- Montreux Trail Running Festival – Switzerland
- Speedgoat 50k – USA
- Fjallmaraton – Sweden
- Rondane 100 – Norway
- Pyrenees Stage Run – Spain (now postponed to 2021)
- Marathon des Sables – Morocco
Skyrunning goes EXTREME this weekend with the Tromsø SkyRace® the second race of the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series in the Extreme category which also includes the Royal Gran Paradiso and the Salomon Glencoe Skyline in the UK which will take place in September.
A weekend of Skyrunning starts with the Blåmann Vertical Kilometer® on Friday and the Tromsø SkyRace® on Saturday – both races are designed by Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg.
Tough, challenging, leg hurting, lung busting, the Blåmann Vertical Kilometer® climbs 1000 vertical meters over the short distance of 2.7km. Encompassing the sea-to-sky concept, the race starts on the shores of the sea and concludes at an altitude of 1044m at Store Blåmann.
Saturday’s Tromso SkyRace® is an inspiring course that has plenty of vertical, technical terrain, exposed ridges and demanding descents. It covers 53km and has 4600m of vertical terrain, the race really is a challenge for those taking part.
The line-up for this year’s race is high quality and will include Skyrunner World Series Extreme 2016 Champion, Jon Albon. Albon was the winner of the race in 2015 ahead of Luis Alberto Hernando. A recent victory and course record at the Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira shows that Albon is in form.
Bhim Gurung won the Royal Gran Paradiso recently with a stunning descent in the final kilometers. He did the same earlier in the year at the Yading SkyRace in China. For sure, Gurung is a contender for the podium and the win.
Eirik Haugsness has had a quiet year so far and it’s difficult to know his current form? However, he did win the first edition of the race and knows the course well.
Rolf Einar Jensen is also racing on local ground and made the Tromso podium in 2015. He was also in the mix in 2016 and he will make his presence felt this year I am sure. Like Haugsness he has local knowledge and course experience.
Kiril Nikolov raced at Comapedrosa SkyRace last weekend and damaged his foot. At this stage, I am unsure if he will start the race and if he does, what impact last weekend will have on his performance. If he is fit and healthy, he will be in the mix for the top-10 and if he has a good day, top-5 is a distinct possibility.
Kim Collison had injury issues earlier in the year and withdrew from Scenic 113k. He did toe the line at the Royal Gran Paradiso but just for a finish. With some solid training, Collison will be in the mix here in Tromso. He likes rough and gnarly terrain, he has pace, he can climb and descend and technical exposed ridges cause no problem for him – one to watch!
Hector Haines is having a good year having placed in the top-10 at Transvulcania and the Royal Gran Paradiso. Like Collison, Haines can handle the ‘UK’ like Tromso terrain and he will almost certainly be a contender at the front of the race.
Michel Lanne is a great addition to the race and although he seems to have raced little in recent months, he loves mountain and technical terrain. He will almost certainly be a surprise addition to the elite men and quite rightly, his competitors should keep a keen eye on him – he has all the potential to win the race. In past years he has won Mont-Blanc 80km,Andorra Ultra Trail, 4th at Zegama and 5th at Trofeo Kima.
Pere Aurell is racing strong this year and looked great at the recent Royal Gran Paradiso – he made the podium. He has had some RnR recently and that will bode well for a strong race.
Matt Shyrock from the USA (Alaska) will be a dark horse in this field and to some of the Europeans may well be unknown. I am unsure if he has raced outside the USA and therefore how adapted he will be to the unique terrain Tromso offers. Having said that, Shyrock has excelled at the USA’s Rut (2nd and 3rd) and the climb and descent to Lone Peak does pose some similarities to Tromso. He has also placed 6th at Mt Marathon.
Fabien Antolinos may well throw a few surprises at this year’s race. He is having a good year so far with a solid victory at Lavaredo. From a Skyrunning perspective he has raced well at High Trail Vanoise, this will put him in a great place for Tromso.
Alexis Sevennec always races well on tough and challenging races. Kima, the Dolomites, Glen Coe – the transition and crossover from SkiMo puts him in a great place. He will be up there at the front.
Cody Lind has had a series of top-5 places recently notably at Broken Arrow SkyRace, Flagstaff SkyRace, Power of Four 55km and Moab’d Red Hot 55km – Tromso will test his ability on technical terrain,
Ones to watch:
Leo Viret, Roger Vinas, Martin Gaffuri, Jose Carlos Del Toro, Paul Riera, Alexis Toda Mas, Bjorn Verduijn, Eric Moya, Marc Puig , Marc De Leon and Javier Bodas.
