The sun shines down on Anglesey trail runners

Posted in At the Races on Mon 30 Sep ’13

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Sunday saw over 450 trail runners head to the beautiful forest of Newborough on Anglesey for the second Anglesey Trail Races. The event has a 10k and half marathon option and takes in the historic Llanddwyn Island on its journey…

Full event release

Newborough Forest was for the second week running filled with hundreds of athletes excited to compete in an Always Aim High Events sporting event. This time (Sunday 29th September) the forest was home to the Anglesey Trail Races which consisted of a 10K and half marathon as well as junior events.

The day will be remembered for its incredible weather, fantastic racing and stunning course. The sun shone down on the competitors who not only achieved some great times but also thoroughly enjoyed the day.

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Siobhan Evans

The female 10K race was won by Siobhan Evans who beat off her nearest rival Sara Woodcock by over 6 minutes with a time of 44:20. The men’s 10K was won by Alex Hall from Chester Running club with an impressive time of 37:57. In second position was ‘one to watch out for in the future’ 16-year-old Iolo Hughes who runs for Menai Track and Field.

In the half marathon event, the male winner was Gwyn Owen who achieved an unbeaten time of 1:16.06. Owen finished over 3 minutes ahead of second placed Steffan Sayer, another runner from the Menai Track and Field Running Club.

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Gwyn Owen

The women’s winner was Sarah Caskey, running for Bangor University Athletics Club. Caskey who was runner-up at last March’s Island Race won the race with an excellent time of 1:32.55, over 7 minutes faster than Polly Adams who finished in second place.

The other big success of the day was the high number of children who took place in the junior races. Over 150 local children took part in the Dragon’s Dash, which was organized by Anglesey County Council’s Sports Development Unit and sponsored by Always Aim High. The children were given a certificate and a medal to reward them for their hardwork.

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Event planner and Always Aim High Events Director, Nigel Kendrick, was delighted with the days racing and wasthrilled with how many children took part.

“We have had an absolutely fantastic day here at Newborough – the weather has been incredible and the racing has been superb. The feedback form the competitors has been overwhelmingly positive. The number of children who have taken part is absolutely incredible and it just shows how popular the sport of trail running has become. These children could well be the Olympic stars of the future so it’s great to be able to give them an opportunity to perform in front of a large, cheering crowd.

“We would like to say thank you to Anglesey County Council, the Newborough Community, Natural Resources Wales and event sponsors, Sports Tours International, Kinetica and Salomon for their fantastic support during the organisation of this event.”

Half marathon results can be found here with the 10k race positions here.

For event pictures please visit the website of Sports Pictures Cymru.

Are you afraid of the Dark?

Posted in At the Races on Wed 06 Nov ’13

© www.marmot-dark-mountains.com

As the nights close-in and the weather takes a turn for the worst, one mountain running event will be warming-up for another night of dark challenges for the intrepid participants. The Marmot Dark Mountains™ race

In January, earlier this year, atrocious weather brought heavy snow to much of the country and whilst most people opted to cranked up the heating, a few select runners were testing themselves at this challenging event.

This race takes the classic two-day mountain marathon format and gives it a new, darker twist. Rather than two days of running with an overnight camp in between, Marmot Dark Mountains™ packs everything into one, long winter’s night.

Entries for the 2014 event are still open (via this link) with some of the UK’s best mountain marathon, fell and trail runners having already put their names in the hat.

© www.marmot-dark-mountains.com

With many of the course at the inaugural event selling out, the 2014 race has added an extra score course to help cope with demand. The challenging line up of courses include Elite, A, B, C, Short Score and Long Score and promises to satisfy the full range of nocturnal deviation competitors enjoy.

The location changes each year but for 2014 the event is going to be in Northern England and is less than 1.5 hours drive from Manchester. Precise details of the event location are only revealed at the beginning of January 2014 but the event area is described by Race Director, Shane Ohly as:

“Absolutely fantastic. It is one the best upland areas in England and amazingly, it hasn’t had a mountain marathon event for many years. With the success of the 2013 event, new courses for 2014, an amazing area and the continued support of sponsors Silva and Marmot, I am very confident that Marmot Dark Mountains will be a big success in 2014”.

In a bid to make the event open to a wider range of competitors, the organisers have reduced the difficulty of the navigation on the easiest course. Ohly continues:

“Based on our 2013 experience we will be making the C Course slightly easier to navigate around by only using major features and/or linear features as checkpoints on this course. Each of the other courses will get progressively harder with the Elite Course having the hardest navigation”.

