Iznik Ultra 2014 – Race Summary

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British runners dominate the Iznik Ultra race series, Iznik, Turkey.

Located just 2-hours away from Istanbul, Iznik is very much a quiet holiday resort for those in the know. Situated on an idyllic lake, the town comes to life as the Iznik Series of races arrive in town. The idea of Caner Odabasoglu (a keen ultra runner himself) and now in its 3rd edition, the races is very much a highlight of the Turkish racing season.

Offering 4-race distances, 130km, 80km, a classic marathon and a 10km, Caner and his team from MCR Racesetter have provided an opportunity for all. The 130km race is the longest single stage ultra in Turkey and therefore it appeals and has a loyal following from the ever-growing Turkish ultra running community.

In just 3-years, the races have grown in numbers. US ultra runner Amy Sproston raced the 80km in 2013 and set a new CR proving that interest and international appeal in Iznik and ultra running in Turkey is on the up! In 2014 a strong British contingent crossed the channel and joined runners from France, China, South Africa, Germany, Australia and New Zealand making the races a truly international event. Arriving in Bursa prepared for a stunning weekend of racing; the race or the racing didn’t disappoint.

130K

Marcus Scotney Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Marcus Scotney Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

On the stroke of midnight in Iznik Square, participants ventured out onto a clockwise loop of Iznik Lake. The harder and more challenging part of the course, the first 60km would run in darkness, whilst the flatter and far more runnable sections would be taken in daylight. From the off runners separated with a small lead pack pushing the pace. However, Marcus Scotney (Montane) and Akin Yeneceli forged ahead and opened up a convincing lead ahead of John Bayne from New Zealand by the 11km mark. At cp1, Edwards arrived first closely followed by runner after runner. Something was wrong and it soon became clear that our front two runners had gone off course.

Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

By the time they arrived well over 30-minutes had elapsed and Scotney had visible and vocal frustration at the dilemma, ‘That’s it, it’s all ruined now… what a waste!’ What followed was a master class in pacing and distance running, one-by-one, Scotney moved his way up the field using each runner ahead as a carrot. Closing the gap to 26-mins, 22-mins, and 16-mins and by the time he arrived at the 60-km mark Marcus was 4th with 6-mins to catch up. All the early protagonists who had set the early pace had faded whereas Scotney had become stronger and stronger. The big question mark would be could he hold on? Chasing Yavuz and Ivanovski from Macedonia, Scotney eventually took the lead of the race and never looked back. A course record had always been on Scotney’s mind and his wish came true, despite an epic detour, he arrived in Iznik 12 –hours, 53-minutes and 59-seconds later. The effort of his endeavor was clear to see. Mahmut Yavuz retained local celebrity status with 2nd place and Zhikica Ivanovski placed 3rd.

©iancorless.com.IMG_5480IZNIK2014

The ladies race was a low-key affair with just 3-entrants. Previous 130km winner, Elena Polyakova would not defend her title after injury issues and therefore decided to race the marathon. This provided an open stage for local ultra runner and legend, Bakiye Duran to shine. Shine she did! Bakiye covered the course from start to finish in the lead with only Svetiana Ivanovski to worry about.

  1. Marcus Scotney (Montane) 12:53:59 new CR
  2. Mahmut Yavuz 13:11:55
  3. Zhikica Ivanovski 13:53:41
  1. Bakiye Duran 19:09:39
  2. Svetiana Stojanoska 22:27:08

80k

Jo Meek Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek (Scott Running) and Tracy Dean (inov-8) set a blistering pace in the 80km race. Dean leading Meek over the first 10km with just a 1-min lead but at cp1, Meek took over the lead and never relinquished it. Dean pursued all day keeping Meek in her sights never allowing the gap to grow beyond 1-2 mins. However, stomach issues struck for Dean and post race she went on to say that she continually felt as though she was struggling and never felt comfortable. Meek however had her blinkers on and was pushing not only for the outright win but a new course record, a record set by Amy Sproston!

Aykut Celikbas Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Aykut Celikbas Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Aykut Celikbas (very much a pioneer of the Turkish ultra scene) had chased the dynamic duo of Dean and Meek all day and eventually moved into 2nd place after Dean dropped at 60-km.

