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

Ep70

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

ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

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

Website – talkultra.com

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!

Kilian and Emelie ROCK THE RUT 2014

©iancorless.comIMG_5813Canazei2014_kilian

The general consensus seemed to be that The Rut offered a 50k course that mixed up the best of American trail running with a combination of pure European style Skyrunning.

‘The Rut is the first Ultra Series final to be held in the USA and was designed and organized by world-class ultra runners Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe specifically to fit Skyrunning parameters. The Rut 50K counts 6,080m vertical meters ascent and descent with the highest point reaching the 3,403m summit of Lone Peak in Montana’s aptly named Big Sky resort.’ Said Lauri van Houten, ISF. The summit was also the destination of Friday’s Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer®1,000m vertical climb and at just under 4.6 km long, Mike Foote briefed the runners pre-race, ‘This is a true mountain course so please treat it with the respect it deserves!’

In truth, one could say that the 50K course was a true leveller.

It allowed the fast trail runner’s, Sage Canaday and Ellie Greenwood for example to go head-to-head against the Skyrunners; Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg. Add to the mix runners like Kasie Enman who have delved into both worlds and succeeded and we had a great event to watch and follow.

©JordiSaragossa

©JordiSaragossa

Using the ‘Transvulcania’ approach, Sage pushed hard from the gun, pulling away he opened up a gap of 3-minutes on Kilian Jornet. However, as the terrain kicked up, Mr KJ started to close. It was 90-seconds, then level and then a gradual lead. Slowly but surely, Kilian pulled away showing a consummate display of running ability, not only on easy trails, but also on the tough, steep and technical. At the line, Kilian was victor. Another incredible win to his list of palmares accumulated in 2014. The only blip coming at Transvulcania where he placed 2nd after stepping off ski’s just days earlier. Another Skyrunner® World Series title in the bag and I have to ask the question once again, ‘Is Kilian Jornet THE most rounded athlete in the world?’ His achievements and humility blow my mind.

©JordiSaragossa

©JordiSaragossa

Emelie Forsberg by comparison ran a race that I could have scripted. Frustrated by the ‘detour’ at Trofeo Kima, Emelie used her emotions to grab the Rut by the horns and push from the off. Pulling away from the rest of the ladies, Emilie’s victory was never really in question. Kasie Enman closed a little in the latter stages but settled for the bridesmaid position, a priority holding off Anna Frost in third. Outright speed didn’t help Ellie Greenwood who ran a great race for 4th. Ultimately, the mountain, the technicality and the altitude became a leveller.

Skyrunner-World-Series-Logo_150

Like Kilian, Emelie rounds out another year with a Skyrunner® World Series victory. They are the King and Queen of the ultra Skyrunning world. Mixing raw athletic ability and gift with the animal instincts of an Ibex. They are not unbeatable, but just now, they are both at the top of their game.

Results from ©ISF

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.

 

Ones to watch for 2015:

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Rising star, Spanish runner Manuel Merillas fulfilled early season potential as displayed at Transvulcania, Ice Trail Tarentaise, Dolomites Skyrace and Kima with 3rd place. I don’t need to tell you, he is one to watch for the future.

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Tom Owens once again came away with another top-5 and confirmed himself as the top British mountain runner in the world. Nobody has pitted themselves against such top quality fields and come away with the goods like Tom. It was a hark back to 2012 when Tom pushed Kilian close on several occasions. 2014 is very much the comeback year after a disastrous 2013 with injury, I can’t help but think that Tom will step up another level in 2015.

©iancorless.com-9583Kima2014_Kasie Enman has paved the way for running mums! Sounds a touch corny I know but Kasie returned to top flight running in ‘14’ just 10-months after her 2nd child. We all wondered how it would go… Kasie included. In her first race, Zegama-Aizkorri, Kasie was at the front pushing. We all thought, hold on a minute, that wasn’t the plan. She did eventually succumb to the distance and pressure from ladies behind; however, it was an indicator of what was to come. Race after race, Kasie has improved and recently secured a victory at Trofeo Kima. With 2014 in her system, I am excited to see what 2015 will hold.

Anna Frost ©iancorless.com

Anna (Frosty) Frost needs no introduction and to be honest, Frosty shouldn’t really be in my ‘ones to watch’ as we all know her ability. However, pre May 2014, Frosty had a tough time finding form, health and equilibrium. I am pleased to say after a resounding Transvulcania win and CR, a 2nd at the Skyrunning World Champs, a victory at Speedgoat 50k and now 3rd at The Rut that Frosty is back… watch out ladies in 2015! And Frosty, keep the racing as you have in ‘14’. Less is more.

©iancorless.com-0303Kima2014_Finally, Alessandra Carlini has worked real hard in 2014 and did top the ranking. Considering this lady lives on the Italian coast with no mountains to train on, her performances have been excellent. If Alessandra can work on some specific training for 2015 she may well be a force to reckon with.

