NSAIDs and Sport

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NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and Sport

How many of you have gone for a run with a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug in your pocket for that ‘just in case’ scenario? Maybe you have taken a tablet before going for a run/ race to avoid potential issues? Or possibly you have taken a tablet post run to reduce swelling and inflamation?

It’s a common scenario and one that I am aware off continually when running and racing. I have done it myself… I remember racing and going through pain so I took an Ibuprofen only to be hit by stomach issues later in the race.

Earlier this year, Montane athlete, Marcus Scotney had severe issues post a great run at Iznik Ultra in Turkey. A situation that was potentially life threatening.

In an attempt to provide some clear information, I caught with the UK’s key specialist on kidney function, Dr Richard Fluck to find out what we should and shouldn’t do.

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IC – NSAIDs what are they?

RF – They are a class of drug that you can purchase over the counter. They are commonly used to treat pain and inflammation. The most common is Ibuprofen but others are available. They are anti-inflammatory.

IC – Let’s remove the sport element. What are the pros and cons of NSAIDs?

RF – Any tablet, has risk and benefit. We need to weigh up the balances. A medical approach to medication is that any drug must be tested, assessed for safety and so on. NSAIDs are really used for arthritis and so on. They have been increasingly used as a method of pain relief. In more recent times, particularly in the UK, you can now buy these drugs over the counter. We are bombarded by adverts on the TV telling us how good they are. So, the tablets are there for a reason. The question is, are you taking them appropriately? NSAIDs are well studied and they have side effects, anyone who takes them needs to be aware of this.

IC – From a runner’s perspective, I am pretty sure we all know someone who has taken Ibuprofen before a race, during a race or post a race to reduce inflammation. Are any of those scenarios ok?

RF – We need to know individual scenarios to be specific, however, I would say all the above scenarios bring a risk. Endurance sport and NSAIDs interfere with the normal regulation of your body. For me as a kidney expert, my concern is with the kidneys. What do NSAIDs do to the kidneys? Kidneys allow us to pass urine, they regulate the water in our body and they regulate salt, particularly sodium and potassium and they regulate toxins that come from everyday life. Of course the kidneys do have other functions… they look after your bones in regard to vitamin D, they regulate blood pressure via hormonal systems and they stimulate bone marrow to boost red blood cells. If the kidneys go wrong it is usually the first category that fails first, so, liquid and salt/ toxin regulation. Now, lets take an individual, I was listening to a chat re football and football players playing in hot climates. It was a chat about regulating salt and water. It can be tricky to judge and get this right. So, the peril for an individual is that they get it wrong one way or the other. It’s particular more of a problem for slower runners. The tendency is not to drink enough or drink too much. For example, Hyponatremia (people over drinking) and not thinking of electrolytes.) So, our kidneys work to help with dehydration or over hydration. The kidney kicks in and helps control this. It’s about regulating salt and water. This is where NSAIDs come in as they can inhibit this. So, if a runner pre loads, takes during or after running and the kidney needs to work then the action can be blocked! So, the danger is that you hang on to fluid, hang on to salts or in fact you increase fluid loss (you pass more urine.)

IC – Lets talk about some scenarios that we can relate to.

RF – So, I told you about fluid… lets talk about salt (sodium and potassium.) So, Hyponatremia (low sodium) is more common in people who take NSAIDs. It’s a real danger. Potassium is less known about, it has low levels in the blood as most is stored in our cells. Potassium for example will know it is in bananas. Potassium is important. NSAIDs can block the kidneys function in controlling potassium levels. I have treated runners in endurance situations where runners have become dehydrated, the kidneys have not worked and potassium levels are high. High potassium can stop your heart! So, I am not trying to terrify anyone but you have important issues to consider.

IC – What are the implications in an ultra event? For example, an event that lasts so much longer than a marathon; hours-and-hours of running. It is possible to pop a NSAID every 4-hours?

RF – The recommendation (RDA) is 400mg 3-times a day! However, I have heard scenarios where people double this dose, for example at Marathon des Sables. That is really going to suppress hormonal mechanisms. If you are a 4-hour runner, you may get away with it but 4-hour does seem to be a cut off point. Obviously, anyone who is out for 4-hours plus has a much greater opportunity to cause issues and problems in regard to salt/ water balance. This risk increases if you bring NSAIDs into the scenario.

IC – I read some research about Western States and it showed that frequent use of drugs caused colonic seepage, what does that do/ mean? Read HERE)

RF – It’s more about the gut! It is interesting because one of the national papers in the UK discussed a scenario about a runner who died on a course. It was a problem with the bowel. I concentrate on kidneys but NSAIDs have wider actions for the whole of your body. NSAIDs can cause ulcers, indigestion and all sorts of mayhem and impact on your bowel. The other interesting thing is that in chronic usage they have an impact on the heart. So, you may be aware of public interest in side effects in some of the newer drugs. How that is mediated I wouldn’t wish to go into it here but one needs to be aware of these things, in particular blood pressure and heart. You know, if you take a tablet a day I wouldn’t recommend it.

IC – What about animal studies that show that NSAIDs can hamper muscle regeneration? (Read HERE)

RF – I need to concentrate on the kidneys. It is my specialisation. Interesting you raise muscles though… if you do a simple search on the web, you will find many cases were people describe kidney failure in ultras. I remember a guy (a runner) who mentioned runners at Western States in the 90’s and his story of acute renal failure is typical of the very severe (but rare) cases were people have total kidney shut down for days or weeks. It can lead to continual problems for example with blood pressure. And that comes about from a combination: First they may be running in unusual circumstances, climate and weather for example. It may be that they are not prepared and they get muscle pain and so they take a NSAID. What happens is that muscle breakdown occurs and that releases a protein into the body called Myoglobin. Our kidneys work by filtering our blood. Myoglobin goes around the body in blood circulation. The kidneys try to eradicate this but it can’t because it isn’t designed to do that! The kidney clogs up and blocks. This is a really dangerous situation.

