3 Peaks – the joy of winning

Posted in At the Races on Wed 23 Apr ’14

© www.grough.co.uk

Three Peaks runners on Pen-y-Ghent

A reposting of a previous 3 Peaks article, but we think it’s still a relevant piece to be pushing out there this week, and is always a nice refresher for those who may have read it before – for those who haven’t it’s a nice history lesson from those who have won the mighty 3Ps…

The Three Peaks Race is all about the runners. Tales are told that become folk lore down the years, however it’s generally the winners that are remembered – here a few snippets from those who have experienced that joy of winning…

What it feels like to win the Three Peaks Race

(With kind permission of David Hodgson www.threepeaksrace.org.uk)

Only a select few have experienced winning the Three Peaks race . We asked some previous winners to say just how they felt after winning and here is a selection of their comments.

© www.threepeaksrace.org.uk

Harry Walker – Winner 1978, 1979,1981.

After seven attempts to win I finally fulfiled my ambition. I felt extremely proud, and still do. I have many happy memories and some very bad ones. After struggling to do 21 races I have great respect for the runners at the back of the field.

Wendy Dodds – Joint Ladies Winner 1983. Completion of most races by a woman.

I fell over several times on the descent from Ingleborough and was helped up by other runners. Carol (Walkington) and I passed each other several times during the descent, until a mile or so from the end we agreed to finish together. I had always hoped to do 21 races and after about ten races I kept thinking can I do another 11, 10 etc. but when it was decided to give women ‘the picture’ after 15 races it took the pressure off. It has become psychologically easier to think of reaching 21”. Wendy is attempting her 21st race this year.

Jeff Norman – Winner 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975.

From the age of 18 when I first read about this race, I couldn’t wait for my 21st birthday, when I would be old enough to compete. Completing the race that first year probably gave me more satisfaction than some later wins, but after two “down the field” finishes, followed by a 3rd, then a 2nd, my first win was very special – an ambition fulfilled.

© www.threepeaksrace.org.uk

Jeff Norman at Ribblehead

Hugh Symonds – Winner 1984,1985,1987.

The sensation of crossing the line, as winner at Horton is one of the best feelings in fell racing only rivalled by the atmosphere on winning the Ben Nevis. However, after my first win in 1984, feelings of euphoria transformed to shame within two hours, because post race celebrations in the pub meant that I completely forgot to attend the presentation. I wasn’t there to receive the magnificent carved trophy! Looking at it on the wall afterwards was a constant reminder of my stupidity and made me determined to win the race again. (He did – twice more)

© www.threepeaksrace.org.uk

Vanessa Peacock (Brindle) – Ladies Winner 1987, 1988, 1989.

Winning the Three Peaks Race gave me a greater satisfaction and sense of achievement than winning any other race. The demanding course, the spectator involvement, and the special history of the event all create a great sense of occasion. It’s the fell equivalent of the London Marathon.

Ian Ferguson – Winner 1991, 1992.

Most folks have heard of the Three Peaks so to win you are a hero. The only race that brought tears to my eyes whilst running the last 500 metres.

Gary Devine – Winner 1990.

I’ve come to realise that it was quite an achievement and that I am proud to have won it. I can still recall most of the race, mainly because of the tussle I had with Shaun Livesey.

Sarah Rowell – Ladies Winner 1991,1992,1994. Ladies record holder.

The Peaks was always a special race for me, one that I focused my training on during the winter. The emotions attached to winning depended how the race had gone – a real high when all went well, more a feeling of relief when it had been a struggle.

© www.pudseybramley.com

Sarah Rowell at the Three Peaks in 1999

Gavin Bland – Winner 1993.

I ran for three hours without a thought of winning but caught Mark Croasdale close to the finish and had a little bit left for a sprint finish. A very unexpected Peaks win that just goes to show: Never give up!

Jean Rawlinson – Ladies Winner 1995.

I remember the conditions were very good and I set off steadily. I climbed Whernside with Kath Drake but overtook her at the summit and from

An evening with Joss Naylor

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 22 Apr ’14

© Tommy Orr

Joss Naylor

It’s not every day that you get the chance to rub shoulders with mountain running greatness. but every year at the Keswick Mountain Festival the opportunity arises with the festival playing host to a number of lectures over the course of its ever-popular week…

Seventy eight year old Joss Naylor MBE from Wasdale is one of the greatest fell runners of all time, with multiple fell race wins and long distance peak-bagging records to his name, as well as a life long love of the Lakeland fells. He appears for one night only in an exclusive Q&A session with Claire Maxted, editor of Trail Running magazine.

Date & Time: Thursday 15th May, 20.30
Where: Location: The Theatre By The Lake. Postcode: CA12 5DJ

Further info and book your place now via this link

British runners dominate the Iznik Ultra

Posted in At the Races on Mon 21 Apr ’14

© Ian Corless

Located just 2-hours away from Istanbul, Iznik is very much a quiet holiday resort for those in the know. Situated on an idyllic lake, the town comes to life as the Iznik Series of races arrive in town. Ian Corless reports.

