200 runners prepare for 2014 Great Lakeland 3Day™

Posted in At the Races on Fri 02 May ’14

© Ben Winston

For the third successive year the Great Lakeland 3Day™ has sold out and this May bank holiday weekend will see a record 200 competitors setting off on a three day mountain running journey in the Lake District.

© www.GreatLakeland3Day.com

The location for the 2014 GL3D™ Event Centre is at Pooley Bridge at the North Eastern tip of Ullswater, and this is where competitors will be arriving on Friday night for registration. Pooley Bridge is one of those quintessential Lake District villages surrounded by water and mountains and it is a fitting staging post for the adventure ahead.

Where precisely the Elite, A, B and C courses go from there is a closely guarded secret but in the best traditions of the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon, the competitors have been promised a surprise on the first morning. Race Director, Shane Ohly explains further:

“The LAMM has a deserved reputation for surprising competitors on the first day with an unexpected change of venue or logistic and I wanted to embrace this idea for the GL3D™.”

The Great Lakeland 3Day™ has earned a reputation for being an informal and friendly event and the new C or ‘Cafe Class’ course embraces this ethos. Ohly continued:

“New for 2014 is the C Course, which is specifically aimed at walkers and the slowest runners and features checkpoints in cafe’s! Because we allow competitors to simply enter the event and then choose their desired course on the day we can’t be certain how popular it is going to be. However, the record number of entries suggests it’ll be very popular indeed!”

Despite the relaxed atmosphere the Great Lakeland 3Day™ remains a formidable challenge with the Elite course covering 130+ kilometres with over 8,000m of ascent in three days. It promises to be a grand tour of some of the best Lakeland ridges, summits and valleys.

The early GL3D™s aimed to cover about 25 miles on average each day and this is the distance that the organisers now aim for on the A Course. Usually the first and second days are slightly further/harder than the last day to help participants get away at a reasonable time after the event has finished. Race Planner Charlie Sproson from Mountain Run has planned the 2014 event and his summary optimum distances and height gains are shown below.

© www.GreatLakeland3Day.com

Former GL3D elite winner, artist and author, Heather Dawe who recently published the widely acclaimed Adventures in Mind has kindly provided two prints for the fastest male and female on the Elite course. With Heather’s connection to the event, it seems like a fitting way to recognise the effort of the leading runners.

The GL3D™ is sponsored by Lowe Alpine and supported by Climbers Shop, Joe Browns and Harvey Maps.

Event pictures, results and write up will be available on the Great Lakeland 3Day™ website early next week.

Zugspitz to have new route

Posted in At the Races on Wed 06 Nov ’13

© www.zugspitz-ultratrail.com

Julien Chorier breaks the Zugspitz tape in 2012

Each year trail racers from around the world make it a habit to convene at the base of the massive Zugspitze, Germany’s loftiest peak. The runners get together for an event that has quickly turned cult in its short four-year history – the Salomon Zuspitz Ultra-Trail.

Over the years this race sized up not only in terms of numbers but also added ever more course options. For 2014, the full 100K circumnavigation of the mountain massif may again garner the limelight but three (rather than two) additional entry points along the loop trail offer options for shorter race distances.

The latest addition to the wildly popular lineup of Basetrail, Supertrail and Ultratrail is the Supertrail XL course, which kicks off in Ehrwald, Austria. Registration for the 2013 event opened on the 1st of November

© zugspitz-ultratrail.com

While running routines may wind down for most trail runners towards the end of the year, the 2014 event is already back on the front burner for race organizers, event sponsors and host communities. In an effort to keep the event fresh and fun, there is always some aspect of the race that is being tweeked for the benefit of the race community.

New for 2014 is the Supertrail XL distance, an exciting course addition that sets off in Ehrwald, Austria, and fits in nicely between the Ultratrail (start in Grainau, Germany) and Supertrail (start in Leutasch-Weidach, Austria). The XL version woos racers with a distance of 79,3 kilometers and 4,156 meters of ascent and should attract finishers of the Supertrail (60.7 km / 2,973 m vertical gain) who want to up the ante but hesitate to commit to the full-length Ultratrail.

© zugspitz-ultratrail.com

Besides the Supertrail XL addition and few minor trail alterations, the 2014 race sticks to a proven weekend itinerary. The event kicks off Friday night with a lively opening celebration, the official race & course briefing and the popular SILVA Trailnight.

The start of the Ultratrail runners in Grainau (GER) during the wee hours of Saturday morning launches a tightly-spaced series of successive races with staggered start times in Ehrwald (AT), Leutasch-Weidach (AT) and Mittenwald (GER). Arrival of the first leaders at the finish in Grainau is expected by early afternoon but racers of the four courses and the various race categories will continue trickling in through the night until the morning of the following day. Sunday marks the end of the event and is dedicated to the award ceremony and riveting multi-media presentations with impressions of the weekend event.

The course stats speak for themselves. However, keep in mind, distance and vertical gain are one thing. Experience, technical competencies and orientation skills are another and require apt preparation. Yet, there is still time to polish up on these skills.

2014 SALOMON Zugspitz Ultratrail: Stats and Facts

  • Start: 21. June 2014 (different start locations acc. to course)
  • Finish: Grainau (GER) for all 4 courses:

o Ultratrail: 100 km / 5,420 m vertical gain, start 7:00 am, Grainau
o Supertrail XL: 79.3 km / 4,156 m vertical, start 8:00 am, Ehrwald
o Supertrail: 60.7 km / 2,973 m vertical, start 9:00 Uhr, Leutasch-Weidach
o Basetrail: 35.9 km / 1,892 Hm, start 10:00 am, Mittenwald

For additional information, visit: www.zugspitz-ultratrail.com

Vic peaks in Yorkshire, as Coniston beckons

Posted in The Sweat on Fri 02 May ’14

© Mick Kenyon / racingsnakes.com

Vic Wilkinson driving on at the 3 Peaks

The second race in the 2014 English Fell Champs takes place on the summits above Coniston tomorrow, and once again inov-8 and Bingley AC athlete Victoria Wilkinson will be the one to beat in the ladies’ race…

In her latest inov-8 blog, Victoria reflects on her superb win at last weekend’s 3 Peaks Race when she posted one of the fastest ever times by a woman over the classic 37km course.


