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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TURNIA Skyrunner UK and Ireland 2020 Series Medal

New for the 2020 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series.

“TURNIA SKYRUNNER MEDAL” 

For those runners who complete four races or more in one racing year.

TURNIA is a unique winning medal award made of coloured layers of perspex (a layer per race) which join together to make your own unique medal. Layers can be added at anytime.

The individual coloured layers reflect the course profile of the race you have completed.

Quite simply, the GPX profile data for each of the Skyrunner UK & Ireland races is visualised using an algorithm and then transferred into a circular format that will provide a unique 3D medal layer in a semitransparent material. Each layer, represents a race in a different colour. Unscrew the holding pins and layers (races) can be added.

One medal but many unique and individual stories told in layers.

Finish four races (or more) in one year of the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series and we will present you with your own individual medal – A 3D object that represents your commitment to the series and celebrates your success.

We wonder, can anyone create the ultimate medal with every layer?

How do you achieve this unique piece of art?

Simply enter four or more races in one season and then complete them. Request a form from the Skyrunner UK & Ireland team and complete the form ticking the appropriate races finished with your finishing time and finishing position. TURNIA will then create your own individual medal (presented in a box) which will be posted to you when the race season has furnished.

Colours will change for each racing year, so, there will always be an incentive to have an individual medal, year-on-year.

Optional Package:

If you’d like the ultimate unique medal for each race, for a charge, TURNIA can also transfer data from any race (heart rate, vertical gain/ descent, speed and distance for example) All you need to do is ensure you wear a suitable watch to record the data required. After the race, send us the data and we can then create a multi-layered medal that reflects just your race in full colour!

TURNIA is a truly unique way to celebrate ones success!

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ARRAN SKYLINE by Ultra Trail Scotland joins the 2020 Skyrunner UK – Ireland Calendar

skyrunning UK and the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series are pleased to announce the addition of ARRAN SKYLINE brought to you by Ultra Trail Scotland for the 2020 series.

The brainchild of elite mountain runner, Casey Morgan, Andrew Falconer and Noreen Devine the Arran Skyline brings stunning technical mountain terrain in a very unique part of the world.

The ARRAN SKYLINE manages to provide 3500m of epic running for vetted runners over a distance of 45km. This really is an out-and-out pure mountain running experience that harks back to the heritage of skyrunning races in Italy. Highlights come the technical ridge close to Mullach Buide and Cioch na h-Oighe. Cir Mhor and of course, the Witches Step.

Nerves of steel, a head for heights, the ability to traverse amazing ridge-lines, climb and descend technical routes that pound not only the body but the mind. Remote and sublime, the route is an epic day.

The race will take place on the weekend of June 20/21 2020.

Race Website HERE

Watch this space for entries opening in November.

The 2020 Skyrunner UK & Ireland complete calendar will be announced on November 8th 2019.

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Skyrunner UK & Ireland 2019 Ranking

Dear all,
Here is the ranking for the 2019 Series:
Damien Gielty took a dominant victory with a maximum 300 points for the men.
Kasia Osipowicz gained 260 points pooling her best 3 results from 4 finishes.
Both Damien and Kasia receive free entry to all the 2020 UK & Ireland Series and they also gained entry to the coveted SkyMasters which took place last weekend in Italy.
From a series point of view, consistency and racing is key and this reflected in the results.
YOU NEED 3 RACES TO QUALIFY FOR 2019.
For the men, Jonny Steede gains a great 2nd place but we have no 3rd overall. Andy Bryce has 2 finishes and good points but lacks a 3rd race. Equally, Jayson Cavill and Adam Quinn could have contended for the series podium along with Andy.
For the women, last years series champion, Sophie Grant, has enough points for 2nd in the series but fails to have enough finishes.
Rachel Nolan, Sarah Ridgeway and lastly Sophie Bubb all won a race and gained maximum points but only raced one race in the series.
For 2020 folks, think ahead – you need to be in it, to win it!
*Please let us know asap if we have made any errors with the ranking list.
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Mourne Skyline MTR 2019 Summary

TOWNSHEND & BUBB SECURE MOURNE SKYLINE MTR TITLES IN SERIES FINALE!

Brennan Townshend (Scott Running) and Sophie Bubb (Lymington TC) took top honours as athletes braved tough conditions at the 6th annual Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race in Northern Ireland this weekend (Saturday 19th October 2019).

