2019 RANKING UPDATE

After two races in the 2019 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series, it’s all to fight for and importantly, runners need to enter multiple races not only to accumulate points but rank for the 2019 National Series.

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Kasia is showing great consistency for the women with two races and two second places. That is 160 points! 2018 champion, Sophie Grant opened her 2019 campaign with a win at LSU and maximum points. Equally, Jo Stevenson has 10pts from Scafell, so, we have joint second place. 

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For the men, currently, Andy Bryce and Damien Gielty lead the ranking with 100pts each. But the series is wide open with no man having run two races yet!

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Seven Sisters Skyline is the next race on the calendar and this is going to prove pivotal for the overall ranking!

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Don’t miss out Skyrunner’s, the 2019 National Title is wide open.

Continue reading

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Lakes Sky Ultra 2019 Summary

Andy Bryce and Sophie Grant gave two dominant performances on the newly revised Lakes Sky Ultra 2019, the second race in the 2019 Skyrunning UK & Ireland Series. Starting and concluding in Patterdale, the duo covered the 60km route with over 5000m of vertical gain in 8:46:18 and 10:27:07.

The route encompasses the best of the north eastern Lakes with a circular route that encompasses Lakeland highlights that included Place Fell, Beda Fell, High Street, Thornthwaite Crag, Stoney Cove Pike, St Raven’s Edge, Red Screes, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn with some of the most remote valleys in the area dropped in for good measure.

Starting at 0600 under cloudy skies, the heat and humidity of the day was masked, but it soon became apparent that it was going to be essential for all runners to keep on top of their hydration.

Andy Berry dictated the early pace up to place fell but all the main contenders were in close proximity and it was only when runners crossed Kirkstone Pass and started the climb of Red Screes that the main protagonists became apparent.

It was here that Andy Bryce showed that he was on a good day opening up a gap on the chasers of Philip Rutter, Andy Berry, Liam Mills, Marco Costelo and Simon Darmody.

For the women, Sophie Grant was already opening a huge gap over Kasia Osipowicz and make a dent on the overall top-10. Hanna Walsh running in 3rd was a long way back pacing herself for the tough challenges ahead.

Ambleside provided a major checkpoint for the long climb up to Fairfield, the decent to Grizedale Tarn and then the climb to Helvellyn and the technical descent down Swirral Edge.

The front of the race looked set with Bryce looking strong, but Rutter was moving quicker and one wondered would the final tough 20% of the race bring a change at the front? At the line, no! Bryce held on for victory beating Rutter 8:46:18 to 8:49:05. Berry ran a solid and consistent day having lead from the front with a 3rd place in 8:57:03.

Grant was head and shoulders above the competition and crossed the line for the women in 10:27:07 and placed 8th overall. Osipowicz placed 2nd in 11:06:40 and also made the top-20 overall. Third placed woman was Hanna Walsh in 13:43:55.

Full results HERE

Follow Skyrunning UK & Ireland HERE

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Lakes Sky Ultra 2019 Preview

The 2019 Skyrunning Uk & Ireland National Series moves ahead at a pace in July with two races in close proximity, the Seven Sisters Skyline is precluded by this coming weekends LAKES SKY ULTRA.

 

New for 2019, Lake District Sky Trails bring us a revised event made up of 60km and a whopping 5000m of vertical gain for the second event in the UK & Ireland Series.

It’s a demanding race and one that requires competitors prove ability to take on a course that contains technical terrain and the infamous ‘Swirrals Edge!’

Starting and concluding in Patterdale, the route takes in a clockwise route of some of the Lakeland’s most iconic places that includes Winter Crag,  passing Angle Tarn, Blea Water before crossing the road at Kirkstone Pass. From here, the route goes to Ambleside and then upwards towards Hart Crag, Grisedale Tarn and then Nethermost Pike before then concluding back in Patterdale.

Charlie Sproson, the course creator says, ‘The Lakes Sky Ultra is officially the most extreme mountain running event in England.’

