Sky Race in the Dolomites

When people think about marathons they typically envision a mass of people running on smooth, flat pavement toward the finish line.  They rarely picture participants bundled in warm clothing, trekking up arduous mountain pathways into incredible altitudes while battling formidable elements such as wind, snow and ice.  But that’s exactly what the famous Dolomites Sky Race entails.  Held each year in July, this challenging race presents participants with a truly unique and unforgettable adventure.

Believe it or not, there’s actually a sport known as “sky running”, which is defined as running at high altitudes.  Sky races are opportunities for those skilled in the art of sky running to compete with one another.  In order to qualify as a sky race, the competition must be held at altitudes that reach between 2000 and 4000 meters.  These types of races are certainly not for the faint of heart – only experienced runners skilled in negotiating mountain terrain and difficult conditions should attempt it.

The Dolomite Sky Race begins in the charming resort town of Canazei, where hundreds of runners from all over the world don protective clothing and set off to run in some of the most challenging elements in the world.  Participants face breathtakingly steep paths over rocky terrain, all while battling everything from dense snowfall to dangerously slippery ice.  In fact, past races have had to be re-routed due to impassable conditions.  But runners will tell you the feeling of accomplishment one gets from conquering such a challenge is worth the difficulty and extra effort involved.

If you’re not one of the few elite athletes who can register to actually run this coveted race, don’t worry.  Being a spectator is almost as exciting!  Join the huge crowd of onlookers who travel from all over the globe to cheer on the intrepid runners.  Canazei is absolutely abuzz with excitement as the location where the participants begin their difficult journey and make their way back toward the hard-earned finish line.  Even as a bystander, the experience is truly unforgettable.