Chamonix is one of the capital’s of the outdoor world and is already home to one of the most famous (and gruelling) trail races in the world –the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. But in less than a week’s time the Skyrunning World Series heads to town for more mountain running action.
On the 28th June some of the biggest names in ultra running will take on the KM Vertical race. 400 racers will line-up for the lung-busting race with a course that takes in 1000 metres of ascent in just 3.5km.
Heading the start-list are Vertical world champions Urban Zemmer (La Sportiva) and Laura Orgué (Salomon).
Urban will be challenged not only by ultra-running star Kilian Jornet, last year’s winner with a time of 36’07”, but current Vertical ranking leader, Marco Facchinelli (La Sportiva) and team mates Marco Moletto and Nadir Maguet; but also Nicola Golinelli and Florian Reichert, (Arc’teryx); Ben Bardsley, Brendan Davies, Robbie Simpson (inov-8); Matheo Jacquemoud (Crazy Idea); Oscar Casal and Joan Valls (FAM); Jose Lozano (FEEC) and Artem Rostovtsev (Russian Skyrunning) in the men’s field.
Vertical specialist Laura Orgué (Salomon) will face tough competition from team mates Emelie Forsberg, Oihana Kortazar and Anna Frost as well as last year’s race winner Antonella Confortola; Shona Stephenson, Tessa Hill (Arc’teryx); Silvia Leal and Alba Xandri (FEEC).
On the 30th. The two 2012 Skyrunning world champions Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg will take on the Mont Blanc Marathon. Joining them on the start line will be 2011 world champion, Spaniard Luis Alberto Hernando. In excellent form this year, he came a close second to Kilian in Transvulcania and just 12” behind him at Zegama. This third confrontation will make for great competition, especially if we add Italy’s Marco De Gasperi who, after a period of injury, is now ready to challenge the two. If he holds out over the full distance, he looks set for the podium. Tofol Castanyer, 2010 world champion and winner of the CCC last year will also feature strongly among the top finishers. With Tofol, that counts three skyrunning world champions in the men’s race and a total of six between men and women in the two events.
The women’s field is as deep as it is long, with two world champs heading the bill: Emelie Forsberg and Oihana Kortazar. Emelie, like Kilian, has started the season as she means to g on with two straight wins in Transvulcania and Zegama. The Marathon course, (42 km with 2,511m elevation gain and 1,490m loss), has probably not as much technical descent as she would like. The fast course will no doubt suit American Stevie Kremer who is taking on the World Series for the first time this year, showing immense talent and potential with a gutsy third place in Zegama.
Oihana, not on top form in Zegama where she pulled from the race, could join them on the podium. Add to the mix Anna Frost, 2012 Transvulcania winner. Anna had to forego a repeat performance there with injury, but she’s ready to race again and will give it everything, as is her style. In her first year of skyrunning, Italy’s Silvia Serafini ranked third overall in the World Series last year and 6th in Zegama after winning the Great Wall Marathon only a week before, is another strong contender.
2012 Mont-Blanc Marathon Results
Kilian Jornet (ESP) 3h38’24’’
Maude Mathys (SUI) 4h28’17’’