Sunday, July 2, marks the return of a spectacular half-marathon across Europe’s largest high mountain plateau: an exhilarating 21-kilometre run along Alpe di Siusi’s most spectacular trails.
This fifth edition will once again see entrant numbers capped at 700 and with just a few weeks to go to the off, there are just 100 bibs still available!
Lining out at the start with the rest of the field will be last year’s overall winner Gianmarco Bazzoni, who will be going head-to-head with German Sebastian Hallman. In the women’s grouping, all eyes will be on three-time winner Petra Pircher, Vicenza-born Anna Zilio and Bergamo ultra-marathon runner Paola Sanna as they compete for the top prize.
A high-altitude run through vast expanses of mountain meadow with the rocky peaks of the Sassolungo, Sassopiatto and Sciliar mountains providing a fittingly dramatic backdrop. As they line out for the start of the fifth edition of the Alpe di Siusi Half Marathon, all the runners in the field will be aware that they are embarking on an experience that goes well beyond training and competition, and, in fact, will help them establish a closer, more intense relationship with nature itself.
On Sunday, July 2, 700 athletes from 13 different nations will assemble at the start-line in Compaccio for the tough but exhilarating half-marathon. They’ll experience a 601-metre elevation change in the course of the 21.097 km route through the spectacular and unspoilt terrain of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Such is the huge appeal of the competition that just a few weeks from the start, only 100 bibs are left for potential participants to snap up.
THE TOP CONTENDERS
The Alpe di Siusi half-marathon is very much wide open in terms of winners and losers. It also has a very broad appeal to road race, trail and mountain runners. The favourites for the top spots will include the winner of the 2016 edition Gianmarco Bazzoni of Athletic Club 96 Alperia, who last year crossed the finish-line in a time of 1.22’24”. The Bolzano athlete will be facing some very stiff competition this year, however, from 40 year old German Sebastian Hallman. Although a successful middle-distance athlete, Hallman has been focusing on long distance competition in recent years, particularly trail running. The winner of the last Wings For Life World Run in Germany is taking part in the Alpe di Siusi Half Marathon in preparation for the Trans Alpine Run, a 270-kilometre trail run from the Bavarian Alps to South Tyrol.
Making a welcome return also is Petra Pircher, the local South Tyrolean runner, who won the women’s title in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions of the half-marathon. That said, she’ll be up against Vicenza native Anna Zilio, who has a very impressive tally of mountain, vertical and trail running victories to her credit. Pircher will also be contending with Bergamo woman Paola Sanna, who has been Italian 100 km road race champion four times and took an excellent fourth place in the Alpe di Siusi half-marathon in 2015.
The Mezza Maratona Alpe di Siusi is also an event with a focus on giving something back and this year is doing with a special charity relay race designed to raise public awareness about a particularly sensitive issue: the battle against breast cancer endured by so many women.
The relay team will be made up of 21 current and former patients of the IOV (Veneto Institute of Oncology), who will run a kilometre each. Proceeds will be donated to the RUN FOR IOV charity.