At last! It’s time for titles and medals at the 2020 Skyrunning World Championships

The spectacular Vall de Boí in the Spanish Pyrenees, 2020 Skyrunning Word Championships venue. ©Diego Escobedo

The 2020 Skyrunning World Championships are now ready to kick off after a year’s postponement. As planned, they will be held at the Buff Mountain Festival from July 9 to July 11, 2021 in Barruera, Vall de Boí, in the Spanish Pyrenees. The bi-ennial World Championships will celebrate their sixth edition, the third in this spectacular location after 2012 and 2016.

The world-class line-up counts some 155 athletes from 23 countries who will confront each other in three skyrunning disciplines: VERTICAL, SKY and SKYULTRA.

World titles and 27 medals will be awarded to Individuals and Official Teams as well as a Combined title based on the best results of the VERTICAL and SKY races.

Spaniard Zaid Ait Malek will battle for a medal in the SKY discipline. ©iancorless.com

The impressive list of ISF member countries participating with teams includes: Andorra, Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, USA.

The events launch on Friday, July 9, 2021 with the VERTICAL discipline at the Buff Epic Trail VK, a 3.3 km-long Vertical Kilometer® with 1,030m vertical climb to heat up the atmosphere. The following day is the turn of the SKYULTRA with the Buff Epic Trail 68K counting 5,000m vertical climb, while the Skyrunning World Championships will conclude on Sunday, July 11 with the Buff Epic Trail 42K, with 2,900m vertical climb celebrating the SKY discipline.

Multiple Youth Skyrunning World Champion Daniel Osanz (ESP) will participate in the VERTICAL race. ©Luca Cironi

The following are some of the top names competing in the three disciplines:

Friday, July 9, 2021 – Buff Epic Trail VK:

Men

  • Oscar Casal Mir – (AND)
  • Manuel Da Col – (ITA) – (2021 Italian VK Champion)
  • Ruy Ueda – (JPN) – (2019 SWS Champion)
  • Romeu Gouveia – (POR) – (Santana VK 2019 winner)
  • Manuel Merillas – (ESP) (2nd 2019 Ultra European Championships, 2nd 2021 Livigno SkyMarathon)
  • Daniel Osanz – (ESP) – (multiple Youth Champion, 2019 VKWC Champion)
  • Pere Rullan – (ESP)
  • Roberto Delorenzi – (SUI) – (multiple Youth Champion)

Women

  • Marcela Vasinova – (CZE) – (European Combined Champion)
  • Iris Pessey – (FRA) – (2018 AMA VK2 winner)
  • Viriginia Perez – (ESP) – (Ultraks 46K 2018 winner)
  • Fatima de Diego – (ESP) – (2017 VK Youth Champion)
  • Lina El Kott Helander – (SWE) – (5th 2018 VKWC, Olympus VK winner, joint 2021 Monte Rosa SkyMarathon winner)
  • Sanna El Kott Helander – (SWE) – (Joint 2021 Monte Rosa SkyMarathon winner)
The woman to beat: 2018 Ultra World Champion Ragna Debats (NED) is aiming for another gold medal. ©iancorless.com

Saturday, July 10 – Buff Epic Trail 68K:

Men

  • Marc Casal Mir – (AND)
  • Luca Carrara – (ITA ) – (Italian Champion)
  • Luca Arrigoni – (ITA) – (5th 2019 Ultra European Championships)
  • Luis Fernandes – (POR) – (10th 2019 Ultra European Championships)
  • Miguel Heras – (ESP) – (2016 Ultra Pirineu winner)
  • Manuel Anguita – (ESP) – (4th 2019 Ultra European Championships)

Women

  • Michaela Mertova – (CZE)
  • Ildiko Wermescher – (HUN)
  • Yukari Hoshino – (JPN)
  • Ragna Debats – (NED) – (2018 Ultra World Champion, 2017 Ultra European Champion, 2018 SWS Overall Champion)
  • Lucia Franco – (POR)
  • Natalia Neschcheret – (RUS)
  • Gemma Arenas – (ESP) – (2016 SWS Ultra Champion)
  • Maite Maiora – (ESP) – (2016 SKY & Combined World Champion, 2016 2nd VK World Champion, 2017 SWS Extreme & Overall Champion, winner Ultra Pirineu, Royal & Tromsø)
Youth World Champion and Skyrunner® World Series 2019 Champion, Japan’s Ruy Ueda is a top contender in the SKY discipline. ©iancorless.com

Sunday, July 11, Buff Epic Trail 42K:

Men

  • Oscar Casal Mir – (AND)
  • Daniel Antonioli – (ITA) – (2019 Ultraks Extreme winner, 2017 SNS Italy Sky Champion)
  • Ruy Ueda – (JPN) – (2019 SWS Champion)
  • Manuel Merillas – (ESP) – (2nd 2019 Ultra European Championships, 2nd 2021 Livigno SkyMarathon)
  • Zaid Ait Malek – (ESP) – (3rd 2019 Sky European Championships)
  • Christian Mathys – (SUI) (2021 Livigno Skymarathon winner)

Women

  • Marcela Vasinova – (CZE) – (2019 European Combined Champion)
  • Oihana Kortazar – (ESP)
  • Lina El Kott Helander – (SWE)
  • Sanna El Kott Helander – (SWE)
  • Emily Schmitz – (USA)

For the first time, teams from Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Guatemala, North Macedonia and Peru will participate in a Skyrunning World Championship, highlighting the spread of skyrunning to new countries and the passion of new athletes ready to test their skills on the international stage with the best.

Maite Maiora, 2016 Sky & Combined World Champion, is returning to Vall de Boí hoping to repeat the results. ©ISF

The venue is located in the magnificent Vall de Boí, a spectacular natural arena and UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by 3,000m peaks and 200 mountain lakes. In 2019, the BUFF® Mountain Festival attracted 3,000 athletes and 15,000 spectators, while this year 4,000 athletes are expected.

FEDME, the Spanish Mountain Sports Federation and ISF member for Spain, will sanction the events and oversee them with their referees. The organisation will be in the capable hands OCI Sport, with whom the ISF has collaborated on a number of high-profile events. WADA anti-doping tests will be carried out at the Championships.

ISF President and skyrunning founder, Marino Giacometti, commented, “We’re very excited to be able to start racing again and to open the skyrunning season with the World Championships back in Vall de Boì. It’s also really inspiring to see countries from far and wide and our new member countries participating. At last – Less cloud. More sky!”