The North Face® continue to support the UTMB

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Mon 12 Sep ’11

© The North Face

Eric Pansier with Catherine Poletti

Following another epic event last month, The North Face® have announced an extended three-year partnership of Europe’s premier ultra-running event, The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® through to 2014

© Tom Humpage

Lizzie Hawker – the champ, again!

Event release

The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® is a combination of four epic races ranging from 98km to 300km in which runners are challenged to explore and push their limits in stunning natural landscape starting in Chamonix, France, and leading through Italy and Switzerland. The race embodies the philosophy behind The North Face® to Never Stop Exploring™ and is at the heart of its ultra-running programme in Europe.

The agreement is an historic evolution for The North Face® and Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® organisers, continuing the brand’s investment in ultra-running through signature events, including The North Face® Transgrancanaria (ESP), The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail (ITA) and The North Face® Endurance Challenge series (USA).

Eric Pansier, Marketing Director of EMEA states:

“I am delighted with the continuation of our longstanding partnership with The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® for three more years. This brings three more years of exploration around the Mont-Blanc mountains and three more years of bonding and friendship with the organizers, runners and volunteers, whilst reinforcing our position in trail running.”

Catherine and Michel Poletti, UTMB® race directors and event organisers, are rightly delighted, stating:

“The North Face® has believed in us since day one. They’ve created a link that goes beyond normal partnership and sponsoring to grow a true friendship. Now we explore all the possibilities to grow and improve together with real teamwork. There is a sense of loyalty and authenticity that comes with the mountain people culture and because of that we are very happy that this partnership carries on.”

The North Face® has sponsored the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® since the event’s inception in 2003; 2012 will be the tenth year anniversary.

© Tom Humpage

Jez Bragg

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® takes place annually during late August in Chamonix, France. 5,500 competitors from 58 different nations take part in one of four races: headline course The North Face® UTMB® 166km max. 46 hrs; CCC® 98km max. 26 hrs; TDS 110km max. 31hrs; PTL 300km: non-stop. The North Face® UTMB®, of which 2,300 compete, crosses nine high elevation mountain passes, with a total positive height gain of 9,500 metres, circling the Mont Blanc massif through three countries: France, Italy and Switzerland.

More info on The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® can be found here.

Borrowdale romp to Ian Hodgson win

Posted in At the Races on Mon 03 Oct ’11

© Chris Heys

Team Borrowdales (with legend Billy Bland third from left!)

They repeated their win of 2010, only this time it wasn’t a close-run thng. The boys in purple blasted their way around the 4 leg route, winning all but one of the legs on time and eventually winning by a massive 16mins 55secs – these guys look good for the UKA’s in a couple of weeks!

Great on-the-spot report by Fell Running Briefs here

Results here

And some cracking images by Chris Heys here

© Chris Heys

Rob Hope (left) and Graham Pearce can only look on

Commies on the Telly

Posted in Through the Lens on Wed 12 Oct ’11

© www.s4c.co.uk

The 2nd Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Champs have come and gone. But an excellent one hour highlights package has just been aired on Welsh TV channel S4C

No fret if you missed it, as you can watch again on their Clic service and make sure that you select subtitles if you are not too fluent in Welsh. There will also be a English version on Channel 4 at 7am on the 29th of October, with a different style, presented by Jason Mohammed.

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

Posted in At the Races on Mon 12 Sep ’11

© USMRT

Max King – WMRC 2011

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…

This weekend’s World Mountain Running Championships produced a number of firsts however.

1. The USA won the men’s and the women’s individual titles
2. It was the first time that the event has visited Albania.
3. It was the first time that 36 hours later there still appears to be no official results available
4. It is the first time that the race has had a building site incorporated into the route.

Now you may think that I am being sarcastic in some of these statements. Well, the answer to that is that all of the above are facts. In fact, the final statement comes from one of the GB team managers, and this video clearly proves that!

So, enough of the minutia about a very different championships in Tirana, what about the racing?

King takes it to the max

Having completed one of the toughest multi-stage trail races in the world only three weeks ago, and finished second, few would have put their cash on Max King walking away with the World title. But walk away he did, in every sense, as his time of 52.06 was over 35 seconds up on second placed Ahmet Arslan (and over two and half minutes up on Marco de Gasperi!).

© USMRT

Max King on a charge in Tirana

The course seems to have played a large factor in what happened yesterday, with GB team manager Sarah Rowell stating:

Conditions were the toughest I have ever known due to a combination of excessive heat, lack of enough water, steep stepped climbs and what can only be described as steep zig zagging scree descents and dusty paths. It is also the first time I have known a mountain race being run around and through a building site. I am sure there will be some other photos put up but there were plenty of fallers, plus trips to hospital for suspected broken bones or heat problems.

