A Day in the Cumbre Nueva to Punta de las Roques – Transvulcania Ultramarathon

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Yesterday, I planned a little outing with Niandi. No plans really, in all honesty, we didn’t even know which section of the Transvulcania course we would go on. The main problem with running on the Transvulcania course is logistics. In real terms, you always need to run out-and-back routes.

We ended up going to El Pilar, an early and key aid station that comes approximately one third into the Transvulcania race. It’s about a 50-min drive from Tazacorte (where I am staying) which is the end of the GR131 route before the final push up to Los Llanos and the finish of the Transvulcania race.

El Pilar allows easy access to the Volcano Route section and a direct option back to the coast and  Fuencaliente lighthouse, as such, it is the route most people take.

We decided to go north, head out of El Pilar and follow the GR131 into the Cumber Nueva in the direction of Roques de los Muchachos.

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Leaving El Pilar, looking out to the west you get to see Los Llanos, Tazacorte and the sea in the distance. These tropical, muddy, forest trails provide the Transvulcania runners some of the easiest running so far in the race but eventually this comes to an end at Reventon Pass and the climb up to Punta de los Roques.

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The Cumbre Nueva and following sections are for me one of the most stunning sections of the Transvulcania route. From Reventon Pass to Punta de los Roques in particular is stunning! Onwards to Pico de las Nieves, the trails open up and the push to Roques de los Muchachos leads to the final drop to Tazacorte . Mixing rocky terrain with stunning vegetation, the route is incredible from a running and visual perspective. It is also very prone to an inversion; where the cloud drops below the high points creating a stunning almost dream like backdrop.

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The mist comes in, visibility is reduced, the temperature drops and suddenly you feel like you are in a different place. You question, ‘will the good weather come back?’

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Then suddenly, you break through the cloud, the white fluffy clouds are below and a wonderful blue backdrop adds an amazing palette to run or walk against.

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Single track trails of good running constantly creep up beyond 2000m to Punta de los Roques and the Refugio. Here stunning views of the Caldera de Taburiente are possible and off in the distance, the observatories of Roques de los Muchachos can be seen.

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Around every corner a surprise. It doesn’t matter if you are running or walking, these trails offer so much.

The Transvulcania route is always a constant surprise and I am always amazed at how the terrain, weather, vegetation and views change as you move through the route. Our day in the Cumber Nueva was a special one, topped off with this stunning image as Niandi ran around a mountain corner, the inversion clearly visible and if one image sums up skyrunning, this may be it.

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You can view daily images from our stay in La Palma HERE

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Running or Walking Efficiency when Climbing

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VK world record holder, Urban Zemmer

Recently I have produced a couple of articles about how to ensure that you are an efficient walker when participating in long or mountainous events. You can read them HERE and HERE.

The first article discusses Training to Walk for Ultra, Trail and Mountain Running and the second article is about Walking, Running and Climbing with Trekking Poles.

On December 15th, the University of Colorado Boulder released a document called, CU-Boulder researchers discover optimal range of slopes for extreme uphill running.

This article made me take a look and read in-depth for two reasons: first and foremost it ties in nicely with my previous two articles but more importantly and secondly, research into VK data dates back some 16-years and was pioneered by the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) who created the VK format as a racing discipline.

To clarify a VK is 1000m of vertical ascent and the objective is to climb the elevation gain as quickly as possible. The original context of the VK always was about research and data.

VK courses vary greatly but the ISF consider a true VK to be under 5km in length. To understand the variables, some VK’s, for example the Dolomites are just over 2km in length. By contrast, Limone Extreme is a considerably longer course with a less extreme gradient.

Fully, Switzerland has long been a testing ground for VK performance and a post from the ISF which was updated 22nd October 2012 adds some very clear and specific points to consider:

“Italy’s Urban Zemmer rocketed up the 1,000m vertical course, only 1.9 km long, in just 30’26”, 20 seconds faster than the standing world record set here in 2011.”

In addition, the ladies records tumbled:

“French runner Christel Dewalle was first in 36’48” followed by Axelle Mollaret in 37’44” and third, Maude Mathys from Switzerland in 37’56, all beating the previous world record set two years ago by Italian Valentina Belotti in 38’50.”

Notably, the ISF commented:

“The new men’s record nears a speed of 2,000 vertical metres per hour (precisely 1,971m) an incredible ground-breaking performance that the ISF has been monitoring for many years in a scientific research project… Depending on the course and type of start, poles are permitted and yesterday, most of the runners used them.  However, to date, the advantages of using poles has not been scientifically demonstrated.”

In 2014, the record for the VK was once again broken by Urban Zemmer at Fully, Switzerland with the incredible time of 29’ 42”.

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Remi Bonnet prefers to run a VK and never walks

So by simple logic (I am no scientist), it would suggest that the steepest course is the fastest as Fully is only 1.9km long. To quote, Run the Alps,The Vertical KM race in Fully, Switzerland is considered to be the fastest vertical kilometer course in the world. The race, held on a former funicular route, is home to both the men’s and women’s world records.”

You can watch a YouTube clip of the 2013 Fully race HERE

Watch the video of Fully and you will see varying techniques, some walk, some walk/ jog, some (most) use poles but one thing is consistent, the effort is almost maximal for all. Therefore, in a non-scientific look at Fully, the fastest performances come from the genetically gifted who have all the elements required for an optimum VK performance: lung capacity, V02max, lactate threshold, power to weight ratio, technique and so on.

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Marco de Gasperi like to mix running and walking

But what about the optimal slopes for uphill running as questioned by CU-Boulder. They posed the question:

“Imagine that you are standing in Colorado at a trailhead where the base elevation is 9,000 feet. Your friend challenges you to race to the summit of the mountain, which tops out at 12,280 feet, roughly 1,000 meters of elevation gain. There are several different trails that go to the summit. They are all steep and some are extremely steep. One trail averages a 10 degree incline and the sign says it is 3.6 miles long. A second trail averages 30 degrees, but is only 1.25 miles long. A third trail averages 40 degrees, but only 1 mile long. To get to the summit the fastest, which trail should you choose and should you walk or run?”

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Poles or no poles on a steep gradient?

This is a question that the ISF have asked and researched for many years. A paper titled, “Energy costs of walking and running uphill and downhill at extreme slopes” looks into this:

Davide Susta, Alberto E. Minetti*, Christian Moia and Guido Ferretti

Département de Physiologie, Centre Médical Universitaire, 1211 Genève 4, Switzerland, *Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Alsager ST7 2HL, U.K.

