V3K photography now available

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Images form the V3K are now available to view and purchase.

Please click HERE

Thanks to Mick Kenyon at Racing Snakes ©

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V3K launches Skyrunning UK – Race Summary

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Niandi Carmont reports from the V3K, Skyrunning UK’s inaugural event.

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Well what an epic start to the UK Skyrunning series and certainly no better way to introduce skyrunning to the UK ultra-running enthusiasts.

The V3K on June 28th, 2014 was the first in a series of 4 skyrunning events on the UK calendar this year. Organized by Race Director Kirsch Bowkler the 55km ultra-skymarathon with a total ascent of 4,500m takes in the Welsh 3,000’s – the 15 (formerly 14) peaks over 3000ft in Wales. Now in its third year the course has seen entries grow from 30 in 2013 to 100 runners registered in its third year. As opposed to last year the course took the skyrunners across the infamous Crib Goch in Snowdonia certainly one of the most technical parts of any British mountain race. This was thus a new course with a new male and female course records.

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A mandatory kit check, race registration and race briefing followed by a vegan pasta party took place on the day preceding the race.

The 100 participants were convened at 4am on June 28th to take a bus transfer from the finish at Rowen to the start of the race at Nant Gwyanant at 5am. By this time day had broken and amidst excited chatter and last-minute kit adjustments the runners were on their way up the first climbup the ridge Bwlch Main to Snowdon, second and third ridges of Carnedd Ugain and the knife edged arête of Crib Goch. The weather was chilly and overcast unlike previous days of clear skies and high temperatures. By the time the first runners had reached the dreaded crête Crib Goch the fog had already descended over the Welsh peaks and visibility was reduced considerably making race conditions harder for even the more experienced runners. According to one runner conditions on Crib Goch were very greasy and slippery but thanks to the reduced visibility we could not see the sheer drops on either side. After completing the first section, 4 summits and the most technical part of the course the route took the runners down via North Ridge and on towards Nant Peris aid station which is accessible by road. From the outset of the race the pace had been set by Jason Cavill in full preparation for the CCC in France later this year followed closely by Michael Clifford. At Nant Perris Jason had a 3-minute lead on his rival and both looked incredibly fresh and strong as they blasted through the aid station barely stopping to pick up some extra kit. First lady through was Liz Barker who literally dominated the small female field of 14 until the end of the race opening up a huge gap between 2nd lady Claire Maxted and Sasha Habgood in 3rd position.  After a relatively short section of road the runners followed the route towards Glyderau, starting the second section of the course with a huge climb up Elidir Fawr, and the peaks of Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach and Tryfan. By this time the fog had thickened so much and the grey weather had given way to a fine drizzle leaving the runners with even less visibility in the mountains. From the next aid station Ogwen accessible by road Jason could be seen descending fast dodging boulders with Michael Clifford hot on his heels. The descent had taken its toll on Jason and combined with the foggy wet conditions fatigue was setting in. The two front runners stopped briefly at the aid station to replenish and set off together. The third and final section of the course took the runners over the final 7 peaks of Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Yr Elen, Carnedd Llewelyn, Foel Grach, Carnedd Gwenellian, and Foel Fras. It was during this final section that the two front runners split as Jason took a wrong turn as he went off course and Michael Clifford took the lead descending to the final road aid station and onto the finish line which he crossed in 8.19m 30s. For Michael who had only run one ultra before the V3K and had spent 3 months in cross-training due to an ITB injury this was an unexpected win.

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Jason’s course error had cost him 30min and he finished second in 8.39m 00s.  T. According to Jason:

The race was really the challenge I expected it to be. A lot of climbing, a lot of technical descents. It was distance-wise not particularly long but certainly the climbing made up for it so it was tough.

It was very thick fog on top of the course and even though it was well marked out and we’d recc’d it before, I dropped down before Yr  Elen and went off course a long way so I got split up with Michael who I was sharing the lead with.

I got back on course, got my head down, saw a marshal who told me Michael had come in 30m earlier. I was amazed I was still in second place.

Third was Chris Baynham in 9.11m 00s.  The ladies’ race was won by Liz Barker in 10.29m 48s with a substantial gap between the rest of the female field. Claire Maxted was second in 12.36m 01s and Sasha Habgood and Shelly Hufner joint third in 12.49m 33s.

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It was a long day out on the course for most of the runners as they had to negotiate with the tough weather conditions, the fog, poor visibility and the slippery technical terrain. Nevertheless this heightened the challenge and self-satisfaction for those who successfully crossed the finishing line to claim their locally made ceramic medal and be an official finisher of the first skyrunning ultra in the UK.