Tracy Dean Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Tracy Dean Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Meek ran like a woman possessed, without doubt she is currently one of the most exciting prospects in the UK ultra running scene as her 2nd place at the 2013 Marathon des Sables and her victory at the 2014 The Coastal Challenge confirms. In the final 10km with flat trail and road, Meek pushed and crossed the line in sub 7-hours blasting the old CR to a new level. Celikbas and Kara placed 2nd and 3rd but the day belonged to Meek.

With Dean out of the race, Yasemin Goktas and Ayse Beril Basliail took 2nd and 3rd places in the female race. 

  1. Jo Meek (Scott Running) 6:52:17 new CR first lady and first overall
  2. Aykut Celikbas 7:41:34
  3. Firat Kara 7:46:07 (tbc)
  1. Jo Meek (Scott Running)
  2. Yasemin Goktas 9:45:34
  3. Ayse Beril Basliqil 9:54:45

Marathon

Robbie Britton Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Robbie Britton Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Taking the front of the race in the opening meters, Robbie Britton (inov-8) continued to extend his lead over the opening km’s and never looked back. Running strong with a permanent smile on his face, Britton reveled in the warmth of a sunny Turkish day and put to good use all his training of the past month on the island of La Palma in preparation for Transvulcania.

Benoit Laval Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Benoit Laval Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Benoit Laval (Raidlight) was Britton’s closest rival but it soon became clear, as each checkpoint came, that Britton was continually extending his lead the only question mark; what margin would he win by? On the line, Britton set a new CR of 3:08:19, a great time for a hilly and undulating marathon. Laval placed 2nd in 3:30:38 and Duygun Yurteri 3rd just over 1-min later 3:31:56.

Elenya Polyakova Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Elenya Polyakova Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Elena Polyakova is an ever-present runner at the Iznik series of races and a previous 130km champion. Due to injury, Polyakova decided to play safe and run the marathon, however, her class shone and not only did she place 4th overall but she had a convincing victory ahead of Aysen Solak and Brit, Helen Southcott in 3rd.

  1. Robbie Britton (inov-8) 3:08:19 new CR
  2. Benoit Laval (Raidlight) 3:30:38
  3. Duygun Yurteri 3:31:56
  1. Elena Polyakova 3:47:26
  2. Aysen Solak 3:51:01
  3. Helen Southcott 4:14:07

10k

Robbie Britton (inov-8) and Tracy Dean (inov-8) not content with racing in the 80km and marathon distances also towed the line for the 10km fun run the following day and both topped the podiums, Britton running a solid 34-min was impressive after his marathon exploits just 24-hours earlier.

©iancorless.com.IMG_5488IZNIK2014

Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Results: HERE

RACE IMAGES HERE

All images credit ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Laurence Klein, top-10 tips for the Marathon des Sables

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Laurence Klein (FRA) is a triple winner of the Marathon des Sables; 2007, 2011 and 2012. In 2013, Laurence returned to the Sahara looking for a 4th crown. Running a strong and dominant race, Laurence looked invincible, however, on the long-day she suffered from the heat and was forced to withdraw from the race with dehydration opening the door for Meghan Hicks (USA) to take the lead and win the 28th edition of the race.

We can all learn and here, Laurence provides her top-10 tips for the MDS.

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1/ RUNNING IN THE SAND

“Though sand is omnipresent along the Marathon des Sables course, you don’t just run in dunes. You also traverse stony zones, lunar landscapes and djebels. It’s important not to forget that detail in your preparation… To avoid getting tired, it’s also important to read the terrain you’re not used to. On large dunes for example, it’s best to run along the ridges and try to carve out your own wake so that you don’t sink into the sand as much. On the dunettes however, it’s easier to run in the tracks left by other competitors so as to use their footsteps like stairs. Finally, in the “fesh-fesh” (fine sand that looks like solid ground but behaves like soft mud), you really have to try to be as light on your feet as possible when you run.”

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2/ AVOIDING BLISTERS

“Gaiters are essential in preventing sand from filtering through into your socks too much and causing large blisters. Those who are sensitive to them can also prepare their feet in the run- up to the event, by hardening them with special products or citric acid. On a personal level, I recommend choosing a suitable trail shoe, one or two sizes bigger than your usual town shoe, because feet tend to swell with the heat. Added to that, it goes without saying that when you have blisters, it immediately becomes a lot more painful to put your shoes back on with an additional layer of bandages if you’re already bordering on the limit of your shoe size.”

