1250 trail runners tackle the Coffin Tail at Hawkshead

Posted in At the Races on Thu 25 Apr ’13

© www.lakelandtrails.org

In the 8th year for the Lakeland Trails event at Hawkshead, taking place on Saturday 27th April, Over 1200 competitors will be tackling the infamous, mile long, killer climb of the “Coffin Trail”…

The record field will include runners from all over the UK, along with overseas visitors from Australia, USA, Holland, Germany, Belgium, France and Ireland.

The event moves to a new venue for 2013 at Hawkshead Recreation Ground, after last year’s wet summer has left the previous show ground venue waterlogged and unusable this year.

© www.lakelandtrails.org

The day starts with the 10km Hawkshead Trail Run, setting off at 11.00am, with the longer distance 17km Hawkshead Trail competitors setting off in two waves at 13.00pm and 14.00pm. All take in the infamous “Coffin Trail” on Claife Heights with just over 3km to go before the finish. Everyone finishing with earn a finisher’s technical T shirt memento along with a Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding.

The Lakeland Trails are family friendly sporting festivals, taking place on environmentally sustainable bridleways. The fabulous Boom Dang samba drumming band and singer/songwriter Pete Lashley will be preforming live throughout the day, and there are trade & retail stands, food and drink stalls, children’s fun runs and a live commentary with MC.

© www.lakelandtrails.org

Gary Priestley

Last year’s winner, GB International Gary Priestley (Horwich RMI), will return to defend his title in the 17km race. Oldest competitor will be 80 year old Malcolm Ball from Norfolk. Dave Wise, from national running website TrekandRun.com will be running the event with a video camera attached to his head and making a short film of the event for Trail Running Magazine.

The event is supporting the Fix The Fells charity, along with other regional and national charities and thousands of pounds will be raised for these charities from the event.

Event sponsors and partners included running brand ASICS, Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding Company, Pete Bland Sports, Mountain Trauma Rescue Services, Bowland Communications, James Kirby Photography, Trailrunning.co.uk; TrekandRun.com; Sleepmonsters.com, Kendal Mountain Rescue and Hawkshead Recreation Ground.

More information and full start lists are available from the event website

Event Timetable

08.45am : Registration opens on Hawkshead Recreation Ground
11.00am : Start – 10km Hawkshead Trail Run (Event FULL)
11.30am : First finisher expected back from the 10km
12.30pm : Start – Children’s Fun Trails – entry on the day
13.00pm : Start – 17km Hawkshead Trail Challenge (Event FULL)
14.00pm : Start – 17km Hawkshead Trail Race (Event FULL)
14.20pm : First finisher expected back from the 17km Challenge
15.10pm : First finisher expected back from the 17km Race
15.30pm : Singer/songwriter Pete Lashley
16.30pm : Prize Giving

© www.lakelandtrails.org

Laid back chat…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 07 May ’13

© www.droz-photo.com

Emelie Forsberg

Robbie Lawless is over on La Palma mingling with the racers ahead of this weekend’s Transvulcania, and caught-up with Salomon contenders Kilian Jornet, Emelie Forsberg and Cameron Clayton…

Sometimes the best interviews arent that at all, they are “laid-back chat in the sun about the race and the year ahead..”. Read the full Run Tramp feature here

© runtramp.com

3 Peaks 2013 – preview

Posted in At the Races on Thu 25 Apr ’13

© www.grough.co.uk

Three Peaks runners on Pen-y-Ghent

Rather than try and better this Three Peaks Race preview, which would be difficult to be honest, we thought a simple link to the excellent article on the FRA would fill the gaps of who to watch in Horton-in-Ribblesdale this Saturday…

Snow may still be lingering in gullies on the mountain tops as runners line up for the start of the 59th Three Peaks Race in the Yorkshire Dales on Saturday.

A couple of amendments in the start line-up are absentees Tom Owens (injury) and Ricky Lightfoot (running at Highland Fling), but the none-the-less it should be a cracking race!

Check back regularly on Saturday for updates via the MST and FRB twitter feeds…

Transvulcania 2013 – View from the Crew

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 14 May ’13

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

Last weekend I was privileged enough to be at the Transvulcania La Palma race. I was lucky enough to be on the inside too, behind the scenes and supporting some of the elite athletes and to soak up the amazing atmosphere that this beautiful race produces…

This article is courtesy of the Salomon Trail Tour website:

They say that behind a every great man, is a great woman. Reflecting on a yet another super-charged Transvulcania La Palma it should be added that behind every great individual trail running win, is a great team effort.

By now the media whirlwind around the 2013 event will have reached all 4 corners of the world with the news that this year’s race was a triumph for Kilian and Emelie. Their wins at Tranvulcania were both victories in the face of strong opposition.

© Jordi Saragossa

Kilian and Emelie – early leaders in the SWS 2013

For Kilian it was a win which buried the hatchet on his 3rd place at the race in 2012. A similar pre-race situation ensued this year, whereby the Catalan athlete came off a ski mountaineering season and came into Transvulcania with a single hand-full of runs under his belt. The situation was the same for Emelie, spending much of her winter and early spring in her home base of Tromso, Norway, and bar her excursion to Gran Canaria earlier in the year – and the Salomon Advance Week in Moab – Emelie came to La Palma with only a week or so of running in her legs.

