Sign up to get this news direct to you inbox at bit.ly/runningemail
Whilst my trail self is basking in off-season chill the entry fee funding part of my life has hit a serious high volume block so it is with apologies I start this weeks round up by filling in the gaps from a fortnight ago!
In untraditional stylee the runners taking part in the races of the Skyline Scotland weekend got to see the ridges and munros around Kinochleven in all their glory as the weather was incredible. Having said that I’m not sure the front runners in the penultimate race of this years Golden Trail Series had much time to stop and take in the views ...
RING OF STEALL, 29 km / 2500 m
I have to give myself a pat on the shoulder for how accurate my predictions for this race was. Just like i suspected we got to see yet another orienteering world champ crush all competition and beat the course record on this shortest of the original races of the weekend. Switzerland’s Judith Wyder took control of the women’s race from the gun and over the uncompromising terrain up to the Devils Ridge her off piste seasoned legs opened up a gap to the chase pack lead by Holly Page and Pikes Peak winner Yngvild Kaspersen. As Wyder increased her speed over the second half it became clear that the ladies behind would not be able to catch up and the race became more about how many men Judith would take down on her way to the finish. When she crossed the finish line in Kinochleven it was as 10th runner overall with a record breaking time of 3:36:46, 9 minutes faster than Tove Alexandersson’s time from last year. Behind Wyder the Swedish Skyrunner and strong descender Fanny Borgstrom overtook Kaspersen and with that the position as third lady and started chasing down Page up front. But Holly’s legs knows how to run on fells and kept the pace punchy enough to fight off Borgstrom and hold on to second place into the finish.
Judith and Holly both qualified for the final in the Golden Trail Series held in Nepal later this month.
1. Judith Wyder (SUI), 3:36:46 (NEW CR)
2. Holly Page (GBR), 3:54:
3. Fanny Borgstrom (SWE), 4:02
BEN NEVIS ULTRA 52 km / 4000 m
Katie Kaars-Sijpesteijn has had a quiet summer season and that has clearly been benefiting her form as she dominated the longest course of the weekend and did not only win the women’s race but podiumed by running the 3rd fastest time OA. Incredible performance from the Cumbria living Yorkshire lass. Second lady two hours behind Katie was American runner Megan Arauzo and in close third was local runner Katie Sloan.
1. Katie Kaars-Sijpesteijn (GBR), 8:05:28
2. Megan Azuro (USA), 10:13:03
3. Katie Sloane (GBR), 10:28:31
GLEN COE SKYLINE 52 km / 4750 m
Taking in a grade three scramble up Stob Dearg and the full Aonach Eagach Ridge there is no doubt that this is the most technical of the Scotland Skyline routes and the runners who wants to take part are being vetted on their mountain experience. Fresh from a 5th at the ZacUp SkyRace (the previous weekend) Team GB’s Georgia Tindley had nothing to prove but still decided to give us a show of what she’s capable of by winning the women’s race with over 40 minutes. “I just kept pushing on and looking over my shoulder, I was expecting the others to catch up. The last 20 k was very tough and i had to cling on” she said after the race. Alaska’s Ann Spencer was never close enough to threaten Tindley for the win though and was in her turn probably more concerned with keeping the gap down to a chasing Megan Wilson in third.
1. Georgia Tindley (GBR), 8:29:57
2. Ann Spencer (USA), 9:10:51
3. Megan Wilson (IRL), 9:20:12
PIRIN ULTRA SKYRACE 66 km / 4400 m
In similar fashion to the sheros of Scotland this years CCC champion Ragna Debats won the longest race of the Skyrunner World Series with a BIG margin down to second place. Running in an unthreatened lead from the start the gap down to Marcela Vasinova had grown to over half and hour by the time Debats reached the finish line.
Third lady was local runner Antonia Grigorova who finished in 9:46:29 just 6 minutes behind Vasinova.
1. Ragna Debats (NED), 9:08:45
2. Marcela Vasinova (CZE), 9:40:01
3. Antoniya Grigorova (BUL), 9:46:29
COTSWOLD WAY CENTURY 165 km / 4319 m
On the rolling hills of middle-England Sharon Wilkie ran herself to a victory on this classic 100 miler along the Cotswold Way. Finishing in 24:58:03 she was half an hour quicker than second lady Simone Durry but a whopping 5 hours off Holly Rush course record from 2017. Una Miles grabbed third with a time of 26:56:15 and completed an all V40 podium!
1. Sharon Wilkie 24:58:03
2. Simone Durry 25:29:40
3. Una Miles 26:56:15
Gemma Carter got revenge on her DNF at OCC with a win at Maverick’s inaugural Snowdonia Ultra Trail. She held the lead from the gun and finished in a time of 9:32:13 which nearly got her a place on the OA podium.
Second woman back to the finish in Llanberis, an hour behind Carter, was Sophie Anderson and Joanna Wierzbowska took third.
On the Marathon course Erica Fogg was first to the finish in 6:02:19 followed by Emily Hoffmann 13 minutes later and Alys Devine fought off Lily Trinh in a finish stretch battle for the podium to take third with one second to spare in 6:22:46!
ULTRA PIRINEU 94 km / 6200 m
FERNANDA MACIEL dropped out of UTMB after just 6 hours of running last month and will likely be hungry for revenge, MIMMI KOTKA finished the same race but not in the way she hoped for and the Swedish runner who had a fantastic 2018 has yet to deliver in a big race this year. With time running out I reckon she will give her all to get to the top of the podium in Spain this weekend. ROSER ESPANOL was second at BUFF EPIC TRAIL and third at this race in 2018, this year has not really gone her way and chances are that just like the ladies above she will go full speed for a late season redemption.
In contrast to the somewhat thin field on the longer course the 36 k long Sky Pirineu is STACKED with elites. It is the last chance to grab precious points and make it to the finale of the Skyrunner World Series and amongst the hopefuls on the start line are a long list of mountain goat familiars. Scandinavia is represented by YNGVILD KASPERSEN, the EL KOTT twins AND a late addition of EMELIE FORSBERG who is making her first appearance on the Sky Running scene after taking a year off for the birth of her first child. GEORGIA TINDLEY and ANTONIYA GRIGOROVA who are both mentioned in sky-recaps above will be back hunting more points as will Spains ELI GORDON. The question is whether any of them will be able to stand up against HOLLY PAGE who looks to be on cracking form at the moment. Tune in to the race social’s on Saturday to find out!
OTHER TRAIL-Y STUFF
Salomon just released a video where we get to see Megan Kimmel helps a group of Afghani women prepare for their attempt to summit the highest peak of their motherland. It’s inspiring stuff. Tune in and feel lady-proud.
Similarly inspiring and very heartwarming is Billy Yang’s interview with Lucy Bartholomew for his latest pod cast episode: