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Photo credit: Ian Corless.

Skyrunning UK and Ireland Series 2019


Last updated: 11-Dec-18

By Alice Morrison

There are new races and old favourites as Skyrunning UK announces its 2019 calendar for the UK and Ireland Series.

The Races

The season will start with the Scafell Sky Race on June 8th.

This is a circular route that has been newly designed and takes in plenty of technical single track and scree as well as some whacking great pieces of slab. The 40km goes from Stickle Barn over the fells with an ascent of Scafell – England’s highest mountain.

The Scafell Sky Race is the most technical race I've ever done ... even tougher than Tromso! Emelie Forsberg would love it!" - Lucy Bartholomew.

The organisers say, “With sections of scree and light scrambling thrown in, Scafell Sky Race is a serious test of nerve, skill and endurance. Mountain experience and moving solo across highly technical mountain terrain is an essential skill for this classic skyrunning race.”

The second race is the Lakes Sky Ultra on July 13th.

This race features 60km of Lake District paths, trails and rock with 5000m of ascent - which is not to be sniffed at.

The course is a whopper. It takes you up and over Place Fell, Beda Fell, High Street, Thornthwaite Crag, Stoney Cove Pike, St Raven’s Edge, Red Screes, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn with some of the most remote valleys in the area dropped in to add a bit of spice.

The organisers say, “Just as you think you can make the whole distance, we've added some new KoM Super Stages in to spice it all up. This year we will be combining the times for a real up-hill extravaganza, so remember to train 'hill reps' galore. It’s a race within a race, and the prizes will go to the runners who can dig the deepest in the final flight to the finish.

Over to Ireland for a new race, the Seven Sisters Skyline on July 28th.

Dunlewey officially known by its Irish name Dun Luiche is a small Gaeltacht village in the Gweedore area of County Donegal, North West Ireland, and is where the inaugural Seven Sisters Skyline will take place. 

The Seven Sisters are the seven high peaks of the Derryveagh mountains. From southwest to northeast they are, Errigal (751 m), Mackoght aka Little Errigal (555 m), Aghla More (584 m), Ardloughnabrackbaddy (603 m), Aghla Beg (564 m), Crocknalaragagh (471 m) and Muckish (666 m).

The course is an out and back route and there are very few tracks or paths – you are off piste. It takes in 13 summits in total.

The fourth race is in Wales with the new Snowdon Skyline race on September 15th.

The race starts in the quiet valley of Nant Gwynant in Snowdonia at Hafod y Llan farm.

It is 40km with 3600m+ in a figure of eight and you start straight off by ascending the famous Snowdon Watkin path.

You then traverse the Y Lliwedd ridge and after the Pen y Pass road crossing, you have a second sizeable ascent to the Glyders before running down the Y Gribin ridge to the Ogwen Valley. Then it is up Tryfan via the north ridge and down a technical descent followed by some lovely undulating trails back to Pen y Pass. 

The highlight is a westbound traverse of Crib Goch, followed by a run off Snowdon summit via its south ridge. A sting in the tail comes in the form of the last summit of Y Garn, before the final descent home to Nant Gwynant.

The 2019 Skyrunner ® UK & Ireland calendar concludes with the very popular Mourne Skyline MTR - currently it has a scheduled date of October 19th (land permissions allowing tbc). The Mourne Mountains are a granite mountain range in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland.

They include Slieve Donard (850m), the highest mountain in Northern Ireland and Ulster and as such the range provides a perfect location for a mountain race. In just 35km the course has 3370m of ascent and 9 peaks.

Among the more famous features of the race is the Mourne Wall. It was built as the boundary of an area of land purchased by the Belfast Water Commission.

The organisers say, “The mountains of Northern Ireland may not have the height or elevation gain the Alps or Pyrenees offer, but what they lack in height is more than compensated for in technicality and repeated roller coaster climbing. Ask anyone who has run it, the Mourne Skyline MTR is no easy race.”

The Series

The Skyrunner ® UK & Ireland series is comprised of five races, and to be the best-of-the-best, runners must take part in at least three races. Points are awarded based on results and the male and female runner with the most points will be crowned as the Skyrunner ® UK & Ireland champion of 2019.

A Skyrunning World Ranking is a rolling 52-week ranking based on all the points awarded to the athletes from his/her participation in: Skyrunner® World Series races, Skyrunner National Series, Skyrunning World Championships and Skyrunning Continental Championships.

Importantly, from 2019, the Skyrunner® World Series season will end with a Sky Masters race gathering only the best athletes who qualified over the season. SMSA offers to Skyrunner® National Series Skyrunner ® UK & Ireland qualifying paths.

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