2016 RANKING UPDATE – Skyrunning UK – Skyrunner® National Series

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The Skyrunning UKSkyrunner® National Series 2016 is well underway and with three races completed – V3K, Lakes Sky Ultra and the Peak SkyRace it is time to post an update on the rankings.

To clarify, the 2016 ranking includes ALL the races in the 2016 UK calendar and yes, that includes the UK’s first ever VK!

Including ‘all’ races in a calendar would not normally be the case as per the Skyrunner® World Series, however, the UK series is still relatively small and we want to encourage participation in all races and all distances. It may well show a complete and rounded athlete?
To score for the series, you need 4 races to qualify for the series and should you complete more than 4, then your best 4 results count.
Importantly, the 3×3 in the Lakes is very soon (and has entries available) and if you need a race or points, that is the one to enter…! Don’t think easy points will come at the Salomon Mamores VK™ or the Ring of Steall Skyrace™, both races will be a full on lung and leg busters but a few places still remain.

What can you win?

  • In addition to prize money awarded at each race, the male and female 2016 Skyrunning UK Champions will receive:
  • Free entry into all Skyrunning UK races in the following year.
  • Guaranteed entry into a 2017 Skyrunner World Series event with 2-nights accommodation.
  • Prizes from Skyrunning UK sponsor, Raidlight

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Current Ranking

Women:

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In the ladies ranking, Sarah Ridgway currently has a 200 points from victories at Lakes Sky Ultra and the Peak SkyRace. This places Sarah in a very strong position for the UK series but despite two victories, Sarah ranks 2nd.

Currently the 2016 ladies leader is Sarah Sheridan who has completed three out of three races. Sarah placed 3rd in two races, the V3K and Peak SkyRace providing 156 points but she also placed 9th at Lakes Sky Ultra providing 60 points. Her tally is currently 216 points.

Beth Pascall won the V3K and this provides her with 100 points. But the great thing about a series is consistency and therefore Katie Boden currently lies 3rd in the ranking with 166 points coming from 2nd at the V3K and 3rd at Lakes Sky Ultra.

  1. Sarah Sheridan 216 points
  2. Sarah Ridgway 200 points
  3. Katie Boden 166 points

Men:

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The men’s race may well go down to the wire and once again, consistency is playing a key part in the ranking. Despite Michael Jones and Donald Campbell gaining maximum points with victories at the V3K and Lakes Sky Ultra, they have each only run one race!

Ben Hukins placed 4th at the V3K and recently won the Peak SkyRace and this provides a total of 172 points, however, Ben is not in the lead!

Bjorn Verduijn has run all three races and therefore has a strong lead in first place with 2nd at the V3K (88 pts), 9th at the Lakes Sky Ultra (58 its) and finally 3rd at the Peak SkyRace (78 its) providing a grand total of 224 points.

The final podium place is currently with Emmanuel Barbier who placed 10th at the V3K (56 its) and 14th at Lakes Sky Ultra (48 its) providing a total of 104 points.

  1. Bjorn Verdijn 224 points
  2. Ben Hukins 172 points
  3. Emmanuel Barbier 104 points

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You can download this ranking in PDF form HERE

Please note, every effort is made to ensure that the ranking and allocation of points is correct. Mistakes do happen and should you spot anything, please email skyrunninguk@icloud.com and we will look into it immediately.

NEWS

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The next races on the UK calendar are at SKYLINE SCOTLAND which takes place on the 16th, 17th and 18th September. This is one weekend that you will not want to miss and if you are looking for points, some entries are available!

On Friday the 16th we will have the UK’s first ever VK – Salomon Mamores VK™ . If you are not running, come along, bring a bell and cheer runners on as they climb 1000 vertical meters in less than 5km. *Limited places available enter HERE

On Saturday 17th it is the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™ which is 25km and includes 2500m of vertical gain. *Limited places available enter HERE

The main event of the weekend is the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ which is a 2016 Skyrunner® World Series event in the three race EXTREME category and this race, I guarantee, will have the greatest elite field ever assembled for a race in the UK that takes place on trails and mountains.

