News - Mon 24th Sep 2018 - Race Director's Report - Salomon Skyline Scotland®

Race Director's Report

24th Sep 2018

The greatest line up of mountain runners the UK has ever witnessed gathered in Scotland last weekend for the Salomon Skyline Scotland™ event, which hosted the 2018 Skyrunning® World Championships, the Golden Trail Series and the Skyrunner® World Series. 

 
2018 Highlight Reel

#SkylineScotland 2018 is a wrap! Thank you to the volunteers, sponsors, partners and competitors alike – it's been a blast! #PerfectStage #SkyWorldChamps18 #SWS2018 #GoldenTrailSeries #YOYP2018 EDIT: Summit Fever Media + Steve Ashworth Media

Posted by Salomon Glen Coe Skyline on Monday, 17 September 2018

 



Introduction

For me personally, and the Ourea Events office team, it is hugely gratifying to deliver another truly World-class event that can sit proudly alongside our other flagship events (the Cape Wrath Ultra® and the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race®). As the final medal ceremony was taking place I was stood on the stage with the 2018 Skyrunning® World Championship COMBINED winners, and TEAM representatives when Marino Giacometti, International Skyrunning Federation President, unexpectedly presented me with a Gold medal for the outstanding organisation of the event. It was a touching and surprising moment, which really represents a huge team effort, and we spent the next 24 hours trying to ensure every member of the Event Team had their photo taken with the Gold 2018 Skyrunning® World Championships medal.

With the severe weather over the event weekend, much of my time and headspace was preoccupied with my safety management responsibilities. The real test of any event organiser is not delivering an event in lovely weather but delivering it when conditions are against you. I am delighted that we have maintained our excellent safety record at the event and this really is testament to the experienced and awesome Event Team across the entire event. We are not complacent though, and there is already a long list of incremental safety improvements we will make for 2019. 

This year Salomon Skyline Scotland™ welcomed around 2,000 runners from almost 60 countries to the Scottish Highlands. Scotland, with its fantastic mountains has long captivated me, and I truly hope that all the visitors to the event will be inspired by their experience, warmly recall the wild weather of 2018 and hopefully return for more adventures in the Scottish ‘Skylands’ in the future. 

 

Colin Anderson MyBibNumber

Colin Anderson from Scotland; one of two runners to complete all four races at Salomon Skyline Scotland™ 2018. ©MyBibNumber

 

I’d like to highlight so many of the amazing achievements I witnessed from the runners at the event, but I’d be here for a week! So, I’ll just mention the two runners who completed all four races this year: Colin Anderson (Scotland) and Thomas Wagner (Austria). Also Julian Jamison from USA just missed out on The Quad by finishing a few minutes after the Course Closure Time on the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™. I am super impressed by all three! 


Event Team

Words cannot easily describe how grateful I feel to the Event Team. This year there were 110 on the Event Team and the vast majority were volunteers. It is their passion, enthusiasm, dedication, experience and sheer grafting which carried the event each day. As the Race Director there is a strange yet distinct moment with each event I organise, when the Event Team is briefed, and doing their jobs and you realise that the delivery of the event is now largely in their hands. For me, this moment is usually a moment of relief, as I can trust in the Event Team to help fulfil my vision of the event. 

 

We're ready, are you?

We're in town and ready to go! Hello Kinlochleven! Are you ready for #SkylineScotland 2018?

Posted by Salomon Glen Coe Skyline on Wednesday, 12 September 2018

 

What sums up such a high level of commitment by the Event Team was that on Monday morning a detachment had organised themselves to do a litter pick through Kinlochleven village. I’ve already had a call from one local resident to say just how amazed and impressed she was to witness this. Thank you to you all. The 2018 Team was:

