Jo Meek Q&A in trailrunnermag.com

©iancorless.com_1160267

The eyes tell the story—they look through you. Deep in focus, almost blinkered like a horse, Jo Meek has only one purpose. To run as fast and as efficiently as possible over six days and win the 10th edition of the 2014 The Coastal Challenge (TCC) in Costa Rica.

I had seen this look once before, at the end of stage 1 of the 2013 Marathon des Sables in Morocco. Sitting in a bivouac, Meek, 36, of Fair Oak, New Hampshire, had just excelled on the first day of the race. I, like others, looked around in wonder and asked the question, “Who is Jo Meek?”

By the end of that 28th Marathon des Sables, no more questions needed to be asked. Meek placed second at her first Marathon des Sables behind Trail Runner Contributing Editor Meghan Hicks.

Switching from the dunes of the Sahara to the beaches and rainforest of Costa Rica was always going to be a cathartic moment for Meek, particularly when one considered the slated seasoned competition: Julia Bottger, Veronica Bravo and Anna “Frosty” Frost. Unfortunately, Frosty had to withdraw from the race just days before the start. While disappointed at not having the opportunity to test herself against one of the best female mountain-ultrarunners in the world, Meek was unfazed: “It changes nothing. I am here to race and race hard. I would have loved to have Anna push me but you know what? I can push myself pretty hard.”

Read the full article HERE

Jo Meek trailrunnermag.com

The Coastal Challenge 2014 – Trail Magazin

Page 1

 

Excellent 9-page feature on the 2014 The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica in the current edition of Trail Magazin in Germany.

Images by iancorless.com and words by Martin Gaffuri (New Balance)

Magazine available in PDF from HERE

Places are currently available for the 11th edition of the 2015 The Coastal Challenge, once again it will prove to be an exciting and exhilarating experience for each and every participant.

UK entries HERE

The Coastal Challenge website HERE

MEEK and mild – The Jo Meek interview

©iancorless.com_1120572all images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

The eyes tell the story… they look through you. Deep in focus, almost blinkered like a horse, Jo Meek has only one purpose. To run as fast and as efficiently as possible over 6-days and when crossing the final finish tape, be crowned winner of the 10th edition of the 2014 The Costal Challenge in Costa Rica.

I had seen this look once before, at the end of stage-1 of the 2013 Marathon des Sables. Sitting in a bivouac, Jo Meek had just excelled on the first day of the race. I like others looked around in wonder and asked the question, ‘who is Jo Meek?’

No more questions needed to be asked, at the end of the 28th Marathon des Sables, we all were well aware who Jo was, she was the lady who had just placed 2nd overall behind Meghan Hicks at her first Marathon des Sables.

When you excel at one race it’s easy for many to look on and say, ‘It was first time luck.’ Not that Jo needed to prove anything, certainly not to me! I had seen her race; I had witnessed the dedication and focus as Jo pushed herself daily to get the best she could out of her body.

Switching from the dunes of the Sahara to the beaches and rainforest of Costa Rica was always going to be a cathartic moment for Jo, particularly when one considered the competition she would be up against; Julia Bottger (Salomon), Veronica Bravo (Adventure Racer from Chile) and Anna Frost (Salomon). Unfortunately, ‘Frosty’ had to withdraw from the race just days before the start in Quepos on doctor’s orders. Disappointed at not having the opportunity to test herself against one of the best female mountain/ ultra runners in the world, Jo focused and said, ‘It changes nothing. I am here to race and race hard. I would have loved to have Anna push me but you know what, I can push myself pretty hard.’

As we all found out, Jo can push herself pretty hard; maybe too hard at times? On day-1 of the TCC, Jo raced like a demon. Unaffected by the Costa Rican heat and humidity, she put 45-minutes into the female competition and set the platform on which to build for an incredible victory at the 10th edition of the race.

Back in the UK after a recovery week in Costa Rica, I caught up with Jo as she attempted to move house… a house that she had purchased without seeing! Yes, Jo had purchased a house she hadn’t seen. When I asked her in Costa Rica about this, Jo replied, ‘I was too involved in my training, I had one focus, to be in the best shape for the TCC. I just didn’t have time to go and look at it. I convinced myself it would be okay…’

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IC: A year ago I was talking to you at your surprise 2nd place at MDS. You have now been out to Costa Rica, a very different environment in comparison to the Sahara, raced against stronger competition? And you have won an incredible victory over 6 –tough days of racing. How do you feel?

JM: I feel really pleased. I have complete satisfaction from the race. It’s possible to sometimes come away with question marks but I have none. I feel that the effort I put in was rewarded appropriately. I put a great amount of dedication into this race and sacrificed lots.

