Local knowledge proves key for world trail champion as Britain’s Holly Page is second woman finisher
Britain’s Jonathan Albon won the Tromso Skyrace over some of Norway’s most extreme terrain last weekend.
The world trail champion, who lives in Norway, went into the lead on the second downhill to win by exactly nine minutes, while Sweden’s Johanna Åström beat Britain’s Holly Page into second as she set a women’s course record.
The 11th event of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series involved three steep peaks, an exposed ridge crossing and a technical downhill in the snow over its 55km with 4700m of vertical gain.
Spain’s Zaid Ait Malek led for the first half of the race before Albon used his local knowledge to good effect as he completed the course in six hours 54 minutes 30 seconds.
Spain’s Manuel Anguita was second, while Italy’s Daniel Jung was third in 7:06:34. Malek slipped to fourth.
“I knew how important the last uphill would be and usually that’s where the race is decided so that’s where I really tried to push a little bit and make a gap and that’s what I managed to do,” said Albon. “The last uphill won it for me today. I came into first place in the valley, actually the same place where I manage to do it every time. Just before I hit the uphill, I jumped into the river to cool down and that really helped.
“It still feels special to win here. It’s a different feeling to any other race. Tromso Skyrace feels like home to me. It’s also my favorite terrain and the course is so different from all the others. The weather was warm today, though, and that was a huge change as I’m used to extreme conditions here so that didn’t play as much to my advantages as the rain would have. On the other hand, it was nice for once to get to enjoy all the views from the top. This is the first time that I’ve ran here and seen the surrounding mountains.”
Åström started quickly, tracked closely by American Christine Lundy, who dropped out soon after the first summit.
Page closed in on her on the second downhill, but Åström pulled away to clock 8:04:49. Page ran 8:10:09, ahead of USA’s Hillary Gerardi, who was timed at 8:25:57.
“To wear my first winner’s bib and get the course record feels good, but this race was harder than I expected!” said the winner. “I was alone for almost the entire time but people kept telling me Holly was three minutes behind me at the third last aid station so I had to push a lot harder on the last uphill to Tromsdalstind to keep my lead. The ridge was so much fun and the best part of the race.”