Excel Sports are hosts to Ireland’s first skyrunning event

Excel Sports are hosts to Ireland’s first skyrunning event, and are delighted to be part of the Skyrunner UK & Ireland 2019 National series.

The event is being held in Donegal, the most Northerly county on the island of Ireland…. But still only 3 hours from Dublin, and 2 hours from Belfast.

Donegal is a mystical, magical place, which boasts wild rugged unspoilt landscapes, and an incredible coastline with some of the most spectacular views in Europe. Donegal was voted ‘Coolest place on the planet’ by National Geographic in 2017, and for good reason….

Journeying Northwest along sleepy roads that cut and curve through the Gaeltacht, an area where the Donegal Irish dialect still flourishes, brings you to the village of Dunlewey, host of the Seven Sisters Skyline 2019. Dunlewey is a small Gaeltacht village in the Gweedore area of Donegal, situated at the foot of Mount Errigal, which is the highest mountain in Donegal.

Also known as the Derryveagh Mountains, the 7 sisters frame a valley that wouldn’t be out of place in JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”!!

The Derryveagh mountains are the major mountain range in Donegal. Commonly known as the “Seven Sisters”, each of the seven mountains have their own gaelic names of Errigal (751 m), Mackoght a.k.a. Little Errigal (555 m), Aghla More (584 m), Ardloughnabrackbaddy (603 m), Aghla Beg (564 m), Crocknalaragagh (471 m) and Muckish (666 m). What these mountains may lack in Altitude, I guarantee you they more than make up with their Attitude !!

2019 will see competitors gather in picturesque Dunlewey, Co. Donegal, where they will take in magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean, and surrounding Counties for the Seven Sisters Skyline 50k. 

Race director Eunan Quinn created the Seven Sisters Mountain Marathon in 2018, an event which he felt needed to be added to the Endurance Calendar in Ireland, and the event didn’t dissapoint !! Regarded as one of the toughest runs in Ireland by competitors, with a winning time of 6 hrs for male winner, 7 hrs 41 for female winner it tested the strength, endurance and characters of all who participated.

TESTIMONIALS

“TOUGH, TOUGH course (and I only did the half) in a stunningly beautiful part of the world. This event is not for the faint hearted and not to be entered lightly. Superbly organised with a tricky course immaculately signposted. Eunan and his team have thought of everything in the planning and execution of the event, and really allow you to relax and focus on surviving the sufferfest!!!

John Peto

“Thanks to Eunan and all who organised such a brilliant event. The marathon had a bit of everything from rocky parts, boggy trails, with tough climbs and rough descents. An absolutely great open mountain race with a wonderful downhill finish. LOVED IT!!!!”

Nicola Cleary

“Highly recommended but not for casual runners. Rough, tough route but really enjoyed it as i’m a bit mad anyway!! Preparation from the organisers was first class as were the check points. Will definitely be back !!!

Brian Rodgers 

“ By far the toughest event I have ever done!!! I really thought going up Errigal that I wouldn’t make it to the finish line. From the start of the race it was a challenge as visibility on the day was only a few feet, which made this challenging both physically and mentally, but the course was superbly marked with red flags. Looking forward to next year, where hopefully the weather will allow us to experience the amazing views”

Gillian Wasson – 2018 Seven Sisters Female Champion.

Seven Sisters Skyline Route / Course details.

The 50k Skyline is an out and back course doing all peaks twice, except for the mighty Errigal.

The course is unique in that there is little or no defined path for most of the course – just wild open mountain, soft boggy heathery ground, and rock and scree on the technical sections.

The route begins at the foot of Errigal. A short run on heathery ground to the first small technical section to Mackoght, which will give competitors a taste of what’s to come later on the course on this rocky scrambling section. A descent off Mackoght and onto a track for a fast section to drop down to Altan castle, and a short run across the beach at Lough Altan. The first big test awaits competitors as they will ascend 450m in 2k to Aghla More, a grass / heather steep wall to the summit, then across to Aghla Beag on soft bog, and once on top of Aghla Beag a steep descent into the valley. A running section until competitors drop down to a 1k road section at the base of Muckish, across ‘the bridge of tears’ into Muckish quarry and the first big technical test on the course. A tough scramble to top of Muckish, and hairy descent on the miner’s path to turnaround checkpoint.