Skyrunning has blossomed and grown. We only need to look at the ‘Likes’ on the Skyrunning FB page to the explosion that his happening before our eyes. The runners want high and technical. The fans want high and technical and the development and spread of the National Series is showing that Skyrunning is here to stay… it may have been around for 20-years, it’s not our fault that everyone is just catching up. Yes, that was the vision of Marino Giacometti back in ‘89’ when he scaled Monte Rosa.

2015 will soon be here and with it new adventures and new experiences for all.

Less cloud, more sky!

Skyrunner® Ultra Series final results 2014 

Men

  1. Kilian Jornet (Salomon) – 308 points
  2. Sage Canaday (Hoka One One) – 284 points
  3. Manuel Merillas (Mammut) – 250 points

Women

  1. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 308 points

2nd equal: Anna Frost (Salomon) Kasie Enman (Salomon) – 294 points

inov-8 Race Ultra Vest 2015 *New Product Review

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The 2013 incarnation of the inov-8 Race Vest was a revelation. It was arguably the most simple and minimalist pack on the market that fit and functioned perfectly for the task at hand. It had a unique design, the ability to carry 2-bottles and/ or bladder and in addition it had a series of really useful and importantly, ‘usable’ pockets. No pack is perfect, however, I did say the Race Vest was close.

Many agreed. The pack sold incredibly well and it won awards.

However, it did have some restrictions. In reality, the pack was perfect for 1-day races when minimal mandatory kit was required. But if you where doing a longer event such as UTMB then the original pack had limited space. I actually was able to put all my mandatory kit in the pack but I had to be creative and yes, I had to have the smallest and lightest kit available.

©iancorless.com_S0152108RaceUltraVest2015I personally don’t think this is a fault of the pack! The original Race Vest had a use and if used in the scenario for which it was intended, then it was arguably one of the best packs available.

When the product became available to purchase (early 2014), a few tweaks had been made from the original prototype, which I was using. The key change was in the upper. My pack would allow the 2-bottles to fit low (near the rib cage) or high on the shoulder straps. After testing, many people commented that the shoulder straps rubbed around the neck, so, Matt Brown, the designer, reworked the design, narrowed the straps (which did provide a better fit) but unfortunately this meant you couldn’t fit the bottles in the upper position. A real shame in my opinion! More importantly, original retail samples had a couple of question marks on durability. Many runners complained of some less than perfect construction. This was soon nipped in the bud but as we all know, this is never a good thing.

Below, the original Race Ultra Vest with bottles: 

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Jump to the inov-8 athlete retreat in the English Lakes, spring 2014. A weekend of running: looking at new shoes, apparel and accessories for the coming year (2015). Needless to say, as a running aficionado, I love this. I love to see how a brand takes past and current ideas, develops them and comes up with something new. The new apparel looked incredible, new shoes were promising; particularly the new Ultra 290 shoe and then we saw the packs… the new Race Vest.

Similarities could be drawn to the original 2013/2014 model but boy oh boy. This was a complete overhaul taking all the features from the original, adding tweaks and then coming up with something new. inov-8, Matt Brown and the rest of the team had pimped their packs!

No longer was one pack available but three: 5ltr, 10ltr in this style and a larger 24ltr for mountain marathon or multi-day events. Using the ‘vest’ fitting system, these new packs in one word are awesome.

I said in my original Race Vest review back in 2013 that ‘This new product from UK company; inov-8 may very well be the next key moment in pack design stripping away complication and providing a pack that would almost make a perfect accessory for Batman.’

It was a bold statement and one that I still hold. However, that unique innovation has moved up a step and lessons have been learnt.

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So, what is new?

  • Larger capacity (3 different sizes)
  • Pole fitting attachments
  • Redesigned vest
  • New soft flasks with extended drinking straws
  • Dump pockets
  • Zipper pockets

I have 2-packs for testing, the 5ltr and 10ltr. They are exactly the same, obviously the only difference being capacity. For the purpose of this review, I have tested and photographed the 10ltr as I feel this will be the most popular option. However, I will say that the 5ltr does have far more capacity than the original Race Vest despite them being arguably, on paper, the same size!

My test product is a prototype and I am aware of some tweaks that will be made based on my review and the feedback I provide. So please refer to this review and I will update with any key changes and revisions that may happen over the coming weeks/ months.

The vest fits like a glove. I never expected anything else. You put it on and immediately it is like adding another piece of well fitting clothing. Unlike the original Race Vest, this pack will not have adjustment straps on the side. Therefore, the pack will come in a variety of sizes so that you can get the product that fits you! I believe this will be S/M and M/L and fit has been tweaked under the arm to a better fit under the arm from my prototype.

Why no side straps?

Well, two large ‘dump pockets’ have been added to the pack. It made sense. This was an area not utilised in the original design and now you have 2-easy access pockets for food, clothing or any other item you may need.

