Technically, skyrunning corresponds to running above 2000 metres on a terrain with an inclination of more than 30 degrees and climbing not exceeding grade II. The Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti is the brain behind this practice, together with other climbers, and he is now the president of the International Skyrunning Federation.
Why skyrunning? Isn’t going to the mountains with friends or on our own enough? Aren’t the sweet Dolomites sunset colours a big enough feast for the eye? Aren’t the scents and sounds we hear in the mountains a good enough blessing? Running equals freedom for many people, an escape from our daily routine. Others see a challenge therein, a way of confronting themselves with time and the mountains.
And then there is Kilian. Everybody has heard of Kilian Jornet Burgada. The wonder boy who goes up (and down) the Matterhorn in 2 hours and 52 minutes, Mont Blanc in 4 hours and 57 minutes, just to mention a few of his records, who even wants to attempt one up Mount Everest. The interest in this practice is also witnessed in the many races which have mushroomed everywhere, from the Dolomites Skyrace and Dolomiti Sky Run to the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and the Tor des Geants.
How can we venture into this world, how can we understand if it’s our cup of tea? It is fundamental to have a big passion for running and the mountains. We don’t need to be obsessed with records, however, for we go to the mountains for ourselves and to share adventures with others, not to collect records and numbers.
A t-shirt, shorts and, most of all, good trail running shoes are fundamental. Make sure you choose a pair with good ankle support and a sole which guarantees a good impact protection, spikes which offer traction and a good braking system, as well as exceptional flexibility. The entire sole should have a full rubber tread, which offers complete grip and wear resistance. This is important, as it will avoid any ankle injury, which may then influence your knees and back.
You also ought to know what type of terrain you will encounter: if it is muddy or slippery, then the spikes on your sole should not be too pronounced, while if you tackle wet rock or hard terrain, then thicker spikes are in order.
Gore-Tex also plays a vital role. Wet feet are not ideal, so make sure your shoes will protect you from the rain and the elements, so that the smile on your faces will never fade.
Last but not least, this passion stems from your love for the mountains and nature. Add a new experience to your baggage of knowledge. The mountains are waiting.