Competitors will ascend the miners path, descend Muckish on the traditional route, cross the road and back into the wilds toward the Aghlas. Here competitors will be totally isolated, with no one except fellow runners for the next 12km. On approaching the Aghla’s competitors will face locally known as ‘heart attack hill’ a grass wall, and this is where the top competitors will know they are in a race.

Across the Aghla’s, a steep descent off Aghla More and onto Mackoght. A steep technical descent off Mackoght, around to the North side of Errigal for a massive technical climb to summit Donegal’s highest mountain and last peak. Down the south side of Errigal, crossing the road toward Dunlewey estate, and a final push around the lake toward the finish line.

It’s truly an EPIC course that will test all competitors to their limits both physically and mentally.

Since announcing the Seven Sisters as a Skyline event for 2019, interest has peaked both nationally and internationally, with competitors from various countries already having signed up. This is an event not to be missed !!

Join us on July 28 to earn the accolade of saying you competed in Ireland’s first Skyline event in“the coolest place on the planet”.

Register at: http://www.njuko.net/sevensisters

 

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Scafell Sky Race 2019- The SSR has grown up!

 

40km with 3500m ascent | June 8th 2019 | Based in Great Langdale 

ENTER THE RACE HERE

Scafell Sky Race was the UK National Team qualifying race for the Skyrunning World Championships 2018, based in Scotland at the Skyline Scotland events.

The SSR has grown up! Splitting the race away from its Big Sister is going to allow the SSR to spread its wings and really fly.

Attended by some of the worlds best mountain/sky runners already, the SSR has a big following and with its new circular route it’s going to get even bigger and better.

40km of mountain terrain and 3500m ascent/decent: Scafell Sky Race is played out on technical, single-track trails from start to finish. It’s a Lake District journey that will test the speed and endurance of experienced and aspiring mountain runners.

A word from the race creator and director, Charlie S:“We always wanted to start the SSR in a ‘Mountain Environment’ and 2018 we managed it with a great start at the Glaramara Centre in Borrowdale, however we knew the coach journey wasn’t for everyone and the second half was somewhat lacking. It was rolling and sublime, a real test of legs after the first half, but not our Number 1 route choice. Now with the start in the true centre of the English Lake District, the valley of Great Langdale, we can host a circular route containing all the best bits and a few more corkers to add in there. This is truly an epic mountain race, starting in a truly epic location, passing many historical Lakeland mountaineering features/locations along the route, tying the race in with REAL Lakeland history”

Lets check out the all NEW Scafell Sky Race circular route.

Starting at the National Trusts Stickle Barn, right in the heart of the UNESCO status English Lake District, the route heads directly up the first mountain of the day, Harrison Stickle. This section used to be just after the Mid-Way Food Station, but now its BANG, straight into the first 650m climb, something to really get your teeth into and with some mild scrambling and exposed situations on route to the summit, it’s a real eye opener into what’s about to come.  The route now drops to Stickle Tarn and loops round the back of the epic Pavey Ark, one of Lakelands biggest rock faces, and heads over sublime high mountain moorland terrain to drop you into the head of Borrowdale and the start of the original route. Seathwaite Farm is where it all began in 2016 and this is where your ONLY ‘Food Station’ will be, so time to fill up on water and calories!

Now the epic route really begins with the classic and scrambly ascent of Sour Milk Ghyll, the tranquility of Gillercomb and the long ascent to the summit of Green Gable. Dropping from here down scree ridden paths, a traverse around Great Gable is now made on the highly technical and extreme single track that waists this domed summit, to take you past the birthplace of British Rock Climbing, Napes Needle. Expect easy un-graded scrambling on route with plenty of jaw dropping views and experiences on route.

©_Paul_Wildman_Mitchell

The race route continues now on very technical ground, ascending what is known as ‘The Corridor Route’ to the summit of England, Scafell Pike at 984m, expect boulders strewn around like a battlefield, technical ground, ungraded rock scrambling and extremely absorbing skyrunning. We stay high level now, ticking off summits along the way to Bowfell, the giant at the head of Great Langdale, the end is now in sight, but the fun certainly isn’t over yet. Dropping from the summit you descend into the Great Slab section before dropping into the ‘Climbers Traverse’ and on your final journey to ‘The Band’ to descend into Great Langdale and back to the final technical but low level track and of course your glory finish!

It might sound reasonable, maybe easy in some runner’s ears, but make no mistake’s, the second half of the route will chew you up and spit you out unless you have been eating mountain trails for breakfast. There are mountain trails and then there are ‘Mountain Trails’ on the Scafell Sky Race!

