100km del Sahara, April 2014

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An adventure, an experience, a stepping stone to something else… the 100km Sahara is multi-day race that will introduce you to a whole new world. Join the journey in April, 2014. 

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Irrespective of your experience, the 100km of the Sahara will provide every participant a definitive sporting accomplishment. For some it may well provide the ultimate challenge, while for others, it may become a launching pad for continued participation in highly demanding extreme running races. The spirit of the race combines many elements; travel, adventure, excitement and ultimately a challenge.
 Pursue your dreams, pursue your passions and let the 100km of the Sahara provide you with a gateway to a new world.

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An annual race taking place over multiple days, participants test themselves against the challenge of running against the desert, while accepting the minimal assistance that is needed. The Sahara is fascinating, however it is one of the least suitable environments for running. If it was easy, anyone would do it… take yourself to a new level, add a new stimulus to your running. The Sahara will not only test your physical parameters but your capacity to control your mind.

Achieve your finish line!

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DETAILS:

The “100 km of Sahara” maintains a departure from the oasis of Ksar Ghilane, in the great Eastern Erg for the 2014, 16th edition of the race. The arrival; the mythical oasis of Douz will be achieved after travelling 100 km’s in 4-stages with 3-nights undertaken in a tented camp.

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The race itinerary is 7 days 6 nights. This competition is designed to bring out the spirit of challenge for those who create their own adventure. The race will have all the necessary ingredients of the extreme, but provides a race structure and format that is accessible to all. It’s a tough race but a race that is possible for all levels of ability!

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The 100 km of Sahara is a qualifying race for the UTMB Race and will count for 2 points.

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Capacity, 150-people.

  • Program flight included € 1.840 Milan or Rome
  • Program without flight € 1.640 
  • Single supplement (3 nights in hotel) € 100

The participation fee includes:

  • Flight to and from Djerba from Italy (only in the program with flight),
  • Transfers by bus and by 4×4 cars,
  • Full board for the whole week,
  • 3 nights in hotel and 3 nights in tents (6 people each),
  • Medical assistance during the race,
  • Tourist assistance,
  • Insurance.

During the race, a catering service provides food for all participants. All produce comes from Italy with the exception of fresh fruits and vegetables; they will be sourced locally in Tunisia. The menu will be balanced and based around runner’s needs and requirements.

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  • Breakfast: 
Coffee, tea, milk, cookies, cakes, fresh bread, jam, honey, muesli, cereals, eggs, cooked ham, cheese, fruits
  • Light lunch: 
Pasta or rice, hot or cold dish of meet, hot or cold side dish, salami and cold pork meat, Parmesan cheese, tuna, tomato salad, fruits
  • Dinner: 
Appetizers, pasta, rice, vegetable soup and broth, hot dishes of meet, hot or cold side dishes, tomato salad, Parmesan cheese, fruits, dessert, wine on the table.

What is not included?

  • Drinks and beverages at the hotel and in the oasis of Ksar Ghilane.
  • Airport tax.

WALKERS

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Max number of participants: 20

A new addition to the race is a walking category. Just 20-places are available, allowing an opportunity to explore the emotions and landscape of the Sahara in a more relaxed way. A special program has been arranged and will be independent of the running race but will run in parallel.

Walkers will be accompanied with a guide, dromedaries and 4×4 vehicles. Dromedaries will carry small personal luggage and the vehicles will provide security and reassurance for all walkers.

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The treatment for walkers will be the same as for the runners; night accommodation will be nomadic tents with personal sleeping bags; breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided in the camp with the entire group of participants.

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ITINERARY

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

  • Flight Milan or Rome-Djerba
  • Transfer to the Hotel ****, dinner and overnight in hotel
  • It will be possible to leave the extra baggage in the hotel; it’s MANDATORY for all the participants to put everything you need in just one bag. Exceptions will not be allowed.

