ospitale at 18km, race winner Symonds was in the top three and only two minutes off the course record pace set by last year’s winner Didrik Hermansen, and it was only to get better as the race progressed. Scott Hawker and Pau Capell Gil were also in the top six, a position they were to hold throughout the race.

IMG_2917

Andy Symonds with a new course record after totally dominating the race

 

By the time the field reached Federavecchia at 33kms Symonds was a clear front leader and starting to make ground on the course record. Lithuanian Gediminas Grinius had slowly moved up and was in fourth and by Refugio Auronzo at 48km he was in second place just seconds ahead of Sylvain Court of France.  Symonds’ lead was four minutes at this stage and incredibly he kept increasing this lead with a dominant display of running, dipping under course record pace by a full 10 minutes from Cimabanche (67km) onwards.  Grinius worked hard in the latter stages to reduce the deficit, eventually finishing eight minutes behind the winner and also under the old course record.

 

GRINIUS -DSC_8967

Gediminas Grinius happy for his second place

 

The surprise of the day was the performance of Spain’s Javier Dominguez, at 33km he was not even in the top 10, moving to seventh at Malga Ra Stua (75km). His progression to a third place podium spot was phenomenal as he was five minutes behind Hawker and Capell Gil at Malga Ra Stua and when they had reached Passo Giau (102km) he had taken third spot passing Hawker, Capell Gil and Court and remained solid from there to the finish line.

DOMINGUEZ DSC_8973

Javier Dominguez jubilant at his third place

But the day was all about Andy Symonds complete dominance and front running at an unrelenting pace, a true privilege to have witnessed.

2016 Lavaredo Men’s Results

Place Name Time
1 Andy Symonds (Scott) 12:15:06
2 Gediminas Grinius (Vibram) 12:23:06
3 Javier Dominguez (Vibram) 12:36:45
4 Sylvain Court (Adidas) 12:53:04
5 Scott Hawker (Hoka One One) 13:00:37
6 Pau Capell Gil (Compressport) 13:02:32
7 Jonas Buud (Asics) 13:14:47
8 Marco Zanchi (Vibram) 13:21:11
9 Antony Gay (Sigvaris Sport) 13:22:31
10 Giuliano Cavallo (Salomon) 13:33:35

 

Other finishers of note:

22ndJez Bragg          14:54:24

48thNick Clark         16:04:06

67thGary Gellin        16:50:06

104thMike Foote       18:01:09

2016 Lavaredo Ultra Trail – Women’s Race

Andrea Huser finally claimed a significant major race victory to add to the many podium places she has earned over the years. She really has this distance nailed and her disciplined approach allowed her to take first place in a time of 14:32 whilst her competitors could not match her unrelenting progress through the field. Huser’s final time was over forty minutes ahead of second placed Uxue Fraile Azpietia of Spain with a time comparable to Rory Bosio’s winning time of 2014. Brazil’s Fernanda Maciel took the final podium spot as she fought hard to move up the field from outside the top five at Refugio Auronzo (48km). Maciel’s time being less than seven minutes behind Fraile Azpietia and looking strong all the way through to the finish.

HUSER - IMG_2955

Andrea Huser claims a deserved victory

 

Cristina Follador was the top Italian finishing in fourth and looking remarkably fresh at the end. New Zealanders Marie McNaughton and Sophie Grant impressed with really strong runs finishing fifth and sixth.   It was refreshing to see Lizzy Hawker back on the international racing scene, and in the early stages she was lying in fifth place, finally placing in the top ten in ninth, after a spell of power hiking with Bosio and Mike Foote who were both having a tough day on the trails.

IMG_2818

Sophie Grant on her way to sixth place – still smiling!

 

But ultimately this was Huser’s day to celebrate a long awaited international race victory.

2016 Lavaredo Women’s Results

Place Name Time
1 Andrea Huser (Mammut) 14:32:39
2 Uxue Fraile Azpietia (Vibram) 15:13:09
3 Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) 15:20:57
4 Christina Follador (Aldo Moro Paluzzo) 16:30:37
5 Marie McNaughton (Gone running HK) 16:38:44
6 Sophie Grant 16:48:30
7 Manuela Vilaseca (Buff Pro Team) 17:10:30
8 Katie Roby (MDC) 17:28:15
9 Lizzy Hawker (The North Face) 17:32:15
10 Yulia Baykova (Vibram) 17:33:10

                                               

Other finishers of note:

14thRory Bosio         18:01:08

Photo Gallery

 

 

All photos are copyright – Ian Campbell Photography

CITY OF LONDON MILE

The City of London Mile took place on Sunday June 19, 2016. Organised by The Running Works and sponsored by Amba Hotels its a free event to enter.  This year was the third edition of this super race around the closed streets and landmarks of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England.

There were many spirited performances on a warm, sunny Sunday morning.  The elite athletes took to the streets just after midday and there were two cracking race wins for Australian Luke Matthews (4:03) and British runner Julia Cooke (4:39).  Matthews claimed a new course record.

MENS WINNER - DSC_8791

20 year old Luke Matthews claims victory in a new course record.

WOMENS WINNER - DSC_8740

Julia Cooke strides across the finish line to take the winners tape

The Youth mile was the last event of the day and Joseph Owen stormed round the course in 4:33. A superb time and just demonstrating that there is indeed depth in our ranks for future years.

YOUTH MILE - DSC_8828

Joseph Owen winning the Youth Mile

This year there was a slight course change to the route taking it round the Bank of England, thus taking out a stretch just prior to St Paul’s. Based on Matthews winning time I believe the elusive sub four minute mile is truly on, watch out next year.

Elite Men’s Mile

Male Elite Time
1 Luke Matthews 4:03
2 Collis Birmingham 4:05
3 Mike Whitmore 4:07

 

Elite Women’s Mile 

Female Elite Time
1 Julia Cooke 4:39
2 Jade Williams 4:41
3 Molly Renfer 4:42

 

Youth Mile 

Youth Mile Time
1 Male Joseph Owen 4:33
2 Female Jessica Mitchell 5:17

http://www.run247.com/articles/article-7264-3000-runners-take-on-city-of-london-mile.html

All images are copyright Ian Campbell Photography

 

CITY OF LONDON MILE

CITY OF LONDON MILE – 19th JUNE 2016

In exactly two weeks you could be toeing the line in the Amba Hotels City of London Mile.  It’s free to enter, a medal for all finishers, chip timed and on a fast, flat and traffic free course.  And thats not all… you get to run past some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

CITY OF LONDON MILE IMG_2724

 

This event really is for everyone whether you are an olympic hopeful or just hopeful. With various waves, general, family, women’s mile, youth mile wheelchair mile, Elite mile there’s something for everyone to enjoy.  Its suitable for all ages and abilities. This is London’s most inclusive mile race.  Register here  

 

 

WHERE THE ROADS ENDS…….

WHERE THE ROAD ENDS : A GUIDE TO TRAIL RUNNING

WHERE THE ROAD ENDS IMG_2721My good friends Bryon Powell and Meghan Hicks of www.irunfar.com sent me a copy of their latest book on trail running. Whilst I am certainly biased in my opinions, just looking through this book and it contents you will see that is packed with great advice from two experts in the field of trail running.  There are some super photos accompanying the very descriptive sections to help demonstrate the points in the chapters.

This book will be a very suitable addition to any bookshelf devoted to running in general and will undoubtedly become a go to book for those starting, improving or just wanting to know more about the sport we love.

Buy it …. you won’t regret it!!