SKYRUNNING UK 2016 Calendar Announced



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.


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


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


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



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.


Download this information in PDF HERE


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Go to the Skyrunning UK website HERE

Follow on Twitter @skyrunninguk

15 Ways to become a better Skyrunner


“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 (, 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.



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.



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.



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 HERE



Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR 2015 – Race Summery and Images


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!”


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.


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



  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

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


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.

Garmin Mourne Skyline MTR logo

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.



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.


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:


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.


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.

FAST and LIGHT Salomon SRTV – Skyrunning


Watch the film, Fast and Light at the bottom of this article

A trickle of piano noise from the local music school weaves its way through open window shutters left ajar to allow some breeze… the heat of the day can be stifling. It feels and sounds like a scene in a movie. Cobbled streets, stone arches, a wonderful old square, the chatter of children playing and the smell of a freshly brewed cappuccino in the air.


Biella, or should I say, the International Skyrunning Federation HQ (and home of Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti) is atop a hill in a walled village close to the Aosta valley, just over an hour from Chamonix and in close proximity to Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn. It seems the perfect location for the home of pure mountain running. Biella lies in the foothills of the Alps in the Bo mountain range near Mt. Mucrone and Camino.

It is midway through the 2014 season, between Ice Trail Tarentaise and Trofeo Kima, I spend time with Lauri and Marino in Biella at their home in the mountains (Casina) Corteno Golgi and at Trofeo Kima to get an inside look at what makes this couple tick and how the Skyrunning calendar and its logistics fall into place. The African Attachment with Greg Fell, Dean Leslie and Kelvin Trautman were also filming for Salomon Running. Today, 20th Oct the preview film will be made live. ‪#‎FastandLight‬ is for me a special moment. I hope you enjoy the film and the related articles and images that are currently published worldwide to coincide with the films release.


Mountains dominate the life of Marino and Lauri. It’s not a job; it’s a passion that dominates 12+ hours of every day. You will see the dynamic duo at all the Skyrunner® World Series races every year. In total, that is 15-events in 3-disciplines, VK, SKY and ULTRA. But these worldwide events are just the visible face of what the ISF does! Behind the scenes it’s a frenetic highly pressured scene of telephone calls, emails, logistical planning and negotiations that make the Skyrunner® World Series tick.

“We moved here as the sports brand Fila were based here. In the 90’s they were a key sponsor for Skyrunning,” says Lauri van Houten, Executive Director for the International Skyrunning Federation, “When Fila folded, we were left with a dilemma; should we stay or should we go? Stay we did and it feels natural and relaxed to be here now.”

It’s a scenario far removed from 1989 when Giacometti set a record running from the village of Alagna to the summit of Monte Rosa. 25-years of mountain running and today, iconic names such as Bruno Brunod and Fabio Meraldi are once again being talked about in the same breath as Kilian Jornet.


Bruno Brunod

“Older generations were already Skyrunners. My grandfather crossed the mountains working for example. ‘We’ as Skyrunners added more speed but in essence it has always been the same thing, Skyrunners have always existed.” Bruno Brunod says. 

“What I liked was going quickly to the summit. I felt the same when I was a kid in the pastures, I always ran up and down the summits that surrounded me. It is something I felt inside, something I liked.”

In 2012, Skyrunning went through a revival. After careful and strategic planning, the ISF launched the new Sky Ultra Marathon Series with Transvulcania La Palma and a seminar, ‘Less Cloud, More Sky.’ The sport moved up a notch and became something that runners all over the world aspired to. It’s been called the ‘the next big thing’ but as Giacometti explains:

“There is nothing new in Skyrunning. It is just now that everyone is catching up with our vision from so many years ago.”



Biella is a wonderful place. Calm and relaxing, to me, it is typically Italian. Located opposite a music school, the ISF headquarters and home of Marino Giacometti and Lauri van Houten resonate a calm and tranquility that seems far removed from the full-on days in and around and Skyrunner® World Series.
The sun shines and the daily bustle of Italian life provides a wonderful soundtrack that penetrates ones’ mind. Cars rumble over cobbled streets as they scoot off to work, mothers are heard chastising their child©iancorless.comIMG_5035ren as they amble to school. The click of an espresso machine and that wonderful noise as pressured water works its way through fresh coffee and the smell, oh the smell! Nothing beats a fresh coffee in the morning. It’s 7am and Marino is kicking off his day with a good strong shot of the dark stuff before donning glasses and opening his computer.

