The North Face Endurance Challenge, San Francisco, 50-mile Championships Preview (Men)

San Francisco 50 TNFEC50

My head hurts… it’s December, what happened to the ‘off-season’. Not only do we no longer have an off-season but The North Face have arguably assembled one of the most competitive fields in the 2013 season. Way back in April I was writing about the ‘race of the year’. Of course, it was Transvulcania La Palma. This was followed by another ‘race of the year’, Western States. I then followed this with another race of the year, Zegama and so on… you get the picture! Ultra running and mountain running is booming and as such, we are all seeing the benefits, not only from a watching and a following perspective but also from a racer perspective. It is now possible to have several peaks in one year and TNF may very well have hit on a winning formula with such a competitive race in December.  It’s late enough in the season to have recovered from recent previous efforts, such as UROC or Run Rabbit Run and equally far enough away from ‘key’ races in 2014 to allow for adequate RnR.

Okay, deep breath… here we go.

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras returns after winning the race in 2012. His time of 5:33 in lousy conditions confirmed his ability if any was needed. Having said that, Miguel is used to rough-n-tough weather and as such, may very well have excelled in the conditions over his US contemporaries. Also the 2012 race did have issues over course marking which did lead to several runners going astray. I take nothing away from Miguel, he is a class act and although 2013 has been a difficult season for him, his second place at TNFUTMB proves that he is back. He followed this with a quality performance at Cavalls del Vent so without doubt he is a contender for the win. However, this field is stacked.

Dakota Jones UROC 2013 ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones UROC 2013 ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones is back racing and embracing the trails after a quiet start to 2013 and some escape in the mountains. In addition, Dakota became an ‘RD’ in 2013 which primarily caused him to miss TNFUTMB and refocus on UROC. That refocus nearly worked and certainly with 5-miles to go at UROC he looked as though he had the race in the bag. However, Rob Krar pulled something out of the bag and relegated Dakota to second that day. In fine form, Dakota departed for Japan to repeat his 2012 win at Hasetsune Cup, however, disaster struck and he had a tough day and a dnf. Without doubt, Dakota will be recovered and focused on winning at San Francisco. He will be looking for a repeat performance similar to San Juan Solstice 50m when he broke Matt Carpentar’s record.

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday will bring his speed to this race and along with Cameron Clayton and maybe, Max King. They will be out at the front pushing the pace. Sage has had a mixed 2013 in the sense that he has occasionally pushed and failed below his own demanding standards. His great runs at Tarawera, Transvulcania La Palma and Lake Sonoma may well fall into insignificance in Sage’s own mind as I feel he may well dwell on his performances at Sierre-Zinal and UROC. Don’t get me wrong; I am a big Sage fan. He has all the ability to go out and win San Fran but I just wonder what effect recent performances will have on his confidence. In real terms, caution may well prove a huge bonus allowing him to hold back early on and keep his powder dry for the final 30% were he can use all that natural speed and ability. Unfortunately Sage has Flu – will not start

Cameron Clayton Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton will be feeling somewhat inspired and motivated coming into San Fran after his 3rd place at UROC behind Rob Krar and Dakota Jones. Cameron was 3rd at this race last year and although he has had a full season, you can’t rule him out from pulling something special out of the bag for that $10,000 prize. His 2013 season has been fulfilled with top placing’s at Transvulcania and Lake Sonoma, however, he has had a few below par performances which I think ultimately were more due to a niggling foot and other health issues. All looks good now though.

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar, wow, what can we say about Rob that hasn’t already been said. Arguably, one of ‘THE’ ultra runners of the year after his rim-to-rim exploits, Western States run (his first 100) and then his incredible win at UROC. He raced just the other weekend at JFK50 and dropped leaving question marks in his own mind. However, the ‘drop’ may very well have just saved his legs and without doubt, don’t be surprised if he is on top of the podium at the end of the weekends festivities.

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson repeated his victory at Western States, always the sign of a true champion when you can go back to a race and do it again…! He raced at Tarawera and made the podium, he just missed the podium at Transvulcania and dug real deep at TNFUTMB. Surprisingly after such a tough TNFUTMB he then raced Run Rabbit Run on what must have been a tired body. He certainly has an autopilot but I can’t help but think this race will be all about fulfilling sponsorship requirements and showing face. Having said that, showing face will probably still result in a top-10 and should he get his race face on, don’t be surprised if Timmy gets a podium place.

Ryan Sandes Gran Canaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes Gran Canaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes has had ‘one of those years’ that he will be keen to get over! I was with Ryan in Gran Canaria in March, he was all fired up for an exciting season ahead and then injury hit forcing him to miss Western States. Healed, Ryan returned to Leadville in the hope of repeating his 2011 victory, however, injury reappeared. He has tackled some personal projects in South Africa and recently raced in Patagonia. Ryan will be looking to finish 2013 on a high and may just well go under the radar after a quiet year.

Max King La Palma ©iancorless.com

Max King La Palma ©iancorless.com

Max King has not had a repeat of his 2012 season. Winner of the 2012 JFK and UROC, Max was an unstoppable rollercoaster and along with sage Canaday was just on fire. In 2013 he had planned to mix things up and race at different distances and represent the USA in multiple disciplines, it didn’t go to plan and he has been plagued with an ankle problem. If he is recovered and inform, Max will be up at the helm with Cameron and Sage dropping fast minute miles an looking to be the last man standing at the end.

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols placed 5th last year and will come to this race confident after a great 2013 season racing in the Skyrunning calendar. In particular, he has plenty of speed uphill and has improved his down hill speed. 2013 may well just be the year that he moves a couple of places higher on the podium.

Francois D'Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene was last years 2nd place, approximately 13-mins behind his Salomon teammate, Miguel Heras. Francois has raced less in 2013 due to the pressures of owning a vineyard, however, when he has raced, he has been in top form. His was 2nd at Ice-Trail Tarentaise behind Kilian Jornet, he was joint winner at Mont-Blanc Marathon 80k Ultra with Michel Lanne and his recent dominance at the super tough Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale de Fous) means that his presence at San Fran surely means he is a podium contender. *Update “Finally my season ends sooner than expected …since my fall in Death Valley tuesday with a shock in the ribs I hope but I have finally abdicate … So I would support the team tomorrow.”

