CTS Gower

Posted in Through the Lens on Wed 30 Nov ’11

© www.endurancelife.com

A nice birds-eye-view of the recent Endurance Life CTS on the Gower in South Wales has just been posted. It’s a great showcase for the UK’s first ever Area Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and also a nice testimony to how good the CTS events are. Nice work chaps!

Watch it here

© www.endurancelife.com

Keswick gets ready for outdoor sporting festival

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 08 Jan ’13

© www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk

Not only does the Keswick Mountain Festival nestle in one of the countries great outdoor environments and feature some great speakers from the world of outdoor and adventure sport…

But also has a week of exciting events to satisfy the keenest of outdoor enthusiast. Contained within the programme from May 15th to the 19th are a couple of trail and fell running gems in the form of the traditional Weds evening Latrigg Fell Race and the Borrowdale Trail Runs and Scafell Pike Trail Marathon.

So, if you’re looking for a late Spring week in the Lakes, what better than a trip to the Keswick Mountain Festival…

© www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk

Trail Marathon Wales is launched

Posted in At the Races on Fri 28 Oct ’11

© Trail Marathon Wales

June 2012 will see a great new event coming to Wales. Trail Marathon Wales aims to be a “challenging, but stunning” full (and half) distance trail marathon set in the world-renowned MTB heartland that is Coed y Brenin…

The MTB centre set in the Snowdonia National Park, one of most renowned mountain biking areas in the UK – if not the world.

© www.trailmarathonwales.com

The event release states:

Taking place on the 23rd of June 2012, Trail Marathon Wales will have full (26.2 mile / 42.1 km) and half (13.1 mile / 21 km) marathon race routes in the stunning trails and tracks of the world-renowned Coed y Brenin forest in the Snowdonia National Park. This unique marathon aims to be Wales’ first true trail marathon taking in fully marked trail single track, forest roads and paths in some of the most stunning forestry and heathland in the UK.

We are working closely with Forestry Commission Wales at Coed y Brenin to deliver what will be a race route to remember. The exact course details will be released in the early Spring of 2012.

We have provisionally recruited a number of elite athletes to take part in the race, who will ensure that the event has a highly competitive element – whilst hopefully attracting good club runners and first time trail marathoners alike.

Entries for the event open online at the event website next Tuesday, the 1st November.

You can follow Trail Marathon Wales on their Facebook page, their Twitter feed and via the TMW blog

© www.trailmarathonwales.com

Go Trail is out…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 30 Nov ’11

© gotrail.co.za

Go Trail by James Hallett sees another excellent edition online. The December / January has the usual great mix of imagery and inspiration, including trail running in NZ, an interview with Krissy Moehl and a journey to the roof of the world and the Himalayan 100…

© gotrail.co.za

James says:

The December/January issue of Go Trail magazine is LIVE and as the 2011 trail running year comes to a close, we reflect on an interesting and inspiring year gone by.

© gotrail.co.za

We also introduce you to an American ultra-trail athlete with a phenomenal track record. Krissy Moehl has not only won the Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc, but holds the women’s category record. Unfortunately too much pre-race training for the 2011 UTMB resulted in an untimely DNF, providing some fresh new insight into her own running. In this ATHLETE PROFILE you’ll get the chance to listen to our pod cast interview with her as we find out more about where this Seattle based trail runner see herself going in the future.

Read it here

© gotrail.co.za
© gotrail.co.za

Rob romps to Snowdonia win

Posted in At the Races on Tue 01 Nov ’11

© Colin Paxton

Samuel cross the line in Llanberis

Wales and GB international Rob Samuel pulled off the biggest win of his career on Saturday, as he won Britain’s toughest marathon. The 25-year old led majestically over the final 6 miles of this iconic 26.2 mile event to win in 2hrs 36 mins and 45 secs…

With a line-up of international endurance runners that many a UK marathon would have been proud of, the 29th running of the Snowdonia Marathon Eryri was destined to be a superbly competitive event, and it was

Commenting on his terrific winning effort Samuel said:

“This is crazy. I mean I am in good form, but I can’t believe that I have won. It means so much to take my first marathon win here at the Snowdonia Marathon, in front of such a fantastic crowd and on my ‘home turf’.”

After three years of stormy conditions and heavy rain the organisers were hopeful of some respite for the runners (who came from 14 countries). But as the race got off at 10.30am, started by First Hydro’s Brian Tindall, rain and high winds were already the order of the day and over the next 6 hours the unpredictable Snowdonian weather took hold with torrential rain, gale force gusts and hail all adding to the spice of this event which lived up to its billing as the toughest and most scenic in the UK.

© Colin Paxton

The start…

Nearly 2000 runners set off from just outside of the village of Llanberis, now considered the ‘outdoor capital of Wales’ due to the preponderance of sporting events over the course of the year. However, it is this historic event which is perhaps the toughest, due in part to the unpredictable nature of the weather in this part of Wales at this time of the year.