The office is adorned with memorabilia from 20+ years of travel and racing. The door plaque sums it up’ Skyrunners.’ In the corner, magazines are stacked in chronological order documenting a lifetime in sport.

Lauri joins us looking a little tired. Yesterday was another 18-hour day. It’s normal… it shouldn’t be but it is!

“What does a normal day look like for you Lauri?” I tentatively ask, knowing full well the answer.


“How long have you got? I have no idea; I am speechless. I am a person that gets bored easy. This job is NEVER boring! I may have 5-spreadsheets open, 50 e-mails to look at, and a schedule of things to address and amend and then I need to coordinate with athletes, teams, team managers and race directors and media. My day starts with email. I often think oh my goodness and then the first forty or so emails arrive and then a daily grind starts. In addition to this, sometimes language is a challenge. I speak English, Italian, German but I have emails from Russia, Turkey, Greece, Afghanistan and so on. As I said, my day is never boring.”

Trofeo Kima is just around the corner. For many, me included, ‘Kima’ is the epitome of Skyrunning. Kilian Jornet sums it up well when he says:

“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!”


Preparations are well underway for the race and in just 24-hours we will all need to travel to Milan for a press conference and then a journey will follow to the mountains, to Corteno Golgi and a stay at Marino’s mountain house, the ‘Casina’ before an onward journey to the Kima race itself.

“I m a hub, the person in the middle,” says Lauri. “But often you can’t plan how a day will unfold. I have a ‘to do’ list that obviously needs to get done but then things happen daily that need to be addressed immediately. It’s all about time management and you just can’t stick to a too rigid schedule as the guidelines constantly move and change. Kima is imminent and therefore many questions and problems arise. We also have a press conference in Milan, that requires work.”


Marino looks over at us, he peeps over his glasses and smiles. My question. “Tell me where you come in Marino?” Seems to suggest that I am implying he does nothing.

“Now it’s difficult. We have so many races. I look at race profiles initially and it is easy to see from a quick glance what will and will not make a good Skyrunning race. Remember, my experience was mountaineering but we had to adapt my dreams for a worldwide audience. I look for mountains and mountains provide races and opportunities. I also need to consider locations, countries and how the schedule comes together.”


The phone rings and Marino joins Fabio Meraldi in a conversation. Walking out of the office into the sunlight, Marino strides around the garden in animated discussion. The Italian sounds like bird song and with arms waving and gesticulating, plans are made for Kima and a series of interviews that will be filmed by The African Attachment on a new film about Skyrunning called, ‘Fast and Light.’

“Tell me about Trofeo Kima, because you designed this course, yes?”

“Kima is on the course of the Sentiero Roma. It’s a well known via ferrata route. It crosses the group of technical mountains in the area and passes through all the 7-refuges. We did the race in reverse for safety reasons but it is still a very technical race and ultimately it has become a beacon of Skyrunning. Ironically, for a Skyrunning race the course does not go to the summits! It is just not possible. However, it is a pure expression of Skyrunning.”

It is easy to look at the ISF calendar and see the Skyrunner® World Series and think easy! However, it takes 365-days to make those 15+ days happen. When one season ends, plans start immediately, if not before for the following season.

“We are no longer race organisers.” Lauri says, “We did in the past! We organised many races in logistically difficult places, such as Tibet, Mexico, Nepal and so on. I think we organised over 80-races! The World Series is a collection of races that we coordinate.”

Marino was a visionary and many like to call him the ‘Father’ of Skyrunning.

“Skyrunning differs to other sports and this is the discipline we launched in the late 1990’s. Skyrunning has always existed; all across the world it is just that it became a formalised sport. I therefore consider myself the father of Skyrunning for the aspect of race organisation because when it started 25-years ago nobody talked about this.”

Emails ping on arrival, the phone rings repeatedly and I suddenly realise that our day is going to be way too busy to continue discussing the working life of the ISF. Taking a place at my desk, I open my laptop and get on with my work in preparation for Kima. I sneak an opportunity pre lunch to stroll around the town, take in a cappuccino and photograph Biella. Lunch provides a break and in true Italian fashion, everything stops. It provides an opportunity to relax, take in a glass of wine and eat fresh and wholesome food in a meze style.


“Marino is brilliant,” Lauri says as she pours white wine into my glass. “He took on the role of food shopping and preparation to allow me more time to work on logistics. It really is a life saver.”


