Monte Rosa SkyMarathon 2021 – Results, Summary and Images

Maguet and Boffelli

It was here in Alagna that a new sport was born 25+ years ago and in 2021, after missing the 2020 edition due to Coronavirus, the Monte Rosa SkyMarathon finally emerged with a successful and exciting edition with 558 athletes from 36 countries.

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Start low, go high, reach a summit, and then return as fast as possible. A sport free of the clutter of mountaineering equipment, a sport that is fast and light. This is the Monte Rosa SkyMarathon.

Back to the core values of the sport, skyrunning, the ‘buzz’ in Alagna was electric at the start.

Retracing the original route from Alagna Valessia at 1192m the route went via the Bocchetta delle Pisse (2396m) to the Indren cable car station (3260m). From here the route continued upwards via the Gnifetti Hut (3467m), Colle del Lys (4250m) and then the summit, the Margherita Hut at 4554m.

An out-and-back route, at the summit, participants (in teams of two) turnaround and re-trace all the way back to Alagna along paths, ski runs, glaciers for a 35km loop and 3490m of vertical ascent and equal descent.

Ahead of the race, conditions in the mountains had been warm and snow conditions were less than ideal. However, a weather window appeared, and the race was confirmed to go ahead on Saturday 19th June, albeit with an earlier start of 0530. Mountains are fickle and snow can be exceptionally challenging, especially beyond midday – an earlier start would hopefully provide better conditions for longer.

Roped together in teams of two for much of the race, the route starts with dry single-track before opening with the need to cross moraine, snow fields and glaciers, it is the ultimate test for a special few as strict vetting takes place in advance of the race to ensure all have the necessary skills and experience.

With past champions, William Boffelli and Franco Colle returning, anticipation was high. However, this time, the winning duo had new partners, they would race head-to-head. Nadir Maguet would join Boffelli making for an incredible pairing. Colle would be joined by Tadei Pivk. Sevennec and Viret, also hot favourites to contend the podium.

For the women, Giuditta Turini and Laura Chiara Besseghini would be hot favourites pushed by the El Kott twins and Vasinova and Sperger.

From the gun, William Boffelli and Nadir Maguet dictated the pace and with 2000m vertical covered, they had a commanding lead over Franco Colle and Tadei Pivk. Climbing the steep couloir beyond Indren cable car station, it was interesting to see Maguet lead Boffelli and unusually, Boffelli seemed to be struggling?

“Nadir was really strong, and the pace was fast, I was struggling a little to hold the pace and so Nadir lead. However, the higher we got, the better I became and after the couloir at the higher altitude, I took the lead, and it was Nadir’s time to suffer a little…” Boffelli said post-race.

The duo was too strong, and the lead gained early on was maintained all the way to the end, however, there was no fast times, the show conditions were just too challenging.

Colle and Pivk
Leaving the summit and the iconic Margherita Hut 4556m

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Colle and Pivk, as expected ran a very strong race and while always in contact with the La Sportiva duo ahead, they were unable to catch them finishing 2nd.

Daniel Thedy paired with Henry Grosjacques

Daniel Thedy paired with Henry Grosjacques
Alexis Sevennec/ Léo Viret

Daniel Thedy paired with Henry Grosjacques rounded the podium with Daniele Felicetti/ Filippo Beccari and Alexis Sevennec/ Léo Viret placing 4th and 5th respectively.

El Kott twins.

In the women’s race, the hot favourites of Giuditta Turini and Laura Besseghini were relegated to 2nd after a strong performance by the El Kott twins from Sweden, Lina and Sanna. Their time of 6:22:12 was apparently a “little disappointing” according to the twins, they told Hillary Gerardi (who competed in and won the 2VK) that they had hoped to beat her time when paired with Holly Page of 5:51:32. It only shows how much slower the conditions were…

Giuditta Turini and Laura Besseghini

Marina Cugnetto/ Roberta Jacquin placed 3rd, just 1-minute behind Turini and Besseghini for hard fought podium places. Marcel Vasinova/ Eva Sperger and Noemie Grandjean/ Sophie Bertschy placed 4th and 5th respectively

  1. Boffelli-Maguet (ITA) – 4h45’58”
  2. Pivk-Collè (ITA) – 5h01’28”
  3. Grosjacques-Thedy (ITA) – 5h13’07”
  4. Felicetti-Beccari (ITA) – 5h20’39”
  5. Viret-Sévennec (FRA) – 5h29’01”
  1. El Kott Helander-El Kott Helander (SWE) – 6h22’12”
  2. Turini-Besseghini (ITA) – 6h31’30”
  3. Cugnetto-Jacquin (ITA) – 6h32’35”
  4. Vasinova (CZE) – Sperger (GER) – 6h38’57”
  5. Grandjean (FRA) – Bertschy (SUI) – 6h55’59”
André Jonsson and Rémi Français

A special note must go to duo, André Jonsson and Rémi Français who sacrificed any top-5 possibility by sacrificing their race to go to the rescue of two other competitors who came victim of a crevasse.