The first Sky Race in the “Skyrunner® UK • Ireland 2019 National Series”and we’re extremely confident it will blow your mind, body and soul right into the spirit of how the series will continue for 2019.

The organisers of the race have everything under control up there for you, using a team of highly skilled race coordinators operating a safety team making on the spot decisions should the weather conditions change on route. For this reason and the lack of ‘Graded Scrambling’ the LDST Team have decided on a non-vetted entry allowing everyone to take part…. But remember, don’t expect to be able to step off the roads and onto this race, it might not be vetted, there might not be graded scrambling, but it’s a very extreme 40km in the mountains with 3500m+ of ascent, just to check your legs are working!

Some comments from past competitors:

“The Scafell Sky Race is the most technical race I’ve ever done … even tougher than Tromso!” Lucy Bartholomew, 2017.

 

“The terrain and technical difficulty of the route was absolutely superb. I’ve been searching for something with this level of technical difficult and exposure and I will certainly be back! Hats off to the route planner!” – Michael Lucas, 2018

 

“Brilliant event. Brilliant organisation.” – Paul Molyneux, 2018

 

“The marshalls were all absolutely outstanding. So supportive and enthusiastic. They make the event.” Jonathan, 2018

 

“Awesome race across some incredibly picturesque country! Well marked course with fun obstacles, halfway watermelon snacks (amoung others) and well placed water stations. Had a smile on my face the whole way, great vibes all around!” – Joey Platts, 2018

 

“No other race has ever made me whoop and grin as much – the course is beautifully technical and is full of great little route-choice surprises. It has a bit of everything, from the best single-tracks I’ve ever run (honestly, the best!) to the lung-busting climbs, the rough steep descents, boulder hopping, scree-sliding, scrambling a little and then the lovely rolling mid-fell sheep tracks that make you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere for hours! I can’t recommend this race highly enough” – Lianna Bell, 2017

 

ENTER THE RACE HERE

©_Paul_Wildman_Mitchell

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WIN! A free place in one of the 2019 Skyrunner ® UK & IRELAND

Following on from the announcement of the 2019 Skyrunner ® UK & IRELAND calendar (HERE) Skyrunning UK is pleased to offer the chance for one man and one woman to win a place in one of the five races in four stunning locations that make up the 2019 series.

The 2019 calendar is all about participation and taking part in at least three races so that oner is able to compete in the overall series (a minimum three races are required).

Therefore, between December 7th 2018 and March 7th 2019 – enter three races, complete the form below, confirming which races you have entered and your name will be put into a hat and two winners will be announced on March 11th 2019.

The winner will gain free entry into a race of their choice from the 2019 calendar.

The Races

Scafell Sky Race on June 8th 

Enter HERE

Lakes Sky Ultra on July 13th

Enter HERE

Seven Sisters Skyline on July 28th

Enter HERE

Snowdon Skyline on September 15th

Enter HERE

Mourne Skyline MTR on October 19th (tbc)

Enter HERE

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Please complete the form below and submit your entry.

YOU MUST HAVE ENTERED THREE RACES IN 2019 AND CONFIRM BY CHECKING THE RELEVANT BOXES BELOW.

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Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce the 2019 Skyrunner ® UK & IRELAND calendar.

Following on from the continued growth of skyrunning worldwide and the expansion of the Skyrunner ® World Series– Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce five races in four stunning locations that bring you the best of what the UK and Ireland has to offer.

The Races

The season will start in the iconic English Lakes with the Scafell Sky Race on June 8th.

Technical single-track and scree to 40m slab make this a classic 40km skyrunning route to be reckoned with. The circular ‘newly designed’ route allows you to run from the iconic National Trust’s Stickle Barn over Lakeland Fells and through Lakeland Valleys, whilst you summit England’s highest mountain on route and traverse some of the most challenging trails in the central Lake District.

“The Scafell Sky Race is the most technical race I’ve ever done … even tougher than Tromso! Emelie Forsberg would love it!”Lucy Bartholomew.

With sections of scree and light scrambling thrown in, Scafell Sky Race is a serious test of nerve, skill and endurance. Mountain experience and moving solo across highly technical mountain terrain is an essential skill for this classic skyrunning race. 

Enter HERE

*****

The second race of the season also takes place in the English Lakes, Lakes Sky Ultra on July 13th.

