Massive sandstorms and strong winds added to the already challenging conditions of the Devil’s Ridge 60K in China’s Gobi Desert, Saturday, September 9. The sixth stage of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series had competitors battling against the elements on an already demanding course to 3,246m altitude for points in the Sky Ultra category.
The night before the race, high winds ripped the course signage from the ground scattering them in the desert and doubling the job of the organisers who managed to respect the 8am start.
The battle with the elements paid off and Min Qi from China came out on top in the men’s field to close in 6h18’36” in a field of 59 competitors. The podium was all-Chinese with Fuming He and Duoji Silang in second and third respectively. From the Czech Republic, Jan Bartas placed fourth.
Italy’s Francesca Canepa, currently third on the Sky Ultra rankings, pulled off an impressive performance in the women’s category with a time of 8h00’15”, finishing sixth overall. An immense gap of two hours separated her from the second finisher, China’s Yue Zhang. Zhili Ou placed third.
“I got lost a couple of times and I was a bit scared. You don’t want to get lost in a desert in China!” She commented.” It was very windy and some of the signage disappeared, but the experience was really good, very different, awesome landscapes, challenging terrain, a nice start, very technical on the ridges…a great experience overall!”
The Sky Ultra rankings remain unaffected with Canepa still in third and Ragna Debats leading and, in second, Hillary Allen. Similarly, the men’s rankings remain unchanged headed by top three, Luis Alberto Hernando, Dmitry Mityaev and Aurélien Dunad-Pallaz.
With just two more races to go on the eight-race Sky Ultra category, the pace hots up with the next event just one week away in the Scottish Highlands featuring the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra on September 16. An intense weekend of skyrunning unfolds with three races including the Sky Classic and Sky Extreme categories and the Salomon Mamores VK which counts on the new Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit ranking.
Devil’s Ridge results
- Min Qi (CHN) – 6h18’36”
- Fuming He CHN) – 6h22’44”
- Duoji Silang (CHN) – 6h43’32”
- Jan Bartas (CZE) – 6h46’44”
- Xiaohua Yang (CHN) – 7h55’24”
- Francesca Canepa (ITA) – 8h00’15”
- Yue Zhang (CHN) – 10h11’52”
- Zhili Ou (CHN) – 10h58’45”
- Qidan Mu (CHN) – 11h25’32”
- Xiaolei Fu (CHN) – TBC