Bruno Brunod – Meeting a Skyrunning Legend

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I left Val d’Isere yesterday in the shadow of the stunning Grand Motte. An exciting weekend of racing over, VK on Friday and Ultra on Sunday. This weekend I am in the Dolomites for the Dolomites VK and the legendary Dolomites SkyRace. With several days to kill but plenty of work to do, it was decided we would transit via Cervinia and the Matterhorn. After all it’s the home of Skyrunning.

Driving up through the valley leading to the impressive and dominating mountain, Marino (ISF President) pulls over to the right of the road and stops abruptly. “I think Bruno is working here?”

Bruno Brunod (along with Meraldi and of course Giacometti) is a legend in Skyrunning. He was and is the pioneer of the sport that Marino Giacometti created way back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. A builder by trade, Bruno moved away from running for 7 years but he is now back and in recent years he has run the Tor des Geants twice and returns again this year!

Monte Rosa, Aconcagua, Monte Elbert, Kilimanjaro and of course the Matterhorn. Bruno’s history in the sport has been a direct influence on the career on Kilian Jornet. In real terms, Bruno was instrumental in Kilian’s successful Matterhorn record in 2013. Bruno predicted (down to the minute) that Kilian would run 2 hours and 52 minutes. As we all know, Kilian hit the mark on the head (read my in-depth interview with Kilian HERE).

View Skyrunning records HERE

I have met Bruno before, but it was more in passing.

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Bruno and Marino embrace each other as brothers, old friends, partners in crime; a mutual appreciation for what both have achieved in life.

“I am just going to go for a run,” says Bruno.

The two chat and I seize an opportunity to finally capture a couple of impromptu portraits. Bruno is a simple man and some would say shy, certainly when a camera is concerned.

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It’s a case of seizing a moment but seizing a moment in a natural environment. In a ‘safe zone’ so to speak.

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Having started work at 0700, grafting on a mountain house for 12 hours, Bruno will now head off on to the trails for a 90 minute run.

Tor des Giants is not far away!

And with a ‘Ciao!’ he is gone.

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Scott Jurek completes the masterpiece in a new CR! #SJAT15 #AppalachianTrail

©iancorless.com.Scott Jurek

A creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person’s career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill, or workmanship.

Scott Jurek called it his masterpiece and rightly so. We can all now look back at his incredible 2200 mile journey along the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine and acknowledge what he has achieved. Jennifer Pharr Davis had set the benchmark in 2011 in a time of  46 days 11 hours and 20 minutes for a supported thru hike. The speed hike record, unsupported is held by Mathew Kirk in a time of 58 days 9 hours and 40 minutes.

Scott Jurek completed the AT on July 12th 2015 in a time of:

46 days 8 hours 8 minutes*

time must be confirmed and ratified*

Undertaking the AT is a serious business. The demands that are placed on all involved are huge, you only need to ask Karl Meltzer what is required and he will tell you. It’s a beast and one that mustn’t be rushed in to. (Listen Karl’s in-depth chat on Scott and the AT on Ep90 HERE of Talk Ultra)

Months if not years of preparation go into a record so it came as a surprise when Scott Jurek announced on May 27th:

Embarking on a big adventure tomorrow, something I’ve always wanted to do. The time is now!

What has followed is an incredible journey. I encourage you to read my post HERE before continuing on.

What is the AT?

*The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail is approximately 2,200 miles (3,500 km)[a] long, though the precise length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted. The trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The path is maintained by 31 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, and managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in forest or wild lands, although some portions traverse towns, roads and farms.

The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Others have managed to perform a “round-trip” of the trail where they thru-hike from one end to the other and then turn around to thru-hike the trail the other way, otherwise known as a “yo-yo.” Many books, memoirs, web sites and fan organizations are dedicated to these pursuits.

An unofficial extension known as the International Appalachian Trail continues north into Canada and to the end of the range, where it enters the Atlantic Ocean. Other unofficial extensions head south into Florida, creating what is known as the Eastern Continental Trail.

The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail form what is known as the Triple Crown of long–distance hiking in the United States.*

                         *content ©wikipedia

Below is a bow-by-blow account of Scott’s AT record as posted on his Facebook page in words and images. I don’t need to say more. What Scott has achieved is quite incredible. Bravo!

All content below is ©scottjurek and ©luisescobar #SJAT15

May 28th

Image ©luisescobar

Image ©luisescobar

Appalachian Trail Day 1 in the books! Departed Springer Mountain at 5:56am EDT, arrived at Unicoi Gap, 13:16:42 elapsed time. 52.9 miles, 11,400′ ascent and 12,100′ descent. Lots of fog and a little light rain early, then sun and mega humidity. Finding my groove and feeling good. Patience is key; it’s a long way to Maine! Hoping to have live tracking tomorrow.

May 29th

May 29th

Appalachian Trail Day 2 check! Departed Unicoi Gap at 5:49am EDT, arrived at Rock Gap, at 7:14pm EDT, 13:25:28. 53.0 miles, 12,942′ ascent and 12,230′ descent.

May 30th

May 30th

Going into the sunset hours tonight. After lots of rain today and a stiff dose of North Carolina Gnarl—aka long climbs and burly descents— this sunset on Bushnell Knob, 3,697′ is a welcome relief. 8:30pm, 48 miles in and 4 more to go!

May 31st

Image ©luisescobar

Image ©luisescobar

Appalachian Trail Day 4: Service was limited in Smokies and another long day on the trail. These mountains are making me earn it! Departed Yellow Creek Gap at 5:49am EDT, arrived at Newfound Gap, at 9:20pm EDT, 15:29:22. 48.5 miles (Garmin had 50.6), 13,694′ ascent and 11,702′ descent. Entered another state, Tennessee and did 40 miles in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Had rough 4 hours midday and was so sleepy. It’s been hard sleeping at night due to fatigue in the legs. Took a 20-minute nap near Spence Field Shelter and came back to life. Got up the observatory tower for 360-degree views of the Smokies. Very impressed with the mountains here!

June 1st

Image ©luisescobar

Image ©luisescobar

Appalachian Trail Day 5 update: Started the day with old and new friends at Newfound Gap at 6:49am EDT, arrived at Lemon Gap at 11:04pm EDT, 16:15:59. 52.7 miles, 11,627′ ascent and 11,702′ descent. Enjoyed seeing the rest of the Smokies and got a good dose of thunderstorms well into the night. No cell reception from Lemon Gap, hence the delay. Hoping I can end a little earlier tonight to catch up on some sleep!

June 2nd and 3rd

Appalachian Trail Days 6 & 7: Got my first real shower today instead of sponge baths at the van all week. Covered over 300 miles in 6 days, the most I have ever done in a week and feeling some effects. Monday morning departed Lemon Gap at 5:53am EDT, arrived at Devil Fork Gap, at 10:07pm EDT, 16:14:28, 49.4 miles, 11,958′ ascent and 12,103′ descent. Last night my left quad developed a severe strain due to compensating for my right patella femoral joint (kneecap) that became irritated coming down from the Smokies. Today I walked into Erwin, TN from Devil Fork Gap, 33.1 miles. Staying positive and need to get the quad back in order over the next two days. Otherwise I’m enjoying being out on the trail and meeting more thru hikers. I got to spread a little trail magic today to “No Poles” who needed a new pair of shoes and I had an extra pair of Brooks Running Cascadias. Onward!

