Past world champions and medallists will be lining up for the 2023 Skyrunning European Championships which will be held in Montenegro on July 14 – 16, 2023 where the VERTICAL, SKY and SKYULTRA disciplines will be contested by teams from no less than 21 European countries.
The third Continental Championships of the year – after North and South America – the the European Championships will be held, for the first time, in the Balkans, in the Prokletije National Park near the border with Albania.
The challenge is on with world-class athletes ready to battle for the 27 medals at stake. The sky-high line-up includes: three World Champions, one Youth World Champion, one VK OPEN Championships winner, two top contenders for the 2023 VK OPEN, and eight athletes sporting 12 medals from past ISF Championships.
The events kick off on Friday, July 14 with 70 athletes competing in the VERTICAL. The Prokletije Vertical Kilometer® is 3.9 km long with 1,000m vertical climb set entirely in the Prokletije National Park.
On Saturday, July 15, it’s the turn of the Prokletije SkyUltra – 50.6 km and a demanding 4,400m vertical climb for the SKYULTRA discipline where 55 athletes will take part.
Sunday, July 16 will see the Prokletije SkyRace®, 30 km long with 2,150m vertical climb represent the SKY discipline for the 68 athletes racing for their countries. Medals, European Champion titles and National Team titles will be awarded across the three disciplines plus the COMBINED, based on the sum of the VERTICAL and SKY times.
Marko Nikolic, Skyrunning Serbia and Montenegro representative and race organiser commented, “It is our great pleasure to hold the European Championships in South-East Europe for the first time, particularly in this unspoilt area – a land of wonderful mountains and hospitable people – Montenegro. The Prokletije Mountains are long known as the last virgin mountain range in Europe and it is our honour to host the best European skyrunners in Gusinje.”
Current SKYULTRA World Champion, Cristian Minoggio from Italy, stated, “I haven’t done a race in a while due to some injuries, but I’ve trained well recently and I’m confident I can do well. I’ll see how my body will respond on race day, but as usual when you wear the national jersey, giving it all is the only option!”
Among the stars heading the line-up is Ragna Debats from the Netherlands, a former World and European Skyrunning Champion. This time however, her hopes are not high. “I’m recovering from a tibial bone fissure, so I’ll be super happy if I can finish the race at a steady but moderate pace and I’m super pleased to be part of skyrunning once again, enjoying it with the Dutch team and representing my native country.”
Silver medallist at the 2020 and 2022 World Championships, Spaniard Gemma Arenas added, “I hope to do the best I can in this European Championship and enjoy it as much as possible. After the silver medal in the past world championships, I’d like to equal or improve it, but each race is different. Although I’ll arrive in good shape it’s a pretty tough race and I don’t know what will happen. As always, I will give it everything I have and I hope to be in front and if I can’t, at least I will have tried!”
Skyrunning Continental Championships are held every odd year, alternating with the World Championships. The important line-up of this eleventh edition of the European Championships underlines the growth of the sport and the strong passion of skyrunners from 21 European countries.
Top runners at the start:
Magali Salomon – AND – YWC22 VERTICAL gold
Charlotte Cotton – BEL – VK OPEN 2023 ranking leader
Nikola Kalistrin – BUL – VK OPEN 2023 4th place
Mojca Koligar – SLO – VK OPEN 2022 winner
Naiara Irigoyen – ESP – VK OPEN 2023 4th place
Paola Stampanoni – SUI – SWC22 VERTICAL 5th
Gianluca Ghiano – ITA
Dejan Angelovski – MKD
Naiara Irigoyen – ESP
Alejandro Forcades – ESP
Tomas Farnik – CZE – SWC20 SKYULTRA 5th
Cristian Minoggio – ITA – SWC22 SKYULTRA gold
Giuditta Turini – ITA – SWC22 SKYULTRA gold
Mattia Tanara – ITA – YWC19 SKY silver
Ragna Debats – NED – SWC18 SKYULTRA gold
Gemma Arenas – ESP – SWC22 SKYULTRA silver
Sandra Sevillano – ESP – SEC21 SKYULTRA gold