3×3 80km 2015 Race Report

3x3 copyright Steve Ashworth (3 of 11)

Ricky Lightfoot ©steveashworth – Lake District Images

A chilly 5am start on Sunday 4th October saw the second running of the Lakes 3*3000 race get underway. Two main differences characterised the start this year:

  • The start was at the iconic Moot hall in the centre of Keswick (the traditional starting point for long distances Lakeland challenges such as the Bob Graham Round)
  • There wasn’t a biblical rainstorm in progress!

Last year’s winner Donnie Campbell joined course designer Ricky Lightfoot in a quite stunning turn of pace for the start of any 50 mile race; I’d guess they were going at roughly 5 minute mile pace which saw them out of sight within five hundred metres of the start.


Arriving on the night before in heavy mist provided hope of cloud inversion for parts of the course and the dread of confusion for other sections, however the weather conditions turned out to be perfect for the task in hand. Single figure temperatures and an overcast day did not prevent heavy sweating on the climbs though as competitors headed up to Scafell Pike and the first control point. An absence of any wind chill was welcome as the course unfolded, as was the legacy of such a dry year making ‘The Bog’ (seriously, that is what it is called on the map, so being singled out for such a title does set an expectation!) nice and runnable.

3x3 copyright Steve Ashworth (4 of 11)

Donnie  Campbell ©steveashworth – Lake District Images

Sadly, exception had been taken to the placement of the markers for the event and thus a great number had been removed. Whilst this did cause some confusion on the course and the odd “inefficient line” it certainly didn’t impact too much on the enjoyment of the participants; universally agreeing on what an outstanding route this really is. It has everything – a lovely wooded trail section to start with, classic Lakeland fell climbs and traverses, ridge runs, a descent worth of a bottom slide and the final climb and descent that just keeps on giving; although I’m pretty sure I don’t just speak for myself when I say I was happier with the downhill gifts than I was with the uphill ones!

It’s easy to forget to look around whilst in a race like this, but those that did were thoroughly rewarded. The views looking back towards Scafell Pike from High Raise were stunning, the sight of Keswick and the surrounding terrain were thoroughly welcome and reward enough, but the view back from Helvellyn along the Bob Graham route and Thirlmere won the day for me, especially where shafts of light broke through the cloud to highlight small areas. Breath-taking.

Once again the race proved to be quite a draw, bring people from all over the country and as far away as Russia! Sarah Morwood had made the journey from Devon and certainly made her mark on the course, challenging hard for 3rd place overall and settling for 5thin the end. Sarah was a joy to run with and thoroughly entertaining – as she was waxing lyrical about the beauty of the surrounding views I couldn’t help but feel that this coupled with her love of real ale and her ability to relentlessly climb made this race a perfect match. Her time of 10h 30m certainly marked her out as one to watch on the mountain ultra running scene.

A love of the mountains and the desire to challenge one’s self naturally goes hand in hand with sky running, but I am regularly reminded just how diverse the backgrounds are of the people competing and the reasons why they toe the line. Some backgrounds you’d expect – Mountain marathon competitors such as Mark Roberts (6th) and those with trail racing CVs looking for a different challenge like 2015 Ring O’Fire winner Rich Heath (7th) – but others are less obvious like Thomas King who had travelled over from Denmark for the event. There was absolutely no doubt he’d enjoyed his day out as he winced through his massage; “It was amazing, I was surprised at how varied and rough it was underfoot… it made it a lot tougher going than the groomed European trails and in Denmark it is completely flat so I have nowhere like this to prepare back home!”

There is no denying that the checkpoint at Latrigg car park holds both hope and anguish. Knowing that the final chunk of the journey is all that stands between you and the finish line provides initial relief; however, knowing there are ten miles and a big never ending climb standing between you and a glorious downhill quickly shifts that relief into a mental challenge – a left turn and fifteen minutes rather than a right turn and over and two hours would see you in Keswick with a pint in hand. A tough call indeed!

This year RD Ian Mulvey introduce an option to call it a day and make that left turning but still get an official time – whilst some may say it’s a temptation too far, I felt it was an excellent and practical nod to safety out on the mountain. Coupled with the iconic start/ finish line and warm post race area, it made for a real improvement on an already superb race.

The trail out from Latrigg is one of those cruel gradients that you know you should run but desperately want to walk; it almost makes you feel guilty! Keeping the head down and pretending it is flat works well. On more than one occasion I asked myself “why can’t I just turn left and head up it now?” but that would have meant less time out on this fantastic course… and maybe I just needed a gel to pick me up!

