About talkultra

Talk Ultra is an ultra running podcast created by and hosted by Ian Corless. Ian is a runner, writer, photographer, blogger and reporter on all things to do with ultra running. This can be race reporting, interviewing, photographing, podcasting or reviewing equipment. Talk Ultra is a one stop resource for the ultra running world. www.talkultra.com

Rab Mountain Marathon 2014

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Over 500 runners assembled in the English Lakes for 2-days of Mountain Marathon action in what turned out to be two great days.

Although the sun only penetrated the thick cloud a couple of times, the weather was dry and as per usual, the Lakes provided a perfect backdrop to two tough days.

RACE IMAGES available HERE

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A score event (long and short), participants competed in solo or teams of two and as one would expect, the mix of ability was wide. One of the appeals of the RMM.

A rolling start on both days, 8:30 to 10:30 on Saturday and 07:00 to 09:00 on Sunday avoided snakes of runners and thus ensured everyone had to hone their ‘nav’ skills in finding the appropriate controls.

One thing that was great to see on both days, was huge smiles and a real enjoyment of the event irrespective of ability or speed.

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Day 1 provided a couple of very obvious controls relatively close to camp 1 to start and then there field of 500 spread over a wide area. The faster runners covering quite some ground to gain maximum points and by contrast, the walkers took a more direct line and less controls to camp 2.

Starting just west of the A6, day 1 went as far north as Mardale Head and Blea Water and west of Stony Cove Pike. In the south, the faster runners could venture below the River Kent.

Stewart Bellamy (300 points) was the stand out solo competitor and Andrew Stirk/ Adam Higgins (290 points) were the leading team of two after day 1 in the long course. Jackie Scarf and Phil Scarf had a 20 point lead in the short score (235 points) and Luke Gordon (210 points) was the leading solo.

©iancorless.com_RabMM14_-2915A strong wind blowing from the south potentially was going to make overnight camp interesting. However, with all runners back the wind suddenly dropped making the evening a calm, still and very warm night.

An early start had participants departing in two start windows, 0700-0800 and 0800-0900. With the exception of just a few, nearly all participants headed south before then heading east and making the way back to day 1 start camp.

A corridor of controls made this section of the course busy with runners coming from all directions as they tried to take accumulate as many points as possible.

Tough terrain and warm temperatures made day 2 all about covering ground fast as controls were much closer together and therefore points were really up for grabs. Steve Bellamy once again lead the way with 240 points with Daniel Gooch and Jon Moulding both raised their individual games with 245 and 240 points respectively. Two man team Andrew Stirk/ Andrew Higgins looked to be moving fast all day but finished 4th with 235 points. However, Stirk/Higgins still held on to 2nd overall behind Steve Bellamy and Daniel Gooch placed 3rd.

Short score competitors had a shake around on day 2 with day 1 leaders, Jackie & Phil Scarf placing 2nd behind Steve Wilson and Peter Stobbs. Patrick Butlin finished 3rd ahead of day 1 2nd place, Luke Gordon. However, the overall results remained unchanged with Team Scarf 1st (425 points), Luke Gordon 2nd (390) and Tim Martland (360) 3rd.

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Shane Ohly as race director and the Ourea Events Team bring slick organisation to difficult terrain and along with the course planning skills of Charlie Sproson, these events are a must do on the calendar. It’s been a busy year for the team, it all started in January with Marmot Dark Mountains. The Rab Mountain Marathon concludes 2014 but already plans are in motion for 2015 and remember, it’s a Dragons Back year! Arguably one of the toughest challenges in the UK

Results are HERE

Ourea events HERE

RACE IMAGES available HERE

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Like The Wind – Action Photography Workshop w/ Ian Corless

 

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We are really delighted to announce a very special event at the Pop-Up: an action photography workshop with the one and only Ian Corless. This is a man who not only takes some of the most beautiful, inspiring and exciting photos of ultra trail running, but he is an ultra trail runner himself, so he really knows what he’s talking about.

LtW_ImageLogos_signatureThis workshop is going to be a perfect opportunity to hone your own photography skills and learn from one of the best. Tickets are limited so that everyone on the course gets as much from it as possible, so if you fancy upping your camera game, this is the one for you!

Event information and booking HERE

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Rab Mountain Marathon 2014 Preview

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The 8th Rab Mountain Marathon™ will be held on the 27th and 28th September 2014. The Rab Mountain Marathon™ is a two-day fell running and navigation challenge for solos and pairs with an overnight camp.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon kicks off this weekend at 0830. Two days of navigation and running will unfold in the English Lakes using the popular score format.

Now in it’s 8th year, the Rab Mountain Marathon has become an iconic race that has visited many stunning locations, the Cheviot Hills, Derwent Fells, Snowdonia, Howgills and this year it once again returns to the English Lakes.

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Taking on challenging mountain terrain, participants need to be competent and confident at moving fast over tough terrain. As usual, the is the UK and runners will need to be prepared for the worst despite a recent spell of really good weather in the UK.

As one would expect, the Rab Mountain Marathon will take place over rough, steep and technical mountain terrain. Many sections of the course will be isolated and if bad weather comes in, everyone needs to be prepared.

©iancorless.com.IMG_5731GL3D_Day1The race format is ‘score’ as this tests navigation skills and avoids snakes of runners going from point-to-point. A rolling start window of 2-hours will spread the runners out and electronic timing is used to track the runners. As normal, different class options are available (including walking) and it’s possible to participate as a solo or team of two.

It’s hard to highlight some standout competitors for 2014. If I were to place a bet on the top Long Score competitors it would be between Adam Stirk and Andrew Higgins (who are a pair) and Stewart Bellamy (solo). Adam and Andrew finished 3rd last year behind Steve Birkinshaw (1st in 2013) and Alex Pilkington (2nd in 2013) both of whom are not taking part this year. They were also 2nd at the Highlander in 2013.

Stewart Bellamy is a strong runner and whilst he may not have featured in the results of recent mountain marathons, he did win the GL3D in 2013.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon’s approach is designed to be relaxed and less formal and structured than that of the OMM, which will take place next month.

