Even after the sport came to a standstill for a year, Japan's Ruy Ueda has continued his climb up the ranks. The Skyrunning World Championships kicked off July 9 in Catalunya, Spain, as part of the BUFF Mountain Festival. Going head to head with Europe's best, Ueda crowned the first day of the Championships by winning the vertical kilometer race. It was his first individual world title since being named the 2019 Syrunner World Series champion, and he aims to make it a double crown in Sunday's Sky Race.
The vertical race at this year's World Championships climbs 1000 m over a 2.8 km course from town of Barruera. Immediately going to the front of the field of 33, Ueda had a 7-second lead by the 2.2 km checkpoint after 481 m of climb. He held his lead from there, crossing the finish line in 35:06 to claim the world title. In 2016 he was 10th on the same course in 36:27 at that year's World Championships.
32 seconds back in 2nd was Spain's Daniel Osanz Laborda, 23, the 2018 and 2019 Youth World Championships gold medalist and 2019 Vertical Kilometer World Circuit champion. Switzerland's Roberto Delorenz was 3rd another 17 seconds back, also 23 and likewise a division champion and the 2017, 2018 and 2019 World Youth Championships.
While the men's race was close, Czech runner Marcela Vasinova easily dominated the women's field of 20, winning by more than two minutes in 41:00. Last year Vasinova won the Swissalpine Davos 68 km and Matterhorn Ultraks 25 km and was 7th in the Golden Trail Championships in the Azores. Just last weekend she took 5th in the Marathon du Mont-Blanc. 2nd in 43:14 was Spain's Oihana Kortazar Aranzeta, 3rd at last month's Olla de Nuria. France's Iris Pessey was 3rd.
Among the other members of the Japanese national team, Ryunosuke Omi was 7th and Masato Kamishohara 19th in the men's race, with Suzuha Kusuda 15th and Ayaka Ueda 17th in the women's race. The Skyrunning World Championships continue Saturday with the 68 km Sky Ultra Race, then wrap up Sunday with the 42 km Sky Race. Ueda is entered in the Sky Race, aiming for a second world title to go with his Vertical title on the opening day and the combined title.
Vertical Kilometer results:
1. Marcela Vasinova (Czech Republic) - 41:00
2. Oihana Kortazar Aranzeta (Spain) - 43:14
3. Iris Pessey (France) - 44:26
4. Lina ElKott Helander (Sweden) - 45:18
5. Silvia Lara Dieguez (Spain) - 45:46
15. Suzuha Kusuda (Japan) - 52:04
17. Ayaka Ueda (Japan) - 52:56
1. Ruy Ueda (Japan) - 35:06
2. Daniel Osanz Laborda (Spain) - 35:38
3. Roberto Delorenzi (Switzerland) - 35:55
4. Manuel Da Col (Italy) - 36:05
5. Oscar Casal Mir (Andorra) - 36:52
7. Ryunosuke Omi (Japan) - 37:44
19. Masato Kamishohara (Japan) - 41:59
photos © 2021 Japan Skyrunning Association, all rights reserved
translated and edited by Brett Larner