The 2016 Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) reached Madeira, a Portuguese island in the north Atlantic, for its fifth stop. Madeira sits about 250 miles north of another UTWT hotspot, the Canary Islands. Much like those well-known races in the Canary Islands, the 115k Madeira Island Ultra Trail boasted a similarly difficult, extremely up-and-down course profile that stretches from sea level up to above 1,800 meters several times. Race winner Zach Miller, a veteran of several of Europe’s top-level events, confirmed as much. “Hardest race I’ve ever run. Hands down,” Miller announced on social media post-race.
Over a short period, Miller is finding success where few Americans have, in Europe. He’s done it despite, first, living on a cruise ship, and now living at 10,200-foot Barr Camp, halfway up Pikes Peak in Colorado. While Barr Camp’s altitude is certainly beneficial, opportunities for running at that elevation through the winter are definitely limited.
Miller, who hurdled the finish line-tape, finished the race in 13:52, 20 minutes in front of second-place Tòfol Castanyer of Spain. France’s Sebastien Camus was another six minutes back in third at 14:18.
French runners Fabien Antolinos and Cyril Cointre ran 14:34 and 14:35 for fourth and fifth, and Italy’s Fulvio Dapit was sixth in 14:38.
Though on the initial entrant list, Miguel Heras and Iker Karrera do not appear to have started the race.
In the women’s race, France’s Caroline Chaverot was absolutely brilliant. Finishing in 15:00, she was eighth overall and over an hour better than the second-place woman. Chaverot earlier this year won the Transgrancanaria UTWT event.
Switzerland’s Andrea Huser and France’s Emelie Lecomte were second and third in 16:22 and 17:56.