KIlian Jornet´s book “Run or Die” hits the top6 Sports Books in UK

Kilian Jornet’s first book, Run or Die, distinguished among the top 6 sport books in the UK for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.  Jornet attended yesterday the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award in London

Kilian Jornet presenting his second book at Madrid in 2013

Kilian Jornet presenting his second book at Madrid in 2013




Run or Die, Kilian Jornet’s first book has been shortlisted among the six best sports in the United Kingdom, the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. The book has been selected among five other books, being the top-6 sport books of the year. The winner was “Night Games”, by Anna Krien.

Kilian Jornet Run or Die, first edition in spanish.

Kilian Jornet Run or Die, first edition in spanish.

Jornet traveled to London this morning to attend the award ceremony in the Bafta theater. He explained: “I’m very happy that the book has been shortlisted for this award. Skyrunning is getting popular in the UK and I’m proud to be able to share our soort with English readers.”

Run or Die, was Kilian Jornet first book, the diary of a winner that sums up his philosophy on the earlier years of Kilian’s career as an athlete. In the United Kingdom, the book was released this summer by Penguin publishing house.

It was originally published in 2009 and since then it has been published to several languages. For the moment it has been published in 15 different languages and the number is expected to grow: Catalan, Spanish, Spanish (South America), French, English (US), English (UK), Portuguese, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese, Slovenian, Czech, Polish, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian.

The second book by Kilian, The Invisible Border (2013), it has also been a big editorial success in the countries that has already been published: Catalan, Spanish, French and Italian.

Kilian Jornet The Invisible Border, first edition in spanish.  2013

Kilian Jornet The Invisible Border, first edition in spanish. 2013


IN-DEPTH DOUBLE INTERVIEW WITH KILIAN: Last year, as the book was published, we held a long double interview with him, sharing many of his personal references, both in sports and life style, such as Bonatti, Zatopek and other.


WHAT´S NEXT FOR HIM? After the awards ceremony at London, Jornet has travelled back to the Alps, where he is preparing both the ski mountaineering season and the Aconcagua challenge, part of the Summits of My Life project.




gran trail peñalara 2014 fotos carrerasdemontana (79)


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Julia Böttger, del Salomon Running, entrevistada por Mayayo: La campeona del Andorra Ultra Trail 2014, presentada por Nerea Martínez.

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. La corredora de ultra trail Julia Bottger, del equipo Salomon Running, destaca entre las mejores de la escena mundial en los ultimos años. Recién llegada de ganar la Andorra Ultra Trail 170km se plantaba…

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Francesca Canepa, entrevistada por Mayayo: “Mis objetivos 2014 son Ultra trail world Tour y lograr el triple Tor des Geants” Presentación por Nerea Martínez.

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. La corredora de ultra trail Francesca Canepa, del equipo Vibram, destaca entre las mejores de la escena mundial en los ultimos años, marchando hoy 3ª en el Ultra Trail world Tour. Muy consistente en…

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Manuel Merillas climbs to 2nd position in Skyrunning World Series . Personal race report and interview by @moxigeno

Manuel Merillas is moving on at full power upon the Skyrunning World Cup, having just climbed up to the 2nd position in its ultra series ranking after ending 5th at Ice Trail Tarentaise last weekeend. This was the second event within the the five races series. His debut had been at Transvulcania La Palma, with a 7th position.

Manuel Merillas at transvulcania. Photo: Mayayo.

This Ice Trail Tarentaise (ITT) is a truly high mountain race. Over its 65k/D+5.000 m course, it might be honest to say that sky running merges with classic glacier mountaineering, running in subcero temperatures along a track with a race summit of 3.365m altitude at La Grande Motte. Here’s the summary of the race, personal chronicle of Manuel and an interview by Mayayo after it.



