Seven Sisters Skyline 2019 Summary

Kasia Osipowicz and Damian Gielty take victory in the Seven Sisters Skyline, the third race in the 2019 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series.

Despite a heat wave and glorious sunshine for a week, Ireland was shrouded in mist and light rain for the 2019 edition of the Seven Sisters Skyline. Some did say, ‘It’s Ireland, what did you expect?’ But for the skyrunner’s, the cooler temperatures and light winds were almost certainly preferable to the intense heat of the previous week.

The 50km route is a beast of a race that has very little obvious paths to run along, boggy ground and a great deal of vertical ascent. From the 0700 start, Adam Quinn, Jonny Steede and Damien Gielty dictated the pace opening up a substantial gap by the halfw point from Marek Wojnarowski, Lonan O’Farrell and a string of other close contenders.

The rocky and relentless climb to Muckish providing a challenge for all and it was the end of this section were the runners re-traced and headed via and out and back course, the two significant changes coming at the end with a circumnavigation and climb of Errigal and then a route around the River Clady before finishing in Dunlevy.

Damien Gielty proved too strong for the competition going solo and taking a strong victory in 6:32:56 ahead of Jonny Steede in 6:49:38. Initially it looked like Adam Quinn would place 3rd and after Errigal he held that position. However, he had sustained a serious head wound in a fall and took time out at the final checkpoint before carrying on to place 5th. This opened the doorway for Lonan O’Farrell who rounded the podium in 7:12:04.

For the women, Kasia Osipowicz was head and shoulders ahead of the the other women running the race solo from the start to the finish. Her time 8:42:47 providing her with victory and now the overall female lead in the 2019 Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series. Kasia has shown great consistency placing 2nd in the previous two races in the calendar and now a victory. Her points tally is 260.

Rachael Nolan and Bernadette O’Kane placed 2nd and 3rd, both producing solid and consistent runs to finish in 9:06:51 and 9:17:29.

Post-race, much of the comment was about the toughness and severity of the course. “I loved this course, it suited me with all the wet and boggy terrain,” said Kasia. “The mist kind of worked in my favour, you can’t see what is coming so you put your head down and get on with it. I loved the final climb up to Errigal, it was magical!”

IMAGE GALLERY HERE

The next race on the calendar is Snowdon Skyline in September and importantly, the male and female winners will not only get valuable points for the Skyrunner UK & Ireland Series but they will also be granted entry in the SkyMasters which will take place in Limone, Italy towards the end of October.

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Causeway Crossing Race Report

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Sun broke the horizon just 30 or so minutes before the 0600 start of the 100k, the first of three events in the Lost Worlds Racing, Causeway Crossing series. It would be followed with a 50k starting at 1300 in the Quarry and a 25k starting at 1530 at the final turn point in the 100k event.

Races from all over the world lined up for the start of the second edition of the Lost Worlds Causeway Crossing. Representation came from Japan, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, UK and Ireland.

Starting in Waterfoot in the Glens of Antrim, the race passed through areas of local beauty such as Larry Bane quarryCarrick-A-Rede, the Moyle Way and the Causeway Coastline including the Giants Causeway.

As often happens, the longest event of the day always attracts the most attention, however, the 50k event certainly had some names to watch.

However, as the “3,2,1 and GO” was being uttered by race director, Tim Holmstrom, Jonny Steede flew off like a rabbit that had just been scared in headlights and really, that is the last that any runner saw of him all day… of course, they did get an opportunity to see him run back against them later in the day as he returned along the ‘Causeway’ to secure a very impressive win over his first 100k race. Jonny had recently won the Wicklow Way 51k and was a ‘hot tip’ going into this race. His time of 8:35:23 was very impressive.

