Skygames 2012 are taking off this weekend at the spanish region of Ribargorza, in Spain´s Central Pyrenees. Mountain runners from across the world converge on the small towns dotted around this remote and relatively unknown area to share in six racing specialties from June 29 to July 8.
SKYGAMES 2012: WHAT ARE THEY?
The SkyGames, the ISF Skyrunning World Championships, are held at intervals of 4 years. This year will be held from June 29 to July 8 in the Ribagorza at the central Pyrenees in Spain, an area between today´s spanish regions of Aragón and Catalonia, both part of the former medieval kingdom of Aragón.
RIBAGORZA ROMÁNICA: A REGION FULL OF HISTORY AND TRADITION
There few places in Spain where its medieval history and traditions are quite as visible as in this Ribagorza Románica hosting the Skygames 2012. The kingdom of Aragon came together with that of Castilla and Leon through the marriage of both its heirs (Fernando & Isabel known as the Catholic Monarchs) back in 1469 forming the origin for the Kingdom of Spain, which has held as an integrated state ever since. Over the nest 20 years it absorbed the former kingdoms of Granada and Navarra and ever since the official coat of arms for the Kingdom of Spain bears in five quarters the icons of its original kingdoms: Castilla, León, Aragón, Navarra and Granada. (See below)
SKYGAMES: PREVIOUS EDITIONS
Italy twice and Andorra are the countries that have held the SkyGames before, an event promoted by the International Federation of Skyrunning (ISF) and requires that the competitions must be held in a mountain scenery located a minimum of 2,000 meters above sea level, in areas that have a solid range of hotels and services as well as good communication and experience in organizing sporting events.
SKYGAMES 2012 OFFICIAL PROGRAM
During this week of competition will be played a total of 6 tests: SkyMarathon, a 42km endurance race; SkyRace, 21km mountain race; SkyBike, a high mountain duathlon (14 km RUN + 10km MTB + 10km RUN); VerticalKm, a rapidly ascending race of 1,000m of elevation gain; SkySpeed, screening test gear in just 200 meters, and SkyRaid, a multidisciplinary test designed only for athletes of national teams.
This competition will bring together the world leading specialists in each discipline. More than one hundred thousand athletes and elite athletes representing a total of 25 nations will gather in this competition which is a reflection of the spectacle of mountain sports in height.
Parallel to the official competition will take place a significant number of additional sports and leisure activities offered by the tourism and leisure potential of the region.
In the evening of june the 29th, a turnout of 1,500 spectators is expected at the opening ceremony which will pay homage to the 19 countries participating with a parade of flags representing each nation.
Forty medals, 14 world titles and 40,000 euros prize money are at stake in the self proclaimed skyrunners’ “high altitude Olympics”. 1,300 athletes will compete in the six disciplines held between June 30 and July 8, climaxing with the SkyMarathon, compulsory for the combined title. Certainly, the super-strong Spanish team looks set to take the lion’s share of the medals, headed by reigning Skyrunner World Series champions, Luis Alberto Hernando and Oihana Kortazar and past world champion, Agustí Roc, as well as Mireia Mirò competing in the Vertical Kilometer.
Among the other nations participating are France with past skyrunning world champion Corinne Favre and Didier Zago; Nicola Golinelli from Italy; Zhanna Vokueva, Russia, Adam Campbell, Canada; Alex Nichols, USA; Murray Strain and Tessa Hill, Great Britain; Adel Ojeda from Venezuela; together with teams from Andorra, Bolivia, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Japan, Lithuana, Mexico, Poland, Singapore and Switzerland.
Joan Peralada, President of the Association for Ribagorza Románica Development, commented; “For two years, the residents have worked with determination to ensure the success of the event, amassing 300 volunteers and a 50-strong team of professionals to manage the races. After a bleak winter where the ski facilities were closed and jobs lost, the SkyGames 2012 have filled 7,000 hotel rooms creating a much-needed economic boost for the area and it’s future development.”
The six SkyGames disciplines making up the mammoth event are: SkySpeed, 100 metres vertical climb with a 45% incline; Vertical Kilometer, the universally popular formula, here a mere 3.5 km with a 30% incline; SkyBike – a duathlon combining mtb and skyrunning to 2,000m altitude; SkyRaid – a multi-discipline team relay; the 21 km SkyRace with 1,350m vertical climb, reserved for runners aged 16-21. The events conclude with an epic SkyMarathon reaching 3,100m altitude – valid for the combined points title.
The event is sanctioned by FEDME, the Spanish Federation for Mountain Sports.
SKYGAMES 2012 PHOTO GALLERY (Fotos Skygames 2012)
The talented ahtletes and the superb mountain environment of Ribagorza blending together in this gorgeous corner of the central spanish Pyrenees are sure to bring us some great memories to share in the form of these “fotos de skygames 2012″ as spaniards say.
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