The Skyrunning European Championships – held every two years – are on their way with a double weekend of pure skyrunning disputing the Vertical, Sky and Ultra disciplines in two locations in the Italian Alps.
The events kick off with the Ultra on September 1 followed by the Vertical and Sky on September 5 and 7 at the Veia SkyRace, Domodossola. Individual, national and combined titles are at stake awarding 27 medals. WADA anti-doping tests will be carried out at the finals.
19 countries represented
Some 150 athletes representing official teams from 19 countries will fight for the 27 medals at stake: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden.
Titles and medals
Individual, national and combined titles will be awarded. The first event, the Ultra, will award 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 Combined title is based on the best results of the top three men and women in the Vertical and Sky races. The National titles are based on the best four results scored by Official National Team members in each race, at least one per gender.
A gruelling Ultra kicks off the events
The events kick off with the Ultra on Sunday, September 1 in Val Serina near Bergamo with the Maga Ultra SkyMarathon. It’s as tough as they come – 50 km long with a gruelling 5,000m vertical climb across four mountains, it features stretches with fixed ropes and exposed ridges in true skyrunning style. The records were set last year at the inaugural edition in 7h44’45” and 9h16’35” by Italians Riccardo Faverio and Cecilia Pedroni.
The battle is on
Among the top names battling for the medals will be, from Italy, Cristian Minoggio winner of the recent Royal Ultra SkyMarathon; William Boffelli, joint winner of the last two editions of the Monte Rosa SkyMarathon; Daniel Jung, third at the 2018 Salomon Glen Coe Skyline. Sweden’s André Jonsson placed second there and took a silver for the Ultra at the 2018 World Championships. From Spain, Manuel Merillas and Alfredo Gil Garcia. From Poland, Natalia Tomasiak, joint winner at Monte Rosa SkyMarathon.
What the top runners say
Cristian Minoggio will enter all three disciplines. “I know both Maga and Veia very well, having raced there before. This time I will face the Maga Ultra SkyMarathon, so it will be longer and harder than before – a real adventure!” he stated. “I’m also very excited to wear the Italian jersey for the first time. I hope I can perform well in all the races!”
Silver medallist André Jonsson, commented, “I’m really looking forward to it – long and technical, just the way I like it. I’m satisfied with the training I’ve done the last month so I hope I can bring my A-game on Sunday.”
Natalia Tomasiak remarked, “The race promises to be really hard. I hope that the weather will save us and it will not be too hot. Each kilometre will be an adventure and a surprise so I hope to have a great time on the course. I will try to do my best to represent my country!”
Maga is “sky high”
The Maga team has been focussed on bringing the event to European status after last year’s inauguration and their zeal has paid off. Davide Scolari, race organizer, declared, “We’re so honoured to host the European Ultra Skyrunning Championship. We want to present a high-level race and we’ve been working very hard on every detail on the course. All the organisers and the whole Serina valley are ready to host the 15 nations that will participate in the Maga Ultra SkyMarathon.”
After six editions of the Skyrunning European Championships, inaugurated in 2007, the 2017 Championships saw the Czech Republic, Spain and Italy dominate the overall national rankings. With strong competition from right across the European Continent, 2019 could have some surprises in store.
The Maga Ultra SkyMarathon is an ISF Certified Course*