2011 Skyrunner World Series Finale

The year’s Skyrunner World Series final is this Sunday on Italy’s Sentiero delle Grigne, where a beautiful mix of 43km and 3200m of ascent (a mountain marathon with 10,500ft of vert) will greet this year’s mountain running elite.  Inside Trail has been fortunate enough to be alive and able to comment on the six-race-series’ final three races (Sierre-Zinal, Pikes Peak Ascent, and tomorrow’s race).


The men’s race is certainly up for grabs among several competitors, but based on the current Skyrunner World Series standings, Spain’s Luis Alberto Hernando (current rankings leader), or Italy’s Mikhail Mamleev (2nd) appear to be the main contenders for the World Series’ Champion title.  Basque’s Jabi Olabarria looks to have an outside shot, if he is indeed toeing the line.  Unfortunately, the race may miss Italy’s great Marco De Gasperi, currently 8th and out of contention for the win (despite two series wins at Arles Tech and Sierre-Zinal), who is nursing an injury he suffered last weekend at the World Mountain Running Championships.

Oihana Kortazar of Spain looks like a lock for the Series title sitting comfortably in 1st in the current standings with France’s Stephanie Jemenz and Italy’s Emanuela Brizio perched for an outside shot.

Again, the race is up for grabs for several men and women contenders, but the overall World Series Titles look to be in the grasp of just a couple men and women mountain runners.

The Skyrunner World Series standings are based on a system that assigns points to men’s and women’s results according to a breakdown consisting of 100-88-78-72-68-66-64-62-etc., down to 2 points, “to the 40th position for men and the 15th position for women.”  The Skyrunner World Series is based on a circuit of international standard races in various countries using a minimum of six and a maximum of eight races.  Runners must also participate in a Skyrunner World Series National Trial.  These trials are used “to promote skyrunning in as many countries as possible and to give the opportunity to as many athletes as possible to participate in the World Series.”  Athletes hoping to win the Skyrunner World Series (SWS) must participate in a trial.  Skyrunners then use their four best results (3 + 1 trial) or five best results (4 + 1), depending on how many Skyrunner series races have been scheduled in a season. The countries that host a Skyrunner World Series Trial in 2011 are Greece, Andorra, Spain, Italy, UK, France, Japan, Venezuela (points applied to 2012 series), and the Philippines (2012 series).

La Grignetta

At the SWS final, the first male and female with the highest point totals will be declared Skyrunning World Champions.  Also, the team with the highest score will be declared Skyrunning World Champion Team.  Who can’t appreciate this kind of competitive organization?

Sentiero delle Grigne is known as one of the toughest courses on the circuit, technically difficult mountain trail matching the breathtaking beauty of the La Grignetta with it’s awesome mountain towers and gorgeous surrounding lakes.

Last year’s winners of Sentiero delle Grigne were Miguel Heras and Mireia Miro.

18 thoughts on “2011 Skyrunner World Series Finale

  1. Olga V.

    I am with Joe. Really? Gotta say, whatever about Geoff, he had never deleted either his posts or comments. If you think you can put your opinion for the world out there, take the stub of opinions of others.


    1. Joe

      Miles – I saw that too, but ones a guys personal blog, the other is a blog that covers, objectively, the entire sport of trail/ultra running.


  2. Matt is one of the best writers (by far) I’ve encountered in the blog world in terms of research, thorough analysis and thoughtful word choice as it pertains to ultra/trail/mountain running but, it seems, that post somehow eluded the comprehension of a few people. It will resurface with a sort of annotation to make it accessible to even the most superficial reader.

    We (Matt and I) have received many, MANY, emails and comments applauding the direction, intent, and manner of our content. The fact that a few have commented with astute words like “such a simple sport, such complicated people, shut up and run” is an indication that, some misunderstand/stood what was written. Shallow thoughts beget shallow comments. The shallow comments didn’t bully us into pulling the post (temporarily). Our concern is that the comments typically bully other readers; overshadow the content of the original post.

    Don’t be a lazy reader. As we point out often, context is everything. That post in the context of 1. Matt’s (and my) previous writing about Geoff Roes makes a valid point and asks an honest question (what makes this year so “enjoyable”? Was it the camps, the running in CO and AK? Drymax socks? Simply asking is not judging, especially when we both have written thousands of words praising his accomplishments in the past).

    Site traffic isn’t everything but I study it intently, patterns, what drives traffic, all of it. We’ve spent several hours every day on this site since opening up shop in early August. That work brings a lot of visitors (several hundred every day). The post in question drew thousands of visitors in one day, along with a good number of comments, some of which were negative. The interesting thing is that the majority of them where first time commenters. Where were you, opinionated, negative commenters when we’ve been pumping out solid content every day about our sport? You negative folks come here, glance over the post, and write something childish like, “This is what I hate! You have no right to ask a sponsored, top tier runner what he means when he says something.” If you truly feel that way, I feel sorry for you, really.

