Great Lakeland 3 Day #GL3D – Day Two

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Aaaagh the Lakes. Beautiful views, sunshine, vistas, fluffy clouds, blue skies and the glowing sun. Not today!

Oh yes, day 2 of the GL3D was a seriously, wet, cold and windy day. Overnight camp north of Buttermere was a little testing but the morning torrential rain was just a little too much for some competitors who chose to cut the race short.

Those that continued on were treated to a day of testing weather and a series of testing courses that culminated in the Little Langdale.

A glimmer of sun did arrive mid afternoon but just as more beer and cider started to flow in the camp, the sun disappeared, the rain came back in the winds increased.

Tomorrow, Monday is the last day of the race and runners will be hoping for blue and orange as they make their way back to Ravenglass.

All images ©iancprless.com – all rights reserved

Great Lakeland 3 Day #GL3D – Day 1 Images

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What a day… the 2015 GL3D started in glorious sunshine but in true Lakeland condition, conditions deteriorated pretty quickly.

Strong winds, rain and snow made every race tough for the respective categories: Elite, A, B, C and walkers. At times the temperatures were a reported -10 on the tops in the wind

Here is a selection of images to summarise the day. A full set of stage and overall results will be uploaded in due course.

 

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Episode 86 – Browning Yates Cracknell Barnes

Ep86

Episode 86 of Talk Ultra is a packed show. We speak with Jeff Browning about victrory at the controversial Ultra fiord. Michele Yates provides a great Talk Training by discussing running and pregnancy. We also catch up with Elisabet Barnes and James Cracknell who ran impressive times at London Marathon. The News, a Blog, Up and Coming Races and Speed Golf Karl Meltzer is back!
00:15:22 NEWS
 
Help Nepal – Nepal images ‘FACES of NEPAL’ – order a print and all funds donated to Nepal charities http://iancorless.org/2015/04/28/nepal-appeal-nepalearthquake/
 
3-Peaks UK
Ricky Lightfoot 2:51
Andrew Davies 2:53
Andrew Fallas 2:57
Helen Bonsor 3:27
Anna Lupton 3:34
Caitlin Rice 3:39
Fellsman UK
Adam Perry 10:23
Jez Bragg 10:44
Konrad Rawlik 10:57
Jasmin Paris 11:09 CR
Mary Gillie 13:02
Carol Morgan 14:13
Highland Fling
Matt Laye 7:04
Paul Navesy 7:06
Donnie Campbell 7:17 one week after winning Iznik Ultra
Rachel Campbell 8:42
Caroline McKay 8:55
Nicole Adams Hendry 8:59
Iznik Ultra

130km

Donnie Campbell 13:23:50
Mahmut Yavuz 14:31:20
Aykut Celikbas 14:48:29
Zoe Salt 15:14:37
Mariyla Niklova 19:29:45
Ingrid Qualizza 19:43:49

80km

Emmanuel Gault 6:45:25
Girondel Benoit 7:26:10
Tanzer Dursun 8:40:36
Alessia De Matteis 9:03:53
ElenaPolyakova 10:48:57
Coraline Chapatte 11:34:37
46km *update to results 21st April – unfortunately Jose De Pablo received a time penalty as he did not carry mandatory kit, new results are in bold.
Jose De Pablo 4:03:29 *Benoit Laval 4:19:03
Benoit Laval 4:19:03 *Duygun Yurteri 4:28:15
Duygun Yurteri 4:28:15 *Jose De Pablo 4:28:29
Catarina Scamelli 5:03:44
Ziliz Cancilar 5:04:55
Martine Nolan 5:09:44
Ultrafijord full results Here
100mile
Jeff Browning 24:25:39
Candice Burt 37:12:15
100k
Fernando Nazario de Rezende 16:50:20
Krissy Moehl 19:31:27
70k
Xavier Thevenard 8:46:00
Manuela Vilaseca 11:45:00
Transvulcania is next week!
 
London Marathon
MDS ladies winner Elisabet Barnes ran sub 3 (just) and we caught up with her on her post MDS run and as she prepares for running in Menorca – http://www.trailmenorca.com
00:36:07 INTERVIEW
 
Elisabet Barnes
Also running at VLM was Olympian James Cracknell who ran 2:50 as he prepares for Richterveld Wildrun in South Africa and Badwater
 
00:48:28 INTERVIEW
 
James Cracknell
00:58:31 BLOG
 
01:00:34 INTERVIEW
 
Jeff Browning recently won the Ultra fiord race. It was a race not without controversy… we just had to catch up and find out all about it!
 
02:05:03 TALK TRAINING
 
Michele Yates talks all about pregnancy, running and how you come back to not only running but racing and winning just months after giving birth!
02:41:35 UP & COMING RACES

Australia

New South Wales

WildEndurance 100km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

WildEndurance 50km Team Challenge | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

WildEndurance event | 100 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Northern Territory

TRACK Outback Race | 520 kilometers | May 06, 2015 | website

Queensland

Mt Mee Classic Trail 66 km Teams race | 66 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

The Great Wheelbarrow Race – Mareeba to Dimbulah | 104 kilometers | May 15, 2015 | website

Victoria

Wilsons Prom 100 – 100km | 100 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 60 km | 60 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Austria

Über Drüber UltraMarathon | 63 kilometers | May 14, 2015 | website

Canada

Alberta

Run for the Braggin’ Rights | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Run for the Braggin’ Rights – Relay | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

British Columbia

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 100K | 100 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 50K | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

The North Face Dirty Feet Kal Park 50 | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

Ontario

Seaton Trail 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Chile

Atacama Xtreme 100 Miles | 100 miles | May 15, 2015 | website

Atacama Xtreme 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2015 | website

Atacama Xtreme 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 15, 2015 | website

China

Trail de la Grande Muraille de Chine | 73 kilometers | May 08, 2015 | website

Denmark

Hovedstaden

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm -100 Miles | 100 miles | May 01, 2015 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 miles | 50 miles | May 01, 2015 | website

France

Ardèche

Trail l’Ardéchois – 57 km | 57 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail l’Ardéchois | 98 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Drôme

Challenge du Val de Drôme | 148 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Les Aventuriers de la Drôme | 65 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Les Aventuriers du Bout de Drôme | 105 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Haute-Loire

Ultra Techni Trail de Tiranges | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

Nord

100 km de Steenwerck | 100 kilometers | May 14, 2015 | website

Oise

Trail’Oise – 60 km | 60 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Euskal Trails – Ultra Trail | 130 kilometers | May 15, 2015 | website

Trail des Villages | 80 kilometers | May 15, 2015 | website

Trail Gourmand | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2015 | website

Rhône

Ultra des Coursières | 103 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Savoie

Nivolet – Revard | 51 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Seine-Maritime