But the elements were not to deter these intrepid competitors, and following the race all talk has been of a superbly organised event, testimony to the organising team and their dedication to this classic event on the Welsh sporting calendar.

© Colin Paxton

Speaking about how the race unfolded, Samuel added:

“I felt really good in the first half of the race, and I knew I had to watch Richie (Gardiner), and it was just two of us pushing it on from about 11 miles onwards. We got to about 19 miles and felt like I should make an effort and started to get a gap.

The last three miles over Bwlch y Groes are tough, no matter how good you feel and coming off the descent I fell over as I was wearing racing flats, but luckily no damage was done. I then just put my head down and went as hard as I could into the High Street and, well, the feeling coming up the finishing straight with the crowd going mad was amazing”.

With 2010 winner, and recent gold medalist at the Commonwealth Ultra Trail Championships, Richie Gardiner taking to the start line, all talk was of who could stop the Aberdare man taking a second straight win. However, 55km of tough Anglesey trails and the Cardiff Half Marathon over the last four weeks would ultimately take their toll on the Welshmen, as he eventually finished in third place.

“That was tough”, said Gardiner after the race, “but I am glad that I came bag to defend my title. It just wasn’t to be today and to be honest my thighs started to stiffen up after about 8 miles, and though I led with Rob til about 19-20 miles I knew it wasn’t going to be my day. But hey, that isn’t taking anything away from Rob today, he ran a great race.”

The South Wales policeman obviously has a love for this race now, as he has vowed to return in 2012. “Oh yeah I’ll be back, if you’ll have me”, he concluded.

Splitting to two Welsh runners was Scot, Murray Strain. After finishing second at this year’s Snowdon Race, he ran very strongly for yet another runner-up spot in north Wales. The GB international orienteer was running his marathon debut and also found the conditions tough, and despite being a seasoned fell runner found the last thigh-burning two miles extremely difficult. Asked if he would be returning to the event his words were “most certainly”.

One notable top 10 finisher was Jez Bragg (7th). The ultra specialist is a previous winner of the famous UTMB race in France and this year finished 4th in the world renowned US 100 mile trail race, the Western States.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Jez Bragg on the last descent

Further testimony to the quality of this race was underlined in

THE end of season party…

Posted in At the Races on Thu 01 Dec ’11

© www2.thenorthface.com

Talk about saving the best ‘til last! The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championship takes place this weekend and promises to be a grand finale of the 2011 season and a veritable feast for ultra trail fans around the world.

In trail running terms this event is big, very big. As is the $10,000 first prize for the winning man and woman. The fields are stacked with US and international talent, as the lure of a big pay day and a sack full of scalps tempt many into the Bay Area this weekend.

2010 Western States 100 winner Geoff Roes goes as does multiple UTMB women’s winner Lizzy Hawker – but are just two of a whole list of contenders for this one. 2010 TNFEC50 winner winner Anna Frost is back too, and has been targeting this race with some hurt-box training deep in New Zealand over the last 6 weeks.

© Emma Garrard / Salomon

Anna Frost at the TNFEC

Any previews that I could write wouldn’t do these races justice, so it’s best left to the ultra-trail expert and local-guy-on-the-ground Bryon Powell, and his most excellent iRunFar previews on the men’s race and women’s race.

Check the MST, iRunFar and Endurance Challenge twitter feeds for updates on the races and some exclusive images and reactions, direct from the Marin Headlands…

Vernon and Steel lead by example at English XC relays

Posted in At the Races on Mon 07 Nov ’11

© Bryan Mills

Steve Vernon (196) early on

Top XC exponent Steve Vernon blazed his Stockport Harriers team to gold in Saturday’s English Cross Country Relay Champs in Mansfield after running away with leg 1 for the Lancashire team, his 15.26 being the fastest leg of the day…

Women-of-the-moment Gemma Steel was also in dominant form anchoring her Charnwood club to gold after taking over leg 3 in 4th place on the demanding Berry Hill Park course.

Bryan Mills reports:

Senior Women (3 × 3km)

Leg 1 saw the 3 eventual medallists right up in the mix, with Elle Baker of Stockport handing over first in 10:04, the 2nd quickest lap of the day followed by Birchfield, Aldershot and Charnwood very much in contention.

Charnwood maintained 4th place for 2 legs but on the last lap Gemma Steel powered through the field to win with the fastest time of the day, 9:49. Aldershot rose from 3rd on leg 1 to take silver
with Birchfield in 3rd.

