Scotland hosts thrilling four-day festival of Skyrunning

2000 mountain runners race in Scottish mountains

Some 2000 athletes from almost 60 countries will race in the biggest and most prestigious Skyline Scotland event ever this weekend.

Taking place in Kinlochleven, amid a magnificent and technical Scottish Highlands landscape, the festival of Skyrunning extends to four days of extreme racing.

Among the athletes competing this year are former world champions and Skyrunning super stars, including Kilian Jornet, Luis Albert Hernando, Pere Aurell, Jan Margarit, Laura Orgué, Maite Maiora and Sheila Avilés from Spain;  Stian Angermund-Vik from Norway;  Britons Jonathan Albon, Tom Owens and Holly Page;  Hillary Gerardi, Sage Canaday and Dakota Jones from the US; Ragna Debats from the Netherlands;  André Jonsson and twin sisters Lina and Sanna El Kott from Sweden; Mira Rai from Nepal; Japan’s Rui Ueda, Yuri Yoshizumi and Dai Matsumoto; and recent UTMB winner Francesca Canepa from Italy.

Local Scotsman, Finlay Wild, the nine-times winner of the Ben Nevis race, is set to compete this weekend, too.

The runners will contest an impressive line-up of races, including the Skyrunning® World Championships (September 13 to 15), of which the last race doubles up to count in the Golden Trail Series (Sept 15) and the MIGU Run Skyrunner® World Series (Sept 16).

It’s the first time that Scotland has hosted the biennial International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) World Championships, including the Salomon Mamores Vertical Kilometer® (VK), the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra (ULTRA) race and the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace (SKY).

Additionally, the SKY category race is part of the new Golden Trail Series, which is supported by Salomon. The Ring of Steall Skyrace has been chosen as the fifth race in a tour that offers a superb €100,000 prize pool for the top 10 men and women, culminating in the grand final in South Africa next month

The fourth and final day of competition is saved for the flagship Salomon Glen Coe Skyline® race, now in its fourth year.

The Glen Coe Skyline® is reputed to be one of the world’s most challenging  mountain races and is one of eight races in the hotly contested Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series.

Kilian Jornet returns to defend last year’s win – and course record – in the 52km / 4750m Sunday race. 

Last year, Kilian said: “Glen Coe Skyline is absolutely the one to do! What a cool race!”

Impressively, he will also race this year in the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace the day before.

4 mountain races, 4 great days in Scotland

The four races of the Skyline Scotland event are organised by Ourea Events, which is behind the legendary Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race® held in Wales and Scotland’s Cape Wrath Ultra®.

Race director Shane Ohly said: “We are very excited to welcome so many athletes from across the world to a fantastic weekend of Skyrunning races. There are many great names among the mountain runners and it will be thrilling to watch the races unfold.”

He continued: “We are delighted to be to hosting the Skyrunning World Championships for the first time, with the Vertical, Ultra and Sky discipline races attracting more than 1800 runners, as well as the fourth outing of the iconic Salomon Glen Coe Skyline®.

“Scotland’s mountains will see some great action this weekend from some of the world’s very best runners.”

 

The Skyline Scotland races

VERTICAL - Salomon Mamores VK® on Thursday September 13

The race offers a challenging Scottish version of the traditional Vertical Kilometer® format. Over a 5km distance, the route gains 1000m from sea level, initially on good trails before breaking out of the tree-line and tackling the flanks of Na Gruagaichean. This section is steep and rough, before a rocky ridge leads to the 1056m Munro summit. The Mamores VK is part of the Skyrunning® World Championships and was on the Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit in 2017.

Who to watch?: Norwegian Stian Angermund-Vik and Spain’s Laura Orgué defend last year’s titles. Other Salomon athletes, including Switzerland’s Rémi Bonnet, will also be in contention for podium positions.

ULTRA - Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ on Friday September 14

The ULTRA world champions will be determined at the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™. The course has been redesigned for the Skyrunning® World Championships and incorporates the summit of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis at 1345m. The route is 52km with 4,000m of ascent.