“To win the Three Peaks Race was always one of my big targets for 2014. It is both iconic and tough in equal measures – a true test of fitness and strength with no hiding places. Plus, me being a Yorkshire girl, it makes it a really special race.

“I felt strong going into the event, knowing that since Christmas I had trained specifically with the Three Peaks in mind. I also carried with me the confidence that came from winning the opening English Fell Championships race at Pendle. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t looked at previous times and records. In truth, I focus a lot of my own expectations and performances around the times and records of previous female race winners.

“Although the Three Peaks has been adapted over the years – some faster and some slower bits included – the times posted by the likes of Sarah Rowell and Angela Mudge, plus the record of 3:14:43 set by Anna Pichtrova in 2008, gave me a good guide. My plan was to run sub 3:30, knowing the key to this was getting the pace right from the start. I set my sights on Bingley Harriers’ teammates Andy Jebb and Andy Brown, thinking they would hit the pace I was looking for.

“The first bit of the race – going up Pen-y-ghent lane – was the worst section of the entire 37km for me. I just wanted that bit to be over and done with. I found it hard to get the right pace. Once over the summit of Pen-y-ghent I started to settle down a bit and run with good fluency on long section to Ribblehead.

“Next came the slog of a climb up Whernside. I took the opportunity to get some fuel in, knowing there was still a long way to go. Cheered on by my parents, I pushed hard up the climb, dropping Andy Brown by the summit.

© Mick Kenyon / racingsnakes.com

Vic Wilkinson at the 2014 3 Peaks

“I lost time on Andy Jebb on the initial part of the descent but then gained it back again on the section to Hill Inn. ‘If only I hadn’t lost it in the first place!’ I thought to myself. With my inov-8 x-talon 212 shoes feeling fast and grippy, I really put the hammer down on the bit between Hill Inn and the summit of Ingleborough. Bounding over the steps and boards, I felt great. Then on the steep, rocky section I started passing some of the men in front of me (always a nice feeling!)

“Three Peaks is one of those races…..when you reach the third and final summit of Ingleborough you kind of think it’s all over. Far from it – there is still seven miles of running to go back to Horton-in-Ribblesdale! Still alongside Andy Jebb, we toiled into the headwind, counting down the miles, until we finally reached the valley bottom again. I crossed the finish line in a time of 3:21:32, for first place and 17th overall. I was really happy with my time and performance.

“Next up is the Coniston Fell Race tomorrow, the second counter in the English Fell Championships. Bring it on!”

Nepal and the Everest Trail Race by iancorless.com

Posted in The Sweat on Tue 19 Nov ’13

© iancorless.com

I had a dream, like any boy, I had a dream of what might be. Majestic mountains and blue skies; coloured flags draped onstring and spread across the trail. Nepal and the Himalayas, it’s sometimes quite difficult to convey an emotion…

Nepal stirs an emotion. You see, I had a vision; a vision of what this region would hold for me. Visual delights that can fulfill the photographic passion of even a novice cameraman, to be in this region of the world, yes, near the ‘rooftop’ of the world is something that I never thought would happen. It’s a shock to the system, 16-hours of travel and suddenly the noise, the chaos and the colour of Kathmandu.

© iancorless.com

It’s an incredible and frantic explosion on the senses after isolated seclusion of a plane. Toot-toot, beeeeep, honk-honk; car horn after car horn provide a soundtrack to our arrival and amongst this noise frenzy a gentle layer of permanent dust circulates. You look around, faces and colour everywhere. Reds, blues, greens, cyan, and magenta it’s just incredible.

Weary eyes through lack of sleep flick open and stay there allowing everything to soak in.‘Namaste’ welcome to Nepal and I am encircled with a garland of orange flowers from a gleaming local. I have been in Nepal 5-minutes and I am already excited at the prospects of what lie ahead. It’s not far, but far enough to get a taste of the life, the character and the passions of Kathmandu.

© iancorless.com

Moving through the streets in a busthat feels as though it is from another time, our short journey to Hotel Shanker is soon over and we are welcomed to our base for thenext two days by the team members of the Everest Trail Race. Sipping tea in our plush green surroundings while the sun beats down, the contrast between what is outside the gates and what is enclosed within them has never been more apparent. I need to move, I need to go out and I need to explore.

I need to get a feel for the place I am in and I am just desperate to take images. Within minutes I am walking along a dusty and unfinished road.It’s a paradise. I love to capture life as it happens, raw, uncensored and naked. The harshness of what I see is often softened by a beaming smile or a splash of colour.

The car horn symphony continues and minutes later I don’t even notice it, as I am engrossedin my camera and what is in front of it. A man selling apples, a girl begging; her friends a goat and a chicken while her little brother crawls around the floor in rags for clothes.I am in my element. While others relax and catch up on lost sleep, I am wired. Like an addict, I need my fix.

© iancorless.com

I need to capture images, I need to portray the story of what is unfolding before my eyes. The largest urban agglomerate of Nepal, Kathmandu is a gateway and it serves as a nerve center for tourism and as such, the variety of services and culture on offer is wide. Rich in history, most of Kathmandu’s people follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. It is a cosmopolitan melting pot and English is widely spoken.As I walk, flowers (Rangoli) adorn many shops and homes.

Pavements are coloured with paints or powders, everyone is in a festive mood. It’s a very important time of the year. A religious festival is taking place. ’Tihar’ also known as Deepawali in the Terai region of Nepal is a five-day-long Hindu and Buddhist festival. Tihar means the festival of lights, were many candles are lit both inside and outside the houses to make it bright at night.

Darkness soon arrives and with it, time to relax. Evening provides anopportunity to prepare for the up and coming adventure, the Everest Trail Race…

The Everest Trail Race is a multi-day journey that will test each and every participant in a way that they have not been tested before.