© Jordi Saragossa

Kilian milks the La Palma welcome

This preparation seemed to work for them both, as first Kilian crossed the line for a new course record, breaking Dakota Jones’ best time from 2012 by around 3 mins, in 6:54, ahead of Luis A. Hernando and Sage Canaday. Emelie was shy of Anna Frost’s 2012 time by around 2 mins, winning in 8:13, some 3 mins up on Nuria Picas, with whom she had battled hard over the 83km hot kiliometres.

© Jordi Saragossa

Emelie and Nuria embrace after their battle…

The race reports and images at Transvulcania have been numerous across the net, indeed the media stampede at the start and finish areas was a busy as any event in the global ultra-trail calendar, with photographers, TV camera crews, journalists, bloggers and fans all vying for their piece of history.

© Jordi Saragossa

Emelie Forsberg

So, with this in mind, I thought I would bring a different perspective to what it is like to ‘crew’ for these guys, and act as a conduit for the media to get them what they want from a weekend which unless it is planned in fine detail, can all but pass you by in a blur!

My role as a community manager and brand ambassador for Salomon means that I get to travel to events like Transvulcania to process the media via our social channels, to aid the racers where needed on the course, to transport our photographer (in this instance the amazing Jordi Saragossa!) and to look after the UK media attending (Trail Running magazine).

From a dash across the island after a 6am start, through a scrum of cars and supporters, all trying to get to aid station X or view point Y, to support their runners or get that killer image, our day was based around supporting the Salomon runners of Kilian, Emelie, Cameron (Clayton), Francois (d’Heane), Philipp (Reiter) and Adam (Campbell). The additional staff of Arnaud Tortel, Joan Sola and all of the Salomon Spain team worked flawlessly in delivering gels, water and other nutrition on time to the team.

© Jordi Saragossa

Myself and Jordi then made sure that we got the right images to give a flavor of the event at the start, aid stations (El Pilar in this instance), and those all-important finish line shots. We also made sure that Claire and Jon from the UK Trail Running magazine got what they wanted, as they journeyed with us throughout the day – even down to an exclusive 15 minutes with Emelie and Kilian in the hotel later, chatting about the race, their philosophies, techniques and other interesting insights!

© Jordi Saragossa
© Jordi Saragossa

The athlete’s day was long, and full of amazing effort. Likewise, the supporting cast’s day was equally long, if not longer, and strenuous in a different way. As the sun went down across the glorious Canary Islands vista last night it was just as satisfying to know we had added our own little piece to the jigsaw of the day.

I’d also like to emphasise that these races are a global family of racers, brands and cultures coming together.

Lizzy breaks Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu speed record…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 25 Apr ’13

© ultrafitnesstraining.com

Lizzy Hawker

On Saturday 18th April at 10:10pm, the British endurance athlete and The North Face® ultrarunner Lizzy Hawker, 37, completed a 319km run from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu, Nepal in 63 hours 8 minutes.

Hawker began on Thursday at 7:02am. She reached Jiri on Friday at 6pm where two support runners joined her until Kathmandu. During the 3-day run she rested frequently but slept, in her estimation, for just 4 minutes.

Internationally renowned Hawker remains the world record holder for the ‘Everest Mailrun’ the route taken by those carrying letters to and from expeditions at Everest Base Camp. It’s one of Nepal’s wildest trails that few have tried to claim. The route is brutally hilly with more than 10,000m of ascent and nearly 14,000m of descent on a mixture of rocky trails and tarred road.

When describing what drew her to completing the run for the third time, Hawker said:

“The stillness and beauty of early morning in the awesome mountains of the upper Khumbu. A dark, rainy evening approach to the pollution and gentle chaos of Kathmandu. Long stretches of being entirely alone. The precious company and support of good friends. Feeling rawness and vulnerability, and yet finding a strength in body, mind and spirit. Living in the moment.”

The whole experience was simply described as a “A wild and wonderful journey of contrasts”.

World champion endurance runner Hawker will remain in Nepal until the end of the month to race the 8-stages “Mustang Trail”, a multistage trail running challenge through the wild, spiritually rich landscapes of Upper Mustang.

For further information on Lizzy, click here

Reactions so far
  1. Tony Mollica
    Apr 26, 01:30 AM

    Way to go Lizzy! You are awesome!

    I got a kick out of the four minutes of sleep line.

Tafese and Clayton take Inter Counties

Posted in At the Races on Tue 21 May ’13

© Andy Holden

Swinburn and Tafese go hard on the early climbs at Settle Hills

Ethiopian Wegene Tafese and Yorkshire and GB international Emma Clayton took the honours at Sunday’s UK Inter-Counties Fell Running Championships in Settle, and both had to work hard for their victories…

The race was held as part of the Settle Hills fell race in Yorkshire over a testing 7 mile route, with conditions pretty good for fell running. Tafase won the mens race for Scotland West just ahead of Nick Swinburn, with Tom Adams over two minutes back in third.

© Dave Woodhead / woodentops.org

Tom Adams – a solid third

After a great winter of XC Clayton continued her good start to the fell / mountain season as she led Yorkshire to a 1,2,3 with Victoria Wilkinson just behind and Katie Walshaw making up the podium. Yorkshire laso won the men’s team crown.