Jonny Steede - copyright Ian Corless

Jonny Steede – copyright Ian Corless

Fast man, Dave James was over in Europe from the USA and just the weekend before Ireland had taken part in Lost Worlds Racing Tuscany event and was now on the start line for the 100k. It is worth pointing out that Dave is in Europe for several weeks. In just seven days he will be lining up against the best in the world at Transvulcania La Palma and then just two weeks later he will go to Zegama before attempting, in June,  the brutal Ronda del Cims 100m mountain race in Andorra. Dave also like to race on a regular basis, but with the proximity of Transvulcania he was never going to push too hard at the Causeway Crossing. He ran a very solid second place behind a dominant Jonny Steede but by the time he arrived at the 50k point he was approximately 40 mins in arrears of the fast man up front and decided to call it a day and prepare for the next race in just a week.

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Noel Brick took 2nd place after gaining some places in the latter stages of the race. When I saw him at the Giants Causeway he said he was tired and hurting but he would push on… push on he did crossing the line in 11:20:26 ahead of Ronald Peacock 11:58:10.

Local runner Hannah Shields is somewhat a legend in Irish running and she fulfilled her pre race ‘favourite’ billing by running a smart race despite some calf niggles. Always smiling, always chatting she powered her way through the 100k and not only did she win the ladies race convincingly in 12:13:33 but she also finished sixth overall.

Hannah Shields - copyright Ian Corless

Hannah Shields – copyright Ian Corless

Susanne Hastrup from Sweden took 2nd place in 14:10:27 and Amy Beggs (tbc – possibly Mette Kildermoes in 15:01:30) crossed the line in 15:01:30 for third making it a truly international podium.

The 50k race started at Larrybane Head Quarry (the halfway point for the 100k and finish line for all races). Runners headed out along the coast as a cold, strong wind blew in from the sea. Running around the Giants Causeway they turned at  Dunluce Castle before heading back to the finish line at Larrybane Head Quarry this time via the Giants Causeway.

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Hot tip and last minute entrant to the race was Scot, DR Andrew Murray. He pushed hard from the beginning of the race and gradually built an advantage over his rivals to finish in 3:55:54 in first place. He was very enthusiastic when I caught up with him, “How could you not enjoy this… it’s a beautiful coastline. I had a great day out with some great views”.

Martin Rea  and Shane Whitty had a fight for second place but it was the man from North Belfast (Martin) who pushed ahead in the latter stages to cross the line in 4:07:02 with just over three minutes lead over Shane who finished in 4:10:36 for third place.

Jolene Mellon from Ireland started the race as she meant to go on and dominated the 50k event from beginning to end. She crossed the line 4 mins ahead of Col Conway, finishing times 4:49:48 and 4:53:58 respectively. Stefani Jackenthal from the USA, before the race had said how excited she was to be running on this course, she is a journalist and sports writer, so the challenging course and a solid third place will almost certainly make a feature in an up and coming article, her time 5:07:54.

Stefani Jackenthal - copyright Ian Corless

Stefani Jackenthal – copyright Ian Corless

The final event of the day, the 25km started at the final turn point for the 100k and 50k races. Karen Alexander flew away from the start and never looked back… running up the climb out of the Giants Causway she made the gradient look easy. So easy that not only did she win the ladies race but the 25k race overall. Her finish time of 1:53:17 very impressive.

Karen Alexander - copyright Ian Corless

Karen Alexander – copyright Ian Corless

Patrick Thompson was the first male runner home in 2:00:33 taking a win in the category but ultimately was second place overall.  Chris Heaney had a sprint for the line and secured third place by just 2 seconds in 2:01:09 ahead of fellow American, Kalle Kraften. Laura O’Driscoll was second in the ladies race in 2:06:45 and Helena Dornan third in 2:13:31.