Michel Lanne Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne is another consistent performer who may well do very well at this race. He had a great run with teammate Francois D’Haene at Mont-Blanc but then picked up an injury. In addition, he has also become a dad! December may well prove to be a great time of year; his life will have settled a little, he will be over his injury and without doubt he will be excited to race in the US.

Dylan Bowman UROC ©iancorless.com

Dylan Bowman UROC ©iancorless.com

My final hot tip for a podium place goes to Dylan Bowman. Dylan had a great Western States and turned up at TNFUTMB in the form of his life but had a freak training accident, which caused him to miss the race. He has a new coach and he is going to be looking to release some of that UTMB frustration.

So who else… it seems crazy that I am not writing about the names below in more depth. But I have previewed above who I think may well take out the top-3 slots

  • Mike Wolfe – was 11th last year and set an incredible FKT this year with Hal he could win this race!.
  • Adam Campbell – 4th last year and I may regret not adding him above?
  • Mike Foote – great 2013 UTMB but been quiet recently.
  • Hal Koerner – Think he will be on TNF duty.
  • Karl Meltzer – Karl says he has no chance in such a fast and ‘short’ field. If it were a 100-miles he would be listed above.
  • Matt Flaherty – another who should maybe be above but he was 2nd at JFK just a week ago, maybe a little tired?.
  • Mike Wardian – anything can happen…. Mike is an unpredictable phenomenon.
  • David Riddle – may or may not race with injury?
  • Gary Gellin – 9th last year.
  • Ryan Ghelfi – 5th at UROC and I may regret not adding him above too.
  • Rickey Gates – mixed 2013 but always a contender.
  • Jorge Maravilla - top 20 in 2012.
  • Martin Gaffuri  – great season on the Skyrunning calendar.
  • And finally, Greg Vollet who continues to amaze and surprise every time he races.

So, there you have it. A super stacked crazy race to end the year, the top-3 are any bodies guess. I have tried to provide a little insight but just don’t be surprised if we see a completely unexpected performance and a surprise win.

Ladies preview HERE.

Arc’teryx Squamish 50 race summary

Adam

This weekend 500 trail runners from across the globe descended on Squamish BC for what is known as one of the toughest Ultra races on the circuit. Vancouverite Adam Campbell took first place in the 50 mile with a time of 7 hours and 37 mins in  a hard fought battle with Squamish local Jason Loutitt, who finished  second  at 7 hours and 40 mins.

In the women’s 50 mile circuit -American Kristin Moehl took first place in 9 hours and 37 mins over local Lisa Polizzi at 9 hours and 39 mins – another closely fought race.

No longer a fringe sport, ultra running now attracts top international athletes and marathoners who want to push to the next level and challenge themselves on uneven terrain. This weekend runners from 9 different countries, 23 states and 7 provinces took part in 3 different race distances over the course of the day.

With distances of 50 miles, 50km and 23km to choose from, each of the runs is uniquely about pushing personal limits –  pushing those limits hard and pushing them far.  On the 50 mile course,  the back half is more difficult than the first. To reach the finish line is victory in itself.

Gary Robbins, one of the two main organizers and no stranger to Ultra Running, couldn’t be happier with how the event went and the finishers’ reactions to how incredibly tough the course was.

“ Nothing pleases me more than having my fellow ultra runners loathe me while they are running this course and many an expletive was issued at me as they crossed the line – but ultra runners have a peculiar sense of humour – they need it to get through these races, I know they enjoyed every bit of the pain!”

“The conditions were great, weather was perfect and it was impressive to see how close some of the top finishers were; all the distances were tightly fought, highly completive races”- Robbins, who personally greeted almost every finisher at the race, adds that “watching everyone else come over the line – that’s truly what makes this event so rewarding. The first time ultra runners, the average daily runners, all pushing their own personal limit, that’s truly inspiring!”

Squamish

The event, now in its second year, is sponsored by North Vancouver based Arc’teryx, a brand that is no stranger to extremes. The company had its own team of runners participating over the 3 distances..

Adam Campbell, the  overall first place finisher in the 50 Mile (7:37:23); Anne- Marie Madden, who took the podium as the first place winner in the women’s 23km (2:08:13); and Catrin Jones, who placed first in the women’s 50km (5:51:52).

Jones, who is relatively new to ultra running, chose one of the hardest courses to “ease” into the sport, but said she was extremely pleased with her achievement considering she hadn’t felt as prepared as she had wanted to be.

“I’m training for the Francophone Games at the moment, where I’ll be representing Canada in the marathon, so I’ve been focusing on road running rather than trails so I was a little scared as well as excited going into this. There was a lot of diversity in the course, tough climbs and scrambles, lots of big power hikes but some beautiful rolling switchbacks and wood work too. A challenging course set in a beautiful area, ultimately I loved it!”

For 2014, the Arc’teryx Squamish 50 is set to become a Trail Race Festival held over three consecutive days. The idea-is to incorporate a film festival element into the event.  Watch for the next Arc’teryx Squamish 50 to take place August 8,9 &10, 2014.

Full Results HERE

Adam Campbell – Interview

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

Arct’eryx  athlete Adam Campbell, gained much notoriety early in 2012 after securing a solid second place behind Julien Chorier in his first 100 mile race at Ultra Trail Mt Fuji in Japan. With high hopes, he moved into the 2012 season looking to race well at TNFUTMB and the Skyrunning calendar. However, injury issues and personal issues got in the way… I caught up with Adam in April ahead of the 2013 season and his first big race, Transvulcania on the island of La Palma.

IC Adam, the last time we spoke you mentioned that your background as a sportsperson came from triathlon.

