Royal Ultra SkyMarathon® Gran Paradiso – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

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):

MEN

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!

LADIES

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

Salomon Mamores #VK Vertical Kilometre 2016 Results and Images

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The Salomon Mamores VK™ kicked off the Skyline Scotland weekend of racing with the UK’s first ever VK (Vertical Kilometre) race and what an incredible success… The pure ethos of sea to summit was personified with the Mamores VK that provided all runners with a challenging 1000m vertical climb over a distance of 5km in a course that was split into thirds. Skyrunning at its best!

The first third was runnable trail that may well have lulled everyone into a false sense of security. What followed was a wall of vertical fell with no path, just a line of orange flags leading to the sky.

As the fell submitted out, an arrow pointed left and the final section was a stunning rocky ridge that lead to the summit at 1000m+.

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The Scottish weather played its part too, throwing everything at the runners in a 4-hour time window; Sun, cloud, clag, rain and strong winds. It was the luck of the draw what you received, however, for 4-runnners, the weather could have thrown anything at them and they would have still flew up the course. Experienced Skyrunners, Stian Angermund (VK world champion), Alexis Sevennec and Francois Gonon took the top 3 spots with Sevennec pipping Angermund by just 7-seconds, 42:17 to 42:25. Francois Gonon placed 3rd 44:48 and Adrien Perret was 4th in 44:57.

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In the ladies race, Georgina Tindley pipping Stephanie Provan to the top slot by 33-seconds, 54:34 and 55:01 respectively. Zoe Procter was 3rd in 58:45.

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Following the well established International Skyrunning Federation ‘VK’ format, participants followed a marked course gaining 1000m of height in less than 5km. Participants were set off at timed intervals with the winner having the fastest overall time to the summit. The Salomon Mamores VK was the UK’s first VK and feedback has been incredible. This format is just what the UK needs to spice up racing for all abilities!

Whilst physically arduous, the Salomon Mamores VK™ route does not include technical terrain that requires any scrambling or rock climbing experience. As such, the race was suitable for any runner who is up for the challenge.

RESULTS HERE

 

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Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2016 Preview – Skyrunner® Extreme Series

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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

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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

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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.
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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.

©iancorless.com_Tromso2015-4836Philipp 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.

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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.

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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.

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

Es Tressider in Glen Coe

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.

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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.

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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…
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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.

©iancorless.com_TrofeoKima2016-1676Ruth 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!

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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?

©iancorless.com_LSU2015-2-31Beth 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!

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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.

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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.

 

VK and SKY Preview

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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.

Salomon Ring of Steall SkyRace

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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.

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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.

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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:

Info

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.

  • Taking centre-stage on Friday night will be the awesome Jasmin Paris who will be talking about her record breaking Bob Graham and Ramsay Rounds followed by questions from the audience.  We’ll follow this with a screening of the Best of Sheffield Adventure Film Festival winner, The Barkley Marathons.
  • On Saturday night the spotlight will be on Salomon athletes Tom Owens and Joe Symonds (2015 Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ winner) who will be introducing two Salomon films including Fast and Light and Bob Graham Round followed by a question and answer session. After the interval you can settle down to watch the Best of Sheffield Adventure Film Festival films: 3022 FeetThere on the Periphery and Curiosity.

Important

*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.


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

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.

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The Cape Wrath Ultra™ 2016 – Day 5

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A chilly wind and cloud greeted the runners for the first couple of hours of day 5, don’t worry, it didn’t last long and what followed was blue skies and white fluffy clouds… why do people say the weather is ‘always’ bad in Scotland?

In all honesty, the 2016 Cape Wrath Ultra really has hit a purple patch of weather, not only providing the runners with stunning clear views (easier navigation), but wonderful sunshine tempered by just a subtle breeze. This race would be very different with inclement weather and clag – very different!

