Top Europeans head for the 3 Peaks

Posted in At the Races on Thu 18 Apr ’13


Oihana Kortuzar

With just over a week until the 2013 3 Peaks Race, anticipation is growing for what could be a race to remember in both the men’s and women’s races. The 58th edition of one of the world’s most historic mountain races takes place on the 27th of April…

MST will be delivering a full 3 Peaks preview next week, however we have today received confirmation that Spain’s 2012 Zegama winner Oihanna Kortuzar and winner of the CCC race at the 2012 UTMB Tofol Castanyer will be in the starting line-up.

© Droz-Photo

Tofol Castanyer

Also running is 2012 3 Peaks champion Joe Symonds, who comes into the race following his superb effort at the Rotterdam Marathon last weekend where he clocked an impressive 2:20.


Joe Symonds with the 3 Peaks trophy

UTMB organisers restate obligatory race kit

Posted in At the Races on Tue 02 Apr ’13


With fatalities and cancelled and re-routed events becoming more prevalent across global trail running these days, the real dangers in the high mountains are there for all to see…

This is not scaremongering, of course, however with the tragic circumstances at Ultra Cavalls del Vent last year and the sudden changes of weather that can occur, the organisers of the North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® have re-iterared the need for safety and compulsory kit at this year’s event:

Bodies and spirits are in the process of being gently built up in order to cross all the passes of one of the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® events, we rely on you to arrive on-form and as motivated as ever for the start of the race.

However, physical or mental breakdowns are not the only risks which may affect you, it will also be necessary for you to avoid the affects of heat or cold, injuries, or getting lost … In brief to adapt yourself to the mountain, watch out for yourself and for others.

Full newsletter here.


TORQ launch a new type of ‘trail team’…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 02 Apr ’13

© TORQ running columnist Kirsty Reade was invited along to the TORQ Trail Team assessment day in London this weekend. The concept is a new one in team ‘sponsorship’ too, as according to Reade it’s less about the winning and more about the taking part…

She writes:

There’s a whole new concept in trail running teams coming and it’s going to be awesome! The objective is to build a trail team with all the benefits of a professional team, with kit sponsorship, nutritional and training support, but it will be made up of non-elite athletes.

Read the full article here, with more via the TORQ running Fb page here.

© TORQ running

Top internationals set for Buttermere

Posted in At the Races on Sat 30 Mar ’13


The Buttermere 10 Trail Race is scheduled for Sunday 7th April and with a number of Great Britain mountain runners and fell internationals in the field, it is set to be a classic race.


The line up includes Ricky Lightfoot (Salomon Racing) and Chris Steele (Borrowdale Fell Runners) last year’s first and second place finishers, Carl Bell (Keswick AC) winner of both the Borrowdale 21k and Ennerdale 25k, and to ensure these local runner’s don’t have it their own way, Salomon international Rob Samuel.

In the women’s race, ultra runner and winner of the Ennerdale 50k Vicci Mousley (9Bar) will test herself against the likes of Jenn Mattinson (Keswick AC) and Rennell Brennan (Hoad Hill Harriers) a previous winner of the Grizedale Off Road Duathlon.

Buttermere is the first event in the 2013 Salomon UK Trail Tour Series and set amidst a dramatic landscape of high fells, wooded slopes and waterfalls the setting could not be more appropriate.


Starting from the iconic setting of Buttermere lake, the course is a 10 mile undulating route along the shores of Buttermere & Crummock Water. Although relatively low level the route incorporates 1050’ of ascent with a great combination of off road terrain ranging from hard packed rocky trails, sections of bog (plenty!), woodland singletrack and spectacular scenery every step of the way.

2013 will only be the second edition of this event and with over 200 runners already entered is proving to be very popular. Last year’s race was an epic battle throughout with Ricky only pulling away from Chris in the final mile to win by a mere 8 seconds.

Salomon will be supporting the event with £700 worth of fantastic prizes including trail shoes, running backpacks, hydration belts and will also be on hand on the day to provide expert advice.