Alastair Weymouth was first U23 man and Emma Gould was first U23 female, as European junior champ Annabel Mason and Max Wharton were U18 winners.

After her battle with Vic Wilkinson, Clayton told us:

“With the Inter counties being only a week before the European Trials, it was important to use it as a good final training run, whilst also saving the legs a bit for next week. The plan was simple, I knew I needed to hit the climbs hard in order to get one final work out before the trial race.

“Along with that I know at the minute i’m not as strong on the descents as I once was and didn’t want to get into a race on the descent. The realisation that i’m more of a European Mountain Runner than a fell runner is quite sad. With over a mile on the flat into the finish I was confident that if needed i’d have some speed in the legs to get me out of trouble.

“That’s pretty much how the race panned out, I felt strong on the climbs and managed to build quite a big lead by the top of the first climb. I relaxed on the descents so that I wouldn’t kill the legs and worked the next couple of climbs. It was on the final descent I started to feel the presence of Vic Wilkinson, it was a pretty steep descent and my main aim was just to get down to the bottom in one piece.

© Dave Woodhead / woodentops.org

Vic chasing Emma at the Inter Counties

“Approaching the last stile with 50m of the descent to go Vic came flying past and I thought for a minute i’d lost it. I steadied myself on the flat approach, almost to make sure my legs were still there but then kicked on a managed to take Vic and open up a small gap.

“Hopefully the legs will recover quick enough before the big one next week, where by all accounts the field will be stacked”.

Race results are here, with a great little race video via athletics here and some excellent images here and via Woodentops here.

World Trail hopefuls head to the Fling

Posted in At the Races on Thu 25 Apr ’13

© www.zen31010.zen.co.uk

Ultra trail runners hoping to bag a GB vest for this summers World Trail Running Championships in North Wales will need to impress at the 53 mile HOKA Highland Fling race this weekend…

© Stu Stoddart

Ricky Lightfoot at High Cup Nick

In the men’s race the contenders will be Ricky Lightfoot (making what we think is his UK ultra debut) and Paul Tierney, who should have a good tussle with the 2012 winner Andrew James. Lakeland 50 winner from 2012 Tracey Dean goes in the women’s race, which should be very open.

The full entry list of the 590 runners is here with the Fling Facebook page here.

Reactions so far
  1. sheffieldnick
    Apr 26, 06:22 AM

    I’ve done a neat little pace/splits calculator for the race, which also shows the altitude profile of the course:

    Good luck to everyone racing tomorrow

inov8 reach for the Sky

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 23 May ’13

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

“British-born sports manufacturing brand inov-8 celebrates its tenth anniversary in June, and it looks like there’s more than one reason to celebrate” – reports the ISF

As one of the Skyrunner® World Series Team Partners, together with Salomon, Arc’teryx and La Sportiva supporting the series, inov-8 is set to make a big impression this season. Renowned for its minimalist, ultra lightweight footwear, the company is making great strides this year, consolidating and introducing new shoe styles and launching an apparel range, they are topping it all off with an international Skyrunning Team to the fly the inov-8 flag.

Hill runners dominate at Scottish XC

Posted in At the Races on Tue 26 Feb ’13

© www.thatonemoment.co.uk

With hill and mountain runners filling 4 of the first 6 spots in the senior men’s race at at this weekend’s Scottish National XC, it was plain to see that those who like it hilly still have plenty of leg speed when it comes to the flatter stuff…

Wegene Tafese and Beth Potter took the senior honours, with Ethiopian Tafese pulling away from top GB athletes Robbie Simpson and Joe Symonds, who completed the podium. Murray Strain also faired well with a 6th place finish.

In the women’s race HBT’s Rosie Smith placed an excellent second behind Potter, with Susan Partridge in third. Cat Buchanan and Tessa Hill also ran strongly finishing well inside the top 20.

Full report via Scottish Athletics here, results here and images here

Reactions so far
  1. Joe Symonds
    Feb 26, 03:22 PM

    Can we count Wegene Tafese as a mountain runner too, as that would make it 5 of the top 6…? He did a race up Helvellyn last summer.


    Scot McDonald was part of the bronze medal wining team (U20) at the WMRA World Champs. in Itlay 2009 (along with Robbie Simpson and Alex Hendry).

  2. Matt MST
    Feb 26, 10:30 PM

    Agree Joe, I had Wegene as one of the 4! Wasnt aware of Scot, sorry!

Reiter runs ‘away from Winter’!

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 12 Mar ’13

© www.philipp-reiter.de

Talented trail and skimo star Philipp Reiter recently migrated South in the hope of some winter sunshine at the Trans Gran Canaria race. But what the young German can’t have been expecting were sub zero night time temperatures…

However, his trip seems to have been a positive one overall, and second place behind Ryan Sandes in the 83km race wasn’t a bad effort considering he had spent pretty much the last 4 months on skis!

Read about his full TGC experience here

Jon Gay goes sub-24 on Winter Ramsay

Posted in The Sweat on Tue 26 Feb ’13

© Jon Gay

A shattered Jon after his Ramsay last weekend

Lochaber runner Jon Gay completed an amazing feat of long-distance mountain running this last weekend when he completed the gruelling 60 mile Ramsay Round, which takes in 24 summits, including Ben Nevis…

Jon’s full story in his own words!