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3 / HYDRATE REGULARLY

“Dehydration is one of the biggest risks in the desert. It’s imperative you don’t forget this and force yourself to systematically drink the water offered by the organisation, taking small, regular sips during the race and in the evening when you get into the bivouac. During this event, you also loose a lot of salt. As such it’s essential you remember to take the salt tablets supplied by the organisation and plan a diet rich in mineral salts.”

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4/ PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN

“Avoid wearing dark clothing in the desert as it tends to retain heat. Instead, opt for light clothing and white caps, which reflect the light. It can also be very useful to keep a buff around the neck or the wrist, which you can moisten from time to time to freshen up and bring down your core temperature. The best thing is not to remove too much clothing, but not to wear too much either… and to protect oneself from the sun’s rays using a very good suncream.”

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5/ A LIGHT, BALANCED BAG

“When you pack your bag, don’t forget that you have to add to it the litre and a half of extra water supplied by the organisation throughout the event… As such a bag weighing around 7 kilos is ideal. You also need to think about correctly distributing the weight between the front pack and the backpack, so as to remain balanced and avoid placing all the bag’s weight on your kidneys. Personally, I recommend putting everything at the front that will be of use to you during the day, energy bars, water, roadmap, compass, salt tablets, etc. That way you don’t have to unpack your bag to retrieve something that’s located at the back.”

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6 / GET SOME REST

“It’s very important to get some good rest and sleep well. For this, don’t disregard the comfort of your sleeping bag and opt for a sleeping bag suited to temperatures of around zero. Indeed, even though it rarely gets cooler than that, the temperature range between day and night remains pretty significant and you can soon get cold. For the evening, the majority of runners use painters’ overalls, which keep out the cold and the wind, but you can also get very fine, very light technical clothing with long sleeves.”

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7/ EAT PROPERLY

“Whether you opt for freeze-dried meals or simpler food with a rice, pasta, couscous or mashed potato base, the most important thing is to have a good distribution between protein, which are used to repair the muscles that are in such heavy demand during exertion, carbohydrates, which enable you to quickly restore your energy and speed up the body, and fats, which are essential for the body to work efficiently; especially with this type of exertion where you dig deep into your store of fat. Similarly, don’t think twice about stepping up a little on the organisation’s requisite minimum daily dose of 2,000 calories a day.”

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8/ FINDING ONE’S BEARINGS

“Aside from some of the dunes, where you do need to know how to use a compass to keep on course, the risks of getting lost are virtually non-existent. Indeed the marking is very well done by the organisation throughout the course and there’s substantial monitoring of the runners by the race stewards. However that’s no reason not to learn to use a compass before taking off for Morocco!”

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9/ MANAGING ONE’S EFFORT

“The Marathon des Sables is a long race. As such you need to spread out your effort with the passing days and, most importantly, you mustn’t set off too quickly on the first leg. Instead take the time to adapt to the different terrains you will encounter. You should also think about saving your energy so that you aren’t too tired when it comes to the long stage on the 4th day. To do this, think about getting some good rest in the evening as soon as you return to the bivouac.”

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10/ LIFE IN THE BIVOUAC

“Life in the bivouac is very important. To really make the most of it, I advise you not to bring along your mobile phone so you can fully benefit from each and every moment. Indeed, a whole life and sense of solidarity takes shape within it… The runners are divided up into tents of eight people and they very quickly encourage and support one another and eat together… You have to learn to be generous within it and not get annoyed, remaining open to others. The MDS is a large family. There’s a big communion between the runners and you have to know how to respect that.”

 Read a preview of the 2014, 29th Marathon des Sables HERE

Follow the race at http://www.iancorless.com and on Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE

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All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

2014 SKYRUNNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – Entry Guidelines

ENTRY GUIDELINES

2014 SKYRUNNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

June 27-29, 2014, Chamonix, France

2014-world-champs

The 2014 Skyrunning World Championships sold out in days! However, don’t despair. Places are available, 18 in total, across all three disciplines, VKSKY and ULTRA based on ISF World Ranking Points or experience/ results for 2012 and 2013 in the SWS (Skyrunner World Series).