  • Abbi Forsyth
  • Alex Chesters 
  • Alexander Major
  • Alexis Dole
  • Amy Piggot
  • Angie Garton
  • Ann Law
  • Becky Tate
  • Brian Jamieson
  • Brian Melia
  • Brian Sharp
  • Carmine De Grandis
  • Caz Phillips
  • Charlie Sproson
  • Christiaan Le Roux
  • Colin Harding
  • Dan Summers
  • Dave Anderson
  • Dave Taylor
  • Donna Pass
  • Duncan Kendrick
  • Duncan Anderson
  • Edward Chapman
  • Ellie Green 
  • Emily Ravenhill
  • Fiona Brannan
  • Fiona Murphy
  • Fiona Russell
  • Gareth Swain
  • Gary Tompsett
  • Gary Johnson
  • Geoff Cox
  • Gillian Parker
  • Gordon Gillespie
  • Graeme Douglas
  • Graham Gristwood
  • Graham Atkinson
  • Greg Pitt
  • Guido Althausen
  • Hannah Phelan
  • Hannah Bradshaw
  • Harriet D'Allesio Le Roux
  • Helen Samson
  • Iain Murrey
  • Ian Cowie
  • Ian Grimshaw
  • Ian Brandreth
  • Jack Cooper
  • Jade Phillips
  • James Byrne
  • James Duffy
  • Jamie Bankhead
  • Jenni Whittaker
  • Jim Mann
  • Jo Fraser
  • Joe Faulkner
  • John Lacobucci
  • John Irvine
  • Jonathan Aylward
  • Jonni Suckling
  • Juliet Hill
  • Kaz Kemish
  • Kate Worthington
  • Kit Kat Cole
  • Kerry King
  • Kevin Baird
  • Kevin Nairn
  • Lawrie Jones
  • Liz Barker
  • Lois Simpson
  • Lonneke Reger
  • Lorna Sinclair
  • Lyndsay Cameron
  • Mark Bullock
  • Mat Nelson
  • Matt Gemmell
  • Matt Green
  • Matt Harmon
  • Max Chell
  • Max Hunter
  • Michelle Creed
  • Mick Cooper
  • Nathan Turney
  • Nick Munro
  • Nick Stafford
  • Nicola Pollard
  • Nikita Cekuls
  • Paul Imrie
  • Paul Beeson
  • Philip Wilkinson
  • Rachel Platt
  • Richard Baines
  • Roger Clark
  • Ruth Howie
  • Sandra Williams
  • Sarah Wingrove
  • Shan Jones
  • Shane Ohly
  • Stephen Gillies
  • Steve Ashworth
  • Steve Arden
  • Stewart Caithness
  • Stu Cameron
  • Stuart Smith
  • Sue Dowker
  • Susan Nicol
  • Susan Nash
  • Susie Hill
  • Ray Marais
  • Tim Glasby
  • Tim Cox
  • Tom Hecht
  • Zac Poulton

Thank Yous

Being selected to host the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships has been a great honour - an honour shared with the Event Team and my staff at Ourea Events I might add - and I would first like to thank the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) for placing their trust in us. Hosting a World Championships event would not have been possible without the support of Event Scotland and the Highland Council, both of whom contributed directly to the event budget and offered expert advice and insight. 

Key Stakeholders like JAHAMA Highland Estates, National Trust for Scotland, John Muir Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Police Scotland and the Kinlochleven community have also been instrumental in their support to the event, with their careful feedback on our event plans and consent for the event to take place.

 

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Pupils from Kinlochleven and Ardnamurchan High Schools performing at the Opening Ceremony. ©No Limits Photography

 

We have worked hard to engage with the local community, and over the years I have become a regular face at Kinlochleven High School giving assemblies about Skyrunning and the event. This year, I was delighted to be able to actively involve both Kinlochleven and Ardnamurchan High Schools in the event via Event Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People’ funding stream that supported the direct costs relating to the two Schools' involvement. Thank you to the pupils and staff of Kinlochleven and Ardnamurchan High Schools and Event Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People’ initiative for making this happen.

I would also like to mention Marion Smith from the Kinlochleven Community Trust who alongside Tracey Smith’s team at the Ice Factor, have made a big contribution to the success of the event.

