The tenth race of the 2019 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series saw two mighty locals dominate the field from start to finish on the shortest and steepest race of the season.
Today at 9:30 am, 550 runners gathered in Arinsal, Andorra, behind the starting line of the tenth race of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series. With almost 2,300 m of vertical gain in just 21 km, Skyrace Comapedrosa is known as the steepest, shortest and most intense race of the season, and today it lived up to everyone’s expectations.
The Battle of the Wonderkids
In both categories, the race was dominated by two extremely strong local runners. In the men’s race, a talented young team, consisting of Slovenia’s Rok Bratina, Théo Detienne and Jan Margarit, took off and set the pace from the beginning.
First to arrive at Les Fonts, the first summit of the course, was Spain’s Jan Margarit. The 2017 Skyrace Comapedrosa champion pushed hard to take the lead from the very beginning and proved too strong for the rest of the pack. Even after two backbreaking climbs of over 1,000m, plus a steep descent that saw Russian downhill pro, Evgeny Markov who finished in second place, come very close to snatching his first position, Margarit was able to keep the lead throughout – a win he says was driven by the thought of qualifying for the SkyMasters.
“I took the lead at the very beginning with Théo and Rok as I imagined would happen. I push hard on the first downhill and managed to get a ten to fifteen second lead on Théo. At the first downhill, I aimed to make this gap even bigger and by the second uphill, I was already alone. I didn’t know the difference but I knew there was a big gap. The thought of qualifying for Limone was my motivation today during the race and so to take home first is incredible.” said Margarit who finished with an impressive time of 02h36’32”.
The second member of the young team, 20-year-old Théo Detienne of France, managed to keep up with Margarit until halfway through the race, however, the second uphill took its toll on the young star. After a tough fight for the podium, Detienne was unable to keep up in the downhill and finally finished in fifth place.
The third member of the “wonderkids” group was Rok Bratina. After a fast start, Bratina suffered a bad fall which threw his confidence and, as a result, he fell back into tenth place in the first uphill. However, the young Slovenian did not admit defeat and managed to make a comeback in the second uphill, even coming close to catching up with Margarit. After climbing seven positions, Bratina was unable to beat the Russian in the downhill and arrived at the finish line in third place, less than three minutes behind the winner.
“That’s what I love about skyrunning – it’s always a journey and it’s so unpredictable. This race had so many ups and downs and I really gave it everything I had.” Said Bratina.
Avilés proves she’s the one to beat!
It was a hat trick today for Sheila Avilés who, for the third time this season, was unbeatable. After dominating the women’s race from the start, the local athlete crossed the finish line an incredible fifteen minutes before the Ester Casajuana in second place – an easy win for Avilés.
“I was confident I would win from the beginning. I felt strong throughout the entire race and when I reached the top of the first climb, I just wanted to take off so I could enjoy the downhill on my own. I didn’t want to fight this time like in 2018. I really wanted to finish alone. It feels so good to be number one in the overall ranking and now I’m more motivated than ever to fight harder for the overall number one of the series.” said Avilés.
Following a game of leapfrog between Sweden’s Sanna El Kott and Spain’s Ester Casajuana and Claudia Sabata, the Spanish duo managed to pull through with Casajuana finishing in second and rising star, Sabata, closing the podium in third. Much to the delight of fans and spectators, with Avilés in first place, the women’s podium was dominated by local runners.
El Kott, who famously beat Avilés by seconds following a sprint finish at the 2018 Skyrace Comapedrosa, suffered a bad fall in the last downhill which caused her to slow down. In the end, she was the fifth women to cross the finish line today, this time almost 22 minutes behind Avilés, rather than seconds in front of her.
Five races remain of the season before the SkyMasters in Limone on October 19. The next race in the calendar is the extreme Tromsø Skyrace on August 3.
Skyrace Comapedrosa 2019 Results: