Lakes Sky Ultra 2017 Report and Images

The third Lakes Sky Ultra demonstrated both the international appeal of skyrunning – and the allure of the Lake District – with runners representing South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Netherlands, Ireland, France, the US and Belgium arriving in Ambleside. A film crew and several photographers attended the race, one travelling from Spain to do so.

LSU started at 7am, on Saturday 16 July, in challenging conditions for the elect group of runners – 21 of which were female. Drizzle, rain and low, heavy cloud made the technical course slippery on rock, grass and mud.  Race organisers Mountain Run Events faced an additional test when in the morning it was discovered the rope needed to make Pinnacle Ridge safe for runners was missing. Competitors were still able to traverse the exposed, technical, Grade 3 ridge, but had to skip a more demanding corner of it.  2016 Skyrunning UK champion Bjorn Verduijn (NER) set the early pace, with Andy Bryce (GBR) and Andy Berry (GBR), who recorded the second-fastest-ever winter Bob Graham Round this January, in pursuit.

In the women’s race, Lauren Woodwiss (GBR) created an early advantage on pre-race favourites Catherine Slater (GBR) and Jacqueline Toal (IRL). The first half of the course includes around two-thirds of the 4,500m of ascent and the majority of the technical ridge running, with the second half being faster, more runnable terrain. Though the weather eased for a while, there were reports of “20km of horizontal rain” from some runners There were plenty of tired but happy faces at Patterdale, the main check point, where runners enjoyed soup, energy balls from Keswick’s Fellpack and Mr Duffins coffee. After a quick transition at Patterdale, third-placed Berry started to close the gap on the lead two, finally passing Verduijn, who had led the race for seven hours, and arriving first back in Ambleside in 8:34:24.

That was good fun” said Berry. “The weather was pretty full on at times. I feel sorry for the people up there all day. But it was fun!” Verduijn was second in 8:40:00. Bryce third in 8:59:56. Similarly in the women’s race, Slater caught Woodwiss, and finished in 10:30:27.

“I’m knackered,” said a breathless Slater at the finish line. “In a weird way, I thoroughly enjoyed that!” Helm Hill runner Slater works as a physiotherapist in Staveley. The race awarded prize money, as well as prizes from race sponsors Salewa, Leki and Mountain fuel. The LSU returns in 2018.

The inaugural Scafell Sky Race, a 40km, 2,800m route from Seathwaite to Ambleside, took place on Sunday 16 July. Like LSU, it’s owned and organised by Mountain Run Events and designed as an introduction to skyrunning. Unlike LSU, entries are not vetted. Read the report HERE

Images ©Mick Kenyon

Lakes Sky Ultra (LSU) is a 56km skyrunning race with 4,500m of ascent on extreme terrain in the Lake District National Park. Skyrunning is a combination of mountain running and alpinism, where scrambling/rock climbing is likely. For LSU, runners are vetted to ensure they have appropriate levels of experience in the mountains.

The race is part of the Skyrunning UK Series.

 

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Scafell Sky Race Reports and Images 2017

The Scafell Sky Race (SSR) brought an international field to the Lake District for the inaugural event. Runners came from Australia, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, the US and all over Britain for the race from Seathwaite to Ambleside via Scafell Pike.

Like its big brother event, Lakes Sky Ultra (LSU), which took place on Saturday, 16 July, SSR is owned and organised by Glenridding-based Mountain Run Events. But unlike LSU, it’s designed as an introduction to technical skyrunning and entries are not vetted.

The course, created by Charles Sproson, was designed to showcase the best of the Lakes. Indeed the race was blessed with glorious sunshine throughout, in stark contrast to the previous day’s Lakes Sky Ultra, which took place in challenging, wet and cloudy conditions.

At SSR runners left Seathwaite Farm to climb past Sour Milk Gill waterfalls, up the Gillercomb Valley to the summit of Green Gable. Technical singletrack led past the Napes Needle (where rock climbing originated, in the 1880s), then a classic, technical ascent of the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, via the Corridor Route.

After summiting Great End, crossing a boulder field, and almost summiting Bow Fell, a scree descent led to one the best singletracks in the Lakes. Next was the Climbers Traverse, the Band, before runners descended into Great Langdale and a feed station at the legendary Old Dungeon Ghyll.