“You’ll need a good head for heights and nerves of steel. Runners are going to traverse three of the most amazing ridge-lines in the Lake District,’ says Sproson. ‘Beda Fell, remote and sublime, the bone shaking and very wild ridge of Long Stile Edge and the very alpine and rocky scramble of Swirral Edge.’

We’re talking serious ascent with some distance thrown in and this race is a seriously tough challenge for all those who toe the line.

New for ’19’ is the ‘KoM Super Stages’ – It’s a race within a race, and the prizes will go to the runners who can dig the deepest in the final fight to the finish in Patterdale.

Racing starts at 0600 on Saturday July 13th and the cut-off time is 2100. First runners are expected back in Patterdale around 1400 hrs.

In the ladies race, Sophie Grant will be one to watch after excellent performances in 2018. For the men, Marcis Gubats, Andy Berry, Andy Bryce are three of the key names and the possibility of Brennan Townsend toeing the line.

Race website HERE

Skyrunning UK & Ireland HERE

 

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NEW EVENT for 2020 – GAELFORCE SKY RUN

It gives Skyrunning UK great pleasure to announce a new addition to the 2020 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series with a new event in Ireland – The Gaelforce Sky Run.

The Gaelforce team are no strangers to adventure and are brilliant ambassadors for the outdoor and adventure sports in Ireland since 2006.

The Gaelforce Sky Run will take place in Connemara, County Galway in March 2020 bringing a well needed early start to the UK & Ireland calendar.  It is the perfect time of year to focus yourself for the year ahead. The after race experience in Ireland is unique, with traditional pints of Guinness in the local pub an essential part of the recovery!

This 22km course takes runners up the western sections of the iconic Maumturk Mountain Range. This is the Wild Atlantic Way in all its glory – wild and untamed mountains with virtually no trails and sweeping views of the coastline. It is a looped course, so no covering old ground. There are many testing climbs. Ever heard of the Col of despondency? You will get first-hand experience of this col and some fast descents down the valley as well as the final and most notable climb towards your final destination.

The land is working farmland, typical of the area, and access to these hill sheep farms is specially granted for this event. The rocky, boggy and varying terrain will test the most experienced racers.

  • Expect: 22km of challenging terrain with steep ascents and descents
  • Prepare: For rapidly changing weather patterns pushing in from the Atlantic Ocean
  • Achieve: An overall height gain of 1372m over 4 peaks
  • Enjoy: Vast panoramic views of Connemara, Killary Fjord and the offshore Atlantic islands.
  • Max Elevation 605M| Elevation Gain 1295M
  • CAT 1 Climb x 1| CAT 2 Climbx 1

The event first took place in 2015 and has grown in popularity over the years seeing more and more people graduate into mountain running. This race is attracting competitors from all over Europe with some high profile racers adding this race to their calendars. Team Salomon athlete Thibaut Baronian won the event in 2018 (second in Zegama -Alzkori this year to none other than Kilian Jornet).

Bridget Gavin from Gaelfocrce commented, “Gaelforce are delighted to be part of the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series and hope that it will highlight this style of running to more Irish runners as well as showcasing Ireland as a destination for mountain running.”

The prizes for the winners include cash prizes and unique bog oak trophies, crafted locally. All participants receive a finishers medal and the Gaelforce team pride themselves on a warm west of Ireland welcome to their home ground. Route creator Shane Young, an avid mountain runner, says “I have spent my life running up and down these mountains and truly believe that these mountains were not just put here to be admired from below. So, if someone ask why, the only real answer is why not”

For anyone who has never been to this part of the world before then you are in for a real treat as this part of Ireland is stunning and the mountains abundant.

It is also easily accessible from the UK with Ireland West airport 1 hour and 20 mins away. There are flights from many UK cities into this airport weekly.

The start/finish of the race is located at the Killary Adventure Centre on the shores of Killary Fjord. They have special accommodation deals on offer for anyone who wishes to stay in this spectacular area. Further accommodation options in the area can be found on the website.