A total elevation gain of over 25,000m will mean that breathing alone will be difficult.Set against one of the most awe inspiring backdrops, the ETR lasted for six days covering a total distance of 160km.

© iancorless.com
© iancorless.com

Daily distances are on the face of it were relatively easy at; 22, 28, 30, 37, 20 and 22km, however, daily altitude differences vary greatly. It is a demanding race and although each participant was required to be self-sufficient during each day, food, water and an evening camp were provided by the race organization.

Daily temperatures varied from -10c to +18c and the terrain offered incredible variety; frozen earth, snow and

Africa’s first Ultra SkyMarathon® continues to move steadily onto world stage

Posted in At the Races on Wed 07 May ’14

© Anthony Grote

As entries for the 2014 Lesotho Ultra Trail continue to pour in from around the world, including Spain, Belgium, Austria, England, North America and Australia, as well as continued local interest from aspirant skyrunners in Southern Africa…

…the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) has announced that Africa’s first Ultra SkyMarathon® will be recognised as one of their official World Ranking ultra races for 2014. Being one of only thirty six top global events in this category, as well as one of only two events selected from the African continent, the Lesotho Ultra Trail heads into only its second year with already some big shoes to fill.

© www.lesothoultratrail.com

Race director Andrew Booth of KZN Trail Running comments:

“The growth and interest in the Lesotho Ultra Trail has given the organising team confidence in the kind of race we are presenting. The nature of the challenge and remoteness of parts of the trail hold great allure. When you finish this race you know you’ve been on an adventure, the battle scars will tell you that.”

The elite runner field is also beginning to heat up with confirmation from current Skyrunner® World Series partners INOV-8 international, that UK-based team members Ben Abdelnoor and Tracy Dean will be making the trip down to the “Mountain Kingdom” to toe the staring line alongside some of South Africa’s top trail athletes including Kane Riley, Lucky Mia, defending men’s and women’s title holders Andrew Hagen and Tracy Zunckel, Su Don Wauchope, Meg Mackenzie and Iain Don Wauchope.

© Anthony Grote

Women’s overall winner Tracy Zunckel descends

Further interest has also been shown by the likes of American ultra runners Dakota Jones (winner of the 2012 Transvulcania) and Mike Wolfe (2nd at the 2013 Lavardo Ultra Trail) who missed last years event to a last minute change in itinerary. Booth continues:

“Having such a strong group of elite athletes at the Lesotho Ultra Trail makes race day very exciting, we are able to track the leaders progress through our radio communications network and we’ll be beaming this out to the world who continue to take a keen interest in our race.”

A handful of entries for the event, which will be held on Saturday the 29th of November and forms part of the South African Skyrunner® Series, are still available. For more information about the Lesotho Ultra Trail, please visit www.lesothoultratrail.com or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.

Skyrunning UK announce the 3x3ULTRA

Posted in At the Races on Mon 06 Jan ’14

© skyrunninguk.com

A new year and what better way to start than with the announcement of the first race in the new Skyrunning UK ‘Skyrunner® National Series’ – the ‘3×3ULTRA’ by High Terrain Events.

© High Terrain Events

Over 4000m (13,000ft) of ascent await participants of the 3×3Ultra. “It’s an opportunity to cover three classic Lakeland peaks in an accumulative distance of 80km’s”, says High Terrain Events race director, Ian Mulvey.

Salomon athlete, Ricky Lightfoot (IAU World Trail Champion 2013 and Otter course record holder) has been instrumental in combining his skills and knowledge in designing a course that will bring Skyrunning UK an event that ultimately will create the perfect flagship for the Skyrunner® National Series (SNS) within the UK.

© www.highterrainevents.co.uk

Ricky Lightfoot at the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon

Based on the classic ‘Lakes 3000’s’ the 80km route will include Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. An amazing circular route over the best mountains available within the UK, it promises to be a tough challenge.

Lauri van Houten, executive director for the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) has been instrumental in providing the backing and support to enable Skyrunning UK to become a reality. When asked about Skyrunning in the UK, Lauri had this to say:

“Some of the world’s top athletes come from the UK! Andy Symonds, Tom Owens, Ricky Lightfoot, Robbie Simpson, Tessa Hill, Anna Lupton and past SWS (Skyrunner World Series) Champions Angela Mudge and Rob Jebb… British races are known for being tough and challenging. Skyrunning captures the spirit and tough technical challenges runners are looking for today. That’s the ‘feel’ we’d like to bring to the UK.”

The race route combines all the elements of a classic Lakeland run with aspects of European racing.

Tom Owens states:

“Skyrunning UK offers a great opportunity, we already have the main ingredients; technical terrain, beautiful mountains and hills. The UK has brilliant and committed athletes who love racing. We may not have the required altitude that a Skyrunning race would require in Europe but this is compensated for with the amount and steepness of climb that we can accumulate over distance, the 3×3Ultra is a great example of this.”

© Ian Corless / Talk Ultra

Tom Owens at Templiers 2012

No stranger to Skyrunning, Salomon International athlete, Andy Symonds has performed with the best-of-the-best all over Europe, his podium finish at Transvulcania La Palma in 2012 a particular highlight also offered his approval of the 3×3Ultra:

“Skyrunning is about running high up on rough ground. Getting up, over and along big mountains with big views. The 3×3Ultra does just that and it’s great to see it finalized on the all new Skyrunning UK calendar, it’s an exciting time”.

The Skyrunner® National Series will bring a new race series to the UK. Made up of five races in each category (Sky and Ultra), runners will accumulate ranking points by competing in at least three out of five races over the SkyRace® and Ultra SkyMarathon® distances. Respective male and female winners of the ‘SNS’ in 2015 will be rewarded with the ultimate prize; not only they will they be crowned champions of the ‘SNS’ but they will also receive the opportunity to race in the final of the Skyrunner® World Series.