AC: Yes, what was I thinking! All those accessories to clutter my life. Actually, triathlon was a big part of my life. I started in 97/98 and I made the junior Canadian National Team. It was a great honor to wear the Maple Leaf. It had a huge effect on me. At the same time, Simon Whitfield was world champion, so I had lots to tempt me into the sport. I decided to take the leap. I had an invite to live in Victoria, British Columbia and train. So, I packed in college and lived with Simon Whitfield, he took me under his wing. I trained with him for a few years and raced the world cup circuit. I had the goal of trying to make the Olympics in 2008.

IC: You couldn’t have had a better teacher! Simon Whitfield was the man to beat!

AC: Oh yeah. Amazing. Victoria had a wealth of talent… Lauri Boden, Greg Bennet, Peter Reid and Laura Bennet. I was spoilt with influences and inspiration from a whole host of the best triathletes. Canada was a mecca for the sport.

IC: You decided that your ability as triathlete was limited and you turned to run and run long!

AC: Sport is fair like that. I realized in 2006 I wouldn’t make the Olympics as a triathlete. I gave it a really good shot but I just wasn’t good enough. I lacked certain physical traits. I wasn’t explosive enough and my swimming was poor in comparison to the competition. I worked my butt off to make it happen but the whole time I enjoyed running the most. I loved it. It gave me the most satisfaction. Especially the long runs in woods and trails. The farther I went the better I became, so, it seemed a logical choice. We are all drawn to the things that we are good at. At the same time I was amazed about this guy I would read about in magazines, Scott Jurek. He looked incredible and he ran in incredible places. I have always been drawn to the mountains. I guess it is the challenge of pushing your self, would I have what it would take?

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

IC: 2007/2008 you qualified for the Canadian Mountain Running Team, was that a plan that you had put in place or did it happen by default?

AC: I actually qualified in my first ever trail race. I guess I was lucky. If I want to do something well, I always love to speak the best. So I sent Jonathan Wyatt an email and I asked him to coach me. He said yes! Unbelievable. He wrote me a plan for the Jungfrau marathon and I followed it to the ‘T’.

IC: It worked.

AC It sure did. Thanks to Jonathan. But it wasn’t planned. Initially I just enjoyed the process. I had speed and the rest clicked in place. As for ultra running, beyond 3 hours seemed nuts to me.

IC: It still does…

AC: Oh yeah!

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

IC: Mountain running races do tend to be a shorter distance. Of course the terrain is up and down but it is more like the ‘Sky’ distance of races. You need speed and agility. What was it that interested you to go longer? For many a marathon on a mountainous course  is far enough.

AC: I don’t know to be honest. Curiosity I guess. The longer I went the more I enjoyed it so I decided to race the longer races too. It had a strong appeal. The longer a run gets the more I get the opportunity to really know my body and my mind. I don’t have the ability to run a sub 4 min mile so this type of racing tests the participant in a different way. I was drawn to it.

IC: You have been noted and still have a reputation as a fast runner, even in the ultra circles you are noted as being fast. What combination of speed do you bring to ultra training?

AC: Well, that is all relative. No sub 2:04 marathons coming out of these legs!

IC: Well you say that but speed is becoming very important, particularly if we look at Sage Canaday and Max King. 

AC: For sure, speed is important. The terrain brings many changes and it is important to adapt. I do a couple of hard runs a week but it is more organic. Certainly less structured than when I was a triathlete. I have been in sport a long time and I have become more intuitive. I listen to my body. If I want to go hard I will and when I do I tend to go really hard. By contrast my easy days are easy. I have a long background in sport and that has benefits. I can apply that knowledge to what I do. I also talk with John Brown from the UK, he helps me with my planning and calendar. It’s critical now with the way races are going. You can’t be fast all year and race all year.

IC: One thing that crops up with ultra runners is the desire and need to get in lots of vertical. Do you bring that into your training?

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

AC: Absolutely. I never look at weekly mileage. I just log vertical. That is what is the most important for me, how much vertical and it’s huge how much strength comes from this. It creates a great foundation.

IC: Anton Krupicka and Kilian Jornet have the same approach. It’s all about going up. Kilian in particular just logs vertical ascent.

AC: Geoff Roes and Mike Wolfe amongst others do the same. I guess the Europeans do the same? No magic formula is required. It is all about being specific to the terrain and distances that I race.

IC: If we look back at your ultra career what would you consider a highlight?

AC: That is tough. I like to pick races that are in beautiful places or races with competitive fields. So, every race has been special. I guess UTMF in Japan last year… my first 100-mile race was special. I was 2nd behind Julien Chorier. I had a respectable race and it really challenged me. It took a huge physical and emotional toll on me as I raced very hard. Also my first ultra back in 2010, Chuckanut 50, that to me was awesome. Just being on the line to start was incredible. I was definitely scared going beyond a marathon distance!

IC: Most of us are Adam. The first time can be a worrying experience. You mentioned UTMF and we actually spoke last year not long after that race. I was interested in your training but also your equipment. You had specific needs which Arc’teryx helped with. I guess one of the benefits you have had is your location and the proximity to Arc’teryx HQ. They can manufacture and provide equipment for you usually within a couple of days?

AC: Incredible. I have been with Arc’teryx since 2007. I cold called them and my timing was perfect. I actually was suggesting making running apparel and luckily somebody in the design team had the same thought. I was lucky. I work closely with them and we are constantly developing more run specific apparel. They have the best materials and the highest quality. They have a no compromise approach, which is amazing. It can take ages to bring something to market. This is the price of quality. I test lots of products on the trail so I am lucky. 

IC: Your physique is unique. You are a small guy so I guess you have lots of custom clothing made?

AC: Oh yeah, I take take XS in Japan. Now that is small.

IC: That IS small

AC: Yep. I am lucky. I get custom clothes from Arc’teryx because I am very particular. I don’t like baggy clothes for running. It must fit and it must have no excess fabric. For UTMF I had some specific kit made. I wanted the most minimal gear possible. If I am not going to use it, I don’t want to carry it. I don’t want to carry an extra gram. It must be functional and suit the purpose it is intended for.

