Marathon des Sables – What goes in the rucksack?

MDS Kit

It’s countdown time to the 30th edition of the iconic Marathon des Sables. The training is done and it was time for Niandi Carmont to go through all her equipment, lay it all out, weigh everything and decide what to take and what not to take.

To be clear for those who do not know. Minimum pack weight is 6.5kg.

Minimum food requirement is 2000 calories per day for 7-days.

In addition to the above, each runner must have ‘mandatory’ kit that includes venom pump, compass, penknife and so on…

Marathon des Sables is a self-sufficient race and therefore the runner must carry everything they need for the duration of the event. The only exception comes with water (this is provided and rationed) and a Bivouac (tent) for the evening which is shared with 7 other runners.

Niandi was very clear… my pack will be minimum weight: 6.5kg

It’s been an interesting process and one that has provided both Niandi and myself with some real eye openers… normally you would have too much kit and you would be deciding what to take and what not to take! The reality has been here that we have EVERYTHING that Niandi wants to take and we are under weight. A nice situation to be in.

You can download the equipment list in Word HERE or Excel HERE

Before we get to the pack. Lets look at what Niandi will wear:

  • inov-8 Race Ultra 290 shoes with Raidlight gaiters (gaiters sewn on by Alex in London)
  • Injinji toe socks
  • Raidlight Skort
  • Raidlight T-Shirt
  • Arm Coolers
  • Anita sports bra
  • inov-8 peaked hat
  • Oakley sunglasses
  • Buff

The above is essential and will be worn for the duration of the event.

The pack is an Ultra Aspire Fastpack that will have 2x750ml bottles that sit on the hips and provide easy access

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Sleeping bag (with Piglet) Yeti Passion One

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The North Face Summit Series down jacket

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Raidlight Tyvek suit which has been tailored and modify for a tighter fit and to reduce weight.

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Petzl head torch with spare batteries

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The items below make up additional items that are optional extras (such as iPod) and mandatory kit. One or two items are missing: Spot Tracker, signalling mirror and sun cream.

Food is broken down on the excel spread sheet but here is a summary in words and images:

Dehydrated Meals x6 672
Dried Mango 93g x 4 372
Porridge 59g x 7 413
Coffee 1g x 10 10
Peanut Butter 33g x 5 165
Honey 21g x 8 168
Mini Salami 10g x 10 100
Tropical Mix 194
Sesame Bites 27g x 6 162
Dried Banana 270
Mixed Nuts 200g x 2 400
Macademia Nuts 153
Cranberries 175
Wraps 296
3550

We have not added photos of the dehydrated meals as currently we do not have them but we have calculated the weight and you can see a review of dehydrated meals and options HERE

So in a nutshell. With everything listed above we have a current pack weight (without water) of:

TOTAL WEIGHT 6189
*all weights in grams

Niandi does have some additional optional items that she was considering taking and now based on the weight above she will add:

  • Flip Flops 250g
  • Cheese 150g
  • Stove and fuel 150g

The above 3 items tip the scales at 550g

This will make a total pack weight of 6189 + 550 = 6739g

JOB DONE!

Read an in-depth preview of the 2015 Marathon des Sables HERE

JAMES CRACKNELL to run Richtersveld Wildrun in South Africa

Mens Four Medal CeremonyIn a previous life, James Cracknell spent too much time mucking about in a boat with big blokes wearing too much Lycra.  He was lucky enough to win gold medals at the Sydney and Athens Olympics.  After that he stupidly rowed across the Atlantic and did a race to the South Pole (both filmed by the BBC).

Atlantic start

After Antarctica he decided the cold wasn’t for him and entered the Marathon des Sables where he did okay (his words) and came 12th… at the time that was the highest place a Britain had ever come until Danny Kendall upstaged the Olympian.

MDS2010 James’s MDS progress was filmed by the Discovery Channel and this was followed with another film documenting a journey from LA to New York: cycling from LA to Death Valley running through Death Valley then remounting and cycling Route 66 to Lake Erie, rowing Lake Erie then cycling to New York and finally swimming to the Statue of Liberty.

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Unfortunately James didn’t complete this journey. While cycling in Arizona, James was hit on the head by a passing fuel truck. Without doubt his helmet saved him but it was touch-and-go. Placed in a coma and a two-month stay in a Phoenix hospital, James was close to the edge. It’s been a long journey and one that is ongoing.

However, in 2015 James is coming back!

richtersveld-page_0Firstly, James will head to South Africa and join elite ultra runner, Nikki Kimball (read HERE) at the Richtersveld Wildrun and should all things go well, James will return to Death Valley, the place of his horrific accident and put the experience well and truly behind him by tackling the Badwater 135. 

In an exclusive interview, I caught up with James, discussed his past, discussed his eagerness to push himself and asked why Richtersveld Wildrun?

“MDS was the only multi-day race I have done, so I’d like to know if it was a flook? I am also interested to see where I am. How am I after the accident? Am I recovered? I’m interested to see how I am day-after-day and I’m keen for preparing. I like the fact that I will have a focus, something to aim for.”

 

“I have been for sport post apartheid. SA is a perfect place for sport. I have been to the Drakensberg and Cape Town. It’s a phenomenal place…. Mountains, plains, safari, surf breaks and incredible people. A great place to be!”

The 150km Richtersveld Wildrun™ takes place in the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park over four days from 2 to 5 June. Starting and finishing at Sendelingsdrif, runners will get to experience a world of geological splendour. From the heights of Hellkloof pass, to the granite slabs of Tatasberg, the green swathe of the Orange River, the gargoyles of Halfmens Ridge and the crystal fields of the Sendelingsdrif plateau – every kilometre is unforgettable and participants are sure to leave the Richtersveld changed people.

“I haven’t been to the Northern Cape. But I relish the opportunity to see it on foot.”

Unsure of his current physical state (I am sure he is fit) I ask him about the terrain: rocks, climbing and running a marathon a day.

“Mmmm climbing? That is a little worrying! I am seeing this race as a stepping stone and I hope it will prepare me for an attempt at Badwater 135.”

It’s been a tough time for James, but he is not a person to give in. Ever the fighter, ever the one looking to push new boundaries, this experience is just one more obstacle to get over.

