Transvulcania Naviera Armas 2016 will have a very special guest star: Bruno Brunod, mountain running pioneer and double winner of the Skyrunning World Cup (1996 and 1998). The veteran Italian runner, a true legend of the sport, is also know by his long standing records at Cervino, Kilimanjaro or Aconcagua. Kilian Jornet has said about him: «To me and all the rest of mountain runners, he is God». Brunod is a late starter, who began running in his thirties. Raised in the alpine region of Val d’Aosta, as a kid he daydreamed with emulating his fellow countrymen Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali, whose cycling rivalry electrified the country in the decade of 1940. Despite not being able to access his first bike until the military service, he went as far as to share miles with Claudio Chiapucci, double runner-up of Giro and Tour de France.
Disappointed by professional sport, he nonetheless decided to put an end to a promising career and to return to his hometown, where he started to run up and down the neighboring mountains just for fun. Meanwhile, he resumed his job as a stonemason.
In the early nineties he focused on Mount Cervino (known as Matterhorn on the Swiss side), a most emblematic dagger-like mountain in the Alps, which rises up to 4,478 meters. After a meticulous preparation, spanning 3 years and 34 climbs, he clocked an outstanding record which would last for nearly two decades: running it up and down in 3 hours and 14 minutes from the village of Cervinia, almost 2,500 meters below.
A year after he would become the first winner of the Skyrunning World Cup, succeeding again in 1998. And from that moment he would register a string of mountain running records worldwide, planting his flag on Monte Rosa (Italy-Switzerland), Elbert (USA), Aconcagua (Argentina) or Kilimanjaro (Tanzania). Some of these marks are still unchallenged, while some others have been improved by his pupil and friend Kilian Jornet, who in 2010 set a new record on the Kilimanjaro and in 2013 repeated the feat on the Cervino.
Brunod will tackle the Ultramarathon of La Palma, in all of its 74 km glory. He will be accompanied by his son Mathieu, who has also registered for the Half Marathon (24 km), and he will share a chat with the participants of Transvulcania, in the days preceding the great event.
In a video greeting, the veteran Italian runner highlights his appreciation for the invite and his eagerness to participate. «Since the last race I won in 2004, no less than twelve years ago, I’ve seen how the level of competition has been steadily rising, whereas the participants have gone from a few to the thousands». In his view, Transvulcania Naviera Armas is an event he has «always heard good things of. It is very well-known in Italy and it has been won by Kilian, Hernando and so many other great champions».