IC: In 2012 you spent time in Europe. You had planned to do TNFUTMB but you had some niggles which ultimately meant that TNFUTMB had to be taken out of your calendar. Do you have plans to go back to Chamonix and race the iconic 100 mile race?

AC: For sure. I love Chamonix. It’s an incredible town. I will be racing the Skyrunning Mont Blanc Marathon in summer and Arc’teryx are putting the Arc’teryx Alpine Academy together; a week of mountaineering so that will be incredible. I do a little climbing but I am really looking forward to working on my mountain skills.

IC: Mountain skills? So is this going to be climbing and everything related?

AC: Glazier travel, mountaineering and learning specific skills.

IC: Sounds awesome.

AC: It will be an amazing week.

IC: You mentioned Skyrunning, Arc’teryx are heavily involved in the series. It is going to be a great year for you, the team and the brand.

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

AC: I was gutted last year not to race in the Skyrunning series due to unjury. I like to race the best people on the best and most beautiful terrain. Skyrunning personify that!. They have done a brilliant job. Nothing like being recognized for personal achievement and Skyrunning offer this. It’s the vibe, the experience and yes, Arc’teryx are involved as a sponsor.

IC: Transvulcania kicks it off with a stacked field. I said in 2012 it was the race of the decade, but 2013 is equally impressive.

AC: It’s going to be great fun. Racing the best brings out the best in me and the field doesn’t get any better than at this race. I will be interested to see how I perform. I believe I have put the work in and I am in good shape.

IC: I presume you are doing the ultra series? You need three events to qualify but five in total are available, are you planning on the five?

AC: Jeez have you seen this 100 miler, Andorra, Ronda del Cims! It has massive appeal BUT boy I don’t know…. It took Miguel Heras 30 hours! That is a long time to be out on such a tough course. That race may end my summer. I would need plenty of recovery so I will have to see? I can’t recover like Kilian.

IC: It is all about balance and finding what works for you. You have to cherry pick and keep the balance.

AC: An incredible race but a little much for me at the moment.

IC: Tell me about your world record in 2012… some inspired idea to run a marathon in a business suit. What was that all about…?

AC: I had read an article on letsrun.com and I saw some guy had set a record in a suit in 3:25. I was sure I could run quicker. I was going through a divorce and I needed a distraction. I needed some fun and an escape. I wasn’t in a great place personally so that seemed a quirky thing to do. It was a good excuse to raise money for a charity also. I had a lot of fun. It was a great challenge… it was also really hot!

IC: Yes, running a marathon fast is a test but to run it in a shirt, tie, jacket and trousers… c’mon, what was the time?

AC 2:35! I started slow looking for 3 hours but after the first mile I rolled and I felt great. I hadn’t run in the suit before so it was all new to me. I actually negative split the race heavily 1:19 and 1:16 for the second half.

IC: Wow  – ridiculous.

AC: Yes, I guess, I surprised myself.

IC: What is your marathon PB?

AC: I haven’t really run marathons before. My first marathon was 2:29 in 2006. I don’t run too much road.

IC: You finished 2012 with San Francisco 50. You had a great race. Sage Canaday and your self at the front…  erm, who was to blame for going of course (laughs)?

AC: (laughs) Well I was leading but we were all together as a group. Nobody questioned the decision. It was foggy, dark, windy, raining and it was just hard. The route seemed correct and we all took responsibility.

IC: I am only joking. Sage does have a small reputation for going off course.

AC: The dude just runs way too quick!

IC: Yep, so fast he doesn’t see the markers. A great race for you though and a great boost for 2013.

AC: For sure, it’s good to be competitive and it is nice to have it in the bag. It had been a rough year so it was a good way to finish. I get confidence from racing and performing.

IC: 2013 comes around and you think about a new season and then I see you post a photo on facebook of your leg in plaster!

AC: It was dumb. These things happen. The day before I had seen my physio. He said, “Have you ever sprained your ankle?” I said no…. oh dear, fatal last words. I was 2.5 hours into a run and I slipped on a wet log. I went down hard and I had no option but to hike out. Really painful but I got great treatment and support. All is good, it flares up a little but I will be okay.

IC: And your recovery?

AC: I didn’t respect the recovery. I should have been a little more patient but we all learn.

IC: These things need time.

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

AC: Yes I tried to make up time. It never works; patience is key. I am good now, I have plenty of volume and I did cross country skiing and climbing to break things up, I have tried to save my legs a little, it is a long season. I want to be good in September and still have motivation.

IC: To finish off I would like to discuss the video ‘Silence’. I remember seeing it early on and it really switched for many people. It was a change, a breath of fresh air. It not only fulfills a running purpose but it was also a piece of art. Was it your idea?

AC: It came together by the people at the production company. I fitted the narrative perfectly and I was really keen to do it. Everything about it was perfect. When they pitched the story I said yes immediately. I could relate to it.

IC: It was a great movie. We all get stuck in our day-to-day lives. I am fortunate I think, I spend lots of time on a computer but my life evolves around running, mountains and races. I get my fix. I guess living where you do you can get on trails quickly… the film manages to get that perspective across

AC: Yes it was a fabulous. The entire production was top notch. I am really happy. The story struck a chord with so many. Canada is a great place for running. One moment in the office, the next on a beautiful local trail.

IC: You have a great local running group too.

AC: Oh yeah, Ellie Greenwood, Garry Robbins, Jason Loutitt and so on…

IC: Gary hasn’t tempted you to run Hurt 100?

AC: That race looks brutal. The time he ran in 2012 is seriously impressive.

IC: Particularly with Gary’s story; two years out of the sport with injury.

AC: Gary is a great guy. Great to see him back!

IC: Adam, it has been great to catch up. We will meet up at Transvulcania. As the season unfolds I guess we will see each other on a regular basis. It’s going to be great to see you on the circuit.

AC Looking forward to it. It is a privilege to compete. I don’t take that lightly. I consider myself extremely lucky. I will be prepared and I hope to race well. We shall see how I go.