Teams
1. Charnwood AC 31:05
2. Aldershot Farnham & District 31:16
3. Birchfield Harriers 31:33

Fastest
Gemma Steel (Charnwood) 9:49
Elle Baker (Stockport) 10:04
Emma Pallant (AFD) 10:10

Senior Men (4 × 5km)

A heavy downpour before the men’s race turned the traditionally fast parkland course at Mansfield into a true test for cross country running. The gold medal was a done deal for Stockport after leg 1 with Steve Vernon clocking the fastest time of the day with a time of 15:26. The battle for the minor placings was a more closely fought race with the silver and bronze medals switching hands through the
race.

© Bryan Mills

Vernon in top gear at Mansfield

City of Norwich ran strongly to be in 2nd after 3 legs, but a strong last leg from Simon Deakin saw Leeds City move up from 5th place to 2nd over the final 2 lap leg. Tipton were narrowly denied a bronze medal after Ryan McLeod had run superbly to lift the green and white hoops from 20th to 4th place, and Dan Beier gained another place moving up to 3rd after 3 legs.

Teams
1. Stockport Harriers
2. Leeds City AC
3. City of Norwich

Fastest
Steve Vernon (Stockport)15:26
Michael Mulhare (Belgrave) 15:31
Ashley Harrell (Norwich) 15:36

Full results now online at the ECCA site, with images by Bryan Mills via his Facebook page

Wolfe and Frost show ultra class in San Francisco

Posted in At the Races on Mon 05 Dec ’11

© www.salomonrunning.com

Frosty at the finish of the TNF50

For Anna Frost Saturday was one of those coming-of-age days. The New Zealeander has spent the last few seasons in the mountains of world gaining a reputation as a world-class mountain runner…

In 2010 her run at the TNFEC50 brought her to the fore in ultra trail running, and after great wins in multi-day races the 4 Trails and Trans Rockies in 2011 Frost has shown herself as a runner who could become a great ultra distance runner.

© Brett Rivers

Frosty wins again!

On Saturday she definitely arrived on the world stage. Not only did she win the TNF50 for a second year, but she demolished a world class field that included Ellie Greenwood, Kami Semick, Joelle Vaught, Krissy Moehl and Lizzy Hawker.

© www.salomonrunning.com

Anna Frost early on at the TNF50

The Salomon athlete registered a big PB with 6:56:07 (three quarters of an hour faster than her time in 2010), fully 11 minutes up on Greenwood in second, with Joelle Vaught a further 33 mins back in third.

© www.irunfar.com

Ellie Greenwood

Her run once again netted her a cool $10,000, was good enough for 12th overall, in turn beating the likes of Rob Sharman and Kerl Meltzer – truly a world class run and must now surely put her up there with the world’s best women trail runners.

The men’s race saw a massive battle between two US ultra runners also at the top of their game. After a steady start Mike Wolfe and youngster (in ultra terms) Dakota Jones emerged as the front runners at around mile 28 of the 50 mile race in San Francisco’s Marin Headlands, and ran together for the next 17 miles before Wolfe put in a big effort coming out of the Tennessee Valley aid station (mile 45.5). This proved enough over the last 4-5 miles to take a 2 minute win and the $10k purse ahead of Jones in second.

© AMN Images

Canada’s Adam Campbell came through strongly in the second half of the race to take an excellent third place and £1000.

© www.irunfar.com

But, hey don’t take my word’s for it, take the words of the man who was out there -Bryon Powell. Firstly covering the action superbly on Twitter throughout the event, then with a full results breakdown and finally with two excellent post-race interviews with Anna Frost and Mike Wolfe.

© www.irunfar.com

The sun shines down on Mike Wolfe

Reactions so far
  1. Tony Mollica
    Dec 6, 12:19 AM

    Great race!

  2. Crossfit
    Dec 12, 07:25 AM

    I love those pics, thanks for sharing ! Congratulations for a great job well done and looking forward always for more updates.

Karnazes – “Kids love to run, get them out there!”

Posted in Through the Lens on Wed 26 Oct ’11

In a half-term week in the UK when mums and dads are looking for things for their offspring to do, ultra legend Dean Karnazes is pushing to get more kids out in the fresh air…

Ultra marathon runner “Dean Karnazes”: took the time for a pit-stop at the Good Morning Atlanta studios on his way to The North Face Endurance Challenge at Pine Mountain. Dean started running at the age of 6 and feels strongly about inspiring other children to do the same.

Reactions so far
  1. L3vi
    Oct 26, 02:24 PM

    I think he is still magnificent. Maybe not the fastest and the most competitive, but can run a lot, and has good humor & nice personality. Amazing athlete.

Comments closed

Clwydian sunshine!

