A prestigious weekend of Skyrunning kicked off in the Scottish Highlands yesterday.
With four days of mountain races on the schedule, more than 2000 athletes gathered in the village of Kinlochleven for a festival of extreme running.
The first race, part of the prestigious Skyrunning World Championships 2018, played out in heavy rain and strong winds.
Some 350 athletes from across the world battled the tough conditions to compete in the Salomon Mamores Vertical Kilometer® (VK) race.
Incredibly, records fell one after the other in the VK race, which challenges runners to climb a total elevation of 1000 metres over just 5km.
Swiss athlete Rémi Bonnet triumphed in a fastest course time of 39 minutes 23 seconds to become VERTICAL Skyrunning World Champion 2018.
The 23-year-old Salomon-sponsored athlete said: “It was really cold out there and in the first part of the race I fell into a bog up to my waist.
“But I enjoyed the course and I love running in the mountains so I was very happy to race in Scotland.
“It feels very good to be the winner.”
Spanish runner Laura Orgué beat her own record set last year to become the VERTICAL Skyrunning World Champion 2018.
The Salomon athlete, who ran 51:34, said: “I am from southern Europe where it is much warmer so I found the race very cold.
“It was a hard course as well but I am happy to finish and I am very happy to be the winner.”
Second placed male was Thorbjørn Ludvigsen, of Norway, who finished in 41:49.
In third place was Stian Angermund-Vik, also Norwegian, who won the VK race last year.
Female runner-up was Lina El Kott Helander, of Sweden, who finished in 52:34.
In third place, just a second behind, was American athlete Hillary Gerardi in 52:35.
They were each presented with their 2018 Skyrunning World Championships medals as part of a celebratory Opening Ceremony.
The ceremony also featured music and singing entertainment from local school children and a fantastic display of fireworks.
The Skyrunning weekend is hosted by Skyline Scotland. Race director Shane Ohly said: “Today’s VK race proved to be a tough but up-beat start to what looks set to be a very competitive weekend of Skyrunning.
“Scotland’s mountains and weather gave the runners a big challenge, yet records were broken in both the male and female races.
“This sort of racing showcases the calibre of the athletes who want to race in Scotland’s magnificent Highlands landscape.”
What’s next in the Skyline Scotland?
There are still three days of Skyrunning races to be played out in the mountainous heart of the Scottish Highlands.
Athletes will take on two more 2018 Skyrunning World Championships races, the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra and the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace.
Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace is also the fifth and final race of a new hotly contested Golden Trail Series.
The flagship Salomon Glen Coe Skyline® takes place on Sunday.
For more details about the Skyline Scotland event see: www.skylinescotland.com
Picture: © No Limits Photography