IC: Yes, you had that steely MDS look in your eyes. Like blinkers. You dedicate yourself to the task and I guess knowing in advance what the competition was going to be like at TCC and having the MDS experience inside you, you were able to be far more specific in training. I know post MDS that you thought you had maybe been a little over cautious. You could have run quicker? So, did you go to TCC with all guns blazing and take each day as a race?

JM: Yes I did. I remember listening to Ryan Sandes on Talk Ultra and he said it was amazing how quickly one recovers. I thought, I do recover well and I had nothing to loose. I know from MDS that I had been cautious, for example on the last day I pushed hard. Had I done that everyday the result may have been different but it’s difficult to say. So, at TCC I wanted to give it everything. I had prepared for the heat and my training was good.

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IC: You have just mentioned that you committed yourself from day-1. Needless to say, TCC day-1 was impressive. You put 45-mins into the competition, impressive, particularly when we look at the ladies who you were racing against. Of course it gave you a real buffer. A safety net. The biggest issue on day-1 for everyone (except you) was the massive contrast in European weather and Costa Rican weather. Even in Costa Rica itself, the temperatures between San Jose and the coast were remarkable. As you approach the coast the heat goes up along with the humidity. Day-1 has a later start so you are straight into the heat… mid 30’s and closer to 40 at the height of the day. But it did not affect you and the main reason for this was 10-days training in a heat chamber.

JM: Yes. I was prepared. I gave everything on that first day. I had assumed that the competition would have done the same? Using a heat chamber is only a case of contacting Universities and they are usually willing to help. I assumed some heat work would put me on a par. As it turned out it wasn’t the heat that struck me but the pace! We were running slower than I expected so I ran at what was comfortable for me and nobody ran with me. I then ran scared thinking I had made a mistake that I was going to pay for.

IC: Now you have had an opportunity to reflect on TCC can you tell us about the heat chamber, how did it benefit you, are there any crossovers between MDS and TCC prep?

JM: I did the same sort of training. I followed a marathon program but I did more back-to-back runs. Essentially you are training for the same thing. In the heat chamber I was under the guidance of the team. I told them I would do whatever I needed to do… They told me I needed 10-days. You actually don’t need to exercise in the heat chamber, you can just sit inside but it takes longer. I could sit for 3-hours or run for 1-hour. I am dedicated, I am focused, and that’s a really big thing.

IC: Lets talk about the training. When you say a classic marathon program, I guess you are talking about a speed session, hill session and then long runs. Of course, you were training for multi-day so you built from 1-long run to back-to-back long runs. What did a peak week look like; I guess this was 3-4 weeks out from the TCC?

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JM: Yes, 4-weeks out and then I would taper. You are right; I would do a speed session, a threshold run, a hill session and then long runs that would build to back-to-back runs. What you can’t afford to do is not let yourself recover in terms of, if you have done a long run and made it fast, you need to recover. It was all about balance. You need to be sensible and listen to your body. I would do 2.5-3-hours normally for a normal long session, whereas my long run for TCC was 4-hours; but at a slower pace. I wanted to make sure I could incorporate hills to prepare me for the hills of TCC.

IC: Back-to-back sessions, was that 2 x 4-hour runs?

JM: No, I did 3 back-to-back 3-hour runs.

IC: So, 9-hours split over 3-days; I presume when you did this you eased back of speed and hill work?

JM: I actually kept the sessions. In actual fact, that week I did a race. You have to remember, the long runs were really slow. It was just a case of recovering from a food and nutrition perspective. The runs actually didn’t damage my muscles. I am sensible after each run. I rest. For the 3 back-to-backs I took a day off work to make sure I had the best platform from which to build.

IC: So you planned this into work. You took a day off work and you treated this very much from a professional perspective. Feet up after the run, concentrate of food and hydration and make sure you are in the best place.

JM: Yes it was like being a full time athlete. Of course day-to-day life gets in the way; cook dinner and walk the dog for example. I just took this relaxed and in my own time.

IC: How did you break speed sessions down? Many ultra runners look at speed sessions as something that they don’t need to do. But that is not the case, you actually need endurance and speed, so, how do you work this to your benefit, how did you go about speed sessions?

JM: It is difficult to answer as we are all individual and it depends on your race. You need to target your sessions at the pace you want to achieve and then sometimes faster. I would do some track work running 400’s or I would do 1-mile reps. I guess you need to vary what you do… try to enjoy it! We all think, speed; it’s going to hurt. But if you find sessions you enjoy it makes a big difference. Also try training with others.

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IC: So you had your plan, you did speed, you did strength, you did hills, you did back-to-backs but you realized that to give you an edge or in your terms an equal playing field was that you needed to adapt to the heat. It was a variable. It was one thing you couldn’t account for. You did 10-days consecutive in a heat chamber?