Marino is a fit man, he is lean, dark skinned from many hours outdoors and one may well think that is to be expected from someone who heads up the ISF and the sport of mountain running. It would be easy to assume that Marino spends 4 to 8-hours a day on the mountains, fulfilling his dreams and working his ISF role in and around his passion! In reality, Marino cycles or runs for 30-minutes a day. Somewhere deep inside I wonder, does he have regrets and then I find myself asking the question, “Do you regret the decisions you made all those years ago, to race direct and not race?”

“I made my choices. What can I say, for 2 to 3-years I was very disappointed with myself. I had run around Everest for example, but not to the top. Now I can’t go back. It’s a question of mountain mentality; I was born in a small valley, a small village with no sun in winter. You try to survive everyday and this forms your mentality. In my next life I hope to relax and enjoy simple pleasures.”

“But you must have dreams, aspirations. Do you have a bucket list; do you want to achieve anything else?”

“I want to go back to the mountains… it is just a dream! In 2016 I would like to go to the Everest North Face with Bruno and Kilian. I know it is impossible… but I can dream.”

It’s not often that I am stuck for words, but as I look into his eyes I feel sad. To me it seems as though Marino has given up on his personal dreams.

“Do you believe you can only live your dreams when you leave Skyrunning behind?”

“Skyrunning is our baby. But the baby has grown up. We would be lost without Skyrunning and we will be on board for as long as we can but obviously, in the near future we will hand over more duties to other people. Many of the people we work with are all very knowledgeable and passionate. That is stimulating and exciting. Skyrunning is here to stay, as we both are, have no fear!”

BIELLA gallery:

MILAN – Trofeo Kima press conference

Milan is not far away and it’s on our way to the ‘Casina’ thus making the Kima press conference logical and workable into a day of travel. We are late but Marino drives like an Italian! A clean white shirt, Armani jeans and Mr ISF looks pretty darn dapper. Lauri is dressed in black with large shades. I suddenly feel very British. Italians do ‘style’ with ease and of course, where better to look sharp than Milan. I have no choice, I am on a working trip and my wardrobe doesn’t extend to looking cool.

It’s hot in the city and the traffic irritates me after the quiet of Biella. Walking into a large office block we are escorted to the 4th floor and Kima delegates greet us. It’s all kisses and handshakes. Old friends meet new friends and the banter is relaxed.


A large table with place names adds formality to the event. Marino takes his place and the conference begins. It’s a show for local press and global papers and all part of the valued process to promote the ISF, Skyrunning and give valued exposure to race sponsors.


Post the conference, a meeting takes place and Kima is discussed. Great emphasis is placed on schedules in regard to the helicopter. Kima is so technical and demanding that a helicopter is the only way to transport media around the event. Bad weather; no media!

Helicopters are expensive but at Kima we often have 2-helicopters at our disposal for 8+ hours. It may well be why I enjoy the race so much. It’s an adventure. Believe me, to be afforded the opportunity to see the worlds best runners on arguably the best course is something I will never take for granted.


“We have to do these press conferences, it’s important for all concerned but it’s a drain on our valuable time and for every hour, minute and second we are here, more and more emails and questions flood into our respective in-boxes,”Lauri says as we rush to the car for our onward journey to the Casina. “It has a knock on effect for tomorrow and the days after, what can you do?”

CASINA – Corteno Golgi 


The ‘Casina’ is a mountain house in Corteno Golgi close to Marino’s birthplace of San Antonio. Spread over 2-floors it is almost two completely different buildings. Upstairs is all wood, a combination of rustic/ modern and a wonderfully relaxing place that has been heavily influenced by Lauri. Downstairs is the original building, un-touched for years and one that harks back to Marino’s past. The garage is a Skyrunning museum of ice axes, helmets, shoes, race bibs, clothing, videos and old slides.


Surrounded by green fields and mountains on either side I suddenly see Marino in a new light. He his home! He points at peaks and explains his childhood; his passions and I suddenly feel very honoured and privileged.

“The African Attachment (TAA) arrive tomorrow Ian and you are going to be able to spend a couple of days in the mountains with Marino. They are filming a piece on Skyrunning and they want to take Marino back to his childhood, revisit old haunts and film Marino running in the mountains.”

I met Dean Leslie and Greg Fell from TAA at Transvulcania La Palma back in 2012 and since then we have kept in-touch and often crossed paths at races all over the world. I am excited at the guys arriving and the opportunity to work alongside them and shoot stills, a real perk of the job. Photographer, Kelvin Trautman is directing the film and although I haven’t met him before, we soon hit it off and I realise that what is in store; two awesome days in the mountains.