“It will be nice to go back to Death Valley and put some demons to rest… I need to square the circle and move on. I don’t want my life to be defined by winning two gold medals. I don’t want my life to be defined by being the guy who got hit on the head by a truck! I refuse, I will choose my path and I will not be Pigeon hold. I will create my path.”

And on that note, we conclude our chat. You can follow James and his experiences in the build up to Richtersveld Wildrun on this website in words and images. In addition, I will be following James on each and every step of his journey in South Africa. Needless to say, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.

If you would like to join James and Nikki on this incredible experience. Limited places are available! Please use the contact form at the bottom of this post.

Atlantic BF and JC end

Credits: Images provided by James Cracknell and Mark Gillett all ©

About the Richtersveld Wildrun™ 

The 150km Richtersveld Wildrun™ takes place in the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park over four days from 2 to 5 June 2015. Wildrun™ stage races have become known as some of Southern Africa’s premier multi-day trail running events, and Owen Middleton, founder and managing director of the organising company, Wildrunner, is proud to see the interest in Wildrun™ events shaping up internationally, particularly with top-class runners such as Kimball and James Cracknell.

Where /Ai/Ais- Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, South Africa
When Annually in June (2-5 June 2015)
Route Sendelingsdrift to ‘Die Koei’ to Hakkiesdoring to De Hoop to Sendelingsdrift
Total distance 150km
Daily distances 38.8km, 36km, 36.3km, 38.3km
Terrain Desert, rocky, climbing
Number of events One per year
Number of entries available Restricted to 80 runners yearly
Entries open 3 July 2014
Cost R 13 395.00
Challenges Sandy terrain, heat, climbing, remoteness
Records Overall male record: 13:30:36 – Bernard Rukadza (2014)
Overall female record: 18:04:56 – Katya Soggot (2014)
Cut-off times Yes – See Rules & Regulations

FOOD for THOUGHT – What freeze-dried food for multi-day racing?

All Food 3

Article ©Niandi Carmont

Niandi Carmont is taking on the 30th edition of the Marathon des Sables. No stranger to endurance events, Niandi regularly competes in ultras all over the world. However, it has been 10-years since she last toed the line at MDS and although an occasional freeze-dried meal has been consumed on some weekend fast-packing, eating out of a packet or packets for a whole week was going to take some getting used to! It’s a no brainer to test food in advance of a race, particularly one as expensive as MDS. You don’t want to ruin your race with poor food choices…

Niandi had always planned to take ‘real’ food such as Billtong, Parmesan Cheese, nuts and other similar portable and high calorie foods. However, Niandi’s main meal of the day will be a freeze-dried option. The question of hot food or cold food is a dilemma that you will each need to work out. Needless to say, all these food options can be eaten with hot or cold water.

FREEZE DRIED FOOD REVIEW 

I recently discovered a great site specializing in freeze-dried foods for outdoor and endurance events. I am taking part in MDS 2015, a multi-stage self-sufficiency event and therefore I need high calorie food in lightweight packages. I contacted LYOPHILISE.COM to test 5 of the dishes on the menu!

My choice was limited to:

  • Evening meals as I will be taking some of my own favorite snacks during the day. Having said that, this site also provides breakfasts, desserts, snacks, MDS packs, drinks and so on… all for the adventure/ multi-stage and/or endurance athlete.
  • High calorie to weight ratio. I want to limit the weight of my pack to the minimum requirement of 6.5kg and so my selection was based on high calorie/ low weight foods.
  • Preferably gluten-free options.

Well after a weekend spent subjecting my palate to 5 freeze-dried haute gastronomie dishes, here’s my feedback:

Peppered Beef with Rice & Vegetables by Travellunch €4.95/€8.90

Peppered Beef

This meal comes in 2 formats. A single portion or a double portion; I really liked this dish. Very tasty and very morish, I could easily eat this as a meal replacement. The texture is great. The rice absorbs all the water and provides the dish with just the right texture – it’s not soggy, soupy or gooey like so many freeze-dried dishes. And it is seasoned with just the right amount of pepper and spices. What I like too is that all the flavorings are natural and guys, who usually need more calories, can have double portions as this dish comes in 2 formats. The dish is relatively high in carbs so perfect fuelling before the long stage especially if you consume a double portion. Or alternatively it can be used as replenishment after the long stage when you are running low on carbs. What I liked less was the packaging – Travellunch could make their packets easier to open. When you’re in a self-sufficiency event you really want something that’s easy to cut open and reseal. It’s also great value for money compared to some of the other brands at 4.45€ for a single portion. I’ll be taking 3 of these to MDS.

Peppered Beef Before

Nutritional Values:

Energy value in Kcal per 100 g (dry product) 392
Energy value per 100 g (kJ) 1651
Energy value per product (Kcal) 980
Energy value per product (kJ) 4127,5
Protein per 100 g 9.9
Protein per bag (g) 24.75
Carbohydrates per 100 g 59.6
Carbohydrates per bag (g) 149
Fats per 100 g 12.7
Fats per bag (g) 31.75

Ingredients:

Rice, tomatoes, beef (5%), roast onions, red pepper, natural flavorings

Rating:

  • Price: *****
  • Taste: *****
  • Energy/Weight ratio: ****
  • Nutritional Value: ****
  • Convenience: ***

Mild Curried Beef & Rice by Expedition Foods €8.95

Curried Beef Rice

This is another of my favorites and I’ll be taking a couple of these to MDS too! Of all the meals I tried this was definitely the tastiest. Again this is a meal I would happily eat as a meal replacement. It’s mildly spicy and although it is a curry dish it is not hot. It’s very palatable. The diced and sliced vegetables are a great little touch to this dish. The texture is great too – nothing soggy and watery or bland about this dish – with a little imagination I could be sitting in the local curry house….In comparison with the previous rice & beef dish, this one has a considerably higher fat content and is lower in carbs. The bag is really easy to open and reseal so very practical. What’s great about this dish is that you can also prepare it with cold water so if you feel like a meal during the long stage at night you can just whip this out and add some water – bear in mind that the re-hydration time will be much longer.