The energy costs of walking and running (Cw and Cr, respectively, in J kg-1 m-1) increase with the slope uphill (up to +20%) and decrease with the slope downhill (down to -10%) (Margaria, 1938; Margaria et al, 1963). Outside this range, no measurements of Cw and Cr are available in the literature, even though walking and running on the mountains at greater slopes is becoming commoner and commoner practice in leisure and sport. We therefore set out to carry out the present study, the aim of which is to determine Cw and Cr on men walking and running at slopes up to +45% and -45% on the treadmill. After local ethical approval, 10 subjects (Skyrunners) were admitted to the study (age 32.6 + 7.5 years, body mass 61.2 + 5.7 kg, maximal O2 consumption 68.9 + 3.8 ml min-1 kg-1). They are all endurance athletes practicing mountain racing. O2 consumption at the steady state was measured by the open circuit method, using Leybold O2 and CO2 analysers and a Singer dry gas meter. Heart rate was measured by cardiotachography. Blood lactate concentration was determined after each run as a check for submaximal aerobic exercise.

Each subject performed up to three walking and three running trials at progressively increasing speeds on the level, and at the slopes of 10, 20, 30, 35, 40 and 45 % uphill and downhill. The duration of each trial was 4 min, and expired gas was collected during the 4th min of exercise. Minimum Cw on the level was: 

1.85 + 0.57 J kg-1 m-1 (n = 10) at the speed of 0.69 m s-1. During uphill walking, Cw increased with the slope, to attainthevalueof18.08+1.57Jkg-1 m-1 (n=9)atthespeedof0.69ms-1 andat the slope of +45%. During downhill walking, minimum Cw was lower at the slope of -10% (0.81 + 0.37 J kg-1 m-1, n = 9) than on the level. At slopes below -10%, it progressively increased. At -45%, it was 3.46 + 0.95 J kg-1 m-1(n = 5). Cr on the level was 3.40 + 0.24 J kg-1 m-1(n = 30). Cr increased with the slope, to attain 18.69 + 1.42 J kg-1 m-1(n = 6) at +45%. 

During downhill running, Cr decreased and attained its lowest value at the slope of -20% (1.73 + 0.36 J kg-1 m-1, n = 24). At lower slopes, it increased. At -45%, at speeds higher than 1.38 m s-1, it was equal to 3.79 + 0.57 (n = 7). The mechanical efficiency for vertical displacement was 0.216 + 0.015 at +45% and 1.078 + 0.275 at -45%. This data on the level and at slopes up to 20% correspond to those found by others on non-athletic subjects (Margaria, 1938). At higher slopes, the increases in Cw and Cr are such as could be predicted assuming that all energy is used to lift the body. By contrast, at -10% and -20%, both Cw and Cr are lower than in non- athletic subjects (Margaria, 1938), suggesting greater recovery of elastic energy at each step in the present athletes. At slopes below -20%, the increases in Cw and Cr are such as could be predicted assuming that all energy expenditure is for negative muscle contractions.

REFERENCES
Margaria, R. (1938). Atti Acad. Naz. Lincei 7, 299-368.

Margaria, R., Cerretelli, P., Aghemo, P. & Sassi, G. (1963). J. Appl. Physiol. 18, 367-370. This work was supported by a grant from the FSA- Federation.for Sport at Altitude

Referring back to the CU-Boulder research:

“Based on our research, we now know that choosing the second trail (30 degrees) and walking as fast as you can within your aerobic capacity is the fastest way to go,” Kram said. “For either running or walking, slopes between 20 and 35 degrees require nearly the same amount of energy to climb the hill at the same vertical velocity.”

This new study (HERE), which was recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, is believed to be the first to examine the metabolic costs of human running and walking on such steep inclines (suggested by the CU-Boulder researchers.) However, I would question this and refer to research by the FSA – “Energy cost of walking and running at extreme uphill and downhill slopes.” Received 29 November 2001; accepted in final form 29 April 2002. You can download this detailed documentation HERE and it is essential reading.

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Who is the most efficient?

It would appear that gradients of 20-35 degrees require the same amount of effort and interestingly, CU-Boulder research found in a study:

“A vertical rate of ascent of just over 1 foot per second, is a pace that high-level athletes could sustain during the testing. At that speed, walking used about nine percent less energy than running. So, sub-elite athletes can ascend on very steep uphills faster by walking rather than running.”

In simple terms, this is something I have found out by attempting VK’s in my own time in and around events. More often than not, the effort required to run is so hard that it becomes counter productive. I have even found that including run sections to be counter productive as this raises my heart rate, increases lactate acid and requires me to recover while still climbing. However, if I maintain a constant effort walking, this produces the best results for me.

CU-Boulder research went on to say:

“The study examined 15 competitive mountain runners as they ran and walked on the treadmill at seven different angles ranging from 9 to 39 degrees. The treadmill speed was set so that the vertical rate of ascent was the same.  Thus, the treadmill speeds were slower on the steeper angles. The athletes were unable to balance at angles above 40 degrees, suggesting a natural limit on the feasible slope for a VK competition.”

In regard to the latter point, this in some respects relates to Fully, Switzerland and brings in another element, the use of poles and if poles allow a faster ascent when the gradient steepens. One only has to look at the Dolomites VK and Fully VK where poles are used by nearly all participants. The ISF plan to do a new test with and without ski poles, but it is not easy to do a serious test. Although not scientifically proven, it’s fair to say that using poles with gradients under 20% it will mean more Kcal and a reduced performance. However, with gradients steeper than 25 or 30%, the use of poles can correct style, etcetera and can improve the overall performance.

The CU-Boulder article is available to read in full HERE.

I can quote technical papers and research all day, however, as a runner you want to know the answer to the question, should I walk or should I run uphill and should I use poles?

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Irrespective of if you plan to run a VK or not, the research and thoughts provided by the FSA and CU-Boulder confirm that running or walking uphill provides an incredible workout. Importantly though, research confirms that walking should be a key element in any training plan, (*…walking used about nine percent less energy than running) especially if you are racing or training on hilly or mountainous terrain.

When participating in ultra events, reverting to periods of walking may well produce greater results and faster times. This is very evident when the terrain steepens; running will only expend more energy and produce slower times. The use of poles appears to benefit performance when gradients steepen, this is not scientifically confirmed.