After a hearty climb to Raven Crag, Harrison Stickle, Stickle Tarn were ticked off, before some easier singletrack-running on the northern side of the Great Langdale Valley, with big views over Grasmere and classic Wordsworth country.

The first to arrive at the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside Campus was Keswick AC‘s Tim Campion-Smith (GBR), in a time of 4:55:33. Brennan Townsend (GBR) finished second in 05:26:06, with Lawrence Eccles (GBR) third in 05:26:53.

“It was a highly enjoyable route that I found surprisingly technical,” said experienced ultra-mountain runner Eccles. “It pushed me passed breaking point, as my legs betrayed me on the final descent off Loughrigg.”

In the women’s race, Salomon athlete Lucy Bartholomew (AUS), who travelled from Australia for the event, finished first (and fourth overall) in 5:34:05. Catherine Spurden (GBR), also from Keswick AC, pushed her hard all the way, coming in second (and sixth overall) in 05:43:22. Claire Wilshaw (GBR) placed third in 07:06:26.

That was the gnarliest and most technical races I’ve ever done,” said Bartholomew, who placed first at Ultra-Trail Australia (100K) this year, at the finish line. “It was tougher than [notorious Norwegian skyrace] Tromsø. This race should be part of the Skyrunning Extreme Series. I am so proud to have pushed myself outside my comfort zone to win this event! [I’m] in love with this sport the more places I go and the more people I meet!”

At the SSR finish line, many runners commented on what a tough – but enjoyable – experience they’d had. Jennifer Rees-Jenkins (GBR) deserves special mention for being the first person to do a Lakes Sky Ultra-Scafell Sky Race double, running 96km with 7,300m of ascent across both races over the weekend.

SSR awarded prize money, as well as prizes from race sponsors Leki, Mountain fuel and (South African Jewellery company) Miglio. The SSR returns in 2018.

Along with Saturday’s Lakes Sky Ultra, the inaugural Scafell Sky Race was a great success – feedback has been excellent and really gratifying,” said Sproson. “We were pleased to be able to show off the Lakes in glorious sunshine and it was exciting to have an international field here. We look forward to growing both events further in the next few years.”


Images  Guillem Casanova / guillemcasanova.com. 
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Lakes Sky Ultra and Scafell Sky Race 2017

Following on from the V3K, a double bill weekend is ahead as the Scafell Sky Race and the Lakes Sky Ultra will take place. 40km and 2800m of vertical gain and 56km with 4500m respectively make the two races a pure Skyrunning challenge.

Taking place in the iconic Lake District, both races will offer points for the 2017 Skyrunning UK Series which currently has Sarah Ridgway and Oli Johnson heading up the rankings after success at the V3K.

Sponsored by Salewa and organised by Charlie Sproson and the Mountain Run team, the two races are a highlight not only in the 2017 Skyrunning UK calendar but also the UK race calendar.

The Scafell Sky Race will take place on July 16th and offers a tough challenge for a novice or experienced Skyrunner with a fully marked course, 9 manned checkpoints and GPS tracking. By contrast, the main event of the weekend, the Lakes Sky Ultra will take place on July 15th. The LSU is a tough challenge with exposed sections, technical scrambling and quad busting 4500m of vertical gain – this race is not for novices and a strict vetting procedure is in place to ensure that those who take on the challenge are well placed to finish. Like the Scafell race it has a fully marked course, 13 manned checkpoints and GPS tracking.

In the words of the race director, Elevated ridgelines, breathtaking exposure, fast travel on technical mountain terrain. Definitive Lakeland vistas. Classic Lakeland scrambling. Fell running on additives. This is Skyrunning™. This is the Lakes Sky Running™ Weekend.

Both races will prove to be exciting and we can expect the LSU to see a potential male and female winner coming from the following:

Men:

Bjorn Verduijn was the Skyrunning UK champion in 2016 and therefore heads up the field as a hot favourite, he recently toed the line at the Dragons Back Race but complained that he had a lack of fitness – a question mark hangs over him for LSU.

Andrew Berry, set the second fastest winter Bob Graham Round in January this year so we know he can handle the terrain and challenge.