So! Max King may not have been such a wild card after all. The runner from Bend in Oregon had some good prep at the Trans Rockies, would have had to deal with heat, dust, rocky descents AND he is also pretty swift, running internationally as a cross country runner.

An obviously elated King told US site Running USA:

“I’m tired, but I feel very good. This is my first individual medal (last year’s Senior men’s team took the silver), and I’m proud to have it in an up / down year especially in Albania.”

He told US Mountain Running Team website:

“It was a good course for me having both the hard technical uphill and the fast and somewhat technical downhill. I had no idea I was in the lead until I crossed the finish line.

Stating that he saw an African runner ahead of him very late in the race (who then appears not to have even made the podium!)..

“[He] was 30 seconds ahead of me at the top of the third climb and I passed him with about 800 meters to go.“

© USMRT

Men’s podium

Behind King European Arslan took the silver with Italy’s Martin Dematteis taking bronze. You had to go the 8th for the first African runner in James Kibet, over 3 minutes back on King.

True Brit

As far as GB runners are concerned it seems to have been a hard day at the office for a few, but showing great tenacity in the trying conditions Blackburn’s Tom Cornthwaite led home the Brits in an excellent 21st place. Trials winner James McMullan was 22nd with Orlando Edwards in 25th. Rob Samuel came in 60th with Matt Clowes in 63rd, so tough were the conditions that Chris Smith was a non-finisher, collapsing in the heat whilst running somewhere in the top 30.

Men’s Top 10 (ahead of official results to follow):

1-Max King (Usa) 52’06”
2-Ahmet Arslan (Tur) 52’41”
3-Martin Dematteis (Ita) 52’57”
4-Bernard Dematteis (Ita) 54’16”
5-Marco De Gasperi (Ita) 54’33”
6-Didier Zago (Fra) 54’50”
7-Ionut Zinca (Rou) 54’52”
8-James Kibet (Uga) 55’09”
9-Adam Kovacs (Hun) 55’22”
10-Julien Rancon (Fra) 55’30”

© Nancy Hobbs

Kasie Enman

Enman shows the competition dust

In the women’s race American Kasie Enman seems to have crushed the opposition. Her time of 40.49 for the 9km course a full 1 min and 8 secs up on Russia’s Elena Rukhlyada.

Running Times report:

Enman sat in second early on, but had moved into the lead by 6K and opened a large gap just 1k

Krkoč and Arslan take GP titles

Posted in At the Races on Tue 04 Oct ’11

© A. Fevzer / WMRA

Ahmet Arslan

The 32nd Smarna Gora race saw crisp blue skies and ferocious racing on the slopes of this classic Slovenian mount on Sunday. Ahmet Arslan repeated his win of 2010 in the race, and the overall WMRA Grand Prix Series

© WMRA

Arslan and Krkoč – GP Winners 2011

Slovenia’s Lucija Krkoc confirmed herself as the stand-out athlete in this year’s women’s series by winning the race from Antonella Confortola-Wyatt, and the overall Series title.

It was a good day from a British point of view too, as young mountain star Emma Clayton secured 3rd overall in the season-long series, after finishing 7th on the day, just ahead of Lauren Jeska, with Ali Lavender in 10th.

In the men’s race Orlando Edwards finished a strong 9th, with Tom Addison 11th, Joe Morwood 13th, Josh Tighe 14th, Mark Addison in 15th and Adam Osborne in 16th place.

A great report is now online at the IAAF site, with more images to follow.

© www.iaaf.org

Top 10’s
MEN:
1. Ahmet ARSLAN, TUR 42:02.0
2. David SCHNEIDER, SUI 42:34.7
3. Gabriele ABATE, ITA 42:43.6
4. Adam KOVACS, HUN 42:57.6
5. Mitja KOSOVELJ, SLO 43:20.7
6. Alex BALDACCINI, ITA 43:59.3
7. Antonio TONINELLI, ITA 45:02.0
8. Luca CAGNATI, ITA 45:12.1
9. Orlando EDWARDS, GBR 45:47.6
10. Simon ALIC, SLO 46:02.3

WOMEN:
1. Lucija KRKOC, SLO 50:34.6
2. Antonela CONFORTOLA, ITA 51:00.6
3. Pavla SCHORNA, CZE 51:41.1
4. Tanja ŽAKELJ, SLO 51:51.3
5. Mateja KOSOVELJ, SLO 52:18.0
6. Lea EINFALT, SLO 52:41.6
7. Emma CLAYTON, GBR 53:30.3
8. Lauren JESKA, GBR 53:42.3
9. Dionne ALLEN, GBR 55:22.7
10. Alison LAVENDER, GBR 57:31.5