June 4th

Appalachian Trail Day 8 update: Yesterday was National Running Day and I found it ironic that I couldn’t run. Hope you all ran some miles for me! I had a good time on the trail, started in Erwin, TN at River Rd/Unaka Springs Rd 6:15am EDT, ascent 10,019′, descent 6414′, 37 miles to Carvers Gap at 9:27pm. 15:12:48 my knee and quad are slowly starting to rebound, it was good to have more ascent than descent. Today is a lot of downhill so we’ll see how everything holds up.

Photo from last night’s sunset on Roan Mountain, the 5th highest point on the AT. I didn’t know that several of the highest peaks are in the South!

June 5th

June 5th

Appalachian Trail Day 9 update: Yesterday morning leaving Carvers Gap had some of the best views I’ve seen so far from several open balds, a really beautiful section. Departed at 6:16am, ascent 7568′, descent 10,485′, arrived at Dennis Cove Rd at 8:22pm, 38.8 miles total 14:06:52

June 6th

June 6th

Appalachian Trail Day 10 update: Crossing a state border is always a thrill as it marks definitive progress. Stoked to make it to Virginia! Departed Dennis Cove Rd at 6:13am, ascent 10,088′, descent 10,495′, arrived in Damascus,10:07pm, 50.3 miles, 15:54:15. Huge thank you to The Duck House for putting us up last night and to the locals who joined me for some miles today and gave Jenny the morning off. No wonder they call this the “friendliest town on the AT!”

June 7th

June 7th

They say a picture is a thousand words. El Venado and The Jurker are back!

June 9th

Appalachian Trail Day 14: This is Jenny Jurek checking in for Scott. He wanted me to post an update for him since he hasn’t had cell service the last 3 nights. Day 11 Damascus to Fox Creek, over the high point of Virginia, Mt Rogers, and saw the wild ponies at Massie Gap, 41.4 miles. Day 12 Fox Creek to VA 625, 51.8 miles. Day 13 VA 625 to Dismal Falls got to run with Clark Zealand in the morning and stopped by the party at the falls in the evening, 48.4 miles. Day 14, today he has two 20+ mile unsupported sections and we should be in Roanoke tomorrow where he can hopefully post another update.

Yes, I’m trying to fatten him up so we do appreciate all the vegan treats people have been bringing him. Thank you! PS if you ever see me in a McDonalds parking lot it’s because they have free Wi-Fi!

June 11th

Appalachian Trail Day 16: Good morning from Roanoke! Started up to McAfee Knob today with a great group of locals and the Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke crew, thank you! Day 14 started at Dismal Falls and ended on a rocky and technical route to VA 613 Mountain Lake Rd, 51.6 miles. Day 15 was a hot/humid morning with a fun scramble off of Dragons Tooth and cooler temps to end at VA 311, 46 miles. Knee is feeling good and I am enjoying Virginia so far!

June 13th

June 13th

Milestones: Came upon these on the trail as I was making my way to Highway US 60 in the dark, finishing another hot and humid 50-mile day. Hard to believe we are over 800 miles into this 2,189-mile journey!

June 15th

June 15th

Appalachian Trail Day 20: Started the morning run with an old friend at mile 905.8 in Shenandoah National Park. Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer has attempted to break the AT record twice and will give it one more go next year. Super psyched to share some miles and catch up with this guy who knows a thing or two about the trail ahead.

June 16th

Image ©luisescobar

Image ©luisescobar

Appalachian Trail Day 17 crossed the longest footbridge on the AT over the James River and ended at US 60, 50.4 miles.

Day 18 lots of climbing up to Bald Knob, The Priest and Three Ridges and took a swim in the Tye River during the heat of the day, finished at Humpback Gap, 47.5 miles.

Day 19 entered my second National Park and welcomed the smoother footing through Shenandoah to Skyline 66.7, 51.9 miles.

Day 20 welcomed a nice breeze and my second mama bear sighting with two cubs on the trail, finished at Hogwallow Gap, 54.2 miles. Today is a new day!

Day 21: Three weeks! A quick recap of the last few days: Day 16 started at VA 311 and rolled into Jennings Creek, 48 miles.

June 17th

Live from I70 footbridge, mile 1035 of the Appalachian Trail. Hard to believe if I headed west I’d be home in Boulder/Denver. Feels good to be hitting familiar latitudes!

June 18th

Completed the four state challenge yesterday: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania in a day. Made it to PA in the daylight and finished a 49 mile day after 54 and 57 mile days. First time in a while that I’ve finished before dark, feels so good! Maryland was a little training gym for the rocks of Pennsylvania!

June 19th

June 19th

This happened yesterday: HALFWAY!

June 22nd

Appalachian Trail Day 21 started at Hogwallow Gap in Shenandoah National Park and ended at a road construction site at Keys Gap, 57.1 miles.

Day 22 Rickey Gates joined the team for two days on his way to Mount Washington Hill Climb; it’s always nice to see another familiar face. I completed the four state challenge (VA, WV, MD, PA) and met a lot of great folks including a big group from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, finished in light rain at Old PA 16, 49.5 miles.

Day 23 crossed the official halfway point and ended at the ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, 54.7 miles.

Day 24 so many great people all day kept me going to Greenpoint School Rd, 59.7 miles.

Day 25 ran through Hurricane Bill into the night over some rocky terrain to Hawk Mountain Rd, 52.3. My buddy Russell brought me Thai food from NYC and Vegan Treats delivered two boxes of out of these world desserts, which made everything better.

Today, I slept in! Ran with Glen Redpath, Nathan Echols and a bunch of locals all day and cut it short at Wind Gap to catch up on sleep, 45.5 miles.

Day 26: Happy Summer Solstice! It’s an AT tradition to hike naked today but my fear of ticks got the better of me. Good night!

June 23rd

June 23rd

Appalachian Trail Day 27 started at Wind Gap, entered the state of New Jersey, took a nap, and finished way past my bedtime at High Point State Park, 58.3 miles.

Day 28: I startled a large black bear this morning and then came upon “Mama Bear” and her 3 kids “Strongman” and “Little Butt” (5 year old twins) and “Spicy Guy” age 11. They thru-hiked from Springer Mt to Harpers Ferry last year and this year are completing the second half to Katahdin completely self supported. Trail tough kids, built to last!

June 24th

June 24th

Appalachian Trail Day 29: Just ran over the lowest point of elevation on the entire AT, the Bear Mountain Zoo at 124′ (38m), right before crossing over the Hudson River. Kinda gives a new meaning to one of my favorite album’s opening lyric “New York, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.”

Amazing to be back in the Empire State, thanks for the love! Can somebody please bring me a vegan cinnamon roll from Peace Food Cafe?

June 25th

June 25th

Throwback Thursday to Day 4 of the Appalachian Trail running across Fontana Dam, TN with the love of my life. Without her this journey would be impossible. She is my lifeline and makes sure this ship keeps heading north. Jenny inspires me to keep putting one foot in front of the other when it seems impossible. Hard to believe how far we’ve come, Day 30 today! This one is for you babe!