    We at Inside Trail are so far away from perfect, and are fully aware of it, that we spend the extra time to check facts, references, and tone of content before we put it out for public consumption. Things will still get out that may not be clear or can be interpreted in different ways. This post was an example of that. So, we pulled it and will re-post in the near future with a more thorough explanation.

    Oh, and for those of you who feel that we are over-analyzing this sport and it should just be some simple activity with no money involved, STOP READING THE POSTS. It’s really that simple.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


  3. Joe

    Let people misunderstand! You can’t please everyone. I enjoy the so-called over-analysis. Clearly the traffic says what people are interested in. We post and converse when there is something interesting, perhaps even controversial, to discuss. When just news/reviews&interviews is posted, what’s there to really talk about…how many ‘Great interview!’ comments can one take? That’s what was starting to make Inside Trail unique, those somewhat controversial commentaries that said what many people are thinking, BUT, said in a very well written, and ‘non-trolling’ way. Most of ‘us’ commenters just simply don’t have the ability to put our thoughts and opinions together in a way that doesn’t come off as being an idiot. Without those types of posts, and when blogs start worrying about personal relationships, sponsors, negative comments, etc…frankly I’ll just stay on Bryons site…he does a fantastic job of news and reviews! (not trying to knock either site/blog). btw – I noticed AJW pulled his post too…


  4. Miles

    Joe, you make a valid distinction between AJW’s blog and IT. That said, personally I wish neither had pulled their posts and had just let the debate/explanations play out – in part because it’s pretty entertaining stuff, but mostly because the sport seems to be at a real crossroads right now, and I believe more conversation is always a good thing. Tim and Matt – keep doing what you guys are doing and be bold about it.


  5. Olga V.

    Tim, I think there simply was a question asked why you pulled the post, yet your summary response called a general population of readers a shallow crowd for not understanding the post in question and cowards for not commenting previously to that one? IMHO, you may make a number of folks more uncomfortable than by writing a controversial material. Especially if you claim that this site is opened for the dissection and improvement of the sport, and not as your personal chat-out. Is everybody obliged to comment when read what’s written? Do you really have to get snarly “don’t come if you don’t like”? How do you even know they “don’t like”? May be they do enjoy the converstaion getting stirred up. In arguments the truth is born. May be you would be kind and post about the direction and major idea of this website, the rules of participation, and expectations of readers?


  6. There is no need for us to explain our site’s purpose, rules, etc. “What is Inside Trail” (see tab above) is all that needs to be said at this point. We are avid fans. Period.

    Tim is being way too generous in his characterization of my writing. He’s a very nice guy. So am I.

    We’re just passionate. I absolutely stand-by what I said in my piece the other day. However, as I know far too well, often it’s not what you say, but how you say it. In a way, thank god I was a little sloppy because the storm of discourse was phenomenal. It was true spectacle. Unfortunately, that too got sloppy. I suspect both posts (ours and AJW’s) were pulled partly because of the tone of reaction. It’s amazing what some people come-up with. For instance, I saw more than a couple of readers trying to tear-down the post, even the site; but in the end (if one reads carefully) we actually agree. But all of that nuance gets lost in the aforementioned storm.

    I echo Tim’s frustration of the intensity with which some readers criticized the post, us, etc., when we have worked so hard to convey a genuine respect and appreciation for the sport. For us (and I would think for other regular readers at least), that criticism, then, sounds weak, reckless and at worst totally ill-informed. In other words, the argument that I don’t respect Geoff Roes or am making careless statements about the sport is weak and unfounded, based on a lot of evidence.

    Could I have articulated myself more “carefully,” or with more qualification? Sure. And I intend to do just that.

    Know that we intend to keep doing what we’ve been doing from the very beginning, only growing and enhancing the project of Inside Trail.

    And, of course, the commentary isn’t going anywhere.


    1. Hey Matt: Sorry, but if you “stand-by” what you said in your blog the other day, you wouldn’t have pulled it. My suspicion, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that maybe one of your advertisers chimed in with some dismay?

      Like many, I have 100% respect and admiration for Tim/Footfeathers. I hope he knows that.

      Matt: Tell us about your background in ultrarunning. What have you done? Because let me tell that you that AJW and Geoff represent EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD IN THIS SPORT. There is not a better ambassador of Western States (and really ultrarunning) than AJW. As for Geoff, his tremendous achievements are matched only by his truly good-guy demeanor.

      I work in PR for a living and it seems to me to be kind of an unwritten rule that you NEVER, EVER put down down your readers or question their intelligence. You’ve done just that in this comment exchange.

      That said, aside from the post in question, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read at Inside Trail and applaud the effort you guys are putting into this website. It’s greatly appreciated (I especially liked the analysis of Salomon Running). Your site, along with Byron’s site and a few other, collectively give a great update on what’s happening in the sport.

      I have zero beef with Tim; my beef is with Matt, whose ultrarunning credentials are unknown (at least to me) and yet he Monday morning quarterbacks guys like AJW and Geoff. Maybe Matt has finished 20 100’s for all I know.