Monday, April 28th, 2014

  • Wake up at 7.30 am, breakfast in the Hotel and transfer to Ksar Ghilane by bus for the opening ceremony
  • Arrival in the oasis, accommodation in the tent camp equipped with common
  • Rest rooms and showers
  • Lunch at the camp with local food specialties
  • 3.00 pm opening of the shop “merchandising 100 km del Sahara”
  • 5.00 pm designation of race bib numbers and assignment of tent
  • groups.
  • 6 people per tent
  • Dinner made by the Zitoway staff and overnight stay in the tent of the oasis

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 – 2nd and 3rd stage 26km + 9km (night stage)

  • 7.00 am breakfast and baggage delivery
  • 7.30 am start of walkers
  • 8.30 am start of the 2nd leg
  • Arrival at the camp, open lunch, relax in the afternoon
  • 7.00 pm dinner at the camp
  • 9.00 pm start of the night leg
  • Overnight at the camp

Thursday, May 1, 2014 – 4th stage marathon 42km

  • 6.00 am breakfast and baggage delivery
  • 6.30 am start of walkers
  • 7.00 am start of the 1st group
  • 8.00 am start of the 2nd group
  • 9.00 am start of the 3rd group
  • Arrival at the Hotel****Sahara Douz, end of the race
  • Lunch by the hotel restaurant
  • Relax in the afternoon

Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Wake up and breakfast
  • Transfer to Djerba, lunch at the hotel
  • Afternoon in relax by the pool
  • 8.00 pm dinner in the hotel and slide show of the race/li>
  • Overnight in hotel

Saturday, May 3, 2014

  • Wake up and breakfast
  • Transfer to the Airport of Djerba, on the way free lunch
  • After lunch transfer in airport for the flight back
THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM MAY CHANGE AND IS SUBJECT TO FINAL CONFIRMATION

PRACTICALITIES:

BAGGAGE

The backpack will be the only hand luggage on the plane, which should contain just what is necessary for the race – running shoes, shorts, t-shirt, and survival kitWe have already had an incident where someone’s personal luggage was in delay and they were at risk for not being able to participate in the race. If you have the necessary items in your backpack, you can run with no problem until your baggage arrives.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

  • I.D. is required to go in Tunisia for Italian people.
  • A valid passport is required and no vaccinations are needed at this time. It’s always recommended to check with your Embassy for any travel advisories.
  • A medical certificate issued by a sports medical center facility with a test of physical efforts confirming that the athlete is physically fit for this race is absolutely MANDATORY. Without this certificate, you will not be allowed to participate.
  • No certificate is required for walkers.

RACE CLOTHES

  • Shoes should be suitable for off road running, and should be a little oversized to allow for sore and swollen feet.
  • It is advisable to use gaiters for the sand, but make sure they are good quality and don’t impede performance.
  • If you tend to burn easily in the sun, it is not advisable to wear a singlet or tank top during the race.
  • T-shirts should be made of a suitable anti-sweat material like dryfit, etc.
  • It’s strongly recommended  to bring a Saharan scarf, called a “cechès”, that can be useful to protect nose and mouth in case of wind or sand storm as well as motorcycle glasses.

RACE BACKPACK

For safety reasons it is MANDATORY that participants have a race backpack that contains the following items:

  • A minimum of 1-litre of water (inside the backpack or in flasks around the waist), salt tablets, survival blanket, whistle, lighter and chemical light .
  • A hat, sunglasses, protective sun lotion, a small knife and some Compeed plasters are also recommended.
  • The mandatory equipment may be verified at any moment and if an item is missing a penalty will be immediately applied per regulations.
  • The survival kit can be purchased from the Organisation.

MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

  • A medical certificate issued by a sports medical center facility with a test on physical efforts confirming that the athlete is physically fit for this race is absolutely MANDATORY.
  • No certificate is required for walkers.

SAFETY KIT

For safety reasons it is MANDATORY that participants have a race backpack

that must contain the following items:

  • A minimum of 1-litre of water
  • Salt tablets
  • Survival blanket
  • Whistle and lighter
  • Chemical light
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Protective sun lotion
  • Small knife
  • Compeed plasters

The mandatory equipment may be verified at any moment and if an item is missing a penalty will be immediately applied per regulations.

Test yourself!

If it was easy, anyone would do it… take yourself to a new level, add a new stimulus to your running. The Sahara will not only test your physical parameters but your capacity to control your mind.

Achieve your finish line!