The idea of Caner Odabasoglu (a keen ultra runner himself) and now in its 3rd edition, the races is very much a highlight of the Turkish racing season.

Offering 4-race distances, 130km, 80km, a classic marathon and a 10km, Caner and his team from MCR Racesetter have provided an opportunity for all. The 130km race is the longest single stage ultra in Turkey and therefore it appeals and has a loyal following from the ever-growing Turkish ultra running community.

In just 3-years, the races have grown in numbers. US ultra runner Amy Sproston raced the 80km in 2013 and set a new CR proving that interest and international appeal in Iznik and ultra running in Turkey is on the up!

In 2014 a strong British contingent crossed the channel and joined runners from France, China, South Africa, Germany, Australia and New Zealand making the races a truly international event. Arriving in Bursa prepared for a stunning weekend of racing; the race or the racing didn’t disappoint.


On the stroke of midnight in Iznik Square, participants ventured out onto a clockwise loop of Iznik Lake. The harder and more challenging part of the course, the first 60km would run in darkness, whilst the flatter and far more runnable sections would be taken in daylight.

From the off runners separated with a small lead pack pushing the pace. However, Marcus Scotney (Montane) and Akin Yeneceli forged ahead and opened up a convincing lead ahead of Bryan Edwards from New Zealand by the 11km mark. At cp1, Edwards arrived first closely followed by runner after runner. Something was wrong and it soon became clear that our front two runners had gone off course.

© Ian Corless

Marcus Scotney leads the 130km

By the time they arrived well over 30-minutes had elapsed and Scotney had visible and vocal frustration at the dilemma, ‘That’s it, it’s all ruined now… what a waste!’ What followed was a master class in pacing and distance running, one-by-one, Scotney moved his way up the field using each runner ahead as a carrot.

Closing the gap to 26-mins, 22-mins, and 16-mins and by the time he arrived at the 60-km mark Marcus was 4th with 6-mins to catch up. All the early protagonists who had set the early pace had faded whereas Scotney had become stronger and stronger. The big question mark would be could he hold on?

Chasing Yavuz and Ivanovski from Macedonia, Scotney eventually took the lead of the race and never looked back. A course record had always been on Scotney’s mind and his wish came true, despite an epic detour, he arrived in Iznik 12 –hours, 53-minutes and 59-seconds later. The effort of his endeavor was clear to see. Mahmut Yavuz retained local celebrity status with 2nd place and Zhikica Ivanovski placed 3rd.

The ladies race was a low-key affair with just 3-entrants. Previous 130km winner, Elena Polyakova would defend her title after injury issues and therefore decided to race the marathon. This provided an open stage for local ultra runner and legend, Bakiye Duran to shine. Shine she did! Bakiye covered the course from start to finish in the lead with only Svetiana Ivanovski to worry about.

1. Marcus Scotney (Montane) 12:53:59 new CR
2. Mahmut Yavuz 13:11:55
3. Zhikica Ivanovski 13:53:41

1. Bakiye Duran 19:09:39
2. Svetiana Stojanoska 22:27:08


Jo Meek (Scott Running) and Tracy Dean (inov-8) set a blistering pace in the 80km race. Dean leading Meek over the first 10km with just a 1-min lead but at cp1, Meek took over the lead and never relinquished it.

Dean pursued all day keeping Meek in her sights never allowing the gap to grow beyond 1-2 mins. However, stomach issues struck for Dean and post race she went on to say that she continually felt as though she was struggling and never felt comfortable. Meek however had her blinkers on and was pushing not only for the outright win but a new course record, a record set by Amy Sproston!

Aykut Celikbas (very much a pioneer of the Turkish ultra scene) had chased the dynamic duo of Dean and Meek all day and eventually moved into 2nd place after Dean dropped at 60-km. Meek ran like a woman possessed, without doubt she is currently one of the most exciting prospects in the UK ultra running scene as her 2nd place at the 2013 Marathon des Sables and her victory at the 2014 The Coastal Challenge

Ricky Lightfoot kicks starts his season at Advanced Week

Posted in The Sweat on Sat 19 Apr ’14

© Jordi Saragossa

Ricky above Lake Garda

2013 was quite a year in the life of Ricky Lightfoot. The Cumbrian not only took some big domestic wins at such races as the Borrowdale fell race, but also won the IAU Trail World title, the Otter Trail race in South Arica and topped it all in becoming a father.

“To better 2013 would take a lot (my daughter was born) and I had some good results with some strong runs, it’s probably the best shape I’ve been in since 2009”, states the Salomon Trail Team UK runner. But as is common in many sports, you are only as good as you last result, and after a tricky start to 2014 due to, firstly, a knee injury and more recently a back problem, Ricky is now running freely once again and looking ahead to an exciting 2014.

Having just returned from this year’s Salomon Advanced Week in Italy (a week of testing, training and inspiration with the Salomon International team), he is now replanting his race schedule and reflecting on how beneficial his week in Limone nr Lake Garda in Italy was.

