After a recent survey in an Italian Facebook trail running group, where we asked members which Italian trail and skyraces they considered to offer the most technical terrain, we’ve come up with this initial selection, chosen directly by the folks that run them!
What to expect in a technical race in Italy?
This can vary enormously, all being related to the ground surface and the environment where the trail race takes place. Keep in mind that a Skyrace, as a general rule, is likely to offer more of a technical route than a Trail race.
You may expect to find:
- Rocks / scrambling
- Loose scree
- Any trails equipped with cables or chains
- Gullies or badlands
- Narrow ledges
- Steep ascents / descents
- River and stream crossings
A technical race course will slow you down, so it becomes vital to consider any intermediate cut off times. If they are tight this can impact not only your pace but also your safety and personal comfort zone.
Read race regulations carefully, look at photos, and check out the youtube videos. Plus it can be a good idea to consider past weather conditions, and also previous years rankings. Try to gauge the expressions on runner’s expressions in pics or videos as they cross the finish line (we’re thinking Barkley Marathon post race photos!). Are they smiling?
ItalyOnTral.com’s Selection of Technical Sky & Trail Races
When: Mid July (every two years) 2019
Where: Ceresole Reale – Turin (TO) Piedmont – Italy
Distance / elevation gain: 52km /4287m D+
Other distances: Roc Sky Race 31km / 2000M D+
email: contact form on website
- Take part in a Sky Runner World Series Event
- Get there: Fly to Turin
- Post race, remain in the area and explore the delightful Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso, where you can take part in events and activities organised by the park – or just great for walkers and runners with over 500km of paths that cross the five valleys that make up this majestic pasrt of Italy.
- Head off to Lake Ceresole and relax by the shores of this alpine lake.
- Visist the unique museum “Homo et Ibex” – Man and Ibex, where you can learn all about this proud animal – symbol of the Gran Paradiso National Park and it’s relationship with man throughout history.
#3. TROFEO KIMA
Race on the “Sentiero Uno”, a classic Alpine route and the Trofeo Kima’s race course.
Part of the SKYRUNNER® World Series, this highly technical race is held once every two years. Limited to an field of only 250 daring competitors, it’s not one for the faint hearted, as runners tackle seven mountain passes, exposed crests and fixed chains on the route.
- The Kima Trophy is described by Kilian Jornet to be: “the most spectacular race in the world”… now who’s to challenge that!?
- This is an exclusive race, run it, and become a living legend!
- Guaranteed to be a “something to tell the grandchildren” experience
- Get there: Fly Milan Malpensa or Bergamo
- Post race enjoy the Sentiero Roma at a more relaxed pace and take your camera. You will not be disappointed!
- Enjoy some Valtellina wine, with one of the area’s wine tours
- Drive or cycle along the famed road that takes you to the Stelvio Pass
- Take the quirky Bernina Express for a panoramic ride… and relax!
#4. MAGA SKY MARATHON
2018 sees the 11th edition of this tough race. The Maga Sky Marathon will have you running up in the clouds, with altitude over 2400 metres. This race has it all, trail, paths, Alpine pastures, crest, rocks, stone, via ferrata, exposed parts, narrow ledges, rocky slopes, scree…
When: 2 September 2018
Where: Zorzone (BG), Lombardy – Italy
Distance / elevation gain: 50k / 3000m D+,
Other distances: 39k / 3000m D+, 24k/1400m D+
- Test just about everything you have in this tough race
- The satisfaction of finishing
- Get there: Fly to Bergamo
- Post race explore the Val Brembana. Visit the Spa town of San Pellegrino Terme with it’s Art Nouveau architecture, this town’s natural springs made it a popular destination for those in search of wellness treatments in the beginning of the twentieth century.
#5. LIMONE EXTREME SKYRACE
Compete in this iconic Skyrace! The Limone Extreme Skyrace takes place in the dramatic settings of Lungolago Marconi in Limone sul Garda, technical climbs are assured as you make your way up across the rugged course!
Where: Limone sul Garda (BS), Lombardy – Italy
Distance / elevation gain: 29km / 2500m
Other distances: 10k/1103m+ Vertical
- Don’t miss the Limone Extreme Skyrace party atmosphere with the post race event and awards ceremony followed by live music and DJ.
- Try the 10k for a taster!
- Getr there: Fly to Milan, Verona or Bergamo
- Post race, visit the beaches of Lake Garda and relax along the shores of this beautiful lake.
- There are plenty of colourful villages and towns dotted around Lake Garda which you can discover by the regular ferry service.
- Hike up to the top of nearby Mount Baldo, and at over 2000 metres enjoy the stunning views of the lake – you can also catch the cable car at Malcesine and rest your quads!
Maria Elisabetta Bellini is Italyontrail.com’s founder, born in the U.K, she came to running whilst living in Italy, where she still lives and trains. Never ceasing to marvel at what’s at the summit of a hill, or around the bend along the trail, she loves using trail running as a means to explore nature, contemplation and Italy.