Over the weekend of November 4-6, the Southern Swedish town of Mölle will come alive as it welcomes almost 2,000 runners to the notorious Kullamannen by UTMB. With its name born out of a mythical story that encompasses the spirit of the event, it is considered one of the toughest races on the circuit as runners test their mental and physical resilience in search of the unique finishers signet ring alongside coveted Running Stones which can be used to enter the UTMB World Series Finals lottery.
Nicknamed, ‘Heaven, Sea and Hell’, the Ultra 100 Mile Race kicks off in true Kullamannen-style with a masked knight leading runners out on horseback before sending them on their way. From there, runners embark on a trail running adventure through nature reserves, along ridges and via dramatic coastlines all culminating in 2,300m of elevation gain. With four other race distances on offer, including the Sprint Ultra 100km (1,240m+), Sibirien Ultra 50km (1,060m+) and the Dödens Zon 20km (620m+), the event promises a technical test of true trail running grit as runners face up to the lord of the mountain.
Per Sjögren, Race Director of Kullamannan by UTMB commented: “Kullamannen by UTMB is a trail run like no other - it is rooted in adventure, legend and mystery. Based in Kullaberg, on the west coast of south Sweden in November, it is the epitome of true Swedish trail grit, and is not for the fainthearted. We are thrilled to be part of the UTMB World Series, and so excited to welcome athletes from all over the world to this legendary race.”
Typical Scandinavian weather only adds to the adventure, with darker shorter days, strong winds and cold sea air playing their part on exposed sections of the course. Local Swedish runners will have the advantage here and are expected to do well on this course amongst their international counterparts, including dark horse Carl-Johan Soerman (SWE) who is predicted to finish in the top 5 despite currently being unranked on the UTMB World Series. He will be up against top-ranked athletes Alexandre Boucheix (FRA), Guillaume Deneffe (BEL) and Viktor Stenqvist (SWE) amongst other strong contenders.
In the women’s field, the event celebrates an 11% increase in registrations on previous years, attracting amateur and professional runners alike. Competition is set to be fierce at the front of the Ultra 100 mile with two-time champion, Sofia Smedman (SWE) ready to take battle with her Swedish competitor, Johanna Bygdell (SWE) who also holds a string of impressive race results. Lena Trillelv also features as the top-ranked athlete in the Sprint Ultra 100km race and will face competitors from Belgium, Norway, France, and Great Britain for the title.
Whilst the race is a favourite amongst Nordic runners (90% of field are from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland), athletes from Germany and the UK among others will be travelling to race in the event. A true character-building race, successful finishers will be greeted at Mölle with a full grill menu on the barbecue as they share their stories from the race and receive their hard-earned 100 Mile finisher ring and Running Stones. As one finisher once said, “When you are in it, you think it is madness. Afterwards, you want more!”