Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2015 – Race Preview

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The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is just one week away. One of six races in the 2015 Skyrunning™ UK calendar, the ‘SGCS’ is arguably one of the most anticipated races in the UK in recent years. It was thought by many that the UK could not produce a race that would hark back to the roots of Skyrunning as seen at Trofeo Kima, the Dolomites SkyRace or Ice Trail Tarentaise. They were wrong! The UK may lack the altitude of the Alps or the Dolomites but we have mountains, routes and scrambles that will test the most experienced competitor.

Shane Ohly and Gary Tompsett, curse recce May 2015

Shane Ohly and Gary Tompsett, course recce May 2015

Shane Ohly from Ourea Events and course planner Gary Tompsett have come up with a beast of a course, a course that epitomizes the ethos of Skyrunning and in doing so, the race has turned the heads of not only the running world but also the media. 

‘We are not creating another mass participation fell or trail running event, but rather a world class Skyrunning course for experienced and competent participants,’ said Shane Ohly in a recent interview with the the BBC. ‘The Glen Coe Skyline is a fusion of mountain running and alpinism where competitors need to be skilled at both disciplines to negotiate the course.’

Never a true word has been spoken and to that end, the SGCS arguably has one of the most experienced fields assembled in any race that has taken place in the UK. A race that has required participants to ‘prove’ competence to take part has made interesting reading for the race directors and Skyrunning UK.

Looking through the 170+ runners who will toe the line on Saturday August 22nd has confirmed the depth and talent of each and every Skyrunner. A familiar thread is noted, buzz words such as Bob Graham Round, Cullin Ridge, experienced climber, Skyrunning, Dolomites and Trofeo Kima appear regularly in the entry list. It makes highlighting some of the key runners for the race difficult.

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However, one name clearly stands out, Emelie Forsberg. Emelie is the current Skyrunning World and European Champion for the Ultra distance. In less than 3-years, Emelie has risen through the Skyrunning ranks to be the female face of the sport and her presence at the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is more than a confirmation that this race is well and truly the ‘Dogs Bolx’ as one keen entrant stated!

‘I love the mountains and I love technical courses. This Salomon Glen Coe Skyline route looks amazing and a challenge. Ridge running and scrambling; I can’t wait!’ said Emelie after finishing 4th at the Dolomites SkyRace.

Jasmin Paris, fresh from victory at the Dragons Back Race will without doubt provide Emelie with a race. Jasmin’s experience of British fells and mountains may well provide a distinct advantage of the Skyrunning world champion?

Jasmin Paris - The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Jasmin Paris – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Sharon Bird is an Irish International athlete, Gabriel Lees is a British Ski Mountaineering Champion and Victoria Moseley has excelled at Scaffell Pike and the 3 Peaks Race. But the female talent does not stop here, recent V3K winner and experienced Sky and mountain runner, Sarah Ridgway will be in the mix and we also need to keep a close eye on Liz Barker, Gillian Caldwell and Sarah Ryan. The ladies race is brimming with talent and the podium is wide open.

‘The mountains provide a wonderful natural playground and non more so than those in and around Glen Coe, the 2015 edition of the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is going to be a spectacle like no other race that has taken place within the UK. We are fully aware that this race is not for everyone,’ said Ian Corless, Director for Skyrunning UK. ‘However, just like the top European races we want to invite people to come and join us for the weekend. We want a party, a celebration of running and in the process Ourea Events has in place opportunities to go into the mountains with guides and experience the race as spectators but in a safe way. This is going to be very special!’

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

Esmond Tressider may well be the odds on favourite for the men’s race as he is a previous record holder for the Cullin Ridge and has had very recent experience of racing in Europe on the Skyrunner® World Series. The last minute withdrawal of Finlay Wild increases Es’s chances but Joe Symonds will without doubt have other thoughts. Joe like Es, understands the UK mountains and fells and has extensive experience of racing in Europe.

Jim Mann - The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Jim Mann – The Berghaus Dragons Back Race

Jim Mann won the 2015 Berghaus Dragons Back Race with a world-class dominating performance makes him a podium favourite and potential race winner.

Florian Reichert - Tromso SkyRace

Florian Reichert – Tromso SkyRace

Florian Reichert has been racing on the Skyrunner® World Series for several years and has had great success at VK and SKY races. He recently ran the Tromso SkyRace so the ridges and scrambling at Glen Coe will play into his hands. He is however a runner a runner that loves to go fast. Expect Florian to make places in the latter stages of the race.

