Anticipation mounts for two events new to the Skyrunner® World Series this weekend with World Champions and Series’ leaders in both the Sky and VK disciplines toeing the start line – Lauri van Houten writes a preview of the action
The locations are both well-known ski resorts and now that the snow has almost all gone, they will host participants from no less than 22 nations in the spectacular Italian Alps.
The events will see 10 of the top athletes take on both races – the first being the short steep Santa Caterina Vertical KM on Friday, June 24, followed by Sunday’s Livigno SkyMarathon® – both valid for the Skyrunner® World Series rankings.
Among the intrepid athletes lining-up for the double challenge are Skyrunning World Champions Elisa Descoand Oihana Kortazar. Laura Orgué, Vertical World Champion and winner of both the 2015 Vertical and Sky Series, will be aiming “just” for the VK.
“After four months since my fibula fracture I’m already back competing. However, I’m not ready for the Sky distance yet, but eager to try the VK. I’m aware I’m not on my best form, but just to get a bib for the World Series is especially exciting,” she comments. “Competing makes me feel alive and certainly I’ll give it everything”.
Friday’s VK starts in the village of Santa Caterina and heads 1,000m skywards to the summit of the Cresta Sobretta over a short, steep 3 km course. The records to beat are 35’29” for the men and 43’32” for the women.
On Sunday the events move to Livigno, or ‘Little Tibet’ as it’s known, the location of the Livigno SkyMarathon® – 34 km long with 2,600m vertical climb. The route weaves through untamed nature in the Stelvio National Park traversing the Swiss/Italian border with technical sections and stretches above 3,000m altitude – all in true skyrunning style designed by the magic hand of top runner Marco De Gasperi, on this occasion, in the role of race organiser.
“We’re incredibly satisfied and proud to be on the World Series. It has always been a dream to have a race of this level in our mountains. To have two is absolutely incredible,” he states. “As organisers we’re still young, but we’re driven by passion and a desire to deliver two top class events.”
Judging by the top class line-up, he should, indeed, be proud.
Among the top runners competing in the events are:
Santa Caterina Vertical KM – June 24, Santa Caterina Valfurva, Lombardy, Italy
World Champions Laura Orgué, Elisa Desco and Oihana Kortazar. More top names include Christel Dewalle from France and Italian Antonella Confortola. In the men’s field: Italians Urban Zemmer andMarco Moletto; Slovenian Nejc Kuhar; new-entry Ondrej Fejfar from the Czech Republic; Slovenian Nejc Kuhar; Ferran Teixido from Andorra; from France, William Bon Mardion and Alexis Sevennec; Pascal Egli from Switzerland and Rolf Einar Jensen from Norway.
Livigno SkyMarathon® – June 26, Lombardy, Italy
Italian Tadei Pivk and American Megan Kimmel head the current Sky Series ranking, followed by, in the men’s field: Spaniards Aritz Egea, Hassan Ait Chaou, Alfredo Gil Garcia, Sintu Vives, Jessed Hernandez andJokin Lizeaga; from Andorra, brothers Oscar and Marc Casal Mir and André Jonsson from Sweden, new to the skyrunning circuit and loving it!
In the women’s field: Spaniards Oihana Kortazar, Aitziber Ibarbia and Italian Elisa Desco.
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