Posted in Through the Lens on Wed 09 Nov ’11

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Andrea Rowlands

The mild Autumn weather continued this last weekend as the Clwydian Hills race went off in glorious November sunshine. No results as yet, but what better way to pay homage to this excellent race than by this great photo set by Al Tye…

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

WMRC 2012 and 2013 announced

Posted in At the Races on Sat 24 Dec ’11

© www.wmra.ch

The Tonale Pass

The venues for the next two World Mountain Running Championships have been announced on the WMRA site. 2012 sees the champs going to Italy, with the 2013 racing going to Poland…

The WMRA is delighted to announce like venue of the 28. World Mountain Running Championships 2012 the villages of Temù (1.144 m.s.l.) and of Ponte di Legno (1.258 m.s.l.).

Full story here

© www.wmra.ch

UTMB recognises UTSW

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 26 Oct ’11

© www.endurancelife.com

Top coastal events co. Endurance Life have announced that their new ultra-trail event the UTSW will be a qualifier for the UTMB in 2013 – giving finishers 4 of the 5 points that they need to be considered for the big French event…

The Ultra-Trail South West has been officially recognised as a qualifying event for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). Successful completion of the 60 mile category qualifies for 3 points, and the 100 mile category secures 4 (the maximum for a single qualifying event).

More here

© www.endurancelife.com

Reactions so far
  1. Nick
    Oct 26, 03:10 PM

    Sounds like a fantastic event, but you need a minimum of 5 points to even enter the UTMB lottery these days, so saying “the full 4 points that they need to be considered” is a little misleading.

  2. Matt MST
    Oct 26, 03:17 PM

    Thanks Nick, have adjusted that.

    Matt

5 Continents, 5 races, 5 wins, many admirers…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 10 Nov ’11

© www.salomonrunning.com

But not necessarily for the competition, more for the way that Kilian Jornet has gone about his running in 2011. The young Catalan is wise beyond his years, of that there is no doubt.

His induction into the mountain and nature at a very early age seems to have given him an inner sense of respect for the natural world.

This last instalment of the 2011 film series surrounding his amazing efforts across 5 continents sees the Kinabalu race featured and perhaps more than ever the intense, yet highly respectful and friendly, rivalry between Kilian and Marco de Gasperi.

© www.salomonrunning.com

Marco and Kilian, buddies…

In this release we also get a flavour for the reasoning behind the year:

The idea of Kilian participating in 5 races on 5 different continents came about at the beginning of 2011 as a great way to promote Trail Running all around the world. The aim was to organise a conference featuring Kilian in conjunction with each race, in order to measure the development of the sport and its practices. With that purpose in mind, Kilian has chosen to take part in each continent’s biggest race.

It’s all about meeting people, sharing, exchanging ideas. So far, these seminars have provided a wealth of learning about the different Trail Running mentalities and communities around the world today. They have allowed us to perceive specific aspects of the sport in each country, as well as some resulting distinct constraints, therefore enabling us to better understand how to help develop the sport in years to come.

© www.salomonrunning.com

Kilian on-route at the WS100

By taking part in this project, Kilian has set himself an ambitious challenge: to win every one of these races, thereby not only proving his talent as a competitor, but also highlighting how the level is rising in the sport as a whole, in any and every country.

© www.salomonrunning.com

As the season has progressed, media interest and requests have been more and more frequent, and Kilian has become the face and the ambassador for Trail Running around the world. With his remarkable humility, he has in his own way favoured the development of his chosen sport.

There is of course pride in the number of victories (this has been Kilian’s best trail running season ever), but Kilian is also happy to have shared experiences and emotions with so many great runners, some of them well-known in the sport, and others anonymous, but all with a shared passion.

© AROC Twitter

Kilian refuels

Those who practice trail running are essentially motivated by a love of nature and a desire for the inner peace that comes with escaping outdoors. For runners living in cities or in the mountains, the spirit remains the same. These 5 races across 5 continents have allowed every runner to enjoy breath-taking landscapes, to get close to unspoilt nature, to breathe, to listen to the sounds of the fauna.

Trail running is the source of unique emotions that you won’t encounter in any other sport, and that’s why we all love it so much!

After a season that has been emotionally charged and physically testing, Kilian is planning a bit of time off. His mind filled with memories, he will have a chance to think about the new season ahead, and is already planning new challenges for 2012!

AUSTRALIA – NF100KM – MAY 2011
USAWESTERN STATES 100M – JUNE 2011
FRANCEUTMB 100M – AUGUST 2011
SOUTH AFRICATABLE MOUNTAIN 36KM – SEPTEMBER 2011
MAILAYSIAKOTA KINABALU 21KM – OCTOBER 2011

Reactions so far
  1. Paul Bateson
    Nov 11, 11:39 AM

    I have raced in some events where Kilian has been a competitor (and winner) and he is definately a superb ambassador for trail running and outdoor ‘athletics’ he also does a pretty good job of representing Salomon, hope they continue with support for him and trail races for many year’s to come.