More information or booking here:

GALLERY:

Organisation:

ZITOWAY Sport & Adventure
P.I. 02510760362
Tel. +39 059 359813
Fax +39 059 2920013
Port. + 39 337 573662
Skype: Adrizito

Epic Marathon Camps – Morocco

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Another year will soon be over, it will be January and you will be feeling the effects of all those extra calories and you will realize that you are way behind with your training… yes, Spring is just around the corner and irrespective of your 2014 events distance, your are going to need to kick start your training and get in shape! What better way to get the ball rolling or should I say, the legs running than a week in Morocco.

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Epic Marathon Camps are ideal for runners of all ability and provide the opportunity to train and learn with like-minded individuals in a fantastic location, close to Marrakesh, Morocco.

The foothills of the Atlas Mountains will become your playground. Alice Morrison and Charlie Shepherd will be your hosts for the week along with coaches, Holly Rush and Karl Zeiner.

rsz_prvenuerun3 Combining excellent facilities with superb views and a high level of comfort. The hotel for the week has two swimming pools, a spa, and numerous different areas in which to exercise or relax. The venue’s style and philosophy fits perfectly; to offer a traditional Moroccan experience in comfort and style and with access to some superb scenery that is perfectly suited to physical training.

‘It’s quite simple, both Charlie and myself have entered the Marathon des Sables for 2014. Charlie has great experience of Morocco and has already coordinated multiple camps in the area, it seemed logical that we should extend our portfolio to a run specific camp,’ explained Alice.

Holly Rush is a TeamGB athlete and in 2013 placed 7th lady at the highly competitive Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa. In addition to this, Holly won a Bronze medal at the World Mountain Marathon Championships.

Karl Zeiner recently placed 16th overall at the ‘Ring of Fire’ in the UK and brings an extensive knowledge of marathon and ultra marathon training to the camp.

I asked Holly about her expectations of the camp and what participants can expect…

‘We are specifically targeting runners who want to get away from the January blues at home and get stuck into some focused, specific endurance training with like minded people in beautiful surroundings.’ Holly said with a look of eagerness on her face, ‘The January camps will be a great way to kick start the New Year with a possible eye on a spring marathon or ultra.’

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Morocco is the ideal place to enjoy some winter sun without a long haul flight and yet once you arrive it will feel like you could be in another world. Participants will have the opportunity to train on a variety of surfaces, road, trail, sand and of course hills so every run can be different.

The camp can be as involved as each individual person requires. The team will offer plenty of easy running, all guided of course so that it’s possible to investigate the surroundings. Specific session will be mixed in to the week, threshold, marathon race pace, reps and hill repeats will keep everyone literally on there toes.

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A unique selling point of EMC (Epic Marathon Camps) will be the magnificent location, high-end accommodation and facilities and of course the knowledgeable staff with quality training.

‘The camp will provide the perfect running experience allowing each and every person with one-to-one sessions with Holly and Karl.’ Explained Charlie. ‘It doesn’t stop there… days are based around running, core building, stretching and in the evenings lectures will be available about specific subjects to help progress each participants individual progression in the sport they love. Tired and aching bodies will be eased with in-house massage as required.’

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Running is not only about miles, it is also about the food we eat and how we can enhance food choices so that we become efficient in every aspect of the sport. To that end, a nutritionist will be available for the whole week (a keen runner and cyclist herself) inspirational, balanced and incredible cuisine will be provided. You know you are on to a winner when the chef says, ‘I would never sacrifice taste for calories’.

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Places are limited for the January training camps, January 11th to 18th/ January 19th to 26th.

The price for the all-inclusive week (transfers to-and-from the airport in Morocco, food, soft drinks, laundry and all services from the coaches) will be £1,495 for seven days (excl flights)

Please use the enquiry form below to receive a special £50 discount from the Epic Marathon Camps team.