Following an epic weekend in Scotland is the 3×3 in the English Lakes which takes place on September 24th. Three summits, 4000m of vert and 80km in distance. This is a seriously tough, challenging and beautiful race. Entries are available HERE

October draws a conclusion to the 2016 series with the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR which is full. however, they do put on a great race and maybe you’d like to join the party and enter the GTR evening run which follows the ethos of a VK but over a shorter distance, you can enter HERE

Skyrunning UK is sponsored by Raidlight UK and their help and support is invaluable. Please support the brand that is helping to support this series of exciting racing!

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PEAK SKYRACE 2016 SUMMARY and IMAGES

sarah ridgway - 1st female 3rd overall side

This year saw 180 people register for the Peaks SkyRace the third race in the 2016 Skyrunning UK National Series. From the 180 entrants, 147 showed up at the start-line on Sunday of which 136 runners crossed the finish-line. Those who had not completed retired due to minor injuries and/or being timed out. All in all this year’s event was a tremendous success with a lot of novices testing themselves on a “runnable”, faster and less technical Skyrunning course than the V3K and the Lakes Sky Ultra earlier this season. Niandi Carmont provides an insight into the Skyrunning action from the weekend.

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There were many relieved and happy smiles from runners entering Buxton towards the finish and the feedback received was extremely complimentary and positive:

Well now I’ve managed to remove most of the Peak SkyRace route from my knees, elbows, hands etc. I really need to thank all of the race directors, marshals, supporters for another great event. It just keeps getting better. 

Apologies must go out to Forest and Billy for inability to stay upright, thought I’d got that out of my system on the recce!  David Betteley

The course might have been less challenging to experienced Skyrunners but judging from this feedback, it offered a challenge to many yesterday. Michelle Jones echoes his thoughts:

Super tough course, wasn’t sure we were going to finish. We did just about. I think that’s about my limit though!

Hopefully we’ll see Michelle next year to improve on her time?

The day was perfect in terms of weather and temperatures and as predicted the pace set by the front runners was fast and furious from the outset. This was reflected in the times with the top 3 in the general ranking coming in under 5 hours. The race was won with a strong performance from Ben Hukins who took victory in 4:36:12 ahead of Colin Stark in 4:53:42. As predicted flying Dutchman Bjorn Verduijn placed 3rd and the infamous Sarah Ridgeway were in the leading group running strong.

Unfortunately due to the fast pace and concentration waning towards the final kilometres entering Buxton, the runner who was 2nd placed at the final CP missed the markers at a turn where runners would actually retrace their earlier steps of the outbound route and was leading several others right behind. This error led him down a slightly longer route towards the finish.  The next two runners after that group, did see the markers, and as a result picked up several places. Race organisation was quick to react and double-checked the markers only to confirm that there was plenty of tape. An arrow was added for the rest of the field. No doubt more would have come in under 5 hours had they not missed the turn.

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As predicted Sarah Ridgeway dominated the female field and did very well in the general ranking coming in third overall, well ahead of second-placed Kate Hastings. Once again she took a whopping 28 minutes of the CR. The top 5 women came in under 6 hours. Well done ladies!

Novice Scott baxter was enthralled by this “taster”:

Just want to say thanks to everyone involved! had a great day yesterday, my first event at this distance, first of many I guess.

Scott has now been bitten by the bug and we will no doubt see him at future UK Skyrunning events.

Some like Andrew Morley were more concerned with post-race nutrition:

 I forgot to mention, that chocolate cake at the finish was amazing. 

It was equally nice to see that the UK Skyrunning community is very supportive and close-knit. RD Kirsch Bowkler from the V3K volunteered on the course. And the professionalism and dedication of the team of marshals was very much appreciated by the runners:

I really enjoyed the race yesterday. It was very well sign posted and the aid stations were really good with friendly marshals. Mark Boyce

Attention to detail is very important to RD’s Richard Weremuik and Anthony Bethell who have joined forces with course designer Billy Craig to put on a great event. Over the past years they have been very receptive to feedback and fine-tuned their event to meet the needs of participants whether it be facilitating race entry, dealing with race registration, course-marking, delegating to marshals, manning of aid-stations or the welcome on the finish-line.