June 26th

June 26th

Appalachian Trail Day 30: Almost through Connecticut and onto Massachusetts tomorrow!

June 27th

Sunset from unnamed pond. The last two days in Connecticut and Massachusetts I’ve been noticing the subtle transitions to New England and the Northeast. Good night from Bear Mountain Road, MA!

June 28th

June 28th

Appalachian Trail Day 33: A storm greeted me last night and sent me off this morning at the top of Mt Greylock (3491′) the highest point in Massachusetts. Strong winds blew several trees down on the trail and I saw a large porcupine under one of them. Hoping this weather doesn’t hang around too long as I head into Vermont, or as the local hikers say, “Vermud.”

June 29th

Happy Monday Morning! Everyday on the trail I eat at least one smoothie or shake, as it’s an efficient way to down calories and protein. Here is one of my favorite summer recipes, Avocado Key Lime Pie. Since this one is more like a dessert, I prefer to eat it in a bowl! So Delicious Dairy Free is having a Celebrity Shake Off and if my recipe receives the most votes they will donate $25,000 to my charity of choice Every Mother Counts. Please help support this amazing organization that helps make pregnancy and childbirth safe for mothers around the world. Vote today!

June 30th

June 30th

July 1st

July 1st

Appalachian Trail Day 36: It’s been the rainiest June in Vermont in 130 years so it’s only fitting that my last few miles were in a torrential downpour. Yesterday was a rough one but I was pumped to cross my second to last state line this morning. Hello New Hampshire!

July 3rd

July 3rd

Appalachian Trail Day 38: Twenty-minute predawn cat nap after an epic all-nighter from NH 25A to Galehead Hut in the White Mountains, 48.4 miles. Surreal traveling over granite mountains under a waning moon. Good times with Timmy O’Neill, Andrew Drummond and former AT FKT record holder Andrew Thompson who joined us for some miles and imparted his sage wisdom. Huge thank you to the guys who found us on the trail bearing gifts of avocado maki and vegan pizza!

July 4th

Rise and shine!

July 5th

July 5th

Appalachian Trail Day 39: Perfect temps and views from the Northern Presidential Traverse on Independence Day, I’ve been looking forward to this section and it did not disappoint. Happy 4th, everyone!

July 6th

July 6th

Appalachian Trail Day 40: Coming to you live from the magic hour in MAINE!!!

July 8th

Appalachian Trail Day 43: 2000 miles down, 189.2 to go. Getting closer!

8th July

July 9th

Appalachian Trail Day 44: Kennebec River crossing this morning with my buddy Topher Gaylord. Reminded me of being a kid again! HUGE thank you to Adventure Bound John and Mandy for making this possible.

July 9th

July 12th

Appalachian Trail Day 46: My first view of Katahdin today, hard to put into words.

July 12

July 12th – Part 2

Appalachian Trail Day 46.5: Yes, this is happening.

July 12 pt2

Record 8

Scott Finish

 

******

Follow Scott Jurek on Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Purchase his book HERE

You can read all about  the AT HERE

Ice Trail Tarentaise 2015 – Skyrunning European Championships

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Emelie Forsberg & Luis Alberto Hernando

2015 Skyrunning European Champions

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Luis Alberto Hernando and Emelie Forsberg do the double! Skyrunning World Champions (2015) and now 2015 Skyrunning European Champion at the Ice Trail Tarentaise, Val d’Isere.

Following on from respective Transvulcania Ultramarathon victories, the dynamic duo of Hernando and Forsberg once again showed the Skyrunning ultra runners that they are the ones to beat.

Hernando was pushed close by rising star Manuel Merillas whereas Forsberg had a clear run to the line despite finding the conditions tough.

Magdalena Laczak fulfilled her potential by taking the 2nd place on the ladies podium and it was a blast from the past Anna Strakova put in a final surge for the final podium spot.

In the men’s race, Fulvio Dapit looked certain to take the final podium place but complained his legs were shot on the final climb.  Clement Molliet seized an opportunity and relegated Dapit off the podium.

RACE LEADERS

1 – Luis Alberto  HERNANDO 07:43:00

2 – Manuel MERILLAS MOLEDO 07:50:27

3 – Clement MOLLIET 07:54:29

WOMEN RACE LEADERS

1 – Emelie FORSBERG 09:17:21

2 – Magdalena LACZAK 09:30:37

3 – Anna STRAKOVA 09:48:46

More news and a detailed race report to follow.

Here is a selection of images from the day all ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Ice Trail Tarentaise 2015 Pre Race Presentation

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It’s a hot weekend in Val d’Isere! So hot that the ice Trail Tarentaise may well become the ‘Trail Tarentaise.’ Of course snow does still exist on the course but in comparison to 2014 and in particular 2013, this years #ITT will be very different.

Today, the top contenders were introduced to the assembled crowds. Luis Alberto Hernando has no 1 as the ‘hot favourite’ and Emelie Forsberg has no 2, as the 2x defending champion.

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Racing gets underway at 0400 tomorrow (Sunday) and the first finisher in Val d’Isere is expected at approximately 11:30.

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A 65km course with 5000m +/-runners will pass over Grand Motte 3633m, Col Fresse 2576m, Charvet, 2400m, Col de la Rocheure 2911m, Col Fours 2976m, Col Pers 3009m, Aiguille Pers 3386m, Col de L’Iseran 2700m and then through the Tunnel Lessieres 3000m before a fast descent to the finish.

You can read a full race preview HERE

Expect Luis Alberto to have strong competition from Manuel Merillas, Franco Colle and Fabien Antolinus and Emele to be pushed by Maud Gobert and Anna Comet.

Follow online LIVE via @skyrunning_com and via http://itt.livetrail.net

Kilomètre Vertical Face De Bellevarde 2015 – Val d’Isere

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Val d’Isere has a great history with the Vertical Kilometer, way back in ‘96’ the ISF were the first to organize a VK here!

A time lapse of 9-years and Val d’Isere re connected with the ethos of the VK using the Olympic Bellevarde Face in 2014. For many years, Marco De Gasperi held the VK world record here of 34-minutes and 41-seconds until the Italian was dethroned by a fellow countryman and VK specialist; Urban Zemmer.

The Vertical Kilometer has traditionally started at the foot of the Olympic Bellevarde face on “the board” in the heart of the Parc des Sports Charles Diebold in the center Val d’Isere.

The route then takes the greater part of what was the route of the men’s downhill Olympic Winter Games ski route (1992), won by Austrian Patrick Ortlieb.

It’s a tough course; 2.9Km’s in length and reaches an altitude of 2809m. Average gradients over the course are 35%, however, in places it reaches 63% as presented in the first hundred meters.

Including steep passages at 49% and 56% gradient, the sting comes with the famous passage of the Columbine at 55%. Followed by gentle slopes of the Great Wall (51%) a refreshment station is provided before the push to the line passing ‘Catherine Dent’ (50%) and then a finish loop passes the Bellevarde restaurant and the arrival is at a wooden start cabin at an altitude of 2809m.