Trail Runner Mag…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 29 Dec ’11

© www.trailrunnermag.com

The December issue of the US magazine is online now, and is a great festive read on all things trail running Stateside. What we like about TR mag are the issues covered and in particular the style of writing…

Some great articles this month including an 8-page feature on Kilian Jornet and a very interesting piece on forest access and the horizon of possible charges that trail runners could incur in the future, just to run on some forest trail.

Read more here

Reactions so far
  1. Martin Stacy
    Dec 29, 07:12 PM

    Matt,
    Do you get the actual magazine? I keep thinking of subscribing but with each issue being available online I can’t see it making sense. Unless of course they leave some content for the hard copy.
    Oh, and Kilian is in Running and Fitness out 6th Jan apparently.

Comments closed

XC news…

Posted in At the Races on Wed 26 Oct ’11

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

The weather looks like it has finally turned this week in the UK and as the leaves turn brown and fall away, the ground turns heavier and the wind starts to blow, cross country runners up and down the country can finally run some proper XC!

Leagues are all well underway, with some seasoned athletes starting to don their spikes and stretch their winter legs. England Athletics has announced its selection policy for the forthcoming winter season, including some European action.

© www.englishcrosscountry.co.uk

Expect some fireworks at the English XC relays on the 5th of November, and the McCain UK Cross Challenge gets underway in a couple of weeks in Bristol, which should see the coming together of some big guns for the first time.

Ambitious ‘Irontrail’ unveiled

Posted in At the Races on Mon 21 Nov ’11

© www.irontrail.ch

Following on from the Swissalpine in Davos (78 kilometres) and the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (166 kilometres), the Irontrail breaks the 200 km barrier. The premiere event takes place from 6 to 8 July 2012 with the start in Pontresina and the finish in Chur.

Full event release By Anita Fuchs

Staging the Alpes’ highest altitude, longest, toughest and most beautiful single-stage trail race in the multi-faceted natural, cultural and mountain landscape of Graubünden – this is the thinking behind the new Irontrail. According to a statement from the race’s founder, Andrea Tuffli, the event is a project which will encourage both sports and tourism. “The route taken by the race makes it possible to connect the unique features of the different regions. However, not only does it link up the diversity offered by the landscape, but also the destinations.” As well as being a value adding exercise, great importance is also placed on sustainability, as regards the economy, ecology and the community.

In the footsteps of Giovanni Segantini

The Irontrail is approximately 201 kilometres in length and consequently sets a new standard on the trail running scene. The previous “record holder”, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (France), is 166 kilometres long and the Grand Raid de La Réunion (on the island of Réunion off the African coast) covers 162 kilometres. The starting point of the Irontrail is the town of Pontresina and it finishes in Chur.

The reasons behind this are as follows: Pontresina has a long tradition in mountain sports and Chur is the oldest town in Switzerland. Between the two towns there are ascents of 11,500 metres and descents of 12,700 metres that have to be conquered. Athletes will find themselves running in the footsteps of the painter Giovanni Segantini and philosopher Friedrich Nitzsche.

© www.irontrail.ch

The scenic highpoints are where the Morteratsch and Pers glaciers cross and (between Bovalhütte and Diavolezza), the Fuorcla Pischa ridge/ibex trail, past the Segantini mountain hut to Muottas Muragl, Fuorcla Surlej, past Lake Hahnen to St. Moritz, the Piz Nair, which, at 3,022 metres above sea-level is apex of the event. Others include Fuorcla Crap Alv to Bergün via Lake Palpuogna on the Bahnlehr Trail, the Digls Orgels Pass (through the Graubünden Dolomites), the section right through the middle of the Parc Ela with the Albula-Bernina Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the Parpaner Rothorn, Weisshorn and finally the Chur Joch.

Apart from the main section on the traverse through Graubünden, which demands everything of the runners (Tuffli: “It’s all about the title ‘King of the Mountains”, just like the wild ibex on the logo), there are two shorter distances:

About 140 kilometres (Pontresina–Chur +8400/-9600 m) and 72 kilometres (Chur–Lenzerheide–Arosa–Chur, +/- 4800 m). Tuffli does not see any competition, even from the Swissalpine Davos, which he himself organises and which takes place just three weeks after. “They are two different worlds. In the case of the Swiss Irontrail, the fastest runners complete a kilometre in an average of seven and a half minutes, whereas in the Swissalpine it is half this time.”

© www.irontrail.ch

4,000 participants after five years

700 to 800 people are expected to take part in the premiere, but the aim is to break the 4,000 barrier in five years. The people being targeted are experienced single-stage ultra trail runners, and especially participants (on waiting lists) in the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and La Réunion. Potential athletes come from Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy.

“The typical ultra-trail runner is an experience-orientated, nature-loving freak or an amateur athlete with a professional touch looking for adventure and extreme, authentic experiences,” states Tuffli.