You’ll need a good head for heights and nerves of steel: you’re going to traverse three of the most amazing ridge-lines in the Lake District: 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, 60km of Lake District paths, trails and rock with 5’000m ascent. 

We packed all the best central and eastern-Lake District mountain running trails we know into this course: you’ll go up and over 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. It’s an epic day out to say the least.

And just as you think you can make the whole distance, we’ve added some new KoM Super Stages in to spice it all up. This year we will be combining the times for a real up-hill extravaganza, so remember to train ‘hill reps’ galore. It’s a race within a race, and the prizes will go to the runners who can dig the deepest in the final flight to the finish. 

Enter HERE

*****

Ireland brings us a new race and experience for the ever-expanding calendar with the Seven Sisters Skyline on July 28th. 

Dunlewey officially known by its Irish name Dun Luiche is a small Gaeltacht village in the Gweedore area of County Donegal, North West Ireland, now host to the InauguralSeven Sisters Skyline. The Seven Sisters are the seven high peaks of the Derryveagh mountains. From southwest to northeast they are as follows, Errigal (751 m), Mackoght a.ka. Little Errigal (555 m), Aghla More (584 m), Ardloughnabrackbaddy (603 m),Aghla Beg (564 m), Crocknalaragagh (471 m)and Muckish (666 m).

The course is an out and back route which traverses 13 summits in total (Errigal once). The course is unique in that there are little or no tracks or paths, just wild open isolated mountains and hillsides. This stunning skyrunning race route incorporates technical sections on either side of the route at Muckish and Errigal mountains.

Scrambling, ridge running, steep technical descents and ascents and a multitude of mixed terrain makes the 50km Seven Sisters Skyline with 4000m of vertical gain a great addition to the 2019 Skyrunner ® UK & IRELAND calendar.

Enter HERE

*****

Our fourth race is another new addition to the calendar and we once again welcome Wales in the Skyrunner ® UK & IRELANDcalendar with the stunning Snowdon Skyline on September 15th.

The event where the sky isn’t the limit, it’s where the fun begins! Nestled in the quiet valley of Nant Gwynant in Snowdonia, Hafod y Llan farm will play host to the inaugural Snowdon Skyline.

The 40km Skyline Sky Race gets stuck straight into its 3600m+ right away by ascending the famous Snowdon Watkin path to then traverse the stunning Y Lliwedd ridge. After Pen y Pass road crossing, a second sizeable ascent to the gnarly terrain of the Glyders awaits, before plunging down the Y Gribin ridge to the Ogwen Valley.

The course offers little respite as it immediately ascends the iconic Tryfan via its sublime north ridge scramble, weaving upwards through rocky outcrops and gullies on route to the summit. A technical descent followed by some lovely undulating trails back to Pen y Pass and runners are nearly ready to finish this unrelenting figure of eight route. The jewel in the crown is a westbound traverse of the infamous Crib Goch ridge, followed by a delightful run off Snowdon summit via its south ridge. A sting in the tail comes in the form of the last summit of Y Garn, before a final descent home to Nant Gwynant.

With a course designed by a race director and skyrunner, the inaugural Snowdon Skyline will be sure to test all limits of a runner’s ability! A grand tour of some of the UK’s most scenic trails, ridges and scrambles, it’s a dead cert to become an international skyrunning classic…

Enter HERE

*****

The 2019 Skyrunner ® UK & IRELANDcalendar concludes with well-established and sell out race, the Mourne Skyline MTR – currently it has a scheduled date of October 19th (land permissions allowing tbc)

The Mourne Mountains are a granite mountain range in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland. Owned by the National Trust, 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.

Among the more famous features, the Mourne Wall is a key element of this region and a key aspect of the race. Construction of the wall was started in 1904 and was completed in 1922; its purpose, to define the boundary of an area of land purchased by the Belfast Water Commission.

Comprised of forest path, fire roads, single track, granite trail and tough uneven broken fell, the race is a tough challenge. In just 35km the course has a brutal 3370m of ascent and no less than 9 peaks, the highest being Slieve Donard at 850m.

The mountains of Northern Ireland may not have the height or elevation gain the Alps or Pyrenees offer, but what they lack in height is more than compensated for in technicality and repeated roller coaster climbing. Ask anyone who has run it, the Mourne Skyline MTR is no easy race.