“A race is a race, but sometimes things happen that makes positions and time splits irrelevant. About halfway up the glacier, one guy in the team ahead suddenly disappeared through the snow and his teammate was not far from being pulled down as well. I threw myself, grabbed him, held as hard as possible so they did not slide farther into the crevasse and then Rémi pulled our rope to stop me following them… More teams joined and we soon got them to the surface.”

André Jonsson

Safety and experience, two essential requirements for the race.

It’s a timely reminder that the Monte Rosa SkyMarathon is an extreme race and why all participants are strictly vetted and compulsory equipment and the requirement to be roped together is an essential requirement.

Less cloud, more sky – skyrunning

“Skyrunning differs to other sports and this is the discipline we launched in the late 1990’ s,” Giacometti said. “Skyrunning has always existed; across the world it is just that it became a formalized sport in our hands. I am called the father of skyrunning, but it is for the aspect of race organization, when we started 25+-years ago, nobody talked about this.”

Run steep, get high!

“Older generations were already Skyrunner’s. My grandfather crossed the mountains working for example. Skyrunner’s added more speed but in essence it has always been the same thing, Skyrunner’s have always existed.” Bruno Brunod says, “I felt the same when I was a kid in the pastures, I always ran up and down the summits that surrounded me. It is something I felt inside, something I liked.”

The start.

The consensus post-race was that Marino Giacometti, the race organization team, Alagna and Monte Rosa participants were equal stars of the 2021 edition, especially after a such a tough and challenging year with Coronavirus. We look ahead now to 2022 with another year of less cloud, more sky!

Epic, pure and simple.

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Marco De Gasperi – Vertical Kilometer® Hints ‘n’ Tips

Marco De Gasperi is a legend of mountain and skyrunning. At the age of 16, he gained special permission to climb Monte Rosa with ISF president, Marino Giacometti and a small group of like-minded adrenaline filled mountaineers. It was the birth of skyrunning.

The rest his history, Marco has six-world titles and a list of victories from races all over the world. Marco, now in his 40’s is still respected as one of the best in the world. He recently became a Skyrunner World Series champion and has established FKT’s (fastest known times) on iconic courses such as Monte Rosa where his career began.

Courmayeur – Monte Bianco record

Marco De Gasperi – Sognavo di diventare Skyrunner

Born in Bormio (in the Alps) a hub for skiing and short-track skating. Living at 1200m provided Marco with advantages, however, he only found his true vocation at the age of 10-years. Marco had tried to adapt to Skiing and Nordic-Skiing, but the reality was soon apparent; he just didn’t have the required size and bulk required to be competitive. The mountains beckoned; daily he would leave his town, climb a peak and return in the same day.

At 12-years old, an encounter with Adriano Greco introduced him to the winter past time of ski-mountaineering and running in the summer months. Adriano was very much a coach and guide for Marco. He was introduced to a new aspect of sport, a new discipline that was at its birth. In 1994, Marco ran his first Vertical Kilometer® on the slopes of the Matterhorn.

Marco’s knowledge is invaluable in regard to mountains and how to run them! With the announcement of a new VK2 circuit HERE in Italy, it is timely that Marco provides some ‘hints and tips.’

Hints and Tips

Do you do any specific training for a Vertical Kilometer®?

My season always includes mountain races and races with plenty of climbing, so, I like to devote myself with specific training in the gym to build strength. For example, I use leg extension, leg press and other exercises such as squats. I also do up and down reps on a large box (60cm high), this is great for strength and endurance. It is also important to apply yourself outside and of course finding a steep incline of 30% and running at a smooth and consistent pace is ideal; it’s difficult to run all the way but I always try.

The Vertical Kilometer® is very demanding and runners incorporate different techniques to reach the summit in the fastest and most efficient way. Hands-on-knees and ‘poles’ are two methods; do you have a preference?

Application very much depends on the individual needs and demands of each runner and the course. For example, you will find many VK specialists come from a Ski-Mountaineering background and therefore they are very well adapted and practiced with the use of poles. Certainly, when slopes become much steeper, poles offer an advantage as they help balance the center of gravity and thus provide a more advantageous position. In principal though, I prefer to try and run!

Aerobically it is very easy to just ‘tip over the edge’ with a VK, do you have any special techniques in training to help to pace yourself?

