PAUL HALFORD ADDED ONLY FOUR MILES TO HIS #RUN1000MILES TARGET IN ITALY LAST WEEKEND BUT ENJOYED BEING PART OF THE SKYRUNNING SCENE
I’ve just returned from the #SkyMasters event in Italy. Given it was held in and around the beautiful Lake Garda, it didn’t require much arm-twisting at TR HQ to get me to go.
It impressed on me just how much elite mountain runners, skyrunners and trail runners are different to the rest of the elite runners I have met.
Naturally, they all share a love for running and the mountains - in some cases more the latter than the former perhaps.
For them, skyrunning seems to be more of an experience and a lifestyle than a sport. Sure, they want to win, but you form the impression that enjoying it is just as important. And that’s possible to do even though they’re not pausing to admire the views or take a selfie.
Road runners tend to go wherever the flattest courses or best facilities are or, if they’re elite, perhaps wherever pays the most. One piece of asphalt is much like any other. When I was a marathoner a bit fitter and more competitive than I am now, I’d happily just switch between the London in the spring and Frankfurt in the autumn due to PB-boosting factors.
However, the small band of elite skyrunners are different. That’s why the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series keeps changing the venues. They know the athletes don’t necessarily want to run around the Matterhorn every year, for example - there are too many amazing peaks around the world to discover.
Another thing to note is the camaraderie between the skyrunners. Some of them hug when they see each other and Britain’s top skyrunner, Holly Page, describes her competitors as her friends.
Elite skyrunners are primarily explorers - probably like you, if you’re a trail runner. The only difference is that they’re probably a bit faster.