Briton Tom Owens is on a winning streak and nails the Hamperokken SkyRace® in Tromsø, Norway, Saturday. Launching the inaugural Skyrunner® Extreme Series, the men’s podium was, in fact, all-British with last year’s winner Jonathan Albon taking second and Finlay Wild, third, just ten minutes behind. Owens closed in 6h45’15” setting the record on the newly designed course.
“I just had the race of my life with those guys,” said Owens. “I was with Jon the last 300m. He backed off a bit and I felt good. The support out there was phenomenal. I’m so surprised, just so happy.”
As predicted, the women’s field was led and won by another Briton, Jasmin Paris in 8h43’53” – an incredible performance considering she placed third and secured a bronze medal in the Buff® Epic 105K Skyrunning World Championships just 13 days earlier. The girl with the exotic name and the power of a turbo engine will go far…and high. Second was a local Norwegian Malene Blikken Haukøy and third, Italian Martina Valmassoi.
A weekend of pure skyrunning among the fjords and glaciers of the Arctic Circle kicked-off with the Blåmann Vertical on Friday and concluded with the inaugural Extreme Series’ Hamperokken SkyRace® on Saturday. The course is longer and higher with respect to last year with a distance of 53 km and a punishing 4,600m vertical climb. It starts at sea level and summits two peaks over extremely steep and rocky terrain including exposed ridges.
The events were organised by the most famous skyrunning ambassadors, Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet. On the eve of his departure for his record attempt on Everest, Kilian was at the finish line late into the evening until the last runner was safely home.
“For an organiser, the smile of the runners at the finish is the most important thing, to know that there were no problems on the course. Safety is a priority. There was no sun, but no rain either! Just lots of smiles,” he commented.
“The fight among the Brits in the elite men’s field was really interesting. An Extreme Series race is not just a physical challenge for the strongest, it’s also technical ability. It’s not about the stop watch, but just finishing…” Kilian said.
“There were people from many countries, a lot of French for example who can’t find such technical terrain in Chamonix. The Scandinavians of course and the British do well here thanks to their fell running background.”
No doubt we’ll be seeing a lot more of these nations on the podiums of the new Extreme Series composed of three races, two of which count for the final rankings.
Runners from 15 countries took part in the Tromsø events which were each capped at 200 entrants for safety and ecological reasons.
The Extreme Series is presented by Alpina Watches awarding the male and female winners of each race with an Alpina Horological Smartwatch, in this case, Jasmin Paris and Tom Owens.
Next race on the Skyrunner® World Series calendar is the spectacular Ultraks 46K on August 20 in Zermatt, Switzerland where top runners from across the world will line up for the great competition, the great views and to earn their points in the Sky rankings.
Hamperokken SkyRace® results
- Tom Owens (GBR) Salomon – 6h45’15”
- Jonathan Albon (GBR) – 6h53’25”
- Finlay Wild (GBR) – 6h55’03”
- Sota Ogawa (JPN) Salomon – 7h47’23”
- Rolf Einar Jensen (NOR) SCOTT Running – 7h48’32”
- Jasmin Paris (GBR) inov-8 – 8h43’53”
- Malene Blikken Haukøy (NOR) – 9h10’27”
- Martina Valmassoi (ITA) Salomon – 9h44’02”
- Natalia Tomasiak (POL) Salomon – 10h07’22”
- Katie Boden (GBR) – 10h14’02”
Extreme Series Rankings
- Tom Owens (GBR) – 100 points
- Jonathan Albon (GBR) – 88 points
- Finlay Wild (GBR) – 78 points
- Sota Ogawa (JPN) – 72 points
- Rolf Einar Jensen (NOR) – 68 points
- Jasmin Paris (GBR) – 100 points
- Marlene Haukøy (NOR) – 88 points
- Martina Valmassoi (ITA) – 78 points
- Natalia Tomasiak (POL) – 70 points
- Katie Boden (GBR) – 62 points