The Ultra Easy Sky Ultramarathon kicked off the season last weekend and man o man it did not disappoint!! The brutal yet stunning course around Wanaka NZ proved to be a worthy challenge for many but too much to handle for an unlucky few.
Out the front of the race it was on like Donkey Kong with Danny Garret (1st Hillary Sky Ultra, 3rd Buffalo Stampede 2016) and Martin Kern (2nd Place Hillary Sky Ultra 2016) trading blows from the starters gun to the finish line of the men’s race. It was almost an enactment of their 2016 Hillary Sky Ultra battle as the two powered climbs and smashed descents together. However, in the end Danny showed his prowess in the mountains putting on a surge and closing out the race with a scant 6 minute margin to claim a new course record in 10:24:33, Martin close behind in 10:30:22 and Weston Hill in 3rd with 11:17:02.
In the ladies race there was a cat amongst the pigeons with Team Lasportiva’s Gill Folwer showing her timeless class to once again lead from start to finish. Gill conquered the brutal mountains and left all in her wake to smash the course record in 12:35:42 some two hours clear of her nearest rival and 6th overall!!! Zoe Jaquiery battled and Victoria Apablaza across the high summits and deep valleys to claim 2nd in 14:36:45 with Victoria pushing her all the way to the line in 14:39:33.
It was a small and dedicated few who took on the Ultra Easy Sky Ultramarathon in 2017 with a race field of just 50 (crazy) Skyrunners throwing themselves at the mountains mercy. The course once again lived up to its reputation sporting a 12% DNF rate and finishing times in excess of 19 hours!!
Full results are here: http://www.racetecresults.com/Results.aspx?CId=16299&RId=48
Being the first race on the calendar the means that Danny and Gill are now both leading 2017 overall series with Martin and Victoria hot on their heels. Things are about to get interesting though as the New Zealand summer of racing kicks off.
The next race in the series will be the Hillary Trail Sky Ultramarathon and Skyrace to be held on the 25th of February in Waitakere New Zealand. Race website: www.thehillary.co.nz
Less Cloud, More Sky – Skyrunning ANZ.