The ladies race is without doubt going to be an interesting race and we see a return to Skyrunning for Nuria Picas and Emelie Forsberg (?) kicks off her 2017 campaign.
Maite Maiora heads-up the female competition with victories at Zegama-Aizkorri, Livignio SkyRace and the recent Royal Gran Paradiso – she is on fire now and will be the one to beat.
Megan Kimmel has equally been on fire with a victory in China at Yading SkyRace and victory in France at High Trail Vanoise. Last weekend Kimmel raced at Comapedrosa and had a below par performance not making the podium. She did comment post-race that longer races are suiting her now, so, the Tromso SkyRace should go well. However, the technical terrain may well interrupt Kimmel’s running form and speed.
Ragna Debats goes from strength-to-strength and this year has joined Kimmel and Maiora with a string of strong performances. She can mix speed with technical terrain and this will bode well for a strong performance in Tromso.
Emelie Forsberg will toe the line (*she is on the start list but may not run?) in her own race. Forsberg has been quiet in 2017 so far. She raced at Zegama-Aizkorri and was off the pace, she also did a road half-marathon but in the weeks and months between these races she has been focused on training – I think we will a fit and motivated Forsberg on the start line. For me, she is the potential winner of the race. *Emelie has confirmed she will run the VK and not the SkyRace.
Nuria Picas on her day is still one of the best female mountain runners in the world. It’s been sometime since Picas toed the line in a Skyrunning race and I for one am happy to see her back. She races hard and will most definitely push Debats, Kimmel, Maiora and the other ladies for a fast race – we may well see a course record this year and victory could be Picas’!
Hillary Allen is having an awesome summer racing in Europe. She consistently is in the mix at races of varying length be that the shorter classic distance or ultra. One thing that is important for the USA based runner is vertical and technical terrain – Tromso is not going to disappoint Allen and we may well see her have her best race so far.
Malene Bikken Haukoy is an ever-present at the Tromso SkyRace and has been on the podium. She also excelled at Glen Coe last year with a strong performance. Racing on home ground is always an advantage and top-5 is likely.
Japan’s Kaori Niwa was 8th at the 2016 UTMB maybe someone to watch as a dark horse.
Ones to watch:
Natalia Tomasiak, Kristina Pattison, Martina Valmassoi, Nuria Dominguez, Sarah Ridgway, Maija Oravamaki, Olga Lyjak, Natalia Nescheret and Desislava Hristova
Both Blåmann Vertical Kilometer® and the Tromsø SkyRace® are capped for safety and environmental reasons. It’s an important element of running in such a stunning part of the world and they are both ecologically sustainable.
Gnarly, grueling, technical, beautiful and challenging; Skyrunning goes EXTREME this weekend, don’t miss it!
We go EXTREME! Yes, the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series kicks-off the Extreme category in Italy with the Royal Ultra SkyMarathon® Gran Paradiso – 55km, 4287m of vertical and the high-point coming at 3002m.
The course profile is a sharks tooth profile with no less than 10-peaks over the 55km course. Significant points coming at 5km, 12km, 25km, 27km and then a succession of repeated peaks over the final 15km before the final drop from just under 2600m to 1570m. It’s going to be brutal!
The 50km course winds through the Gran Paradiso National Park in the royal hunting grounds, hence the ‘Royal’ title, runners will compete with ibex and chamois. Starting near a lake at an altitude of 2000m, participants will traverse five passes – the magnificent Gran Parasido mountain will provide a stunning backdrop towering over the race at 4061m. Moraines, rocks, streams and snowfields provide an extreme challenge.
Names to watch (alphabetical order):
Jan Bartas is a regular on the Skyrunning circuit and while he may not be a contender for the top-3, he will be in the mix for the top-10.
Cristofer Clemente has grown and grown as a trail and mountain runner. His performances in Skyrunning have elevated him to top the world stage and recently he produced a stunning run in the IAU world champs. He’s a favorite for the win.
Kim Collison is one of the UK’s best on his day. Recent injury problems have reduced his training and he is still unsure if he will be able to toe the line…
Bhim Gurung on his day can handle the distance and technical terrain and beat the best in the world. He can descend like a demon and he will be up at the front end for sure.
Hector Haines is slowly but surely coming a dominant force on the Skyrunning SWS. He excelled at Limone SkyRace and recently he had a great run at Transvulcania Ultramarathon. Hector may well win this race!
Andre Jonsson just had a great run at High Trail Vanoise and he will most certainly be a top-10 and on a normal day he would be top-5, however, I think he may be a little jaded after HTV.