JM: Yes, 10-days.

IC: What is day-1 like?

JM: Oh you think I will never be able to run in this? I went in thinking that I would run at ‘pace’ but actually you run at a slow pace as they don’t want your temperature to rise too quickly. It feels bearable at the start. They monitor the core temperature and mine went too high after 30-min so then I had to walk and rest to keep it under control. It’s not as physically as hard as you may think. It’s all about core temperature.

IC: What is important is the lesson that we can all learn. You trained in the UK; you did the heat sessions, which gave you massive temperature and humidity fluctuations. You got that process over with before arriving in Costa Rica. By contrast, nearly all the runners had to go through that process on day-1 of the race… for example; Philipp Reiter had a really tough 1st day. He was overheating and red, he was trying to control himself but to no avail. However his recovery was phenomenal. He recovered so well to come back strong on day-2.

JM: That is the benefit of being 20!

IC: Yes, for sure that helped. However, had Philipp and the others got day-1 over with in a heat chamber it would have made a massive difference. It could have been the difference between top-3 and a win.

When you went back to the heat chamber how was the adaptation?

JM: Mentally I was more prepared. On day-1 I felt nauseous and tired but I guess it just gets easier. By day-3 my resting core had reduced dramatically. It gets easier and easier unless you are a moron like me and fall off the treadmill.

(Laughter)

IC: Mmmm yes, you did make a mess of your face. Not the best thing to land on in the final days of prep in the build up to an important race!

So, you adapted in the heat chamber. The process went exceptionally well and pretty much after the last session you made your way to Costa Rica. It’s a shock, isn’t it? Time changes, a day of registration, logistics and presswork, an early bed and then a very early start the following day that starts at 3am. A transfer by bus to the coast and before you know it, day-1 starts at 0930 just as the heat of the day is beating down. It’s hot, really hot, however it caused you no problems. You had that amazing first day. Post day-1 you said you felt great. You had taken the race on, you had pushed yourself and you had stamped your authority on the race. How did the rest of the race unfold for you? You had a couple of key moments; day-3 in the river section start when you struggled with the technicality, ironically, very similar to the male winner; Mike Wardian. You and he are very similar runners, you both run well on fast terrain but less so on technical terrain.  However, as the race progressed you both adapted and became far more efficient.

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JM: Yes, without doubt.

IC: Moving up hill and covering technical ground became so much better for both of you.

Lets go back to that day-3 start when you had Veronica Bravo and Julia Bottger ahead of you, did you think you were loosing the race?

JM: When you can’t see runners you immediately think you are loosing 45-mins. It’s funny. However, when it is so technical you can’t think about anything other than what is below your feet and what is ahead. I just had to follow the course markers and cover the ground as best as I could. All the time I was thinking, I just need to get on the flat or get on a good hill and start chasing and pulling time back.

IC: You got through the section and you started to chase. You clawed back the time, you caught Julia and Veronica and then on the final beach section in 40-deg heat you pulled away and got another stage win. You re-established your dominance of the race. It must have been a great day and a great boost?

JM: The 3rd day was the longest and most emotional day. It almost felt like the end of the race. I was very emotional. Had someone been waiting for me at the end I would have cried. Even though I still had 3-days of racing ahead I had concentrated so much it had exhausted me. Having got through that it was a case of maintaining it. But as you very well know, I like to race and continued that way. I didn’t want to take anything for granted. I could have fallen and hurt myself and with Veronica and Julia chasing, I couldn’t be complacent. I raced hard to the end.

IC: Post race you said one day in particular is the day that you got things wrong that impacted on the final 2-days, was that day-4?

JM: I gave everything on day-3 and then I continued to race on day-4 when I didn’t need to?

IC: Yes, we had that conversation when I said to you, ‘you know what, you have a 60-min lead so be sensible. You have no need to put yourself in the ground. Consolidate what you have and be sensible.’ But in true Jo Meek fashion you continued to push…

Day-5 was significant. You had been in the lead and then Julia came back to you with about 10-km to go. It was the final feed station. You had a 60-min lead, so, overall victory was secure.

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JM: I was at the feed and Julia arrived and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, I thought I have to go.’ I ran, ran hard and closed out the final 10-km like a stand-alone session. I finished out of breath with hands on knees.

IC: Funny, when I saw you, you said, ‘I am an idiot.’

JM: I did.

IC: When I asked why, you explained the situation. Of course you have now reflected and I hope you realize that it wasn’t clever racing? You could have still had a bad moment on the last day and needed the reserves.

JM: Oh yes. I am well aware. What hurt me on the last day were sore quads. It was all the descending from the previous days. So I ran the last day within myself, however, had I thought Julia would have really pushed I would have found something, some extra energy.

