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Matterhorn Ultraks 46K – the magic returns

Emelie Forsberg, 2013 Matterhorn Ultraks 46K winner. ©iancorless.com

After last year’s successful launch on the Skyrunner® World Series, the magic Matterhorn Ultraks 46K, Zermatt, August 23, is back – capped and sold out with a field of world-class runners.

The deeply stacked women’s field includes no less than three recently crowned Skyrunning World Champions: last year’s winner Emelie Forsberg (Salomon), Elisa Desco (SCOTT Sports) and Stevie Kremer (Salomon) along with top ranked athletes from Salomon, Kasie Enman and Stephanie Jimenez; Spaniards Maite Maiora (La Sportiva) ranked 4th and Ana Conde Bernal (EMF), 8th. The Sky Series field is still wide open and fifteen women still stand a chance of winning at the finals in Limone in October. Anna Strakova (Czech Skyrunning), five times winner and record holder at Sierre Zinal, after a long break has returned to racing and chosen this event to test her skills on this spectacular course with the best.

We will have to wait for race day to find out if Kilian Jornet and Marco De Gasperi will indeed be joining the rest of the strong line-up. Recently crowned Skyrunning World Champion and last year’s winner here, Kilian could sit this one out and take a break from his extremely intensive and successful season - after his recent win at Sierre-Zinal and the Kima Trophy looming on the horizon just one week later on August 31st. With three straight Sky Series wins under his belt, the Series, based on three out of 5 races is not yet mathematically his, with a 20% points increase at the finals.

Nicola Golinelli, Marc Lauenstein, 2013. ©iancorless.com

Whatever his decision, he will be in Zermatt, rooting not only for Emelie and the rest of the Salomon team, but for his competitors in the Series and all the runners on the course. Racing or not, there’s no doubt we’ll see him on the trails in the magnificent landscape where last year, he set the incredible Matterhorn record on the Italian side of the mountain.

Marco De Gasperi (SCOTT Sports) had a disappointing race at Sierre-Zinal due to health issues and will make his decision at the last minute depending on his condition. However, should he win here and in Limone, he still stands a chance of taking the Sky Series crown.

Other top contenders are Moroccan Zaïd Ait Malek (Buff) ranked 4th; Spaniards Aritz Egea (EMF), 5th, Jordi Bes and Jessed Hernandez (FEEC); Norwegians Thorbjorn Ludvigsen (Salomon) and Eirik Haugsnes (inov-8); Andorran brothers Marc and Oscar Casal Mir (AND);  Frenchman Michel Lanne (Salomon); Germany’s Florian Reichert (Arc’teryx) and Switzerland’s own Martin Anthamatten (Salomon), race ambassador and one of the course designers.

Testing his racing skills for the first time in such a competitive field and in the heart of the Alps will be Chinese runner Yan Longfei (Salomon).

Kilian Jornet, Matterhorn Ultraks 46K winner. ©iancorless.com

More than 1,500 participants from 39 countries representing 54 nationalities will be on the start line at the weekend’s events in Zermatt celebrating the second edition.

Last year’s launch of the first Matterhorn Ultraks 46K couldn’t have got off to a better start with an incredibly strong field in both men’s and women’s categories.   The 46 km course, designed with the help of top runners, takes on a tough 3,600m of ascent and descent. The famous Gornergrat observation station marks the highest point of the race at 3,100m altitude, overlooking the Grenz Glacier and Monte Rosa, Europe’s second highest summit.  The entire course is overshadowed by the iconic Matterhorn peak.

Lifts, trains and helicopters can take spectators and supporters to the most spectacular view points to follow the race – an unforgettable experience.

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