‘Winter conditions paradox’

I was extremely fortunate to complete a Ramsay’s Round in stunning weather and snow conditions this weekend. I finished in a time of 23 hours, 18 minutes. I have decided to write it up briefly as I have enjoyed reading reports by others.

Having the advantage that the the Ramsay’s is within running distance of my house it is possible to pick my weather (assume drizzle in Fort William). This time there was superb winter conditions, very benign. Paradoxically I believe that the snow surface made significant parts of he run easier than summer. Please see attached my split times.

I like spend most of my spare time in these hills and admit to failing many a winter Tranter or Ramsay attempt over the years. My Brother Dan (summer Ramsay’s completion), and I became experienced at running the Corrour to Tulloch railway after abortive attempts, great for the neck muscles and general awareness. Last February we did manage to get well over half way anti clockwise before retiring with cold feet.

At the time Andy Kitchin was going the other way and also stopped due to the cold after a similar distance (we saw his head torch at Loch Treig). We realised that if you aggregated the times it proved that the winter round could be done in under 24 hours, assuming perfect conditions.

I was pleased to complete a Ramsay’s in summer 2010 along with Pete Duggan. I am an average runner especially on the flat, but ok at ascending or general hill bashing. Completion for me in winter seemed a long shot.

Friend Bruce Poll who is a Ramsay- ist and Aspirant Alpine Guide had blogged about the improving climbing and snow conditions during the last week of very settled high pressure. I asked him if it was runnable up top, he said yes- solid, remember your axe!

Arguably a wind chill of minus 20, frozen to sea level and snow line at 600 metres would comprise ‘full winter conditions’, continental ones possibly. Axe and crampons were extensively needed. From studying the weather it was obvious that there was zero cause for concern here. As implied above I am not up to attempting in harsh weather at the winter solstice, but this would be a much more admirable ethic for completion!

This time I decided to go clockwise, not start in the middle of the night, nor walk to the start, nor go unsupported with a huge sack. This strategy had resulted in my latest retreat in January (drizzle). Sense prevailed and I asked my friend and fellow Lochaber Athletic member Tark Gunn, at short notice, to provide food (and motivational) support at Loch Trieg Dam. I recommend Tark’s hill walking courses, his advice and help kept me safe and made it all possible.

Ascending the Ben the cloud was down and there was fine snow falling. Here we go again I thought, whilst struggling with my crampons/ reviving my fingers. But emerging down Carn Mor Dearg Arete (runnable due to snow cover) I entered an Alpine wonderland with rime on the rocks and full ‘styrofoam’ neve (hard snow) underfoot.

Extensive snow cover was visible throughout the route. CMD was way quicker than summer, most of the rubble was banked out. Descent was a full but careful run. Even a man in heavy plastic boots was fairly shifting, initially I thought he might be doing a Ramsay!

The ascent of the West face of Aonach Mor was a little hairy in places (in Kahtoola flexible 10 point walking crampons) with pockets of water ice and very hard neve, I went too far left where it steepens. On top some ski mountaineers asked me if I was ok and had I lost something?

Why would anyone be running about up there? Fortunately the descent of the narrow Coire Bhuic, possibly the technical ‘crux’ of the route went well. I had tried digging an improvised snow inspection pit but could hardly penetrate the snow with the axe, it looked very safe. I carefully climbed along the back of the broken cornice and front pointed down the steep to a more comfortable angle.

I have traversed the Grey Corries many times but never has the ‘running track’ been this amenable, the hard snow covered nearly all the rubble. I had to phone Tark to say I was early. Just before meeting my upstairs neighbour. I was able to

Sticky Toffee Trail set to welcome 1000 trail runners

Posted in At the Races on Tue 12 Mar ’13

© Lakeland Trails

Over 1000 trail runners from all over the UK, along with overseas visitors from Holland, Germany, Belgium, France and Ireland will be heading to the tiny village of Cartmel in the Lake District this weekend, home of the world famous Sticky Toffee Pudding…

Lakeland Trails event release

The opening 2013 Lakeland Trails event at Cartmel Racecourse takes place this Saturday, 16th March.

The Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding Company will be providing individual puddings at each of this year’s Lakeland Trails’ events, which are to be handed out to participants as part of their reward for reaching the finish line. At every 2013 Lakeland Trails event, competitors will also receive a specially designed event T shirt, a digital photo memento and a branded goody bag.

Lakeland Trails is now in its 10th year organising trail running events in the Lake District and in 2012 it attracted over 10,000 participants across 8 different venues, most of whom come from outside of the county. Their annual trail running series aims to cater for all abilities and their courses range from 10K to full marathon distance. Last year the Lakeland Trails won the prestigious national award from Running Fitness for best Off Road Challenge event.

© Lakeland Trails

Lakeland Trails are committed to preserving the environment and work closely with organisations such as the National Trust and the Lake District National Park Authority to ensure that the courses have a minimal impact on the local surroundings. All of their trail running routes are planned over environmentally sustainable trails and bridleways within the landscape of the Lake District National Park.