Konrad Rawlik recently raced at the Dragons Back race and still produced a great performance despite injury. If fully recovered, we can expect Konrad to dictate the early pace and a podium place is a distinct possibility.

Scott Forbes, Anthony Alasdair, Andrew Barrington and Edward Hamer all may prove to be dark horses on a course that will test each and every participant to the limits. The race may only be ‘just’ over a marathon in distance but the accumulated ascent of over 4000m, technical ridges and scrambling make the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline THE race of 2015 and one that looks set to create a stir for years to come.

A celebration of running, a celebration of climbing; the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline will bring to distinct sports together in a pure celebration of Skyrunning that offers a tribute and homage to the pioneering days of Marino Giacometti, Bruno Brunod and Fabio Meraldi. To that end, on Friday night before the race, 2 films will be shown: ‘THE SKY’S THE LIMIT’ that provides an insight in to Skyrunning and the yet to be released (Oct 20th), Salomon SRTV episode, ‘FAST and LIGHT.

The future of Skyrunning in the UK is very exciting and Shane Ohly sums it up when he says:

‘I sincerely hope that aspirational races like the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline will contribute to the growth of the sport both in terms of participation and general awareness within the wider running and outdoor community within the UK and worldwide, this is my goal for the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and we will be working hard to achieve this.’

 Put the dates in your diary:  Friday August 21st to Sunday 23rd 2015

Race Day is August 22nd

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Why We Run – Salomon Running TV S3 E01

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“Ideally I would like to be a bird but running is a close second”

The African Attacment and Salomon Running once again take our sport and the visual story to the next leveel

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Bernd Heinrich is a retired Professor living in a log cabin in the woods of Western Maine. He has held numerous running records throughout his life and has committed much of his time to the study of the natural world. In Episode 01 we look back at this man’s incredible life, his achievements, the lessons he has learned, and what we can possibly learn from him.

Music:
“Breathe”
By SignPost
Written for The African Attachment & SRTV
http://www.signpostsound.co.za

Additional Race Footage:
Transvulcania & Zegama – Kikazaru Producciones
Marathon du Mont Blanc – Mouss Productions
Olympus Marathon – Stamos Birsim

One Step Beyond

Although this blog and website is very much ultra based I don’t think it should be at the exclusion of some remarkable things.

Seb Montaz for me is one of the greatest ‘sports’ film makers out there. Along with The African Attachment, Seb produces some remarkable movies. Many of you will have seen them – Kilian’s Quest and of course the new Summits teaser.

Anyway, Seb has just made a new film.

“In life it’s our choice whether we laugh or cry – and I chose to laugh”

One Step Beyond takes us behind the scenes for a close up look at the lives of people involved in extreme sports.

VIEW THE TRAILER HERE

Géraldine Fasnacht, world-renowned snowboarder and base jumper, invites us into the small and close-knit community of today’s real life supermen – wingsuit flyers… We join her on a rollercoaster ride across the full spectrum of human emotions, catapulting from total euphoria to devastating loss, living life at full force and in glorious technicolour. Until one day, out of nowhere, a dramatic event changes the course of Géraldine’s life and forces her to reconsider her chosen path. In the face of tragedy, she decides to pick herself up and get back on the ride, to be swept up in a whirlwind of adrenaline.

This bare bones, honest account gives us a window into the lives of ordinary men and women who have chosen to take an extraordinary path in life.

Fasten your seat belts, we hope you enjoy your trip!

“It’s like a drug… when you do it you wonder how you
managed without it for so long, you can’t live without it”

This is an intimate look at a group of people who live exploring the extremes of human capability and the meaning of their own existence – a group bound by their experiences. And of one person in particular, who has no illusions of the consequences of her actions. Introduced to the mountains and the sport of snowboarding at a young age, Géraldine fast became addicted to the outdoors and the freedom and adventure she found through being in the mountains. She left the confines of patrolled areas in her home resort of Verbier almost as soon as she could stand up on a snowboard, venturing further and further into the backcountry. With the advent of freeride and extreme ski & snowboard competitions, organisers were forced to introduce a women’s category when Géraldine and her partner in crime were faster than many of the male competitors.