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Rating:

  • Price: **
  • Taste: ****
  • Energy/Weight ratio: *****
  • Nutritional Value: *****
  • Convenience: *****              

Nutritional Values:

Energy value in Kcal per 100 g (dry product) 532
Energy value per 100 g (kJ) 2218
Energy value per product (Kcal) 808
Energy value per product (kJ) 3372
Protein per 100 g 17
Protein per bag (g) 25,1
Carbohydrates per 100 g 41
Carbohydrates per bag (g) 61,9
Fats per 100 g 33
Fats per bag (g) 50

Ingredients:

Rice, onions, minced beef (9,5%), tomato puree, carrots, vegetable oil, green beans, potato, yoghurt, sugar, cornflour, garlic, curry powder, salt, pepper,

 

Chickpea Curry with Rice by Trek ‘n Eat €6.95

Chickpea Curry Packet

This dish was far too hot and spicy for me! I definitely can’t see myself eating this after a day’s running in the desert! It’s supposed to stand for 10 minutes to re-hydrate but I found that the chickpeas were hard and crunchy. The dish just didn’t do it for me. The lack of taste and blandness might have something to do with the fact that it is gluten-free and also very low in fat.

Chickpea

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Rating:

  • Price: ****
  • Taste: *  
  • Energy/Weight ratio: ***
  • Nutritional Value: ***
  • Convenience : **  

Nutritional Analysis :

Energy value in Kcal per 100 g (dry product) 334
Energy value per 100 g (kJ) 1396
Energy value per product (Kcal) 601.2
Energy value per product (kJ) 2512.8
Protein per 100 g 9.3
Protein per bag (g) 16.74
Carbohydrates per 100 g 68
Carbohydrates per bag (g) 122.4
Fats per 100 g 2.3
Fats per bag (g) 4.14

Ingredients:

52% rice, 22% chickpeas, sugar, onions, iodised table salt, spices, apple, maltodextrine, paprika, mustard, coriander, cayenne pepper.

 

Cod and Potato Casserole by Real Turmat €9.90

Cod_Potato_Packet

Bland and tasteless. Not very appetizing looking and watery/soupy even after re-hydration. Tastes very floury and more like some bad potato/fish soup rather than a casserole as the name suggests. Very good energy to weight ratio with 501cal/100g and high in both fats and carbs. Another gluten-free option but not for me.

Cod Before

Cod_Potato_Prepared

Rating:

  • Price: *     
  • Taste: *
  • Energy/Weight ratio: *****
  • Nutritional Value: ****
  • Convenience : **

Nutritional Analysis :  

Energy value in Kcal per 100 g (dry product) 501
Energy value per 100 g (kJ) 2090
Energy value per product (Kcal) 536
Energy value per product (kJ) 2230
Protein per 100 g 13
Protein per bag (g) 14
Carbohydrates per 100 g 39
Carbohydrates per bag (g) 42
Fats per 100 g 31
Fats per bag (g) 33 

Ingredients :

Potato, cod pâté 18 % (cod 88%, potato flour, salt), sour cream, green pepper, carrot, onion, wheat flour, soybean oil, fish bouillon, salt and seasoning (celery).

 

NASI GORENG WITH CHICKEN AND RICE BY TRAVELLUNCH €4.95

Nasi Goreng Packet

A gluten-free dish and of Indonesian origin. I chose this dish having eaten a lot of Nasi Goreng in the Netherlands. The dish has quite a lot of flavor but the texture is a little odd like so many freeze dried dishes. However, the apricots, sultanas and spices add a nice touch to the dish and the meal is quite flavorsome. Once again the packet is not as practical to open and reseal as other brands. It’s very high in carbs and relatively low in fats compared to some of the other dishes with a very good weight to calorie ratio. Definitely a dish to be consumed pre or post a long day.

Rating:

  • Price: ****
  • Taste: ***
  • Energy/Weight ratio: *****
  • Nutritional Value: ****
  • Convenience : **

Nutritional Analysis :        

Energy value in Kcal per 100 g (dry product) 394
Energy value per 100 g (kJ) 1662
Energy value per product (Kcal) 492
Energy value per product (kJ) 2077
Protein per 100 g 11.9
Protein per bag (g) 14.875
Carbohydrates per 100 g 60.2
Carbohydrates per bag (g) 75.25
Fats per 100 g 11.8
Fats per bag (g) 14.75

Ingredients:

Ingredients: rice, hydrogenated vegetable fat, starch partly modified, chicken (6%), apricots, shrimps (3%), whey product, maltodextrin, salt, butter powder, onions, chicken broth, sultanas, natural flavoring, herbs, spices, spice extracts. Contains: celery.

For more information on the site and to order meals online:

http://www.lyophilise.fr/

CONCLUSION

  • Lyophilise is a very comprehensive site with an impressive list of different freeze-dried brands.
  • The customer service is very friendly & professional.
  • Delivery is fast if the products are in stock.
  • There is an on-line customer service.
  • They provide gluten-free, lactose-free and vegetarian options.
  • There provide special MDS packs that offer a one-stop shopping scenario.

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Marathon des Sables 2015 (30th Edition) – RACE PREVIEW

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MDS, Marathon des Sables, The Toughest Race in the World… whatever you want to call it, the 30th edition is just around the corner. Think about it, 30-years. It’s quite incredible how this race has grown and has become ‘the’ multiday race to do irrespective of experience. It was the first and arguably is still the best offering an ultimate adventure for novice and experienced runner.

Many a runner has started a passion for running at MDS and as such; the race will always be an important landmark for many. But it’s more than a race. It’s an experience, it’s escape and it’s a challenge.

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The combination of self-sufficiency, life in bivouac and running 250-km’s through the heat of the Sahara is something that those that have experienced it will never forget. It is the story of life, a story of men and women who have come to the heart of the desert to rid themselves of the superficial to keep only the essentials and get in touch with their true selves.

For the past three decades, some 18,000 runners have signed up for this experience, so, with the imminent running of the 2015 edition, it’s fair to say that race will see a great number of participants returning to ‘celebrate’ a very important birthday.

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Lasting six days participants must be self-sufficient carrying everything they need in a pack. Water is provided but rationed and a tent (bivouac) is provided each evening that must be shared with seven other participants.