Testimonials

“It’s 95% open mountains with steep slopes and super muddy sections you can really enjoy if it’s on your ass or just staying on your feet and letting go… “– Juju Jay from Mud Sweat and Runners

“I think this is the gem in all the events in the calendar – just you and the elements and a few other mad people who love running / plodding in the hills in the wind and the rain – even had the delights of snow on the route – no trails or tracks just nature in front of you… Easy registration, timings the minute you come over the line and the ever good Killary soup at the end. Thanks for organising!” – Sheila Kilduff Mountain Runner

Gaelforce Events Website HERE

Follow on the Skyrunning UK Facebook page HERE for entry details.

 

 

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Scafell Sky Race kicks off the 2019 SKYRUNNER UK & IRELAND Series

The SKYRUNNER UK & IRELAND Series 2019 kicks off June 8th with the well established and respected, SCAFELL SKY RACE, brought to you by Charlie Sproson of Lake District Sky Trails.

In 2018, the race was a UK qualifier for the skyrunning World Championships won by the incredible Jon Albon.
National Trust’s Stickle Barn over Lakeland Fells and through Lakeland Valleys, This ‘newly designed’ circular route allows participants to run stunning trail and they summit England’s highest mountain on route and traverse some of the most challenging trails in the central Lake District – 40km of technical single track and scree make this a classic skyrunning route to be reckoned with.
Scafell Sky Race is a serious test of nerve, skill and endurance with sections of scree and light scrambling. Runners need mountain skills and an ability to take on the challenge, runners are therefore vetted for race & mountain experience. Confidence to move solo across highly technical mountain terrain is essential.
An allocated 11 hours are provided for runners to complete the course, the first runners will expected in under 5!
The route:
A circular route taking in summits including Harrison Stickle, Pavey Ark, High Raise, Green Gable, Great Gable, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Esk Pike and Bowfell as you cover the 40km+ and 3500m of ascent in a horse-shoe loop from The Stickle Barn in Great Langdale. The course sweeps you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the central Lakes via the finest single-track paths in the region.
Saturday 8th June 2019
  • Safety Briefing: 07:00
  • Race start: 07:30
  • First finishers (estimated): 12:00
  • Seathwaite Feed Station cut-off: 12:00
  • Styhead Pass cut-off: 14:15
  • Course closes: 18:30
A list of participants is available here https://www.sientries.co.uk/list.php?event_id=5073
275 runner (42 women) will toe the line, keep an eye on:
  • Michael Jones
  • Jayson Cavill
  • Karl Zeiner
  • Brennan Townshend
  • Daniel Doherty
  • Jonny Steede
  • Lauren Woodwiss
  • Eva Wilkes
  • Marina Ranger
and many more…

Race website HERE

also by Lake District Sky Trails is LAKES SKY ULTRA in July 2019 HERE

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GARMIN MOURNE SKYLINE MOUNTAIN-TRAIL RACE 2019 OPENS FEB 14TH

The popular Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race is a 35k race, incorporating 3,370m (11,057ft) of accumulative ascent, set in the heart of the scenic Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.

The event, which is now going into its 6th year, will take place on Saturday 19th October 2019, starting at 9am.

Entries open on Thursday 14th February 2019 at 7am, via www.mourneskylinemtr.com

The race has reached capacity every year and in 2018 this happened in record time, after 5 hours and 25 minutes – early entry is therefore strongly advised!

The event has been part of the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series (governed by the International Skyrunning Federation) since its first running in 2014 and has attracted athletes from across the globe; there has also been some outstanding feedback attributed to the well-organised event:

“Watch this space as I reckon this race will become one of the best events in the UK, if not Europe, in years to come and it may not be too long before we see even more of the World’s running royalty gracing these inhospitable fells.”(Robbie Britton – IAAF 24-hour World Championship medallist and 2013 ‘UK ultra-runner of the year’).

The Mourne Skyline MTR starts and finishes in the seaside town of Newcastle, County Down, with competitors enjoying the magnificent scenery on what can only be described as an exceptionally tough but rewarding course.