The 2014 Skyrunning World Championships will comprise three Skyrunning disciplines:

  • Vertical Kilometer®
  • SkyMarathon®
  • Ultra SkyMarathon®
©iancorless.com
©iancorless.com

OPEN ENTRY

Entry is open to individual athletes, teams and nations. As you will know, all three races are NOW FULL however, we are able to offer 6-places in each race (18-places in total)

RANKING

− Titles and medals will be awarded to individuals and nations

− Individuals will be ranked in each race

− The Combined World Champion title is based on the best results of the

Vertical Kilometer® & SkyMarathon®

− National ranking will be based on the best results of three men and one woman of each nation across all three disciplines

©iancorless.com
©iancorless.com

ENTRIES

− 2 entries are reserved for each ISF Member Nation

− 2 entries are reserved for 2013 National Skyrunning Champions (in countries where they exist)

− 2 entries per nation are reserved for athletes included in the top 100 of the 2013 ISF World Ranking

 

Skyrunninguk will allocate places to those runners who have participated in the Skyrunner World Series in 2013 and 2012 and preference will be given to athletes who appear in the ISF World Ranking available HERE

SLOTS ARE AVAILABLE (based on ISF Ranking) as follows:

ULTRA

  1. Ian Sharman
  2. Ricky Lightfoot
  3. Iain Ridgway
  4. Claire Price
  5. Lizzie Wraith

Special consideration – Stuart Air

*Places available on merit and experience

©iancorless.com
©iancorless.com

SKY

  1. Rob Simpson
  2. Joe Symonds
  3. Oli Johnson
  4. Anna Lupton
  5. Tessa Hill
  6. Jasmin Paris

Reserves: Hector Haines, Carl Bell, Ricky Lightfoot, Karl Gray, Rob Jebb, Samuel Tosh, Emma Clayton, Angela Mudge

VK

  1. Robbie Simpson
  2. Tessa Hill

*Places available based on merit and previous experience

If you would like to accept a place or enquire about an opportunity to race, please email skyrunninguk@yahoo.co.uk

Any available places will be offered based on experience and past performances in Skyrunning races/ results.

INFO:

World Championships - HERE

Race Website - HERE

 

Middlefell Fell Race #inov8retreat – Wasdale, English Lakes

Day 2 of the inov-8 athlete retreat and after a morning of discussing new products (apparel, shoes and packs) for 2015, the inov-8 team and support staff travelled to Nether Wasdale for Middlefell Fell Race.

Covering 6.6-miles, runners climb to 1,700-feet on an out and back course in the heart of the English Lakes.

Dashing along roads, tracks and fields for approximately 2-miles, after Greendale, runners branched left and and started the ascent following the Wasdale route but after a short sharp and steep climb, the route then branches right at a natural fork and then ascends to the summit of  Middlefell. It’s an out and back route so after turning at the cairn at the summit, runners re trace back to the start.

David Schneider ©iancorless.com

David Schneider ©iancorless.com

Wasdalefell is normally a small fell race, but today, an influx of inov-8 athletes almost doubled the numbers and the pace! With a strong representation from the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Catalonia, France and the Basque country, this small fell race became a truly International affair.

Erik Haugsnes ©iancorless.com

Erik Haugsnes ©iancorless.com

Pre-race discussions had been all about who would take the win and how would ‘Skyrunners‘ from Switzerland, Norway and Catalonia fair against out-and-out fell runner’s?

Aritz Egea ©iancorless.com

Aritz Egea ©iancorless.com

With the flat early 2-miles over, it was great to see, Swiss runner, David Schneider leading Baque, Artiz Eregea in the early stages, This strong European representation was also backed up with Erik Haugsnes from Norway. Tom Addison and Orlando Edwards was leading the ‘local’ attack and were closely followed by Gary Priestley and Morgan Connelly.

Early morning low lying mist had lifted leaving a relatively clear day, with light winds and a bite in the air. The push to the summit was followed with a turn and quad busting descent.

