‘King of the Fells’

Posted in Through the Lens on Wed 04 Sep ’13

© Terry Abraham

Joss Naylor

There has never been another like him, and there will probably never be another like him. Joss Naylor MBE is a true living legend in the sport and general landscape of fell running and Lakeland life…

‘Iron Joss’ features in a little teaser of a film to be released in 2014:

Life of a Mountain: Scafell PikeA cinematic documentary showcasing England’s highest mountain through the seasons, featuring all those who live, work, care and play around this iconic peak.

If this trailer is anything to go by, it should a superb piece of mountain film making.

England’s best head to Edale

Posted in At the Races on Sun 29 Sep ’13

© Gordon Cooper

Start of the 2011 Edale Skyline

Sunday sees the final round of the 2013 English Fell Running Championships at the Edale Skyline race. This 21-mile classic also takes on the mantle of the final round decider for the 2013 champs and should produce quite a battle up-front for the titles…

© Dark Peak Fell Runners

The Edale profile!

After his win at the Turner Landscape race in August it would seem that the momentum is with Mercia’s Simon Bailey in the men’s championship. However, anything can happen in the long races and former champions Rob Hope, Rob Jebb and Lloyd Taggart will be right up there, along with relative newcomer Stuart Bond (who is having a great season) and Morgan Donnelly, should they all take part.

© Holmfirth Harriers

Simon Bailey leads Rob Hope and Rhys F-R at Turner Landscape

In the women’s championship it could be a repeat ding-dong battle of the Peris race a couple of weeks ago, as Helen Fines and Victoria Wilkinson battle it out for the title, only this time we are pretty sure only one will come away with crown!

The weather looks great, so we should see some fast racing as the glorious summer of 2013 makes one last throw in the Peak District…

© Andy Holden

Helen Fines strides out at Blisco

World’s top ultra runners announced

Posted in At the Races on Fri 01 Nov ’13

© www.skyrunning.com

An ISF ranking has been devised for the three skyrunning disciplines based on 54 races in 2013 (24 Ultra, 20 Sky and 10 Vertical). One of the principal aims is to take into account the quality of the field and the time relative to the winner…

… along with a proprietory ISF algorithm and other factors. Read the full story here

500+ pit themselves against Snowdon at Man vs. Mountain

Posted in At the Races on Fri 06 Sep ’13

© www.ratracemanvsmountain.com

This weekend over 500 runners (and swimmers!) will face up to the challenge of 20 miles of running, swimming and obstacles in what looks like one tough event in Snowdonia at the Rat Race Man vs. Mountain event…

Add in the spice of the expected weather this weekend (heavy rain) and the intrepid competitors could be in for even more than they bargained for!

The event starts at 8am and is 20 miles in total. If you are a marathon-munching whippet, don’t let the distance lull you into underestimating this challenge however because the first 13 of those miles are all uphill as you tackle the 1085m peak of Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa) from sea level.

The first 5 miles are predominantly on road but the rest is off road so trail running shoes are definitely the right choice. If the weather is kind take a moment at the summit to enjoy the view and look directly east at the remains of the slate quarries of Dinorwig – that’s where you’re going next.

© www.ratracemanvsmountain.com

The route down is the well trodden Snowdon path into Llanberis. Look out for tourists on your way down, wave at the train and give them a smug smile knowing you’ve earned your view from the top. After passing through the edge of Llanberis, the obstacle zone is next and presents you with a second chance to race for glory.You will come across the ‘Vertical Kilometre’ – a 1000m long ascent rising more than 250m in height. This is timed and provides you with a “race-within-a-race.”

After that brutal assault on your legs it’s all downhill from there but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; there’s plenty more challenges to come before you earn your medal, including an abseil (more on that below). For the water-based challenges, we will provide buoyancy aids and safety cover in the water but if you are in any way nervous of the water rest assured that none of the obstacles are compulsory; they all have a run-around variant for those who may wish to dip out. The swim is less than 25m and will be supported by safety Kayaks and a guide rope. You can miss it out but the run alternative is an extra 500m instead.

We’d urge you to not consider skipping obstacles, embrace the full challenge of the event and push through your barriers safe in the knowledge that we will keep you safe.

Further info via the Man vs. Mountain website.

Reactions so far
  1. Matt
    Sep 6, 12:44 PM

    What a horrific exploitative idea – couched in macho bolox language – and have you seen the price. For more reaction to this farce see the FRA forum. Is this the way we want to see mountain running going – not me.