For me though, these dump pockets make the ideal location for storing the new soft flasks. This wasn’t the original idea of designer, Matt Brown. However, after 1-week of testing, I contacted Matt and told him of the way I was using the pack. It made perfect sense to me. It had the bottles in an easy access and comfortable place, the new ‘extended straws’ meant that I could feed as and when I wanted without removing them and if I needed to refill, I could just pull them out, take off the top, fill and replace. In addition, you could still use the dump pockets for additional storage either under or over the soft flasks. I typically put my gloves, Buff or other essential items in this area. Being a photographer, I have often replaced one soft flask with a camera. Yes, they are that adaptable.

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On the front of the pack, you have zip pocket on either side. These pockets are for the soft flasks, however on my prototype they were a little too small and tight. For me, they are perfect for valuable items such as phone/ money/ credit card or similar. Matt Brown has confirmed for me that the zipper pockets have been re-designed and made larger accommodating the flasks with ease and comfort, ‘I used the updated sample at CCC and kept the bottles in the zipper pockets, a lot easier to remove and get back in again,’ said Matt. So, the choice will be yours? I do recommend you try options and see what works for you.

Several other stretch pockets are available that work well for keys, food and or gels.

 

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The front fastening system has also changed from the original. This pack no longer uses the quick release system that some found fiddly on the previous vest (I didn’t). Now it has 2-fixed straps, upper and lower and both use the classic male/ female quick release fastening system.

The rear of the pack has 2-zippers: one on the outside of the pack that allows access to an uncluttered open pocket.

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On the reverse, the part of the pack that would sit against your back, has a zipper that would allow direct access to a bladder should you wish to use one.

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Of course, this is perfect, especially in long events when you are carrying mandatory kit. You don’t want to be pulling kit out to get to a bladder. In addition, elastic cords have been added to the top and bottom to attach poles.

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The large open pocket (10ltr version) held with ease:

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Buff
  • Gloves
  • Base layer
  • Compass
  • Gps
  • Phone
  • Arm warmers
  • Beanie
  • Gels/ bars

And I still had space to squeeze other items in. No question, it’s perfect for a UTMB style event or similar. Should you carry fewer items, the adjustable bungee drawstring on the pack will allow you to compress unwanted space.

The pack has an optional (purchase extra) 2ltr bladder that sits within a temperature control sleeve and this easily slides into the rear zipper pocket. The feed pipe is insulated and can be used on the left or right hand side of the vest. Ideal should you require the option to carry 3ltrs of liquid: 2ltrs in the rear and 1ltr at the front two soft flasks.

IN USE 

It may come as no surprise that I find the pack perfect. I have yet to find an issue with any aspect of the design.

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The soft flasks with extended straws are a revelation and make ‘on the go’ drinking a breeze. It also makes refilling very easy.

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The vest fits like a glove, does not bounce and is extremely comfortable even when filled to capacity.

Fabrics are light and breathable as the original. Of course with any vest, you are going to get a hot spot on your back. You can’t avoid that with this style of product. Having said that, I have yet to find a pack that doesn’t do this…

10464062_10152436307373891_1576851184164900850_nThe rear large zippered pocket requires some thinking when packing, as it is just an open space. You push things in and keep pushing. I recommend if using a bladder, add this first and then pack. Place the items you are likely to need less at the bottom and then work your way up leaving the most essential items at the top. It’s not rocket science but good to think ahead. Once the bladder is in place, you don’t need to remove it as it has a separate zipper access thus allowing refilling as and when required. It works really well. As mentioned previously, you can fit all mandatory kit (UTMB requirement) in the spacious pocket.

You can attach poles to the rear. I tried but didn’t find this to be a good option for me. More often than not, the new folding poles such as Black Diamond or Leki are shorter in length. This makes fastening more awkward and problematic. To resolve this, I attached two adjustable bungees to the shoulder straps and I store my poles folded across my chest; works for me and makes storing and access to the poles easier. It’s a personal thing.

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The multiple front packets provide immediate access to anything I needed whilst running. I had a phone, camera, bars, gels, keys and money all at hand. Perfect. The front zipper pockets add extra security if not used for the soft flasks.

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I used the two large dump pockets for my soft flasks and then placed gloves, buff and some snack items on top. This works great but you need to think when coming into an aid station… if you just pull out the soft flask, what is on top will hit the deck!

 action photos ©marcuswarner

Conclusion

I raved about the original Race Vest (2013/14 model) and hailed it as arguably the ‘perfect’ pack. In refection, I was wrong. It was perfect to a point. The new range of packs (in 3-sizes) have addressed the issue of storage (or lack of) and with the addition of soft flasks with straws, these packs offer everyone the opportunity not only to get the right size to fit them but also the correct capacity for your needs. For me, if you were only going to purchase one pack, the 10ltr would be the most logical option.

Although we haven’t done a full test from a female perspective, initial feedback has been good. As I am sure you can imagine, this very much depends on the lady and the chest size.

We will update this review with a female viewpoint ASAP.

