The ninth stage of the 2023 Skyrunner® World Series delighted fans and spectators with an unpredictable and exciting race. Manuel Merillas of Spain and dark horse, Anastasia Rubtsova of Russia, claimed victories at the Matterhorn Ultraks « EXTREME ».

The sun shone on the town of Zermatt this morning where athletes of over 30 nationalities toed the line of arguably the circuit’s most epic and extreme event at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn.

With 25 km of distance, 2,876 m of elevation gain and 3% glacier, the only thing more thrilling than the « EXTREME » race course was today’s fight for the title.

Men’s podium © Brian Sharp

In the men’s race, Roberto Delorenzi of Switzerland (team Brooks) took the lead in the first 1,600 meter climb followed closely by Frederic Tranchand of France (team Scott Running), Manuel Merillas of Spain (team Scarpa), William Boffelli of Italy (team Hoke / Crazy) and Daniel Antonioli of Italy (team Scarpa). By the time they reached the Rothornhütte at half way, two-time winner Boffeli had climbed into the lead followed by Merillas and Tranchand, with Delorenzi falling back into fourth position. Just when it looked like it was going to be a hat trick for Boffelli, Merillas moved up a gear and passed Boffelli on the final descent. 

Merillas claimed his first victory of the season with a winning time of 3h19’16” – five minutes slower than Boffelli’s 2021 record. Boffelli followed just 90 seconds behind and Tranchand closed the men’s podium eight minutes behind Merillas.

“The first hour was really tough for me”, said Merillas, “I have raced a lot these past few months and I struggled but together with Boffeli, we pushed hard to make a gap and in the end I was able to push a little harder to take a lead. The level was high today and it was anybody’s race so I am delighted to win here in Zermatt.”

In the women’s race, dark horse Anastasia Rubtsova fought off a world-class field to take home the win at her first Skyrunner® World Series race. 

“This was the most technical race I have ever done. The ropes, the rocks, the glacier – it was amazing! This was my first World Series race although I have competed in other Skyraces in my home country. I didn’t expect to win today but it feels great!”, commented female winner, Rubtsova.

Anastasia Rubtsova © Brian Sharp

Rubtsova stole the lead from Myrielle Weingand of Switzerland just after Rothornhütte and managed to keep it until the end, crossing the finish line after 4h10’33”. Maria Christen of Switzerland (team Scott Running) followed eight minutes behind in second place and Karina Carsolio of Mexico (team Black Diamond) closed the women’s podium thirteen minutes after Rubtsova with an impressive climb from eighth to third position in the second half of the race. The pre-race favourite, Hillary Gerardi of the USA unfortunately pulled out after three hours due to stomach issues.

The top 20 of the Matterhorn Ultraks « EXTREME » have gained points towards the overall ranking. 

The next stage of the Skyrunner® World Series will be Grigne SkyMarathon on September 16th2023.

Full results

Top 5 Women:

1. Anastasia Rubtsova – 04:10:33

2. Maria Christen (SUI), Team Scott Running – 04:18:47

3. Karina Carsolio (MEX), Team Black Diamond – 04:23:32

4. Myrielle Weingand (SUI) – 04:24:37

5. Amélie Bertschy (SUI), – 04:32:09

Top 5 Men:

1. Manuel Merillas (ESP), Team Scarpa  – 03:19:16

2. William Boffelli  (ITA), Team Crazy / Hoka – 03:20:49

3. Frederic Tranchand (FRA), Scott Running – 03:27:16

4. Daniel Antonioli (ITA), Team Scarpa – 03:32:19

5. Cristian Minoggio (ITA) – 03:32:50


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