The fabulous Batala Lancaster samba drumming band and singer/songwriter Pete Lashley will be preforming live throughout the day, and there are trade & retail stands, food and drink stalls, kid’s entertainments including children’s Fun runs and a live commentary with MC.

The event is supporting the local Allithwaite Playing Fields charity involved with marshalling the event, along with other regional and national charities and thousands of pounds will be raised for these charities from the event.

© Lakeland Trails

Event sponsors and partners included sports brand ASICS, Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding Company, Trail Running Magazine, Pete Bland Sports, Trailrunning.co.uk; TrekandRun.com; Cartmel Racecourse, Mountain Trauma Rescue Services, Bowland Communications, James Kirby Photography and VO2 Max Events.

More information and full start lists are available from the event website and via the Lakeland Trails facebook page.


08.30am : Registration opens at Cartmel Racecourse
10.30am : Start – 10km Cartmel Sticky Toffee Trail Run (Event FULL)
11.00am : First finisher expected back from the 10km
12.30pm : Start – Children’s Fun Trails – entry on the day
13.00pm : Start – 18km Cartmel Sticky Toffee Trail Challenge (Event FULL)
14.00pm : Start – 18km Cartmel Sticky Toffee Race (Event FULL)
14.20pm : First finisher expected back from the 18km Challenge
15.10pm : First finisher expected back from the 18km Race
15.30pm : Singer/songwriter Pete Lashley
16.30pm : Prize Giving

Reactions so far
  1. Simon Craufurd
    Mar 13, 09:33 PM

    After you complete the Sticky Toffee Trail, come and try Scotland’s Muddiest Race at Craufurdland. The Muddy Trials is a 5km and 10km through the woods and fields, streams and ditches on Craufurdland Estate. Starting from the front of Craufurdland Castle its quite a site.

  2. Simon Craufurd
    Mar 13, 09:33 PM

    After you complete the Sticky Toffee Trail, come and try Scotland’s Muddiest Race at Craufurdland. The Muddy Trials is a 5km and 10km through the woods and fields, streams and ditches on Craufurdland Estate. Starting from the front of Craufurdland Castle its quite a site.

Weekend racing…

Posted in At the Races on Tue 26 Feb ’13

© Dave Woodhead / woodentops.org

Emma Clayton and Tom Adams at the Ilkley Moor race

Wins for Ricky Lightfoot, Emma Clayton, Tom Adams and Rob Hope amongst others at last weekend’s racing on the fells of England and Wales. Snow was still prevalent in the Lakes at High Cup Nick, as Lightfoot took yet another win in 2013…

© Stu Stoddart

Ricky Lightfoot at High Cup Nick

Images by Stu Stod here, with full results to follow.

At the Bleasdale Circle race 3-time British Fell Champ Rob Hope was looking strong as he was over 2 minutes clear of the field at this 5 miler that takes in 1250ft of climb. Steve Swarbrick was second with Karl Steineggar in third. Nicola Sweeney made it a Pudsey double as she took the ladies race.

Documenting his afternoon in the hills, Rob told us:

Had a good lung opener at Bleasdale Circle today and a comfortable win. The first short blast I’ve had on the fells this year. Weather ended up like at Winter Hill with blizzards sweeping across the Bowland Fells although it didn’t feel too cold with the short distance.

Three cheers for the marshalls and organisers again, it wasn’t great for standing around. Enjoyed a nice homemade pie and peas, and cup of tea in the village hall after. A nice Saturday afternoon all round!

Full Bleasdale Circle results here, with a few shots by Ian Charters here.

© Andy Holden / wharfeego

Rob Hope – back in form

Over in Wales on Saturday there was a great turnout at the Moel y Ci race, a traditional season opener in the north of Wales. Martin Cliffe continued his great early-season form taking the win, with Lisa Grantham taking the ladies race. Full report by Math Roberts on the Eryri site here, with images by Al Tye on the FRP site here.

© Al Tye / www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Martin Cliffe at Moel y Ci

2012 English and British Fell Champion Lauren Jeska was seen sporting some rather fetching fluro yellow shorts at the Flower Scar race in Todmorden on Saturday too, as she comfortably won the women’s race. Karl Gray continued his great 2013 with the win in the men’s race, just sprinting away from CVFR club-mate Tim Ellis, who himself has had a great start to the season.

Steve Weston reports:

This is a new race that has replaced the Noonstone which was cancelled because of access problems. Race starts at Told CC then climbs to the Flower Scar then there’s a tussocky bit before it descends through a wood before going back up a track and going over a cliff before climbing a track through Robinwood.

Full results here with images via Woodentops here.

© Eileen Woodhead

Lauren Jeska

On Sunday it was business as usual for Ilkley man Tom Adams as he took the Ilkley Moor race ahead of Sam ‘Watdog’ Watson. Emma Clayton (fresh from her tremendous 4th place at the National XC on Saturday) smashed her own record by almost a minute, and was perhaps just as significantly 50 seconds up on young Annabel Mason, who herself had won the National U17 race on the Saturday, and making up the women’s top 3 was Helen Fines, also inside the top 20!

Images once again by the ever-present Woodentops and results via the Ilkley site here.