© Jordi Saragossa

“Its not all about testing and sampling new kit at the Advanced Week, the week also gives the athletes a chance to meet before the season, the design team and other athletes to discuss their race plans, as well as being able to train and run on some of the best trails around in Limone Sul Garda. To me Advanced Week couldn’t have come at a better time, I’d not been running much due to some injury issues and at the beginning of the week didn’t think I’d be able to run, but a few appointments with Arnaud I was back running straight away. Its an amazing week, I feel so lucky to be part of it, its like an extended family from around the World.”

“Training so far in 2014 hasn’t gone as I’d have liked, I picked up a knee injury at the end of January which stopped me running until mid March and then a back injury prevented me from running until I managed to see Arnaud. So I plan to get some consistent training in over the next 6 weeks which unfortunately means I’ll have to miss Transvulcania and hopefully my first main race will be the Maxi Race in Annecy. From then on I’ll decide for definite on my race schedule.”

“I’ve got some big races planned for 2014 and they’ll be some quality fields to go up against, but I’m still on a big learning curve when it comes to the long races so we’ll have to wait and see. My main races this year will be Dodo Trail in Mauritius, another visit to the Otter Trail in South Africa, the new 3×3 Ultra in the Lake District, Les Templiers in France and the season Finale TNF San Francisco 50.”

© Jacques Marais

Ricky Lightfoot at the 2013 Otter Trail race

Speaking about the product testing aspect of Advanced Week, which is so important to the whole Salomon product and development teams who decamp to Advanced Week each year, Ricky continues:

“The week is a great opportunity to sample some of the new kit for the 2014 season and to look at what’s in development for the years ahead. This is my third Advanced Week and I’ve got to say the development and progression improves year by year and this year is no exception, in my opinion they have produced some of their best kit and products I’ve seen yet.”

“Overall I am excited for 2014. I’ll be spending time in the Lakes and fells that I love and will always be ‘home’, but will also discover some new places around the world – when I think about it I am pretty lucky!”

Follow Ricky via his Facebook athlete page and on Twitter.

The Celts are coming!

Posted in At the Races on Fri 18 Apr ’14

© fuegoyagua.org

“The Celts Ultras take trail running back to basics. Expect a trail running experience like you imagine that which early explorers encountered”. So goes the intro to a brand new ultra event for the UK this August…

And they mean what they say!

There will be no Aid Stations – you will have to filter your own water and carry your own food. The ultras DO NOT include any obstacles or challenges.

So, proper self-sufficient stuff from the Fuego y Agua events team, as they hit the south Wales region with races over 25 and 50km.

When: 5:00am Saturday, August 23, 2014
Where: Kenfig Nature Reserve, Wales, United Kingdom
What: Rugged Trail Races with 3 race options: 25k & 50k Trail Races, and a brutal 50k Survival Run

More info via the Fuego y Agua site here

Bogle and Lee seize the day at Donard

Posted in At the Races on Sat 29 Mar ’14


Allan Bogle on his way to a big win at Slieve Donard

As they say in sport a win is a win, and though he may not have been at the top of some people’s lists of potential winners at todays’ British Fell Champs Rd 1 race, Allan Bogle brilliantly took his chance on home soil to take a famous victory at Slieve Donard…

Both men’s and women’s races were jam packed with UK fell talent, with many making the trip over for weekend, and some (Rob Jebb and Morgan Donnelly for example) entering on the day.

However, race time arrived with Donard veiled in mist and the writing was perhaps on the wall for those without local knowledge, as reports came back after the race of visibility down to 10ft on the peaks.


Jebby leads the way in the early climbs, and mist!

So, after 10k (more for many) and 850m of ascent it was Northern Ireland orienteer Bogle who came out on top, claiming a great victory ahead of Iain Whiteside and Neil Northrop, as many of the favourites littered the results right down outside the top 100 (form man Tom Addison for instance finishing an incredible 150th!) – with Twitter being littered with rants about nav issues.

Bogle later said:

Still hasn’t sunk in. Have to convince Alison and Mollie to come with me to some of the other races in the championships now

In the women’s race winner Jackie Lee wasnt such a surprise, as the Eryri Harrier has been in strong form this year already and has British champs pedigree over the years. However, the same fate in the mist was dealt to 2013 tied champions Helen Fines and Vic Wilkinson, with the latter finishing a couple of places back on Addison in 152nd! Emma Gould took second, with Claire Green claiming third.

More via this great report from NIMRA, with full results via this link

Top 5 Men
1 Allan Bogle 01:05:25 MO City of Derry AC
2 Iain Whiteside 01:05:35 MO Carnethy HRC
3 Neil Northrop 01:05:57 MO Dark Peak Fell Runners
4 Andrew Fallas 01:06:01 MO Carnethy HRC
5 Simon Bailey 01:06:03 MO Mercia Fell Runners

Top 5 Women
1 Jacqueline Lee 01:24:14 FO Eryri Harriers
2 Emma Gould 01:26:42 FO Mercia Fell Runners
3 Claire Green 01:27:33 FO Pudsey and Bramley
4 Mel Price 01:29:31 FV40Mercia Fell Runners
5 Shileen O’Kane 01:29:42 FV40Lagan Valley AC

© Alison Bogle


Reactions so far
  1. Dave Taylor
    Apr 3, 04:31 PM

    Great race highlighting the need to be proficient with a map & compass!