We always strive to improve route marking, so take all feedback on the chin; good and bad.  We will always react immediately to feedback where we can, or make changes for future editions of the race where appropriate. Richard Weremuik (Running Beyond)

Race Results

Men

1 Ben Hukins 04:36:12

2 Colin Stark 04:53:42

3 Bjorn Verduijn 05:02:56

4 Matthew Basnett 05:03:51

5 Evan Davies 05:09:00

Women

1 Sarah Ridgway 04:56:39

2 Kate Hastings 05:34:48

3 Sarah Sheridan 05:43:01

4 Sophie Kirk 05:56:27

5 Sarah Morwood 05:59:21

Many thanks to Raidlight UK for the continued support of the

Skyrunning UK National Series

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Peak SkyRace 2016 Preview

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The peak District is a large national park that stretches from the Midlands to the northern areas of England and is renowned for its abundance of natural beauty. The terrain is very diverse, wild and undulating. The landscape shifts quickly and is  mix of gullies,  cloughs, rugged plateaus, heather-dotted moorlands and vertiginous summits. What better setting and back-drop for the third edition of the Peak Skyrace?

Niandi Carmont provides a preview of the third event in the Skyrunning UK Series which takes place in the White Peak area (white for limestone) although certain sections of the race cross over into the Dark Peak (gritstone & moorland) that makes up the Peak SkyRace.

On August 6th, 180 runners will be at the start of the third edition of the race. The event follows the V3K on June 18th and LSU on 23 July. The 48km course with an elevation gain of 2000m, will take the runners on the infamous Five Trigs Round, which are:

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

Other noteworthy highlights of the route include the Ramshaw Rocks, Three Shires Head (the meeting point for the Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire County boundaries) and Gradbach Woods. Another picturesque landmark on the course is Shuttlingsloe,  a steep-sided hill with a distinctive profile, which is sometimes described as the ‘Matterhorn of Cheshire’  and is also the third highest peak in the county. Runners will have to contend with a little scrambling to gain the summit of Shuttlingsloe and check-point 7 which is unmanned. There are a total of 8 check-points on the course of which 5 are unmanned. Food and liquids are provided at the remaining 3 check-points.

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Two prominent athletes attending this year’s event are Bjorn Verduijn in the male field, who is not unknown in UK Skyrunning circles and Sarah Ridgeway, a prominent UK fell-runner, in the female field.

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Bjorn has taken part in several Skyrunning events since the beginnings of UK Skyrunning in 2014 and has fine-tuned his Skyrunning skills over the past couple of years. Of Dutch origin, Bjorn lives in Scotland and trains regularly in the mountains. Like his European Skyrunning counterparts, he has been putting his ski-mountaineering training in winter to good use and this has significantly improved his technique and form. Bjorn placed 2nd at the V3K this year, one of the toughest UK Skyrunning events against very seasoned local competition. In the Lakes Sky Ultra he placed 10th in a time of 8:41:59. He will definitely be seeking to gain more points in the UK series this coming weekend and seems to be on top form.

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Sarah Ridgeway needs no introduction. Like Bjorn, she is not new to Skyrunning and placed 8th overall in Lakes Sky Ultra on 23 July, winning the Ladies Race and setting a new CR of 08:38:46,  taking 25 minutes off her previous CR. She literally dominated the women’s positions and took both the uphill and downhill sections in the race. Sarah will definitely set a fast pace on this extremely “runnable” course as she is used to more technical and challenging terrain as her 3rd place in the Glencoe Skyline in 2015 proves. Welsh and based in Snowdonia, Sarah has plenty opportunities to play and train in the fells. We can expect her to set a new female CR on the Peak Skyrace as well as placing well in the overall ranking.

Course Records stand at 04:10:12 set by Kim Collison in 2015 and 5:24:54 for the female record set  by Sally Fawcett in 2014.

Skyrunning UK thanks the support of Raidlight UK

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Lakes Sky Ultra 2016 Summary and Images

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Skyrunning once again came to the English Lake District with the 2nd edition of the Lakes Sky Ultra, part of Skyrunning UK’s National Series of races.