IC: You have 2-great experiences under your belt. Marathon des Sables provided an introduction into multi-day racing and you performed maybe beyond our expectations but not beyond your own and now you have the victory at The Coastal Challenge. You have confirmed yourself as someone who can race hard, day-after-day, so, what are the hints ‘n’ tips you can provide for multi-day racing?

JM: Assess what you as an individual want from the race and then train accordingly. You must have a goal. Do you want to compete or complete? It makes a big difference. If you get your mind it the right place it is half of the battle. Prepare mentally, don’t be scared of the environment. Do what you can do and make sure that is clear. Have a great understanding of your body and how it recovers. Give yourself what you need. Without doubt eating after exercise within an hour is key, especially for multi-day racing or training. Rest when you get an opportunity; elevate your legs. For sure your feet and ankles will get tired. Relax, eat, drink and let everything settle. If you can sleep, do so. It provides great recovery. Ultimately, common sense prevails and the body is an amazing thing.

IC: TCC and MDS are very different. At MDS you had to be self-sufficient and carry a pack whereas at TCC tents and food were provided so you could run light, you just needed a hydration pack. Of course it’s a level playing field as everyone must do the same but from your perspective what are the pros and cons from both races and which did you prefer?

JM: That is very tricky. At TCC having food in abundance is obviously great. You can eat when you want and as much as you want so that makes recovery easy. However, everyone has that option so it’s not a personal advantage it’s just a different scenario. At MDS you can use this to your advantage, if you have planned well and your nutrition is optimum for your own personal needs then of course your competition may have not, so this can be something you work into a positive. It requires more planning. It’s a game of calories v weight. I like the challenge of the MDS scenario but equally your running style changes; your speed changes and you are carrying the burden of the pack.  I guess it depends if you prefer faster racing or a more expedition type of approach.

IC: It’s a crazy question but MDS compared to TCC, which race, all things considered was the hardest race?

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JM: The Coastal Challenge course. It has everything, ascending and descending, the damage the course did to my legs was far greater than the MDS. I found the MDS was harder from a food perspective, it took me 4-5 weeks post MDS to put the weight back on. The Coastal Challenge course tests the body and mind and the continual changes of terrain keep you guessing and working hard.

IC: So what is next, recovery is first and foremost I guess?

JM: I want to prove myself as an ultra runner. I want to run in a GB vest. I will try to qualify for GB in a trail race. I’d like to do more stage races and I have entered Comrades in June. That will be an interesting test and very different to what I have currently achieved.

IC: Finally, Costa Rica, what was the experience like for you, can you sum it up?

JM: The race is incredible. Where else can you run (or walk) in such an amazing place! The organizers have created a race and a route that often is inaccessible to most; riverbeds, jungle and plains. I probably didn’t look around too much while racing but I stayed for 1-week afterwards and I had a holiday. I went diving, saw a whale, I walked, went white water rafting and saw plenty of wildlife. It’s just an incredible and exciting place. Even if you did just the race you would come away with a whole new outlook. It really is incredible.

LINKS:

TCC 2014 race images – HERE

The 2015 The Coastal Challenge is now available to book. Want a discount? Use the form below for early bird booking.

Race Website – HERE

Episode 55 – Wardian, Meek, Clark, Johnston

Ep55

Episode 55 of Talk Ultra – We have a The Coastal Challenge special with an interview with male overall winner, Michael Wardian. Jo Meek, ladies overall winner talks about her training and preparation for the TCC race and Nick Clark discusses how stage racing compares to 100-milers. We have an interview with the 2013 ITI350 winner and recent Susitna 100 winner and new course record holder, David Johnston before he emarks, once again on the ITI350 just one week after his impressive Susitna win! A special Talk Training on nutrition specific to Marathon des Sables with Rin Cobb (PND Consulting). Emelie Forsberg is back for smilesandmiles and of course we have the News, Up and Coming Races and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.

NEWS

Rocky Raccoon 

1. Matt Laye 13:17:42

2. Ian Sharman 13:38:03

3. Jared Hazen 13:57:17

Mention for Steve Spiers 15:26:25 follower of Talk Ultra and 4th – top job!