Ian Corless, director for Skyrunning UK has been working for months in conjunction with the ISF Athlete Commission to bring this moment to fruition:

“It’s about progression and development. Having witnessed Skyrunning from every level for the past 2-years and seen the growth, the excitement, the opportunities; to not be part of this in the UK would be a shame. The sport is growing at all levels. In time I hope we will have a series of UK based Skyrunning teams similar to the model that inov-8 have created. A Skyrunning National Series will provide not only a great structure for the sport but it will also provide a springboard for UK athletes to race in other countries but equally, we hope to attract foreign athletes to race on home soil. The announcement of the 3×3Ultra clearly states our intentions for what a Skyrunning event should be in the UK.”

© www.highterrainevents.co.uk

Lauri continues:

“The only setback has been the difficulty in finding the right person to represent Skyrunning in the UK and bring it in line with other countries. It’s been hard to find a replacement but Ian Corless has embodied that and with his contacts and know-how we’re confident he’ll pull a great movement together.”

The stage is set for the 3×3Ultra.

Ian Mulvey, race director for the 3×3Ultra explained his thoughts and vision:

“It will showcase what we have to offer in the UK and hopefully attract

2014 Skyrunner® magazine online now

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 09 May ’14

© www.skyrunning.com

Looking for some adventure in 2014? Well, luckily for some the ISF has just put the 2014 Skyrunner World Series magazine (e-zine) online. With events across the continents, it highlights some of the world’s most iconic races…

The 24-page guide features such races as Transvulcania, Zegama and the Ice Trail this July – read the 2014 ISF mGzn here

© www.skyrunning.com

Skyrunning UK announce ROCKTAPE as a sponsor

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 30 Jan ’14

© Ian Corless

Sports tape brand ROCKTAPE has been announced as the first sponsor to support the Skyrunner® Series UK. The ROCKTAPE team are avid athletes and already support various UK based events and athletes; notably Lakeland 100 winner Terry Conway…

Skyrunning UK release

No matter how carefully we prepare and train, injuries happen and unfortunately they can happen on a frequent basis, especially when pushing at the limits. ROCKTAPE is not just for the injured athlete, it can also be used to help delay fatigue and improve posture/running form.

Today, ‘Kinesiology Tape’ is widely used throughout the world to treat injuries and pain. ROCKTAPE is the only tape specifically engineered to meet the demands of elite athletes. Why is it unique? Stick and Stretch. Its unique glue means that unlike many other tapes ROCKTAPE stays on the skin come hell or high water. ROCKTAPE stretches twice as much as most kinesiology tape and is engineered to mimic human skin. The ‘stretch’ is the secret behind ROCKTAPE!

© Ian Corless

Anna Frost

How does it work? When applied properly, ROCKTAPE lifts the skin away from the muscle, which promotes positive changes in the body’s fluid, mechanical and neurological systems. Commonly people wearing Rocktape report less pain, swelling and tightness, greater awareness of the area and later onset of fatigue.

Paul Coker, Medical Director, Rocktape UK explains:

“We are really pleased to be able to support the Skyrunner® UK series in its inaugural year, we hope it’s the beginning of a long term-relationship. ROCKTAPE offers lots of great benefits to runners, this partnership is a perfect way to showcase our product and increase awareness of ROCKTAPE amongst the trail and ultra running community. As a very enthusiastic but distinctly average runner myself its also a great reason to be at Sky races and witness some of the worlds best athletes run.”

© Rocktape

Skyrunning UK’s Ian Corless is well aware of the benefits that may be obtained both pre-exercise, during exercise and post exercise from ROCKTAPE.

“We strongly believe that our partnership is a great step forward not only for the Skyrunner® Series UK but also all our athletes who will perform in our series. Paul and myself have had plenty of communication over the past 2-years. I have used ROCKTAPE to help recover from injuries and I have also used products in training to prevent onward injuries.

“I fully understand and believe in the product. It’s great to have a sponsor on board that will directly benefit every participant in a Skyrunner® Series UK event. Why is this? Well, ROCKTAPE will be present at our events and provide on hand advice, show taping techniques and directly get involved with each and every runner. It’s a really exciting prospect.”

© Rocktape

Ben Abdelnoor

The 2014 Skyrunner® Series UK is developing each and every day. Skyrunning UK has already announced two ULTRA events, the V3K in Wales for June and the 3×3 in the Lakes for October.

With the imminent announcement of new events to the 2014 calendar and the sponsorship of ROCKTAPE the Skyrunner® Series UK is already proving to be one of the most exciting race series prospects for those who love to run over technical and demanding terrain with plenty of vertical gain within the UK.

More via the SRUK site here.

© skyrunninguk.com

Reactions so far
  1. Matthew Roberts
    Jan 30, 10:44 PM

    This series gets better and better – as well as having to cope with unvetted Southerners lambasting the hills, we’ll now also have to carry incredibly large refuse bags with us on our runs. The reason – to collect the bloody mythical ‘rocktape’ that will be dispersed across the hillside following the marauding of the Vegan Sky Runners along the Eryri 14 Peaks………………..there’s no way that Ben A photo is real – must be a photoshop job – will have a word with him.

Vertical Kilometer opens Transvulcania weekend

Posted in At the Races on Sat 10 May ’14

© www.skyrunning.com

Bernard Dematteis at the Transvulcania VK 2014

The 2014 skyrunning season blasted off on Friday with the new ultra-steep Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® on the island of La Palma. Italian VK specialists dominated the podiums with the Dematteis brothers Bernard and Martin taking first and second place followed by Kilian Jornet…

The women’s race was won by Elisa Desco, a national and European mountain running champion. 2013 Vertical World Champion, Spaniard Laura Orgue was a close second followed by Azara Garcia de los Salomones, also from Spain.

More via the ISF website here

© www.skyrunning.com

Elisa Desco

UTPD entries ‘selling out’…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 21 Feb ’14

© www.digdeepraces.co.uk

The Ultra Tour Peak District event is close to selling out in 2014, a full 5 months ahead of race day in June, as runner prepare to pit themselves over 56.5 miles across the Peak District National Park…

Full event release

The Ultra Trail Peak District, which will be held on the 21st June 2014, is now close to selling out! We are really pleased that with still 5 months to go we now only have 50 places left for the 60 mile ultra race, which takes in some of the most iconic climbs and views the Peak District trails have to offer.