Previous Records: 

Men: Marco DE GASPERI (ITA) en 34’51” (2003)

Women: Antonella CONFORTOLA (ITA) en 42’48” (2002) 

GONON and ORGUE shine on a sunny day in Val d’Isere

Following on from the Chamonix vertical kilometre, François Gonon today once again showed his competition a clean pair of heels to take victory in the 2015 Kilomètre Vertical Face De Bellevarde. Powering up the climb with hands-on-knees, Gonon was one of the few participants in the race not using poles. A disadvantage many thought but Gonon proved everyone wrong and won the race in true style in a time of 35:09.

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Yoann Sert placed 2nd and 2014 winner Nejc Kuhar placed 3rd but it was a close race, the duo were separated by seconds! 35:53 to 35:58.

VK races often have different start procedures. For example in Chamonix, runners depart every 30-seconds. In the Dolomites (next weekend) a series of small group starts will take place with approximately 25 runners per group. In Val d’Isere it was an individual start. This can prove difficult! Similar to the race of truth in the Tour de France, the runners must pace themselves and judge their effort over 1000m not knowing if they are gaining or loosing time.

In the ladies race, Laura Orgue one again showed supreme climbing ability in winning the ladies race and in doing so set a new course record! Antonella Confortola’s 2002 time of 42:48 has now been reset at 40:57.

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Christel Dewalle has been struggling with injury recently and although on the start list we were under the impression that she would not start. Her decision to race was a good one! Dewalle placed 2nd in 41:16 which also broke the old course record.

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The final ladies podium place went to Vanesa Ortega who completed the distance in 44:05.

Stats: 

  • Finish Elevation: 2 809 m
  • Length: 2 905 m
  • Altitude gain: 1000 m
  • Maximum Gradient: 63 %
  • Minimum Gradient: 15 %
  • Average Gradient: 35 %

The Vertical Kilometer Bellevarde Face is part of the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series and will be followed by the Ice Trail Tarentaise 2-days later (preview for the ITT HERE)

Episode 90 – Jurek on the #AT, Krar, Kimball, Ayre, Kremer

A Gravatar

Episode 90 of Talk Ultra is playing catch up. Yes folks we missed a show… Speedgoat discusses Scott Jurek on the AT. We talk Western States and have an interview with Rob Krar. We have some Richtersveld Wildrun chat from South Africa with Nikki Kimball and Georgina Ayre. We also speak to Stevie Kremer on Ultra Skymarathon Madeira. Talk Training, the News and Niandi co-hosts.

Speedgoat discusses Scott Jurek’s AT attempt

NEWS 

Help Nepal – Nepal images ‘FACES of NEPAL’ – order a print and all funds donated to Nepal charities http://iancorless.org/2015/04/28/nepal-appeal-nepalearthquake/

WSER

  1. Magdalena Boulet 19:05:21
  2. Kaci Lickteig 19:20:31
  3. Stephanie Howe 19:32:58
  4. Aliza Lapierre 19:43:22
  5. Emma Roca 20:12:00
  6. Nicole Studer 20:19:56
  7. Sally McRae 20:27:33
  8. Caroline Boller 21:44:11
  9. Erika Lindland 21:47:25
  10. Nikki Kimball 22:01:55
  1. Rob Krar14:48:59
  2. Seth Swanson15:17:28
  3. Jared Hazen15:37:55
  4. Gediminas Grinius15:40:55
  5. Thomas Lorblanchet15:56:32
  6. Julien Chorier16:34:43
  7. Ian Sharman16:44:27
  8. David Laney17:01:37
  9. Andrew Tuckey17:19:17
  10. Paul Terranova17:43:17

Mont-Blanc 80k

  1. Alex Nichols 10:31
  2. Franco Colle 11:03
  3. Andy Symonds 11:04
  1. Mira Rai 12:32
  2. Anna Comet 12:54
  3. Hillary Allen 13:11

FKT for Gary Robbins – In Washington on the 95-mile Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier, Gary Robbins ran 18:52 to cut just over two hours from Kyle Skaggs’s previous supported record, which had stood since 2006.  

RICHTERSVELD WILDRUN

  1. Thabang Madiba 13:55:38
  2. Dayle Wheeler 15:16:24
  3. Filippo Faralla 16:46:25
  1. Katya Soggot 15:26:57 (3rd overall)
  2. Nikki Kimball 16:31:20 (4th Overall)
  3. Karoline Hanks 16:46:19 (5th overall)

INTERVIEWS with Nikki Kimball and Georgina Ayre 

USM – Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira

  1. Stevie Kremer 7:33:373
  2. Ester Alves 8:14:45
  3. Lucia Franco 9:01:53.
  1. Ricky Lightfoot 6:09:56
  2. Clemente Mora 6:17:22
  3.  Nuno Silva 6:24:57

INTERVIEW with Stevie Kremer

Mount Marathon Alaska

  1. Emelie Forsberg 47:48 new CR
  2. Allison Ostrander 50:28
  3. Christy Marvin 52:59
  1. Kilian Jornet 41:48 new CR
  2. Rickey Gates 42:56
  3. Jim Shine 43:11 

Hardrock 100 – preview HERE

TALK TRAINING

MARC LAITHWAITE (listen to Waterlogged w/ Tim Noakes HERE)

INTERVIEW

ROB KRAR

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Queensland

3 Marathons in 3 Days | 126 kilometers | July 10, 2015 | website

Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge | 96 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Victoria

You Yangs 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2015 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

ASICS Xtrails – Red Bull Trail Sprinter Houffalize – 110 km | 110 kilometers | July 10, 2015 | website

ASICS Xtrails – Red Bull Trail Sprinter Houffalize – 77 km | 77 kilometers | July 10, 2015 | website

Bulgaria

65km Tryavna Ultra | 65 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Canada

Alberta

Sinister 7 Ultra | 100 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

British Columbia

Broken Goat 50K | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Ontario

The North Face Endurance Challenge Ontario 50 Km | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Ontario 50 Mile | 50 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Quebec

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Finland

Lapland

NUTS Midnight Sun Trail Ultra 125 km | 125 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

France

Alpes-Maritimes

Neander-Trail | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Corrèze

L’EDFi du Lac | 100 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Le Tour du Cardant | 65 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Finistère

100 km de Cléder | 100 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Gard

Grand trail Stevenson 126 km | 126 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 144 km | 144 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 179 km | 179 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 224 km | 224 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 55 km | 55 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Haute-Corse

Restonica Trail – 68 km | 68 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail di Corsica | 105 kilometers | July 10, 2015 | website

Haute-Garonne

Aneto 3404 | 60 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Haute-Savoie

L’intégrale | 77 kilometers | July 19, 2015 | website

Haut-Rhin

Trail du Pays Welche | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Isère

Maratrail des Passerelles du Monteynard | 55 kilometers | July 19, 2015 | website

Jura

Un Tour en Terre du Jura – Jour 1 | 55 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Un Tour en Terre du Jura – Jour 2 | 55 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Un Tour en Terre du Jura – L’intégrale | 110 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Lozère

Grand trail Stevenson 110 km | 110 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 59 km | 59 kilometers | July 13, 2015 | website