IC – This is the situation that happened with Montane athlete, Marcus Scotney at Iznik Ultra. He raced a 130km race and I believe he took six NSAID during the race. When he returned to the UK, he felt rough. He went to the doctors and then was submitted to hospital. He had Myoglobin in his kidneys. How serious is that?

RF – It can be life threatening! For example, if Myoglobin is present your urine may well look like Coca Cola (dark brown or black.) Ironically, the kidneys will not have any pain, well, they will give pain but at a very late stage. At this point, your kidneys are just not functioning so you can get into serious trouble particularly if eating and drinking in normal way. I have a scenario of one gentleman who had 50-pints of liquid in his body… this liquid went to his lungs and he couldn’t breathe. He was drowning internally! You can end up in intensive care. The potassium side of things, remember potassium is stored in the cells. Myoglobin is reduced into the blood so potassium levels can become very high, very quickly and I am afraid that can lead to sudden death with no warning.

IC – In Marcus’ case. He was in hospital would they have used dialysis?

RF – I am sure Marcus had great treatment; he may have needed temporary dialysis. I remember a story of a soldier who was on a march with a heavy pack, minimal liquid and so on… he ended up on dialysis.

IC – We have built up a picture here of fear! Is this doom and gloom correct? Do scenarios exist when an NSAID is okay? 

RF – I have painted a picture of terrible scenarios. I have given you the worse case scenario. Please keep in mind that most people do sensible distances for running. The kidney is very forgiving as is the rest of our body. For example, I have taken a NSAID on a run… I have been careful on my drinking, I have been careful that I have passed urine and I have monitored urine colour. These basics can help. The question is; why are you taking the NSAID? Professionals for example can have experts and experience around them; this is very different to an everyday runner. If you are on a very long race, Paracetemol is a safer drug if used sensibly and within RDA guidelines. However, caution is required! However, Paracetemol address mechanical pain and not inflammation.

IC – Interesting that a kidney specialist has taken a NSAID when running. How do you justify that?

RF – I would not pre load with NSAIDs. No evidence that this works. If you have mechanical pain, Paracetemol is better taken sensibly. However, post race if you have inflammation a NSAID may be sensible but you need to monitor urine and keep within RDA. If you feel unwell, you need to seek attention; sooner than later. Be sensible and prepare for a run/ race accordingly. Weighing yourself is actually a good thing for monitoring fluid.

IC – Races like Western States still weigh runners during the race.

RF – That is a reasonable strategy to consider.

IC – Final point I would like to consider, we looked at the doom and gloom scenario and then we have said that knowledge is paramount. But my reaction is, don’t take anything. Ultra runners are not the most clear thinking individuals at 10, 15 and 20+ hours into a race. I remember Marcus saying that he urinated dark urine in the race but still pushed to the finish line… Other than weighing a runner is there anything we can do?

RF – We are getting into medical testing now. That is not practical or sensible for racing. We would need to blood test, we would need to test urine and so on. It just wouldn’t work. You are quite right, we need to take personal responsibility and assess risk against benefit. But do this within an envelope of understanding. I look at my own body and what I can tolerate. Be sensible! Also, other runners need to look after other runners. We need corporate responsibility when running or racing.

More reading:

Read about NSAIDs at Western States HERE

Ibuprofen administration during endurance training cancels running-distance-dependent adaptations of skeletal muscle in mice. HERE

When is it ok to take a NSAID?

During the first 2 to 3-days of an acute injury, taking a NSAID is advised but once you exceed this window, general advice is let your body do the work! It will naturally heal.

Niggling injury pre training or racing? Worried about ‘possible’ pain while running or racing? No evidence shows that a NSAID will be a benefit you and as discussed above, a NSAID may very well hinder your run or race.

Be sensible and keep running or any sport you do natural… a NSAID shouldn’t be required to get you to the finish line!

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Fluck, Richard. 00-190902

Who is Dr Richard Fluck?

Richard Fluck trained at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and the London Hospital Medical College, qualifying in 1985. Early training was undertaken in the East London area before moving into research at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. He was appointed a British Heart Foundation fellow whilst exploring the link between cardiovascular disease, calcium signalling and abnormalities of calcium metabolism in chronic kidney disease. He returned to the Royal London Hospital as Lecturer and honorary Senior Registrar in Nephrology.
In 1996 he took up post at Derby City Hospital as a single-handed nephrologist. Over the next decade, the department expanded, developing a strong clinical research and safety programme. It has interests in cardiovascular consequences of CKD and dialysis, infection and vascular access. He is involved in the coordination of two cohort studies looking at CKD in primary care (RRID) and the consequences of AKI (ARID). More recent projects include the development of PROMs for renal patients and developing home therapies for patients on dialysis.

Within the acute trust he was clinical lead for renal disease for 15 years and clinical director for medicine, then clinical lead for the East Midlands Renal Network and worked with the DH and HPA on infection in renal disease. He was also the clinical lead for the Kidney Care National audit on vascular access and transport in the haemodialysis population. He was appointed NCD (Renal) April 2013.

He is the immediate past president of the British Renal Society, chair of the Kidney Alliance, on the UK Renal Registry Board, is the UK country co-investigator for the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS) and is on the editorial board of Nephron. In 2007, the unit won the Renal Team of the year award, given by Hospital Doctor and the following year received the Health and Social care award for safety in patient care.

