As athletes of over 40 nationalities prepare for the iconic Madeira Skyrace, all attention turns to a new, more technical section of the course and the battle between two of the most powerful skyrunners of the series.
The fifth race of the 2019 Migu Run Skyunner® World Series is about to take place on Saturday 1st of June – the Madeira Skyrace. Once again, this skyrunning paradise has attracted athletes from all over the world to its rugged, technical and breathtakingly beautiful course with a record-breaking 70% of participants coming from countries outside of Portugal.
From technical rocky terrain, steep, slippery trails and via ferrata, Madeira Skyrace has it all. The race begins before dawn in Santana, a small town on the northern coast of the island that sits at 400m. From there, the 55km route with 4,100m vertical gain gradually climbs for over 10 km to the summit of the highest mountain on Madeira, Pico Ruivo at 1,862m above sea level. Here runners will have just enough time to enjoy spectacular views from the top before they tackle the long and technical downhill that Madeira Skyrace has become so well-known for.
Records are unlikely to be broken this year as an extra technical via ferrata section has been added to the course. “We’ve added a new via ferrata section close to the summit. Although this won’t change the distance, it will make the race a lot harder,” explains João Clode, organiser of the event. “We want to be different from other trail running races on the island and these changes to the course make it even more skyrunning.”
Great Britain’s Jon Albon, winner of the 2017 and 2018 Madeira Skyrace and current record holder with a time of 5h47’57”, will not be returning to Madeira this year to defend his title. Albon’s absence presents Russia’s, Dmitry Mityaev, with the opportunity to step forward and finally claim his win after placing third in 2017 and 2018.
Following an impressive second-place finish at Transvulcania 2019, 22 minutes ahead of Albon, Mityaev’s season is off to a strong start and it appears the Russian athlete’s body was built to endure the hot, volcanic conditions of Madeira.
© MRSWS / Paulo Abreu – Dmitry Mityaev, the top contender to win Madeira Skyrace
However, with Pere Aurell of Spain included in the lineup, it’s not going to be an easy race for anybody – including Mityeav. The two “beasts” of the circuit have gone head-to-head before with their most memorable showdown being at Transvulcania 2018 where it was Aurell who came out victorious. Will it be the right time and the right place for Mityaev this weekend? Watch this space.
Daniel Jung of Italy, Weston Hill of New Zealand and Frenchman, Michel Lanne, are some of the other big names about to embark on the tough and challenging mountain terrain of Madeira Skyrace.
On the women’s side, Ekaterina Mityaeva, Dmitry’s wife and fellow Russian skyrunner, leads the field with strong competition from Takako Takamura of Japan who placed third at Mt. Awa Skyrace – the first of the season. Virginia Perez of Spain, USA’s Kristina Pattison and Lucia Franco of Portugal will also be behind the starting line of the fifth stage of the 2019 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series – a truly talented and international lineup of female runners.
© MRSWS / Paulo Abreu – Ekaterina Mityaeva on the left at last years Madeira Skyrace
Santana Vertical Kilometer – First Bonus VK of the Circuit
Things kick off on the island of Madeira with the Santana Vertical Kilometer on the 31st of May. The third race of the 2019 Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit is set on a highly technical course that covers a distance of 4.8 km with 1,003m of vertical climb. The Santana Vertical Kilometer is one of three Bonus VKs, awarding an extra 50% points for the ranking. Among those battling it out for the bonus points is Daniel Osanz of Spain who shocked everyone with his unexpected win at the Transvulcania VK. Was this beginner’s luck for the young star or can he do it again? Tune in on the 31st of May at 9:00 am (local time) to find out.