The 2015 edition of the race will be 250-km’s offering a series of challenges that will test the mind and body in equal measure. Dunes, djebels, ergs and dried-up lakes offer a stunning backdrop that must be traversed. Battling against sand, heat and above all the mind completing the 30th edition of the Marathon des Sables will be a dream come true for those who toe the line.

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THE ROUTE for 2015

Stage 1 – Sunday 5th April

Here we have a very uneven playing field and a sufficient number of kilometers to make their presence felt. Competitors will have to run, avoid the obstacles and climb the surrounding uphill sections. The first dunes are between CP1 and CP2. It is fair to say that day-1 of the 30th MARATHON DES SABLES will be a long one.

Stage 2 – Monday 6th April

Those who imagine the desert to be flat are in for a surprise. Three steep little climbs form this second leg, with gradients reaching 30%… A new kind of roller-coaster ride which will open up landscapes that will be a sight to behold.

Stage 3 – Tuesday 7th April

Sand will be omnipresent today with some stony sections and some dried-up lakes. There will be a little something for everyone with some uphill sections here and there.

Stage 4 – Wednesday 8 / Thursday 9 April

A tough initial climb will hurt the legs, especially as it’s going to be a long day. Indeed this particular day will be the longest leg in the history of the MDS. And if that wasn’t enough, a climb of nearly a kilometer up a djebel awaits. At the summit runners will have 360° panoramic views. As for the descent, well it’s steep! After that, runners then traverse dunes, dried-up lakes and more dunes!

Stage 5 – Friday 10 April

Today’s route has a mixture of terrain that are hallmarks of the MDS, it’s a classic day!

Stage 6 -Saturday 11 April – SOLIDARITY UNICEF legs

For the majority of the participants, this leg is
a time for reflecting on the experience of this fine human adventure and is a united show of awareness before returning to civilization.

RUNNERS TO WATCH

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Antoine Guillon was second three times, third once and fourth three times in the Diagonale des Fous in addition, he is always well placed in the UTMB. Offered a place by the UTWT, Antoine will try his luck in the 30th MDS for the first time. Antoine just placed 3rd at Transgrancanaria, so his form is good. Can he recover in time?

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Christophe Le Saux never seazes to amaze me with his relentless racing calendar, he was 10th in 2014, 9th in 2013, 6th in 2012.

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Carlos Sà is a regular at MDS and has a wealth of talent and experience to excel. He was 4th last year’s, 7th in 2013. 4th in 2012 and 8th in 2011.

Dave Mackey has been one of the top American ultra runners for many years and he has excelled at the 100-km distance. His participation at MDS marks a new departure for him and it will be interesting to see how he handles racing over multiple days.

Javier Teixido Marti-Ventosa is the 2014 winner of the Andorra Ultra-Trail Ultra-Mitic (112km).

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Danny Kendall gets a nod from a UK perspective. He placed 5th last year and we can only hope that he moves up the rankings with a podium place. He knows the race, he knows the conditions and he understands survival in the Sahara; he just needs to bring it all together once again.

All six will be attempting to topple the Moroccan and Jordanian supremacy by keeping a close eye on the following:

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Mohamad Ahansal like his brother, Lahcen needs no introduction. He has 15 participations in the MDS, which includes 5 victories. He has been 2nd no less than 9 times and 3rd in 2014.

Abdelkader El Mouaziz placed 7th in 2014 on his first participation, he will be looking to improve in 2015.

Samir Akhdar has had several participations at MDS placing 6th in 2011 and 7th in 2009. 
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Salameh Al Aqra is always smiling and a great presence in the race, he was 1st in 2012, 2nd in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014 and placed 3rd in 2009 and 2011.

In the female contingent:

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Laurence Klein targets her 4th victory after making the podium in 2014 and 2013.

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Meghan Hicks champion in 2013, missed 2014 through injury and will be setting her sights on a 2nd win.

Liza Howard is the holder of a number of 100-mile race records and American champion over 100km and 50 miles in 2011, should have what it takes to treat the United States to a third crown in a row after Nikki Kimball and Meghan Hicks.

INSPIRING STORIES:

Moroccan Lahcen Ahansal, ten-time winner of the
MDS between 1997 and 2007 is
making a comeback this year after six years
absence. “I wanted to hook back up with this race through
a goal that isn’t purely competitive, but also human”, admits
the athlete who has agreed to act as a guide to the partially
sighted German runner, Harald Lange. “After pulling off the
challenge of securing 10 victories, I now want to rack up 20
participations. And why not be around for the 40th and 50th
editions too?” It should be said that Lahcen has not forgotten
his encounter with this legendary race, which has transformed his life. “I looked on with curiosity and amazement as the 23 athletes took the start of the first edition in 1986. From then on, I constantly dreamt that I, a nomadic child, would participate in this race. It has spurred on my life and created in me such a strong desire for sporting and human emancipation that I moved mountains to make my dream a reality some seven years later. It’s thanks to this race that I’ve become the man I am today.” Also of note, is the fact that another blind runner will participate in this edition as Didier Benguigui is returning with his guide, Gilles Clain, to celebrate his 11th edition.

The “4 Dinosaurs MDS” team comprises two French runners, Christian Ginter and François Cresci, one Moroccan, Karim Mosta and one Italian, Paolo Zubani, none of whom wanted to miss the 30th anniversary of the SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES. Between them, these four passionate runners already boast a total of 105 participations, which amounts to 27 out of 29 editions for the restaurant owner-chef Christian Ginter and 26 for the other three. “The idea of creating a team of veterans came about in the tent last year”, beams Karim Mosta, the cheerful leader of this group of friends, who wouldn’t miss this key stage

The famous British explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, is embarking on a new adventure at 71 years of age. After earning the title of first man to reach the North and South Poles via land, the first person to traverse the Antarctic entirely on foot and the oldest Briton to climb Everest at 65 years of age, he now wants to become the oldest Briton to etch his name on the list of SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES 2015’ medalists.

At 83 years of age, Joseph Le Louarn will be the most senior participant in this 30th edition. “I said that I’d stop in 2012, at 80, but with the energy drummed up by this anniversary, I couldn’t resist,” smiles the runner who has always loved ‘ambitious projects’. Indeed some three years ago he was quoted as saying “Card games and meals for retired people aren’t for me. I need to move; I need goals. I want to stay fit for as long as possible.”