The Swiss Irontrail follows the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc which is a partner event to the Swissalpine. When it was founded in 2003, it was just as revolutionary as the Davos race was in 1986. The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is enjoying increasing popularity: 10,000 runners applied to take part in last year’s event, with 5,500 ultimately being accepted.

“The Mont Blanc has a tremendous attraction,” comments Tuffli. He thinks his “youngest child” has just as much of a chance of success. “Firstly because of the distance, secondly because it takes place in a world-famous region and has the benefit of grandiose mountain and lakeland scenery.”

For further information visit: www.irontrail.ch

Reactions so far
  1. Cyril
    Nov 22, 07:10 PM

    The 200 km barrier was already brooken last summer by the Tour de l’Oisans non-stop Edition. And its 12000m D+ let him claim the trail icon.
    I hope some of my fellow former runners of the Tour de l’Oisans will join me in the new adventure of 2012 IronTrail.

Best of 2011: Fell and mountain racing

Posted in At the Races on Fri 30 Dec ’11

© fellrunningbriefs.blogspot.com

Morgan – 2011 champ!

It’s difficult know where to start – there have been so many highlights. Races that instantly stand out for us are Morgan Donnelly’s return after injury at Yr Aran, Tom Owens’ win at the 3 Peaks, Pippa Maddam’s world title run in Slovenia, Max King’s surprise WMRC win and Mark Palmer’s sub 15 BGR

But as ever there are are far to many great races to list. So, here are a few choice cuts to wind back the months in 2011 and to whet the appetite for 2012!

Owens and Mudge take Carnethy 5 wins

Tom Owens was “totally chuffed” with this one. After what sounded like a battle-royale with young Scots hill-star Robbie Simpson, Owens pulled away on the last descent for a narrow win, Bellahouston man Peter Davenport was third…

MST report

© Bob Marshall

Angela Mudge on her way to a 12th Carnethy 5 win

Taggart and Wilkinson put ‘em to the sword at Long Mynd

Lloyd Taggart and Vic Wilkinson both scored excellent wins at yesterday’s Long Mynd Valleys race, the opening round in the 2011 English Fell Running Championships. However, the manner of their victories were in complete contrast.

MST report

Owens runs ‘race of his life’ to take 3 Peaks

In what will be fondly remembered as a sunny but breezy day in the Yorkshire Dales, Tom Owens today carved his name in fell running history as a winner of one of the most iconic races on the fell calendar, the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in an excellent 2.53.34 for the 23.3 mile route.

MST report

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

Thumbs-up from Tom…

Breaking: Kilian pips Tom at Zegama

After leading on the last descent the UK’s Tom Owens just fell short of the biggest win of his career to date, after the young master Kilian Jornet won the classic Zegama-Aizkorri Maraton Alpina today…

© www.salomonrunning.com

MST report

Breaking: Mark Palmer runs 14:59 BGR

This is to be confirmed, but a number of social media sources and the FRA forum are talking of a 14:59 Bob Graham Round today by Mynydd Du’s Mark Palmer. He has been in sparkling form of late winning the Brecon 40 and Helvellyn races…

MST report

Kosovelj and Maddams are world champions…

British mountain running is apparently in rude health if the results of today’s World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in Slovenia are anything to go by, with England’s Pippa Maddams taking a superb gold in the women’s race…

© Peter Kastelic

Maddams (c) with Alexander (l) and Helen Fines

MST report

Morgan’s season starts here…

Borrowdale runner Morgan Donnelly returned from a long-term lay off to win round two of the 2011 British Fell Running Championships in emphatic style at the Welsh Yr Aran race yesterday.

MST report

© Al Tye / www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Donnelly crests Yr Aran

Snowdon 2011: Jones takes five, as it’s third time lucky for Maddams

The 2011 International Snowdon Race / Ras-yr-Wyddfa produced one of the closest finishes in the race’s history yesterday, as England’s Andi Jones took his fifth title on this famous mountain, from a valiant Murray Strain.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictires.co.uk

AndI Jones blasts up Allt Moses

MST report

World Mountain Running Championships 2011 – USA ‘bring it home’

We have been covering major events on MST for about three and half years now. In that time we have covered World XC champs, World Mountain champs, UTMB’s and so on…

MST report

© USMRT

Max with his WMRC booty

Meaty wins for Donnelly and Maddams are just champion

Morgan Donnelly and Pippa Maddams yesterday underlined their superiority in this year British Fell Running Championships by each taking final round wins at the Devil’s Beeftub race in Scotland…

MST report

McMullan and Adams make it a golden day for England

James McMullan and Lizzie Adams made it a hat-trick of gold medals for England at the Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Championships in North Wales as they won the men’s and women’s mountain races at Llanberis…

MST report

© Gwynfor James

James McMullan takes gold

UKA Fell relays: Dark Peak dominate

The results are in, the images are up and the feedback is posted (on the FRA forum) and it seems that the 23rd UKA Fell Relays were an afternoon to remember from all perspectives, in glorious autumn sunshine on the fells of Kettlewell, Yorkshire.

