Kilian Jornet and Hillary Gerardi win Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2018

Kilian Jornet and Hillary Gerardi win Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2018

Image: No Limits Photography

Inclement weather and high wins weren’t enough to stop Spain’s Kilian Jornet and the US’s Hillary Gerardi winning the presitgious Salomon Glen Coe Skyline on Sunday.

The 32km race, widely regarded as being one of the most technically difficult in the world, attracted 200 athletes to the Scottish Highlands to test themselves on challenging mountainous terrain.  

The route includes some 2700m of ascent, included an exposed Grade 3 scramble of Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor.

Related: RW talks to Kilian Jornet following his Bob Graham round

‘I love to do races like this,’ said Jornet, after crossing the finish line in Kinlochleven in 03:37:17. ‘It was hard and technical, which I like.

‘Although the weather made the course wet and slippery and the winds high up were very strong, it was still such fun race. To win is a bonus.’

Finishing just three minutes after Jornet was Sweden’s André Jonsson of Sweden, the second year in a row in which he’s been runner-up to Jornet. Jonsson was also runner-up in Friday’s ULTRA 2018 Skyrunning World Championships.

Kilian Jornet and Hillary Gerardi win Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2018

Image: No Limits Photography 

‘Scotland is an amazing place to run in the mountains,’ he said. ‘The weather made it wet and slippery, especially on Curved Ridge, but I think I went up faster than last year. I ran the best I could.”

Daniel Jung, of Italy, rounded off the top three, finishing in 03:42:33.

The race, which is part of the 2018 MIGU Run Skyrunner® World Series 2018 and one of the World Series Sky Extra races, was a Plan B “bad weather” course.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Skyrunning World Champs 

Race officials deemed wind speeds of 100kph on high ground to be too dangerous for the full 52km route, including the UK’s infamous Aonach Eagach Ridge.

Not that the shorter course was in any way easy. As Jornet said, ‘It might have been a shorter course than many of us hoped to run, but it was still very hard and technical.’

After more than 30km of running, first and second place in the female race was decided by a 200m sprint for the finish line.

The US’s Hillary Gerardi just held off the UK’s Jasmin Paris, winning by just seven seconds in a time of 04:17:48. Gerardi described Paris as ‘a machine on the downhills’. Jasmin, who won the race in 2016, quickly retorted, “Hillary says I am a machine on the downhills but she is a machine on the uphills.”

Hillary added: “While I was disappointed that we did not get to run the full course it was the right decision by the race officials. It was cold, wet and very, very windy on the mountains today.

‘I enjoyed the competition with Jasmin and we were so close, with Jasmin stronger than me on the downhills.

Kilian Jornet and Hillary Gerardi win Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2018

Image: No Limits Photography 

‘I had asked her what would happen if we crossed the finish line together and she told me: ‘That won’t happen because we will sprint to the end.

Related: British ultra runner Sophie Power runs UTMB whilst breastfeeding 

‘This is what we did and I had to give it everything to win. She is a great athlete.’

Jasmin, who had a daughter 10 months ago, said: “It would have been nice to win but I gave it my very best shot.

‘It doesn’t feel like I am fully fit yet but there is the incentive to get back out there.”

In third place, almost eight minutes later was Brittany Peterson, also from the US, in a time of 04:25:44.