Simon and Vic take the spoils at Edale Skyline

Posted in At the Races on Mon 30 Sep ’13

© www.summitfever.co.uk

Simon Bailey digs in at Edale 2013

It was a day that was befitting of one of the best races of the fell running year, and culminated with some of the best racing too on a late summer’s day in the Peak District on Sunday at the fabulous Edale Skyline race…

Edale Skyline race report via Stuart Hale

The last round of the English Fell Championships saw the best of England gather at the start of the 21 mile, Dark Peak FRC, Edale Skyline. As the runners gathered for kit checks before they collected their race numbers the only notable absentees were Rob Jebb and Ollie Johnston, pulling through either illness or injury and a ride in the 3 Peaks CX in Jebby’s case.

The day was bright and sunny with just a touch of a breeze on the tops and the gusting wind was going to make the going difficult for everyone running, let alone for race marshals and spectators positioned on the ridges and summits around the course.

© Stolly

With the start delayed by 5-minutes the seeming impatience of Championship contenders Donnelly and Bailey ensured what was later described as a ‘fierce opening pace’. Even those further down the field found themselves being dragged along as both the contenders set off at pace for Ringing Roger and the Kinder edge path.

The leading duo soon spread the field and by the time the half way point was reached at around Mam Tor, it was Donnelly from Bailey with a second group just over 90 seconds behind.

© www.summitfever.co.uk

Dark Peakers Stuart Bond and Rhys Findlay-Robinson were not just along to make up the numbers as they raced alongside the highly experienced Rob Hope. Lloyd Taggart, who never stopped smiling was just behind and probably without realising it was to have the greatest influence on the top-3 placings.

By the time the 2nd to last checkpoint had been reached at Grindslow Knoll the chasing group had closed the gap with Hope, Bond and Rhys racing hard and now a touch over a minute behind the leaders. It was at this point that Lloyd Taggart’s influence would come to play its part. The safe route is to stay along the edge path, taking the traditional racing line. Or you have the cheeky ‘Taggart Route’, also known as the ‘Down and Up’ from Grindslow and back up the fell side to the summit of Ringing Roger.

© www.summitfever.co.uk

Rhys F-R at Edale

Post race it was Rhys F-R who took up the story:

“Me and Bondy were running hard around the Edge and it was clear we had made up ground on the leaders. I guessed that as things stood I was most likely running for 5th.”

For Rhys, taking the Taggart route was a game changer as it gained him a good minute over his rivals as he nipped in front of both Donnelly and Bond. That said it was Rob Hope who finished the fastest, almost timing his run to the finish line to perfection as he ran past Donnelly to finish in second spot.

© www.summitfever.co.uk

Rob Hope dibs in

No one is sure if any of his competitors were around to see Rhys pop up at the last summit and CP but I suspect their faces would have been a picture… Lloyd was the only other runner to try his luck on the ‘up and Down’. Less than 3-minutes separated the first five men in a race that personified the joy of route choice in a true English Classic.

For the women it was Victoria Wilkinson who took the lead and stayed there, going on to win by an impressive 8 minutes by the time they returned to the finish area. The Bingley Harrier has had a storming second half of the season, with her recent win at the Peris Horseshoe also showing that the GB international has the strength to handle the long races as well as the speed for the shorter distance stuff.

Second and third spots was more of a yo-yoing affair until local runner Judith Jepson nipped ahead of Helen Fines somewhere between Brown Knoll and Jacobs Ladder.

© www.summitfever.co.uk

Helen Fines

The results meant that Simon Bailey took an amazing 6th English Fell Championships title, and unbelievably the women’s title was a tie between Victoria Wilkinson and Helen Fines – a repeat of the British Championships situation!

Edale Skyline results

Top 3 men
1. Simon Bailey (Mercia) 2:45:50
2. Rob Hope (Pudsey and Bramley) 2:46:56
3. Rhys Findlay-Robinson (Dark Peak) 2:47:02
4. Morgan Donnelly (Borrowdale) 2:47:48
5. Stuart Bond (Dark Peak) 2:48:43

Top 3 women
1. Victoria Wilkinson (Bingley) 3:12:03
2. Judith Jepson (Dark Peak) 3:20:35
3. Helen

The North Face partners with Africa’s First Ultra SkyMarathon®

Posted in At the Races on Tue 05 Nov ’13

© www.lesothoultratrail.com

The North Face has continued to develop its focus on the trail running market in southern Africa with the recent announcement of its partnership with the Lesotho Ultra Trail race

As the 2013 trail running season slowly draws to a close, the event has remained firmly in the sights of many of the country’s top athletes, highlighting all the future prospects of a race that is sure to be recognized as one of Africa’s premier outings in years to come.