Dimitry Mityaev placed 3rd at High Trail Vanoise and like Jonsson is almost certainly going to be tired in Italy, however, he has the strength to potentially dig-deep and make top-5.
Shane Ohly on his day has the potential to turn a few heads, he’s not likely to make the podium but in recent months he’s been showing some great form.
Pavel Paloncy is as strong as an ox and will trade blows with the best, however, on this course I think he will lack speed to contend for the podium.
Konrad Rawlik is a solid mountain runner who like Ohly has all the potential to mix it with the best in shooting for a top-10 slot.
Roger Vinas rose through the Skyrunning ranks in 2016 with a series of solid performances, he is a top-10 potential and if he’s on a good day he may well make an impact on the top-5.
Zaid Ait Malek raced recently in Spain so may well be tired, however, he has all the speed, endurance and skill to make the podium and yes, win the race!
Sophie Grant has recently placed 10th a Tararwera Ultra, 4th at Transgrancanaria and 11th at Mont-Blanc 80km – the Royal will bring a whole new challenge to this British runner and she has all the potential to turn heads with a podium place.
Aitziber Ibarbia is a regular competitor in the SWS calendar and is without doubt a contender for the top-5 and a potential top-3.
Maite Maiora is the odds-on favorite for victory after winning Zegama-Aizkorri and the recent Livigno SkyMarathon.
Emanuele Manzoli placed 3rd at the Royal in 2015 and brings course knowledge and experience. A recent victory at Trail Alta Vai Nure.
Ekaterina Mityaev is a new name and face in Skyrunning and she is excelling after moving up from shorter distance races to ultras. In 2016 she placed 4th at Ultra Pirineu and in 2017 she was 7th at Transvulcania, 2nd at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and she was 3rd at Mont-Blanc 80km – podium potential for sure!
Katie Schide is a relative unknown on Italian soil but she placed 7th at Speedgoat 50km in 2015 and won Antelop Island 50k. No results show for 2016 but 2nd at Moab’s Red Hot 55km in 2017 shows she is in form! Backed up in Livignio and recent racing in France.
Natalia Tomasiak was 7th at Glen Coe Skyline in 2016 and 6th at Trofeo Kima, A recent win at Stubai Ultratrail shows good form.
Zuzana Urbancova 8th at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and a string of other top-10 results confirm that a top-10 is a distinct possibility and top-5 is possible on a good day.
Susan Van Duijl and a whole host of other top female contenders will make this an exciting race.
Race information HERE
The results for the 2017 UTMB were announced on January 12th 2017 at 10.00 (Paris time) and what a draw! The list of persons registered and runners files can be viewed at http://www.ultratrailmb.com, all those entered will be confirmed by email.
Those runners lucky in the draw then have a period of 14 days, January 12th to 25th 2017, to definitively finalise their registration by paying, by credit-card, the balance of the registration price and sending in all the required supporting documents.
It’s a big day for many, dreams are made and broken with the opening of an email.
From a global perspective, a look at the elite start list provides an opportunity to whet ones appetite and imagine the race that will unfold for the UTMB and the races that also that happen in and around the main event, the CCC, TDS and OCC.
In 2016, many considered that the line up in the UTMB was the best ever, well, 2017 may have topped it?
And then look at the talent that will join from the USA:
But it doesn’t stop there, there other names to consider, the list goes on!
And then look at the talent that will join from the USA:
Ones to watch:
Kaori Niwa, Christina Bes, Laia Diez, Joelle Vaught, Alissa St Laurent and many more…
CCC and TDS has always felt like a side show to the UTMB but Zach Miller in many ways changed all that with a show boat victory and we are now seeing the CCC as real stepping stone to UTMB with a highly competitive field.
Notably for 2016, Megan Kimmel, Hilary Allen, Nathalie Mauclair, Maite Maiora and Anna Comet amongst others will go head-to-head in the ladies’ race.
For the men, the prospect of what Hayden Hawks is exciting, especially when one considers Tom Owens and Ryan Sandes will toe the line. Add to the mix Erik Clavery, Ludovic Pommeret, Jorge Maravilla, Ben Duffus, Michael Borst, Marcin Swierc and Aurelien Collet and you have a very exciting race.
TDS will see Rory Bosio head up a quality ladies’ field that includes Lucy Bartholomew and, Dong Li and Lizzie Wraith. For the men, Paul Giblin and Michel Lanne are followed by Samir Tamang, Arnaud Lejeune and many more.
The 2017 UTMB week of races, look set to be a very exciting prospect.
Now, get training!
Skyrunning reaches new heights in the UK this September with the Skyline Scotland series of events – VK, SKY and EXTREME. In just three years, Skyrunning in the UK has progressed from zero races to a well-established portfolio of races that bring the ethos and principles of pure Skyrunning onto UK soil.