Enter HERE

*****

The Series

The Skyrunner ® UK & IRELANDseries is combined of five races and to be the best-of-the-best, runners must take part in at least three races. Points are awarded based on results and the male and female runner with the most points will be crowned as the Skyrunner ® UK & IRELANDchampion of 2019.

A Skyrunning World Ranking is a rolling 52-week ranking based on all the points awarded to the athletes from his/her participation in: Skyrunner® World Series races, Skyrunner National Series, Skyrunning World Championships and Skyrunning Continental Championships.

Importantly, from 2019, the Skyrunner® World Seriesseason will end with a Sky Mastersrace gathering only the best athletes who qualified over the season. SMSA offers to Skyrunner® National Series Skyrunner ® UK & IRELAND qualifying paths. 

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CONTACT SKYRUNNING UK

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Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2017

It was an epic day in Northern Ireland as the 2017 Skyrunning UK Series concluded at the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR.

Misty skies, gale force winds, mud, rain, relentless climbing, technical terrain and an incredible field of runners made the 2017 Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR a tough one! Now in it’s 4th edition, the race has over the years been known for its tough conditions, many said, post race, this tear was the toughest!

Concluding Skyrunning UK’s 2017 calendar, the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR really was a fitting end to what has been an incredible year. The course, organisation and the field of runners made this a special and unforgettable day in the mountains.

The addition of Ian Bailey, a previous champion of the race, it was always going to be a quick race up at the front, especially with Seamus Lynch toeing the line. In the early stages it was Lynch who lead the duo but with half the race covered, Bailey took the reigns at the front and never looked back forging a convincing lead. At the finish, Bailey crossed in 3:57:18, just over 10-minutes ahead of Lynch.

It was another 5-minutes before Ryan Stewart arrived rounding out the top-3.

In the ladies race, Shileen O’Kane would bring local knowledge, fell running experience and being a participant in the last three editions, this would no doubt provide and advantage? It did! O’Kane pushed from the front throughout the race but she was constantly shadowed by Megan Wilson. The duo traded blows and on the climb to Donnard, it looked like Wilson may take the lead… O’Kane kicked though and descended to the finish line with almost a 4-minute margin over the Dark Peak fell runner, 4:56:43 to 5:00:09. Catherine Forsythe was the 3rd lady, crossing the line in 5:40:26.

The 2017 Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR once again established itself as a must-do race. The combination of location, local infrastructure, great organisation, enthusiastic locals and a brutal course will guarantee that demand will be high for the 2018 edition.

Covering 35km and a total elevation gain of 3370m, the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR is everything a Skyrunning race should be.

Full Results HERE

Many congratulations to the 2017 Skyrunning UK Champions

Kirsty-Jane Birch and Tim Campion-Smith

They receive free entry into all 2018 Skyrunning UK races and the option to attend a Skyrunner World Series race from the 2018 calendar.

Rankings:

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Greatest mountain runners in the world head to Scotland

The greatest mountain runners in the world head to Scotland for the final race of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series EXTREME category, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™.

The rise of the 55km Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ has defied all expectations, as the third edition of the event approaches on Sunday 17th September. The race has become the global flagship event for extreme mountain running, and this year the weekend of racing has grown to include three other world-class events that have attracted over 1,500 participants from 30+ countries.

Read an in-depth PREVIEW of the racing HERE


Undoubtedly the UK’s most prestigious mountain running event, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ is one of only three EXTREME rated Skyrunner® World Series races globally, and has attracted the undisputed world number one, Kilian Jornet, to race in the UK for the first time.

Jornet, a Spanish trail runner and ski-mountaineer is considered the best endurance athlete on the planet. Kilian said, “I have heard about Glen Coe since the first year Emelie ran and she just said, ‘you must go there’. The technical ridges and the culture of mountain running in Britain really attracts me to run Glen Coe and I can’t wait to the moment of being here!”

Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ is renowned for its technical, exposed, and rough terrain, and Jornet is known for his daredevil approach to exposed ridges; surely, it’s a match made in heaven? He will almost certainly be considered the favourite at the event this September in the Scottish Highlands.

The women’s race has also attracted the world’s best: Emelie Forsberg, winner of the inaugural event in 2015, and former ULTRA Skyrunner® World Series champion is returning, “I’m very happy to go back to Glen Coe as it was one of the coolest races I’ve ever done and in a very beautiful area of the world and with a superb organisation”.