27 miles faced the runners today and a moderate 1400m of climbing. Departing from Kinlochewe between 0700-0900 double-track roads and relatively little elevation took the runners to the Fisherfield mountains and one of the most impressive views on Scotland (apparently). From the Fisherfield Mountain, and  corner of Lochn Fada, the views off to the distance are impressive. An early incentive to tick off the miles.

From here it was long trek to CP1 through Bealach Nan Croise and the mountains of Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fearchair and Sgurr Bann made for a stunning backdrop. On the final stretch of the day while heading to Inverdael, Loch Broom loomed the left and Ullapool could be seen in the distance. It was an impressive day, once again!

Overall standings did not change and in all honesty, the finishing format (at least at the front) has little variation – I wonder, will someone blow up? Have a bad day? Go of course?

The level of consistency (for all runners) is quite impressive, it really takes some tenacity, grit and determination to bang out these distances day-after-day.

Marcus Scotney and Ita Emanuela Marzotto, once again were the male and female 1st placed runners on the day, that is 5 out of 5 for Scotney, and their times were equally impressive, 4:08:45 and 6:24:09. I have to say, Scotney looks like he has another gear spare should he need it – I don’t think he will!

Thomas Adams again played bridesmaid in 4:36:01 and Stuart Macdonald today pipped Pavel Paloncy to 3rd place on the stage, 5:02:33 to 5:07:43.

Louise Staples and Laura Watson finished 2nd and 3rd in the lades race, 6:42:21and 6:48:37 respectively.

The multiple days, accumulative distance, fatigue and tired, sore bodies are now looking to the end in Cape Wrath. With 3-days to go it is in sight BUT tomorrow is a big day and unfortunately some won’t make it! The ice cream at the end of day 5 will have helped though.

Overall standings after day-5

  1. Marcus Scotney 25:12:43
  2. Thomas Adams 26:34:51
  3. Pavel Paloncy 30:15:06
  1. Ita Manuela Mariotto 38:08:00
  2. Laura Watson 39:25:09
  3. Louise Staples 39:47:05

Follow the race via the Cape Wrath Ultra website http://www.capewrathultra.com

CapeWrathLogo

Great Lakeland 3 Day 2016 #GL3D – Day 3

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‘Well almost,’ is becoming a theme on the GL3D. Last night during camp 2 bivouac the wind increased – then increased – then increased! As sun rose, the carnage was clear to see. Broken poles, ripped tents, lost dry bags due to being blown away in the wind and in addition, the rain just kept on coming and coming. Some may call the conditions ‘character building!’ However, bloody brutal was the general consensus amongst camp.

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Race director Shane Ohly, although extremely sympathetic to the runners needs was a little distracted… the large marquee that provides a shelter and eating environment for the runners was about to take off and provide a vey unique kite in the stormy skies. It was all hands on deck; poles were being rammed in the ground, straps were being added and luckily, the improvised actions secured the imminent flight.

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The gale force winds, torrential rain and a bunch of tired competitors gave Shane no option – bad weather courses were announced at 0600. This was then adjusted nearer 0700 removing a key control that would have taken all runners over Grizedale Peak. The winds were just too strong and dangerous.

Only 7 elite runners were left in the race and they ran a full bad weather course, several runners attempted an improvised A/B route but most people just made a direct route to the ‘C’ finish causing a logistical headache for the Ourea Team. Buses had been arranged for approximately 50 runners, however, on the day, the numbers escalated beyond 100.

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As one would expect, just as the day approached midday, the rain stopped, the wind reduced, the sky turned blue and white fluffy clouds occupied the sky as the sun broke through… you couldn’t make it up! Really?

Shane Ohly confirmed at the finish line, ‘this has been the most testing event and conditions we have encountered in any race we have organised. I don’t like to reduce courses but safety is key and we make the right call. It’s been a tough weekend!’

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The runners confirmed the severity of the 3 days but it’s funny how morning grimaces turned to afternoon smiles. The GL3D ethos rose above the surface and talk soon started about 2017.

Images available at iancorless.photoshelter.com HERE

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Great Lakeland 3 Day 2016 #GL3D – Day 2

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Yesterday I said, ‘The Lakes really are a special place any day, anytime, in any weather… well, almost?’

‘Well almost,’ hit today with some seriously torrential rain, gusting to gale force winds (particularly on the tops and in exposed areas) and at times slippery conditions underfoot. That’s the Lakes for you… the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Despite the onslaught of the weather, the scenery and the landscape still remained beautiful and spectacular. Despite the odd patch of white at higher levels, the complete blanket of snow that had covered about 500m was gone! It really is amazing the difference a day can make.

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Warmer temperatures overnight certainly made camping a more pleasant experience and for those runners who were up early and packed away by 0615, they will have dry gear and a dry tent to pitch tonight! Anyone who slept in will have a different story to tell. When the rain came, it really did come and although Shane Ohly (race director) had said it was on it’s way, we had all secretly hoped he was wrong.

The forecast was bad and Shane had contemplated running a bad weather course but many runners, even those in the Elite category decided to run the much shorter ‘C’ route. In all honesty, it was a wise decision. The C route although easy navigation had plenty of ups and downs in it and in the conditions, it was far enough.

This was confirmed at the Cafe at Honister Pass which contained a gathering of GL3D competitors throughout the day. They all found solace in some food and a warm drink before pushing on past Buttermere and to the day 2 camp at Loweswater.

Despite the harsh conditions, temperatures were good. However, wet clothes and serious wind chill did make many a runners journey a tough one – hands in particular were constantly being banged together and rubbed in an effort to bring them back to life.

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In the true nature of the GL3D, many of the participants had nothing but smiles and laughter for the conditions, particularly after the picture postcard scenes of day 1. The race did have its casualties though with many participants not completing any of the race categories (they just wanted to be back in camp asap) and others deciding to end the 3 day adventure early; the lure of warm clothes and a bed just too much of a temptation after such a tough day.

Post race the rain slowly reduced to a persistent drizzle, temperatures were relatively good but the main priority for all was to get out of wet clothes and into dry clothes. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, ‘thank goodness this is not a full self-sufficient mountain marathon!’

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Dry bags were opened, tents were pitched and in the safety of one of the large marquees provided by Ourea Events, stories started to be told about the days challenges. Of course, as per the previous day, free cake was consumed and energy levels were topped up with a pint of beer.

Day 3 concludes the 2016 GL3D and the runners will navigate back to the start location via Elite, A, B and C courses. However, I heard someone say the weather forecast is worse for tomorrow; oh joy!

Images available at iancorless.photoshelter.com HERE

Follow on Instagram @iancorlessphotography

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Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2017 Open for Registration

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Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2016 saw an unprecedented 200 competitors take to the Northern Fells of the Lake District, starting from the event centre in Mungrisedale, in what can only be described as windy and wintery conditions.  As Andrew Higgins (competing on the Elite course with Adam Stirk) put it:

 “…one of the best challenges of sound mountain judgement, endurance and skill that I have ever had the pleasure of competing in. By retiring with windburned eyes after 8.5hrs of pretty full on fun – I think Adam and I passed the test, despite not completing the challenge. We will be back…”.

 

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Marmot Dark Mountains™ follows the usual two-day mountain marathon format but condenses it into one winter’s night.  Elite, A, B, C and Score categories set off in pairs on a staggered start, the longer courses followed by the shorter ones, all hoping to converge back at the event centre as dawn breaks.  Live GPS tracking enables the organisers, alongside friends, family, and any other keen followers, to track the progress of the competitors through the night.

On the back of a sell out 2016 event, entries have just opened for the fifth edition of Marmot Dark Mountains™, the world’s only overnight winter mountain marathon, which will take place on 28-29th January 2017.

