In 2012, the ISF launched their first Ultra Series kicking off with the Transvulcania Ultra Marathon on a tiny speck in the Atlantic Ocean called La Palma. The race saw probably the deepest field of international running legends to date, and this year will be no exception when Transvulcania opens its doors to more than 1,600 runners in the first race of the Series.
Heading the bill will be Salomon super-stars Kilian Jornet, last year’s winner and record holder Anna Frost and 2012 SWS Champion, Emelie Forsberg, at her first attempt here. The Salomon line-up includes 2010 winner Miguel Heras, Francois d’Haene (4th here and 2012 UTMB winner), Germany’s Philipp Reiter (ranked 3rd SWS Ultra Series) and, from across the pond for a taste of European style skyrunning, Cameron Clayton.
2012 SWS Ultra Champion Nuria Picas, 2nd here last year, will provide seriously tough competition for Frost and Forsberg. Add Italy’s rising star Silvia Serafini (ranked 3rd 2012 SWS) and French women Maud Gobert (6th last year) together with Emelie Lecomte (2012 Diagonale des Fous winner) and we have the recipe for a colossal contest for the women’s podium.
Last year’s winner and record-breaker Dakota Jones is taking a break from racing until later in the summer and Andy Symonds (2nd) will be aiming at shorter distances this year, which include the SWS Sky Series. No less than four skyrunning World Champions will participate: Kilian Jornet, Nuria Picas, Emelie Forsberg and Luis Alberto Hernando (2011).
This time round, Anton Krupicka won’t be taking a back seat. Due to his long-lasting injury since 2011, he was unable to race at Transvulcania, limiting his participation to supporting the runners. On recovery, he went on to take 2nd place behind Kilian at Cavalls in the SWS Ultra Series and is now ready to take on the stacked field.
The strong US contingent includes Joe Grant, back for more, and new entries Sage Canaday and Timothy Olson, 1st and 2nd at New Zealand's Tarawera Ultramarthon are looking forward to testing their skills on the already legendary course. More first timers include Canadian Adam Campbell, back on form after last year’s injury and targeting the Ultra Series; Brazilian Fernanda Maciel, winner of the 2012 TNF Transgrancanaria; and Moroccan Mohamad Ahansal, four-time winner of the Marathon des Sables.
Will records fall? 6h58’44” by Dakota Jones and 8h11’31 by Anna Frost are the incredible records to beat. With such a deep field, podium predictions are a challenge as big as the race itself. Much will depend on the temperature. Jornet will once again attend the event fresh from a season of intense and successful ski-mountaineering but, unlike last year, he will arrive straight from Russia after the first SWS Vertical Series race on Mount Elbrus just three days before… Last year, the rapid change of climate paid its toll on the athlete, crossing the finish in 3rd position after having led for most of the race. Whatever the challenge, King Kilian will certainly not disappoint. As for the women - it’s really anybody’s guess!
It was exactly a year ago today that the ISF announced Transvulcania as their first Ultra race and the extraordinary line-up that came to represent everything that is skyrunning. Much has been published, filmed and photographed, liked and shared. Exactly one year on, the entries have multiplied three-fold from 555 participants, to 1,684 from 29 countries.
The SWS kicks off with the new SWS Team Partners supporting the Series, Salomon, Arc’teryx. inov-8 and La Sportiva, and are joined at Transvucania by: adidas, Asics, Buff, Hoka, New Balance, Platinum Sigvaris, Salomon Agisko, Scott, The North Face and Quechua.
The runners face a daunting 8,525m ascent and descent over the 83 km course. It starts at sea level on the Atlantic coast and travels along the island’s backbone to the summit of the volcano at 2,423m before descending back to the sea and finishing in the town of Los Llanos where several thousand ecstatic supporters greet the runners.
Follow news and updates here and on Facebook and twitter. Race website www.transvulcania.com
2013 Skyrunner® World Series