The UTPD is a qualifying race for the UTMB (2pts) and part of our festival of running weekend

To book a place on the UTPD, please follow this link

Intro Ultra (30mile) and UTPD (60mile) Recce Day

Dig Deep are holding a recce day on Sunday, 16th March 2014. This will cover parts of both the 60 mile and 30 mile courses. The cost of the recce day is £5. They will be fully guided by members of the Dig Deep Team and we will give you navigational tips as well as focusing on particularly navigational tricky parts of the routes.

We meet in the Outside Cafe in Hathersage at 9:45am. Outside are the retail partners of Dig Deep Peak District.

UTPD runners – The recce run will be from Burbage Valley to Moscar – including Derwent leg (18 miles).

Intro Ultra runners – The recce run will be from Burbage Valley to Hope (8 – 9 miles)

To book onto the Recce Day follow this link

Speaker for the Weekend

We are really pleased that Mammut sponsored endurance athlete Helen Bonsor will be joining us for the Dig Deep Peak District weekend. Helen will be one of several elite athletes who will be giving talks on endurance running over the weekend.

To read more about what inspires Helen and her achievements have a read of this

Mammut are the Dig Deep Peak District 2014 Official Sponsors

To find out more information on all of the races available over the 21st and 22nd June, click here

Frosty returns as Hernando overcomes Kilian at Transvulcania

Posted in At the Races on Sun 11 May ’14

© www.skyrunning.com

Luis Alberto Hernando at Transvulcania 2014

Yesterday’s Transvulcania race on La Palma was once again a triumph from a shop-window perspective for ultra trail racing and in terms of how far the sport and the media coverage has come over the last few years…

It was probably fitting therefore that it produced two worthy and highly-popular winners in Anna Frost – who returned to TV to take a glorious victory two years after her first and after 18 months or so which have seen the Kiwi beset with injury – and Luis Alberto Hernando, who finally overcame his great rival Kilian Jornet to take a fantastic first Transvulcania victory.

Story, top 10s and links via the ISF here

The Celts are coming!

Posted in At the Races on Fri 18 Apr ’14

© fuegoyagua.org

“The Celts Ultras take trail running back to basics. Expect a trail running experience like you imagine that which early explorers encountered”. So goes the intro to a brand new ultra event for the UK this August…

And they mean what they say!

There will be no Aid Stations – you will have to filter your own water and carry your own food. The ultras DO NOT include any obstacles or challenges.

So, proper self-sufficient stuff from the Fuego y Agua events team, as they hit the south Wales region with races over 25 and 50km.

When: 5:00am Saturday, August 23, 2014
Where: Kenfig Nature Reserve, Wales, United Kingdom
What: Rugged Trail Races with 3 race options: 25k & 50k Trail Races, and a brutal 50k Survival Run

More info via the Fuego y Agua site here

Stevie boosts Mourne Skyline MTR appeal!

Posted in At the Races on Fri 30 May ’14

© Ian Corless

Stevie Kremer

Fresh from victory at the 2014 Zegama-Aizkorri Skyrunner® World Series, Skyrunning UK are pleased to announce that Salomon athelete, American Stevie Kremer will race the brand new Mourne Skyline MTR on October 18th 2014..

Skyrunning UK release

Stevie is arguably the best female SKY distance runner on the scene at the moment. Winning Mont-Blanc Marathon, Pikes Peak and Limone Extreme in 2013, secured Stevie the Skyrunner® World Series title and elevated the pocket rocket from Colorado from hot, to super hot!

With her infectious smile and incredible ability on the mountain, Stevie will be an incredible asset not only to the Mourne Skyline MTR race but to all trail and mountain running in the UK.

“Creating Skyrunning UK was all about bringing the ethos and feel of European events to our shores and in time, creating some of the buzz as witnessed in the Alps, Pyrenees or the Dolomites.”

Says Skyrunning UK director, Ian Corless

“Stevie is at the forefront of Skyrunning, she is an incredible talent, a bubbly personality and to have her arrive on our shores and race is a dream come true. It was always my aim… in reality, I had hoped this would happen in 2017 but to have Stevie join us in year one is just incredible and the boost we all need.’

Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Mourne Skyline MTR can’t believe his luck.

“When we announced our race we had an incredible response with entries flooding in. To now find out that Stevie Kremer will join us for the inaugural event, really is the icing on the cake. Racing is about every runner; from first to last. However, elite runners provide inspiration for all of us and Stevie leads by example; she is a role model for Skyrunning and we will be honoured by her presence at our race.”

A long-term aim has always been to have a UK event included in the Skyrunner® World Series, should that happen, the best-of-the-best will travel to the UK to race. Stevie’s presence in year one provides a pathway to that objective.

The world’s top teams and athletes pitting themselves against UK athletes. Imagine it; imagine what that would do for the sport in the UK!

Lauri van Houten, executive director for the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) had this to say:

“The Skyrunner® National Series were created to grow Skyrunning on a national level globally – to give as many runners as possible the “feel” of a Skyrunning race and a chance to win a place in an international World Series event. The UK Skyrunning races hold enormous promise and look set to attract an international field. Stevie’s decision to take part in Northern Ireland is a great boost for the race and the new Skyrunner® UK National Series.”

The sport is growing at all levels. In time a series of UK based Skyrunning teams similar to the model that inov-8 have created is a distinct possibility. The Skyrunner® National Series provides not only a great structure for the sport but it also provides a springboard for UK athletes to race in other countries but equally, we hope to attract foreign athletes to race on home soil.

Speaking from Colorado, Stevie said:

“It looks amazing and it’s during my fall break, so I am in! I love the idea of that much climbing.”

More info via the Mourne Skyline site here

British runners dominate the Iznik Ultra

Posted in At the Races on Mon 21 Apr ’14

© Ian Corless

Located just 2-hours away from Istanbul, Iznik is very much a quiet holiday resort for those in the know. Situated on an idyllic lake, the town comes to life as the Iznik Series of races arrive in town. Ian Corless reports.