In total 65 completed the V3K ultra, the last in 17.06m 36s and 17 participants did not finish or make the cut-off times.

Many thanks to our series sponsors

RACE RESULTS ARE AVAILABLE HERE

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V3K launches Skyrunner® Series UK 2014

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It is finally here, the start of the Skyrunner® Series UK commences this weekend over the classic Welsh 3000’s in the heart of Wales.

An epic challenge awaits each and every participant as they cover 55 km’s, 15-peaks and over 4000m’s of vertical gain. ‘Where earth meets Sky’ is our ethos and the Welsh 3000’s will provide this in abundance.

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Providing a classic mountain challenge, the V3K provides a point-to-point race over a route that has become revered for many a runner and walker. Crib Goch needs little introduction and provides the toughest section of the whole route.

Kirsch Bowker, RD for the V3K explains, ‘the launch of the Skyrunner® Series UK is a significant moment and to be involved right from the start is quite incredible for us. The route has it all from fast running to really technical rough terrain. It must rank as some of the most technical terrain covered by a UK mountain race.’

Starting in the early hours of Saturday morning, the V3K offers an incredible challenge because of the successive ascents and descents. It’s a tough challenge and one that must not be underestimated

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‘The route ranks on a par with some of the races featured in the Skyrunner® World Series. Of course, the terrain in Wales may not be as high as the Alps or Dolomites but believe me, when images show the beauty and the majesty of this course, I firmly believe it will become an iconic Skyrunning race in the UK.’ Ian Corless, Director for Skyrunning UK said, ‘Kirsch and her team have done an incredible job in the build up to this race. We are now in that exciting time when the race is imminent and anticipation is high. It’s going to be a great day and an incredible start to the Skyrunner® Series UK’

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‘I adore this route. I have covered every inch of this course time and time again.’ said Kirsch. ‘The hardest section of the course is down Crib y Ddysgl and then the ascent of Crib Goch and the traverse of its pinnacles.’

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Over 100-participants will toe the line from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Netherlands, China, Italy, Spain, Poland and Germany. It’s just the start the series needed and with follow on events such as The Peaks SkyRace in August, the 3×3 Ultra in early October and the Mourne Skyline MTR in Northern Ireland, the stage is set for an incredible series of races that will be expanded on in 2015 and moving forward.

A long-term aim has always been to bring the Worlds best mountain runners to our shores and provide a showcase for our sport to expand and grow. The news that Skyrunner® World Series 2013 champion, Stevie Kremer (Salomon) will race the Mourne Skyline MTR later this year is a sure sign that the V3K will be the start of something very special in the UK.

This growth would not be possible without the incredible support of the run community, enthusiastic and dedicated race organizers and importantly race sponsors. The Skyrunner® Series UK is incredibly grateful and thankful of the support and sponsorship provided by inov-8, Rocktape and Raidlight.

 

A final word from Kirsch, ‘we are having a festival/party at the finish with free food. We really want a crowd to welcome folk as they arrive. We really do want lots of people here!’

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2013 Skyrunner® World Series Champion, Stevie Kremer to race Northern Ireland’s Mourne Skyline MTR

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Fresh from victory at the 2014 Zegama-Aizkorri Skyrunner® World Series, Skyrunning UK are pleased to announce that Salomon athlete, American Stevie Kremer will race the brand new Mourne Skyline MTR on October 18th 2014.

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Stevie is arguably the best female SKY distance runner on the scene at the moment. Winning Mont-Blanc Marathon, Pikes Peak and Limone Extreme in 2013, secured Stevie the Skyrunner® World Series title and elevated the pocket rocket from Colorado from hot, to super hot!

With her infectious smile and ability on the mountain, Stevie will be an incredible asset not only to the Mourne Skyline MTR race but to all trail and mountain running in the UK.

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“Creating Skyrunning UK was all about bringing the ethos and feel of European events to our shores and in time, creating some of the buzz as witnessed in the Alps, Pyrenees or the Dolomites,’ said Skyrunning UK director, Ian Corless ‘Stevie is at the forefront of Skyrunning, she is an incredible talent, a bubbly personality and to have her arrive on our shores and race is a dream come true. It was always my aim… in reality, I had hoped this would happen in 2017 but to have Stevie join us in year one is just incredible and the boost we all need.’

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Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Mourne Skyline MTR can’t believe his luck. ‘When we announced our race we had an incredible response with entries flooding in. To now find out that Stevie Kremer will join us for the inaugural event, really is the icing on the cake. Racing is about every runner; from first to last. However, elite runners provide inspiration for all of us and Stevie leads by example; she is a role model for Skyrunning and we will be honoured by her presence at our race.’

