inov-8 ambassadors across the world rose to the fore on arguably the biggest weekend in the 2017 trail running calendar. In the USA, Greece, France and Italy, the sport’s best assembled to tackle some of the planet’s most iconic races.
Western States 100
Avery Collins went into his first-ever Western States 100 hopeful of a top-10 finish. This Californian epic is the world’s oldest 100-mile trail and, as usual, the field was super-stacked with elite ultra runners. Avery, running with a racing wisdom far exceeding his young years, expertly managed his pace throughout the race and surged after Foresthill at mile 62.
The 25-year-old American shot up the field from 13th place to sixth in the space of the next 8.5-mile stretch. He continued to push and even got as high as fourth before eventually finishing sixth in a time of 17:37:11 (see photo above). This represented an outstanding performance by Avery, in a race won by South African Ryan Sandes (16:19:37).
Mt Olympus Marathon
In Greece, the fourth race in the Skyrunner World Series was held under a burning sun on the ‘Mountain of Gods’. The Mt Olypmus Marathon is run over a 27-mile course that includes more than 3,200m of elevation gain, and this year attracted nearly 1,000 runners.
Controlling the race from the outset was Aritz Egea, who set a blistering pace. No other runner was able to stay with the on-fire Spaniard and he crossed the finish line with a new course record time of 4:24:26. Ritz said: “I am feeling very good this year, I think it’s maybe the best form I have ever had. Last year I wasn’t motivated… Sometimes you need a break and I am now reaping the rewards.”
That result means Aritz maintains his lead at the top of the 2017 Skryrunner World Series rankings going into the fifth event in Spain next month.
Mont Blanc Marathon & Lavaredo Ultra
Meanwhile, in France and Italy the trail running competition was just as hot at the Mont Blanc Marathon and the 75-mile Lavaredo Ultra respectively. On the slopes underneath Europe’s highest mountain, Celine Lafaye took a superb fourth place in the women’s race (4:58:37). Over in the Dolomites, Damian Hall added to his impressive 2017 resume by finishing seventh (13:28:38).
Damian said: “Not everything went right (struggled with altitude and frustrated to be pipped by a resurrected Didrick Harmansen a few kms from the finish, though I almost got him back…) But most things did go right and it was the first time my quads haven’t blown in a mountain race!”