LINKS

  • Training Camp Dates HERE
  • You can view the website HERE
  • Follow on Twitter @EpicMCamps
  • And ‘Like’ on Facebook ‘Epic Marathon Camps’

*This is an advetorial post on behalf of Epic Marathon Camps

MDS to TCC – Jo Meek Interview

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Who would have thought it, the 2013 Marathon des Sables turned out to be a great year for British performances. Danny Kendall placed the highest ever overall placing with 10th and Jo Meek placed 2nd lady overall. It was a stunning performance by a relatively unknown. Armed with a new belief in her ability, Jo will has now planned to switch from the heat of the Sahara and test herself in the heat and humidity of a Costa Rican rainforest at The Coastal Challenge. I caught up with Jo at the end of August and we had a chat about MDS and her expectations for TCC.

IC I bet April and the Marathon des Sable (MDS) seems such a long time ago?

JM Yes, it does seem ages ago. Considering I am walking now in late August in the pouring rain. It’s wet and miserable… it doesn’t seem that long ago in regard to memories. I just watched the video that was available for download and it brought it all back.

IC So sitting at home, watching everyone running in the sand with a tear in your eye?

JM Definitely no tear, I think I am happy not be running in the sand. I am still surprised how I adapted especially considering I am now at home running on the road again.

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IC Amazing eh that you can be in that environment, the sand, the wind, the bivouac, no washing, you are eating dried food and you adapt and then post race when we got in a luxury hotel, you said, you wished you could go back, you loved it didn’t you! You loved being in that environment. It was preferable to the clean hotel.

JM I did. Yes, I actually think I could be quite a ‘skanky’ person really. I am far happier roughing it than in luxury. I guess it sounds romantic but I like being at one with nature, eating, running and sleeping. Perfect. But I guess the other memory is the one from those clean white cotton sheets; that was quite special.

IC I have to say, the first shower, all that fresh hot water and then all the sand starts to escape from all the nooks and crannies. As you say, no more sleeping bags and a lovely comfy bed, it is quite a pleasure.

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JM My roll matt was about the size of A4 to keep it light and small, so my hip was pretty sore after a week in the bivouac. I have to say the cushioning of a bed was welcome.

IC The Bristh performed really well at MDS. No disrespect to you but we had no idea who Jo Meek was before MDS. We knew Laurence Klein was outright favorite and we knew Meghan Hicks was back, she had performed well previously but outside of that it was all unknown. On the first day you were up at the front and then continued to perform at the front of the race for the whole race. You had this great battle with Meghan. Laurence had a convincing lead but it all fell apart on the long day when she had to drop with dehydration. This opened it up for you and Meghan. Meghan had a great long day but I remember standing on the finish of the final day, it was the marathon distance, you nailed it. You said the marathon was your distance and you wanted to stamp your authority on it. You placed second overall, many look at MDS as one of those iconic mult- day races, how did you go from a relatively unknown to getting second. What was it in you that enabled you to focus and become so efficient in the sand?

JM A few things really. I am very good at setting a training plan and sticking to it. When I race, I always race. I don’t just enter to complete it. So, looking at the conditions I set myself up in a heat chamber and did training that was specific. I didn’t want heat to be an issue so I acclimatized. What was interesting over the six days was that I became less scared of what the heat could do. On the last day I thought, what have I got to loose. I do think back now and wonder could I have gone harder but it was an unknown. I didn’t know what would happen so I played cautious. Meghan taught me a lot without her realizing it. I followed her on a couple of stages and I watched how she tracked across the sand looking for the hard sand, even if it was out of the way. She would deviate and look for the harder and faster sand. Also her style, it’s a definite technique to sand running. You don’t want to be a toe runner.

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IC For sure, you need a flat foot.

JM Yes, you also want to shuffle. You don’t want big strides. A little like being in the army again. I learnt lots. I learnt also from training. I had done some awful ultras that were definitely worse than MDS. One race, a 40-mile race across Exmoor and the weather was awful… they said 40 but it was 43-miles I am sure. The last 3-miles were awful.

IC That can be good, a bad training experience. If you have had some tough and hard training and the race works out easier then that has to be a good thing. It’s a real positive.

JM I had no doubt that I wouldn’t finish the race. I had said that I wanted the podium at MDS but I had no idea what I based that on.

IC To put things in perspective you are a 2:46 marathon runner. Ability and speed are there. Many would die for a 2:46 marathon but also you are in the army. Does the combination of those two things make a good MDS runner?