Highest & coldest of the Skyrunning World Cup

The Ice Trail Tarentaise was born in 2011 as the dream of Vinner Laurent, race founder After being aborted in its inaugural edition because of severe weather conditions in the upper sections, he was finally was able to celebrateit  in 2012 with François D’Haene as winner in 8H16. A challenging victory which just  reflected his great form at the moment, that was to lead him to be champion of the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc 2012  just a few weeks later.

skyrunning 2013 ice trail tarentaise logoRace highlights include the enormous average altitude and the ceiling for the entire 2014 Skyrunning season, considering the 3365 meters altitude on the summit of La Grand Motte. The competition also requires long sections of running on the glaciers with crampons on, plus alpine gear and sureproof mountain move abilities. In 2013 the winners were nothing short of Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg. See below the rce profile in detail

skyrunning 2013 ice trail tarentaise perfil
On this 2014 edition, the champions were also two of the biggest names in the sport: Salomon Running again succeeded in scoring a double win, with François D’Haene Emelie Forsberg. Among the men, the rcae went very fast, as François finished in 7h37m,  just 1m30 over Kilian’s record in 2013.  However, Emelie´s time of 9h24 this year, was slower than her previous 9h11.

Ranking ultrasky world cup: After having held the first two (Transvulcania and Ice Trail Tarentaise) out of five races planned, the leader is Tom Owens with 144 points, followed by Fulvio Dapit and Manuel Merillas, both with 132 Among the girls. Alessandra Carlini leads with 146 points, second with 134 and Maud Gobert third van Emelie Forsberg and Anna Frost with 100 points.

Luis Alberto Hernando en Ice trail Tarentaise foto Fabio Menino
From a spanish point of view, the downside of this year, was Luis Alberto Hernando´s DNF which was due to his obviously paying the bills accumulated in a highly loaded season. On the positive side, the excellent performance of Manuel Merillas, who placed 5th at Ice Trail and rose to 2nd overall in the annual ranking of the World Cup ultra sky, tied with the 3rd. Now, let us follow his very own race as he tells it to us in his own words. 
PERSONAL RACE REPORT BY MANUEL Merillas. (5th overall)

The race began on Saturday, meeting with my friends from Cantabria region, in northern Spain. We arrived full of energy and very excited, so we stayed until 23:00 hours on the day before the race chatting and sharing our hopes.

Manuel Merillas en Ice trail Tarentaise foto Manuel MerillasThis Ice Trail Tarentaise started for me at two in the morning, eyes still stuck with a terrible lack of sleep. But hey, we set it up for the four of us who were in the apartment (Fran Pineda, Leo, David and myself) and got in to a hearty breakfast. Before we even noticed it, we found it was already three. We moved in a hurry to Val d’Isere. There is very little time left to start the race and it’s still raining as it has been doing all weekend. We confirm then that in the end we are to race over the original route.

At 4AM the race is launched. As always at that moment, there are a few that fly out on fire, with Luis Alberto between them, Tom Owens plus two other more guys. I stay further back and move on at my own pace. I am slowly letting go of my first group and I’ll get to Tignes with three others and we start to climb the Grand Motte 3570 meters. It is a very tough climb, yet I already knew it from winter after my skimo season. As I climb ahead of my original group I realize i am cacthing up on those that started ahead. In fact, I am getting closer to the leading group. The last section is pure glacier and forces us to wear crampons. I love these conditions!

Manuel Merillas en Ice trail Tarentaise foto Manuel Merillas 3

Upon reaching the summit, I check again upon the leaders.  As we start the descent I can still see them there. I took it more calmly because it is a 1.300 meter drop and I remember that from here on we are yet to cover another six climbs between +400 and +1000. Moreover, that thousand meters climb happens to be the last one, perfectly suited to finish you off if you arrive with nothing left inside.

The first of these climbs feel fine to me as I do not lose sight of the leaders. But rith at the start of the third climb. hovering around the 29k mark I noticed an intense pain in the right groin, which makes me stop dead for a moment. Quick check. I think I can stand the pain. I continue… until I reach the fourth climb and I start shivering all over.