Orlando Edwards ©iancorless.com

Orlando Edwards ©iancorless.com

Orlando was first to appear setting a relentless pace. Looking cool, calm and relaxed; he was giving a masterclass of fell running descending. Erik Haugsnes from Norway followed, closely pursued by Artiz Egea, Tom Addison and David Schneider.

Unfortunately, a wrong turn by Orlando on his way back to the finish messed up his race! Erik followed Orlando but soon realised his error and re-joined the course. With Aritz now in the lead, Erik and Tom followed and with 1km to go, Tom made his move and took out the win ahead of Aritz and Erik.

The ladies race had less runners participating in contrast to the men’s race. Sharon Taylor was a convincing leader from the start and finessed a clear leader ahead of Hazel Robinson and Lyn Thompson.

In true fell running fashion, the race finished at a pub and was followed with a beer and quality plate of local food.

It was a great day! A small quality race unfolded on the fells of Wasdale, and just as we all had appeared from nowhere, within just a few hours, we all disappeared again.

Julien Chorier joins COMPRESSPORT®

*Press Release

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved, no reproduction please

Julien CHORIER will sport the COMPRESSPORT® colours at this week-end’s TransGrancanaria 125K Ultra Trail in the Canary Islands.

A former competitive cyclist, Julien started trail running in 2007 and never looked back.
Winner of the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (UTMF) in 2012, two times winner of the Grand Raid de la Reunion, winner of the Hardrock 100 2011 and the 2013 winner of the Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord (Ronda dels Cims), Julien Chorier has become one of the best ultra-trail runner in the World.
When he’s not running, he can be found cycling or skiing in the French Alps where he resides.

Julien will benefit from the COMPRESSPORT® technologies with:

- Compression garments during the effort in training, and for recovery after the races. – Trail Running garments to race in the best possible conditions
- Pro Racing Socks for improved foot proprioception and comfort

Julien tested Compressport products during his pre-season training and his return was unanimous.

He chose COMPRESSPORT® for:
- Its technical know-how and the specific conception techniques used to develop the products – The consistency of the products’ quality 100% Made in Europe
- The reactivity of the COMPRESSPORT’s staff to his speci�ic demands.

“I’m thrilled to be once again an ambassador of Compressport, a company that thrives on helping athletes to improve their performance, enhance their recovery & to help them travel in the best possible conditions.” said Julien.

This partnership will enable a close collaboration between COMPRESSPORT’s R&D team and Julien in order to develop performance and recovery compression apparel and socks.
His expertise and experience will add to the rapidly developing collection.

An exciting 2014 awaits for Julien when he will return to Hardrock 100 in the USA and Diagonale des Fous in Reunion Island.

Links:

Compressport – HERE

Julien Chorier – HERE

Julien Chorier & Hoka One One Transgrancanaria

all images ©iancorless.com no reproduction or copying please

Julien Chorier and Hoka One One team mates (Caroline Chaverot & Pascal Blanc) freed up some time to head out on the trails of Gran Canaria and allowed me the opportunity to capture some images ahead of the 2014 The North Face Transgrancanaria.

  • Julien Chorier can be found at - HERE
  • Caroline Chaverot – HERE
  • Pascal Blanc – HERE
  • Hoka One One - HERE
  • Hoka One One Pro Team - HERE

Skyrunner® goes nationwide

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Ten years on and the Skyrunner® World Series goes nationwide. The successful 15-race model with three distances, Vertical, Sky and Ultra, will be reproduced, where possible, in many ISF member countries, which currently count 27.

Earlier last year, France was the first country to launch the Skyrunner® National Series which includes some of the best races in the country in the 42 km to 80 km range.  USA followed in December with a full calendar featuring five Sky, five Ultra and four Verticals.

National Series Logo

South Africa launched with three SkyMarathons and the new, much acclaimed Lesotho Ultra Trail in November.  Two more races are to be announced.

The UK as we know, lacks the higher altitude common to skyrunning, but it lacks nothing of the tough, challenging courses that have produced skyrunning stars of the highest level.  The first race announced earlier this month has 4,000m of vertical gain over 80 km – enough to satisfy even the most demanding Skyrunner.