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JM I think the marathon pace and training was key in terms of the speed. I didn’t have the same endurance as Meghan over the ultra distance. Many of the days were shorter in terms of ultra distance so I knew I had that potential. In terms of tent life and conditions, maybe the army helped but that is me… I like that. The army helped with discipline; eating, drinking and so on… it was feet first, food and then wash. You need to look after yourself.

IC Give us an insight into your background, you are a roadrunner really?

JM Yes, but I do like cross-country. I came second in the Nationals. Essentially I have done road running. I started in my teens to loose weight and then just kept going. I wouldn’t say I have natural talent in terms of speed but I have something that works, particularly over distance.

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IC How long have you been running?

JM 18 years, maybe 20!

IC So you have a great base of running and plenty of experience?

JM Yes. I always thought that maybe I should do ultra earlier and I thought, no rush! Particularly with how you develop with age and aerobic capacity. It seemed like the correct time for MDS. As you know, you don’t just enter MDS you have to enter years in advance.

IC Post MDS you really wanted to improve your marathon time. You put yourself on that path and recently you run a half marathon but you were disappointed with the performance. Many factors can affect a race, a conclusion you have arrived at is that you are now going to pursue trail and ultra running. So, you are going to another multi stage in early 2014 but this time you are going to a Rainforest. It’s a race that I was at earlier in 2013, The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. Also known as the Rainforest Run. What’s the attraction?

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JM I am always very attracted to a country that is hotter than the UK. That is a no brainer! It’s the challenge, the opportunity to compete in something so different. This race I don’t need to carry all my kit, so, unlike the MDS I will be able to just run but admittedly for repeated days. It will be interesting and it should mean I can go faster.

IC The race is very different to MDS. Some things carry over such as the multi day. As you say, you don’t need to carry all your kit but you do need safety kit, food, water and just essentials. But you are correct, all your clothing, tent etc is moved for you and then food is provided. It’s a hot and very humid environment and even when it rains it is not a problem, it is so warm. All the daily campsites are in beautiful idyllic places. It’s such a wonderful environment. It’s a great combination of providing daily challenging runs but with just a touch of comfort. It’s perfect for those who may want an introduction to multi day racing.

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JM In some ways it will feel easier but in an evening you will be able to eat as much as you like and so will the competition, in theory you are all the same come the following day. But at MDS it is about survival and balance. It is more about balancing and economy and how you ration your food and water.

IC The race has so much more elevation than MDS and in particular, the terrain is much more varied. You have single track, double track, rocky sections, forest, dense forest, beautiful beaches and then some tough climbs and descents. The next edition of the TCC celebrates its tenth year so it may have a little more climbing than normal, we shall see? The variety is amazing. If you are lucky, you’ll see wildlife. You hear it but don’t always get to see it.

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JM I’m so excited. I can’t wait. I have some road races to do in the coming months and then I will start my TCC training three months out. I will use a heat chamber again. The heat chamber I used for MDS prep was stuck on 80% humidity so I have an idea of what conditions will feel like and I know what my sweat rate is like.

IC Costa Rica is very humid. It is almost 100% but it is not unpleasant. You really do sweat all the time, particularly when running. You need to be on the ball and balance your hydration.

JM I like it harsh and hard conditions. In some ways, the harder the better.

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IC How do you prepare for a multi day race? In some ways you had to guess for MDS and that worked! So, what do you take away from that experience and what will you do in preparation for TCC. The longest stage is around 50k and not 80k so that will make a difference. As we have said humidity and terrain are the key differences and you won’t need to carry a heavy pack.

JM I will do far hillier off road training. For MDS I had to train with the weight too, however for TCC I will just use essential kit and I will do plenty of back-to-back training at a faster pace. I will try to replicate the race really. In some respects it won’t be too different from my marathon training. The key will be the back-to-back runs..

IC We have so many different ways to look at training. Some runner’s just head out of the door and run on feel. No time set, no distance set. It all goes on feel. Are you like this or do you have a plan that has everything planned out?