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NSAID – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

The term nonsteroidal distinguishes these drugs from steroids, which, among a broad range of other effects, have a similar eicosanoid-depressing, anti-inflammatory action. As analgesics, NSAIDs are unusual in that they are non-narcotic and thus are used as a non-addictive alternative to narcotics.

The most prominent members of this group of drugs, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, are all available over the counter in most countries. Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is generally not considered an NSAID because it has only little anti-inflammatory activity. It treats pain mainly by blocking COX-2 mostly in the central nervous system, but not much in the rest of the body.

NSAIDs inhibit the activity of both cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and thereby, the synthesis of prostaglandins and thromboxanes. It is thought that inhibiting COX-2 leads to the anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic effects and that those NSAIDs also inhibiting COX-1, particularly aspirin, may cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. For this reason, the advantages of COX-2 selective inhibitors may be indicated. ©wikipedia

Read about NSAIDs HERE 

Hyponatremia – is defined as a low sodium concentration in the blood. Too little sodium in the diet alone is very rarely the cause of hyponatremia, although it can promote hyponatremia indirectly and has been associated with Ecstasy-induced hyponatremia. Sodium loss can lead to a state of low blood volume, which serves as a signal for the release of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). ADH release leads to water retention and dilution of the blood resulting in a low sodium concentration.

Exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH) is common in marathon runners and participants of other endurance events.13% of the athletes who finished the 2002 Boston Marathon were in a hyponatremic state, i.e. their salt levels in their blood had fallen below usual levels.

Sodium is the primary positively charged ion in the environment outside of the cell and cannot freely cross from the interstitial space into the cell. Charged sodium ions attract up to 25 water molecules around them thereby creating a large polar structure that is too large to pass through the cell membrane. Normal serum sodium levels are between approximately 135 and 145 mEq/liter (135 – 145 mmol/L). Hyponatremia is generally defined as a serum sodium level of less than 135 mEq/L and is considered severe when the serum sodium level is below 125 mEq/L.

Many conditions including congestive heart failure, liver failure, kidney failure and pneumonia are commonly associated with a low sodium concentration in the blood. This state can also be caused by over hydration from drinking too much water due to excess thirst (polydipsia). Contents ©wikipedia

SPEEDGOAT, GRANT, DON-WAUCHOPE : The Coastal Challenge 2015

TCC Men 2015

In just 30-days, the 2015 multi-day The Coastal Challenge will get underway. It’s an exciting prospect! We recently announced the female top runners – ANNA FROST, NIKKI KIMBALL, SAMANTHA GASH and VERONICA BRAVO. Today we announce the men’s field:

 SPEEDGOAT KARL MELTZER

JOE GRANT

IAIN DON WAUCHOPE

Race director, Rodrigo Carazo and the TCC team have once again excelled in providing a top quality elite line up making The Coastal Challenge the ‘must-do’ multi-day stage race in the world.

The ‘TCC’ is a supported race. Each day base camp is moved ahead and awaits the runner’s arrival at the finish. Equipment is kept to a minimum allowing runners to travel light and fast.

Karl Meltzer

Karl Meltzer (Hoka One One/ Red Bull) affectionately known as Speedgoat needs to introduction to the ultra world. He is Mr Ultra Running. A professional runner since 1999, Speedgoat has won more 100-mile races than any other runner on the planet. Ironically, he says he has never run a multi-stage race but he has completed the Appalachian Trail and the Pony Express Trail.

In 2006, Speedgoat won 6 100-mile races and the award Ultra Runner of the Year! A strong and fierce competitor, Speedgoat is one of the most respected ultra athletes in the world and his presence at the 2015 The Coastal Challenge is a great honour.

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Joe Grant (Arc’teryx, inov-8, Buff) is a Brit who grew up in France who now lives in the USA. A passionate writer and photographer, he has gained a reputation as an adventurer. He has a passion for moving fast and light over long distances and although he has never run a multiple day race, he has experienced epic races such as the Iditarod and Tor des Geants.

Placing 2nd at the 2012 Hardrock 100 is almost certainly a highlight in his career, however, he is a man who is all about experiencing a race in it’s entirety. I see my life as a continuum of experience, perpetually in motion, changing and becoming, a confluence of ideas, people and places. The happenings of the past feed into each other, shaping who I am today, not as static, separate events to check off a list or rungs on a ladder of accomplishments and failures, but rather as small parts of a whole that make for the totality of my experience.”

Joe is excited about travelling to Costa Rica and experiencing a new place and environment. He also relishes the opportunity to toe the line against some great competition.

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Iain Don Wauchope (The North Face SA) recently won the Salomon SkyRun in South Africa. He covered the 100km course in a blistering time of 12-hours and 8-minutes; a new course record. (Ryan Sandes set the old course record.)

Residing in South Africa, Iain has a history in adventure racing and therefore the TCC will be an exciting opportunity for him to test his multi-day skills over a new format and in a new location.

A multiple victor of the iconic OTTER race, Iain is considered to be one of the best ultra, trail and mountain runners in South Africa. “I am not getting any younger and the opportunity to race in Costa Rica against such a quality field is a dream come true.”

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 Interviews with all three men to follow – watch this space.

Read about the ladies field HERE

Enter the race in the UK HERE

Enter the race outside the UK HERE

TALK ULTRA is now on STITCHER

Stitcher

Due to demand, TALK ULTRA has now been added to STITCHER.

You can listen to and view the show HERE

You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE

What is STITCHER?

Listen to over 25,000+ radio shows and podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, Android or PC -anytime, anywhere

Get the freshest episodes of your favorite podcasts and radio shows streamed directly to your smartphone or iPad – no downloading or syncing. From NPR’s Fresh Air to Adam Carolla, WNYC’s Radiolab to the Wall Street Journal, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow and more, Stitcher organizes and delivers the world of talk radio fresh daily. Listen whenever and wherever you want.