The evening is amazing. The sky is adorned with clouds and as we climb with cameras, Marino runs to the instructions of Kelvin.


Looking for ridges and technical lines, Marino embraces the challenge and is arguably having the most fun he has had in ages.



Days don’t get much better than this… at the summit of Monte Padrio the light is incredible and as the sun disappears for the day we are rewarded with a colour palette of orange, red and gold. Marino is in silhouette on the Skyline and I realise I am in a moment, a moment that I won’t ever forget.


Sleep is not something you need when working with the ISF. The following day starts early with a short drive and we are suddenly looking at Marino’s childhood home.

Marino's childhood home

Marino’s childhood home

Marino laughs as he recounts boyhood memories. “I used to go mushroom picking in this area.”


Following him up the trail, Kelvin wants Marino to go back 50-years to those mischievous days as a boy. Immediately Marino finds a mushroom, he removes his Buff and ties a knot in one end to create a cloth bag. Moving left to right on the trail, the bag slowly fills with the rewards from the land.

“In the Valle Campo Vecchio I would go skinny dipping in the river.”

Marino may well have regretted this sentence as just an hour later he was running along grass banks barefoot and then submerging himself in the ice cold river water from the mountains.


Today, Marino may well have fulfilled some of those dreams that he thought might not ever come back. It was special.

The warmth of the log burner in the Casina provided that ultimate feeling of contentment that one longs for after a day in the mountains. Marino’s body was aching, his legs heavy from the repeated running but beneath a tired façade I knew he had had a good. Red wine had been decanted to glasses and dinner was moments away.

As we relax into the evening, the Casina provided a very different ambiance to Biella. It’s more relaxed. The pressures and deadlines still exist, they have not gone away but the mountains and mountain life make us all realize why we are here. It provides perspective.

Eager to resume my questions from the previous day, I hold back. Now is not the time… it has been a great day, a great couple of days and we need to savour the moments.

“We have plans for some very exciting races at high altitude that will be very technical in future years.  2012 was an important stepping-stone. Less Cloud. More Sky was an important phase in the development of Skyrunning. One thing that was apparent is the desire from runners for technical and high altitude sport. So, here we are following our heritage for a new era.”

My concerns of talking shop are eroded away as Lauri brings our conversation to present day.

“So, am I correct in assuming that we won’t see races like Templiers or UROC in future ISF race calendars?” I ask.

“We needed to expand, to grow and introduce Skyrunning to a new audience. Templiers and UROC allowed this to a certain extent but we will go back to our roots moving forward. In America it is harder to find courses but we are working on this. UROC was a high altitude race just not technical. The Rut has shown we can find the correct style of course. We would love to do a race from Cervinia or Chamonix to the summit of Mont-Blanc but we can’t do this for everyone!”

“Do you think it is a happy coincidence that the revival of Skyrunning coincides with the rise of Kilian Jornet?”

“Absolutely, however, it is no coincidence. Bruno Brunod was Kilian’s hero. Kilian followed his dreams and the inspiration Bruno provided, Kilian is now the epitome of Skyrunning. When we first met Kilian in 2006, he impressed immediately. He was a natural Skyrunner. We all know the history; he was born in the mountains and as such he has just developed in an organic way. As I said, a natural.”

Kilian Jornet

Conversation turns to the day’s events; Lauri is eager to enquire how filming went. We laugh as Marino explains in detail his plunge in the ice-cold water of the river and how his fingers turned blue.

“Kelvin worked Marino hard today with his demands but it was great fun. This area, the mountains and the small village are all quite special. I can understand completely why Marino loves to escape here.”

Another fried mushroom is removed from the platter and added to my plate. To think, just this morning Marino was collecting these very mushrooms from his childhood haunts. He had prepared them in the traditional manner and the simple delicacy provided the perfect accompaniment to the surroundings and company.

The Casina gallery:

Filming with The African Attachment gallery:



Emelie Forsberg looked into the lens of the TAA camera, smiled in a way that only Emelie can and with a nervous and infectious giggle whispered the words:

“Two years ago in my first year of racing I was fortunate to race at Trofeo Kima. I looked at this course and thought; really… you can run a race on this course?”

© too had found my first Kima experience equally mesmerising. My breath had been taken away by the drama and severity of the course. I had never seen anything quite like it and the impact was profound. Hopping from one section of the course to another via helicopter added some serious icing to the Kima cake.