“That is the hardest race I have ever done! Harder than Zegama Aizkorri it was just brutal. Relentless climbing, technical and with the wind it was just so hard! I loved it!”(Stevie Kremer – Skyrunner World Series Champion 2013 and 2014)

The route comprises mainly of epic mountain trail, forest paths, fire roads, single track grass and granite trail, with a small road section (approximately one mile) around the half way mark.

It covers 10 significant peaks, with the Slieve Donard (850m), Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, well-placed as the final challenge, prior to a super-fast 5k descent to the finish line in Donard Park.

There are generous prizes on offer for the front runners, with the top first three male and female athletes receiving cash prizes. In addition to this, there are also prizes for the male and female winners of the following categories: Vet35, Vet40, Vet45, Vet50, Vet55 and Vet60.

The male and female champions also receive a unique, hand-crafted winners medal designed and made by sponsors, The Steensons.  All participants receive an event t-shirt and finishers receive a prestigious professionally designed medal.

Race Director Ryan Maxwell spoke of his team’s excitement ahead of the 2019 event:

“Since we started the Mourne Skyline MTR in 2014, we have been truly humbled by the support we have received from fellow runners and mountain enthusiasts.  We are incredibly lucky to have a fantastic race team and its these people who have made the event the success that it has been. Looking ahead to 2019, we are excited to have finalised the race date, which will be Saturday 19thOctober 2019 (9am). We have also listened to feedback in terms of race entries opening and brought the date forward to St Valentines Day, Thursday 14thFebruary 2019 (7am). Our preparation for race day itself is well underway and we will strive to deliver the best edition of the event to date; as we do every year!”

We’ll leave the final word on the epic Mourne Skyline MTR to several high-profile athletes who have completed the event:

“This was a great finale to the whole (Skyrunning UK) Series. There was definitely an air of something special throughout the whole event: the entire field of runners was really friendly; the Mourne Skyline organisers were all really good, of course a huge thank you and respect to the marshal’s for helping point us in the right direction and enduring such strong winds. The course was well marked out all the way, especially where it mattered, which is no mean feat over such terrain. There is obviously a great local running community in such a friendly town, I will be putting this on the calendar for next year – and hopefully spend some more time out there exploring afterwards.” (Jayson Cavhill – Podium finisher at two of the Skyrunning UK Series events in 2014).

“At 35k with 3,370m of ascent this race was everything a Skyrace should be”(British Ultra Running Champion Jo Meek on the Mourne Skyline MTR).

Full details on the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race can be found on the official race website at www.mourneskylinemtr.com

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Excel Sports are hosts to Ireland’s first skyrunning event

Excel Sports are hosts to Ireland’s first skyrunning event, and are delighted to be part of the Skyrunner UK & Ireland 2019 National series.

The event is being held in Donegal, the most Northerly county on the island of Ireland…. But still only 3 hours from Dublin, and 2 hours from Belfast.

Donegal is a mystical, magical place, which boasts wild rugged unspoilt landscapes, and an incredible coastline with some of the most spectacular views in Europe. Donegal was voted ‘Coolest place on the planet’ by National Geographic in 2017, and for good reason….

Journeying Northwest along sleepy roads that cut and curve through the Gaeltacht, an area where the Donegal Irish dialect still flourishes, brings you to the village of Dunlewey, host of the Seven Sisters Skyline 2019. Dunlewey is a small Gaeltacht village in the Gweedore area of Donegal, situated at the foot of Mount Errigal, which is the highest mountain in Donegal.

Also known as the Derryveagh Mountains, the 7 sisters frame a valley that wouldn’t be out of place in JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”!!

The Derryveagh mountains are the major mountain range in Donegal. Commonly known as the “Seven Sisters”, each of the seven mountains have their own gaelic names of Errigal (751 m), Mackoght a.k.a. Little Errigal (555 m), Aghla More (584 m), Ardloughnabrackbaddy (603 m), Aghla Beg (564 m), Crocknalaragagh (471 m) and Muckish (666 m). What these mountains may lack in Altitude, I guarantee you they more than make up with their Attitude !!