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Marmot Dark Mountains 2015

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The organisers of the formidable Marmot Dark Mountains™ have just announced that the 2015 event will take place in the Howgills on the night of 24th & 25th January 2015.
Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes the classic two-day mountain marathon format and gives it a new… darker twist. Rather than two days of running with an overnight camp in between, Marmot Dark Mountains™ packs everything into one winter’s night!
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The event kicks-off on the Saturday evening with the longest classes setting off first for dusk-to-dawn racing. The shorter classes set off later in the evening with the aim of most competitors finishing within an hour or so of each other the following Sunday morning. This makes for an exciting finale as all the courses and most of the competitors converge on the finish as dawn breaks.
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Race Director, Shane Ohly from Ourea Events describes the 2015 event area, “The Howgills provide a superb setting for Marmot Dark Mountains™. The terrain is definitely more runable than previous editions of the race but with the steep sided valleys that are typical, there is significant height gain, and the course are sure to provide a suitable test of endurance.” He continued, “The Howgills also seem to catch more than their fair share of winter weather and we are anticipating a tough challenge for those competitors brave enough to enter.”
©iancorless.com.©iancorless.com.P1100464Marmot Dark Mountains™ has a growing reputation as the test of competence for experienced mountain runners. Ordinarily a standard mountain marathon with its combination of mountain running and navigation at its heart is a sufficient challenge but Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes it a step further by packing two days of running into one long winters night with dusk-to-dawn racing.
Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2013 was held in the southwest fells of the Lake District National Park. That year the event experience extremely poor weather and the completion rate for the linear courses averaged just 21%. In 2014 the event moved to the Peak District National Park and with better weather the completion rate rose to 53%. Still, these are low completion rates considering that competitors are vetted for experience before their entry is accepted.
With the announcement of the venue, the organisers have also released details of the routes, which have been planned by Charlie Sproson who is a regular Race Planner for Ourea Events. These are:
  • Elite Course: 53.1km / 2,966m
  • A Course: 42.3km / 2,415m
  • B Course: 35.8km / 2,311m
  • C Course: 33.9km / 1,770m
  • Long Score: 10 Hours
  • Short Score: 8 hours
Working in collaboration with Harvey Maps at the 2014 Marmot Dark Mountains™ bespoke ‘high contrast’ maps were produced for the first time. These were designed to show contours more clearly in the dark and when the map is illuminated by high-powered headtorches. These were a great success and the 2015 event will also feature these special night maps.
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Race Director, Shane Ohly elaborated, “For an event that is focused on mountain navigation and running, we understand completely that the quality of the map is directly linked to the quality of the overall experience and as such, we invest significant time and energy into the map. As in previous years we will be using waterproof and tearproof paper and our special night-nav high contrast printing developed with Harvey Maps. Whilst checking control sites both Charlie Sproson and I have been recording new paths, fences etc with GPS and combined with Harvey’s updating their base data from a new photogrammetry survey data, we are confident that we will provide a high quality and accurate map for the competitors.”
With the support of sponsorship from Marmot® and Petzl® there is a £500 cash prize for the winning elite team. In 2014 Steve Birkinshaw and Tom Gibbs won and Alex Pilkington and Kim Collison won in 2013.
Key Event Information
Website: www.Marmot-Dark-Mountains.com
Date: 24th & 25th January 2015
Venue: Howgills, Northern England
Entry: from £50 per person
Courses: Elite, A, B, C, Short and Long Score

Marmot Dark Mountain - FINAL (BLACK)

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Episode 76 – Olson, Lewis, Smith-Batchen, Don Wauchope

Ep76

Episode 76 of Talk Ultra has a catch up interview with Lisa Smith Batchen on her Badwater Quad. Sw sepak with Iain Don Wauchope about his record breaking Salomon SkyRun and we chat with Tina Lewis and Timmy Olson. The news, a blog, Up and Coming Races and Speedboat Karl.
NEWS
 
San Fran 50
 
Sage Canaday 6:07:52
Dakota Jones 6:12:20
Alex Varner 6:14:06
 
Magdalena Boulet 7:08:09
Megan Kimmel 7:17:20
Steph Howe 7:28:48
 
INTERVIEW 
Timmy Olson
 
Kilian heads for Aconcagu HERE
 
INTERVIEW
Iain Don Wauchope
 
INTERVIEW
Lisa Smith Batchen
 
A Meltzer Moment
INTERVIEW
Tina Lewis
 
UP & COMING RACES
 

Australia

Queensland

Kurrawa to Duranbah and Return – 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 14, 2014 | website

Narawntapu 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 14, 2014 | website

Victoria

Duncan’s Run-Hundred | 100 kilometers | December 20, 2014 | website

Duncan’s Run-Hundred – 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 20, 2014 | website

Costa Rica

Moonrun Monteverde Ultra Trail | 62 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

French Guiana

100 Bornes du Père Noël | 100 kilometers | December 19, 2014 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Eisweinlauf | 65 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

Lower Saxony

4. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM | 100 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

4. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

5. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM | 100 kilometers | December 20, 2014 | website

5. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM | 50 kilometers | December 20, 2014 | website

India

Nilgiris 100 km Men-Only Ultra | 100 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

Nilgiris 100 km Women-Only Ultra | 100 kilometers | December 14, 2014 | website

Nilgiris 50 km Men-Only Ultra | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