Finally, inov-8 has come up with another winner. I’d recommend this pack to anyone and everyone. The 10ltr does have some strong competition from many other key brands so ultimately it will all come down to personal taste. But if you are ordering online without seeing the product have confidence, you won’t be disappointed.

Check out inov-8 HERE

Availability? This pack is a 2015 model and as such will retail in early 2015. Pre orders and enquiries should be sent to inov-8

Price? 5L £110 / 10L £120 inc bottles

Note: I was asked on Facebook about a lack of negative comments. It’s simple really, I don’t have any. My comments re the zipper pockets being too small and tight was my big gripe which ironically made me look at storing the soft flasks in the dump pockets. Matt Brown, the designer has reworked these pockets and as he says, he personally used the pack for CCC with no issues. I do hope to get a couple of images from Matt to show this tweak to the design.

Like the Wind Pop-UP : Photography with Ian Corless

Photo ©covadongafernandezcue

Photo ©covadongafernandezcue

Are you a budding photographer? Do you want to learn from an expert? Then the Like the Wind Pop-Up has the answer – a masterclass and workshop with the one and only Ian Corless, the man behind many of the most inspiring and moving photos from the ultra and mountain running scene.

This will be a chance to learn from an expert about all the things it takes to create a great photo of a runner. Bring your camera and leave with information and inspiration. Details on how to book will be released in the next few days, but for now… who’d be interested in signing up for this?

Provisional date : Thursday October 30th1400 to 16/1700.

Like the Wind Pop-Up – what is it?

Like the Wind was conceived as a way for the running community to share each others stories – a magazine dedicated to collecting words, images and art that coveys what it is to be a runner. We want every piece to evoke something about running.

Happily, the running community, around the world, has embraced the magazine and enjoyed reading – and contributing – stories. Now, with two successful issues under our belts, we have decided to go beyond bringing runners together online and through the pages of the magazine. We are going to bring them together in a physical space.

The Like the Wind Pop-Up will be in the heart of the creative hub that is Shoreditch in east London. There will be space for brands who want to support the Pup-Up, there will be film nights, inspiring talks, guided runs and a launch party to rival the one that we held for the launch of the first issue of Like the Wind.

For one week, there will be a home for running stories in central London. Runners will be able to come and meet one another, interact with the magazine, buy limited edition artwork from the artists who have appeared on the pages, check out some of the finest running brands and generally have their running mojo given a boost.

We hope that as many runners as possible will join us and make this a special week for Like the Wind and everyone associated with it.

You can find out more about our Pop Up Gallery here.

Salomon Sense Pro Review

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When Salomon released the original Sense. It created a storm of interest, I suppose mainly because a certain Kilian Jornet used them.

Since the original incarnation we have seen the shoe develop and the recent offerings of the Sense Ultra and the Sense Ultra Soft Ground (more grip) have been a revelation for many a runner. Low drop, arguably the sweetest fitting shoe on the market, light and of course the unique lacing system with garage. The Sense is a shoe I see all the time in races from VK to 100-miles and beyond.

There is no shortage of reviews available on the Internet. Although the shoe may not be for everyone, the general consensus is that the Sense is a must try shoe and to be honest, if the snug fit and low drop works for you, it’s difficult to look elsewhere.

So, if you are already a Sense fan, I can probably anticipate you will have the original Sense and pair of Soft Grounds or a pair of Sense Ultra and Soft Grounds. They go hand in hand as the perfect combo.

Grab your wallet because the new addition to the Salomon family, the Sense Pro is a must have for the discerning Salomon worshipper. It’s worth pointing out immediately, that if the Sense Ultra hasn’t worked for you because of the narrow fit, the Sense Pro may well address that issue.

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 City Trail is a buzzword at the moment, also known as door to trail or road to trail. Ultimately, shoe manufacturers appreciate the need and the demand for a shoe that can function on road and trail. So, basically we are looking at a hybrid shoe. The Sense Pro falls in this category. As I see it, the Salomon fellas have taken a mummy ‘Mantra’ and left it alone with daddy Sense Ultra and in time a wonderful Sense Pro has emerged as the new baby in the Salomon crèche.

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So what’s it got…?

  • Sensfit
  • Endofit
  • Lace pocket
  • Quicklace
  • Racing last

And so on and so on… you get the drift. It has all the Salomon buzz words and as we know, these buzz words work.

Slip the shoe on and boy oh boy, slippers come to mind. Of all the shoes I have tested and worn, nothing, nothing at all comes close to the wonderful sock liner of the Sense. Once you have used it and got used to it. You want it in every shoe. It literally just holds your foot in the softest and most seamless grip of any shoe tested. It’s like placing your foot in a velvet glove and then when you tension the lace, the pressure is applied in subtle way that allows no movement. For me, any shoe that has ‘Endofit’ provides the most secure feel on ay surface.