Shane Ohly, race director for Ourea Events says, ‘But hey the Rab isn’t really about the elite runners and there is some super generous support from Rab who are providing vouchers to the value of about £10,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd across a huge range of categories. Check them out here: HERE

At registration on the Friday evening or Saturday morning, competitors can view a Master Map of the competition area which will give a full overview of the event area being used plus provide details of any out of bounds areas, map corrections etcetera. The event Master Map will not be over-printed with any control points.

So there you have it… two days of navigational fun in the English Lakes. It’s possible to follow a live stream HERE and a free APP has been created. Details HERE

Apps can be downloaded here:

iOShttp://bit.ly/1wwcbDKAndroidhttp://bit.ly/1AUZNhj

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Race Website HERE

Rab Apparel HERE

Rab Twitter HERE

CYCLING for RUNNERS – Article 1 Bike Fit and Bike Size

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Cycling is a great addition to your run training plan and if done correctly, you will see your fitness, strength, speed and recovery improve. Before you do anything, you need a bike and importantly a bike that s the right size and one that fits you…

Get this wrong and any benefits from cycling will be eroded away with potential injury and discomfort.

Bike fitting and bike size are two different things. Don’t confuse them. Before you can do one, you must do the other, so, getting the correct size bike is imperative. This is not complicated. For the purposes of all our articles we are referring to road cycling and as such all our reference points will relate to a road bike.

When purchasing a bike, geometry is important, this relates to the angles that are used when constructing the frame. In simple terms you have comfort geometry and race geometry. The picture below shows the difference.

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Comfort geometry will be a little easier on your lower back and as the name suggests, you may well be more comfortable on longer rides. Race geometry is longer and more aggressive. You don’t need to be a racer for race geometry. The choice is yours.

Niandi’s note: Male and female specific bikes are available, however, many ladies purchase a male bike. So, what is the difference? Many ladies have longer legs and a shorter torso; so, a female specific bike can be a good consideration. In real terms, this will mean the bike will have a shorter top tube (this affects the reach to the bars) and the seat tube angle will be steeper. This all combines to more comfort. In addition, many brands also make female bikes in smaller sizes (smaller then male sizes) but with classic male geometry. Ladies, I am pretty sure you know your morphology and what you want, so choose what is right for you. 

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Scott Sports say: SCOTT aims high when it comes to the comfort and ergonomics of a product such as the Solace. Therefore a women’s specific geometry for the Solace Contessa lineup has been developed. A 10mm shorter toptube combined with a 10mm longer headtube take into account the different proportions of women and offer a perfect fit for female road cyclists.

As a cyclist, you connect to the bike via five key and integral points:

  • Saddle
  • Left pedal
  • Right Pedal
  • Left side of the handlebar
  • Right side of the handlebar

A good bike retailer is integral to ensuring that you purchase the correct size bike. For example, we have two friends, A & B. Friend A is the same height as friend B… lets say, 5ft 9”. Friend A rides a 52cm bike therefore friend B assumes that he/she will ride a 52cm bike. Is that correct?

NO!

Why you may ask? Bike sizing is determined by your inside leg (and many other aspects) but ultimately; inside leg is a great starting point. At 5ft 9”, friend A has an inside leg of 32” and he/ she rides a 52cm bike whereas friend B has a 31” inside leg and therefore rides a 50cm bike.

If in doubt, it is always better to have a bicycle that is a little too small than too large as later when you come to bike fitting you can make the necessary adjustments.

Your aim is to have a connection with the bike so that you almost don’t feel the bike. I like to call this, being ‘at one’ with the bike. When you have the size and the fit tweaked to your needs, cycling is a wonderful thing.

Remember, a bike shop is interested in selling bikes. They want YOU to purchase a bike, so, although you will rely on the knowledge of professionals in the store, we can’t emphasize enough to find a retailer with a good reputation. SALE bikes are always a great way to get a quality bike at a good price but be careful… don’t let a great deal make you make the wrong decision.

Use this diagram below to gauge some key measurements in regard to what will be the correct size bike for you.

Bike Fit

Completing the above sheet will provide some measurements that you can then apply in regard to narrowing down what will be the correct bike size for you.

Here are two spec sheets provided by SCOTT, firstly male:

Scott Male Geometry

and female:

Scott Female Geometry

Having knowledge and information prior to attending a bike store will not also make your search more focused but it will also ensure that the bike store staff realise they are dealing with someone who knows what he or she wants.

Lets assume you have your bike; it’s the correct size, now it needs to fit you!

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Bike Fitting

Bike fitting is a precise art and can often be tweaked and tweaked before one finds the perfect decision. Companies exist who perform ‘bike fitting’ and this may be something you’d like to consider? It does depend though on your budget.

If you are going to fit yourself to your bike here is a simple guide.

A bike has three key points:

  • Saddle
  • Handlebars
  • Pedals

SADDLE:

Just because your bike came with a saddle, it does not mean it’s the correct saddle. Ladies in particular will agree here. Try and try and find the perfect saddle for you. It’s a time investment but well worth it and your bum will thank you for it too.

Niandi’s note: Please consider that a male saddle may well suit a woman and woman’s saddle may well suit a man.

Once you have the perfect saddle for you, you need to position the saddle with three key factors considered:

  • Saddle height
  • Saddle tilt
  • Saddle fore and aft position

Saddle height is straightforward really but we see so many cyclists with a saddle too high or too low. Get this wrong and you not only loose power but you risk injury.

Sit on your saddle and we recommend you take the weight of one leg by placing your foot on a stool or something similar. You need your pelvis to be level. This is important! Lower your free leg and place your heel on the pedal. Drop the pedal with your heel on it to the 6 ‘o’ clock position. Now slide your foot back with the ball of your foot over the pedal. What are you looking for? Well, you should ideally have a slight bend in your knee. If not adjust the saddle height up or down as appropriate. Make sure you have your cycling shoes on with the cleat attached (more on that later). You don’t want your hips to rock from left to right when cycling, so, fix the saddle in what you consider to be ideal position, go for a spin and then check. Spend time on this to get it right.