The idea of Caner Odabasoglu (a keen ultra runner himself) and now in its 3rd edition, the races is very much a highlight of the Turkish racing season.

Offering 4-race distances, 130km, 80km, a classic marathon and a 10km, Caner and his team from MCR Racesetter have provided an opportunity for all. The 130km race is the longest single stage ultra in Turkey and therefore it appeals and has a loyal following from the ever-growing Turkish ultra running community.

In just 3-years, the races have grown in numbers. US ultra runner Amy Sproston raced the 80km in 2013 and set a new CR proving that interest and international appeal in Iznik and ultra running in Turkey is on the up!

In 2014 a strong British contingent crossed the channel and joined runners from France, China, South Africa, Germany, Australia and New Zealand making the races a truly international event. Arriving in Bursa prepared for a stunning weekend of racing; the race or the racing didn’t disappoint.


On the stroke of midnight in Iznik Square, participants ventured out onto a clockwise loop of Iznik Lake. The harder and more challenging part of the course, the first 60km would run in darkness, whilst the flatter and far more runnable sections would be taken in daylight.

From the off runners separated with a small lead pack pushing the pace. However, Marcus Scotney (Montane) and Akin Yeneceli forged ahead and opened up a convincing lead ahead of Bryan Edwards from New Zealand by the 11km mark. At cp1, Edwards arrived first closely followed by runner after runner. Something was wrong and it soon became clear that our front two runners had gone off course.

© Ian Corless

Marcus Scotney leads the 130km

By the time they arrived well over 30-minutes had elapsed and Scotney had visible and vocal frustration at the dilemma, ‘That’s it, it’s all ruined now… what a waste!’ What followed was a master class in pacing and distance running, one-by-one, Scotney moved his way up the field using each runner ahead as a carrot.

Closing the gap to 26-mins, 22-mins, and 16-mins and by the time he arrived at the 60-km mark Marcus was 4th with 6-mins to catch up. All the early protagonists who had set the early pace had faded whereas Scotney had become stronger and stronger. The big question mark would be could he hold on?

Chasing Yavuz and Ivanovski from Macedonia, Scotney eventually took the lead of the race and never looked back. A course record had always been on Scotney’s mind and his wish came true, despite an epic detour, he arrived in Iznik 12 –hours, 53-minutes and 59-seconds later. The effort of his endeavor was clear to see. Mahmut Yavuz retained local celebrity status with 2nd place and Zhikica Ivanovski placed 3rd.

The ladies race was a low-key affair with just 3-entrants. Previous 130km winner, Elena Polyakova would defend her title after injury issues and therefore decided to race the marathon. This provided an open stage for local ultra runner and legend, Bakiye Duran to shine. Shine she did! Bakiye covered the course from start to finish in the lead with only Svetiana Ivanovski to worry about.

1. Marcus Scotney (Montane) 12:53:59 new CR
2. Mahmut Yavuz 13:11:55
3. Zhikica Ivanovski 13:53:41

1. Bakiye Duran 19:09:39
2. Svetiana Stojanoska 22:27:08


Jo Meek (Scott Running) and Tracy Dean (inov-8) set a blistering pace in the 80km race. Dean leading Meek over the first 10km with just a 1-min lead but at cp1, Meek took over the lead and never relinquished it.

Dean pursued all day keeping Meek in her sights never allowing the gap to grow beyond 1-2 mins. However, stomach issues struck for Dean and post race she went on to say that she continually felt as though she was struggling and never felt comfortable. Meek however had her blinkers on and was pushing not only for the outright win but a new course record, a record set by Amy Sproston!

Aykut Celikbas (very much a pioneer of the Turkish ultra scene) had chased the dynamic duo of Dean and Meek all day and eventually moved into 2nd place after Dean dropped at 60-km. Meek ran like a woman possessed, without doubt she is currently one of the most exciting prospects in the UK ultra running scene as her 2nd place at the 2013 Marathon des Sables and her victory at the 2014 The Coastal Challenge

Andi and Katie are Great in Keswick

Posted in At the Races on Mon 02 Jun ’14

© www.greattrailchallenge.org

Katie Walshaw

Yesterday say some of the UK’s elite trail and mountain short-disctance specialists head to Keswick for the Karrimor Great Trail Challenge, with England’s Andi Jones and Katie Walshaw amongst the winners…

Karrimor Great Trail Challenge event release

Hundreds of people braved high temperatures in Keswick yesterday at the third staging of the Karrimor Great Trail Challenge. The event saw trail running champions and charity fundraisers run, jog and walk the 11km and 22km distances, which started in Station Field near Greta Bank Farm. Participants were officially set on their way by Councillor Lorraine Taylor, Mayor of Keswick.

© www.greattrailchallenge.org

The route started out along the Keswick railway line, climbed the northern shoulder of Latrigg Fell, before travelling down Cumbria Way to the finish line. Runners had an extra challenge as they took on the King of the Mountain and Demon Descent, in which timing mats on the course recorded how long it took runners to ascend Latrigg Fell and descend Cumbria Way to the finish line, with the times posted online.

The day got underway with the Home Countries International race, which saw senior and junior athletes from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland competing in a team competition.

Taking charge of the senior men’s race over a testing 11km, Stockport Harriers’ Andi Jones immediately stamped his authority before going on to post an impressive winning time of 40:17, seven seconds ahead of Ireland’s Brian MacMahon. Tom Addison, of Helm Hill Runners in Kendal took fifth place with a time of 41:16.

© www.greattrailchallenge.org

Andi Jones takes the win

English mountain runner Katie Walshaw won the senior women’s race over 10km. She clocked a time of 40:40, with Megan Crawford of Scotland finishing second in 40:43 and England’s Jayne Joy taking the third spot in 41:19. England were overall winners in the team competition.

The event village was packed with spectators and participants enjoying music and race commentary throughout the day. North West Air Ambulance, the nominated local charity for the event welcomed their runners over the finish line which included paramedics and families of ex-patients.