Spring forward…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 28 Mar ’14

© www.thenorthface.com

The North Face® has this week announced the ‘Longer Days’ campaign, encouraging everyone to spend more time in the outdoors. Spring is dawning, and more daylight means more time to explore. As the clocks go forward, there will be more hours to embrace and a chance to run, hike, climb and explore longer.

TNF Release

With many people leading busy lives, staying connected with the outdoors gives everyone a chance to refresh their spirit and stay active while discovering the world. So prepare yourself for endless possibilities this spring and Never Stop Exploring™!

The adventure begins on daylight savings. To capture this season’s greatest moments in the outdoors, The North Face® will introduce the Explorer Photo Competition, awarding daily prizes for the best photos of exploration. Whether you’re on top of a mountain or along your favourite trail, The North Face® invites you to share your extra hours using #LongerDays.

© www.thenorthface.com

The celebration of spring continues with the launch of the new Explorer App. This exciting tool lets you track your performances, share your achievements via photos, and earn rewards. There are many challenges to take on, from going higher to pushing yourself further.

Weekly prizes are awarded for the best explorers, and there is a grand prize for the overall champion. The app is also supplemented by an online microsite that allows users to view their profiles and interact with fellow explorers.

With the right gear, everyone will be able to explore more and truly enjoy an active lifestyle. The North Face® have built the athlete-tested spring/summer collection with innovation and style. It offers everything you need to spend more time in the outdoors and stay protected in all conditions.

For The North Face® athletes, this active lifestyle can mean many things. Whether it’s competing in events, discovering new places, travelling the world, or training for next season, they all have exciting plans to enjoy their extra hours. How will you spend yours?

Watch the teaser here and join The North Face® for daylight savings at longerdays.thenorthface.com and get ready for a full season of exploration

Addison leads inov8 armada at Middle Fell

inov-8 athlete Tom Addison recorded one of the biggest wins of his young career when beating a stellar international field at the Middle Fell Race in the Lake District. The 23-year-old turned the summit in fifth place…

…but a fearless descent over steep terrain followed by a fast return to Nether Wasdale saw him overhaul four inov-8 teammates and claim the victory in the 6.6-mile / 1700ft race. One-time leader Orlando Edwards had looked set to repeat his recent big win at the Carnethy 5 Hill Race, but he missed a crucial turn in the last two miles and that allowed the chasing pack through.

Going stride-for-stride with top sky and mountain runners Aritz Egea (Basque), Eirik Haugsnes (Norway) and David Schneider (Switzerland), for all of whom it was a first taste of British fell running, Addison pushed himself right to the limit and reaped the rewards with a standout win.

Kendal-based Addison, who trains with Helm Hill Runners, said:

“I was fifth at the top but still felt I had a chance, so I committed absolutely everything to the descent. I took a few risks but it paid off, as suddenly the guys in front were getting nearer.

“As we hit the road in the valley the pace was seriously hot. Orlando was out in front but he missed a turn-off. We called him back but he couldn’t hear us. Then, over the final few fields, Aritz shot off. He opened up a gap, which I worked hard to close down. With about 800m to go we drew level and I just went for it. I’ve never felt an adrenalin rush like it. I kicked as hard as I could and didn’t dare look back!

“It was a brilliant race and the win has given me real confidence going into Pendle (the first 2014 English Fell Championships counter on April 5).

© www.inov-8.com

Addison wore inov-8’s X-Talon 190 shoe for the first time to win at Middle Fell, adding:

“It was really lightweight, a really fast racing shoe. The grip was brilliant and gave me lots of confidence to nail the descent the way I did.”

Egea finished second, just 12 seconds behind Addison, with Haugsnes third a further eight seconds back.

inov-8, who held their latest UK and European athlete retreat at nearby Eskdale on the same weekend, filled the top seven places in the men’s race.

© Mick Kenyon / racingsnakes.com

Sharon Taylor

Helm Hill’s Sharon Taylor took top honours in the ladies’ race, from Ambleside’s Hazel Robinson, with Judt Franch in third.

Middle Fell Race results here, with images by Mick Kenyon for Racing Snakes here and here

Reactions so far
  1. Mark Liptrot
    Mar 21, 12:47 PM

    Good write up. But the shameless promotion of a running shoe in a race report is a bit disturbing. This isn’t triathlon. And it never should be.

Weekend fell racing…

Posted in At the Races on Mon 10 Mar ’14

© Woodentops

Rob Hope at the Pendle Round 2014

Wins for Rob Hope, Sharon Taylor, Jack Ross, Helen Berry, John Parkinson and others as the fell running season continued to get underway with mild temperatures and blue skies for some…

Hope continued his strong start to the 2014 season with convincing win at the Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round. The P&B runner put a good 45 seconds into Ian Holmes, with Eryri’s Math Roberts taking a very good third. Vic Wilkinson was running well ahead in the women’s race too, until some nav issues in the mist put paid to her race. Sharon Taylor took full advantage to take the ladies win.

