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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SNOWDON SKYLINE 2019 SUMMARY

The weather didn’t play ball! Mist, clag, rain and the occasional burst of sun gave the 2019 Snowdon Skyline a very atmospheric edition.

But the weather did not dampen the spirits of the runners. Post-race, the talk was all about the incredible course and experienced skyrunner’s commenting how this route is now the pinnacle of skyrunning in the UK.

“I have done Glen Coe Skyline twice and while I don’t doubt that Curved Ridge and Aonach Eagach provide exposure and challenges, what is between is very much boggy fell running. Not here in Wales, the route is relentless, technical and hard. Tryfan and then the climb to Crib Goch and the traverse are just so special – this is an epic route, it will become a classic. It’s now the UK’s best race!”

That sentiment was echoed throughout the day as runners completed the figure of 8 course with 3160m of vertical gain in 36km.

Sarah Ridgeway climbing from Pen Y Pass

From the off, ascending the famous Snowdon Watkin path, Damien Gielty and Sarah Ridgeway, both pre-race favorites dictated the pace and before heading east to top out across the stunning Y Lliwedd ridge, the duo had convincing leads when at Pen y Pass road crossing. 

A steep ascent to the Glyders and plunging down the technical Y Gribin ridge to the Ogwen Valley only confirmed the strength of Damien and Sarah. Behind, the men’s race was taking shape with Mike Lelliott moving in to 2nd. Behind though, David Searle, Oliver Mitchell and Luke Roberts were in a tight battle.

Kasia ion Crib Goch

Kasia Osipowicz, Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series leader was in a strong 2nd place for the women, with Sally Fawcett, Catherine Evans and Alice Kerr chasing.

Sally Fawcett

Tryfan, with a north ridge scramble, then technical, rocky and undulating trails back to Pen y Pass provided an introduction to the final part of the loop. For many, it was a feared (respected) west-bound traverse of the iconic Crib Goch ridge before the South Ridge off Snowdon’s summit leading back to the start/ finish at Nant Gwynant.

Climbing the steep slopes to Crib Goch

At Crib Goch, both Damien and Sarah had opened up huge gaps and they would hold these all the way to the finish. The duo completing the course in a stunning 5:22:51 and 6:24:16 respectively. In the process, they both earned entry for the Skymaster’s invitation event at Limone, Italy, that will take place in October – the world’s best skyrunner’s all in one place!

Mike Lelliott placed 2nd for the men in 5:51:25 ahead of a hard fought battle for 3rd with David Searle pipping Oliver Mitchell, 6:09:47 to 6:10:41.

RACE PHOTOS HERE

Congratulations to this year’s women’s Top Three!

– First, in a staggering time of 6:24:15 was Sarah Ridgeway;
– Second in 7:29:17 was Kasia Osipowicz
– and in Third, Alice Kerr in a close 7:30:59

What an amazing performance by all three! Well done!

Exposure, technical and scrambling – a pure skyrunning route.

Results http://live.opentracking.co.uk/snowdonsky19/

The Snowdon Skyline course was designed by race director, Michael Jones, he knows how to create an incredible, un-compromised race route! The inaugural Snowdon Skyline was a sure test with a grand tour of some of the UK’s most scenic trails, ridges and scrambles.

It’s set to become a classic!

The mystery of Crib Goch

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Snowdon Skyline 2019 Preview

The penultimate race of the 2019 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series takes place this coming weekend with the inaugural SNOWDON SKYLINE.

Soaring ridges that includes the exposed arete of Crib Goch, Snowdon, Tryfan, Yr Wyddfa and the stunning majestic scenery of Wales makes this race a true highlight, especially when one considers that it is also the selection race for the SkyMasters that will take place in Lemone, Italy at the end of October.

The course starts and concludes at Hafod y Llan in the Gwynant Valley with a figure of 8 loop that crosses at Pen-y-Pass – a perfect spectator point as the race arrives here at mile 6 and once again at mile 15. This will allow you just enough time to race back to the finish and see the runners cross the line. At 36km with 3160m of vertical gain, Snowdon Skyline is going to be an epic race… Competitors have 12-hours to complete the route!

WOMEN

Sophie Grant, the 2018 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Champion will toe the line looking to gain maximum points and take her into the lead for the 2019 Series.

But Kasia Osipowicz will be looking to upset Sophie’s victory in the series so far, especially after her win in Ireland.

Sarah Ridgway, who knows this area like the back of her hand will be a hot contender for victory, especially as she holds the record for the Snowdon Horseshoe.

Lakeland 50 winner and GB athlete, Sally Fawcett will also race along with Elizabeth Richardson and Elizabeth Wheeler.

MEN

Damian Gielty heads up the men’s race after placing first at Scafell SkyRace and recently at Seven Sisters Skyline. If Damian wins in Wales he will have a maximum 300-points.

Jayson Cavill placed 2nd at Scafell, so, we know he can give Damian a race…. However, Jayson would need to compete at the last race of the series if he wants to compete for the UK & Ireland Series.

Liam Mills, Marcin Drozdziok, Mathew Fortes, Dan Murdoch and Javier Rodriguez from Spain will all push the front of the race. 

Let’s not forget one or two surprises entrants who will no doubt shake things up!

Racing starts at 0800 on Sunday 15th September. Please also remember, there is a talk on the Saturday evening at 1800hrs with Beth Pascall and others. Beth is arguably the UK’s greatest ultra-runner after a string of consistent results. In 2019, she placed top-5 at the iconic Western States and UTMB. Tom Evans was billed to join the talk, however, he is currently injured and in rehab.

Race website : https://apexrunning.co/events/snowdon-skyline

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2019 Ranking Update after Three Races

The third race in the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series took place at the end of July, read the summary HERE.

