Skyrunning

Skyrunning is a combination of the words sky and running, which results in ‘running above the clouds’. It incorporates trail running up to ultra-distance races across remote areas. Races are run at high altitude on mountainous terrain with an ascent of more than 2,500 feet (762 m) per race. This creates technical courses, often very rocky and technical, which require skill to navigate accurately.

Skyrunning
Three climbers making there way over Crib Goch while the rain clouds hang over the summit of Snowdon

Skyrunning has its roots in speed ascents of mountains. The first skyrunner was the Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner in 1988 when he climbed and descended by running from the top of Nanga Parbat (8,125 feet or 2,499 m) to its base camp. In 1989, Messner ran up and down the Eiger (13,000 feet or 3,962 m). He was only wearing trail running shoes that were not designed for support or stability beyond a mountain range. The first person to run the entire terrain of a mountain was Italian Stefano Gregoretti in 2007 who ran up to the top of Mont Blanc (15,781 feet or 4,810 m).

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The first skyrunning races, known as Skyrunner World Series were held in 2009. The first one was the Pikes Peak Marathon, United States in May which had a vertical ascent/descent of 14,000 feet (4,267 m). The second race was held in September 2009 in Zegama-Aizkorri, Spain.

Skyrunning races are long distance trail runs that take place above 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) with a minimum elevation of 600 meters (1969 feet) per race. Races must have an ascent of at least 500 meters (1640 feet) each race.

The Skyrunner World Series is organized by the International Skyrunning Federation. So far, 11 races have been held in 6 countries with winners being Elisabet Barnes of Great Britain, Xavier Thevenard of France and Alessandro B fit Jordi of Italy.

What is considered Skyrunning?

Skyrunning is a that combine sky and running. It has its roots in speed ascents of mountains. The first skyrunner was the Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner in 1988 when he climbed and descended by running from the top of Nanga Parbat (8,125 feet or 2,499 m) to its base camp. In 1989 ,Messner ran up and down the Eiger (13,000 feet or 3,962 m). The first person to run the entire terrain of a mountain was Italian Stefano Gregoretti in 2007 who ran up to the top of Mont Blanc (15,781 feet or 4,810 m).

Where and when did skyrunning start?

The first skyrunning races, known as Skyrunner World Series were held in 2009. The first one was the Pikes Peak Marathon, United States in May which had a vertical ascent/descent of 14,000 feet (4,267 m). The second race was held in September 2009 in Zegama-Aizkorri, Spain.

What is considered skyrunning?

Skyrunning is defined as running at altitude, with an ascent of more than 2,500 feet (762 m) per race. Races are run on mountainous terrain with technical courses that require skill to navigate accurately. Skyrunning has its roots in speed ascents of mountains.

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