|SkyGames – a dream come true|
June 29, 2012
For the people of Ribargorza Románica a dream comes true as runners from across the world converge on the small towns dotted around this remote and relatively unknown area of the Spanish Pyrenees hosting the 2012 SkyGames®.
This evening, a turnout of 1,500 spectators is expected at the opening ceremony which will pay homage to the 19 countries participating with a parade of flags representing each nation. The organisers, OCI Sport, intend to get the events off with a bang by concluding the evening with a fireworks display spsotlighting the Romanic Church of Taüll, a World Heritage site and the surrounding mountains.
Forty medals, 14 world titles and 40,000 euros prize money are at stake in the skyrunners’ “high altitude Olympics”. 1,300 athletes will compete in the six disciplines held between June 30 and July 8, climaxing with the SkyMarathon, compulsory for the combined title. Certainly, the super-strong Spanish team looks set to take the lion’s share of the medals, headed by reigning Skyrunner® World Series champions, Luis Alberto Hernandez and Oihana Kortazar and past world champion, Agustí Roc, as well as Mireia Mirò competing in the Vertical Kilometer.
Among the other nations participating are France with past skyrunning world champion Corinne Favre and Didier Zago; Nicola Golinelli from Italy; Zhanna Vokueva, Russia, Adam Campbell, Canada; Alex Nichols, USA; Murray Strain and Tessa Hill, Great Britain; Adel Ojeda from Venezuela; together with teams from Andorra, Bolivia, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Japan, Marocco, Mexico, Poland, Singapore and Switzerland.
Joan Peralada, President of the Association for Ribagorza Románica Development, commented; “For two years, the residents have worked with determination to ensure the success of the event, amassing 300 volunteers and a 50-strong team of professionals to manage the races. After a bleak winter where the ski facilities were closed and jobs lost, the SkyGames® have filled 7,000 hotel rooms creating a much-needed economic boost for the area and it’s future development.”
The six SkyGames® disciplines making up the mammoth event are: SkySpeed, 100 metres vertical climb with a 45% incline; Vertical Kilometer, the universally popular formula, here a mere 3.5 km with a 30% incline; SkyBike – a duathlon combining mtb and skyrunning to 2,000m altitude; SkyRaid – a multi-discipline team relay; the 21 km SkyRace with 1,350m vertical climb, reserved for runners aged 16-21. The events conclude with an epic SkyMarathon reaching 3,100m altitude – valid for the combined points title.
Skyrunning partner Arc’teryx will be present with a media camp where international journalists will get to know the company, the skyrunning partnership and to learn about and test the Endorphin line together with team athletes: Adam Campbell (Canada), Murray Strain and Tessa Hill (Great Britain), Didier Zago (France) and Nicola Golinelli (Italy).
The event is sanctioned by FEDME, the Spanish Federation for Mountain Sports.