JM I work full time so I must have a plan. I don’t have the luxury to say go out and run for three hours when I feel like it. I have commitments. I get up at 05:30 and I do what I can and then I add to this at lunchtime or the evening if required. I make every session count so I fit in threshold running, speed work and so on. I need to be very specific. At weekends I have more time and if I need three days consecutive I take a day off work.

IC Do you do core stability, stretching, strength and core.

JM Oh yes, I am a proper geek when it comes to this. I am a physio too so I have no excuse. I stretch everyday, I do two strength sessions and I do two core sessions per week.

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IC Wow, you are the perfect example for all of us. So often I ask this question and I get a blank answer. We all know we should do it but few of us apply it!

JM I am disciplined and I see the benefits. You have to be disciplined but it still doesn’t stop me getting injuries.

IC Ah well, injury can be caused with so many factors.

JM For me it is usually over doing it or being tired.

IC Yes, distance and speed increase injury risk. Slower and longer has more impact but you don’t overstretch muscles or tendons. Listen to your body and all will be good.

JM I never listen to my own advice… I am lucky, we have a gym at work so it makes strength work easy. If I didn’t have that available it would maybe be harder. I have been strict with this for four to five months and I can feel the difference.

IC TCC is still months away, are you planning on doing any trail races for late season in the build up?

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JM Yes, I love to race. I will enter races, from experience, if I enter races too far in advance I get injured, so I have entered a couple of marathons on the road for training and speed. In December and January I will look for options. Of course, options are reduced and conditions will be a little different to Costa Rica.

IC Late and early season events do crop up specifically designed to help people get ready for MDS so you will have some choice. Final question, many may be reading this and they are going to MDS or they may be tempted by TCC. What advice would you give to these people?

JM It very much depends on what you want to get out of it? I shared a tent at MDS with people who wanted to just complete, they wanted to enjoy the race and that is what they did. Set an objective and train accordingly. Ultimately it is all about fun and enjoyment.

IC If you had to give three tips. Three lessons you learnt at MDS that you would take to any race.

JM Good question. I learnt specifics like running in the sand but I guess the need to watch and keep on top of nutrition. Start eating early and don’t wait. Also, keep any eye on hydration and drink to thirst and then finally enjoyment is key! You must enjoy it.

IC I am sure you’re going to really enjoy TCC and Costa Rica. Many thanks for the time and insight into your progression and have fun in the Rainforest.

JM Thanks, as you say, really looking forward to it. It will be a real adventure.

 Links and information:

  • Marathon Des Sables images available HERE
  • The Coastal Challenge images HERE
  • Entry for the Marathon des Sables is available through the UK agent HERE
  • The Coastal Challenge website HERE

WANT TO RUN THE 2014 COASTAL CHALLENGE?

5% discount available using the form below for followers of iancorless.com

*Please note I will be at the 2014 TCC reporting on the race and capturing images at the invite of the race organisation.

What is Trail Running – ITRA conclusions

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Press release n° 2 July 9th 2013

First conclusions from the ITRA’s five working groups

After the first International Trail-running conference (September 3rd 2012 – Courmayeur – Italy) five working groups were set up to study the five key themes, with the aim of trying to determine, in the long or short term, the convergent lines of conduct between the players of trail-running. Fifty volunteers, manufacturers, race organisers, journalists, trainers, athletes, federations… from thirteen countries and five continents answered present and positioned themselves around the virtual internet table.

After working for two months, each group, uniting their cultures and their points of view to accompany this discipline in full evolution, drafted the first conclusions of their exchanges. The first fundamental points were based of an ethics of the practice of the trail-running with the objective of federating the players
The comprehensive texts are posted on the ITRA web-site: http://www.trail-running-association.org/focus-groups/

• A definition of trail-running: above all « an open country race »

At the end of long discussions where the diversity of points of view of the different countries were expressed, all the members of the working group formed a definition of trail-running and its categories. The Trail-running is defined as a running race, open to everybody, in a natural environment (mountains, desert, forest, on the plain…). Ideally but not necessarily, it takes place on a minimum of tarred roads (20% of the race) and in semi or total autonomy. It must be correctly way-marked and organised respecting the rules of sport: ethics, loyalty, solidarity and conservation of the environment.