1. Nicole Struder 15:42:04

2. Kaci Lickteig 15:45:32

3. Shaheen Sattar 16:45:26

Shaun O’Brien 50

1. Dylan Bowman 6:23:17

2. Mike Aish 6:37:34

3. Mike Wolfe 6:57:15

1. Cassie Scallon 7:38:16

2. Sally McRae 8:36:25

3. Denise Bourassa 8:42:57

El Cruce Columbia

1. Marco De Gasperi 6:34:10

2. Sergio Jesus Trecaman 6:38:46

3. Dakota Jones 6:52:37

1. Emma Roca 7:59:23

2. Amy Sproston 8:11:59

3. Adriana Vanesa Vargas 9:30:26

Red Hot Moab 50K

1. Alex Nichols 3:57:11

2. Paul Hamilton 3:59:37

3. Mike Foote 4:07:26

1. Jodee Adams-Moore 4:31:28

2. Kerrie Bruxvoort 4:42:39

3. Hiliary Allen 4:52:01

Susitna 100

1. David Johnston

2. Piotr Chadovich

3. Houston Laws

1. Laura Mcdonough

2. Jane Baldwin

3. Sarah Duffy

 

AUDIO with DAVID JOHNSTON

 

The Costal Challenge

1. Michael Wardian 23:26:23

2. Vicente Beneito +0:25:32

3. Philipp Reiter +0:31:31

1. Jo Meek 29:17:19

2. Julia Bottger +0:57:02

3. Veronica Bravo +3:07:06

 

 AUDIO with JO MEEK

 

TALK TRAINING

With sports dietician Rin Cobb from PND Consulting – http://www.pndconsulting.co.uk

 

INTERVIEW  – TCC Special

MIKE WARDIAN

NICK CLARK

 

MELTZER MOMENT

Good, Bad and Ugly

 

UP & COMING RACES

Argentina

4 Refugios Classica | 80 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

4 Refugios Non Stop | 70 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

La Misión | 160 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

La Misión – 80 km | 80 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Australia

NEW SOUTH WALES

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 100 km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | February 28, 2014 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Party All Night | 50 kilometers | February 28, 2014 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Sun, Sand, Surf | 50 kilometers | February 28, 2014 | website

France

DORDOGNE

Trail en Night and Day 55 km | 57 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

GARD

Trail aux Etoiles | 58 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

LOIRE-ATLANTIQUE

Le Trail du Vignoble Nantais – 50 km | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

PUY-DE-DÔME

Trail de Vulcain – 72 km | 72 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Germany

HESSE

Lahntallauf 50 KM | 50 kilometers | March 02, 2014 | website

Hong-Kong

MSIG Sai Kung 50 | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Italy

TUSCANY

Terre di Siena 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 02, 2014 | website

Mexico

Ultra Caballo Blanco | 50 miles | March 02, 2014 | website

New Zealand

Bedrock50 | 53 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Taupo 155 km Great Lake Relay | 155 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Taupo 67.5 km Great Lake Relay | 67 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Waiheke Round Island 100 km Relay | 100 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Philippines

Davao50 | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

Hardcore Hundred Miles | 100 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

Slovakia

Kysucká Stovka | 120 kilometers | March 07, 2014 | website

South Africa

South African Addo Elephant 44 km Trail Run | 44 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

South African Addo Elephant 76 km Trail Run | 76 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Spain

ANDALUSIA

Ultra Trail Sierras del Bandolero | 150 kilometers | March 07, 2014 | website

CANARY ISLANDS

Transgrancanaria | 125 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Transgrancanaria – Advanced | 84 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

ESSEX

St Peters Way Ultra | 45 miles | March 02, 2014 | website

KENT

White Cliffs 100 | 104 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

White Cliffs 50 | 53 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

NORTHUMBERLAND

Coastal Trail Series – Northumberland – Ultra | 34 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

USA

ALABAMA

Mount Cheaha 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

ALASKA

Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 mile | 1000 miles | February 23, 2014 | website

Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 mile | 350 miles | February 23, 2014 | website

ARIZONA

Elephant Mountain – 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Old Pueblo 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Del Sol | 200 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

CALIFORNIA

Chabot Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

FOURmidable 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Montara Mountain 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

San Juan Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

COLORADO

Headless Horsetooth Fat Ass 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

FLORIDA

Everglades 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Everglades 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

Palm 100K | 100 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Palm 50K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

MARYLAND

Hashawha Hills 50 km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

MISSISSIPPI

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Miles | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

NEW JERSEY

Febapple Frozen Fifty – 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Febapple Frozen Fifty – 50M | 50 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

Lenape Trail Run | 34 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

NEW YORK

Caumsett State Park 50K | 50 kilometers | March 02, 2014 | website

NORTH CAROLINA

Mount Mitchell Challenge | 40 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

TEXAS

A2B2: Alamo To Border 2 | 162 miles | February 28, 2014 | website

Cowtown Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

Nueces 50K Endurance Trail | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Nueces 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

VERMONT

PEAK Snowshoe 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | February 28, 2014 | website

VIRGINIA

The Reverse Ring | 71 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

WASHINGTON

Lord Hill 50 Km | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

CLOSE

LINKS

▪   http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/Episode_55_Wardian_Meek_Clark_Johnston.mp3

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

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

Website – talkultra.com

The Coastal Challenge 2014 #TCC2014 – Image Gallery

_1130985All images are available to purchase from iancorless.photoshelter.com

Please respect the ©copyright on these images.