A vertical wall of rock and suddenly a flash of red and white. Kilian appears, hand-over-hand as he descends via chains and then flies past us with a wave as though running a 5k. He looks so incredibly relaxed.



Kasie Enman is the first lady and this provides some confusion. Emelie Forsberg had had a convincing lead; what had happened? Finally, Emelie arrives 5th lady, in tears but running like a demon. She had gone off course and lost almost an hour. Trying to claw back time she takes risks; 4th place, 3rd place and then 2nd, was it possible to take back victory?



Unfortunately, no! Kasie Enman held on to a convincing lead and the records will show that the American was the 2014 Kima ladies champion. In the male race, Kilian Jornet had the race of his life and in doing so broke his own course record.

© ©

Fabio Meraldi makes an appearance and like a long lost son is embraced into the arms and hearts of the Skyrunning throng:

“I remember the feeling, like a drug, feeling this moving energy… I still get goose-bumps just talking about it.”


The party atmosphere continues and minutes after the award ceremony, clouds turn from grey to black and a warning clap of thunder alerts everyone that a change is coming. The heavens open and rain falls from the sky like a series of rods being thrown. It’s a biblical storm and we all look at each other and simultaneously shake our heads. Lauri relays our thoughts, “Wow, thank god this rain and storm did not arrive during the race.”

Another race over, another successful event but there is no rest. This evening a glass of red and a nice meal but tomorrow it’s back to the grind. Another race is only weeks away and like déjà vu the process will repeat itself.

“Lauri, and you, your dreams?”

“To expand Skyrunning and see the growth continue with the collaboration from those who love the sport as we do.”

“Will you ever be able to let go?”

“Why, why would I want to let go? This is my life: I love it. Maybe I would like less stress but I like challenges, I like work and I don’t like to be bored.”

I smile knowing full well that her words are true and that in all honesty, I already knew the answer.

“One thing is for sure, I won’t be in the Bahamas filing my nails everyday, I can guarantee that will never happen.”


The KIMA galleries:


FastandLight Salomon SRTV

Fast and Light is released on October 20th 2015 at 1600 via Salomon SRTV HERE

Credits and thanks

Quotes from Bruno Brunod, Fabio Meraldi, Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet are taken from the film, FAST and LIGHT. ©TheAfricanAttachment and ©SalomonRunning.

Many thanks to Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti the ISF and Skyrunning.

Many thanks to Trofeo Kima and all the staff.

All images and content ©

A series of articles will be published worldwide to coincide with the release of Fast and Light and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the editors and creatives involved in this process.

Look out for articles in: Adventure Types – Australia/ NZ, Canadian Running Magazine – Canada, Trail Chile – Chile, TRAIL Magazin – Germany, Ski Alper – Italy, Trail Run – Japan, Poland, ALERG – Romania, Running The Cape – South Africa, Outdoor Fitness Magazine – UK, Like The Wind – UK, Nature Trail – France, Spain and many more.


Limone Extreme SkyRace 2015 – Race Summary and Images


Another season of Skyrunning concluded in Limone sul Garda with the Limone Extreme SkyRace, the final race in the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series. As expected, it was a day of high emotions that ultimately resulted in blood, sweat, tears and elation.


Although race day conditions were ideal, a new course had been created after the thunderstorms of Thursday night and Friday morning. The resulting race although the same distance (23km) had an additional 800m of elevation and descent. Work it out! 23km and 2800m of elevation gain and descent, that can only mean one thing; pain!


One thing became clear though post race, although this new course was tougher it had a unanimous nod from all the runners that the additional difficulty was a good thing; that’s Skyrunning for you!

Final races in a series can often have a forgone conclusion of who will be crowned respective male and female Skyrunner® World Series champions, not here in Limone. It was wide open and all to fight for.

Click on the images to view pre race photographs:


In the men’s race, Remi Bonnet once again proved that we have a star in the making. He followed on from the previous nights VK victory with a world-class SKY performance that left every other runner in the race trailing in his wake. It was stunning to watch. This course is tough, don’t doubt it! Remi ran every step. He has an incredible style, almost shuffling as he moves from left-to-right foot in small movements. It’s incredibly effective and ultimately impossible to follow. Despite him winning the race outright, he could not follow up his Skyrunner® World Series victory for the VK distance as he did not have a result on a Continental race, had he had this, he may well have been the 2015 champion?