This is where I feel almost defeated. I even sit down on a stone for more than five minutes and I  seriously consider quitting. To make it worse mine, two runnes pass me by and upon realizing my condition, they stop and tell me if I want them to call up the next chekpoint to be picked out by its safety team. I tell them not to do it. No way! I get angry with myself and I repeat again and again a voice in my head reassuring “Pain fades away, pain fades away…” This little trick of mine always helps me to push on.

From here onwards I start my race: It must be around  km 45. I am still hurt at the groin and I am limping a little but I’m determined to finish. I must be running 8th or so, I think. We then started the last climb. with these ramps over +1000. Here I see some runners sprint and pass me by. I try to hold on,  but they seem to just fly. At first I think I am busted, but then I realize they are from the “short” race. Once they tell me they are on a different rce, I relaxed. Uff!

I still think I am runing 7th-8th as we reach the last short climb. There I see Luis Alberto Hernando. He tells me he has blown up and is to quit. He encourages me and tells me that I am only 3 minutes back to 5th place and 5 minutes to 4th. I drink a little and go flying down after them. We have only the last 9km and it is almost all downhill. It was not my favorite strech as it was very technical, but still I’m going as fast as I can. I reach the american in 5th and tear ahead of him.

I finally cross the finish and drop to the ground, busted. I came in 5th, just two minutes behind the 4th and 6 minutes for the 3rd. It really surprises me, considering how badly spent I am and it is only now that I think, “Hey, I’ve done fifth” I cannot believe it. I’m happy, yes, but I know i must keep on improving.

So, what now? I’m already thinking about the next World Cup race in Canazei, for the fun of it.


How do you feel this year, finding yourself with the best at the World Cup? First of all, I want to take a minute to note that were it not for the support of Mammut Spain, this year I would have never dreamt of taking on  World Cup. Now, having said that, I reckon that once I see myself fightin it out with the best, I must confess my feelings are good, very positive.

Skyrunning 2014: Season start at Transvulcania
What are your training programs and race strategy to compete at this level? I just go out to “play” and in the end the results just come in. But i think of them as nothing but the icing on the cake. As you know, be the race waht i be, I always go out to have fun in the mountain, without feeling any pressure.

I don´t look for any peak form when training, either, but every week I’m going out to train and improve something. I just want to see how far I may get this year. Although I we are just seven months into it, the sum of my completed races so far, counting the skimo and trail running are by now 36. But I still do feel great and look forward to continue pushing with all my strength, as hard as I can. I want to continue hunting those beasts that are ahead of me.

How did you face an extreme race such as Ice Trail Tarentaise in terms of mountain running gear? As for this weekend and the equipment I used … what could I say? We ran very high, as most of the race is above 2,700m and having several streches that went way above 3,000m. Under these condiciones, everybody, no matter who he is,  should go well prepared. Including the crampons in higher areas that had a lot of ice.

Manuel Merillas en Ice trail Tarentaise foto Manuel Merillas 4

The weather prediction at the start told us to expect -6ºC at the top, plus we alo came across recent snow, even soft and sticky in some parts too. It was therefore essential to be fully equiped for such a race with good gloves, a true jacket, cap or buff.. well, a good stack of pure mountain equipment. Of course, in my case, being a member of the Mammut team sure did help, as the quality of the stuff I race with held true to it is reputation as of of the leading experts on mountaineering equipment.



Gran Trail peñalara 2014: The start.

Gran Trail peñalara 2014: The start.



Info by Mayayo Oxígeno for Trailrunningspain


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Gran Trail Peñalara 2014 (10k-60k-80k-110k) See final video and photo gallery.

 Gran Trail Peñalara ultra trail was launched back in 2010 aimed at commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the mountain club RSEA Peñalara, which was celebrated lat year 2013.

