3×3 2014 Race Preview

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Over 4000m (13,000ft) of ascent await participants of this weekend’s 3x3Ultra providing every participant an opportunity to cover three classic Lakeland peaks in an accumulative distance of 80km’s. It’s going to be a tough challenge and a fitting conclusion to the Skyrunner® National Series for the ULTRA distance.

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Based on the classic ‘Lakes 3000’s’ the 80km route will include Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. An amazing circular route over the best mountains available within the UK, it promises to be a tough challenge.

The race route combines all the elements of a classic Lakeland run with aspects of European racing; technical terrain, beautiful mountains and hills.

Ian Mulvey, race director for the 3×3 event confirmed just days ago that race is a sell out, ‘we have 300 entries, 263-men and 37 ladies. The spread of athletes is phenomenal, we have runners representing, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Unites States, Spain, France, Norway, Slovakia, Latvia, Holland and Ireland.’

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It just goes to show the growth and demand for tough and technical races within the UK, ‘We have exceeded expectations in our first year,’ said Skyrunning UK director, Ian Corless. ‘Our aim was to introduce the sport gradually and build a following over three years. In year one we will have had four very successful races and following the 3×3 we have the Mourne Skyline MTR with Skyrunner® World Series Champion, Stevie Kremer taking part. It’s been a brilliant year.’

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We may not have the required altitude that a Skyrunning race would require in France, Spain or Italy but we can compensate for this with steep short climbs and technical terrain. The UK has brilliant and committed athletes who love racing.

The Skyrunner® National Series has been made possible with sponsorship from ROCKTAPE, inov-8 and Raidlight UK, without this support the series would not have been possible.

Grab a seat, sit and wait for the action to unfold in the early hours of Saturday morning as the 3×3 gets underway. It’s going to be an epic battle.

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V3K 2015 – entries are open

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Now in it’s fourth year, V3K Ultra crosses all the mountains over 3,000ft in Wales, also known as Welsh 3,000s or 15 (formerly 14) Peaks, it’s a classic route loved by anybody with any sense. It is also unique as a UK route because of its successive 2-3000ft ascents and descents (plus one more near 3,000ft and many smaller ones). V3K Ultra starts at Nant Gwynant then climbs over the first ridge of Bwlch Main to Snowdon, second and third ridges of Carnedd Ugain and the knife edged arrete of Crib Goch then down via North Ridge. Next the Glyderau, starting with a huge slog up Elidir Fawr, then Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach and Tryfan. Then the third and final section which takes in 7 of the Carneddau, Pen yr Ole Wen via the track leading to Glan Dena over Carnedd Dafydd, Yr Elen, Carnedd Llewelyn, Foel Grach, Carnedd Gwenellian (marked Carnedd Uchaf on older maps), and Foel-fras, over Drum and down following the fence over Drosgl and then descend into the village of Rowen for celebratory food and cheer.

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Entries are available HERE

Read the race report for 2014 HERE

View images HERE

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PEAK SKYRACE 2014 – Race Report and Images

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Niandi Carmont reports from the first ‘Sky’ race in the newly formed Skyrunner National Series UK.

There were many familiar faces on the start line at the Community School in Buxton as those who had tested themselves at the inaugural V3K on June 28th decided to test themselves on the trails and moors of the Peak District. For many today this race will have been the last long training run before the CCC in France. Race specific, ideally timed and 48km long, the Peak Skyrace is an ideal last long “training run” for CCC or TDS.

78 of the registered 93 runners too part.

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The Peak Skyrace takes place in the White Peak area – white for limestone. The course is a combination of moors, gritstone, fell, bracken and purple heather. 48km long with 2000m ascent, it is a tough course and is based around the notorious Peak District Challenge called the Five Trigs Round:

  • Axe Edge
  • The Roaches
  • Shutlingsloe
  • Shining Tor
  • Burbage Edge

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The route is extremely picturesque and highlights include the highest village in England Flash, the Ramsshaw Rocks, Three Shires Head (where the 3 counties of Chesire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet) and Gradbach Woods. It is technical and hilly and not for the faint-hearted. Shuttlingsloe is also affectionately termed the Matterhorn of the Peak District and today’s skyrunners who made it past mile 18 will tell you why.