You need to train and understand the muscular and mental aspects that are required to race a VK well. The correct pace is easy to find if your mind is prepared for the challenge ahead. Take long hills in training at an easy pace, try to keep running and enjoy the process, have fun! If I don’t have the possibility to train on long steep climbs, I like to find a short hill that is steep, and I do reps at a faster pace than racing… I walk back down to allow recovery and then repeat.

Walking for many will be a key element of a successful VK. I am well aware that you will try to run as much as possible. However, do you practice walking?

Long and steep mountains are very difficult, it’s all about efficiency and yes, sometimes it is far more efficient to walk. It’s about balance; I run for as long as possible, but a good climber knows when to switch to maintain rhythm and speed. You want to avoid building up too much lactic acid. I consider myself to be a good ‘walker’ and I am happy to switch as and when required. As for practice, no not really, just go out in the mountains and hike. It’s a perfect way to combine fun and training.

You have already mentioned indoor training and strength work. Have you ever trained on a treadmill and what about core and stability training?

Core and stability are very important, without doubt it provides benefits. Every week I do 3-4 sessions of five key exercises to work on this. In regard to a treadmill; it’s not the best way to train for a VK but maybe you have limited options? It can obviously be better than nothing. Just make sure you have it at an incline and work hard.

In regard to particular VK training, is it better to train on shorter or longer mountains; do you have a preference?

I have many years in the sport, in my opinion; I think that too many long mountains are not good for the specific demands of a VK. In particular, as a race approaches keep sessions in the 30 to 50-minute bracket.

Other than yourself (obviously) who do you regard to be the best runners at the VK distance?

You are very kind! I am going to split this. Urban Zemmer with poles, Berny Dermatteis without using poles and Valentina Belotti. I guess it comes as no surprise that these runners are all Italian, but the records show that they have the fastest times.

Finally, Marco, if you had to provide three invaluable tips for running a Vertical Kilometer® what would they be?

  1. Do 6-7 reps 3 times on a trail that is not too steep, rest by walking down.
  2. Make sure you have easier days between hard sessions
  3. To race and perform well on race day, your legs must be very relaxed and recovered.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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First published January 2014

New VK2 Circuit Announced

 

Exciting news from the FSA for a new VK2 circuit

The Vertical Kilometer® doubles in distance with a whole new circuit of five events all taking place in Italy, the home of skyrunning! The VK2 circuit is tailor-made for those who love vertical running and high altitude, the new circuit will bring those two elements together and yes, it will take your breath away, both visually and physically!

This new VK2 challenge brings together emblematic races, with three races that exceed an altitude of 3,000m. The circuit has 10,333m of ascent alone, with an average gradient of 30% and sections with over 50%.

The iconic Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc will provide participants the opportunity to test themselves in a truly alpine environment, fast and light, on snowfields with micro-crampons and in climbing sections with a harness and helmet.

The VK2 starts on June 20 from Alagna Valsesia with the AMA VK2 which reaches the altitude of 3,260m at Punta Indren, through pastures, stony ground and snowfields.

On June 28 the Double Vertical K2 at the highest fort in Europe on the summit of Mount Chaberton at 3,130m on the border with France.

On July 5, it’s the K2 Valtellina Extreme Vertical Race where you reach the summit of Cima Pisello at 2,272m.

In the spotlight, Mont Blanc with the UYN K2000 will be on August 1st. Starting in Courmayeur, the steep path climbs under the SkyWay cable car to Punta Helbronner at 3,460m to satisfy athletes and the public with breathtaking views.

The VK2 circuit concludes with the Gran Finale on 20 September with La Direttissima K2000 which starts from Piazza del Duomo in Trento to reach the 2,098m of the summit of Monte Bondone. Here, 25% extra points are up for grabs.

RANKING:

For the final ranking, the three best placements will be considered.  Each race assigns to the first 15 men and women, points to climb from 100 to 10 with 25% more at the Grand Finale. In all races, free entries and accommodation are assigned to the winners of the following race, and the VK2 Trophy is up for grabs, with cash prizes for the winners of the circuit.

For the many lovers of vertical, the VK2 represents a race towards the sky on steep paths, rocks and snowfields to run and climb in pure skyrunning style – all uphill!

CALENDARIO VK2

AMA VK2 – Punta Indren (3.260m) Alagna (VC)

DOPPIO VERTICAL K2 – Monte Chaberton (3.130m) Cesana (TO)

K2 VALTELLINA EXTREME VERTICAL RACE – Cima Pisello (2.272m) Talamona (SO)

UYN K2000 – Punta Helbronner (3.560m) Courmayeur (AO)

LA DIRETTISSIMA K2000* – Monte Bondone (2.098m) Trento (TN)

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Maga Ultra SkyMarathon 2019 – ISF European Skyrunning Championships

In a spectacular downpour that hit the village of Serina, near Bergamo, Italy, spirits were high as the six medals at stake for the Ultra at the 2019 Skyrunning European Championships were awarded to dominant Spanish podiums today at the Maga Ultra SkyMarathon.

