Salomon to sponsor the Glen Coe Skyline - Entries Open
Entries for what must be the UK’s most controversial running race open on Monday 13th April with an announcement that global sports brand Salomon are to be title sponsors of this very challenging and innovative new event.
UK Marketing Manager, Paul Griffiths, said, “Salomon are delighted to be supporting the new Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™, which is at the cutting edge of Skyrunning with its combination of exposed scrambling and remote mountainous course. It will certainly provide a serious and demanding mountain running test for experienced competitors.”
Leading UK outdoor retailer, Ellis Brigham, have also been announced as a race partner and Marketing Director, Mark Brigham added, “We are thrilled to be supporting the first Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ event this August. There is no doubt this is a tough challenge in the most stunning location in Britain and we are really looking forward to it.”
The 45km route has proved controversial to some commentators because it will ascend the iconic Buachaille Etive Mor, the distinctive mountain at the head of Glencoe, via the exposed Grade III scramble (a 'Moderate' graded rock climb) of Curved Ridge. The route continues over the Bidean nam Bian massif, which is remote and serious backcountry, before completing a full traverse of mainland Scotland’s most famous mountain ridge, the Aonach Eagach, which includes more exposed Grade II scrambling.
Race Director Shane Ohly explains reasons for creating such a challenging route, “I am not creating another mass participation running event, rather, a world-class course for experienced and competent participants. The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ is a fusion of mountain running and alpinism where competitors need to be skilled at both disciplines to negotiate the course.”
Potential competitors will need to provide evidence of their mountain running experience and agree to an extraordinary declaration that pulls no punches when it states that there is a “risk of serious injury or death whilst participating” in the event.
Whilst there has been significant support for the race from leading British mountain runners the objective dangers of racing on such exposed technical terrain leave a question mark over how many competitors will both be willing to accept the challenge and pass the organisers vetting process. However, we will soon know, with a limited number of entries opening at 2100 precisely on Monday 13th April, which will be sold on a first come, first served basis.
IAU Trail World Champion, Ricky Lightfoot from Cumbria, said “To get the opportunity to run a race along the infamous Aonach Eagach Ridge, a place untouched and of natural beauty, is something which no other race in the UK can offer. A true Skyrunning experience where you'll need the right mixture of endurance, experience and guts!"
Glasgow based mountain runner, Tom Owens, who is a member of the Salomon International Team added, “The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ will be the ultimate UK Skyrace. It is comparable with the Classic Italian Skyraces which I love such as Sentiero delle Gringe and Trofeo Kima. An extremely challenging circular route with heaps of scrambling, ridge running, vertical & exposure! It will be a full on adventure and a great showcase for the Scottish Highlands. The proposed route is creating a real buzz in the Skyrunning community and I'm sure it will attract Skyrunners from around the world in the future. Fingers crossed for good weather.”
The big European Skyraces have clearly been an influence on the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ with races like Zegama-Aizkorri (check the video HERE) seeing spectators flocking to the course much like the support seen at the Tour de France. Race Director Shane Ohly said, “We will be providing free food and drink at the low level support points for both competitors and supporters in 2015 in an effort to encourage friends and family of competitors and locals to support the runners. Our intention is to team up with some local guides to provide guided walks to key high level sections of the course, again so that people can watch the race, but in the best possible locations.”
The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ will take place on Saturday 22nd August 2015 and will be part of the UK Sky Runner Series.