Ready to Run Up a Mountain for 50 Miles? You Might Be a Skyrunner


I like to share WSJ articles that I find interesting.

Ready to Run Up a Mountain for 50 Miles? You Might Be a Skyrunner The growing hard-core endurance sport blends trail running with mountaineering

It’s the sport where running 2 miles can be harder than running 100. A cadre of hard-core endurance athletes is embracing sky running.

The discipline combines elements of trail running and mountaineering. It focuses on how high you can run instead of how far, over extremely technical mountain terrain at an altitude above roughly 6,500 feet.

Skyrunners go off-trail over features like boulder fields and glaciers, forging the fastest route to the top. They use their hands to scramble up cliffsides and often use the aid of ropes, harnesses, and via ferrata (a series of steel rungs and cables fixed to the rock.)

Converts say they like that the sport challenges them by requiring extreme physical fitness to perform at high altitudes, as well as a zen-like focus to navigate the unpredictable terrain. More than 100,000 athletes participate annually in more than 400 official races in 53 countries, according to Lauri van Houten, executive director of the International Skyrunning Federation, the sport’s governing body.

Racecourses range from 2 to 50-plus miles and must include stretches with an incline of more than 30%. “It’s more pure and free-form than trail running,” Ms. van Houten says. “You have to be fast, but also tactical.”

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