Lauri van Houten, ISF, reports on the action from Maga Ultra SkyMarathon

The strong world-class field pushed the pace, smashing the standing records, with the top 13 men and 6 women finishing under the previous time.

The men’s gold medallist, Italian Cristian Minoggio, closed in 6h37’26” slicing an incredible 1h06’ off the previous record. “I still can’t believe it. Until I have the medal in my hand, I won’t believe it,” commented an ecstatic Minoggio. “It was a splendid race, a course I felt in my heart from the first to the last step. Now all I can do is repeat this performance at Veia!”

The silver went to Spain’s Manuel Merillas, who initially led the race, but was overtaken after the first summit halfway through the race by Minoggio. “I didn’t expect such a technical and demanding course, especially on the downhill. I loved it and congratulate Cristian who took the win.”

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Bronze medallist, Italian Daniel Jung, held a steady fourth throughout until third man, Sweden’s André Jonsson had to pull out after 45 km, leaving Jung in third. “I’m very satisfied,” said Jung. “It was a really tough race and spectacular at the same time with a very high level of competition. I hoped to do well, and a medal is the best way to celebrate!”

The women’s podium, all-Spanish, had Ester Casajuana up front from the gun. “The race was as beautiful as it was hard. I pushed from the first to the last meter and I’m really happy with this medal and also because two other Spaniards, two friends, won the other medals!” She finished in 8h19’11”, almost an hour faster than the standing record. The silver went to Sandra Sevillano and the bronze, Silvia Puigarnau. In second until km 30, last year’s winner, Italian Cecilia Pedroni had to settle for fourth, despite knocking 35’ off her own record time.

The race

Today’s Ultra discipline was disputed at the Maga Ultra SkyMarathon, a tough 50 km course with a gruelling 5,000m vertical climb across four mountains topping out at 2,512m altitude. In true skyrunning style, it features stretches with fixed ropes and exposed ridges. 15 nations participated in the race which counted 149 participants.

Race organiser, Davide Scolari, commented, “We’re very proud to have held the first event of the Skyrunning European Championships. We’d like to thank all the athletes, volunteers and sponsors for their enormous support, and we’re thrilled to have had such an important international field.”

Some 150 athletes representing official teams from 19 countries will fight for the 27 medals at stake in the Championships: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Hungary, Italy, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden.

Titles and medals

Individual, national and combined titles are at stake awarding 27 medals. Today’s Ultra awarded six individual medals to the top three men and women finishers from Europe, while the national and combined titles must wait for the conclusion of all three disciplines on September 7.

The National titles are based on the best four results scored by Official National Team members in each race, counting at least one per gender. After today’s Ultra, the country ranking has Spain in the lead with 336 points; Italy 318; Czech Republic 246; Portugal 198; Austria 146.

The Combined title is based on the best results of the top three men and women in the Vertical and Sky races. WADA anti-doping tests will be carried out at the finals where the Vertical and Sky categories will be celebrated on Thursday, September 5 and Saturday, September 7 in Piedmont, Italy at the Veia SkyRace® in a spectacular amphitheater surrounded by the Swiss 4,000m mountains.

View the full Image Gallery HERE

2019 Skyrunning European Championship medallists

Men
Gold: Cristian Minoggio (ITA) – 6h37’26

Silver: Manuel Merillas (ESP) – 6h52’03”

Bronze: Daniel Jung (ITA) – 7h0252″

Women
Gold: Ester Casajuana (ESP) – 8h19’11”

Silver:  Sandra Sevillano (ESP) – 8h33’35”

Bronze: Silvia Puigarnau (ESP) 8h41’11”

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Monte Rosa Skymarathon 2019 Preview

“If you build it, they will come”

– the famous line from the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ with Kevin Costner.

The term has been used time and time again as a metaphor for reaching out, taking a risk and fulfilling a dream. Well, in 2018, Marino Giacometti and Lauri van Houten did just that! They harked back to the roots and the glory days of skyrunning and the race and mountain that created the sport that we all now know today.

It was in Alagna, on the slopes and summit of Monte Rosa that Marino pioneered the approach of ‘fast and light!’ It’s a simple concept, start in the town, go to the summit as fast as possible, turnaround and then run back.