No reproduction, sharing or adding to social media please.

Interested in the 2015 Coastal Challenge?

Early bird discounts HERE

The Coastal Challenge Images #TCC2014

©iancorless.com_1150085_SnapseedImages from the 10th edition of The Coastal Challenge are now available on my photoshelter website.

You can view them HERE

A portfolio of images will be updated on this website in the coming days.

 

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 5 – Sierpe to Drakes Bay

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

What a beautiful day! A short bus drive from camp to Sierpe; a ferry crossing to the other side of the river and on the stroke of 0600 runners departed on the journey to the beautiful and iconic Drakes Bay. It was already humid and as the sun burnt the morning mist away, temperatures rose.

The stunning river journey to meet runners at CP2 TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The stunning river journey to meet runners at CP2 TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

If Philipp Reiter or Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito had any chance of taking overall victory away from Mike Wardian, they would need to work hard in the middle section of the course whilst running through the rainforest and plantation fields and hopefully gain enough time to put ‘Mr. Consistent’ in the hurt locker. The only problem in this scenario was Wardian! After CP2 he had gained a 3min lead and with a course profile that suited him down to the ground it was going to take a blow up of epic proportions to see him loose not only the stage but also the overall race. “I felt good man, I opened it up when the running was good and held on when the running was more technical,” said Wardian.

Mr. Consistent TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mr. Consistent TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

I have to say, Wardian has been an absolute star and a great ambassador for ‘our’ sport in this race. He’s pushed hard, fought back on tough days and irrespective of the outcome has had a huge smile on his face… okay, maybe he wasn’t smiling too much when he was 14-min down on stage-3 but he sure was at the finish when he not only pulled back the gap but went on for a joint stage win with Reiter.

Jo Meek ready for the off! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek ready for the off! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek, as one would have expected, started the day at the front of the ladies race and although Bottger caught her back at CP3, Meek took the stage by the scruff of the neck and rand hard to the finish for another stage win! “I was hurting today and didn’t feel great. When Julia caught me at CP3 I panicked… I know it’s crazy as I had an hour lead but the racer kicked in and I flew out of the CP and buried myself to the line,” said Meek after the race.

Meek has been phenomenal in this race, like Wardian she had moments when things did not go well (stage-3 at the start) but Meek played to her strengths, pushed hard and has quite literally dominated from the front.

Clarky TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clarky TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark ran easy today, his issues from yesterday strong in his mind, he just wanted to finish without causing any damage. He ran with Gaffuri for a while but later dropped to 5th.

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito however, seized the opportunity to run strong and pursued Wardian all the way to the line with Reiter running in 3rd place for most of the day. The lack of any steep vertical played into Wardian’s hands and once again he was first past the post; 2-stage wins and a joint stage win with Reiter, not bad for 5-days racing.

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter couldn’t close the gap on Beneito, so once again Beneito finished 2nd.

Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Once Meek had a ‘scare’ at CP3 she ran like a lady possessed and finished almost 5-mins ahead of Bottger and Bravo was 30-mins back. With Gemma Slaughter out of the race due to stomach issues, fellow Canadian and teammate, Van Dyk finished 4th on stage and this moves her up on the overall GC.

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Drakes Bay, the mangroves, the rainforest, the plantation fields and the beaches are the best of Costa Rica. Today’s stage may have lacked elevation but it was replaced with beauty.

Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Stage-6 is a circular route of Drakes Bay and will be a victory lap for all runners. The overall GC is not going to change (barring a disaster) so it’s a great moment to celebrate the company of others and soak up the surrounding of the best of Costa Rica, The 10th edition of The Costal Challenge has been an epic!

RESULTS Stage-5

  1. Mike Wardian 4:14:11
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 4:23:19
  3. Philipp Reiter 4:25:56
  4. Marti Gaffuri 4:46:49
  5. Nick Clark 4:51:52
  1. Jo Meek 5:23:56
  2. Julia Bottger 5:29:11
  3. Veronica Bravo 5:57:43
  4. Hailey Van Dyk 6:40:52
  5. Kelly Ridgway 6:42:19

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

Wardian 21:07:15

Beneito 21:32:47

Reiter 21:38:26

 

Meek 26:23:22

Bottger 27:28:19

Bravo 29:23:05

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 4 – Ventanas Beach to Sierpe

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

A heavy downpour of epic proportions last night didn’t dampen the spirits of the runners as they departed Ventanas Beach for another tough day in Costa Rica. Mike Wardian and Jo Meek have held convincing leads from day-1, however, neither have had an easy journey. Both struggled on the early technical sections of stage-3 but rallied and found something in the tank to reclaim lost time and finish a tough day-3 with stage wins. Mikes run was a classic… pulling back 14-mins was truly a remarkable run.