In 2015, the Glen Coe Skyline provided a race that was considered by the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) as a pinnacle event and plans were hatched. In 2016 we saw the launch of the Skyrunner® Extreme Series – three races, three ultimate challenges and Glen Coe Skyline was included alongside Kilian Jornet’s and Emelie Forsberg’s Tromso SkyRace and the iconic Trofeo Kima.
In addition to this, Shane Ohly (Ourea Events) in conjunction with Skyrunning UK was well aware of the growth potential and possibilities that Glen Coe area has to offer, therefore, new for 2016 will be the UK’s first ever VK – Salomon Mamores VK. Yes, folks, 1000m of vertical gain in one push. In addition to this a new SKY distance race has been added, the Salomon Ring of Steall SkyRace.
The VK and SkyRace will have eligible points for the Skyrunning UK Series but not the Skyrunner® Extreme Series, that honour is given to the pinnacle event, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline.
Tromso and Kima are done and dusted and boy oh boy there has been some seriously exciting racing. At Tromso, it was a Brit 1,2,3 with Tom Owens, Jon Albon and Finlay Wild taking top honours. In the ladies’ race it was Jasmin Paris who topped the podium.
At Kima it was all change with Nepalese runner, Bhim Gurung taking top honours and Owens and Albon missing the top podium places. Finlay Wild was missing saving his energy for Scotland and Jasmin Paris ran UTMB and placed an incredible 6th. Emelie Forsberg made her return to high level racing after month and months of rehabilitation after ACL surgery. She won! It was a dream comeback for the Salomon runner and hopes were raised that the 2015 Glen Coe Skyline winner would return… Unfortunately, no. Emelie is taking her rehabilitation seriously and has now gone to India for 1-month to work on her yoga skills ahead of the 2016/17 ski mountaineering calendar.
So, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is all to fight for from a male and female perspective with valuable Skyrunner World Series points up for grabs.
The men’s race is going to be a nail biter. Tom Owens racing on home soil must be the favourite, particularly after victory in Tromso. He placed just off the podium in Kima and so therefore overall position and the 20% bonus points that come with the final race will be crucial. Tom had a purple patch of running recently with back-to-back incredible results, maybe he was a little tired at Kima but I think he will be rested and fired up for the Scottish race.
Although not confirmed, Skyrunning and Trail Running Nepal are doing their best to obtain a visa to allow Bhim Gurung to race in Scotland. With a victory at Kima, his chances of sealing the SkyExtreme title are very high. His race in Kima against Skyrunning legend, Marco De Gasperi was phenomenal. Also take into consideration he broke the course record set by Kilian Jornet. If Bhim makes it to Glen Coe it is going to be very exciting to watch.
Jonathan Albon was the 2015 champion at Tromso and placed 2nd this year. He ran Kima very much as a learning curve knowing full well that Glen Coe is a race that he can excel at. It’s all to fight for and the points combinations between Bhim, Tom and Finlay make the SkyExtreme champion an unknown…
This is Finlay Wild’s home ground and after placing 3rd at Tromso, home advantage here at Glen Coe is going to provide a great boost for the man who excels in the mountains.
Alexis Sevennec ran in the lead for much of Trofeo Kima only to relinquish a podium place in the latter stages of the race. However, he has points for the Extreme Series and with such a quality field here in Scotland, it’s all to fight for.
Marc Lauenstein and along with Stian should not be ruled out for overall victory at Glen Coe. This guy is on fire and with a victory at the iconic Zegama-Aizkorri and a recent victory at Matterhorn Ultraks, Marc is one to watch. This is Marc’s first Extreme race and he can therefore not qualify for the series.
What follows is a list of athletes that without doubt makes the Glen Coe Skyline THE most exciting and stacked field ever assembled on UK soil. Skyrunning UK had a plan 3-years ago to bring the world’s best to the UK. In 2016 we have achieved that. This line-up is world class. What is important to remember is that in many respects two races are taking place in Glen Coe – the race for the podium and the race for points so that one male and one female can be crowned Sky Extreme Champion 2016.
In alphabetical order:
Jan Bartas – Jan is a regular runner on the Skyrunning circuit and has recently raced at the Skyrunning World Champs where he placed 27th on the men’s race and most recently he raced Trofeo Kima.
Donald Campbell – racing on home soil. He had a below par performance at Kima but will look to put the record straight here.
Kim Collison had a great race at the Skyrunning World Championships and with a strong background in fell, mountain and and adventure racing he is without doubt another UK talent who will be a contender in the upper ranks.
