The first race of this seasons Sky Running World Championship will kick of this Saturday in Yading in the Sichuan province of China. This is the first time China has hosted the Sky Running World Championships and the course is guaranteed to test the elites to their limit’s reaching dizzying heights of 4,700 meters at the highest point in the race.
Organised by China Mountain Trails and starting in the old town center of Yading’s Shangri-La area starting at 2,800 meters the course travels along fast flowing glacial meltwater and through alpine forest. The race climbs continuously for over 20km topping out at 4,700 meters offering stunning scenic views where runners will then turn around and descend 5km to the finish line at the Chonggu Temple situated at 4,000 meters high.
This race is certainly not for the faint hearted, we take a look at some of the contenders to look out for in the first Sky Running race on 2016 where valuable points are on offer to be crowned the Sky Running World Champion.
Contenders – Men
Current Sky Running world champion Tadei Pivk is the favorite to take the title in Yading having won the European continental title in Spain last year as well Dolomoites Skyrace in Italy. Tadei went on to place 2nd in The Rut Race in the US and 3rd in the Lantau 2 Peaks race in Hong Kong whilst closing the series with a 2nd place finish in the Limone Extreme in Italy to clinch the World Championship title.
With altitude sure to play a major factor in deciding the outcome of this race hot on his heels will be the runner up in the Sky Running World Championship last year Manuel Merillas Moledo from Spain. Having finished runner up to Tadei in Spain, 5th in the Dolomoites race in Italy and second place in both Switzerland’s Matterhorn race and the Lantau 2 Peaks race in Hong Kong where he beat Tadei. Expect a close tussle between the current ranked top 2 male runners.
Other contenders to look out for include:
- Pere Rullan from Spain who finished 7th overall in the 2015 edition of the Sky Running world championships.
- Ionut Alin Zinca from Romania who finished 8th overall in the last years edition will be another one who will look to cause an upset.
- Sintu Vives from Andora who won the African Continental race in Mauritius in 2015 will be another looking to get on the podium.
Contenders – Women
Megan Kimmel who finished 2nd overall in the Sky Running World Championships winning a hatrick of titles in the process including The Dolomite’s Skyrace in Italy, The Rut and Flagstaff race both in the USA will be the lady to beat.
Azara Garcia De Los Salmones from Spain who only competed in 2 races last year winning the Zegama Aizkorri race in Spain and finishing 9th at the Lantau 2 Peaks in Hong Kong will be raring to go to make up for the disapointment in only doing 2 races last year and will have a point to prove.
Ragna Debats from the Netherlands will also be out to prove a point having only been able to compete in one of the Sky Running races last year coming 9th in Continental race in Spain at the Zegama Aizkorri race.