Nilgiris 50 km Women-Only Ultra | 50 kilometers | December 14, 2014 | website

Running And Living – 105.5 km | 105 kilometers | December 15, 2014 | website

Running And Living Marathon and a Half – 63.3km | 63 kilometers | December 15, 2014 | website

Madagascar

Nosy Be Trail – 60 km | 60 kilometers | December 21, 2014 | website

South Africa

Festival of Running 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | December 17, 2014 | website

USA

Arizona

Desert Solstice 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | December 13, 2014 | website

California

Rodeo Beach 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

Woodside Ramble Winter 50K | 50 kilometers | December 14, 2014 | website

Florida

Ancient Oaks 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | December 20, 2014 | website

Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic 50M | 50 miles | December 13, 2014 | website

Indiana

HUFF 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | December 20, 2014 | website

Massachusetts

Seth’s Fat Ass 50 | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

Ohio

First Day of Winter 50K | 50 kilometers | December 21, 2014 | website

Oregon

Frozen Trail Runfest 50K | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

South Carolina

Last Chance 50k Trail Run and Relay | 50 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

Tennessee

Lookout Mountain 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | December 20, 2014 | website

Virginia

Hellgate 100K | 100 kilometers | December 13, 2014 | website

Seashore Nature Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | December 20, 2014 | website

Washington

Deception Pass 50K | 50 kilometers | December 14, 2014 | website

Tiger Dumb Ass 50k | 50 kilometers | December 20, 2014 | website

 
CLOSE
LINKS:

Faces of Nepal – limited edition book

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Due to popular demand I have produced a limited edition small landscape book (13cm x 10cm) on my photography undertaken on a recent working trip to Nepal to photograph the Everest Trail Race.

FACES of NEPAL

Is very much fuelled by a passion for photography, the intrinsic beauty in every single persons face and of course the magic of Nepal.

“Travel is the discovery of truth; an affirmation of the promise that human kind is far more beautiful than it is flawed. With each trip comes a new optimism that where there is despair and hardship, there are ideas and people just waiting to be energized, to be empowered, to make a difference for good.” 
― Dan Thompson, Following Whispers: Walking on the Rooftop of the World in Nepal’s Himalayas

Printed on 200gm paper on 24-pages with a super gloss finish. The book is hard bound and will last a lifetime. Only 30-books have been printed and all books can be signed (if requested) on the inside front cover with a personal message.

PRICE

£20.00 plus £2 UK postage or £5 postage outside the UK

To order

Ultra Running, Mountain, Trail and Skyrunning Review 2014

2014

Did that just happen?

Another year draws to a close and with it many races, many experiences and many highlights. I don’t need to tell you but our niche sport is progressing at an alarming rate: more runners, more races and more standout experiences, what a year!

It is no easy task being at the top of your game in our sport anymore. Competition is high at every race and past scenarios where a runner could return to a ‘fave’ race year-after-year and win it are long gone! I don’t think we will ever see a Scott Jurek or Ann Trason dominate the sport as they did in their times.

Runners at the top of the game now need to be specific, peak for races; recover and then re peak if they want to perform. The ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) and the UTWT add to the complexity of the race calendar by adding a ‘series’ element to proceedings. The need to be at your best for a series requires planning, commitment, dedication and patience. It’s way to easy to burn out… a good year, maybe two good years and then boom, gone! We have seen this happen time-and-time again. Ask Geoff Roes, ask Anna Frost, Tony Krupicka and so on. The need to balance racing and recovery is now more than ever a key component of the ultra runners weaponry and so therefore when I review a year, I do it with a sense of hesitation.

For sure, I am going to write about several runners who have excelled, who have repeatedly blown my mind with stunning performances and against all logic have recovered, come back and won again. So as I write this, please keep in mind the above. A long ultra running life must come with balance.

Also, the following summary and notes are my highlights of 2014 so I welcome your thoughts and feedback..

2014 in summary

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Jo Meek followed on 2nd place lady in the 2013 Marathon des Sables (2013) with a course record performance in The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. Showing meticulous preparation and dedication, Jo just gave us all a glimpse of what was about to come!

 

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Ryan Sandes and Nuria Picas laid out a stall at Transgrancanaria and put on two consummate displays of ultra running prowess. Nuria lead from the front showing all the ladies a clean pair of heals whereas Ryan played the waiting game and moved through the field slowly but surely to grasp the race by the scruff of the neck in the latter stages and take a superb victory.

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Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel did the DrakTraverse and in doing so they showed us that big projects in the mountains are just as exciting as racing. FKT’s love them or hate them are here to stay and I for one love the concept. Ultimately it gets back to why we all run. Ryan and Ryno with considerable help of Red Bull really put South Africa on the map and the fellas at The African Attachment produced a great film called Trevelyan to document the record.

UTMF (Ultra Trail Mt Fuji) confirmed that Nuria Picas was going to be the lady to beat in 2014. Nuria’s strength, powers of recovery and ability to push beyond the norm elevated her to a new level. Equally, Francois d’Haene showed us that he had recovered from Raid de la Reunion in 2013 and when it came to 100-miles in mountainous terrain he would be the man to beat.

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball arrived in Morocco and for the 2nd year running put an American on the top of the ladies podium and in doing so she confirmed her status as one of the best female ultra runners in the world.

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I mentioned Anna Frost above and after 12+ months in an ultra wilderness the ever smiling lady from New Zealand returned to the volcanic island of La Palma and produced not only one of the best comebacks in our sport but in the process set a new course record for the Transvulcania La Palma course.

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As Frosty made that comeback, up the trail in La Palma, Luis Alberto Hernando was having one of the best races of his life as he went toe-to-toe with Kilian Jornet. He pulled it off! He beat Kilian and in doing so he achieved something that so few have done. His emotions on the line in Los Llanos provided a special moment in the sport.

