Luis Alberto Hernando and Ragna Debats are crowned Sky Ultra champions after yesterday’s Salomon Ultra Pirineu decider in the Spanish Pyrenees. The final stage of the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series category had Hernando as race favourite. He placed just sixth but took enough points to clinch the title. Challenged only by Francesca Canepa, ranked third, Debats did not run. Canepa was forced to retire leaving the crown to Debats.
Going into the race Hernando had been confident, but afterwards, stated, “I suffered a lot in this race. I had pain in my knee and stomach problems but I managed to continue, finish sixth and become the Sky Ultra champion which was my main goal in the last part of the season. I just turned 40 two days ago, so not bad for an old man, eh?”
The extremely challenging race was won by Spaniards Pablo Villa in 12h30’19” and Maite Maiora in 14h22’19”. Maiora placed an incredible 15th overall after racing 110 km and eating up a massive 6,800m positive climb. Her effort was remarkable as she was racing against four-time winner and recent UTMB victor, Nuria Picas who finally closed second.
Maiora, crowned Sky Extreme champion just one week ago is going from strength to strength and now also leads the Overall rankings. “I felt mentally very strong in this race but physically, less so. I had only one objective which was to finish. It was an immense achievement just to reach the finish line and if I could win, better still. 2017 will be practically impossible to repeat. I’d like to frame it and keep it in my heart for the rest of my life!” she exclaimed.
The Russian Mityaev couple excelled with Dmitry taking second and his wife, Ekaterina, third. They now place a well-deserved third and fourth respectively on the ranking, which counts the best results of three out of eight races. Frenchman Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz now climbs to second, thanks to his third place here. American Hillary Allen, injured since early August, happily keeps her second slot on the ranking.
Overall 1,095 participants from 43 countries took part in the challenge. The records, set in 2015 by Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg in 12h03’27 and 13h39’33” remain intact.
The 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series has now put to bed the Sky Extreme and Sky Ultra categories and looks forward to the Sky Classic finals in Limone sul Garda, Italy on October 14 where the curtain will close the skyrunning season…and prepare for the next.
The end of season bonus pool will award € 60,000 to the top three men and women in each category which includes the Overall. Briton Jonathan Albon sits on top of the men’s ranking, unchallenged, while the women’s will be played out between Maiora and Debats in Limone.
“It’s been a long season, competing in a lot of races in all the categories,” said Debats. “To be able to win this title is awesome. I can still compete for the Overall so all I can say it’s been a super season!”
Salomon Ultra Pirineu results
- Pablo Villa (ESP) – 12h30’19”
- Dmitry Mityaev (RUS) – 12h33’46”
- Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz (FRA) – 12h44’15”
- Jordi Gamito (ESP) – 12h45’06”
- Ivan Camps (ESP) – 12h57’22”
- Maite Maiora (ESP) – 14h22’19”
- Nuria Picas (ESP) – 14h41’45”
- Ekaterina Mityaeva (RUS) – 15’41’17”
- Roser Español (ESP) – 16h27’15”
- Judit Franch (ESP) – 16h42’42”