IC Brilliant have a great 2013 season.

 Links

Ultra Trail Mount Fuji preview

Asia’s answer to the TNFUTMB is the UTMF 100, a mountain 100 miler that circumnavigates the ancient volcano of the title name. It has over 9000 metres of elevation gain so it is not for the feint hearted.

utmf_map

The ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI is an unparalleled event that challenges the human spirit through the outdoor sport of trail running. By connecting mountain trails, local footpaths and forest roads around the foothills of Mt. Fuji, this 161km course allows participants to enjoy majestic 360 degree views of Mt. Fuji while experiencing the stunning natural beauty and culture of this region.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki has been instrumental in this race and after his experiences at the TNFUTMB, he was sure that Mt Fuji was the only place in Asia possible to offer a race on a par with the iconic 100 miler that has its home in Chamonix. In actual fact, TNFUTMB race director, Michel Poletti is toeing the line at UTMF just two weeks after finishing the 28th edition of the Marathon des Sables.

2012 review

The 2012 and inaugural edition of the UTMF had initially had an incredible start list that had included Scott Jurek, Mike Wolfe, Sebastien Chaigneau and Tracy Garneau. However, all mentioned did not turn up and race. This opened up the race and Salomon athlete, Julien Chorier topped the podium in a time of 18:53:12. Running his first 100 miler, Arc’teryx athlete, Adam Campbell placed 2nd (listen to Adam on the latest Talk Ultra episode HERE) and Kenichi Yamamoto placed third.

The 2012 ladies race was dominated by Salomon athlete Nerea Martinez Urruzola in 24:05:04 with Hiroko Suzuki second almost three hours later and Nora Senn third.

What does 2013 have in store?

MEN

Well, from a European and Australian perspective we will see a quality race at the head of the race. The success of the 2012 UTMF has encouraged Julien Chorier, no1 to return and defend his title.

Sebastien Chaignea TNFUTMB copyright Ian Corless

Sebastien Chaignea TNFUTMB copyright Ian Corless

Certainly Julien is the pre race favourite, he has knowledge of the course, understands the demands required and of course he is the title holder. However, TNF athlete, Sebastien Chaigneau will almost certainly have a different outlook on how the race unfolds… he had a mixed 2012 and ultimately it was a year to forget by his standards. He came into 2013 motivated and his stunning performance at Transgrancanaria will mean Julien will need to be looking over his shoulder or maybe even ahead of him for this race.

Gary Robbins, no 102 (Salomon) from Canada is also going to be flying and ready for this race. Gary has an incredible story (listen to his interview on Talk Ultra HERE) and after being sidelined for almost two years, he returned in the latter half of 2012 and not only dominated but set a new CR at Hurt 100. He has a new outlook on his racing… he is going to race less, but when he races, he will make it count. Definitely my hot tip for the win.

Brendan courtesy of Inov-8

Brendan courtesy of Inov-8

Inov-8 athlete Brendan Davies, 1061 fresh from Tarawera ultra will be confronting the 3,776 m Mount Fuji and he will revel in the task ahead of him. Brendan has plenty of speed but will he have the climbing legs to be up at the front. He has said on his blog that he his in the form of his life. (listen to Brendan Davies interview HERE).

Christophe Le Saux - MDS 2013 copyright Ian Corless

Christophe Le Saux – MDS 2013 copyright Ian Corless

Christophe Le Saux, 1099 (Hoka One One) only last week finished in the top ten of the Marathon des Sables. He will be lining up to test himself. Logic says that fourteen days between ‘MDS’ and UTMF is not enough, but, Christophe loves the hard, technical and gnarly courses as he has proved at Tor des Geants in the past.

In addition to the above, Grant Guise, 108 from Australia, Jeremy Ritcey, 111 a Canadian who lives in Hong Kong and of course many of the local Japenese runners will figure.

LADIES

Nerea Martinez Urruzola is not returning to defend her title, so, this does mean the ladies race is wide open… arguably though, the competition has greater depth for the second edition of the race.

Krissy Moehl, 1106 (Patagonia) from the USA needs no introdction to the ultra world. Her reputation is well established and as such, her twelve years in the sport and her TNFUTMB win will all come into play in helping her make the top of the podium here. She was fourth at the renowned Hardrock 100 in 2012 and of course this will set her up perfectly for the 9000m of vertical at UTMF.

Hong Kong based Brit, Claire Price, 173 (Salomon)will have a great perspective of what is required on this demanding course. She recently won Hong Kong 100 and although this is the first time racing in Japan, the distance may be her stumbling block. She will need to respect the distance and the terrain. She finished Western States in 2012 but didn’t have a great race.

Shona - image courtesy of Inov-8

Shona – image courtesy of Inov-8

Finally, Inov-8 athlete Shona Stephenson, 1062 will be racing in her first international 100 miler ahead of what is a daunting year of races. She has already raced at Tarawera and Northburn 100 and will be racing at TNFUTMB and also participating in the Skyrunning ultra series in 2013. Shona has trained in the Blue Mountains and although she has great speed, will this lack of high mountains allow her to perform to her best in and around Mount Fuji?

Of course, local competition will have an advantage on this course. So expect some surprises!

STATISTICS

DATE Friday, April 26, 2013. Starting at 3:00 pm.
DISTANCE 161km
CUMULATIVE ALTITUDE GAIN 9,000m
TIME LIMIT 46hours
# OF RACERS 800
START / FINISH Yagisaki Kouen, Kawaguchiko, Fujikawaguchiko-cho, YamanashiPrefecture

Race website: HERE

Episode 33 – Marathon des Sables and Adam Campbell

Ep33 Talk Ultra

 

This weeks show honours the injured and fallen at Boston Marathon. We have daily chat from the Marathon des Sables (Tobias Mews, Danny Kendall and Stuart Rae) bivouac and interviews with top placed Brits, Danny Kendall and Jo Meek. We interview Arc’teryx athlete, Adam Campbell. We discuss Mojo in Talk Training with Niandi Carmont, we have ‘A year in the life of…’ a Blog, Speedgoat, the News and ‘Up & Coming Races’.