© www.greattrailchallenge.org

Peter Riley, Project Director at organisers Nova, said:

“This is the third year we’ve staged the Karrimor Great Trail Challenge in Keswick, and yet again it was a fantastic day. The heat was an extra challenge for the participants, but everyone did exceptionally well and the hundreds of spectators added to the brilliant atmosphere.”

Find out more at www.greattrailchallenge.org

Home Countries International Race Results

Senior men (11km)
1. Andi Jones – 40:17
2. Brian MacMahon – 40:24
3. Andrew Douglas – 40:48

Senior Women (10km)
1. Katie Walshaw – 40:40
2. Megan Crawford – 40:43
3. Jayne Joy – 41:19

Junior Men (10km)
Andrew Lawlor – 36:11
Ciaran Lewis – 38:32
Gwynant Jones – 38:59

Junior Women (5.5km)
Georgia Malir – 22:32
Catriona Graves – 23:06
Rebecca Evans – 23:22

Reactions so far
  1. Adair Broughton
    Jun 3, 01:33 PM

    Fantastic event to watch and a great team win for England with a particularly stunning England debut for Jayne Joy

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An evening with Joss Naylor

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 22 Apr ’14

© Tommy Orr

Joss Naylor

It’s not every day that you get the chance to rub shoulders with mountain running greatness. but every year at the Keswick Mountain Festival the opportunity arises with the festival playing host to a number of lectures over the course of its ever-popular week…

Seventy eight year old Joss Naylor MBE from Wasdale is one of the greatest fell runners of all time, with multiple fell race wins and long distance peak-bagging records to his name, as well as a life long love of the Lakeland fells. He appears for one night only in an exclusive Q&A session with Claire Maxted, editor of Trail Running magazine.

Date & Time: Thursday 15th May, 20.30
Where: Location: The Theatre By The Lake. Postcode: CA12 5DJ

Further info and book your place now via this link

Marmot24™ to take place in the Lakes…

Posted in At the Races on Mon 02 Jun ’14

© www.marmot24.com

The organisers of the UK’s first 24-hour nonstop mountain marathon, Marmot24™, have just announced that the inaugural event will be held in the Lake District National Park this August.

Marmot24™ combines the very best elements of the predominantly British mountain marathon phenomenon with aspects of the more international 24-hour rogaining events. With mountain running and navigation at the heart of the event, competitors will have 24, 12 or 6-hours to visit as many checkpoints as possible on a score format course.

Race Director, Shane Ohly described the competition area to us.

“From our central Event Centre the competition area spans 360 degrees in all directions and includes approximately 300 square kilometers of the finest mountain running terrain in the UK. It is Perfect for a 24-hour non-stop mountain marathon and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the event weekend 2nd/3rd August”.

He continued:

“To the north of the Event Centre 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. There are also interesting yet rarely visited fells to the east and west. The terrain is perfect for a mountain marathon with laser fast ridges and valleys linking remote and trackless areas that contain complex contour features.”

© www.marmot24.com

As many regular visitors to the Lake District will know this vast competition area includes about every topographical feature you could possibly imagine, and the experienced planning team of Charlie Sproson and Shane Ohly, will no doubt be conjuring up another excellent event after the highly successful Great Lakeland 3Day™ earlier this year.

The 24-hour race starts at noon Saturday but if that sounds too daunting, then there is a 12-hour race starting at midnight Saturday and a 6-hour race starting at 0600 on the Sunday morning. Everyone will finish at 12 noon on the Sunday in what promises to be an exciting and dramatic finale to a memorable weekend of racing.

Over 100 competitors have now entered Marmot24™ including a large number of elite Spanish runners that includes Aurelio Antonio Olivar, the 2013 European Rogaine Champion.

If you enter Marmot24™ now you can get a free Marmot Compact Hauler (worth £22) for each person.

Further info via the Marmot24™ website here

3 Peaks – the joy of winning

Posted in At the Races on Wed 23 Apr ’14

© www.grough.co.uk

Three Peaks runners on Pen-y-Ghent

A reposting of a previous 3 Peaks article, but we think it’s still a relevant piece to be pushing out there this week, and is always a nice refresher for those who may have read it before – for those who haven’t it’s a nice history lesson from those who have won the mighty 3Ps…

The Three Peaks Race is all about the runners. Tales are told that become folk lore down the years, however it’s generally the winners that are remembered – here a few snippets from those who have experienced that joy of winning…

What it feels like to win the Three Peaks Race

(With kind permission of David Hodgson www.threepeaksrace.org.uk)

Only a select few have experienced winning the Three Peaks race . We asked some previous winners to say just how they felt after winning and here is a selection of their comments.

© www.threepeaksrace.org.uk

Harry Walker – Winner 1978, 1979,1981.

After seven attempts to win I finally fulfiled my ambition. I felt extremely proud, and still do. I have many happy memories and some very bad ones. After struggling to do 21 races I have great respect for the runners at the back of the field.

Wendy Dodds – Joint Ladies Winner 1983. Completion of most races by a woman.

I fell over several times on the descent from Ingleborough and was helped up by other runners. Carol (Walkington) and I passed each other several times during the descent, until a mile or so from the end we agreed to finish together. I had always hoped to do 21 races and after about ten races I kept thinking can I do another 11, 10 etc. but when it was decided to give women ‘the picture’ after 15 races it took the pressure off. It has become psychologically easier to think of reaching 21”. Wendy is attempting her 21st race this year.

Jeff Norman – Winner 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975.

From the age of 18 when I first read about this race, I couldn’t wait for my 21st birthday, when I would be old enough to compete. Completing the race that first year probably gave me more satisfaction than some later wins, but after two “down the field” finishes, followed by a 3rd, then a 2nd, my first win was very special – an ambition fulfilled.

© www.threepeaksrace.org.uk

Jeff Norman at Ribblehead

Hugh Symonds – Winner 1984,1985,1987.