Tommaso Migiuolo recently placed 5th at the V3K gaining valuable points for the overall ranking. A top placing at LSU may well see him top the leader board as we move into September and the Glencoe races.

Mark Davies, placed 15th at LSU last-year so he has course knowledge. Importantly, he recently placed 10th at the tough and challenging Dragons Back Race.

Jean Tournaire will also be a potential for the top-5.

Women: 

Zoe Salt has raced LSU previously so knows the course and has recently had a good return to form placing highly at Transvulcania Ultramarathon – she is a great potential for the podium.

Jacqueline Toal may well be the lady to push Zoe all the way to the line, she is a key figure in mountain running in Ireland.

Sarah Harley recently won the V3K half distance race which didn’t qualify in the Skyrunning UK calendar but it does show some great form – the LSU is a huge step up though in course severity and distance.

Cat Slater placed 4th in recent Keswick Mountain Festival 25km Trail Race, like Sarah though, the LSU is quite a step up.

With 141 entries in total, the LSU will be an exciting race and the ladies field is proportionately large with 24 entries. With so many unknown it will be a good race to watch.

Countries represented are Poland, Holland, Ireland, France, America, Romania, South Africa, Italy, New Zealand and Sweden.

The Scafell Sky Race has 83 entries and it is fair to say that the head and shoulders favourite is Australia’s Lucy Bartholomew. Lucy is one of the most talented female runners in the world and is very much a protégé of Emelie Forsberg. She has set many records and recorded many victories in the Southern Hemisphere and most recently she arguably had her biggest success making the podium at Mont-Blanc 80km. Read more HERE.

Ben Hukins may well be the first across the line, he was a main contender in the Skyrunning UK calendar last year and it’s interesting to see him drop down from the LSU to the Scaffell Race – maybe a tactical move for points?

Also keep an eye on Jo Kilkenny, Paul Barton and Gavin Sandford.

You can obtain more information from the race website HERE and don’t forget to follow @lakesskyultra on Twitter and go to the LSU Facebook page HERE.

 

 

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V3K 2017 Results and Images

Familiar names topped the podium at the V3K, the first race in the 2017 Skyrunner UK National Series with Oli Johnson and Sarah Ridgway crossing the line in 7:45:45 and 9:00:52.

The V3K in just 4-years really has become a classic race in the UK circuit offering a tough challenge for those who dare to take it on. The route is comprised of all the peaks over 3000ft in Wales, known as the Welsh 3000’s. Loads of vert, 15-peaks, many kilometres and of course the exposed ridge of Crib Goch make the V3K race a classic.

Both Johnson and Ridgway ran solid races. Both have experience of this course and its route, invaluable when racing full-on and that is reflected in the winning margins. Johnson had a 15-minute margin over 2nd placed Tim Campion-Smith who was closely followed by Joe Mann, their respective times 8:00:07 and 8:02:12 to Johnson’s 7:45:45.

Ridgway dominated the ladies’ race and in many respects was in her own race. Janne Geurts was 2nd lady and Tracy Dean 3rd.

Images by ©Scott Seefeldt

RESULTS

  1. Oli Johnson 7:45:45
  2. Tim Campion-Smith 8:00:07
  3. Joe Mann 8:02:12

 

  1. Sarah Ridgway 9:00:52
  2. Janne Geurts 9:43:05
  3. Tracy Dean 10:03:22

Results via open tracking HERE

V3K website HERE

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V3K 2017 Preview

The UK’s Skyrunner National Series kicks off this weekend with the V3K! Now in its 6th year, the race has grown is stature and maturity, for many, the route through the iconic welsh 3000’s with the infamous Crib Goch makes it the ultimate day in the mountains.

The races starts at Nant Gwynant, what follows is multiple peaks at 3000 feet, 15-peaks in total. summiting Snowdon, the iconic Crib Goch follows with its exposed knife edge arête that personifies running in the sky! The final section takes in 7 of the Carneddau, then Carnedd Gwenellian precludes Bangor before the finish.

200 runners are registered for the challenge and it shows the growth not only of the V3K but also the growth of Skyrunning in the UK. The races offer a unique challenge and it’s not a challenge that anyone can undertake. The V3K has strict vetting procedure to ensure that those who toe the line stand a good chance of finishing.

