GOLDEN TRAIL WORLD SERIES 2019: THE THIRD STAGE ARRIVES TO DOLOMITES
Golden Trail World Serires 2019 makes first stop in Italy. Dolomyths Run hosts top trail runners in 3rd stop of the Series. The series has provided plenty of highlights in the first two races of the 2019 season. This coming Sunday, with another strong field in both the men’s and women’s races convening in the beautiful Italian Dolomites for the Dolomyths Run Skyrace, trail running fans can expect more high drama.
GOLDEN TRAIL WORLD SERIES 2019: Dolomyths Run Skyrace (22k – 1750D+)
At 22 kms, the race may not be as long as the first two marathon distance races of the season, but it still asks a lot of the runners, topping out at the Piz Boè (elevation: 3,152 meters). Plus, the relatively short distance should make the pace frantic despite the 1,700 vertical meter gain. After Spain’s Kilian Jornet and 21-year-old Italian Davide Magnini won the first two races of the Golden Trail World Series season at the Zegama-Aizkorri Mountain Marathon and Marathon du Mont Blanc, respectively, a number of runners will be looking to grab valuable points in Canazei.
Jornet returns to racing at next month’s Sierre-Zinal race in Switzerland, but Magnini (Team Salomon) will be in his homeland this week looking for another win. The distance should suit the young Italian well and he was 4th here last year. Still, he will have to contend with some of the sport’s best when it comes to the painful task of going uphill. His countryman, Nadir Maguet (Team La Sportiva), should be well-suited to the big climb as a ski-mo racer. He was 3rd a year ago here and is coming off a runner-up finish to Magnini at the Marathon du Mont Blanc.
Last year’s winner, Norway’s Stian Angermund-Vik (Team Salomon), is never one to shy away from a bit of climbing himself and is always in the hunt for a podium position. Until he is beaten, he has to be the favorite. The same is true of another young gun, Switzerland’s Rémi Bonnet (Team Salomon), who led at Chamonix for a brief period of time before finishing 5th. The Swiss thrives on climbing. Another Norwegian, Team Salomon’s Stian Aarvik, was 2nd here last year and is taking part in his first Golden Trail World Series race.
The field at the top is extremely deep. Team Salomon’s Bart Przedwojewski (Poland) and Salomon teammate Aritz Egea (Spain) are consistent and strong. Team Scott’s Alexis Sévennec (France) and Stephan Wenk (Switzerland), as well as Team Hoka’s Francesco Puppi (Italy) and Team Dynafit’s Oriol Cardona Coll (Spain) should be in the hunt as well. One dark horse to keep an eye on is Great Britain’s Jacob Adkin (Team Salomon), another young talent who can climb with the best of them.
On the women side, Norway’s Eli Anne Dvergsdal (Team Salomon) won at Zegama in her first ever marathon, then finished 3rd at the Marathon du Mont Blanc behind last year’s Series overall winner Ruth Croft (Team Scott) of New Zealand and Italy’s Silvia Rampazzo. The Kiwi has been the class of the marathon distance recently, but she has never raced here on the Dolomites course. “I’m really looking forward to racing the Dolomyths,” Croft said this week. “It’s always exciting when you are doing a race you haven’t done before, and especially in these landscapes. I am really pleased to have been able to recce the course and take in the views from Piz Boè, as I know with such a strong women’s field there won’t be much chance to look up on Sunday.”
Beyond those two, the field is as deep as it is on the men’s side. Rampazzo (Team Tornado) will be racing on her home soil and is coming off that strong 2nd place showing in Chamonix. France’s Amandine Ferrato (Team Hoka), Italy’s Elisa Desco (Team Scarpa/Berg Outdoor), Great Britain’s Holly Page (Team adidas Terrex) and a trio of runners from Team Salomon—Eli Gordon (Spain), Maude Mathys (Switzerland) and Oihana Kortazar (Spain)—should be in contention.
Sweden’s Fanny Borgstrom (Team Salomon) is coming off a 4th place effort in Chamonix and South Africa’s Meg Mackenzie (Team Salomon) was 6th. Both are candidates to crack the top-5. Spain’s Azara García (Team HG AML), who led in the early stages of the Marathon du Mont Blanc, could also be threat.