The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ is part of the Salomon Skyline Scotland™ weekend of races based in Kinlochleven in the Scottish Highlands. In another world first, there will be two other Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series races held on Saturday 16th that include the monstrous 120km Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™, and the (relatively) more amenable 29km Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™. These races are proceeded by a lung-busting Vertical Kilometer® format race on the Friday afternoon, which sees participants racing from near sea level to the summit of Na Gruagaichean (1056m) in the Salomon Mamores VK™, which is the UK’s first and only VK.


Race Director Shane Ohly said, “This year’s event is set to break all the records again with a huge number of participants and spectators expected in Lochaber”. Part of the successful formula for the event has been that the organisers have gone out of their way to welcome the friends and family of the participants and involve the local community. Shane Ohly continued, “We have engaged with the local community via the Kinlochleven Community Trust to ensure that we bring the local community with us. All the competitors carry GPS trackers during the race, so it will be possible to follow all the action live through the event website. There will also be a huge truck-mounted screen at the Ice Factor Event Village with commentary, tracking and live footage from the course for spectators. There will be a huge buzz and a warm welcome at the Ice Factor where most of the races start and finish”.

The 2017 Salomon Skyline Scotland is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “Not for the faint hearted, this event attracts some of the world’s best athletes to compete in this iconic Scottish location.  Event Scotland is proud to support this extreme event which certainly showcases Scotland and its rugged mountains at their very best, proving once again that Scotland is the perfect stage for events.”

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Lakes Sky Ultra 2017 Report and Images

The third Lakes Sky Ultra demonstrated both the international appeal of skyrunning – and the allure of the Lake District – with runners representing South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Netherlands, Ireland, France, the US and Belgium arriving in Ambleside. A film crew and several photographers attended the race, one travelling from Spain to do so.

LSU started at 7am, on Saturday 16 July, in challenging conditions for the elect group of runners – 21 of which were female. Drizzle, rain and low, heavy cloud made the technical course slippery on rock, grass and mud.  Race organisers Mountain Run Events faced an additional test when in the morning it was discovered the rope needed to make Pinnacle Ridge safe for runners was missing. Competitors were still able to traverse the exposed, technical, Grade 3 ridge, but had to skip a more demanding corner of it.  2016 Skyrunning UK champion Bjorn Verduijn (NER) set the early pace, with Andy Bryce (GBR) and Andy Berry (GBR), who recorded the second-fastest-ever winter Bob Graham Round this January, in pursuit.

In the women’s race, Lauren Woodwiss (GBR) created an early advantage on pre-race favourites Catherine Slater (GBR) and Jacqueline Toal (IRL). The first half of the course includes around two-thirds of the 4,500m of ascent and the majority of the technical ridge running, with the second half being faster, more runnable terrain. Though the weather eased for a while, there were reports of “20km of horizontal rain” from some runners There were plenty of tired but happy faces at Patterdale, the main check point, where runners enjoyed soup, energy balls from Keswick’s Fellpack and Mr Duffins coffee. After a quick transition at Patterdale, third-placed Berry started to close the gap on the lead two, finally passing Verduijn, who had led the race for seven hours, and arriving first back in Ambleside in 8:34:24.

That was good fun” said Berry. “The weather was pretty full on at times. I feel sorry for the people up there all day. But it was fun!” Verduijn was second in 8:40:00. Bryce third in 8:59:56. Similarly in the women’s race, Slater caught Woodwiss, and finished in 10:30:27.

“I’m knackered,” said a breathless Slater at the finish line. “In a weird way, I thoroughly enjoyed that!” Helm Hill runner Slater works as a physiotherapist in Staveley. The race awarded prize money, as well as prizes from race sponsors Salewa, Leki and Mountain fuel. The LSU returns in 2018.

The inaugural Scafell Sky Race, a 40km, 2,800m route from Seathwaite to Ambleside, took place on Sunday 16 July. Like LSU, it’s owned and organised by Mountain Run Events and designed as an introduction to skyrunning. Unlike LSU, entries are not vetted. Read the report HERE

Images ©Mick Kenyon

Lakes Sky Ultra (LSU) is a 56km skyrunning race with 4,500m of ascent on extreme terrain in the Lake District National Park. Skyrunning is a combination of mountain running and alpinism, where scrambling/rock climbing is likely. For LSU, runners are vetted to ensure they have appropriate levels of experience in the mountains.

The race is part of the Skyrunning UK Series.

