Vertical or Skyrace: why choose if you can run both?

Marco Moletto , La Sportiva ambassador for the Vertical team tell us his first experience in a skyrace, when at Limone skyrunning Xtreme, he grabbed the 5th place.

Marco Moletto took part in his first ever skyrace, the Limone Extreme and closed with a brilliant 5th place. The attitude with which he launched headlong into the first experience over this mileage, however, reveals Marco’s champion nature - ready, steady go, he was in a class of his own at the first climb!
We asked him some questions to find out what happened.

This was your first time in a race on this mileage. What was it that made you want to try?
I had wanted to try a skyrace for some time but I had always been held back by the idea of the downhill phase.
I have weak ankles because of various injuries at a young age. Now I think I have become a little stronger and so I finally wanted to break the ice.

You have chosen one of the most technical trails on the national scene. Had you ever thought about it or was it an instinctive choice?
My mind was set on the vertical race although I really did not know what to expect of a skyrace. All I knew was the altitude and the mileage, but as for the technical difficulties, I was totally in the dark.
I didn’t know anything about the route apart from what I had seen on videos on the internet.

You took the lead right away. Was it a strategic choice or did it come naturally to you to reach pole position and race to such high levels?
No, it was definitely not a strategic choice, I just wanted to take part for the fun and experience of it, but once I started the first climb and my legs seemed to have recovered from the Vertical, then I found myself immediately alone and in the lead, and later alongside Stian Angermund, I was so excited by what I was doing that I didn’t even feel the strain.

How technical were the downhill sections of the race?
The first two runs I enjoyed so much that I even managed to escape from my race mate Angermund. They were very slippery, a mix of mud, stones and cobblestones. The last descent on the other hand was extremely technical on rocks, jumps, ropes and I had to struggle to ski down. The cramps that had started to settle in didn’t help either!

Which shoes did you use for the race? Is it true that you pulled them out of the box for the first time on the morning of the race?
I wore a pair of La Sportiva Mutant. I unpacked the box on the morning of the race and put them on for the first time.. I guess this was a little naïve, right?!

Did you have fun? Do you think you will consider this type of race again?
I really enjoyed myself and I think I have discovered a whole new world that I like a lot. After this experience, I think that next year I will include some skyrace competitions in my race calendar, but after having gained a little more exercise on the legs.

Was it more difficult to race in the Vertical under torrential rain or the Skyrace?
I think they were both extremely tiring races, the Vertical because we raced under a crazy thunderstorm, while the Sky, although racing at a slower pace compared to a Vertical, was extremely demanding because of the length and extreme descents…two days later I am still all aches and pains.

What advice would you give someone wanting to try a skyrace?
If you want to try your hand in a sky race do what I do…set off as calmly as possible without any expectations, take a good supply of gel and just head off on your way, just think about having fun. The most important thing is to keep running with a smile on your face, everything becomes a lot easier!

What percentage of uphill and downhill skills do you think are required to win a race like that?
To win a sky race, I believe you need to be an extremely strong uphill and even stronger downhill skier. To excel in one skill alone is not enough, these days the level is too high and in order to win you must possess excellent all round skiing techniques.

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