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Zegama-Aizkorri had all the excitement and buzz of previous years and Kilian started a winning streak that placed his career on an all time high. By comparison, Pocket Rocket, Stevie Kremer took top honours confirming that her 2013 results were no flook (never in question) and that a repeat performance for the Skyrunning World Series was on the cards

Ellie Greenwood did it… she won Comrades and achieved the ultimate tick for her own bucket list but inspired so many Brits, Canadians and Americans in the process. It was quite a run and one that Ellie will take to the grave as a defining moment of her running. Jo Meek followed up victory in January’s The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica with 5th in South Africa; the ultra community looked on and asked the question: who is Jo Meek?

Kilian Jornet obliterates the record for Denali in Summits of my Life (11:48) – nuff said!

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Luis Alberto Hernando bolstered by his Transvulcania performance laid it all on the line in Chamonix for the Skyrunning World Champions in the 80Km Ultra event. Collapsing on the finish line not only had Luis achieved a lifelong dream but he had relegated the almost unbeatable Francois d’Haene into 2nd place. Emelie Forsberg won the ladies race against Anna Frost and Kilian Jornet proved what an incredible athlete he is by working his craft in the VK and SKY race just days after setting a new Summits of my Life record on Denali. Elisa Desco became ladies SKY world champion in a highly competitive and exciting race and Laura Orgue confirmed her outright climbing ability and was crowned VK world champion.

Steve Birkinshaw

Steve Birkinshaw produced the ultimate FKT and broke a long-standing record for the Wainwrights (518km) in the English Lakes. Summiting 214 tops with an elevation gain/loss of 36,000m Steve set a new record of 6-days and 13-hours.

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Ice Trail Tarentaise in the stunning resort of Val D’Isere allowed Francois d’Haene to once again excel in the snowy and cold mountains of this tough, technical and amazing Skyrunning course. Running head-to-head with Luis Alberto Hernando (again) with less than 20km’s to go, Francois moved ahead and took top honours. Emelie Forsberg took a back-to-back victory at the race and confirmed that her ability at the 80km distance was unmatched.

Kilian ©jordisaragossa

Hardrock 100 will go down in the history books as one of THE runs of all time. It was the most stacked field ever, it was a who’s who of ultra running and the prospect of Kilian Jornet finally getting an opportunity to test himself on what many consider to be the ultimate course was just way too exciting. Like a script from a screenplay, Kilian bided his time, pulled away, hung out waiting for Julien Chorier and then by his estimations ‘wasted’ 55-minutes in aid stations and still smashed the record. KJ’s victory guarantees an entry for next year when the course is run the opposite way; I wonder… could we see Kilian set two CR’s?

Western States was all about Rob Krar doing his thing and coming back for a repeat victory (14:53:22). This quiet unassuming man let his legs do the talking and produced what was the start of a trio of 100-mile successes. Max King in his first 100-miler set a blistering pace early on and eventually placed 5th… more on him later! Stephanie Howe was crowned ladies champion in 18:01:42.

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The Skyrunning Dolomites Skyrace was remarkable for two reasons. Laura Orgue progressed from a VK specialist to a SKY victor and remarkably Kilian Jornet, just 7-days after Hardrock ran the VK on Friday (placing top-10) and then won the SKY race on Sunday against the best in the world; ridiculous.

Sierre-Zinal, the epic mountain race in Switzerland was finally won by Pocket Rocket herself, Stevie Kremer after placing top-3 on two previous attempts. It was a defining moment for the little lady from Crested Butte and post race she said if she could only win one race, Sierre-Zinal would be it. A pattern is forming… yes, those two words: Kilian Jornet. Yes, he did it again!

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Trofeo Kima (Italy) only happens every 2-years and is arguably the jewel in the Skyrunning crown. It’s a kick-ass race of epic proportions and if I could only ever cover one race as a photographer, Kima would be it. Combining running, climbing, descending, chains, ropes, ladders and vertical drops it is a course that is made for Kilian Jornet. Needless to say the Catalan won and in doing so, he set a new course record. Emelie Forsberg look set to take the ladies crown but a lapse of concentration mid race took Emelie of course and loose approximately 1-hour. Despite chasing like a demon, Emelie could not pull back the time on ladies winner, Kasie Enman.

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The British Ultra Trail Championships crowned Jo Meek and Kim Collison as respective champions in two exciting races on the Lakeland 50 course.

Iker Karrera and Nura Picas won Buff Epic Trail in ‘testing’ conditions.

UTMB provided confirmation that Rory Bosio is one of the best female mountain runners in the world. Her 2013 course record performance was epic but as we all know, to come back and win again confirms the accolades. Nuria Picas placed 2nd and gets a nod here as her list of performances and results (on the UTWT) are off the scale. If anyone questioned who is the best 100-mile mountain runner in the world at the moment – Francois d’Haene backed up his incredible UTMF performance with an outstanding UTMB run against a stellar field.

Rob Krar backed up victory at WSER with a stunning Leadville 100 victory and set the stage for a repeat ‘Ultra Runner of the Year’ award.

Run Rabbit Run came pretty close after Leadville and to my surprise we saw Rob Krar toe the line. I was a little surprised. Rob has always been one of the more savvy runners on the circuit in that he peaks, recovers, trains and then re peaks. For Rob to run 100-miles so soon after Leadville was a surprise! Maybe the big prize bucks were a motivating factor? Anyway, what do I know… he took the win and the bucks! Nikki Kimball followed up 5th at WSER with the biggest payday victory of her career and she shed a few tears to show how much it meant.