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The field of 78 was blessed with ideal weather conditions today as opposed to the V3K earlier this year on June 28th. At 8am they were led to and briefed at the start line near the race HQ Buxton Community School under blue skies. The runners started off with an immediate ascent to Solomon’s Temple, a decent back into Buxton and then over to Axe Moor. The pace was quickly set by a leading group of 5 men including Jason Cavil (second at the V3K and who was hungry for revenge after going off course), James Ellis, a talented 21-year old student from London with relatively little ultra running experience but from fell-running parents and Tim Pleijte, a Solomon-sponsored athlete from the Netherlands. Charlie Sharpe was also present but was not racing as he was in “active recovery” from the Lakeland 100 miles where he placed second last weekend and a win in the 250km multi-stage race in Al Andalus.

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After the 1st Trig Point at Axe Edge Moor, the course took the runners along the Ramshaw Rocks Ridge and the Roaches Ridge to reach the second Trig Point. The first part of the course is relatively less hilly and “most of the ascent is on the second part” according to Co-Race Organizer Anthony Bethell , hence the need to pace yourself properly on a course like this. Shuttlingsloe is probably the hardest part of the course aka the Peak District Matterhorn, the summit of which is Trig Point 3 and CP 7. The ascent gets more severe at the top with scrambling required before a descent and then on towards the second highest pub in England – the Cat and Fiddle. At this point – CP 8 the front group was still very tight with Jason Clavill and James Ellis battling for first place. Jason was very impressed with James’s strength on the climbs but kept up the pace as fatigue set in for the leaders. The route then led the runners to Shining Tor and Trig Point 4 also part of the famous 160 mile The Hill Ultramarathon. After Shining Tor a rough and fast technical descent through Stake Clough and Deep Clough to the Goyt Valley floor. The course then follows a narrow moorland path to Burbage Edge and the 5th and final Trig Point and at last the long-awaited finish into Buxton.

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By this time Jason Cavill had outdistanced James Ellis and looked incredibly fresh as he sprinted the last few 100m through the streets of Buxton to cross the finishing line of this first edition in 4.22. James Ellis finished second in 4.26 and Salomon-sponsored Dutch athlete Tim Pleijte finished in third place in 4.36. The ladies race was won by Sara Fawcett who crossed the line in 5.24. Second place went to Kim England in 5.38 and third was Sasha Habgood in 6.26 who had placed third at the V3K. Sara Fawcett has had a good year so far and been on the podium of quite a few local races and trains regularly in the Dark Peak District. As for Kim England, she has the benefit of training with Jason Cavill her partner for whom she crewed at the V3K.

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All in all the feedback of this second UK Skyrace and 1st edition of the Peak Skyrace was a very successful one in terms of the feedback received from the runners post-race. Many crossed the finish line elated, thanking Richard Weremiuk, Billy Craig and Anthony Bethell Race Directors for the organization, course marking and marshalling. The overall consensus was that it was a tough and gritty race but well worth it. 2015 will no doubt see a significant increase in the number of entries.

Many thanks to Skyrunning UK sponsors

All images ©MICKKENYON

RESULTS HERE

  1. Jason Cavill 4:22:52
  2. James Ellis 4:26:54
  3. Tim Pleijte 4:36:54
  1. Sally Fawcett 5:24:54
  2. Kimberley England 5:38:13
  3. Sasha Habgood 6:26:44

 

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Peaks SkyRace 2014 is this weekend, August 3rd

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The inaugural Peaks Skyrace takes place this coming weekend, August 3rd, launching the first ‘Sky’ distance race in the Skyrunner® National Series UK.

‘This course combines altitude with technical terrain and some superb views; a combination which should please the most discerning athlete,’ Craig explained, ‘a personal highlight on the course without a doubt is Ramshaw Rocks, it’s beautiful and rugged.’

Covering a distance of 29.7-miles, with a total elevation gain and loss of 2012m, the Peaks SkyRace is expected to be a real test that combines tough technical running with the addition of pace, for those who wish to push the envelope.

 Skyrunning UK Sponsored by

Based on an old Peak District Challenge called the ‘Five Trigs Round’ for which there is no fixed course, just the requirement to visit five specific trig points. The route takes in some of the best of the White Peak District as well as including the highlights of the traditional round.

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‘The Peaks may not have the raw elevation of the Lakes or Snowdonia, but it has rugged technical terrain,’ said Richard Weremiuk, race director.

‘It has been a priority from day one to ensure that Skyrunning UK provides courses of varying length, difficulty, elevation and terrain on some of the most iconic trails and areas of the UK.’  said Skyrunning UK Director, Ian Corless.

Put the date in your diary, August 3rd 2014 and we look forward to seeing you all for the UK’s very first Peaks SkyRace.

Event website HERE

Skyrunning UK sponsor ROCKTAPE will be available at the event offering advice and taping. In addition, Raidlight UK will have a selection of apparel and accessories.

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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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