Marcialonga – one of the classic long distance competitions and Italy's largest ski race – is set to host the second stage of the FIS Marathon Cup this weekend. Despite ongoing weather difficulties across much of Europe, race will be held on a 50km track.
Also undeterred by the weather are the participants: Marcialonga has been sold out of starting positions already weeks ago, and a record 5,177 competitors, 3,005 of them from outside of Italy, will take part. Among those will by Olympic champions Andrus Veerpalu (EST) and Gabrielle Paruzzi (ITA), as well as the overall leaders of the FIS Marathon Cup, Jerry Ahrlin (SWE) and Lara Peyrot (ITA).
This upward trend in participation among the most important popular races is not only seen at Marcialonga. Despite difficult snow conditions across Europe, Sweden's Vasaloppet is already sold out, as usual. Others, including Tartu Marathon (EST), KÃ¶nig-Ludwig-Lauf (GER), and Engadin Skimarathon (SUI), are all reporting record levels of registration. Popular skiers are clearly taking advantage of the hard work of the organizing committees, who are providing tracks when many areas cannot. Marcialonga is the second race in the now seven-stage, 433km-long (accumulated distance) FIS Marathon Cup after JizerskÃ¡ PadesÃ¡tka (CZE) was cancelled due to a lack of snow.