RESULTS

100k

  1. Jonny Steede 8:35:23
  2. Noel Brick 11:20:26
  3. Ronald Peacock 11:5810
  1. Hannah Shields 12:33:33
  2. Susanne Hastrup 14:10:27
  3. Amy Beggs 15:46:30 (tbc) possibly Mette Kildermoes in 15:01:30

50k

  1. Andrew Murray 3:55:54
  2. Martin Rea 4:07:02
  3. Shane Whitty 4:10:36
  1. Jolene Mellon 4:49:48
  2. Col Conway 4:53:58
  3. Stefani Jackenthal 5:07:54

25k

  1. Patrick Thompson 2:00:33
  2. Chris Heaney 2:01:09
  3. Kalle Kraften  2:01:11
  1. Karen Alexander 1:53:17
  2. Laura O’Driscoll 2:06:45
  3. Helena Dornan 2:13:31

A portfolio of RACE PHOTOGRAPHY is available to view HERE

Images will be available to purchase from May 8th using this LINK HERE

LINKS

  • Lost Worlds Racing – Here
  • The Causeway Crossing – Here

Thanks

To the Lost Worlds Racing staff, Ryan and Justin at NI Running and all the local hospitality and help.

A beautiful start to a day... - copyright Ian Corless

A beautiful start to a day… – copyright Ian Corless

The Causeway Crossing Preview

Ireland Graphic 23The Lost Worlds Causeway Crossing – three unique events along the Giants Causweay Coastline and the Moyle Way. A unique landscape – the Giants Causeway Coastline and the Moyle Way. Individuals can take part in a 25k, 50k or 100k event.

Taking place on Saturday 4 May 2013 the main event of the weekend, The Lost Worlds 100k will see a top quality line up. Most notable is the late inclusion of US based runner Dave James.

Dave has a very strong reputation on the US ultra scene. He is a USATF national champion and has run some incredible times over the 100 mile distance, his PR is 13:06:52.. He has already had an an impressive 2013. He secured another win at the multi stage,  The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and then just one week later raced at Fuego Y Agua to get second place behind Nick Clark. Dave loves to run and is currently in Europe in preparation to take part in the 2013 Skyrunning calendar. It is not his first time in Ireland, he represented Team USA (2011) IAU World Trail Championship. He is racing The Lost Worlds Tuscany event and just 7 days later  the Causeway Crossing. he will head to La Palma for Transvulcania, just two weeks later he will race at Zegama and then the big one! Rond del Cims in Andorra. A super tough 100 miler that has a profile that looks like JAWS dental records. Without doubt Dave will be competitive in Ireland but he has a busy diary… he is going to need to keep some powder dry.

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Courtesy of Ryan at Ni Running, here is an update on the local talent:

Jonny Steede (Balllymena Runners):  Jonny is a VERY strong contender in my opinion.  He has represented Northern Ireland in Mountain Running previously, then gained a lot of speed by moving to the roads (as well as still competing over the mountains).  He has really found his niche on the trails, his strength and speed will suit this course.  Jonny recently won the prestigious Wickow Way Ultra (51k) in March 2013, and is definately a future star in the Ultra world!  He really hammered a few big names in Wicklow!  This will be his first attempt at 100k, but he has put in the training for it… much of which is with well-known Irish Ultra runner Martin Rea (North Belfast Harriers) and my brother, Justin Maxwell (Larne AC), who is taking part in the Sky Running World Series this year (starting in Transvulcania).

Geoff Smyth (Unattached): Geoff was the winner of last years 100k, running 10:04:22.  He knows the course well and has also won the Causeway Coast Ultra (39miles), which covers the coastal section of the Lost Worlds course in 2011.  He won the Dervock marathon in 2:56:29 last year, this was a tough rural road marathon.  He has a road marathon PB of around 2:48, so he isn’t an ‘elite speedster’ as such, but a real ‘battler’… he will run steady and prove hard to break.  There was word that he may have picked up a niggle, but I cant confirm this!