On a final note though, many other factors come into play when looking at results and as with everything, there are exceptions. Urban Zemmer, Remi Bonnet, Laura Orgue, Christel Dewalle and so many more are able to run when others need to walk. We can’t choose our parents or our genetic pool. Ultimately, find out what works for you but practice makes perfect and the more climbing you do, the better and the faster you will become.

Embrace the mountains and going uphill.

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Christel Dewalle, ladies VK world record holder

Roques de los Muchachos, La Palma – Transvulcania Ultramarathon

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The island of La Palma has always ticked many boxes for me, it’s a quiet island that lacks tourism, it has incredible all-year round weather and of course it hosts the Transvulcania Ultramarthon.

I’ve been coming here since 2012; it never disappoints. This year I’m here to find some quiet time to write content for my book, Running Beyond. But I am also here for a long overdue holiday, to spend time with Niandi (who gets neglected with all my travel) but also to get back to some regular time on the trails.

Notice I said, ‘time on the trails’ and not running. To be honest, I’ll take the running if the body will allow, it’s not important though, I just need the head space and the isolation the trails out here bring.

We have no plans other than to work and get objectives done each day and then spend the rest of time doing what makes us happy. Yesterday, I was up early and decided I wanted to be finished with work by midday. My plan was to head up into the mountains and run/ walk/ hike around the rim of the Caldera de Taburiente. In the Transvulcania Ultramarathon, this is often referred to as Roques de los Muchachos but actually Roques is the end of the section where the observatories are located and then the long 18km drop and descent to Tazacorte Port.

It’s an incredible place and one of the key sections of the Transvulcania Ultramarthon due to its elevation of 2400+m and the stunning views it provides to the east and the west. In the east one can see the islands of TenerifeEl Hierro and La Gomera and they are visible in the photos. The terrain here varies greatly from technical rocky sections of jagged and irregular rock to sandy and dusty trail. Although the trail goes up and down, in real terms most of the climbing is done by the time you reach Pico de la Nieve at 2232m.

Niandi and myself accessed the GR131 (Transvulcania route) at Pico de la Nieve as a trail, the PR LP 3 comes in from the main access road (LP4).

From the road it’s a 20-30min hike in to the GR131 and then it’s possible to follow the Transvulcania route on an out-and-back to Roques de Los Muchachos (approx 10km, 20km round trip).

Needless to say it’s a stunning section of trail and I have to say, one of my favourites in the world. Key sections are Pico de la Cruz, Piedra a Llana, Marro Negro, Pico de la Cruz and Fuente Nueva before arriving at Roques de los Muchachos.

If you are a runner, hiker, walker or basically someone just looking for an inspirational day on trail with stunning views, I can’t recommend this enough.

Yesterday for me was one of those special days; from early afternoon, through to sunset and then finishing off in the dark with just a headlight, the moon, the stars and Niandi for company.

Niandi and myself didn’t worry about pace, time, or anything for the that matter. We just moved, stopped, took photographs and soaked in a magical place.

So magical, I wanted to share the journey in images.

Glen Coe Skyline goes EXTREME and makes Skyrunner World Series 2016

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The International Skyrunning Federation is pleased to announce that the Skyrunner World Series calendar will have a new addition to VK, SKY and ULTRA for 2016 and future years. See the full release and calendar HERE.

They are going Extreme!

Trofeo Kima has long been a pinnacle race for Skyrunning enthusiasts worldwide. A jewel in the Skyrunning crown and the words of Kilian Jornet sum it up so well:

“Picture a mountain terrain that has no paths, amidst glaciers; it is all crests, rocks, stretches of via Ferrata and all over a course that stretches 50-km. Kima is not athletics, it is mountaineering; pure Skyrunning!”

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The bi-annual race returns in 2016 and due to increasing demand for adventurous and demanding courses, the ISF have created a new series called SKY EXTREME.

Three countries, three awesome races, a real opportunity to embrace the ethos of where earth meets sky!

The series will start in Norway with the TROMSO SKYRACE in August, we will then move to Italy for TROFEO KIMA in late August and then the final race will be in the UK with Scotland’s GLEN COE SKYLINE in September.

Although it will be possible to race each race in its own right, to qualify for the series you will be required to run two races.

The rewards? Skyrunner World Series Extreme Champion 2016.

“My vision of so many years ago is finally coming full circle,” said ISF President, Marino Giacometti. “I was ahead of my time! After our first records and races restricted to athletes-climbers on the summit of Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc, Trofeo Kima become the symbol of Skyrunning. Kima has always been for a select few but the growth and demand for more challenging races is now finally coming to fruition with the inspiration that Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg have provided. Tromso Skyrace and Glen Coe Skyline are great additions to the Skyrunner World Series and Sky Extreme is a new and exciting step for Skyrunning! ” 

Needless to say, the addition of EXTREME to the Skyrunner World Series is great news for a UK audience and UK based runners.

“I had a dream 2-years ago when Skyrunning UK was launched in the UK that in 3-years we would host a SWS event. That dream is now a reality and with it the worlds best will come to Scotland in September to race in the mountains of Glen Coe!”– Ian Corless, Skyrunning UK Director.

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You can follow Skyrunning on line HERE and HERE

You can follow the Skyrunning UK Series HERE and HERE

You can view the three Sky Extreme Races via the following links:

TROMSO HERE

TROFEO KIMA HERE

GLEN COE SKYLINE HERE

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SKYRUNNING 2016 CALENDAR announced

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The International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) is pleased to announce the 

2016 SKYRUNNER® WORLD SERIES

Taking Skyrunning to the next level with the best races, new events and what’s more, skyrunning is going EXTREME!

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In addition to the successful Vertical, Sky and Ultra formats, the ISF is pleased to announce the introduction of the Sky Extreme Series. Three countries, three super-technical races and runners worldwide will have a real opportunity to embrace the skyrunning ethos.

“When I discovered Skyrunning years ago it was the images of small runners traversing huge glaciers, scrambling rock ridges and descending steep snow fields. I’m really happy to see this new Series, with the most technical races –  the soul of skyrunning!” – Kilian Jornet

Sky Extreme kicks off on August 7, with the Tromsø SkyRace® in Norway, where Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg launched the first, made-to-measure SkyRace in the Northern territories.  The biennial Kima Trophy is back and the 2016 series will conclude with a new entry, the Glencoe Skyline. Set in the Scottish Highlands, it’s probably the toughest skyrunning race to date.