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In conjunction with low drop, in this case 6mm, you have wonderful contact with the ground. A key feature here is that 6mm drop, Salomon have decided that this is a sweet spot in drop and therefore as this shoe is not an out and out racer, it makes for a perfect choice for longer days or easy training days. If I had to draw comparisons, it’s like wearing a Formula 1 car on your feet; low ride, perfect grip, great feedback and great propriotection. If you haven’t guessed, I love the Sense Pro.

Cushioning is 16mm at the heel and 10mm at the front. By comparison, the Sense Ultra has 13mm/9mm (4mm drop) and the SG is the same. Combining elements from other shoes in the Salomon range, the Pro has an ‘OS Tendon’ (A running construction that provides better rolling and a soft rebound, used for running shoes as well as for natural running and hiking shoes in different constructions) and seamless construction. This combination makes the shoe perfect for longer days and of course as this is designed to move seamlessly from road to trail, it offers great protection.

©iancorless.com_sensepro_-0005The heel is secure and padded. One you adjust the laces and pull them tight, the fit is the sweetest out there in my opinion. It’s the combination of the sock liner, great lacing and snug heel. As I said previously, your foot is held tight. No movement. A plus side of this snug fit is the differences made in the toe box.

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If you look at the photo below you will see the difference between the Sense Ultra SG, Sense Ultra and the Sense Pro. The Pro has a slightly more squared off toe box with great protection. So, if you have found previous editions of the Sense a little too tight, the Pro may well be for you?

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Grip is where the compromise is made. That is not a negative comment, after all, the shoe is a City Trail shoe, and so, you are not going to have SG grip. In actual fact, the grip is very similar the Sense Ultra. It’s perfect for dry trails and rocks, they work well in the wet on either road or rocks but if it gets muddy, hold on to your shorts because this when you notice the compromise. Transitioning from road to trail and back again is sweet. I have done some big sections of road and find the transition perfect. I would have no issue going for a road run in them. At this stage though it’s too early to tell what impact that would have on the longevity of the sole. I currently have 120-miles in these and no sign of wear.

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Sizing is true. I use UK9.5 in the Sense Ultra and Sense Ultra SG and the Pro is the same size. However, it does feel a little roomier. It should though, that is obviously what Salomon tried to achieve with this shoe. Weight is a little more then the Ultra and SG but still lightweight.

It’s simple really; the Sense Pro has become my day-to-day go to shoe. It has all the elements required in what I need. It has low drop, but not too low, the fit is like a glove, cushioning is a little more than the Sense Ultra and therefore provides just a little more protection daily (without the loss of feel) and ultimately the shoe balances natural running, protection and feel in a perfect package.

Go get a pair…!

View the shoes at Salomon.com

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The Rut 2014 – Race Preview

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It only seems like weeks ago that I was writing a preview for the Skyrunner® World Series first ultra on La Palma: Transvulcania. Here I am, four races done and dusted and the final event looms. It has been quite a year and one that has seen some highs and lows for the runners. Going into the last event, it’s all to fight for both in the ladies and men’s races.

The Rut 50k organised by the Mike’s – Foote and Wolfe will no doubt be a great season closer. These guys have fully understood the needs of Skyrunning event and as such have provided an event that will test each and every runner.

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The top-5 men and top-4 ladies currently ranked in the Skyrunner® World Series will go head-to-head in Montana and we look set for an exciting battle. In addition, a plethora of top world talent will also toe the line amongst 500-entrants.

The current rankings have rising star, Manuel Merillas at the head followed by Tom Owens, Kilian Jornet, Sage Canaday and then Fulvio Dapit. For the ladies, Alessandra Carlini tops the table after completing 3-races in the series.

So who is going to win?

Well, I suppose we need to think about 2-scenarios, winning the race and winning the series. For the men, the series will arguably come down to a battle between Jornet and Canaday (I will go for Jornet) and for the ladies, Frost, Enman and Forsberg are the contenders (I will go with Forsberg). Alessandra Carlini of course could potentially win the race… but this is unlikely when one considers the depth.

 

MEN

©iancorless.comIMG_2670Canazei2014_kilianKilian Jornet, do I need to say anymore? He’s won everything other than 2nd at Transvulcania. KJ has set FKT’s, set course records, obliterated Hardrock 100, smashed Trofeo Kima and now The Rut is waiting! Win and Skyrunner® World Series champ.

Sage Canaday ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday wants to beat Kilian badly, really bad. I don’t mean that in a nasty way, but Sage would love to beat the master of the mountains. Form looks good but I think Sage will fall into the Ellie Greenwood category and may just lack the extra technical skills needed to beat Kilian. Considering the competition, Sage is not guaranteed 2nd (or 1st) for that matter.

©iancorless.com-0271Kima2014_ Manuel Merillas is just getting better and better. He has been making us take a 2nd look on repeated occasions and his recent 2nd at Kima and closing within 1-minute of Kilian shows the talent is just waiting to be exploited. He will be in the mix for sure.