Tour du Pays de Caux | 88 kilometers | May 14, 2015 | website

Yonne

The Trail 110 | 110 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

The Trail 63 | 65 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

The Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Stromberg Extrem 54,4 KM | 54 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

Rhineland-Palatinate

Bärenfels 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Saar-Hunsrück-Supertrail | 128 kilometers | May 14, 2015 | website

Saarland

RAG-Hartfüßler – Trail 58 km | 58 kilometers | May 10, 2015 | website

Schleswig-Holstein

Steinburg – Ultra – Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2015 | website

Thuringia

GutsMuths-Rennsteiglauf Super Marathon | 72 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | websiteGreece

Doliho Ultra-Marathon | 255 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Euchidios Athlos 107.5 Km | 107 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Euchidios Hyper-Athlos 215 km | 215 kilometers | May 08, 2015 | website

Indonesia

Volcans de l’Extrême | 164 kilometers | May 07, 2015 | website

Ireland

Munster

The Irish Trail 60 km | 60 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

The Irish Trail 85 km | 85 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Italy

Liguria

Gran Trail Rensen | 62 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

Lombardy

Laggo Maggiore Trail | 52 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

UMS Ultramaratona Milano Sanremo | 280 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Sardinia

Sardinia Trail | 90 kilometers | May 08, 2015 | website

Kazakhstan

Tengri Ultra Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2015 | website

Madagascar

Semi Trail des Ô Plateaux | 65 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail des Ô Plateaux | 130 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Malta

Eco Gozo Ultra 55k | 55 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Martinique

Tchimbé Raid | 91 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Mauritius

Royal Raid 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Mayotte

Mahoraid | 70 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Poland

Portugal

Ultra-Trail de Sesimbra | 60 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

Spain

Andalusia

La Legión 101 km | 101 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Balearic Islands

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls | 185 kilometers | May 15, 2015 | website

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls Costa Nord | 100 kilometers | May 15, 2015 | website

Basque Country

Apuko Long Trail – 65 Km | 60 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail Apuko Extreme | 90 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Canary Islands

Transvulcania Ultramaratón | 73 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Castile and León

101 Peregrinos | 101 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Madrid

Sunrise Trail Ultra International | 68 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Valencian Community

CSP-115 | 118 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

MIM Marató i Mitja | 63 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Bielersee XXL 100 Meilen | 100 miles | May 15, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Argyll and Bute

Kintyre Way Ultra Run | 66 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Kintyre Way Ultra Run – Tayinloan – Campbeltown | 35 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

County of Pembrokeshire

Coastal Trail Series – Pembrokeshire – Ultra | 34 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Greater London

Thames Path 100 | 100 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Hampshire

XNRG Pony Express Ultra | 60 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Challenge | 106 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Isle of Wight Challenge – Half Island | 56 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Oxfordshire

T60 Nigh Race | 60 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Wiltshire

Marlborough Downs Challenge – 33 mile | 33 miles | May 10, 2015 | website

Worcestershire

Malvern Hills 105 Mile Ultra | 105 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Malvern Hills 34 Mile Ultra | 34 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Malvern Hills 44 Mile Ultra | 44 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Malvern Hills 52 Mile Ultra | 53 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

USA

Alabama

Run for Kids Challenge 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Arizona

Sinister Night 54K Trail Run | 54 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

California

Armstrong Redwoods 50K | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Badwater Salton Sea | 81 miles | May 03, 2015 | website

Canyons 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Cinderella Trail Run 50 km (May) | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Golden Gate Relay | 191 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Gold Rush 50K | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Me-Ow Quads | 104 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Me-Ow Siamese | 42 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Miwok 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 100K | 100 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 100 Mile | 100 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 50K | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 50 Mile | 50 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

PCT50 Trail Run | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Quicksilver 100K Endurance Run | 100 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Quicksilver 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Whoos in El Moro Race Spring Edition 50K | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Wild Wild West 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Colorado

Cimarron 50k Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

Collegiate Peaks 50M Trail Run | 50 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Falcon 50 | 50 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Greenland Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Quad Rock 50 | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Florida

Palm Bluff Trail Race and Ultra “Margaritas & Manure” 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

Palm Bluff Trail Race and Ultra “Margaritas & Manure” 50M | 50 miles | May 03, 2015 | website

Georgia

Cruel Jewel 100 | 100 miles | May 15, 2015 | website

Cruel Jewel 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | May 15, 2015 | website

Wildwood Games – 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2015 | website

Indiana

DWD Gnaw Bone 50K | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

DWD Gnaw Bone 50M | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Kansas

Heartland 50 Mile Spring Race | 50 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Rock On! Lake Perry 50K | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Maine

Big A 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Massachusetts

Ragnar Relay Cape Cod | 186 miles | May 08, 2015 | website

Wapack and Back Trail Races 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Nevada

50K | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

50M | 50 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Ride the Wind 100M | 100 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Ride the Wind 50M | 50 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

New Jersey

3 Days at the Fair – 50K | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2015 | website

New Mexico

Cactus to Cloud Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

New York

Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Rock The Ridge 50-Mile Endurance Challenge | 50 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge New York 50k | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge New York 50 Mile | 50 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

North Carolina

OBX Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Race Across North Carolina – Border to Border (10 Marathons) | 267 miles | May 13, 2015 | website

Race Across North Carolina – Heart of NC (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | May 13, 2015 | website

Ohio

50’s For Yo Momma 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

50’s For Yo Momma 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Oregon

McDonald Forest 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Smith Rock Ascent 50K | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Pennsylvania

Glacier Ridge Trail Ultramarathon – 50K | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Glacier Ridge Trail Ultramarathon – 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Red 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2015 | website

Rhode Island Red 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2015 | website

South Carolina

Oconee 50k | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Race Across South Carolina – Border to Border (4 Marathons) | 123 miles | May 07, 2015 | website

Wambaw Swamp Stomp 50 Miler Trail Run and Relay | 50 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Xterra Myrtle Beach 50 km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Tennessee

Rock/Creek Thunder Rock 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | May 15, 2015 | website

Strolling Jim 40 Mile Run | 40 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Utah

Red Rock Relay Moab Edition | 63 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

Vermont

PEAK Ultra Marathon – 200 Miles | 200 miles | May 14, 2015 | website

PEAK Ultra Marathon – 500 Miles | 500 miles | May 07, 2015 | website

Virginia

Biffledinked 10 x 5k | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Biffledinked 10 x 5k 2 Person Relay | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Singletrack Maniac 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Washington

Grand Ridge 50K Trail Run (May) | 50 kilometers | May 02, 2015 | website

Lost Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Washington D.C.

Relay | 150 miles | May 02, 2015 | website

Wisconsin

Ice Age Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | May 09, 2015 | website

Ice Age Trail 50M | 50 miles | May 09, 2015 | website

02:47:50 CLOSE
02:51:20
LINKS:

What is Trail Running…?