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The Sky Series counts extends to 8 races in 6 countries and goes to Mainland China with the Yading Skyrun which opens the season in April.  The highest race in the World Series, it reaches a breath-taking 4,700m altitude on the Tibetan Plateau in China’s spectacular Sichuan mountains.

More new races include the Livigno Outdoor Race Experience and Santa Caterina Vertical Kilometer® in Sondrio, Italy, designed by the magic hand of top skyrunner Marco De Gasperi. Summiting the highest point in the Principality of Andorra, the SkyRace® Comapedrosa represents a true skyrunning challenge, reaching nearly 3,000m elevation. New entry from Portugal, the Ultra SkyMarathon® Madeira will  offer a challenging and technical 55k to the island’s highest point.

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An end of season prize purse to the value of €36,000 will reward the remarkable efforts of the athletes competing in the 2016 Series and the combined prize purse will be over €135,000.

“We’re glad we can give more back to the athletes. In this sport, the rewards don’t just come from touching the sky, but a tangible compensation for their incredible performance.”

– Marino Gicamoetti (ISF President and founder)

 

2016 SKYRUNNER® WORLD SERIES

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SKY                            

April 30           Yading Skyrun – 29 km, Sichuan – China

May 22           Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri – 42 km, Zegama – Spain 

June 26          Livigno Outdoor Race Experience – 30 km, Livigno – Italy

July 17            Dolomites SkyRace® – 22 km, Canazei – Italy

July 31            SkyRace® Comapedrosa, 22 km – Andorra

Aug 20           Matterhorn Ultraks 46K – Zermatt – Switzerland

Sept 4             The Rut 25K – Big Sky, Montana – USA

Oct 22            Limone Extreme SkyRace® – 23 km, Limone Sul Garda – Italy

 

SKY EXTREME

August 7        Tromsø SkyRace® – 50 km, Tromsø  – Norway

August 28      Kima Ultra SkyMarathon® – 50 km. Val Masino – Italy

Sept 18           Glen Coe Skyline-  53 km, Glen Coe – Scotland

 

VERTICAL 

May 5             TVU Vertical – Tazacorte, La Palma – Spain

June 24          Santa Caterina Vertical Kilometer® – Sondrio, Italy

July 10            Kilomètre Vertical Face De Bellevarde – Val d’Isère – France

July 15            Dolomites Vertical Kilometer® – Canazei – Italy

August 5        Blamann Vertical – Tromsø  – Norway

Sept 2             Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer® – Montana – USA

Oct 21            Vertical Kilometer® Grèste de la Mughéra – Limone Sul Garda -Italy

 

ULTRA

May 7             Transvulcania Ultramarathon – 75 km, La Palma – Spain

June 4            Ultra SkyMarathon® Madeira – 55 km, Madeira – Portugal 

July 10            High Trail Vanoise – 68K, Val d’Isère – France

Sept 4             The Rut 50K, Big Sky, Montana – USA

Sept 24           Ultra Pirineu – 110 km, Bagà – Spain 

 

Skyrunner® World Series Ranking

Maximum number of results scored:

Sky Extreme: two best results

Ultra: three best results

Sky & Vertical: four best results

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SKYRUNNING UK 2016 Calendar Announced

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SKYRUNNING UK CALENDAR 2016

To keep you all excited and on your toes, Skyrunning UK are pleased to announce several key changes that will be implemented in 2016.

Prize Money

All Skyrunning UK races in 2016 will have a minimum prize purse of £500 awarded as £125, £75 and £50 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd male and female.

UK Series

The Skyrunning UK Series will be implemented in 2016 and at the end of the year a male and female champion will be crowned. Points are awarded as outlined HERE. To qualify for the series, runners must participate and finish in a minimum of 4-races. Points are accumulated and the male and the female with the most points are the Skyrunning UK 2016 Series Campions. It is possible to run all Skyrunning UK races and use your best 4 performances for the ranking.

UK Series Prizes

In addition to prize money awarded at each race, the male and female 2016 Skyrunning UK Champions will receive:

  • Free entry into all Skyrunning UK races in the following year.
  • Guaranteed entry into a 2017 Skyrunner World Series event with 2-nights accommodation.
  • Prizes from Skyrunning UK sponsor, Raidlight

Needless to say, Skyrunning UK is booming!

Less Cloud, More Sky.

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V3K Ultra Skyrunning – June 18th

Distance/ascent: 55km, 4,000m

Main mountains and terrain type: The 15 highest mountains in Wales, Snowdon massive (including Crib Goch), Glyderau (inluding Tryfan) and Carneddau expect gnarly ground, a knife edged arete, grade 1 scrambles, boulder fields, scree and some great gentle grassy slopes to finish

The V3K crosses the best of Wales – gnarly edges, rocky inclines and grassy slopes. food. You’ll need to be mountain savvy with a good head for heights, confident scrambling technical terrain and be prepared for the greatest mountain day of your life.

Race entry HERE

Lakes Sky Ultra

Lakes Sky Ultra – July TBC* 

Distance/ascent: 54km/4300m

Main mountains and terrain type: Fairfield, Helvellyn, Swirral, Casty Cam & Striding Edge, Pinnacle Ridge, High Street and Red Screes. Its a mixture of single track trails, technical rocky ground and open fell. This is a race of 2 halves, with very technical running & graded rock scrambling in the 1st half, then faster and easier running on good trails for the second half. The course ascends and descends some of the most classic ridge lines taking in 3 of the most iconic scrambles in the Lakes.

The course is fast & furious. Be lulled into the race by ascending Fairfield via Dove Crag,then punished by Helvellyn’s Edges and the ascent to Pinnacle Ridge. Luckily there’s Patterdale CP & the second half to recover if your legs can still take it!

Note – New LSU propose a new addition for 2016. A SKY race. More news to follow via Skyrunning UK.

Race entry HERE

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Peak SkyRace – August 6th (tbc)*

Distance/ascent: 47km/ 2000m+.

The route is based on a local fell running challenge called the 5 Trigs. The race principally follows public footpaths passing close to or over the tops of Axe Edge, Roaches, Shuttlingsloe, Shinning Tor and Burbedge Edge. Competitors will cross fields, moorland, limestone and millstone grit peaks/escarpments.

