Nadir Maguet, winner of the first AMA VK2. ©

The first double Vertical Kilometer® on Monte Rosa, Europe’s second highest mountain, took off today amid rain storms, swirling mists and heavy snow to climb to an altitude of 3,260m.

The new AMA VK2 saw 180 runners from 15 countries line up in the small village of Alagna Valsesia on the Italian side of the mountain to race 9 km with 2,080m vertical climb. The challenging weather conditions that postponed the Monte Rosa SkyMarathon until Sunday, let up sufficiently for the mountain guides to give the thumbs up for the AMA VK2.

First to reach the summit was 25-year-old favourite, Italian Nadir Maguet, a VK champion and silver medallist in the Sky discipline at the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships. He led from start to finish leaving a 15’ gap on second man, Giovanni Bosio, to close in 1h42’01”. An excellent third place went to 55-year-old Davide Milesi.

Skyrunning legend Mario Poletti was ready for the challenge. ©

Maguet commented, “The snow wasn’t easy…it was slippery towards the finish, but the course is amazing, real skyrunning! Despite the fog and cloud, lots of spectators were on the course which was really inspiring. It’s just the first edition of this race but already is in everyone’s heart…”

The women’s finish was a tight fight with the first three closing just 50 seconds off the winner, Iris Pessey from France in 2h05’36”. Just 13” later, Italy’s Corinna Ghirardi placed second and Ilaria Veronese closed the podium.

Women’s podium: Corinna Ghirardi, second, Iris Pessey, first, and Ilaria Veronese. ©Monte Rosa SkyMarathon

Pessey, 27, a cross country skier and VK specialist, said, “After the start my legs didn’t feel good, but as soon as I put on the crampons and touched the snow everything changed and I started pushing. I had a problem with my GPS, so I thought the finish was near, but I was only half way! I gave it my all and risked blowing up, but in the end I was able to keep going. I never expected to win as I was supposed to start the SkyMarathon and changed last minute, but I got so excited that I decided to find a new partner and do the SkyMarathon anyway!” A very strong and promising new star is born.

France’s Iris Pessey, AMA VK2 winner. ©

The Monte Rosa SkyMarathon record holder, local Gisella Bendotti, 55, had been unable to train for the long race (35 km and 7,000m vertical climb +/-), but she wanted to show her support for the events by taking part in the AMA VK2 and finished an incredible 13th, proving that she hadn’t lost any of her sparkle and that at her age and without specific training, left over half the field behind her.

Race organiser and President of the AMA Organising Committee, Manuel Gambarini, commented “Thanks to the unremitting care of the organisers, mountain guides, Alpine Rescue Service and volunteers, we were able to deliver a successful and exciting event in extremely challenging conditions. I’d also like to extend our thanks to our sponsors, Crazy, Eolo, Buff, Cimberio, Kratos, Ultimate Direction, Nortec and media partners:, Radio Dee Jay and Montagna TV for the great support!”

The two smiling winners Maguet and Pessey. ©Jan Nyka

Ready for next year?

AMA VK2 results


  1. Nadir Maguet (ITA) – 1h42’01”
  2. Giovanni Bosio (ITA) – 1h57’32”
  3. Davide Milesi (ITA) – 1h58’06”
  4. Andrew Barrington (GBR) – 1h58’38”
  5. Marc Jenny (SUI) – 2h00’04”


  1. Iris Pessey (FRA) – 2h05’36”
  2. Corinna Ghirardi (ITA) – 2h05’49”
  3. Ilaria Veronese (ITA) – 2h06’16”
  4. Chiara Giovando (ITA) – 2h12’26”
  5. Natalia Mastrota (ITA) – 2h16’48”

Full results

Race details