Our title sponsor Salomon continues to have a huge impact on the event by bringing almost every member of their International Running Team. This year the new Golden Trail Series attracted dozens of elite athletes from all the leading running brands to race at the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™ and Salomon supported many of the additional costs to make this happen. Once entered into Ring of Steall Skyrace™ many of these athletes also opted to take part in the Salomon Mamores VK® and/or Salomon Glen Coe Skyline®, so their impact was felt across the event. Thank you Salomon for the continued support as we build together one of the great mountain running events in the UK.

  • Ardnamurchan High School
  • Bidwells Land & Estate Agents, and their tenants, especially Cameron Loudoun
  • Blackwater Hostel
  • Coffee Rescue Scotland
  • David Broom, Ecologist
  • Ellis Brigham
  • Event Scotland
  • Forestry Commission Scotland
  • Glen Nevis Estate
  • Glen Nevis Visitor Centre
  • JAHAMA Highland Estates
  • Harvey Maps
  • Heilan Loos
  • Highland Council
  • Highland Getaway
  • Hunter Mountaineering
  • Ice Factor
  • International Skyrunning Federation
  • John Muir Trust
  • Kinlochleven High School
  • Kinlochleven Salvation Army 
  • Kinlochleven Community Council
  • Kinlochleven Community Trust
  • Lochaber Chamber of Commerce
  • Macdonald Hotel
  • National Trust for Scotland
  • No Fuss Events
  • Open Tracking
  • Ortlieb
  • Petzl
  • Pixel Spirits 
  • Police Scotland
  • Salomon
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • SPORTident
  • Suunto
  • The Leven Centre
  • The Tailrace Inn
  • West Highland Way Rangers

On a personal note, the Devil's Staircase Gin by Pixel Spirits is one of the best gins I've ever had. Please buy a bottle! We presented the race winners with a bottle.


In the sections below, I am not going to rehash the excellent reporting already available on the event website, but reflect on each race as the Race Director.  

 

Salomon Mamores Vertical Kilometer™

Race Report: VERTICAL Skyrunning World Champs kick off festival of mountain running 
ISF Report: Gold medals and records for Bonnet and Orgué
More: Results | Photos | Survey

 
Kicking off the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships

The #SkyWorldChamps18 kicked off with the VERTICAL race today - records were smashed by: Laura Orgué (-1m 13s) & Rémi Bonnet (-2m 42s) Congratulations to all runners battling the elements today - a tough day out on the VK course Full results: www.skylinescotland.com/mamores-vk/results/2018-results/

Posted by Salomon Mamores VK on Thursday, 13 September 2018

 

After a year of planning, nothing beats the first athlete racing out from the start to test our plans for real. We knew that the weather was going to be severe on the upper flanks of Na Gruagaichean and had seven (two person) marshal locations along the route, a (four person) summit finish team and two (two person) Response Teams deployed. We were also monitoring runners with a live results link from the start, from the summit finish, and then back into Kinlochleven. As the volume of runners reaching the summit finish increased it was clear we had a developing problem with already chilled runners rapidly succumbing to hypothermia because they were too exhausted from their race effort to descend immediately. Many simply sat on the ground too tired to even put their waterproofs on. The summit team were under enormous pressure with many runners wanting help at once.  The entire Event Team on the hill did an awesome job cajoling these runners to get moving down the mountain, and in one case carrying a runner down the hill. We deployed our third Response Team to help, but ultimately needed to stretcher one exhausted runner down and required the help of Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team; we are very grateful for their swift response. The whole episode attenuated late into the night with our last team members only making it off the hill at 01:00 on Friday morning. 