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Skyrunning Limone Extreme confirmed Stevie Kremer as Skyrunner® Word Series Champion for the 2nd consecutive year but the big news came via Kilian Jornet. His victory in the VK confirmed him as Skyrunner® World Series Champion in all 3 Skyrunning disciplines – VK, SKY and ULTRA. If any of us needed confirmation of the Catalans all around ability, this was it!

Ultra Pirineu (Cavalls del Vent in the past) had Nuria Picas and Luis Alberto Hernando take top honours – unstoppable!

USA’s The Rut set the benchmark for Skyrunning in the USA with universal accolades about the course. It may come as no surprise that Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg took top honours and respective Skyrunner® World Series titles.

Raid de la Reunion became the Francois d’Haene show. He followed up his 2013 victory with a repeat consummate performance. Dare I say, ‘he makes 100-miles in the mountains look easy!’ Nathalie Mauclair also produced a quality back-to-back victory and along with great runs on the UTWT circuit set herself firmly at the top of the best female ultra runners in the world.

Doha finally became the venue for the 100km world championships and Ellie Greenwood backed up an incredible Comrades victory and placed herself on top of the world with a stunning performance. Big shout here too for the British ladies, Joasia Zakrzewski and Jo Meek who both placed in the top-5 ad took home team gold. Max King showed amazing depth of ability, speed and performance in taking the male victory ahead of some of the fastest men in the world.

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Iain Don Wauchope smashes the Salomon SkyRun record in South Africa and Landie Greyling tops the ladies podium.

Rounding out the year, Sage Canaday and Magdalena Boulet took top honours at San Francisco 50.

Phew…

Wait a minute! Kilian Jornet gets the last word. As I write this Mr Jornet is attempting another summit, Aconcagua. Only appropriate that we should end a year on a real high… Just below 7000m to be exact.

Get involved:

I am going to have missed races, missed performances and no doubt you will remind me of what they are. I welcome that. I’d love you all to comment (below) on what 2014 has meant to you and what/ who in your opinion deserves a tip of the hat.

MY 2014 AWARDS

  • Male ultra runner of the yearFRANCOIS D”HAENE (Rob Krar came close)
  • Female ultra runner of the yearNURIA PICAS
  • Best male performanceKILIAN JORNET for Hardrock 100
  • Best female performanceANNA FROST for Transvulcania La Palma and ELLIE GRRENWOOD at Comrades
  • Best single stage raceTROFEO KIMA
  • Best multi day raceEVEREST TRAIL RACE
  • Best FKTSTEVE BIRKINSHAW, The Wainwrights
  • Biggest surprises of 2014ZACH MILLER and the rise of JO MEEK. The AUSSIES at the Skyrunning World Championships.
  • Stand out athlete of the year – KILIAN JORNET
  • Best cinematography – The African Attachment and Seb Montaz
  • Best film – Dejame Vivir

Anything else worthy of a mention?

Personal message:

On a personal note, 2014 has been an incredible year! I have travelled the world and in the process I have attended and worked on 31-races. From the humidity of Costa Rica, to the heat of the Sahara and the cold of the Himalayas, my job has afforded me the privilege to watch, observe and photograph the best runners in the world work their craft.

 

I am eternally grateful to each and every race, race director and of course I must give huge thanks to Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti from the ISF for the continued support and opportunities they have afforded me in allowing me the opportunity to work on and cover the Skyrunner® World Series.

 

I must also give a huge thanks to every single person who listens to my podcast, Talk Ultra, reads this website and ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ my respective Facebook and Twitter feeds.

I am eternally thankful.

 

Now roll on 2015 and lets do it all again!

Ultras and Beards

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Look! It is one serious debate… the beard and the ultra runner. Ian Sharman once wrote a great post on the pros and cons of the bearded runner. To be honest, the jury was out.

In this festive season as one running season ends and preparations for a new season begins, forget the rest, forget shaving and look for new growth. Go #Beardo

Copyright beardowear.com

Copyright beardowear.com

This has got to be the funniest and most inspired gifts out there for the wannabe ultra runner. Brilliant idea and so funny.

Check them out HERE

Disclaimer:
No beards were shaved in the writing of this post. 
I have no connection beardowear.com
Just think it's a cool and funny idea.

In the footsteps of Hillary on RUNULTRA

The Footsteps of Hillary

“I see a woman carrying wood to her home. I stop her and ask for a photograph. Without hesitation she stops, looks me in the eye and patiently waits while I work my craft. Her face is leathered, full of lines and adorned with gold jewelry. She is beautiful. I can’t even remotely pinpoint her age but her face tells me a multitude of stories. Each line an experience. A story of laughter, a story of childhood and I am sure many stories of hardship.”

Read the full article on RUNULTRA HERE

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CYCLING for RUNNERS – Article 5 Spice Up Sessions

Cycling for Runners HEADER2

December is here. The days are shorter and many of you will be feeling like hibernating! Nothing wrong with that, training should have peaks and troughs and if you don’t have them, in our opinion you just end up with a series of flat performances.

For the last few months you will have hopefully been incorporating cycling as part of your weekly routine; primarily to replace one or two of your ‘recovery’ runs. Or maybe you have been injured and you are using cycling as rehabilitation? Either way your body will be thanking you for the new stimulus, the lack of impact and the opportunity to try something new.

An article 4 we outlined winter cycling and provided some hints ‘n’ tips to allow you to cycle safely on cold and short days and we also introduced you to indoor training.

In article 5 we are going to spice up your training with two sessions – one for the road and one for indoor training.

Please remember, these sessions are in addition to your recovery cycles and are a replacement for one of your faster, more intensive run sessions.

Worried that cycling will not benefit you as a runner?