      1. Wyatt, I’m guilty of never running a 100. I have crewed and volunteered at them, trained with many an ultra runner, shared beer and bread with them, run several 25-30k mountain races, love getting in the back country and running, fell in love with the trail as a kid on top of Whitney, in the Grand Canyon, etc.

        I’m an athlete. I played collegiate soccer, dabbled in semi-pro ball in England, have done a few half-ironmans, etc. Not sure any of this helps you.

        The biggest draw for me is the competition of the sport. That’s what I’m into. I’m not in love with the 100 miler per se, nor the 10k; but the competition between serious competitors in those events is what I absolutely love.

        Hence, my special focus here on the Euro mountain running scene, even the British Fell season, and mountain running in general.
        I love all sports. Call me a competitive junkie.

        Unfortunately, we don’t agree on everything. Maybe you don’t trust me because I haven’t run into the night. My perspective on the sport, however, especially if I’m that invested (believe me, I am) should be relevant. I am making it so by working hard, getting myself into long running shape, reading the landscape and trying to find ways to address various levels of achievement along with ways to comment on industry infrastructure, the past, present and future.

        And Inside Trail is going to be where I publish these views.


  7. Randy

    “to convey a genuine respect and appreciation for the sport”,maybe you just need to be committed Matt,oh wait,sounds like you are,nvm.


  8. “I absolutely stand-by what I said in my piece the other day. However, as I know far too well, often it’s not what you say, but how you say it. In a way, thank god I was a little sloppy because the storm of discourse was phenomenal.”

    Fred, you bit on an unwarranted claim. I am not “one of the best writers (by far).” That’s silly. Please disregard that.

    But I’m not biting on your unwarranted criticism. I admitted my post was poorly executed.

    Not sure what more to say other than thanks for your heady contribution.


  9. AJW

    Just FYI, I deleted my post in response to the earlier commentary post because Matt and Tim deleted theirs. It didn’t make sense to me to keep a post up that was responding to something that didn’t exist anymore. That said, I think all the discussion/debate here and elsewhere is good for the sport.



  10. Matt: I think the fact that you’ve never done an ultra really takes away from your credibility as a commentator on the sport. Tim/Footfeathers eats 100s for breakfast, and so his opinion certainly carries a lot of weight. I don’t think you need to be an elite to have an opinion that carries a lot of weight (I’m not an elite and I often express my opinion…but I’ve also done quite a few ultras and 100s); but I do think you need to know what it’s like to run into the night with trashed legs and bad thoughts and dark voices saying all kinds of nasty things to you–before you pass judgment on the thoughts of folks who have.

    Geoff Roes could retire today and go down as one of the all-time greats. Success and happiness to him obviously go way beyond winning (the same could also have been said of Jim Brown and Barry Sanders). He established a camp in Alaska that brings him great happiness, and more power to him. He really has very little left to prove. OK, except for maybe a win at UTMB. If he says this year has been the most enjoyable to date, then it has been…and we should be happy for him.

    Here’s anothe thing I think you should consider. When you were writing your piece, did you contact Geoff for comment? Did you get his side of the story? For that matter, did you contact Andy and give him the opportunity to weigh in?



    1. Wyatt, while my knee jerk reaction is to agree (with respect to Matt’s background and ability to cover this area, how many sports analysts are out there that know their sports and are great journalists, yet never played at the pro level? You know if you don’t agree or the content is not valuable, we don’t have to be readers/followers. Good feedback on the last paragraph about contacting folks prior to release.


    2. Vlad

      Wyatt: actually the fact that there is an “outsider” who loves the sport so much that he dare’s to publicly analyze it is yet another evidence how this sport is changing. Of course, Matt may never relate so completely with people who ran 100, but that does not mean his opinion has automatically lesser value … perhaps you need some distance to see things in a different light, and I applaud that suddenly there is somebody who can have this distance, yet know enough about the sport and its people to write interesting articles and bring into spotlight issues which are burning on many peoples minds. Additionally, with all my respect to Matt, I absolutely do not believe that he is THAT special to be alone with his opinions. So any “critical” thought from Matt about ultra elites (which are by too many treated as almost untouchable gods) you should multiply by 50 or hundred or maybe even more to account for all other people who discuss (and perhaps criticize) the elites privately or among close groups of friends in a similar fashion. And if Matt writes that Geoff’s recap of the season sounds phony (my interpretation of the article) you can bet that there are many other folks who think the same. Otherwise I totally agree with you that it may be better to get Geoff or other people mentioned in the article for a comment/response, and I agree that the authors should be careful in questioning credentials/wisdom/motives/knowledge/what-have-you of their readership since “nobody is smarter than your readers” (not sure who said that first, but to my painful experience it is absolutely true). I am sure that IT is (and will be) undergoing its growing pains, I am sure Matt+Tim will learn how to better write/research/treat their readers etc … and for my part, I will try to provide feedback here and there, or perhaps some ideas too so together with ideas/comments/feedback from the others their project may get even better, and I can enjoy it even more.


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