25 January 2023

What is Skyrunning?

Skyrunning is a sport born in the wild, where the logic was to reach the highest peak in the shortest time from a town or village. 

Skyrunning is a form of mountain running that takes place in low, medium and high-altitude, mountainous terrain. It is characterized by steep inclines and challenging trails that often require runners to use their hands to scramble over rocks and other obstacles. Skyrunners must be physically fit and mentally tough, as the sport requires a high level of endurance and the ability to move in difficult terrain.

Skyrunning originated in the early 1990s in the Italian Dolomites, when a group of mountain runners decided to take on the highest peaks in the region. The sport quickly gained popularity and spread to other parts of the world, with skyrunning events now held in countries such as the United States, Canada, France, Spain, and Mexico.

One of the main characteristics of skyrunning is the elevation gain and loss involved in the race. Skyrunners must be prepared to climb and descend thousands of feet over the course of a race, sometimes at high altitudes where the air is thin. This requires a strong cardiovascular system and the ability to maintain a steady pace.

In addition to physical fitness, skyrunning also requires a strong mental game. The challenging terrain and high altitudes can be intimidating, and runners must be able to push through the discomfort and keep going.

Skyrunning events vary in distance and difficulty, with some races covering just a few miles and others spanning dozens of miles. The International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) organizes a series of skyrunning events around the world, including the Skyrunner World Series and the Skyrunner World Championships. These events draw top runners from around the globe and are highly competitive.

To participate in skyrunning, runners must be in good physical condition and have experience running in mountainous terrain. It is also advisable to train specifically for skyrunning, incorporating hill workouts, strength training and trail runs into training to build strength and endurance.

Skyrunning is a thrilling and challenging sport that requires both physical and mental toughness. It is a true test of a runner’s abilities and is not for the faint of heart. But for those who are up to the challenge, skyrunning offers a unique and rewarding experience that cannot be found in any other type of running.

A typical Skyrace could be like 30 km, 2 500 D+ or longer like, 55 km, 4 000 D+.

For more details about the sport of Skyrunning, rules, definitions and different discplines, you can read more about it at International Skyrunning Federation.

If you like to learn more about the training required, plese read more in following blog post How to train for Skyrunning?

/Katinka Nyberg, Arduua Founder,

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