Saddle tilt may be adjusted on all saddles. Many consider a ‘level’ saddle to be optimum but why? For sure it will work for some, however, we are all unique. Personally, both Niandi and myself tilt our saddles up just ever so slightly but there is no exact science on this, you must go with what works for you. If your saddle points down too much, you tend to feel like your sliding off and this adds pressure to your arms and hands.

Niandi’s note: Ladies you may find that tilting your saddle will reduce or increase pressure on sensitive areas.

Fore & aft allows the saddle to move on its rails towards the handlebars or towards the back of the bike. This position is often rarely considered in new or novice cyclists. Height is the main consideration and then tilt and fore/aft are only usually looked at if persistent discomfort continues.

Place your feet on the pedals place your legs/ pedals at 9 and 3 on the clock. If someone photographs you from the side or if you can look in a mirror, you should look for the crank arm (this holds the pedal) being parallel to the ground and your kneecap should be over the pedal.

Again, adjusting fore and aft is a very personal thing; however look out for too much weight being placed on the handlebars. If you are getting sore hands, sore arms and tightness in the neck you are probably too far forward. However, if you are too far back, you may well feel you are reaching too far for the handlebars. Tweak position for comfort.

Niandi’s note: Ladies, if you don’t have a specific ladies bike with a shorter top tube, you may find moving your saddle forward will make things more comfortable for you?

HANDLEBARS:

Handlebars come in all shapes and sizes. If you are new to cycling the complexities of the simple handlebar may well just be completely over your head, however, a few key points should be looked out for. The handlebar is held secure in a stem. A stem comes in various lengths/angles and this controls how near or how far the handlebars are to you and so therefore, the correct stem is crucial in getting the correct position.

When riding, you will move around the handlebars, for example placing your hands in the flat middle section is popular when climbing. When you are cruising in and around other traffic, hands on the brake hoods are popular. If you are going flat out and looking for speed, you will probably be on the drops (the bendy section) and looking to become more aerodynamic.

As with saddles, many purchase a bike and will just ride with the handlebars and stem provided. This may well be okay, but for example, if you are on the drops can you still reach the brake leavers and brake without becoming a contortionist?

Niandi’s note: Ladies our hands are smaller typically than a man, therefore we will need a handlebar with less reach.

Handlebars come in different widths, height and depth. So, ladies will usually need a smaller handlebar and gents, you will need something wider. If in doubt with handlebar width, use the width of your armpits/shoulders as a guide.

Getting the correct handlebar/stem combination can make a difference! As a general rule of thumb, place your hands on the bars and look for a slight bend in the elbows. As you move positions, your body position will also change and aerodynamics come into play.

You are looking for comfort. Not only in your favourite position but also when climbing, when sprinting, when standing out of the saddle or when powering into a headwind.

You will want to rotate the bars up and down to get the best position. Handlebars rotated up are easier on your back whereas handlebars rotated down allow for a more aerodynamic position.

Stems are available in different heights, lengths and angles. It is a minefield and ultimately you may have to see how the stem on your bike works for you and see if it is comfortable. You can tweak this up and down. Road cyclist usually prefer the stem below saddle height, however, if you are inexperienced or suffer with lower back pain, you may prefer the stem above seat height. Length and angle can only be altered either by purchasing different stems (not practical), or purchasing an adjustable stem that will allow all these movements to be made or you seek the advice of a professional.

Niandi’s note: Ladies you can potentially use a shorter stem if you have a small torso or shorter arm reach.

PEDALS:

The pedal holds the foot in place and pretty much everyone these days uses specific cycling shoes that will have a cleat on the bottom that fits into the pedal. This system actually was invented as on off spin from ski binding and improved cycle efficiency and power.

You can purchase pretty much any cycle shoe, of course we recommend Scott. On the bottom of the shoe will be a series of holes that allows you to attach your chosen cleat.

Pedals and cleats work together, so; if you use LOOK pedals you need LOOK cleats and so on.

THIS IS IMPORTANT.

Positioning your cleat on your shoe and getting the ideal position is arguably the most important aspect of fitting in relation to cycling and running.

Get this wrong and your knee will be out of line and a potential injury is waiting to happen. To put this in perspective, look at this from a running perspective… are you neutral, a pronator or supinator?

Cleats, like saddles are positioned on the shoe: fore/aft and side to side.

Other than getting a professional fit, fitting cleats are very much trial and error. In principal, the cleat should generally be behind the ball of the foot or on the ball of the foot. It’s personal and down to biomechanics.

Ultimately you don’t want any strain on your muscles. Achilles and calf tenderness are sure signs that you have the position wrong and you will need to move the cleat towards your heel. Tweak and tweak the position until it feels neutral.

Once you have this position worked out, you will need to ensure that the side-to-side position is correct as this controls alignment of the knee. I don’t need to explain here how important this is.

As a general rule, you want our knee over your toes when pedalling. If your knee is to the left or the right of the foot when pedalling then move the cleat appropriately.

Again, we are all individual and tweaking this position for you and your own comfort is crucial to successful cycling.

The rotation of the cleat is important. Do you stand with your feet pointing forward (north to south) or do you stand with your left toes at 10 (north west) and your right toes at 2 (north east)? Positioning your cleats with this rotation compensated for is another key aspect. Many modern day cleat/pedal combinations allow for ‘float’, which for many has been a lifesaver. This ‘float’ allows the foot; knee and leg to move in a natural way when pedalling and this can avoid injury. We recommend if you are new to cycling purchasing a pedal and cleat combination that allows for float.

Finally, the crank, which holds the pedal, will typically be 170mm long. For very specific adjustments you can get shorter or longer cranks (165, 170, 172.5 and 175), If a crank is too long it will feel hard to push a gear, if it is too short it will feel odd and you will lack power. Generally 170 cranks are ideal unless you are short or tall. Keep in mind that if you purchase a complete bike, the crank should be appropriate for the frame size.

Niandi’s note: Ladies, if you don’t have a specific ladies bike and you have a short inseam, shorter cranks may be beneficial.

SUMMARY:

Solace Ladies BikeGetting the correct bike in the correct size and then spending time on how it fits you is just as important as purchasing the correct run shoes. The plus side of a bike is that you can tweak, adjust and customize the position for you and your needs. So, the most important first decision is purchasing the correct sized bike.