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Offering an extremely technical course over 56km with 4500m of ascent alone, the Lakes Sky Ultra really does follow the ethos of pure Skyrunning. Two key sections of the route, Eagle Crag and Pinnacle Ridge have roped sections that hark back to the Italian tradition of ‘Via Ferrata.’

Top mountain runners toed the start line alongside a few European runners who had been lured away from the Skyrunning World Championships organized by the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) in Spain for this epic and extreme mountain race.

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Donnie Campbell, from Scotland, continued his winning streak to take another record after already smashing the Highland Fling and Keswick Mountain Festival 50km Ultra Trail earlier in the year. The 2nd and 3 places fell to a local Ambleside runner Neil Talbolt and Ally Beaven from the Scottish Highlands.

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In the ladies’ race, International Mountain Runner, Sarah Ridgway, who holds the record from 2015, came back fitter and faster to set a ‘hard to beat’ record and smash her own time from the previous year by over 25 minutes and set a new record on the full course, which makes it even more impressive, in a time of 08:39:41. Sophie Grant placed 2nd & 3rd place to Katie Bowden who took the 2nd place in the recent V3K in Wales, the 1st ULTRA of the Skyrunning UK National Series.

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The Lakes Sky Ultra follows the true routes and ethos of Skyrunning which was created on the slopes on Monte Rosa, Italy by ISF President, Marino Giacometti in the late 80’s.

Next race on the Skyrunning UK National Series is the Peak SkyRace which takes place in early August.

*****

Donnie Campbell and Sarah Ridgeway, champions at the 2nd edition of the LAKES SKY ULTRA their respective times 07:30:40 and 8:38:46 and new CR’s.
Second place went to Neil Talbott and Sophie Grant with Alexander Beaven and Katie Boden placing 3rd.
Results are available online here: http://live.lakesskyultra.uk

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Skyrunning UK is sponsored by RAIDLIGHT UK

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http://www.lakesskyultra.uk

Facebook: LakesSkyUltra

Twitter: @ LakesSkyUltra

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Lakes Sky Ultra Race Preview 2016

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“Towering above each other, or lifting themselves in ridges like the waves of a tumultuous sea, and in the beauty and variety of their surfaces and colours, they are surpassed by none.” – Wordsworth

 

Niandi Carmont provides a preview of the 2016 Lakes Sky Ultra

Lakes Sky Ultra™, a SkyRace™ that addresses the routes of the sport, big distance, soaring ridge lines, rock scrambling & more. 56km, 4500m ascent. Rock & Run!

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Well this weekend promises to be full of surprises as the runners registered for the LSU (Lakes Sky Ultra) gather on the start-line to compete in what has become one of the key events on the UK Sky Running calendar. They will be contending with the “waves of the tumultuous sea” as they make their way up and down the mountainous roller-coaster ride founded by Charles Sproson. “Charlie” as he is affectionately called is LSU Race Director. Your paths might have crossed this passionate mountaineer, navigator, fell-runner as he strolls barefoot and disheveled in the streets of Ambleside but make no mistake, although he is no poet, Charlie knows the local fells like the back of his hand and has designed several courses including Marmot Dark Mountains (course planner for 2013, 2015 & 2016), Great Lakeland 3 Day, Rab MM amongst others. As an experienced and accomplished mountain racer, his course planning is entirely from the runners’ perspective. This weekend he promises competitors “56km of Lakeland paths, trails and tussock, 4500m of vertical grind, grade III scrambles, rock chimneys, super-fast descents, knife edge arêtes”. It will be “gnarly, hardcore and awesome”.

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Well who are the main contenders? This year the field is stacked with great local talent. With European sky runners preoccupied with the European championships, there are hardly any international participants.

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MALE CONTENDERS

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Gareth Hughes

Yes, he’s back! Gareth placed 2nd in last year’s race and is back to settle a score. Gareth is not new to Skyrunning UK. He is the official record holder of the V3K, the first event in the UK Skyrunning calendar, although he could not compete in the V3K 2016 due to a virus. So, he has a double score to settle. Gareth’s training has been consistent and it would seem he is on form so definitely a contender for first place and why not a second record to add to his already impressive track record.

