Mourne Skyline MTR 2020 Preview

The 2020 Skyrunner UK & Ireland season concludes this coming weekend with the Mourne Skyline MTR. It has not been a normal year with races cancelled worldwide. It has been a tough year for all. Race directors, Ryan and Justin Maxwell have been with the UK series from the very beginning and their sold-out race has often been flagship event of the series. Gladly, they have been able to adjust and formulate a plan to make the 2020 event happen.

Athletes from 14 countries will toe the start albeit in a different way to the past 6 editions. Ryan and Justin have formulated a Covid-19 operational delivery plan and you are strongly recommended to keep up with procedures and any potential updates via the race website and Facebook page HERE. It is important that everyone involved in the event is aware of and understands what measures have been put in place and how what is expected of them.

In terms those who can and cannot travel.  There are no issues with participants from GB coming to Northern Ireland with the UK common travel path / corridor.  However, our friends from Ireland cannot travel into Northern Ireland because they have local restrictions in place which do not allow them to leave their county.  In relation to those from other countries outside of the home nations – that is based on the government quarantine list.

“For those affected by restrictions later a virtual option has been created to make them feel part of the event and show our appreciation for their support.” – Ryan Maxwell

Important:

Race HQ has been moved to GREENHILL YMCA, DONARD PARK, NEWCASTLE. There is NO car parking at Race HQ – participants must park in Donard Car Park and walk to Greenhill YMCA; this is approximately 800m away.

As per our COVID-19 Operational Delivery Plan, your temperature will be checked before you enter Race HQ and you will be handed a surgical mask to wear. Please also use the hand sanitizer just inside the entrance.

Race HQ will be OUTSIDE, so please dress appropriately in case you have to wait. Toilets / Showers / Changing: The Donard Park Pavilion will NOT be open for use as per previous years. This building is closed due to COVID-19 risks. Public toilets are available in Donard Car Park. It is important to note that Newry, Mourne & Down Council plan to open these at 8am. However, we are working hard to have this changed to 7am. However, please be prepared for their opening at 8am should we not succeed in this. There will be NO showering facilities available at the event. There will be NO Changing facilities available at the event. Participants should come to the race ready to compete, and then have enough warm clothing with them to put on until they can get a warm shower and get changed.

The Mourne Mountains and Race

Owned by the National Trust, the Mourne Mountains are an area of outstanding beauty, it includes Slieve Donard (850m), the highest mountain in Northern Ireland and Ulster and as such it provides a perfect location for a mountain race.

Comprised of forest path, fire roads, single track, granite trail and tough uneven broken fell, the race is a tough challenge. Among the more famous features, the Mourne Wall is a key element of this region and a key aspect of the race. In just 35km the course has a brutal 3370m of ascent and no less than 9 peaks, the highest being Slieve Donard at 850m.

Two key names stand out amongst the start list, Brennan Townshend for the men and Kasia Osipowicz for the women. Kasia the UK & Ireland Series champion. Brennan the reigning champion and course record holder.

Kasia

Ian Bailey and Paul Tierney amongst others will no doubt push Brennan all the way to the line.

Paul Tierney

Shileen O’Kane is an ever-present in the Mournes and she knows how to run this race with her eyes closed, she will be a hot favourite for the podium along with Ekaterina Crocker.

Ultimately, it will be great to have the UK & Ireland Series conclude in 2020 with the iconic Mourne Skyline MTR race. With its conclusion, we can all look ahead to 2021 and full year of racing!

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Seven Sisters Skyline 2020 Summary

Seven Sisters Skyline AUG 15.

Download report and images here

The sun was shining inDunlewey, Co. Donegal last Saturday for the Seven Sisters Skyline race, a 52k mountain run starting at the foot of Mount Errigal and part of the UK-Ireland National Skyrunning Series. With Covid 19 restrictions the event was primarily an all Ireland event, with International participants unable to travel.

Nearly 180 competitors set out early on a bright, sunny morning to the start line near the village of Dunlewey. The out and back course took in all seven peaks of the Derryveagh Mountains with all but the highest peak, Mount Errigal, being covered twice. With sections called ‘Bridge of Tears’ and ‘Heart Attack Hill’ this was never going to be an easy day out. The competitors had to contend with everything from soft, heathery bog and open mountain to rock and scree, often having to scramble on hands and knees over the loose stone. The 4000 metres of climbing and tough terrain was made even more difficult by the heat on the day with temperatures of 26 degrees C. Not the usual conditions expected for the Donegal mountains.