A native of Luxembourg, Simone Kayser Diederich, 3-time champion of the MARATHON DES SABLES (2002, 2004 and 2005), will take the start of this 30th edition to celebrate her 60th birthday and her 14th participation. It’s a similar scenario for Moroccan Nadia Dadoun, 56, who will celebrate her 16th participation in this SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES 2015, which is a record number of entries among the event’s female contingent.

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CRAZY STATS:

  • 150 volunteers to supervise the race,
  • 450 general support staff,
  • 120,000 liters of bottled mineral water,
  • 300 Berber and Saharan tents,
  • 120 all-terrain vehicles and trucks,
  • 2 Squirrel helicopters and 1 Cessna plane,
  • 8 Transavia ‘MDS special’ commercial planes,
  • 30 buses,
  • 4 dromedaries,
  • 1 incinerator lorry for burning waste,
  • 5 quad bikes to monitor race environment and safety,
  • 72 medical staff,
  • 2.3kms of Elastoplast,
  • 12,200 compresses,
  • 6,000 painkillers,
  • 150 liters of disinfectant,
  • 1 editing bus,
  • 5 cameras,
  • 1 satellite image station,
  • 10 satellite telephones,
  • 30 computers, fax and internet,
  • 18,000 competitors since 1986
  • 30% returning competitors, 70% international, 30% French, 
17% women, 45% veterans, 
30% in teams, 
10% walkers, 
90% alternate walking and running,
  • 14 km/hr.: average maximum speed, 3 km/hr.: average minimum speed,
  • 15 years of age for the youngest competitor and the oldest, 83!

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QUOTES

  • “The MARATHON DES SABLES is the United Nations. The runners come from all over the world, share the same emotions and help one another. All the boundaries are erased. We should take inspiration from it.” - Kirk McCall (United States)
  • “This event isn’t just a sporting activity. It’s a mental and philosophical process. In the desert, nature puts us back in our place at the heart of this environment. The MARATHON DES SABLES opens up new perspectives to us. People often think we’re crazy, but maybe they’re the crazy ones!” – Fernando Jose Castro Cabral (Brazil)
  • “The MARATHON DES SABLES represents Mecca. I come here for an annual pilgrimage. It purifies me.” – Amine Kabbaj (Morocco)
  • “Running in the desert purges me and enables me to empty my mind. I want to discover the desert by experiencing it from the inside. Each day, I recite a poem along the course. To think about poetry whilst running is a fantastic mental luxury. To run and be elsewhere through your thoughts… The sobriety of the desert is a source of inspiration.” - Duc Le Quang (Vietnam)
  • “In the MARATHON DES SABLES, you learn to rediscover and appreciate the simple pleasures. On top of that there is this solidarity between the runners. You run and you come across someone from Colombia, Portugal or China. You don’t know them but you share a moment with them. These encounters are worth all the money in the world.” – Nicolas Esterhazy (Belgium)

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Twenty-Nine years of victories.

Here is a who’s who of those 29-years.

1986 – Michel GALLIEZ (FRANCE) – Christiane PLUMERE (FRANCE)

1987 – Bernard GAUDIN (FRANCE) – Marie-Ange MALCUIT (FRANCE)

1988 – Bernard GAUDIN (FRANCE) – Marie-Ange MALCUIT (FRANCE)

1989 – Hassan SEBTAOUI (FRANCE) – Marie-Claude BATTISTELLI (FRANCE)

1990 – Hassan SEBTAOUI (FRANCE) – Claire GARNIER (FRANCE)

1991 – Hassan SEBTAOUI (FRANCE) – Monique FRUSSOTE (FRANCE)

1992 – Mohamed BENSALAH (MOROCCO) – Monique FRUSSOTE (FRANCE)

1993 – Mohamed BENSALAH (MOROCCO) – Irina PETROVNA (RUSSIA)

1994 – André DERKSEN (RUSSIA) – Valentina LIAKHOVA (RUSSIA)

1995 – André DERKSEN (RUSSIA) – Béatrice REYMANN (FRANCE)

1996 – André DERKSEN (RUSSIA) – Anke MOLKENTHIN (GERMANY)

1997 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Rosanna PELLIZZARI (ITALY)

1998 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Rosanna PELLIZZARI (ITALY)

1999 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Lisa SMITH (USA)

2000 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Pascale MARTIN (FRANCE)

2001 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Franca FIACCONI (ITALY)

2002 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Simone KAYSER (LUXEMBOURG)

2003 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Magali JUVENAL (FRANCE)

2004 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Simone KAYSER (LUXEMBOURG)

2005 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Simone KAYSER (LUX)

2006 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Géraldine COURDESSE (FRANCE)

2007 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Laurence KLEIN (FRANCE)

2008 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Touda DIDI (MOROCCO)

2009 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Touda DIDI (MOROCCO)

2010 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Monica AGUILERA (SPAIN)

2011 – Rachid EL MORABITY (MOROCCO) – Laurence KLEIN (FRANCE)

2012 – Salameh AL AQRA (JORDAN) – Laurence KLEIN (FRANCE)

2013 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Meghan HICKS (USA)

2014 – Rachid ELMORABITY (MOROCCO) – Nikki KIMBALL (USA)

 

RACE SCHEDULE 2015

 

  • 3 April 2015 – Leave country of residence/Morocco – Arrival in Ouarzazate, bus transfer to 1st bivouac
  • 4 April 2015 – Administrative, technical and medical checks – Day to acclimatize 
  • From 5 to 10 April 2015 – Race in progress (The self-sufficiency begins from breakfast on the 1st leg)
  • 11 April 2015 – Solidarity UNICEF leg – (end of dietary self-sufficiency) – Transfer to Ouarzazate
  • 12 April 2015  – Day of relaxation
  • 13 April 2015 – Return to country of residence

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Marathon des Sables – A history in brief

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1984: At 28 years of age, Patrick Bauer decided to make for the Sahara to try to traverse a 350km expanse of uninhabited desert, on foot, alone, where he wouldn’t come into contact with a single village, oasis or watering place. Totally self-sufficient, with a rucksack weighing 35kg and containing water and food, he set off on a journey that was to last 12 days. It was the starting point of what was to become the MARATHON DES SABLES.

