Having recently announced its membership of the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), the South African Skyrunning Association (SASA) will be sending a representative athlete to the Sierre-Zinal Skymarathon in Switzerland this week, race number 3 on the Skyrunning World Series circuit.
With a heritage that spans almost 40 years, the“Race of Five 4000m Peaks” as it is otherwise known, is one of the premier mountain running events on the European calendar, providing a challenge for all the runners toeing the start line come August 12th.. 31 kilometres, 2800m of vertical ascent and the scenic backdrop of the Valais' Alps awaits runners from all over the world, testing their mountain running skills to the limits.
With the opportunity having been presented by the ISF to send an athlete to the Sierre-Zinal Skymarathon, and based firmly upon her impressive track record at some of South Africa's toughest trail and ultra events over the past 12 months, SASA named Linda Doke. The Hout Bay resident will be heading to the small alpine village of Zinal this week not only to compete amongst some of Europe's top runners, but also to represent SASA and soak up the Skyrunning concept, as the association embarks on developing a national Skyrunning circuit on home soil in years to come.
“With my focus for the trip being more on representing SASA than on trying to race, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to bring home to South Africa a reality of the fantastic potential that our dramatic landscapes have to offer as a venue for the concept of Skyrunning,” says Linda. “I have absolutely no doubt that the idea of introducing to South Africa a Skyrunning series as there is in Europe will take off like wild fire, and that trail runners across the country will be scrambling to take part in such a series.”
With the course record being held by none other than New Zealand's Jonathan Wyatt, multiple mountain running trophy winner, it’s sure to be an exciting event so look out for more details closer to the event, as well as on race day, by following SASA on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/SkyrunningSA) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/skyrunningsa)
For more information about the Sierre-Zinal, head to the official website by clicking here: http://www.sierre-zinal.com/
To follow Linda's throughout her trip, follow her on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lindadoke