© Woodentops

Vic Wilkinson

Young Jack Ross won the Ian Roberts memorial under blue sky and warm sunshine, with Holmfirth’s Helen Berry winning the ladies race.

Full results from both races are yet to be posted, but some great images from the Ian Roberts and Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round races via the Woodentops site here.

Eryri Harrier John Parkinson was a clear winner of the Moel Tryfan race in Wales, with Bangor student Beckie Taylor taking the ladies win. Results here and images via Simon Murray here

© Simon Murray

Beckie Taylor at Moel Tryfan

Meanwhile, up in Northumberland Ewan Brown and Karen Robertson were winners at the Brough Law race near Durham. Full results here.

Great Britton – UK UROY joins inov8

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 26 Feb ’14

© www.profeet.co.uk

Robbie on international duty in 2013

Newly crowned 2013 UK Ultra Runner of the Year Robbie Britton thrives on pushing his body to the limit. The new team inov-8 recruit has revelled in a phenomenal past 12 months and is now looking ahead to a 2014 calendar stacked with some of the world’s toughest ultra distance races…

Having smashed the course record at the recent 66-mile Pilgrims Challenge, Robbie is now preparing for his skyrunning debut at Transvulcania.

© www.xnrg.co.uk

Robbie Britton

In his first inov blog, 27-year-old Robbie writes:

“So what’s next? Tattoo UK Ultra runner of the Year 2013 across my forehead and relax with my award? Nah, that’s not my style, plus the tatoo would look awful! My 2014 season is underway and I’ve already snared two victories, including the two-day Pilgrims Challenge 66-miler on the North Downs Way.

“Four years ago the Pilgrims Challenge took me a total of 15 hours to complete, and the on the second day alone I was running for nine hours. This year I broke the course record, clocking a total time of 8 hrs 8 mins for the two days combined.

© www.xnrg.co.uk

Robbie (centre) after his Pilgrims Challenge triumph

“Next up is Transvulcania, on the island of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands. This is the first race in the 2014 Skyrunning calendar and all the world’s best ultra-distance mountain runners will be there.

“I have been to La Palma once before, taking in a few epic days in the mountains before setting off to sail the Atlantic in a boat built by a crazy old man advertising for crew on Gumtree! At 51 miles, Transvulcania is a little bit short for me but it has more ascent – there’s 2,000m in the first 11 miles – than the 24-hour stuff. I will go there, chuck myself in the mix and see what happens. I am always up for challenging myself.

“After that I have the World 24hr Running Championships. The target this year is a top-10 finish. I’m already feeling good about my chances as I feel fitter and stronger than I was last year.

“And what year would be complete without a trip to the Alps? The 103-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) was shortened due to awful weather conditions the last time I ventured to Chamonix in 2012, but the atmosphere of the race got into my blood and this year I will return. I can’t wait.”

In 2013, Robbie won the high-profile 2013 South Downs Way 100 miler in a new course record, ran at the World 24hr Running Championships and completed the gruelling 152-mile Spartathlon race in Greece.

Read Robbie’s full blog post via this link

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UTPD entries ‘selling out’…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 21 Feb ’14

© www.digdeepraces.co.uk

The Ultra Tour Peak District event is close to selling out in 2014, a full 5 months ahead of race day in June, as runner prepare to pit themselves over 56.5 miles across the Peak District National Park…

Full event release

The Ultra Trail Peak District, which will be held on the 21st June 2014, is now close to selling out! We are really pleased that with still 5 months to go we now only have 50 places left for the 60 mile ultra race, which takes in some of the most iconic climbs and views the Peak District trails have to offer.

The UTPD is a qualifying race for the UTMB (2pts) and part of our festival of running weekend

To book a place on the UTPD, please follow this link

Intro Ultra (30mile) and UTPD (60mile) Recce Day

Dig Deep are holding a recce day on Sunday, 16th March 2014. This will cover parts of both the 60 mile and 30 mile courses. The cost of the recce day is £5. They will be fully guided by members of the Dig Deep Team and we will give you navigational tips as well as focusing on particularly navigational tricky parts of the routes.

We meet in the Outside Cafe in Hathersage at 9:45am. Outside are the retail partners of Dig Deep Peak District.

UTPD runners – The recce run will be from Burbage Valley to Moscar – including Derwent leg (18 miles).

Intro Ultra runners – The recce run will be from Burbage Valley to Hope (8 – 9 miles)

To book onto the Recce Day follow this link

Speaker for the Weekend

We are really pleased that Mammut sponsored endurance athlete Helen Bonsor will be joining us for the Dig Deep Peak District weekend. Helen will be one of several elite athletes who will be giving talks on endurance running over the weekend.