The organisers have also confirmed that there will be a £500 cash prize for the winning elite team so competition is expected to be intense on this course.

© www.marmot-dark-mountains.com

Key Event Information
Website: www.marmot-dark-mountains.com
Date: 25/26th January 2014
Venue: Northern England
Entry: £90 per team of two
Courses: Elite, A, B, C, Short Score and Long Score

Jebby romps it, whilst Vic and Helen tie at British Champs

Posted in At the Races on Mon 16 Sep ’13

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Rob Jebb on the home run at the Peris Horseshoe

After our British Fell Championships race preview on Friday, we suggested that the final round in Wales at the tough Pedol Peris Horseshoe race could take the titles down to the wire…

We weren’t wrong, especially in the women’s race, as Victoria Wilkinson and Helen Fines ended up tying for the 2013 crown after Wilkinson took the victory in Llanberis.

Her win meant that after the season-long series the Bingley Harrier and Fines were inseperable, as the counters were any three to count from four races – with both runners having won two and finished second in one. On the day Wilkinson dominated from early on, as Fines had a tough time on the Snowdonia mountains taking a fair few tumbles, eventually finishing fourth, behind Jackie Lee and Hazel Robinson.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Victoria Wilkinson

© AMN Images
© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Hazel Robinson

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Helen Fines at Pedol Peris

This Welsh classic starts in Llanberis, ascends Elidir, Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, Lliwedd, Snowdon and Moel Cynghorion and is considered by many to be one of the toughest races the calendar at 17.5 miles and 8500ft of ascent.

In the men’s event all was to play for as the top four contenders pre-race lined up to slug it out. Pre-Peris champs leader Finlay Wild, Rob Jebb, Morgan Donnelly and Lloyd Taggart led it out, along with top local fellsman Math Roberts (Eryri), on the early climbs – this was going to be one close battle.

However, Jebb obviously had the measure of them, and as they emerged off Cynghorion and up Bwlch Maesgwm it was the Bingley Harrier who was the strongest, ahead of Donnelly and Wild, to add yet another British crown to his illustrious career on the fells.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Jebby on his way to the 2013 British title

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Morgan Donnelly emerges from Bwlch Maesgwm

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Finlay Wild

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Mathew Roberts

Results are awaited, but well done to Al Tye at Fell Running Pictures who returned to the mountains after a recent illness and his lovely shots are here.

Reactions so far
  1. Norman Berry (Holmfirth Harriers AC)
    Sep 16, 03:42 PM

    Peris Horseshoe British Championship race, 14 Sept 2013 (248)

    Should anyone be interested my photos of Peris can be seen at above link. Apologies for omissions of those who took route B down to Pen y Pass!

  2. Markus
    Sep 16, 06:37 PM

    Thanks so much for all the fell running updates. I just love it!

  3. Markus
    Sep 16, 06:37 PM

    Thanks so much for all the fell running updates. I just love it!

  4. Markus
    Sep 16, 06:37 PM

    Thanks so much for all the fell running updates. I just love it!

Krar rocks whilst Jornet and Forsberg roll to Ultra titles

Posted in At the Races on Tue 01 Oct ’13

© www.skyrunning.com

Rob Krar

It was a weekend of delight at UROC as Rob Krar took an impressive win in the men’s race, with skyrunning queen Emelie Forsberg taking the women’s win, and the 2013 Skyrunner® Ultra title…

Fourth place on the day was enough for Kilian to take the men’s crown once again in the season-long series.

Kilian Jornet takes the Skyrunner® Ultra title for the second time since the introduction of the distance in the World Series last year and Emelie Forsberg, in her first 100 km and with three straight wins, takes over from Nuria Picas as the new Ultra queen.

Read the full story via the ISF here

© www.skyrunning.com

Emelie Forsberg – supreme in 2013

Frosty and Lizzy head to Nepal

Posted in At the Races on Wed 18 Sep ’13

© manaslutrailrace.org

Frosty…

A couple of the legends of female trail running travel to Nepal in November to take part in the the Manaslu Mountain Trail race – a seven-day race over 7 stages, 206km and with over 6000m of ascent…

Anna Frost and Lizzy Hawker will head out to the Nepal region for the event which takes place from the 12-19th November. Speaking about the exciting event Anna – a former winner of the Everest Marathon – states:

“The format sounds perfect. A small team…and big days in the massive mountains. Sounds like a dream. I am so excited.”

