Skyrunning is an extreme sport of mountain running above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) where the incline exceeds 30% and the climbing difficulty does not exceed II° grade. The governing body is the International Skyrunning Federation. The sport comprises a number of different disciplines from the short, steep Vertical Kilometer to the more popular SkyRace and SkyMarathon. Ultra SkyMarathons are becoming increasingly popular as are short vertical SkySpeed races which include skyscraper racing.


The idea of skyrunning came from Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti and a handful of fellow climbers. They pioneered races on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa in the early 1990s.[1] Just months later, with the support of the Fila sportswear company, skyrunning took off across the world's mountain ranges reaching from the Alps to the Himalayas, to Mount Kenya and the Mexican volcanoes.

In 1995, the Federation for Sport at Altitude was founded to address the need for rules to govern the sport and generally manage this fast-growing discipline, which today counts some 200 races worldwide with around 50,000 participants from 65 countries.[1]

The FSA was responsible for an ongoing scientific research project, probably the only studies of their kind on athletes at altitude and in the laboratory.

International Skyrunning Federation

Today, the sport is managed by the International Skyrunning Federation, formed in 2008 by the board and members of the FSA and founding nations. The principal aims of the ISF are the direction, regulation, promotion, development and furtherance of skyrunning and similar multisport activities on a worldwide basis. ISF sanctions the Skyrunner World Series.[2]

Skyrunning races

There are three main disciplines at the world championships - Sky, Ultra, and Vertical.[3]

  Race introduced in 2016 Skyrunner World Series[4]
RaceDistance (range)Vertical climb (minimum)Finish winner time (range)
Sky20 / 49 km1,300 m-
Ultra50 / 99 km3,200 mover 5 up to 16 hours
Extremeover 50 km4,000 mover 6 up to 10 hours
Sky Marathon30 / 49 km2,000 mover 3 up to 5 hours
RaceDistance (maximum)Incline
Vertical5 km20% (some sections over 33%)

Skyrunning competitions

Skyrunning World Championships

Annual world championship.

Skyrunning European Championships

Annual European championship.

Skyrunner World Series

Annual world cup, such as the alpine skiing world cup, reviews multiple races in the various disciplines and awards both cups of skill and an overall cup.


  1. 1 2 "History". International Skyrunning Federation. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  2. "Circuit Development Team". Vertical Running. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  3. "International Skyrunning Federation Rules". Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  4. "Rules - Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series". Retrieved 27 October 2017.

See also

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