Neil Talbott

Neil will be giving Gareth a run for his money! He is apparently also very strong and fit and has just won the Wasdale Horseshoe Fell Race, 34km, 2750m+ in a time of 4:11.

Bjorn Verduijn

Bjorn, Dutch and living in Scotland, has been taking part in UK Skyrunning events since Skyrunning was introduced to the UK in 2014 and has improved his rankings significantly, placing 2nd at V3K 2016. This victory could be partially due to his ski-mountaineering training in recent seasons. Bjorn has plenty experience in UK Skyrunning and this is not his first participation in LSU so the course holds no surprises for him.

Donnie Campbell

Seems blessed with a winning streak at the moment. He has just claimed victory at the Highland Fling and the Keswick Mountain Festival 50, smashing bot course records in the process. It will be interesting to see how he performs in LSU this weekend. Admittedly KMF is graded “hard” but the Highland Fling is much less technical than what he can expect on Saturday.

Ally Beaven

An up-and-coming UK fell-runner is not new to UK Skyrunning either. He placed 4th in the Mourne Skyline in Ireland last year and if he has one advantage it is his age.

James Harris

Is a little bit of a dark horse? Very much under the radar, James is a local fell-runner who placed 10th in the Wasdale Horseshoe Fell Race this year. According to Charlie, James is “very strong and vey fit”.

Tomasso Migliuolo

Is another dark horse and relatively unknown and new to Skyrunning? However, he has put all his chances on his side attending training camps and reccying the LSU course with RD Charles Sproson.

Lawrence Eccles

Is an experienced and hardened fell-runner and navigator who has proven himself over gnarly, challenging technical terrain so the LSU is going to suit him to a T. Although navigation skills are utterly useless in a Skyrunning event as the course is marked to Skyrunning standards, Lawrence still has an advantage in that he has trained and raced extensively on this type of terrain. He placed 10th in The Dragon’s Back Race™, one of the UK’S most technical and toughest multi-stage navigation races. The endurance is there, but will Lawrence have the speed to keep up with his contenders in what promises to be a fast race?

Thomas Paris

Is a Raidlight-sponsored athlete from France, who has mainly taken part in French trail races like the Trail Verbier St Bernard (60km), Transju Trail (72km), Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS – UTMB®) which he completed in 16 hours. He has relatively little experience of UK fell-running or technical terrain in the Lake District, which is very different from what can be expected in France.

And last but not least…

Aleks Kasheffi

Born to run barefoot runner, who won’t be running the LSU barefoot as it is strictly against official race regulations. However, keep tuned as Aleks will be running in sandals after having obtained the green light and blessing from RD Charles Sproson. It is worth noting that Aleks attempted a Bob Graham Round in sandals.

FEMALE CONTENDERS

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Sarah Ridgway

LSU race favorite in the ladies field is without a doubt Sarah Ridgeway. She is the course record holder and defending ladies champion for this second edition and she won’t let a second victory slip through her fingers. Sarah has everything going for her right now. She is at peak fitness level and has been very consistent and very focused in her pre-race training and build-up. Sarah is an experienced UK sky runner and will be looking to place 1st on the podium after having missed her 8:30 objective in the V3K this year due to a virus. This Welsh runner based in Snowdonia, placed third in the grueling and gnarly Glencoe Skyline last year behind Emilie Forsberg and Jasmin Paris in a time of 9:21:44.

Carol Morgan

Definitely a podium contender, Carol completed the Lakeland 100 in 2015 in a smashing time of 25:47. She has the stamina and pace to play well in LSU.

Sophie Grant

A contender Sarah will need to look out for as she placed 2nd in the 50km Keswick Mountain Festival Ultra this year and finished 4th in the Hoka Highland Fling in a time of 8:15:04.

Katie Boden

Placed 2nd in the V3K this year so definitely a podium contender on Saturday.

Kerstin Rosenqvist

Is a regular at the Ourea events like the Great Lakeland 3Day, so another experienced navigator and fell-runner. However, will she be able to keep the pace in a single-day event with very competitive local talent who know the course well?