To read more about what inspires Helen and her achievements have a read of this

Mammut are the Dig Deep Peak District 2014 Official Sponsors

To find out more information on all of the races available over the 21st and 22nd June, click here

Skyrunning UK announce ROCKTAPE as a sponsor

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 30 Jan ’14

© Ian Corless

Sports tape brand ROCKTAPE has been announced as the first sponsor to support the Skyrunner® Series UK. The ROCKTAPE team are avid athletes and already support various UK based events and athletes; notably Lakeland 100 winner Terry Conway…

Skyrunning UK release

No matter how carefully we prepare and train, injuries happen and unfortunately they can happen on a frequent basis, especially when pushing at the limits. ROCKTAPE is not just for the injured athlete, it can also be used to help delay fatigue and improve posture/running form.

Today, ‘Kinesiology Tape’ is widely used throughout the world to treat injuries and pain. ROCKTAPE is the only tape specifically engineered to meet the demands of elite athletes. Why is it unique? Stick and Stretch. Its unique glue means that unlike many other tapes ROCKTAPE stays on the skin come hell or high water. ROCKTAPE stretches twice as much as most kinesiology tape and is engineered to mimic human skin. The ‘stretch’ is the secret behind ROCKTAPE!

© Ian Corless

Anna Frost

How does it work? When applied properly, ROCKTAPE lifts the skin away from the muscle, which promotes positive changes in the body’s fluid, mechanical and neurological systems. Commonly people wearing Rocktape report less pain, swelling and tightness, greater awareness of the area and later onset of fatigue.

Paul Coker, Medical Director, Rocktape UK explains:

“We are really pleased to be able to support the Skyrunner® UK series in its inaugural year, we hope it’s the beginning of a long term-relationship. ROCKTAPE offers lots of great benefits to runners, this partnership is a perfect way to showcase our product and increase awareness of ROCKTAPE amongst the trail and ultra running community. As a very enthusiastic but distinctly average runner myself its also a great reason to be at Sky races and witness some of the worlds best athletes run.”

© Rocktape

Skyrunning UK’s Ian Corless is well aware of the benefits that may be obtained both pre-exercise, during exercise and post exercise from ROCKTAPE.

“We strongly believe that our partnership is a great step forward not only for the Skyrunner® Series UK but also all our athletes who will perform in our series. Paul and myself have had plenty of communication over the past 2-years. I have used ROCKTAPE to help recover from injuries and I have also used products in training to prevent onward injuries.

“I fully understand and believe in the product. It’s great to have a sponsor on board that will directly benefit every participant in a Skyrunner® Series UK event. Why is this? Well, ROCKTAPE will be present at our events and provide on hand advice, show taping techniques and directly get involved with each and every runner. It’s a really exciting prospect.”

© Rocktape

Ben Abdelnoor

The 2014 Skyrunner® Series UK is developing each and every day. Skyrunning UK has already announced two ULTRA events, the V3K in Wales for June and the 3×3 in the Lakes for October.

With the imminent announcement of new events to the 2014 calendar and the sponsorship of ROCKTAPE the Skyrunner® Series UK is already proving to be one of the most exciting race series prospects for those who love to run over technical and demanding terrain with plenty of vertical gain within the UK.

More via the SRUK site here.

© skyrunninguk.com

Reactions so far
  1. Matthew Roberts
    Jan 30, 10:44 PM

    This series gets better and better – as well as having to cope with unvetted Southerners lambasting the hills, we’ll now also have to carry incredibly large refuse bags with us on our runs. The reason – to collect the bloody mythical ‘rocktape’ that will be dispersed across the hillside following the marauding of the Vegan Sky Runners along the Eryri 14 Peaks………………..there’s no way that Ben A photo is real – must be a photoshop job – will have a word with him.

Skyrunning UK announce the 3x3ULTRA

Posted in At the Races on Mon 06 Jan ’14

© skyrunninguk.com

A new year and what better way to start than with the announcement of the first race in the new Skyrunning UK ‘Skyrunner® National Series’ – the ‘3×3ULTRA’ by High Terrain Events.

© High Terrain Events

Over 4000m (13,000ft) of ascent await participants of the 3×3Ultra. “It’s an opportunity to cover three classic Lakeland peaks in an accumulative distance of 80km’s”, says High Terrain Events race director, Ian Mulvey.

Salomon athlete, Ricky Lightfoot (IAU World Trail Champion 2013 and Otter course record holder) has been instrumental in combining his skills and knowledge in designing a course that will bring Skyrunning UK an event that ultimately will create the perfect flagship for the Skyrunner® National Series (SNS) within the UK.

© www.highterrainevents.co.uk

Ricky Lightfoot at the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon

Based on the classic ‘Lakes 3000’s’ the 80km route will include Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. An amazing circular route over the best mountains available within the UK, it promises to be a tough challenge.

Lauri van Houten, executive director for the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) has been instrumental in providing the backing and support to enable Skyrunning UK to become a reality. When asked about Skyrunning in the UK, Lauri had this to say:

“Some of the world’s top athletes come from the UK! Andy Symonds, Tom Owens, Ricky Lightfoot, Robbie Simpson, Tessa Hill, Anna Lupton and past SWS (Skyrunner World Series) Champions Angela Mudge and Rob Jebb… British races are known for being tough and challenging. Skyrunning captures the spirit and tough technical challenges runners are looking for today. That’s the ‘feel’ we’d like to bring to the UK.”