“Having spurred tremendous excitement and interest amongst the local and international running community throughout the year, the allure of the Maluti Mountains remains a mysterious running prospect, both for top athletes and aspirant runners alike,” comments The North Face South Africa Marketing Manager James Hallett.

“This is something that completely emulates the brands “Never Stop Exploring” philosophy, and to be a part of this event is not only a privilege but also a fantastic opportunity to offer our support to the growth and exciting development of the sport here in southern Africa.”

© www.lesothoultratrail.com

Top runners from South Africa and Canada, including local The North Face athletes Robyn Kime and husband and wife duo Iain and Su Don Wauchope, will descend upon the 5-star Maliba Lodge in the Tsehlanyane National Park come 30th November, to toe the start line of this unique 55km, high-altitude challenge.

“The very first time I climbed from Maliba Lodge to the top of the Maluti Mountains I knew that the Lesotho Ultra Trail was going to be something special,” muses Race Director Andrew Booth.

“The entrants seemed to realise it as well as they snapped up the entries in just 15 days after after the event was launched.”

As The North Face remains poised to relaunch in southern Africa, identifying strategic event sponsorships remains a focus for 2014.

“The North Face understood our creation and their recent decision to come on board as a race partner excites us tremendously. We look forward to building our relationship with the brand over the inaugural event which will hopefully lead to even more in 2014.”

For more information about the event, head to the official website www.lesothoultratrail.com or follow #LUT2013 on Twitter. For more information about The North Face South Africa, follow us on Twitter [www.twitter.com/thenorthfaceSA] and Facebook [www.facebook.com/thenorthfacesouthafrica]

Pedol Peris plays host to British fell champs decider

Posted in At the Races on Fri 13 Sep ’13

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

The Welsh brute that is the Peris Horseshoe race will this weekend play out the final throws in the 2013 British Fell Running Championships, in what promises to be a titanic fell battle…

In women’s title hunt Helen Fines has things pretty much sewn-up, bar one great challenger. However, in the men’s race it’s wide open as the title contenders from England and Scotland lock horns at this classic fell race. With winners such as Colin Donnelly, Gavin Bland, Lloyd Taggart and Menna Angharad amongst it’s role call of winners, this one is a true test of mountain skills, including navigation, especially when the clag comes down.

© SBRT

The Horseshoe starts in Llanberis, ascends Elidir, Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, Lliwedd, Snowdon and Moel Cynghorion and for sure this beast is considered by many runners to be one of the toughest races on the Welsh calender (if not in the whole of the UK!) at 17.5 miles and 8500ft of ascent.

With all four of the current top four in the men’s championship entered the men’s title could theoretically go to anyone from Finlay Wild (current in the lead), Rob Jebb, Morgan Donnelly and Lloyd Taggart (currently lying 4th), as the format of any three races from the four to count means that 52 points for Taggart and non-finishes from the others could propel the Manx missile to the top of the leader board with 145 points, equal with Wild, but with a win to his name (Wild currently hasnt won any of the previous three races).

All a lottery of course, but in terms of form it will be very interesting to see how Wild’s legs react after his Ben Nevis win last week (a race which current second-placed runner Rob Jebb sat out), but for sure those two runners should be ‘in the driving seat’. Sitting quietly in third, Morgan could have a lot to gain too, as a win would put him on 149 points, again, theoretically enough to take the title.

© Andy Holden

Morgan in action…

Anyway, it’s all to play for, which is how it should be on the last day of the championship race, and we’ll know by about 2.15 tomorrow on whose mantlepiece the prestigious prize will sit for the next 12 months!

Helen Fines has what appears to be an unassailable lead in the women’s champs, as she sits pretty with 93 points to current second-placer Jasmin Paris’ 79. However, scan down to current =5th place runner Victoria Wilkinson and you will note that if the Bingley Harrier wins, she will move to be equal on points with Fines, and with both having two wins and one second place. I am sure that someone out there knows what happens next, but we are not quite sure how the count-back system works from that point.

© Andy Holden

Helen Fines strides out at Blisco

Still, if Fines continues with her great form that she has shown over the last few months, and prevents Wilkinson from winning, the title will be hers. All very exciting…

Oh, and not forgetting the Half Peris which is also on tomorrow, which is still open for entries, so get yourself down there as we think the race will be lucky on the weather front too, with Saturday looking okay and Sunday looking dreadful!