Pascal Egli – A Skyrunner who will no doubt mix things up at the front of the race who will be looking for victory or podium place. – Injured Mike Foote – The TNF athlete needs no introduction as he has been around the ultra-scene for years. He is best known for strong and consistent performances at UTMB and notably, he is the race director (along with Mike Wolfe) at the RUT VK, SKY and ULTRA – cancelled
Andrew Fallas raced at Tromso with a strong and consistent performance and will without doubt be one to watch. He recently had a below par performance at Matterhorn Ultraks.
Martin Gaffuri – Team Manager for the Scott Team is no slouch when it comes to racing and running in the mountains. Last year, Martin had a great run and placing at the super technical ELS2900 in Andorra, so, we can expect a sold run.
Eirik Haugsness – Won the inaugural Tromso SkyRace and followed with a strong performance in 2015. In 2016 he had a strong run in Tromso but below par for him. He missed Kima saving his strength for Scotland.
Gareth Hughes – Is a UK based runner who has performed consistently on the Skyrunning UK Series where he is one of the top performers, he will no doubt relish the opportunity to test himself against such a world-class field.
Rolf Einar Jensen – Was 3rd at Tromso SkyRace in 2015 and just off the podium in 2016. He is a strong runner who knows how to handle the tough, technical and challenging terrain that Scotland will offer. Tromso’s terrain and weather is very similar to Scotland – he’s one to watch!
Oli Johnson – Another UK based fell runner who excels on muddy, technical and boggy terrain. He’s had good results in the Skyrunner World Series in previous years and has also contested the Skyrunning UK Series with a strong performance at the V3K. – withdrawn
Andre Jonsson – Has been a revelation in 2016 with a string of strong results in the Skyrunner World Series. He raced Trofeo Kima just a couple of weeks ago and he’d be the first to admit that it was a learning curve… One that he loved. He will be in the mix in Scotland.
Ricky Lighftoot – Could very well win Glen Coe. He has all the skill sets to excel on this terrain as he has proven countless times in past years. Ricky though can’t contest the SkyExtreme title as this will be his first race. – withdrawn
Jim Mann – The Dragons Back 2015 champion raced at Tromso and Kima and under normal conditions he’d be a contender for the top places. However, life seems to be getting in the way for Jim and he’s using 2016 for experience.
Luke Nelson – Raced Tromso and just recently raced the VK and SKY race at the RUT in Montana. Luke loves the mountains and technical terrain and we can expect a strong performance.
Pavel Paloncy – Is a winner of The Spine race and comes from an adventure racing background. For sure he will be in the mix in Scotland but on this terrain over this distance, I think he will lack the speed to contend for the podium.
Konrad Rawlik – Ever consistent in the mountains and fells. We won’t see him on the podium but he will hover around the top-10.
Philipp Reiter – Tromso and Kima are ticked off for Philipp and if he was ‘just’ able to run and train he would have been a contender for the overall series. However, like for many of us, life and work has got in the way. However, don’t rule him out. This guy has natural talent and he will certainly be in the top-10 mix.
Christophe Le Saux – Has raised the series and as many of you may well know, this guy races a great deal! He’s a huge character, very friendly and although he won’t be in contention for the series podium, you can expect to see him around the top 10 to 20.
Joe Symonds – Last year’s Glen Coe Skyline winner has not raced at Tromso or Kima so will only be looking for Glen Coe glory. However, he will have his hands full as I am sure he is aware. He has the advantage of racing and winning last year, he also has home advantage.Esmond Tressider – Es almost certainly could have contested the overall series had been available to race at Tromso or Kima. As it stands, he will only race Glen Coe but he is one to watch. Last year he was living and training in the flat lands despite a love of the mountains. That has changed recently and he has been able to train on more specific terrain.
Greg Vollet – Team Manager for Salomon often beats the athletes he manages… He comes from a professional mountain biking background and is known for his fast descending. Just last weekend he placed 2nd at The Rut 50k. Greg won’t be contesting the series but he will be in the mix at the front end of this race!
Notable mentions for Jayson Cavill and Ally Beavan who are racing on home soil who are solid performers in the Skyrunning UK series.
Do I need to say that the men’s race is going to be an incredible and exciting battle?
The ladies’ race has less depth. It’s often the case in all Skyrunning racing but in the SkyExtreme Series this is even more so due to the challenging nature of the courses.