MST report

Gardiner returns to ‘Britain’s toughest’…

Posted in At the Races on Thu 27 Oct ’11

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Richie Gardiner

We realise that the Snowdonia Marathon isn’t exactly off road. But it does have two long sections of mountain path on it’s route, is renowned at Britain’s toughest and this year has a host of top fell runners in the elite field…

© Colin Paxton

The 2010 start

Event release

Top UK marathon assembles top class field, as Gardiner returns to defend title

2000 runners will take to the start line this Saturday for the 29th running of the Snowdonia Marathon Eryri, one of the UK’s most iconic and toughest marathons. The record number of competitors will this year include perhaps the strongest line-up of elite distance runners to have graced this classic event, as last year’s champion and course record holder Richie Gardiner returns at defend his crown he so brilliantly won in 2010.

Gardiner’s 2010 time of 2:36:24 proved to be the fastest for 15 years. As runners aim to beat the Aberdare man’s time, the new course finish in the High St, will ensure that the battle for the finish has a suitably dramatic arena in which to be fought.

After his stunning victory for Wales at the Commonwealth Ultra Trail Championships on Anglesey in September, the South Wales policeman has recovered sufficiently to take to the line in Llanberis.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Richies Gardiner takes the title

Richie comments:

“I was proud to win the race in 2010. As a Welshman it’s a real honour to win such a classic event even once. Last year’s race left a lasting mark on me and I just had to return this year to defend my title! Winning the gold at the Commonwealth’s took a fair bit out of me, but I ran the Cardiff Half Marathon last week to see where I was at and came through that pretty well, so I am raring to go in Snowdonia again.”

He concludes

“There are some great names on the Snowdonia Marathon trophy with many who have won it multiple times, and after my victory last year I’d like to add my name to that list of multiple winners”.

One man looking to upset Gardiner’s plans with be 2011 Snowdon Race runner-up Murray Strain. The Scot is in fine form in 2011 and has been targeting the event since the turn of the year. A GB international orienteer, Strain should relish the route and his strength on the mountains coupled with his redoubtable road speed should mean that he will be a big threat to Gardiner.

© Gwynfor James / sportpicturescymru.co.uk

Murray Strain leads Jones into the last mile

Another Welsh international looking to do well will be Andy Davies, from Newtown. The mid-Wales man was recent silver medalist in the Commonwealth trail event, which Gardiner won, and with his ability on the mountains and huge reserves of strength in longer events, Davies is an exciting addition to the elite line-up.

Local runners to watch are led by Welsh international Rob Samuel, the runner-up in 2008. The Bangor-based Eryri Harrier recently represented Great Britain at the World Mountain Running Championships and was a superb 5th at the recent Commonwealth Mountain championships in Llanberis. After a year of injury issues Rob is now running strongly and will be looking to update his Snowdonia marathon PB and mix it with the lead runners.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Rob Samuel

Other strong local interest come in the shape of Eryri’s Math Roberts (5th in 2009 and 2010), Iain Ridgway and Dylan Wyn Jones, all Welsh international representatives themselves.

After two years of runner-up positions local Welsh international mountain and trail runner Andrea Rowlands will be hoping that she can go one better in 2011 by landing the Snowdonia Marathon women’s crown. Rowlands has been in excellent form in 2011, running to 5th place at the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships and was also a recent competitor at the Commonwealth trail event.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Andrea Rowlands

Others to watch in the women’s event are former runner-up Ruth Johnstone and Lisa Grantham, who ran to third in the recent Chester Marathon setting a personal best of 3:08 in the process.

The 2010 saw the unpredictable Snowdonia weather take hold with torrential rain, thunder and hail storms all adding to the spice of the event, which is regarded as the toughest and most scenic in the UK. After three years of high winds and heavy rain the organisers will be hopeful of some respite for the runners – who come from 14 countries – this year.

Sandes caps off a great 2011

Posted in At the Races on Sat 26 Nov ’11

© Racing the Planet

Sandes on his way to the Nepal 2011 win

After his epic run at Leadville, South Africa’s Ryan Sandes led from start to finish in the 2011 Nepal ‘roving race – part of the Racing the Planet series. Sandes is a familiar figure at these events, having won the complete set of 4 Deserts races over the last few years

© Racing the Planet

The course goes through the Annapurna foothills reaching up to 3,200 meters / 10,500 feet and passing through many villages where competitors will experience the true Nepali culture.

© Racing the Planet

The Salomon Running SA Facebook page reports

While his spectacular success (he won by over two hours) might make it seem like it was just another week-long trot in the mountains for the man from Hout Bay, the race was not without incident for him. Sandes battled with stomach problems (which forced many racers, including two South Africans to withdraw) during the early stages. “My stomach is still not feeling great so I am battling to get down enough nutrition when running so hit a few walls along the way,” he commented after stage 3.

