Hillary Gerardi of the USA wins Grigne SkyMarathon for the second time in a row and dark horse, Louison Coiffet of France, fights off many of the world’s best to take home the title at the 10th race of the 2023 Skyrunner® World Series.
Today, Pasturo hosted the first Italian stage of the 2023 Skyrunner® World Series – Grigne SkyMarathon, a historical Skyrace that crosses two peaks of the Grigne Massif with ridge passages, chains and fixed ropes. The 42 km race route is so technical that helmets are mandatory in certain sections.
Due to bad weather, the race was postponed by one day allowing skyrunners to experience the true beauty of the course and surrounding area.
Only the world’s most technically-skilled skyrunners stood at the starting line in Pasturo this morning. In the women’s race, defending champion, Hillary Gerardi of the USA (Team Scarpa / Black Diamond) was untouchable. The Mont Blanc record holder took the lead from the very beginning and dominated until the very end crossing the finish line with a winning time of 6h12’05‘ – 24 minutes ahead of Ainara Urrutia of the Basque Country in second place.
Gerardi comments: “Today we got to do the full course of Grigne SkyMarathon and I could not be more happy as last time I was here it was a bad weather route. The course is complete with everything including fast sections and very technical sections – it’s so beautiful! The atmosphere is electric with people everywhere on the course cheering us on and that gave me so much energy. It was a great race and it has been my pleasure to return and defend my title.”
Third place went to Kalie McCrystal of Canada (team Ciele athletics) after a great battle for the podium with Oihana Azkorbebeitia of the Basque Country (team Merrell).
Photo: Brian Sharp
The men’s race was much less predictable with many shifts in the leading group. An Italian squad consisting of Cristian Minoggio (team Altitude Skyrunning), Daniel Antonioli (Team Scarpa) and William Boffeli (team Hoka / Crazy), took the lead in the beginning for the first 10 kilometres. By the time the first athletes had reached the technical summit of Grignetta at kilometre 16, Scottish runner Finlay Wild (team Green Runners) had caught up and climbed into third position, pushing Minoggio out. Everything changed once again by the next check point at kilometre 26 with French youngster Louison Coiffet (team Merrell) now in the top three with Boffelli and Antonioli leading. By kilometre 36, Manuel Merillas of Spain (team Scarpa) had come out of nowhere and taken the lead with Coiffet just a minute behind. Known for his incredible downhill skills, Merillas looked like he was sure to win, however, Coiffet proved that it’s not over until the finish line is crossed and put up a great fight until the end. After 4h54’14”, it was the French man who arrived first in the town of Pasturo, greeted by local children who escorted him to the finish line.
Coiffet comments: “This was a beautiful race. I knew it would be technical but this was something else! I felt strong today and it feels good to finish in front of such a strong field of amazing runners like Manuel and Cristian.”
The top 20 of the Grigne SkyMarathon have gained points towards the overall ranking.
Top 5 Men:
1. Louison Coiffet (FRA), Team Merrell X tpe – 04:54:15
2. Manuel Merillas (ESP), Team Scarpa – 04:55:52
3. Cristian Minoggio (ITA), Altitude Skyrunning Team – 05:00:42
4. Finlay Wild (GBR), Team Green Runners – 05:10:15
5. Zaid Ait Malek (ESP) – 05:13:59
Top 5 Women:
1. Hillary Gerardi (USA), Team Scarpa / Black Diamond – 06:12:05
2. Ainara Urrutia (ESP), Team Basque Selection – 06:36:41
3. Kalie McCrystal (CAN), Team Ciele Athletics – 06:37:46
4. Oihana Azkorbebeitia (ESP), Team Merrell – 06:43:09
5. Rea Kolbl (USA), Team Dynafit – 06:47:16