Hopping on a road bike or indoor bike provides non-impact cross training that will build your engine, maintain fitness and keep off the pounds! If you are running or cycling you will need strong lungs, a great capillary network and a strong heart. So don’t worry…

First of all, let us have a refresh.

  • Maintain your long run either mid-week or at the weekend
  • Maintain one quality run work out – speed, hills, tempo, fartlek or so on.
  • Incorporate strength and conditioning
  • Stretch post sessions, particularly hamstrings, ITB and calf’s after cycling
  • Have a rest day
  • Cadence – think and concentrate on 90 ‘rpm’ when cycling
  • Use a heart rate monitor and/ or Gps to monitor training

Road ‘V’ Indoor

©goskyride.com

©goskyride.com

Cycling is cycling; yes? Well, yes it is BUT cycling outside in contrast to indoors provides a very different experience. It’s just like running outside in comparison to running on a treadmill.

Many of us would always choose a session outside in comparison to an indoor session, however, indoor sessions are great training sessions that allow us to ‘almost’ completely control the training situation and therefore be very specific. We embrace indoor sessions of 45-90 minutes when we are particularly working on a particular aspect of fitness. For example, you can control your heart rate, monitor your cadence, you have no traffic lights, bad weather or more importantly, danger! You can remain warm, listen to music and embrace a quality workout.

We discussed indoor bike set up in article 4; if you need a refresher, take a look HERE.

Keeping in mind this is our first ‘session’ on the bike it will be an introduction session and one that we recommend you incorporate once a week for the coming four weeks. *We do however recommend you add repetitions with each week for 4-weeks.

The Indoor Session

Image copyright - highergearchicago.com

Image copyright – highergearchicago.com

What you need:

  • Bike
  • Indoor trainer
  • HRM
  • Water
  • Fan
  • Music
  • Towel

Hints ‘n’ Tips

  • Make sure you have your rear tyre at 100 psi (at least) and ensure that you always inflate to the exact same pressure for every session, that way you have consistency and you can monitor progress.
  • You will apply pressure to the rear tyre by adding resistance from the drum on the indoor trainer. Perform a ‘roll-down’ test each time so that you have a controlled environment. A roll down test works as follows: inflate to 100psi and then apply pressure to the back wheel using the turbo trainer. Cycle and build to a particular speed (say 15mph) and then stop pedalling. Time how long it takes the wheel to stop moving. For example, 4 seconds. Every time you train you should ideally have the same roll down time for consistency and monitoring. If it takes 5 seconds, add more resistance and vice versa.
  • Use a fan to regulate temperature.
  • Drink during the session – you will sweat a great deal!
  • Use music and compile a play list that suits the session – no point listening to classical music if AC/DC are what you need to ramp the session up!
  • A HRM is essential to control your effort and monitor progress
  • Aim for 90 cadence

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Warm up for 10-minutes ‘spinning’ your legs in an ‘easy’ gear. This is all about getting blood flowing, loosening stiff and/ or tight muscles and preparing for the session ahead.

Session: Perform 2 minutes at 80% of maximum heart rate (keeping cadence on or around 90) – You will need to use your cycling gears to add resistance and provide the necessary difficulty level for you elevate your heart rate. Monitor your HRM with a quality item – We use Suunto Ambit 3 Peak and Ambit 2 units

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Recover for 2-minute ‘spinning’ your legs as in the warm up

Repeat the 2-minute session with 2-minute recovery for an additional 5-times (making a total of 6 in week-1). *In week 2 do 7-repetitions, in week 3 do 8-repetitions and in week 4 do 10-repetitions.

Tip – you can set your HRM/ GPS to time these intervals for you. That way you can just concentrate on the effort!

Warm down for 10-minutes spinning and then stretch

This session is a quality workout that maximises your time training and provides the necessary stimulus to make you a better, faster and more efficient runner.

The Outdoor Session

Indoor training may just not be your thing? Road riding, particularly in winter is more stressful, less predictable and carries increased risks of accident. The risks are very real, so please be sensible! Our hot tip for cycling in winter is ideally cycle between the hours of midday and 3pm – you have more light, potentially less traffic and the weather should be more predictable. For example, any early morning frosts will have disappeared providing ambient temperatures have increased.

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Lets face it. A beautiful winters day, blue skies, glowing sun and a nip in the air makes you feel great to be alive.

In contrast to an indoor session, road cycling is less controllable due to many of the points already raised, so think about your ride and what you want to achieve. For our first session, we are going to work on ‘structured *fartlek’ and therefore we recommend riding out of any built up areas (use this as a warm up) and then use quiet roads for the session. Ideally the road should be flat or slightly undulating – hill sessions come later in the training!

* Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Warm up for at least 15-minutes, in reality though your warm up may be longer due to your location and how far away quiet roads are.

Once on quite roads build pace using progressively harder gears but still maintain 90-cadence.

Session: 1-min, 2-min, 3-min and 5-min intervals at 80-85% of max HR. Be ‘random’ with how you do these intervals and the session should last 30 to 40-minutes including recovery. Ideally you will do at least 11-minutes of fartlek and build to 22-minutes of fartlek over a 4-week period.

Recovery is based on feel and unstructured, Use heart rate as a guide here. For example, when your heart rate drops back down to 70-75% of max HR – perform another repeat/ interval.

Warm down is as warm up – use cycling home in an easy gear and make sure you stretch post ride.

Incorporate one or both of the above sessions in over a 4-week period and you will start to feel the benefits not only physically and mentally.

In the New Year we will take our sessions up a notch to provide you with a great kick-start for another successful year in sport.

Have a great Christmas break and a great New Year!

*****

Join us on STRAVA

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Thanks to SCOTT SPORTS and SUUNTO for the support and backing

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