Lavaredo Ultra Trail starts at 11pm on Friday. Just before the countdown they play The Ecstasy of Gold by Ennio Morricone. This reminds us that we will be running around the Dolomites a bit like Tuco in the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. As it happens, the actor Eli Wallach (1915-2014) died just three days before the race. RIP.
Lavaredo is a unique ultra trail race. In many ways it's different and perhaps in it's own special way better than other races. Instead of a boring race report, let's just describe what was good, bad and ugly in my experience during the 2014 race.
The race course is spectacular. I've included some photos below. It looks much more impressive in real life. The weather is usually pleasant this time of the year, not too hot or cold. Also the race organization and volunteers are superb. The course has a lot of variation to it and numerous stream and snow crossings add to the fun. It progressively gets more technical and challenging towards the end. In 2009 Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nothing really bad in this department, but I must mention that it rained quite often during the week. It also rained during the race, but most of it happened after the top runners had finished. Anyway I'd have preferred slightly less wet and muddy conditions. As the water level was relatively high, a few river crossings required immersing your feet in a mountain stream up to your knees. Especially the last 15km included particularly difficult muddy downhill sections. No doubt the fact that it was dark again at this point added to the challenge.
I managed to sprain my left ankle in a downhill after only about 30km. Unlike 'white' Finnish summer nights, it's pitch dark in Italy. Although my headlamp was ok, there was some fog and I stepped on something which caused my ankle to roll. My thick-soled Hoka Stinson Trails probably contributed to the accident. The reason for selecting them was that I wanted the extra cushioning to help my recovery for Eiger Ultra Trail three weeks later. After twisting my ankle I slowed down considerably, but never even considered quitting. Fortunately the cut-off times in this race are very generous, so I was never closer than three hours from the limit. The rest of the journey I kept on amusing myself by exclaiming "Let's roll" or "I'm on a roll" - that sort of humor seems to work well when totally exhausted :-)
|My race bib and t-shirt.|
|The race HQ at Cortina Olympic Ice Stadium.|
|The start in Cortina at 11pm on Friday.|
|Lago di Misurina at dawn after running 42km.|
|Lago di Misurina.|
|Rifugio Auronzo at 48km: a place to enjoy a meal, your drop bag and an espresso!|
|The highest point of the course. Lots of snow.|
|Tre Cime di Lavaredo.|
|This year the route followed the West (normally East) side of Lado di Landro.|
|Rifugio Col Gallina aid station at 95km.|
|Ponte Outo sign tells the story.|
|A view from Ponte Outo.|
|A view from Ponte Outo.|
|Crossing the finish line in 26:31:47.|
|The podium with top 3 men and women.|
|The winners of LUT 2014: Rory Bosio and Anton Krupicka.|
|The North Face Store in Cortina.|
|Hoka One One Stinson Trail 2014 aka Ankle Twisters.|
|Tofana di Mezzo 3244m.|
Here's a funny little video I shot at the Awards Ceremony.
And here's a great official video about the race.