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European sunshine takes the lead in the 6th edition of the Rab Scafell Sky Race.

Sunshine takes the lead for the start of the Skyrunner UK and Ireland ® Series for 2023 in the heart of the Lakes at the Rab Scafell Sky Race

in Race News / Skyrunning

3Rd Lady Ssr 2023

Race Report 2023:

Racing was hot and dry for a 3rd year in a row. Streams were flowing still, but slowly, the sun beat down and temperatures hit the mid 20's in the valley of Great Langdale.

Nearly 200 runners toed the start line, with over 260 entered. Train strikes stopped some, lack of training others and of course last minute life changes the rest, but out of the 200 on the start line, the racing was fast, furious and seriously sun-baked.

The stats showed around 25% of the field were women, ethic minorities rose from previous years and 14 nationalities were present on the start line.

In the Ladies race the top 3 battled it out in the first few checkpoints and then positions were set for the podium places, with Alicia Schwarzenbach taking the coveted 1st place [10th overall], Holly Clifford in 2nd [19th Overall] and Karolina Woloszczyk 3rd [23rd Overall] to complete the women's trio.

In the Men's race the top 3 fought for the lead between the start line and CP2, before Luke Greffel-Shaw established a lead that was not going to be taken, with 2nd and 3rd places catching him on decent's, but Luke had the ascending speed to keep them at bay and cross the finish line in the 1st position to be the make champion of the race. 2nd over the line was George Fisher and Kim Collison, local legend, taking the 3rd podium spot to complete the winning male trio.

Further back in the race, the Vets 45 category females and males raced hard in the Lakeland heat to battle it out for the category prize slots with Ausrine Ward of Lithuania taking the FV45 win, Jenny Morrit of the UK in 2nd and Rachel Hollins in 3rd to complete the podium positions, then in the mens race Daniel Massat of The Netherlands took the win, Allen Flockhart from the UK in 2nd and filling up the 3rd podium slot was Nick Jones, another UK skyrunner.

Female 1/2/3:

1st: Alicia Schawzenbach: 06:05:11

2nd: Holly Clifford: 06:34:07

3rd: Karolina Wolozczyk: 06:42:20

Male 1/2/3:

1st: Luke Grenfell-Shaw: 04:45:13

2nd: George Fisher: 04:59:14

3rd: Kim Collison: 05:09:24

Holly Clifford and George Fisher on their way to podium places ©RouteNorthPhotography
Holly Clifford and George Fisher on their way to podium places ©RouteNorthPhotography

Race Directors Report:

Typically, each year I write a report of what was good and what was not so good and then we try to improve on this year on year.

Its been a tough old ride since 2020 with illness and issues preventing people from arriving on the start line or even entering du to lack of fitness. Its become a more common theme than pre-2020. So it was fantastic to see so many skyrunners entering for the 6th edition of the Rab Scafell Sky Race.

The 2023 edition of the race has seen almost record numbers on the start lists, with 269 skyrunners booking on for the race, this turned into 245 eligible to stand in the start line, after injuries, illness and other commitments seeded out 20+ runners. Out of the 245 on the actual start list, 189 arrived in the amazing valley of Great Langdale to start the race in pretty warm conditions and very dry terrain.

2021 saw the race move over the road to the fields opposite the New Dungeon Ghyll, the aftermath of 2020 being the reason for this. 2022 and the race was in the same field, so it was fantastic to see the National Trusts Sticklebarn Pub open its doors and fields once more for us in 2023. It was such a shame, a few months ago to learn that the National Trust would no longer be 'running' the Sticklebarn and so come race day, the doors were closed on the beautiful Lakeland Pub and things would not quite look how we wanted them to, however the 'bods' at The Trust did their upmost to make it run smoothly for us and accommodated us un every way they could.

The Rab Scafell Sky Race was a total success for the 6th year in a row with smiling competitors, hot and bothered, but ultra happy with the race route, course markings and quality of skyrunning experienced over this highly technical but very runnable course.

Happy Skyrunners ©RouteNorthPhotography
Happy Skyrunners ©RouteNorthPhotography
Happy Skyrunners ©RouteNorthPhotography

New for 2023:

Stickle Grind 650 - Uphill only race.

The SG650 or Stickle Grind 650 as its known, was a new addition for 2023 along with the Great Langdale 10k, plus we worked on food stalls and exhibitors to give not only participants, but gamily and friends something more to do during the race days as things were in progress.