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Tom Owens nearly pulled out of Ice Trail Tarentaise because he thought he was around 15th – 20th. That is until I told him that all the other runners were not in his race… he finished 3rd. Phew! Prior to this, Tom ran a great Transvulcania and just a couple of weeks ago once again ran a great Kima. The Rut will suit Tom and he may just push Sage… podium material!

Adam Campbell is back. After his stunning Hardrock I can’t help but think Adam will mix it up in Montana. I see Tom, Sage and Adam having quite the battle for the podium. Of course, this assumes that Kilian is somewhere down the trail running for victory. If not, this race may well be wide open. Adam is fast, not as fast as Sage but arguably he is better on the technical stuff.

Alex Nichols had a great run at Speedgoat but the rest of his Skyrunning exploits have been below par, especially when one compares to 2013. On paper, The Rut should suit Alex; his combination of speed, endurance and climbing ability is a perfect mix for this course.

Ricky Gates is forever consistent and on his day can compete with the best. I’m not really sure of his current form? He forever seems to be on a road trip taking things relaxed, so, he may well be a surprise package.

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Fulvio Dapit is a true mountain runner who is always in the mix. He may not be a podium contender in this field but 4th or 5th are just waiting for him. Just 2-weeks ago Fulvio had a strong run at Kima. His form is good.

Paul Hamilton was 2nd at Speedgoat and I know little else? He was a surprise then and he may well be a surprise at The Rut?

Philipp Reiter is racing but is on his way back from injury. It almost certainly means he won’t have that extra 5-10% needed to be fighting up at the front but somewhere 5th – 10th is a distinct possibility.

Jason Delaney has speed. Will probably stick with Sage and will use his speed to take advantage of the fast sections.

Ones to watch:

Luke Nelson

Oscar Casal Mir

Marc Casal Mir

Galen Burrell

Greg Vollet

Catlow Shipeck

 

LADIES

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Emelie Forsberg has had a tough 2014. Falling at Transvulcania ruined that race. An injured hand from the fall impacted on Zegama and then things clicked with victories at Ice Trail Tarentaise and the 80km in Chamonix. Matterhorn Ultraks didn’t quite go to plan and although Emelie placed 2nd at Trofeo Kima, the race was an emotional rollercoaster after going off course for 1-hour. The emotion showed! For that reason, I see Emelie producing a dominant performance here in Montana. I think she will push hard, unleash the frustrations of Kima and have a dominant win and take the Skyrunner® World Series title.

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Kasie Enman has impressed all year. 2014 has been the comeback year after a 2nd child and what a comeback… Kasie has consistently been top-5 and just 2-weeks ago won Kima ahead of Emelie. Have to say, up to marathon distance is where Kasie excels so I see a potential 3rd or 4th here!

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Anna Frost smashed Transvulcania and looked awesome. Placing 2nd to Emelie at Chamonix 80k was another top result and I am pleased to say, Frosty has been relatively quiet since. This is great news… after so much injury; this lady finally is picking the races to perform at and not wiping herself out by racing too much. Her solid victory at Speedgoat 50k on paper suggests that The Rut will be a Frosty/ Forsberg showdown. Take your pick!

Ellie Greenwood has speed and talent in buckets but may well lack that extra 10% in technical and climbing ability. Especially in comparison to the ladies listed above. So, I see Ellie in the mix and battling with Kasie for 3rd.

Kaitlin McDonald was 2nd at The Rut last year and therefore gets a nod for a possible top-5. By that I mean 5th! I see the top-4 places going to the ladies above.

Alessandra Carlini has had a great year and run consistently. For someone who lives on the coast with no mountains to train on, she has done amazingly well. In the field though, 5th would be a great result and it would round out a quality 2014 season.

Hilary Allen is not a lady I know but her result at Speedgoat 50k (4th) must make her a one-to-watch here. Like Kaitlin, she may well take 5th, it would take something special to dislodge Forsberg, Frost, Enman or Greenwood from the first 4-places.

Helen Cospolitch has always been a consistent performer but has had a quiet time recently after injury issues. This may well be just an easing back into racing… nice to give her a nod though.

Emily Linton 4th at The Rut last year may well place 6-10th.

Links:

Skyrunning HERE

Rut 50K HERE

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Francesca Canepa speaks to Carreras de Montana

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa has recently spoken to Sergio Garasa at Carrerasdemontana on the alleged accusation of cheating at the 2014 Tor des Geants. Francesca was accused of using a car for a section of the Tor course and missing a checkpoint. Tor des Geants race officials have disqualified Francesca for missing the check point. Of course, many stories are on the internet and several publications have commented on the story.

The allegation of cheating came from runner, Paolo Rossi.

Here in this interview, Francesca provides an insight. Of course, this story may well run and run.

However, this is not the first allegation of cheating at an ultra and Francesca is not the only runner to be implicated. Franco Colle, this years Tor winner had accusations made against him last year. Accusations were made against Emilie Lecomte at the 2014 Ronda dels Cims (read HERE ). Ronda dels Cims responded HERE but ultimately I don’t think we are getting the full picture from some aspects of our sport. Pretty sure this will not be the last incident.