Race Director Shane Ohly said:

“There are very few events that are as demanding as Marmot Dark Mountains™ and require such an all-round skill set from the competitors. When I started the event in 2013 I had no idea how many mountain runners would step up to the challenge and it has been a delight to see the event grow year on year. I can’t wait for 2017 and to reveal the brilliant area we have lined up”.

Marmot have been the title sponsor of the event from day one, and UK Sales Director Hugh Harris added:

“We’ve been on board with this event right from the start in 2013, and we couldn’t be happier with how it’s grown over that time. Very demanding events like Marmot Dark Mountains™ are perfect for us to showcase our brand and we look forward to supporting it again in 2017”.

 Janet Hill, who was competing with John Williams on the Short Score course got in touch to say, “First of all I would like to say how much I enjoyed this event, and I am in awe about the amount of time and effort it must take to put on an event like this. The snow, strong winds, river crossings and darkness made this a challenging but exhilarating event… …Thanks again for a great weekend. I hope to be there in 2017”.

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Marmot Dark Mountains™ has something for everyone; the Elite course to challenge the most seasoned of competitor through to the C and short score courses which would be suitable for a first timer.

We look forward to revealing the location of the 2017 event on Monday 5th December 2016, and welcoming both new and old competitors to another superb race area.

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Key Event Information
Date: Weekend 28th 29th January 2017
Venue: Final venue disclosed December 2016.
Courses: Elite, A, B, C, Long Score and Short Score
Entry Fee: From £55.00
Image ©iancorless.com - Marmot Dark Mountains

Image ©iancorless.com – Marmot Dark Mountains

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.

http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=7189

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)

Rab Mountain Marathon 2014 Preview

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The 8th Rab Mountain Marathon™ will be held on the 27th and 28th September 2014. The Rab Mountain Marathon™ is a two-day fell running and navigation challenge for solos and pairs with an overnight camp.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon kicks off this weekend at 0830. Two days of navigation and running will unfold in the English Lakes using the popular score format.

Now in it’s 8th year, the Rab Mountain Marathon has become an iconic race that has visited many stunning locations, the Cheviot Hills, Derwent Fells, Snowdonia, Howgills and this year it once again returns to the English Lakes.

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Taking on challenging mountain terrain, participants need to be competent and confident at moving fast over tough terrain. As usual, the is the UK and runners will need to be prepared for the worst despite a recent spell of really good weather in the UK.

As one would expect, the Rab Mountain Marathon will take place over rough, steep and technical mountain terrain. Many sections of the course will be isolated and if bad weather comes in, everyone needs to be prepared.

©iancorless.com.IMG_5731GL3D_Day1The race format is ‘score’ as this tests navigation skills and avoids snakes of runners going from point-to-point. A rolling start window of 2-hours will spread the runners out and electronic timing is used to track the runners. As normal, different class options are available (including walking) and it’s possible to participate as a solo or team of two.

It’s hard to highlight some standout competitors for 2014. If I were to place a bet on the top Long Score competitors it would be between Adam Stirk and Andrew Higgins (who are a pair) and Stewart Bellamy (solo). Adam and Andrew finished 3rd last year behind Steve Birkinshaw (1st in 2013) and Alex Pilkington (2nd in 2013) both of whom are not taking part this year. They were also 2nd at the Highlander in 2013.

Stewart Bellamy is a strong runner and whilst he may not have featured in the results of recent mountain marathons, he did win the GL3D in 2013.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon’s approach is designed to be relaxed and less formal and structured than that of the OMM, which will take place next month.

Shane Ohly, race director for Ourea Events says, ‘But hey the Rab isn’t really about the elite runners and there is some super generous support from Rab who are providing vouchers to the value of about £10,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd across a huge range of categories. Check them out here: HERE

At registration on the Friday evening or Saturday morning, competitors can view a Master Map of the competition area which will give a full overview of the event area being used plus provide details of any out of bounds areas, map corrections etcetera. The event Master Map will not be over-printed with any control points.