In the end the day belonged to Ricky Lightfoot setting the course record in a mind bending 8:51:55. Both Ricky and second placed Donnie Campbell (9:23:10) had been out of sight all day. Howard seal (10:03:06) kept the pressure on and pulled away in the end on take third after a battle between 3rd and 5th that raged from Helvellyn onwards. Sarah Morwood was the clear winner in the ladies’ race and 5th overall in 10:30:24. Excellent performances from Cecily Shepherd (13:19:48) and Keziah Higgins (13:56:28) saw them take 2nd and 3rd respectively – Keziah was all smiles after a sneaky sprint finish over the final 500m trying to creep up on James Quigley and David Dixon.

There is no doubt that the day was made by the fantastic team behind the event. From Ian’s core organisation, marking and safety team through to the every smiling aid station heroes that dotted the course. I know I speak on behalf of all competitors when I extend my heartfelt thanks for their generous giving of time so we can indulge in our passion for adventure. The excellent post race massage, soup and roll were very welcome, as was finding out that the Gelato shop was open late!

Race results are available HERE

Race report by Chris-Baynham Hughes

Thanks to Steve Ashworth for providing images.

Big thanks to Raidlight for continued sponsorship of Skyrunning UK

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3×3 80km 2015 Preview


The inaugural 3×3 in 2014 had weather to remember, early morning torrential rain did subside though to leave a stunning Lakeland day. The 2nd edition of the 3×3 has returning 2014 champ and course record holder, Donnie Campbell looking to see if he can make it two in a row!


He won’t have an easy run though; Salomon athlete Ricky Lightfoot will be looking for a ‘home’ victory on a course that he was instrumental in creating.


For the ladies, Victoria Mousley heads up a small contingent looking for a testing day in the mountains.

Over 4000m (13,000ft) of ascent await participants of this weekend’s 3x3Ultra providing an opportunity to cover three classic Lakeland peaks in an accumulative distance of 80km’s.


Based on the classic ‘Lakes 3000’s’ the 80km route will include Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. It is amazing circular route over some of the best mountains available within the UK.

The 5th race in the 2015 Skyrunning UK National Series, the 3×3 route combines all the elements of a classic Lakeland run with aspects of European racing; technical terrain, beautiful mountains and hills.

Growth and demand for tough and technical races within the UK is most definitely on the up, the Lakes Sky Ultra and the Glen Coe Skyline have proved this.

“Our aim was to introduce the sport gradually and build a following over three years. In year one we had four very successful races and following the 3×3 we have the Mourne Skyline MTR. Most certainly the presence of Skyrunning World and European Champion, Emelie Forsberg at Glen Coe Skyline has increased our profile in the UK. It’s looking very positive for 2016!” – Ian Corless, Skyrunning UK Director

102 runners are registered to participate in the 3×3. And you can find more information HERE on the race website.

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Skyrunning UK is sponsored by Raidlight UK – Many thanks!

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Lakes Sky Ultra – The Movie


I was told 2-years ago that Skyrunning in the UK was not possible.

You don’t have the mountains…

You don’t have the technical terrain…

Ridges – pah!

Climbing – pah!

You have nothing over a 1000m… 

and so on and so on.

The V3K launched our series and in doing so we showed UK runners that Wales, the 3000’s and in particular Crib Goch can test even the hardiest competitor.

The Mourne Skyline MTR had Skyrunner World Series champion Stevie Kremer come over and what did she say?

‘That is the hardest race I have ever done!’

In 2015 we stepped it up a notch with the mind blowing Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and Emelie Forsberg, Skyrunning World and European Champion for the Ultra distance half way through the race said,

‘This is the best course I have ever run for this distance!’

And then just last weekend, the first edition of the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra took place under horrendous conditions. Torrential rain, gale force winds and and I am pleased to say we have it all on film.


Skyrunning in the UK?

of course we can! With bells on….

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Garmin, the world’s leading supplier of innovative GPS technology for the sport, recreation and wellness markets, have agreed to become the first title sponsor of the Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race 2015.

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR takes place on Saturday, 24th October, in Newcastle, Co Down, with 200 runners from 14 countries undertaking a gruelling 35k, 3,370m ascent across 9 of the most spectacular peaks in Ireland.

The field includes no less than 30 runners who have represented their country, among them Ireland’s Dan Doherty (17th in IAU Ultra-Trail World Championships) and Great Britain & NI star Lizzie Wraith.

