Day 1: VK first timers Zak and Vic triumph
The sun blazed as 300 runners took on the Salomon Mamores Vertical Kilometre (VK) with first timers Zak Hanna, of Northern Ireland, and Victoria Wilkinson, of England, taking golds.
What a rare day in Scotland!! Runners on the Vertical KM and the Ben Nevis Ultra will have sweated and toiled, they’ll have worked up a serious thirst and might even have sunburned - but they were treated to unblemished skies and panoramas of the highlands mountains stretching off as far as the eye can see. What a day! Count the smiles in this highlights film by Summit Fever Media #SkylineScotland Salomon RunningPosted by Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra on Friday, 20 September 2019
‘It was very, very warm out there’
Some 300 athletes – including 100 females – raced the Salomon Mamores Vertical Kilometre® (VK) today aiming to be the fastest to climb 1000m over just 5km on the mountain of Na Gruagaichean.
Despite the sunny and hot conditions, Zak Hanna and Victoria Wilkinson recorded impressive times reaching the summit finishing line in 44:43 and 52:49 respectively. Vic's time gave her an eighth place overall.
Vic Wilkinson grabbed her first VK win. Credit: No Limits Photography
Lochaber AC runner Andrew Barrington, of Oban in Scotland, was second male home in 48:14. Third place in 49:33 went to Glasgow-based Tom Owens, just a few weeks after placing fourth in the UTMB.
Second and third places in the female race were also taken by British runners Aoife Quigly in 57:25 and Claire Gordon in 59:32. Remarkably, 11 of the top 12 women were British.
Zak Hanna is delighted to triumph in the Salomon Mamores VK 2019. Credit: No Limits Photography
Zak, aged just 23, was thrilled to triumph. He said: “I am very surprised to be the winner to be honest. It’s my first ever VK and, in fact, my first time in the Scottish Highlands.
“It is great to beat a lot of first class athletes and it’s something I hope to build on in the future.”
Zak found the course a challenge, especially under a blazing sun. He said: “It was very, very warm out there. The course was tough and it started with a boggy section lower down.
“The middle part of the climb was steep and quite slippery then it became more runnable higher up but by then my legs were in a lot of pain. I just had to grind it out to the finish at the top.”
The sun blazed on today's VK course. Credit: No Limits Photography
It was also Vic’s first VK although she is a legend of fell and mountain races. The 41-year-old Bingley Harriers’ runner said: “It’s difficult to know where you are in this type of race because it’s a time trial and it was also my first VK.
“I just went out there and kept trying to run as hard as I could and walked fast on other sections. It is great to have won.”
Inov-8 ambassador Victoria, who took silver in last year’s Skyline Scotland sister race, the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace, said she enjoyed today’s sunshine.
She added: “It’s Scotland in September so it was nice to have the heat. The scenery was also stunning, especially once I got to the top. All those lochs and mountains looked great in the sunshine. What more could you ask for?”
The runner on the leg breaking 1000m climb in the Highlands. Credit: No Limits Photography
What’s next in the Salomon Skyline Scotland race weekend?
Three days – still five races to go
There are still two days of races to be played out in the mountainous heart of the Scottish Highlands.
There are also three new trail races – 5k, 10k and 18k – launched for the 2019 edition of Skyline Scotland.
The festival of mountain running weekend includes a bigger and better Event Village, with free talks (Skyline Sessions), live commentary, BIG screen, giveaways, exhibitors and a Scottish ceilidh for the official After Party.
- Check out the full 'What's On' programme?
- Download the 2019 event schedule + map
- Check out the full Skyline Sessions programme