Grand trail Stevenson 65 km | 65 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Grand trail de la Vallée d’Ossau | 73 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Savoie

Ice Trail Tarentaise Val d’Isère | 65 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail du Beaufortain | 105 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Germany

Rhineland-Palatinate

Bärenfels Ultra Trail | 64 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Greece

Kronion Ultra | 70 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Guadeloupe

Rèd Mammel | 50 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

Ultra Transkarukera | 120 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

Iceland

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon | 55 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

India

Jammu and Kashmir

ZENchallenge Ladakh – 100K | 100 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Ireland

Leinster

Stonemad Multi Stage Marathon – Day 1 Ultra Marathon | 62 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Stonemad Multi Stage Marathon – Day 2 Ultra Marathon | 55 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Italy

Piedmont

Grand Raid International du Cro-Magnon | 130 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Trail del Marguareis | 80 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Tre Rifugi Val Pellice Trail | 54 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 121 km | 121 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 66 km | 66 kilometers | July 24, 2015 | website

Veneto

Asolo 100 km | 100 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Asolo 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Japan

Oxfam Trailwalker Japan | 100 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Mauritius

Xtreme Dodo Trail | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Poland

TriCity Trail 80+ | 80 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Portugal

Ultra-Trail Douro e Paiva 60km | 60 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Romania

Marathon 7500 Elite | 90 kilometers | July 17, 2015 | website

Russia

TransUral | 160 kilometers | July 15, 2015 | website

Slovakia

Nízkotatranská stíhačka | 100 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

South Africa

Rhodes Trail Run | 52 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Spain

Andalusia

Ultra Sierra Nevada | 103 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

USN Trail | 62 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Basque Country

Ehunmilak | 168 kilometers | July 10, 2015 | website

G2handiak | 88 kilometers | July 10, 2015 | website

Castile and León

Gredos Infinite Run – 120 km | 120 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Catalonia

BUFF® Epic Trail Aigüestortes – 105 km | 105 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Cadí Ultra Trail | 80 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail Valls d’Àneu | 92 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Sweden

Swedish Alpine Ultra | 107 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Eiger Ultra Trail E101 | 101 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Eiger Ultra Trail E51 | 51 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Valais

Trail Verbier St-Bernard – 110 km “La boucle” | 110 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Trail Verbier St-Bernard – 61 km “La traversée” | 61 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Turkey

Gökhan Türe Ultra | 90 kilometers | July 23, 2015 | website

Long Course | 75 kilometers | July 23, 2015 | website

Medium Course | 60 kilometers | July 23, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Buckinghamshire

Chiltern Ultra Challenge “Intro” 50km Ultra | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

East Riding of Yorkshire

The Montane Lakeland 100 | 100 miles | July 24, 2015 | website

Essex

Saffron Trail Ultra | 70 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Glasgow City

Clyde Stride Ultra Marathon | 40 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Hertfordshire

Fairlands Valley Challenge – 50km | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2015 | website

Kent

The 50 Mile Challenge | 52 miles | July 19, 2015 | website

North Yorkshire

Lyke Wake Race | 42 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

Oxfordshire

Race to the Stones | 100 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Scotland

Run the Blades | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Shropshire

Wenlock Olympian Run | 50 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Wenlock Olympian Walk | 50 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Somerset

Ham & Lyme 100k | 100 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Ham & Lyme 50k | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

USA

Arizona

Solemates’ CYA 100 | 100 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

California

CTR Lake Chabot Train Run 50 km (Jul) | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2015 | website

Golden Gate Trail Run 50 km (summer) | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Mt. Disappointment 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Mt. Disappointment 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

Northshore 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2015 | website

Pacifica 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Rancho Canada del Oro and Calero Park 50K | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Santa Barbara 100K | 100 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Santa Barbara 100 Mile | 101 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

Colorado

Hardrock 100 Endurance Run | 100 miles | July 10, 2015 | website

Leadville Silver Rush 50 | 50 miles | July 12, 2015 | website

Sheep Mountain 50 Mile Endurance Run | 51 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

Idaho

Beaverhead 100K Endurance Run | 100 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Beaverhead 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

McCall Trailrunning 40 Mile Classic | 40 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Indiana

110 Miles HIgh School (up to 7 runners) | 110 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

110 Miles Open (5-7 runners) | 110 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

110 Miles Superhuman (2 runners) | 110 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

110 Miles Ultra (3-4 runners) | 110 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

55 Miles Open (5-7 runners) | 55 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

55 Miles Superhuman (2 runners) | 55 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

55 Miles The Gump (1 runner) | 55 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

55 Miles Ultra (3-4 4unners) | 55 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Kansas

Honey Badger 100 Mile Ultra Road Race | 100 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

Psycho Psummer 50K | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Maine

Down East Sunrise Trail Team Relay | 102 miles | July 24, 2015 | website

Maryland

Rosaryville 50k Trail Runs | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2015 | website

Montana

Devil’s Backbone 50 Miles | 50 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Thunderbolt Creek 50 Km | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Nevada

Tahoe Rim Trail 100M | 100 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Tahoe Rim Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Tahoe Rim Trail 50M | 50 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Oregon

50K | 50 kilometers | July 12, 2015 | website

Mt Hood Pacific Crest Trail Ultramarathon | 50 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

Relay | 69 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

South Carolina

Cremator 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Texas

El Scorcho | 50 kilometers | July 19, 2015 | website

Muleshoe Bend – 60k | 60 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Utah

Skyline Mountain 50 Trail Run | 50 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

Ultra Adventures Capitol Reef 100 Mile | 100 miles | July 10, 2015 | website

Ultra Adventures Capitol Reef 50K | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Ultra Adventures Capitol Reef 50 Mile | 50 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

Vermont

Vermont 100k Endurance Race | 100 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Race | 100 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Washington

Grey Rock 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage | 190 miles | July 17, 2015 | website

Wild Woman Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

Wisconsin

50K | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

DWD Devil’s Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | July 11, 2015 | website

DWD Devil’s Lake 50M | 50 miles | July 11, 2015 | website

Hilloopy 100+ Relay | 100 miles | July 18, 2015 | website

Junkyard Dog 50K | 50 kilometers | July 18, 2015 | website

CLOSE

Show Links:

Website – talkultra.com

How is your Posture? Part Quatre – Marc Laithwaite

postures1

                                                image from Primal Patterns

Okay, so we’re now onto part 4 of the series and this week we are looking at exercises to correct anterior tilt of the pelvis, which creates the lordosis posture. If you’ve not yet read parts 1, 2 and 3 read them HERE, HERE and HERE.

The topic for today is looking at breathing issues related to posture, we’re also going to look at the dreaded stitch. Aside from that, we’re going to look at ways of dealing with cramps.

Breathing and posture

The breathing issue is interesting for me as it’s something i’ve suffered from myself and couldn’t find a cure. They symptoms were very rapid and shallow breathing, I also felt that I couldn’t breathe deeply from my diaphragm. The best way to describe it was as if the bottom 2 thirds of my lungs didn’t work and i was just rapidly shifting air in and out of the top third. It felt to me at the time as though I had exercise induced asthma, there was some ‘wheezing’ which is a symptom of airway problems, so I went through that process and resolved nothing. The rapid shallow breathing was often, but not always linked to a pain under my ribs which most people would commonly refer to as a stitch. In a few triathlons I had to slow down to get rid of it, by relaxing and breathing deeply.