This 35k event, which includes a massive 3,370m of ascent, was the finale of the Skyrunner UK – Ireland 2019 Series. The overall series champions confirmed as Damien Gielty and Kasia Osipowicz.

Both the male and female titles were hotly contested in the majestic Mourne Mountains.  In the early stages, little separated 2018 Mourne Skyline MTR Champion Brennan Townshend and Scottish athlete Rob Sinclar (Highland Hill Runners), with Brennan leading the way until the halfway mark.

Highland Fling course record holder Rob moved ahead as the athletes summited Slieve Loughshannagh, but his lead was short lived as Brennan came through in unstoppable fashion – by the next checkpoint at Slieve Meelbeg, the Scott Running athlete had forged a two minute lead.

Brennan increased the gap as he checked off the higher summits of the Mournes, including Northern Ireland’s high peak, Slieve Donard (860m), before the fast final 5k descent into the Donard Park finish line.  He crossed the line in 3:41:46, a new course record.  

Rob followed just over three minutes later, finishing in 3:44:57, a time that would have won the race any other year.  Local athlete Mark Stephens was a popular finisher – the Newcastle AC man claimed the final podium place in 4:03:18.

The ladies race was just as pulsating, if not more! Sophie Bubb burst into an early lead ahead of former Mourne Skyline MTR Champion Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC).  At one point, the Lymington Triathlon Club athlete had a seven minute lead on Shileen – at the furthermost section of the course (Fofanny Dam), the lead had reduced to five minutes.

On the gruelling return towards Donard Park, Shileen gradually hauled back the time and amazingly, on the final desce from Slieve Donard, the Northern Ireland international caught Sophie and a battle ensued, but in the end, the strong GB woman claimed a well-deserved victory, winning by twenty seven seconds.

Sophie broke the tape in 5:07:06 for top honours, with Shileen following in 5:07:33.  Sophie Grant (Beta Running), a podium finisher at the event in 2018, completed the top three in 5:17:24.

Full Results for the event are available HERE.

Images copyright by No Limits Photography

Looking ahead to 2020, we will hopefully announce the UK & Ireland Calendar, in full, come late November. You will already be aware that three events have already been announced and entries are open.

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Mourne Skyline MTR 2019 Preview

The 2019 Skyrunner UK & Ireland season concludes this coming weekend with the Mourne Skyline MTR. The race has grown to become a beacon of the UK & Ireland series, race directors, Ryan and Justin Maxwell have been with us from the very beginning and their sold out race is a flagship event.

A race is on for podium places in the Skyrunning UK & Ireland series for the top-10 places, the overall male and female champion was decided in Wales with Damien Gielty and Kasia  Ospiowicz gaining a lead that was not possible to relinquish in Northern Ireland.

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.

The coastal town of Newcastle hosts the start of the race and a short section of road leads into Donard Park via the promenade entrance and the ‘Granite Trail’ awaits for a long and relentless climb. Dundrum Bay is visible to the west, before a fast downhill section to a climb of the stony and challenging Glen River Path to the Col between Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh.

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.

Race director, Ryan Maxwell is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to racing and looking ahead to the weekend, he gave his thoughts:

“It is hard to look past Irish international, Nicola Duncan, if she is in form she is a great contender for the win!  However, local lady and current Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Champion, Esther Dickson will be worth watching – she knows the course well!

With Kasia racing the SkyMasters at Limone, Italy, Maggie Dempsey and Sophie Grant are distinct podium potential and Sophie, as the defending UK Series champion is the hot favourite. Shileen O’Kane also will race, the 2017 Mourne champion.”

For the men, Rob Sinclair is travelling from the UK to toe the line. Rob is a forced to be reckoned with and if conditions are favourable, Rob may not only win but has the potential for a new course record. Let’s not forget Paul Tierney too… earlier this year, Paul ran in incredible Wainwrights record – the Mourne somewhat shorter though.

“Reigning champion Brennan Townshend will for sure have a great race,” said Ryan. “ The final podium place will be closely contested between Martin Lynch and Jonny Steede if they both have good days. However, let’s not rule out Brian Furey and Robert Jones too.”

Latest news is available for runners HERE

Racing takes place on Saturday 19th at 0900, 35km with 3700m +

Race website HERE

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