Northern Ireland’s first ever winner of the Ben Nevis mountain race, Diane Wilson, will also start following her success on the UK’s highest mountain two weeks ago.

There are still a few places left in the Granite Trail Race on the 23rd, a night time run of a 2-mile, 1,000ft ascent, which is suitable for most trail runners and starts from the promenade of the picturesque seaside town.  More information can be found on the official race website www.mourneskylinemtr.com

“We are delighted to be the title sponsors for the 2nd Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail Race,” said Gail Cook, UK and Ireland Marketing Director of Garmin. “This event, which showcases some of the most spectacular trails on the island, promises to become one of the most sought-after challenges in the UK’s trail racing calendar.”

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR is organised by NiRunning, a Northern Ireland based website dedicated to promoting mountain, trail, track and road running, headed up by local running enthusiast Ryan Maxwell.

The race, which attracted two time Skyrunner world champion Stevie Kremer and British ultra-running champion Kim Collison for the inaugural event, is part of the annual UK series organised by Skyrunning UK and is governed by the International Skyrunning Federation.


Ryan said: “We are thrilled that Garmin has stepped in to support Mourne Skyline MTR which, although only in its second year, is capturing attention across the world.  It is great to see a brand that we respect so much invest in this sport, helping us to grow and develop it further.

“Our ambition is to put Northern Ireland on the global mountain-trail racing map and position our event so one day it could be part of the Skyrunner World Series and, further down the line, potentially host the Skyrunner World Championships.”

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR is arguably the toughest and most scenic mountain-trail race in Northern Ireland, comprising forest paths, fire roads, single track grass and granite trails.

Points of interest include ‘Lindsey’s Leap’, Glen River path, the spectacular ‘Castles’, Hare’s Gap, Foffanny Dam, Iron Bridge and Slieve Donard, Commedagh, Bearnagh, Meelmore, Loughshannagh and Meelbeg.

Associate event sponsors include Manor Health Care, The Steensons, Apex Clinic, Clif Bar, Cotswold Outdoor, The Ultra-Runner Store and ProParamedics.

More on the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race at: www.mourneskylinemtr.com

More on Garmin at www.garmin.com or www.garmin.ie

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Lakes Sky Ultra Race Summary


From the off it was clear that finishing this monster would be an achievement. The rain was coming down in rods and with it gusting winds. 2014 Tromso winner, Eirik Haugsnes had flown in from Norway to participate in this race. An old hand at Skyrunning races, Eirik was without doubt the favourite for the win but V3K winner Gareth Hughes had different ideas. Over the early sections of the course the two marked each other as they travelled through Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag and then Fairfield. When they reached Nethermost Pike the LSU course came into its own and as the runners made a loop of Red Tarn via Helvellyn it was on the route back from Birkhouse Moor via Striding Edge where key and decisive moments would be made. The rain had been continually pouring and as time passed the wind had increased. As Eirik and Gareth entered the traverse via the arête of Striding Edge, the wind came through in gusts making 3-points of contact essential at times.


It was an impressive site as shadows appeared through dense mist, arms outstretched looking to balance as the 50-mph winds jostled them from left to right. Rock underfoot was slick; dried moss now made wet from the continual rain was like glass.


Behind in the ladies’ race Sarah Ridgeway, winner of the V3K and 3rd place ladies’ finisher at the Glen Coe Skyline made her presence felt ahead of The Spine winner and Dragons Back Race 2nd placed lady, Beth Pascall. Both ladies experienced in tough mountain challenges looked in their element as they traversed the challenging arête and down climbed the stone chimney before continuing on and around the course back to Nethermost Pike and then heading to St Sunday Crag and the demanding an intimidating Pinnacle Ridge.


The radio crackled, ‘Pinnacle Ridge has been removed from the course!’ It was the correct call. In principal, the bulk of the scramble on the ridge is moderate, however, the ridge does require a grade 3 maneuver and in the winds with slick rock it would have been wreckless to allow the runners to take on this challenge. Race directors, Charlie Sproson and Andrew Burton had allowed the on-hand safety officer, Joe Faulkner to make that call and make it he did!

Of course it’s easy to feel a little deprived to have such a key section of the course removed but post race nobody complained. Quite the contrary, Lakeland 100 winner Paul Tierney said, ‘If it had been left in I would have done it but I am not sure I would have been too happy about it. It amounts to a couple of minutes in a 7-hour plus race. Let’s be clear, this course was brutal with or without Pinnacle Ridge.’

