PHOTOS: Kurdistan Region embraces 'skyrunning' for first time on Mount Safeen

Overall, 200 climbers took part in the tough activity,
author_image Kurdistan 24
Two female runners take part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)
Two female runners take part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Hiking groups on Friday gathered at the foot of Safeen Mountain in rural tracts of the Kurdistan Region's province of Erbil to undertake a new challenge: athletic running in altitudes of 1,500 meters or higher.

Female runners take part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)
Female runners take part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)

The event, the first of its kind in the autonomous region, was organized by the Kurdistan Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, which had engaged nearly 40 different hiking groups across multiple provinces, districts, and localities.

Male runners take part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)
Male runners take part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)
Overall, 200 climbers took part in the tough activity, which, according to the International Skyrunning Federation, not only specifies the overall elevation, but also that a certain percentage of the inclines that participants run must be a certain angle or higher.
Runners take part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)
Runners take part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)
A male runner takes part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)
A male runner takes part in a skyrunning race on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Soryaz Ahmed Shaheen/Kurdistan24)

“We wanted to introduce this sport to the Kurdistan Region and Iraq,” Hemin Ameen, a member of the federation, told Kurdistan 24 on Friday.

Male and female mountain runners are pictured before undertaking skyrunning, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Hero Mewludi/Kurdistan24)
Mountain runners are pictured before undertaking the sport of skyrunning in the Kurdistan Region, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Hero Mewludi/Kurdistan 24)

In the version of the sport being implemented here, all skyrunning is conducted on land located over 1,500 meters above sea level, for which Mount Safeen is an ideal venue.

Male runners ran for six kilometers while their female peers undertook a three-kilometer course.

Male runners on Mount Safeen prepare for skyrunning, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Hero Mewludi/Kurdistan24)
Male runners on the Kurdistan Region's Mount Safeen prepare for skyrunning, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Hero Mewludi/Kurdistan 24)

The area is located in Shaqlawa district within northeastern Erbil province, part of the Zagros mountain range.

In 1992, Italian Marino Giacometti founded the International Skyrunning Federation, which coordinates and regulates the sport's discipline worldwide with the motto of, "Less cloud. More Sky.”

Medals are laid to be presented to winners, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Hero Mewludi/Kurdistan24)
Medals for skyrunning are displayed before being presented to various winners, Sept. 24, 2021. (Photo: Hero Mewludi/Kurdistan 24)