Briton Jonathan Albon and Spaniard Maite Maiora were victorious at the Tromsø SkyRace® in Norway, 6 August, second stage of the three-race Sky Extreme category on the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series, now at the height of the season. Maiora, after two straight wins out of three, takes the Sky Extreme title, with still one race to go in the category.
Jonathan Albon, a Londoner, is a resident in Norway, his training playground. Commenting on his race, he said, “Tromsø SkyRace was as fantastic as ever. The straight steep lines that Kilian marks are spectacular and it wasn’t hard to enjoy my third time participating in this event. There aren’t many races where a herd of reindeer accompany you up the first ascent and your highest heart rate is reached not from the effort of going uphill but the thrill of descending on snow at top speed. Finally some decent weather allowed a view from the tops and revealed just how exposed the Hamperokken ridge is.
“I was in the lead on the descent and that’s when I thought I might as well go for it and tried to do the last climb as fast as possible. I heard people say I had a 13’ lead over Bhim and I was thinking ‘Where is he?’ I managed to run all the way in, so I was happy!”
Albon wrapped it up in 7h01’01”. As it turned out Nepali Bhim Gurung closed the gap to finish just under 8’ behind, an excellent second in 7h0858”. In third, Michel Lanne from France in 7h27’26”.
The women’s race saw Maiora lead from the gun, although it wasn’t without complications. “I’m happy to win the Tromsø SkyRace and with that, the Sky Extreme title which was my main objective of the season. The race was fantastic, with all kinds of terrain where I felt very good. The past two two years I had a very bad time my shoulder which dislocated many times, many falls and blows.” She commented. “This year I was able to smile during the whole race. It was great to see Kilian at the top of Hamperokken encouraging the runners. On the last descent I had a lot of stones in my shoes so my feet hurt a lot but, in short, I’m happy!”
Maiora crossed the line in 8h21’21”. Second lady was Ragna Debats from the Netherlands, on an upward spiral this year in 8h25’43”, followed by Spain’s Nuria Picas, better known for her Ultra distance achievements, proved she can secure a podium place in the Extreme category too. Her time was 8h39’17”.
It’s interesting to note the strong participation and top results from Spanish and French runners, for the first time competing in the Sky Extreme category previously dominated by Northern countries.
230 participants from 28 countries took part in the severe challenge over the tough and technical 56 km course with 4,600m vertical climb to the summit of Hamperokken on the island of Tromsø in the Arctic Circle.
Now in its third year on Series, the race was designed by skyrunning super stars Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg to fit the skyrunning concept and was instrumental in inspiring the Sky Extreme category launched last year.
Forsberg stated, “We were for the first time very lucky with the weather, the sun came out for the VK on Friday and continued on Saturday at the Hamperokken SkyRace. Runners could enjoy the views and it was a very exiting race with a close field for the top runners in almost the whole race. We are sad to say that Hillary Allen had an accident and needed a helicopter rescue, but pleased now that she’s stable with no big injuries. Overall we are very pleased to present yet another year of the Tromsø SkyRace with happy finishers!”
Past the mid season point, the rankings are taking shape after yesterday’s results which count an extra 20% bonus points with Maiora already Sky Extreme Champion. Debats rises to second and Picas takes third.
The men’s rankings confirm Bhim Gurung at the top, Spaniard Pere Aurell climbs to second and Briton Hector Haines in third.
The third and final race in the Sky Extreme category will take place in Scotland with the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline on 17 September where the men’s title is still at stake.
The Overall rankings, based on competing in at least one race in each category are also panning out with Moroccan Zaid Ait Malek still at the top while Ragna Debats takes over the women’s lead.
Hamperokken SkyRace® results
- Jonathan Albon (GBR) – 7h01’01”
- Bhim Gurung (NEP) – 7h08’58”
- Michel Lanne (FRA) – 7h27’26”
- Fabien Antolinos (FRA) – 7h32’06”
- Reynaud Gael (FRA) – 7h32’46”
- Maite Maiora (ESP) – 8h21’21”
- Ragna Debats (NED) – 8h25’43”
- Nuria Picas (ESP) – 8h39’17”
- Malene Blikken Haukøy (NOR) – 8h57’45”
- Maija Oravamäki (FIN) – 9h47’58”