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Lavaredo Ultra Trail

28-Jun-2019 Cortina d'Ampezzo (BL), Dolomites, Italy


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Mountains Race Race Terrain
119KM / 74Miles
2 Days - 700 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Brutal  

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Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review Lavaredo Ultra Trail

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01:23 06-07-19


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Runny bum

03:42 05-07-18

Lavaredo Ultra trail, start 23:00 22 June 2018; clear weather throughout.

Or, ' Wot I did on my olidays, SB, aged 46 ½’

It hurts the moment you leave the comforts of civilisation, as part of 1500 hopeful, nervous, runners, some wielding sticks with degrees from fencing academies, up the crushed rock trail of the first climb, where chances to gain a rhythm amongst the hubbub are frustratingly few and far between and throw your ill thought out plans of laurel wreathed glory firmly into the flame.
It hurts and jars when you descend that said first hump, down zig zag mud strewn root and rock, past trepidatious descender, to arrive, thankfully, to flat fire track, to your first port of call, the 16km check point, with its attendant, vigilant and efficient volunteers, who’ve given up a night’s sleep to listen to your moaning. Some stars are on the ground, not just in the night sky at Lavaredo, I love you all...

16 – 33km
Anyway, suitablly refreshed and reinvigorated, the field has thinned out, and you can find your rhythm on the non-technical steep now, except you’re not as good as you thought you were, and that the speed you’d adopted on the first hump is perfectly fine thank you, now you’re devoid of all the excitement of being in the crowd. So a Sisyphean stick aided stomp up the steep it is, with occasional interludes of solitude amongst the trees, silhouetted hills and stars, more stars than you’ve seen.
Second hump done, time to fly down wide open trail, (heralded by a narrow bottle neck) to get your card marked and continue onwards on the slightly different terrain of undulating serpentine mud, root and rock to reach the 33km checkpoint, a culture shock of bangin' choonz, like a rave at a busy train station, everyone sweating like a thoroughbred yet clad against the sharp chill of mountain air, which doesn’t half get to your bones the moment you stop.

33km – 48km.
Any delusions of comfort nurtured at the CP are immediately cast aside when, yet again, you’re presented with the cold slap of the steep, which more or less continues through a 70:30 mix of forest trail and fire track.
It was at this point the drudgery of night, and the borderline solipsistic existence you’d been living until then, is abandoned to the flood of daybreak, suddenly assaulting your senses like the removal of a kidnap hood (I imagine) to present to you beauty, unparalleled beauty of hills only ever dreamt of, or those drawn by children. Perfect. That’ll take my mind off whatever race threatening injury I’m concentrating on at that moment.
So, with the lamps off and dawn breaking, winding forest trail leads onto to Lake Misurina, which, like the Godfather, I really didn’t care much for. Controversial, I know. Would’ve been more impressive if they hadn’t built a load of hotels around it, but it was a focal point for the thin 6am crowd, shouting words of encouragement. Anyone who gets up before 6am to cheer a load of lycra clad loafers who knew they were going to be awake then, deserve my medal for sure.
From there, a short steep passage of trail runners kryptonite, tarmac, lead onto rolling forest trail to the sharp steep section to the main event, the moment you’ve been waiting for; Tres Cimes.
Blimey, was a bit parky up there. And for a bottom dweller like me, a bit thin on the old air front. Only marginally, but consider it for a moment when you’re pencilling your plans of flying through, whilst sitting at your desk in Dagenham.
Again, an excellent, busy, canopied aid station, with the famous hot stock/pasta soup, a heated life saver, at the right point. I think they might know what they’re doing.

48 – 66km
Struggling to leave the aid station, it’s off into the thin cold air, mildly befuddled, trying to operate cameras to capture the utter majesty of these Dolomitic jewels, trying to remember what it’s like to run and not really appreciating the mitigating factors of not being able to run at the pace you usually do on the streets of your town, on the descent.
Thankfully, you’re descending off the rocky plateau, to that hinterland of thin tree cover and alpine meadows, alongside mountain river ,that gets easier and progressively faster as the air thickens and warms the air, to the moment you are again flying along those forest and riverside trails (negotiating the odd landslide) to join flat fire track and the eventual 66km CP, wth it’s drop bags.

66km – 75km
Wash and brush up, it’s time to venture forth, mindful of the fact you’re halfway and it’s getting a tad warm.
From Cimabanche, it’s pleasant underfoot, forested, and as steep as anything before, but the added bonus of accumulated fatigue, (mental mainly; isn’t it always?) kicks in, exacerbated by the heat.
Again, it’s like a different programme, the views constantly change, the views this time are mildly reminiscent of a certain musical. I’m starting to feel really ugly in the presence of such beauty, and I’m a model (for Toby jugs).