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A long-term aim has always been to have a new UK event included in the Skyrunner® World Series, should that happen, the best-of-the-best will travel to the UK to race. Stevie’s presence in year one provides a pathway to that objective. The world’s top teams and athletes pitting themselves against UK athletes. Imagine it; imagine what that would do for the sport in the UK! We have some great races and although we have attracted International athletes in the past to Snowdon and Ben Nevis, it has almost gone un-noticed. The time is now right. We all need to pool together and help grow the sport.

Lauri van Houten, executive director for the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) had this to say, ‘The Skyrunner® National Series were created to grow Skyrunning on a national level globally – to give as many runners as possible the “feel” of a Skyrunning race and a chance to win a place in an international World Series event. The UK Skyrunning races hold enormous promise and look set to attract an international field. Stevie’s decision to take part in Northern Ireland is a great boost for the race and the new Skyrunner® UK National Series.’

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Salomon athlete, Andy Symonds summed the thought process up perfectly, ‘The UK may lack the altitude of the Italian Alps, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have proper mountains! Steep, rough, beautiful mountains are a plenty in the UK – so let’s organize some Skyrunning races up them!’

The sport is growing at all levels. In time a series of UK based Skyrunning teams similar to the model that inov-8 have created is a distinct possibility. The Skyrunner® National Series provides not only a great structure for the sport but it also provides a springboard for UK athletes to race in other countries but equally, we hope to attract foreign athletes to race on home soil.

Speaking from Colorado, Stevie said, It looks amazing and it’s during my fall break, so I am in! I love the idea of that much climbing.’

Stevie Kremer’s presence in 2014 at the Mourne Skyline MTR has started the ball rolling much sooner than we anticipated…

Let’s keep it rolling!

****

Follow Skyrunning UK HERE

ISF HERE

Skyrunning UK 2014 Calendar: HERE

V3K

 

  • 28th June 2014
  • Distance: 55km
  • Elevation: 4000m +/-
  • Race venue: Nant Gwynant
  • Race website: HERE

 

Peaks SkyRace enter HERE

  • August 3rd
  • Distance: 29.7m
  • Elevation gain: 2012m
  • Elevation loss: 2012m
  • Website: HERE

 

3×3 Ultra enter HERE

  • 4th October 2014
  • Distance: 80km
  • Elevation: 4000m +/-
  • Race venue: Keswick, Cumbria.
  • Race website: HERE

Mourne Skyrline MTR enter HERE

  • 18th October
  • Distance: 35km
  • Elevation: 3370m
  • Race venue: Newcastle, Northern Ireland.
  • Race website: HERE

Skyrunning UK is sponsored by:

inov-8 logo

Rocktape Logo

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Skyrunning UK announce new race – MOURNE SKYLINE MTR in Northern Ireland

 

 

 

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Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce the fourth race to join the Skyrunner® Series UK, the MOURNE SKYLINE MTR taking place on October 18th in Northern Ireland.

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The Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race is arguably Northern Ireland’s toughest and most scenic long distance race; the event is based in the Mourne Mountains, starting and finishing in the seaside town of Newcastle, County Down.

Comprising mainly of forest paths, fire roads and single-track grass and granite trail, with approximately one mile on the road.  The course measures 35k and there is approximately 11,056ft of ascent and 11,024ft of descent.  The highest point will be 2,801ft and the lowest point is at sea level.

49 Bearneagh Summit on return leg

It has been no easy challenge putting together a race in this iconic part of Northern Ireland. ‘It’s been a long process in relation to getting the event off the ground, because of the stunning nature of the course, and the fact that some of it is on protected land, we have been in discussions with various agencies. It has been worth it though, as we have got the course we have worked tirelessly to get,’ said race director, Ryan Maxwell.

The course is fitting to that of a Skyrunning event; although not at altitude, the amount of ascending, stunning scenery and technical sections are exactly what you would expect from an event of this nature anywhere in the world.  ‘Along the way participants will come up against Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard and some technical ascents, including Slieve Meelmore and descents such a Slieve Bearnagh.’

October may well throw up some challenging weather, we are all aware of that fact that there is as much chance of getting perfect weather conditions in October as there is in August, ‘we have gone into our race plan in-depth and brought a number of very experienced and well respected individuals on board to assist. The route will be very well marked and marshaled at key points.’

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Some of the higher parts of the route follow the ‘Mourne Wall’ (a very obvious stone wall), so this will further assist participants in bad weather.  ‘We will have five feed/aid stations along the way; these will be manned by teams who have experience in the mountains. Sweepers (back runners) will also be on hand to guide athletes and assist if anything should go wrong.’

