A vertical kilometre is a very niche type of sport for a very special kind of people.

When I was "shopping" for competitions at the beginning of 2019 season, I entered the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace and I noticed that the day before there will be also a VK. I thought it would be a fun idea to join both of them. Turned out it was.

The idea of Vertical k is pretty simple: The distance does not matter, only the altitude gain.

So they are usually on ridiculously steep hills, stairs, black ski slopes and similar. Because this one starts from the city centre of Kinlochleven, it is slightly longer than usual. So the gradient was "only" 20.44%. On the other hand, at least we had a chance to warm up before the actual climb started. Despite the unusual dry & sunny weather the extreme bogginess of the midsection made the "run" a entertaining challenge.

If you decide to enter two races during one weekend in Scotland, make sure to bring one pair of dry shoes for each course.

Slightly surprising was mandatory equipment (fell/mountain running shoes, waterproof top with hood, waterproof trousers/pants, hat, gloves/glove-mittens suitable for the weather conditions and whistle) which was checked at the start of the race.


Strava profile



  • It is a very nice warmup before the longer races if you want to run also those.
  • The bog climbing experience is great fun.
  • Overall the weekend in Kinlochleven is great fun.
  • VK is surprisingly not a quick race.


  • I managed to get too big breakfast, so my running was mostly a fight with my stomach.