 

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Scafell Sky Race Reports and Images 2017

The Scafell Sky Race (SSR) brought an international field to the Lake District for the inaugural event. Runners came from Australia, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, the US and all over Britain for the race from Seathwaite to Ambleside via Scafell Pike.

Like its big brother event, Lakes Sky Ultra (LSU), which took place on Saturday, 16 July, SSR is owned and organised by Glenridding-based Mountain Run Events. But unlike LSU, it’s designed as an introduction to technical skyrunning and entries are not vetted.

The course, created by Charles Sproson, was designed to showcase the best of the Lakes. Indeed the race was blessed with glorious sunshine throughout, in stark contrast to the previous day’s Lakes Sky Ultra, which took place in challenging, wet and cloudy conditions.

At SSR runners left Seathwaite Farm to climb past Sour Milk Gill waterfalls, up the Gillercomb Valley to the summit of Green Gable. Technical singletrack led past the Napes Needle (where rock climbing originated, in the 1880s), then a classic, technical ascent of the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, via the Corridor Route.

After summiting Great End, crossing a boulder field, and almost summiting Bow Fell, a scree descent led to one the best singletracks in the Lakes. Next was the Climbers Traverse, the Band, before runners descended into Great Langdale and a feed station at the legendary Old Dungeon Ghyll.

After a hearty climb to Raven Crag, Harrison Stickle, Stickle Tarn were ticked off, before some easier singletrack-running on the northern side of the Great Langdale Valley, with big views over Grasmere and classic Wordsworth country.

The first to arrive at the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside Campus was Keswick AC‘s Tim Campion-Smith (GBR), in a time of 4:55:33. Brennan Townsend (GBR) finished second in 05:26:06, with Lawrence Eccles (GBR) third in 05:26:53.

“It was a highly enjoyable route that I found surprisingly technical,” said experienced ultra-mountain runner Eccles. “It pushed me passed breaking point, as my legs betrayed me on the final descent off Loughrigg.”

In the women’s race, Salomon athlete Lucy Bartholomew (AUS), who travelled from Australia for the event, finished first (and fourth overall) in 5:34:05. Catherine Spurden (GBR), also from Keswick AC, pushed her hard all the way, coming in second (and sixth overall) in 05:43:22. Claire Wilshaw (GBR) placed third in 07:06:26.

That was the gnarliest and most technical races I’ve ever done,” said Bartholomew, who placed first at Ultra-Trail Australia (100K) this year, at the finish line. “It was tougher than [notorious Norwegian skyrace] Tromsø. This race should be part of the Skyrunning Extreme Series. I am so proud to have pushed myself outside my comfort zone to win this event! [I’m] in love with this sport the more places I go and the more people I meet!”

At the SSR finish line, many runners commented on what a tough – but enjoyable – experience they’d had. Jennifer Rees-Jenkins (GBR) deserves special mention for being the first person to do a Lakes Sky Ultra-Scafell Sky Race double, running 96km with 7,300m of ascent across both races over the weekend.

SSR awarded prize money, as well as prizes from race sponsors Leki, Mountain fuel and (South African Jewellery company) Miglio. The SSR returns in 2018.

Along with Saturday’s Lakes Sky Ultra, the inaugural Scafell Sky Race was a great success – feedback has been excellent and really gratifying,” said Sproson. “We were pleased to be able to show off the Lakes in glorious sunshine and it was exciting to have an international field here. We look forward to growing both events further in the next few years.”


Images  Guillem Casanova / guillemcasanova.com. 
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Lakes Sky Ultra and Scafell Sky Race 2017

Following on from the V3K, a double bill weekend is ahead as the Scafell Sky Race and the Lakes Sky Ultra will take place. 40km and 2800m of vertical gain and 56km with 4500m respectively make the two races a pure Skyrunning challenge.

Taking place in the iconic Lake District, both races will offer points for the 2017 Skyrunning UK Series which currently has Sarah Ridgway and Oli Johnson heading up the rankings after success at the V3K.

Sponsored by Salewa and organised by Charlie Sproson and the Mountain Run team, the two races are a highlight not only in the 2017 Skyrunning UK calendar but also the UK race calendar.