Ivan Sadlier (Unattached):  Ivan is an experienced Ultra runner and was 3rd in 100k here last year.  In truth, he’ll only be a contender should there be drop outs or lack of depth in the field.  Mentally and physically, he’s a tough man… but it’s his speed over the distance that will be a disadvantage.  His times for some well known Ultra’s are SDW100 (100m) – 22:56:04 and Highland Fling (53m) – 10:43:00

 

Hanna Shields (City of Derry AC): Hannah is somewhat of a local hero to some, having conquered Everest.  She is an experienced Ultra runner knows the course well. She was 3rd in the Causeway Coast Ultra (39 miles) and 3rd in the Mourne Way Ultra (52 miles) in 2012.  She has also placed well this year, preparing for this event with a 2nd place finish at the Wicklow Way Ultra (51k) and a 3rd place finish at the Connemara Ultra (39.3m) a few weeks ago.

Of course a 50km event is also taking place, favourites are:

Jolene Mellon (Setanta Triathlon Club):  Jolene is from Ireland (Southern Ireland) and a strong contender for a podium place in the ladies 50k.  She originates from a Sportiff cycling backround but moved into Triathlons for a bigger challenge.  She went on to complete and Ironman/women event.  She is a strong runner and won the Mourne Way Ultra (52miles in 9:45:58) in 2012.  She completed the tough Cooley Legends HM last weekend as preparation for this race last weekend, she finished in 3rd place.  She won the Cooley Legends HM in 2012.  The reason I pick out this HM is because a lot of the terrain is similar to what the Causeway Crossing course will be like.

David Gamble (Seapark AC):  David has good experience in Ultra running, he is strong and a consistent top ten finisher in Ultra distance events in NI and Ireland.  He has completed the Mourne Way Ultra (52miles in 10:30:18) and the Causeway Coast Marathon on several occasions, with the terrain of the Mourne Way event and the knowledge gained during his participation in the Causeway Coast Marathon I think he could go well in the Lost Worlds event.  He has been off the radar ‘racing wise’ recently, probably getting himself into good shape for this.

A word from Tim Holmstrom

Tim Holmstrom from Lost Worlds Racing is very excited about the Irish leg of his series “We have Team Red White and Blue participating in a 4 person team relay of 100k. More info on this amazing organization here: http://teamrwb.org. Also, most exciting for me is that this series will be culminating next ummer in Greece at  Lost Worlds Meteora : 100M/50M mountain ultra. Participants will experience Meteora and an amazing part of Greece.”

When asked about The Lost World series, Tim says, “It is about World Heritage and a deliberate effort to create a singularly unique experience for our participants based on many facets. It is a chance to have meaningful cross cultural exchange in a race setting with an international field. Lost Worlds Racing also provides a window for participants into amazing cultural and historically significant places of natural beauty, as well as remarkable trails and terrain when considering our race venues. These are more than races. My hope is that they feel like a step back in time into locations that should be on everyone’s bucket list as an important part of their own earthly experience and collective heritage as humans.”

Other notable locations of the Lost Worlds Series are:- Ometepe, Nicaragua; Tuscany, Italy; Belize Crossing, Belize; Dominica Crossing, Caribbean.

The Route/ Race

All Lost Worlds Causeway Crossing events will be fully waymarked and will follow the paths, tracks, beaches and coastline of the Moyle Way and Causeway Coast Way – probably one of the most spectacular coastlines in the whole world. The entire route of the 50k and 25k events pass through magnificent coastline scenery with fine views of wide bays, sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and offshore rocks, all of which characterise the GiantsCauseway Causeway Coast, making its beauty and uniqueness world famous. All events will run through the world famous Giants Causeway with the 100k event passing past this famous landmark twice.The 100k route also follows the route of the Moyle Way, along tracks and trails where few feet ever venture and along majestic streams and pathways which will test the fittest participant over the first 50k.

There will be a high level of support and feed stations en route. Participants in all events will use a timing system for this event and split times and finish times will be available for all participants after crossing the finish line of the event.

Links and info

I will be at the event producing race coverage and photography. Please check Facebook, Twitter and of course this website.

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