2011 Final WMRA Grand Prix Standings

MEN:
1. Ahmet ARSLAN, TUR 407 points
2. David SCHNEIDER, SUI 287
3. Gabriele ABATE, ITA 199
4. Martin DEMATTEIS, ITA 190
5. Mitja KOSOVELJ, SLO 184

WOMEN:
1. Lucija KRKOC, SLO 405 points
2. Antonella CONFORTOLA, ITA 327
3. Emma CLAYTON, GBR 264
4. Lauren JESKA, GBR 225
5. Mateja KOSOVELJ, SLO 210

The chips are down for McCain XC

Posted in At the Races on Wed 12 Oct ’11

© www.uka.org.uk

The 2011/12 McCain Cross Challenge dates have been announced on the UKA site. The series kicks off with a return to its roots in Bristol on November 13, with the other four counters at Liverpool, Cardiff, Antrim and Birmingham…

Bristol played host to the inaugural Cross Challenge meeting in 1997 and will be the perfect starter to the cross country series which once again features five events in Liverpool, Cardiff, Antrim and the series final in Birmingham.

Sefton Park, Liverpool, and will incorporate the Trials for the Aviva GB & NI team ahead of the European Cross Country Championships in Slovenia in December (Sunday 11)

Full line-up
13 November: Bristol
26 November: Liverpool
15 January: Cardiff
21 January: Antrim
10 March: Birmingham

Max blogs as World results appear

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 15 Sep ’11

© USMRT

Max with his WMRC booty

Plenty more content coming through from last weekend’s World Mountain Running Champs in Albania. Most notably men’s champion Max King has written a detailed account of his experience over at his Montrail blog…

Reading through it’s clear that it was a very eventful race, all the way through to the fact that a Ugandan runner led until 800m before the finish, and then seemingly dropped out!

© Montrail

King with Megan Lund-Lizotte

The results are in!

Now online are the full results from Sunday’s races via this link, showing juts how tough the racing was. Some notable big names of world mountain running struggled in the Albanian heat, and possibly with the unusual course conditions.

Looking down the men’s results it’s not often you see the likes of Uganda’s Martin Toroitich in 19th, Portugal’s Rui Muga in 31st – but that’s racing!

© UKA

GB’s Chris Smith starts to heat up in Tirana

Reactions so far
  1. Paul Bateson
    Sep 16, 09:48 AM

    Great report but how ridiculous to have a world champs organised like an amateur fun run. Giving countries the chance to promote an event is one thing but a World Champs should be special and organised properly.

  2. Billy Burns
    Sep 19, 09:11 AM

    Sorry IAAF this is not mountain running or a great way to promote mountain running.The course was non inspiring as a running venue there was certainly no record in spectators ….but a new record in tetanus jabs.whoever chose this location should be forced to live in the building site (on the course) for a year.All credit to the athletes who participated for there countries in torrid dirty conditions who always show their commitment to the sport …..but the WMRA IAAF are probably not the best tag team ????
    BB

  3. Billy Burns
    Sep 19, 09:44 AM

    Julie Andrews would have refused to film Sound of music there .Ha ha

  4. Matt MST
    Sep 20, 12:20 AM

    I agree Billy that these Champs need to be looked at very hard. I was talking to a GB team member who was out there on Sunday. Some of the other aspects he described are not printable on here!

  5. Jason Kehoe
    Sep 21, 09:32 AM

    Oh go on Matt, everyone likes a bit of scandal! 😉

Runner’s World does trail running

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 04 Oct ’11

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

This month’s (November issue) Runner’s World magazine see a full 24-page inside supplement devoted entirely to trail running. Fronted by arguably the world’s greatest trail runner, Kilian Jornet, the pages cover technique, kit, trail events…

…and a fascinating 5 page interview and feature on the Catalan pocket rocket.

Out now at all good newsagents, as they say…

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk
© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

UKA Fell Relays: Baton down the hatches…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 14 Oct ’11

© Chris Heys

When it comes to fell running, it’s often a solitary sport. But this weekend it’s going to be all about teamwork as the UK’s best head to Kettlewell in Yorkshire as the Bingley club host the 23rd UKA British Fell and Hill Relay Championships

© bingleyharriers.org.uk

There can be no better feeling when wearing your club colours than to ‘bring home the baton’ in an event like this, as I am sure the Shettleston boys will testify following their win in Fife last year. Unfortunately it seems that the Scots raiders will once again be torn between the hills of Wharfedale and flatlands of Sutton Park, Birmingham (6 stage road relays), which could be a bridge too far for the East Glasgow club.