Descending down to Patterdale, Eirik Haugsnes and Sarah Ridgeway had taken a firm hold of the race but plenty of racing remained and in the harsh and brutal conditions anything could happen. It was one of those days when hypothermia was just waiting around any corner.


Heading back to Ambleside runners made the long and arduous journey up towards the road crossing at Kirkstone Pass via the Coast-to-Coast path that included Angletarn Pikes, the Knott a traverse of Blea Water and then Thornthwaite Crag and Caudale Moor preceded a decent to the road and then the final leg home via Red Scree to the warm and welcoming finish at the University of Cumbria.

Eirik Haugsnes and Sarah Ridgeway took respective victories in 7:16:44 and 9:13:04. Gareth Hughes (7:31:22) held off a charging final leg from Dragons Back winner Jim Mann (7:32:38) who in the process took 2 primes for climbing and descending.


Beth Pascall ran a strong 2nd place finishing just over 5-minutes behind Sarah Ridgeway and Zoe Salt rounded out the ladies’ podium after a hard fought battle with the conditions and the course.

It’s rare that first edition races get such praise and acclaim as the LSU has received, especially when conditions are so hard. Eirik Haugsness post race said, ‘It was brutal, maybe even tougher than Tromso but that is possible due to such harsh conditions for the race. But the repeated climbing and technical aspects make this a must do race.’

Attention now turns to the 3×3 80km race which takes place in early October and then the Mourne Skyline MTR in Ireland on October 24th and 25th.


  1. Sarah Ridgway 9:13:04
  2. Beth Pascall 9:19:42
  3. Zoe Salt 11:15:27
  1. Eirik Haugsnes 7:16:50
  2. Gareth Hughes 7:31:22
  3. Jim Mann 7:32:38

Live Tracking Results HERE

Skyrunning UK HERE

Lakes Sky Ultra HERE

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True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra 2015 Preview


Skyrunning UK is booming. Already this year we have had the V3K, Peaks Skyrace and the recent ground breaking Salomon Glen Coe Skyline. All races part of the Skyrunning UK National Series.

Attention now turns to the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra.

lakes sky ultra 3logo

A Lakeland course that offers elevated ridgelines, breathtaking exposure, fast travel on technical mountain terrain and some classic Lakeland scrambling. Race directors Charlie Sproson and Andrew Burton say, ‘Fell running on additives. This is Skyrunning™.’

Race date is September 12th and race entries close on September 6th, so you have time to gain a last minute entry in what will be a very special race.

It’s a race route that follows on quite nicely from the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline in that the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra has plenty of vertical grind (4300m+), grade 3 scrambling, knife edge arêtes and all over 50km’s of challenging terrain.

lakes sky ultra 5logo

It’s not a race for the feint hearted and this is reflected by the start list.


Eirik Haugsness has been racing the Skyrunner® World Series for several years and he is the 2014 champion of the Tromso Skyrace. His presence in the English lakes is an exciting prospect as he will attempt to do battle against local talent.

Ricky Lightfoot needs no introduction to Skyrunning and fell running aficionados and without doubt he is a favourite for overall victory on what for him is home soil. Ricky has already had a string of top performances in 2015, can he add the LSU to the list?

Es Tressider recently raced the Glen Coe Skyline and ran much of the day in 2nd place. Unfortunately, Es faded in the latter stages of the race and missed the podium. Es’s experience in the mountains is quite incredible and if recovered, we can certainly expect him to mix it up at the front of the race.

Damian Hall in 2015 has raced The Spine, The Dragons Back Race and just finished 32nd at UTMB (2nd Brit). LSU only comes 2 weeks after the Mont-Blanc monster so Damian may well be a little tired; we can’t rule him out though!

Ben Bardsley is an experienced fell runner and ski mountaineer. In the past he has raced at classic Skyrunning races such as Zegama-Aizkorri. Ben’s current form is a little unknown but he’s one to watch for sure.

Chris Stirling has had excellent performances at the Langdale Horseshoe, Three Shires, Great Lakes Race and has preparing for LSU for several months. His presence almost certainly will be felt at the front of the race.

In the ladies’ race, V3K winner and 3rd placed lady at Glen Coe Skyline, Sarah Ridgway makes an appearance and if recovered we can expect her to contest the podium once again.

But Beth Pascall comes to the race with a set of solid results. She has placed 2nd at Lakeland 100, won The Spine, placed 2nd The Dragons Back Race and for me is the most likely lady to top the podium on the 12th September.

Shiri Leventhal has placed on the podium of multi-day races in the 4 Desert Series and in 2013 was 2nd lady at the Everest Trail Race. This course will provide a test to Shiri but it’s one that she can rise too!