Morning in the rainforest, 6am TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Morning in the rainforest, 6am TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Day-4 started and ended with technical sections. From the off runners would climb for over an hour on an overgrown forest path and then spend time going up and down in the plains before descending 3km on a tough trail that twisted, gnarled and one could almost say that the trails ‘bite back’. It was a day that Julia Bottger for the ladies would revel in and although the chances of pulling back her deficit on Meek was unlikely, I thought Julia might shine. By contrast, the middle section of the course would suit Wardian, but the tough climb and super tough final descent could potentially allow a stronger competitor on technical terrain to pull back time…?

©iancorless.com.P1220782

Clark and Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark and Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

At the summit of the first climb Reiter appeared first dripping in sweat in the early morning humidity. Wardian appeared 3-min in arrears and then Clark and Beneito appeared once again attached at the hip 5-mins in deficit. The race was on!

Jo Meek loving stage-4 of TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek loving stage-4 of TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

To my surprise Meek was having a great day… I don’t say that in a negative way but I certainly expected Bottger to take control on that first climb and pull away causing Meek to chase. “I loved today, it was a stage that had everything and the climbs weren’t so technical that I couldn’t use my strength and fitness,” said Meek.

Mike Wardian pulling back time on Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian pulling back time on Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

On the rolling sections after the first climb Wardian once again started to close the gap. This guy is relentless…! Beneito and Clark seem to have found comfort in each others pace and certainly they move well together, however, as Wardian caught Reiter at CP3, the dynamic duo were starting to loose time on the other dynamic duo.

Beneito and Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito and Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

For the ladies race, it was starting to take a very familiar format; Meek lead Bottger and Bottger lead Veronica Bravo. Focused on the end goal, Meek runs scared and pushing, “Anything can happen and I need to run the way that makes me feel secure and while I feel good I will utilize it.”

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Victoria Bravo on her way to the high point of the course TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Victoria Bravo on her way to the high point of the course TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter and Wardian ran through the plains together until the final descent, as I expected, Reiter pulled away, “I wasn’t sure if we should run together” said Reiter “Wardian is so much fun to run with, he talks constantly and makes me laugh. On the descent I stopped for a short while but he was nowhere in sight so I pushed on.”

Philipp Reiter powering up a climb TCC2 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter powering up a climb TCC2 ©iancorless.com

Reiter gained another 3-mins and considering his day-1 experience, his form and dedication has been remarkable. Beneito placed 3rd on the stage and unfortunately Clark had a tough day; he started to pass blood and therefore took his foot of the gas and walked in to the finish. Martin Gaffuri once again had another consistent day and his fifth place is secure.

Nick Clark showing the fatigue of hard days and heat TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark showing the fatigue of hard days and heat TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek crossed the line first, followed by Bottger and Bravo finished 3rd. A big loss to the race and the overall GC was 2013 TCC champ, Gemma Slaughter. Unfortunately she had a tough night and was sick in the morning of the race… she did start but had to withdraw during the race.

Carlos Sa (leading) midway on stage 4. He's feeling the effort of his overlong first day! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa (leading) midway on stage 4. He’s feeling the effort of his overlong first day! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

With two days to go, the ladies race looks set. However, the men’s race is wide open; this has been one of the most exciting stage races I have ever had the pleasure to follow and it isn’t over yet!

©iancorless.com.P1130132

Clark at a water crossing TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark at a water crossing TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

RESULTS Stage-4

  1. Philipp Reiter 4:19:11
  2. Mike Wardian 4:22:07
  3. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 4:32:14
  4. Nick Clark 4:54:59
  5. Marti Gaffuri 5:09:51
  1. Jo Meek 5:38:42
  2. Julia Bottger 5:44:55
  3. Veronica Bravo 6:12; 42
  4. Hailey Van Dyk 6:52:21
  5. Sandra Meija 7:16:51

 GC to be confirmed

Men

  1. Wardian
  2. Beneito
  3. Reiter

Ladies

  1. Meek
  2. Bottger
  3. Bravo

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 3 – Dominical Beach to Ballena Beach

Mike Wardian exiting the riverbed section TCC2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian exiting the riverbed section TCC2012 ©iancorless.com

What a day… it was always going to be spectacular. A long-stretch of running through a riverbed that involved multiple water crossings, rock hopping and climbing. A steady climb to the impressive waterfalls followed by more technical twisting climbing. A fast descent, climbing and the a long stretch of stunning beach that would be undertaken just as the heat of the day took hold.