What is Trail Running?

It’s a simple question huh, ‘What is Trail Running…?’

But for you, me and all those people you know and share the trails with, the answers are different. For some it’s peace, others it’s serenity and yes, it can be an escape! But what is trail running for you?

Read what others think trail running is on RUNULTRA and why not contribute your own thoughts by adding to this page or the RUNULTRA page (here).

Read the full article HERE

run-ultra-logo

Race Day Nutrition (Part Six) – Marc Laithwaite

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-9778

Having discussed carbohydrate, fluid and salt intake, I thought it would be prudent to focus a little more on application. We’ll take a look at the specific products used during endurance events and whether they can fulfil your requirements in terms of nutrition intake.

There are 3 common sports products used during endurance racing:

  1. Drinks powders
  2. Gels
  3. Bars

Aside from the ‘big 3’ there is also a selection of jelly shots or chews, in addition to traditional favourites such as jelly babies, malt loaf, flapjack and bananas. For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to focus on the big 3 and examine what they provide and what’s the difference between them?

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks generally come in powder form and you mix with water to create a solution. In past blogs we’ve discussed the isotonic issue and how it impacts upon digestion. Based upon that, a 10% solution or less is ideal (7% is isotonic). To create a 10% solution, mix 60g of powder in 600ml of water.

What’s in the powder?

Almost all energy powders are maltodextrin, this is a ‘glucose polymer’ and made up of between 3-17 pieces of glucose in a chain. It is very rapidly absorbed (almost as quickly as pure glucose) and therefore gives a rapid sugar spike and insulin response (good if you need it during racing, but not good if you don’t need it, such as steady training or just using during the day as part of your diet). All energy drinks tend to be based on maltodextrin, but they often have small amounts of glucose and fructose.

Electrolytes

We discussed sweating and hydration last week, which included salt intake. You can go back and read in full if you wish, but as a recap, salt and sodium are 2 different things. Salt is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. You need to know this as some products give ‘salt’ content and others give ‘sodium’ content. Remember also from last week we said that you are likely to sweat up to 1g of sodium per hour (1000mg). There’s multiple thoughts on salt replacement, regarding how much and whether you need it. I’m not going to go into depth on the matter because this is meant to be a simple and easy to read blog. If it’s warm and you sweat a fair bit, aim for 500-1000mg SODIUM per hour. If you take a bit too much, you’ll just sweat it out anyhow so don’t overly panic.

Let’s presume that you are aiming to take all of your energy by using sports drinks. So remember, our targets are 60g of carbohydrate per hour and 500-1000mg of sodium per hour, presuming its warm and you sweat. Here are some options:


SIS GO Electrolyte 60 grams of powder

Includes 55 grams of carbohydrate, primarily maltodextrin

360mg sodium

 

Powerbar Iso Active 60 grams of powder

53 grams of carbohydrate, primarily maltodextrin

756mg sodium

 

H5 Energy Source 60 grams of powder

57g of carbohydrate, includes maltodextrin, but 33% fructose

312mg sodium

 

H5 Energy Source Xtrem 60 grams of powder

57g of carbohydrate 33% fructose

306mg sodium

Approx. 175mg caffeine

 

Some key points:

  1. We said your target is 60g of carbohydrate, not 60g of powder, but as you can see above, 95% of the powder which goes into your bottle, is actual carbohydrate.
  1. The sodium levels vary quite widely, you can see that Powerbar Iso Active has considerably more than others (756mg) and is the only one to fall within the 500-100mg range.
  1. H5 Energy Source is the only one which uses fructose in large quantities. They use a 2:1 formula (66% maltodextrin and 33% fructose). The reason for this is that the 60g per hour rule is based on the fact that only 60g of GLUCOSE can be absorbed per hour (maltodextrin is a glucose chain). However, that doesn’t account for fructose, which is absorbed in a different manner. So basically, if you take 90g of powder per hour, that contains 60g glucose (the maximum amount of glucose you can absorb) and 30g fructose which is absorbed separately. You can use this drink to take on more carbohydrate per hour than the normal guidelines.
  1. H5 Extrem also has caffeine, approx 175mg per 60g powder. To put that into perspective a pro-plus tablet has 50mg and a filter coffee has between 50-100mg per cup. People think caffeine is a ‘pick up’ or ‘kick’, when in fact it’s real purpose is a pain killer. Caffeine can mask your effort if taken in significant quantities, it changes your perception by acting on the nervous system to make things feel easier.


What about electrolyte tablets?


H5 Zero Tabs 4g tablet

260mg sodium

Power Bar 4g tablet

250mg sodium


Some key points:

The electrolyte tablets don’t contain any energy, they are purely flavoured salt replacement. If you’re drinking a bottle every hour in warm weather and sweating, then you probably need to double them in the bottle. If you’re using energy gels and bars to get your ‘energy’ during your event, you could use the electrolyte tablets to reach your sodium target. You can generally always get water during a race, so add 2 tabs to each bottle and drinks throughout the hour in addition to taking your gels and or bars.

I hope that basic overview of drinks helps you to practically apply what you’ve learned over recent weeks, feel free to call into the store and we can talk you through it before your big day.

Next week we’ll look at energy bars and gels, which one’s to choose to best suit your needs, that’s part 7, honestly the end is in sight.

– Marc

About Marc:

Sports Science lecturer for 10 years at St Helens HE College.

2004 established The Endurance Coach LTD sports science and coaching business. Worked with British Cycling as physiology support 2008-2008. Previous Triathlon England Regional Academy Head Coach, North West.

In 2006 established Epic Events Management LTD. Now one of the largest event companies in the NW, organising a range of triathlon, swimming and cycling events. EPIC EVENTS also encompasses Montane Trail 26 and Petzl Night Runner events.

In 2010 established Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 LTD. This has now become the UKs leading ultra distance trail running event.

In 2010 established The Endurance Store triathlon, trail running and open water swimming store. Based in Appley Bridge, Wigan, we are the North West’s community store, organising and supporting local athletes and local events.

Check out the endurance store HERE

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Nepal Appeal – #NepalEarthquake

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-0004#ETRkathmandu

I have been very fortunate to visit Nepal and work on the Everest Trail Race twice, I hope to return again in 2015.

Nothing can quite prepare you for the beauty of the place, it’s magical in its chaos. But no matter how beautiful the scenery is, the people really are the highlight; so warm, so giving, so generous and they smile… they smile a great deal!

The current tragedy that is facing Kathmandu and all the surrounding areas is heart breaking.

It’s never easy to watch a tragedy unfold and listen to the appeals of charities. I made a donation, I worked on the principal that no matter how much I gave, if we all do the same then it amounts to a bigger total that can be used for good.

It actually took my partner, Niandi, to think of the idea but she said, ‘why don’t you sell images as prints and donate the money?’ 

