Benalmadena in Andalucía, Spain hosted the first SkyRace of the 2023 Skyrunner® World Series, the Calamorro SkyRace. The race attracted a very high level of competition in both the men’s and women’s fields – with one course record falling despite quite severe, unseasonal heat which exceeded 32 degrees.
The 27km coastal course, which looks out over the Mediterranean, comprised 2,000m of elevation gain with sections of scrambling and technical descents.
Iris Pessey (FRA) from Team Scott won the women’s race in a time of 3:21:17. After a disappointing 2022 that saw Pessey land on the podium many times but never take home the winner’s the bib, it was clear this win meant a lot to the French athlete.
“This feels so good!”, commented Pessey, “to come so close so many times last season was frustrating and it gave me a feeling of wanting revenge. Even this time, I was close to losing it again when Elsey caught up with me. I still can’t believe it! I have been chasing this for five years and now I have it!”
The race for first place was hotly contested with Elsey Whyman- Davis (GBR) of The North Face chasing down and ultimately catching Pessey at the last aid station. This was short lived however, with Whyman-Davis fainting, and Pessey regaining the lead and cementing first place. Marcela Vasinova (CZE) and Ikram Rharsalla (ESP) closed out the podium in times of 3:24:47 and 3:26:38 respectively.
The men’s race was exciting and extremely close with much of the top-10 of switching throughout. Alejandro Forcades (ESP) of team NNormal held the lead until the mid-point of the race but was caught by Daniel Osanz (ESP) of Adidas Terrex. Osanz looked as though he had secured the win, but Scarpa athlete Antonio Martinez Perez (ESP) came from behind with a very well-paced run and stole the lead to win the Calamorro SkyRace. In doing Antonio Martinez Perez broke the course record, with a time of 2:39:01 – despite the extreme conditions. Osanz collapsed after crossing the finish line, but secured second place in a time of 2:40:59. Scott athelete Frederic Tranchand (FRA) rounded out the podium, finishing in 2:45:24.
“I didn’t expect to win. I came to the top of the first climb in seventh place”, comments the make champion, “I started behind because of the heat but I managed to keep overtaking and once I knew I was on the podium, I pushed and managed to get ahead. This year I am doing the full circuit. I think the prize money is a huge motivation for us athletes.”
The top 20 of Calamorro Skyrace were awarded points to the overall ranking. Prize money was also awarded to the top 10.
Both champions Pessey and Martinez will compete in the next race of the season, Skyrace des Matheysins in France on May 14th.
Top 5 women:
- Iris Pessey (FRA) Team Scott Running – 3h21’12”
- Marcela Vasinova (CZE) – 3h24’47”
- Ikram Rharsalla (ESP) Team Millet – 3h26’38”
- Noemie Vachon (FRA) Team Brooks – 3h28’58”
- Nadege Servant (FRA) – 3h33’41”
Top 5 men:
- Antonio Martinez Perez (ESP) Team Scarpa – 2h39’01”
- Daniel Osanz (ESP) Team Adidas Terrex – 2h40’59”
- Frederic Tranchand (FRA) Team Scott Running – 2h45’24”
- Peter Frano (SVK) Team Scarpa – 2h47’44”
- Alejandro Forcades (ESP) Team NNormal – 2h48’07”