© John Duffy

The victorious Shettleston boys

After their romp at the Ian Hodgsons a couple of weeks ago Borrowdale will be many people’s favourites. But as Fell Running Briefs quite rightly points out this course is very different to the high fells of the Lakes and some of the faster squads will be gunning for the boys in purple.

Ones to watch will be Bingley (on home turf and if they can Jebby out, who knows), Pudsey (purely because of their strength in depth and potential team should all be fit – Hope boys, Heneghan, Graham Pearce, Darren Kay), Wharfdale (after their excellent second at Ian Hodgson), Dark Peak (similar to Pudsey, they have a very strong squad potentially, headed up by Lloyd), Ambleside and then Mercia.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Steve Cale descends at Breidden Hills

The boys in yellow could be the main threat to Borrowdale. Steve Cale had a great win at the weekend, and it was clear that others were warming up too (Tim D, Pete Vale). Add in Simon Bailey, Andy Davies and the in-form Paul Jones and the men’s podium could be a very colourful affair come Saturday afternoon!

In the women’s race it will be a tough one to call, as the entry list doesn’t state the entrants. Podium clubs from 2010 HBT, Carnethy and Keswick are all entered, along with Altrincham who could be useful. However, if Bingley can get Victoria and Mary Wilkinson, Emma Clayton and others out, they could well be the force to be reckoned with.

Best place to be (if you cant be there) is on Twitter and the FRB feed

Return of the Dragon

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 21 Sep ’11

© Rob Howard / www.sleepmonsters.com

Martin and Helene win the first Dragon’s Back Race

Last week we profiled the original TV programme which accompanied the inaugural Dragon’s Back race. This week more news has emerged about the 2012 version, which is being re-ignited by Shane Ohly

Now, Rob Howard of adventure sports website Sleepmonsters, has produced an excellent recall of the first (and only!) event back in 1992. His review of the original 220 mile beast recounts just how tough this event is, and as he looks forward to the 2012 rekindling of the event, organiser Ohly gives some insight into the tough criteria that wannabe participants will need to meet to get into next years race.

Read on…
__________________________

© www.dragonsbackrace.com

The Dragon’s Back Race Returns

On an overcast evening in September 1992, two weary but determined runners toiled up steep limestone cliffs to reach the ruins of Carreg Cennen castle in South Wales and complete the inaugural Dragon’s Back Race.

Martin Stone and Helene Diamantides ran into the central courtyard of the castle for a historic victory after completing 5 days of running down the mountainous spine of Wales, racing 200 miles over rock strewn and boggy mountain paths, and having climbed some 60,000 feet (2 times the height of Everest) on they way.

© Rob Howard / www.sleepmonsters.com

An emotional moment for the winners

They’d navigated through foul weather and fought back to win after losing the lead on the final day, and at the finish Stone collapsed in tears, leaning against his partner, overcome with exhaustion and emotion.

The pair had beaten the top British and US mountain runners of the day, entries from the UK’s elite armed forces, and international competition including three times Spartathlon winner, Rune Larsson of Sweden, and Stefan Schlett of Germany, the world’s most prolific endurance runner.

© Rob Howard / www.sleepmonsters.com

Runners on the Black Mountains in South Wales

An internationally screened TV documentary and widespread newspaper and magazine coverage focused largely on Diamantides success in what is still regarded as one of the toughest mountain races ever organised.

After such an outstanding success it seemed the Dragon’s Back Race would be a fixture on the race calendar. Yet, it never took place again … until now that is. After a decade in which that original and inspirational race has lived on only in running legend and lore, it is to return. September 2012 will see the return of the Dragon’s Back Race.

That the race has retained its iconic status through the years is testament to its classic concept and enduring challenge. It was writer John Gillham who originally realised the mountains of Wales formed a sinuous spine running North/South from coast to coast through the country.

© www.dragonsbackrace.com

The Dragon’s Back route

In his book ‘Snowdonia to the Gower’ he described a walk along this route and this inspired long distance runner Ian Waddell to organise a stage race for charity. The Dragon’s Back Race was born, though at the time he anticipated a low-key race with a few competitors, never expecting to attract a major oil company as a sponsor and to see the race screened on televisions all over the world.

The runners on the first race mainly competed in pairs (for safety), though there were a few brave solos, some by choice, others because no partner could be found, or when the severity of the early stages forced their partners to retirement. Mountains of food, camp beds, tents and even showers were provided each night by the Parachute Regiment Depot to sustain the runners and allow them to rest between the arduous stages.

The race route began beneath the imposing ramparts of Conwy Castle on the North Wales coast (Wales has a lot of castles) and the first day took the runners over the biggest mountain ranges in Wales, the Carneddau, the Glyders and the Snowdon Range.