Rachel Campbell

Placed 4th in the 50km Keswick Mountain Festival

The countdown to the “gnarly, hard-core, awesome and extreme” LSU begins …Here’s wishing all the Skyrunners the best of luck on Saturday. And who knows if the weather holds, maybe the 2015 CR will be broken on 23 July!

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V3K 2016 – Race Report and Images

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Chris Baynham-Hughes writes about the 2016 Skyrunning UK V3k, the first race in the 2016 series.

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The V3K kicked off the Skyrunning UK series in style as over 200 competitors toed the line to tackle the Welsh 3000 footers. A spectacular point to point route taking in the classic 15 tops challenge over three mountain ranges. A mixture of nerves and excitement filled the briefing room on the Friday night; it was fantastic to feel the warm buzz in the room from friendships forged over previous races getting together in this annual pilgrimage for old and new members of the Skyrunning UK family.

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Northern Snowdonia is a truly special place. The three mountain ranges each offer something very different to each other, but somehow connected in a way I’m yet to feel elsewhere. The Snowdon range presents a dichotomy of benign well kept trails and unforgiving knife-edge exhilaration, whilst the Glyderau deliver Tolkien’s journey to Mordor in the shape of splintered boulders, disorientating dead ends and ultimately Mordor itself… Tryfan. The Carneddau somehow manages to leave behind so much of this unforgiving rocky landscape and delivers a much grassier ridge-line that can leave the most experienced of navigators rueing a lapse in concentration when the fog is down.

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On the day it was the fell racers that set the pace with last year’s winner Gareth Hughes, Michael Jones, Mark Davies and Bjorn Verdujin leading the charge to Snowdon. For those not familiar with the route, the Watkins path up Snowdon has all the feel of a national park mountain trail yet it leads to a formidable ridge that splits racers opinions between terrifying and exhilarating. Crib Goch can transform an individual’s race; get a few sure-footed lines to start with, nail a few moves and one grows in confidence, speed and somehow size – feeling like a giant straddling the knife edge. However, start off with a slip or a bad line that slows progress to a crag-bound halt and confidence ebbs and that feeling of being a tiny spec on the skin of Mother Nature can take over, leaking minutes here there and everywhere. Experienced climbers and fell runners fond of deeply technical terrain took advantage of this and established gaps on the competition that were never closed. Skyrunning UK regular Adam Firth spoke in awe of his plan to try to follow LSU RD Charlie Sproson over Crib Goch, but within the first minute he could no longer see him.

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Despite the best weather forecast I’ve ever seen for the V3K the weather systems refused to play ball, leaving the visual gratification for scaling these tops hidden from view. The fog stubbornly held around 800 metres for the best part of the race disorientating and adding moisture to the rocks. The scree descent off Crib Goch offered a thrilling ride, descending out of the cloud and back to the relative safe feeling of the mossy grass. Taking care to avoid the buttress, the competitors were rewarded with a rapid descent and a bit of respite before the never ending climb to summit Elidir Fawr. The first to see the Nant Peris aid station were Michael Jones and Gareth Hughes, once again battling it out for the V3K title having come third and first respectively in 2015.

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The fog on the Glyders left runners feeling like they were trapped inside a ping pong ball. I picked up with the runners on the summit of Tryfan with most looking disorientated but focused and/ or deliriously happy! Mike Jones was the first to appear through the fog, looking in total control as he did so. Expecting the next runner to appear within 10 minutes our astonishment grew as we realised just what a performance Mike had put in so far; it was almost half an hour before a very happy Bjorn appeared in second place followed relatively swiftly by Mark Davies. The fog swirled in and out and clumps of runners started to come through. Beth Pascall passed through leading a group of four runners and clearly in charge of the ladies race. No longer able to contain myself I set out with Charlie as he passed through. Many were cramping badly by this stage adding spice to an already rather treacherous descent off Tryfan when at speed. The moist rocks soon gave way to a grassy descent and welcome marsh to cool the feet off.