I then thought of my FACES of NEPAL project. I diid this in November 2014 and the whole series of images are available on my website iancorless.net

The idea was so simple it was beautiful. So, that is what is happening. All the ‘FACES of NEPAL‘ are now available to purchase as a print and prices start from as little as £7.00 for a 6″x4″ paper print. Look at this as adopting a person and helping someone in Nepal in this difficult time. ALL MONEY FROM THE PRINT SALES WILL BE DONATED.

Please view the image gallery HERE

All proceeds will go to OXFAM using the donation page here.

To purchase a print click on the red ‘Buy It’ button and then you will be provided with three options. Paper Prints offer the cheapest solution and prices start at £7.00 for a print.

Many thanks.

NAMASTE

Great Lakeland 3Day™ 2015

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The next Great Lakeland 3Day™ will take place on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th May 2015 in the Lake District and the Event Centre will be in Ravenglass. This is a very beautiful and remote corner of the Lake District National Park providing access to the western fells of Cumbria.

©iancorless.com.IMG_5585GL3D_Day1

The GL3D™ is an adventurous three-day mountain marathon with a unique, relaxed and friendly atmosphere that attracts both runners and long-distance walkers. Over the years the event has built up a dedicated following of competitors who enjoy the challenge of three long, consecutive days in the hills.

Competitors simply enter the event, and then choose whichever course they prefer on the day: they can choose from either an Elite, A, B or C course. All competitors still share the same overnight camp. The C Course is specifically aimed at walkers and slower runners. The event is all about having fun and if you are new to navigation races, GL3D can provide a great introduction.

The emphasis is on long mountain journeys and not complicated navigation. Expect spectacular scenery and enjoying an amazing mountain experience over three days.

©iancorless.com.IMG_5461GL3D_Day1

Competitors start and finish in the same location and are triangular – just three days apart! Overnight equipment for each runner is transported  between each camp therefore allowing participants to travel faster and lighter.

©iancorless.com.IMG_4785GL3D_Day1Competitors should be prepared for 6 to 12 hours on the hill each day, be competent mountain runners or walkers with the ability to navigate and be totally self reliant. The first day is generally a little longer and the last day a little shorter. The friendly nature of the GL3D™ means that many solo competitors join into informal groups to share each day on the hill. Although some competitors race, there are no prizes, just the respect of your peers for finishing!

©iancorless.com.IMG_5947GL3D_Day1The relaxed atmosphere of the event is best summed up in the flexible starting arrangements; each morning participants simply pack up their kit (which is then transported) and set off between 0700 and 0900. The faster competitors start last, whilst the slower competitors start earlier. Tea, cakes, hot water and beer are provided for free at the end of each day. Hot water is available both mornings and evenings.

Check out the race website HERE

The race is organised by the team at OUREA events HERE

Fancy an extreme challenge? Take a look at the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline race HERE

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Zoe Salt – Ladies winner race report Iznik Ultra

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Zoe Salt may not be a name that you know… however, a little look back to 2013 and you will see that Zoe placed 3rd (behind Meghan Hicks and Jo Meek) at the Marathon des Sables. It’s a podium place that didn’t get the recognition it deserved. Fast forward to 2015 and Zoe has now won the 130km Iznik Ultra and in the process placed 4th overall. In the coming weeks, Zoe is preparing for Transvulcania La Palma, she knows full well that the racing in La Palma will be very different to the racing in Turkey. Here Zoe writes about her Turkish experience.

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I arrived in Istanbul. It’s not quite the West, it’s not quite the East, and it is different, special and unique. Minarets dominate the skyline as the sun begins to set.

I am a kid in a sweet shop – literally! Turkish delight and Baklava abound.

Friday – I awake to the exotic sound of the call to prayer. The sun has come out and it is gorgeous! From the breakfast room at the top of our hotel we realise how enormous Istanbul is (14.4million people). It stretches out in every direction towards and beyond the horizon. From the ferry crossing we can still see its sprawl an hour after leaving the port of Yenikapi. But enough sightseeing – I really should try to sleep!

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Arriving in Yalova everything is much calmer. Driving to Iznik reveals some of the terrain we are likely to be encountering in a few hours…. Namely hills. Panic. They look a lot bigger than Muswell Hill… Must try and sleep…

The race village is already buzzing when we arrive. Where is my list?

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  1. Register – check!
  2. Kit – check!
  3. Nerves – check!
  4. Food – check!
  5. Water – check!
  6. Pin number to t-shirt – check!
  7. Change t-shirt – check!
  8. Pin number to new t-shirt – check!
  9. Eat – check!
  10. Take photo of incredible sunset over the lake – check!

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Then to bed to try and sleep…. count sheep…. count breathing…. so that’ll be no sleeping then….

We leave for the midnight start, which is completely new to me – way past my bedtime. It is cold. I already have on a fleece top, gloves and balaclava … should I put my jacket on? That will require a re-pin of the number. But surely even cold-blooded me will be running in a t-shirt when the sun comes out? No. Leave it alone. Number is on t-shirt. 11:50pm I think I’ll put my number on my fluorescent vest. Re pin!

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11:55pm on the start line. Vaguely distracted as a little Labrador puppy comes to see me off! And soon we are on our way into the darkness of Iznik. Within a few metres I am on my own, so I speed up to follow someone as my worst fear is getting lost in the dark. It turns out that this is another of my unnecessary stresses as there are markers every 50’ish’ meters – foolproof even for me! We run through miles and miles of olive groves and trees full of blossom. It is so quiet. Then bam! I am confronted with what in the dark seems to be a near vertical climb. Have I packed climbing shoes or rope? My calves are burning. And this is only a smallish hill, according to the course profile! Just as I’m worrying about the big hills to come, a certain Mr Corless runs past me backwards taking pictures!

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Dawn arrives and with it the wonderful call to prayer. As the sun rises over the hills, bathing the landscape in beautiful colours, I reach the halfway point and am told by the race director that the most picturesque part of the race is still to come.

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I have caught up with Mariya Niklova and Alper Dalkilic. I like having them in sight, especially as we are hounded by packs of dogs, some baring teeth. I run behind them for miles, them pulling away, me catching up, until eventually, around 72km they slow enough and I pass them. I’m on my own and the uphill begins again. Up, up, up… when do we go down again? I see a runner in front and I am spurred on. Up, up, up – how high is this going? I pass the runner. I have no idea how far it is to the next checkpoint as my watch has died. I’m wondering if this is a metaphor. Finally I start descending. It seems like an eternity to the next aid station. The dirt track gives way to a paved road, a few right turns into a village and there is the checkpoint! I ask a man how many girls are ahead of me and he replies ‘Three.’ My heart drops. ‘Three girls?’ I repeat.

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He laughs.

