South Africa’s 2017 Skyrunner® Series race dates announced

The race dates of the SA Skyrunner® Series 2017 have been confirmed.

This year’s series will comprise four SkyMarathons® and one Ultra SkyMarathon®. The same rules will apply as with previous years: participants will need to compete in at least three Series races during the course of the year, and their best three scores will be counted towards their final standing.

Points are awarded in the following format: 100-88-78-72-68-66-64-62-60-58-56-54-52-50 down to 2 points for 40th position. Points in the last race of each series are increased by 20% and then rounded. If by the final race there is a tie in the top three positions, head-to-head results are used with the final race in the series weighted highest.

A men’s and women’s national Skyrunner champion will be announced at the final event, the Lesotho Ultra Trail in November.

Race dates for the events in this year’s series:

25 March: Drakensberg Northern Trail (Skymarathon®) (Oliviershoek Pass, KZN) – 40km, vert gain 2 100m (www.drakensbergsky.wordpress.com)

6 May: Ingeli Skymarathon® (Kokstad/Harding, KZN) – 42km, vert gain 1 500m (www.ingeliadventures.com )

12 August: Clemengold Wolkberg Trail Run (Skymarathon®) (Haenertsburg, Limpopo) – 34km, vert gain 1 900m (email steven@slc.co.za) (the Skymarathon takes place on Day 2 of the two-day stage race)

14 October: Uitsoek SkyMarathon® (Nelspruit, Mpumalanga) – 37km, vert gain 2 100m (www.terramotion.co.za/uitsoek-sky-marathon/ )

26 November: Lesotho Ultra Trail (Ultra Skymarathon®) (Maliba Lodge, Lesotho) – 50km, vert gain 3 400m (www.lesothoultratrail.com)

The 2017 Skyrunner® Series will be packed with all the essential skyrunning criteria: lung-busting thin air, quad-burning vertical gain and heart-racing technical difficulty, and padded with all the challenge and excitement to match. With four SkyMarathons and one Ultra Skymarathon, the action will be as packed as the mountains high and the air thin, taking skyrunners’ breath away for the fourth and best year yet.

Skyrunning criteria

A SkyMarathon® must be a minimum distance of 30km and minimum vertical gain of 2 000m (5% tolerance allowed), with a winning time of less than 5 hours.

An Ultra Skymarathon® must exceed that of a SkyMarathon® by more than 5%, with a vertical gain of at least 2 500m.

Some background on skyrunning

The term skyrunning was coined by the International Skyrunning Federation some 20 years ago, when Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti who, with a handful of fellow climbers during the early1990s, pioneered records and races on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa in the Italian Alps. Skyrunning is defined as mountain running up to or exceeding 2 000m, where the incline exceeds 30% and where the climbing difficulty is not more than 11˚ gradient.

The sport has taken the trail running world by storm in Europe, America, Asia and the UK, and is growing with speed into southern Africa since the formation of the South African Skyrunning Association (SASA) in 2011.

Today, skyrunning has grown to span some 280 registered races worldwide, with about 50 000 participants from 65 countries.

For more information about skyrunning visit www.skyrunning.co.za or follow SASA on Twitter or Facebook.

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