Limone Extreme Skyrace
The final round of the Skyrunner World Series brought the best of the mountain running world to the town of Limone on the banks of Lake Garda. Mixing it up with the likes of Killian Journet, Anton Krupicka and Holly Page at this end of season extravaganza were a team of Sale Harriers along with several honorary members.
This festival of mountain running opened on the Friday with the vertical kilometre. The VK race is simple, only 3.7km long but climb 1080m. Rich Brown was Sale’s representative in this race as he felt that he needed a warm up for the main event the following day.
Saturday dawned with clear skies overhead and the sun burning over the mountain peaks. The forecast said 25oC feeling like 31oC and everyone knew they were in for a hot day.
At 9am, Steve McCarron, Paul Barrett, Elton Davies and Phil Dunn set off from the picturesque old town centre for 10km of rocky trails with 790m of climb. The course travelled along the lakefront and flanked the San Giovanni torrent before heading into Singol Valley and climbing the rugged mule trail with sections at a 24% gradient. The route travelled along the scenic single track to Pre, Malga Dalò and Fò Granc before descending steeply to the finish line on Lungolago Marconi.
Steve (61:36) was first home finishing an impressive 15th overall and was followed in by Elton (78:11) Paul (85:00) and Phil (94:01).
At 11am, to the chords of ACDC’s Thunderstruck, the big one got underway. What followed was a beautifully brutal 29km, climbing 2540m over baking trails, through pine needle carpeted forests and along hair-raising ridges. The first 2km led everyone through the streets of Limone and then, at Reamol, the steep ascent began towards Punto Larici (1200m). Next came Passo Rocchetta and Cina Mughera before the first leg smashing descent on the “zete de Rans” path. With no time to pause the next ascent came, ending at the highest point on the course, Monte Carone (1621m). After several challenging hours came the final descent, a technical track ranging from forest paths to boulder hopping sections before finishing in the centre of town by the lakeside.
First home was Sale’s own hill-master Chris Donnelly (4:09:22) followed by honorary Sale hillbilly Ed Gamble (4:23:49) and Duncan Hill (4:32:43). Next came Andrew Carlin (4:44:11), Rob Dunn (4:58:54) and Rich Brown (5:10:35) followed by the strong finishing Oli Gaillemin (5:30:32), Ben Norman (5:31:55), Mike Ashby (5:33:00) and Aidan Raftery (5:41:54).
The spirit of the race is most recognisable in the challenges overcome by people both prior to and during the events and how impressive it was for everyone involved to take the gamble to stand on those start lines looking up at the mighty Dolomites and think “let’s go!”. There were falls, injuries and pick-me-ups during the races but everyone battled on, emerging with a smile and memories for a lifetime. We were clearly the team to be seen with as even the legends of skyrunning’s Team Salomon chose to follow us for post-race gelato and limoncello.
I can’t fully do this event justice with words so strongly recommend that you have a look at the highlights video (click here) and a few of the pictures below.
Posted 17/10/2018 16:28