On June 29 one of the fastest athletes on South Africa’s trails, Lucky Miya will experience the thrill and privilege of representing South Africa in the Skyrunning World Champs 2014 at the Mont Blanc Marathon in France.
As winner of the Ingeli Skymarathon® in April, which was announced by the South African Skyrunning Association (SASA) as the official selection race for this year’s Skyrunning World Champs, Lucky Miya will fly to Chamonix, France to compete in the Mont Blanc Marathon.
With the Ingeli Skymarathon® women’s race winner Su don Wauchope being unable to compete due to a prior engagement, and second placed woman Tracy Zunckel also being unavailable for the European race, Miya will be the sole South African representative competing at the Mont Blanc Marathon.
The 42km event, now in its 12th year, has grown into one of the world’s premier trail races, and is rated one of the International Skyrunning Federation’s most popular Skymarathons®. Always attracting a selection of the world’s fastest trail runners, the line-up this year is guaranteed to be more competitive than ever, being the Skyrunning World Champs, with the best of the best vying for podium spots.
Two other events at the Skyrunning World Champs during that weekend will be the ever-daunting Vertical Kilometre® (which sees competitors racing 1 000m of ascent over a distance not exceeding 5km), and the Mont Blanc 80km (the inaugural running of this point-to-point course, which features 6 000m of vertical gain traversing snow fields and glaciers).
The Skyrunning World Champs are held every four years. The 2014 event will represent the second edition since the inauguration of the ISF in 2008, and is the first time that the ultra-distance is included.
The iconic town of Chamonix in the Rhône Alps has long been recognised as the heart of skyrunning in Europe, and is the adopted home and training ground of many world class trail heroes, including alpine legend Kilian Jornet.
The Mont Blanc Marathon 2014 will challenge its more than 2 500 runners to 2 511m of vertical gain and an elevation loss of some 1 500m. The race starts in Chamonix’s central square and takes runners on a tough route on the mountains surrounding the town. The course is tough, with one extremely demanding slog around halfway that sees a 1 000m continuous climb over a 7km stretch.
The views throughout the race are magnificent, with clear sights of the Mont Blanc range, including the famous peaks of the Aiguilles Rouge and Aiguilles du Midi.
“Skyrunning is a thrilling addition to trail running in South Africa, as it not only adds more competition to the offering but also, by its very nature, presents a selection of race routes that is guaranteed to challenge even the strongest, most agile trail runners,” says SASA chairman James Hallett.
“Having Lucky at the Skyrunning World Champs this year is a huge milestone for the development of the sport here in South Africa, and testimony to how enthusiastically skyrunning is being embraced by the local trail running community. I’ve no doubt it’ll be a proud moment for Lucky, as well as all those who have supported SASA in getting him to the event, when he toes the line in Chamonix on June 29.”
With the formalisation of skyrunning still in its infancy in South Africa, and being the first time South Africa will be competing in the Skyrunning World Champs as a nation, Miya will be at the World Champs primarily as an ambassador for South African Skyrunning, and to experience the international skyrunning scene. However, with a high performance racing pedigree and a series of top place finishes at some of South Africa’s premier events, his presence amongst the competitive countries should be felt.
For more information about the Skyrunning World Championships, please visit www.skyrunning.com