1986: The creation of the first MDS in the Moroccan Sahara. The 23 pioneers who took the start never imagined that their footprints would mark the start of a legendary event, which has today become a must among the major adventure sport meets. The creation of a non-mechanical competition in the Moroccan sands offers adventure runners a wealth of new prospects.

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1987: Creation of the MDS logo: the face of a runner covered by a keffiyeh, the eyes protected by a pair of sunglasses and the pipette from the runner’s water container clenched between the teeth.

1989: 170 competitors take the start of the race.

1991: The gulf drama puts the MDS at a disadvantage and the financial partners withdraw. Fortunately some runners answer the call. For these competitors, the true victory lies in meeting athletes from different backgrounds and their communion in the desert around the same goal. Sport proves once again that it can bring people together and create bonds.

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1992: One and the same regulation for everyone. This year sees the establishing of unexpected draconian tests, to ensure that each participant properly transports all his or her gear from one end of the course to the other. A 30-point charter is drawn up.

First participation by the Moroccan Lahcen Ahansal

1994: Arrival of the Doc Trotters at the event.

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1995: 10th anniversary. Since the start, over 1,500 men and women have left their footprint and their passion in the desert. Installation of water-pump for the inhabitants of the village of Ighef n’rifi (South of Er-Rachidia) – an idea by competitor Gilles Flamant and backed by Rolland Barthes and Patrick Bauer. Its success is to be repeated again and again

1996: First participation by Mohamed, a younger sibling of Ahansal. The two Moroccan brothers set off together and rank 4th and 5th respectively.

1997: This year heralds the start of the Ahansal saga. Morocco is honored with Lahcen’s first victory. He beats his two pursuers by nearly 30 minutes, despite them being international long-distance running champions.

1999: A mobile hospital on the MDS comes into being. There are around thirty practitioners on the ground, with doctors and nurses joining the caravan. A dedicated helicopter and ten all-terrain vehicles track the competitors each day. On- board these vehicles there are doctors of course, as well as high-tech equipment. The village boasts a genuine field hospital.

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2000: Internet puts in an appearance in the large MDS village. The organization decides to broadcast the texts and photos of the race live, day after day. The competitors can communicate with their nearest and dearest and receive messages of encouragement.

2001: For the first time the long leg, traditionally called “The 70”, exceeds the 80km barrier to reach 82km. The threshold of 240km is also surpassed since the 16th MARATHON DES SABLES spans 243km. Another first relates to the fact that there are no Moroccans on the podium this year.

2002: This edition is punctuated by a sandstorm, involving headwinds, which lasts the entire week. The doctors invent a machine for ‘low pressure cleansing’ to rinse out the runners’ eyes. Despite the difficult conditions, there are few retirements to report as the wind considerably reduces the temperature.

2005: The Luxembourg runner Simone Kayser is the first woman to win 3 MARATHON DES SABLES. For this 20th edition, the total number of runners exceeds 700 for the first time, with no fewer than 777 runners taking the start.

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2006: A drying wind and very high humidity levels cause damage to the runners’ bodies. Despite additional allocations of water, a whole series of retirements ensues. There are a total of 146 retirements ultimately, which equates to double that of the previous record… Race management decides to shorten the long leg by over 10km given how tired the runners seem.

2008: The Solidarité MDS association is created. The aim: to develop projects to assist children and disadvantaged populations in the domains of health, education and sustainable development in Morocco. 

2009: MDS is disrupted by flooding and the 1st and 6th stages are not able to take place. To avoid the flood zones, the organization is obliged to improvise new legs on a day-to-day basis. In this way, the edition goes down in legend for its 3rd leg, which is the longest ever contested: 92km of sand, loose stones and rocks… The leg even sees the retirement of Lahcen Ahansal… At the prize giving the 2 winners admit to having competed in their hardest MDS. However, it was also the shortest: 202km.

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2010: For its 25th edition, the number of participations reaches a record high of 1,013 participants. It is to be the longest MARATHON DES SABLES. It spans 250 kilometers with a course considered by former entrants to be the most difficult ever organized.

2012: A dramatic turn of events on the longest leg as the then leader in the overall standing, Rachid El Morabity (MAR) injures himself one kilometer from the finish. Medical examinations reveal a serious muscular lesion in the quadriceps. After over five years on the 2nd or 3rd step of the podium, Jordanian Salameh Al Aqra secures the title.

2013: 1,027 competitors on the start line make this a new participation record. New feature: a final “Charity” stage sponsored by UNICEF and traversing the Merzouga dunes round off the race. Sportswise, Mohamad Ahansal and Megan Hicks are the champions of the 231.5km event. On a human level, all of the finishers pull off their crazy bet.

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2014: 2011 winner, Moroccan Rachid El Morabity (MAR) wins the overall ranking and takes Mohamad Ahansal’s crown. In the women’s category, another American stamps her mark, Nikki Kimball. The French revelation is one Michaël Gras, 22 years of age, 8th overall and top Frenchman. A major athletics star, Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj lines up to take the start of Saturday’s Unicef Charity leg.

Content and information provided by ©marathondessables

FOLLOW THE 2015, 30th EDITION on this WEBSITE in words and images.

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Episode 80 – Coleman, Arnstein, Koop, Hines

Talk Ultra
Episode 80 of Talk Ultra has in interview with the UK’s Mr MDS, Rory Coleman. We speak with Hurt 100 winner and Fruitarian, Mike Arnstein. Jason Koop provides us with a fascinating Talk Training and Adventurer Mark Hines talks nutrition in relation to long distance races.
NEWS
 
News out that Born to Run may be made into a film with Mathew McConaughey in the starring role of Caballo Blanco – news from EW.com
 
Nickademus Hollon has laid out his calendar for 2015 and amongst this list of 13 projects, no 7 took my eye:
 
RACE #7 U.K. Fell Running Rounds FKT Attempt (June/ July)
The project is in development still. But the idea is basically this: the UK has three INSANE “rounds” they call them. Bob Graham round (~60 miles and 40,000+ft of gain), Charlie Ramsay Round (~60 miles and 40,000ft+ gain) and the Lake District Round (~60 miles and 40,000ft+ gain). These rounds are like peak bagging if peak bagging took two snorts of coke and drank five cans of Red-Bull. I heard about the rounds for the first time when I was at Ronda del Cims this last summer. I asked my friend who was talking about them, “Has anyone ever done them consecutively? Each under 24hrs?” He fell silent to my question. 180 miles and 120,000ft of gain? Why the hell not. That’s more vert. than Kilian runs in month!
 