Peak SkyRace is an ideal introduction to Skyrunning in the UK. The Peak District cannot compete with the altitude and ruggedness of the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Scottish Highlands. However do not think that this course will be easy, pacing is crucial. Go out too fast and you will pay the price in the later stages where most of the ascent and technical descent is found.

Race entry HERE * Entries will open when land permissions have been granted

Glencoe-Skyline

Glen Coe Skyline – September 16th, 17th and 18th 

Distance/ascent: 53km / 4200m+

Main mountains and terrain type: Buachaille Etive Mor, Bidean nam Bian, Aonach Eagach Ridge: extremly remote and serious Scottish mountains.

A route that dances along the jagged and lofty mountainous horizons above Scotland’s most famous Glen and Pass, with long and serious sections of grade III scrambling. Skills needed: scrambling, endurance, running

Note – New additions for 2016

There will be a VK Friday evening 16th September and a 25km ‘Ring of Steall‘ SkyRace race on the Saturday 17th (same high mountainous terrain at Glen Coe Skyline but without the technical scrambling sections).

Race entry HERE

 

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3×3000 80k Ultra – September 24th

Distance/ascent:  80km / 4101m+

Main mountains and terrain type: Scafell Pike – Steep rocky terrain  throughout. The summit plateau of Scafell Pike is a vast boulder field. Initial part of descent is steep & covered with loose rocks.

Helvellyn – Long ascent then rolling mountain trails along the beautiful Helvellyn ridge line. Skiddaw – A long & steep climb on grassy terrain, summit scree/slate, fast descent on gravel/stone trails.

A unique ultra running event linking the Lake District’s highest mountains-Scafell Pike, Helvellyn & Skiddaw. Designed by 2013 World Trail Running Champion Ricky Lightfoot, the route offers a journey through the full spectrum of classic Lake District fell terrain.

Race entry HERE

Mourne Skyline MTR

Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race – October 22nd

Distance/ascent:  35km/ 3370m+

Main mountains and terrain type:  The course covers the highest peaks in  the Mourne Mountains, including Slieve Donard (850m), starting at sea-level on Newcastle Promenade and winding it’s way uphill onto forest and mountain trails, all surrounded by the most stunning scenery.

The seaside start, alongside the relentlessly tough (yet spectacular) course has proved popular with athletes.  You will need mountain-trail experience, endurance and courage for the race, which is technical in places.  Some speed will also help on the flat and fast sections, and the final 5k descent!

Race entry HERE* Please note entries will open on St Patricks Day (March) 2016.

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Download this information in PDF HERE

LINKS

Go to Skyrunning UK on Facebook HERE

Go to the Skyrunning UK website HERE

Follow on Twitter @skyrunninguk

15 Ways to become a better Skyrunner

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“Skyrunning, to me, is racing over the sort of terrain that tests your technique and mental toughness just as much as it tests your physical fitness. The sort of routes that you look at on a map, or gaze up at from the valley and wonder what if… In the UK most of these sorts of routes have until now been limited to FKT attempts by keen individuals. At its best Skyrunning brings real racing to real mountains.”

– Es Tressider

Skyrunning has boomed in recent years and with one season coming to a conclusion and the announcement of the 2016 season imminent. I asked three runners to provide their top-5 tips on becoming a better Skyrunner.

Sarah Ridgway

Is a former Welsh international runner specialising in mountainous terrain. Her love of gnarly conditions helped her secure the woman’s record for the classic Snowdon Horseshoe in a time of 1hr 43min. Sarah works as a guide in her business Run Snowdonia (www.runsnowdonia.co.uk), which involves anything from taking people for scenic guided runs, a hard training session or instructing people on how to run safely in the mountains.

Eirik Haugsness

Is a personal trainer, inov-8 athlete and has raced the Skyrunner World Series for the past 3-years. A specialist over the VK and SKY distance, Eirik has achieved world-class results in Mont-Blanc Marathon, Dolomites SkyRace, Matterhorn Ultraks and was the winner of the inaugural Tromso SkyRace.

Jayson Cavill

Is a UK based runner who has embraced the challenge that Skyrunning brings and has been an ever-present participant in the Skyrunner UK series. He has raced at Glen Coe Skyline and Mourne Skyline MTR amongst others and in 2015 won the Lakeland 50.

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SARAH RIDGWAY

As a runner I am mostly drawn to the mountains, in particular exposed rocky ridges and classic routes that showcase the beauty and uniqueness of an area. Races that fall under the SkyRunning banner provide that experience for me: I know I’m going to have a challenging and rewarding day out.

Be specific

Study the course and train to mimic what you will encounter on race day. If the race involves a fast 9km flat prior to a Grade 3 scramble ascent, then do a 10km road race and get out in the hills as soon as possible after and do some scrambling. Get out and recce the course, but if you can’t, design a route that replicates it in your nearest wild place.

Prepare for the roller-coaster

Get used to big climbs, big descents, followed by another big climb, big descent… repeat. Get time on legs in the bank and develop strength to be able to adjust and adapt to a wide variety of terrain.

Don’t fight it

The more efficient you are in managing rough terrain the less energy you expend, which leaves more energy for simply getting the hard-enough job of the distance itself done. If you tend to “fight” a certain terrain or gradient and avoid running on it, commit to improving your technique and getting better at it.

Don’t be a fair-weather runner

Race-day date doesn’t change and the weather will do whatever it likes. If you don’t feel at ease running in driving horizontal rain encased in thick clag then you’ll feel anxious and have less energy to deal with the task at hand.

Refine your kit and fuel

Respect the kit requirements and learn how to use your gear before race day. Don’t just think about meeting the base requirement, pack things that will actually help you if things go pear-shaped: For example, if the forecast is dire, don’t scrimp on weight and go for your flimsy lightweight waterproof. Don’t neglect nutrition: practice eating and know what works for you and when to get it in.

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EIRIK HAUGSNESS

Skyrunning for me it is about going to the mountains with no more equipment than you really need, then go up and down again as fast as you can, but in the same time enjoy the nature and the surroundings as much as possible while you are running.

The top 5 absolute must-have Skyrunning skill tips and how to obtain them.

1 . Be able to handle variation in terrain and weather conditions.

Outreach and run in different kind of terrain, everything from soft ground, hard packed surface, easy terrain and technical terrain. And make sure to train in all kinds of weather conditions. Weather will change quickly in the mountains and the surface that your run on will change with the weather.

