ANNECY, FRANCE — The fifth race of the Golden Trail Series, the notorious Ring of Steall in the Highlands of Scotland, is the most technical of the bunch. The race, which is part of a full weekend of racing near Glencoe, takes place this Saturday, September 15 and will once again attract top trail running talent from across the globe. The Ring of Steall is also the final chance for the elites of the sport to qualify for a trip to the Grand Finale of the Golden Trail Series at the Otter Trail race in South Africa in October.
On the men’s side, five of the top six in the Golden Trail Series standings will step to the starting line. Kilian Jornet, who has been in winning form all summer and won the longer 52km Glencoe Skyline race a year ago, will attempt to add to his fast-growing list of titles. On the Golden Trail Series this year, the Salomon athlete has wins at Marathon du Mont Blanc and Sierre-Zinal that have landed him in 2nd position for the season rankings. Jornet, who also plans to run the 52km Glencoe race the next day (Sunday), will get strong competition from a number of runners, including fellow Salomon athlete Stian Angermund-Vik. The Norwegian climbing specialist, who has had his eye on this race for weeks, is the man ahead of Jornet on the season standings. Angermund-Vik was 2nd at Zegama, 3rd at Chamonix and 4th at Pikes Peak.
Aritz Egea (Team Salomon) will also be in Scotland attempting to maintain or improve on his 3rd place Golden Trail Series standing. Another team Salomon athlete, Switzerland’s Marc Lauenstein, sits 4th in the standings. He is returning from a foot injury that kept him from racing since the Marathon du Mont Blanc. He’s raced in just two GTS competitions, but was 4th at Zegama and 2nd at Chamonix. Team Dynafit’s Oriol Cardona Coll comes in ranked 6th and was 2nd at Pikes Peak in Colorado in mid-August. Team Hoka’s Sage Canaday will try to hold onto his top-10 ranking to ensure his trip to South Africa. He is ranked 9th overall after a 6th place finish at Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak winner Dakota Jones is not eligible for the Grand Finale of the Golden Trail Series, but he will be one to watch after his impressive showing in his home state of Colorado. Top-level Salomon athlete Remi Bonnet, who has not been able to race due to injury since winning at Zegama in May, will make his return this weekend and should compete at the front of the pack.
There will be plenty of competition for the final spots in the top-10, with Team Scott’s Alexis Sevennec (11th place), Robert Krupička (12th), Team Salomon’s Bertlomiej
Przedwojewski (13th) and Team Dynafit’s Pascal Egli (14th) all lining up on Saturday.
On the women’s side, it will be a tight race to determine the top 10 sports for the Otter Trail, and plenty of drama should unfold over the rugged terrain of the Ring of Steall.
Team Scott’s Ruth Croft leads the Golden Trail Series standings, but will not race in Scotland. Team Salomon’s Laura Orgue (currently 4th in the Golden Trail Series standings) and Team Salomon’s Eli Gordon (5th) are the top ranked runners in the field. Orgue has the course record at the Ring of Steall.
Behind them, the competition is tight for season-long points and top-10 status. Team Salomon athlete Megan Mackenzie of South Africa will be battling to hold on to her 8th place ranking to guarantee a spot in the Otter Trail in her home country. Team Buff’s Sheila Aviles is currently 9th, Team Salomon’s Holly Page is 10th, and Team Merrell’s Celine Lafaye of France is tied with Team Salomon’s Fanny Borgstrom for 11th place, and all will be putting on a bib at ring of Steall. Emily Schmitz and Team Mizuno’s Maya Chollet are 12th and 13th respectively and Ring of Steall represents an opportunity to move up in the rankings.
As for the race itself, look for the El Kott sisters, Lina and Sanna, to give everyone a run for their money. The two Team GORE-TEX runners were both in the top-5 at Comapedrosa and the Dolomites Skyrace this year.
Watch Stian Angermund-Vik explain the race kit he will use for Ring of Steall this weekend.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN TRIAL SERIES
The Golden Trail Series combines five of the most iconic “short-distance” trail races on the planet into a dream tour for both athletes and fans. A €100,000 prize pool will be shared equally among the overall top 10 men & women at a Grand Final at the Otter Trail in South Africa in October. Each of the top 10 will travel with a friend or partner of their choice for the trip of a lifetime to compete for their chosen cause or charity.
GOLDEN TRAIL SERIES STANDINGS (after 4 races)
Stian Angermund-Vik – 238 points
Kilian Jornet – 200
Aritz Egea Caceres – 171
Stephan Wenk – 165
Marc Lauenstein – 160
Ruth Croft – 250 points
Ida Nilsson – 247
Megan Kimmel – 233
Laura Orgue – 232
Eli Gordon – 199
To watch/follow the race online, visit these Salomon’s social media channels:
Born in the French Alps in 1947, Salomon is committed to pushing the boundaries of mountain sports through the creation of innovative equipment that allows people to play, progress and challenge themselves in their chosen outdoor sports. The company produces and sells premium footwear, winter sports and mountaineering equipment, hiking equipment, and apparel specifically designed for all of those disciplines. Products are developed in the company’s Annecy Design Center, where engineers, designers and athletes collaborate to create innovative solutions that continually improve the outdoor experiences of those who see nature as a vast playground.