The Madeira Skyrace 2024, seventh stage of the Merrell Skyrunner® World Series, attracted top athletes and skyrunning enthusiasts of over 40 nationalities to the start line in Santana. The challenging 45 kilometre route, with 3,500 meters of elevation gain, through the island’s dramatic landscapes, once again delivered a thrilling experience for both participants and spectators.

The elite field was bursting with top skyrunners, therefore it was no surprise that the race was exciting and unpredictable. Braving wet and foggy conditions, French athletes, Lucille Germain and Loic Robert emerged as champions at the Madeira Skyrace 2024.

In the men’s race, Loic Robert of France (team Kiprun) came out victorious after passing Luka Kovacic of Slovenia (team Red Bull / Dynafit) after the first uphill. Robert was able to secure a big enough gap on the downhill to allow him to keep his leading position until the finish. Robert’s winning time was 4h59’03”, seven minutes faster than Antonio Martínez in 2023 and he, therefore, now holds the new course record.

Robert comments: “This was a beautiful race and I enjoyed running here on Madeira. Luka was fast in the first uphill and was able to pull ahead but I was was faster on the downhill after Pico Ruivo so I was able to catch him and push right until the end. This victory has put me in a good position for the rest of the season and I look forward to Gorbeia Suzien and the final, Marato del Dements”.

In second place was the local’s favourite, Andre Rodrigues, of Portugal (team Scarpa) who had a superb race and was able to gain three positions from the top of the first uphill to the end. Rodrigues finished six minutes behind Robert and was also faster than the previous course record. After a strong uphill, Kovacic was unable to keep up with the fast downhill runners and dropped back to third, finishing eight minutes behind the winner. 

Kovacic comments: “I enjoyed every minute of this race. It was so technical and so hard but very beautiful and the sportsmanship of the skyrunning community made it a great experience. I am happy for the Loic and Andre and it was a pleasure to fight with them until the end. It was also an emotional day for me as I did not have my family at the finish line but I am happy to be on the podium”.

Fourth place went to Miguel Arsenio of Portugal (team Sport HG) who missed out on the podium by six minutes. This is the fourth time competing at USM for the Portuguese athlete, who said at the finish line, “This is the best course in the world and I will continue to come here until I win!”.  Ioseba Eskudero of Spain (team Basque Selection) placed fifth.

In the women’s race, Lucille Germain pulled off a spectacular performance today taking home the female title and placing eighth overall. The French athlete also smashed the previous record set by Emma Cook-Clarke in 2023 by an incredible 40 minutes. 

Germain comments: “I felt good in the first climb and when I passed Oihana and I just told myself to keep pushing. I was running most of the time alone and therefore I actually didn’t know that I was the first woman for much of the race. I just wanted to continue and do my best. It was a very technical race with a lot of mud and chains and ropes. I love this kind of course and I really enjoyed being here on Madeira these past few days.”

Although it was a great race for Basque athlete, Oihana Kotazar (team Salomon), she was unable to catch Germain and finished in second place, 18 minutes behind.

Kotazar comments: “There are no words to describe how incredible this race was. It was so hard and technical – very spectacular. I really had to push today. Lucille caught me in the first uphill after kilometre five and after that I knew Kalie and Lide were close but I didn’t know where so I just kept pushing and in the end I am very happy with my second position.”

Third place in the women’s race went to Kalie McCrystal of Canada followed by Aina cusi of Spain (team Merrell) in fourth and Michelle Merlis of the USA in fifth. 

The top 20 athletes of today’s race have been awarded points towards the overall ranking. 

Full results here.

The next stage of the Merrell Skyrunner® World Series will be the Minotaur Skyrace in Canada on 22nd of June.

More info on Madeira Skyrace

More info on Minotaur Skyrace

Photos: Antton Guaresti / @_guareti


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