00:00:44 Start
00:18:40 A year in the life of… with Amanda Hyatt. Amanda has been struggling with training and recently run the Brighton Marathon.
00:29:30 News from around the ultra world
00:35:40 MDS special from the bivouac with chat from Stuart Rae, Danny Kendall and Stuart Rae.
01:11:55 Back to the news
01:18:45 MDS special – after 28 editions of the race, Danny Kendall has surpassed James Cracknell and is now the highest ever placed Brit in the race.
01:35:40 MDS specialJo Meek entered the MDS several years ago and in 2012 got the nod that 2013 would be the year. With no experience of multi day racing, Jo wanted to finish the race but also perform to the best of her ability – she made the podium in 2nd place!
015215 BlogNick Cark always writes an in depth blog about his running HERE
01:52:55 Back to Karl
01:55:30 Talk Training – have you lost your Mojo? We discuss ways to get your mojo back with Niandi Carmont.
02:03:10 Interview – with Arc’teryx athlete Adam Campbell as he prepares for the 2013 season.

A former member of the Canadian National Triathlon and Duathlon teams, in 2006 Adam decided to shed the extra gear and rely solely on his running shoes to get around. He also decided to put down the stopwatch and set intervals and hit the trails.

Adam’s love for running began on the beaches of West Africa and Spain, where he spent his childhood running after soccer balls and chasing waves. It wasn’t until he moved to Canada in his late teens that he began running competitively. Adam’s love for all individual athletic challenges quickly saw him jump into the multi-sport world of triathlons and duathlons where he was renown for his running ability, which saw him win a national duathlon title.

However the drudgery and structure of training and racing for triathlons caught up with him and he began to seek out new challenges. After running the roads for a year, he jumped into his first trail race in 2007 and a new love was born. Adam qualified for the Canadian Mountain Running Team in his first trail race and continued to post the best ever finish by a Canadian at a Mountain Running World Championship at the Jungfrau Marathon, a gruelling 42k uphill run with 6000ft elevation gain from start to finish.

His running goals are to seek out interesting challenges in inspiring settings. A lifelong traveler and racer, Adam’s new belief is: if you are going to be suffering, you might as well suffer somewhere beautiful!

Occupation: Trail runner/law student (environmental, aboriginal, employment law)
Favourite Trail: anywhere I haven’t run before
Favourite Place to run: Soft & hilly terrain. Summer alpine runs
Favourite Race: Comfortably Numb, Whistler BC/ Jungfrau Marathon, Interlaken Switzerland
Favourite Distance: I will race anyone, anywhere…

02:33:20 A Meltzer Moment
02:36:20 Up & Coming Races
02:41:25 Close
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Why do we run?

Why do we run? Arc’teryx athlete Adam Campbell tells his “why” in a story with no words.

Silence, Adam Campbell, Arcteryx, Arc'teryx

Surrounded by the noise of the city, a noise that can drown out our ability to fully listen to what our bodies are telling us, the video highlights how it can disconnect us from the places that we’re running in and although running becomes an escape – it isn’t always relaxing.

“The noise and bustle of a city often make my running feel tense and forced and I often feel like I’m trying to run away from it all,” said Campbell, one of Canada’s most renowned Ultra Runners.

“My greatest pleasures in running are those times when I’m not trying to run away, but rather, when I’m fully immersed in the moment. I find those moments when I’m running high in the mountains, when all I can hear are my footsteps on the trail, my breath and the sounds of nature around me. During these runs, I feel most in tune with my body and the places I’m running, making the act effortless and highly meditative. That quiet effort brings incredible inner peace and gives me a deep appreciation of the places I’m moving through,” Campbell said.

Directed by Austin Siadak (cinematographer & editor on The Gimp Monkeys) the film is shot on the streets of Vancouver and the high country around Whistler, Silence is the story of every runner, climber and skier who chases their passion rather than the modern world’s trappings.

It is an unusual way to depict the peace of running – via sound, but Austin was inspired after a run in Seattle trying to clear his head of his growing daily task list.

“I came up with the idea to tell a story about the challenge that so many of us face in trying to quiet the noise of city life and create silence in our lives.  I wanted to capture that shared experience, and it seemed natural and fitting to use sounds instead of words to tell that story.” Says Siadak.

Best with headphones – ARC’TERYX and Duct Tape Then Beer, present – Silence

Enjoy the film:

 

http://www.arcteryx.com/Video.aspx?EN&video=Silence

You can download a high res image of Adam HERE

S13_ARCTERYX_Endorphin (4)_Snapseed

Skyrunning World Series Participants 2013

Skyrunning Image Banner 2_Snapseed

SWS – champions choice

Building on the 2012 Skyrunner® World Series success and the introduction of the Ultras, 2013 prepares for an even bigger star-studded cast.

ISF-logo

The line-up of champions is headed by 2012 SWS winners Kilian Jornet, Emelie Forsberg and Nuria Picas, joined by past world champions Emanuela Brizio, Oihana Kortazar, Luis Alberto Hernando and Tofol Castanyer and WMRA champions Marco De Gasperi and Stevie Kremer.

Nuria Picas copyright Ian Corless

Nuria Picas copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

Emelie Forsberg copyright Ian Corless

Emelie Forsberg copyright Ian Corless

With some of the big American ultra legends crossing the pond last year to get a taste of skyrunning, the word is out!  Joining them this year: Anton Krupicka, Dakota Jones, Rickey Gates, Mike Foote, Timothy Olson, Joe Grant….

Kilian and Tony Krupicka copyright Ian Corless

Kilian and Tony Krupicka copyright Ian Corless

Dakota Jones copyright Ian Corless

Dakota Jones copyright Ian Corless

It’s full immersion for Kilian Jornet who, with his unique skills, will participate in no less than all three Series:  Vertical, Sky and Ultra!