Once you have the correct bike, you can spend time on fitting.

Fitting is crucial to long-term cycling pleasure. Remember, we are looking at cycling as an addition to your running and therefore, we don’t want cycling to injure your running…

The above points may sound complicated and problematic, however, a little time and patience is all you need. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

First and foremost, ask around; find a really good bike shop with a great reputation. Get this first step right and many other aspects will fall into place.

Enjoy the journey.

Still Question if CYCLING is good for RUNNERS? Look at this tweet by 2014 UTMF and UTMB champion, Francois D’Haene:

Francois Tweet

Join us on STRAVA

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Thanks to SCOTT SPORTS for the support and backing

Print

Check out SCOTT HERE

CYCLING for RUNNERS PAGE HERE

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Join STEVIE KREMER in London for a run and talk

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Meet Stevie Kremer

Freestak on behalf of Ian Corless and Talk Ultra

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 from 18:30 to 22:30 (BST)

London, United Kingdom

Stevie Kremer has had an exceptional 2014, the highlight of which has to be winning the Matterhorn Ultraks 46K in a new course record, her third win in the Skyrunner® World Series SKY distance. This victory along with wins at Zegama-Aizkorri and Sierre-Zinal has secured another Skyrunner World Series title for 2014 which will conclude at Limone Extreme on October 11th.

Stevie will join us for a run, talk and Q&A opportunity just days after Limone Extreme on route to the final Skyrunning UK event in 2014, the Mourne Skyline MTR which will take place in Ireland on October 18th.

Stevie has had a whirlwind couple of years, in 2013 she was crowned Skyrunner® World Series champion after securing victory ahead of Emelie Forsberg at the final race of the year in Italy. This year, in addition to three victories at Zegama-Aizkorri, Sierre-Zinal and Matterhorn Ultraks, Stevie won the combined title at the Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix.

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Ian Corless, photographer/ writer at iancorless.com and creative director/host of Talk Ultra, has set up the opportunity for a group of runners to join Stevie for a run on Hampstead Heath followed by a Q&A session over a few drinks. This event has been set up in collaboration with freestak Ltd and Like the Wind magazine.

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The run will last between 45 and 60 minutes and will just be a social event at an easy pace. Afterwards there will be a chance to order dinner at the pub where we will be retiring to catch up with Stevie and ask all the burning questions we have for her.

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FAQs

What are my transport/parking options?

The nearest tube to the pub is Kentish Town or Gospel Oak on the Overground. For more informationclick here.

Can I leave bags at the venue?

You can leave bags at the venue and someone will stay with them while everyone goes running. We can’t take responsibility for any loss or damage to items left however.

Will there be food available?

The pub cooks fresh dishes which can be ordered in advance. Everyone who books a ticket will be contacted before the event to see if they want to order some food.

What do I get for my money?

Everyone who pays for a place on the run will get a drink after the run. Food will be extra and can be paid for at the bar.

PLEASE NOTE – This is a ticket ONLY event and numbers are very limited (just 30-places). You can purchase a ticket HERE for £5.00.

Location:

The Dartmouth Arms
35 Dartmouth Park Rd
London
NW5 1SP 

United Kingdom

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 from 18:30 to 22:30 (BST)

Minnesota Nice on RUN ULTRA

Minnesota Nice

Arguably the happiest runner and most grateful runner I have ever witnessed, Kevin Langton illuminated the trails. ‘Thank you for being here guys and supporting.’ Running with a smile and grin, whenever he passed he repeated, ‘Thank you for being here guys and supporting.’ You’ve got to love this sport… despite the difficulty, despite the fatigue, despite sore legs and being mentally tired, Langton’s smile never slipped, the positivity never waivered. Oberg, 93-miles, Langton’s family welcomed him with a hug and high fives, ‘let’s get this done’ he said.

‘Great job man you are looking so good,’ I shout.

‘Thank you for being here guys and supporting.’

Minnesota nice!

Read the full article on RUN ULTRA HERE 

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Episode 70 – Meltzer, Doherty, Haugsnes, Schwarz-Lowe

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Episode 70 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show we speak with the winner of Superior Endurance Runs (Fall Races), Adam Schwarz-Lowe, Eirik Eirik D Haugsnes talks Tromso Skyrace and Daniel Doherty tells us all about placing in the top-10 at Tor des Geants. Talk Training has part 2 of our Navigation 101 and we have the News, a Blog, Up & Coming Races and I am pleased to say… Speedgoat Karl Meltzer is back as co host with an in-depth chat on his AT attempt.

NEWS

Run Rabbit Run
wow – KRAR!

Rob Krar 17:40:05
Josh Arthur 18:33:05
Jeff Browning 19:06:43
Ryan Gelfi 19:38:24
Nick Clark 19:50:15

Nikki Kimball 21:14:36
Kerrie Bruxvoort 22:49:02
Darcy Piceu 22:52:40
Leslie Howlett 25:08:12
Hannah Green 29:04:40

Ultravasen 
UltraVasan 90 Men 1 Jonas Buud (SWE) 6:02:03 2 Steven Way (GBR) 6:12:28 3 Jarle Risa (NOR) 6:23:38 4 Didrik Hermansen (NOR) 6:24:03 5 John Henry Strupstad (NOR) 6:28:04
UltraVasan 90 Women 1 Holly Rush (GBR) 7:09:04 2 Mimmi Kotka (SWE) 7:22:35 3 Lena Gavelin (SWE) 7:26:02 4 Sophia Sundberg (SWE) 7:34:26 5 Margrethe Løgavlen (NOR) 7:43:03

The Rut – article HERE

Sage struggled with the technical second half favoured by Kilian, closed second in 5h20’27”. Kilian finished a fast 5h09’33”Manuel Merillas (Mammut), a new young talent from Spain leading the Series, climbed from 4th position at 30 km to finish third in 5h29’20”. Britain’s Tom Owens (Salomon) was an excellent 4th and American Paul Hamilton (The North Face) last year’s race winner, took 5th
Emelie Forsberg was race winner in 6h32’42”. Kasie closed in 6h38’05” and Anna in 6h49’25”. Canadian Ellie Greenwood was 4th and American Hilary Allen, 5th. Series leader, Italian Alessandra Carlini, took 8th.

