The hot competition prevailed over the temperature at the 2023 Skyrunning European Championships where the SKY marked the final of the three disciplines after the VERTICAL and the SKYULTRA.
A total of twenty-one countries took part in the events where Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic came out on top but saw strong competition from countries such as Sweden, placing fourth in the country ranking.
Twenty-seven medals were awarded across the three disciplines, in the COMBINED, (based on the sum of the VK and SKY points) and to National Teams.
The SKY discipline was left for last, in part, retracing a section of yesterday’s SKYULTRA for 30 km with 2,150m vertical climb set in the wild nature of the Prokletije National Park.
Temperatures rose after the early start which saw Sweden’s Martin Nilsson take the lead, but as it was his first skyrunning experience, he slowed to tackle the technical downhill. Italy’s Lorenzo Beltrami took over the lead and never looked back, to collapse with heat stroke on crossing the finish line in 3h17’24” – and a gold medal for his efforts.
Nilsson, now in sixth, was a fast learner and in the second half of the race recovered to clinch the silver. “It’s really unbelievable to get this medal,” commented Nilsson. “This is my first ever skyrunning race and I had to be very careful on the downhill as I don’t have enough experience. As soon as I felt confident enough to push, I did, and…wow! Simply wow!”
Spain’s Alain Santamaria took his second bronze after Friday’s third place in the VERTICAL.
Marta Martinez from Spain ran a solid race increasing her pace as the kilometres went by, passing from sixth at the first check point to the gold medal at the finish line. Completing the podium, France’s Olivia Magnone overtook Louise Jernberg from Sweden on the last downhill section and the two took silver and bronze medals respectively.
It was a great day for Sweden with Nilsson also taking the gold in the COMBINED, thanks to his fourth position in Friday’s VERTICAL.
Alain Santamaria and Frenchman Louis Dumas, sixth today, took silver and bronze medals respectively for the COMBINED.
Olivia Magnone was awarded the women’s gold, with Louise Jernberg and Andorra’s Ariadna Fenes taking the silver and bronze respectively – a very consistent performance over the weekend.
The team battle was open between Spain and Italy where every point counted. Spain came out on top, while Italy had to settle for silver. The bronze medal went to the Czech Republic, returning to the podium after the 2019 European Championships.
Nine countries overall took medals with Spain pocketing eight of the 27 medals at stake, Italy seven, France five and newbie Sweden, four.
Marino Giacometti, ISF President and inventor of the sport some 30 years ago, had this to say: “It’s very exciting to see so many countries participate – 19 taking points. It’s an inspiration to see new, young athletes and new countries shine on the podium. The competition was tight and the courses, in this country new to skyrunning, tough and challenging.
“I’d like to thank Marko Nicolic and the Skyrunning Serbia and Montenegro team for the excellent, professional organisation in the planning and execution of the events – for the first time in the Balkans and Montenegro, marking an extraordinary experience for everyone participating in the European Skyrunning Championships.”
The wild, untouched landscape of the Prokletije Natural Park was a new experience for most skyrunners from across Europe, who waded through knee-high grasslands, scrambled up crevasses and descended unstable scree between 2,000m peaks where, despite the heat, snow fields persisted.
New horizons. New sky.
ISF WADA anti-doping tests were carried out with the support of Skyrunning Serbia and Montenegro.
*The medallists qualify for the SkyMasters, the final of the Skyrunner® World Series in Limone sul Garda, Italy on October 28, 2023.
SKY RACE RESULTS
Gold – Lorenzo Beltrami (ITA) 3h17’24”
Silver – Martin Nilsson (SWE) 3h18’48”
Bronze – Alain Santamaria (ESP) 3h20’57”
Gold – Marta Martinez (ESP) 4h00’17”
Silver – Olivia Magnone (FRA) 4h04’32”
Bronze – Louise Jernberg (SWE) 4h09’52”
Gold – Martin Nilsson (SWE)
Silver – Alain Santamaria (ESP)
Bronze – Louis Dumas (FRA)
Gold – Olivia Magnone (FRA)
Silver – Louise Jernberg (SWE)
Bronze – Ariadna Fenes (AND)
Gold – Spain (944 points)
Silver – Italy (916 points)
Bronze – Czech Republic (682 points)