Today, the Skyrunning UK Salomon Glen Coe Skyline well and truly cemented itself as one of the ‘must-do’ events not only in the UK but the world. At times, it has been a rocky road putting this event on. Not from an organisation point of view I must add but from negative publicity about inappropriate use of the mountains and of course the D A N G E R and the ‘risk-of-death’ that may occur.
Many Scottish papers said that the trails would be strewn with runners going fast and ruining the day of many a mountain lover. As predicted, the reality was far from the scare mongering of a select few.
Mountain lovers were on the mountains and you know what, they stopped, cheered, applauded and encouraged what (in their words) these ‘super humans’ were doing.
Skyrunning World and European Champion for the ultra distance, Emelie Forsberg won the ladies race and placed 2nd overall. Her performance was quite literally ‘off-the-scale.’ She relegated several of the UK’s top mountain runners to lower positions and post race she said:
Waow! Seriously the best race in this distance. Super technical ridges and gullies (think Trofeo Kima but no via ferrata!) some parts very runnable on nice but still tricky trails. Glen Coe I’m thrilled to have run this race. Thanks to your amazing organization. Even though it was hard all of the nature and the course made me go fast. Thanks all of you standing along the course, you made me feel so welcomed here!
It was a sentiment echoed by the recent Lakeland 50 runner, Jayson Cavill who placed 3rd man and 4th overall:
Oh my gosh I can’t believe it!! What an amazing race, I am too far gone to put into words just how totally nails that route was, technical descents that went on forever, long steeeeeep climbs that went on for even longer. Great climbing around the ridges and rock faces, I am so so chuffed I really feel like I got the best out of myself today – even if my legs were shot after the first 10 miles – it did hurt a lot! Such a great experience.
Scotland played ball today too. The previous day’s rain eased over night and the runners were greeted with a perfect day until just after midday. As predicted the cloud came in and with it showers but at this stage the runners just had one thing in mind; the finish.
In the early stages of the race, it was all going to script with Joe Symonds and Es Tressider dictating the pace and Emelie Forsberg holding a slender lead of the Berghaus Dragons Back winner, Jasmin Paris. Climbing Curved Ridge was for many, the highlight of the race. Coming just 6-miles into the race, it was a real brute to kick off what would be the UK’s most extreme mountain race. For those who don’t know, The Curved Ridge route ascended Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor) via the exposed Grade III scramble (a ‘Moderate’ graded rock climb).
What followed was a master class of pure Skyrunning by Joe and Emelie. They pushed the pace, extended the gap between the competition and when they entered the Aonach Eagach Ridge barring an accident, the race for the respective top slots was over. However, Joe was only 10-minutes ahead of Emelie… could she close the gap?
Yes! But only by a couple of minutes. Joe crossed the line in 7:36:21 and Emelie 7:44:19.
Mark Harris and Jayson Cavill finished 2nd and 3rd men after pre-race favourite Es Tressider tired over the final miles.
Jasmin Paris once again produced another top notch result placing 2nd behind Emelie and 5th overall in 7:54:29, just 10-minutes back from the Skyrunning World Champion. Sarah Ridgway rounded out the ladies’ podium in 9:21:44.
148 runner started the 1st edition of the Skyrunning UK Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and currently (at the time of writing) 24 have withdrawn from the race. This low drop out rate is a testament to the strict vetting procedure that was put in place by race director, Shane Ohly.
The buzz post race is one of adrenaline, stories and how the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is the hardest race they have ever done.
The stage is set. This race is set to become a beacon of Skyrunning, not only in the UK but worldwide. Expect great things for 2016!
Skyrunning UK is a growing series of races. Currently 6 races are in the UK calendar and the next race is the LAKES SKY ULTRA in the English lakes. Enter HERE
Joe Symonds 7:36:21
Mark Harris 7:44:51
Jayson Cavill 7:49:42
Emelie Forsberg 7:44:19 (2nd overall)
Jasmin Paris 7:54:29
Sarah Ridgway 9:21:44
RACE IMAGES AVALABLE HERE