Take Two: SWOX Pro-Runners Martina Valmassoi and Markus Volkmar about the best sun protection for runners

Sunscreen and Running: Martina Valmassoi running in the mountains

Sunscreen and running are supposedly in a complicated relationship, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Skin protection is key for professional runners. They frequent the sunny outdoors, they sweat and more often do so in high altitude, close to reflecting snow or places closer to the equator. Even if you aren’t a professional ultra runner like SWOX athlete Markus Volkmar or don’t run high up in the Alps like trail runner Martina Valmassoi – Get excited: The two have pro insights about sunscreen for running. You also might learn a thing or two about what to do instead of enjoying events and races during these crazy times.

Sunscreen and Running Martina Valmassoi


SWOX athlete Martina Valmassoi is a professional trail runner and ski mountaineering (skimo) athlete. She was born and raised in the Dolomites and now is in her early 30s.

“ For me training always needs to be connected to the mountains, I don’t really look at it as a way to perform, but most of all, as a way to explore more.“


SWOX Athlete Markus Volkmar was born and raised in Bavaria. He’s in his mid-30s, married and is a proud dad of his little Leo-Summer. He likes running and when he runs, he likes to run very long distances. Markus is a professional ultra runner.

“I would just say I am Runner, Mover and Dreamer.”

Photo: Helge Röske

Sunscreen und Running: Markus Volkmar Portrait
Let’s catch up about this crazy year of 2020 and your life as an athlete at the moment!

MARTINA: I am an athlete but I also work at running events as a job, so this part has been very difficult this year. I also work as a social media manager and luckily, I still had tons of work in that field, so at least I kept myself busy during these weird times.

Personally as an athlete, I took this opportunity to try and heal from an old injury at the Achilles tendon that has been bothering me for a long time. So for me this pandemic has done some good as well. Right now, at least in Europe, organizers are stepping up trying to still create some running events. However, it’s understandable that it’s tough. I think, this is a good year to focus on personal projects. Not to race and not traveling much isn’t that bad after all.

MARKUS: Since the end of 2019 I have been preparing meticulously for a 230km non-stop run that would have been in May this year. I was pretty down when it was rightly cancelled in March, of course. Together with my wife (pro-runner and SWOX Athlete Alexandra Volkmar) we decided that we won’t have any big running adventures in 2020 and instead concentrate fully on our little family.

For example, as a family we have made a 7-day gravel bike tour through the Bavarian Alps (Leo was in the bike trailer) or climbed some peaks with Leo in the baby carrier. My personal opinion is that we will unfortunately wait until spring 2021 for big sports events, maybe I will attack a few FKT routes (Fastest Know Time) in the future – but nothing has been fixed yet.

what’s your favorite terrain or area to run and why?

MARTINA: I’ve traveled a lot for work these past few years and I’ve seen some amazing places. Though I have to say that no place for running beats home, the Dolomites for now. Of course, I do love Chamonix though.

Chamonix, FRA

  • 45° 55′ N, 6° 52′ O
  • Altitude 995m
  • UV Index  1-6

Pieve di Cadore, ITA

  • 46° 26′ N, 12° 22′ O
  • Altitude 878m
  • UV Index 2-10
Learn about UV Index, altitude, sun intensity and activity level

MARKUS: I have my best times at competitions or projects that don’t have many meters of altitude – in other words, not in the mountains. We live in Munich, but I like the ocean and mountains most to run, so Cape Town is my absolute favorite spot to have fun. In Cape Town you have simply everything for me: challenging trails, endless roads and most of the time the outstanding view of the sea while I run. If I could still surf, it would be almost perfect!

Munich, GER 

  • 48° 8′ N , 11° 35′ O
  • Altitude 519m
  • UV Index 1-7

Cape Town, ZAF

  • 33° 55′ S, 18° 25′ O
  • Altitude 25m
  • UV Index 3-11


Photo: Tom Schlegel

what is the real-deal challenge when it comes to sunscreen for running?

MARTINA: The main challenge for me has always been that I hate sticky and greasy lotions on my skin. The second problem for me has been that the sunscreens I tried before SWOX, didn’t last for a long time, because they came off when I would sweat.

Discovering SWOX sun protection has been so great, because you have different lotions with different levels of protection. None of them are sticky, they are absolutely non-greasy and they last for so so long when I run!!

MARKUS: The major thing with sunscreen for running for me is, that I want to be able to feel my skin breathing and that is very important for me, especially during runs over 12 hours. I had tried all kinds of products, but none of them has given me this feeling – until I discovered SWOX products.

I’m really serious – SWOX was a game changer. I always have the feeling to be perfectly protected while running without consciously noticing the sun protection. The sun sometimes really bangs down, even here in Germany and especially in the mountains.

Markus Volkmar
Skin type 2

“I am the Nordic type and thus I always need high SPF sun protection. Therefore I use SWOX every time and everywhere. “

Why is it important to know your skin type?
Sunscreen und Running: Markus Volkmar in Cape Town

Photo: Helge Röske

Follow Markus Volkmar’s running profile on Instagram!


“Simply the best protection.“


    I am really stoked on the Hydro Repair Cream – I am celebrating my 40th birthday soon.


      69,80  / 100 ml

      incl. 19% VAT

    Skin type 1

    “I have really light skin so I always need to wear sun protection. I wear sun protection every day, especially on my face and I make sure to reapply often, especially in the spots that are easier to get sunburned while running, like my face, the shoulders and the neck.“


    ”I like the Lotion SPF 30 for normal training days, but I love the Zinc for longer runs and when I go higher up in the mountains, because it lasts even longer and protects my skin even better.”


      ”For now, I tried the Cell Boost Aloe Gel. It is so good! Really refreshing and something that was missing in the range before.”

        Sunscreen and Running: Martina Valmassoi running on glacier

        Follow Martina Valmassoi’s adventures on Instagram!