Jasmin Paris is without doubt the favourite for the race victory and overall series title after her victory at Tromso. This is also helped by the fact that Emelie Forsberg (who won Kima) will not race. I have to say, I would have loved to see these two run against each other again on this course. In 2015, Emelie beat Jasmin. Jasmin’s biggest question mark will be her recovery from 6th place at UTMB? It was a few weeks ago but the deep fatigue from such a big race lies within and you only find out how tired you are when you try to race again…
Marlene Bikken Haukoy – Had a solid race once again at Tromso with a repeat podium place, she was also on the podium in 2015. Marlene is a rock solid racer with a string of top placed runs. Like I have said before, Norway is very similar to Scotland and we can expect her to on the podium.
Ruth Croft placed 2nd behind Emelie Forsberg at Trofeo Kima and has now decided to run in Scotland in the hope to gain valuable ranking points and with a 20% bonus there is everything to fight for. The battle for the series title between Ruth, Jasmin and Malena is an exciting one!
Sarah Ridgeway – Is currently 2nd in the Skyrunning UK Series and ultimately will be looking for a maximum of points to secure her 2016 title. However, she is extremely competitive and has experience of competing on a world-stage. Sarah won’t be phased by the competition in Scotland, on the contrary, she will love it. A podium place for sure but which one?
Beth Pascall is a force on the UK scene with some incredible performances at The Spine Race, Dragons Back and most recently she obliterated the Lakeland 100 female course record. Beth will relish the opportunity to mix things up with the other ladies and she may well pull of a surprise victory!
Naila Jornet Burgada – Kilian Jornet couldn’t make Glen Coe, apparently there is some big peak he is trying to set an FKT on in the Himalayas… Not to worry, Kilian’s sister, Naila will join us. Not a pure runner, Naila is very much a skier, ski mountaineer and rock climber, however, all these skills will come together on the Glen Coe course. It’s going to be great to see her take part!
Lizzie Wraith – Is a previous winner of the Lakeland 100, she made the podium at the Dragons Back Race and we can expect her to be in the mix for the top 5 and most likely the podium. Although not a pure Skyrunner, Lizzie has dipped her toe in the UK series and placed well at the Mourne Skyline MTR in Ireland.
Martina Valmassoi from the Salomon International Team has raced on the Skyrunning Circuit for 2-years now. Last she placed 3rd at The Rut and earlier this year she had a strong performance in Madeira. Just last week she raced at The Rut once again but dropped with stomach issues. Martina did race at Tromso with a solid performance so we can expect her to mix things up at the front in Scotland and of course she will be looking for valuable series points.
Natalia Tomisiak, Zuzana Urbancova and Olga Lyjak will also be ones to watch in what will be an exciting and stunning ladies race.
For the UK’s first ever VK there are several notable names to watch. Firstly, and most importantly is Skyrunning World Champion for the VK and SKY distance, Stian Angermund from Norway. I think it’ stair to say that the time he sets in the VK race is one that may last for some years to come…
However, Francois Gonon from France is the 2015 Skyrunning European VK Champion and if one person can push Stian it is him.
From a UK perspective eyes will be on Graham Gristwood who is the 2010 World Orienteering Champion tackling his first VK. Jim Mann, Joe Symonds and Martin Mikkelsen-Barron will also run.
In the ladies’ race, Lizzie Wraith is looking to do the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline double.
Stian Angermund is the Skyrunning World Champion for the Sky distance and it’s an honour to have him come and race on UK soil. The similarities between Norway and Scotland are going to suit him and we can expect him to blast around the course and without doubt he will contest for the top of the podium.
Francois Gonon is the most likely person to push Stian to top the podium in the SkyRace and we can expect him to blaze a fast trail to the line.
Bjorn Verduijn currently leads the Skyrunning UK Series ranking and he will be looking to consolidate his lead with a top placing and maximum points.
In the ladies’ race, Raidlight sponsored Joanna Zakrzewski is a likely contender for the top spot. She is Scotland based and has great experience racing on a big stage. She has placed highly at Comrades in South Africa, is a GB 100km runner and has completed races like the Dragons Back.
Importantly, many runners from the UK will be looking for points in the Skyrunning UK Series. Please make yourself familiar with the main names and overall contenders HERE.
More race information and full entry lists are available:
Action starts on Friday September 16th with the VK, the SkyRace is on the 17th and the weekends main event will take place on the 18th.
Skyline Scotland will be the pinnacle of the UK’s running calendar and a whole weekend of activities are planned. Please check out the website HERE.
Film shows, meet and greet the athletes, talks with Q&A possibilities and of course 3 amazing races that you can come and watch for free! Information HERE.
*Please check the race website on information in regard to spectating HERE. The main race takes place on some very challenging and exposed terrain. For the safety of runners, volunteers and supporters, we request that you do not go to certain areas. Please also appreciate that this is the UK, the weather can change in minutes. Be prepared with warm layers, waterproof clothing, hat, gloves and please make sure you have food and water to last whilst on the mountain.
