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 0500. 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 Indian 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 side 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 all participants were equal stars of the 2021 edition, especially after a such a tough and challenging year with Coronavirus. We allow ahead now to 2022 with another year of less cloud, more sky!

Epic, pure and simple.

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Monte Rosa Skymarathon 2019 AMA – Race Summary and Images

What a difference a day makes! The 2019 race should have taken place on Saturday, however, weather conditions through the Friday night made the high ground above 3000m dangerous and therefore the race was postponed to Sunday. The sister event, the AMA VK2 did take place – HERE.

Race departure on Sunday was brought forward to 0530 from the scheduled 0600 start, a loop of the village for the 400 runners from 25 countries provided a warm up before they were released onto the mountain. In essence, Monte Rosa SkyMarathon is a simple race. Start in Alagna, run to the summit of Monte Rosa and then return as fast as possible. With a positive incline of 3500m and a distance of 35km for the round trip, this event is extreme.

Runners run in teams of two and from a certain point on the course (weather and conditions dependent) they must rope together and use crampons. At key sections, they must also attach to fixed ropes using a via ferratta harness.

The early slopes are simple trail and then as one moves up the mountain, rocks and ridges giveaway to snow and ice. This year, due to Friday’s inclement weather, approximately 30-50cm of fresh snow had covered the upper sections making running and hiking considerably harder. Another factor to consider, the great weather on Sunday of ‘less cloud and more sky,’ brought with it plenty of sun.

As the day progressed, this sun heated the snow making for a very soft and tricky descent from the summit which was constantly monitored by the races’ mountain safety. Despite the sun, temperature at the summit was -5, with the strong wind, this felt like -20. It was cold.

The day was truly incredible, from the summit and throughout the course, the views were magnificent. In particular, the Matterhorn clearly visible.

Founded on the slopes of Monte Rosa in 1992 by Marino Giacometti, skyrunning is the epitome of moving fast and light in the mountains, Monte Rosa SkyMarathon is the flagship.

Marino Giacometti, founder of skyrunning also made the summit on race day – ‘for fun!’

Combining mountaineering, running and skimo, this race is alpinism without the clutter and as such, the assembled runners come from all three backgrounds.

In 2018, William Boffelli and Franco Colle blazed a trail up and down the mountain and until four day’s before the race, we were once again expecting the duo to lead from the front. However, Franco Colle had to withdraw from injury. This left William searching for a partner. Luckily, Jakob Herrmann stepped in – an experienced ski mountaineer who has partnered Kilian Jornet. It was a big ask of Herrmann, however, he stepped up to the mark and in 2018 style the duo were the first to the summit with a lead of 25- minutes ahead of Beccari and Felicetti. Known for strong uphills, Herrmann was tested on the descent as Boffelli set a blistering pace. ‘He is not used to running descents…’ Boffelli said, ‘…but he gave his all to keep up.’ Keep up he did. The team arrived back in Alagna in 4:51:58 some way of last years time and the fastest time recorded, however, in the conditions it was quite remarkable.

Beccari and Felicetti placed second ahead of Carrara and Montani, 5:10:41 and 5:30:02 the respective times.

The women’s race looked set to be dominated by Giuditta Turini and Laura Besseghini. The duo led from the start and were first to the summit. On the descent they were running so well and then Besseghini started to have problems, most likely from fatigue and the altitude. Unfortunately she took a fall and needed to be taken from the course.

This opened the door for Tomasiak and Solinska from Poland. They arrived at the finish ecstatic thinking they had placed second, only to be crowned champions. Just 16-seconds later, Witowska and Januszyk arrived for second. Quinteros and Campos completed the podium, the times for the top three were 6:38:14, 6:38:30 and 7:15:59.

It may have taken 25-years for skyrunning to return home to Alagna, but one thing is for sure, the AMA (Alagna – Monte Rosa – Alagna) is here to stay. In just two editions, it has become ‘the’ race to do like the iconic ‘Kima!’

While experience of the mountain may be required to participate, the dream to journey to a summit and back in less than one day is now well and truly alive. And if the summit is a step too far in 2020, there is always the AMA VK2 to whet the appetite.

RACE IMAGE FULL GALLERY AVAILABLE HERE

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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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Monte Rosa Skymarathon 2018 – Summary and Images

Epic, it was just epic… 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!’

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 25+ years ago and today it was re-established – the sport of Skyrunning. Start low, go high and reach a summit and then return as fast as possible but not cluttered with mountaineering equipment, this sport is fast and light.

The course retraced the original route from Alagna Valsesia at 1192m via the Bocchetta delle Pisse (2396m) to the Indren cable car station (3260m). From here the route continues upwards via the Gnifetti Hut (3467m), Colle del Lys (4250m) and then the summit, the Margherita Hut at 4554m. The route re-traces all the way back to Alagna along paths, ski runs, glaciers for a 35km loop and 3490m of vertical ascent.

Teams of two, roped together to raced across moraine, snow fields and glaciers for 35 kilometres with an astonishing 7,000m ascent and descent.

Of course, any mountain adventure is at the mercy of the mountain and the weather. Today, the weather and mountain gods looked down on an Alagna and smiled; it was a perfect day!

From the gun, Franco Colle and William Boffelli dictated the pace and they looked relaxed, comfortable and in control. They were pursued by Alberto Comazzi and Cristian Minoggio, however, Colle and Boffelli were just too strong. Throughout the race they pulled away, constantly working in unison to eventually return to Alagna in 4:39:59. Comazzi and Minoggio placed 2nd but over 20-minutes later, crossing in 5:03:26.

The big news was all about Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet. Forsberg just two days previously had summited Mont Blanc in a super fast time, and now she was here, with Jornet powering up from Alagana to the summit of Monte Rosa to return in 5:03:56, just 30-seconds off 2nd overall. However, their time blew the ladies fastest time out of the water – congratulations Emelie on the new record. For Jornet, it was a return to racing after time away from the sport with injury. The duo beamed after the race, “this is the sport of Skyrunning,” said Jornet. “The ambiance here is excellent, the route is incredible, it’s just a pleasure to be here.” Emelie had set her sights on the record before the race, “I wanted the ladies fastest time and with a requirement to have two in a team, I needed someone like Kilian to allow me to run a fast pace knowing that he could keep up. I lead all day and he followed.”

Tom Owens and Andy Symonds were 4th to cross the line, the duo beaming with happiness from the experience, although Symonds did say, “I just need to be in better shape next time”

The first female duo were regular Skyrunner’s, Holly Page and Hillary Gerardi, they crossed in 5:51:32 and were 12th overall.

Ultimately though, the general consensus post race was that Marino Giacometti, the race organisation team, Alagna and Monte Rosa were the real stars of the day. It may have been a return to 25-years ago, but many feel it’s a new beginning!

IMAGES AVAILABLE HERE

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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