Today, Italy, birthplace of skyrunning, announces their calendar, which perfectly reproduces the World Series format with five races in each discipline – Vertical, Sky and Ultra. In a country that boasts over 120 affiliated races and 90 associations, the calendar is spoilt for choice.  The National Series was created to mirror the SWS format and includes some of the country’s top races, such as the Giir di Mont, the Trans D’Havet (last year’s European Ultra Championships) and the Cervino Vertical K, where the first Vertical Kilometer took place 20 years ago at the foot of the Matterhorn.  The Italian Championships (one race per discipline), will be announced at the end of the month.

The concept of launching National Series lies in promoting the skyrunning philosophy at grass roots level and to offer runners in many different countries an opportunity to experience the skyrunning concept on home ground – to participate in well-organised, quality events with the passionate support of organisers and supporters; to enjoy spectacular courses that embody the skyrunning spirit; to push themselves further and higher on challenging terrain; to enjoy strong competition and, to reap the rewards of race and Series’ prize money.  The winners of each Series will win a place in the 2014 World Series finals (or the first 2015 races) together with travel contributions and other benefits.

Particularly welcome has been the response from National Series organisers to create races and circuits that reflect the spirit and the values of skyrunning and where, no doubt, future stars will emerge.

 Other National Series are in the pipeline, starting with one of skyrunning’s most important countries for both races and runners, Spain and Andorra.

Following on will be announcements from Australia & New Zealand, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Russia…

Skyrunner® France Series

Skyrunner® USA Series

iRunFar - an in-depth article on the US Series launch

Skyrunner® South Africa Series

Skyrunner® UK Series

Spain’s Carreraspormontana - report

Skyrunner® Italy Series

Julien Chorier joins Hoka One One

Julien Chorier iancorless.com

Winner of the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (UTMF) in 2012, two times winner of the Grand Raid de la Reunion, winner of the Hardrock 100, 2011 and the 2013 winner of the Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord (Rond dels Cims), representing the Salomon International Team, Julien Chorier has decided on a new venture for 2014 signing a new contract with Hoka One One.

Julien, the consummate professional has always been attentive to technological advances and has been sensitive to the ambitions and the sensitivities offered by Team Hoka.

Julien Chorier iancorless.com

Signing a three year contract, Julien has decided to offer impetus to his passion for trail running and will act as ‘Team Captain’. In parallel, Julien will also participate in the development of the Hoka trail community in Europe.

An exciting 2014 awaits for Julien when he will return to Hardrock 100. It proves to be an exciting edition of the race with arguably the best field ever assembled.

Julien Chorier iancorless.com

“After great years in the Salomon team, I thank with my heart for all the support and advice given during these years , I have decided to give a new impetus to my career providing myself with a very important challenge: to race and test myself on new trails , create innovative dynamics in the Hoka team, to make my contribution to product development
and develop a Hoka community in Europe. Hoka honours, both athletically and professionally; my contract offers new opportunities to live my passion for trail . The desire to always innovate and move forward , the stated priority to draw naturally from the requirement of the highest level , involving me full in product development are all factors that convinced me of this new challenge.”

Without doubt, this new departure for Julien will provide exciting moments on the trails of Europe and of course, worldwide.

I personally still think back in awe and wonder at Julien’s performance at Ronda dels Cims in Andorra, 2013. It was a consummate performance of a professional in the form of his life, dominating a race from the front.

Bonne chance Julien!

Links:

 

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica, 2014 – 4 weeks and counting

TCC 2014 ©iancorless.com

Four weeks today The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica will start. Celebrating ten glorious years, the 2014 edition of the race will arguably be the most competitive in the races history.

Kicking off the 2014 racing season, runners from all over the world will assemble in Quepos for an exhilarating journey along the Costa Rican coast and within the rain forests of this exciting and idilic land.

Unprecedented in the races history, an elite line up of runners will toe the line featuring:

  • Anna Frost (New Zealad) – Salomon International
  • Nick Clark (UK) – Pearl Izumi
  • Julia Bottger (Germany) – Salomon
  • Philipp Reiter Germany) – Salomon International
  • Michael Wardian (USA) – Hoka One One
  • Jo Meek (UK) – tbc

The words are still ringing true in my ears, ‘the tenth edition of The Coastal Challenge is going to be special, very special indeed’.

Rodrigo Carazo and Tim Holmstrom from the TCC organisation have quite a race lined up!