Ever since, the race has grown up to become the most important annual trail running event in all central Spain. This 2014 it was qualifying race for UTMB and Western States 100 Miles. It was also one of five member races for the ultra trail national series of reference, the Spain Ultra Cup

CARTEL 2014 Gran trail peñalara mini



 The main race course is based upon a 110km complete circumvalation of the highest peaks of the Guadarrama National Park, with Peñalara peak at 2.430 meters as course summit. There are also two smaller races held, with 60km and 80km courses.This ultra trail of the Guadarrama National Park passes through different towns and mountain villages following old time trails that were used by cattle, hunters and nowadays, by hikers, and nowadays structured as an official mountain trekking route as the GR10 trail.

The race is circular and is ran in self-sufficiency mode, requiring the participants to carry a minimum amount of mandatory equipment which guarantees their safety during the 110 kilometers of the race. Maximum time allowed to complete the race is 30 hours.

The event is designed for anyone who is in physical shape and is familiar with mountain surroundings, allowing for participants of different levels to complete the race. Some will take as little as 13-14 hours of running, and others combine running and hiking to complete the event in the maximum time limits.

The event gathers trailrunners from all over Spain and abroad to experience the true beauty of the mountains of Madrid and at the same time take special care and respect for the protected environment and its immense natural and cultural value. This 2014 the male winner of the 110 main race was again argentinian Pedro Bianco, who set a new course record. The female winner, Alicia Chaveli, came from Valencia.






gran trail peñalara 2014 mapa mini

The race course begins and ends at the village of Navacerrada, just 50k from Madrid itself. It heads out of town through the valley of La Barranca rising up to the summit of La Maliciosa (2.221m) and heading down through the sierra of Porrones to Cantocochino, which lies within the Pedriza regional park. The course continues through La Pedriza climbing by La Gran cañada, a former sheperds trail towards the Hoya de San Blas and the lower pine and oak groves of the old pathway from Madrid to el Paular reaching La Morcuera Pass.

From here, after a long descent, the course arrives at the Paular Monastery in the heart of the Lozoya valley, crossing the river over the historical bridge, Puente del Perdón and arriving in the town of Rascafría .

gran trail peñalara 2014 fotos carrerasdemontana (133)


From Rascafría and the Lozoya valley, the Gran Trail follows the top of the Montes Carpetanos, up to the Reventón Pass. From here it continues along the top between Segovia and Madrid where it reaches the highest point of the Madrid sierra at the summit of Peñalara. From Peñalara, the race drops down the Segovian side, with its majestic pine trees arriving in La Granja de San Ildefonso, where the finish line for those participating in the Trail Peñalara 80K will be.

From La Granja and following the road of the Pesquerías Reales, constructed during the reign of Charles III, parallel to the Eresma river, the GranTrail enters the pine forest of Valsaín and picks up the GR10 again, which ascends along the historical pathway between two plateaus reaching the Fuenfría Pass.

The Gran Trail leaves the Fuenfría and within the pine forest of Valsaín, climbs to the Navacerrada Pass (km 100). The last 10 km crosses the side of Las Guarramillas to the hill of Emburriadero and descends down the valley of La Barranca in order to reach the finish line in the town of Navacerrada.





transgrancanaria 2013 peloton  fotos organizacion (3)


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Posted in gran trail peñalara 2012, gran trail peñalara 2014, gran trail peñalara photos, gran trail peñalara results, madrid trail, photos gran trail peñalara, results gran trail peñalara, trail running, trail running madrid, trail running spain, trail running spain 2014, Ultra Trail, video gran trail peñalara, video gran trail peñalara 2014 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kilian Jornet double Skyrunning world champion at Vertical Km & Marathon, plus Laura Orgue (KMV) & Luis Alberto Hernando (Ultra80k)

Kilian Jornet, Laura Orgué & Luis Alberto Hernando come back to Spain as members of its national team by FEDME claiming 4 world champions titles altogether: On Friday the vertical KM saw Kilian & Laura on top, just after Luis Alberto had won the Ultra 80k. Kilian rounded it up today winning the Marathon.