A classification of trail-running races is given:

• Less than 42 kilometres: Trail
• Above 42 kilometres: Trail Ultra

Trail Ultra Medium (M): 42 km to 69 km
Trail Ultra Long (L): 70 km to 99 km
Trail Ultra XLong (XL): superior or equal to 100 km

• An ethical charter based on simple and powerful rules

This group is committed to forming the values common to all the players of a same discipline. On no account is this a call to uniformity, this charter leaves everybody the freedom to express their attachment to the spirit of trail-running in agreement with their culture and their sensibilities and it proposes:
« Surpassing oneself and investigating one’s physical and mental abilities in contact with a beautiful and sometimes rough nature.

The pleasure of running, without necessarily focussing on the search for performance, even if this does not prevent one being proud of one’s final position.
To share one’s passion and emotions with runners and volunteers.
To experience the pride of being a finisher.

Mutual aid to finish, and to share the emotion of crossing the finish line together at the end of several hours of effort.
Sharing a great moment of conviviality with all the players of an event.
Feeling united…

To hear the great champions’ testimonies of respect for the performances of the anonymous runners… » This charter identifies five fundamental values which are authenticity, humility, fair-play, equity and respect: it specifies their sense in the context of trail-running and the rules which ensue from them for all the players.

• A balanced relationship to be protected for the Management of the top athletes

This group worked on the framework of the relationship between organisers, high level athletes and equipment manufacturers regarding commitment premiums, payment of expenses, podium premiums and their parity and the services offered to the runners. If trail-running attracts an increasingly important economy, it defends a spirit of humility, fraternity and equity, an ethic far from the excesses seen in certain sports, which must be maintained.

So, even if the debate is still open, a number of recommendations were developed and proposed:
- The race revenue must in priority be invested in the improvement of the race organisation from the point of view of security and first-aid/rescue, the routes and way-marking, refreshments…
Additional funds have to allow for the development of other services connected to communication and possibly to assigning a budget to the reception of and rewarding the best runners.
- Commitment premiums met with opposition from the members of this group.
- The wish, was aired, to limit the podium premiums and the bearing of travel and lodging costs to 10% of the registration budget without exceeding the sum of 15 000 €. It does not however seem possible to propose such a rule because, due to its character, it is difficult to control.
- On the other hand the group is in agreement on the strict respect of parity of the amount of the premiums men/women while admitting that a different number of men and women may be rewarded according to their relative representation in the race.
- It is proposed that the agreement of a premium is correlated to performance and is given to the athletes having a difference in time less than 10 % of that of the winner.
- In the assistance zones, the conditions must be the same for all, elite and non-elite.
- As for authorisation of « pacers* », it is left to the decision of the organisers depending on their culture and particular difficulties of the terrain, notably if this helps to improve security.
* Person who accompanies the runner on part of the race.

• Common interior rules for better health policy and anti-doping fight

With the objective of proposing a «Health Policy» for the main part to guarantee the good physical health of the participants in trail-running events, the members of this group suggest to event organisers who are members of the ITRA, an interior regulation of twelve points which, in the view of transparency in the transmission of information, has the ambition of reinforcing the existent medical supervision.

This text plans, on behalf of the organisers, the commitment to inform the participants about the current national and international regulations regarding health matters and regarding the anti-doping fight, to establish a medical Counsel and to make it compulsory for the competitors to declare, to the medical Counsel, all prescriptions which are subject to a TUE* and to agree to accept to give any urinary, blood or capillary samples and associated analyses requested by the medical counsel. The latter can summon an athlete to discuss with them their ability, or not, to participate in the competition, and may after the interview, propose that the race jury exclude them from the competition.
One point suggests the creation of a personal page for runners who are referenced by the ITRA where they invited to post their TUEs and analysis results
The ITRA makes a commitment to put at organisers’ disposal the technical assistance and the necessary know-how to apply this regulation, with financial coverage.
* Therapeutic usage exemption.

• An international ITRA ranking in trial phase

It will not be until the International Trail-Running Association and its board are formed, that a commission responsible for international ranking is created to define the precise rules. In the mean time, the working group has compiled an annual international ranking based, at present, on more than 2 500 races and around 300 000 runners world-wide. In the internal trial phase, this ranking has been established for each of the 4 categories

defined (Trail, Trail Ultra M, L, XL) and is available by gender and/or country.

