Endurance Runners Test Their Vertical Limits

Watch as runners put their bodies through the ultimate test in the Red Bull K3 mountain race.
© Damiano Levati/Red Bull Content Pool
By Dom Granger

Running uphill is hard on its own — now imagine doing it as fast as you can, in a race, for over 10,000 vertical yards.

Yes, you read right: The Red Bull K3 race may be only 6 miles long, but it brings the participants through a grueling 10,000-feet of vertical elevation.

Watch the video above to understand how steep that actually is!

Red Bull K3 returned to the Italian Alps in Susa, Italy, for the third edition of the popular race among endurance runners. This year, the finish line was at the top of Rocciamelone Mountain, overlooking Piedmont, with an altitude of 11,608 feet.

This year's edition saw two winners among the men, as Marco Moletto and Philip Götsch decided to cross the finishing line together after running side-by-side for the whole 2 hours, 8 minutes, 29 seconds it took them to complete the race.

Quite an impressive time, but not quite fast enough to break the current record, set at 2 hours, 1 minute, 57 seconds by the Swiss Remi Bonnet in the 2015 edition.

On the women's side, it was the Spanish runner Vanesa Ortega first across the finish line in 2 hours, 37 minutes, 2 seconds.

The biggest difference at this year’s event was the format of the race. It was enhanced with two new intermediate stops (K1 and K2) allowing more vertical-run-savvy people to take part and compete in different categories.

Full results

Podium shot of Marco Moletto (Left), Philip Götsch (Center) and Henry Hofer (Right) at Red Bull K3.
K3 Men's podium Moletto (L), Götsch (C), Hofer (R) © Mauro Puccini/Red Bull Content Pool
Raffaella Miravalle (L) Vanesa Ortega (C) and Barbara Cravello (R) on the podium after the Red Bull K3 race
Women Podium Miravalle (L) Ortega (C) Cravello (R) © Mauro Puccini/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull K3 results (6 miles, altitude gain of 9,960 feet)

1.(=) Marco Moletto and Philip Götsch (2:08:29)
3. Henry Hofer (2:09:47)

1. Vanesa Ortega (2:37:02)
2. Raffaela Miravalle (2:45:44)
3. Barbara Cravello (2:47:06)

Red Bull K2 results (5 miles, altitude gain of 7,644 feet)

1. Enzo Mersi (1:43:51)
2. Luca Gronghi (1:51:54)
3. Alberto Turin (2:06:47)

1. Lorena Casse (2:38:45)
2. Elisa Beltramo (2:49:33)
3. Denise Pallavicini (2:54:13)

Red Bull K1 results (2.8 miles, altitude gain of 3,871 feet)

1. Gian Luca Ughetti (00:57:02)
2. Simon Edwards (1:03:34)
3. Martin Russo (1:06:26)

1. Cristina Dosio (00:59:46)
2. Jessica Tieni (1:07:31)
3. Franca Bounous (1:26:22)

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