This was the shortest day at 36.5 miles, but one of the toughest, and in the poor weather navigation and competence on mountain terrain soon became crucial. Larsson, who once ran 162 miles in a single day, had opted to run alone, but got into difficulties on Tryfan peak, where some scrambling is required.

“On the first day I was lost in the mist in a strange country and felt very alone. Then I was trapped on a rock face, frightened and thinking of my seven-month-old son, so my desire for competition changed to a basic will to survive.”

All of the competitors found navigation a challenge at times, and even the leaders lost their way on the final day, having to regain the lead in the final 2 hours of the race, which they completed in

He is human after all

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 05 Oct ’11

© www.skyrunning.com

Kilian Jornet

Kilian Jornet’s exploits over the last few years have been nothing short of phenomenal. The young Catalan stormed onto the scene winning such monuments as the UTMB in his first serious season of trail running…

2011 has perhaps been his best year to date, with wins at the Western States 100, Zegama and of course that epic win on Mt Blanc once again.

© The North Face

Kilian thanks the waiting crowd at the UTMB 2011

However after traveling to South Africa recently, the globe-trotting has caught up with him, and after a rare DNF at last weekend’s Cavalls del Vent race in Spain, Jornet has decided to rest-up, ahead of his trip to Malaysia for the Skyrunner® SuperCup in two weeks time.

© www.salomonrunning.com

Kilian leads Tom on one of Zegama’s brutal climbs

Kilian was unable to finish the 3rd edition of the Cavalls del Vent race, which took place along the Cadí Moixeró Natural Park. In the leading group for the first 30km, he then decided enough was enough:

“I felt well until the climb up to Niu de l’Àliga, where I started to notice the fatigue. I carried on, but eventually decided to abandon the race so as not to make things worse. I was aware of the fatigue and the fact that I was trying to do too much, but the race was at home and my family and friends were supporting me. I guess I let my heart rule my head. In the end, I think I took the wrong decision to race.”

© www.salomonrunning.com

Trailing Miguel Heras at the Cavalls del Vent

And continued: “I feel very sad about abandoning the event. The truth is, just as happened last year, this race coincided with the end of the season and I paid the price of weariness and fatigue. I would like to thank everybody for the support and kindness received during and after the race. I would also like to congratulate Miguel Heras who ran an amazing race.”

The demands of his amazing schedule have obviously begun to take their toll and he sees a ‘return to the source’ as the only option, as he attempts to complete his ‘Project 5 Continents’ – his quest to win major events on every continent, which to date is still on after his TNF 100k win in Australia, the Western States 100, the UTMB and the recent win on Table Mountain in South Africa.

“Now, I need to isolate myself in the mountains and recharge. To do this, I must cancel my trip to Peru and the record attempt between Choquequirao and Machu Pichu.”

“The mountains gives me the energy, so I need to take a break and return to the source of my motivation. It’s on the Mont Blanc that I will find my serenity before leaving for Asia for the Sky Running World Cup final : Kota Kinabalu

© www.salomonrunning.com

Kilian Jornet

Follow Kilian’s exploits
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kilianjornet
Twitter: www.twitter.com/kilianj with tag @kilianj

ECCO Indoor Trail announced

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 14 Oct ’11

© Stephan Repke

In a joint venture taking place in Dortmund’s ‘Westfalenhallen’ next February, Runner’s World, shoe brand ECCO and the event company behind the Trans Alpine run, PLAN B, have teamed up to bring us the ECCO Indoor Trail

Trail goes indoor. Yep, that’s right, the outdoors are coming indoors this winter through the fascinating event in Germany. Their press release states:

You should definitely mark your calendar for February 3 through 5, 2012, because that’s the weekend the trail running season starts with the premiere of the ECCO INDOOR TRAIL in an unexpected surrounding: Dortmund’s Westfalenhallen.

The new and unique event by Runner’s World and PLAN B event company GmbH is being supported by its title sponsor ECCO. The avowed aim of the event is to stir up excitement for trail running among newbies and make the winter break appear a little shorter for all trail experts by offering a course designed with a lot of passion and fervor.

© Stephan Repke

Who better to approach with such an undertaking than Gripmaster Stephan Repke, because, after all, when it comes to this pioneer trail runner the name says it all.

“We don’t want an obstacle course across the Westfalenhallen. What we do want is a trail with as many natural elements as possible. Participants will run across gravel fields, tree trunks and roots, race around steep turns, cool off their feet in fields of snow, experience the resistance of steep slopes, get really dirty in mud pits, and run through forests. The fact that these elements interact with the stairs, underground hallways and stages of the Westfalenhallen makes this event so charming”.