The key to resolving it was when i noticed that it was occuring more frequently in triathlon training and racing, compared to just running. Basically, it was a lot more likely to happen if I biked first. That got me thinking about posture and how it was affected by riding my bike before running. I soon noticed that I had a more pronounced lordosis posture (anterior tilt) after riding hard in the aero position then attempting to run. Interestingly, since identifying this problem i’ve spoke to more and more people who suffer stitch and breathing difficulties running in triathlon and a lot of them tend to be  children.

So what’s going on?

Time to post our anterior tilt photo again, it feels only right we put it in this final issue. I’ll start by saying that anterior-pelvic-tiltthis is purely my own thoughts and ideas, based on things I’ve tried which have worked for me. Nobody has given me a decent answer to why I had this recurring stitch or breathing difficulties.

Take a look at the photo right and picture the ‘abdominal cavity’. The abdominal cavity is the space which contains your intestines and in simple terms it’s a box with front, back, sides, floor and ceiling. The pelvic floor is underneath, the abdominals, lower back and obliques (muscles on sides) make the front, back and sides and your diphragm is the ceiling on this box.

If you have anterior tilt, this box becomes ’tilted’ out of position. If fact, it isn’t a box any more, it’s more like a rhomboid shape. If you don’t know what a rhomboid is, google it!! Keeping it simple, it’s fair to assume that if your diaphragm is pulled in an odd direction and out of position, it probably won’t pull down and allow you to deep breathe very well.

Keep is simple mate…

I’m trying. So having noticed this issue related to running after cycling and thinking about it way too much, I altered my posture when running. To my surprise, it was like someone has just pulled a giant plug out of my lungs and I could breathe normally!! I’ll explain the changes I made in as simple terms as possible.

Old technique:

1. Anterior tilt of the pelvis, creating an arched lower back and my stomach to stick out (leave it!!)
2. Felt like I was sticking my chest out at the same time. As I was sticking my chest out, I was looking slightly upwards (my natural line of site was upwards)
4. Point 2 & 3 meant that I was very upright, almost leaning back

New technique

1. To try and counter the upright / backwards lean I looked down at the road/track 15m ahead of me
2. Consciously held a slight forwards lean (my torso was slightly ahead of my pelvis)
3. Didn’t stick my chest out and shoulders back, moved shoulders forwards slightly (without hunching too much)
4. Pulled my belly in and avoided pelvis tilting forwards into lordosis

One final thing which can also help with the breathing issues, although not related to posture, is your stride rate. We are often encouraged to run or cycle with high cadences, 90 foot falls or 90 pedal revolutions per minute (or higher). Faster cadences for both cycling and running increase breathing rate. If you are struggling with rapid breathing, slow the cadence and stride out more (longer / slower strides), that can help to slow the breathing rate down.

Hopefully you can picture the changes above! I think it’s pretty common for runners who are tired and pushing hard to lean back, stick their chest out and look upwards. Thre result is a very upright and almost ‘leaning back’ posture. If you can relate to any of the breathing or ‘stitch’ symptoms above, then give the changes a go, see if they can help your run performances, if it works, i’d be interested to hear the feedback.

Cramping issues

There’s one final thing I’m going to talk about which is issues related to cramping. I explained in detail during previous blogs, the reasons for cramping and how posture can be a direct cause. As this is the final part of the ‘trilogy’ (I say trilogy in the tenuous sense of the word), I wanted to specifically answer a few questions which had been emailed, largely relating to cramp in the calf during open water swimming.

As per previous blogs, it’s nothing to do with salts etc the issue may well be related to changes in length and muscle stretch receptors / nervous system confusion. I’ve suffered from this issue and have a simple plan to resolve it. When swmming, your calf is in a shortened position and if it remains shortened for a long period of time, it can go into spasm. You need to remind your calf of it’s original length at regular intervals, so try this:

1. Every 3 minutes, pull your toes up to gently stretch your calf. Do it once on each leg and you don’t have to hold, just stretch and release. This inhibits your swimming slightly, but it’s not going to slow you more than 1 second at most!
2. You need to do it at regular intervals, not just in reponse to the cramp, so make it a habit every 3 minutes.
3. It needs to be gentle movement, don’t do a sharp stretch of the calf, which can also trigger spasm.

About Marc:

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the endurance store HERE

Endurance Store Logo

Montrail Bajada II #UTMB Limited Edition

©iancorless.com_Montrail-8832

Montrail have been making run shoes for some time, 1997 actually. In all those years I have never tried or used a Montrail shoe. Criminal I know. It’s not because I didn’t want to, it’s just a case of never having the chance. They have always appeared to be (wrongly?) a US shoe.

I have many US based friends who have used Montrail and loved them but getting hold of a pair in the UK was never easy. So I guess I need to thank Columbia Sportswear (Montrail’s parent company) for stepping in where The North Face pulled out and becoming headline sponsor for the UTMB in France.

To signify this new collaboration, Montrail have released a limited edition of the Bajada II Trail Shoe  – The UTMB.

©iancorless.com_Montrail-8821

Now information seems a little mixed at the moment how it will be possible to get these shoes. My contact at Mountain Hardwear (also part of Columbia Sportswear) has informed me that they are a ‘limited edition’ if so, I may keep my pair for years so that in the future they are worth millions…

Joking aside the Bajada II is an appealing trail shoe for longer distance races or training.

Drop is 10mm, so the more more ‘natural’ runners out there who prefer a low drop shoe will soon be clicking off this post. However, before you do, read on a little!

I love 4mm and 6mm drop shoes (not lower though) and I love the feel that these shoes provide. However, when I run longer and my technique gets sloppy, 8mm is my sweet spot. It allows a little more flexibility and certainly I can understand why Montrail have picked the Bajada II as the UTMB shoe.

©iancorless.com_Montrail-8836

20mm rear cushioning, 10mm front cushioning, 10mm drop, good grip and a rock plate make this a great all rounder for the ‘neutral’ runner when running a long on the trail. The Bajada II will excel when time on feet is without question going to be 20+ hours and anything up to 40 ish hours or longer.

My standard shoe size is UK 9.5 and the Bajada II is true to size. Weight for the UK 9.5 is 12.5oz/ 353g to draw comparison, the TNF Cardiac (in the same size is) 10.6oz/ 300g and the Scott T2 Kinabalu is 11.6oz/ 328g.  So the Bajada II is not the lightest shoe on the market!

It’s a comfortable shoe to wear. The heel box is plush, padded and holds the heel well.

©iancorless.com_Montrail-8810

The toe box has plenty of room but not too much room and protection at the front is good with a hard wearing reinforced stitched on section to protect from rocks.

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Lacing is threaded through nylon hoops stitched onto the upper and the laces are relatively standard but hold tight when tied. The tongue is stitched into the upper with elasticated panels on either side to allow some flexibility but most importantly to hold the tongue in place with little or no movement. The tongue is also well padded and when laced up provides a nice secure foothold.