© Dave Woodhead / woodentops.org

Tom Adams at the 2013 Ilkley Moor race

Skyrunning hits southern Africa with the Lesotho Ultra Trail

Posted in At the Races on Wed 20 Mar ’13

© skyrunningsa.wordpress.com

A new ultra-distance race has hit southern Africa’s trail running calendar with the announcement of the Lesotho Ultra Trail, to take place in northern Lesotho on 30 November.

Created by well-known KZN race organiser Andrew Booth, the 68km race will traverse mountainous, rocky trails combining steep ascents, descents, some contour running and loads of single track, will be hosted by Maliba Mountain Lodge, just one hour south from the Free State town of Clarens.

© skyrunningsa.wordpress.com

Sanctioned by the South African Skyrunning Association (SASA), the event will be recognised by the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) as Africa’s first Ultra Skymarathon®, earning it the potential of being placed in the global circuit of ultras on the international trail calendar.

Defined as mountain running up to or exceeding 2 000m, where the incline exceeds 30% and where the climbing difficulty is not more than 11˚ gradient, the sport of skyrunning has taken the trail running world by storm in Europe, America and Asia over the past 20 years.

© skyrunningsa.wordpress.com

Skyrunning, a term coined by the ISF, is a discipline conceived by Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti who, with a handful of fellow climbers during the early1990s, pioneered records and races on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa in the Italian Alps. In 1993, sponsored by Fila, skyrunning took off across the world’s mountain ranges with a circuit of challenging races spread from the Himalayas to the Rockies, from Mount Kenya to the Mexican volcanoes.

Giacometti’s term skyrunning is, as the name suggests, where earth and sky meet. Today, skyrunning has grown to span some 200 races worldwide, with about 30 000 participants from 54 countries. Formed in 2011, SASA is an associate member of the ISF, and aims to promote and facilitate the growth of skyrunning in South Africa.

© skyrunningsa.wordpress.com

SASA chairman James Hallett explains:

“The Lesotho Ultra Trail is the ideal event to pioneer the way forward for skyrunning in southern Africa.”

“Not only does the location and route of the race represent the philosophy of skyrunning, but we have no doubt that it will the race be of a world class calibre. Offering spectacular terrain, incredible high altitude vistas and a 5-star host venue, we are extremely excited about the prospects of the Lesotho Ultra Trail.”

Hallett is confident that the Lesotho Ultra Trail will be incorporated into the ISF World Ultra Series, a new addition to the Federation’s global series offering.

© skyrunningsa.wordpress.com

“Following the inaugural running of the race in November, we will submit our recommendation and application to the ISF for possible consideration into the 2014 series. If successful, this will put South Africa into the world skyrunning arena, further exposing our country to top international athletes.

Booth said he believed there to be a great synergy between the race, its location and the development of skyrunning in South Africa.

© skyrunningsa.wordpress.com

“The Maluti Mountains offer some of the best terrain for high altitude running in the world. To be able to stage what is sure to become a world class event in this region is very special, and we look forward to playing a role in the pioneering of skyrunning in southern Africa.”

He added that the event’s partnership with Maliba Mountain Lodge as host for the race added an extra angle of quality to the event.

Hallett concluded that as the first official skyrunning event in southern Africa, the Lesotho Ultra Trail will also help facilitate the creation of a national circuit of skyrunning events.

“The Lesotho highlands and the regions of South Africa surrounding Lesotho are prime skyrunning regions, and we will be working with other race organisers in this area and around South Africa to develop the opportunities that present themselves there.”

More info via the SASA website here.

The times are a changin’

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 27 Feb ’13

© outsidetimes.com

In the digital space it seems that the outdoor and trail running running sphere is growing all of the time.

Testimony to this is MPORA / Factory Media’s new guise Outside Times. The new site, from the stable which contains top MTB title Dirt, states:

The Outside Times is a website for the adventurer in all of us. To push ourselves outside. To take on that outside challenge. From entering your first trail race to cycling across America. We’re into a bit of everything. Well, almost everything. One thing we’re not really into is pigeon holes.

We’re not just runners, hikers or cyclists, we’re into everything. If it’s outside, we’re into it.On the site we aim to inspire us all to find our next outdoor challenge.

Russell has a ball in North Wales snow

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 21 Mar ’13

© Al Tye / www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Russell Bentley on a snowy Maesgwm path

After his report a couple of weeks back on a somewhat bittersweet affair at the Moel Tryfan race, (he took a wrong turning and ended up dead last !) new-found North Wales fell runner Russel Bentley had a better time of it at Sunday’s Ras Bwlch Maesgwm fell race in Llanberis…


“After the mess of last week, I was taking no chances with this race. My parents were up to visit and I thought, what a great opportunity to kill two birds, I can take them for nice hill walk and simultaneously recce the race course.

I went to bed that night confident even I couldn’t get lost. The next day however, we nearly didn’t make it to the race at all. We had taken the high road (high as in elevation, not as in 3 lane motorway) as a short cut.

The Met-Office had not forecast snow at all, but the snow didn’t seem to care, it was falling thick and fast and, as we were coming down the pass, the cars coming up started to get stuck. They couldn’t go forward, and there was no way back. A transit van was totally stuck, so my dad got out of the car and helped push it to the side of the road. I stayed behind the wheel, officially to save my quads for the race, but really cos I didn’t want to get shown up by ex-rugby player dad.