The sensation of crossing the line, as winner at Horton is one of the best feelings in fell racing only rivalled by the atmosphere on winning the Ben Nevis. However, after my first win in 1984, feelings of euphoria transformed to shame within two hours, because post race celebrations in the pub meant that I completely forgot to attend the presentation. I wasn’t there to receive the magnificent carved trophy! Looking at it on the wall afterwards was a constant reminder of my stupidity and made me determined to win the race again. (He did – twice more)

© www.threepeaksrace.org.uk

Vanessa Peacock (Brindle) – Ladies Winner 1987, 1988, 1989.

Winning the Three Peaks Race gave me a greater satisfaction and sense of achievement than winning any other race. The demanding course, the spectator involvement, and the special history of the event all create a great sense of occasion. It’s the fell equivalent of the London Marathon.

Ian Ferguson – Winner 1991, 1992.

Most folks have heard of the Three Peaks so to win you are a hero. The only race that brought tears to my eyes whilst running the last 500 metres.

Gary Devine – Winner 1990.

I’ve come to realise that it was quite an achievement and that I am proud to have won it. I can still recall most of the race, mainly because of the tussle I had with Shaun Livesey.

Sarah Rowell – Ladies Winner 1991,1992,1994. Ladies record holder.

The Peaks was always a special race for me, one that I focused my training on during the winter. The emotions attached to winning depended how the race had gone – a real high when all went well, more a feeling of relief when it had been a struggle.

© www.pudseybramley.com

Sarah Rowell at the Three Peaks in 1999

Gavin Bland – Winner 1993.

I ran for three hours without a thought of winning but caught Mark Croasdale close to the finish and had a little bit left for a sprint finish. A very unexpected Peaks win that just goes to show: Never give up!

Jean Rawlinson – Ladies Winner 1995.

I remember the conditions were very good and I set off steadily. I climbed Whernside with Kath Drake but overtook her at the summit and from

YHA Support Dragon’s Back Race™ 2015

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 13 Jun ’14

© Jon Brooke

Organisers of the legendary Dragon’s Back Race™ have today announced that YHA (England and Wales) will be supporting the event in 2015. The race follows the mountainous spine of Wales, from Conwy Castle in the north to Carreg Cennen Castle in the south…

The race is an incredible 5-day journey across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain and is widely acknowledged as one of the hardest mountain races in the World.

© www.dragonsbackrace.com

Race Director Shane Ohly said:

“At the last Dragon’s Back Race in 2012 the event volunteers and many of the competitors stayed at the YHA Conwy before the race and we received a fantastic, warm welcome from the staff, despite staging an impromptu takeover. In 2015, the YHA Conwy will be our official headquarters in the days before the event with all our event personnel staying there.

We will also have the competitor registration, kit check and briefing there. It is a great venue and we look forward to returning in June 2015.”

Joe Lynch the Sales and Marketing Director for the YHA continued:

“We are delighted to be supporting the Dragon’s Back Race™ and proud that the team have chosen YHA Conwy as their base for this fantastic event. With over 136 hostels throughout England and Wales, YHA strives to create opportunities for everyone to enjoy our great countryside.

“Not everyone chooses to run 300km with 17,000m of ascent in five days, but everyone staying with YHA can be assured of the essentials for any trip; A warm welcome, excellent hospitality, great food and unbeatable value for money. We wish all of the Dragon’s Back Race™ competitors every success and look forward to welcoming you to YHA Conwy.”

The original Dragon’s Back Race™ happened in September 1992 and was famously won by Martin Stone and Helene Whitaker (nee Diamantides) who together beat an array of the World’s best mountain and ultra runners. This was the first time in the history of mountain running that a woman had beat the best men and it happened at arguably the Worlds toughest race.

Ever since, the Dragon’s Back Race™ was whispered about with a mix of awe and trepidation and with the help of books like Richard Askwith’s ‘Feet In the Clouds’, its reputation had reached legendary status with most fell, mountain and ultra runners by September 2012 when the second Dragon’s Back Race™ happened.

© Rob Howard

Steve Birkinshaw

The 2012 race was a huge success with a multi award winning, feature length documentary capturing the brutal pleasure of the race. British mountain running legend Steve Birkinshaw won and incredibly, Helene Whitaker returned after twenty years to finish fourth overall.

Entries for the 2015 Dragon’s Back Race are now open but close on the 8th September 2014.

More via the Dragon’s Back Race™ website here

Bragg settles for a podium place at the Fellsman

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 01 May ’14

© Tim Burton / The North Face

Jez Bragg at the 2014 Fellsman

Former winner Jez Bragg embarked on another tilt at the classic Fellsman race last weekend, but after some nav issues on route had to settle for third place this year at one of the UK’s original ultra races…

383 Competitors toed the line of the 52nd Fellsman in windy and wet conditions which improved over the course of the day. Adam Perry and Kim Collinson set the early pace and went on to jointly win the event, the first time this had happened in many years.

Jez ran his usual race, starting conservatively and then pushing on and was making his way through the field with only Collinson and Perry in front when he experienced difficulty locating the Middle Tongue checkpoint, which was not in position, wasting valuable time, making the front runners lead unassailable.

© Tim Burton / The North Face

Jez commented:

“As always The Fellsman was a great adventure and a memorable day out on the hills. I was happy with my race until the missing checkpoint scenario, and being on my own at that point, took longer to search the area and come to the decision to move on having not found it. Unfortunately it had been setup in the wrong location, so whilst it didn’t compromise my completion of the event, it did impact the racing aspect.”

“These things happen in off road events of this nature but the leader’s gap went from 15 minutes to over 30, at which point I knew I wouldn’t be able to reel them in. There was a nagging head wind all day which made the pace slower than usual, but I was pleased with how I felt throughout, and should provide a positive stepping stone towards Western States at the end of June. My focus is on getting back to racking form in the big events after a lengthy recovery spell from the Te Araroa Expedition”.

Jez has two major races on the horizon with the Western States 100 in California at the end of June followed by The North Face® Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc® in August.

Reactions so far
  1. Don
    May 3, 06:05 AM

    Didn’t the leading 2 have the same problem?

Comments closed