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Food at Llyn Ogwen was superb, a definite bar raiser for any event! Caffi V had covered all bases with a tremendous variety, Chocolate and coconut balls, anything salty and fresh fruit were the order of the day though, ensuring all water bottles were charged for the notoriously dry Carneddau. Pen yr Ole Wen is the last major climb of the day and psychologically it can feel like you’ve cracked the course, but like I found out competing in 2014 the race is very far from over. The fog was still hanging down making it terrifically hard to judge where you are. I couldn’t help feel it was a great shame for the competitors not to get the mind blowing views stretching from sea to Snowdon’s summit, however speaking with many of the competitors later on in the blazing sunshine I found none complaining about the weather, more feared/ experienced cramps that would have been far worse if they had been in direct sunshine – arguably adverse weather conditions for UK racers!

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Out on the course I caught up with Skyrunning UK and V3K regular Boris Gaspar. Boris summed up why he loves Skyrunning and ultra running in general. The knowledge that your sole focus is the run and the route; the ability to put the rest of life into perspective; the need to connect with the more primeval side we all have. Ultra trail running manages to give him all that, but running in the mountains and along exposed ridge lines add that essential connection with nature, the reward for climbing a challenging mountain, to feel big and oh so small at the same time. Taking on the journey, connecting with environments we think we know or exploring totally new ones through fantastic race routes other kindred spirits have created is what makes the races in the Skyrunning calendar so appealing; sentiments I can’t help but completely agree with.

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In the end the spoils when to Mike Jones in a stellar 7:46, over an hour ahead of Bjorn Verdujin in 8:55 and local fell runner Mark Davies in 9:03. Skyrunning UK’s series sponsor Raidlight saw their very own Beth Pascall (9:24) take the ladies title. Leading from the start Beth looked in control throughout. Second lady sporting a huge grin at the finish was Katie Boden in 10:06 followed by Sarah Sherdin in 10:31. Superb performances throughout. With bands, beers and a finishing feast that could turn anybody vegan I think it’s fair to say this is a really special event.

Full results are available HERE

The V3K route absolutely captures the Skyrunning ethos and, for me, is the finest classic one day route in the UK. The knife-edge of Crib Goch, the higgledy-piggledy boulders and slabs of the Glyders, the epic fast ridge of the Carneddau all add up to a thrilling and exhausting challenge that simply has to be experienced. Once the competitors have picked themselves up from the floor I’m pretty sure they will find it almost impossible to resist the draw of the next challenge in the series. For those with the necessary skills the Lakes Sky Ultra has just 15 places left before sell out so those interested will need to sign up very quickly indeed!. I for one can’t wait to see my Skyrunning UK family again.

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Next race in the series can be viewed on the calendar here

Many thanks to Raidlight for the continued support and sponsorship

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v3K 2016 Race Preview

LOGO_SKYRUNNER_NATIONAL_SERIES_CMYK_POSITIVESkyrunning UK is set to reach new heights in 2016 for what will be the biggest year yet. Now in its third year, the calendar has grown and with it, so have the races. The V3K kicks off the 2016 calendar and like many races in the series, it’s a sell out!

Niandi CARMONT writes on behalf of iancorless.com and Skyrunning UK to provide a preview of this years race.

Ehed amser : time flies. It’s hard to believe that it’s once again time for the first race in the year in the UK Skyrunning Series. This is the third consecutive year that Skyrunning UK kicks off with the V3K. The race celebrates its 5th edition and there is no better way for the local Skyrunning aficionados to test their training and form than on this challenging and stunning course. What lies in store for the 234 entrants on June 18th? Well hopefully some clement spring weather although weather conditions can be very changeable. One thing is for sure, the course will take competitors over 53km of grassy fells, rocky mountainous terrain and up and down the Welsh 3000s – in all 15 (or 14) peaks over 3000ft. A Welsh roller-coaster ride across the Snowdon Massive, Glyderau and Carneddau taking in some of the most scenic and picturesque landscapes of the British Isles. The Race Director Kirsch Bowkler adds “If weather conditions dictate we will divert away from Crib Goch”. The latter is probably the most technical part of the course, a knife-edged arête in the Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd. The name means “red ridge” in the Welsh language.

So what times are this year’s contenders looking to beat? Gareth Hughes won the 2015 edition in 7:34:11 and Sarah Ridgeway won the ladies’ race in 9:22:13. And by the looks of it, these year’s podium contenders look very promising.