Skyrunning is booming. The growth of the Skyrunner® National Series and the Skyrunner® World Series has been instrumental in increasing the profile of the sport. Skyrunning UK has been at the forefront. ‘Several members of our race team have found the experience of Skyrunning very enjoyable and rewarding, and witnessed what a positive effect it can have on a town/village etc. We felt that from an NiRunning perspective, this was an innovative project and something that would enhance the profile of our local running scene as well as shining a positive light on our country as a whole.’

‘The Mourne Mountains will provide many of us an opportunity to experience beautiful trails, mountains and scenery for the first time. For example I have never been to this part of the world. It’s an exciting opportunity,’ said Ian Corless, Director of Skyrunning UK. ‘Ryan and his team at NiRunning have worked tirelessly to get this race off the ground. It hasn’t been easy and the work ethic has paid dividends. To be able to announce this race is a testament to a committed team and I for one can’t wait to experience Skyrunning in the Mourne Mountains.’

What are you waiting for? This may very well prove to be a ‘bucket list’ event! ‘We have limited the main event to 150 participants given the course and the footprint a mass participation event would have on this area of outstanding natural beauty, we were keen to work alongside other agencies to minimize this and uphold the environmental ethos of Skyrunning.’

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Entries open for the Mourne Skyline MTR on Wednesday May 28th on a first come, first served basis. As a ‘SKY’ distance event it offers a great opportunity to test oneself in the mountains and of course, you may well wish to enter the Peaks SkyRace (August 3rd) with a long-term objective to accumulate valuable Skyrunning points.

 

Check out http://www.skyrunninguk.com

 

The Nitty Gritty:

 

  • MOURNE SKYLINE MTR – The course will be 35k in distance, incorporating 3,370m (11.075ft) of ascending.

 

 

  • Capped field – 150 participants

 

  • £35.00 entry

 

  • Saturday 18th October 2014 – 8am (Race Briefing at 7.45am – All participants MUST attend)

 

  • Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland (Start – Newcastle Tourist Information Centre, Main Street, Newcastle)

 

  • Airport – Belfast City

 

  • The top first three male and female athletes will receive prizes. The generous prize-fund will be announced in the coming weeks.  In addition to this, there will also be prizes for the male and female winners of the following categories:  U-20, Vet35, Vet40, Vet45, Vet50, Vet55 and Vet60. The prize giving will take place in Donard Park (close to the finish area) at 2pm.  Please note that only one prize will be awarded to each athlete; i.e. a Vet35 overall winner will NOT receive the top prize plus a category prize.
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Skyrunning UK – Seamless Neckwear Limited Edition

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To launch the start of the  Skyrunner® Series UK at the end of June, Skyrunning UK are offering a limited edition seamless neckwear product at a cost of £12 (inc p&p) for the first 50-people to email using the form below or emailing directly to skyrunninguk@yahoo.co.uk

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This product will only have a print run of 50-items and then we will have a ‘standard’ Skyrunning UK seamless headwear product that will be available at all races moving forward throughout 2014 and 2015.

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V3K Recce by Niandi Carmont

10154085_10152288451666293_509790307292197165_nNo stranger to what a Skyrunning race entails… Niandi Carmont donned trail shoes, waterproof jacket and spent a couple of days in Wales with Kirsch Bowker (race RD) and a hardy bunch of fellow enthusiasts to experience what the V3K will hold for ‘Skyrunners’ at the end of June this year.

I remember her words quite clearly as I phoned her after the first day, ‘How did it go Niandi?’

‘OMG this is one serious serious Skyrunning race… I didn’t know we had course ‘THIS’ tough in the UK.’

‘Good,’ I replied, ‘Sounds perfect!’

Niandi interviewed Kirsch on behalf of Skyrunning UK

How did you get involved in race directing?

Through V3K Ultra! I’ve had a great deal of support from experienced race organizers and from theFRA (Fell Runners’ Association) and UK/Welsh Athletics all of whom have guided me and from our tight group of volunteers, especially Joe Sawyer our Technical Director.

This is the 3rd edition of the V3K – how did the race start?

It evolved from 3 vegan friends committing to complete the Welsh 3,000s in June every year. Then in 2012 we invited others to join us, changing from a social run to a race, “the first vegan ultra in the world” (we believe), those taking part going vegan for the day. When Chloe, Andrew and I made that commitment we had no idea that our annual pilgrimage would become the first Skyrunning race in the UK with competitors travelling from as far as China to take part!

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Can you briefly describe the course profile?

