Mid September sees a Lakeland fell race with a difference; a skyrunning course that includes serious scrambling terrain. Last week the Glen Coe Skyline brought a hands-on element to a UK hill race for perhaps the first time, attracting a huge level of media scrutiny in the process (see here). The inaugural True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra follows suit, with technical running across Swirral Edge & Striding Edge, plus the classic grade 3 scramble of Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday Crag.
'This is the first race of its kind in the Lake District, being a technical sky race, fusing fast & light mountaineering with mountain trail running' said Race Directors Charlie Sproson and Andrew Burton .
'Although the course has some technical rock scrambles, technical scree and trails, the majority of the course is very runnable and we expect a very fast winning time.'
For the exposed grade 3 scramble up Pinnacle Ridge, the hardest ground on the route, sponsor Salewa will be supplying ropes and safety hardware.
The line-up for the 50km+ course, which incorporates 4300m ascent, includes international-level runners Eirik Haugsnes (1st place in the Tromso Sky Race 2014); Es Tressider (Snowdon Horseshoe Record Holder; recently 8th in Glen Coe); Ricky Lightfoot (1st place Yorkshire 3 Peaks 2015 and 1st place Madeira Ultra Sky Marathon 2015); Beth Pascal (1st lady & 4th overall in the Spine Race) and Sarah Ridgway (female Snowdon Horseshoe record holder; 3rd female in the Glen Coe Skyline).
As well as live tracking of competitors, the public are being urged to turn up to spectate on the day:
'For competent hill walkers ...the summit of Helvellyn and its surrounding ridges Swirral Edge and Striding Edge will give fantastic views' say Charlie and Andrew.
'Should you wish a more sedate location to view from then the two checkpoint locations of Patterdale Junior School & Kirkstone Pass car park will allow close quarter viewing and action. From Kirkstone Pass to the summit of Red Screes, the runners will be part of a race within the race – a timed ascent of Red Screes, followed by a timed descent to the finish line.'
Spectators are asked not to get in the way of the event. It is also suggested they take a ‘cow bell’ into the fells to give the runners an extra boost as they pass.
- The Lakes Sky Ultra takes place 12th September. For more info see the event website