Passion and perseverance finally paid off for skyrunning legend, Italian Marco De Gasperi who clinched his first win in the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series yesterday at the Matterhorn Ultraks 46K in Zermatt, Switzerland. For Dutch woman Ragna Debats it was another victory in the Sky Classic category, adding to her multiple achievements across the Series’ disciplines.
Going into the race, a last-minute decision, De Gasperi wore his 40 years well, outstripping a stacked field and closing in an incredible 4h42’31”. Not only 34” faster than the previous record set by Kilian Jornet in 2013, but on a new course one kilometre longer. On the downhill section 33 km into the race, he was travelling at more than 16 km/h! The new route is 49km with the same 3,600m vertical climb and the same spectacular mountain scenery.
The strong men’s field included Sky Classic ranking leader, Spaniard Aritz Egea, who, true to style, led for most of the race in a tight pack with De Gasperi, Spaniard Eugeni Gil and 2015 winner, Switzerland’s Martin Anthamatten. De Gasperi went for it at Furi, km 27, where he took the lead to the finish.
“The race was very long for me. I came here two times crewing for my girlfriend (Elisa Desco) who won here three years ago, so I know the course,“ De Gasperi commented.
“The weather was not as I like it, it was cold so I tried to keep the pace of my companions Aritz Egea, Eugeni Gil and Martin Anthamatten. It was going well so on the second part of the race I tried to push. It worked! I’m really happy with the win, my time and my points!” he concluded.
The women’s race saw Debats out front tailed by Switzerland’s Laurence Yerly, less than one minute off at the Gornergrat, the highest point of the race at 3,100m altitude. Close on their heels were Spaniards Laia Andreu and Sheila Avilés. From here Andreu moved up to second position which she held till the end followed by Avilés in third.
“It wasn’t my best race as I’m getting tired,” Debats said. “I suppose it’s normal as I’ve done quite a lot of races but I’m even more pleased to win this race as it’s worth 120 points!
“I started strong just to see what my rivals were going to do. Laia was following me. We’re very competitive – it’s like an eternal thing between us. She was very close and at around 30 km I noticed she was about one minute behind. I didn’t feel very strong in my legs. I felt a little tired but she wasn’t getting any closer so I just kept on going till the win. I’m so very pleased!” she exclaimed.
With an extra 20% bonus points at stake in yesterday’s race, the competition for the Sky Classic and the Overall rankings are taking shape.
Aritz Egea continues to lead the Sky Classic rankings with Marco De Gasperi in second, followed by Andorran Marc Casal Mir.
With her win here, Ragna Debats takes over the leadership followed by Sheila Avilés, while Spaniard Oihana Azkorbebeitia slips to third. Debats continues to lead the Overall ranking and is second on both the Sky Ultra and Sky Extreme categories.
On the Overall rankings, Briton Jonathan Albon now rises from second to first, overtaking Moroccan Zaid Ait Malek, while Spaniard Pere Aurell after yesterday’s race, still holds third.
Five results out of eleven are counted for the final titles and end of season bonus prize for the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series Sky Classic category.
Some 700 runners from 39 countries took part in the Matterhorn Ultraks 46K which celebrated its fifth anniversary today, since 2013, part of the Skyrunner® World Series.
Another world-class race comes to an end and the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series now looks to Montana, USA for three events which include The Rut 28K, The Rut 50K and the Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer® on the Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit, September 1, 2 and 3. Let’s go!
Matterhorn Ultraks 46K results
1. Marco De Gasperi (ITA) – 4h42’31”
2. Eugeni Gil (ESP) – 4h45’15”
3. Martin Anthamatten (SUI) – 4h48’59”
4. Aritz Egea (ESP) – 4h53’50”
5. Petter Engdahl (SWE) – 5h00’46”
1. Ragna Debats (NED) 5h52’05”
2. Laia Andreu (SPA) 5h53’22”
3. Sheila Avilés Castaño (SPA) 6h00’17”
4. Laurence Yerly (SUI) 6h15’45”
5. Michaela Mertova (CZE) 6h20’36”