Behind Remi, series leader, Tadei Pivk grabbed the bull by the horns and followed the young Swiss runner with 100% determination. His style on the climbs was in complete contrast to Remi; he almost fought the terrain! On the final long descent back down to the Lake and the finish line in Limone, I had expected Tadei to close the gap as he descends incredibly well. Alas no, the day was not for him but his 2nd place gave him the ultimate prize of the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series title.


Ever present Manuel Merillas, also a strong contender for the overall series ran a well paced race and moved from 6th, 5th and 4th to finally finish 3rd. It was a great result and ultimately secured his 2nd place in the Skyrunner® World Series rankings ahead of Martin Anthamatten who took the final podium slot despite finishing 13th on the day, no doubt carrying over fatigue from his recent victory in the USA.


In the ladies race a hotly anticipated battle between Laura Orgue and Megan Kimmel really came to fruition and as always happens in these scenarios, somebody wins, somebody looses. Laura Orgue already had the Skyrunner® World Series title for the VK distance secure before Friday’s VK race and she made the very sensible decision not to race and save her legs for the following day and Saturday’s Sky race.


Running at the front of the race, the VK specialist really embraced the additional 800m of vertical gain and used all her climbing skills to pull off a stunning victory. It was a gutsy ‘give it everything’ performance and one that Maite Maiora tried to spoil. They traded blows throughout the day and Laura managed to squeeze ahead and find those extra percentages of performance to finish just 17-seconds ahead of the La Sportiva runner.

Could Megan Kimmel finish 3rd and secure the world series title?

No! A tough day in the office and carried over fatigue from a recent victory in the USA’s Flagstaff race resulted in Megan feeling tired all day. Of course, the additional 800m of vert didn’t help. Megan finally finished 6th and just had to accept that ‘these things happen!’


Oihana Kortazar followed up a great run from the previous days VK with the final podium place ahead of Elisa Desco and Yngvild Kaspersen.

A season comes to an end and with it we have memories, emotions and passion. The 2015 Skyrunner® World Series champions are:

Laura Orgue and Remi Bonnet are the SWS champions for the VK distance.

Laura Orgue and Tadei Pivk are the SWS champions for the SKY distance.

Emelie Forsberg and Luis Alberto Hernando are SWS champions for the ULTRA distance.


Attention now turns to 2016 and the calendar of races that will once again secure the hearts and minds of the mountain running community.

Less Cloud, More Sky!


  1. Laura Orgue 3:18:50
  2. Maite Maiora 3:19:07
  3. Oihana Kortazar 3:22:24
  4. Elisa Desco 3:28:00
  5. Yngvild Kaspersen 3:28:40
  1. Remi Bonnet 2:45:25
  2. Tadei Pivk 2:51:08
  3. Manuel Merillas 2:52:52
  4. Jokin Lizeaga2:53:55
  5. Aritz Egea 2:55:47

Moments from the finish line, click on images to view larger:

RACE DAY IMAGES – more images to follow as soon as wifi becomes available

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Skyrunning HERE

Limone Extreme VK 2015 – Summary and Images


Laura Orgue and Remi Bonnet are crowned 2015 Skyrunner® World Series Champions for the VK distance in Limone on the shore of Lake Garda at the 4th edition of the Limone Extreme race.


Torrential rain and thunderstorms the previous night and morning of the VK resulted in a course change instigated by the race organisation for safety reasons. The resulting course was very different to the original route and considerably longer at 6km. Less steep, less technical and considerably more runnable. Of course this may very well have changed the dynamic of the race but the usual protagonists for the VK distance still performed at the highest level.


VK specialist Urban Zemmer dictated the early pace showing his all around ability to run and drop his hands on his knees and grind out a fast pace on the steeper gradients. However, it was rising star of the sport, Remi Bonnet, who finally made his presence felt at the front. Too many observers this was expected after his recent performances at the RUT in the USA and his most recent victory at Lantau 2 Peaks in Hong Kong. Tromso VK winner, Stian Angermund placed 3rd ahead of Hannes Perkmann VK ever-present Jonathan Wyatt in 5th.


In the ladies’ race, Laura Orgue already had the Skyrunner® World Series title sewn up based on previous victories. Despite this, her plan was to run the VK and SKY. However, in the days before the VK, Laura had picked up a virus and decided it was best to miss the distance she loves:

Hard decision today, I need to rest instead of race in the VK. I’m not feeling 100% so I have decided to recover for tomorrow’s SKY race of 23km and 2800m of elevation!”