© Russell Bentley

The Bentleys get out and push on the Pass

We stayed in the warm cafe till the last minute, the race organiser explained the course with the reassuring statement ‘if you get lost, there’s something wrong with you’! A request was made for a minute’s silence for the English rugby team, denied, countdown from 5…and we were off.

We started up very steep tarmac road for about 1km, this is actually the steepest part of the whole course. I have often run up to Snowdon this way and found it the hardest part of the mountain, so I thought if I could create a gap here it would be hard to bridge when we took to rough ground.

This worked quite well and by the time I reached the train station I was in a race with myself. The path turned into an icy cold stream and my feet went numb. When we reached the Bwlch (mountain pass) the snow got thicker as we got higher.

© Russell Bentley

A ruin on the Maesgwm track

Nearing the top I tried to recall the race direction I read on the facebook page, but everything was getting jumbled in my head and I couldn’t remember if it was ‘touch the fence next to the marshal’, or ‘touch the marshal next to fence’, or ‘touch the marshal with the fence, do 10 star jumps and sing the Welsh national anthem’.

…the marshal in the background, I didn’t touch him honest!

The course was an ‘out an back’, so on the way down I realised I had made a good lead and just needed to avoid doing anything dumb like get lost or trip up and roll off the mountain. I tried to stay focused and go as fast as I could. The view was stunning, the snow covered valley with the sun beaming through low clouds, I tried to take it in without twisting an ankle or banging into someone!

© Al Tye / www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk

When I made it back onto the tarmac I found it harder running down than it was going up, I couldn’t get my legs to go fast enough and was glad there were no photographers around as I felt like a tap-dancing pillock. The organiser and cafe owner held the finishing tape for me to break and my mum was cheering loudest. I said beforehand I would be over the moon with under 40 minutes for the 10km course, and so I broke the tape in 39.49.

At the prize giving ceremony I was looking forward to the leg of lamb, as Nina has been the one bringing home the bacon lately, but I was given a very classy Innov-8 rucksack and Nina has happily taken that instead. I was a little sad as I love Welsh lamb, but we have no cooker in Gelli and the weather is not conducive for spit-roast right now.

The crowd were very friendly and we are happy to be getting to know a few of the faces now. Extremely well put together and looking forward to next year, although rumour is they are making it tougher! The cafe owner was very hospitable, pouring me some

Ronda dels Cims is a sell-out

Posted in At the Races on Thu 07 Mar ’13

© www.skyrunning.com

Now in its third year the Ronda Del Cims has reached capacity almost 4 months ahead of race day on the 21st of June. This 170km beast is one of the newest additions to the Skyrunner World Series races and one of the 5 events which make up the Ultra series.

© www.skyrunning.com

The Ronda dels Cims is not only the Series’ first 100-miler, it’s unquestionably the toughest, with no less than 13,000 metres of vertical climb across 15 summits, all above 2,400m altitude, the highest point just below 3,000m. The race takes place on the longest day, lit by the full moon, it optimises natural light in an unforgettable atmosphere.

More on the 2013 Ronda Del Cims here

Tom Talk’s Ultra…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 21 Mar ’13

© Ian Corless

As one of the most unassuming and talented fell and skyrunners in the world, Tom Owens is a likeable chap. Ian Corless (via the excellent Talk Ultra show) recently caught-up with the Glasgow-based Salomon athlete for a little look at his career so far!

Ian Corless from Talk Ultra and iancorless.com interviews Salomon Running athlete, Tom Owens.

Tom is a British runner who I guess in ultra terms, as Tom keeps telling me, is not an ultra runner. But when you are on the podium repeatedly in Skyrunning races in 2012 and push Kilian Jornet, the term ‘ultra’ can be loosely used. I caught up with Tom just as he had finished a run in a gale force wind on the fells near his home in Scotland.

IC: Welcome Tom.

TO: Thanks Ian, great to be here.

IC: Thanks for finding the time to chat. So, you say you are not an ultra runner but it is fair to say that when we look at some of your 2012 races like Zegama and Trofeo Kima they are tough races aren’t they and when we look at how long it takes to cover these races they do drift into ultra territory….

TO: Yes I agree with you. You are on your feet for a long time. A race like Zegama can take 4 hours and that is considered a ‘runnable’ Skyrunning race.

© www.salomonrunning.com

Tom Owens on the Zegama climbs

IC: Lets go back to what got you into running. You told me that at the age of 22 you ran London Marathon.

TO: Yes I was at University and I entered the ballot for the marathon not thinking I would get in. Ironically I got in first time. I did a little training and joined a cross country club. I had a year of running but it was very much a sideline. I was much more interested in Football and having a good time. I ran the marathon and then got addicted.

IC: In 2004 you ran 2:42 at London.

TO: Yes, correct. I learnt so much in the first two years. I met some great folk at Bristol Uni and I learnt how to train and recover. I was very pleased at the time.

IC: What do you mean pleased? Any of us would be ecstatic with 2:42 marathon.

TO: Funny, I didn’t know what time to go for so I wrote splits for 2:42 on my hand and it went well. My first time was hopeless and I bonked. I made changes for the second year but that was pretty much the end of my road running.

IC: Yes, you met Andy Symonds and I guess your friendship with Andy has dictated both your careers. You have almost run in parallel.