75km – 95km.
A drop down into the next CP, the race is really thinning out, and it’s the heat of the day that’s really starting to ‘do one’s head in'. The lack of wind, the forest cover, the steep, the schizophrenic trail from single track to crushed rock underfoot, anything else you feel like whining inside about, yup, go for it, cathartic isn’t it? Nope, nobody’s listening, jog on, literally.
This CP is the longest stretch between the next CP, and was mildly concerned about running out of water. This was ill founded, as plenty of mountain streams provide along this section, of which the freshness and sweetness of cannot be described (just had a go, failed).
The section consisting of Val Travenanzes was out of this world. Initially a mid level path along a gorge, way above rip roaring torrents with snow melting atop huge cliffs, eventually leading to a wide, windless, baking hot, open dry river bed of gargantuan width, of bright white limestone (bring sunglasses) guarded either side by oppressive towering peaks punctuated midway with hewn out caves used by soldiers during the war, again you’re made to feel utterly insignificant, and slightly claustrophobic. A small CP is arrived at, with water, relief.
A short ascent from here leads to the head of valley, which then leads steeply down driveable trail (which didn’t half hurt underfoot) leading to Col de Gallina, a veritable hive of activity after the solitude and immensity of Val Travenanzes.
Provisioned up, it’s 30km to the end you tell yourself.

95km – 110km.
You’re presented with a steep climb through forest to plateau, to arrive at another refugio at the top, a minor CP, which, barring a few steepies, you tell yourself 'plain sailing, if everything wasn’t throbbing.'
For me, this was possibly one of the most enjoyable part of the race. The point where you can 'smell the barn', along high mountain undulating rocky trail, against a background of dying light, racing the sun almost.
Up to Passo giau and beyond, as I say, was a joy, with one steep bit at forcella giau. After this, it was comfortable almost carpeted dirt trail up to the incline leading to forcella ambrizzola.
From here, it was a rocky descent, which I thought of walking until Barrie from Guernsey rocked up and suggested we removed our digits from our posteriors in order to rage against the dying of the light, which was begrudgingly accepted and subsequently embraced.
110 km – Fini.
Sailing through Croda da Lago, it was an endless, wending ~10km drop in to Cortina, battling a prohibitively steep (in some sections) mud and root festooned descent (minor CP, serving Prosecco 117km), to emerge more or less at the base of the very first climb, on tarmac, on the outskirts of town, where it’s safe to say, the rockets were lit, and flew in on absolute vapours through a town still vibrant with well wishers, applauding your every painful step, giving you a boost no aid station ever could.
And to top that, that give you a reet natty gillet to wear roond toon, very dapper, and useful.
So all in all, it’s a remarkably beautiful route on variable natural terrain in a beautiful part of the world.
Extremely well organised given its scale.
Good value for money.
Very little to moan about, other than it took an age to get the results (errant CP checks meant I was registered DNF for 24hrs, rectified).

For some, it’s a race, but for me, it’s an event in my life, never to be forgotten.


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03:14 12-08-17

I finished this race in 2017

Race start/finish is in Cortina northern Italy roughly a 2-3hr drive from Verona or Venice airports, there is no train station so best to hire or take the bus to/from the town. I would recommend staying in the town itself as anywhere that looks nearby on the maps can be hard to get to due to mountain roads.

Race starts at 11pm like a lot of the UT race series so the crowd are out and the music is pumping at the start line with radio DJ type presenters getting very excited about it all. The first few kilometres are wide enough for passing and you can get into a good stride along the way. There are some narrow sections during the night, but as long as you get into a position that you are happy with the pace it isn’t an issue. One thing I have noticed over the past few years is headtorch quality – it has been getting so good that for most of the night section I didn’t have to use mine which was a great way to save batteries!

After the night section the sun comes up and the heat descends, it can get pretty hot, so good sun cream and a hat are advisable. I carried with me 2x500ml bottles + a backup supply in the form of a 2-3 litre camelback in my bag and there were a few occasions I had to use this during the day, so if like me you struggle in the heat/altitude/both having enough water is critical. There are enough checkpoints along the way with the standard selection of food and very friendly staff on hand to help you out.

The route had some stunning scenery, though I will be honest due to the climbs the majority if the time you will be staring at the shoes in front of you, one particular climb up through a valley just would not end!

The last section was a technical down hill before easing off into a very run-able forest and into a street section. Usually I would have nailed it, but due to poor shoe choice I had very unhappy feet.

A well run professional level race would a good atmosphere in the town and a stunning place to visit. I would think for supports crews with little mountain driving experience or confidence in driving support will find this hard. If you love mountain roads there are some of the best – especially on a motorbike, but for others as the roads are full of motorcyclists, cyclists, car clubs, caravans and tour buses – it can make for a nerve racking experience

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12:21 31-07-17

I 'ran' the Lavaredo in 2017.
What a race. In running terms, very difficult - mountain racing from start to finish. I loved the nighttime start, I loved the whole thing. It felt less like racing, more an observation of nature at its most supreme. Beautiful.
My second night of running was with a background of thunder rumbling throughout the mountain range - in my mildly hypoglycaemic state, this was slightly frightening and felt very daring.
An incredible, probably understated, event. How small us runners become, amongst these mountains. Very proud to have participated, very proud to have completed. Running be forgotten : nature and the elements, this race is all yours.

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