Switzerland’s Mountain Running Classic Sierre-Zinal Gears Up For 2021

Announcement from Sierre-Zinal – Race#7 of the 2021 WMRA Mountain Running World Cup. ATRA founder Nancy Hobbs is a WMRA council member. Photos: Corsa in Montagna.

The Sierre-Zinal mountain running race is held in the spectacular settings of the Val d’Anniviers, right in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Its unique course allows you to admire, along its 19.2 mile (7200′ climb) from Sierre to Zinal, no less than five thirteen thousand foot high peaks: Weisshorn (14,783′), Zinalrothorn (13,848′), Obergabelhorn (13,362′) Matterhorn (14,691′) and Dent Blanche (14,294′).

Over its 48 years, Sierre-Zinal has established itself as one of the most important mountain running races in the world: Not only due to its its long history since 1974, but also for the beauty of its course, the passion shown by its 4,000 popular runners registered each year. And above all, for bringing together the world elite of this sport, who arrive every season from Africa, Asia, America and Oceania to race each other in the heart of Europe’s iconic alpine mountain range.

For years, Sierre-Zinal has also been the only race that has simultaneously been part of two annual competitions of enormous world prestige: The recent Golden Trail Series and the WMRA Mountain Running World Cup, the pioneer circuit in this sport worldwide, since 1995 to this date.

Sierre-Zinal 2019 edition went down in history as unrepeatable: A double male and female record was set in the books by two living legends of this sport: Spaniard Kilian Jornet achieved his seventh gold, and finally surpassed Jonathan Wyatt’s record here, with 2 hours 25 minutes 35 seconds. The Swiss Maude Mathys took the women’s gold and also set women’s record with 2:49:28.


Sierre-Zinal 2020, A Different Alternative, Over One Month

In 2020, faced with unprecedented circumstances, the Sierre-Zinal organizing committee remained determined to keep the flame burning, crafting a different version of the race.

Sierre-Zinal 2020 was held as a one-month free-form event. In this way, all the restrictions imposed by the health situation were met. However, a month-long event by no means evokes the same excitement and euphoria as the iconic one-day race. Therefore, the organizers want to resume the usual format as soon as the situation allows. As the health situation remains unpredictable, the 2021 calendar offers a project that will allow all mountain racing fans to have the most exciting experience possible next year.

The COVID 19 pandemic and its ramifications have sadly become part and parcel of our lives. As such, we assume participants in the 2021 race can equally adapt to the evolving health situation and go along with a race format that is also liable to change.

Sierre-Zinal 2021: A New Beginning

Registrants to the 48th edition of Sierre-Zinal are fully cognizant of the fact that the race format is liable to change:

  • A one-day race is our priority: Sierre-Zinal will be held on August 7, 2021.
  • New: Please note that Sierre-Zinal is taking place on a Saturday (a small departure from the traditional second Sunday in August).
  • A free form month-long event will be organized if and only if the health situation is such that large gatherings are not permitted. This event would take place from Wednesday 2 August to Sunday 12 September 2021. The organizing committee will make a decision by June 30, 2021.

Fees And Refunds

Should the committee change the race’s classic format into a month-long event, registrants may expect partial entry fee refunds. However, a format change does not warrant a full refund.

Registration Calendar

  • For runners who opt for hotel and training clinic packages (4% of the field) registration opens on February 1.
  • For Sierre and Anniviers residents (8% of the field) registration opens on February 14.
  • For all other entrants (88% of the field) registration opens on April 2. TBD. Registration details will be available soon on the event website.

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