Two leading French-based mountain runners, Frenchman Christophe Le Saux and Nepalese Sange Sherpa, will be travelling to South Africa to take their places on the start line at the 2017 SkyRun presented by Salomon. They join a strong field of elite runners all vying for top place on the podium at the 21st running of this iconic event, which includes defending champion Christiaan Greyling. “We are very honoured to have these two world class international athletes at our race,” says race organiser Mike de Haast from Pure Adventures. “It will be great to see what they think of our very special race. Sange, who runs for Team Instinct, is a top 10 finisher at Ultra Trail Mont Blanc and this is his first visit to South Africa; and Christophe has just finished his solo crossing of the Amazon Jungle, a distance of 153km in a time of 33hours, so we are hoping our mountains will prove to be enough of a challenge for them.”
There is a joke amongst mountain and trail runners that SkyRun has been bewitched by a foreigner curse, because in the last 20 years of running this race, despite some of the very top names coming out to do it, the race has never been won by a male foreigner, with overall first place always going to a local South African runner. Can Christophe and Sange break this curse? And will this be the year that the elite men are able to break the Sub12 time barrier? Ryan Sandes was the first to run a sub14 in 2012, and this time has since only been achieved by a select few number of athletes. None have yet gone under the 12 hour mark, including 2016 race champion, Christiaan Greyling, who is back this year to defend his title, as well as last year’s 2nd place finisher, Lucky Miya.
Salomon SkyRun is known world-wide as one of the toughest self-supported, self-navigation mountain races – this is not something to be taken lightly. With entries selling out almost as soon as they open, and a field including runners from 18 different nations, Pure Adventures have found a way to incorporate the aspirational side of running with the adventure aspect that athletes crave and it has become a bucket list race for most trail runners.
“SkyRun is a race for the top 15% of the field. For the rest of us, it is an endurance adventure!” describes Mike. “I use the word adventure because it throws all sorts of elements that make up an adventure at you in the course of a day and a half, this adventure can be described as living a lifetime in around 30 hours. You will truly find yourself, and some of the reasons you are ALIVE, out there in the Witteberg Mountains. The beauty of the landscape is unique, the harshness of the terrain unrelenting, the remoteness of the check points massively intimidating, but these elements make for one of the greatest adventures you could ever experience. This is not a mindless 100 odd kilometres of pavement pounding, this is 100km or 65km of ADVENTURE in a well-managed environment!”
Live tracking for the race will be offered through Sportraxs and all social media channels will be kept updated throughout the race to let supporters know how their competitors are doing.
Website – skyrun.co.za
Facebook – SkyRun