1993, starting at 1192m in Alagna and reaching the Margherita Hut at 4554m and on the way passing Bochetta delle Pisse at 2396m, Indren Cable Car 3260m. Gnifetti Hut 3647m and finally the Colle del Lys at 4250m before the lung bursting summit.

It is pure skyrunning.

And today, the Monte Rosa Skymarathon retraces that pioneering route to spend time in less cloud and more sky.

It’s a route for the experienced only and unlike 1993, the race now requires teams of two, pioneered last year in the 1st edition. Snow fields, glaciers, exposed landscape the steep climb and descent of a couloir and all the time pushing the body and mind to the limit.

In the individual records date back to 1994 when skyrunning legends Fabio Meraldi and Gisella Bendotti completed the outa and back journey in 4:24 and 5:34 respectively.

 

Last year, 2018, the team of Franco Collé / William Boffelli completed in a stunning 4:39:59. The mixed pair team of Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg completed in 5:03:56 – in the process, Emelie set the fastest time for woman.

The stage is now set for 2019 and the 2nd edition of the Monte Rosa Skymarathon, the route as in 2018 will be a full recreation of the 1993 original race with a total distance of 35km and 3500m+ and 3500m-.

From the Indren cable car station, teams (2-people) must be roped with: UIAA 105 approved harness, UIAA 101 approved 8 mm diameter dynamic rope 10m long, UIAA 128 approved rope with two carabiners, micro metal crampons must be worn and ski or cross country poles must be carried.

Top international athletes including skyrunning stars – past and present – and ski mountaineering champions will arrive in Alagna aiming to challenge the incredible records set by those before them. But records only tell part of the story, for a skyrunner or ski mountaineer, this race is more than a race, it’s a journey through time, it’s the purest form of the sport, a hark back to the roots and just toeing the line is a great achievement.

New for 2019 is the AMA VK2 – The course starts and finishes in Alagna Valsesia, 1,192m. It passes by the Bocchetta delle Pisse, 2,396m and summits at the Indren cable car station, 3,260m for a distance of 11 km and a total 2,080m vertical climb. The race takes place on mountain trails with demanding uphill sections, exposed areas, steep pastures and scree and snow fields, possibly subject to severe environmental and weather conditions.

A list of entrants for both races can be found HERE

Due to the nature of the events, equipment requirements are strict HERE

PROGRAM

FRIDAY 21 JUNE, PALAZZETTO DELLO SPORT, ALAGNA

10.00 Race Office opens

Registration, bib and race pack collection

18.00 Mandatory Briefing

19.00 Race Office closes

SATURDAY 22 JUNE, PIAZZA GROBER

6.00 Monte Rosa Skymarathon race start

In case of unfavourable weather conditions the race may be shortened to finish at Colle del Lys or postponed to Sunday, 23 June

08:30 AMA VK2 starts

10.30 Arrival of first athletes of Monte Rosa Skymarathon in Alagna.

On-site podium ceremony of first three men and first three women

16.00 Award ceremony – Palazzetto dello Sport

RACE WEBSITE HERE

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Skyrunning UK announce the 2019 Skyrunner ® UK & IRELAND calendar

Following on from the continued growth of skyrunning worldwide and the expansion of the Skyrunner ® World Series– Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce five races in four stunning locations that bring you the best of what the UK and Ireland has to offer.

The Races

The season will start in the iconic English Lakes with the Scafell Sky Race on June 8th.

Technical single-track and scree and 40m slab make this a classic 40km skyrunning route to be reckoned with. The circular ‘newly designed’ route allows you to run from the iconic National Trust’s Stickle Barn over Lakeland Fells and through Lakeland Valleys, whilst you summit England’s highest mountain on route and traverse some of the most challenging trails in the central Lake District.

“The Scafell Sky Race is the most technical race I’ve ever done … even tougher than Tromso! Emelie Forsberg would love it!”– Lucy Bartholomew.

With sections of scree and light scrambling thrown in, Scafell Sky Race is a serious test of nerve, skill and endurance. Mountain experience and moving solo across highly technical mountain terrain is an essential skill for this classic skyrunning race.

Race website HERE

*****

The second race of the season also takes place in the English Lakes, Lakes Sky Ultra on July 13th.

You’ll need a good head for heights and nerves of steel: you’re going to traverse three of the most amazing ridge-lines in the Lake District: Beda Fell, remote and sublime, the bone shaking and very wild ridge of Long Stile Edge and the very alpine and rocky scramble of Swirral Edge. We’re talking serious ascent with some distance thrown in, 60km of Lake District paths, trails and rock with 5’000m ascent.