Other posts – read HERE and HERE

Our sport is changing, prize money is increasing but importantly, people have cheated even when no money is at stake. Ego’s need feeding and I am sure we can all recollect a story from the past… remember the gentleman who got a bus in the UK to cut out part of a road race? Or the guy who missed out a huge chunk of London Marathon by jumping the barriers?

I wonder, will ‘Spot Trackers’ or similar become part of mandatory kit? I know they are not fool proof but I am pretty sure we need to be aggressive now, nip it in the bud and avoid some of the issues that other sports have had.

I’d like to point out that I know Francesca in a professional capacity and I also know her manager, Renato. I have followed, watched and photographed and interviewed Francesca for over 2-years and I have seen her perform at the highest level against top quality fields.

I know only the facts that have been circulated in the media and of course, we now have Francesca speak in English in this video interview to at least provide an insight in her own words.

All video content ©Carrerasdemontana

Francesca posted on Facebook and says:

These past few days have been the most difficult and absurd of my life and I hope it is not difficult to understand that my thoughts have turned to stone. It is impossible for me to accept that I need to defend myself for something that, not only I never committed, but neither thought could be done by others.

To cheat makes no sense in our races and it makes no sense in life. 
My opinion has always been that if it is necessary to take a shortcut, maybe it would be more appropriate to take the easier route.

I have no need for shortcuts, I have never taken them and I do not want to take them in any area of my life.

In these two interviews I have stated, not my version of the truth, but the FACTUAL truth.
Ayone who has taken my silence as an admission of guilt does not know me.

I do not care. 

The only thing I know is that I will always be able to walk with my head held high and look people in the eye with a clear conscience.
Not everyone can do the same. 

Thanks to everyone who, with a message, a word or even a thought, has chosen to believe in me.

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

You can watch the video interview, in English, HERE

A video interview and article in Italian was published at aostasera.it HERE

Here is a Google translate. Of course please keep in mind how a translation like this can somehow confuse the message and some finer points:

all content copyright ©aostesera.it

“I win all over the world without any problem and yet they are three years here I feel level accusations of all kinds: those of the past have been too much. Wrong, defamatory, offensive and bad.” The rain this night did not help Francesca Canepa to let off some steam accumulated yesterday afternoon, nor to freshen the air of the Tor des Giants, become heavy after the events that led to the withdrawal first and then to the disqualification of his official “Queen “. Today in Gressoney told us his version of the facts, again rejecting all allegations of irregularities and assuming legal action, even against the organization. “I will do everything possible in appropriate locations to protect my image – explained clearly still furious – this thing for sure does not go well, because this accusation has soiled my image has harmed me, my family and all that c ‘is around. “

The reconstruction of yesterday
The race of the winner of the last two editions has stopped at the base of life Donnas, where yesterday came shortly after 13 His coach, Renato Jorioz, informs immediately the rumors circulating now uncontrolled since early morning: “They say you took your car in Cogne, maybe there is a complaint by another athlete, risks disqualification. “Canepa bursts into tears for the voltage and is waiting to see what is happening. After two hours, then there is an official communication of the direction of travel, hand-delivered by two commissioners. “The process of disqualification in progress: the investigations are ongoing. The Clerk of the Course, having completed the necessary investigations, notify the disciplinary decisions taken. “At the risk of being stopped later, he decided to wait for further communication, however, come only after the 18 “Acquired officially the documentation relating to checks carried out by the race stewards Canepa was disqualified by the jury for not being transited at the control point Les Goilles in Cogne. “Meanwhile, dropped the ice between the athlete and the direction of travel. “It was not possible to explain the organization – says Canepa – because none of them asked us for our opinion. Nobody answered the phone when you were called.”

But what happened between the base life of Cogne and shelter Dream?
To reconstruct what happened we must go back a few hours. The yellow life begins at the base of Cogne, where the lead comes at 3 in the morning. Within an hour of entering and leaving the order trivel, Collé, Perez, Guillon, Rossi, Hollon, Le Saux. Then comes the first of the women, Francesca Canepa, who slips into the hall at 4.23: time to eat a little bit, rest a moment at 4:57 and is ready to restart. Hollon the preceding five minutes, Rossi follows her to the other five. The next point of that lap, with a swipe of the chip, it is the refuge Dream Berdzé at the base of the Fenêtre, a meeting point between the valleys of Cogne and Champorcher. First, however, there is a control point in Les Goilles, 2 km above Lillaz. “I made the journey as always – says Canepa – are transited to the point of Les Goilles, just that at that time there was no one outside. Then I took tea alone, because it was there, and I continued to dream. “

