Spain’s Maite Maiora lived up to her world championship title and ranking leadership to take the first race of the Sky Extreme category together with Bhim Gurung from Nepal in Northern Italy’s Royal Ultra SkyMarathon, Sunday, July 16.
A strong line-up of top ranked runners joined 270 athletes from 27 nations who flocked to the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series inaugural Sky Extreme category.
Amid turquoise lakes and towering peaks, the picture-postcard event featured a demanding 4,141m vertical climb over 55 km up and down seven cols, moraine and snow fields reaching 3,002m altitude.
Sweden’s André Jonsson set off at a hot pace in a tight group alternating the lead with Frenchman Beñat Marmissolle, Gurung and Spaniard Pere Aurell – all pushed by Russian Dmitry Mityaev, Ultra ranking leader.
Gurung, 2016 Kima winner, was no less than 5’ off the leader and on the final descent and just 6km from the finish, exclaimed “I’m so tired. I’m so tired!’ Jonsson added, “That’s when he overtook me!” Gurung dug deep to close with a sweeping win in 6h41’24” setting the record on the new course and taking the Sky Extreme ranking lead. Losing ten precious minutes on the downhill, Jonsson took second in 6h51’37”, his first World Series podium, while Aurell closed third in 6h52’48”.
Racking up the titles is World Champion and Sky Classic ranking leader, Spaniard Maite Maiora who now also leads the Sky Extreme ranking. Super-strong form and a steady pace were the key to success with an 8h05’28” first place finish. “The first and second descents were very tough. I went out hard from the beginning but never gave it for granted that I would win. The last descent was also hard. I would say ‘Extreme’ is a well-chosen name!”
From an unusual start on top of a dam, high mountain terrain and natural and artificial lakes, the race enjoyed a special atmosphere with Navy and Military fanfares welcoming the athletes across the finish line. Set in the ex-Royal hunting grounds of the Gran Paradiso National Park near Turin, the race shares common features with the legendary Kima Trophy with which it alternates as a biennial event.
The three-race Extreme Series introduced last year, counts two out of three for the final rankings and end-of-season prizes in the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series.
With the addition of the first Sky Extreme race, the Overall ranking category is now open. The scoring is based on one race in each category with a maximum of five results. Morcoccan Zaid Ait Malek leads the men’s ranking while the women competitors still have to qualify in every category.
Join us for the next Sky Extreme, the Tromsø SkyRace® in Norway, organised by skyrunning super-stars Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg on August 5.
1. Bhim Gurung (NEP) – 6h41’24”
2. André Jonsson (SWE) – 6h51’37”
3. Pere Aurell (ESP) – 6h52’48”
4. Beñat Marmissolle (FRA) – 6h57’36”
5. Cristofer Clemente (ESP) – 6h59’48”
1. Maite Maiora (ESP) – 8h05’28”
2. Katie Schide (USA) – 8h37’02”
3. Ekaterina Mityaeva (RUS) – 8h48’23”
4. Roser Español (ESP) – 8h55’10”
5. Raffaella Miravalle (ITA) – 9h03’10”
Sky Extreme ranking
1. Bhim Gurung (NEP) – 100 points
2. André Jonsson (SWE) – 88 points
3. Pere Aurell (ESP) – 78 points
4. Beñat Marmissolle (FRA) – 72 points
5. Cristofer Clemente (ESP) – 68 points
1. Maite Maiora (ESP) – 100 points
2. Katie Schide (USA) – 88 points
3. Ekaterina Mityaeva (RUS) – 78 points
4. Roser Español (ESP) – 70 points
5. Raffaella Miravalle (ITA) – 62 points