Kilian Jornet copyright Ian Corless

Kilian Jornet copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker will be toeing the start-line at the Series’ first 100-miler while Anna Frost will take part in both the Sky and the Ultra Series.  The mix includes Phillip Reiter and Julia Böttger from Germany, top French names:  Francois d’Haene, Julien Chorier, Michel Lanne, Yann Curien, Maud Gobert and Stephanie Jimenez, Britons Andy Symonds and Tom Owens, Canada’s Adam Campbell.

Marco de Gasperi - copyright Ian Corless

Marco de Gasperi – copyright Ian Corless

Anna Frost copyright Ian Corless

Anna Frost copyright Ian Corless

Strong team participation is engaged right across the Series headed by the heavy-duty Salomon team as well as hefty, international line-ups from inov-8, La Sportiva, Salomon Agisko and Arc’teryx, The North Face, Haglöfs, Montrail, Scott as well teams from Spain, Italy, Russia, Japan

Take a look at the mix here.  Have we got everybody?

You’re still in time to join the throng and remember, if you’re competing in the World Series, there’s always a slot available for you.

Follow us for who goes where as the skyrunning season unfolds.

Follow the action on Skyrunning HERE

Follow on Talk Ultra HERE

On Twitter @talkultra

El Cruce 2013

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El Cruce this year will celebrate the 12th edition. The format is a three day stage race from Chile to Argentina covering 30 – 40km per day.

Like other multi stage races such as the Marathon des Sables or The Coastal Challenge, runners will sleep in a ‘camp’ each evening. The camp is an important element of multi day racing as bonds are made and memories forged.

El Cruce Columbia

Event dates are 8-10th February for individual runners and 7-9th February for teams.

The ‘solo category‘ in 2013 has an impressive field assembled. It will be without doubt quite a race… Adam Campbell, Iker Karera, Max King and Francois d’Haene take on previous winners Gustavo Reyes and Nelson Ortega.

el-cruce

The ladies race has Frosty (Anna Frost) hopefully toeing the line feeling refreshed after a winter of recuperation. This won’t be an easy race for her though… the presence of Emma Rocca, Oihana Kortazar and previous race winners Rosalia Camargo Guarischi and Cristina de Carvallho will mean that a battle ‘royal’ will be played out over the three race days.

El-Cruce-Columbia-a

This years race sees runners race around the theme of a volcano for each stage. Apparently they will go around, up or down to make a loop. Given the name of ‘Through the Volcanoes‘ the race is billed as a tough three days. The three stages are as follows:

  • Villarica Volcano near Pucón, Chile.
  • Quetrupillan Volcano between Chile and Argentina.
  • Lanin Volcano

With plenty of vertical kilometres this race will certainly suit Iker Karera, Anna Frost and Oihana Kortazar but will Francois d’Haene after his success at UTMB and his top placing at  Transvulcania in 2012 push for the win or will the speed kings  Max King and Adam Campbell make a difference over the three days.

The Andes are a beautiful mountain range. Combined with three days of running and camp life in the evening, the 2013 edition will be a race to remember.

Website HERE

Full runners list available HERE

Skyrunning 2012 Elite Listing

ISF

ULTRA

The Ultra distance races selected in 2012 were held in the following countries: Andorra, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Réunion, Italy, Spain, USA.  The ranking is based on the best three results of the year – or two results, plus one from 2011, taking into account the top 15 men’s and 10 women’s results in each race.

lavery-leads-lorblanchet-4393

The athletes are listed in alphabetical order according to their nationality.

ELITE MEN

AUSTRIA

Wagner Thomas

CANADA

Campbell Adam

FRANCE

Antolinos Fabien, Bringer Patrick, Buffard Sebastien, Camus Sebastien, Chaigneau Sebastien, Chorier Julien, Clavery Erik, Court Sylvain, Curien Yann, D’Haene Francois, Durand Maxime, Gault Emanuel, Guillon Antoine, Lanne Michel, Le Saux Christophe, Lejeune Arnaud, Lorblanchet Thomas, Martin Nicolas, Pasero Mikael, Pianet Nicolas, Rancon Julien

GERMANY

Reiter Philipp

GREAT BRITAIN

Conway Terry, Symonds Andy, Sharman Ian, Grant Joe (?)

HUNGARY

Nemeth Csaba

ITALY

Cavallo Giuliano, Dapit Fulvio

JAPAN

Kaburaki Tsuyoshi, Yamamoto Kenichi

NEPAL

Sherpa Dachhiri Dawa

PORTUGAL

Sa Carlos, Teixeira Armando Jorge

SOUTH AFRICA

Sandes Ryan

SWITZERLAND

Rey Jean-Yves

SPAIN

Bes Jordi, Castanyer Tofol, Jornet Kilian, Karrera Iker, Heras Miguel, Merillas Manuel, Perez Lopez Oscar, Sanchez Sebas

SWEDEN

Buud Jonas

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Bowman Dylan, Clark Nicholas, Clayton Cameron, Foote Michael, Gates Rickey, Grant Joe, Jaime Scott, Jones Dakota, King Maxwell, Koerner Hal, Krupicka Anton, Mackey Dave, Maravilla Jorge, Meltzer Karl, Olson Timothy, Pedatella Nicholas, Tidd John, Tiernan Zeke, Wolfe Mike

ULTRA

ELITE WOMEN

anna-frost-4437

BRAZIL

Maciel Fernanda

FRANCE

Chastel Veronique, Combarieu Maud, Favre Corinne, Gobert Maud, Herry Karine, Lecomte Emilie, Martin Sandra, Motto Ros Sandrine, Valero Anne

GERMANY

Bottger Julia, Calmbach Andrea

GREAT BRITAIN

Hawker Elisabeth, Greenwod Ellie

HUNGARY

Wermescher Ildiko

ITALY

Canepa Francesca, Fori Katia

NEW ZEALAND

Frost Anna

SPAIN

Fraile Uxue, Iruretagoyena Leire, Martinez Nerea, Picas Nuria, Roca Emma

SWEDEN

Forsberg Emelie

USA

Africa Darcy, Bosio Rory, Bruxvoort Kerrie, Claridge Rhonda, Howe Stephanie, Howard Elizabeth, Kimball Nikki, Lewis Tina, Moehl Kristin, Nordell Ashley

See the 2012 élite listings: Sky and Vertical

Updated January 16, 2013

Skyrunning Logo

TNF 50 Miler San Francisco

Just when you thought it was the end of the season and then low and behold a 50 miler rears its head on the calendar with a stacked field, yes, The North Face Endurance 50 mile Challenge presented by Gore-Tex. The race takes place in the Marin Headlands, north of San Francisco.