Who to watch? GB runner Jon Albon, the 2017 EXTREME Skyrunner® World Series Champion, will race alongside 2017 Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ winner Donnie Campbell, of Scotland. Defending champion Mira Rai from Nepal and Jon’s wife Henriette Albon of Norway are also competing.

SKY – Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace on Saturday September 15

The Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace® will decide the SKY world champions over a classic 29km Skyrunning course that features 2500m of vertical climb on uncompromising mountain terrain. This race also counts in the Golden Trail Series and is the final race of the series tour to decide who attends the series final in South Africa.

Who to watch?: Kilian Jornet takes on the course for the first time, while Laura Orgué defends her 2017 title. She will face pressure from other great runners including Brits Victoria Wilkinson, Holly Page and Annie Conway.

Salomon Glen Coe Skyline® on Sunday September 16

The 55km Salomon Glen Coe Skyline® with 4750m of ascent is acclaimed as one of the most challenging mountain races in the world. It follows in the tradition of the most prestigious Skyrunning races, fusing mountain running and alpinism in a test of speed, endurance and skill on an uncompromising, world-class and super-technical course. The route includes an exposed Grade 3 scramble of Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor and the grade 2 Aonach Eagach Ridge.

Who to watch?: Kilian Jornet defends his title and course record of 2017. 2016 women’s title holder Jasmin Paris (GB) returns in 2018 also.

For a full preview of the athletes taking part in the 2018 Skyrunning® World Championships see the ISF press release: 2018 Skyrunning World Championships – heading for the Scottish Skylands.

A great spectator weekend

The Skyline Scotland weekend festival includes a wide-ranging programme of events for spectators of all ages.

The focus for four days of Skyrunning is the event village in Kinlochleven, close to the popular climbing, ice climbing and mountain activity centre, the Ice Factor.

Highlights for spectators and competitors include speaker and film nights, guided walks, yoga sessions and a 1.5km or 3.3km “Fun Trail” run on Sunday.

The weekend event kicks off with an opening ceremony on Friday at 19:30, including a flag parade, music, welcome speeches and fireworks. In addition, there will be an after party hosted in the Ice Factor with Red Bull on the Saturday.

In celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, pupils from local secondary schools, Ardnamurchan High School and Kinlochleven High School, will be welcomed to the event and will provide musical entertainment, as well as reporting on the race throughout the weekend.

The activities are supported by the Year of Young People Event Fund, managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

In 2018, Scotland puts its young people in the spotlight, celebrating their talents, contributions and creating new opportunities for them to shine. The Year of Young People is a year-long programme of events and activities that will give young people the opportunity to show the world what they are made of.

Shane Ohly said: “We offer a warm welcome to the local community with the fantastic support of the Kinlochleven Community Trust and children from local schools as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People.

“We are also very grateful to a fantastic range of event sponsors and partners, including Salomon, EventScotland, Ellis Brigham, Red Bull, Suunto, The Highland Council and the Ice Factor.”

Support and sponsorship of Skyline Scotland

The 2018 Salomon Skyline Scotland is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The Scottish Highlands is the perfect stage for the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships, the world’s greatest mountain event.

“With some of the world’s best athlete’s set to compete, EventScotland is delighted to be supporting this extreme event as it comes to Scotland for the first time, strengthening the region’s status as a global adventure capital.

“It is also great to see the event celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 by giving local young people the chance to be involved in the delivery of the World Championships.”

Red Bull offers supporting products at the race weekend, entertainment in the village and the Red Bull After Party at The Ice Factor on Saturday night.

Other sponsors and partners include: Suunto as a key sponsor and official timing partner; Ellis Brigham as an official retail partner; and the Ice Factor as the venue host of the event village.

For more details about the Skyline Scotland event see. Also search #SkylineScotland on social media.

Photo credit: Guillem Casanova

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