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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Lakes Sky Ultra 2019 Preview

The 2019 Skyrunning Uk & Ireland National Series moves ahead at a pace in July with two races in close proximity, the Seven Sisters Skyline is precluded by this coming weekends LAKES SKY ULTRA.

 

New for 2019, Lake District Sky Trails bring us a revised event made up of 60km and a whopping 5000m of vertical gain for the second event in the UK & Ireland Series.

It’s a demanding race and one that requires competitors prove ability to take on a course that contains technical terrain and the infamous ‘Swirrals Edge!’

Starting and concluding in Patterdale, the route takes in a clockwise route of some of the Lakeland’s most iconic places that includes Winter Crag,  passing Angle Tarn, Blea Water before crossing the road at Kirkstone Pass. From here, the route goes to Ambleside and then upwards towards Hart Crag, Grisedale Tarn and then Nethermost Pike before then concluding back in Patterdale.

Charlie Sproson, the course creator says, ‘The Lakes Sky Ultra is officially the most extreme mountain running event in England.’

“You’ll need a good head for heights and nerves of steel. Runners are going to traverse three of the most amazing ridge-lines in the Lake District,’ says Sproson. ‘Beda Fell, remote and sublime, the bone shaking and very wild ridge of Long Stile Edge and the very alpine and rocky scramble of Swirral Edge.’

We’re talking serious ascent with some distance thrown in and this race is a seriously tough challenge for all those who toe the line.

New for ’19’ is the ‘KoM Super Stages’ – It’s a race within a race, and the prizes will go to the runners who can dig the deepest in the final fight to the finish in Patterdale.

Racing starts at 0600 on Saturday July 13th and the cut-off time is 2100. First runners are expected back in Patterdale around 1400 hrs.

In the ladies race, Sophie Grant will be one to watch after excellent performances in 2018. For the men, Marcis Gubats, Andy Berry, Andy Bryce are three of the key names and the possibility of Brennan Townsend toeing the line.

Race website HERE

Skyrunning UK & Ireland HERE

 

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NEW EVENT for 2020 – GAELFORCE SKY RUN

It gives Skyrunning UK great pleasure to announce a new addition to the 2020 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series with a new event in Ireland – The Gaelforce Sky Run.

The Gaelforce team are no strangers to adventure and are brilliant ambassadors for the outdoor and adventure sports in Ireland since 2006.

The Gaelforce Sky Run will take place in Connemara, County Galway in March 2020 bringing a well needed early start to the UK & Ireland calendar.  It is the perfect time of year to focus yourself for the year ahead. The after race experience in Ireland is unique, with traditional pints of Guinness in the local pub an essential part of the recovery!

This 22km course takes runners up the western sections of the iconic Maumturk Mountain Range. This is the Wild Atlantic Way in all its glory – wild and untamed mountains with virtually no trails and sweeping views of the coastline. It is a looped course, so no covering old ground. There are many testing climbs. Ever heard of the Col of despondency? You will get first-hand experience of this col and some fast descents down the valley as well as the final and most notable climb towards your final destination.

The land is working farmland, typical of the area, and access to these hill sheep farms is specially granted for this event. The rocky, boggy and varying terrain will test the most experienced racers.

  • Expect: 22km of challenging terrain with steep ascents and descents
  • Prepare: For rapidly changing weather patterns pushing in from the Atlantic Ocean
  • Achieve: An overall height gain of 1372m over 4 peaks
  • Enjoy: Vast panoramic views of Connemara, Killary Fjord and the offshore Atlantic islands.
  • Max Elevation 605M| Elevation Gain 1295M
  • CAT 1 Climb x 1| CAT 2 Climbx 1

The event first took place in 2015 and has grown in popularity over the years seeing more and more people graduate into mountain running. This race is attracting competitors from all over Europe with some high profile racers adding this race to their calendars. Team Salomon athlete Thibaut Baronian won the event in 2018 (second in Zegama -Alzkori this year to none other than Kilian Jornet).

Bridget Gavin from Gaelfocrce commented, “Gaelforce are delighted to be part of the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series and hope that it will highlight this style of running to more Irish runners as well as showcasing Ireland as a destination for mountain running.”

The prizes for the winners include cash prizes and unique bog oak trophies, crafted locally. All participants receive a finishers medal and the Gaelforce team pride themselves on a warm west of Ireland welcome to their home ground. Route creator Shane Young, an avid mountain runner, says “I have spent my life running up and down these mountains and truly believe that these mountains were not just put here to be admired from below. So, if someone ask why, the only real answer is why not”

For anyone who has never been to this part of the world before then you are in for a real treat as this part of Ireland is stunning and the mountains abundant.

It is also easily accessible from the UK with Ireland West airport 1 hour and 20 mins away. There are flights from many UK cities into this airport weekly.

The start/finish of the race is located at the Killary Adventure Centre on the shores of Killary Fjord. They have special accommodation deals on offer for anyone who wishes to stay in this spectacular area. Further accommodation options in the area can be found on the website.

Testimonials

“It’s 95% open mountains with steep slopes and super muddy sections you can really enjoy if it’s on your ass or just staying on your feet and letting go… “– Juju Jay from Mud Sweat and Runners

“I think this is the gem in all the events in the calendar – just you and the elements and a few other mad people who love running / plodding in the hills in the wind and the rain – even had the delights of snow on the route – no trails or tracks just nature in front of you… Easy registration, timings the minute you come over the line and the ever good Killary soup at the end. Thanks for organising!” – Sheila Kilduff Mountain Runner

Gaelforce Events Website HERE

Follow on the Skyrunning UK Facebook page HERE for entry details.