*update 27/11/12 Looks like the weather is going to play a major factor this weekend with a weather front coming in. This always shakes things up and you can expect this to influence the overall results considerably.

The Men

Mike Foote – UTMB 2012

Talk Ultra interviewee Mike Wolfe is returning to the race he won last year. Mike has had a mixed 2012 so he is going to be looking for a good performance here. He told me that training had gone well and that he is in good shape. Great to hear.

Good friend of Wolfepaw is Mike Foote. Footey placed 9th last year but after a great performance at UTMB (3rd), Bighorn 100 and the recent TNF EC in Chile I am sure he will be fired up for this race.

The last time I spoke to Tony Krupicka he told me he was running the race and that he was running to win. This was on the back of his 2nd place at Cavalls del Vent. I am well aware that Tony has been training well but I am not sure if he will be present on the start? I will update as soon as I know. *update 27/11/12 Tony has stated on his blog that he will not be racing.

Sage Canaday is without doubt a potential winner for the race and I originally missed him as he was not on my start list, He set a course record at White River 50 (incredible run) and ran very strong at UROC to finish behind Max King. We also can’t rule out Dave Mackey. Dave performs consistently well at 100k and was 4th at Western States. He races a little less than others so you can be sure if he toes the line it is to run hard.

Timothy Olson would have been mentioned here but has decided not to race and run with his wife. He is keeping his powder dry for 2013. Jez Bragg is off to New Zealand and Dakota Jones is resting, so that therfeore leaves the door open…

Fast man Ian Sharman will enjoy tho terrain but just the other weekend raced well at JFK so this may spoil his chances of a top 3, however, Adam Campbell will becoming into this race relatively fresh after injury issues mid year.

Dylan Bowman has raced super hard all year with some great results. His 2nd place at Run Rabbit Run behind Speedgoat Karl and 7th at Western States should mean he will be contending at the front but will he have that turn of speed to contend with Wolfe, Foote, Sharman and Campbell?

Hal Koerner has had a stacked 2012 and performed consistently well. I see him being in the top 10 here but not at the front of the race contending for the podium.

Rickey Gates comes to this race after some super strong performances in 2012 and may very well be a dark horse. Equally Chris Kollar (he had a disappointing Western States) comes to San Fran after some really solid results at Grand Teton 50k, Ice Age 50 and the The Bear.

Francois d’Haene is coming from Europe along with his Salomon team mate, Miguel Heras and Team Manager, Greg Vollet. Francois has had a great year and just recently won the ‘Trailwalker’ with his Salomon France team mates. He has the ability but I can’t help but think it is late in the year for him… Miguel Heras is finishing off his year well after early disappointments and he will be running hard here. Greg Vollet may very well be another dark horse to move up the field and take a few runners by surprise.

The mens field is stacked and by no means have I covered everybody here but I think we will see the podium come from the above names. One other mention, Martin Cox from the UK. Look out for him.

The Ladies

Emelie Forsberg – Trofeo Kima 2012

Firstly, Frosty and Ellie Greenwood are not on the start line. Frosty needs to recover and Ellie need to rest. So that does open things up a little… if we thought the mens race was stacked, the ladies is super stacked.

Emelie Forsberg is coming over from Europe after an incredible 2012 season. Emelie would have been my top tip but I wonder if this is either one race too many or a race too late in the year? She has all the potential to win this race but I see her top 3 and not on top of the podium.

*update 27/11/12 I just had confirmation that Silvia Serafini from Salomon Carnifast will be racing. This will add some additional spice to the race. Like Emelie, Silvia is moving up distances this year and 50 miles may just be a little of her radar at the moment. But she is a fast runner and really dedicated. A star for the future for sure. She has won Skyrunnning races, won the Royal Parks Ultra in the UK and recently placed just behind Forsberg, Hawker and Picas at Templiers. She has just come back from trekking in Nepal so it will be interesting to see how she performs in this top quality field.

Lizzy Hawker will be arriving from Nepal and has arguably had a golden few months with a 5th win at UTMB, a win at Run Rabbit Run and then a win, 3rd place overall and a new CR at the iconic Spartathlon. I witnessed her run first hand at Templiers when she finished a disappointed 3rd behind Nuria Picas and loosing the sprint for 2nd to Forsberg. She will be fired up for this race and is my hot tip!

Ashley Arnold may pull something out of the bag. She has a great ultra resume with 3rd at Leadville 100 this year but has raced shorter and faster too. She may well have the  speed and endurance required that will carry her to a win.

Megan Kimmel has raced the best in Europe and will come to the race keen to perform but this is a longer race than she is used too… this also apples for Brandy Erholtz. They both have potential to shake things up.

Joelle Vaught was 2nd in 2009, 3rd last year and 4th in 2010. This year she has won Waldo 100k and Lake Sanoma 50. She knows how to run in San Fran and will be keeping a close eye of Forsberg and Hawker.

Kami Semick hasn’t raced in the US in 2012. She pulled out of Comrades and Western States but recently race Trailwalker in Hong Kong. It’s difficult to say what her form is like but I know from previous conversations with her that she only races when she can win!

Finally, Meghan Arbogast. She has the endurance and the pace!
Like the men’s race, I could go on and to be fair I could list another 10 men and women and still be completely unsure of how the race will unfold.
The San Fran 50 is a great way to start December and finish a really competitive and inspiring 2012. Roll on 2013.
Race website HERE