Trofeo Kima – article HERE

MEN
Kilian Jornet 6:12:20
Manuel Merillas 6:28:33
France Sancassani 6:38:14
LADIES
Kasie Enman 7:53:42
Emelie Forsberg 8:22:17
Emanuela Brizio 8:30:52

Tor des Geants

Colle Franco 71h 49m
Nichademus Hollon 76h 25m
Guillon Antoine 79h 02m and Le Saux Christophe 79h 02m

Lecomte Emilie 85h 53m
Borzani Lisa 94h 43m
Zimmerman Denise 98h 27m

INTERVIEW

We caught up with Dan Doherty who produced a top performance and placed 6th overall

Superior 100 – article HERE

100-mile
Adam Schwarts-Lowe 21:58:32
Michael Borst 22:52:28
Nathan Leehman 23:26:47
Mallory Richard 27:32:27
Frayah Bartuska 29:56:58
Johanna Ylanen 31:08:10
50m-mile
Chris Rubesch 8:56:33
Forrest Tracy 9:23:47
Alex Kurt 9:35:24
Kristin Rognerud
Annie Behrend 13:03:34
Shelly Groenke 13:41:38

Tromso SkyRace – article HERE
1. Eirik Dagssøn Haugsnes – 6:38:30 2. Ola Hovednak – 6:49:39 3. Kilian Jornet – 6:49:55 4. Stian H-Angemund – 7:09:46 5. Sondre Stier Thorbergsen – 8:17:08
Female category
Hana Krajnikova – 9:49:48

Ultra 168 had a round up of results for the Southern Hemisphere HERE

Surf Coast Century: Saw a fantastic new course record from Kellie Emmerson in the ladies 100kms, taking it out in 9:29. In the men’s race, it was a tie for 2nd place  As Dave Eadie and Brendan Davies held hands over the line. We often joke about joint finishes, but there’s no malice there

Glasshouse 100km : Cameron Munro took out first place in a speedy 17:17, nearly two hours ahead of second place. While Deb Nicholl did the ladies proud finishing in 19:31.

GNW 100-mile : Clarke McClymont celebrated a big birthday by notching up a cracking win in the 100 miler in a time of 20:56. The ladies title was taken out by Sonia McDermott in an excellent time of 25:39.

INTERVIEW

We caught up with Eirik Haugsness to discuss Tromso Skyrace and his 2014 season

BLOG
 
For the first time in Talk Ultra history, I am actually going to put forward one of my own posts here – Minimal, Maximal or the curious question of Drop – HERE

 
INTERVIEW

Adam Schwartz-Lowe won the Superior 100 after placing 2nd twice before, we caught up for a chat about the race and his previous running.

 
TRAINING TALK

We follow up from our ‘Basic’ Navigation 101 with ‘Intermediate. Once again Charlie Sproson co-hosts this segment

UP & COMING RACES

Australia
Queensland
Spiny Cray Ultra – 58 km | 58 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website
South Australia
Yurrebilla Trail 56km Ultra | 56 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Western Australia
Waterous Trail on Foot 50 | 50 miles | September 27, 2014 | website

Austria
Wörthersee Trail-Maniac 114 K | 114 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website
Wörthersee Trail-Maniac 57 K | 57 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Wörthersee Trail Maniak 114K Superior | 114 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website
Wörthersee Trail Maniak 57K | 57 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website

Brazil
Jungle Marathon Brazil – 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 02, 2014 | website
Jungle Marathon Brazil – 240 km | 242 kilometers | October 02, 2014 | website

Canada
British Columbia
Frosty Mountain Ultra Trail Race | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Great Lake Walk and Ultramarathon | 56 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Ontario
Run Off the Grid 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Sears Great Canadian Run – Toronto | 141 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
That Dam Hill – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Quebec
Tour du Massif – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website

Chile
Patagonian International Marathon – 63K | 63 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website

France
Aveyron
100 km de Millau | 100 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Côte-d’Or
Alésia Trail – La Vercingétorix | 51 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Haute-Loire
Le Grand Trail du Saint Jacques | 70 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Le Trail du Gévaudan | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Haute-Savoie
Trail des Aiguilles Rouges | 50 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Ille-et-Vilaine
100 km de la Vallée du Semnon | 100 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
50 km de la Vallée du Semnon | 50 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Loir-et-Cher
Ultrail de Beauval | 65 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Lot
Espagnac – Conques : du 20 au 24 septembre 2013 | 208 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website
Morbihan
Ultra des vagues – Le tour par les sentiers côtiers | 83 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Nord
La Contrebandière | 65 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Savoie
Ecotrail – trail long | 50 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website
Seine-et-Marne
Impérial Trail – 64 km | 64 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website

Germany
Baden-Württemberg
KuSuH Trail 100 | 100 miles | September 26, 2014 | website
Bavaria
Churfranken Trailrun | 73 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website
Mittelbayerische Landkreislauf | 61 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Lower Saxony
Volkslauf ” Gesund beginnt im Mund” – 52.8 km | 52 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
North Rhine-Westphalia
50 km von Hitdorf | 50 kilometers | October 03, 2014 | website
Rhineland-Palatinate
Dorint-RUN50 | 50 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website

Greece
Spartathlon | 245 kilometers | September 26, 2014 | website

Ireland
Munster
Glen of Aherlow Loop De Loop Ultra Trail Run | 39 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Ulster
Mourne Mountain Marathon Elite 55k | 55 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Udderly Mad 63K Ultra Moo | 63 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website

Isle of Man
Isle of Man Mountain Ultra | 51 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website

Italy
Campania
Ultra Trail degli Dei | 75 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Magredi Mountain Trail 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Piedmont
Trail del Moscato – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Trail di Oulx – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website
Tuscany
Montanaro Trail | 50 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website