I obviously give him a confused look and he says ‘Three people.’ I’m obviously still giving my best confused face as he repeats in very slow English, as if it is me whose first language is not English, ‘THREE. MEN. IN. FRONT. YOU. ARE. 4th’ Well, this I don’t believe so I laugh along with them, eat a bit of orange while they kindly fill my water bottle and am off again.

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Up, up, up again. I see no other runners but the scenery is as promised. The hills offer views of distant snow-capped mountains. In the foreground a lake, its surrounding fields and minarets marking each village and town. How I manage to resist the urge to stop to take pictures I will never know. Wild tortoises, goats and their shepherds, dogs and toads surround me. I feel like David Attenborough!

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I keep looking behind me. Where is everyone else? I feel like I’m travelling in reverse. Surely others should be overtaking me? I keep going. Plodding. Finally I reach the last checkpoint. I stick my head under the village fountain because I am so hot! The villagers come out and cheer. It is an incredible atmosphere – I will appreciate it more later!

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It’s downhill, at least for a bit then the uphill starts again! Where is Iznik? I could see it before but now I’m back in the trees and the lake has vanished. I come to a puddle I can see no way around. It’s quite big but I know it’s not the lake! I put one foot in and half my leg disappears. At least it’s cold! Back on track and it’s now downhill. Iznik finally comes into sight; I keep looking behind me as I feel like I’m barely moving. Still nobody else in sight! A bicycle that escorts me to the finish meets me. I work out it’s about a mile left to go. I concentrate and dream of my legs carrying me a little more. Eventually I cross the finish line…. 4th overall and the ladies winner.

Presented with a lovely ceramic medal, I try to say, ‘this is nice, I am from the *Potteries’ (the *Potteries – known as Stoke on Trent in the UK) but now it is they who look on, confusingly at me…!

Iznik Ultra – Check!

View the Iznik Ultra race images HERE

Iznik Ultra report on RUNULTRA HERE

Transvulcania La Palma 2015 – Race Preview

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It’s here, the big dance, the mega showdown, the big kahuna, the dogs bolx, yes, no matter what you call it, Transvulcania is here and guess what? This race is stacked higher than the Shard!

In 2012, the ISF joined the La Palma party and in just three years the race has become ‘the one’ to do in the early season. I am biased, no doubt. I have been all over the island following the race and I have even had a couple of holidays exploring the trails. It is the most perfect running environment and the Transvulcania course is wonderful in its simplicity. Start at the sea, run all the way up and up, run around the Caldera and then drop like a stone and back to the sea for the final uphill finish to Los Llanos.

In 2012, Dakota Jones was crowned ‘El Presidente’ along with Anna Frost, in 2013 it was the Kilian nd Emelie show and in 2014 Luis Alberto Hernando finally topped the podium with a returning Frosty. La Palma has become a place of inspiration and the series of races that unfold over the Transvulcania weekend are now considered one of the pinnacles in the ISF Skyrunner® World Series.

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As you would expect, 2015 is upholding the traditions of the three years that have gone before it and dare I say, it may very well be the best line up ever assembled?

I suppose many will say, aaagh but Kilian is not running! True, KJ has other mountains to climb. For sure he will be missed but hey, Everest looms and he needs to prepare.

Don’t despair. Luis Alberto Hernando, Dakota Jones, Ryan Sandes, Timothy Olson, Miguel Heras, Tofol Castanyer, Manuel Merillas, Jason Schlarb, Fulvio Dapit, Blake Hose, Zach Miller, Jorge Maravilla and Mike Foote (and so many more) are going to illuminate those volcanic trails. It’s been some years since a volcano erupted in La Palma but the heat generated from these runners may well get the fires burning.

*Frosty returns for the ladies but as I write, she is struggling with injury. It’s been a roller coaster for the NZ speedster and I more than most have seen the trials and tribulations that Anna has had to deal with. I just hope she finds that spark for the race that we all know she has. Just last week, 2013 winner Emelie Forsberg has declared her intentions to run. Last year she fell early on and it ruined her day. This year, she is back admittedly just off skis. One would say that Emelie will need this race to find her running legs but you can never rule her out. South African, Landie Greyling is on fire at the moment and Anne-Lise Rousset, Alicia Shay, Alessandra Carlini, Anna Comet, Ester Alves, Magdalena Laczak and so many more are going to test the Frost and Forsberg duo.

*Breaking news, 25th April – unfortunately Anna Frost has withdrawn from the race. Get well soon Frosy. 

Previewing the 2015 edition of this race may very well turn into a mini novel, so, grab a beer (irrespective of the time of day), pull up a chair, grab some snacks and read on.

MEN

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Luis Alberto Hernando was on fire in 2014 and was a welcome winner of Transvulcania finally relegating Kilian to 2nd place. Following up with victory in the Skyrunning World Championships his season was one to savour. On paper, he’s the one to beat. He races with a strength, force and commitment that are seldom seen. He only has two speeds though, fast and resting. It has been his downfall in the past (2014 UTMB) but the Transvulcania course is the perfect distance for him. Luis is odds on favourite for victory.

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Dakota Jones will not make things easy for Luis though. Victor in 2012, Dakota returned in 2014 and had a disappointing race by his standards. With Kilian absent and Dakota now running in Salomon colours, maybe he is primed as the one to take over the reigns at the front?

Dakota has some serious Salomon company and to be honest, anyone of these big hitters could win – Ryan Sandes, Tofol Castanyer and Miguel Heras. Pick a name! I honestly find it impossible to say how these runners will place come the big day. In all honesty, should Luis have an off day, we could potentially see a Salomon 1, 2 and 3.

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Ryan is running Transvulcania for the first time so this puts him at a slight disadvantage. In addition to this, the South African has had a few injury issues over the winter. I know only too well that he has his eyes and focus on Western States this year; so, Transvulcania may well be a stepping stone race.

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Tofol Castanyer was 4th last year at Transvulcania and 2nd at UTMB. Do you want to bet against him? I don’t and I wouldn’t. He is a class act and has the race skills to dominate the race. He is without doubt podium potential.

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Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras if on form is another hot property on the La Palma trails. On his day, he is one of the best in the world. However, Miguel does have the potential to just keep pushing and pushing resulting in a series of injury woes. His return to form at UTMB a couple of years ago was a wonderful thing to see… it would be pleasure to see a repeat performance at Transvulcania.

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Timmy Olson loves La Palma. A little too much in my opinion! For me, Timmy left his 2014 Transvulcania performance on the trails in training. He just loves to run… I think he has realised that less is more and he has now taken on a coach to keep him on the straight and narrow. He has been quiet in 2015 which can only mean he is preparing for Transvulcania. In 2015 he’s going to be in fine form and he is going to get in and amongst the Salomon team and you know what, he may just win!