Buttermere is also the first event in the Lake District Trail Running series organised by High Terrain Events in partnership with the National Trust. One of the aims of the series is to highlight the vital conservation role of the National Trust and the work they carry out, and encourage trail running in these beautiful areas.

Registration is to be based from Croft House Farm Cafe who will be opening up early to provide runners with pre event caffeine and fuel. Last year many runners took advantage of the clear waters of Buttermere lake to cool off after the run. However, with the recent wintry conditions the icy waters will be ideal cold water therapy for anyone brave enough to venture in!


2013 British Athletics MR Challenge announced

Posted in At the Races on Fri 29 Mar ’13

© Phil Winskill

Steve Vernon at the UKA Trial 2011

The dates have been set for the 2013 British Athletics Mountain Running Challenge with three events across uphill and up and down mountain running disciplines. The Inter-Counties kick things off in May at the Settle Hills race…

2013 will see the fourth year of the Mountain Running Challenge – this will be an open three race challenge, with two races required to count in the overall standings (for which prize money will be available).

The Challenge races are:

Inter Counties race (Up & Down) – Settle Hills, Yorkshire, Sunday 19 May

European Championships Trial (Uphill ) – Keswick, Cumbria, Saturday 25 May

World Championships Trial ( Up & Down ) – Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria, Sunday 11 August

For information on selection policies for International Mountain Running championships, please visit the World Class Performance section by clicking here.

The sky’s the limit for ISF and Talk Ultra

Posted in At the Races on Thu 28 Mar ’13


The ISF and Talk Ultra have teamed-up to bring readers the ‘Skyrunning Interviews’, A new section… publishing interviews with skyrunning personalities – top runners… potential top runners, those behind the scenes, organisers and lots more.

The series kicks-off by featuring Phillip Reiter and a transcribe of the interview Ian Corless conducted with the young German at the recent Trans Gran Canaria race.

More here

Face the Storm

Posted in Rated or Slated on Thu 28 Mar ’13

© Ian Corless

This season The North Face have launched a set of waterproofs that will help trail and mountain tackle the elements with confidence. Here Ian Corless reviews the AK Stormy Trail Jacket and Pants…


As the main sponsor of the TNFUTMB, The North Face fully understands the needs of every runner when embarking on an epic Alpine journey. Irrespective of distance, the mountains can be a cruel and a hard place.

Look at the history of the UTMB race. For several years the TNFUTMB has been hampered by bad weather. Just last year, 2012, the race was shortened at the last minute and ‘mandatory’ kit was increased to 4 layers to ensure the safety of every runner.

Two pieces of mandatory kit are a fully waterproof jacket with hood and taped seams but also over trousers. Now many runners, particularly the elite runners think… “I will never wear over trousers”. The 2012 edition of the TNFUTMB confirmed to many that mandatory kit, (although sometimes one may think it is over the top) is absolutely necessary.

© Ian Corless

To this end, The North Face have created two new items that tick all the boxes. The AK STORMY TRAIL JACKET and AK STORMY TRAIL PANTS. Available in Black & Yellow

Key Features
It’s simple really…. a tailored fit to reduce excess material and flapping. A reduction in ‘extras’ as these only add opportunities for onward problems or areas were leaks may appear. Lightweight and small pack size.

The AK STORMY range does all the above and then some. Of course that doesn’t come cheap. But you get what you pay for and I certainly wouldn’t want to compromise when I am several thousand feet up in the rain and snow. Expect to pay £160 for the jacket.

The North Face Men’s AK Stormy Trail Jacket is a waterproof, breathable, hooded running jacket for maximum protection in the foulest weather. It features FlashDry technology, which has microporous particles to improve and accelerate the removal of excess moisture from the skin. This means a drier and more comfortable performance for longer, in a range of weather conditions.

© Ian Corless

The jacket has a reflective brimmed, stay-put hood with an adjustable hood cinch at the rear. It has a reflective drop-tail hem for increased coverage and weatherproofing. It has minimal ‘additional’ features to ensure that 100% weather protection is guaranteed. It has a small pack size and low weight and can be rolled up so that you can store the jacket in its own hood.