Current men’s championship standings are here, with the women’s here.

Pedol Peris start list 2013
149 Dave Powell Aberystwyth AC
197 Felipe Jones Aberystwyth AC
7 Karl Steinegger Ambleside
24 Mhairi Cameron Ambleside
25 John Helme Ambleside
48 Hazel Robinson Ambleside
53 Kate Ayres Ambleside
57 Gary Thorpe Ambleside
63 Astrid Gibbs Ambleside
64 Tom Gibbs Ambleside
106 Hugh O’Donnell Ambleside
114 Anna Forrest Ambleside
162 Ben Abdelnoor Ambleside
168 Chris Robinson Ambleside
175 Lou Roberts Ambleside
184 Todd Oates Ambleside
199 Samantha Noble Ambleside
10 David Stakes Bellahouston RR
117 Rob Jebb Bingley
186 Victoria Wilkinson Bingley
40 Brian Horn Borrowdale
102 Peter Toaig Borrowdale
154 Paul Cornforth Borrowdale
174 Morgan Donnelly Borrowdale
176 Mark Roberts Borrowdale
50 Jimmy Rhodes Bowland
160 Alan Duncan Bowland
13 Simon G Roberts Buckley
38 Isaline Kneale Burdon RR
39 Martin Pollit Burdon RR
19 Konrad Rawlik Carnethy
20 Jasmin Parris Carnethy
119 Stewart Whitlie Carnethy
127 Helen Wise Carnethy
137 Alex McVey Carnethy
156 John Blair-Fish Carnethy
177 Paul Faulkner Carnethy
179 Michael Reid Carnethy
190 Jez Brown Carnethy
44 Andy Watts Cheshire HR
164 Graham McAra Cheshire HR
161 Darren Fishwick Chorley
189 Tim Culshaw Chorlton Runners
16 Jean Brown CLEM
72 Katy Thomson CLEM
8 Kean Rowlands Clwydian
46 Tim Higginbottom Clwydian
135 Mary Gillie Clwydian
131 Garry Gunner Croft Ambrey
55 Tim Ellis CVFR
83 Helen

Weekend fell racing…

Posted in At the Races on Mon 26 Aug ’13

© Chris Shaw (twitter)

The Grasmere podium!

Some decent weather and some great racing over the BH weekend on the fells, mountain and hills of England, Wales and Scotland. Winners included Simon Bailey, Rob Jebb, Angela Mudge and Mel Price

At the Burnsall Classic, Mercia speedster Simon Bailey had a good tussle with short-distance specialist Sam Tosh over the challenging 1.5 mile route, with Bailey (14:10) edging out the Rossendale runner by a mere 7 seconds. Ted Mason took third in 14:40.

Mel Price made it a Mercia double as she won the women’s race in 19:25, a massive two and a half minutes up on Holmfirth’s Lucy Needham (21:58) and Valley Striders’ Kim Threadgall (22:43) in third.

Full Burnsall results here with no images as yet.

Further North in Cumbria, the Weasdale Horseshoe saw a win for England international Gary Priestley, putting a good couple of minutes into Ambleside runner and inov8 team-mate Ben Abdelnoor over the 9 mile course. Gareth Briggs was third. Bowland runner Zoe Harding won the women’s event just ahead of Howgill’s Heidi Dent, with Bingley’s Aly Raw completing the top 3.

© Howgill Harriers

Gary Priestley (left) with the Noor…

Some nice Weasdale images on the Howgill Harriers site here with results here.

The big Scottish race from the weekend was the excellent Ochil 2000s race with over 5000ft of climbing during the tough 18 miles, which saw 130-odd runners line-up in bright conditions. Fife’s Mark Harris just won the day, only a handful of seconds up on Shettleston Harrier Kenny Richmond, who in-turn was not far ahead of Al Anthony in third. In fact just over one minute separated the top 3 runners after nearly 2hrs 45 mins of racing!

There was a slightly easier win for the unstoppable Angela Mudge, who not only ran a supperb 2:55:13, but also finished tenth overall. Charlotte Morgan claimed a very good second, with Hunters Bog Trotter Megan Mowbray in third. Full results via this link, with some nice race images via the Scottish Hill Racing page here.

© Scottish Hill Racing

Anglea Mudge on the Ochil 2000s

Saturday also saw the Pendleton race with a win for Josh Tighe, and the Tryfan Downhill race, producing the usual set of interesting images via Al Tye!

