Kilian Jornet and Tove Alexandersson crowned SKY World Champions
Kilian Jornet and Tove Alexandersson took gold for Spain and Sweden in the final race of the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships today. Both athletes smashed the course records for the 29km Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace.
Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace winners and 2018 SKY World Champions, Kilian and Tove. Credit: No Limits Photography
More than 700 runners headed to the Scottish Highlands to take on the technical Skyrace, which includes four Munro summits (Scottish mountains over 3,000ft / 914m) and 2500m of ascent.
The weather was the best of the Skyrunning festival weekend, with little wind and a mix of sunny spells, cloud and rain, although many athletes described it as "atmospheric" on the summits.
Kilian Jornet and Tove Alexandersson crowned SKY World Champions
Kilian Jornet (ESP) and Tove Alexandersson (SWE) crowned SKY World Champions today in the final race of the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships Full results: www.skylinescotland.com/ring-of-steall-skyrace/results/2018-results/ #Skyrunning #SkyWorldChamps #GoldenTrailSeriesPosted by Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace on Saturday, 15 September 2018
It is the first time Scotland has hosted the biennial Skyrunning World Championships. The Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace is the fifth race in the new Golden Trail Series.
Kilian Jornet smashes the record for Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace. Credit: No Limits Photography
Kilian, 30, beat a strong international field to come home in 03:04:34, an incredible 20 minutes faster than the record set last year. The Salomon athlete, who had a bloodied chin after falling on the final descent, said: “It was an amazing race and I am very happy to be the winner.
"I love coming to Scotland. It’s technical, the track is beautiful, what I love when I’m racing.
"Today was a great battle with Nadir [second placed male]. It’s great because when we look for racing, we look for competition, for a fight, and that’s what it was today. When you think about skyrunning you think about races like this, you need to fight every step.
“What’s particular here is it’s very muddy, very wet, slippery. The terrain is similar to Norway. I fell in the mud on the last downhill. This year it was good for me, such a good field with so many strong people.”
Tove triumphs in only her second Skyrace. Credit: Sven Alexandersson
In only her second Skyrace, 26-year-old Tove finished almost 19 minutes ahead of the record in 03:46:28. Tove won her debut Skyrace, the Limone Skyrunning Xtreme last October and is a seven-times orienteering world champion.
Looking fresh and relaxed at the finish, she said: “I did not have a big expectation of this race because I am new to sky races but it was a nice day for me. It was a fantastic course and it feels amazing to be world champion.
"I want to say thank you for skyrunning."
Silver medallist Nadir Maguet descending Stob Coire a' Chairn. Credit: No Limits Photography
In silver position overall and 91 seconds behind Kilian, was Italian runner Nadir Maguet in 03:06:05. He was followed by Stian Angermund-Vik, of Norway, in 03:09:05.
Nadir, 24, said: “I came here hoping to do well. Obviously when you see a start list with a very high level, you ask yourself how will it go?
“My dream was to race with Kilian, to feel strong, and that was how it went, running with him.
“I ran the whole race with him, mostly half a minute behind. In the second half of the race and on the last descent I tried to push but you know Kilian is strong on the downhill. It was impossible to catch him, I tried.
“The important [thing] is to dream and dream and I’m really happy for my second place.”
Bronze medallist Stian Angermund-Vik on Stob Coire a' Chairn. Credit: No Limits Photography
Stian, also part of the Salomon Team, was last year’s Salomon Ring of Steall winner and bronze medallist in Thursday’s VERTICAL Skyrunning World Championships.
He said: “It was so much fun and I am so happy. I couldn’t keep up with those fast guys but I am just so pleased to be 15 minutes faster than last year.
“This is my favourite race. I love Scotland’s mountains.”
Revealing the high calibre of the runners in today’s Skyrunning World Championships and Golden Trail Series race, the top 11 men finished inside last year’s record time.
Top 3 females on the podium. Credit: No Limits Photography.
In the women’s race, the top six also ran faster than last year’s record winning time of 04:05:12 set by Spain’s Laura Orgué.
Two Brits took silver and bronze, Victoria Wilkinson and Holly Page in 03:54:01 and 03:57:57 respectively.
A fortnight ago Victoria, 40, made Scottish running history setting a new women’s record for the iconic race up and down the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.
The English fell running champion and inov-8 ambassador said: “The Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace was hard work because I have not raced for four hours for quite some time and that meant I had to pace myself.
“I had not run the Ring of Steall course before either but I loved the course and I am really happy to be second lady.”
Holly Page, who is in pole position in the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series Classic category, had hoped for a top 10 finish and was understandably emotional to come home third.
The 28-year-old Salomon athlete said: “I am absolutely delighted to win bronze. I wasn’t expecting it at all because the field is so strong here today.
“At the top of the first climb I felt bad and I was unhappy but then on the downhill the race ‘smelt’ like a fell race, which I am used to. Then I felt much better. I overtook many people and surprisingly I was not overtaken heading up the second climb. It was a great race."
The first two males hug on the finish line. Credit: No Limits Photography
Golden Trail Series
The Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace was the fifth and final race of the Golden Trail Series and represented the last chance for many athletes to grab a spot inside the top 10. They qualified for all-expenses paid trip to the Grand Finale in South Africa. That left plenty of drama to unfold on the hills of Scotland, especially in the women’s field.
In the end, the top 10 women heading to South Africa's Otter Trail will be New Zealand’s Ruth Croft (Team Scott), Sweden’s Ida Nilsson (Team Salomon), Spain’s Laura Orgue (Team Salomon), USA’s Megan Kimmel (Team Salomon), Spain’s Eli Gordon (Team Salomon), Great Britain’s Holly Page (Team Salomon), Spain’s Sheila Aviles Castano (Team Buff), Italy’s Silvia Rampazzo (Team Tornado), and Sweden’s Fanny Borgstrom (Team Salomon) and South Africa’s Meg Mackenzie (Team Salomon).
On the men’s side, it will be Kilian Jornet (Team Salomon), Stian Angermund-Vik (Team Salomon), Switzerland’s Marc Lauenstein (Team Salomon), Spain’s Aritz Egea (Team Salomon), Spain’s Oriol Cardona (Team Dynafit), Switzerland’s Stephan Wenk (Team Scott), France’s Alexis Sevennec (Team Scott), USA’s Sage Canaday (Team Hoka), France’s Thibaut Baronian (Team Salomon) and the Czech Republic’s Bartlomiej Przedwojweski (Team Salomon).
Victoria Wilkinson finished in second position. Credit: No Limits Photography.
What’s next at Skyline Scotland?
Tomorrow’s race, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline®, part of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series, takes place tomorrow. Kilian Jornet is set to race again in a bid to defend his record-breaking win last year.