A truly international lineup of over 70 elite athletes from over 20 countries and 30 different teams, prepares for a fierce battle from start to finish on June 15 at the Livigno SkyMarathon. The sold-out, second SuperSky Race of the season will award double points to the top 20 male and female athletes.
Topping the list of big names in the men’s field is two-time Skyrunning World Champion and three-time European Champion, Luis Alberto Hernando. This will be the first race of the season for the Spanish skyrunning legend who makes his long-awaited return to the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series.
“I chose the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series this year because, for me, it’s important to compete in the official circuit and against the best skyrunners of the world. I am looking forward to an intense season with strong competition, starting with Livigno.”
A late start to the series for Hernando means he now faces a younger generation of talented new skyrunners, many of whom have already had their taste of success this season. These include: Oriol Cardona of Spain, 2019 Mt. Awa Skyrace champion Ruy Ueda of Japan, 2019 Yading Skyrace champion Jia Erenjia of China and Petter Engdahl of Sweden – just to name a few.
Thibaut Garrivier, the current number one in the overall ranking, has confirmed that he will no longer be participating due to an injury, meaning this will be a decisive race for Cardona. Double points for a SuperSky Race win could see the young Spaniard climb back up the leaderboard to steal back his number one position in the overall ranking. Cardona has already had two second place finishes in Japan and China this season.
Reigning champion, Petter Engdahl is another one to watch. Following his third-place finish at Transvulcania last month, the 2018 Livigno Skymarathon champion is looking forward to defending his title against a host of top athletes.
“After last year’s race, I really wanted to come back to Livigno. I have spent a lot of time here at training camps so I know the mountains well and I really love it here. What I like most about Livigno is the exposed ridges, long uphills and that you are truly out in the mountains! It’s just wild! And when it’s a SuperSky Race with extra bonus points, you can always count on good competition.”
Other elite men include the Casal Mir brothers of Andorra, Daniel Jung of Italy, Zaid Ait Malek of Spain, Pablo Villa of Spain and Kiril Nikolov of Bulgaria.
The level of competition in the women’s field is equally as impressive, if not more, than the men’s. Local heroine, Elisa Desco of Italy leads the female field this year after taking home the first win of the season at the Mt. Awa Skyrace in Japan. Among Desco’s long list of female rivals is Sheila Avilés of Spain, who placed second last year by a matter of seconds. Both women will be challenged by the likes of Oihana Azkorbebeitia of Spain, Robyn Owen of South Africa, Hillary Gerardi of the USA and, dark horse, Elena Rukhlyada of Russia.
Rukhlyada, shocked everyone recently with her win at Skyrace des Matheysins earlier in the season. The super-strong Russian athlete put on an impressive show, beating favorite-to-win, Gerardi, by six minutes. The two technically strong women will now go head-to-head once again in what’s destined to be an epic duel in the skies above Livigno.
Changes to the Course:
With the course reaching a maximum height of 3,000m and ample amounts of snow still at high altitude, race officials have announced changes will be made to the route to avoid hazardous sections. The new course will be released in the days leading up to the race, however, distance and vertical gain are expected to remain the same.
It all kicks off this Saturday, June 15th at 8:00 am. Up for grabs are not only the double points awarded to the top 20 male and female athletes of a SuperSky Race but the first ten male and female skyrunners will also qualify for the SkyMasters, the end of season grand finale on October 19th in Limone Sul Garda.