Sarah Ridgway heads up the ladies’ race along with Tracy Dean. Last year’s first and second placed men, Michael Jones and Bjorn Verduijn and not running this year and therefor Oli Johnson may well be the pre-race favourite. Third placed male in 2016Mark Davies, is on the start list and will be looking to place 2nd or 1st!

It will be possible to follow the race live this year, so, if you love dot watching, please check the Open Tracking website HERE.

Registration take place on Friday June 23rd and racing begins Saturday 24th at 0500 – 55km and 4000m of vertical ascent provides a stunning start to the 2017 season.

More information is available on the race website HERE.

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Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce the confirmed calendar for 2017.

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Following on from a very successful 2016, changes have taken place over the winter months and Skyrunning UK is now pleased to confirm races that will take place in the UK calendar for 2017.

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The season will start with the V3K taking place on June 24th. Now in its 4th year on the Skyrunning UK calendar, the race personifies what makes a great Skyrunning course – technical terrain, elevation, a challenge and amazing landscape. It’s a rugged race that requires an awareness of the mountains and the challenging Crib Goch provides exposure and lofty heights to place each and every runner in the sky! 55km and 4000m of vertical ascent provides a stunning start to the 2017 season.

Closing date for entries is June 1st. Website here

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The Lakes Sky Ultra team once again bring us the Lakes Sky Ultra and a new race, Scafell Sky Race for 2017. This duo of races take place on the 15th and 16th July and provide two incredible opportunities. The Lakes Sky Ultra is a tough, challenging and adventurous race that requires experience and vetting. Elevated ridge lines, exposure, tough, challenging and technical terrain all pale into insignificance with grade 3 scrambles. Extreme, gnarly and hardcore, it’s everything a Skyrunning race should be! 55km in length and 4500m of vertical gain.

Entries are available HERE

The Scafell Sky Race offers a 40km race and 2700m of vertical gain. It’s a challenging race that like its bigger brother offers an incredible Skyrunning experience. However, the challenge is less extreme and vetting is not required. Therefore, this race is open to all. 

Entries are available HERE

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In 2017 Skyline Scotland provided us with three events, the Mamores VK, the Ring of Steall Sky Race and the Extreme Glen Coe Skyline – the latter event was a Skyrunner World Series event. In 2018, race organisers Ourea Events add an Ultra, the Ben Nevis Ultra.  For the UK series, to have a Skyrunner World Series event in the UK was incredible – in 2017 we don’t go one step farther, but three steps. The Ring of Steall, Ben Nevis Ultra and Glen Coe Skyline will all be in the SWS calendar. The Mamores VK will be added to the new VK Series. Taking place over an action packed weekend of the 15th, 16th and 17th September, Skyline Scotland will not only provide one of the key weekends on the UK calendar but also the world calendar.

Salomon Mamores VK™

Friday 15th September 2017 – 5km / 1,000m – enter now

An incredible leg burning and lung-busting ascent from sea level to Munro summit.

Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra*new for 2017*

Saturday 16th September 2017 – ~110km / ~4,000m – enter now

Weaving through remote glens, crossing high mountain passes and embracing the superb wilderness on offer in the Scottish Highlands. Truly, this course is for the boldest all-round ultra-runners.

Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace

Saturday 16th September 2017 – 29km / 2,500m – enter now

A variation of the classic ‘Ring of Steall’ ridge-walking route, the Skyrace® has spectacular views of Ben Nevis from the Mamores and includes short sections of easy scrambling.

Salomon Glen Coe Skyline

Sunday 17th September 2017 – 55km / 4,750m – entries CLOSED for vetting

Does this race need any introduction? Pure Skyrunning that includes the most challenging Scottish mountain terrain. Scrambling/climbing experience required.