Kilian Jornet world champion skyrunning 2014 at marathon mont blanc



Kilian Jornet (2) Laura Orgué and Luis Alberto Hernando win gold for Spain.

ULTRA SKY 80K: The very first race of the championship was held on early Friday, and saw a beatiful double fight. Male title was contested mainly by Luis Alberto and François D´Haene all through the day and went finally to the spaniard by 4min. A very similar picture developed in the women´s field between Emelie Forsberg and Anna Frost, with the swede finally claming the crown.

Luis Alberto Hernando ultra sky world champion. Photo @ENDU_MAG

Luis Alberto Hernando ultra sky world champion. Photo @ENDU_MAG

VERTICAL KILOMETER: Next on late Friday came the vertical kilometer were the challenge for the title was set upon a mountain race against the clock where runners had to beat a 1.000 elevation gain within 3.8km.   Both Kilian jornet and Laura Orgué won the gold for Spain. Final positions in the men´s field were: 1-Kilian Jornet 34’18” 2-Bernard Dematteis 34’36” 3-Urban Zemmer 34’37”

“The victory was a surprise. I didn’t had many expectations to win as I just came back from Alaska and there were serious contendents. However, things went very well and I’m happy for the result, which has allowed me to prepare the race on Sunday”, said Kilian Jornet after the race

kilian jornet vertical kilometer world champion skyrunning 2014

kilian jornet vertical kilometer world champion skyrunning 2014. Photo Jordi Saragossa.

MARATHON SKYRACE: The rain and cold dominated the Skyrunning Race in the Skyrunning World Championships held this morning in Chamonix, were athletes climbed 2,486m along a 42km-circuit, shortened due to bad weather conditions. Kilian Jornet won the race with a time of 3h23′ ahead of Michel Llane and Tom Owens. With this victory, Kilian Jornet is crowned as Skyrunning World Champion, and completes a double victory with his win on Friday in the Vertical Kilometre, the brightest star in a great performance by Spain´s national FEDME team whose twelve members ran as follows.

seleccion española campeonato mundo 2014

The race took place this morning in the French town of Chamonix. The original circuit had to be modified on several occasions due to adverse weather conditions. The finishing line was reallocated to Chamonix town centre to avoid climbing to the highest areas of the original route, struck by strong gusts of wind and rain.

Kilian Jornet started the race having won the Vertical Kilometre event on Friday, but also feeling uncertain about his performance after having spent a month in Alaska. From the very beginning it was a really fast race, and immediately a group formed by Kilian Jornet, Zaid Ait Malek, Michel Llane, Aritz Egea and Tom Owens sprinted ahead of the leading pack of athletes. They all arrived very close together at Vallorcine checkpoint at kilometre 18 and faced the climb to the Col des Possettes (2,000m) the highest point in the shortened circuit.

Distances between athletes began to increase and, upon reaching kilometre 35, in Flegère, Kilian had already managed to position himself in first place outstripping his competitors by a few minutes, as he himself explained: “We started off very fast, in a race that had two very different parts. At first, it was more of a mountain race, but later it became more sky-like, more technical, and that’s where I managed to break away. It rained a lot throughout the circuit, although it wasn’t very cold. The truth is that I prefer these conditions, with muddy terrains, and slippery stones…”

Kilian Jornet world champion skyrunning 2014 at marathon mont blanc. Photo: Brian Jones

Kilian Jornet world champion skyrunning 2014 at marathon mont blanc. Photo: Brian Jones

From La Flegère, Kilian flew down to the finishing line, which he crossed with a time of 3h23′. There, he joined Bruno Brunod, pioneer in Skyrunning and a great friend of his. Michel Lane and Tom Owens accompanied him on the podium.

