The Matterhorn Ultraks 2023 Sky Race -
Iain Martin Ultrarunner

After several years of intense training for events including the epic UTMB in 2021 and the Courchevel Dynastar X3 in 2022, Iain set his sights on the Matterhorn Ultraks 2023 Sky Race.

Starting from Zermatt, Switzerland, the trails follow the contours around the foot of the Matterhorn as it rises majestic and not just a little bit imposing up ahead. The Ultraks weekend features a choice of 5 races from a 19km ‘Active’ to an interesting sounding ‘vertiNight’ vertical kilometre race during the evening. Something for everyone!

The main event is the Sky race. At 49km and a challenging 3,600m climb – not forgetting the effects of altitude – it’s a tough trail even for the most experienced runner. But stunning vistas and the sheer magnitude of the Matterhorn are a great distraction in the first part of the course and worth the effort.

However, this year, the upper reaches were less hospitable. Driving rain and wind making the going extra punishing and a reminder of why it’s important to pack your kit with care.

Even though the race (surprisingly) had no compulsory kit list, I was prepared and quickly pulled on my waterproof jacket and gloves.”

Ultramarathon kit

See Iain’s race review here

Bad weather curtails the race

Sadly, the inclement weather meant that the course had to be cut short and strategically placed marshalls guided the participants along an alternative route excluding the final climb. The overall distance covered was a clipped 41km, disappointing for those ready for the full distance, but as past experience has shown, it is better to be safe than potentially risk lives in these environments.

Not to be deterred Iain is ready to revisit the Ultraks again at some point in the future!


Ultra runner magazine Read the full story at Ultrarunner Magazine.

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