Japan
Akita Nairiku 100km Marathon | 100 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Akita Nairiku 50km Marathon | 50 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Muraoka Ultra Marathon – 100K | 100 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Muraoka Ultra Marathon – 66K | 66 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
Muraoka Ultra Marathon – 88K | 88 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website

Morocco
UltraTrail Atlas Toubkal | 105 kilometers | October 02, 2014 | website

Nepal
Godawari 50km | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website

Netherlands
South Holland
Den Haag Ultra Marathon | 68 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website

Norway
Nordmarka Ultra Challenge | 82 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website

Poland
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 150K | 150 kilometers | October 03, 2014 | website
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 220K | 220 kilometers | October 03, 2014 | website

Portugal
Grande Trail da Serra d´Arga – Ultra Trail | 53 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website

Romania
Unicredit Leasing Transmaraton – Double Marathon | 84 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website

Singapore
Craze Ultra 100 miles | 100 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Craze Ultra 101 km | 101 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Craze Ultra 78 km | 78 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website

Slovakia
Ponitrianska Stovka | 105 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website

South Africa
100 Capital Classic – 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
100 Capital Classic – 50 Mile | 50 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Cape Town Festival of Running 100K | 100 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Cape Town Festival of Running 100 Miler | 100 miles | September 27, 2014 | website

Spain
Catalonia
Matagalls-Montserrat | 83 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
RialpMatxicots Extrem | 82 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Ultra Pirineu | 103 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Madrid
100 km Madrid-Segovia | 100 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
50 km Madrid Trail | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website

Sweden
Black River 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Black River 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | September 20, 2014 | website

Switzerland
Valais
Humani’Trail Les Diablerets | 55 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Trail des Dents-du-Midi – Super Trail | 57 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Trail des Dents-du-Midi – Trail découverte | 57 kilometers | September 19, 2014 | website
Vaud
Ultratour du Leman | 173 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website

United Kingdom
Cornwall
Atlantic Coast 3-Day Challenge | 78 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Derbyshire
High Peak 40 Mile Challenge | 40 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Glasgow City
Clyde Stride Ultra Marathon | 40 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Gloucestershire
Cotswold Way Century 100mi | 102 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Northern Ireland
Causeway Coast Ultra Marathon | 39 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Northumberland
Pennine Way 1 Ultra | 77 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website
Redcar and Cleveland
Hardmoors 60 | 60 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Shropshire
Double or Nothing | 70 miles | September 19, 2014 | website

USA
Alabama
Autumn Equinox 32 Mile Ultra | 32 miles | September 21, 2014 | website
Birmingham Stage Race – 2 Days | 36 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Birmingham Stage Race – 3 Days | 53 miles | September 26, 2014 | website
Alaska
Equinox Ultra Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Arizona
Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100 mile Ultra & Relay | 100 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Mogollon Monster 100 | 106 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
California
Berkeley Trail Adventure – 50K | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Coastal 50K | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Kodiak 100 Mile UltraMarathon | 100 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Kodiak 50 Mile UltraMarathon | 50 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Noble Canyon 50k | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Ragnar Relay Napa Valley | 186 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Tahoe 72 | 72 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Tahoe Double Marathon | 52 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Colorado
The Bear Chase Race 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | September 28, 2014 | website
The Bear Chase Race 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | September 28, 2014 | website
Georgia
Georgia Jewel 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Georgia Jewel 35 Mile Run | 35 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Georgia Jewel 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Idaho
Priest Lake 50K Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Kansas
FlatRock 50K | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
FlatRock 50K Ultra Trail Race | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Maryland
Ragnar Relay Washington D.C. | 200 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Massachusetts
Hancock Shaker Village 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Michigan
DWD Hell 50K | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
DWD Hell 50M | 50 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Hungerford Games 50-Mile Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Montana
Yellowstone-Teton 100-Mile Endurance Race | 100 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Yellowstone-Teton 50 Mile Endurance Race | 50 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
New Hampshire
Pisgah Mountain 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website
New Jersey
The Mountain Madness 50K | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
New York
Chautauqua Ultras 50K | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Chautauqua Ultras 50 Mi | 50 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Ragnar Relay Adirondacks | 210 miles | September 26, 2014 | website
Shawangunk Ridge 32-Mile Trail Run/Hike | 32 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Shawangunk Ridge 74-Mile Trail Run/Hike | 74 miles | September 19, 2014 | website
Virgil Crest 100 Mile Ultra | 100 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Virgil Crest 50 Mile Ultra | 50 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
North Carolina
Run for the Horses 50 Mile Ultra-Marathon | 50 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Ohio
100 Not Yo Momma’s – 100K | 100 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
100 Not Yo Momma’s – 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
100 Not Yo Momma’s – 50K | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
100 Not Yo Momma’s – 75K | 75 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Hocking Hills Indian 60K Run | 60 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Oregon
Columbia River Power 50K | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Flagline 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 21, 2014 | website
Mountain Lakes 100 | 100 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Pacific
Sac River Ultramarathon | 50 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
Pennsylvania
Trails 4 Tails Ultra Run | 40 miles | September 20, 2014 | website
Texas
Lighthouse Hill Ranch 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website
Lost Loop 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Utah
Bear 100 | 100 miles | September 26, 2014 | website
Elk 50K | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Grand to Grand Ultra | 160 miles | September 21, 2014 | website
Vermont
Vermont 50 Ultra Run | 50 miles | September 28, 2014 | website
Virginia
Belmead Trail Fest 50K | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Belmead Trail Fest 50M | 50 miles | September 27, 2014 | website
GrindStone 100 | 101 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions 100K | 100 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Uber Rock 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Washington
Cle Elum Ridge 50K | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website
Wyoming
Sundance 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 27, 2014 | website

Vietnam

Mountain Marathon Vietnam – 70 km | 70 kilometers | September 20, 2014 | website

CLOSE

LINKS

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Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

CYCLING for RUNNERS – The Introduction

 

HEADER2

Welcome to CYCLING for RUNNERS in conjunction with Scott Sports

Over the coming months and year, Ian Corless and Niandi Carmont in conjunction with SCOTT SPORTS will bring you CYCLING FOR RUNNERS.