The first competitor to cross the finish line was one of Ireland’s top endurance athletes and local man Shaun Stewart who completed the 52k in 7:11:13. Grant Mackellar came in 2nd in 7:52:20 followed closely by Aidan McMoreland in 7:52:35.

In the women’s race, Laura O’Driscoll Ireland’s top adventure athlete took first place in a time of 8:22:43, and a top 10 finish overall. With the course 2 km longer this year she obliterated the previous course record set by Kasia Osipowicz in 2019 by over 20 minutes. Ellen Vitting took 2nd place in 8:39:08 with Karalee McBride rounding out the top three in 9:09:32.

With the brutal course and hot conditions around one third of the field failed to finish the official 52km course, making this one of Ireland’s most challenging events.

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Arran Skyline – Cancellation of 2020 event.

Ultra Trail Scotland Arran Skyline – Cancellation of our 2020 event.

Due to COVID-19 we have unfortunately taken the decision to cancel this year’s event on the 21st of June. We appreciate this will not come as a shock given all else that is going on at the moment globally, however it is still a disappointment for competitors, the Skyrunner Series and us as an organisation. While we are still a couple of months away from the event itself the cancellation comes now for a number of reasons:

  • From a planning and logistics point of view there is preparation that would need to be put in place now for us to be able to run the event. The current situation just does not allow us to do this with any certainty and more specifically without the risk that cancellation will ultimately become a necessity in the weeks to come anyway.
  • We rely on the availability, commitment, support and good will of a great number of stakeholders to run the event successfully and again the uncertainty makes this impossible to plan for.
  • Lastly but most importantly, is the safety of our competitors. Given the length and technical nature of the route, the need to train and prepare appropriately is key and not something that most will be able to do during this period of lockdown.

What does cancellation mean.

  • We are not rescheduling the event for later in the year, it is a full cancellation – and the next running of the event will be the weekend of 19th and 20th June 2021.
  • An option for full refund was considered, however due to cost already incurred, unfortunately it is not possible without threatening the future running of the event. We do hope you understand.
  • Therefore we plan to make a refund of 75% of your entry fee(s) by 25th April (allowing 3 to 5 days processing time by the banks), but if there are any issues please let us know and we will endeavour to rectify – please bear with us.
  • In recognition, when we open entries for 2021 we will be inviting all of this year’s cancelled entrants a discounted rate to compensate for the monies lost this year.

Please keep an eye out via our website and social media for details on when our 2021 entries open later in the year. But for now, we hope you and your families stay fit and well and you can get back out on the hills once the lockdown is over.

Take care,
UTS Team

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Scafell Sky Race 2020 Cancelled

It is with great regret that the Scafell Sky Race has been forced to cancel the 2020 edition.

A statement has been provided by race director, Charles Sproson HERE

We appreciate that we are all experiencing a difficult time as the pages turn, daily, on this dystopian reality. Businesses across the globe along with individuals are facing unenviable tasks trying to balance health and wellbeing.

We thank you, the skyrunning UK community, for your support and understanding. We will update you as soon as possible on any additional changes for the 2020 UK & Ireland Series.

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Snowdon Skyline 2020 CANCELLED

Due to the ongoing situation globally with the novel virus, Covid-19, it is with regret that that the 2020 edition of SNOWDON SKYLINE has been cancelled for 2020.

Race director, Michael Jones commented on his race website, “Initially I had considered postponing to 12-13th September (the weekend before there are already 3 events on Snowdon!). However, as I started to come to terms with the realisation of how this could effectively pan out for myself and several other Race Directors doing the same, it came to light that this may not be wise. September/October will now be a very busy time for races and all races may see a drop in participation as runners effectively have to choose which postponed races to do.”

Needless to say, it is a tough time for all globally.

The impact on races and race directors will be significant in 2020 and where possible, we encourage you if possible, to follow the incentive outlined in the this article.

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COVID-19 UPDATE

IMPORTANT UPDATE!

Dear friends,

Covid-19 has become an unprecedented threat that has affected us all, across the world, in unimaginable ways and our thoughts go out to all of those affected, directly and indirectly.

We understand you all have concerns, the UK & Ireland Series and each individual race director are having to take it one day at a time in order to rapidly adapt to an unpredictable situation and we will be updating you accordingly.

Ultimately health must come first.We respectively ask that you do not email races and race directors for an update as this is placing an additional stress on what is an already stressful time.

All relevant updates will be posted here on the Facebook page, on the UK & Ireland Series website and via the respective races social media accounts and where applicable via email.

Thank you all for the understanding and support. Please keep well. Respect self imposed isolation when required, please adhere to social distancing and currently, please enjoy the trails and mountains alone.