The about 1.5 kilometer-long trail can be run once or several times resulting in different distance competitions of up to 10 kilometers. Aside from putting their own trail running skills to the test, participants will be able to evaluate products of numerous exhibitors which will be presented on a large expo floor. Admission will be free for the event audience!

Further information via their Facebook page.

Mountain and trail runners head to Wales in search of Commonwealth glory…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 23 Sep ’11

© Gwynfor James

As the 2nd Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Championships got underway today in Llandudno with a colourful opening ceremony and tomorrow sees Llanberis – the home of many a mountain race battle over the years – welcome the Commonwealth’s top fell and mountain runners…

The Championships are spread over three days being hosted in three spectacular north-west Wales locations – Llandudno, Llanberis (Snowdon) and Newborough Forest, Anglesey. Friday sees the 24 hour Championship race, with England’s ultra-star Lizzy Hawker embarking on unknown territory as she takes to the start line.

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

Mountain Races (full preview by Bashir Hussain on the WMRA

The men’s race looks open although African runners have a tendency to enjoy uphill running and Geoffery Tum is the only male runner from Kenya. He will be given due respect when he toes the line on Saturday afternoon as it was fellow Kenyan Wilson Chemweno who took the Top Mountain Running title ahead of Jonathan Wyatt and Adam Grice 2 years ago.

Winner of the trial race as far as the English are concerned was James McMullan, and after a strong run out in Albania he, and Tom Cornthwaite, will be leading the charge for a strong English team which also includes Billy Burns. The Scottish team has young gun Robbie Simpson as a leading light and as long as the Deeside youngster can handle the fast start and tarmac run in, and remain in contention, he could go well on the mountain and figure in the first half dozen.

© Chris Upson

James McMullan

Lloyd Taggart, has had one of his best seasons, having finished runner up in the English and British Fell Champs this year. Running for the Isle of Man Lloyd is also a man for the tough part of the course and on the technical descent will certain be in the picture.

On home soil the Welsh will hope that the home support will add that little extra % to the performances of what will be a strong team. Rob Samuel finished a strong 7th and first Welsh runner at the trials in Wooten Park in August. He will be carrying the home nation hopes along with 27minute Olympic 10km runner Andres Jones and the former British Champion Tim Davies.

Bash continues on the women’s events:

Individual Silver medalist from 2009 Sarah Tunstall (England) returns to international competition with recent wins in both Telfes and the Swiss Matterhorn race, and with 5th placed Lizzie Adams (England) from the recent World Championships on the start line England will be expected to defend the team title they won in 2009.

Victoria and Mary Wilkinson, along with Olivia Walwyn, make up what is one of the strongest team in any of the events this weekend.

© www.razzetti.com

Victoria Wilkinson

Again Kenya and Australasian will be expected to sustain strong challenges to the English team along with Scotland who have often topped the podium at the Snowdon International Mountain race.

The Mountain Running events will look to crown new individual champions, as none of the defending champions are listed in the 2011entries.

Trail Races

Sunday sees a 53km trail race over on Anglesey. The 5 lap course promises to be an energy sapping affair, with a deceptive course which will see the athletes from 14 nations racing through Newborough Forest which has a mixture of sand, forest fire roads and rolling singletrack underfoot.

The men’s race should see an intriguing battle. England’s Huw Lobb is in strong form after a second place finish in the recent Davos Marathon, but will come against tough opposition from the likes of current silver medalist from the World Trail Championships, Jason Loutitt (CAN), Paul Fernandez and Allen Smalls also from England, Brendan Davies (AUS), Richie Gardiner, Paul Halford and Andy Davies are all strong home nation entries and will try and land team and individual medals.

© www.42zwei.com

Huw Lobb

In the women’s event, bronze medalist from Connemara, Lucy Colquhoun (SCO) will toe the start line. She will face 50km world Trophy Final winner, Emma Gooderham (ENG) and former World Trail championship second place finisher Angela Mudge (SCO). Mudge comes tho this race fresh from a win at the Ben Nevis race and geting stronger Helen Taranowski (ENG) has also been in great form this summer and reading her blog she could well be in the mix for the medals come Sunday afternoon.

Make sure you follow MST via our Twitter feed for all of the trail and mountain winners…

XC is back…

Posted in At the Races on Wed 05 Oct ’11

© webcomsystemsuk / flickr

Yes, now that the Indian summer that never was has been and gone (all 5 days of it) the XC lovers in the UK are getting set for another winter of fun. Those who love cross-country can get excited that as the nights draw in the mud will start to churn around the country in leagues, series and championship races…

© basegreen Flickr

Wollaton – once of the most scenic starts in XC

It’s that time when the spikes (studs) come out and the ez ups get dusted off, gangs of club runners get ready to huddle in cold, windswept fields and league officials get those trusty clipboards and waterproofs out to record every last inter-club sprint finish.