About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.
The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.
iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:
Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms
Glen Coe Skyline is featured in my new book, RUNNING BEYOND (information here)
LAKES IN A DAY 2015
What an epic day in the English Lakes. We all know what an amazing part of the world it is, however, far too often, the jewel of the UK is often shrouded in a layer of mist, clag and yes; rain!
Not for the 2015 ‘Lakes in a Day.’
The big fella up in the sky played ball and gave everyone a truly spectacular day travelling from the north to the south by some of the Lakelands toughest trails.
Departing Caldbeck at 0800 it became no surprise that with less than a mile covered, Kim Collison (pre race favourite) had taken the front of the race and though his gap may have only been seconds, the writing was on the wall. The £500 ‘bonus’ prize for any male or female breaking the old course records surely providing a wonderful carrot.
In the ladies, the three main contenders for the podium, Helen Leigh, Sabrina Verjee and Lucy Spain all ran together in the early stages. Slowly but surely the elastic started to stretch and Helen took a stronghold of the front of the race.
50-miles and 4000m+ of tough terrain is a challenge especially when one needs to be on top of navigation. Maps for the race are provided with a very clearly defined route which must be adhered to, the only exception being in the early stages when the runners leave Nether Row and head to the summit of Blencathara.
This is tough open terrain! From the summit, the drop down the challenging rocky, scrambling terrain to Threlkeld found many reaching and needing 3-points of contact.
Here, Kim Collison and Helen Leigh looked in their element moving fast over the terrain, the dry conditions making the traverse so much more simple.
Threlkeld providing the first aid station and although Kim and Helen made this checkpoint well under 2-hours 30-minutes, for many it took considerably longer and for some, it was far enough!
Climbing out of Threlkeld, the tough climb to White Pike started the run along the high fells to Helvellyn via Great Dodd, Watsons Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd, Helvellyn and then Nethermost Pike provided the route to the drop down to Grizedale Tarn before then climbing back up to Fairfield and the long run into Ambleside.
Behind Kim, the male positions were up for grabs with Michael Barron, Jacob Snochowski, Stuart Dickson and Mārcis Gubāts fighting for the podium places. For the ladies it was no change, Helen continued to extend her lead over Sabrina and Lucy trailed looking to have a solid 3rd place but unlikely to make an impact on 2nd.
From Ambleside it was all change. The tough and challenging terrain of the high fells transitioned into the lowland fells and just when you can run more, the body is crying out for a walk and some easier running. Kim was now well inside course record pace as were the 2 lead ladies. It was looking like a costly day for James Thurlow, race director.
Hugging the western shores of lake Windermere, the runners weaved in and out of forested terrain to the final checkpoint of Finsthwaite. From here on in the finish at Cartmel awaited very tired bodies.
Kim Collison arrived obliterating the old course record in a time of 9:12:07. Post race he said, ‘It was one of those days. I felt really good and the conditions were perfect. I just made the most of it!’
Mārcis Gubāts came 2nd almost 75-minutes later in a time of 10:27:48 and Stuart Dickson completed the podium in 10:49:05.
Helen Leigh and Sabrina Verjee both broke the old ladies record and thankfully for James, he only had to provide the £500 bonus for the 1st lady. Helen’s time of 11:00:10 in comparison to 11:29:59 of Sabrina was a great time on such a tough course. Lucy Spain came 3rd in 11:58:48.
With darkness the temperatures dropped and a clear night guided the runners back to Cartmel. A 24-hour cut off allowed many to complete an incredible journey from the north to south of the lakes and at the end they could say, I completed the ‘Lakes in a Day.’ The final finishers arrived just shy of 23-hours.
James Thurlow and the team at Open Adventure really have created quite a beautiful event. It’s not easy! But then again, would you want it any other way?
Race website HERE
Full results HERE
Race images to purchase HERE
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The ‘Lakes in a Day’ is a point-to-point race that starts in the northern town of Caldbeck and heads directly south way on down to Cartmel passing through three major points; the first feed station is Threlkeld, 2nd Ambleside 3rd Finisthwaite (a small hamlet). It then does pass through Newby Bridge which is at the bottom of Lake Windermere.
The journey is a tough challenge even for the hardiest competitor and the 50-mile journey includes 4000m of ascent that includes the stunning Helvellyn Ridge and the western shoreline of Lake Windermere.