TO: I met Andy and he introduced me to hills. He is a great guy, super talented and enthusiastic. So he encouraged me to try hill races and I loved the vibe. Really different. Very challenging but no pressure. So varied. Andy encouraged me throughout and I kept with it.

© www.salomonrunning.com

Andy and Tom summit with Drei Zinnen behind

IC: What would you say was the point when the focus started to shift? You lived in New Zealand and you met the Scottish team who were out for the world trophy. Was that a pivotal point?

TO: Yes it was I guess. I travelled and then I settled in New Zealand and it had a great running community. I lived in a brilliant city surrounded by hills. It’s an outdoor way of life and I ran more. With the World Mountain Running Champs taking place I saw Jonathan Wyatt and that inspired me. To have the English, Scottish and Welsh team over was brilliant. I hung out with them, did the ‘open’ race and yes, I guess I just continued that momentum in the UK.

IC: In 2007 you won your first British Championships beating Rob Jebb.

TO: Yes that was a surprise. A race up in Scotland. Wasn’t a big field but it was a tough race and it has two or three big hills. I can’t remember the distance but it took about 3 hours. I just pipped Rob by about 7 seconds on the line. It was a huge confidence boost. Luckily most races I do finish downhill so it gives me a chance to catch back up after loosing time on the climb.

IC: I guess this is a perfect opportunity to discuss and explain what fell running is. As an exponent of fell racing would you like to give us an overview.

TO: They are very low-key events. The race will visit checkpoints, typically hill summits or passes.

Salomon UK launch ‘the future’

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 22 Mar ’13

© Salomon UK

Last weekend saw Salomon UK launch their 2013 team in Manchester, and also a very interesting concept in youth development on the trails and fells – as Salomon Avenir was unveiled…

Full Salomon UK release

2012 was another great year for the Salomon Trail Team in the UK, once again producing some amazing domestic and international performances.

With 2013 now upon us and the racing season about to get underway proper, the team spent last weekend at their Spring training camp for three days of team talks, kit fitting, training sessions and product briefing ahead of what will no doubt be a very busy year.

© Salomon UK

This year’s camp was made extra special with the first meeting of Salomon Avenir, a new junior development squad of fell, mountain and trail runners aged between 16 and 18 years, who will not only be aided with product for the year but also be given support in the form of a mentorship scheme via some of the UK’s best athletes.

The concept behind Salomon Avenir (‘the future’ in French) is to help develop the next generation of trail and mountain runners in the UK and hopefully the ‘next draft’ of the Salomon Trail Team. The squad will be guided by Salomon Trail Running community manager for the UK.

Manchester was the base for the weekend activities, with the brand new Salomon UK northern showroom playing host to the seminars and product meetings over the weekend. Present at the camp were representatives from main sponsor Salomon and sports instrument partners Suunto.

The athletes were also kept up-to-date with with advancements from nutrition partner Kinetica. The teams were also fortunate enough to receive help and support in their physiology from top UK physio Andy Walling, who will once again look after the team in 2013.

Trail Team boss Tim Lloyd comments:

“It’s always a pleasure to get the Salomon team together to train and plan the year ahead, but this year was one of the best camps we have ever had with a great atmosphere and some great input from all at Salomon and our associate sponsors. The training camp is important for Salomon and the athletes because we are all working together to move off-road and trail running forwards in terms of product development and events.

“Plans for 2013 look very exciting, and I am especially excited at the Avenir project which is something Matt has been working on for a while. We have some incredible athletes in our senior team and for a group of them to be on hand to aid the next generation of athletes to come through is something really special”.

© Salomon UK

The weekend saw the team try out new products on the hills surrounding Rivington, Lancashire, in a number of group training runs and photo sessions. Sunday afternoon also saw the two groups take part in the now familiar core stability session courtesy of Andy Walling, to round off the weekend!

Regarding the Trail Team line-up for 2013 Lloyd continues:

“We have tweaked the team a little this year creating a mix of our highly experienced champions and younger athletes capable of taking the Salomon name into some different spheres. Rob Hope, Angela Mudge, Tom Owens, Ricky Lightfoot, Rob Samuel, Emma Clayton and Joe Symonds all remain with the team and will once again focus on a programme of international and domestic races, with Tom racing predominantly with the Salomon International team once again this season.

© Salomon UK

Tom Owens

“In comes Welsh International Andy Davies, who will add that extra dimension in the longer distance races. Andy has a great engine and after focusing on his marathon aspirations for the first few months of the year, will look towards some of the longer mountain and ultra trail races in the UK and abroad”.

“Overall it is a great mix of youth and experience, speed and endurance, and we hope to be able to do all of the partners proud with some great results once again this year”.

© Salomon UK

Emma Clayton

Speaking about the Avenir squad comments:

“I am very pleased with what we have achieved in pulling together this junior collective in 2013. In a relatively short space of time it has gone from a vision to reality, and the fact that we have some of the UK’s top young talent on the squad in the very first year is particularly pleasing.

“In Annabel Mason we have the European Mountain Running Champion and one of the brightest prospects in UK junior running at the moment, James Hall is the English Schools Fell Running Champion, Bertie Houghton an English international on the fells and a champion on the track