Skyrunning is an extreme sport of mountain running above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) where the incline exceeds 30% and the climbing difficulty does not exceed II° grade. The governing body is the International Skyrunning Federation. The sport comprises a number of different disciplines from the short, steep Vertical Kilometer to the more popular SkyRace and SkyMarathon. Ultra SkyMarathons are becoming increasingly popular as are short vertical SkySpeed races which includes skyscraper racing.
The idea of skyrunning came from Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti and a handful of fellow climbers. They pioneered races on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa in the early 1990s. Just months later, with the support of the Fila sportswear company, skyrunning took off across the world's mountain ranges reaching from the Alps to the Himalayas, to Mount Kenya and the Mexican volcanoes.
In 1995, the Federation for Sport at Altitude was founded to address the need for rules to govern the sport and generally manage this fast-growing discipline which today counts some 200 races worldwide with around 50,000 participants from 65 countries.
The FSA was responsible for an ongoing scientific research project, probably the only studies of their kind on athletes at altitude and in the laboratory.
Today, the sport is managed by the International Skyrunning Federation, constituted in 2008 by the board and members of the FSA and founding nations. The principal aims of the ISF are the direction, regulation, promotion, development and furtherance of skyrunning and similar multisport activities on a worldwide basis. ISF sanctions the Skyrunner World Series.
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