Last year Lizzy Hawker came to the race and finished second overall behind the very strong Upendra Sunuwar.

Full details and news via the Manaslu Mountain Trail site here.

Borrowdale lay down relay marker

Posted in At the Races on Mon 07 Oct ’13

© jlwp.co.uk

This weekend saw some of the UK’s top fell clubs battle it out in Patterdale, Cumbria, for one of the most hotly contested fell running trophies of the year at the Ian Hodgson Mountain Relays

The ‘Mighty Borrowdale’ as @fellrunninbrief have dubbed the Cumbrians, won yet another title, from Dark Peak and Ambleside, perhaps a precursor to the UKAs in a couple of weeks, with Mercia thrown in there for good measure.

© jlwp.co.uk

The Karrimor Mountain Marathon is probably one of the most strenuous events in the fell runners calendar. In 1985, it was held in the Patterdale area of the Lake District and the “Score” class was won by Ian Hodgson and Jem Wilson. The day after the race, Ian, then aged 25, was tragically killed in a road accident whilst cycling. The “Karrimor” was Ian’s favourite race and the Patterdale event was the ninth time he had competed. Unfortunately, due to the time delay in calculating the results of the “Score” class, Ian never knew that he and his partner had won.

© www.ihmr.org.uk

Ian Hodgson

Ian’s three brothers and parents are all involved in fell running and the family decided that they would organise a fell race in his memory.

After coming back in 2nd behind Dark Peak after leg one, the boys in purple had Morgan D and Chris Steele on the second stretch, as Helm Hill’s Addison brothers absolutely smashed it on leg 2 going from 15th to 1st place, gaining 14 places!

Going into leg 3 Martin M-B and Mark Roberts took Borrowdale from 3rd to 1st as Ben Bardsley and Jim Davies wrapped it up on the anchor leg, leaving Dark Peak men Oli Johnson and Neil Northrop to take the silver some three and a half minutes back. Ambleside moved up from 4th to 3rd on the last leg.

In the women’s race the Ambleside AC octet were utterly dominant as Jane Reedy and Rebecca Sheffield brought the Cumbrian team home a full 30 mins up on second placed Keswick AC team, which contained former British fell champ Pippa Maddams. Keswick were in turn a few minutes up on Dark Peak’s women, with Ilkley close behind in 4th.

The full results and splits are online via this link and check out these cracking shots from the day via John Leech.

© jlwp.co.uk
© jlwp.co.uk
© jlwp.co.uk

Reactions so far
  1. Mark Roberts
    Oct 7, 03:13 PM

    It was Mark Roberts partnering Martin M B not Craig

  2. Mark Roberts
    Oct 7, 03:18 PM

    cheers

  3. Matt MST
    Oct 7, 03:18 PM

    Thanks Mark, I spotted that after publishing, sorry!

    Matt

Martin’s 52 Finest Races

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 19 Sep ’13

© Martin Cox

Martin at Ullswater in 2007

GB mountain runner Martin Cox has had a long and successful career, spent on the mountains and hills of the world, taking part in some of the most iconic races on the planet…

So, to celebrate his time on the likes of Sierre-Zinal, the Annapurna Trail in Nepal and the Llanbedr to Blaenafon race in Wales, he has compiled a highly entertaining list of 52 races via Robbie Simpson’s ‘Mountain Running Man’ blog – races that we would all do well to have a crack at, or at least consider, before we leave this mortal coil!

Guest Blog by Martin Cox; one of the UK’s best ever mountain runners. He’s shared some of his experiences from his favourite races around the world over the last 15 years. Although he’s been one of the top mountain runners in Europe not all races have been memorable for the right reasons!

One of my personal favourites is number 17 on the list:

Northburn, Cromwell, New Zealand. I had entered the 100 miler (7000m deniv), then developed a fortuitous last-minute niggle and ended up running the 50km fun run (a mere 2600m deniv). What a coward! A beautiful, evil, windy, parched, cold, barren, mountainous, merciless, confusing place. No place for an ultra.

Read Martin’s A Brief Run-down Of The 52 Finest Mountain Races That I Have Raced here

Reactions so far
  1. Ben Abdelnoor
    Sep 19, 11:18 PM

    Possibly one of the most amusing, and bizarre, comments about a race has to be, “A tough and unrelenting course, spoilt only by the presence of so many twats on horses.”