 

 

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Scafell Sky Race kicks off the 2019 SKYRUNNER UK & IRELAND Series

The SKYRUNNER UK & IRELAND Series 2019 kicks off June 8th with the well established and respected, SCAFELL SKY RACE, brought to you by Charlie Sproson of Lake District Sky Trails.

In 2018, the race was a UK qualifier for the skyrunning World Championships won by the incredible Jon Albon.
National Trust’s Stickle Barn over Lakeland Fells and through Lakeland Valleys, This ‘newly designed’ circular route allows participants to run stunning trail and they summit England’s highest mountain on route and traverse some of the most challenging trails in the central Lake District – 40km of technical single track and scree make this a classic skyrunning route to be reckoned with.
Scafell Sky Race is a serious test of nerve, skill and endurance with sections of scree and light scrambling. Runners need mountain skills and an ability to take on the challenge, runners are therefore vetted for race & mountain experience. Confidence to move solo across highly technical mountain terrain is essential.
An allocated 11 hours are provided for runners to complete the course, the first runners will expected in under 5!
The route:
A circular route taking in summits including Harrison Stickle, Pavey Ark, High Raise, Green Gable, Great Gable, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Esk Pike and Bowfell as you cover the 40km+ and 3500m of ascent in a horse-shoe loop from The Stickle Barn in Great Langdale. The course sweeps you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the central Lakes via the finest single-track paths in the region.
Saturday 8th June 2019
  • Safety Briefing: 07:00
  • Race start: 07:30
  • First finishers (estimated): 12:00
  • Seathwaite Feed Station cut-off: 12:00
  • Styhead Pass cut-off: 14:15
  • Course closes: 18:30
A list of participants is available here https://www.sientries.co.uk/list.php?event_id=5073
275 runner (42 women) will toe the line, keep an eye on:
  • Michael Jones
  • Jayson Cavill
  • Karl Zeiner
  • Brennan Townshend
  • Daniel Doherty
  • Jonny Steede
  • Lauren Woodwiss
  • Eva Wilkes
  • Marina Ranger
and many more…

Race website HERE

also by Lake District Sky Trails is LAKES SKY ULTRA in July 2019 HERE

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GARMIN MOURNE SKYLINE MOUNTAIN-TRAIL RACE 2019 OPENS FEB 14TH

The popular Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race is a 35k race, incorporating 3,370m (11,057ft) of accumulative ascent, set in the heart of the scenic Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.

The event, which is now going into its 6th year, will take place on Saturday 19th October 2019, starting at 9am.

Entries open on Thursday 14th February 2019 at 7am, via www.mourneskylinemtr.com

The race has reached capacity every year and in 2018 this happened in record time, after 5 hours and 25 minutes – early entry is therefore strongly advised!

The event has been part of the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series (governed by the International Skyrunning Federation) since its first running in 2014 and has attracted athletes from across the globe; there has also been some outstanding feedback attributed to the well-organised event:

“Watch this space as I reckon this race will become one of the best events in the UK, if not Europe, in years to come and it may not be too long before we see even more of the World’s running royalty gracing these inhospitable fells.”(Robbie Britton – IAAF 24-hour World Championship medallist and 2013 ‘UK ultra-runner of the year’).

The Mourne Skyline MTR starts and finishes in the seaside town of Newcastle, County Down, with competitors enjoying the magnificent scenery on what can only be described as an exceptionally tough but rewarding course.

“That is the hardest race I have ever done! Harder than Zegama Aizkorri it was just brutal. Relentless climbing, technical and with the wind it was just so hard! I loved it!”(Stevie Kremer – Skyrunner World Series Champion 2013 and 2014)

The route comprises mainly of epic mountain trail, forest paths, fire roads, single track grass and granite trail, with a small road section (approximately one mile) around the half way mark.

It covers 10 significant peaks, with the Slieve Donard (850m), Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, well-placed as the final challenge, prior to a super-fast 5k descent to the finish line in Donard Park.

There are generous prizes on offer for the front runners, with the top first three male and female athletes receiving cash prizes. In addition to this, there are also prizes for the male and female winners of the following categories: Vet35, Vet40, Vet45, Vet50, Vet55 and Vet60.

The male and female champions also receive a unique, hand-crafted winners medal designed and made by sponsors, The Steensons.  All participants receive an event t-shirt and finishers receive a prestigious professionally designed medal.

Race Director Ryan Maxwell spoke of his team’s excitement ahead of the 2019 event:

“Since we started the Mourne Skyline MTR in 2014, we have been truly humbled by the support we have received from fellow runners and mountain enthusiasts.  We are incredibly lucky to have a fantastic race team and its these people who have made the event the success that it has been. Looking ahead to 2019, we are excited to have finalised the race date, which will be Saturday 19thOctober 2019 (9am). We have also listened to feedback in terms of race entries opening and brought the date forward to St Valentines Day, Thursday 14thFebruary 2019 (7am). Our preparation for race day itself is well underway and we will strive to deliver the best edition of the event to date; as we do every year!”

We’ll leave the final word on the epic Mourne Skyline MTR to several high-profile athletes who have completed the event:

“This was a great finale to the whole (Skyrunning UK) Series. There was definitely an air of something special throughout the whole event: the entire field of runners was really friendly; the Mourne Skyline organisers were all really good, of course a huge thank you and respect to the marshal’s for helping point us in the right direction and enduring such strong winds. The course was well marked out all the way, especially where it mattered, which is no mean feat over such terrain. There is obviously a great local running community in such a friendly town, I will be putting this on the calendar for next year – and hopefully spend some more time out there exploring afterwards.” (Jayson Cavhill – Podium finisher at two of the Skyrunning UK Series events in 2014).

“At 35k with 3,370m of ascent this race was everything a Skyrace should be”(British Ultra Running Champion Jo Meek on the Mourne Skyline MTR).

Full details on the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race can be found on the official race website at www.mourneskylinemtr.com

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