Home success for Scotland at mountain running festival

ATHLETES from around the world have gathered in Scotland to take part in a Scottish Mountain Running Festival.

For two days, thousands of runners took part in a series of “skyraces” and trail races, ranging from 5 km to 80 km.

The annual Salomon Skyline Scotland event drew large numbers of spectators to the area, cheering on participants and enjoying talks, entertainment and food and drink in the event village.

American Evan Williams finished second in the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline race – Image credit: No Limits Photography

The action kicked off on Saturday September 17 with one of the new races on the event’s schedule, the Lochaber 80 Ultra.

The longest distance race of the weekend, it saw runners take to trails through the wild and remote landscapes of Lochaber.

The race was won by Sweden’s Simen Hjalmar Wästlund in seven hours, 17 minutes and 25 seconds, with Jacob Snochowski of Poland second in seven hours, 39 minutes and 19 seconds and Eoin Lennon of Ireland third in eight hours, 11 minutes and 21 seconds.

The National: Distance and climbing weren't the only challenges - Image credit: No Limits PhotographyDistance and climbing weren’t the only challenges – Image credit: No Limits Photography

British athlete Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn won the women’s race in eight hours, 49 minutes and five seconds, followed by Ireland’s Emma Stuart in nine hours, 32 minutes and 57 seconds and Britain’s Elaine Bisson in nine hours, 47 minutes and 39 seconds.

Governed by the International Skyrunning Federation (SKF), the burgeoning sport of skyrunning involves participants running up steep mountain slopes.

The schedule featured three skyrunning events, all of which led to some success at home.

Scotland’s Lynne Allen won the women’s Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra skyrace, with 52km and 4000m of elevation gain which took participants up Glen Nevis, to the summit of Ben Nevis and then back to Kinlochleven in nine hours , 30 minutes and 47 seconds.

The National: Scotland's Naomi Lang was the first woman in the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace - Image credit: No Limits PhotographyScottish Naomi Lang was the first woman in the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace – Image credit: No Limits Photography

Those who took part in the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline race faced 52km and 4750m of elevation gain, with a course that included the two famous ridges of Curved Ridge and Aonach Eagach.

It was considered the toughest event of the weekend.

Scotland’s Clementine Mitchell finished third in the women’s event with a time of 11 hours, 33 minutes and 17 seconds.

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Also on was the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace which saw 700 runners set off from Kinlochleven to tackle a route through the Mamores – with 29km and 2500m of elevation gain.

The race was won by Briton Alan Cherry with fellow countryman Daniel Connolly second but third overall and the first woman was Scotsman Naomi Lang who finished in three hours, 55 minutes and 38 seconds.

Meanwhile, there were three more trail races on Sunday morning, providing challenges and great views for all levels of runners.

The 27km Mamores Stalker Trail race was part of the Spartan Trail World Championship and boasted a very competitive field.

The men’s race was won by Spaniard Antonio Martínez Pérez in two hours, three minutes and Norway’s Andrine Benjaminsen won the women’s race in two hours, 20 minutes and five seconds.

Hundreds of other runners tackled 18 km and 10 km races.

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