Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2017

It was an epic day in Northern Ireland as the 2017 Skyrunning UK Series concluded at the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR.

Misty skies, gale force winds, mud, rain, relentless climbing, technical terrain and an incredible field of runners made the 2017 Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR a tough one! Now in it’s 4th edition, the race has over the years been known for its tough conditions, many said, post race, this tear was the toughest!

Concluding Skyrunning UK’s 2017 calendar, the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR really was a fitting end to what has been an incredible year. The course, organisation and the field of runners made this a special and unforgettable day in the mountains.

The addition of Ian Bailey, a previous champion of the race, it was always going to be a quick race up at the front, especially with Seamus Lynch toeing the line. In the early stages it was Lynch who lead the duo but with half the race covered, Bailey took the reigns at the front and never looked back forging a convincing lead. At the finish, Bailey crossed in 3:57:18, just over 10-minutes ahead of Lynch.

It was another 5-minutes before Ryan Stewart arrived rounding out the top-3.

In the ladies race, Shileen O’Kane would bring local knowledge, fell running experience and being a participant in the last three editions, this would no doubt provide and advantage? It did! O’Kane pushed from the front throughout the race but she was constantly shadowed by Megan Wilson. The duo traded blows and on the climb to Donnard, it looked like Wilson may take the lead… O’Kane kicked though and descended to the finish line with almost a 4-minute margin over the Dark Peak fell runner, 4:56:43 to 5:00:09. Catherine Forsythe was the 3rd lady, crossing the line in 5:40:26.

The 2017 Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR once again established itself as a must-do race. The combination of location, local infrastructure, great organisation, enthusiastic locals and a brutal course will guarantee that demand will be high for the 2018 edition.

Covering 35km and a total elevation gain of 3370m, the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR is everything a Skyrunning race should be.

Full Results HERE

Many congratulations to the 2017 Skyrunning UK Champions

Kirsty-Jane Birch and Tim Campion-Smith

They receive free entry into all 2018 Skyrunning UK races and the option to attend a Skyrunner World Series race from the 2018 calendar.

Rankings:

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Greatest mountain runners in the world head to Scotland

The greatest mountain runners in the world head to Scotland for the final race of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series EXTREME category, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™.

The rise of the 55km Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ has defied all expectations, as the third edition of the event approaches on Sunday 17th September. The race has become the global flagship event for extreme mountain running, and this year the weekend of racing has grown to include three other world-class events that have attracted over 1,500 participants from 30+ countries.

Read an in-depth PREVIEW of the racing HERE


Undoubtedly the UK’s most prestigious mountain running event, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ is one of only three EXTREME rated Skyrunner® World Series races globally, and has attracted the undisputed world number one, Kilian Jornet, to race in the UK for the first time.

Jornet, a Spanish trail runner and ski-mountaineer is considered the best endurance athlete on the planet. Kilian said, “I have heard about Glen Coe since the first year Emelie ran and she just said, ‘you must go there’. The technical ridges and the culture of mountain running in Britain really attracts me to run Glen Coe and I can’t wait to the moment of being here!”

Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ is renowned for its technical, exposed, and rough terrain, and Jornet is known for his daredevil approach to exposed ridges; surely, it’s a match made in heaven? He will almost certainly be considered the favourite at the event this September in the Scottish Highlands.

The women’s race has also attracted the world’s best: Emelie Forsberg, winner of the inaugural event in 2015, and former ULTRA Skyrunner® World Series champion is returning, “I’m very happy to go back to Glen Coe as it was one of the coolest races I’ve ever done and in a very beautiful area of the world and with a superb organisation”.

The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ is part of the Salomon Skyline Scotland™ weekend of races based in Kinlochleven in the Scottish Highlands. In another world first, there will be two other Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series races held on Saturday 16th that include the monstrous 120km Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™, and the (relatively) more amenable 29km Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™. These races are proceeded by a lung-busting Vertical Kilometer® format race on the Friday afternoon, which sees participants racing from near sea level to the summit of Na Gruagaichean (1056m) in the Salomon Mamores VK™, which is the UK’s first and only VK.


Race Director Shane Ohly said, “This year’s event is set to break all the records again with a huge number of participants and spectators expected in Lochaber”. Part of the successful formula for the event has been that the organisers have gone out of their way to welcome the friends and family of the participants and involve the local community. Shane Ohly continued, “We have engaged with the local community via the Kinlochleven Community Trust to ensure that we bring the local community with us. All the competitors carry GPS trackers during the race, so it will be possible to follow all the action live through the event website. There will also be a huge truck-mounted screen at the Ice Factor Event Village with commentary, tracking and live footage from the course for spectators. There will be a huge buzz and a warm welcome at the Ice Factor where most of the races start and finish”.

The 2017 Salomon Skyline Scotland is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “Not for the faint hearted, this event attracts some of the world’s best athletes to compete in this iconic Scottish location.  Event Scotland is proud to support this extreme event which certainly showcases Scotland and its rugged mountains at their very best, proving once again that Scotland is the perfect stage for events.”

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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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