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Reinforced panels on the side of the shoe provide structure and foothold. It works! Your foot feels nice and secure.

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The sole uses ‘FluidFoam.’ It may sound like a fancy name but I love Montrail’s description: ‘No midsole gizmos. No gels, airbags or plastic parts. Just pure, responsive foam from heel to toe.’ Praise be. Finally a straightforward description of cushioning in a shoe.

©iancorless.com_Montrail-8808

The outsole of the shoe is interesting and very different to what other brands are using at the moment. Made up of a series  little squares, the ‘Gryptonite’ is used in different ways to enhance grip. Closed and condensed around the heel, rows of 2 all around the outer edge and the front and then groups of 5 spaced out in the mid section. It’s definitely a grip for trail running and not muddy or fell type racing. On hard trail and rocks the shoe runs and feels really great. It’s a soft outer sole but not too soft. One would almost be mistaken in thinking this was a Vibram sole. I’m impressed. Also the sole is flat (no cut aways) and that is very reassuring. Montrail say: ‘Sticky carbon rubber with multi-directional lugs delivers aggressive traction across a variety of surface conditions.’

©iancorless.com_Montrail-8826

 

The blue section clearly visible in the outsole is ‘Trail Shield’ and this is Montrail’s rock plate. It works! I had little or no discomfort running on irregular surfaces and that is a real plus, especially when running long. Say at UTMB! This doesn’t compromise the shoes flexibility too. I found running mid to forefoot still had good feel and flex that allowed me to run in my natural way. Montrail say: ‘Trail Shield is a lightweight, flexible material that is co-molded between outsole and midsole for underfoot protection.’

The upper is open mesh over the toes that allows some breathability but at the sides of the shoe it is much denser and reinforced. They feel a little over engineered to me and that is almost certainly why the shoe is on the heavier side. BUT and this is a big but, the shoes will almost certainly withstand a battering on rough terrain and if you are a bigger or heavier runner, they will hold your foot firm and add some welcome security.

©iancorless.com_Montrail-8815

Conclusion

I need more time in the Bajada II to test longevity, wear and tear and how long the sole lasts but on first impressions, it’s a great shoe that is pleasing to use and wear. It is without doubt a robust shoe and that is reflected in the weight. A 10mm drop and with plenty of cushioning (20/10), it will certainly suit runners who are going to spend a great deal of time on their feet (even though they are heavier) and the overall plush feel is welcome after many hours.

I need to be clear that the Bajada II already existed before this ‘limited edition’ UTMB version came out. As I understand it, this shoe will also be the same price as the normal Bajada II. Yes folks, you are not paying a premium for the UTMB badge! RRP £80

Finally, like it or not, the UTMB logo on the tongue…©iancorless.com_Montrail-8832 and on the insole…

©iancorless.com_Montrail-8800

…will not make the shoe any better, lighter, faster or will allow you to fly with ease over the mountainous 100 miles that the Chamonix course will throw at you. But it is a nice touch and what I honestly feel is a good trail shoe at a very good price. Many comparable shoes are well over the £100 mark.

The Bajada UTMB will only be available in the UK from Accelerate and will be the only introduction from the Montrail range to UK shores in 2015. I also believe that the Bajada II will be available at the UTMB expo.

Skyrunning Ice Trail Tarentaise 2015 Race Preview #ITT2015

 

©iancorless.comIMG_0945The stunning alpine village of Val d’Isère is the official home of the next two races in the Skyrunner® calendar, the Ice Trail Tarentaise which is the Skyrunning Continental Championship for the Ultra distance and the Bellevarde Vertical Kilometer the first VK in the Skyrunner® World Series.

Val d’Isere is a haven for alpinists wanting to test themselves on the iconic slopes of Meribel, Val Thorens, Courchavel; it is affectionately known as the ‘Le Trois Vallees’. The Ice Trail Tarentaise (ITT) starts and concludes in this beautiful mountain retreat.

The ITT has over 60 km’s above 2000m altitude and with a highest point of 3653m at ‘Grande Motte.’ In just a couple of years, the race has gained a reputation for being one of the most ‘extreme’ races in the Skyrunner® calendar, it is a race not to be taken lightly!

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Traversing glaciers, ascending and descending summits such as ‘Aiguille Pers’ at 3386m, ropes, ladders, way markers, peaks at over 3000m and 5000m +/- ascent and descent guarantees that not everyone will see the finishing tape. The ITT is very true to the heritage of Skyrunning and it harks back to the late 80’s and early 90’s when ISF President, Marino Giacometti pioneered a new form of Alpinism.

 

Who is running?

Men

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ITT has always had a high quality field assemble and 2015 is no different. Luis Alberto Hernando heads up the men’s field after his recent victory at Transvulcania Ultramarathon and placing 2nd at the IAU World Trail Championships. Luis ran ITT last year but pulled out whilst in 2nd place. I am convinced that we won’t see that happen this year and for me, Luis is the hot favourite for victory. He is without doubt in his element on tough courses (with snow) between the 50-100km distance.

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Manuel Merillas is a rising star in Skyrunning and had an incredible 2014. He placed 5th at ITT in 2014, which will most definitely provide him with a great deal of experience coming into the 2015 edition. The recent Transvulcania Ultramarathon did not go well for Manuel; he looked primed for the podium in the first half of the race but then struggled in the latter stages to finish outside the top 10. He showed amazing powers of recovery by bouncing back just 1 week later at Zegama-Aizkorri and placing 2nd. One to watch!

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Fabien Antolinus had a great race in 2014 and placed 2nd behind Francois d’Haene. He does however seem to blow hot and cold and can be a little unpredictable. For sure, he has all the skills and talent required to perform at the highest level. He may well be a podium contender but I don’t see him toppling Luis.

©iancorless.com_Transvulcania2015-8958

Pablo Villa shot to our attention in 2014 when he had a great run at Transvulcania Ultramarathon. Shifting sponsors (now Salomon) he backed that performance up with 8th at the 2015 edition of the race. Pablo is a top 10 contender and should he have a great day, the top 5 may well be a possibility.

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Fulvio Dapit has all the potential to make the podium at ITT. On his day, he is a superb mountain runner and he excels when the terrain is ‘challenging.’ He placed 4th at ITT in the last edition. Recently though he had a tough performance at Lavaredo, however, he did pull out and that may well have saved his ITT performance.

French champion (2013), Sebastien Spehler had victories at TTN and 6000D in 2014. His recent form is a little unknown but he may well make the top 10?

Benoit Cori placed 13th at the IAU World Trail Championships and won Templiers in 2014. The ITT course is far removed from both those courses but Benoit obviously has speed.

Marcin Swierc is another runner who will make his presence felt in the top 10. He placed 8th at Mont-Blanc Marathon and 9th at Templiers and 4th at the recent Mont-Blanc 80km. So it is clear to see that he has speed and strength. ITT adds other aspects and his final result will very much depend on how he can handle snow, ice and additional technical running.

Christophe Perillat is not a runner I know a great deal about. However, he did place 2nd at the 2014 CCC. So with that in mind, he is no slouch in the mountains.