It’s all kicking off on the Ultrarunning Community on Facebook…. oh yes, we always think that ultra runners are friendly, awesome, welcoming and encouraging to all. And I mean ALL! But this last couple of weeks has seem some real venom… we all have different journeys, different roads and different paths. Lets embrace everyone! Ultimately, if you don’t like a post on social media, ignore it.
INTERVIEW
 
Rory Coleman became a changed man in 1994 after ditching booze and cigarettes. He has gone on to run over 800 marathons and 200 marathons and in the UK he is known as Mr MDS as he has completed the race 11 times and 2015 will be his 12th. – HERE
 
INTERVIEW
 
Michael Arnstein won Hurt 100 in 21:29 and is just as famous for his diet; fruit. I caught up with Mike post his Hurt 100 win and discuss his running and diet.
 
BLOG
Steve Birkinshaw on Marmot Dark Mountains -HERE
 
TALK TRAINING
 
Jason Koop – Jason is director of coaching at CTS (Carmichael Training Systems). En experienced runner himself, he currently coaches some of the top names in ultra running. – HERE
 
Clients:
Jen Benn
Dylan Bowman
Larisa Dannis
Mike Foote
Ryan Ghelfi
Dakota Jones
Kaci Lickteig
Timothy Olson
Alex Varner
Devon Yanko
 
 
INTERVIEW
 
Mark Hines Mark Hines is an exercise physiologist and biomechanist who competes in the toughest ultra-endurance races in the world.  He has raced in rainforests, across deserts, over mountains, and in the sub-Arctic and Arctic. – HERE
UP & COMING RACES

Antartica

White Continent 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2015 | website

Argentina

La Misión | 160 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

La Misión – 80 km | 80 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Australia

Tasmania

The Cradle Mountain Run | 82 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

Trail des bosses – 65 km | 65 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Canada

Yukon

Yukon Arctic 100M | 100 miles | February 08, 2015 | website

Yukon Arctic 300M | 300 miles | February 08, 2015 | website

Yukon Arctic 430M | 430 miles | February 08, 2015 | website

Chad

TREG | 170 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

Costa Rica

Ultra-Maraton Arenal | 115 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Finland

Lapland

Rovaniemi 150 | 150 kilometers | February 20, 2015 | website

France

Aude

Gruissan Phoebus Trail | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2015 | website

Aveyron

Trail des Ruthènes | 64 kilometers | February 15, 2015 | website

Côtes-d’Armor

Défi Glazig (45 + 18) | 63 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Germany

Lower Saxony

Brocken-Challenge | 86 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Hong-Kong

Green Power Hike 50K | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

MSIG Sai Kung 50 | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Tsuen Wan, Ta Shek Wu, Fo Tan | 108 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail Tai Mo Shan | 162 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Yuen Long, Ta Shek Wu, Fo Tan | 52 kilometers | February 08, 2015 | website

India

Run the Rann 101 km | 101 kilometers | February 08, 2015 | website

Run the Rann 161 km | 161 kilometers | February 09, 2015 | website

Thar Desert Run – 100 miles | 100 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Thar Desert Run – 50 miles | 50 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 135 Miles | 135 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 160 km | 160 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 50 km | 50 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 80 km | 80 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

Ireland

Leinster

Donadea 50K | 50 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Italy

Marche

Maratona sulla sabbia – Ultra maratona | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2015 | website

New Zealand

Kaweka Klassic 50 km | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Tarawera 100K Ultramarathon | 100 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Tarawera 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Tarawera 85K Ultramarathon | 85 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Nicaragua

Fuego y Agua 100k | 100 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Fuego y Agua 50k | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Oman

Wadi Bih Run | 72 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

Spain

Canary Islands

Marathón ‘Isla del Meridiano’ – 86 km | 86 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Sweden

Ice Ultra | 230 kilometers | February 13, 2015 | website

Thailand

Thai Ultra Race | 140 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Arc of Attrition | 100 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Devon

Coastal Trail Series – South Devon – Ultra | 34 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Oxfordshire

Thames Trot 50 | 50 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

USA

Alaska

Little Su 50K | 50 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Susitna 100 | 100 miles | February 14, 2015 | website

Arizona

Black Canyon Trail 100K Run | 100 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Pemberton Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Race Across Arizona – Beeline and Beyond (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Ragnar Relay Del Sol | 200 miles | February 20, 2015 | website

Arkansas

LOVit 100k | 100 kilometers | February 20, 2015 | website

LOVit 100 Mile | 100 miles | February 20, 2015 | website

White Rock Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

California

American Canyon 50K Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2015 | website

Bandit Ultra Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2015 | website

Jed Smith Ultra Classic – 50K | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Jed Smith Ultra Classic – 50 Miler | 50 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Rancho San Juan Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Sean O’Brian 100K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Sean O’Brian 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Sean O’Brian 50-Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Sean O’Brien 50K | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Sean O’Brien 50M | 50 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Florida

Destin 50K Beach Ultra | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2015 | website

Destin 50M Beach Ultra | 50 miles | February 15, 2015 | website

Iron Horse 100 km | 100 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Iron Horse 100 Mile | 100 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Iron Horse 50 Mile | 50 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Lost 118 | 118 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys | 199 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Kansas

Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Louisiana

Rouge-Orleans Ultramarathon & Team Relay | 126 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Nevada

Jackpot Ultra Running Festival 100 Miler | 100 miles | February 15, 2015 | website

New Mexico

Race Across New Mexico – Border to Border (14 Marathons) | 390 miles | February 15, 2015 | website

Race Across New Mexico – Continental Divide (4 Marathons) | 105 miles | February 15, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Maysville to Macon 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Uwharrie 40-Mile Mountain Run | 40 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Oregon

Bristow 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Hagg Lake 50k Trail run | 50 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

