British Fell Relays: Dark Peak and HBT dominate

Posted in At the Races on Sun 20 Oct ’13

© Stuart Bond

Dark Peak’s Stu Bond with the Fell Relays shield

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

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

This has NOT been photoshopped!

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

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Murray Strain

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

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

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Katie Walshaw

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Victoria Wilkinson at Bwlch y Groes

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

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

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Orlando Edwards

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

© Accelerate

Stu Bond on leg 2

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

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

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

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

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

© Accelerate

Lloyd and Oli head out on leg 3

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

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

Wales all set to welcome UK’s best

Posted in At the Races on Fri 18 Oct ’13

© Al Tye /

Simon Bailey anchoring Mercia in 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men’s race preview

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

© Stuart Stoddart

Nathan Jones – 2012 Home Internationals U18 champ

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

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

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

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

© Al Tye /

Rob Hope and Daz Kay

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

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


Lloyd bringing it home for DPFRA at the 2011 UKA relays

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

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

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

Kilian and Stevie reach for the Sky

Posted in At the Races on Tue 15 Oct ’13

© Ian Corless

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

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

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

Borrowdale lay down relay marker

Posted in At the Races on Mon 07 Oct ’13


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

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


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


Ian Hodgson

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

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

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

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

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


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

    It was Mark Roberts partnering Martin M B not Craig

  2. Mark Roberts
    Oct 7, 03:18 PM


  3. Matt MST
    Oct 7, 03:18 PM

    Thanks Mark, I spotted that after publishing, sorry!


Krar rocks whilst Jornet and Forsberg roll to Ultra titles

Posted in At the Races on Tue 01 Oct ’13


Rob Krar

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

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

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

Read the full story via the ISF here


Emelie Forsberg – supreme in 2013

The sun shines down on Anglesey trail runners

Posted in At the Races on Mon 30 Sep ’13

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

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

Full event release

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

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

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Siobhan Evans

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

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

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

Gwyn Owen

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

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

© Gwynfor James / Sport Pictures Cymru

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

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

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

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

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

Simon and Vic take the spoils at Edale Skyline

Posted in At the Races on Mon 30 Sep ’13


Simon Bailey digs in at Edale 2013

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

Edale Skyline race report via Stuart Hale

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

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

© Stolly

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

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


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

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


Rhys F-R at Edale

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

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

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


Rob Hope dibs in

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

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

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


Helen Fines

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

Edale Skyline results

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

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

England’s best head to Edale

Posted in At the Races on Sun 29 Sep ’13

© Gordon Cooper

Start of the 2011 Edale Skyline

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

© Dark Peak Fell Runners

The Edale profile!

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

© Holmfirth Harriers

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

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

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

© Andy Holden

Helen Fines strides out at Blisco

A dream 2013 continues for Clayton

Posted in The Sweat on Wed 25 Sep ’13

© Corsa in Montagna

Emma Clayton

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

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


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

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

© Emma Clayton

At the 2012 World Champs

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

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

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

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

© FIDAL CR Trento

Emma Clayton at the Arco race

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

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

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

MST: Talk us through the race…

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

World’s best get ready to UROC

Posted in At the Races on Mon 23 Sep ’13

© Jordi Saragossa

Emelie Forsberg

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

Read the full UROC preview via the ISF website here

Lightfoot storms to Otter Trail record

Posted in At the Races on Mon 23 Sep ’13

© Jacques Marais

Ricky Lightfoot at the 2013 Otter Trail race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Speaking after the event Ricky stated:

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

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

Full results via this link.

Run like the Wind

Posted in At the Races on Sat 21 Sep ’13

© Ian Corless

Nuria Picas at the 2012 CdV

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

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

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

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 19 Sep ’13


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

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

Martin’s 52 Finest Races

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 19 Sep ’13

© Martin Cox

Martin at Ullswater in 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frosty and Lizzy head to Nepal

Posted in At the Races on Wed 18 Sep ’13



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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in At the Races on Mon 16 Sep ’13

© Al Tye /

Rob Jebb on the home run at the Peris Horseshoe

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

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

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

© Al Tye /

Victoria Wilkinson

© AMN Images
© Al Tye /

Hazel Robinson

© Al Tye /

Helen Fines at Pedol Peris

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

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

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

© Al Tye /

Jebby on his way to the 2013 British title

© Al Tye /

Morgan Donnelly emerges from Bwlch Maesgwm

© Al Tye /

Finlay Wild

© Al Tye /

Mathew Roberts

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

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

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

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

  2. Markus
    Sep 16, 06:37 PM

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

  3. Markus
    Sep 16, 06:37 PM

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

  4. Markus
    Sep 16, 06:37 PM

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

Pedol Peris plays host to British fell champs decider

Posted in At the Races on Fri 13 Sep ’13

© Al Tye /

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

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


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

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

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

© Andy Holden

Morgan in action…

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

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

© Andy Holden

Helen Fines strides out at Blisco

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

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

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

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

500+ pit themselves against Snowdon at Man vs. Mountain

Posted in At the Races on Fri 06 Sep ’13


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Further info via the Man vs. Mountain website.

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

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

‘King of the Fells’

Posted in Through the Lens on Wed 04 Sep ’13

© Terry Abraham

Joss Naylor

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

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

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

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