The course is 55km with over 4,000m of ascent. You climb over 1,000m in 6km to the first peak Snowdon (1085m), then across the two most technical ridges of Garnedd Ugain (1065m) and Crib Goch (923m). These are knife -edged arêtes that are very exposed and certainly only suited to those without a fear of heights! From there you have a pleasant descent into Nant Peris and your first aid station.

The next 3.5 km climbs 1,000m of grassy slog/bog to Elidir Fawr (924m). Then enjoy the sweep over Yr Garn (947m), ascent to Glyder Fawr (1001m) and Glyder Fach (994m). Then another technical ascent and descent of Tryfan (918m) which requires full concentration for the huge boulders. From there descend to Ogwen aid station. The final section of Pen-yr-ole-wen (978m), Carnedd Dafydd (1044m), Yr Elen (962m) Carnedd Llewelyn (1064), Foel Grach (977m), Carnedd Gwenllian (926m) and Foel Fras (942m) crosses the Carneddau, which has less technical ground and more grassy sweeps which are ideal for the tiring runner.

The race finishes in the pleasant village of Rowen in the Conwy Valley.


Source : V3K Ultra Skyrace

You mentioned that the course is part of a very old hiking trail. Can you tell me more?

The first recorded traverse of the Welsh 3,000s was led by Eustace Thomas for the Rucksack Club in 1919 although the challenge is thought to be older than that. Since then it has risen in popularity with some seeing it as a once in a lifetime achievement and others making annual pilgrimages. Even as a walk it is a tough challenge to complete in under 24 hours.

What type of runner do you hope to attract to your event?

Obviously we hope to attract runners who have the technical ability that our gnarlier sections require and the stamina and speed to complete within the cut off times. We’ve been lucky enough to have very friendly runners who are jolly and smiley even through the toughness, we’d love that to continue. We want folk to enjoy their time in Wales!

What type of training would you recommend for the V3K?

Hills, hills and more hills with as much technical ground as you have access to. We’ll be having two more recce days in May over the most exposed section, Crib Goch (a knife edged arête) to get folk accustomed to the exposure and technical aspect.

The V3K is now officially part of the UK Skyrunning series. What does this mean for the race?

This has been an enormous honour for us, a confirmation that our V3K Ultra route is an equal to some of the very best mountain routes in the world and that our dedication to the route has been rewarded. I’ve watched Skyrunning from afar, to now be a part of it is amazing.

What kind of weather conditions can runners expect on 28 June? Anything… and everything all in one day! Snowdonia is synonymous with changeable weather thanks to its close proximity to the sea. Last year’s race started with rain, clag and a breeze strong enough to lift an aid station gazebo into a nearby field, but by midafternoon it was baking hot sunshine.

The personal record for the route is 4.20. When was it set and by whom?

This was set by Colin Donnelly in 1988 you can see the video here http://vimeo.com/79447455 . The record is set from the first peak, Snowdon to the last Foel Fras, V3K Ultra includes more mileage and ascent/descent but it remains an absolutely remarkable achievement.

Ascent of PYOW
Source : V3K Ultra Skyrace

The race takes place in Snowdonia, a lovely part of Wales – what are pre and post-race attractions for international runners?

Rowen (the finish) is possibly one of the prettiest villages in Wales, small friendly pub and beer garden next to a babbling stream, pretty cottages with wonderful flowery gardens and best of all friendly locals. Within Snowdonia itself you have easy access to ancient castles, excellent mountains, the longest/fastest zip line in Europe, great places to eat, hundreds of lakes, rivers for kayaking, hundreds of miles of forest trails, mountain bike trails and we’re close to some amazing beaches… all really easily accessible.

What type of accommodation is there for runners?

We have exclusive use of a campsite next to the finish and race headquarters where the briefing session takes place. There are also a number of B&Bs, hotels and a YHA in the village. More information here

Is the race easily accessible by train/plane?

Yes, flights to Liverpool or Manchester then trains to Llandudno Junction, there are regular buses from Llandudno Junction railway station to Rowen, the last bus is at 11.15pm. Taxis are also available outside the train station.


Source : V3K Ultra Skyrace

V in V3K is for Vegan – can you tell us a little about the Vegan running community?

Vegansim is a way of life for many of us; we don’t use any animal products, that means no meat, eggs and dairy but also no wool, leather or silk. For some it’s because they feel a vegan diet is healthier, others because evidence shows veganism is less harmful for the environment and for people like me because we want to cause the least amount of harm to our fellow beings regardless of their species. Being a vegan, whether a runner or not opens up a global community, in many corners of the world there are vegans who organize social events, meals and of course runs!

3 words to sell your race!

Rugged mountain awesomeness!

Images from the recce weekend:

 

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