We’ve watched him cruise to victories at two Skyrunner® World Series races already and claim his position at the top of the 2023 overall ranking. His name is Antonio Martínez Pérez and we all know he’s a world-class Skyrunner, but how much do we know about his background, his strengths and his thoughts on the rest of the season? Let’s find out a little more about the Spanish superstar who’s on everybody’s radar.
I come from a little town close to Alicante, Spain, called Onil. I guess my running career began when I was 10 years old. I started with athletics and orienteering but decided to focus fully on orienteering because that was where I was having the most fun. After 15 years of putting a lot of effort into the sport, I decided I wanted to try running without a map in my hand and decided to make a change. In 2019 I decided to switch to running in the mountains and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.Photo: Margaux leMap
I became interested in skyrunning after watching videos from previous years. When I saw the 2023 calendar full of cool races that I wanted to do, I decided that this was the year I would sign up. It’s the landscapes, the technicality and the distance (20-40km) that really attract me. I can’t lie, the €100,000 prize money pool and high level of runners this year was also a big motivation for me to follow the circuit.
I have completed three SWS races so far (Calamorro Skyrace, Skyrace de Matheysins and Madeira Skyrace), won two and podiumed at the third. The season is going much better than I would have imagined. At the beginning of the year I had some problems with my posterior tibial and so I reduced the volume of running and replaced many running sessions with cycling (which I still really enjoy). Due to the reduced running load I didn’t expect to perform that well and started the season feeling relatively untrained. Maybe that’s the secret though. 😉
I’m often asked what is my strength as a Skyrunner. I would say that it’s definitely the downhill. It’s something that I have developed from years of orienteering and I think much of my success within the Skyrunner® World Series comes down to it. I also think my racing strategy plays a role – I never start too fast. I also really take care of my nutrition and hydration in longer races. For me, it’s key.
Aside from the skyrunning races, I also really love the community. It’s what makes the series what it is. I often travel to the races alone but I never feel alone when I arrive there. I hope this sport never loses this essence of humility and community which makes it so special.
The elite field this year is also so strong. It’s so hard to say who my main competitor is. I think there are a bunch of runners, like 5-6, who can all win. Some of them have races already and others are yet to show their cards, so it will be exciting to see who can take the overall because nothing will be decided until the final SkyMasters in Limone on the 18th of October. The season is long and there will be many new runners and amazing performances. What is clear is that the level in this sport is growing year after year.
You can follow the rest of Antonio’s season over on his Instagram page @antonio_runner.