A very long way from the archetypal girl next door, this exceptionally talented woman excels in everything she does – doing ‘just ok’ is not an option. The pursuit of excellence and the desire to go further, faster, explore new sports, leads Géraldine through the best of times and the worst of times, and forces her to face her darkest demons in the aftermath of a tragic event.

“It’s like when you fall in love – you can’t control it. You know it might hurt you, …but the feeling is so good”

One Step Beyond is a story of lives led to extremes, of living your dreams and coming face to face with brutal reality. Of incredible friendships and finding the strength to overcome life’s cruelest obstacles. Of sharing amazing experiences with wonderful people… and of choosing to laugh.

GÉRALDINE FASNACHT
Snowboarder, Base jumper, wingsuit flyer (born 18th June 1980, Switzerland)

“I discovered the mountains and mountaineering through snowboarding. It’s like surfing a never ending wave… Happiness for me is painting lines on mountains… wide open spaces, freedom…”

Géraldine has notched up 12 years of snowboard competitions, with 8 of those on the international freeride circuit. She achieved a staggering 11 wins, 3 of those in the Verbier X-treme. She discovered basejump and wingsuit flying 10 years ago, finding the perfect parallel to drawing lines in the snow… doing the same in the sky. She has combined her passions on numerous trips and expeditions from Switzerland to the far corners of the planet – Mali, Baffin Island, Queen Maud Land in Antarctica, snowboarding spectacular mountains and making first basejump descents.

She shares her adventures through conferences and seminars via her company Lineprod, making presentations for corporate groups and children alike. Her love for nature and the outdoors shines through in everything she does.

KARINA HOLLEKIM
Free skier & Base jumper. (born April 25, 1976, Norway)

Karina grew up with a thirst for adventure and a fierce stubborn streak. She took to the ski slopes at a young age, only accepting the need for instruction from her dad after a high speed encounter with a hut! Shaping her life around her desire to ski bigger and higher mountains, lessons at school and work as a computer programmer soon gave way to time in the Alps. Life as a professional skier eventually lead her to explore base jumping and to achieve her childhood dream of being able to fly.

In August 2006 Karina suffered a near-fatal crash after her parachute failed during a routine parachute jump. She hit the ground at over 100 km/h and doctors said she would never walk again, but after 20 surgeries she has recovered and is now skiing again.

“…I guess this stubbornness and strong belief in my capability in managing things on my own has followed me, both in good and bad, ever since.”

SAMUEL BEAUGEY
Alpinist & globetrotter (born June 3rd 1971, France)

Sam grew up at the foot of Mont Blanc and has set up base camp on the slopes above les Houches. He became a mountain guide in 1994 … crampons, ice axes, skis, snowboard, wingsuit, snowkite, parapente – he has everything in his toolkit. He has accomplished a number of first descents and ascents (ski descent of Linceul on the Grandes Jorasses with Jerome Ruby, new route on Kwangde Shar in the Himalayas, snowboard descent of Everest North Face with Jerome Ruby & André-Pierre Rhem). With over 800 base jumps under his belt, he made the first wingsuit jump from Trango Pulpit (6100m) after climbing a new route Azazel with the Planet Big Wall team. In recent years he travelled to both polar regions, climbing new routes with wingsuit descents on Baffin Island and Antarctica.

He was joined by Géraldine on the Antarctic expedition and the couple were married in July 2011.

GIULIA MONEGO
Freeride skier (born June 23rd 1981, Italy)

Giulia spent the first part of her life in Venice, moving to Cortina in the Alps at 13 where she started ski racing. She quit the race circuit in 2001, tired of the stress of competitions, completed her ski instructor qualification and studies in tourism at Milan university. She then moved to Verbier where she has been based ever since, competing in freeride ski competitions (she won the Verbier Xtreme in 2006) and working as a freeride ski instructor for Powder-extreme ski school.

“My love for the mountains has given me the opportunity to live every season and use every tool, available. Climbing, paragliding and biking in the summer; skiing and climbing in the winter making the most of the outdoors. My years of experience have allowed me to push my limits further each day in new adventures, facing new and harder challenges.”

More info available in the downloadable press pack… HERE

Summits – insight

This is great little insight into Kilian’s next project by the man behind the camera, Seb Montaz.

Seb is without doubt one of the best cinematographers out there. He has worked closely with Kilian over the years and between them they are the perfect combination. Kilian performs the magic with his feet, Seb performs the magic with his eyes. Together it is a stunning combination.

Seb Montaz – Summits