In Use
The jacket is a snug fit. I am a 38”/40” chest and I have a small. It is perfect. The important thing is to try this jacket with the anticipated under clothes you will use when running. I wore a TNF long sleeve run top, as this would probably be my normal under garment when wearing a jacket like this.

I also then added a TNF thermal layer. The AK Stormy allowed room for both underneath without restrictions. Under the arms have been tailored to allow for movement. A big plus. It is a no frills jacket, so, don’t expect pockets! It has a small chest pocket, which has been glued in place again reducing any possibility of leaks.

Gluing means no seams. No seams, no leaks. The zippers are fully waterproof and the neck goes high but not too high. The hood has a brim and an adjustable toggle on the rear to get a good fit.

I personally found the hood was most comfortable when wearing a peaked cap underneath. This is a personal thing. The addition of a peak stops the hood working forward and offers additional protection.

© Ian Corless

I have been out in the wind, rain and snow and the AK Stormy has been spot on. Full comfort and 100% protection. It is most definitely designed for rough weather but not at the compromise of additional weight. A difficult balance to get right. As such, this jacket will always be in my pack when heading out for longer days or most definitely when heading to the mountains.

It has no ventilation but I was extremely surprised that I never found the jacket too hot. If you are racing in the UK when our weather is extremely unpredictable, I couldn’t recommend this jacket enough. Certainly, it would be the perfect kit for the Lakeland 50 or 100.

It goes without saying that The North Face have designed this jacket (and additional over trousers) with the UTMB in mind and without doubt it would be at the ‘top of the list’ when full weather protection and light weight is required.

▪ Reflective brimmed hood

Salomon UK launch ‘the future’

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 22 Mar ’13

© Salomon UK

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

Full Salomon UK release

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

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

© Salomon UK

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

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

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

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

Trail Team boss Tim Lloyd comments:

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

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

© Salomon UK

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

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

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

© Salomon UK

Tom Owens

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

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

© Salomon UK

Emma Clayton

Speaking about the Avenir squad comments:

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

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

Tom Talk’s Ultra…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 21 Mar ’13

© Ian Corless

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

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

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

IC: Welcome Tom.

TO: Thanks Ian, great to be here.

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

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


Tom Owens on the Zegama climbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Andy and Tom summit with Drei Zinnen behind

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russell has a ball in North Wales snow

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 21 Mar ’13

© Al Tye /

Russell Bentley on a snowy Maesgwm path

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


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

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

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

© Russell Bentley

The Bentleys get out and push on the Pass

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

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

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

© Russell Bentley

A ruin on the Maesgwm track

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

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

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

© Al Tye /

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

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

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

Skyrunning hits southern Africa with the Lesotho Ultra Trail

Posted in At the Races on Wed 20 Mar ’13


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

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


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

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


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

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


SASA chairman James Hallett explains:

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

More info via the SASA website here.

Sticky Toffee Trail set to welcome 1000 trail runners

Posted in At the Races on Tue 12 Mar ’13

© Lakeland Trails

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

Lakeland Trails event release

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

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

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

© Lakeland Trails

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

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

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

© Lakeland Trails

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

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


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

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

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

  2. Simon Craufurd
    Mar 13, 09:33 PM

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

Reiter runs ‘away from Winter’!

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 12 Mar ’13


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

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

Read about his full TGC experience here

Tickner and Damen book World Cross places

Posted in At the Races on Mon 11 Mar ’13

© Athletics Weekly

Frank Tickner wins the World Cross trials 2013

Frank Tickner, Louise Damen, Emelia Gorecka and Jonathan Davies were amongst those making sure of their World Cross Country Championships berth on Saturday, at a muddy Cofton Park in Birmingham…

The final round of the McCain Cross Challenge included the trial race for the Champs in Poland on the 24th of March, and also once again coincided with the Inter Counties XC too, meaning that competition was high as pretty much all of the UK’s elite XC runners descended on Birmingham.