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Jason Schlarb gave me the surprise of 2014 by placing 4th at UTMB. I don’t doubt his ability; I just didn’t see that one coming. Jason is going to be fired up for this year’s race and a good winter of consistent training and no injuries is always a good sign.

Manuel Merillas was a revelation in 2014 and his 7th place at the 2014 Transvulcania does not reflect his growth in the sport. Manuel was one of the few runners too push Kilian in 2014 and I see him as being a real force in 2015. His 2nd at Trofeo Kima proves his potential. 

Blake Hose is the new star of Australia and after placing 6th at the Skyrunning World Championships, he really made the world look on and wonder what the future may hold. Well come May we will know, Blake is lining up against the best in the world.

Jorge Maravilla was 7th at TNF 50 last year and then placed 2nd at Tarawera. He loves to run and the Transvulcania course may well just suit his skill set. The ultimate test will come when he drops down 18km in the latter stages of the race. If he is in contention, will he have the downhill skills to hold on to the mountain goats?

It goes on…

Clement Petitjean (4th Skyrunning World Championships), Mike Foote (2nd at Lavaredo) Zach Miller, Josh Arthur, Pau Capell (1st Transgrancanaria Advanced), Vlad Ixel, Aurelien Dunand Pallaz, Carlos Sa, Christophe Le Saux, Marcin Swierc, Oscar Casal Mir, Cristofer Clemente Mora, Paul Hamilton, Pablo Villa, Florian Reichert, Dimitris Theodorokakos

 

LADIES

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Frosty, if well (and that is a question mark at the moment) will take some beating. She proved this in 2012 and then backed this up in 2014 with a course record performance. I was with Anna in Costa Rica in February and she was in fine form until plantar fasciitis reared its head causing her to pull out of the race whilst in the lead.  *Breaking news, 25th April – unfortunately Anna Frost has withdrawn from the race. Get well soon Frosy. 

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The late entry of Emelie Forsberg is a great addition to the race. Emelie ran a great race in 2013 and although she is only just off skis, like Kilian, Emelie seems to be able to transfer seamlessly. I see the race potentially being a head-to-head with Frosty.

Anna-Lise Rousset was the ladies winner at CCC and for sure, that is going to transfer well to La Palma. Having said that, she placed 5th at TV last year and although I don’t see her contesting the top of the podium, 2nd or 3rd is possible.

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Landie Greyling seems to have moved things up a notch recently… she won the Salomon SkyRun in late November and just recently topped the podium at Buffalo Stampede in Australia. If Frosty and Emelie are in form, I don’t think Landie has the race (yet) to beat them but I don’t think she will be far off.

Alicia Shay will debut on the island and that for sure is a disadvantage, however, the American has the potential to shake up the front of the race as her 6th place at TNF showed.

Magadalena Laczak placed 8th at Templiers and was the surprise 3rd place at the Skyrunning World Championships. I am not sure of her recent form but based on those two results alone, one has to assume that she will be in the mix.

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Alessandra Carlini has continued to impress and in 2014 stepped up one more rung on the Skyrunning ladder placing 2nd at Ice Trail Tarentaise, 6th at Trofeo Kima and 10th at Transvulcania. One year on, can she contest the top-5?

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Anna Comet won the Everest Trail Race in November and looked impressive each day as she dominated the event. A ski mountaineer, her skill set is perfect for La Palma and although it’s her first time on the volcanic trails, I think we will see her do well.

Ester Alves placed 8th at UTMB and 6th at Transgrancanaria in 2014. Two solid performances! The podium may well be a long shot but top-5 is a distinct possibility and you never know, she may have a great day… if she dies, anything can happen!

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It’s also worth keeping an eye on the 2015 130km Iznik Ultra winner, Zoe Salt. Zoe may well go under the radar, as she doesn’t race too often, however, lets not forget she did place 3rd at Marathon des Sables in 2013. Angels Lloobera, Laura Mustat and Yurena Castillo add additional depth to the ladies field.

Phew… so who are your picks for the male and female podiums. The men’s race is wide open, the female race maybe less so but we can’t predict Frosty or Emilie’s form. One thing is for sure; it’s going to be an incredible day of racing.

The Skyrunner® World Series once again has support from Active Patch 4U, Salomon, Scott, Compressport, Arc’teryx, La Sportiva and new sponsor, Alpina Watches.

 

Follow all the action in words and images on this website, @talkultra on Twitter and of course, skyrunning.com and @Skyrunning_com

PHD v YETI v OMM – Sleeping Bag Review

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If you are running a self-sufficient race or if you are going fast packing, a sleeping bag is going to be an essential item. The need to carry all your supplies in your pack quite simply means that you are constantly having a battle against weight and functionality.

It’s fair to say, that for most people a 20 ltr pack has now become the ‘norm’ for multi-day adventures and they vary considerably. But hey, we are not here to talk about packs, we are here to discuss the sleeping bag that will go in the pack and importantly provide you with warmth and comfort during the night so you feel fresh for the following day.

I have just returned from working (3rd consecutive year) at the Marathon des Sables. Arguably, MDS as it is affectionately known is the daddy of multi-day racing. To draw a comparison, it holds the same allure and respect that Western States holds for the 100-mile distance.

Now in it’s 30th year the race has seen it all. Today, the British contingent are the most represented nation at the race, closely followed by the French. Following online forums as the 30th edition came close, one question was repeatedly asked, ‘What sleeping bag are you taking?’

It was a good question and on the face of it, a question that could easily be answered by each person clearly writing the name of their chosen product. However, nothing is ever that simple and sleeping bags (along with which pack) may very well have been the most argued and discussed topic prior to the race.

One thing was apparent from a British perspective. Three names repeatedly cropped up – OMM, PHD and YETI. Armed with this information, I decided to take all three to the MDS and test them, ‘in situ’ and feedback my thoughts.

Firstly a little background history.

OMM 1.6

OMM – (website HERE) OMM stands for Original Mountain Marathon and they have pioneered apparel, packs and products to enable runners to move fast and light in challenging terrain for multiple days.

Minimus

PHD – (website HERE) PHD stands for Peter Hutchinson Designs is a UK based company who provide a range of functional and technical apparel for adventures all over the world. They offer a range of ‘off the shelf’ designs but they are renowned for their bespoke services. You can read a profile here.

Yeti Passion One

YETI – (website HERE) YETI are a small German based company who specialise in down sleeping bags. They also making clothing and accessories.

THE TEST

Before I get down to the nitty gritty, I must clarify certain things. Firstly, the weather at MDS in 2015 was quite variable, we had warm days, plenty of variable wind (including sand storms) and at night temperatures dropped considerably towards the end of the week.

I alternated between bags and in particular on the first night (particularly warm) I slept in all three bags for approximately 90-120 minutes each. Also, I did this on the coolest night which coincided with the longest day.

