Jornet and De Gasperi go head-to-head once again
This weekend sees one of two of the biggest names in European mountain running take on one of the classics in world mountain running. After their epic battle at Giir di Mont a couple of weeks back Kilian Jornet and Marco de Gasperi go head-to-head once again at Sierre Zinal
The race Sierre-Zinal (August 14, 2011, 38th edition), also called the Race of Five 4000m Peaks, is considered to be one of the finest mountain races in the world. It was once written that it is to mountain races what the New York Marathon is to marathons. It is the oldest mountain race found in its category in Europe’s mountains.
The race also forms Rd 4 of the 2011 Skyrunner World Series and the ISF have a full preview as follows:
Kilian Jornet and Marco De Gasperi are two names that say it all in skyrunning. We have seen them “battle” recently in two events where Kilian has had the edge over Marco. Next Sunday, the fourth leg of the World Series, will see the two contend in Switzerland at the prestigious Course de Sierre Zinal …a race where Marco was just 98 seconds short of Jonathan Wyatt’s long standing record set in 2003.
The women’s field is equally impressive with the world’s top runners competing: reigning world champion and ranking leader Emanuela Brizio from Italy; Spain’s Oihana Kortazar, ranked 2nd and Americans Brandy Erholtz (3rd at the Dolomites SkyRace®) and Megan Lund, last year’s winner. The women’s record stands at 2h54’26” set in 2008 by Czech Anna Pichrtova.
Megan Lund. USA – last year’s winnerLook out also for another Czech. Robert Krupicka, winner of the International SkyRace® in Switzerland in June, (first leg of the European Skyrunning Championships, is a promising runner with an eye on the Olympics. He was third in this race last year.
The strong Spanish squad apart from Kilian and Oihana includes reigning world champion Tofol Castañer and Pere Aurell and Just Sociats, ranked 4th and 10th respectively.
The 31 km course with a total 2,200m elevation gain is favoured by runners from different backgrounds. Add 38 years of history and a unique panorama of five 4,000 mountains and hey presto: a perfect recipe that attracts runners from 20 countries and several thousand participants. In fact, Sunday’s line-up counts 1,119 runners and more than 1,700 participants in the non-competitive category.
Whatever the result on Sunday, it’s not yet the final showdown for these two giants: their “final” encounter this year will be on October 23 in Malaysia on Mount Kinabalu’s 4,195 metres with the Skyrunner® SuperCup where Jornet and De Gasperi, together with the World Series and European champions, past race winners and record holders will contend for the “champion of champions” title.