Joe strikes again!
Tofol and Oihana experience the Yorkshire fells for the first time
Posted on 28/04/2013
2013 Three Peaks Race – Salomon event report
This weekend the Yorkshire Three Peaks Race underlined its iconic status as one of the world’s most historic and challenging mountain races. Salomon International athletes Oihana Kortazar and Tofol Castanyer joined Salomon Trail Team UK member Joe Symonds on the start line to take on the event which is now in its 59th edition.
With 1000 competitors, a warm and welcoming atmosphere and the challenging environment of the Yorkshire Dales, the grass roots nature of fell running pervades the proceedings. The three peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough loom on a 360 degree panorama from the race start in Horton-in-Ribblesdale and hint at what is to come over the 23.3 miles (37.4km) of fell, trail and technical mountain descents.
Winner of the 2012 race Joe Symonds (the brother of Salomon France athlete Andy Symonds) along with Tofol Castanyer and Cumbrian Carl Bell, were prominent throughout the 23-mile race. However, it was Joe who was the strongest athlete on the day, never to look back from the opening mile and once again adding his name to the role call of winners in this most iconic races on the fell calendar with an excellent 2.54.39 clocking.
Speaking after the race Joe stated:
"After only running the Rotterdam Marathon two weeks ago and not having raced on the mountains since last year, I didn’t quite know how it would go today. Luckily I felt strong from the start and seemed to get into my running on hills well up Pen y Ghent. We were pretty quick up there today, in under 29 mins, and Tofol was not too far behind.
“From there though I was on my own all the way back to Horton, and had to concentrate hard as I was running alone and not too sure what was going on behind. Compared to last year I was in better shape mentally and physically during the race. Last year I struggled over the last few miles, but today felt really strong and now (post race) feel pretty good and not as tired as 2012.
“It was a great day once again and I think this race is addictive! My dad won it three times, so I will be back again to see if I can make it three next year and no doubt will be racing here for many years to come!”
For Tofol the race became a battle against his legs as the event went on. The Spanish athlete had only 6 days previously won the 110km Ultra Mallorca Serra de Tramuntana and as he reached the final mountain of Ingleborough in 6th position, it was a question of finishing the event in good condition.
Eventually finishing 9th in 3:10:35, Tofol in told us:
“Today I really came in to experience the event. Having raced only last weekend in Mallorca I didn’t expect to have the freshness in legs, and so it proved over the last few miles! It was a great run from Joe and a very nice experience to come here to the Three Peaks and for sure I would like to come back again to be more competitive!”
In the women’s race Oihana faced some good opposition from UK fell runner Jasmin Paris, and after leading the race for all of the three mountains she was to lose the lead in the final 4km with bad fall on the technical descent of Ingleborough. Valiantly picking herself up and running hard to the finish, Oihana had surrendered the lead to Paris and finished a very good second.
After a few minutes in the first aid tent it was decided that Oihana would need to have her arm assessed further, but luckily a trip to a local hospital resulted in no more than bruising and very sore muscles.
Speaking about her dramatic race, Oihana said:
“The Three Peaks is a very technical race. After seeing the profile I knew there would be some good ascents and descents, but the nature of the fells and mountains in the UK mean that the terrain changes a lot and underfoot it is unpredictable.
“Of course I am happy to come to the race and finish second as Jasmin was very strong. But this is a hard race technically and you need to maybe experience the UK conditions first to do well at the Three Peaks. Like Tofol though, I would like to come back to the race and for sure try to win!”.
Full results can be found at the Sport Ident website
Oihana and Tofol before the race
Thumbs-up after the race from Tofol
Joe with his Three Peaks trophy and Tord Nilson (Salomon UK Sports Marketing)
Joe with Oihana and Tofol after the race