Accusations of Rossi
Al Rifugio Dondena, however, Paolo Rossi crosses Francesca Canepa, who stopped to sign autographs for the kids, and they start to rain the first allegations. “How was the trip from Cogne to Lillaz in the car?”, Attacks him, convinced that he was in front from Cogne and never to be exceeded. Canepa replica bewildered: “If you have any problems please contact the organization.” The voices of the quarrel began to circulate, as well as the hypothesis of a possible exposure to Rossi. In reality Canepa is output from the base life before him, the tables give the reason, he never passed because it was already in front of him. Maybe Rossi has not seen Canepa out, but may have seen the car away from the parking lot of his coach. With him was the doctor Marco Patacchini. “We took the private road to climb to the refuge – explains Jorioz – and we were also stopped by Forestry. In the car it was just us two. “In any case, at the end Rossi decides not to submit the complaint, the organization instead proceed with further verification, then that will lead to the disqualification of Francesca Canepa.

A loss of image for the Tor
Cuts of course, fights at high altitude, disqualifications: it is not the first time that the Tor des Giants is tinged with yellow. In 2010, at the end of the first edition, the mountaineer Abele Blanc was accused of having benefited from a shift to shorten the route. The following year the Swiss Marco Gazzola was disqualified even after you’ve already crossed the line and celebrated the victory, having missed the last inspection, the refuge Bertone, a few km from Courmayeur: his admission of guilt helped to quell the controversy . A similar dispute, without disciplinary action, however, the regularity of the steps to controls, was moved against Franco Collé last year, guilty of having shortened the path near the Rifugio Dondena. Yesterday on the grill is over Francesca Canepa, furious with an organization that after this latest episode is summoned and questioned by many. This morning, the Spanish athlete Salvador Calvo Redondo, who retired yesterday in Chardonnay, commented harshly the incident on his facebook page. “I broke the boxes, this has become a circus. If what happened last year was pathetic, this has passed.”

Tromso Skyrace report

Tromso Skyrace logo

130 athletes from 25 countries took part in the first edition of the race held in the Norwegian town of Tromsö. The 42-km race with a total climb of 4,300m was received in a very festive atmosphere by its participants.

all images ©jordisaragossa

The race, which the athletes Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg had been dreaming of, finally came true this morning, with the first edition of Tromsö Skyrace. Held in the Arctic town of Tromsö, the race figured 130 athletes from 25 countries who faced a tough and highly technical route, especially chosen for lovers of pure sky running.

(c)JordiSaragossa_SA_8499

Jornet and Forsberg spent the last four days hands on, helping out with marking the route, preparing supplies and various other technical aspects, so that everything was ready for the race. “Running is not tiring at all compared to this!”, laughed Jornet the day before the race, as he and Forsberg finished preparing the 130 cinnamon rolls that were later distributed among the participants.

(c)JordiSaragossa_SA_8709

The greatest fear of the organizers was the weather, which in the end did not spoil the race, and so, it was held on a cloudy day with no rain. Participants set off at 8 am from Fløya, facing the 42-kilometre route with 4,300m climb, along the summits of Tromsdaltinden (1,238m) and Hamperokken (1,404m). In addition to the long race, there was also a mini skyrace of 21km and a climb of 1,600m.

From the beginning of the race, a group led by three Scandinavians Eirik Haugsnes, Stian H- Angermund and Ola Hovdenakk, made the most of their knowledge of the terrain and adaptation to cold weather, to place themselves in top positions. Jornet followed them, while checking that the marking was correct and everything at the supply stations was in order. They all reached the top of Tromsdaltinden in the lead before facing the first steep descent. The terrain was demanding on the athletes as one of the participants stated:

“The timings to be scored in the race will be much longer than those in a normal marathon, because there are some very technical stretches and the slope is very steep in places, but it is a race in a very wild area, a unique experience.”

(c)JordiSaragossa_SA_9059

Lead positions in the men’s race did not change throughout the route, and although athletes have been alternating places, it was Eirik Dagssøn Haugsnes who eventually won the race after descending back to Fløya first. In the women’s, the Scandinavians also asserted their status and victory went to Hana Krajnikova. Jornet finished in third place and so did Forsberg, who ran the short race.

Nevertheless, the intention of the organizers of this first edition of the race was to design a race in which runners could challenge themselves in a festive atmosphere accompanied by a feeling of companionship. Upon arrival at the finishing line, many runners, tired but smiling, claimed they were already looking forward to repeating the experience. There, holding a cup of tea and some famous cinnamon rolls, athletes who had travelled to Tromsö from different parts of the world, shared beautiful moments by exchanging experiences and emotions among themselves.

After the race, Jornet and Forsberg explained:

“It has been a fantastic experience. Living a race from inside helps you to understand many things. We were very lucky with the weather, which was kind to us and allowed us to enjoy a race without any problems for runners. We hope that the participants are as pleased as we are.”

After a day of intense emotions, Jornet and Forsberg are already beginning to dream about the next edition, which is sure to be a success.

Tromsö Skyrace Classification

Male category

  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

  1. Hana Krajnikova – 9:49:48

Website: HERE