We packed all the best central and eastern-Lake District mountain running trails we know into this course: you’ll go up and over Place Fell, Beda Fell, High Street, Thornthwaite Crag, Stoney Cove Pike, St Raven’s Edge, Red Screes, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn with some of the most remote valleys in the area dropped in for good measure. It’s an epic day out to say the least.

And just as you think you can make the whole distance, we’ve added some new KoM Super Stages in to spice it all up. This year we will be combining the times for a real up-hill extravaganza, so remember to train ‘hill reps’ galore. It’s a race within a race, and the prizes will go to the runners who can dig the deepest in the final flight to the finish.

Race websiteHERE

*****

Ireland brings us a new race and experience for the ever-expanding calendar with the Seven Sisters Skyline on July 28th.

Dunlewey officially known by its Irish name Dun Luiche is a small Gaeltacht village in the Gweedore area of County Donegal, North West Ireland, now host to the InauguralSeven Sisters Skyline. The Seven Sisters are the seven high peaks of the Derryveagh mountains. From southwest to northeast they are as follows, Errigal (751 m), Mackoght a.ka. Little Errigal (555 m), Aghla More (584 m), Ardloughnabrackbaddy (603 m),Aghla Beg (564 m), Crocknalaragagh (471 m)and Muckish (666 m).

The course is an out and back route which traverses 13 summits in total (Errigal once). The course is unique in that there are little or no tracks or paths, just wild open isolated mountains and hillsides. This stunning skyrunning race route incorporates technical sections on either side of the route at Muckish and Errigal mountains.

Scrambling, ridge running, steep technical descents and ascents and a multitude of mixed terrain makes the 50km Seven Sisters Skyline with 4000m of vertical gain a great addition to the 2019 Skyrunner ® UK & IRELANDcalendar.

Race website HERE

*****

Our fourth race is another new addition to the calendar and we once again welcome Wales in the Skyrunner ® UK & IRELANDcalendar with the stunning Snowdon Skyline on September 15th.

The event where the sky isn’t the limit, it’s where the fun begins! Nestled in the quiet valley of Nant Gwynant in Snowdonia, Hafod y Llan farm will play host to the inaugural Snowdon Skyline.

The 40km Skyline Sky Race gets stuck straight into its 3600m+ right away by ascending the famous Snowdon Watkin path to then traverse the stunning Y Lliwedd ridge. After Pen y Pass road crossing, a second sizeable ascent to the gnarly terrain of the Glyders awaits, before plunging down the Y Gribin ridge to the Ogwen Valley.

The course offers little respite as it immediately ascends the iconic Tryfan via its sublime north ridge scramble, weaving upwards through rocky outcrops and gullies on route to the summit. A technical descent followed by some lovely undulating trails back to Pen y Pass and runners are nearly ready to finish this unrelenting figure of eight route. The jewel in the crown is a westbound traverse of the infamous Crib Goch ridge, followed by a delightful run off Snowdon summit via its south ridge. A sting in the tail comes in the form of the last summit of Y Garn, before a final descent home to Nant Gwynant.

With a course designed by a race director and skyrunner, the inaugural Snowdon Skyline will be sure to test all limits of a runner’s ability! A grand tour of some of the UK’s most scenic trails, ridges and scrambles, it’s a dead cert to become an international skyrunning classic…

Race websiteHERE

*****

The 2019 Skyrunner ® UK & IRELANDcalendar concludes with well-established and sell out race, the Mourne Skyline MTR – currently it has a scheduled date of October 19th (land permissions allowing tbc)

The Mourne Mountains are a granite mountain range in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland. Owned by the National Trust, an area of outstanding beauty, it includes Slieve Donard (850m), the highest mountain in Northern Ireland and Ulster and as such it provides a perfect location for a mountain race.

Among the more famous features, the Mourne Wall is a key element of this region and a key aspect of the race. Construction of the wall was started in 1904 and was completed in 1922; its purpose, to define the boundary of an area of land purchased by the Belfast Water Commission.

Comprised of forest path, fire roads, single track, granite trail and tough uneven broken fell, the race is a tough challenge. In just 35km the course has a brutal 3370m of ascent and no less than 9 peaks, the highest being Slieve Donard at 850m.

The mountains of Northern Ireland may not have the height or elevation gain the Alps or Pyrenees offer, but what they lack in height is more than compensated for in technicality and repeated roller coaster climbing. Ask anyone who has run it, the Mourne Skyline MTR is no easy race.

Race website HERE

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The Series

The Skyrunner ® UK & IRELANDseries is combined of five races and to be the best-of-the-best, runners must take part in at least three races. Points are awarded based on results and the male and female runner with the most points will be crowned as the Skyrunner ® UK & IRELANDchampion of 2019.