Tickner was pretty majestic in his running, as he took command of the race in the last third of the 12km, after leading (along with second place man Steve Vernon) for much of the race. It was the other Vernon, Andy, who looked most likely to catch Tickner with around 3km to race after powering his way through the field having started way back. However, lacking a little in race fitness the Aldershot runner settled for third behind Steve Vernon.

In the women’s race there was to be no repeat of the National two weeks ago, when Loiuse Damen raced away to take the English crown by almost a minute. On Saturday it wasnt until the last kilometre that the winner looked certain as Damen managed to get away from Gt. Manchester’s Elle Baker.

Gemma Steel continued her comeback to form with a solid 3rd place, also booking her ticket to Bydgoszcz.

In the junior (U20) races there was no surprise in the women’s race, as multiple junior champion Emelia Gorecka once again trounced the opposition as she looks to improve on her 15th place from two years ago at the World Cross.

In the U20 men’s event there was a similar story for Jonathan Davies, as the Berkshire runner took the trial, the Inter Countoes crown and the overall win in the McCain series.

Full report via British Athletics is online here, with Power of 10 results here.

Hope continues good form at Pendle

Posted in At the Races on Mon 11 Mar ’13

© Andy Holden

Rob Hope

At the Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round there was a good quality field for this excellent 10 mile race which takes in Scout Cairn, Calf Hill and Pendle, with 3-time British Fell Champ Rob Hope taking the win from Lloyd Taggart…

According to his report below Hope was strong in this one and took the course record on the way to the win, and put some top-class runners behind him (3rd Carl Bell, 4th Ian Holmes, 5th Tom Brunt).

Great to see that the Pudsey and Bramley man appears to be heading back to something like the form he had between 2008 and 2010 when he took those three British crowns.

We’re still awaiting full results and images, but thought our readers would like to hear how it panned out at the sharp end from the man himself, Rob Hope:


Had a really good run out in typical conditions of recent times with rain, snow blizzards on the tops, strong winds and mist. This is only the 3rd running of this course as a replacement for the classic half Pendle race, which had to be changed primarily as a result of erosion issues.

Consequently the route is still evolving somewhat and there was much discussion pre-race regarding optimal lines and navigation worries.

Carl set off at a pace (as usual!) but I reeled him in on the first big climb up Pendle’s big end (I’ll just make it clear that Pendle is a hill) and got a gap at the top. Lloyd closed me back on the plateau, shortly followed by Carl, and we disappeared further into the mist.

Fortunately, we’d all reccied parts of the course in the lead up to the race so we had a vague idea. The course then took a tricky line across open no man’s land and we were relieved to get across (in a round about way) to some more obvious vantage points in clearing mist.

I thought the lads then started to drop too low and I decided to gamble on my own route to the next check (3) thinking I knew better. Number 1 mistake, I’m a Pudsey runner, why would I be an expert at route choice on Pendle!!

Consequently I ended up 10-20secs adrift and having to play catch up for a good section of the back course. Fortunately still feeling good I caught them back and tucked in for a while before pushing away on the first of 2 tough little climbs before the run in to the finish. The only other mishap was slipping big time onto my back on a super smooth but rather hard piece of flagstone when crossing Upper Ogden Dam. My back is pretty sore this morning.

The course record was well beaten and I think there will be scope for further reductions with refinements of the best navigation lines and better weather conditions although it was reasonably firm underfoot. Salomon Fellcross were perfect for the largely grassy course with lots of fast running.

Another well organised race with many thanks as usual to the organisers, and marshalls out there braving the elements. Great tea and cake in the village hall afterwards.

SHR navigation course

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 08 Mar ’13

© aquaasho

Scottish Hill Runners are putting another of their excellent navigation courses on at the beginning of April, following on from the the success of previous courses and “in an effort to help more runners run safely in the hills”

The course will take place on the Pentlands on the weekend of the 6th/7th April and will be based at the Midlothian Snowsports Centre, Hillend, Edinburgh.

Full course details


An outside and classroom based course over a weekend, aimed at developing hill runners’ navigational skills with regard to races and general trips to the hills when the cloud is down and the wind is up, as well as mountain safety. The course is intended both for runners who have limited experience of hill running and for experienced hill runners who wish to brush up their skills.

