May 16, 2019

A strong performance for Bulgaria at the beginning of the Skyrunner Worlds Series

The Bulgarian Skyrunning season was also opened with the first start from the calendar

The new Skyrunner World Series starts more than great! Mt AWA Skyrace in Japan  the most technical competition organized in the country of the Rising Sun, was the first race of the Series. The track is 33 km long, 2,400 m displacement, and the highest point is the tоp of the mountain Awagatake - 1,293 m. The locals said that “a man can climb anywhere, if he can climb Awagatake”.

Bulgaria was represented by Cyril Nicolov-Disela, he finished in 5th place, with time 2h 06’22”. He passed the finish nearly 5 minutes after the winner – Ruy Ueda from Japan, who passed the race for 2h 01’42”. The women winner was Italian Elisa Desco (with time 2h 27’46”). After his returning to Bulgaria, Kiril said: “I had no expectations after last season. I had a good preparation and I had trained a lot in the winter, but I didn`t have strong confidence. Luckily things seem to be going in the direction that I want.”

The next start of the Skyrunner World Series for Kiril is this Sunday (19th of May) in France – SKYRACE® DES MATHEYSINS. The track is 27 km long and with 1,980m+ displacement.

In the ladies Bulgaria also had a strong performance in the face of Antonia Grigorova. A few times participant in the Olympic Games, debuted in Skyrunning in 2018, achieving strong results and top rankings. This year Antonia starts the season in the Canary Islands, Spain with its participation in the legendary race – Transvulcania, isla de La Palma. This is the third start of the Skyrunner World Series and offered of the participants a track of 74 km and 4350 m positive displacement. Transvulcania is considered that is the one of the most difficult Sky Race of the world.This year, 3600 participants was part of the race. Antonia finished in 14th place, with time 10h и 5’.

The winner became the Dutch Ragna Debats, who run the distance for 8h 09’25”. In men the first place was won by Thibaut Garrivier from France. He took the finish with time 7h 11’04”. “Last year I was in 13th place in the overall ranking, that gives me the right to start in the elite group this year.


Competition in Transvulcania was on an extremely high level, and the track passes through much of the island's volcanoes (where the name of the race comes from), so the soil was mostly sandy and rocky. This was difficult for me and stop me in the last part of the race, which was about 17 km long with 2,400m. downhill - to be able to maintain good speed. Despite these troubles, I finished in 14th place, which was under my top goal - 10th place, but I am happy with my time of 10h 5’ “ – said Grigorova after the final of the race.

Antonia's next participation of the World Series calendar will be Skymarathon, in Italy, in July.

On 12th of  May, in the small village of Bilka in the Eastern Balkan Mountain, was the first race of the Bulgarian Skyrunning calendar – Кodzha Кaya. The 42-kilometer distance, which was the first round of the national skyrunning championship, was won by Maria Nikolova.

She cross the heavy and technical route with 2600 m displacement, with time 5h 12’. Eight minutes after her, finished the first man - Kamen Nedkov (5:20). In the ladies, in strong competition for the second place, the fight was between Denka Abrasheva and Gergana Malcheva, with 4 minutes faster Abrasheva finishing the race with time 6h 44’. In the men, in the second and third place were Rumen Stamatov (5:35) and Yassen Dudin (5:45).

After the end of the race Krasimir Stefanov from the Koja Kaya team said: “The track is highly technical, but many athletes underestimate it due to the fact that the mountain is comparatively low. At the start, were 88 players, 66 of them finished, and only 51 were in the check-in time.” Krassimir also said: "The weather was very dynamic. The evening before the race was heavy rain. In the morning a fog was formed in the lower part of the track. Running along the track, the racers gradually rose above the fog, creating the sensation that is actually Skyrunning - to run beyond the clouds.”

The next race of the Bulgarian Skyrunning calendar is Pirin SkyRun 30 km, in 30th of June 2019. More about the Bulgarian Skyrunning Championship, calendar and rankings, you can learn here.

More about the Skyrunner World Series calendar and rankings, here.

Photos© MRSWS, transvulcania, KodzhaKaya, ShoFujimaki, Masatake Chiba