A Skyrunning World Ranking is a rolling 52-week ranking based on all the points awarded to the athletes from his/her participation in: Skyrunner® World Series races, Skyrunner National Series, Skyrunning World Championships and Skyrunning Continental Championships.

Importantly, from 2019, the Skyrunner® World Seriesseason will end with a Sky Mastersrace gathering only the best athletes who qualified over the season. SMSA offers to Skyrunner® National Series Skyrunner ® UK & IRELAND qualifying paths.

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Download release, images and logos HERE

“Skyrunning” has been around for some time.  Hundreds, even thousands of years ago mountains were negotiated out of necessity: war, religious persecution, hunting, smuggling, or just out of plain old curiosity.  The concept of running up and down mountains for fun is much newer.  Take for example the Ben Nevis Race which goes back to 1903, or the Pikes Peak Marathon which began as a bet in 1954 among smokers and non-smokers.

The idea of creating a sports discipline however was the brainchild of Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti, who, with a handful of fellow climbers, pioneered records and races on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa in the Italian Alps in the early ‘90’s.  In 1993, with the support of the multinational Fila as sponsor, skyrunning took off across the world’s mountain ranges with a circuit of awe-inspiring races stretching from the Himalayas to the Rockies, from Mount Kenya to the Mexican volcanoes. Giacometti’s term skyrunning*, as the name suggests, is where earth and sky meet.

Monte Rosa SkyMarathon – 2019 date announced – 22 June 2019, Alagna Valsesia, Italy

After the successful relaunch in 2018 of the historic Monte Rosa SkyMarathon in the Italian Alps, the next edition will take place on June 22, 2019.

The 2018 event attracted some of the world’s top athletes in a field of 300 participants from 23 countries. They included skyrunning superstars Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, the men’s winners Franco Collé and William Boffelli and women’s winners Hillary Gerardi and Holly Page.

It is Europe’s highest race reaching the Margherita Hut at 4,554m altitude.  A “mere” 35 kilometres long, it boasts a gruelling 7,000m ascent and descent over moraine, snow fields and glaciers. Due to the high altitude and challenging conditions, the event is open only to athletes with mountaineering experience. Above the snow line, they must wear harnesses, rope up and wear crampons.

Incredibly spectacular scenery is one of the attractions of the race, where from the summit of Europe’s second highest mountain, Monte Rosa, the 360° view takes in the major 4,000m peaks, including the Matterhorn.

The Monte Rosa SkyMarathon retraces the original course dating back to 1993. It was here that the sport of skyrunning was born and here where it will continue to thrive.

Stay tuned for entry dates and join us on June 22, 2019 for the race of the century!

ENTRIES HERE

Read about the 2018 edition on Sidetracked Magazine

For Marino Giacometti, it was a dream come true. The tears in his eyes showed it. It was here in Monte Rosa that a new sport was born just over 25 years ago, and in 2018 it was re-established – the sport of skyrunning. Start low, go high, reach a summit and then return as fast as possible. A sport free from the clutter of mountaineering equipment, a sport that is fast and light.

 

Monte Rosa SkyMarathon lived up to the hype and delivered beyond expectations. The ‘buzz’ in Alagna after the race was incredible. ‘This is a proper skyrunning race,’ was repeated time and time again. ‘Let’s have more of this Marino… let’s get back to the core values of the sport and yes, let’s go back 25-years!’

READ MORE HERE

View images of the 2017 race below – ©iancorless.com

Images to purchase HERE

ISF Skyrunning World Championships 2018 Summary

“Gale force winds, torrential rain, freezing cold and the occasional burst of sunshine tell the story of the 2018 Skyline Scotland series of events. For the first time, the ISF skyrunning world championships were held on UK soil combining of the classic VK, SKY and ULTRA distances. On the 4th day, the event center in Kinlochleven was transformed for the skyrunner world series, Glen Coe Skyline – 4 days, 4 events and 1000’s of runners; a truly memorable experience for running in the UK.”

I wrote a summary of the 2018 World Championships for IRUN4ULTRA

YOU CAN READ THE ARTICLE HERE

You can view image galleries form the VK, SKY, ULTRA and EXTREME races HERE

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Trofeo Kima 2018 – Summary and Images

Kilian Jornet takes back the record at the Kima Trophy with a supreme effort. Equaling the record of Mario Poletti, Kilian took his fourth title after missing the race in 2016. Hillary Gerardi followed her victory in Tromso with another incredible win proving that she is the woman to beat on technical courses!

The 23rd edition of the Kima Trophy that will be remembered amongst one the most beautiful ever after overnight rain cleared to an amazingly beautiful cold day. However, temperatures were cold due to strong winds and ice was present on the course. The race director Matteo Colzada and his staff checked the various critical points on th ehigh passes and postponed the start but to the relief of all the runners, the full route was allowed.