Last minute entrant and VK specialist, Christel Dewalle was the fastest lady on the day and lead from the front constantly trailed by Antonella Confortola, Maite Maiora and Norwegian rising star, Yngvild Kaspersen who moved up to 2nd in the overall rankings.


The ladies’ positions remained this way all the way to the line with Spanish runner Oihana Kortazar taking the 5th spot.



A total of 296-runners toed the line of the VK which started at the picturesque location of Marconi lakefront on the shores of Lake Garda. The overall elevation gain of the new route was 1200m+ in a distance of 6km.

Attention now turns the SKY race which will start today, Saturday at 1200 local time. This course has also been changed due to Thursday nights and Friday mornings excessive weather. The new route has an additional 800m of vertical gain which makes what was a tough race, exceptionally tough!


1-Christel Dewalle (50’48”)

2-Antonella Confortolla (53’12”)

3-Maite Maiora (53’46”)

4-Yngvild Kaspersen (54’58”)

5-Oihana Kortazar (56’27”)


1-Rémi Bonnet (43’51”)

2-Urban. Zemmer (44′)

3-Stian Angermund. (44’13”)

4-Hannes Perkmann (44’26”)

5-Jono Wyatt (44’43”)


Skyrunner® World Series ranking 2015:

  1. Laura Orgue
  2. Yngvild Kaspersen
  3. Maite Maiora


  1. Remi Bonnet
  2. Nejc Kuhar
  3. Ferran Teixido

Limone sul Garda also provided a location for the Skyrunning AGM where the 2014 calendar, 2015 calendar and the future of the sport was discussed.


Less Cloud, More Sky!

Lantau 2 Peaks 2015 – Race Summary and Images


Hong Kong is a cacophony of noise, colour and experiences. Add heat and high humidity and it provides a very unique setting for the 4th race in the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series.

The race run by Action Asia Events starts and finishes in Tung Chung on Lantau Island and as the name suggests, takes in the 2 peaks; Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak. In just 23km’s the races climbs and drops a total of 3975m. ‘Steps’ offer unique terrain that signifies a Hong Kong race and ones’ ability to go up and down is taken to a new level by this demanding terrain.

Two days of great Hong Kong weather unfortunately deteriorated the day before the race and many of the elite runners’ worst fears came true on race day when rain continued to fall accompanied by gale force winds that were rated as a level-3 typhoon. It’s not that elite runners don’t like running in the rain; not all. However, slick stone steps with a layer of water are a potential accident waiting to happen in any scenario, add ‘racing’ to the max and pushing the pace require a leap of faith. The wind was so strong at times you would be lifted of your feet and thrown like a piece of rubbish on the trail.

Yes, the 2015 Lantau 2 Peaks was one to remember!

The race was ultimately about the rising of two stars; Remi Bonnet and Yngvild Kaspersen. Young guns having some fun with a smile and a passion. They really did show the rest of the field a master-class in running in the extremely tough conditions.

Race Report

Runners had arrived in Hong Kong a couple of days before the race to check out the course, adjust to the humidity and explore a little of what Hong Kong has to offer. Two days of excellent weather unfortunately turned sour the day before the race as storms came in from the sea, torrential rain and the possibility of a typhoon!

The island of Lantau provides a very different race experience to what one can expect in Europe. Stairs (stone steps irregularly placed) provide a key element of the course not only going up but coming down. The wet adds an additional element and one that would test each and every runner on race day.

Starting in Tung Chunk at 0730, the runners had a fast and furious start over 2km’s before the climbing would start to the first peak of the day, Sunset Peak. The predicted typhoon hit in a force 3 making conditions ‘off-the-scale’ as rain flooded down the mountain creating impromptu rivers and waterfalls. Add to this gale force winds that would lift you off your feet and the stage was set for an epic battle.

For the men, Remi Bonnet pushed the pace from the gun ahead of Manuel Merillas and Aritz Egea, in pursuit Tadei Pivk, Marco De Gasperi and the remainder of the elite runners were spread out over the mountain. Yngvild Kaspersen like Remi set a blistering pace at the front, behind Laura Orgue pursued and then Elisa Desco and Maite Maiora.

Over Sunset Peak (3rd highest in Hong Kong) steps provided a sharp and sudden drop to CP1 and the 2nd climb to Lantau Peak at 934m. The hard steps, slick conditions and fierce competition made the course extremely challenging.

Pushing upward to Lantau, the trail closed in, opened up and then intersperses steps once again. The course requires a unique style of running (or hiking) as the irregular height and depth of the steps makes finding a rhythm awkward.

