The plan for 2016 was clear, with a singular main objective: The Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB). It’s a 170km race in the Alpes, circumnavigating the highest mountain in Europe and goes through 10,000 meters of altitude gain to do it. This race was not even a dream until just recently. When I started trail racing, I quickly learned about this race. It was hard to imagine anyone doing something like this. It was outworldly. That has now changed and the day came when I was actually thinking “Hmm.. actually that doesn’t sound so bad”. So I’m doing it.
To get in you have to first qualify and acquire enough qualification points (9 in my case) from maximum of 3 races over 2 years. Only certified races count and I just made it with UTSM last year. The next step is to sign up and then hope that you’ll get in through the lottery and become one of the 2,600 runners that start the race. Many more than that apply in and around 50% get in each year. I was lucky in this lottery and have my ‘ticket’. Now I just need to get ready, so that’s what 2016 is all about.
7 February – Duatlo Cross Vila Seca (4km run, 11 MTB, 2 km run), 22nd place
Warmup race, have not trained with a bike in more than a year.
Struggling in the transition with my silly bike
14 February – Cursa 4 Termes, 25km, 1,300m+, 5th position in 2:20
Good race, with high level of competition. Definitely feel prepared for this distance and was not too far off the lead and ran without major problems. Good start for the season.
Final climb of the race
28 February – Mitja de Cambrils, road half-marathon, 1:17:03, 15th place
Training race, but also will use this as a fitness check and try to improve my 1:18 PR if conditions are good. Haven’t done a half in a long time.
20 March – Pujada a Portella, 23,5km, 1,280m+
DNS – injury
2 April, Ultra Trail Montanyes de Costa Daurada (UTMCD), 90km, 4,500m+, 11:26, 7th place
First ultra of the year, also the catalan ultra championship race. Training and preparatory races should set me up for doing relatively well in this race. This race is quite technical and I always seem to struggle with this course, but will try to change that trend and at least improve my DNF result from last year.
UTMCD Elevation Profile
7 May, Transvulcania, Isla de la Palma (Canary Islands), 76.7 km, 4,000m+, 9h 59m, 112. position (injured)
Really one of my favorite races in the world. The island is superbly beautiful and the course is really exceptional. This race in 2014 was my first longer ultra and it went well until I fell really badly on the volcanic rocks. This time, my race plan will be different and I will go in to race hard.
Post-race run on the course with my daughter in 2014
12 June, Trail Alforja, 26km, 1,480m+, 2h 36m, 13th place
A bit of an ‘off’ race, wasn’t really in good form and mentally engaged.
27 July, Poblet-Prades night race, 21km, 1,200m+, 1h 46m, 1st place
Good run and the best result of the year.
26 August, Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), Chamonix, France, 170km, 10,000m+
30h03min, 79th place (out of 2,300). Read the story from the blog.
Marathon relay, Vinyols, Catalonia, 10,5km road
Team race, we sadly finished 4th. Executed well 2 weeks after UTMB with avg. pace 3:41/km on a slow and slightly hilly course.
29 October, IAU Trail World Championships, Braga, Portugal, 85km, 4,500m+
For the second year, I will be representing Finland as part of Team Finland. Really looking forward to it.
… rest of the calendar is open.