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Tryfan action!

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Tryfan mist!

Yesterday in England was all about the Grasmere Senior Guides Race, an event steeped in history, and it was win number nine for Mr.Grasmere himself, Rob Jebb. This excellent video via the athleticos site shows all the action as Jebby romps to yet another win ahead of Sam Tosh, Simon Bailey, Rob Hope and 196 others!

There was also a great sight in the return of Pippa Maddams, who is gradually getting back into racing after the birth of her child some 6 months ago – it’s great to see Pippa back on the fells. Mel Price completed round two of her show weekend (after winning Burnsall on Saturday) with second place.

Sunday also saw the classic Welsh brute, the Cnicht, taking place – with some beautiful weather and some of the best images from the weekend. There dont seem to be any results out yet, but it looks like Lloyd Taggart and Jackie Lee made the trip and added some quality to proceedings. Images out now via FRP and Clic Clic.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Lloyd Taggart at Cnicht

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Jackie Lee

Reactions so far
  1. Nick Brown
    Aug 26, 11:19 AM

    And not forgetting Sunday’s Baddinsgill Round. Won by Fergus Johnston, taking 10 minutes off the course record. Details, results, and photos here

This weekend…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 02 Aug ’13

© SportSunday

Ricky Lightfoot at the 2012 Borrowdale race

After lots of international and championship racing this last few weeks there are some great UK fell races to brighten up your weekend, as some of the top racers head to the brutal Borrowdale race amongst others…

The legendary Borrowdale Fell Race is on tomorrow – 17 miles of classic climbs, taking in over 6500ft of ascent over the likes of Scafell Pike.

© Ian Charters

The Borrowdale profile!

This is another one of those races that commands a Billy Bland course record that may never be beaten (an incredible 2hrs 34 mins!). 2012 winner Ricky Lightfoot is down to race once again, though after a tough Giir di Mont race only last weekend it will be interesting to see how the Ellenborough runner’s legs have recovered!

Up front, expect to see Rob Jebb and Lloyd Taggart, with some of the fast Borrowdale boys including Simon Booth and Chris Steele, along with 500 others! Things getting underway from Rosthwaite Village Hall, Borrowdale at 11am, and tp get you in the mood you can watch footage of the 2009 Borrowdale Fell Race here.

In Wales the beautiful short Y Garn race has been cancelled, so North Wales runners will have to venture over the border this weekend for their fell running fix! In the South there is the Llanthony Show, nr Chepstow.

Meanwhile up in Scotland there is a very busy programme with no less than 6 races to choose from, including the excellent shortie that is the Creag Dhubh Hill Race

Full info all of the racing online from respective Welsh, English and Scottish associations here WFRA, FRA and the SHR sites.

The weather forecast for Wales and the North West of England is for sunshine on Saturday and on Sunday sunshine and showers, heavy in places, with Scotland a little drier on Sunday – weather from the Met Office here.

Enjoy!

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Bailey and Fines take command in English Fell Champs

Posted in At the Races on Wed 14 Aug ’13

© Holmfirth Harriers

Simon Bailey leads Rob Hope and Rhys F-R

After the Blisco Dash race a couple of weeks before, there was barely time for English Championship fell runners to catch their breath as the next round (five) took place on Saturday at the 10-mile Turner Landscape race in Seathwaite…

Simon Bailey and Helen Fines cemented themselves as not only winners on the day, but also favourites for the 2013 English Fell Championships. With five races down Fines’ lead is unassailable, with 3 wins and 2 second place finishes.

Prior to Saturday’s race Bailey was lying in 14th in the Championship standings, mainly down to the fact that he hadn’t competed in a medium or long race. However, with the Turner Landscape win the Mercia runner now just needs a good position in the Edale Skyline ‘long’ race at the end of September to secure another English crown.

© Holmfirth Harriers

Simon Bailey

Of course, the likes of Turner runner-up Rob Hope, Rob Jebb, Morgan Donnelly and Lloyd Taggart are all still in the mix, as with a long distance fell race at that time of the year weather conditions and navigation skills could play their part and there could be a few twists and turns before the 2013 title is decided.

As far as the Turner Landscape men’s race was concerned, second place man Rob Hope gives us his take:

Simon got a lead, I caught him at Dow Crag, we ran together for a while and then he got away on the descent to the finish. My back’s not keen on pushing the descents too often!