The Scafell Sky Race will take place on July 16th and offers a tough challenge for a novice or experienced Skyrunner with a fully marked course, 9 manned checkpoints and GPS tracking. By contrast, the main event of the weekend, the Lakes Sky Ultra will take place on July 15th. The LSU is a tough challenge with exposed sections, technical scrambling and quad busting 4500m of vertical gain – this race is not for novices and a strict vetting procedure is in place to ensure that those who take on the challenge are well placed to finish. Like the Scafell race it has a fully marked course, 13 manned checkpoints and GPS tracking.

In the words of the race director, Elevated ridgelines, breathtaking exposure, fast travel on technical mountain terrain. Definitive Lakeland vistas. Classic Lakeland scrambling. Fell running on additives. This is Skyrunning™. This is the Lakes Sky Running™ Weekend.

Both races will prove to be exciting and we can expect the LSU to see a potential male and female winner coming from the following:

Men:

Bjorn Verduijn was the Skyrunning UK champion in 2016 and therefore heads up the field as a hot favourite, he recently toed the line at the Dragons Back Race but complained that he had a lack of fitness – a question mark hangs over him for LSU.

Andrew Berry, set the second fastest winter Bob Graham Round in January this year so we know he can handle the terrain and challenge.

Tommaso Migiuolo recently placed 5th at the V3K gaining valuable points for the overall ranking. A top placing at LSU may well see him top the leader board as we move into September and the Glencoe races.

Mark Davies, placed 15th at LSU last-year so he has course knowledge. Importantly, he recently placed 10th at the tough and challenging Dragons Back Race.

Jean Tournaire will also be a potential for the top-5.

Women: 

Zoe Salt has raced LSU previously so knows the course and has recently had a good return to form placing highly at Transvulcania Ultramarathon – she is a great potential for the podium.

Jacqueline Toal may well be the lady to push Zoe all the way to the line, she is a key figure in mountain running in Ireland.

Sarah Harley recently won the V3K half distance race which didn’t qualify in the Skyrunning UK calendar but it does show some great form – the LSU is a huge step up though in course severity and distance.

Cat Slater placed 4th in recent Keswick Mountain Festival 25km Trail Race, like Sarah though, the LSU is quite a step up.

With 141 entries in total, the LSU will be an exciting race and the ladies field is proportionately large with 24 entries. With so many unknown it will be a good race to watch.

Countries represented are Poland, Holland, Ireland, France, America, Romania, South Africa, Italy, New Zealand and Sweden.

The Scafell Sky Race has 83 entries and it is fair to say that the head and shoulders favourite is Australia’s Lucy Bartholomew. Lucy is one of the most talented female runners in the world and is very much a protégé of Emelie Forsberg. She has set many records and recorded many victories in the Southern Hemisphere and most recently she arguably had her biggest success making the podium at Mont-Blanc 80km. Read more HERE.

Ben Hukins may well be the first across the line, he was a main contender in the Skyrunning UK calendar last year and it’s interesting to see him drop down from the LSU to the Scaffell Race – maybe a tactical move for points?

Also keep an eye on Jo Kilkenny, Paul Barton and Gavin Sandford.

You can obtain more information from the race website HERE and don’t forget to follow @lakesskyultra on Twitter and go to the LSU Facebook page HERE.

 

 

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V3K 2017 Results and Images

Familiar names topped the podium at the V3K, the first race in the 2017 Skyrunner UK National Series with Oli Johnson and Sarah Ridgway crossing the line in 7:45:45 and 9:00:52.

The V3K in just 4-years really has become a classic race in the UK circuit offering a tough challenge for those who dare to take it on. The route is comprised of all the peaks over 3000ft in Wales, known as the Welsh 3000’s. Loads of vert, 15-peaks, many kilometres and of course the exposed ridge of Crib Goch make the V3K race a classic.

Both Johnson and Ridgway ran solid races. Both have experience of this course and its route, invaluable when racing full-on and that is reflected in the winning margins. Johnson had a 15-minute margin over 2nd placed Tim Campion-Smith who was closely followed by Joe Mann, their respective times 8:00:07 and 8:02:12 to Johnson’s 7:45:45.

Ridgway dominated the ladies’ race and in many respects was in her own race. Janne Geurts was 2nd lady and Tracy Dean 3rd.

Images by ©Scott Seefeldt

RESULTS

  1. Oli Johnson 7:45:45
  2. Tim Campion-Smith 8:00:07
  3. Joe Mann 8:02:12

 

  1. Sarah Ridgway 9:00:52
  2. Janne Geurts 9:43:05
  3. Tracy Dean 10:03:22

Results via open tracking HERE

V3K website HERE

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