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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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