Felt pretty good though overall and enjoyed the run. It’s a cracking newish course with a really tough climb up Grey Friars, down and then up Swirl How and then great ridge running over to Coniston and up Dow Crag before another ridge/traverse to White Pike. Duddon’s a great part of the Lakes especially when it’s sunny.

© Holmfirth Harriers

Rob Hope

Simon’s in pole position now with 3 wins but all to play for Edale on 29 Sept and a bit of a lottery if the weather’s bad. Over that distance anything could happen and therefore there are several still in with a shout.

Behind Bailey (1:22:52) and Hope (1:23:23), Dark Peak’s Lloyd Taggart (1:25:24) finished third.

In the women’s race Fines (1:38:52) was all on her own, as she finished nearly 4 minutes mins up on second placed Judith Jepson (1:42:44), with Ambleside’s Jane Reedy (1:43:07) just behind in third. After a couple of years of going close in the British and English women’s championships, the Calder Valley runner really has been a class apart in women’s fell running this year.

© Holmfirth Harriers

Helen Fines at the Turner Landscape race

Some great Turner Landscape images via the Holmfirth Harriers flikr page can be found here, with full results on the FRA here.

Women’s Championship standings (before Turner Landscape)

Men’s Championship standings (before Turner Landscape)

It’s UTMB week…

Posted in At the Races on Tue 27 Aug ’13

© Ian Corless

Julien Chorier – aiming for the big one in Chamonix

Perhaps the biggest trail running event on the planet hits Chamonix this week, for that annual trail running / weather watching jamboree that is UTMB. With four days of racing getting underway very soon and drop outs and favourites re-shuffling, it should be an interesting week…

© www.ultratrailmb.com

With almost every off-road running outlet offering some kind of preview, the voracious needs of the digital armchair trail runners across the world will be satisfied over for sure, with as ever some of the very best (and most reliable) coverage coming from the usual suspects as listed below.

One thing is for sure, with Kilian (the guy needs a rest!), Lizzy (injured) and Francois sitting this one out, there will be a pretty fresh name on that winners role call come Saturday. We’ll stick our necks out (!) and put our weight behind the Chorier / Krupicka camps in the men’s race, and Nuria Picas in the ladies race.

© Running Times

Tony K is looking sharp and ready for his UTMB debut

© Ian Corless

Nuria Picas – UTMB contender

Follow all of the PTL, TDS, CCC and UTMB (that’s a lot of acronyms) news via the UTMB site here and check out the pre-race previews and race-day coverage via iRunFar and Ian Corless – oh and you would also do well to follow their links to the live coverage via their social media outlets…

Kosovelj and Confortola take WLDMRC titles

Posted in At the Races on Mon 05 Aug ’13

© www.corsainmontagna.it

Mitja Kosovelj takes his second WLDMRC title

For Mitja Kosovelj it was more of the same at this weekend’s World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in Poland, as the Slovenian took a convincing win to add to his title form 2011…

In the women’s race it was new ground for Italian Antonella Confortola though, as the Salomon athlete took her first title in emphatic style. Report from the IAAF can be found here.

© www.corsainmontagna.it

Antonella Confortola

We’ll have more in the way of reaction from the weekend later in the week, however from a British perspective it was another successful international trip as Wales’ Andy Davies stormed through in the last 11km of the 44km race, coming from outside of the top 10 to take a superb silver medal – just ahead of 2013 Giir di Mont winner Ionut Zinca.

Davies’ run was also good enough to push Wales into the bronze medal position in the team race.

In the women’s event there were some excellent performances from English and Scots athletes, with Scotland’s Claire Gordon leading the charge in fourth place, just 5 minutes outside of a medal.

A couple of excellent runs from consistent WLDMRC performers Anna Lupton (5th) and Helen Fines (6th) followed for England, with Scot Helen Bonsor backing up Gordon with a great run in 7th. With Jasmin Paris in 11th, this meant that the Scottish team had done enough for silver behind Italy, and ably backed up by Holly Rush in 12th, Lupton and Fines helped England to the team bronze.

Full results are here with race images and an interview with Andy Davies to follow.

Entries open for GL3D™ 2014

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 14 Aug ’13

© Simon Caldwell

In recent years there has been a quiet revolution building in the Lake District. Each May, the Great Lakeland 3Day™ – or GL3D™ to its friends – has been attracting more and more participants to its unique three-day format..

New for 2013 was the introduction of two new, shorter courses. This proved a popular move with double the competitors from 2012. However, the GL3D™ still retains that small and friendly atmosphere that has made it so popular over the years.

