Yesterday was the turn of The Rut 28K, second race of the Skyrunner® World Series trio in Montana, USA. Wedged between Friday’s Vertical Kilometer® and today’s 50K, the race saw some of the best skyrunners from home and abroad competing. Close on 300 competitors toed the start-line.
American Megan Kimmel, ranking leader and winner here last year was the all-out favourite and she delivered what she promised. She ran strong from the gun and summited Lone Peak, the highest point of the race at 3,403m – flying.
The course counts an extra three kilometres with respect to last year with 2,375m vertical climb which includes all the steep technical sections of Sunday’s 50K.
Coming from Silverton, Colorado, Megan is no stranger to altitude and, unlike the Europeans competing here, thrives on the thin air as she did in the first race of the season in Yading, China at 4,664m.
“I felt good today and I was certainly more confident having run and won the race last year.” She commented. “The temperatures were ideal for running, yes, it was a little cold and windy at the Lone Peak summit but that didn’t last long. This is a really technical course in places and I was happy to consolidate my lead and take no risks. I will now race in Limone in October.”
Megan ran the race alone with an advantage of between three to eight minutes over her opponents and closed, elated, in 3h36’, seven minutes ahead of Norway’s Yngvild Kaspersen, second and, in third position, Spain’s Laura Orgué 13’ later.
In 2015 Laura finished just seconds behind and went on to take the Sky Series title at the finals. It looks like it’s going to be a battle in Limone as Megan will have to take at least second place to win the Series.
The men’s race was another story, with American Dakota Jones, after a year off with injury and back on form, he led the ascent on Lone Peak followed 2’ off by Spaniard Ait Chaou. At 8’, Bulgarian Kiril Nikolov and Spaniard Jan Margarit (who came 2nd in Friday’s VK) were pushing up the ranks. The descent from the summit was to end Dakota’s race when he injured an ankle. Ait Choau seemed comfortable in the lead which he extended to finish eight minutes ahead of Nikolov, with Margarit closing 3rd.
Czech Ondrej Fejfar who won Friday’s VK finished 6th. Their times: 3h06’, 3h14’ and 3h15’ respectively. For the Series finals, current ranking leader, Italian Tadei Pivk needs only to finish 3rd with a win from Ait Chaou to take the title.
A special prize was in store for the first runners to the summit of Lone Peak awarding an Alpina Horological Smartwatch. The luxury Swiss brand, Alpina Watches, Official Watch of the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series has devised a special formula based on the time at the highest point of the 28K (3,403m) and applies a bonus based on age (+/-), putting everyone on the same level, irrespective of the final race results. The winners were: Yngvild Kaspersen and Hassan Ait Chaou.
Mountain weather is never completely predictable and the mountain rules. Friday’s VK was run on a shorter, alternative course and also Sunday’s 50K will be on the plan B course with bad weather on the way.
The Rut 28K results
- Hassan Ait Chaou(ESP) Euskal – 3h06’39”
- Kiril Nikolov (BUL) – 3h14’35”
- Jan Margarit(ESP) Salomon – 3h15’00”
- Michael Barlow (USA) Salomon – 3h15’11”
- Timmy Parr (USA) Hoka One One – 3h22’02”
- Megan Kimmel (USA) asics – 3h36’23”
- Yngvild Kaspersen (NOR) Salomon – 3h43’30”
- Laura Orgué (ESP) – 3h56’14”
- Najeeby Quinn (USA) – 4h03’08”
- Marta Molist (ESP) – 4h04’40”
Sky Series ranking
- Tadei Pivk (ITA) – 356 points
- Hassan Ait Chaou (ESP) – 322 points
- Pablo Villa (ESP) – 233 points
- Jan Margarit (ESP) – 225 points
- Oscar Casal Mir (ESP) – 220 points
- Megan Kimmel (USA) – 388 points
- Laura Orgué (ESP) – 278 points
- Ragna Debats (NED) – 264 points
- Ynvild Kaspersen (NOR) – 250 points
- Oihana Kortazar (ESP) – 236 points