“We make more patents than [US space agency] Nasa every year”

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 19 Sep ’13

© www.scmp.com

Those into world trail running will be well aware of the exploits of Kilian Jornet, and probably by now his trademark red and white shoes, the Salomon Sense. This shoe is at the heart of the current R&D goings-on of Salomon in France…

And in this article Greg Vollet gives some insight into the Salomon design centre in Annecy, and how hundreds (if not thousands) of man hours go into producing what appears in our running stores some 20 months after initial concept.

Kilian and Stevie reach for the Sky

Posted in At the Races on Tue 15 Oct ’13

© Ian Corless

A fast race, a deep field. The final race of the Sky Series had some surprises in store. Kilian Jornet didn’t surprise anyone however and cruised to the finish after staying with the lead runners till the summit, where he changed gear…

…and sped down the steep rocky descent to finish in 2h17’03” and confirm his 2013 Sky Series champion title.

Full story via the ISF here along with Ian Corless’ take.

Run like the Wind

Posted in At the Races on Sat 21 Sep ’13

© Ian Corless

Nuria Picas at the 2012 CdV

One of the best, and at this time of year the hardest, sky trail races on the circuit is the Ultra Cavalls del Vent race. It’s in progress as I write and the line-up of racers are predominantly Spanish / Basque / Catalan, featuring some top skyrunning talent…

The men’s race features powerhouses Miguel Heras, Tofol Castanyer, Nuria Picas and Luis Hernando. Great preview from Ian Corless here and you can track race progress via this link.

Wales all set to welcome UK’s best

Posted in At the Races on Fri 18 Oct ’13

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Simon Bailey anchoring Mercia in 2012

As far as Championships go in 2013 fell running’s last big showdown happens this weekend, as the UKA Fell and Hill Relays come to Llanberis and the slopes of Moel Eilio in the shadow of Snowdon…

The fell relays are quite a spectacle, with up to 2000 fell runners from all corners of the UK donning their club vest with pride as the mountain goats go head-to-head with friends and rivals from such clubs as Bingley, HBT, Dark Peak, Pudsey, Mercia, Borrowdale and Ambleside.

Historically the fell relay champions have been the club who is able to get that mix of runners with speed, technical ability and navigational know-how spot on. Last year it was the boys from the England / Wales borders Mercia who took the crown on home turf, with the ladies of Hunters Bog Trotters in Scotland victorious in the women’s class. Looking at the start lists for 2013, both clubs will certainly be in the reckoning once again this year.

It sounds like it should be another great day of racing as the Eryri club have worked tirelessly to put on a great event:

Eryri Club Chairman, Craig Jones, who has led a team of dedicated committee volunteers to pull this event together, said: “We are very proud to be given the opportunity to put on this prestigious event on behalf of UK Athletics, and we’re confident that we’ll provide a challenging and enjoyable day for all the competitors.”

“Spectators are very welcome, whether that be at the event base or up on the mountain. We encourage locals to look out for the famous and distinctive green and red Eryri vest and cheer them on! They will also have an opportunity to see some of the very best mountain athletes in the land competing against each other”.

Men’s race preview

In the men’s race local hosts Eryri can be expected to be challenging hard, with the likes of Welsh internationals Alun Vaughan, Math Roberts, Rich Roberts, Russell Bentley and youngster Nathan Jones in their ranks.

© Stuart Stoddart

Nathan Jones – 2012 Home Internationals U18 champ

Last year’s champs Mercia are maybe not as strong on paper as they were in 2012, without Andy Davies (running the Frankfurt Marathon) and Steve Cale (now living in Hong Kong), but you can be sure that with champions such as Simon Bailey, Tim Davies and Graham Gristwood in their midst, they will be strong.

HBT look very powerful too, with Murray Strain, James McMullan and Orlando Edwards in their team, though it appears from declarations that 2012 British Fell Champ Joe Symonds will not be running.

Three fell running powerhouses who are playing their cards close to their chests, having not declared at the time of writing, are Borrowdale, Dark Peak and Pudsey. The boys from Cumbria are bound to come hard, fresh from their win at the Ian Hodgson relays a couple of weeks ago, and you can bet that the purple vests will be well to the fore come Sunday with Morgan Donnelly, Martin M-B, Ben Bardsley and Chris Steele all running strongly at the moment.

Pudsey & Bramley will be in with a shout for sure. The Hope boys (Rob and Danny) are in good form at the moment, and with the likes of Daz Kay (though he has been injured recently), Ian Nixon and John Heneghan to draw on P&B will be a force.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Rob Hope and Daz Kay

In this race preview Bingley boys Ali and Jonny Brownlee are mentioned, however looking at the start list we can’t see the tristars registered so it remains to be seen of the Olympians will take to the start line this weekend.