© www.greatlakeland3day.com

A unique aspect of the race is that competitors simply enter the event, rather than having to select a course in advance. This flexibility has proved popular, as competitors are able to change their course each morning depending on how the previous day has gone. Another key element of the GL3D™ is that competitors camping equipment is transported to each of the overnight campsites so they can enjoy a day in the hills with light bags.

© www.greatlakeland3day.com

The 2014 event will be on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of May and Race Director Shane Ohly says:

“We have something very special brewing up for 2014 and it’ll be along the lines of the old Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon ‘stings’, which would surprise competitors with an unexpected but exciting twist to the event.

“Rather than complex navigation, the GL3D™ emphasis is on long mountain journeys, spectacular scenery and enjoying an amazing mountain experience. Competitors should expect mountain trails and footpaths, along ridges and through valleys, rather than contouring and bogs”.

© www.greatlakeland3day.com

The GL3D™ has always attracted a few walkers but other than the most able, they have generally struggled with the long distances and significant height gain each year.

Because of this, for the 2014 event Ohly has announced the introduction of a new C course (already coined the Café Class by the planning team), which will be specifically aimed at walkers or slower runners and will only have one checkpoint per day to allow competitors maximum route choice between the overnight camps… and time to visit the very best Lake District cafés!

Even though the 2013 GL3D sold out, the organisers are offering a great early bird incentive (save £50!) for entries received before the beginning of October.

Watch the 2013 race movie here.

Lightfoot heads to SA for the ‘Grail of Trail’

Posted in At the Races on Tue 27 Aug ’13

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Ricky Lightfoot

Salomon International Team Manager, Gregory Vollet, has confirmed that 2013 Trail Running World Champion Ricky Lightfoot from Great Britain will be participating in the Otter African Trail Run presented by Salomon and GU in the Garden Route in September.

Salomon sponsored runner Lightfoot, who was crowned champion at the July Trail Running World Championships held in North Wales, will be taking his place in arguably the strongest field yet assembled on African soil to contest what local athletes have dubbed “The Grail of Trail.”

© www.theotter.co.za

Lightfoot joins Kenyans Jared Omwoyo Nyakoe and Silas Kipchirchir Soy in an attempt to become the first foreign male athlete to win the Southern Cape’s showpiece trail event, a trophy that will be fiercely defended by former winner Iain don Wauchope.

Don Wauchope holds the record for the West East running of the race with a blitzing 04h23 posted last year whilst the “Classic” East to West course benchmark of 04:40 belongs to non-other than Ryan Sandes. Also flying the South African flag will be South African Trail Running Champion Thabang Madiba and his two national team mates Kane Reilly and Michael Bailey.

They are but two of the contenders in a field brimming with big names. The in-form trail hard man AJ Calitz who bagged a big win in the Vernon Canyon Descent in France two months ago, was picked by fellow contenders in a confidential poll as the favourite to lead the local charge.

The USA ultra-distance legend Krissy Moehl became the first foreign born winner of the Otter African Trail Run with her win in the ladies race at last year’s Retto. This year New Zealand’s youthful sensation Ruby Muir is tipped to again keep the crown away from the local ladies although Landie Greyling and Robyn Kime, both just returned from representing South Africa in Poland, may have something to say about that.

© Graeme Murray

Ruby Muir

The announcement of Lightfoot’s participation is sure to spike the already high adrenaline of the levels of the top local trail runners. His obliteration of the rest of the 18 nation field in Wales two months ago sent shockwaves through trail running world.

South Africa’s aspirants will be hoping that the relentlessly technical Otter Run course will test his trail dexterity as much as it will test his endurance. France’s celebrated mountain runner Sebastian Chaigneau managed a 7th place in last year’s event, the best ranking for a foreign runner to date in the men’s race.

Follow the race on www.theotter.co.za, Facebook or Twitter

Ricky makes light work of Borrowdale

Posted in At the Races on Mon 05 Aug ’13

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

Ricky Lightfoot on his way to a 2013 Borrowdale win

After a convincing win at last year’s race, Ricky Lightfoot won the classic Borrowdale fell race on Saturday. The Cumbrian took the 17-mile beast in his stride, after a few weeks which have seen him win the IAU Trail World title and finish 7th at Giir di Mont…

Showing now real signs of the effects of his gruelling race schedule Ricky took off from the start and had over a minute lead at CP 1. He steadily built this over a class field including Rob Jebb and Lloyd Taggart, to win by almost 5 minutes by the finish in 2:51:24. Jebby held off Lloyd for second, with a returning-to-form Chris Steel running strongly for 4th.

