The most technical Sky race on the horizon and in the dreams of skyrunners

The countdown has begun for Trofeo Kima. On the final weekend in August, Val Masino opens its doors to the world of running with two action-packed days of competition; both for trail and sky runners. As a warm-up for day two’s extreme skyrace, Saturday’s accessible Kima Trail Running and MiniKima offer two distances of 6 and 14km, following routes through the same spectacular valley as the mythical Trofeo Kima. Winding their way in the shadow of the jagged granite peaks that will welcome the world’s elite skyrunners on the following day, these events take you deep into the heart of where the history of alpinism has been written. Registrations are still open. Email: info@trofeokima.org.

Sunday 28th is the turn of the sold-out iconic race on the Sentiero Roma, seeing 300 heroes from 29 different nations standing expectantly on the start line of the world’s toughest and most mythical race. This is their initiation into the university of skyrunning. As the second stop on the Skyrunner® Extreme Series, a circuit dedicated to one of the world’s most technical races, the Trofeo Kima is now just around the corner in all its splendour: 52 km with 4,200m vertical climb and the same in descent, scaling seven passes above 2,500 metres (with Passo Cameraccio at 2,950 metres being the highest). Bocchetta Roma, Cameraccio, Camerozzo, Barbacan: these are Alpine passes that merit respect and a hint of devotion.

But what renders Kima so mythical? Well, a glance at its legendary list of victors should suffice, with names like Fabio Meraldi, Mario Poletti, Cheto Biavaschi, Mauro Gatta, Paolo Gotti and Kilian Jornet. No less illustrious in the past, the women’s field has seen history written by Morena Paieri, Gloriana Pellissier, Corinne Favre, Emanuela Brizio, Nuria Picas and Kasie Enman.

The idea stemmed from a long-held dream of the mountain guide Pierangelo Marchetti, and it was realised in the spring of 1995 by his sister Ilde alongside the support of trusted friends. Going by the name ‘Kima’, this race has always been considered the pinnacle of skyrunning. The records for the original 50km route with 3,800 metres of climbing are held by Mauro Gatta 5h49’10” and Gloriana Pellissier 7h48’27”. However, the course has since been revised, extended and – some argue – made even tougher: at 52 km with 4,200 metres of climbing, the times to beat are Kilian Jornet 6h12’20” and Nuria Picas 7h36’21”.