© Racing the Planet

He also rolled his ankle on a technical descent during one of the early stages. “The last few kilometres to the finish were quite painful but I soaked it in an ice cold river,” he said. Besides the spectacular scenery and views along the route, Sandes highlighted “how passionate and supportive the locals have been during the race.”

Full event reports here, with an image gallery from the whole event here, and keep an eye on Ryan’s blog for his post event reactions.

Reactions so far
  1. Ronel Grobler
    Nov 27, 06:53 AM

    Congrats Ryan your achievements are becomic historic..you’re a natural athlete with no competion yet..you’re living your dream! SA is very proud of you!

A look back at 2012: Pt5

Posted in At the Races on Wed 02 Jan ’13

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Steven Cale with Tim Davies at the fell relays

One of the events of this year, and any year for that matter, on the fell running calendar are the hotly contested UKA Fell Relays. 2012 was no different, as the men in yellow, Mercia, made sure of a ‘home’ win, and those Scottish raiders HBT took the women’s crown…

____________

UKA Fell Relays: Mercia reign on home ground, as HBT take ladies

Mercia Fell Runners had a grand day out in the Shropshire countryside yesterday, as their men’s team took a superb win in the UKA Fell Relay Championships. Their women also turned in a great performance to take silver in the ladies’ champs, pipped by top Scots HBT.

Having tried on many occasions to win the ‘fell relays’ the boys in yellow managed to get a crack-squad out at Church Stretton, for a team packed with internationals. Whilst in the women’s race Hunters Bog Trotters made the long journey south very worthwhile as Rosie Smith anchored them to gold, less than minute up on Mercia’s ladies.

The day was always going to be poignant after the terrible news from one week earlier, where Darren Holloway sadly passed away at the Ian Hodgson relays. One minutes silence at the race start was a fitting tribute to a man who will be sorely missed. But in the true spirit of the sport, racing went ahead as planned.

As many said this is what Darren would have wanted and the day’s fantastic racing proved a fitting tribute to the Pennine Fell Runner.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Carl Bell on fell relay duty for Howgill

First out of the blocks as the race got underway was Howgill’s Carl Bell, ripping round leg one with the fastest time (35:44), 25 seconds up on DPFR’s Rob Little, with Mercia’s lead-off man Paul Jones in 6th.

Defending champions Dark Peak weren’t going to give up their crown easily, though without 2011 anchor-man Lloyd Taggart in their midst the others would have seen this an opportunity to overhaul the Dark Peak crew – especially Borrowdale perhaps, who had convincingly won the Ian Hodgson Mountain Relays one week earlier.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Rob Hope and Darren Kay pummel it on leg 2

After Pudsey’s Rob Hope and Darren Kay roasted the rest time-wise with a superb 1:08:58 on leg 2, it was Dark Peak’s Rhys Findlay-Robinson and Oli Johnson running a strong 1:10:30 for third fastest who just about led from the P&B boys as they passed over to Neil Northrop and Pete Hodges for leg 3.

Still, the race looked wide open, as eventual winners Mercia moved up to 4th, and as Tim Davies and Steve Cale handed over to Andy Davies and GB orienteering international Graham Gristwood, things would prove decisive over the next hour.

Mercia’s Andy Davies brings it all alive with his view on proceedings:

“We set out in 4th, quickly closed the gap on Borrowdale just in front. We then slowly reeled Dark Peak and P&B going on to CP2. We had overtaken both when we turned right up the hill, but we carried on up the gully and came out on the road approx 30 secs in front.

“To be honest we were delighted to be winning after only checkpoint 2 and Graham and I really pushed on and possibly got 1 minute up on the 3 chasing teams behind who all seemed to be together at this time.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Davies leads Gristwood

“By time we hit checkpoint 5 though it became clear that CP 5 wasn’t there, so me and GG were looking around! The 3 teams caught us up and we all agreed that it wasn’t there, so we pushed on to the finish and came in approx 15 seconds ahead, finding out later the CP marshals hadn’t got there yet (as we were 15 mins up on the est time).

“It was a bit touch and go, but we knew when we handed over to SB (Simon Bailey), that we were in good hands being the current English champion.”

As Davies and Gristwood returned to the handover with a narrow lead over Dark Peak, Pudsey and Borrowdale, and with one of the speediest fell runners Simon Bailey on leg 4, things obviously looked good for Mercia.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Simon Bailey on leg 4

With Borrowdale fast-man Morgan Donnelly chasing him Bailey couldn’t let up, but delivered the goods and the title, winning by 50 seconds and clocking the days fastest time (32:35) on the last leg. Borrowdale took the silver with an excellent 33:03 from Donnelly, with 2011 champions Dark Peak