The race route combines all the elements of a classic Lakeland run with aspects of European racing.

Tom Owens states:

“Skyrunning UK offers a great opportunity, we already have the main ingredients; technical terrain, beautiful mountains and hills. The UK has brilliant and committed athletes who love racing. We may not have the required altitude that a Skyrunning race would require in Europe but this is compensated for with the amount and steepness of climb that we can accumulate over distance, the 3×3Ultra is a great example of this.”

© Ian Corless / Talk Ultra

Tom Owens at Templiers 2012

No stranger to Skyrunning, Salomon International athlete, Andy Symonds has performed with the best-of-the-best all over Europe, his podium finish at Transvulcania La Palma in 2012 a particular highlight also offered his approval of the 3×3Ultra:

“Skyrunning is about running high up on rough ground. Getting up, over and along big mountains with big views. The 3×3Ultra does just that and it’s great to see it finalized on the all new Skyrunning UK calendar, it’s an exciting time”.

The Skyrunner® National Series will bring a new race series to the UK. Made up of five races in each category (Sky and Ultra), runners will accumulate ranking points by competing in at least three out of five races over the SkyRace® and Ultra SkyMarathon® distances. Respective male and female winners of the ‘SNS’ in 2015 will be rewarded with the ultimate prize; not only they will they be crowned champions of the ‘SNS’ but they will also receive the opportunity to race in the final of the Skyrunner® World Series.

Ian Corless, director for Skyrunning UK has been working for months in conjunction with the ISF Athlete Commission to bring this moment to fruition:

“It’s about progression and development. Having witnessed Skyrunning from every level for the past 2-years and seen the growth, the excitement, the opportunities; to not be part of this in the UK would be a shame. The sport is growing at all levels. In time I hope we will have a series of UK based Skyrunning teams similar to the model that inov-8 have created. A Skyrunning National Series will provide not only a great structure for the sport but it will also provide a springboard for UK athletes to race in other countries but equally, we hope to attract foreign athletes to race on home soil. The announcement of the 3×3Ultra clearly states our intentions for what a Skyrunning event should be in the UK.”

© www.highterrainevents.co.uk

Lauri continues:

“The only setback has been the difficulty in finding the right person to represent Skyrunning in the UK and bring it in line with other countries. It’s been hard to find a replacement but Ian Corless has embodied that and with his contacts and know-how we’re confident he’ll pull a great movement together.”

The stage is set for the 3×3Ultra.

Ian Mulvey, race director for the 3×3Ultra explained his thoughts and vision:

“It will showcase what we have to offer in the UK and hopefully attract

Nepal and the Everest Trail Race by iancorless.com

Posted in The Sweat on Tue 19 Nov ’13

© iancorless.com

I had a dream, like any boy, I had a dream of what might be. Majestic mountains and blue skies; coloured flags draped onstring and spread across the trail. Nepal and the Himalayas, it’s sometimes quite difficult to convey an emotion…

Nepal stirs an emotion. You see, I had a vision; a vision of what this region would hold for me. Visual delights that can fulfill the photographic passion of even a novice cameraman, to be in this region of the world, yes, near the ‘rooftop’ of the world is something that I never thought would happen. It’s a shock to the system, 16-hours of travel and suddenly the noise, the chaos and the colour of Kathmandu.

© iancorless.com

It’s an incredible and frantic explosion on the senses after isolated seclusion of a plane. Toot-toot, beeeeep, honk-honk; car horn after car horn provide a soundtrack to our arrival and amongst this noise frenzy a gentle layer of permanent dust circulates. You look around, faces and colour everywhere. Reds, blues, greens, cyan, and magenta it’s just incredible.

Weary eyes through lack of sleep flick open and stay there allowing everything to soak in.‘Namaste’ welcome to Nepal and I am encircled with a garland of orange flowers from a gleaming local. I have been in Nepal 5-minutes and I am already excited at the prospects of what lie ahead. It’s not far, but far enough to get a taste of the life, the character and the passions of Kathmandu.

© iancorless.com

Moving through the streets in a busthat feels as though it is from another time, our short journey to Hotel Shanker is soon over and we are welcomed to our base for thenext two days by the team members of the Everest Trail Race. Sipping tea in our plush green surroundings while the sun beats down, the contrast between what is outside the gates and what is enclosed within them has never been more apparent. I need to move, I need to go out and I need to explore.

I need to get a feel for the place I am in and I am just desperate to take images. Within minutes I am walking along a dusty and unfinished road.It’s a paradise. I love to capture life as it happens, raw, uncensored and naked. The harshness of what I see is often softened by a beaming smile or a splash of colour.