2019 will see competitors gather in picturesque Dunlewey, Co. Donegal, where they will take in magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean, and surrounding Counties for the Seven Sisters Skyline 50k. 

Race director Eunan Quinn created the Seven Sisters Mountain Marathon in 2018, an event which he felt needed to be added to the Endurance Calendar in Ireland, and the event didn’t dissapoint !! Regarded as one of the toughest runs in Ireland by competitors, with a winning time of 6 hrs for male winner, 7 hrs 41 for female winner it tested the strength, endurance and characters of all who participated.

TESTIMONIALS

“TOUGH, TOUGH course (and I only did the half) in a stunningly beautiful part of the world. This event is not for the faint hearted and not to be entered lightly. Superbly organised with a tricky course immaculately signposted. Eunan and his team have thought of everything in the planning and execution of the event, and really allow you to relax and focus on surviving the sufferfest!!!

John Peto

“Thanks to Eunan and all who organised such a brilliant event. The marathon had a bit of everything from rocky parts, boggy trails, with tough climbs and rough descents. An absolutely great open mountain race with a wonderful downhill finish. LOVED IT!!!!”

Nicola Cleary

“Highly recommended but not for casual runners. Rough, tough route but really enjoyed it as i’m a bit mad anyway!! Preparation from the organisers was first class as were the check points. Will definitely be back !!!

Brian Rodgers 

“ By far the toughest event I have ever done!!! I really thought going up Errigal that I wouldn’t make it to the finish line. From the start of the race it was a challenge as visibility on the day was only a few feet, which made this challenging both physically and mentally, but the course was superbly marked with red flags. Looking forward to next year, where hopefully the weather will allow us to experience the amazing views”

Gillian Wasson – 2018 Seven Sisters Female Champion.

Seven Sisters Skyline Route / Course details.

The 50k Skyline is an out and back course doing all peaks twice, except for the mighty Errigal.

The course is unique in that there is little or no defined path for most of the course – just wild open mountain, soft boggy heathery ground, and rock and scree on the technical sections.

The route begins at the foot of Errigal. A short run on heathery ground to the first small technical section to Mackoght, which will give competitors a taste of what’s to come later on the course on this rocky scrambling section. A descent off Mackoght and onto a track for a fast section to drop down to Altan castle, and a short run across the beach at Lough Altan. The first big test awaits competitors as they will ascend 450m in 2k to Aghla More, a grass / heather steep wall to the summit, then across to Aghla Beag on soft bog, and once on top of Aghla Beag a steep descent into the valley. A running section until competitors drop down to a 1k road section at the base of Muckish, across ‘the bridge of tears’ into Muckish quarry and the first big technical test on the course. A tough scramble to top of Muckish, and hairy descent on the miner’s path to turnaround checkpoint.

Competitors will ascend the miners path, descend Muckish on the traditional route, cross the road and back into the wilds toward the Aghlas. Here competitors will be totally isolated, with no one except fellow runners for the next 12km. On approaching the Aghla’s competitors will face locally known as ‘heart attack hill’ a grass wall, and this is where the top competitors will know they are in a race.

Across the Aghla’s, a steep descent off Aghla More and onto Mackoght. A steep technical descent off Mackoght, around to the North side of Errigal for a massive technical climb to summit Donegal’s highest mountain and last peak. Down the south side of Errigal, crossing the road toward Dunlewey estate, and a final push around the lake toward the finish line.

It’s truly an EPIC course that will test all competitors to their limits both physically and mentally.

Since announcing the Seven Sisters as a Skyline event for 2019, interest has peaked both nationally and internationally, with competitors from various countries already having signed up. This is an event not to be missed !!

Join us on July 28 to earn the accolade of saying you competed in Ireland’s first Skyline event in“the coolest place on the planet”.

Register at: http://www.njuko.net/sevensisters

 

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