The Eighth Installment of Limone Extreme
Events kicked off on Friday evening, with the Limone Vertical Kilometer, a 3KM long, 1100-meter ascent that winds its way through the town center, up into an olive grove, and through a forest. The encroaching dimness and scenic variety of the twilight dash make the event all the more exciting. 183 runners from 20 countries took part in the race.
The Swiss runner Rémi Bonnet conquered the event, setting a new record on the course, at 00:36:02, and also becoming the Vertical Kilometer World Champion. Also hailing from Switzerland, Judith Wyder crowned the women’s results with a time of 00:43:47, defeating the previous women’s record by over a minute.
The 29KM Limone Extreme SkyRace comprises a rugged 2500-meter climb with limestone and gravel footpaths, steep and exhaustive incline features, and perilous descents. The trail is an ovular circuit in the mountains northeast of the town. Since the race caps off the SkyRunner World Series as a bonus race, awarding an extra 50% points towards rankings, competition was, as always, especially fierce.
In Saturday morning’s bristling heat 979 runners made their way to the starting line, representing 37 countries from around the world. Much of the race was a fierce head-to-head, as the results show, but the youthful Italian Davide Magnini tore ahead as the race’s victor, with a time of 02:59:04 , an incredible eight minute advance on the previous course record. Swedish orienteering master Tove Alexandersson finished with a time of 03:31:36, leading the women’s event results.
The marvelous weekend in Northern Italy culminated in the crowning of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series champions. The Sky Classic Champions this year are the Swiss Pascal Egli and Briton Holly Page. This title is awarded based on runners’ five best performances in events from the Sky Classic Series, including a 50% bonus for their results in Limone.
The Overall Champions this year are the celebrated Catalan Killian Jornet and Dutch Ragna Debats. This title embodies runners’ best two results in Sky Classic and Sky Extra. An end of season bonus pool of €66,000 was distributed across victors of all three titles.
The weekend also included a 10KM for runners who sought to experience the sky running terrain without the full-fledged ardor the Extreme SkyRace entails. Donna4SkyRace, a project that seeks to support and empower women in the running community, both casual and professional, was also new this year. The project offers promotional registration pricing for women at the 10KM event.
Contouring the mountainous views at Limone is the alpine lake Garda, Italy’s largest. Naturally, the lake’s scenic views and pristine water offer a sight to be seen –– for tourists flock to Limone’s resorts year-round.
Yet the terroir of Limone is especially significant to our community; the region’s mountain paths are the lifeblood of our sport, and are themselves relevant to the town’s history. Until the 1930s, these mountain paths were the only land-based route for accessing the region, and sustained the local populace during numerous periods when the town neared desertion.
Limone is a bustling destination today, and the region’s mountain paths remain as vital as ever, as this weekend attests. For many, Limone caps off a packed year of racing and the start of preparations for the 2019 season.
The notion of a blank slate, a new start, is as rousing as ever.