The Dark Peak boys are going to be very strong. If the 2011 champions can get the mix of top fellsmen Lloyd Taggart, Rhys F-R, Stu Bond, Rob Little, Rob Baker and Oli Johnson all out (along with Tom Brunt and Steven Pyke), then the brown vests from the Peak District may well start as favourites.

© www.sportsunday.co.uk

Lloyd bringing it home for DPFRA at the 2011 UKA relays

Expect Ian Hodgson third-placers Ambleside, and the Yorkshiremen of Calder Valley and Wharfedale, all to be in the fight for medals and top 10 placings too come Sunday afternoon.

The courses look very interesting with the Snowdonia Active preview stating:

Glyn Rhonwy, on the outskirts of Llanberis, has been chosen as a suitable location to access the rugged mountain slopes and ridges of Cefn Du, Moel Eilio and Cynghorion for the event. Racing commences at 10 a.m., when the first runners of the relay teams of six make their

Lightfoot storms to Otter Trail record

Posted in At the Races on Mon 23 Sep ’13

© Jacques Marais

Ricky Lightfoot at the 2013 Otter Trail race

Ricky Lightfoot and Ruby Muir have emerged the victors in the men’s and woman’s races after a battle of epic proportions played out on South Africa’s beloved Otter Hiking Trail, with almost 3000m of vertical ascent and the infamous Bloukrans River mouth crossing at the Otter African Trail Run

From arguably the strongest fields of trail runners yet to square up on African Soil, world champion and Salomon team athlete, Ricky Lightfoot became the first international runner to claim victory in this race, breaking the 04:40:15 record set by Ryan Sandes in a time of 04:15:27.

Ricky dominated the race from the beginning, leaving big name locals Iain Don Wauchope, Kane Reilly, AJ Calitz, Michael Bailey, Lucky Mia and Stuart Marais to fight it out for the remaining podium positions. 2012 Retto winner, Ian Don Wauchope, used the penultimate climb to move past Kane Reilly, Lucky Mia, SA Champ Tsabang Madiba and AJ Calitz taking him from 6th position at Andre Hut to claim 2nd overall in a time of 04:24:33.

AJ Calitz finished 3rd in a time of 04:27:03. All three podium positions well under the previous course record.

The woman’s race was a more closely contested concern than the results suggested, although New Zealand trail champion, Ruby Muir, lead the woman’s race from early on and finished in a time of 4:55:34.

South African favourite Landie Greyling opted for a more conservative start on the technical rocks but was never far off the pace maintaining the gap throughout but failing to find the legs to close down the break in the final minutes. Landie finished 2nd in a time of 04:58:57. Both ladies broke Jeannie Bomford’s previous record of 5:17:12. Nicolette Griffioen was delighted to finish 3rd in a time of 05:24:57.

The Otter Run, organised by Magnetic South and presented by Salomon and Gu, now in its fifth year, has established itself as the benchmark event for marathon distance trail running in South Africa and is on the bucket list of most South African endurance athletes.

© www.theotter.co.za

The fact that the five day hiking trail is off limits to trail runners for 363 days a year gives the event the allure of forbidden fruit and creates a level playing field on which trail athlete can measure themselves. The Grail of Trail is a relentlessly technical race worthy of its reputation.

Speaking after the event Ricky stated:

“After my long trip to South Africa, I ran in the prologue and finished 7th (an hour after finishing my 44 hour journey) and my legs felt terrible. I woke up on race day and to be honest my legs felt the same! However, having travelled so far and to such a special place I had to give it my all in the race.”

“I started out fast, lead from start to finish and was really happy to have also broken Ryan Sandes course record. The Otter Trail is a beautiful race, very technical, 95% single track. I loved it. A stunning and tough tough race!”

Full results via this link.

British Fell Relays: Dark Peak and HBT dominate

Posted in At the Races on Sun 20 Oct ’13

© Stuart Bond

Dark Peak’s Stu Bond with the Fell Relays shield

Some seriously autumnal weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of some the UK’s best fell runners at the 25th running of the British Fell and Hill Relays today. Dark Peak’s men and HBT’s women also shined as the wind and rain ripped across ridges of Moel Eilio above Llanberis…

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

This has NOT been photoshopped!

The traditional mass start on leg one had many donning their waterproofs as nearly 200 intrepid fell runners hit the slopes above Glyn Rhonwy on leg one, and it was the class of Murray Strain that impressed the most as they began to return to the finish area after around 7.5km of racing.