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To conclude the 2017 season will be the Mourne Skyline MTR in Ireland which takes place on October 21st. This race over the last 3-years has grown to become a favourite of all the runners who have participated in the UK series. At 35km’s it is one of the shorter races in the UK circuit, however, the Mourne Mountains pack a whopping 3370m of vertical gain. Salomon International athlete and Skyrunning World champion, Stevie Kremer, said it is one of the hardest events she has ever participated in. Don’t let that put you off though. The landscape, terrain, views and Irish hospitality make this a stunning way to close the 2017 series. Entries are available HERE (note, entries open March 17th)

 

In 2016, the Skyrunning UK Series was won by Bjorn Verduijn and Sarah Ridgway, they both will gain free entry into all 2017 events as part of their prize.

For 2017, the Series will take place once again but with some changes.

Points will be awarded for the top 20 men and top 10 ladies in the following races:

  • V3K
  • Lakes Sky Ultra or Scafell Sky Race
  • Ring of Steall or Ben Nevis Ultra or Glen Coe Skyline
  • Mourne Skyline MTR

The Mamores VK will not be included in the points for the UK Series.

To participate in the series, you will need to run at least three races. If you run more, your best three results count.

Points will be awarded as follows (please note, new scoring points

Ladies: 25, 22, 19, 12, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Men: 25, 22, 19, 15, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1

In addition, points will also go to the Skyrunning World Ranking. The Skyrunning World Ranking is a rolling 52-week ranking based on all the points awarded to the athletes from his/her participation in:
(i) All the Skyrunner® World Series races.
(ii) The SNS races, wherever run (best four results).
(iii) The Skyrunning World Championships.
(iiii) The Skyrunning Continental Championships.
(maximum one counting).

Points in the world ranking will be awarded to the top 30 min and top 20 women.

Skyrunning UK, the V3K, Lakes Sky Ultra team, Skyline Scotland team and Mourne Skyline MTR look forward to welcoming you all for LESS CLOUD, MORE SKY in 2017!

*Please note PRIZE MONEY will not be compulsory in 2017. This will be at the discretion of each individual race and based on affordability. This is an amendment to the ‘Hosting Standards’ as listed HERE – We hope that compulsory prize money will return in 2018.

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SKYLINE SCOTLAND 2017 Entries Open

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Monday 9th January sees entries open to all four races at the hugely anticipated 2017 Salomon Skyline Scotland™. The event weekend includes the all new Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ 110km race and is now the only Skyrunning event in the world to feature a race in each of the 2017 Skyrunner® World Seriesdisciplines, putting it at the very pinnacle of Skyrunning events worldwide. The races are:

  • Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™ – Sky CLASSIC
  • Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ – Sky ULTRA
  • Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ – Sky EXTREME

Excitingly, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ is once again looking likely to host the potential deciding race for the Sky EXTREME ranking athletes.

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The Skyrunner® World Series is the most prestigious mountain running series in the world taking place over three continents, with a colossal €50,000 prize fund shared between the podium winners across each of the disciplines at the end of the season. In addition, there will be a further €10,000 bonus pool for the overall male and female winners.

Of note is that the Vertical Kilometer® format races will no longer be a part of the Skyrunner® World Series, but instead conduct their very own circuit for 2017 in which the Salomon Mamores VK™ will feature and will remain the opening race at Salomon Skyline Scotland™ in 2017.

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On Thursday 15th September 2016, flagship race Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ featured in an hour-long episode of BBC Two Scotland’s The Adventure Show. Presenters Dougie Vipond, Duncan McCallum, and Deziree Wilson took up positions around Glen Coe to capture the epic second edition of the race, bringing Skyrunning into the homes of millions of UK viewers. This episode can still be watched on BBC iPlayer.

After the success of the inaugural Salomon Mamores VK™ and Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™ in 2016, demand is expected to be high with both races expected to sell out quickly. Entries will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

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New for 2017, the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ is the latest race to be added to the schedule.  Starting at 6am on Saturday 16th September from Fort Augustus, the route weaves through remote glens, crosses high mountain passes and embraces the wilderness on offer in the Scottish Highlands. Truly, here is an opportunity to be one of the first to complete what will be an iconic race in the Ultra calendar.

Race Director Shane Ohly said, “Myself and the team at Ourea Events are so excited to launch the 2017 event. Salomon Skyline Scotland™ has after just two editions established itself as the world’s top weekend of Skyrunning and there is nowhere else any self-respecting mountain runner should be this September!”

With last year’s Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ selling out within hours, race organisers expect demand to be exceptional come Monday for all four races.

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