The car horn symphony continues and minutes later I don’t even notice it, as I am engrossedin my camera and what is in front of it. A man selling apples, a girl begging; her friends a goat and a chicken while her little brother crawls around the floor in rags for clothes.I am in my element. While others relax and catch up on lost sleep, I am wired. Like an addict, I need my fix.

© iancorless.com

I need to capture images, I need to portray the story of what is unfolding before my eyes. The largest urban agglomerate of Nepal, Kathmandu is a gateway and it serves as a nerve center for tourism and as such, the variety of services and culture on offer is wide. Rich in history, most of Kathmandu’s people follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. It is a cosmopolitan melting pot and English is widely spoken.As I walk, flowers (Rangoli) adorn many shops and homes.

Pavements are coloured with paints or powders, everyone is in a festive mood. It’s a very important time of the year. A religious festival is taking place. ’Tihar’ also known as Deepawali in the Terai region of Nepal is a five-day-long Hindu and Buddhist festival. Tihar means the festival of lights, were many candles are lit both inside and outside the houses to make it bright at night.

Darkness soon arrives and with it, time to relax. Evening provides anopportunity to prepare for the up and coming adventure, the Everest Trail Race…

The Everest Trail Race is a multi-day journey that will test each and every participant in a way that they have not been tested before.

A total elevation gain of over 25,000m will mean that breathing alone will be difficult.Set against one of the most awe inspiring backdrops, the ETR lasted for six days covering a total distance of 160km.

© iancorless.com
© iancorless.com

Daily distances are on the face of it were relatively easy at; 22, 28, 30, 37, 20 and 22km, however, daily altitude differences vary greatly. It is a demanding race and although each participant was required to be self-sufficient during each day, food, water and an evening camp were provided by the race organization.

Daily temperatures varied from -10c to +18c and the terrain offered incredible variety; frozen earth, snow and

Zugspitz to have new route

Posted in At the Races on Wed 06 Nov ’13

© www.zugspitz-ultratrail.com

Julien Chorier breaks the Zugspitz tape in 2012

Each year trail racers from around the world make it a habit to convene at the base of the massive Zugspitze, Germany’s loftiest peak. The runners get together for an event that has quickly turned cult in its short four-year history – the Salomon Zuspitz Ultra-Trail.

Over the years this race sized up not only in terms of numbers but also added ever more course options. For 2014, the full 100K circumnavigation of the mountain massif may again garner the limelight but three (rather than two) additional entry points along the loop trail offer options for shorter race distances.

The latest addition to the wildly popular lineup of Basetrail, Supertrail and Ultratrail is the Supertrail XL course, which kicks off in Ehrwald, Austria. Registration for the 2013 event opened on the 1st of November

© zugspitz-ultratrail.com

While running routines may wind down for most trail runners towards the end of the year, the 2014 event is already back on the front burner for race organizers, event sponsors and host communities. In an effort to keep the event fresh and fun, there is always some aspect of the race that is being tweeked for the benefit of the race community.

New for 2014 is the Supertrail XL distance, an exciting course addition that sets off in Ehrwald, Austria, and fits in nicely between the Ultratrail (start in Grainau, Germany) and Supertrail (start in Leutasch-Weidach, Austria). The XL version woos racers with a distance of 79,3 kilometers and 4,156 meters of ascent and should attract finishers of the Supertrail (60.7 km / 2,973 m vertical gain) who want to up the ante but hesitate to commit to the full-length Ultratrail.

© zugspitz-ultratrail.com

Besides the Supertrail XL addition and few minor trail alterations, the 2014 race sticks to a proven weekend itinerary. The event kicks off Friday night with a lively opening celebration, the official race & course briefing and the popular SILVA Trailnight.

The start of the Ultratrail runners in Grainau (GER) during the wee hours of Saturday morning launches a tightly-spaced series of successive races with staggered start times in Ehrwald (AT), Leutasch-Weidach (AT) and Mittenwald (GER). Arrival of the first leaders at the finish in Grainau is expected by early afternoon but racers of the four courses and the various race categories will continue trickling in through the night until the morning of the following day. Sunday marks the end of the event and is dedicated to the award ceremony and riveting multi-media presentations with impressions of the weekend event.

The course stats speak for themselves. However, keep in mind, distance and vertical gain are one thing. Experience, technical competencies and orientation skills are another and require apt preparation. Yet, there is still time to polish up on these skills.

2014 SALOMON Zugspitz Ultratrail: Stats and Facts

  • Start: 21. June 2014 (different start locations acc. to course)
  • Finish: Grainau (GER) for all 4 courses:

o Ultratrail: 100 km / 5,420 m vertical gain, start 7:00 am, Grainau
o Supertrail XL: 79.3 km / 4,156 m vertical, start 8:00 am, Ehrwald
o Supertrail: 60.7 km / 2,973 m vertical, start 9:00 Uhr, Leutasch-Weidach
o Basetrail: 35.9 km / 1,892 Hm, start 10:00 am, Mittenwald

For additional information, visit: www.zugspitz-ultratrail.com

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

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]

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

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

Adventures, passion and podiums

Posted in At the Races on Mon 21 Oct ’13


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.