Last weekend saw leagues kicking-off at Derby, West Glamorgan and North Wales, with other classics such as the Chiltern League, Hampshire and Surrey getting underway next weekend.

So, if you’re a fell, trail or road runner and you want to improve your speed and endurance, meet new people and get involved in one of the oldest and most enjoyable of off-road running disciplines, head down to your local club and get involved!

© Neale Lewis-Jones

Weekend action from North Wales

Breaking: Dark Peak and Bingley win FRA Relays

Posted in At the Races on Sat 15 Oct ’11

© www.dpfr.org.uk

Some great tweeting from Daleside and JethroLennox have revealed Dark Peak Fell Runners as the men’s champions and Bingley as the ladies winners at today’s UKA Fell Relays in Kettlewell…

Reading through the tweets it appears that the Dark Peak boys were at the head of affairs for much of the race, winning from form-team Borrowdale and 2010 champs Shettleston in third.

Unlike the men’s race, the Bingley girls seem to have stormed through in the second half of the race to take the title ahead of 2010 winners HBT.

Much more to follow with official results and images as soon as they are online…

Reactions so far
  1. Humble Pie
    Oct 15, 08:37 PM

    What were your predictions…

  2. Matt MST
    Oct 16, 05:26 PM

    Yes! Thanks for that, we did get the girls right though and I did mention the DPFR boys :O)

    Matt

McMullan and Adams make it a golden day for England

Posted in At the Races on Sat 24 Sep ’11

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Lizzie Adams

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…

Those triumphs followed the golden performance by Lizzy Hawker in the 24 hour road race in Llandudno, which saw the 35-year-old set a world best performance by winning the title with a remarkable 246 km or 153 miles.

After Hawker had set the medal ball rolling the action moved 30 miles along the north Wales coast to Llanberis, where Adams started the clean sweep for England with her victory in the 8 km race.

Conditions for the race saw rain and mist veil Moel Eilio, in the shadow of Snowdon, but after a superb fifth place run at the recent World Mountain Championships in Albania earlier this month Adams started favourite.

Women’s Race

After a furious start on the initial road section as the female runners approached the mountain, Olivia Walwyn-Bush led English team mates Sarah Tunstall and Adams. Mary Wilkinson was tucked in behind, with Victoria Wilkinson in fifth.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Olivia Walwyn-Bush leads them onto the mountain

But as the race turned onto the steep part of the course Brindley started to scythe her way through the front group, so much so that she led the race as they started the descent off the mountain and head back down to Llanberis. However, 25-year-old Hallamshire runner Adams was not to be denied as she passed and then held off Scotland’s Tracey Brindley to win by a clear 19 seconds.

“This is the first major title I’ve won and it was nice to win it here. I lived in Llandrindod Wells when I was younger and I’ve been to the Snowdon area before,” said an exuberant Adams.

“It was pretty tough, but very enjoyable. The weather made it wet and that made it tricky at the start” and concluded, “England have got a really strong team and it was great to add gold to the bronze we won in Albania. Now I will concentrate on the cross-country season and hopefully make it to the European Mountain Championships next year.”

The next four places were occupied by English athletes – Mary Wilkinson, Olivia Walwyn-Bush, Victoria Wilkinson and Sarah Tunstall – with Scotland’s Catriona Buchanan taking seventh. That enabled the English team to add gold to the bronze they won in the World Championships, with the Scots taking silver. Jackie Lee ran a strong race in 9th for Wales and was backed up by Anna Barlett in 11th place, meaning that Emma Bayliss’ ensured the bronze for Wales.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Tracy Brindley

Men’s Race (images to follow)

James McMullan was obviously inspired by Adams and Hawker’s success as he battled from fourth to first to hold off the strong Scottish challenge offered by young Scot, and former Snowdon Race winner Robbie Simpson.

The early leader had been Joe Symonds, fresh from his second place finish that the recent Trans Alps with Jethro Lennox. McMullan was tucked in behind in third place at the point that they started the hard grind up to the Trwyn on Moel Eilio. Coming through after a steady start was Robbie Simpson, and with his superb technical skills he was going to be a threat in the second half of the race.

As they started the descent after the second loop McMullan pushed on and after a strong 22nd place at the World Championships recently, the Englishman’s form and basic speed told as he entered the finish area with a clear 17 second margin.

Simpson took an excellent silver medal with Symonds in third. That meant both countries were tied on 16 points for the team title, but McMullen’s first place meant England retained their Commonwealth title on count back.

