Today – Sunday 14 July – in Barruera in the heart of the Vall de Boí, the BUFF® Epic Trail 42K finally set off at eight in the morning as part of the BUFF® Mountain Festival. This year the eighth Migu Run SKYRUNNER® World Series race had double points up for grabs for World Cup classification thanks to its Supersky status.
At the starting line, 750 runners, including the best male and female skyrunners in the world, looked up towards an overcast sky, which finally came lashing down after one in the afternoon.
In both categories the competition was very close. In the men’s race, the Japanese skyrunner Ruy Ueda took command of practically the whole race until he was overtaken on the last climb up to Port de la Gelada by several runners. In the end, the first to cover all 42 kilometres and 2,800 metres of elevation gain was Oriol Cardona with a time of 04:08:02. He was joined on the podium by Jonathan Albon (04:10:21) and Zaid Ait Malek (04:11:07), whilst Ruy Ueda and Borja Fernández took fourth and fifth spot respectively. A special mention goes to Zach Miller who took a well-deserved seventh place on his return to the European competition.
The women’s race was just as spectacular: Johanna Åström dominated for three quarters of the race until Sheila Avilés snatched first place during the last few kilometres, which she managed to hold on to until the finish line, setting a time of 04:37:40. She was followed by Norway’s Johanna Åström (04:42:52) and Great Britain’s Holly Page (04:54:20). Fourth spot, meanwhile, went to the Dutch runner Ragna Debats (04:57:04) and fifth to France’s Anne-Lise Rousset.
It’s interesting to note how the times of the top-ranked runners in the most important races in the world are becoming increasingly shorter, creating an even more exciting spectacle and garnering more and more fans for the sport. It is also a sign of how far this relatively young sport has come, and this edition of the BUFF® Epic Trail is testament to this.
After today’s results, Oriol Cardona and Ragna Debats become provisional leaders of the SKYRUNNER® World Series, which now moves on to the Royal Ultra Skymarathon Gran Paradiso and the Skyrace Comapedrosa of Andorra in the coming two weeks. “In Japan, China and Italy local runners won the race, so I’m really glad I managed to do the same at home”, said Oriol Cardona at the finish line.
As far as mountain racing is concerned, the last day of the BUFF® Mountain Festival also saw the BUFF® Epic Trail 12K take place, with 480 metres of elevation gain and a circular route through the lower part of Vall de Boí. The winners were Vinyet Noguero and Loic Robert.
And so the sixth edition of the BUFF® Epic Trail, characterised by a high level of competition in each and every one of its races, finally comes to a close. We’ll see you next year in Vall de Boí, hopefully as the venue of the 2020 Skyrunning World Championships.