So that you can draw comparisons, here are my personal body stats:

  • Height : 5ft 9in.
  • Weight : 73 (ish) Kg.
  • Waist : 32″ inch.
  • Shoulders : 40″ chest.

It will soon become apparent why the above stats are important. Each night I used a sleeping matt and a small travel pillow. I also had a TNF down jacket that weighed 250g as an optional ‘warmth’ layer if required. For consistency I used a ‘Exped’ dry bag for all my sleeping bags. It does add extra weight (36g) but I like the security of a bag like this protecting my sleeping bag from the elements.

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Lets look at the sleeping bags in detail

OMM

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OMM provide two sleeping bag options, the 1.0 and the 1.6 (as tested). As you would imagine, OMM want to make a bag or bags that are light, functional and pack small. I like two key things about the OMM bags: they are cheap in comparison to the competition and the filling is not down. By using Primaloft the OMM is functional in varied weather and as such, this bag can get wet and it will still remain warm. This does not happen with down! Of course, rain in the Sahara may well be far from your mind but remember, MDS is just one race… I am sure you will use your bag for may adventures.

OMM say:

The bag is made from a combination of materials to ensure maximum performance. The Purist bag for the Minimalist, The shell is made from PointZero, It has a DWR treatment to the fabrics face to give it a degree of water repellency and also extra stain resistance. The synthetic insulation is Primaloft Gold to give the best warmth to weight ratio available on the market, we have used different weights per panel to ensure the best technical usage of the fill. The base sheet is filled with Primaloft Gold 60g, we then put the Primaloft Gold 100g on the top sheet. The footbox is also shaped and filled with Primaloft Gold 100g to keep the feet warm. The construction is also considered as we have a loose laid outer shell and the inner stitched through to the insulation again this is to maximise insulative value and eliminate cold spots.

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OMM do not provide a rating for their bags and this does cause some issues for many people. I can understand why, no rating does leave a question mark on how warm the sleeping bag will be. The bag is mummy shaped with a short zip that sits in the middle of the bag and not at the side. It has a drawstring hood and is silky soft to touch. As mentioned this bag is fast drying and has an element water repellency.

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The bag only comes in one size, so, if you are taller than 6ft it’s not the bag for you. In addition, as with all the bags in this test, they are designed to be minimalist and therefore some compromises must be made. When zipped up I personally had little room to move around in the bag, this was not a problem for me. However, if you have a big chest and shoulders you may want to make sure that it’s comfortable. At £170 this bag is a bargain and I would really recommend it. On the warm nights at MDS, particularly the first night, I was able to open the zipper which allowed me to get air to my torso and cool down. On the coldest night, I zipped up, put my head inside the hood and I used the draw string to keep out any drafts. I took a TNF lightweight down jacket but did not need it, however, the addition of a sleeping bag liner or lightweight thermal top and pants would be recommended for the coldest MDS nights

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Weight is good (426g) but it’s the heaviest bag here and the bag packs down really small.

PROS:

  • Primaloft fabric is extremely versatile.
  • 1/2 zip keeps weight lower and does offer ventialtion.
  • Soft feel and comfortable.
  • Price.

Price

CONS:

  • Not the lightest bag
  • You need to be under 6ft tall
  • Not warm enough on the coldest night.
  • Need a liner or base layer clothing for colder nights

What 2015 MDS participants said:

Henry Potter Had the omm, was cold after about 2 am every night. I’m usually a petty hot person so thought I would get away with it. Also being 6,1ft it was a little on the small side!

Mark Gibson Used the OMM. Felt cool in the night but not uncomfortably, I like to spread out so the narrow end took some getting used to. Would use it again.

Ben Daly Omm1.6 cold between 3 and 5am every night and I’m quite brave when it comes to the cold

 

PHD

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PHD make several sleeping bags and the Minimus K has become a regular at MDS. As mentioned, PHD make custom products for the entire range, however, it is possible to purchase the Minim Ultra K (330g from stock) at a cost of £263 in ‘standard’ fit. The big plus of PHD over other sleeping bags is how it is possible to customise a bag specific to your needs:

  • Length – short, standard, long and extra long
  • Width – slim, standard, wide, extra wide
  • Outer fabric – MX or ultra shell
  • Zip – no zip or short zip

Adjusting all of the above obviously alters the price, but if you are tall, wide, get cold feet, require no zip or require a half zip, PHD can give you exactly what you want! I recommend you allow time for this… don’t try to order a bag in March when you have a race in April…

For example, lets say you are small, slim build and require a half zip – Cost is £335 and the weight is 372g.

By contrast, lets say you are very tall, have huge shoulders and require a half zip – Cost is £458.28 and the weight is 588g.

A standard ‘off the peg’ Minim Ultra K with no zip in standard length and width weighs 330g and cost £263.

PHD say:

This K Series product has been created for one single reason, to take warmth-for-weight performance to the limit of what’s possible. Unique 1000 down, super-light materials, and specific design features mean that the word Ultralight now applies to this wide range of gear that will take you to the Poles as well as on a Sahara Marathon.

To those who like to shave every gm of weight off their load, the Ultra K sleeping bag is designed for you. The 10X inner brings a new soft comfort as well as reduced weight, while the unique 1000 down ensures max warmth per gram. An ultralight dream at 330gm (11.5oz).

Minim Ultra K.   330grm  (Mostly selected for weight saving).
Minimus K.         380grm  (designed for 5c nights – for a good nights sleep and recovery. This is the most popular choice)
Minim 400 K.     585grm  (mostly selected by those that do feel the cold)

Zip options are interesting. We find for MdS we’re sometimes putting in a short zip and occasionally just a foot zip. The Design Your Own Sleeping Bag site allows foot zips:  http://www.design-your-own-sleeping-bag.com/

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The PHD was actually too warm for me on the warm nights and was perfect on the colder nights without any base layer or liner. It’s a real plush bag and very comfortable. The lack of a zip means temperature regulation is cumbersome. My only option was to pull the bag below my arm pits or push down around my waist. I personally would order a custom bag with a half zip given the choice. The fill is 1000 European goose down (hence the warmth).

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The bag tapers nicely and doesn’t restrict in any way. The construction of the bag guarantees a great spread of down and it packs small and weighs a very competitive 380g.My bag actually weighed 392g.

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PROS:

  • Warm
  • Packs small
  • Comfortable
  • Customiseable

CONS:

  • Off the shelf it has no zip
  • Maybe too warm for some (without zip)
  • Lighter than OMM but not as light as Yeti
  • You don’t want to get the bag wet.

What 2015 MDS participants said:

Leigh Michelmore Used the PHD Minimus during MdS and found it to be perfect for what I needed. Compact, lightweight and very comfortable. It may have actually been a little too warm as I had one or two nights where it did too good a job. Overall very happy with it and will use it again!

