The second leg of the Skyrunner® Ultra Series was staged in Madeira, Portugal today with a 55 km super-technical course to the island’s summit towering high above the clouds and the sea below.
With a highly competitive international field participating, the Ultra SkyMarathon® Madeira, for the first time on the Skyrunner® World Series calendar, didn’t disappoint.
Despite a variation with respect to last year’s course making for an even more demanding race, records were pulverised – the top five women and the top two men smashed the standing records. Race winners were Cristofer Clemente and Gemma Arenas.
Skyrunning star Anna Frost was among the women’s favourites. From the pre-dawn 6 am start in the town of Santana, to the race summit at 1,861m and right up to km 24, it looked as though she was heading for the win. Spaniard Gemma Arenas, together with Americans Hillary Allen and Kristina Pattison had been hot on her heels with just a three-minute gap separating them. It was here, on the long downhill, that Gemma accelerated to overtake Anna and secure victory in 6h59’51”. Hillary closed second and Anna was an excellent third.
André Jonsson from Sweden, an unknown quantity on the skyrunning circuit until his recent 10th place at Zegama, set out with strong lead closely followed by Dimitri Theodorakakos from Greece. He comfortably cleared the summit and held the lead on the long descent down to the river, 6 km from the finish, where the athletes have to wade across the water. Here, Spaniard Cristofer Clemente moved up to second place. He carefully paced himself throughout and took the lead on the final descent which he held to the finish, closing in 6h00’28“.
Cristofer, who was second on the overall 2015 ranking, commented, “I’m very happy. It was good for me overall. I ran at a conservative pace and felt very comfortable throughout, despite the challenging 55 km and 4,000m vertical climb.”
The Madeira Ultra SkyMarathon®, now in its third year, perfectly embodies the skyrunning sea-to sky concept with some very technical stretches up to the Grade II climbing scale, and a via ferrata section.
João Canning Clode, USM co-director and PR commented, “We didn’t expect to break the standing records but given the good weather this year and the strong competition, it was a welcome surprise. The course was even more technical, although the distance and vertical climb remain the same. It was designed to be spectacular, bold and inspirational – just like skyrunning.”
Cristofer Clemente now takes over the Ultra Series ranking lead for the men and Gemma Arenas for the women. Look out for the next Ultra Series race with the new High Trail Vanoise in the renowned ski resort of Val d’Isère, France on July 10.
Ultra SkyMarathon® Madeira results (extract)
1. Cristofer Clemente (ESP) – 6h00’28”
2. Dimitri Theodorakakos (GRE) – 6h09’06”
3. Luis Fernandez (POR) – 6h11’34”
4. André Jonsson (SWE) – 6h14’10”
5. Nuno Silva (POR) – 6h17’43”
1. Gemma Arenas (ESP) – 6h59’51”
2. Hillary Allen (USA) – 7h13’12”
3. Anna Frost (NZL) – 7h17’00”
4. Anna Strakova (CZE) – 7h20’42”
5. Anna Comet (ESP) – 7h29’17”
Skyrunner® Ultra Series provisional ranking
1. Cristofer Clemente (ESP) – 153 points
2. Remigio Huaman (PER) – 121 points
3. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) – 100 points
4. Nicolas Martin (FRA) – 88 points
5. Dimitri Theodorakakos (GRE) – 88 points
1. Gemma Arenas (ESP) – 154 points
2. Hillary Allen (USA) – 150 points
3. Anna Frost (NZL) – 126 points
4. Ida Nilsson (SWE) – 100 points
5. Anne-Lise Rousset (FRA) – 88 points
See full rankings here.