Upon reaching the finishing line, Jornet commented: “I did not expect to be at this level. It has been a very encouraging surprise. I’m also glad for Michel and Tom, who finished in podium positions, as they are distinguished runners and also great friends. Crossing the finishing line with Bruno has also been very special. He was cheering me on just before reaching the finishing line and he was the first Skyrunning World Champion. So, it was a very special moment. In short, I think it’s been the perfect balance for the World Championships.”

Next week Kilian Jornet will travel to the USA to prepare for the Hardrock, to be held on July 11th.




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Posted in emelie forsberg, kilian jornet, laura orgue, luis alberto hernando, marathon mont blanc, results marathon mont blanc, skyrunning, skyrunning 2014, skyrunning world championships, trail running, trail running spain, trail running spain 2014 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Emelie Forsberg (Salomon Running) interviewed at Zegama by Mayayo: 2013 Memories & Objectives for 2014


Emelie Forsberg ended up the 2013 skyrunning season on a most dominating note, with an impressive track record, including her skyrunning world cup title, and european titles both for skyrace and ultras. Also relevant were some prestige victories at races like Transvulcania 80k or the Zegama Marathon. She also ran her first 100miler, at the veery demanding Diagonale des Fous, and finished on a great 2nd place.

Emelie Forsberg at Zegama Marathon 2013 on her way to victory.

Emelie Forsberg at Zegama Marathon 2013 on her way to victory.

Over the winter she committed herself to competing in the ski mountaneering worlc cup, a small but highly competitive sport, where many of the top contenders are also world class trail runners, such as Emelie´s Salomon team mate Kilian Jornet.  Unfortunatley, although quite new to the sport elite races, she proved to be highly competitive there as well, but only to find herself handicapped by gastroenteritis once, and by race postponement after that. Hence, she is vowing to come back for next season on a stronger note.

As for skyrunning, her season stated on a sour note at Transvulcania where she was pushed down during the race and fell cutting her hand with the volcanic rocks, which ended her to drop out. Before the Zegama Marathon we shared this conversation with her and her 2013 memories, from skimo and skyrunning, as well as her 2014 objectives.


The day after our interview, at the Zegama Marathon, Emelie took off pushing it hard striving for a second crown. However, her injury,  the antibiotics taken and the fever passed all had combined to sap a bit of her strengh. It became clear when some of her competitors, who also put on a very courageous race, such as Stevie Kremer, Maite Maiora and Kaise Enman, were able to pass her and relegate her to fourth place, out for the podium.

Emelie at the Zegama finish, with Stevie Kremer (1st) and Elisa Desco (3rd)

Emelie at the Zegama finish, with Stevie Kremer (1st) and Elisa Desco (3rd)

However, the season has just started and we expect to see much more of Emelie´s great talent at skyrunning all over the world, albeit not anymore in Spain as far as we know at the moment.



Key trail races & trail runners in Spain 2013 

Results key Trail Races Spain & others 2014

transgrancanaria 2013 peloton  fotos organizacion (3)


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Posted in basque trail running, emelie forsberg, emelie forsberg interview, isf 2012, isf skyrunning, kilian jornet, luis alberto hernando, marco de gasperi, mountain running spain, nuria picas, photos zegama aizkorri, salomon running, skyrunner world series, skyrunning 2013, skyrunning spain, stevie kremer, tadei pvik, trail running, trail running basque, trail running spain, trail running spain 2012, trail running spain 2014, zegama aitzgorri, zegama aizkorri 2014, zegama aizkorri results, zegama marathon, zegama mendi maratoia, zegama-aizkorri, zegama-aizkorri 2012 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zegama Aizkorri 2014: Video, fotos y resultados (Avance) Ganan Kilian Jornet, con nuevo record, y Stevie Kremer.