Kima has 52 technical and very challenging kilometers with 8,400 m of total height gain and loss with 7 alpine passes all above 2500m (maximum altitude Cameraccio 2.950 m). 

Already winner of this race and record holder before the Nepalese Bhim Gurung beat it (6h10’44 “), the star of Team Salomon ran with Alexis Sevennec for much of the race. The two raced shoulder to shoulder until the final descent, a real 2000 meters dive from Passo Barbacan to the village of San Martino. Here Kilian launched a winning attack, an attack that allowed him to cross the line in 6:09:19 beating the 06;10:44 mark set in 2016.

Alexis Sevennec 2nd in 6:11:59 was a popular favourite and rounding out the podium was Transvulcania winner, Pere Aurell in 6:20:50. 

The top ten of the day also Andre Jonsson, Leo Viret, Petter Engdahl, Andy Simonds, Cristian Minoggio, Cody Lind and Samuel Equy. With today’s success, Kilian enters right into the history of Kima joining Mario Poletti in the golden book of success.

Hillary Gerardi, did not beat the record of 7:36:21 set by Nuria Picas in 2016 but she produced an outstanding race, following up victory in Tromso. On the first descent towards Bocchetta Roma, Ragna Debats had tried to make a difference and close the gap, but Hillary was too strong. In the high altitude crossing, Hilary pulled away with a slender 5-minute lead, chased by Jasmine Paris, Brittany Peterson, Robyn Owen and Martina Valmassoi. Ragna was unfortunately suffering and dropped back.

 At the end, the South African, Robyn Owen tclosed on the leadership, but Hillary kicked and came back and won in 7:37:29. 

Second place for Robyn in 7:39:01 was a real surprise… watch out for this woman! Third was for the Nepalese Mira Rai in 7:41:46.

The American Brittany Petterson, who had been in 2nd at the midway point, and the Italian Martina Valmassoi followed to round out the top-5!

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MONTE ROSA SKYMARATHON & ALAGNA-INDREN SKYRACE®

It’s here! A return to the roots and the beginning of a new sport when in the late 1980’s, Marino Giacometti, pioneered  fast and light on the slopes of Monte Rosa, a sport that would be called Skyrunning!

Mark the date, June 23rd 2018.

Introducing Europe’s highest race! The iconic Monte Rosa will once again host the ultimate test of fast and light, low to high and back again, a true race in the SKY! Celebrating 25-years of Skyrunning, the race returns to the Italian Alps retracing the original race route all the way to the summit of Monte Rosa at 4554m.

Monte Rosa SkyMarathon. ©actionmovie.it

 

MONTE ROSA SKYMARATHON & ALAGNA-INDREN SKYRACE® will be a spectacle like no other on the Skyrunning circuit. It’s an exclusive event brought to you be the founders of the sport.

Covering 35km’s and 7000m of vertical gain and descent, runners will cover snow fields, glaciers, moraine in true Skyrunning style! Runners will participate in teams of two, roped together.

It’s a personification of the sport. A return to the glory days of the early 90’s and for sure, it will become a spectacle like no other!


A shorter race for individual runners, the Alagna-Indren SkyRace® will also take place on the same day reaching 3,260m.

The events will attract top international athletes including skyrunning stars – past and present – and ski mountaineering champions aiming to challenge the incredible records set in 1994 by Italians Fabio Meraldi in 4h24’ and Gisella Bendotti in 5h34’.

Marino Giacometti_Monte Rosa SkyMarathon_1994. ©Dario Ferro

Race information will be available HERE

Skyrunner’s throughout the world, for many years, have been waiting for a race such as this. Now it is here…!


The course

The route retraces the original route first completed in 1993 from Alagna Valsesia, 1,192m, via the Bocchetta delle Pisse, 2,396m, to the Indren cable car station at 3,260m. It continues towards the Gnifetti Hut, 3,647m, Colle del Lys, 4,250m, to summit at the Margherita Hut, 4,554m returning by the same course to Alagna.
The route ascends and descends along paths, ski runs and across glaciers in a loop for a total distance of 35 km and 3,490m vertical climb.

The course is on mountain trails with demanding uphill and downhill sections, over snow fields, glaciers with crevasses, exposed areas, steep pastures and scree, possibly subject to severe environmental and weather conditions, summiting at 4,554m.

A high level of physical preparation is required, high altitude mountaineering experience, knowledge of the risks of the terrain and the ability to manage eventual sudden changes such as strong winds and below zero temperatures.

Join the race of the year HERE