The Stickle Grind 650 is new to the SSR weekend but no stranger to the Sticklebarn. We have delivered this race at the Sticklebarn pre-2020 as part of the Octoberfest that the National Trust organised as a family weekend, along with the Great Langdale 10k. The difference we made is to add a prize pot to each race, so 6 happy runners left after each race, a little better off than before they entered.

Uphill racing is no stranger either to a Skyrunning weekend with Vertical K's being a main event in our European cousins mountains. Here in England, we cannot quite get a vertical kilometre, but we can race to the summit of a mountain still.

The SG650 ticks this box and is a 2.34k uphill struggle climbing 650 metres from the valley floor to finish on the summit of Harrison Stickle, one of the Langdale Pikes.

21 runners took on the vertical ascent with Gavin Dale taking the male 1st place, Matthew Harris in 2nd and Konrad Koniarczyk from Poland slipping into the 3rd podium position and completing the winning trio.

In the Ladies race, Emma Bramley took the win and placed 2nd overall, with Sarah Chippendale in 2nd and local legend and Scafell Pike Womble, Lindsay Buck, taking the 3rd podium spot, completing the women's wining positions.

Female 1/2/3:

1st: Emma Bramley 00:32:56 [2nd Overall]

2nd: Sarah Chippindale 00:35:33

3rd: Lindsay Buck 00:38:05

Male 1/2/3:

1st: Gavin Dale 00:26:53

2nd: Matthew Harris 00:34:46

3rd: Konrad Koniarczyk 00:35:21

Winning male and female - Gavin Dale and Emma Bramley ©LDSTLtd
Winning male and female - Gavin Dale and Emma Bramley ©LDSTLtd

Great Langdale 10k

The Great Langdale 10k in the past has had over 150 trail runners in, so it was a little disheartening to see such a small field of 25 runners entered for this semi technical valley 10k.

However, the small field did not stop the racing and all competitors ran hard and fast to cross the finish line whilst the Rab Scafell Sky Race was playing out in the mountains.

Alex Higham from Exhale Coffee took the win, beating his co-worker Kaspar Breuker, from Belgium, who finished in the 2nd podium spot and Daniel Collins took the 3rd place to complete the trio.

In the Ladies race Lauren Wilson cruised over the finish line looking cool as a cucumber to take the winning position for the women, closely followed by Hazel Clarke [our race masseuse and local to the area] and Lauren Woods completed the womens trio taking the 3rd placed position.

Female 1/2/3:

1st: Lauren Wilson 01:00:34

2nd: Hazel Clarke 01:01:35

3rd: Lauren Woods 01:03:46

Male 1/2/3:

1st: Alex Highham 00:48:30

2nd: Kaspar Beuker 00:49:35

3rd: Daniel Collins 00:54:06

Alex Higham and Lauren Wilson, the winning places on the GL10k 2023 ©LDSTLtd
Alex Higham and Lauren Wilson, the winning places on the GL10k 2023 ©LDSTLtd

Checkpoint Food:

For many years we have desired to have a European feel to our checkpoints, believing meats, cheeses and vegan treats are much better for us all than sugary products. Its not to say we won't have sugar and sweet on our checkpoints, but not just sugar, not just sweets.

This year, we missed the fruit and must apologise for this, as normally sliced oranges and bananas feature well on our table of goodies. It won't happen again and we know you all missed this refreshment and natural sugar boost that you all need to climb the flanks of Sour Milk Ghyll.

However we do hope you enjoyed the spread that Rab laid on for us and you, with 4kg of local cheese and meats, along with some vegan treats [not local this year], gluten free offerings and of course Voom bars and hydration products.

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Seathwaite Feed Station - CP5


For years we have avoided giving a 'typical' medal. We, or more to the point, I [Charlie, your race director and creator] do not like the 'waste' potential of medals. I know many folk like a memento from races, the numbers are a great thing to keep on your special wall or in a scrap book [do these exist anymore??] but medals for me are waste product and even if you save them for a lifetime, some point in their life, they will end up in landfill and you only need quick maths to workout how much volume and waste we are creating at each race with medals and other 'marketing' materials that come with many typical race entries.