2. Build up your engine to cope with the uphill’s.

If you really want to enjoy Skyrunning it is an advantage to have a strong heart and a set of well working lungs -most of the time spent in a race is in the climbs. Your heart and lungs can you easily sculpt trough structured cardio training with intervals and speed sessions with a higher heart rate. A couple of regular 4×4 intervals during the week are a great way to start.

3. Make sure to have strong legs for the downhill’s . 

Getting to the top of a mountain is challenging, but to get back down quick and in one piece can be just as hard. Strong legs and ankles will help you to get the job done. Step inside a gym ones or twice a week during the winter and build up your leg strength with weights or just use simple body weight exercises. 20- 30 min effort is more than enough – If you throw 15 min, or so, of balance and stability training too, you will be on the safe side. It is boring but worth every minute!

4. Learn how to pace your self during a race!!

Even it is a short uphill only race or a long sky/ ultra race, picking the right pace from the beginning to the end is essential for the running experience. It is always a lot more fun to have power left in the end of a race then to suffer from the first hour and out. Pacing is something you learn a lot from experience, but if you know your own fitness level it should be possible to pic a running pace that suits you without years of experience. Be patient and listen to your body is the only way to get this right.

5. Find a good nutrition and hydration strategy and stick to it.

Skyrunning races can be short, 35 min or even less, or they can last more than a day. When you enter a long Sky Race or a Sky Ultra race a good nutrition and hydration strategy becomes important. You normally need about 60 grams of carbohydrate and a half –one liter of water every hour to work at your best. This might seam like an easy task, but to get this done during a race when your heart is beating like a drum and the adrenalin is rushing trough your body is far from easy, whit the result that you run on empty long before the finish line. Practise eating and drinking in training! And find out witch solid and liquid nutrition that works for you long before race day! Testing and failing is the way to get this right. On race day: Discipline is the key! – Eat and drink at least every 20minute if your race is expected to last two hours or more.

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JAYSON CAVILL

As a relative newbie to the world of Ultra and trail running, well running of any kind that didn’t involve carrying any webbing or rifle and stomping along in boots from past Army years, the announcement of UK Skyrunning races provided an opportunity for me to reach out of my comfort zone. My skill set lies more with mid-distance ultra races and more “runnable” terrain, though I have always enjoyed being in and around mountains given the opportunity. I felt that this was an great chance to get me into some of the UK`s more extreme areas not just to race in but spend time training and exploring.

As the courses are all marked I felt that this offered a level playing field for those who didn’t know the routes inside out. The Garmin Mourne Skyline race was a great example of this. Unfortunately I had never even heard of the Mourne mountains before, but turned up for the race and had one of the best times; the course marking was superb and the dramatic scenery of steep granite clad mountains dropping to the sea blew me away.

Now, I absolutely love the thrill of being able to travel swiftly through these stunningly rugged and often intimidating areas – all in the UK. I think due to the nature and remoteness of these races the feeling between runners becomes more about camaraderie than competitiveness. The mountains become your competition: they will exploit your weaknesses whether mental or physical. If you haven’t had much experience with this before, then here are a few things I have done which would compliment and extend any normal trail race preparation.

  1. Get used to extremely long and very steep climbs – both up and down. It sounds obvious but really is key because with the best will in the world that short stepped run will be reduced to a walk, so don’t be afraid to practice hard, steep walking – The best place to practice is in the mountains but can still be done on any short climbs, long flights of stairs – anything you can find that is steep. Carrying extra weight, i.e. a large rucksack will help with building strength.
  1. Feel confident on technical terrain, not necessarily fast, but comfortable. The more relaxed you stay the less energy you waste. Again time in the terrain helps, though you can build up some foundation first with ankle strengthening and co-ordination exercises. Take things a step further than just balancing on one foot: stand on a wobble cushion and do various movements such as one legged squats to introduce instability. Single leg jumps on and off a box are great too. My favourite is using the slackline as this works so many different elements and can help reduce that disco leg you may get traversing Crib Goch!
  1. Have at least a basic level of mountain skills. I feel that it is important I take responsibility for my own safety, not just for during the race but when out training. The mountains are inherently dangerous and we all get (slightly) lost or disorientated from time to time. There are some great courses run by the FRA (Fell Running Association) for navigation, independent training days/camps or you could join other more experienced people for recce days and learn from them. Some race organisations offer these so look out for details on their own websites or pages.
  1. Prepare yourself for the mountains mentally. Being in this environment can throw up some additional challenges; you can suddenly be alone in the fog thousands of feet up, or climbing non-stop hands on knees for over a hour, down a quick descent then back on another hour long climb, so progress can feel slow and painful. Be ready for these situations, be honest with yourself and what your fears are, imagine how you will feel and think through how you will overcome any negative thoughts – visualise and keep that end goal and sense of achievement at the front of your mind.
  1. Don’t just run but climb. Some of the races require climbing or scrambling, and, in a race situation the adrenaline is pumping and you are suddenly changing mind-set from runner to climber. Spend some time practicing the specific climbs or more challenging ones – obviously there is another layer of safety and planning required here so take a guide or someone experienced enough if you need it. There are also lots of indoor climbing walls in the UK so why not have some fun indoors over the winter.

The 2016 Skyrunner World Series will be announced the first week of December HERE and the Skyrunning UK Series will be announced on Monday 23rd November HERE.

The UK series has a new structure for 2016 with prize money, points per race and an overall championship with great prizes on offer, more information available HERE.

 

 

Skyrunning is Booming! article on RUNULTRA

Skyrunning is Booming!

The recent Fast and Light film provides a great insight into Skyrunning and shows how the sport has grown worldwide; the UK has also seen interest grow in a sport where earth meets sky.

Shane Donnelly is a 26-year old runner from Ireland who has had his imagination captured by the sport.

In 2015 alone, he has raced the Tromso SkyRace in Norway, the Glen Coe Skyline in Scotland and the Mourne Skyline MTR in Northern Ireland.

Three challenging races but it’s the Glen Coe event in Scotland that is currently making runners turn their heads and wonder, ‘can I do that?

Let’s face it, the 2015 first edition of the race had Skyrunning World and European Champion, Emelie Forsberg take part and post race she said:

“Waow! Seriously the best race in this distance. Super technical ridges and gullies (think Trofeo Kima but no via ferrata!) and some parts are very runnable on nice but tricky trails. Glen Coe I’m thrilled to have run this race. Thanks for the amazing organization. Even though it was hard all of the nature and the course made me go fast.”