Ireland and the Seven Sisters Skyline proved to a be a stunning race and a great addition to the 2019 calendar.

Three races down in the 2019 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series and now the competition is hotting up at the front.

Kasia Osipowicz has completed 3/3 with 2 second places and now a victory. She leads the ranking with 260 points. Sophie Grant and Jo Stevenson each have 100 points and they rank joint second. We know that Sophie will race the final two races in the calendar, so, it will be a battle for the 2019 overall champion. It’s all to fight for!

Damien Gielty now has two victories from two participations and leads with 200 points. Jonny Steede has 6th place and 2nd place providing 128 points for second and third is Adam Quinn after placing 5th twice.
IMPORTANTLY – if you are ranked in the M top-20 / F top-10 and are in contention for the overall series, Skyrunning UK will facilitate your entries to Snowdon Skyline and the Mourne Skyline so that you have three races – please email using the form below.
*Please note, you must run three races at least to qualify for the series ranking. If for example you run all five races, the best 3 ranked races count.

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Seven Sisters Skyline 2019 – Third Race in the Skyrunner UK and Ireland Series

The Skyrunner UK & Ireland  2019 Series moves to Ireland for the first time with the third race, the Seven Sisters Skyline.

Regarded as Ireland’s toughest marathon, the first edition took place in 2018. With 3700m of ascent with lots of soft ground, heathery bog, loose rock and scree, this is no easy challenge. With little or no tracks on the course, apart from North side of Muckish Mountain, and the higher part of Errigal Mountain the route is challenging with some technical sections.

An out and back course going from one peak to the next (13 in total). The current course record 5:59 set by Shaun Stewart and 7:42 for Gillian Wasson.

Excel Sports and race director, Eunan Quinn look forward to welcoming everyone to Ireland’s first Skyline event in Donegal. The race has competitors represented from 12 different countries, with many visiting Ireland for the first time.!

“We have some slight changes from last year,” says Quinn. “The event sees course is now 50km and packs a massive 4,000m of ascent. Spectacular open mountains, isolated, un-spoilt, and runners will see 40 shades of green along the way!”

Gillian Wasson will be back to defend her title from last year, but unfortunately Shaun Stewart is out with a broken collar bone. Kasia Osipowicz will race her third race of the series and will look to set a commanding lead in the National Series. In the men’s race Damien Gielty is entered and could see him take the overall lead in the men’s National series with 2 races remaining after this weekend.

Current UK & Ireland ranking HERE

Race Website HERE

Skyrunning UK Facebook page HERE

Next race in the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series is SNOWDON SKYLINE get your entries in now to ensure you have three qualifying races for the 2019 Series HERE.

Importantly, if you are currently ranked top-20 in the male category or top-10 in the female category, it may be possible to facilitate entry for the final race of the series in the Mournes – certain conditions will apply.

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2019 RANKING UPDATE

After two races in the 2019 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series, it’s all to fight for and importantly, runners need to enter multiple races not only to accumulate points but rank for the 2019 National Series.

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Kasia is showing great consistency for the women with two races and two second places. That is 160 points! 2018 champion, Sophie Grant opened her 2019 campaign with a win at LSU and maximum points. Equally, Jo Stevenson has 10pts from Scafell, so, we have joint second place. 

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For the men, currently, Andy Bryce and Damien Gielty lead the ranking with 100pts each. But the series is wide open with no man having run two races yet!

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Seven Sisters Skyline is the next race on the calendar and this is going to prove pivotal for the overall ranking!

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Don’t miss out Skyrunner’s, the 2019 National Title is wide open.

Continue reading

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Lakes Sky Ultra 2019 Summary

Andy Bryce and Sophie Grant gave two dominant performances on the newly revised Lakes Sky Ultra 2019, the second race in the 2019 Skyrunning UK & Ireland Series. Starting and concluding in Patterdale, the duo covered the 60km route with over 5000m of vertical gain in 8:46:18 and 10:27:07.

The route encompasses the best of the north eastern Lakes with a circular route that encompasses Lakeland highlights that included Place Fell, Beda Fell, High Street, Thornthwaite Crag, Stoney Cove Pike, St Raven’s Edge, Red Screes, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn with some of the most remote valleys in the area dropped in for good measure.

Starting at 0600 under cloudy skies, the heat and humidity of the day was masked, but it soon became apparent that it was going to be essential for all runners to keep on top of their hydration.

Andy Berry dictated the early pace up to place fell but all the main contenders were in close proximity and it was only when runners crossed Kirkstone Pass and started the climb of Red Screes that the main protagonists became apparent.

It was here that Andy Bryce showed that he was on a good day opening up a gap on the chasers of Philip Rutter, Andy Berry, Liam Mills, Marco Costelo and Simon Darmody.

For the women, Sophie Grant was already opening a huge gap over Kasia Osipowicz and make a dent on the overall top-10. Hanna Walsh running in 3rd was a long way back pacing herself for the tough challenges ahead.

Ambleside provided a major checkpoint for the long climb up to Fairfield, the decent to Grizedale Tarn and then the climb to Helvellyn and the technical descent down Swirral Edge.

The front of the race looked set with Bryce looking strong, but Rutter was moving quicker and one wondered would the final tough 20% of the race bring a change at the front? At the line, no! Bryce held on for victory beating Rutter 8:46:18 to 8:49:05. Berry ran a solid and consistent day having lead from the front with a 3rd place in 8:57:03.

Grant was head and shoulders above the competition and crossed the line for the women in 10:27:07 and placed 8th overall. Osipowicz placed 2nd in 11:06:40 and also made the top-20 overall. Third placed woman was Hanna Walsh in 13:43:55.

Full results HERE

Follow Skyrunning UK & Ireland HERE

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