Radically Redesigned Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra For 2018
Welcome to our update on the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ - the most daring mountain Ultra in the UK and the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships ULTRA race!
The International Skyrunning Federation standard for Ultra races is changing, with the overall maximum distance being reduced to 99km in 2018, and less again in 2019 for Skyrunner® World Series races. This means that we are redesigning our Ultra course so that it sits firmly within the Skyrunning framework for the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships and foreseeable future thereafter.
Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra 2017
The inaugural Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra proved to be a massive test of runner’s determination with the unusually wet summer making conditions tough under foot, for the ~120km race through Scottish Glens, and over the UK’s highest mountain; Ben Nevis. Edinburgh athlete Donald Campbell won the men’s race, with Nepal’s Mira Rai dominating the women’s race to finish 5th overall.Posted by Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra on Wednesday, 20 September 2017
The shared vision we have with Skyrunning is for an Ultra course that fully embraces the fantastic mountain summit and ridge running that the Scottish Highlands have to offer. Our Ultra is a world away from the 100% trail-orientated ultra-races and embraces the true ethos of Skyrunning: Less Cloud, More Sky!
This means that a radical redesign of the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ route is currently being concluded. In a nutshell, we will depart Kinlochleven on great trails to reach the first big ascent into spectacular running in the remote eastern Mamores mountains. Then we descend into the wilds of the upper Water of Nevis river, and up to the incredible Càrn Mòr Dearg Arête, which leads to the summit of Ben Nevis. Plunging back into Glen Nevis there is the mid-way Support Point with a Feed Station. After the Support Point we ascend the central Mamores mountains and head for the finish line at the Ice Factor. On the way, we follow the magnificent narrow and rocky areté of An Gearanach to reach the main spine of the Mamores mountains, looking down on the beckoning Loch Leven and across to distant Glen Coe.
Scotland's ridge running at its finest, on the CMD Arête ©Steve Ashworth
What is unchanged:
- The name! The race will retain the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ name
- The race summits Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, where the world’s first mountain running race took place in 1895
- The height gain will remain close to 4,000m
What will change:
- The new route is shortened to work within the future ISF distance regulations, and our working draft route is presently around 52km
- The new route will start and finish at the Ice Factor Event Centre in Kinlochleven
- The start time is likely to be 07:00 and the course will close after 12-hours
- There will be significantly fewer flat sections, chiefly due to the shorter distance
- There will be considerably more ascent per kilometre
- There will be more emphasis on mountain summits and ridge running
Descending Ben Nevis in glorious conditions ©Steve Ashworth
As you will be aware, the Scottish Highlands are now snow covered and ‘proving’ our new race route will need to be concluded in the spring, and therefore our route and statistics are provisional at this stage.
We have every confidence that our superb new world-class course is very much in keeping with the finest traditions of Skyrunning and a fitting accompaniment to the challenging Salomon Skyline Scotland™ races.
Entries for all Skyline Scotland races open on January 9th, and for the 2018 Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra it seems only fair of us to open entries using a pre-registration list: This will allow you to fill out the entry form just as you would normally, effectively reserving your first-come, first-served space, but you will not be asked (or able) to pay for your entry immediately.
We intend to confirm the precise course details in early spring, at which point we will invite you to pay-up to secure your place (invites will last 7 days). This will give you good time to ensure that the finalised terrain and the route is to your liking.
We look forward to seeing your name on the entry list!
Descending Ben Nevis in golden light, 2017 ©Steve Ashworth