Ian, Niandi and a series of special guests will provide you with a series of articles from a male and female perspective on how cycling can benefit you as a runner.

Providing simple and clear information, we will write about our experiences, we will tell you about equipment, provide hints and tips and most importantly, we will provide you with a series of training plans that you can incorporate week by week, month by month to make you a better runner through cycling.

We know 3-types of runner:

  1. The runner who is injured
  2. The runner who is recovering from injury
  3. And thirdly, the runner who is about to be injured

Of course, we joke, but many of you will agree there is some real truth in the joke. Running is not bad for you, however, taken to extremes or if rushed, the impact of repetition can damage and break us. Sometimes a couple of easy days are all we need and then we are able to resume full training. But as often happens, a couple of easy days may not be enough and our eagerness to push and get back to full training causes us to take risks and then the inevitable happens, we break!

Don’t get us wrong. If you want to be a good runner, you need to run. However, we don’t always thing big miles, double day runs or running everyday is necessary. It’s all about balance and ultimately what level we are running at and what our objectives are. As we see it, runners fall into four distinct groups:

  • Group 1: Weight loss/ recreational runner
  • Group 2: Budding enthusiast
  • Group 3: Good age group runner
  • Group 4: Elite/ pro or top-level runner

We could break the groups down again but ultimately, for the purposes of explanation, these four groups will suffice.

Group 1 runner’s will run typically three times a week (maybe four) and they will run twice in the week and once at weekend. During the week they will train from 20-60min and at the weekend they will extend their running beyond an hour. Mileage will be 30-50 miles per week.

Group 2 are pretty dedicated and savvy accumulating three to four runs during the week and running once or twice at the weekend. Sunday will typically be a long run of 90+ min and on Tuesday and maybe Thursday they will add some speed or strength running. Mileage will be 50-75 miles per week.

Group 3 runner’s are very similar to group 2, however, they are running six days a week, they double up runs on a couple of days and at weekend they may do back-to-back longer runs. Mileage will hover around 80-miles per week.

Group 4 are pushing the envelope, they run twice a day, four to five days a week and run long, fast and high during the weekend. They typically hover around 100-miles per week.

We generalise above and of course we will be able to find extremes in all the scenarios. However, the four groups provide a picture. We think the risk of injury is high for all the groups and relatively equal. Why?

Well, group 1 for example will be less experienced (typically) and will have less run history and therefore although the time on feet is less, the percentage risk is high based on experience.

Group 4 by contrast will have loads of experience, they have been involved in sports for years and they are knowledgeable. Risk comes for them from volume and because they are often on the edge looking for small performance gains.

For us, this is where cycling for runners can come in!

Cycling provides a great low impact exercise that can be done in or outdoors, it can be very controlled and importantly it can be as easy or as hard as you like.

Yes, if you want to be a great runner, you need to run. BUT cycling can add to your running and not take away from it…

Just think, how many of you have said, ‘I am just popping out for an easy run!’

Is there such a thing as an ‘easy run?’

In terms of effort, yes! For sure, you can run slow, easy and controlled keeping your heart rate down, keeping your cadence light and just tick-over. But, you are still in contact with the ground. You are still ‘impacting’ with the surface beneath you and you are still passing your body weight through all your muscles, tendons and joints. Recovery runs are not about fitness, they are about loosening off and in many cases, we use recovery runs just to make us feel better. So, why not incorporate some cycling as active recovery?

Long runs can really impact on your body. Hours of running adapt you to the demands that will be placed on you when you race but sometimes we will run the risk of pushing too far and risking injury. Long bike rides on hilly terrain for example can be used to provide multiple hours of low impact exercise. Hours where you can push harder than running without the risk of damaging knees, muscles and ligaments. If incorporated with long runs, you have a great way to do back-to-back sessions while reducing impact injury risk.

Speed can damage our fragile bodies, particularly our muscles and tendons. However, run speed work incorporated with cycling speed work can stress the aerobic system and it will stretch us physically and mentally in new ways.

Hill reps provide great aerobic stress pushing us to our threshold limits, however, what goes up, must come down. Often, it is the running downhill that causes damage. Of course, we need to train for this in running, it’s important. However, cycling hill reps incorporated into a structured training plan can provide a great stimulus that will progress your fitness level and once again, the impact implications are low.

Finally, cycling can just be a blast. It’s a great way to head out and see a new place; arguably, we can cover more distance in less time on a bike. If nothing else, cycling may well just provide you with a well-earned break from running. Cycling will freshen your mind, it will freshen your body and I guarantee, your running will improve.

Part one of cycling for runners will be released on Wednesday October 1st and we will look at the basics to get you started:

  • The bike.
  • How to ensure you have a good fit.
  • Dos and Don’ts of cycling.
  • And we will list 5-points why cycling can make YOU a better runner.
Philipp Reiter Cycling

Philipp Reiter Cycling

To kick things off, Salomon International athlete, Philipp Reiter will also give us his thoughts on why cycling works for him as a trail, mountain and ultra runner.

Stay tuned.

Join us on STRAVA

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Thanks to SCOTT SPORTS for the support and backing

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CYCLING for RUNNERS PAGE HERE

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Minimal, Maximal or the curious question of Drop

Back in the day, I would go to a run store, ask for a neutral shoe and then try several models. I would pick the shoes that felt good and if they all felt good, I would pick by criteria such as brand and/ or colour. Job done. I would then go and run. Initially I played safe (looking back) picking shoes with a little more cushioning. However, as I got fitter and faster, my shoes got lighter. Seemed to make sense. At no point did I know what ‘drop’ the shoes had. I didn’t even know what drop was and in all honesty, I probably only considered drop in 2009/ 2010.

Ian on Bike

Coming from a cycling background, running was not something that came natural but I improved through triathlon. Eventually ultra running attracted me; I was looking for something new. I wanted something that intimidated me… running long always intimidates me!

I had big legs; plenty of muscles from cycling and triathlon, so, the longer I ran, the more muscle problems I had. Just part of the challenge I thought. Then I saw Hoka One One whilst running races in France and I thought, maybe all that cushioning will help?