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Murray Strain

Running for Hunters Bog Trotters, Strain was almost a minute to the good ahead of a gaggle of runners which included teams from Leeds City, Dark Peak and Calder Valley, and with Strain handing over to James McMullan and Orlando Edwards things were looking very strong for the HBT.

In the women’s race Holmfirth’s Katie Walshaw absolutely blasted it round the first leg, so much so that she was over 20 seconds faster than 2013 joint English and British fell champion Victoria Wilkinson in second place (who incidentally didnt hand over to any team-mates).

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Katie Walshaw

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Victoria Wilkinson at Bwlch y Groes

However, the big hitting ladies of HBT, Dark Peak and Ambleside were bidding their time and settling into their running in the top 10 as they headed out onto leg 2.

The second leg was the day’s longest, with 14.5km, 1000m of ascent and winds of over 70mph to negotiate, oh and the small matter of the steep-beast that is Moel Cynghorion to ascend, along with the ridge to Moel Eilio, before returning to Llanberis.

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Orlando Edwards

As they did so, the HBT pairing of McMullan and Edwards were still holding their own, coming back into the handover arena with a lead of around a minute from Dark Peak after Stu Bond and Rhys Findley-Robinson have run a strong leg.

© Accelerate

Stu Bond on leg 2

Running one of the legs of the day were Rob Jebb and Ian Holmes, as the two fell legends showed the rest how to do it, scything through the field to rise from 8th to 3rd.

It was here that the V40 and V50 races also began to take shape as Calder Valley and Borrowdale started to square up to each other, with the red and white hoops of James Logue came into transition first, and well up in the overall race too. Carnethy’s vets had started as they meant to go on, with a big lead in the V50 category.

HBT’s effort on leg 2 of the women’s race will probably go down as one of the performances of the this championships and many others, as Claire Gordon and Tessa Hill showed their class, taking the girls in brown from 9th into the lead. Their time of 1:29:57 was almost 3 mins up on the next team, and that pair was none other than Angela Mudge and Jasmin Paris!

Behind HBT the Ambleside ladies started to challenge, coming in second, with Dark Peak in third. These three placing were pretty much set and from here on in were to be the main protagonists in the women’s category.

Leg 3 at the Fell Relays is historically the ‘nav leg’ and often proves decisive. 2013 was to be no different as the Dark Peak pairing of Oli Johnson and Lloyd Taggart were utterly supreme on the 12.5km stint, which took in the valleys below Moel Eilio. The estimated ascent of 915m and with what one runner described as “a hell of a lot of traversing” was also going to be a measure of some all-round fell running ability for those wishing to excel.

© Accelerate

Lloyd and Oli head out on leg 3

So it proved, as Johnson and Taggart essentially ran the Dark Peak boys into an unassailable lead as they returned to the changeover, some 83 minutes later. Such was the extent of their dominance on that leg that they not only took the lead, but they returned an advantage of over 11 minutes onto the last leg for their anchor man, Kris Jones – surely too much for anyone to overall on the last leg.

2012 champions Mercia, who had not really shown until now, but had been majestically run into the silver medal position by Graham Gristwood

Keep on tracking…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 30 Aug ’13

© utmb.livetrail.net

Want to follow the #UTMB? There is the race live tracker for all of the stats, then there is the human element, with images and emotion – that’ll be the likes of iRunFar / Ian Corless then!

The event is a media cauldron these days and makes for great digital armchair viewing for all you trail lovers out there.

Follow Bryon Powell and the team here and here

Ian Corless here and here

World’s best get ready to UROC

Posted in At the Races on Mon 23 Sep ’13

© Jordi Saragossa

Emelie Forsberg

Probably one of the deepest Ultra running fields in recent times is firing up for the Skyrunner® World Series final in Vail, Colorado. The 100 km Ultra Race of Champions (UROC), concludes the five-race Series after the previous four epic events: Transvulcania, Ronda dels Cims, Ice-Trail and Speedgoat…

Read the full UROC preview via the ISF website here

Adventures, passion and podiums

Posted in At the Races on Mon 21 Oct ’13

© ISF

Tessa Hill

Arc’teryx team athletes competing in the 2013 Skyrunner® World Series have tasted adventure and success at such iconic races as Transvulcania, Zegama, the Mont Blanc Marathon and KM Vertical and the Matterhorn Ultraks…

It’s not just about the podium however. It’s about passion. From Germany, Florian Reichert who just joined the team earlier this year was completely new to skyrunning after a history of successful road racing.

