Lake District Sky Trails hosted 2 sky races this weekend, one in the Ultra category and one in the Extreme. Both races had small fields, undoubtedly due to the difficulty in training for such hard races over the past 12 months.
Lakes Sky Ultra 2021:
Saturday 10th July saw the 6th edition of the Lakes Sky Ultra take place.
Runners from 7 nations took part in the race that takes in 55km with 4300m of vert over trails and technical ridgelines in the Eastern and Central Lake District.
Conditions in the morning were light mist and banks of cloud drifting in and out with sunshine and then humidity raising the temps into the afternoon for some heavy burst of rain to cool things down.
The course takes in 5 major ridge lines over very technical ground with ‘hands on rock’ needed in many places.
In the men’s race Simon Roberts pushed hard from the start and with taking 3rd place at the recent Scafell Sky Race, he retained his lead throughout over Andy Bryce, who won the 2019 race, putting 38 minutes between himself and 2nd place. Simon finished in a time of 06:50:28. Andy Bryce took the 2nd place in 07:28:35. Casper Kaars Sijpesteijn came in the 3rd place after taking Beau Smith from Voom Nutrition, the main sponsors of the event, a few km’s from the end of the race.
In the women’s race Holly Wotten dominated the lead for the whole race taking the coveted trophy and first place in a time of 09:58:02, with Deirdre Galvin of Ireland taking the 2nd place in 10:37:20 and 3rd place went to Faith Dalgaty in a time of 11:54:00, just scraping inside the cut off. Overall Holly finished 13th, Deirdre took the 19th place and Faith finishing in 30th place.
Pinnacle Ridge Extreme 2021:
Extreme by name and extreme by nature, the PRE attracts a niche field of mountaineers, alpinists and extreme skyrunners, dubbed as mini Glencoe Skyline by one of the entrants, Paul Cornforth of Kong Adventure in Keswick said “it was incredible, like a mini Glen Coe Skyline”
47 extreme skyrunners from 7 nations set off at 10am on Saturday the 10th to battle out the first ascent to Sticks Pass and down to Stannah Hall until they hit the first grade II scramble, Stepped Ridge, on Brown Cove Crags.
Alistair Todd took the lead to Brown Cove Crags, but then retired himself at the Hole in the Wall checkpoint after not feeling right on the extreme terrain, Harry Kingston, who had been in 2nd place then naturally took the lead and held onto it through Swirral and Striding Edges, opening the gap on the descent through Eagle Crag and ascent to Pinnacle Ridge. With near perfect conditions Harry stormed across the finish line in a explosive time of 03:58:28, just missing Rob Sinclair’s awesome record which is – 03:57:02 – by 00:01:26. Jayson Cavill had a cracking race in 2nd place and finished in 04:17:38, with local runner Matt Reedy taking the 3rd place in 04:25:19, not far behind the 2nd place.
The Ladies race was led and won by Kristina Alzulaite, who looked strong throughout and cruised over the finish line looking all too fresh in an awesome time of 05:30:02, setting a new course record in the process. On being asked about what she thought of the race she announced it was her first sky race! 2nd place was taken by Danielle Ledbury who also ran an very strong race, completing the course in 05:43:31 also finishing inside Ursula Moore’s record from 2019 which was 05:45:13. The ladies 3rd place went to Lenka Wiedenova, completing the course in 06:10:28. Overall Kristina was 13th, Danielle came 17th and Lenka was 22nd in a strong field of male runners.
Now all eyes turn to the Snowdon Skyline and Mourne Skyline, both at the start of October taking place in Wales and Northern Ireland respectively, with their dates clashing slightly due to the crazy year we have experienced.
Happy training to all those who have entered!