The elite runners will be trying to earn points in the season-long chase for a spot in the Golden Trail World Series Grand Final, which will take place in Nepal in October. The athletes must participate in three of the six races during the series in order to be eligible for the final. The top-10 men and women with the most points in their three best races will earn a trip for themselves and a person of their choice to the Grand Final. The overall final standings (and the men’s and women’s champions) of the Golden Trail World Series will be determined again by the runners’ three best finishes during the season, plus their result at the Grand Final.
GOLDEN TRAIL WORLD SERIES: SCHEDULE IN 2019
The season will start in Zegama with its authentic Basque fever, where the conditions are often tough but the atmosphere and excitement of the spectators almost lets runners forget the weather conditions. Kilian Jornet, Spain’s favorite son, will return this year after missing last season’s race while recovering from injury. Stian Angermund-Vik, Rémi Bonnet, Davide Magnini, Oriol Cardona, Pascal Egli and many more will try to ruin his plans. On the women side, Ida Nilsson will also be back after her 2018 win, but Ruth Croft, Megan Kimmel, Holly Page, Sheila Aviles and others will be there to challenge for the top spots.
From Zegama’s 42km jaunt up and down the Basque Country’s muddy and technical terrain, the series shifts to the French Alps for the Marathon du Mt Blanc, which is often contested under a warm sun. The early part of the race is often run at a fast pace before the course becomes more of a roller coaster and finishes with a brutal climb, meaning that the physical qualities required to perform in Zegama and Chamonix are quite different. With the level of competition expected to step to the line in Chamonix in 2019, the race will likely be run in a pack, which could create new strategies that were not seen beneath the Mont Blanc in previous years.
At 21km, the Dolomith’s Run in Italy is next, and it is the shortest race of the series. It is where the younger generation of runners will have the best opportunity to compete against more experienced competitors in the couloir of hell. Expect the top-10 finishers to be close together until the very end.
Next up is Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland, a classic fast & furious race that delivers the tightest battles of the season year-after-year. Athletes come from road running, mountain running and track and field to compete over fast terrain. The course is relatively flat after beginning with an epic climb from Sierre, and the crowd waiting at the finish in Zinal is boisterous and rowdy.
Two weeks later, the athletes will move to the high altitude of Colorado for the Pikes Peak Marathon. Climbing and descending is the order of the day, with the course reaching to 4,300 meters. In the men’s race, the question (as always) will be whether anyone touch the impossible record of Matt Carpenter? In 2018, Megan Kimmel bested the women’s record that was set in 1981. With 21km of climbing at a 12 percent grade before the furious 21km downhill back to town, Pikes Peak requires a different kind of strength in the thin air of the Rocky Mountains. This year, the race will be held on the weekend of August 24-25, one week later than normal, making it easier for athletes to race at Sierre-Zinal and Pikes Peak, which were held only six days apart in previous years.
From Colorado, it’s back across the pond to the Scottish Highlands for a case of Scottish vertigo. The Ring of Steall, the final race of the series, will offer runners their last chance to qualify for the Grand Final. Athletes will scramble over technical ridges, run through chilly rivers and negotiate slippery peat passages in predictably unpredictable Scottish weather.
Finally, the top-10 men and women after the first six races will travel together to the Grand Final, being staged this year at top of the world. The Annapurna Trail Marathon in Nepal will offer trail running’s elite an opportunity to gather together in trail running paradise, albeit at high altitude, in what is sure to be a competitive final race to close out the calendar and crown the Golden Trail World Series champions.
Elite runners must participate in three of the six races during the series in order to be eligible for the Grand Final. The top-10 men and women with the most points in their three best races will earn a trip for themselves and a person of their choice to the Grand Final in Nepal. The overall final standings (and the men’s and women’s champions) of the Golden Trail World Series will be determined again by the runners’ three best finishes during the season, plus their result at the Grand Final.
GOLDEN TRAIL WORLD SERIES: PHOTO GALLERY 2018