The star of the day; was a dog! Yes folks, a dog. As the race departed Dominical Beach a little dog joined Philipp Reiter, Nick Clark, Mike Wardian and the rest of the elite male field and he ran all the way to the line some 50kms away; incredible.

Running through the river bed overall GC leaders Jo Meek and Mike Wardian struggled with the technicality of the terrain. At the end of the riverbed section, Gaffuri, Clark, Reiter, Beneito and Sa and had gained 10-mins effectively placing Beneito as race leader whilst on the course.

TCC2014 Stage 3 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 Stage 3 ©iancorless.com

Experienced adventure racer, Veronica Bravo excelled in the tough and harsh conditions and reveled at the opportunity to show her skill. Equally, Julia Bottger started to put time into female race leader Meek. At the waterfall section, Bravo had a convincing lead but any chance of her ability to pull back 90-mins looked limited. Bottger had started to gain a few minutes on Meek and it was quite apparent from Meek’s face as she arrived at the waterfalls that the early part of the course had tested her.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

From the waterfalls the guys held it together. They were putting time into Wardian but as Clark went on to say post race. “I think we were taking it just a little too relaxed. We were comfortable and not pushing.” When Wardian arrived he was 14-min in down and looking a little worried. The race was on!

Julia Bottger crossing the rocks at the waterfall section TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger crossing the rocks at the waterfall section TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bottger was having a good day and was well aware that she needed to gain time before the long beach section that would allow Meek to open up her stride and find her natural flat running pace. However, after catching Bravo, Bottger made a navigational error that paved the way for Meek to regain the lead and push on to the finish for another stage win and a substantial gain of time over Bottger and Bravo. In camp, Meek was looking weary, “I had to dig deep today. I found the riverbed so difficult. It’s just not my natural talent. I pushed hard out of the waterfall section to ensure that I gained time back. By the time I hit the beach I knew I just needed to run as hard as possible. However, 12km’s of beach in mid 30’s temperatures are not something you take lightly.”

Jo Meek exits the waterfalls TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek exits the waterfalls TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bottger had a sense of frustration, “I was feeling good today. I made a wrong turn and lost a junk of time working my way back on to the course. I have no doubt that Meek would have caught me on the beach section though… that’s trail running!”

Philipp Reiter in the riverbed TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter in the riverbed TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

In the men’s race, Wardian somehow closed a 14-min gap on a small group of leaders made up of Reiter, Beneito and Clark. “I looked around and Mike was there. I couldn’t believe it. I really thought we had him on the ropes” said Clark.

Costa Rican Beaches - stunning but hot! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Costa Rican Beaches – stunning but hot! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The four entered the beach section and were running neck and neck for a couple of km. “Reiter and myself started to push each other and Beneito and Clark started to fade” said Wardian, “It was a matter of gritting your teeth and hurting.”

“I could hold on no longer” said Clark, “Reiter and Wardian started to pull away and Beneito and myself dropped off. The heat got to me further and I faded again allowing Beneito to pull away from me. It was a darn tough day out there.”

Reiter and Wardian pushed each other to the line, neither able to pull away. Both should be applauded for incredible racing and powers of recovery… Wardian for pulling back an incredible 14-min deficit on the stage and Reiter for recovering from a poor day-1 to potentially move himself back in contention on GC.

Racing days don’t get much better than this!

RESULTS Stage-3

  1. Mike Wardian 5:16:52
  2. Philipp Reiter 5:16:52
  3. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 5:19:27
  4. Nick Clark 5:27:16
  5. Marti Gaffuri 6:01:27
  1. Jo Meek 6:39:59
  2. Julia Bottger 6:47:26
  3. Veronica Bravo 6:59:43
  4. Gemma Slaughter 7:40:57
  5. Hailey Van Dyk 8:12:58

PS – apologies for the late upload, internet connection is sparse and very slow.

The Coastal Challenge #TCC2014 – Stage 5 Preview

tcc-stg-5

Day 5 – Sierpe to Bahia Drake

Another long day at 47.5km but what a day and what a course awaits; the route provides a pure rainforest experience. Much of today’s route is in accessible by vehicles. In truth, they only true way to navigate this course is by foot or by boat. The trails are dense, technical and muddy but they interspersed with dramatic water crossings, plantations, small villages and as the stage comes to a close the sea awaits and the stunning Drakes Bay. It’s a paradise. The day starts with a short transfer and water crossing by boat. This is necessary to get all the runners on the correct side of the water. Leaving Sierpe a 5km climb awaits, from the summit, the route very much drops down to the finish with short sharp climbs at 22km, 39km and 43km. Three checkpoints at Sabalo (16.1km), Florida (26.2km) and Guerra (36.1km) are followed with a final water station at 41km. Today is arguably the toughest day for the TCC staff and team as gaining access to the course and route is extremely difficult.

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