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Skyline Scotland: Which race is for me?

Written by Fiona

January 15 2019

Whether you are already an experienced mountain runner, or a runner who is keen to take on a new racing challenge in 2019, the Salomon Skyline Scotland race series will appeal. Entries for the vetted Salomon Glen Coe Skyline open today, while February 5 is the date for your diary for the other three races, the Salomon Mamores VK, Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra and Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace.

There are four races included in the three-day weekend of Salomon Skyline Scotland 2019. Each race offers something different and unique. The races will also suit runners with a range of abilities and aspirations.

The base for the weekend is Kinlochleven in the Scottish Highlands. Even if you do not plan to compete in a race, there is plenty for spectators to see and do at the Skyline Scotland festival weekend base.

Find out which race is for you in my guide to the Salomon Skyline Scotland 2019.

A tough ascent in the VK race. Credit: No Limits Photography

Salomon Mamores VK

When: Friday September 20.

 Start times: 11am to 2pm.

What is it?: A time-trial style race that follows the International Skyrunning Federation Vertical Kilometer® format where participants run a marked course that ascends 1000m in less than 5km.

Participants are set off at timed intervals – and the winner is the person to have run the fastest to the summit of the mountain, Na Gruagaichean.

Pushing hard in the VK. Credit: No Limits Photography

Who is it for?: This race is for runners who are up for a challenge and have experience of being out in the mountains.

You might be new to mountain races, or keen to do the VK as a warm-up event for other races over the weekend.

There is no doubt that running uphill for 1km over a distance of 5km on a Scottish mountain is a tough outing but it’s within the capabilities of many runners (with some focused training).

The route isn’t hugely technical, so you don’t need scrambling or rock climbing experience, however it can be rough underfoot with scree traverses and the higher section is on remote mountainous terrain.

For extra fun, why not compete in the event against a group of friends?

Things to remember:

  • There is a mandatory kit list and rules.
  • The race finishes at the summit but competitors must still have the energy and clothing to get back to the base under their own steam.

To enter: Entries open February 5, 2019.

Running on Binnein Mor in the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra. Credit: No Limits Photography.

Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra

When: Friday September 20.

Start time: 7am

What is it?: In keeping with the ethos of the Salomon Skyline Scotland races, the Ben Nevis Ultra route is very challenging with considerable height gain and a wide variability of terrain.

There are river crossings and a high-level traverse of one of Scotland’s most famous ridges, the Càrn Mòr Dearg Arête, which leads to the summit of the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.

The distance is 52km and the total height gain is 4000m.

Running through Glen Nevis. Credit: No Limits Photography.

Who is it for?: The course is for experienced and bold all-round ultra-runners. The route heads through remote Scottish glens, along technical singletrack, over airy ridges and through high mountain passes, so you should have experience of being in the mountains and also running long-distances.

If you have already enjoyed several ultra distance events and want to take your racing up a big notch, the Ben Nevis Ultra would be a great challenge.

Things to remember:

  • Competitors must sign a declaration of experience.
  • You must carry mandatory kit and be familiar with the Universal Event Rules.
  • In the event of poor weather, a “bad weather route” will apply.

To enter: Entries open February 5, 2019.

Victoria Wilkinson descending Stob Coire a’ Chairn in the Ring of Steall Race. Credit: No Limits Photography.

Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace

 When: Saturday September 21.

Start time: 10am.

What is it?: The Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace follows in the tradition of skyrunning, which includes challenges such as steep and rocky ascents and descents, some ridge scrambling and mountain conditions.

The mountain running race follows the classic Ring of Steall ridge walk in the Mamores mountain range.

It is 29km in distance and includes 2500m of total ascent. The route reaches four summits higher than 981m.

The race is also part of the Golden Trail Series 2019.

SKY race World Champion Killian Jornet on Stob Coire a’ Chairn. Credit: No Limits Photography

Who is it for?: The mountain race is a great opportunity to take on the challenge of trail running at a world-class level. It is best suited to people who already have the experience of running in the mountains of the UK.

Although competitors are not vetted, they must be suitably experienced and able to cope with potentially very changeable weather.

The route heads to four summits, known as Munros, An Gearanach, Stob Choire a Chairn, Am Bodach and then follows the Devils Ridge to Sgurr a’Mhaim.

Things to remember:

  • Competitors must sign a declaration of experience.
  • You must carry mandatory kit and be familiar with the Universal Event Rules.
  • In the event of poor weather, a “bad weather route” will apply.

To enter: Entries open February 5, 2019.

Curved Ridge ascent during Salomon Glen Coe Skyline race.Credit: No Limits Photography.

Salomon Glen Coe Skyline

Entries open today at 10am.

When: Sunday September 22

Start time: 7am

What is it?: The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline combines mountain running and alpinism in a test of speed, endurance and skill on an uncompromising, world-class course.

The route features long and sustained sections of scrambling terrain, which is roughly equivalent to moderate standard rock climbing. In addition, the race traverses high and remote mountainous terrain, which can be subject to severe and rapidly changing weather.

It also takes in one of the UK’s legendary ridge traverses, the Aonach Eagach.

Killian Jornet wins his second Skyline Scotland 2018 race, the Glen Coe Skyline. Credit: No Limits Photography.

Who is it for?: This is the toughest of the Salomon Skyline Scotland races and one of the most revered by competitors from across the world.

The race is only suitable for highly experienced competitors and all entrants are strictly vetted for experience.

Entrants must be hands-on-rock competent in the mountains.

If you are a keen runner who has a lot of experience in the mountains and you are not afraid to take on challenging ridge traverses, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline event is likely to be one of your bucket list races.

Entries sell out so you will need to sign up quickly today.

Things to remember:

  • Competitors are vetted for experience before their entry is accepted.
  • Tuesday January 15: Entries OPEN (take your time as this is not first-come, first-served)
  • Tuesday January 22:  Entries CLOSE for vetting.
  • Friday February 1: Ballot drawn (if necessary) and invites sent out to successful candidates.
  • You must carry mandatory kit and be familiar with the Universal Event Rules.
  • In the event of poor weather, a “bad weather route” will apply.

To enter: Glen Coe Skyline.

Also see Salomon Skyline Scotland and Skyline Scotland 2019 returns.

See my blog: Running pair compete in all four Skyline Scotland races 2018.

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