Marmot24 2015 – Race Summary and Images

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The inaugural Marmot24 took place in 2014 and it proved to be one of the most challenging races of its type on the race calendar. Using a score format, participants raced over 12 or 24 hours on tough northern Lakeland terrain. Adding to the difficulty, the weather was grim. Yes, it was one seriously tough race.

This year another tough and challenging course was created in Southern Scotland (the Lowther Hills close to Dumfries) by Gary Tompsett. Once again using a score format (all controls had the same points) the objective for participants was to visit and accumulate points from as many controls as possible spread over an area of 200 square km’s. Needless to say, the potential for any 1 or 2-man (or woman or mixed) team to gain a 100% score was almost impossible.

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However, several teams excelled in the tough conditions.

In contrast to 2014 when the 12-hour runners started at midnight, this year, all competitors started at midday. A centrally based camp would allow runners to return as often as they like to rest, sleep, eat and then go back out on the course. For the committed, they never returned until the end!

100 runners took on the challenge and although clear blue skies bathed base camp and the northern hills, the southern part of the course had looming clouds that unfortunately (unexpectedly) provided a very wet and miserable day.

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From the off it was apparent that the northern fells seemed to be the preferred choice with clusters of controls offering good point scoring potential. The terrain may well have been more demanding in regard to elevation but underfoot it was dry, firm and fast. The south by contrast was flatter but extremely boggy. This boggy ground combined with wet weather made the south of the course not ideal. But sometimes you only find this out once you have committed yourself.

Route planning was extremely varied; some teams would start south, others in the north. Clockwise or anti-clockwise. The route options were endless and thus tracking and following of the event was very much a lottery.

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One consensus for many appeared to be the potential to spend 10-12 hours on the fells, call in the HQ for food, maybe some sleep and a change of clothes and then head back out. However, once you get back in camp, immerse yourself in a warm sleeping bag, it can be difficult to get back out on what turned out to be a very chilly July night.

Rain had been falling for hours in the south and this resulted in many a runner bringing their race to an end with the 12-hour cut off. However, those who had gone north were much better prepared for a night out and some wild camped, bivvied or pushed on through.

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Jim Tinnion, a regular competitor at these events (The Spine, Dragons Back and so on) commented post race:

“Lowther Hills was a super tough location with running as rough as you can imagine and some desperate descents. Happy with 2nd mixed pair: we didn’t quite have enough to match a great run by Simon and Carmen. Amazing stars last night at a freezing bivvy. Sleeping in survival bags isn’t ideal but we got a couple of hours sleep 15 miles after dinner in the Wanlockhead Inn. Brilliant event, very highly recommended but far and away the hardest mountain marathon challenge I know of.”

Teams had travelled from all over the UK and Europe to participate in this new and ground breaking event. Post race, they all concurred that the terrain and the difficult conditions had provided them all with an ultimate test. Bogs, marshes, bracken and ferns were a new experience to the ‘Europeans’ and it was clear to see the impact. ©iancorless.com_Marmot242015-3202

Top honors in the 12-hour went to Chris Baynham-Hughes who sweeped up a remarkable 25 controls. He was fast, in control and used supreme navigational skills and fitness to dominate the tough and challenging event. He timed his run perfectly finishing at Dursideer HQ in the final 15-minutes before the midnight chime. Full 12-hour results HERE. Sarah Fuller was 1st lady and Hamish Waring and Andy Heaton were the first pair.

The 24-hour race came down to a nail biter between Peter Wilkie and Rick Ansell. These hard core mountain men stayed out all night, pushed on through and looked to gain maximum points before returning back to base. They both accumulated 36 controls but Rick Ansell took top honors as he returned just 6-minutes before Peter. They don’t get much closer than that! Full 24-hour results HERE. Barry McElearney and Graham Cleminson were the first pair and Charlotte Turner and Lydia Farzin-Nia were the first ladies pair. No solo ladies ran the event.

