|Kima, Kilian and Kasie|
The Kima Trophy, fourth race in the Skyrunner® Ultra Series, lived up to its name as the toughest skyrunning race on the calendar, with swirling mists, drizzle and slippery rocks underfoot despite the positive forecasts from the most reliable sources. The 52 km course with 8,400m of ascent and descent, at the best of times represents a huge challenge for even the best skyrunners.
The extraordinary athlete, mountaineer and skyrunner that is Kilian Jornet led the race from start to finish, flying over the demanding, rocky terrain and defying the testing conditions to set a new course record of 6h12’20”. The previous record, 6h19’03” was also his, set in 2010.
For most of the course, fellow- Spaniard Manuel Merillas stayed with him – between a minute and 5 minutes behind until the last summit when Kilian pushed on the accelerator and powered down to the finish line. Manuel’s time was 6h26’33” – nearly a 14 minute gap. A first-rate performance in 6h38’14”. Came from 3rd man, Italian Franco Sancassani, also 3rd here in 2012. Briton Tom Owens, running a little hesitantly over the slippery rocks after last year’s ankle injury, was an excellent 4th and Spaniard Pere Aurell Bovè, 5th.
The women’s race was quite another story with race favourite Emelie Forsberg taking a wrong turn on the course and losing 700 m descent and ascent, amounting to an hour’s blackout. She incredibly recovered enough to finish 2nd behind winner and Salomon team mate, American Kasie Enman.
Kasie and Emelie ran together until the steep technical ascent set in after just 5km where Emelie took off and headed the field. At 20 km at the Cameraccio Hut she had an 11’ lead over Kasie. At 26 km, Kasie was alone and Emelie was gone.
Kasie recalls, “Supporters on the course were saying ‘prima donna’, but I didn’t believe them. Then I realised it was me and I was in the lead!”. At 28 km Emelie re-appeared in 5th place and gained three places, speeding down the dangerous descent to finish an incredible second in 8h22’17”, but nearly half an hour after Kasie’s 7h53’42” finish. For once, her ever-smiling face was in tears.
Third lady was Italian Emanuela Brizio in 8h30’52”, twice race winner and record holder since 2008 until 2012 when the new record of 7h36’21” was set by Nuria Picas.
So, the Kima legend lives on, representing unquestionably the toughest skyrunning course on the calendar. The mountain is not a good-weather friend, but an element of nature requiring the greatest respect - just like the finishers of the Kima Trophy today.
227 runners from 20 countries set off for the biennial event which celebrated 17 editions. 150 volunteers, mostly mountain professionals including the Alpine Rescue Service and Mountain Guides were on the course to ensure a safe race for runners and media. Anti-doping tests were carried out on the first 15 men and 5 women.
The fifth and final race of the Skyrunner® Ultra Series will take place on September 15 at The Rut in Montana, USA, together with the Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer®, fourth race in the Vertical Series.
For the Ultra Series, in the men’s category, the title will most likely be contended between Kilian and Sage Canaday, taking into account points scored in three out of five races (and an extra 20% at the final). To win, Kilian must place ahead of Sage at The Rut.
The ladies’ field will probably be between Emelie and Kasie, although mathematically there are four contenders: Alessandra Carlini, Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg and Kasie Enman,
Skyrunner® Ultra Series provisional ranking
1. Manuel Merillas (Mammut) – 220 points
2. Tom Owens (Salomon) – 216 points
3. Kilian Jornet (Salomon) – 188 points
4. Sage Canaday (Hoka One One) – 178 points
5. Fulvio Dapit (Crazy Idea) – 178
1. Alessandra Carlini (Agisko) – 212 points
2. Anna Frost (Salomon) – 200 points
3. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 188 points
4. Kasie Enman (Salomon) – 188 points
5. Nuria Dominguez (Buff) – 144 points