700 skyrunners took to the start at 9am in the cute village of Saint Martin de Vesubie, France. The ninth stage of the Merrell Skyrunner® World Series was a 28,5 km route with 2,200m+ in the stunning Parc National du Mercantour.

Despite the winter weather that the athletes had to face on the top of the Mont Pépoiri, conditions were perfect to break course records. The race was characterized as pure skyrunning with  one steep climb from the town to the summit and then a long and fast downhill to reach the finish line. 

In the men’s field, the race was mainly lead by the strong Ruy Ueda of Japan (team Ruy) who set a fast pace for the rest of the athletes. He was followed by the Alain Santamaría of Spain (Team Salomon) who was pushing hard and took the lead in La Colmiane (km 23). From there Santamaria was able to set an unbeatable pace to reach the finish line in 2hrs and 38mins breaking the previous course record. Ueda was able to keep pushing in the last kilometers to get second place, followed by Lorenzo Beltrami of Italy (team Scarpa) who fought against under 23 athlete Brendan Morden of Canada for the entire race.

Santamaria comments: “I really enjoyed the race and I was feeling good since the beginning. I realized that Ruy was setting a fast pace in the uphill, but at the end my legs felt strong to overtake him in the downhill. I’m really happy for this victory”.

In the women’s side, Ariadna Fenes of Andorra (team FAM) did an amazing performance over the whole course and broke the course record with a timing of 3hrs and 13mins. During the uphill she was feeling strong and she increased the gap with the second and third women, Naiara Irigoyen of Spain (team Salomon Spain) and Holly Wootten of Great Britain (team Keswick AC). The race did not change too much for the women’s ranking and they maintained the pace until reaching the finish line. 

Fenes comments: “I really loved this race. I was feeling so good in the uphill but I thought that I will have to push harder in the downhill because the women behind are really strong, but then my legs felt good and I was able to continue leading the race. The landscape at the top was amazing, there were incredible views and I really enjoyed the whole course. I’m really happy for this win as I tried to be at the top many times and today was the day. Thanks Skyrunning for making this race possible”.

After the race all the skrunners could relax and recover in an amazing aid station with different types of food and drinks. The next race of the circuit is KaiserKrone Skyrace in Austria on the 29th of June.

Full results can be found here.


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