Hoka Mafate Waterproof

I started using Hoka One One way back in 2010. I was using the original Mafate when pretty much nobody in the UK even realised what these shoes existed. I had all the comments, clown shoes, platform shoes, ridiculous and so on.

Of course, most people were correct. They did look somewhat ridiculous but considering I had been introduced to the shoes on ‘local’ terrain (France) I found the acceptance across the Channel more acceptable. Particularly in mountain races when running down long and/ or technical descents was the norm.

The plush ride from maximal shoes was something quite unique. Like running on marshmallow I would say. I loved the feeling and I started using the Bondi B for road runs in addition to the Mafate for trail. Cut a long story short, I sold Hoka One One in the UK and really pushed them. Yes. I loved them that much.

I listened to warnings from minimalist runners and other brands and then one by one, I would see runners switch and then other shoe brands ‘add’ more cushioning to shoes. Hoka One One were ahead of the times…

Ironically, as ‘maximal’ took hold, I defected.

Yes, in 2012 I walked away from maximal and never looked back. For me, it all started with niggling knee injuries. At first it was nothing I could pinpoint. At the time I was racking up the miles and running twice daily. I put it down to ‘just’ run pain. You know, the pain we all get and ignore… I won a race in Turkey (60km) but struggled in the closing stages with severe knee pain and later, when I toed the line at Lakeland 50 (looking for top-10) the knees gave in and from that moment, I stopped racing.

Of course I made a few errors. I didn’t address the issues early enough and I stuck my head in the sand and thought the problems would go away: no!

Stopping running for a while was the only way and in time I addressed many issues and points. My knee issues were caused by running in maximal shoes; the added cushioning, the ‘roll’ and the softness all combined with 100’s of miles in training equalled failure!

Turns out maximal shoes were not for me, or my knees.

Of course, this is a little controversial.

Maximal shoes are a new technology and therefore I don’t think we currently have full feedback on the pros and cons of this type of shoe. I guess I had a 2/3-year head start. The initial benefits touted to consumers were:

  • More comfort
  • Less impact
  • Plush ride
  • Run downhill quicker
  • And so on…

The opposition said:

  • Lack of feel with the ground
  • Too much roll
  • Too cushioned
  • And so on…

In time, I had to agree. For me, I was in the latter camp. Having said that, had I not had issues, maybe I would still be running in maximal shoes, who knows?

In the past 2-years I have in many ways learnt to run again. Getting a feel for the ground beneath me, trying to run with better technique and I have run considerably less. I am not a minimalist runner… I didn’t go down the Vibram route. But what I did do was use less cushioning. I actually just went back to shoes similar that I used in my running/ triathlon days… I used to call them ‘flats.’

Many people don’t realise, but Hoka One One and other similar brands use ‘low-drop.’ Altra for example use zero drop. So, I was already adapted to low drop running. I wouldn’t say my technique was perfect, but I have always been a mid to forefoot striker so basically I just needed to feel the ground again.

In my opinion, maximal shoes caused 3-key issues FOR ME. And I stress here, for me.

1: The added cushioning didn’t allow me to feel the ground. I therefore was ‘hitting’ the ground harder with every foot strike. Of course the cushioning masked this. So, to get feeling, I hit the ground harder, the cushioning compressed and then recoiled. Think about it, my muscles and my knees were working harder but in a different way. All those foot strikes, all the accumulated minutes, hours and miles.

2: The height and cushioning of the shoes caused me to roll. On flat surfaces the cushioning would compress and I would roll inward. The more cushioning, the more I could roll. Again, times this by all the foot strikes… not an issue for isolated runs but when you run day after day and twice a day, that builds up! On technical terrain, the cushioning offered more protection for sure, but again I was rolling and twisting far more than in a less cushioned shoe. My knees were being taken out of align all the time.

I like to equate the roll to the comparison of an F1 car and a bus. Take an F1 car around a corner at speed and it won’t sway or deviate. Take a bus around a corner and it will lean and possibly tip over. This is how I look at run shoes… or more importantly less cushioning in comparison to more cushioning.

3: I also feel that the cushioning made me a lazy runner. I was carefree because the cushioning masked so much. I also became weaker in my legs… I let the shoes do the work.

I think I could only really appreciate the above once I stopped using ‘maximal’ shoes and returned back to basics. I have spent the last 2-years running in shoes with normal or less cushioning and I have tested shoes with various drop; typically 4mm to 8mm.

Now many of you may question many aspects of what I mention above. That’s good! This article is not meant to give you hard facts. I want you to question and assess your running, your form, your contact with the ground and your running well being.

I am not promoting barefoot, minimalist, low drop or maximal. I am giving you scenarios and experiences that I have accumulated over time.

I could say, ‘do this!’

But ultimately, that is when issues arise. Doing ‘this’ is perfect for one athlete but not another. Sometimes you have to get it wrong to find out if you are doing it right.

Maximal is a current trend. Ironically, I went maximal just when most people went minimal… ‘Born to Run’ has lots to answer for! As Vibram clad warriors ran around me, I bounced along like Tigger.

Was I correct? NO!

Was minimalists correct? NO!

To some extent, we had both followed fads. For many, going minimalist and ‘learning to run again’ over a constructive and gradual period was and may very well be, the best thing they have ever done. But for every converted sole, we have a runner (or maybe multiple runners) who are broken at the side of the trail with stress fractures, damaged calf muscles or achilles problems.

But, going maximal (for me) was no better. I didn’t ease into maximal, I went in head over heels committed myself and the cushioning allowed me to get away with it… for a while!

If I learnt one lesson, GRADUAL is a key word. Be that maximal, minimal low drop or whatever…

Fads will come and go.

This conversation will continue in years to come and without doubt, we will be looking at a new aspect of run technique. It’s the nature of things.

But, running and the ability to run is god given. We are designed to run. So in future, when you have children, maybe nurture your child from the feet up. Start from the ground and let evolution do its work.

In retrospect, Chris McDougall was right, we are ‘Born to Run’ the problem is, we have actually devolved as runners.

Fashion and fads will come and go.

Take your time and if it aint broke… don’t break it! Otherwise it may well take you 2-years to get back on the right trail.

Like me!