More news and reaction along with images from the men’s race to follow…

Men’s top 20
1. James McMullen (England) 50:03
2. Robbie Simpson (Scotland) 50:20
3. Joe Symonds (Scotland) 50:31
4. Francis Khanje (Malawi) 51:54
5. Rob Samuel (Wales) 51:56
6. Andres Jones (Wales) 52:02
7. Tom Cornthwaite (England) 52:25
8. Chris Smith (England) 52:30
9. Billy Burns (England) 52:44
10. Richard Phillips (Wales) 53:06
11. Alastair Anthony (Scotland) 53:21
12. Gary Priestley (England) 53:28
13. Nicholas Wrightman (Australia) 53:36
14. James Gosselin (Canada) 53:45
15. Richard Roberts (Wales) 53:57
16. Lloyd Taggart (Isle of Man) 54:12
17. Sam Hesling (Scotland) 54:39
18. Sanneh Lamin (Gambia) 54:53
19. Tim Davies (Wales) 54:57
20. Evance Nyazule (Malawi) 55:21

Men’s Team Result
1. England 16 pts (win on countback)
2. Scotland 16
3. Wales 21

Women’s Top 20
1. Lizzie

Athletics Weekly goes XC

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 07 Oct ’11

© www.athleticsweekly.com

The weekly bible on track and field in the UK Athletics Weekly has this week published a bumper issue looking ahead to the winter of content for XC lovers. The 84-page special previews the season, and reviews the best spikes to tackle the mud…

Our latest issue is packed full of cross-country content, including a 10-page cross-country calendar to help you map out your winter season. We profile world cross-country champion and double world champion on the track Vivan Cheruiyot, while editor Jason Henderson explains why cross-country is a vital part of the sport.

Preview the latest issue here, subscribe here or simply pop down the local newsagents and buy it!

Lizzy is Spot on

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 19 Oct ’11

© www.findmespot.com

If you are following Lizzy Hawker’s Sky Dance across the Himalayas via her updates on Twitter, then you’ll know that the British ultra runner is progressing well in her 1000 mile trek

© www.findmespot.com

Another great, and more tangible, way of following her is via her Find Me Spot locator profile, via her Spot Satellite GPS Messenger. The product is really cool and for about £150 could be a lifesaver:

The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger provides a vital line of communication with friends and family when you want it, and emergency assistance when you need it. Using 100% satellite technology, SPOT works virtually anywhere in the world, even where cell phones don’t – all with the push of a button.

More info here

© www.findmespot.com

Reactions so far
  1. Roger Henke
    Oct 21, 07:31 AM

    Lizzy has been out of contact for quite some days because she lost all her communications equipment. We are very relieved to be able to report that she has managed to contact us this morning (Nepali time) and reports that all is OK. However, she also told us that she is breaking off her GHT attempt and is returning to Kathmandu.That is going to take another 3-4 if not more days. Only then will we all know the full story.

  2. Matt MST
    Oct 21, 07:43 PM

    Thanks Roger. Good news that Lizzy is well! Will be very interesting to hear what has happened…

Commonwealth Galleries: Now online

Posted in Through the Lens on Tue 27 Sep ’11

© Gwynfor James

Angela Mudge on Llanddwyn Island

Galleries from across the 3 days of last weekend’s Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Championships, are now online. Full marks to fell specialists Al Tye and Gwynfor James who have delivered a real feast for the eyes!

All galleries now online to view here, click through to Fell Running Pictures and Sport Pictures Cymru for more…

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Bill Smith

Posted in The Sweat on Fri 07 Oct ’11

© mail.co.uk

Bill Smith

The discovery of Bill Smith’s body on the Trough of Bowland has shocked the fell community. Fell runners are a close bunch, they look out for one another, and share a real love of the environment that they take to week in week out – Bill was one such man.

To therefore learn of the news that Bill’s body was discovered last week (after being missing for three weeks) in a peat bog, will leave the community with a gaping hole, as not only was Bill one of those ‘fell lovers’ he was also one of the true legends of the sport.

His book ‘Studmarks on the Summits – A History of Amateur Fell Racing 1861-1983’ was groundbreaking, and although this may be one of his lasting legacies, it seems that he will be most fondly remembered for his inexhaustable enthusiasm and help for others at the races.

Obituaries are rolling in, and such was Bill’s stature that the national dailies are all carrying stories of this tragic tale.

One of those who knew him best was Graham Breeze, and he has written a very moving piece on the FRA

Fellrunners come and go, Champions come and go, but no-one will ever be as important to the development and history of fellrunning as the man who died in September on the Bowland fells.

RIP Bill…

© Bill Smith