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

Chris Steele leads Rob Jebb early on

It was also a testament to the man and to the sport of fell running, that course record-holder and fell running legend Billy Bland was out there marshalling and shaking the hands of the runners as they passed by at one of the early check points, and we’re sure there was a little air of mutual admiration as Ricky passed Billy in this shot!

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

“How do?” – Ricky bumps into Billy

In the ladies race Nicky Spinks took a great win in 3:53:13, ahead of Kerry Cornforth and Catherine Spurden, showing that the Dark Peak runners’ strength really comes out in the longer fell races.

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

Nicky Spinks

Full results via the Borrowdale site here, with some lovely images by Paul Dobson here.

Trans Rockies is underway…

Posted in At the Races on Wed 14 Aug ’13

© www.raveneyephotography.com

2012 defending champions and top US ultra-trailers Rob Krar and Michael Smith, raced to a stage one win yesterday as the 2013 Trans Rockies run got underway in Buena Vista, Colorado …

The runners lined up under the TransRockies Run arch in the quaint neighborhood of South Main in Buena Vista. Under blue skies, our Trail Striders hit the trails at 8:30 AM sharp.

For most, the TransRockies Run isn’t just a race. It’s a celebration of trail running and the outdoors and an opportunity to experience extraordinary places that most will never see. With running partners from around the world, this ‘race’ is not only about pushing your limits, but making friendships that will stand the test of time. When the gun went off this morning, three hundred and sixty new friends took to the trails of Colorado to test their minds and bodies and ‘Find out what’s inside…outside’.

Stage report here with links to the full results here and a few stage 1 images here.

The Matterhorn moment…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 27 Aug ’13

© Trail Running Spain

Kilian Jornet

From rubber choice (on his shoes), meticulous route planning, 9 whole route recces and 100% mental focus, it’s all in here. Ian Corless catches Kilian at his insightful best, post-Matterhorn.

Read one of the best KJ interviews we’ve read in a while, here.

World Trail on TV

Posted in Through the Lens on Mon 05 Aug ’13

© worldtrailwales2013.org

The 2013 4th IAU Trail World Championships were a triumph for Wales in staging international sporting events. The event was also a triumph for UK athletics as Ricky Lightfoot took individual men’s gold, the UK men team gold and a team bronze for the UK’s women…

A 26-minute TV highlights package was aired on Sunday morning on Channel 4 in the UK and can be relived on the C4OD via this link. Viewers outside of the UK will need to wait a little longer with the programme to be aired on Sky and Eurosport in the coming weeks (TX dates to follow).

© Phil Rees Photography

Ricky takes a superb gold in Llanrwst

Win a free entry to the RPFU 2013

Posted in At the Races on Wed 14 Aug ’13

© www.royalparksultra.com

Calling all runners driven by a desire to push boundaries, inov-8 are offering one lucky MST reader the chance to take on the Royal Parks Foundation Ultra on October 6th 2013…

As the event’s official footwear partner, inov-8 are also throwing in a pair of their stripped-back, super-gripping shoes, designed for committed athletes wanting to run naturally fast on all terrains – perfect for the ultra, which covers road, towpaths and trail.

© www.inov-8.com

Around 700 runners are expected to take part in the ultra, now in its second year. The 50km course offers runners the chance to enjoy some of London’s most spectacular landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and five of the eight Royal Parks. The ultra finishes in historic Bushy Park, Henry VIII’s old hunting ground near Hampton Court.

For a chance to win simply go to our Twitter page and simply tweet an answer to the following question with the hashtag #inov8

Q. What drives you to push your body to the limit and go those extra miles?

© www.inov-8.com

We will announce the lucky winner on Friday the 16th of August via the MST website news page and Twitter feed.

Entries to the RPFU close on August 19th, so this is one of your last chances to take part! Enter today and don’t miss your chance to run 50km through some of London’s most beautiful landscapes, with footwear tested to the extreme so you can produce your ultimate performance.

To find out more on the Royal Parks Foundation Ultra head on over to the race website now.

Reactions so far
  1. sandy restall
    Aug 14, 07:43 PM

    The feeling when you know its farther to turn back than it is to the finish line. Then when you get there your body and mind are in total shut down as you fill up with the emotion of what an amazing achievement you have done both mentally and physically, you hurt but you know its for an amazing reason.