Finally, Victoria Mousley is another hot contender for the top of the podium. Her experience on courses such as The Three Peaks, Tour of Pendle and Scaffell Pike Marathon will set her up nicely for a great run at LSU.


Race details can be viewed here:  HERE

Course map here: HERE

RACE ENTRY HERE (open till September 6th)



Download the preview here: HERE

Skyrunning UK is sponsored by Raidlight


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Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2015


Today, the Skyrunning UK  Salomon Glen Coe Skyline well and truly cemented itself as one of the ‘must-do’ events not only in the UK but the world. At times, it has been a rocky road putting this event on. Not from an organisation point of view I must add but from negative publicity about inappropriate use of the mountains and of course the D A N G E R and the ‘risk-of-death’ that may occur.


Many Scottish papers said that the trails would be strewn with runners going fast and ruining the day of many a mountain lover. As predicted, the reality was far from the scare mongering of a select few.

Mountain lovers were on the mountains and you know what, they stopped, cheered, applauded and encouraged what (in their words) these ‘super humans’ were doing.

Skyrunning World and European Champion for the ultra distance, Emelie Forsberg won the ladies race and placed 2nd overall. Her performance was quite literally ‘off-the-scale.’ She relegated several of the UK’s top mountain runners to lower positions and post race she said:

©iancorless.com_GlenCoe2015-3447Waow! Seriously the best race in this distance. Super technical ridges and gullies (think Trofeo Kima but no via ferrata!) some parts very runnable on nice but still tricky trails. Glen Coe I’m thrilled to have run this race. Thanks to your amazing organization. Even though it was hard all of the nature and the course made me go fast. Thanks all of you standing along the course, you made me feel so welcomed here!

It was a sentiment echoed by the recent Lakeland 50 runner, Jayson Cavill who placed 3rd man and 4th overall:

 Oh my gosh I can’t believe it!! What an amazing race, I am too far gone to put into words just how totally nails that route was, technical descents that went on forever, long steeeeeep climbs that went on for even longer. Great climbing around the ridges and rock faces, I am so so chuffed I really feel like I got the best out of myself today – even if my legs were shot after the first 10 miles – it did hurt a lot! Such a great experience.

Scotland played ball today too. The previous day’s rain eased over night and the runners were greeted with a perfect day until just after midday. As predicted the cloud came in and with it showers but at this stage the runners just had one thing in mind; the finish.

In the early stages of the race, it was all going to script with Joe Symonds and Es Tressider dictating the pace and Emelie Forsberg holding a slender lead of the Berghaus Dragons Back winner, Jasmin Paris. Climbing Curved Ridge was for many, the highlight of the race. Coming just 6-miles into the race, it was a real brute to kick off what would be the UK’s most extreme mountain race. For those who don’t know, The Curved Ridge route ascended Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor) via the exposed Grade III scramble (a ‘Moderate’ graded rock climb).


What followed was a master class of pure Skyrunning by Joe and Emelie. They pushed the pace, extended the gap between the competition and when they entered the Aonach Eagach Ridge barring an accident, the race for the respective top slots was over. However, Joe was only 10-minutes ahead of Emelie… could she close the gap?

Yes! But only by a couple of minutes. Joe crossed the line in 7:36:21 and Emelie 7:44:19.

Mark Harris and Jayson Cavill finished 2nd and 3rd men after pre-race favourite Es Tressider tired over the final miles.

Jasmin Paris once again produced another top notch result placing 2nd behind Emelie and 5th overall in 7:54:29, just 10-minutes back from the Skyrunning World Champion. Sarah Ridgway rounded out the ladies’ podium in 9:21:44.


148 runner started the 1st edition of the Skyrunning UK  Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and currently (at the time of writing) 24 have withdrawn from the race. This low drop out rate is a testament to the strict vetting procedure that was put in place by race director, Shane Ohly.

The buzz post race is one of adrenaline, stories and how the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is the hardest race they have ever done.

The stage is set. This race is set to become a beacon of Skyrunning, not only in the UK but worldwide. Expect great things for 2016!

Skyrunning UK is a growing series of races. Currently 6 races are in the UK calendar and the next race is the LAKES SKY ULTRA in the English lakes. Enter HERE




Joe Symonds 7:36:21

Mark Harris 7:44:51

Jayson Cavill 7:49:42


Emelie Forsberg 7:44:19 (2nd overall)

Jasmin Paris 7:54:29

Sarah Ridgway 9:21:44


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