Post race participants recovered with a bowl of hot chilli and of course route choices and course discussions took place, one thing became apparent; he combination of tough Scottish terrain, variable weather and wide spread controls set the Marmot24 apart from other events and it’s a format that was welcomed. Roll on 2016!

A full set of race images are available HERE

Race website HERE

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Glen Coe Skyline™ – Skyrunning comes to Scotland

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Skyrunning will be coming to Scotland in 2015 with a world-class course based around Glen Coe. Aptly named the ‘Glen Coe Skyline™’ this race has already caused a storm of speculation as rumours of its launch swept through the mountain running community earlier this year.

The provisional route starts at the Glencoe Mountain Resort and, via the West Highland Way, reaches and ascends Buachaille. A full traverse of Bidean nam Bian ensues before dropping down into Glen Coe to then climb up to Sgorr nam Fiannaidh. There is then an extended traverse of the entire Aonach Eagach ridge, before rejoining the West Highland Way and descending into Glen Coe Pass via the Devil’s Staircase and returning to Glencoe Mountain Resort. The provisional route statistics are approximately 45km with 4500m of ascent.

As many experienced hill walkers and climbers have pointed out, this route covers some of the most challenging mountain terrain in the UK with long sections of exposed and serious Moderate standard rock climbing. 

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Shane Ohly

Race Director Shane Ohly explained:

 “I am not trying to create another fell or trail race, but bring to the UK World class Skyrunning and a course that has World class challenges. It is not meant to be easy, and a course of this caliber has inherent risk. We are not creating another mass participation running event, rather, a world-class course for experienced and competent participants. 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.” 

Indeed, there has been a hotly debated forum thread about the Glen Coe Skyline™ on the popular UKClimbing / UKHillWalking website, and in response, Ohly has provided a detailed Q&A about the race, which is available HERE.

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Leading British Skyrunners were quick to endorse the route with Tom Owens from the Salomon International Team saying,

 “Wow – This will be a seriously brilliant and challenging route,” whilst teammate Any Symonds said, “Excellent! Glen Coe Skyline. Couldn’t get much of a better setting and route for a Sky Race in the UK.”

Ohly continued, “The Glen Coe Skyline™ follows in the finest tradition of the most prestigious Skyrunning races and competing on such challenging and technical terrain is not without precedent.” 

For an event that has not even happened, the Glen Coe Skyline™ is already one the most talked about races on the UK calendar and it is clearly challenging many observers’ perceptions of what mountain running is.

Ian Corless from Skyrunning UK provided further context to the race, “The UK may lack high mountains but we have unique terrain and what we lack in altitude can be compensated for with challenging routes as we have seen at the V3K and the Mourne Skyline MTR. The Glen Coe Skyline™ however takes Skyrunning UK to the next level! Having experienced the iconic Trofeo Kimain Italy in 2012 and 2014, I was inspired to extend that experience to a UK and worldwide audience but on UK soil. Shane Ohly and his team have put my dream into reality. The Glen CoeSkyline™ will arguably be the toughest race in the UK and takes it inspiration from the Skyrunner World Series races such as the Dolomites, Zegama-Aizkorri and Tromso SkyRace’s®. The Glen Coe Skyline™ will not be for everyone though; it is a challenging race over a tough and technical course. It harks back to Marino Giacometti’s vision of Skyrunning that was created on the slopes of Monte Rosa in the late 80’s.” 

The organisers have been careful to consider the impact the race may have on other recreational users of Glen Coe and have been working with the National Trust for Scotland who are the major landowner.

