Having raced the Glencoe Skyline in 2016 it is amazing to see how much the event has grown over the years. The addition of the Ben Nevis Ultra, the Ring of Steel Skyrace and the Vertical kilometre have been super popular. This year the addition of three trail races, 5km, 10km & 18km really means that there is something for everyone at what has become Scotlands biggest off-road running event.
The Trail Running Scotland team were involved right through the weekend, here is a brief summary.
Throughout the weekend we had a stand in the Skyline sessions tent, this was a great opportunity to meet lots of folk, put a face to a social media tag and see lots of folk who have been through our courses in the last couple of years. It was also a chance to share what we are about with a new audience, including a lot of international visitors, who were blown away by the quality of Scottish running. Thanks if you came to say hello!
In the Afternoon Ian ran the first of our descending workshops. These were 2 hour sessions designed to give folk a bit more flow on the downhills. On Friday we had 3 folk who were all competing in the Ring of Steel Skyrace the next day. The descents on that course are long and technical, so any improvement in efficiency will have a huge impact.
A quick turn-around after this and Ian was up on stage in the Skyline tent, chatting about his experiences on the Cape Wrath Ultra and Dragon’s Back Race over the last couple of years. It was amazing to share some stories and hopefully inspire a few runners to take the plunge! It is surprising how quickly 45 minutes goes when you are chatting about running, fortunately someone was watching the clock, so that Paul Tierney could follow onto the stage to talk about his Wainrights record from the summer. A very modest account of a brutal 6 days!
Laura and Ian were both racing in the Ring of Steel Skyrace on Saturday and after a bit of a washout in 2018 the weather couldn’t have been better as you’ll see from the video!
This event is now part of the Salomon Golden Trail Series, a massive global competition that has definitely taken the focus away from the more technical Glencoe Skyline. The event attracted some truly world class athletes and the racing at the front was impressive to say the least. The popularity of this series meant that there were 700 runners on the start line meaning a sprint start to get ahead of the bottlenecks as the trails narrow up the hills.
Ian and Laura both had mixed days. For Ian, not eating enough meant a lack of energy for the hills towards the end, and an unexpected plunge into a bottomless bog on the final descent. In such a stacked field a top 100 finish still seems respectable. Laura was held up quite a bit in the queues that formed towards the middle of the pack, but a steady pace meant a strong finish, finishing in the top third overall, and 6 of 25 V40 ladies. Not bad for her first proper mountain race!
Ben was out during the day with another descending workshop, this time with folk who were racing the trail races and the Glencoe Skyline the next day. So from the shortest to the hardest, we had racers from every event, all of whom took away some new skills to practice.
The big one - The Glencoe Skyline race. This was the event that started it all in 2015. Racing up Curved ridge and across the Aonach Eagach ridge is massive test of mountain running skills.
Ian was out early with the event safety team, roped up and in position at the start of the technical ground on Curved ridge. Pointing out the best line and ensuring the racers were moving well and staying safe. A perfect viewpoint to see the racing at the sharp end up close and personal.
Representing the Trail Running Scotland team in this race was Ben, here is his account:
“What a way to end my 2019 race calendar! The Salomon Glencoe skyline race packed a punch that my legs will be recovering from for the next few days!
7am start, 0kms. 10hrs 24mins later, I’ve run, walked, power hiked, slipped and shuffled my way up, down over and across the 52km route with over 4500m of total ascent!
The weather was ideal for running, apart from the typical Scottish sideways rain for a few hours just to add another layer to the challenge of running in the mountains! It was a route that definitely challenged me mentally and I spent some time in the pain cave but, came through the other end after the food station and seeing friendly faces, which is a great boost for the soul on big races like this.
A great race over a fantastic weekend that I would highly recommend to anyone. See you there in 2020!”
Ben paced his day perfectly, steadily climbing up through the pack to finish strongly in the top 50.
A big thanks to the Ourea events team for having us along for the weekend, and kudos for seamlessly organising such a massive weekend of racing.
Also massive respect for anyone who was racing over the weekend, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we all did!
If you are interested in our descending technique workshops or are looking for some tips for getting into Skyrunning check out our Trail Running Skills Weekend or our Introduction to Skyrunning course in 2020.