Yours in sport, Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series.

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SKYRUNNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS‼️

SKYRUNNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS‼️

The International Skyrunning Federation is pleased to announce the date and venue of the 2020 Skyrunning World Championships which will be held from 10-12 July at the BUFF® Mountain Festival. The Vall de Boí in the heart of the Spanish Pyrenees is home to some of the world’s top skyrunners and the sport’s greatest following.

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Selection process for UK & IRELAND is as follows:

  • The SNS ranking from 2019.
  • The strongest UK & IRELAND runners at elite level who compete at SWS or on the world-stage.
  • The SkyMaster champions.
  • Special consideration athletes.

We are allowed 6 athletes per discipline (6 VK, 6 Sky, 6 Ultra), so UK & IRELAND can send 36 athletes: 18 from UK and 18 from Ireland.

Same goes for the Youth Championships!

**For both competitions, we require a national jersey? Therefore we need a design and a manufacturer to help support us – If anyone has any ideas, please get in contact!
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INTERESTED?

Please contact us via email on the form below

INFO HERE

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Gaelforce Sky Run 2020 Results

 

Finlay Wild

The 2020 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series kicked off this last weekend in Ireland with the first edition of the Gaelforce Sky Run.

With anticipation high, a storm of racing was expected on the 22km route, however, the weather gods did not play ball and Friday weather reports of extreme weather  were taken into consideration by Mona Purcell, the race director, and the bad weather route of 24km was put in place to protect the runners.

Saturday morning started out a blustery and the conditions deteriorated as the day went on with race marshals spending a long and tough day ensuring the safety of the participants.

Top skyrunner and world-class mountain runner, Finlay Wild was always going to be the man to beat and he started the day as he meant to go on pushing from the front setting a relentless pace that could matched by no one. He revelled in the tough conditions and crossed the line in 2:08:44. George Snee and Aidan McMoreland battled hard for the 2nd and 3rd podium slots and they crossed in 2:25:55 and 2:27:11 respectively.

Runners were heavily challenged by the fact that there was no trail and the energy zapping effort of the soft ground, it was a total baptism of wind and rain.

Ireland’s Isabel Oakes lead the charge in the women’s race ahead of Sophie Bubb who won the 2019 Mourne Skyline MTR race. The duo battled hard but it was Oakes who took victory in 2:45:07 five-minutes ahead of Bubb;s 2:50:07. Becky Quinn placed 3rd in 2:51:10.

“This place takes your breath away. It was hands and knees up those climbs” – Rachel O’Callaghan

Female category

  1. Isobel Oakes 2:45:07 (Irl)
  2. Sophie Bubb 2:50:07 (UK)
  3. Becky Quinn 2:51:10 (Irl)

Male category

  1. Finlay Wild 2:08:44 (Scotland)
  2. George Snee 2:25:55 (Irl)
  3. Aidan McMoreland 2:27:11 (Irl)

Full results here – http://www.redtagtiming.com/results/2020GF_Skyrun_22km.html

RANKING:

Points are awarded to the top-20 men and top-10 women with all participants obtaining 1-point for participation.

After one event, Finlay Wild and Isabel Oakes are the series leaders.

 As a participant, you must run 4 events* and points are accumulated based on finishing position. The top man and woman at the end of the series is the one who has accumulated the most points. If a runner participates in more than four races, the best four results count. 

* Please note runners based on mainland UK must run one race in Ireland and/ or Northern Ireland. Runners from the island of Ireland will need to race in at least one UK mainland event to qualify for the series.

Attention now turn to Snowdon Skyline 2/3rd May ) HERE

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Gaelforce Sky Run Preview 2020 – The Skyrunner UK and Ireland Series begins!

The 2020 Skyrunner UK & Ireland kicks off in March with a new event in Ireland, the Gaelforce Sky Run.

The 22km race is sold out and the words of Bridget Gavin of Gaelforce Events, “We have a waiting list of runners wanting a space, it’s a real compliment for the race and the UK & Ireland Series. We have 80 women entered of 270, that makes up 22% of the competitors which is very reassuring.”

There is obviously a great contingent from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK toeing the line, however, a look down the start list and it is reassuring to see entries from Germany, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Spain, USA, Afghanistan, Hungary, Austria, Chile, Lithuania, France, Portugal, Costa Rica, Italy, Belgium and Canada, the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series truly has gone global!

Based in Connemara, County Galway, the race brings an early start to the UK & Ireland calendar. The 22km course takes runners up the western sections of the iconic Maumturk Mountain Range with a total altitude gain of 1372m over 4 peaks, the highest point being 605m. Wild and untamed mountains with virtually no trails and sweeping views of the coastline. It is a looped course with many testing climbs including the Col of despondency. The start/finish of the race is located at the Killary Adventure Centre on the shores of Killary Fjord. 

Rachel Nolan who holds the current course record will toe the line and as such will be a hot favourite in the women’s race. Equally, Elizabeth Wheeler, Sophie Bubb, Ciara O’Neill and Isobel Oakes will be one’s to watch.

For the men, experienced Skyrunner World Series competitor and arguably one of the UK’s best sky runners, Finlay Wild will toe the line and importantly he has committed to at least 4 events in the 2020 series so that he will rank for the overall title. Lonan O’Farell raced on the 2019 edition of the Seven Sisters Skyline and will toe the line here against Finlay, he will be one to watch. Paul Tierney will also fiercely contend the podium. The start list also shows regular Skyrunner’s such as Jonathan van der Krogt and Juju Jay, to name just two of many.

How does one qualify for the series?

 As a participant, you must run 4 events* and points are accumulated based on finishing position. The top man and woman at the end of the series is the one who has accumulated the most points. If a runner participates in more than four races, the best four results count.

Points are awarded to the top-20 men and top-10 women with all participants obtaining 1-point for participation.

* Please note runners based on mainland UK must run one race in Ireland and/ or Northern Ireland. Runners from the island of Ireland will need to race in at least one UK mainland event to qualify for the series.

 

RACE CALENDAR 2020

March

*Gaelforce Sky Run 7th March 2020 HERE

May

Snowdon Skyline 2/3rd May (date to be confirmed) HERE

June

Scafell SkyRace 6th June HERE

*Arran Skyline 20th June HERE

July

Lakes Sky Ultra – 11th July HERE SkyMaster Qualifier

*Pinnacle Ridge Extreme – 12th  July  HERE

August

Seven Sisters Skyline 15th August HERE

October

Mourne Skyline MTR 17th October HERE

*Is a new race for 2020

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Skyrunner UK and Ireland 2020 Series announced and a NEW RACE!

Welcome to the 2020 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series

EIGHT RACES

Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the English Lakes and Scotland.

skyrunning UK is once again pleased to announce a new calendar for the 2020 season with the addition of three new races. Gaelforce Sky Run will kick-off the year with an early start in March, a perfect opportunity to bag some early points!

In June, we are pleased to add Scotland back in the calendar with the stunning Arran Skyline. In July, Pinnacle Ridge Extreme brings an ultimate high-adrenaline challenge to the Lakes.

The series will once again provide a ranking for the top male and female runners in the UK & Ireland based on points scored in events. Points are awarded to the top-20 men and top-10 women.

How does one qualify for the series?

As a participant, you must run 4 events* and points are accumulated based on finishing position. The top man and woman at the end of the series is the one who has accumulated the most points. If a runner participates in more than four races, the best four results count.

* Please note runners based on mainland UK must run one race in Ireland and/ or Northern Ireland. Runners from the island of Ireland will need to race in at least one UK mainland event to qualify for the series.

We appreciate that not everyone is in with a chance of points, so, for 2020 we have announced the TURNIA SKYRUNNER MEDAL.

The medal is provided by the UK and Ireland Series to all runners who complete four races or more – read more HERE 

RACE CALENDAR 2020

March

*Gaelforce Sky Run 7th March 2020 HERE

May

Snowdon Skyline 2/3rd May (date to be confirmed) HERE

June

Scafell SkyRace 6th June HERE

*Arran Skyline 20th June HERE

July

Lakes Sky Ultra – 11th July HERE

*Pinnacle Ridge Extreme – 12th  July  HERE

August

Seven Sisters Skyline 15th August HERE

October

Mourne Skyline MTR 17th October HERE

*Is a new race for 2020

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Announcing PINNACLE RIDGE EXTREME

This short, but exceedingly hard race packs a massive punch, weaving its way around the Helvellyn Massif taking in some of the best lines, best scrambles and best descents then the Lake District has to offer.

“Covering 28km with 2700m of ascent, the Pinnacle Ridge Extreme is arguably one of the UK’s most challenging races.” – Charlie Sproson RD for the race.

This race is NOT for everyone though… It is hard, pure and extreme. Climbing skills are requisite to gain a place and entries entries will be strictly vetted. Like the iconic Trofeo Kima, this is the pinnacle of skyrunning in the UK. Enter HERE

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Please plan your season ahead and make sure you have entries in four races to ensure that you are able to qualify for the 2020 series.

Some races already have entry open, others will follow asap in November.

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