Elements that will be covered include:

  • Map interpretation (particular emphasis on contours and judging distance)
  • Compass work
  • Tricks to successful navigation
  • Relocation (finding your position if lost)
  • Pre-race navigation planning
  • Safety on the hills
  • Nutrition for longer days out
  • What should be in everyone’s bumbag

Course instructor

The principal instructor will be Steven Fallon (Carnethy HRC). Steven is a full-time mountain guide with over 25 years experience exploring the Scottish mountains and has ‘compleated’ the Munros 15 times. Qualified as a Mountain Leader (Summer and Winter), he is a familiar face on the hill-running scene. Steven has won various races and recent mountain marathon categories, including the LAMM ‘A’ and ‘Score’ classes with Jon Ascroft.

Provisional programme

The course will start at 0900 on Saturday and finish at approximately 1700 on Sunday.

  • Saturday 0900-1300: Classroom – map interpretation, compass work. Pre-race navigation planning, safety on the hills, nutrition. 1300-1700: Applying morning classroom skills outside.
  • Sunday 0900-1300: Classroom – tricks to successful navigation, relocation, balancing map and compass use against speed over the ground. Plotting the route for the afternoon session. 1300-1700: Hill based – putting it all together, longer leg navigation, race practice.


We will be based at Midlothian Snowsports Centre, Hillend, just south of Edinburgh. Our practical time will take place on the Pentland Hills directly behind the centre.


The cost of the course will be £35 for SHR members (£60 non members*) and excludes accommodation. For those not able to travel each day to the course, help in finding accommodation locally can be provided.

For those who book but are not able to attend, a full or partial refund may be available depending on whether someone else is able to take their place.

Items for participants to bring

  • Compass which ideally has a 1:40,000 scale on the baseplate and with degrees and not mils on the housing (the Silva Expedition 4 is highly recommended – see for a link to the Amazon page to purchase one)
  • Pen/paper for note taking
  • Lunch (also available from the Cafe 360 at the ski centre)
  • Hill running kit (to be able to run but also to stand about and chat i.e. fleece and tights, waterproofs, hat, gloves, extra food).

We will supply

  • Maps of the areas we intend to navigate on
  • Marker pens

SHR membership currently costs £8 a year, so non-members who join before the course will clearly make a saving. Information on how to join is here

Crunch time for World Cross hopefuls

Posted in At the Races on Fri 08 Mar ’13

© Bryan Mills

Ryan McLeod leads the men’s race at the Inter Counties 2011

The World Cross Country Championships come but once every two years these days, so for those hoping to gain a GB vest in Bydgoszcz in 2 weeks, timing of form is now critical if they are realise their ambitions of racing at the World Cross…

This Saturday sees the annual Inter Counties XC / McCain Cross Challenge final round taking place at Birmingham’s Cofton Park, and this year doubles as those World Cross Country Trials.


Though many of the main protagonists were prevalent at the National XC mud bath a week or two ago, some (such as Andy Vernon) have been keeping their powder dry for this one.

No more to say other than direct you towards this preview over at British Athletics, and keep tuned-in to the BA social media outlets this weekend too, along with the likes of athleticos, Athletics Weekly and AW ed. Jason Henderson.

Trans Gran Canaria win is seventh heaven for Sandes

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 06 Mar ’13

© Carlos Díaz – Recio

Ryan takes the 2013 Trans Gran Canaria 83km race

Last weekend saw South African ultra trail star Ryan Sandes win the ‘advanced’ race at the Trans Gran Canaria festive of trail running, and thus meant that the Salomon athlete has now won an ultra trail race on all seven continents…

Here he explains how his week at the TGC blew the cobwebs away as his 2013 season gets underway, and how the last 10km or so of Sunday’s 83km race were a little creaky!


Ronda dels Cims is a sell-out

Posted in At the Races on Thu 07 Mar ’13


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


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

More on the 2013 Ronda Del Cims here