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In the male field, Shane OHLY is well-known in local Skyrunning circles. Shane, an elite and experienced navigator and climber but also race director of UK Skyrunning events, will be running on very familiar terrain. Based in the Lake District, Shane’s training has been very race-specific although in terms of volume he feels he could have done more “The sad reality is that I’ve been spending potential training time organizing events! Honestly, I am going for the experience”. We’ll see …

Charles SPROSON is another experienced fell-runner and navigator to look out for. Charlie also lives in the Lake District and organizes events. He is very familiar with the terrain and like Shane will do well on technical sections of the course. As a navigatorw and LSU coach he has plenty of opportunities to put his mountaineering and fell-running skills into practice in the Lakes. “I’ve been running over Striding Edge on a regular basis throughout the winter and into the spring, steadily bashing away at going up and down mountains and ascending Pinnacle Ridge with clients”. With the amount of time he spends on the fells, Charlie is definitely a podium contender next week.

Defending champion Oli JOHNSON from the Dark Peak Fell Runners and a member of Team Inov8 UK is not new to the V3K. Last year in 2015 he finished first in ex aequo with Gareth Hughes in a winning time of 7:34:11. He will be back to better that record no doubt and keep the male field on their toes. Like Shane and Charlie, he is an experienced and talented fell runner and orienteer. Oli COMPLETED THE Goretex Transalpine-Run in 2015, a multi-stage event covering 293km over 8 days in a time of 31:17:28 finishing 11th overall and 4th in his category. He has thus proven that he can stand his own against international competition on hard technical terrain.

Kim COLLISON

Kim placed 20TH in the IAU Trail World Championships in Annecy in 2015 over 85km and 1st in the Lakeland 50 in 2014 with a time of 7:48. Victory at the Mourne Skyline MTR and a string of other high profile results arguably elevates Kim as the hot favourite of the 2016 V3K.

Richard ASHTON

Richard has completed a few Skyrunning events and long-distance events– amongst other Transvulcania, Lavaredo Ultra Trail and the Peak Skyrace (3rd in 2015). Richard is also a keen mountaineer and ice-climber.

In the Ladies’ race local defending champion Sarah RIDGEWAY will be back after her victory last year in 9:22:13 where she placed 9th overall. Sarah will be looking to defend her title. This Welsh runner is based in Snowdonia, her back garden so to speak and will be running on home ground. Sarah has performed well in shorter local races and gets plenty of training preparing and coaching athletes for Skyrunning events. Sarah excels on technical terrain and placed third in the grueling and gnarly Glencoe Skyline last year behind Emilie Forsberg and Jasmin Paris in a time of 9:21:44.

Beth PASCAL is a challenger Sarah Ridgeway will need to look out for. Beth has been doing very well in ultra and extreme multi-stage events, Beth was 1st lady and 4th overall in the Montane Spine Race in 2015, 2ND in the Lakeland 100 in 2014. Beth certainly has the stamina and gutsiness required to aim for a top podium place in the V3K and potentially set a new course record. Beth will be attempting a podium after her recent victories over 50km at the Keswick Mountain Festival where she literally smashed the course record to finish in a winning time of 5:21, thus finishing 7th overall and at the Highland Fling in May, a 53-mile trail race following the West Highland Way set to be the British Trail Championships 2016. Although it was a much flatter and faster race than what Beth is used to, her speed work and tempo runs paid off and she finished well ahead of her rivals in 7:52:55. With her natural ability and stamina to perform well on mountainous, rocky terrain and over very long distances as well as her regular training in Snowdonia and the Peaks, she stands a good chance of setting a new course record and claiming victory next weekend.

Ciara DOWNES is relatively new to Skyrunning but this lady coached by Robbie Britton placed well in Marathon des Sables 2016 with a ranking of 243 overall in a field of 1200 participants and will be testing her fell-running skills on the V3K course. Ciara has had more experience of flatter and faster trail running on less technical terrain but who knows?

And so the countdown begins to the first of the Skyrunning UK events as the competitors taper towards what promises to be a very exciting race weekend

Pob Iwc! Or for those who don’t speak Welsh, Good Luck and may there be Less Cloud, More Sky!

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