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Gary Tompsett

Rebecca Amiel, Individual Giving Manager, from the National Trust for Scotland said “We are delighted to be involved in Scotland’s first skyrunning event at Glencoe.  We look forward to welcoming participants who may never have visited Glencoe to take in its beauty as they complete this challenging event. The National Trust for Scotland is Scotland’s largest conservation charity and relies on membership and donations to care for these wonderful places.  The magnificent landscape of Glencoe is loved by so many, yet cared for by so few which is why it’s so important to raise the profile of our conservation work. Find out more about the Footpath Fund and mountain conservation at www.footpathfund.org.uk

Ohly added, “Each year Ourea Events™ (the company organising the Glen Coe Skyline™) donates 1% of its total income to charitable environmental organisations at the forefront of the protection of the mountain environment. The business has been a member of 1% of the Planet since day one because, whilst we always seek to mitigate our environmental impact, we understand that we do still have some form of impact, but our policies over the years have given some very attributable payback”.

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Entries will open at 9pm on Monday 13th April 2015

 

For further Information about:

Ourea Events visit www.OureaEvents.com or contact Shane Ohly on 07771516962 or ShaneOhly@OureaEvents.com

Glen Coe Skyline visit www.GlenCoeSkyline.com

SkyrunningUK visit http://skyrunninguk.com or contact Ian Corless on 07725813457 or iancorless@mac.com

 

Key Event Information

Website: www.GlenCoeSkyline.com

Date: Saturday 22nd August 2015

Venue: Glencoe Mountain Resort, Scotland

Entries Open: Monday 13th April 2015

Courses: 45km with 4,500m ascent (TBC)

CAPE WRATH ULTRA™ – SCOTLAND’S EXPEDITION RACE – MAJOR NEW ULTRA-RUNNING EVENT ANNOUNCED

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From the team that revived the inspirational Dragon’s Back Race™, an extraordinary new adventure has just been announced for June 2016 called the Cape Wrath Ultra™.
Billed as a once in a lifetime ultra-running expedition race, the Cape Wrath Ultra™ will weave 400km through the Highlands of Scotland. Starting in Fort William, the race promises to take competitors on an incredible journey linking ancient footpaths and remote tracks to the furthest northwesterly point of the British Isles, Cape Wrath.
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©BenWinston 

Race organiser, Shane Ohly from Ourea Events, describes the route. “Winding through the beautiful lochs, glens and mountains of the Scottish Highlands, the Cape Wrath Ultra™ is an ultra-running expedition through some of the World’s most inspirational landscapes, including Morar, Knoydart, Kintail, Torridon, Assynt and Sutherland”.
The new race is based on the Cape Wrath Trail, which is considered to be the toughest long distance backpacking trail in the UK. It crosses rugged landscapes, genuine wilderness and has great distances between support points. Hikers usually take at least 20 days to complete the trail and a new Cicerone guidebook published in 2013 has sparked renewed interested in this unofficial long distance footpath.
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©DaveCuthbertson

Shane Ohly continued. “Our Cape Wrath Ultra™ route will be similar to the Cape Wrath Trail but with some important variations as we mold the journey for an ultra-running perspective. Detailed planning has begun and Gary Tompsett has been appointed as the Race Director and Planner”.
Gary Tompsett is the logical choice for the role, having planned the 2007 Adventure Race World Championships in the same area and having previously worked with Shane Ohly at Rat Race Adventure. Shane Ohly explained, “Living near the Highlands of Scotland, Gary has a deep knowledge of various route options, the terrain, the weather, and the endless possibilities for a rich experience”.
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Two previous winter Charlie Ramsay Round record holders together: Gary Tompsett (left) and Shane Ohly (right). The photo is taken moments before Shane Ohly sets off on his epic 2012 record attempt.

 The race is described as a supported ultra-running expedition, in which competitors’ equipment will be transported each day and tented accommodation and all meals provided. This is the same successful formula that Ohly employed when he revived the Dragon’s Back Race™ in 2012.
Ourea Events claim that the Cape Wrath Ultra™ will be the supreme ultra-running trail race. With a 400km canvas through the Scottish Highlands and Ohly and Tompsett’s pedigree – they are both former winter Ramsay Round record holders – in delivering iconic, adventurous and challenging events, who would want to argue!
Entries open in January 2015.
Date: June 2016