 

Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™

Race Report: Brit Jonathan Albon wins ULTRA 2018 Skyrunning World Championships
Race Report: Dutch runner Ragna Dabats is ULTRA 2018 Skyrunning World Champion
ISF Report: It’s gold for Albon and Debats – new Skyrunning Ultra Champions
More: Results | Photos | Survey

 
ULTRA day at the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships

In great contrast to the short but intense 5km / 1000m Salomon Mamores VK VERTICAL race yesterday, today saw the #SkyWorldChamps18 ULTRA contenders demonstrate their endurance with champions Ragna Dabats and Jonathan Albon crowned at the 2nd of the three Skyrunning World Championships races

Posted by Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra on Friday, 14 September 2018

 

Whilst the VK was taking place on Thursday we were marking the full Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ course… and watching the weather forecast carefully. We already knew the weather was predicted to be very poor on the summits on Friday but wanted to give ourselves every opportunity to run the full course. At 21:00 on Thursday evening the event Safety Team was convened to make a final decision. The weather forecast had been incrementally worsening all day and despite our best intentions, switching to the ‘Bad Weather’ course was the only defensible position. 

Of interest was that we sent a strong and experienced team onto Ben Nevis to collect the waymarking we had placed on Thursday, whilst the race was in full swing. They were on the Ben, exactly when the leaders would have been if we had run the full course and described the weather as severe – their video of gale force winds, sleet and some snow laying on the ground only reinforcing that we made the correct decision the night before. 

I am very sorry for the international runners that missed the opportunity to summit the UK’s highest mountain, but my decisions like this, are based on the collective safety of all the runners and event staff and not based on whether a small number of very experienced competitors would have been ‘ok’.

What also played on my mind whilst making this decision was the large number of messages we had had leading up to the event questioning the wisdom of our mandatory kit list, particularly from the international teams and competitors. The consistent theme being that our mandatory kit list was over the top. I was left with the strong impression that they had no idea how poor the weather can be in Scotland (and I would still run the race), relative to the warmer European regions (where the threshold for cancelling a race due to bad weather is lower).  

 

Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™

Race Report: Kilian Jornet and Tove Alexandersson crowned SKY World Champions
ISF Report: Jornet and Alexandersson take the Sky
More: Results | Photos | Survey

 
Kilian Jornet and Tove Alexandersson crowned SKY World Champions

Kilian Jornet (ESP) and Tove Alexandersson (SWE) crowned SKY World Champions today in the final race of the 2018 Skyrunning World Championships Full results: www.skylinescotland.com/ring-of-steall-skyrace/results/2018-results/ #Skyrunning #SkyWorldChamps #GoldenTrailSeries

Posted by Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace on Saturday, 15 September 2018

 

Finally, a day of good weather! It was such a delight to see the break in the weather forecast for Saturday, which nicely coincided with our biggest race of the event. There are three standout issues for me, which I’ll consider carefully over the winter months to ensure this very popular race is improved for next year. 

The first issue is the registration queue. Registration was open for 5½ hours in total on Friday evening and first thing Saturday morning. However, most people registered between 18:00 and 20:00 on Friday evening, which led to a huge queue (and it was drizzling) and tremendous pressure on the registration team. We already hire the largest buildings in Kinlochleven, so we can’t move to another location. As we issue items like the GPS trackers we can’t register people by post in advance, and because of the high number of international and novice runners I think that the kit check is an important safety feature of registration. Therefore, we need a better system and we are considering mandating a registration time – chosen by the competitor when they enter – to spread the registration load evenly. I am open to ideas so please let me know if you have a good idea or have seen a super-efficient registration system at another event. 

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The excitement and atmosphere of a big race start. © Steve Ashworth

The second thought that I have is that because of the large number of competitors wishing to taking part, we are very likely to have a wave start in 2019 so that everyone is spread-out more evenly along the course. We will update the website in due course with these details. 

Finally, there is the very difficult issue of the Course Closure Time. Obviously, we must have a time when the course closes and the cut-offs earlier in the race are calculated backwards based on the Course Closure Time and cumulative information on finishers times from previous editions of the race. Pre-event we made it clear that the Finishers' Medal would only be presented to the runners who completed the course within the Course Closure Time, and we reiterated this in the final details email sent out the week before the event. 