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. La  Zegama Aizkorri 2014, ganada por Kilian Jornet y Stevie Kremer ha sido sin duda la mejor de la Historia. Tanto así que el record de Rob Jebb, fijado en 2005, fue batido en…

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Transvulcania 2014: Crónica, fotos y resultados. Campeones Luis Alberto Hernando y Anna Frost (1459 finalistas)

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. La Transvulcania 2014 en La Palma ha supuesto un gran crecimiento entre los populares, saltando de 982 a 1459 finalistas. Una gran noticia para la organización, que ha consolidado tambien las nuevas pruebas del Kilómetro Vertical…

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Trail running in Spain this 2014  keeps on getting larger and better organized, as proved by this Ultra Majorca Serra Tramuntana 4th edition. Our mate Casey Morgan, from Scotland shares here his race report after achieving the 2nd position overall. Well done, Casey! 

Official full results Ultra Mallorca Serra Tramuntana 107k 2014

Casey Morgan, from team Sural, toes the line as 2nd overall.

Casey Morgan, from team Sural, toes the line as 2nd overall. Photo: Adriá Gayá.



Ultra Majorca Serra Tramuntana. Race report by Casey Morgan.  

The Ultratrail Serra de Tramuntana represented an opportunity for me to right a wrong from 2013. Last year, 62km into the race and in 2nd position, I was forced to drop out when I fractured my ankle so this time around I had a point to prove.

Casey Morgan at aid station 82k during Transgrancanaria 125k

Casey Morgan at aid station 82k during Transgrancanaria 125k

My build up to the race had been very good, I ran Transgrancanaria in March, took a week off to recover then had a really good 6 weeks of training including the K42 Mallorca 4 weeks from race day where I finished 4th, a good indicator that come race day my form would be good..

I arrived on the island on Wednesday morning to give me enough time for a couple of easy training runs in the mountains and plenty of time for rest ahead of the start at midnight on Friday. I’m very fortunate to have a lot of good friends on Mallorca so accommodation and travel around the island is very easy which takes away any stress before the race. I’m hugely grateful for all the help I received.

One of my friends, Adria, was supposed to race but unfortunately he fractured his 5th metatarsal in training so was unable to compete but rather than miss out altogether he kindly offered to be my support crew along with his army colleague Ayoze. and so, on Friday night around 11pm, I gave them enough gels to feed their entire battalion and some last minute instructons then it was off to the start line.

The last 15 minutes before a Spanish ultra are always great: The banging music, the crowds, the nerves, the fear and the realisation that you’re still going to be running come tomorrow lunchtime! Then before you know it, Bang! We’re off into the night with 112km and 4500m+ ahead of us between Andratx and Pollenca.

Ultra mallorca serra tramuntana mapa carrera 107k

The first few kms are on road and I had decided to run this section at a good pace so that by the time we hit the narrow paths of the mountain i wouldn’t have to deal with any congestion. Fairly quickly we were down to around 6 or 7 runners in the lead pack so I just realxed into the pace until we hit the first climb to S’Esclop then before I knew it we were down to just 2 of us at the front, myself and Pawel Dybek from the Salomon Poland team. We climbed together for the first half of the climb but we were going a little too fast for my liking so early in a race of this length so I backed off a little and Pawel opened a gap.

At the top of the climb the views were stunning, an almost full moon with a clear sky and views out over the sea. Everything was feeling great at this stage, I was eating and drinking well and keeping Pawel in sight. By the time we reached the first checkpoint at 20km in Estellencs I had caught him again but as I stopped to refill my bottles and collect gels from the dynamic duo of Adria and Ayoze, Pawel pushed on and opened a gap again. I wasn’t overly concerned at this stage because i came with the intention of running easily all night then pushing hard on the climbout of Soller at 65km.

The night passed largely without incident, I lost a bit of time on the descent into Delá at 54km because the underfoot conditions were prime ankle breaking terrain so I just took my time to avoid injury. As the sun came up I made a mistake on my approach into Soller, I must’ve lost concentration and missed the course markings. Before I realised my error I’d dropped down the wrong descent and was heading away from Soller rather than towards it.

