Skyrunning World Champs come to Scotland

Skyrunning world champs coming to Scotland

Skyrunning, as the name suggests, describes the art of running high above the clouds. It’s similar to fell running, but at higher altitude, and attracts the cream of European mountain racing, including the likes of Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg.  Previous World Championships have been held in Spain, Italy and France. Now it’s Scotland’s turn to host the prestigious event – and this year’s lineup is stacked.

Related: A 60 second guide to fell running

‘It’s a real coup for Scotland,’ says Jonny Muir, author of The Mountains are Calling: Running in the High Places of Scotland. ‘It’s a vote of confidence for the sport, the runners and the landscape. However, it merely backs up what every runner who goes to the Scottish hills already knows: this country is one of the most challenging and brilliant places to run in the world.’

The crème de la crème of mountain running will be coming Kinlochleven to test themselves over a variety of distances, including the likes of Kilian Jornet, Dakota Jones and Laura Orgué.

There’s plenty of British interest, too. Jon Albon won the Glen Coe Skyline race last year, and will this year compete in the Ultra. Albon, who is widely regarded as the world’s best obstacle course racer, has proved he can mix it with the best in pure running events. Scotland’s own Findlay Wild knows these mountains well and will also be looking to challenge, as will fellow countrymen Donnie Campbell, while in the women’s races Holly Page and Victoria Wilkinson will both be eyeing a place on the podium.

Race Director Shane Ohly is delighted the race has attracted such a depth of talent.  ‘Salomon Skyline Scotland has exploded from nothing to the pinnacle mountain running event in the world in just three years, he says. ‘It’s a phenomenal rate of change and organising the event has been some journey. It will be an honour to be trusted with the Skyrunning World Championship in 2018 and I look forward to welcoming the world’s best mountain runners to Scotland this month.’

Muir, who completed the Ramsay Round last year, says that the Skyrunning races are as exhilarating as they are challenging. ‘While these races differ from traditional hill running, with marked courses and greater razzmatazz, they are thrilling to take part in,’ he says. ‘The Ring of Steall includes the Munros on one of Scotland’s most iconic walking and running routes in the Mamores. The route of the Glen Coe Skyline is arguably one of the best in the world for mountain running, which sees runners climb Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor, before ascending 900 vertical metres to the hairline ridge of the Aonach Eagach. The route is very technical with a huge amount of ascent and descent, and - on a good day - is utterly beautiful.’

The races:

Vertical KM, Thurs 13 September

The short, sharp shock of mountain running. It involves 5km of running and 1,000m of vertical climb. The route goes from sea-level to the Munro summit, with the prizes going to the fastest man and fastest woman.

Ultra, Friday 14 September

The Ben Nevis Ultra will be 65K in length and summit Britain’s highest mountain. It has 4,300m of vertical climb, a cut-off time of 16 hours and among the favourites will be Britain’s Jon Albon.

Sky, Saturday 15 September

The Ring of Steall SkyRace is characterised by uncompromising mountain terrain, which will require scrambling, steep ascents and traverses. It’s 29K in length with 2,500m of vertical climb.