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Mastering the Masters. Portugal leads. New countries from across the globe take medals in the SKYULTRA

Yuya Okada from Japan takes the gold in the O45. ©DamianoBenedettoPhoto

The 2024 Masters Skyrunning World Championships for the over-forties, kicked off today in Vouzela with the first of the weekend’s two events, the SKYULTRA, where host country Portugal headed the medal count, followed by Hungary, Japan, Brazil and Belgium.

Three stars from the first Masters Championships in 2023 shone today. Spains Pere Aurell, Ildiko Wermescher from Hungary and Leonardo Diogo from Portugal took home a gold for the second time.

My second participation, my second gold medal! I’m starting to see getting old as a positive thing!” commented Aurell who was also first to cross the finish line. “I started at my own pace and saw some runners in front so thought it would be a hard chase. However, I noticed I was running downhill with more confidence so, at km 20 km, I started building an advantage which I was able to hold to the end. I’m so happy about this race: everything went as planned and this shiny medal proves it!”

Spain’s Pere Aurell takes his second Masters’ gold medal with Yuto Yakushiji, Japan, silver and Cesar Picinin, Brazil, gold. @DamianoBenedettoPhoto

Deep blue skies and high temperatures dominated the Zela Ultra Marathon, 55 km long with 3,600m vertical climb where especially the downhills were pure skyrunning over challenging, technical terrain. Overall, twenty countries are participating in the events, battling for the world titles and 51 medals across four age categories.

Portugal proudly led today’s medal count taking an incredible two gold, two silver and three bronze on home ground.

Portugal, leading the Masters with Nelson Amaral here, taking the bronze in the O45. ©DamianoBenedettoPhoto

For the first time, Hungary stood high on the podium, boasting two gold medals earned by Wermescher in the women’s O55 and Emoke Paal in the O50.

As usual, Japan was present with a strong team, with Yuya Okada, O45 taking the gold and Yuto Yakushiji, O40, the silver. “We’re very much enjoying this first race and Portugal. We’re so happy with the results of this first day – already a silver medal and the O45 World Champion!”

César Picinin made history by winning Brazil’s first individual medal, a bronze in the O40, finishing sixth overall while Jasieli Tagliari pocketed a silver in the same category for the women. Rita Fernandes clinched the bronze in the O55.

Jasieli Rosa took Brazil’s first-ever women’s medal in the O45  SKYULTRA. ©DamianoBenedettoPhoto

Rafael Aquino Leal, President, Skyrunning Brazil, commented, “Today we conquered our first individual medals ever in both fields, and from now on it’s a point of no return. Brazil wants more, hoping always for the individual gold medal and the world title, that will come one day!“We still have a strong team for tomorrow’s SKY discipline, the stakes are high and we couldn’t be more proud of our Masters Team. South America has begun to write a new chapter in skyrunning and it’s epic!”

Last but not least, new entry Belgium took a well-deserved silver medal in the women’s O50 thanks to Ann Andries.

Tomorrow, Sunday, April 14, will feature the Zela SkyRace®, 37 km long with a 2,500m vertical climb where the results of these World Championships will reveal the new SKY world champions and the overall country rankings.

Masters Skyrunning World Championships SKYULTRA
Individual medal count
Men O40
Gold – Pere Aurell (ESP)
Silver – Yuto Yakushiji (JPN)
Bronze – Cesar Picinin (BRA) 

Women O40
Gold – Sofia Beizel
Silver – Jasieli Rosa (BRA)
Bronze – Estela Martinho (POR) 

Men O45
Gold – Yuya Okada (JPN)
Silver – Francisco Freitas (POR)
Bronze – Nelson Amaral (POR)                           

Women O45
Gold – Evgeniya Leonova
Silver – Maria Abreu (POR)
Bronze – Esther Pereira (ESP)                                

Men O50
Gold – Paulo Morais (POR)
Silver – Luis Rubio (ESP)
Bronze – Mario Esteban (ESP)                 

Gold – Emoke Paal (HUN)
Silver – Ann Andries (BEL)
Bronze – Jocelina Ferreira (POR) 

Men O55
Gold –  Leonardo Diogo (POR)
Silver – Adolfo Fernandes (ESP)
Bronze – Vladimir Fabus (SVK)                 

Women O55
Gold – Ildiko Wermescher (HUN)
Silver – Manuela Gonzalez (ESP)
Bronze – Rita Fernandes (BRA)

Zela Ultra Marathon results

Medal count

More info

Race website