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In addition, Gemma Slaughter, 2013 female winner of the TCC will return to defend her title. Without doubt, Gemma will find the 2014 race very different to 2013. However, she does have experience and knowledge of what this race can bring; from a physical and mental perspective. I will be catching up with Gemma in the coming week for an interview on how she feels, how training has gone and what are her expectations for the 10th edition.

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Frosty‘Costa Rica is exotic to me. A place I have never been but it intrigues me with images of its beautiful coast lines, native bush that seems a little bit like home (NZ) to me and the bright clear blue sea that is so luring. So when I heard there was a stage race that covers this coastline I wanted to know more.’

pierce-mike-running1

Wardian‘I definitely enjoy the challenges of multi-day races as there are a lot of factors to account for besides just running and that intrigues me and inspires me. I think of all the things I learned in my previous outings at multi day races; to be as light as possible and balance your energy expenditure throughout the race but also, and this is a little contrarian, but to push more than you think possible because it is possible to recover quicker than you think. I also, take care of the small things because over a week of racing they can make all the difference.’

nickclarkls50_2012

Clarky‘I actually haven’t been to Costa Rica before. Last year I raced in Nicaragua at the Fuego y Agua 100k. Nonetheless, I’m sure conditions will be much the same. Coming from mid-winter in Colorado, the transition to 95+ degree heat and high humidity in Central America is very tough, but I felt like I handled it decently last year. January and February have always been base-building months for me as I prepare for goal races in the summer, so I definitely won’t be sharp, but any time I toe a start line I have my race face on. That will be the case in Costa Rica for sure, especially as it looks like there will be good competition to race against.’ 

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Reiter – ‘It sounds like a great adventure to me. Running eight days in the jungle, crossing rivers, hopefully seeing some wild and dangerous animals, sleeping in a tent-village and of course tasting some new food and local specialties. Running is such a great sport that we can all experience, I am really excited to share the trails with others who are equally passionate. It’s what I love and want to experience.’

Julia Bottger ©iancorless.com

Bottger – ‘I have never been to Costa Rica before. I am really excited to see the trails and landscape over there. The climate will be very different, the terrain and of course the culture and people. It is just a very nice mix of a lot of new things and impressions. I have never done a multi day race like this before; sleeping in tents next to the beach in a foreign country, spending some days with great people and becoming a “family”. It’s going to be really exciting’

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Meek - ‘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, admittedly for repeated days. It will be interesting and it should mean I can go faster.’

The stage is set!

I will be reporting live ‘daily’ from the race and posting each evening a synopsis of the action with images (connections allowing).

Follow on FacebookHERE Twitter: @talkultra and of course on this website.

If you’d like to read more about The Coastal Challenge, here are my links to the 2013 (9th edition).

SUMMARY of the 2013 edition of the race – HERE

Images from the TCC – HERE

The Coastal Challenge on RUN247HERE

The Coastal Challenge on TrailRunnerHERE

The Coastal Challenge in Spanish TrailChileHERE

Daily Blog posts from the 2013 edition of the race:

Kilian Jornet – Summits of my Life – Mont Blanc

Image ©kilianjornet ©summitsofmylife

Image ©kilianjornet ©summitsofmylife

Nº2 2013: EUROPEAN SUMMITS – MONT-BLANC

Mathéo and I synchronised our watches, switched on the stopwatch and gave each other five for luck before starting to run. It was 4:50 am, and it wasn’t cold in the church square in Chamonix. We were in shorts and thermal T-shirts, but nerves and excitement probably did not let us think about anything other than the challenge ahead. Mont Blanc, as majestic as ever, was just waking up and, from the square, we could spot the headlamps of those who had spent the night at the mountain refuge and were now preparing to reach the summit.

We are ascending well, within the estimated time. Upon arriving at the crack of Grands Mulet, we rope together for safety reasons as large amounts of snow have accumulated there this year. Halfway up, we spot Seb and Vivien, who have come to give us support and to film us. The sun is barely rising and the scenery is breathtaking. We are both using sticks to help us to climb and move faster. The marks we gouged into the ground a few days ago have lasted, and we follow them, so we can move fast and carry on with the ascent.

Read the full report HERE