SKYRUNNERS GEAR UP TO TEST THEMSELVES AT MSWS HIGHEST ELEVATION RACE – THE CORDILLERA BLANCA SKYRACE

This Sunday, elite athletes from around the world will test themselves at 4,500 meters above sea level at the Cordillera Skyrace in Huaraz Peru, the 11th race of the 2024 Merrell Skyrunner® World Series.

Nestled in the heart of the Peruvian Andes, Cordillera Blanca Skyrace is located in the Callejón de Huaylas, the highest tropical mountain range in the world, renowned for its rugged terrain, high-altitude paths, and stunning vistas. Participants will traverse glaciers, scale steep ascents, and run through pristine Andean landscapes, making it one of the most exhilarating skyraces globally.

The incredible 23 km skyrace course, with 2,000 meters of elevation gain, starts near Huaraz city at 3,300 meters above sea level. The route follows a trail that crosses the local community of Unchus in the direction to Pitek, where things start to get a bit more serious. Via ferrata and ropes lead to the highest part of the course at 4,500 meters where skyrunners will be able to appreciate the turquoise lagoon and the snow-capped Churup. The technical descent leading back down, followed by a fast stretch to the finish line.

Andres Olivero, Race Director, comments: “We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the Merrell Skyrunner World Series for the second consecutive year. This year, the Cordillera Blanca Skyrace is gaining even more global attention, attracting top elite runners from the region and Europe. We’re ready to welcome everyone and ensure they have an incredible experience in the breathtaking Cordillera Blanca. This year marks the 9th edition of the race, and we will have nearly a thousand participants in total. Huaraz, Peru, is eagerly waiting for you!”

Elite athletes from Europe and North and South America have already arrived in Huaraz to acclimatise for this weekend’s race and to stand a chance against the local athletes of Peru. 

In the women’s race, the 2023 champion from Peru, Trinidad Oritz (team Peru Trail Lab), will return to defend her title. Oritz will be challenged by the likes of Karina Carsolio of Mexico (team Black Diamond / Buff), Hillary Gerardi of the USA (team Black Diamond / Scarpa), Emma Cook-Clarke of Canada (team Arc’teryx), Ana Maria Pineda of Columbia (team Merrell), and U23 athlete Rebecca Kohne of South Africa (team Asics).

Hillary Gerardi, comments: “This is a cool opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone in Peru and compete in the highest elevation race on the circuit. It’s cool to be in a totally new place and culture – I’m learning a lot. The course crosses some beautiful landscape and the big challenge will be seeing how our bodies react to running above 4,000m!”

In the men’s race, Peruvian athletes, Jose Manuel Quispe (team Merrell CIVA), Octavio Chiri (team CIVA) and Joel Pumacayo (team Peru Trail Lab), will no doubt be ready and motivated to do well this weekend. Italians Luca Del Pero and Daniel Antonioli (both team Scarpa) will also be at the starting line as well as Jackson Cole of New Zealand (team La Sportiva) and Gustavo Buitrago of Columbia (team Merrell).

The race starts at 07:30 am (local time) on the 7th of July.

Race website

All photo credits: Antton Guaresti

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