So there you have it… two days of navigational fun in the English Lakes. It’s possible to follow a live stream HERE and a free APP has been created. Details HERE

Apps can be downloaded here:

iOShttp://bit.ly/1wwcbDKAndroidhttp://bit.ly/1AUZNhj

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Race Website HERE

Rab Apparel HERE

Rab Twitter HERE

Marmot 24 (2014) by Ourea Events – This weekend, 2nd/3rd August

©iancorless.com.IMG_5582GL3D_Day1Marmot24 is the UK’s first 24-hour mountain marathon. The event combines the very best of British mountain running and navigation into an exciting and challenging non-stop format.

Join us for a weekend of unforgettable adventure on the 2nd & 3rd August 2014.

Three options are available: 6, 12 or 24-hours. All the competitors finish at 12 noon Sunday in an exciting and dramatic finale to a memorable weekend of racing.

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‘Completing a mountain marathon and conquering the navigational challenge should not be underestimated… but it should not be feared either, as successfully navigating and running in the mountains is a hugely satisfying experience and gives a real sense of confidence. A steady and careful approach will usually see even novice navigators around their course safely.’

The Event Centre location for Marmot24™ is close to Guardhouse in the Lake District National Park.  Guardhouse is close to Threlkeld and just minutes off the A66.

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The competition area stretches 360 degrees from the Event Centre and includes approximately 300 square kilometers. To the north are the remote Northern Fells guarded by the imposing flanks of Blencathra. To the south Clough Head marks the start of the Dodd’s ridge running towards Helvellyn and ultimately Ambleside. The terrain is perfect for a mountain marathon with laser fast ridges and valleys linking areas of complex contour features. There is also a great network of footpaths and tracks but competitors will need to balance easy running on these, with more direct routes between checkpoints. This area of mountains can be very challenging with steep mountains, cliffs, marshland, fast flowing rivers and energy sapping tussocks. Bad weather can happen year round and the nature of the mountains can change very quickly from benign to dangerous.

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Ourea Events want competitors to travel as light as possible, to maximize their enjoyment of running in the mountains, without compromising their safety. Therefore, as Marmot24™ is a summer mountain marathon, the organization team does not require competitors to carry a tent, sleeping bag or stove. However, each pair is required to carry a 2-person bothy bag (emergency shelter) and an additional warm layer such as insulated jacket. All team members must also carry a personal survival bag.

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With the 24-hour race starting at high noon Saturday, the 12-hour race starting at midnight Saturday and the 6-hour race starting at 0600 on the Sunday morning, everyone will finish at 12 noon on the Sunday in an exciting and dramatic finale to a memorable weekend of racing.

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Race director, Shane Ohly, an experienced and fierce competitor himself is extremely excited at the prospect of the racing. To the best of my knowledge, the strongest looking teams are from France and Spain. There are a few other foreign teams but I don’t know too much about them yet. No obviously strong British teams, which is a shame… but there is still time for them to enter as entry closes July 31st.’

 Ones to watch:

Spain

Aurelio Antonio Olivar and Angel Garcia

Aurelio was the 2013 European Rogaine Champion.

Angel won the Spanish national adventure racing championships in 2013

Aguilera and Marc Raflos

Mònica has won the World Adventure Race Champs, the Marathon de Sables, Trangrancanaria, Transvulcania and many more. Marc has been the Spanish national orienteering champion three times.

France

Christophe Bosseaux, Vincent Becam

A strong team with both runners having represented France at the European Rogaining Champs.

 

Scoring

All checkpoints will have the same score value, which is 10.

Competitors arriving back late will be penalized as follows:

  • Up to 5 minutes late = lose 1 point per minute / part minute.
  • Between 6 and 15 minutes late = lose 5 points per minute / part minute.
  • Between 16 and 29 minutes late = lose 10 points per minute / part minute.
  • Over 30 minutes late = loose all points!

More information and last minute entries HERE