The principal of the ranking

A calculation of points for each race is established according to time taken compared with the distance and to the height gain, with the possibility of a coefficient for difficulty.
This calculation Time-Distance-Height gain, called Maximum Theoretic Performance (MTP), has a maximal value of 1000 points.

According to their results the runner will be attributed a proportion of the 1000. So their best results of the year are retained and added, for each of the trail categories, and give a championship style ranking.
For each runner, a performance index is also calculated from the results of their best 5 races, by category or all distances together, with the results of the current year and the two previous years. In the case where there are not a sufficient number of races, a statistical calculation is then made from the known results to estimate their value.

This performance index reflects the value of a runner over the last 36 months and it has already been published.

• The next stage: creation of the International Trail-Running Association

The International Trail-Running Association is at present pursuing the study and the establishment of its statutes and will be officially created by the end of July.
Open to all players in the field of trail-running it aims:

  • -  to develop and promote trail-running as a complete sport, accessible to all;
  • -  to promote its sporting ethic;
  • -  to represent its members at an international level;
  • -  to maintain constructive relationships and to collaborate with national trail-running associations, and

    national and international federations;

  • -  to promote the organisation of continental or world trail-running championships;
  • -  to contribute to the improvement of security and the health of the participants.

     

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Darkness to light – Marathon des Sables

Water splashed over the large brimmed hat, Gilles poured and poured on Didier’s head to help reduce his temperature. Droplets floated in the air like stars in space and as they made contact they exploded with dramatic effect.

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Dried salt on cheeks and lips disappeared but moments later re-appeared as the searing 50+ degree temperatures evaporated the water that continued to pour.

It was very early on in the longest stage of the 28th edition of the Marathon des Sables. It was midday. Gilles and Didier had only dented the distance needed to be covered before the 34-hour cut off would be imposed.

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Moving onward, Didier embraced Gilles arm for stability. A very sore and enflamed right knee could give way at any moment. Gilles as ever, faithful to the cause provided the support and self-sacrifice to ensure that Didier’s journey to the line was safe and as trouble free as possible.

Twelve hours after the start, darkness approached and with it some food and rest. With a new lease of life the two continued into 13 km of relentless dunes that reached two to three meters in height. In the distance a green laser shows Gilles the direction he needs to go. Didier follows, two become one and as the sun rises and the heat returns, victory and the opportunity to fight another day seems possible.

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From the finish line I see two shadows on the horizon. It is 1600 in the afternoon. The warriors have been on the trail for 32-hours. Tired, weary and emotional they approach the line. I see Didier’s tattoo glisten in the scorching light. An MDS logo on his arm with nine stars around it, a star for every MDS finish. Next to the 9th, a space, would he obtain that 10th star at the 2013 edition of the race?

In the final meters to the line you can hear the shouts from MDS staff,  “Bravo Gilles”, a marshal shouts “Allez Didier” and then the clapping and whoop whooping starts. It’s done, they cross the line an incredible 75.7 km’s completed over some of the most demanding conditions possible.

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Didier falls into the arms of Gilles in an embrace similar to a small child who has just found a lost mother. Tears stream down his face as he sobs uncontrollably. Gilles, all smiles, pulls away and kisses him on each cheek with a passion seldom seen. It’s a moment I will never forget. It epitomized all that the Marathon des Sables represents. It shows a bond between two people and confirms all that is good and pure in human nature.

You see, this is no ordinary achievement, Gilles is a guide and Didier is blind.

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The Brits are coming…! Marathon des Sables 2013

You can read the full article and see images of Danny and Jo on RUN247 HERE

Marathon des Sables – a race in images

A portfolio of selected imagery from the 28th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables is now on line in individual galleries for each day.

Please follow the links for each gallery.

Before the race – link HERE

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Stage one – Link HERE

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Stage Two – Link HERE

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Stage Three – Link HERE

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Stage Four – Link HERE

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Stage Five – Link HERE

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Stage Six (non-competitive charity stage) – Link HERE

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