 You can read the full story on RUNULTRA.co.uk HERE

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Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2015 – Race Summery and Images

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Iain Bailey and Diane Wilson were the 2015 champions for the 2nd edition of the Mourne Skyline MTR, the 6th and final race in the Skyrunning UK calendar.

Considered by many to be Northern Ireland’s toughest and most challenging race, the Mourne Skyline MTR covers 35km’s with a whopping elevation gain of 3370m. Starting and finishing in the seaside resort of Newcastle, the race is now considered to be a highlight not only of the Skyrunning UK calendar but also the racing calendar in Northern Ireland.

The first edition of the race was made especially difficult with gale force winds that at time lifted runners off their feet and ‘helped’ them along the course. It looked like a repeat day was in store for the 150-runners who would tackle the 2015 edition when overnight wind and rain battered the coastline.

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At 0800 leaving the promenade of Newcastle, the cold temperatures, strong winds and light rain certainly added to the trepidation of a tough day in the mountains. From the off, Dan Doherty dictated the men’s race but he was closely followed by the day’s main protagonists of Eoin Lennon, Ian Bailey, Jayson Cavill and Ally Beaven. For the ladies, Shileen O’Kane pushed the early pace ahead of Lizzie Wraith and Diane Wilson.

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At the col between Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh, with 6.6km covered, the action started to unfold as the runners headed out on the more demanding sections of the course. Climbing the rocky and technical Slieve Meelmore, the real race started to take place but at all times the main protagonists jockeyed for position.

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Iain Bailey and Diane Wilson took the respective race leads for the men and the women and this coincided with the skies clearing and the arrival of the sun. Finally, it was possible to see out across the stunning Mourne Mountains and take in the beauty this area has to offer. The sea glistened in the distance and the yellow and amber colours of the terrain provided a stunning backdrop to hard, tough and technical racing.

Overnight rain had made the course exceptionally difficult under foot and many runners commented post race how challenging it was to remain upright while descending.

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Slieve Bearnagh offered one of the toughest climbs of the day and then a drop down to Hare’s Gap where the ever-present Mourne Wall then guides the runners to Slievenaglogh, Slieve Commedagh and then final push of the day up and over Slieve Donard (2788ft) before dropping all the way down from the summit to the finish line in Newcastle.

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Pre race favourite Dan Doherty went to through a bad patch in these sections as he chased Iain Bailey who had a convincing lead of well over 5-minutes, “I am lacking energy and feeling tired,” Doherty shouted as he ran past hotly pursued by Ally Bevan, Eoin Lennon and Jayson Cavill. One would have thought that Doherty would not hold on to 2nd but he found the energy from somewhere!

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Bevan, Lennon and Cavill contested the final podium place and it was a close battle before Lennon found that extra few percent to open up a gap. Bevan looked secure for 4th but a charging Cavill looked like he may well have upset that as he raced for the line. Bevan held off for 4th by just 7-seconds.

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Pre race favourite Diane Wilson never looked back after taking over the front of the race and ran a well paced and controlled run to take victory, behind Helen Brown held off early leader Shileen O’Kane for 2nd and GB athlete Lizzie Wraith finished 4th ahead of Jaqueline Toal. “I had completely wrong shoes today,” said Wraith post race, “the descents were so slippery that I just couldn’t push the pace. I am happy though!”

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Although the start of the day was a tough one many commented that the conditions after a couple of hours of running were considerably kinder than the 2014 edition when the gale force winds battered the runners, this was reflected in a new course record by Iain Bailey of 3:51:22.

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A notable mention must also go to Garmin who for the first year sponsored the Mourne Skyline MTR and the input of the GPS watch brand was instrumental and securing a 30-minute program on the race for channel 4 TV. Needless to say this will be a great boost for the race, running in Northern Ireland and Skyrunning UK.

The program will be televised in November and we currently have a possible date of 8th.

Mourne Skyline MTR concluded the 2015 Skyrunning UK calendar. Just 2-years old, this series of races is now firmly becoming one of the most exciting race circuits. 2016 will see the series grow with points awarded for each race, prize money at every race and some special prizes on offer for the 2016 SKY and ULTRA champions, make sure you keep an eye on www.skyrunninguk.com

 

RESULTS

  1. Iain Bailey 3:51:22 new CR
  2. Dan Doherty 4:04:07
  3. Eoin Lennon 4:07:45
  4. Ally Beaven 4:10:21
  5. Jayson Cavill 4:10:28
  1. Diane Wilson 4:33:26
  2. Helen Brown 4:42:12
  3. Shileen O’Kane 4:50:19
  4. Lizzie Wraith 5:04:12
  5. Jacqueline Toal 5:25:03

 

Race images are available at iancorless.photoshelter.com

All of the images below are copyright protected. You can share on social media but do not crop, adjust or modify and no commercial use. If you don’t wish to purchase images, consider a donation here

Mourne Skyline MTR website HERE

Skyrunning UK Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2015 Race Preview

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Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR provides an insight into the racing that will take place in the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland this weekend.

The Skyrunning UK series comes to a great conclusion for 2015 with its 6th race.

The eyes of the Skyrunning world will be on Northern Ireland, and in particular, the stunning Mourne Mountains, as the 2nd annual Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race once again attracts a plethora of talent from across the globe.  The event will be filmed by Channel 4 and broadcast in November 2015.

This year, world renowned producers of innovative GPS products for the recreation and wellness markets, Garmin, have come on board to support the event, which is now named, the Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race.

Closing the 2015 Skyrunning UK season, action will kick off at 7.30pm on Friday 23rd October 2015.  Close to 100 competitors will take on the unique ‘Granite Trail Race’ (‘GTR’), a 2 mile uphill only event, starting on Newcastle Promenade (County Down) and finishing approximately 1,000ft above sea-level at Millstone Quarry.

The impressive field will be headed by Northern Ireland international Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) and winner of the Mont Blanc 10k, Paul Navesey (Centurion Ultra Running Team).  The ladies race will include highly respected European Cross Country (team) and World Mountain Running Championship (team) medallist Sarah McCormack (Ambleside AC and Ireland) who just last month secured a top ten place at the World Mountain Running Championships in Wales, finishing just ahead of former World Champion Kasie Enman (USA).  Sarah will be joined on the ‘GTR’ start line by the in-form NI & Ulster Half Marathon medallist Laura Graham (Mourne Runners).