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Cyril Cointre may well start the race? I need to have this confirmed. If he does, he will be a contender at the front of the race. He races extensively, some may say too much but despite this, he always pulls out the results. Recently he finished ahead of Anton Krupicka at Transgrancanaria.

Franco Colle knows how to run in the mountains; look at his results at Tor des Geants. The ITT terrain will suit him but will it be too short and too fast? He certainly performed exceptionally well at Mont-Blanc 80k when he placed 2nd behind Alex Nichols.

Several other names on the start sheet jump out at me:

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Zigor Iturrieta has been there and done it in racing. I was last at a race with him in Nepal when he ran Everest Trail Race (he placed 3rd) and he always manages to pull out the stops for strong consistent results.

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Pavel Paloncy is a renowned adventure racer, 2-x winner of the UK’s Spine Race and recently raced The Dragons Back and would have placed well overall had it not been for a bad fall on day 1. Pavel is a strong and gritty runner. I do wonder though if this race may be too short and too fast for Pavel?

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Stuart Air from the UK has run well at ITT before and top 10 would be a great result.

Ones to watch:

Daniel Garcia, Jessed Hernandez, Robert Niewland, Pawel Dybek,

 

Ladies

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Emelie Forsberg has won ITT 2 x and I have no reason to doubt or question that she will do it again. It’s a course she loves, the terrain suits her and she has great memories. Last weekend she won and set a new course record in Alaska at Mount Marathon. It was 50-minute race but just today (Tuesday) she said her legs are tired! I think they will be okay for the weekend. Her performance and victory (off ski’s) at Transvulcania Ultramarathon in 2015 confirms that Emelie is the one to beat!

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Anna Comet Pascua is on fire at the moment. I witnessed Anna win Everest Trail Race at the end of 2014 and she said then that she planned to race the Skyrunning circuit in 2015. A podium place at Transvulcania Ultramarathon and then a follow up podium behind Mira Rai at Mont-Blanc 80km confirms that Anna is doing something right. Just as in La Palma, I don’t think Anna has the race to beat Emelie but anything can happen?

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It will not be an easy ride for Emelie and Maud Gobert will make sure of that. Maud placed 2nd at ITT in 2014 and although she races lees now than in the past, on her day she can still make her presence felt.

Anne Lise Rousset placed 4th at the IAU World Championships and although she has great potential for top 5 or maybe even the podium, I don’t see her coming close to Emelie on a course like this.

Magdalena Laczack however may well prove to be the dark horse of the race and is my top tip for 2nd place and should Emelie falter, Magdalena could possibly take the victory? Her 3rd place behind Emelie and Frosty at the Skyrunning World Championships (80km) in Chamonix confirms this.

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Nuria Dominguez is an ever present on the Skyrunning circuit and always gets the job done. She has placed top 10 at Transgrancanaria, Zegama-Aizkorri, Dolomites SkyRace, Trans D’Havet, Limone Extreme and so on. Top 5 is a distinct possibility and most certainly a podium contender on a good day!

Beth Cardelli is one of the strongest runners in the Southern Hemisphere and won one of the shorter races at ITT in 2013. Climbing and long distance running is her forte and I am sure if she is making the journey from Australia she will be fired up for a great run. Recently she placed 4th at Mt Difficulty and 3rd at Buffalo Stampede when Landie Greyling topped the podium.

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Ester Alves seems to be running everything at the moment. I would say ‘too much’ for her to have any potential for the podium at ITT but she may well make the top 5 and top 10 should be guaranteed if all goes well. Recently she placed 2nd behind Stevie Kremer at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira.

Ones to watch:

Ragna Debats, Frederica Boifava, Anna Strakova, Sarah Vieuielle and Virginie Govignon.

*****

The Ice Trail Tarentaise weekend is also renowned for the Bellevarde Vertical Kilometer, which was reintroduced in 2014.

The course is a tough one, which may include snow although this looks unlikely after recent high temperatures throughout Europe. This race may well prove to be very exciting, as Francois Gonon will run after his recent excellent CR on the vertical slopes in Chamonix.

Ones to watch:

Men

  • Francois Gonon
  • Nejc Kuhar
  • Marco Moletto
  • Ferran Teixido
  • Xavier Teixido
  • William Bon Mardion
  • Eirik Haugsness
  • Remi Bonnet

 

Ladies

  • Laura Orgue
  • Stephanie Jimenez
  • Emelie Forsberg (tbc)
  • Azara Garcia
  • Therese Sjursen
  • Erika Forni
  • Serena Vittori
  • Ekaterina Mityaev
  • Zhana Vokueva

Follow the racing in images and words on this website, on Facebook.com/iancorlessphotography on Twitter @talkultra and on Instagram @iancorlessphotography

Race Tweets will come to you via @skyrunning_com and on the Skyrunning Facebook page.

Kilian and Emelie break records at Mount Marathon, Alaska.

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Dynamic duo, Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet both established new records over the weekend at Alaska’s Mount Marathon, one of the oldest races in the World.

Kilian posted on facebook after his record time of 41:48:

What an incredible experience, Mount Marathon Race in only 5km and 1000m up and down in technical terrain, with a fantastic atmosphere and level, is one of the most spectacular races I have done!

Taking place on Saturday, 4th July the race was full of drama and excitement. It’s like a huge party as many people get together to support all the runners. So many people said,  ‘We come year-after-year to cheer everyone on as they climb at the top of Mount Marathon.’

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Image ©marklester – ADN

Starting just 14m above sea level, the race is an explosive 5 km and reaches a high point of 921m over a very technical climb and descent. At the summit, fiords and glaciers can be observed but runners have no time to look around. A frantic descent leads the runners back to Seward town centre and it is from the summit that Kilian broke away from Rickey Gates and Jim Shine to gain victory:

‘Jornet delivered a rocketing downhill in his race debut, seized victory in the 88th edition of Alaska’s oldest and most prestigious footrace in 41 minutes, 48 seconds. That performance lopped 67 seconds off three-time champion Eric Strabel’s 2013 standard of 42:55.’ – ©adn

Emelie ran the first 400 meters with Allison Ostrander, who finished in second place. But, then, Forsberg started to feel good and pulled away tothe finish line, beating the speed record of the race with a chrono of 47’48”.

‘It was so cool. I was really not thinking I could do such a good time. I know I have been training well but also I have done some vertical kilometres in my training and never felt really rested to achieve well. So this was super cool. It is a very beautiful race. I love that the women have their own start, it is an amazing atmosphere.’  – Emelie Forsberg

Emelie  will now travel to Val D’Isere and participate in the Skyrunning Ice Trail Tarentaise, a race that she has won on 2 occasions. Kilian will go to Hardrock 100 and look to repeat his 2014 victory and course record (preview HERE) but in the opposite direction.

Related Alaska Dispatch News

Great and gracious, Kilian Jornet conquers Mount Marathon in record fashion – HERE

Crown Emelie Forsberg the new queen of Alaska’s mountains – HERE

Photo’s men’s race HERE

Photo’s ladies race HERE

Watch the ladies race 2015

Watch the men’s race

HERE

Watch the 2013 record here (time 42:55)