The International Skyrunning Federation is pleased to announce the success of the world’s highest marathon, Vertical Kilometer® and ultra marathon which took place on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania on May 9, 2022.

Swiss skyrunning champion and ambassador, Roberto Delorenzi, set all three records in the World’s Highest Marathon, sanctioned by the ISF.

The women’s record for the three distances goes to Sandi Menchi Abahan from the Philippines.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the world’s highest free-standing mountain, summiting at 5,895m on Uhuru Peak. A dormant volcano, it is the tallest in Africa and the Eastern Hemisphere.

The records? See below for the results of the top three men and women of the three events.

Delorenzi is a multiple skyrunning champion with an incredible CV which includes gold, silver and bronze medals in the Youth Skyrunning World Championships, a bronze medal for the Vertical in the 2020 Skyrunning World Championships and winner of the first 2021 VK OPEN Championships.

World’s highest marathon records set
Swiss skyrunning world champion, Roberto Delorenzi, on his way to winning all three events. ©Roberto Delorenzi

Delorenzi commented, “This was a fantastic experience! I’ve never been at such high altitude and was a little worried about how my body would react, but the acclimatisation was perfect and day after day I could see that my heart rate was slowing to a normal pace.

“The race started in the middle of the night with head lamps. I started with a good pace and arrived at the top in 1h17′. Since I had a very good advantage, I started the descent quite relaxed and as soon as the sun rose, I could enjoy the view and stop from time to time to take some pictures. The fascinating thing is that the more you go down, the more the landscape changes with various climate zones in the span of a few kilometres! I wasn’t sure I was on the right path and lost almost an hour, but I managed to win anyway! I’m so proud to be the record holder!”.

World's highest marathon records set

Indian Kam Kaur

Indian Kam Kaur, second woman in the marathon, commented, “I have learnt so much from this experience, it’s definitely not for the feint hearted. The mixed terrain and the altitude, the relentless ups and downs. I would say this is not just the world’s highest marathon but also the hardest marathon. If anyone like me loves to see how far I can push myself then this is one for sure is one for you.”

The races were organised by World’s Highest Marathon owned by E P Global Events Limited. In a week-long context of ascent and acclimatisation, the participants took on one, two or all three races on the last day. On reaching 4,895m, the events kicked off with the World’s Highest Vertical Kilometer® – a gruelling 3.5 km with 1,000m vertical climb to the summit of Uhuru Peak, 5,895m.

World's highest marathon records set

From here, the World’s Highest Marathon descended for a total distance of 42.2 km counting 1,836m vertical climb. From the summit, the downhill is a demanding 3,700m.

With another 11.4 km downhill reaching 53.6 km, the World’s Highest Ultra Marathon record was set. The total descent of this race is a jaw-dropping 4,800m.

World's highest marathon records set
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This is the first time in mountain running history that such an arduous attempt has taken place at this altitude. Apart from sanctioning the events, the ISF awarded the three races the Certified Course label which is based on a number of skyrunning parameters, together with the GPX course data and an exclusive algorithm.

A further analysis was carried out, again implementing a unique algorithm, to provide the projected finishing times and calorie consumption for three categories: beginner, intermediate and best performance (male & female) for each race which enabled athletes to focus on their timing and act as a safety measure for staff.

Rob Edmond, Co-founder and Co-director World’s Highest Marathon, stated, ‘We had an amazing reception to this inaugural event, with the full backing of the Tanzanian Government and National Park Authorities to do something never done before, the news of our successes and achievements quickly spreading throughout the nation and beyond. We have created something special that we hope becomes world renowned for skyrunning and marathon enthusiasts – the ultimate bucket list marathon challenge’.

Dave Pickles, Founder and Director, World’s Highest Marathon, whose impressive experience counts leading groups of over 3,000 people, world record breaking events on Kilimanjaro and 61 summits. “The dream to hold the World’s Highest Marathon became a reality in May 2022 and saw eight nations being represented on the world’s highest free standing mountain. It is fascinating and inspiring to see human endeavour overcome hardship in such an austere environment where the fundamentals are difficult to perform. This could quite possibly be the hardest marathon in the world and we look forward to seeing more competitors join the event in May 2023.”

The date for your diary? May 14-24, 2023.

WORLD’S HIGHEST VERTICAL KILOMETER® RESULTS

Men
1. Roberto Delorenzi – SUI – 1h17’20”
2. Mussa Mwakyusa – TAN – 1h52’57”
3. Elias Tabac – PHI – 1h58’54”

Women
1. Sandi Menchi Abahan – PHI – 2h03’12”
2. Christobel Martes – PHI – 2h18’20”
3. Kam Kaur – IND – 3h01’03”

WORLD’S HIGHEST MARATHON RESULTS

Men
1. Roberto Delorenzi – SUI – 7h35’46”
2. Elias Tabac – PHI – 7h59’17”
3. Emmanuel Paulo – TAN – 8h54’29”

Women
1. Sandi Menchi Abahan – PHI – 9h00’50”
2. Kam Kaur – IND – 13h49’14”

WORLD’S HIGHEST ULTRA RESULTS

MEN
1. Roberto Delorenzi – SUI – 8h52’31”
2. Elias Tabac – PHI – 9h24’24”
3. Emmanuel Paulo – TAN – 10h43’56”

Women
1. Sandi Menchi Abahan – PHI – 11h03’22”

Certified Courses

ISF records

For more info and to enter the 2023 races: www.worldshigestmarathon.com