© Ian Corless

Florian Reichert

He states:

“It’s been a long and exciting year for me, and I’m grateful for the experiences I made, people I met and challenges I faced. I was introduced to a new world of running, and I enjoyed it immensely! Just being out there in the mountains and pushing myself to the limit in these fantastic sceneries gave me a satisfaction I never experienced in road racing or track & field.”

“Just for completeness-sake, I placed 18th in the ISF Sky ranking and 16th in the VK. However, these cold figures will never transmit the emotions I experienced, lessons I learned and friendships I built!”

Passion and podiums go happily hand in hand for Tessa Hill from Great Britain who took home an excellent third position in the Vertical Series. She came fourth in both the Vertical and Sky events at the finals, which took place in Limone on Lake Garda in Italy. Set in the most spectacular scenery, the races were among the toughest on the circuit.

Here, Tessa pulled it all together with two stunning performances. The icing on the cake came with her third position podium spot on the Vertical Series ranking. She excitedly exclaimed, “You see, given the time and the correct preparation, I can do this!” Nobody ever doubted Tessa’s ability and, with her excellent performance in the SkyRace® she can look forward to a very bright 2014 on the Skyrunner® World Series.

Running long and hard can take its toll and Arc’teryx ambassadors Italian Nicola Gollinelli and Frenchman Didier Zago were among them.

© Ian Corless

Super-strong Nicola Golinelli perfomed at top level both in the Mont-Blanc Marathon where he placed fourth and at Ultraks in Zermatt – right behind super-star champions Kilian Jornet and Luis Alberto Hernando. Hindered by early and late season injuries, he closed tenth in the Sky Series and tenth overall in the European Skyrunning Championships’ Dolomites SkyRace®.

Frenchman Didier Zago has also had to face injury throughout the season, although the end of June found him on top form with a sixth place at the Mont-Blanc Marathon. He took eleventh overall in the Vertical Series.

Summing up a season of adventures, passion and podiums, the Arc’teryx athletes have proven they are ranked among the world’s top ten skyrunners. Their achievements are not just numbers. Each and every one has a story to tell – of challenges and courage, of glory and disappointment, of friendship and camaraderie. 2014 promises no less.

UK athletes medal at World Masters

Posted in At the Races on Tue 03 Sep ’13

© www.wmra.ch

The UK can boast yet more world champions this summer as Craig Roberts (M50), Martin Ford (M70) and Anne-Marie Jones (W60) took superb gold medals at the 13th Master World Mountain Running Championships at Janske Lazne in the Czech Rep…

Individual medals also came in the form of silver for Bernard Grant (M65) and Carol Evans (W50) and a bronze medal for Judith Jepson in the W40 category.

There were also team medals for GB athletes in the M65 (Gold), M70 (Silver) and the W35, W45, W50 (all silver) categories. Results via this link with images to follow, and a full report via the WMRA website here.

A dream 2013 continues for Clayton

Posted in The Sweat on Wed 25 Sep ’13

© Corsa in Montagna

Emma Clayton

With arguably one of the best mountain race efforts by a British athlete in 2103, Emma Clayton claimed a superb silver medal at the recent World Mountain Running championships in Poland…

However, this was the icing on the cake what has been (to date) a great year for the Yorkshire woman, and as we enter the XC season the Bingley athlete already has her sighst set on more glory in 2014.

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MST: So, after your ‘disappointment’ of 2012 at the WMRC, what were your expectations and hopes for Poland?

Last years’ uphill world champs; Sunday September 2nd 2012 was one of the worst moments of my running career. I’d been at altitude for a few days too long, not knowing the ill-effect it would have on me even though I felt fine. I just didn’t have any energy and was devastated to finish in 32nd position. It is only since then I’ve understood the effects of being at altitude for certain periods of time. All preparations are now very precise when it comes to travelling out to races at high altitude.

© Emma Clayton

At the 2012 World Champs

At this year’s European uphill champs I finished in 6th place and although it was a massive improvement on the worlds, I still wasn’t happy and had to stand and watch whilst the medal ceremony took place. I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t happy as I’d been beaten by some world class uphill runners but a 6th position just wasn’t where I wanted to finish, even if it was just 1 place short of the target. Unknowing to me at the time, Ste took a picture of me whilst I was watching the ceremony take place (I wasn’t looking happy) and he printed it off and stuck it on my shoe rack in our spare room. He told me to never put myself in a situation where I’d feel like that again.