In previous years we have given away a bottle of hand crafted cider, by myself and my brother-in-law, Simon, who is the master cider maker. They had bespoke labels and have been made into lamps, desk features etc by competitors in the past. In the last few years, the cider has dried up... we have all found ourselves too busy and 2020 was not so kind.

So to address the desire of a race memento, I found Wild Flower Seed Bomb medals this year, but I was too late to order the correct amount, as they are handmade from mashed recycled paper, with wild flower seed mixed into the mash. However we did have time to order Drinks Coasters in the same style, this year with a fantastic offer on the back where the company involved in the production will plant 31 trees in a month for anyone joining [at a 50% off fee] the scheme for only £3.48 for the first month and then if you want to continue, at around £6 per month there after.

We care about the planet we all live on and know we cannot change the whole world and we cannot possibly run, what people want to kid themselves with, a 'carbon neutral' company. The only way to make this possible is not to put on races, not to run a company and tell everyone to run free and do your own thing. However, we are were we are and we do run a company in the constraints of the world right now, as it is.

Therefore our best 'fix' to this ever growing problem, is to plant as many trees as possible and this is a great way to get our audience involved. Tree's are necessary for so many things and I'm not going to list them all here. We all know that planting trees is essential. We hope you agree and comprehend this line of thinking.

So this year we supplied the coaster below as a medal/memento. We hope you love it and will use it until it is ready to be thrown away or keep it in a frame until you are bored with it. When you are ready to throw it away, do so in your garden and watch wild flowers grow in its place. It makes us very happy to think about this and we hope you feel the same.

For 2024 we will have the correct 'seed bomb medals' and will continue to do so, until we find an even better solution.

Rab Ssr
Rab Scafell Sky Race wild flower seed bomb winners coaster

The Events Village:

We hope you enjoyed being back at the Sticklebarn and we hope you enjoyed the food stalls we brought in for the 2023 edition of the race weekend.

The pizza's and flatbreads went down a storm, the coffee kept me going at least and I never got to try the ice-cream!

However, we hope you felt even better looked after on top of our typical spicy lentil 'salty' soup and cheese and meats left over from the mid-way Feed Station.

We thought it was a great improvement from previous events.

The events centre from above

Whats likely to be new for 2024:

With our efforts at continual improvement and making the event more of a weekend to stay at and enjoy, you can expect to see some, if not all, of the following for 2024.

  • Kids race for the Saturday
  • Kids tent with crafts etc to occupy those little skyrunners®
  • New shorter sky/mountain race for the Sunday
  • Correct medals for all runners, seed bombs of course
  • Merchandise for sale
  • Yoga for Saturday and Sunday
  • Guided walks for runners families to 'watch' loved ones in the race
  • Music post event, Saturday night
  • More talks and films

Update: 8th June - 16:15

Race Photography.

We must apologise profusely with regards to the race photography fiasco.

We came across a new system, called Get Pica, a European company with a great method for you to be able to purchase your photographs post race.

Everything looked great and we had hoped to be sending you a link to photographs, you put in your race number and took a selfie and ALL your race photographs appeared in 1 file and you could decide what to purchase and how many you wanted.

It looked great, the examples we used looked great, what we tested worked, but.... When it came to it, all the race photography ended up in a mess.

There were up to 5 errors existing on the platform and without going into it, in fine detail, we realised there was a big problem behind the scenes with the technology and this has meant we have had to cancel using the Get Pica platform.

In order to rectify this and by way of an apology to you all, we have now offered the race photography for free through a previous platform that our regular photographer uses.

You have all been sent an email and should be able to access your photo's, the only issue here is there is no number tagging and so you have to look through all the photo's to find yourself.

We are sincerely sorry about this issue and hope you will forgive us for this year.

Next year we will make sure we use a trusted platform and everything will be back to normal.

Thanks for taking the time to race with us and thanks for giving us some leeway for errors.

In skyrunning,

Your race director,

Charles Sproson

Thunderstorms hit the north of England for the Rab Helvellyn Sky Ultra weekend

Thunderstorms hit the north of England for the Rab Helvellyn Sky Ultra weekend

Generally, I ignore the weather until the Wednesday pre-event weekend, but keeping an eye on it all the same, as being

Open Tracking Link for the Rab Scafell Sky Race 2023

Open Tracking Link for the Rab Scafell Sky Race 2023

Watch your mates and loved ones race the Rab Scafell Sky Race 2023.

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