I really do not want to belittle the huge personal effort that our slower competitors make to complete the course, and I would like them to know that I have personally been that runner fighting to make the course closure time myself. I know what it feels like. However, we are organising an internationally renowned competitive race and our focus is excellence in competition i.e. the result, rather than rewarding the effort of participation, and do not want any of my events to slide in the direction of some ‘races’ where it is possible to walk and finish within the cut-offs. Also, fairness is always an important element of event design and management for me, and it would be unfair on the runners who busted themselves throughout the day to finish within the Course Closure Time, only to hand our finishers' medals to other participants who did not finish with this time.

For the small number of runners who completed the course, but finished after the Course Closure Time, please consider coming back next year with a very definitive goal of finishing with the time limits. You will always receive a very warm welcome at the event.

 

Salomon Glen Coe Skyline®

Race Report: Kilian Jornet and Hillary Gerardi win Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2018
SWS Report: Jornet and Gerardi star at Glen Coe
More: Results | Photos | Survey

 
Salomon Glen Coe Skyline 2018

Kilian Jornet and Hillary Gerardi crowned king and queen of Glen Coe after 200+ competitors battle against the elements, the course, and themselves today in the final race at Salomon #SkylineScotland #SWS2018 #Skyrunning

Posted by Salomon Glen Coe Skyline on Sunday, 16 September 2018

 

With the forecast winds expected to gust to 100kph on Sunday there was no possibility of safely running the full Salomon Glen Coe Skyline® course. Fortunately, our Safety Team includes many local Mountaineering Instructors and their advice was proven to be spot on; that Curved Ridge would be sheltered from the prevailing wind. Based on this we opted to run the ‘Bad Weather’ course with the bonus Curved Ridge section included. It was exactly the right decision and I am very grateful for the expert and considered advice from the Safety Team – thanks! 

My personal reflection about the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline® is that we need to reduce the queueing on Curved Ridge and - like the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™ - it is very likely that we will introduce a wave start for 2019 onwards.


Post Event Economic Impact Survey

It is very important for us to collect economic impact data from the event. Please take 5 minutes to complete this simple online survey. This survey is for anyone who had an entry, regardless of whether they participated on race day. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a draw for a guaranteed free entry to the race of their choice (subject to vetting for the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™!) in 2019. We will give away two places. 


Year of Young People

The 2018 event received special support from Event Scotland’s Year of Young People funding and it was awesome to feel the pure energy in the Kinlochleven High School as the pupils completed their final rehearsal an hour before the opening ceremony. Throughout the weekend pupils from Kinlochleven and Ardnamurchan High Schools supported the event with their own media reporting, music and ceremonies. You can see some of the reporting here: Twitter Reports 
 


Photography

FREE_FIN_1929

Race Director Shane Ohly with a cup of coffee in one hand, and a 2018 Skyrunning® World Championship gold medal in the other: happy days! You can download your 'Finish Board' picture for free on MyBibNumber

 

If you were racing, chances are that you've been captured en route - search by your race number on MyBibNumber. Remember that your 'Finish Board' photo can be downloaded for FREE.

1% For The Planet Donations

Since the launch of Ourea Events, we have been donating 1% of our turnover to environmental organisations through our 1% For The Planet membership, and we will be donating 1% of the entire event revenue from Salomon Skyline Scotland™ to local organisations involved in environmental sustainability and protection. Details of our 2018 donations will be confirmed in 2019, and you can see our track record on the Ourea Events website.


Salomon Skyline Scotland 2019

We shall confirm the dates for Salomon Skyline Scotland™ 2019 this Autumn. However, it is likely that we will shift a weekend to fit with the other major events taking place in Scotland during September in 2019. We are also likely to change the running order of which races take place on which days... So please hold off booking any accommodation or making travel arrangements until we have finalised the 2019 date. Please ensure you are signed up to our email database to be first to know!

We look forward to welcoming you back to Scotland in 2019.

Meanwhile, we'd encourage you to check out other races organised by Ourea Events, including the SILVA Great Lakeland 3Day™ (friendly, relaxed 3-day event), and the incredible 400km, 8-day Cape Wrath Ultra® - do you dare?

 

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