Mat Needham I used the minimus Ian.

Super warm and I had to sleep partly out of the bag due to how well it performed, there were a couple of nights where I had to fully get in but that was more to do with the wind and sand blowing in the tent. Fitted in my small pack perfectly and very light. I would definately recommend it to others.

Dafydd Lewis I used the PhD minimus. Brilliant bag, really warm and light enough. Would definately take again……if I go again!!

Rich Torley Had issue with the zip on the PHD Minimus: would jam frequently and mostly during the night when I needed to escape for a pee. Wondered if it was to do with sand but never proved conclusively. Grew quite jealous of the Combi being doubled up as a jacket, especially on the colder mornings.

YETI

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YETI (new bag, Fever Zero above) are specialist sleeping bag makers. They offer a range of products so that you can decide on the exact bag for your needs and requirement. However, unlike PHD, they only offer ‘off the shelf’ products. The Passion One bag was extremely popular at the 2015 MDS for two reasons: small pack size and low weight. Weighing just 320g this bag has a full zipper, a real bonus for hot nights and it has Goose Down class 1 filling. It’s worth noting that if you require more warmth, a Passion Three (465g) and a Passion Five (690g) is available.

The Passion One is silky smooth, soft on the skin and on the first night in camp it was a real pleasure to have a full length zip to allow air to get around my body and regulate temperature. However, on the coldest night, I found the Passion One on the cold side and found the need for an additional layer.

YETI say:

Perfect for people who experience adventures while others sleep; who enjoy a trip with good companions; who consider flirting an adventure as well; who believe life is too short for bad design; who do not consider fashion and nature to be inconsistent with one another; who dream about flying; who believe their eyes travel as well; who consider the lightness of being absolutely bearable.

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In comparison to the PHD and OMM products, the Passion One felt ‘too light’ which I guess is a good thing.

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The scales confirmed that my bag was 304g, so, a good 100g lighter the the PHD Minim Ultra K and 122g lighter than the OMM 1.6. However, weight isn’t always everything… like the PHD, the Passion One comes in a choice of sizes: M, L or XL. The M is Ideal for me as I guess I am pretty much ‘standard’ size, however, big shoulders, extra height and you may struggle so rest assured that Large (6′ 3″) and Extra Large (6′ 9″) are available – obviously weight increases. The cost of the Passion One is £300

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As with all the bags in this test, space is at a premium. It’s the nature of travelling light, however, I did find the Passion One offered a little more room in the toe box.

PROS:

  • Lightest bag in the test.
  • Full length zip.
  • Draw string hood.
  • Small size.

CONS:

  • Not warm enough on the coldest night.

What 2015 MDS participants said:

John Evans Took the Yeti Passion One without liner, cover or mat. Found that stuffing it into my bag nearest my back provided good cushioning and saved 40g on carrying the cover  The bag itself was fine, a little too warm on the first few days but the full length zip was fine for temperature adjustment; got cool on the later stages when the wind was up (i was sleeping in the centre of the tent with most airflow) and body reserves were low, but manageable. Stuck it in the washing machine when i came back which seems to have screwed up the lining.

Melissa Venables Yeti – freezing cold with silk liner most nights except the warmer night where I did hang a leg out. Stage 4 I got in it with the space banker they had also given me and did that for a few nights (sorry tent 183 for rustling like a crisp packet)
The last three days it started shedding down everywhere as the material is so thin it split (inside)
I am a cold person hence taking liner – chose it because it was small and at one point I was going with a 14 l pack. Wouldn’t take again I would go for something warmer even if it meant a little more bulk and weight!

Rob Shaw I used the Yeti one. Very light and packed up small. Decided at the last minute not to pack the silk liner and regretted it. Very cold on the later days of the race mainly due to wind blowing. It’s a warm bag but if you are in a draught the wind blows right through it. If you can drop a side of your tent to block the wind it certainly helps.

Dave Benison Yeti Passion One with no liner. Perfect choice for me. Full length zip allowed for legs to pop out on the warmer nights, and during the sandstorms the drawcord around the top meant I could really batten down the hatches & keep sand free inside. On the cooler nights I would say it was ‘just about’ warm enough, and only had to reach for my Ghost Whisperer jacket once (at about 4am after the long stage.)

For what it’s worth…

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Another popular bag/ combination at MDS is the Raidlight Combi Down Sleeping Bag / Jacket. At £170 it represents real value for money as it combines a jacket and sleeping bag in one package. This obviously sounds like a great idea… However, the weight of the Raidlight is 700g. I personally prefer the flexibility of a sleeping bag and separate lightweight down jacket as this not only provides extra flexibility but reduced weight.

Raidlight say:

Raidlight’s ‘Combi Duvet’ dual purpose Sleeping Bag and Jacket. It is down-filled for great warmth to weight ratio. Perfect for use on multi-day races such as MdS or any event where duel purpose is key. At night, a warm sleeping bag and by day just unzip the arm holes, fold the bag up inside the back section, and it’s a really warm jacket.

CONCLUSION

As you can see, purchasing a sleeping bag is not as easy as you think, particularly when you are trying to pack this in a pack with all your food and other equipment for a multi-day adventure. You need to ask some very specific questions to ensure that you get a bag that works for you and fulfils your needs:

  • Are you tall?
  • Are you wide
  • Do you sleep cold or hot?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want to use your sleeping bag for other trips?
  • How important is weight?
  • How important is pack size?
  • Will you carry an additional base layer and/ or down/ thermal jacket?

One you have answered the above you can be very specific about what you need and it should, I hope become obvious which of the above bags is likely to be suitable for you.

I of course need to stick my neck on the line and say what my choice would be!

To be honest, it’s a relatively simple decision, I would go for a custom made PHD Minim Ultra K with zip so that I could regulate my temperature. With this bag, I would not need to carry an additional down jacket (weight saving 250g) and I could carry a small wind shell as a layer when not sleeping. Bag and wind shell £320.

But, the OMM 1.6 represents real value for money (if you are under 6ft). It provides a sleeping bag that can withstand the elements (rain) and the money saved on the bag would allow me or you to spend up to £200 on a real super lightweight down jacket that would offer great flexibility not only at a race such as MDS but at other events. Combined bag and Jacket price £370.

If I was an out-and-out racer looking for the lightest bag, the Yeti Passion One with full length zip and options of M, L or XL make this a tempting choice. But for me the money spent on making this bag small and light is potentially outweighed with the need for an additional warm layer that not only adds cost but weight. I would say that this bag and jacket may well come close to a combined cost of £500.

The curve ball comes with the Raidlight Combi Down Sleeping Bag / Jacket that provides great value for money. It’s certainly warm and the flexibility of the jacket option is attractive for some. However, it does weigh slightly more and packs larger. The cost at £170 is a bargain.

So what do you think…. what would you go with?