Today, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline well and truly cemented itself as one of the ‘must-do’ events not only in the UK but the world. At times, it has been a rocky road putting this event on. Not from an organisation point of view I must add but from negative publicity about inappropriate use of the mountains and of course the D A N G E R and the ‘risk-of-death’ that may occur.
Many Scottish papers said that the trails would be strewn with runners going fast and ruining the day of many a mountain lover….
As predicted, the reality was far from the scare mongering of a select few.
Mountain lovers were on the mountains and you know what? They stopped, cheered, applauded and encouraged what (in their words) these ‘super humans’ were doing.
Skyrunning World and European Champion for the ultra distance, Emelie Forsberg won the ladies race and placed 2nd overall. Her performance was quite literally ‘off-the-scale.’ She relegated several of the UK’s top mountain runners to lower positions 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!) some parts very runnable on nice but still tricky trails. Glen Coe I’m thrilled to have run this race. Thanks to your amazing organization. Even though it was hard all of the nature and the course made me go fast. Thanks all of you standing along the course, you made me feel so welcomed here!
It was a sentiment echoed by the recent Lakeland 50 runner, Jayson Cavill who placed 3rd man and 4th overall:
“Oh my gosh I can’t believe it!! What an amazing race, I am too far gone to put into words just how totally nails that route was, technical descents that went on forever, long steeeeeep climbs that went on for even longer. Great climbing around the ridges and rock faces, I am so so chuffed I really feel like I got the best out of myself today – even if my legs were shot after the first 10 miles – it did hurt a lot! Such a great experience.”
Scotland played ball today too. The previous day’s rain eased over night and the runners were greeted with a perfect day until just after midday. As predicted the cloud came in and with it showers. But at this stage the runners just had one thing in mind; the finish.
In the early stages of the race, it was all going to script with Joe Symonds, Es Tressider and a handful of other top male talent dictating the pace and Emelie Forsberg was holding a slender lead over the 2015 Berghaus Dragons Back winner, Jasmin Paris.
Climbing Curved Ridge was for many, the highlight of the race. Coming just 6-miles in, it was a real brutal way to kick off what would be the UK’s most extreme day in the mountains. For those who don’t know, The Curved Ridge route ascended Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor) via the exposed Grade III scramble (a ‘Moderate’ graded rock climb).
What followed was a master class of pure Skyrunning by Joe and Emelie. They pushed the pace, extended the gap between the competition and when they entered the Aonach Eagach Ridge barring an accident, the race for the respective top slots was over. However, Joe was only 10-minutes ahead of Emelie… could she close the gap?
But only by a couple of minutes. Joe crossed the line in 7:36:21 and Emelie 7:44:19.
“My overall reflections on this race are that the route was absolutely phenomenal. I can’t think of anywhere else on mainland UK that could offer such quality of extreme mountain running. It is no overstatement to say that this really was a first for us in Britain. Elsewhere Emilie has already given her thoughts on how it compares to other races of this distance across the globe. To organise this event was of course brave, given the objective danger involved. But bravery often pays off, and you can mitigate against the dangers, as the organisers did, by taking appropriate safety precautions and vetting participants carefully.” – Joe Symonds
Mark Harris and Jayson Cavill finished 2nd and 3rd men after pre-race favourite Es Tressider tired over the final miles.
Jasmin Paris once again produced another top notch result placing 2nd behind Emelie and 5th overall in 7:54:29, just 10-minutes back from the Skyrunning World Champion. Sarah Ridgway rounded out the ladies’ podium in 9:21:44.
148 runner started the 1st edition of the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and currently (at the time of writing) 24 have withdrawn from the race. This low drop out rate is a testament to the strict vetting procedure that was put in place by race director, Shane Ohly.
The buzz post race is one of adrenaline, stories and how the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is the hardest race they have ever done.
The stage is now set. This race is set to become a beacon of Skyrunning, not only in the UK but worldwide.
Expect great things for 2016!
“What a great closer of a long, successful and satisfying season: #glencoeskyline had everything (and more) of a skyrace I expected! It was by far the most technical, most demanding, most dramatic and most scenic race I ever did! It’s amazing what the organizers around Shane Ohly put together here in Scotland. I feel deeply priviledged that I could’ve been part of the inaugural race of what will become an epic on the skyrunning calendar! Thanks for having me here and thanks for your support! I went into the race with a minor injury, but up to the highest point I felt really good. Then I took a tumble on a technical downhill and lost a bit of confidence going down, finishing in 17th place in 8:45 h. After all I’m just so happy and satisfied with a great day out in the mountains and an amazing visit to Scotland! – Florian Reichert
Full results are available HERE
The Salomon Glen Coe Website HERE
Skyrunning UK HERE
Joe Symonds 7:36:21
Mark Harris 7:44:51
Jayson Cavill 7:49:42
Emelie Forsberg 7:44:19 (2nd overall)
Jasmin Paris 7:54:29
Sarah Ridgway 9:21:44
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