This made me more determined than ever to put in the hard work needed to get to where I wanted to be. I knew that leading up to this years’ World Champs I was in good shape, although I’d thought the same 12 months earlier. The main aim was to get an individual medal, this had been the only target all year and I didn’t even mind what colour it was.

MST: How did you go about preparing for the race on the Sunday?

As soon as the Europeans were out the way, training obviously changed from uphill only to include training for the descents. The champs this year were different to usual and we had to train specifically for the descent followed by the climb. Training and racing could not have gone better during the 10 or so weeks between the two championships. I won the trial race and knocked around 90seconds off my own Round Latrigg course record. I’d also had a major confidence boost with my first Grand Prix win out in Italy against many of the athletes I’d be facing in Poland.

© FIDAL CR Trento

Emma Clayton at the Arco race

Because of what had happened a year earlier I’d started being very meticulous and almost obsessive in my race preparation. Every day was planned out in the build-up to the championships but there was one thing still troubling me.

I was 90% sure that my usual racing shoe, the Sense Ultra, would be perfect for the champs but that’s not 100%. I was concerned I didn’t know what the terrain would be like and a rockier course would need a slightly more aggressive grip in order to really push on the descents. Without my knowledge Ste had been in cahoots for weeks with Matt and Salomon to find a pair of the Sense 2 soft ground. As there were no pairs anywhere, Salomon manufactured a pair and sent them out to the team hotel in Poland.

I couldn’t believe it when I found out what would be arriving 2 days before I flew out to the championships. Around the same time, photos of the course were released and it was clear that the descent would be quite rocky in places, so they were perfect. I couldn’t ask for better support from a sponsor.

MST: Talk us through the race…

The plan for the race was simple (kind of ); don’t go off too hard, sit in behind the lead group and gradually get into my running towards the end of lap one. I was determined to stick to the plan and was fully focused as we were grouped in the call up area. It wouldn’t be a race day though without something going

South Africa set for first SkyMarathon®

Posted in At the Races on Tue 22 Oct ’13

© Andrew King D4 / SkyrunningSA

Excitement is building as the South African trail running community gears itself for the country’s first South African Skyrunning Association (SASA) sanctioned event, the Matroosberg Trail Challenge (MTC).

Staged in the Matroosberg Nature Reserve near Ceres in the Western Cape, the 36km race classifies as a SkyMarathon®, in which runners will exceed an altitude of 2 000m, enduring inclines exceeding 30%, with climbing difficulties of less than 11 degrees.

Runners from across the country will be on the start line on Saturday 26 October, with big trail names like AJ Calitz, Nic de Beer, Ake Fagereng and Charl Soumer contending for the top positions, with the likes of Derrick Baard, Noel Ernstzen, Luke Powers, Michael Owen and Leo Rust in the chase group.

© SkyrunningSA

The women’s line up will be equally competitive, with Robin Kime, Linda Doke, Annemien Ganzevoort and Chantel Nienaber predicted to give each other a good run for their money.

SASA is an associate member of the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), whose founder Marino Giacometti saw the birth of the sports discipline of skyrunning some 22 years ago. He believed the name spoke for itself – it was about running where earth and sky meet.

The MTC is the first of two SASA-sanctioned events in 2013. The much-awaited Lesotho Ultra Trail, southern Africa’s first Ultra SkyMarathon®, will cover 55km in the Maluti Mountains in the Kingdom of Lesotho on 30 November. The starting line-up will boast one of the best ever fields in trail running in southern Africa, including Canadian ultra-distance trail runner of the year 2012 Adam Campbell.

Both races will form part of a national skyrunning circuit from 2014 – the details of which will be announced soon.

MTC race organiser Ghaleed Nortje is excited to have his race as the one that introduces local trail runners to skyrunning in South Africa.

“I’m really excited about the MTC being sanctioned by SASA, and by the prospect of it forming part of a national skyrunning circuit from 2014. Gone are the days when we trail runners had to drool over skyrunning events in Europe and the USA – our South African athletes can now be a part of the rich experience too, by participating in local skyrunning events.”

With just a few days to go before the race, all eyes are on the weather – just a fortnight ago the Matroosberg was still covered in snow. As with all mountain trail races, runners will be required to carry specific mandatory kit with them during the race to prepare for all weather eventualities.

To watch the action unfold come race day, follow the event on Twitter – www.twitter.com/MatroosbergTC and #MTC2013