Elbrus Hosts the Highest Vertical Kilometer Race in the World
Once again the Azau Meadow was filled with the athletes and the nervous energy ahead of the start. It was a mass start unlike any of the 9 previous festivals. For this 10th anniversary Red Fox Elbrus Race about five hundreds participants were gathered for different starts, and there were another hundred organizers, volunteers, referees, journalists, guests and spectators.
This morning all these people went to the Azau Meadow at 2450m and 420 athletes lined up at the start of the Vertical Kilometer. The line of athletes starting from the Azau meadow stretched almost to the Krugozor station. Ahead, were the 3 leading Russian athletes and behind them the Austrian Dominik Salher, who eventually broke into the top 2 got gain a podium place and push Vitaly Chernov into fourth this year.
Alexei Pagnuev from Sverdlovsk Oblast won Vertical Kilometer® - Mt Elbrus, 2450-3450 m. this year in a time of 00.45.31, just 7 seconds ahead of second place.
Elena Kravtchenko (Red Fox team) from Irkutsk won the women’s race for the fifth consecutive year in a time of 00.56.27.
The sunny weather created a joyous festive mood, but the state of the track was not easy due to the heavy snow this year and sunny conditions. Some athletes tried to move away from the walking column, onto open grassy slopes, but his probably took away even more of their trength. Therefore, most of the people went one after another, waiting for the moment when they could push ahead.
It was very difficult to maintain a calm, steady pace among hundreds of athletes, and some suffered from pushing too hard at the high altitude. Even those who started at a quiet rhythm, trying at first to save their strength, gradually accelerated in the middle of the race and put themselves at the limit of their strength and beyond. Many athletes said at the finish that they didn’t expect such a result and had pushed their limits to achieve a better than expected time..
“Excellent race”, “very cool”, “next time we will definitely come” - that's what was heard from all sides when more and more people crossed the finish gate and gathered in a small glade under the "Mir" station.
Among the finishers were famous athletes and those who came to try their hand at the races on Elbrus for the first time. Young skyrunners and veterans of mountaineering took part alonge with representatives of outdoor club, the management of Red Fox Company and representatives of the local government..
The director of the Red Fox Company, Vlad Moroz, was among the participants in the category of master of sports in mountaineering, who went the whole distance with Abu Elmezov. Elmezov is the legend of Kabardino-Balkaria, who climbed Mount Everest and was the winner of one of the first races on Elbrus in 1990-91. At the finish, they stood in an embrace, patting each other on the shoulder, and sharing emotions with each other and with others.
You may see detailed results here: https://live.myrace.info/?f=bases/RedFox2018/RedFox2018VK.clax#g4
The next race in the Red Fox Elbrus race programme is the Skymarathon, which runs from 2350m to 5642m, and is the first stage of the Russian Skyrunner Cup and at the same time there is the shorter ‘Skyrace’ from 3780m to the summit.
You can see a video clip of the race at https://youtu.be/wXUxjwhFvQo
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