I eventually managed to find the main road into town and ran a little faster than I probably should have to try to make up for my mistake. Just before the checkpoint I met my friends Angie Rigo and her partner Xavi, it’s always a real boost to see your friends along the way and even more so after a tough section. When I arrived at the feed station the guys told me I was 12 minutes behind. So with the night behind me and a big climb ahead of me I set off with the intention of closing the gap.

The climb out of Soller is stunning, 6km up the Barranc de Biniaraix, a series of cobbled switchbacks and terraces clinging to the side of the mountain with beautiful pools of water and small waterfalls tumbling down from the peaks. it almost makes you forget how much pain you are in, Almost! I tried to run as much of the climb as I could but had to take occasional walking breaks to recover but overall I was happy with the climb. At around 900m altitude the path drops for maybe 100m then there’s a flat run beside a lake for around 5km to the next checkpoint at Cuber at 73km. I felt really good along this section and by the time I reached the checkpoint the gap was down from 12 minutes to 4 minutes, the race was on!

Leaving Cuber there was a little more flat running before the climb to Massanella, the highest point of the race at just over 1200m. I ran this section pretty hard to try to narrow the gap even more before we hit the descent to the final checkpoint at Lluc at 90km. I was really beginning to suffer at this point but enjoying the chase.

On the descent in Lluc I was taking a lot of risks but when a spectator told me the gap was down to 1 minute, I knew my efforts were paying off until around the 86km mark disaster struck. I took one risk too many and rolled my ankle really badly, I thought that my race was over, anyone within a 5km radius would’ve heard some colorful language! I hobbled for a couple of minutes and began to walk to try to get it moving again.

Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as I initially feared but it reduced me to a pathetic pace for the rest of the descent and effectively finished the race as a contest. After Lluc there were around another 7 or 8 km of descending which lost me more time until the final 12 or so kms on the flat into the finish in Pollenca. Once i hit the flat I was moving really well again but the race was over and it was just a matter of maintaining my position to the finish. I met my friend, the ever smiling Pau, on the run in to Pollenca, she informed me I had 6km left when I thought I only had 3km to go, I could’ve cried!

By this stage I just wanted it to be over so I ran the last 5km as hard as I possibly could, aided by a police escort for the final 3km I managed a closing 5km of just under 20 minutes so I was really pleased to have good legs after 12 hours, it gives me confidence for the future.

Ultra Mallorca Serra Tramuntana. The podium

Ultra Mallorca Serra Tramuntana. The podium. Photo: Adriá Gayá.

The finish line was, as always, a very welcome sight. Right in the middle of a beautiful square in Pollenca town. 2nd position was a big improvement on last year and I’m taking a lot of positives from the race. I was welcomed on the line by Belén, Pau, Adria, Ayoze, Angie, Xavi and El Gran Borja! I spent the rest of the day in the square enjoying the atmosphere and waiting on the other finishers, most notably Juan “feet of an angel” Canovas and Antonio “The Costa Rica Chef” Artabe who was running his first Ultra, I’m sure it wont be his last.

A huge thanks to Toni Contesti, Dani Salas, Esther Vidal, Elena Perez and the whole team from UTST for a great race. You guys are awesome.

Finally back home in Scotland I’m pretty sure that I’m a better athlete for the experience. In fact in Ultratrail I think experience is everything. Experience teaches you how to pace your body for 12 hours or more. It teaches you how to fuel your body to keep you at the top of your game. It teaches you that no matter how bad you feel at any given moment in a race, if you just keep pushing on, things will get better. And last but not least, experience teaches you that no matter how much you promise yourself that you’ll never put your body through such torture again, you’re a liar! Until the next time……..



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Info by Mayayo Oxígeno for Trailrunningspain

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