Race director James Thurlow warns competitors:
“This is a long run in wild terrain. If you are at the start line wearing a t-shirt and shorts carrying nothing but a bum bag, expect us to be asking a few questions. If the weather is bad, then pack extra kit. This event is not like many other ultras in the UK calendar – it goes up on to the high fells and STAYS up there so don’t take any chances.”
Mountain, map skills and navigation skills are a prerequisite for the race as the route is not way-marked. Unlike many ‘true’ navigation events, the use of a GPS is allowed and GPX route is provided for runners in advance so that they can download it. Importantly, Thurlow warns, “GPS must not be your sole means of navigation for this event.” They are wise words, batteries fail!
The 2014 edition of the race had 180 runners start the race and at the time of writing, 357 are registered for 2015. Kim Collison and Holly Rush are two stand out names amongst what looks like a high quality field.
Current course records are 10:37 and 13:31 for Tim Higginbottom and Cat Sutherland. If conditions are good on race day, both records stand a good chance of being broken. To entice a fast pace, £500 is on offer for the first person to break either record.
The race starts at 0800 on Saturday October 10th and race updates will be available here: http://www.lakesinaday.co.uk/eventupdates/
Race website HERE
Mandatory kit HERE
A GPX file for the route is now available here.
A selection of images from 2014 HERE
Marmot Dark Mountains™ is the only overnight winter mountain marathon and the 3rd edition of the race will take place on Saturday 24th January in the Howgills.
The Howgill Fells are hills in Northern England between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. The fells are bounded by the River Lune to the north by upper reaches of the River Lune and to the east by the River Rawthey. The Howgill Fells include two Marilyns: The Calf – 2,218 ft (676 m) and Yarlside – 2,096 ft (639 m) and a number of smaller peaks, including five Hewitts. Parts of the southern Howgill Fells lie within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, though they have been within the modern county of Cumbria since the county boundary changes in 1974. They were originally shared by the West Riding of Yorkshire and Westmorland. The name Howgill derives from the Old Norse word haugr meaning a hill or barrow, plus gil meaning a narrow valley. – wikepedia
This year’s elite course is a tough one, with a potential 3000m of elevation gain and an optimum distance of 53km. Famous for their steep rounded hills, the Howgills will be a tough challenge. Having viewed weather forecasts the organisers have issued a stern warning to all the competitors about the challenging nature of the terrain and event.
Needless to say, mandatory kit will be checked prior to the event.
Marmot Dark Mountains™ is a true test of mountain craft for experienced mountain runners. Challenging terrain, night navigation and a wintery environment will test each runner over the variety of courses available: Elite, A, B, C, Short Score and Long Score.
“Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes the classic two-day mountain marathon format and gives it a new… darker twist.” said Race Director, Shane Ohly. “Rather than two days of running with an overnight camp in between, Marmot Dark Mountains™ packs everything into one winter’s night!”
Three of the UK’s leading teams are of particular interest in the 2015 event: Steve Birkinshaw and Jim Mann, Chris Near and Tim Higginbottom and Kim Collison and Adam Perry.
Runners will start to race at 1900-hours and Chris Near and Tim Higginbottom will be first off! The dynamic duo have won practically every elite mountain marathon and they have held various long distance mountain running records. In 2014, Near and Higginbottom missed the race due to last minute illness, they will be looking for victory in 2015.
Steve Birkinshaw needs no introduction. His incredible Wainwrights record in 2014 was a highlight of the year for many a trail, mountain, fell and ultra runner. Steve’s partnership with Jim Mann is fitting as Mann holds the record for the winter Bob Graham Round. Birkinshaw won the 2014 event when partnered with Tom Gibbs, so the pressure will be on! Birkinshaw and Mann start at 2000-hours chasing the other runners down.
Kim Collison and Adam Perry will be a tough pair to beat and setting off at 1940-hours. Collison won the first Marmot Dark Mountains in 2013 (running with Alex Pilkington) and finished the 98km Fellsman with Perry in first place last year. The duo are evenly matched and are considered favourites by many!
Offering a range courses to suit a range of abilities, every year there has been a small but steady increase in the number of participants.
“The event kicks-off on the Saturday evening with the longest classes setting off first for dusk-to-dawn racing. The shorter classes will set off later in the evening with the aim of most competitors finishing within an hour or so of each other the following Sunday morning. This makes for an exciting finale as all the courses and most of the competitors converge on the finish as dawn breaks.”
There are four linear courses that follow the standard Elite, A, B and C format of ordinary mountain marathons and two score format courses.
This year there will be two manned checkpoints in the Howgills that competitors on the various courses may visit and the organisers intend to post updates to the event website as the night of racing unfolds.
Follow the race at Ourea Events HERE
Marmot Dark Mountains HERE