An incredibly stacked field of top ranked skyrunners is heading for the fjords and glaciers of the Arctic Circle, Norway, Saturday, August 5. The Tromsø SkyRace® represents the second leg of the Sky Extreme category on the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series.
The tough and technical 53 km course boasts a brutal 4,600m vertical climb starting at sea level and summiting two peaks over extremely steep and rocky terrain.
Now in its third year, the race was tailor-made by skyrunning super stars Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg to fit the skyrunning concept and was instrumental in inspiring the Sky Extreme category launched last year.
“Once again we are happy to invite runners from all over the world to explore a little bit of the Arctic beauty. This is the third year we are part of the Skyrunner World Series and it´s great to see so many strong international runners will toe the start line!” Commented Forsberg. “The event is growing year after year and it´s so cool to see that!”
230 participants from 28 countries will be lining up on the island’s sea shore to take on the challenge to the Hamperroken summit at 1,400m along a narrow and often exposed ridge before returning to the town. The average vertical incline is 8.7%.
Aiming for points in both the Sky Extreme and the Overall rankings and to enjoy some pure skyrunning, are current ranking leader Bhim Gurung from Nepal; Londoner Jonathan Albon, 2016 Extreme Series winner and 2015 race winner, he placed second last year. Leading the Overall rankings is Moroccan Zaid Ait Malek, together with Spain’s Pere Aurell in third. More competition will come from, among others, Alexis Sevennec from France. Norwegians Rolf Einar Jensen and Eric Haugsness will feel right at home here.
The strong women’s field is headed by Spaniard Maite Maiora, back on a winning streak and leading the Sky Extreme rankings. She is joined by Americans Hillary Allen and Megan Kimmel and Ragna Debats from the Netherlands, all aiming for the Overall title. From Italy, Martina Valmassoi, third here last year and Poland’s Natalia Tomasiak, fourth, will be among the leaders. Norway’s Malene Blikken Haukøy, second last year, will push the competition. Top runner from Spain, Nuria Picas, ultra distance specialist, will give the shorter “extreme” a try.
The records to be beat were set in 2016 by Britons Tom Owens and Jasmin Paris, in 6h45’15” and 8h43’53”. The race awards an extra 20% bonus points for the final Sky Extreme ranking based on two out three races. (The Overall ranking is based on competing in at least one race in each category).
The Tromsø events include the Blåmann Vertical on Friday August 4, part of the new Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit. Both races are capped for safety and environmental reasons and are ecologically sustainable.
Cool temperatures, gruelling terrain and stiff competition are the ingredients in store for a weekend of pure skyrunning ahead.