On Saturday 24th October 2015, the Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR will see 200 hardy competitors from fourteen countries cover a gruelling but incredibly scenic and rewarding 35k course, which incorporates 3,370m of ascent.  Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard, which stands at 850m above sea-level, will be the final peak, before the athletes descend quickly into the Donard Park finish area.

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Although last year’s worthy Champions and course record holders, Kim Collison (England) and Stevie Kremer (Team Salomon), are unable to return to defend their titles, this year’s race will undoubtedly provide the same exciting spectacle.  There are at least thirty athletes who have represented their country at international level due to start, meaning that both the male and female fields provide incredible strength in depth.

There really is all to play for ahead of this event, and here are some of the athletes who will be gunning for the honour of being crowned Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR Champion.

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR winners medals

The Men:

Dan Doherty (Scott Trail Team), Paul Tierney (Ambleside AC), Jayson Cavill (Ultra Runner Store Trail Team), Eoin Lennon (Carnethy HRC), Ally Beaven (Unattached), Iain Bailey (Newcastle AC), David Steele (Newcastle AC) and Sam Herron (Mourne Runners) look to be the strongest candidates for the podium places in a field littered with talent from across the globe.

Irish international Dan Doherty has increased his profile considerably since stepping onto the international stage in 2011.  His 17th place finish at this year’s IAU Ultra-Trail World Championships in France cemented Dan as one of the UK and Ireland’s most respected ultra-distance athletes.  The 2013 Anglo-Irish Plate winner also impressed at the gruelling Tor Des Geants, where he worked his way through the field to move into 2nd place before a knee injury cruelly ended his race with approximately 100k to go – 12 months earlier, Dan had claimed the runners up spot at the 330k event, which includes an incredible 24,000 metres of ascent.

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Dan’s Irish International teammate, Paul Tierney will also go into the event with confidence high after victory in the Lakeland 100 in the UK, a top placing at the Skyrunning UK Lakes Sky Ultra and representing Ireland at the IAU Ultra-Trail World Championships.

Scotland based Northern Ireland man Eoin Lennon has been in the form of his life since claiming the runners up spot at the Mourne Skyline MTR in 2014 – Eoin recorded 3:59:42 to finish behind Kim Collision and has went on to impress at several notable events, this includes a 4th place finish at the prestigious HOKA Highland Fling and a win at the recent Glencoe Marathon, both in Scotland.  Eoin has also shown his speedy edge with a 16:16 5k over the Summer.

Newcastle AC men Iain Bailey and David Steele, and Mourne Runners’ Sam Herron will know this course better than most.  All three will be in the mix for a high placing, but it’s Iain’s strength on the climbs that will ensure that he plays a prominent part in in the race for a podium place – he finished in 5th place at the British Championship event in the Mourne’s in August.

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If podium places were calculated for all of the Skyrunning UK events since the Series’ inception in 2014, Jayson Cavill would no doubt be one of the highest ranking athletes.  He (Jayson) is never off the podium and as per usual, deservedly claimed his spot there at the Salomon Glencoe Skyline event in August (2015), where he took 3rd place in the men’s race.  Jason also won the Lakeland 50 in the UK. Steve Franklin (Totley AC), a 14th place finisher at the aforementioned Glencoe Skyline and top fifty finisher at the Mont Blanc Marathon, will finish well up the pack.  The same can be said for 2014 4th place finisher Ally Beaven; despite focusing more on his training, rather that racing recently, Ally should be there or there abouts.

Profeet UK athlete Victor Mound will also run well, as will Richard Ashton (Orion Harriers), Bjorn Verduijn (Shettleston Harriers), Barry Hartnett (Dundrum AC), Gary Bailey (Mourne Runners), Shane Donnelly (Acorns AC), Peter Cromie (Roe Valley CC), Billy Reed (East Antrim Harriers) and Dale Mathers (Mourne Runners).

 

The Ladies:

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Team GB star Lizzie Wraith, a podium finisher at this year’s Dragon’s Back 200 mile race, will start as pre-race favourite. Despite the fact that Lizzie is used to covering much longer distances, it will be her ability to deal with the leg-sapping climbs and descents that may well just give her the edge.  The Lakeland 100 winner (in 2013) is excited about visiting and racing in Northern Ireland for the first time and will prove difficult to beat.  In saying that, local hero Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), winner of the Ben Nevis Mountain Race and a podium finisher at the Mourne Skyline MTR in 2014, knows exactly what to expect and is going into the event in the form of her life.

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Newly crowned Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) Champion, Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), will be another athlete who will be in the thick of the action, but the local lady, who won 5 NIMRA Championship races this term, will have to see off some formidable opposition if she wishes to secure a podium spot – none more so that Mynydd Du Mountain Runners athlete and recognised international Helen Brown, who secured 14th place in the World Mountain Running Championships less than four weeks ago.  Interestingly, Helen has stepped onto the podium on three of the previous four occasions she has raced in Northern Ireland.  Arguably her best performance on these shores was a win at the Silent Valley Mountain Race in 2013, which was part of the British Fell Running Championships.

Jacqui Toal (BARF) and Fran McFadden (Springwell Running Club) enjoyed an epic dual at the 26extreme Causeway Coast Ultra last month (September 2015), with Jacqui coming through to win late on after Fran had led from the off.  The pair will resume battle here and will be joined by another highly respected ultra-distance athlete, Comrades finisher and podium regular Joanne Curran (BARF).  Aisling Allum (Carnethy HRC) will be one to watch – after moving to Scotland earlier this year, Aisling has shown superb improvement and less than four weeks ago, the former triathlon star picked up a prize at the Glencoe 10k, after finishing in 3rd place.  Aisling will smash her 5:54:43 clocking from 2014, which saw her take 10th place in the ladies race.

Lagan Valley AC’s Hazel McLaughlin will claim a top ten place, while Ireland based ladies Jolene Mellon (Unattached) and Elizabeth Wheeler (Unattached) will be hoping for the same.  Versatile Springwell Running Club athlete Sonia Knox will go well, as will 2:50:52 marathoner Georgia Wood (Unattached) and local ladies Taryn McCoy (BARF), Paulette Thomson (Newcastle AC) and Anne Sandford (Lagan Valley AC).

View the galleries from the 2014 edition of the race, Stevie Kremer and Kim Collison were the champions.