Pre race, Laura Orgue had said, “Hong Kong will be an absolutely different race to what we are used to.” She was correct. The combination of mixed terrain and inclement weather on race day all made for a unique challenge.

Remi Bonnet and Yngvild Kaspersen were leading the respective men’s and ladies’ races with two master-class performances, one could even say they made it look easy! At the summit of Lantau Peak, barring an accident they both would be crowned 2015 champions. But with a huge drop from the summit and slick conditions to contend with, the final rankings were still open.

With 23km’s covered and 1987m of vertical gain and more importantly maybe, 1988m of vertical loss, Remi arrived triumphant at Citygate in Tung Chung, a circular trip completed taking in the Lantau 2 Peaks in a time of 02:14:07. Manuel Merillas fought a hard battle for 2nd and Tadei Pivk took 3rd place ahead of a charging Greg Vollet. Artiz Egea who had run in 3rd place earlier dropped to 5th.

Yngvild Kaspersen won the race for the ladies in 02:42:04 and Laura Orgue held on to 2nd. Maite Maiora in the closing stages overhauled Elisa Desco on the descent and placed 3rd. Stevie Kremer placed 5th having struggled with jet lag having only landed in Hong Kong the night before the race after 24-hours of travel.


  1. Remi Bonnet 2:14:07
  2. Manuel Merillas 2:24:29
  3. Tadei Pivk 2:26:39
  1. Yngvild Kaspersen 2:42:04
  2. Laura Orgue 2:49:58
  3. Maite Maiora 2:51:19


Sky Series ranking provisional results (after Lantau 2 Peaks & US Continental Championships)

1. Tadei Pivk (ITA) Crazy Idea – 366 points
2. Manuel Merillas (ESP) Mammut/Compressport – 332 points
3. Tom Owens (GBR) Salomon- 268 points
3. Ionut Zinca (ROU) Valetudo – 268 points
5. Aritz Egea (ESP)E MF  – 252 points

1. Laura Orguè (ESP) Salomon – 364 points
2. Elisa Desco (ITA) SCOTT Sports/Compressport – 350 points
3. Maite Maiora (ESP) La Sportiva – 322 points
4. Megan Kimmel (USA) Asics – 300 points
5. Stevie Kremer (USA) Salomon – 254 points

Full results HERE

Hong Kong and the Lantau 2 Peaks – First Impressions


©iancorless.com_Lantau2Peaks2015-3966Hong Kong, it’s a place I have wanted to visit for sometime! The noise, the bustle of life, it has an energy that is far removed from many places that I visit. Nepal I suppose in some ways come close but only on a noise level, here everyone has the latest phone, computer, camera and so on

It’s a long way from the UK or anywhere in Europe. A short 1 –hour flight to Amsterdam, a couple of hours’ stopover and then a 10.5-hour flight through the night and of course 7-hours time difference. You arrive mid morning but you feel like you be wrapped up in bed.

Once you leave the air conditioned confines of the airport or train station, the heat hits you. It’s like someone just turned a hair dryer on and the humidity? It’s uncomfortably high.

Most normal people would get a couple of hours sleep. A little RnR maybe? No, not us. The Salomon team were on my flight; Greg Vollet (team manager), Remi Bonnet, Laura Orgue, Martina Valmassoi and Yngvild Kaspersen. It’s a multi-national bunch with France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Norway represented.

Active people don’t like being compressed in a cylindrical tube for any length of time, especially 10.5-hours. So it was a quick turnaround at the hotel, check-in, drop luggage in room, shower and go for lunch before heading out on the Lantau 2 Peaks course. Lunch was an interesting navigation of what felt like a lucky dip. We ticked boxes on a menu card and hoped for the best. Some of our choices were excellent, some average and the less we discuss the pork balls, the better!

Lantau 2 Peaks by Action Asia Events after all is why we are all here. Lantau is the 4th race in the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series for the SKY distance and the top male and female honours are all to play for.

Our early arrival in HK affords an opportunity to check out the 2nd section of the course, from Cp1 to the finish; it is one we seize. I get to look at some possible photo spots and loosen off from the travel, the Salomon team get a 13-14k mountain run in.

Running is easy! Navigating our way across Hong Kong via 2 trains, no ‘blue’ taxi’s meant that a bus was the only option. As it turned out it was a great adventure.

So here we are.

We have consumed food, used public transport, christened the trails and as darkness falls the place is coming to life in a glow of neon lights and sounds.

Hong Kong is an exciting place!