South Carolina

Mill Stone 50K | 50 kilometers | February 09, 2015 | website

Rut Rogue 40s – 40 Mile 3-5 Person Relay | 40 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Rut Rogue 40s – 40 Mile Run | 40 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Two Hearts Two Day Challenge | 84 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Texas

Piney Woods TrailFest 50K | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Utah

Moab’s Red Hot 55K | 55 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Virginia

Holiday Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

The Wild Oak Trail 100 | 100 miles | February 13, 2015 | website

Virginia Beach Distance Races 100k | 100 kilometers | February 08, 2015 | website

Virginia Beach Distance Races 50k | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2015 | website

Washington

Fishline 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2015 | website

Orcas Island 50K | 50 kilometers | February 07, 2015 | website

Two Million Inch Run | 31 miles | February 07, 2015 | website

Woolley Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | February 14, 2015 | website

Wisconsin

Dead Zone Ommegang 75 | 75 miles | February 14, 2015 | website

Marathon des Sables Hints ‘n’ Tips on RUNULTRA from JoMeek, Danny Kendall and Nikki Kimball

MDS Hints_n_Tips

 

Running the Marathon des Sables or any other multi-day race? Read some of the Hints ‘n’ Tips from Nikki Kimball, winner of the 2014 MDS, Jo Meek, 2nd at the 2013 MDS and winner, course record holder for The Coastal Challenge and Danny Kendall, highest male British finisher, MDS 2014.

The Marathon des Sables dates back to 1984 when a 28-year old Patrick Bauer ventured into the Sahara to traverse solo a 350km journey. It was the ultimate self-sufficient expedition. Lasting 12-days, Patrick carried all he required in a 35kg pack. Inspired by the experience, the first edition was created in 1986; just 23-pioneers embarked on that journey… a journey into the unknown.

Who would have thought those formative years would have laid the foundations for what is, without question, the father of multi-day racing. In 2015 the race is 30-years old. It’s quite remarkable, The MDS as it is known has had memorable moments; in ‘91’ the Gulf drama had an impact on the race, in ‘94’ the arrival of Doc Trotters medical team, in ‘96’ Mohamed Ahansal participated for the first time, in ‘97’ Lahcen Ahansal won his first MDS, in ‘2000’ internet arrived in the Sahara, in ‘01’ the long day exceeded 70km, in ‘02’ a week of sandstorms and wind made the journey extra difficult, in ‘09’ the MDS had flooding and in ‘13’ solar energy arrived.

Much has been written about how to survive at the Marathon des Sables. With the 30th edition looming on the horizon I caught up with previous winner, Nikki Kimball, 2nd placed lady in 2013, Jo Meek and the UK’s highest ever male finisher, Danny Kendall to pass on some words of wisdom.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON RUNULTRA HERE

run-ultra-logo

Episode 79 – Amdahl Pascall Kimball

Ep79

Episode 79 of Talk Ultra is another packed show! We speak with HK100 2nd placed runner, Sondre Amdahl. We also speak to the female winner of the UK’s, The Spine, Beth Pascall. Nikki Kimball discusses her incredible 2014 season with victory at Marathon Des Sables, top-5 at Western States Endurance Run and winning Run Rabbit Run. The News, a Blog, Up & Coming Races and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.

00:05:11 NEWS
 
HK100
 
Long-Fei Yan 9:52:42
Sondre Amdahl 9:59:46
Antoine Guillon 10:30:02
Pui Yan Wyan Chow 12:24:56
Dong Li 12:39:54
Lisa Borzani 12:50:38
00:13:27 INTERVIEW
 
Sondre Amdahl check out his website HERE
 
The Spine
 
Pavel Paloncy 79:34 and Beth Pascall 90:59 –  It is the longest non-stop foot race in the UK, set against the unforgiving British winter. 268 miles of ice, snow, cold and savage winds. You have 7 days to complete the race from Edale to Kirk Yetholm.
 
01:08:45 INTERVIEW
 
Beth Pascall
 
HURT 100
 
Michael Arnstein 21:29
Alex Nunn 21:47
Nick Hollon 22:42
Amy Sproston 26:22
Alicia Woodside 28:10
Kiyomi Kuroda 31:22
 
02:04:38 BLOG
Sondre Amdahl – Diagonale des Fous race report – HERE
 
02:05:30 INTERVIEW
 
Nikki Kimball – Finding Traction film HERE
 
03:05:10 UP & COMING RACES
 

Argentina

Columbia Cruce de los Andes | 90 kilometers | February 05, 2015 | website

Queensland

Beerwah at Night – 50 km | 51 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

Caboolture Historical Village Dusk to Dawn 100km | 100 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Caboolture Historical Village Dusk to Dawn 50km | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Chad

TREG | 170 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

Chile

El Cruce Columbia | 103 kilometers | February 05, 2015 | website

Costa Rica

Coastal Challenge | 250 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

France

Tarn

La Ronde Givrée | 62 kilometers | February 01, 2015 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Januar | 108 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Brandenburg

HallenMarathon 50km Ultra-Lauf | 50 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

Hesse

Rodgau 50km Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

India

Thar Desert Run – 100 miles | 100 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 135 Miles | 135 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 160 km | 160 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 50 km | 50 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 80 km | 80 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

Kenya

Kimbia Kenya 100 km | 100 kilometers | January 30, 2015 | website

Kimbia Kenya 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2015 | website

New Zealand

The James Mountain Stampede Ultra | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Nicaragua

Survival Run: Nicaragua | 70 kilometers | February 04, 2015 | website

Oman

Wadi Bih Run | 72 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

Réunion

Transvolcano | 52 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

Thailand

The North Face 100® – Thailand | 100 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

The North Face 100® – Thailand – 50 km Solo | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Arc of Attrition | 100 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Lancashire

Marmot Dark Mountains™ – Elite Course | 53 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Milton Keynes

Quadzilla | 164 kilometers | February 05, 2015 | website

Surrey

The Pilgrim Challenge North Downs Way Multistage Ultra | 66 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

USA

Alabama

Mountain Mist 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Arizona

Coldwater Rumble 100 Mile Trail Run | 100 miles | January 24, 2015 | website

Coldwater Rumble – 52K | 52 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Coldwater Rumble – 52 Mile | 52 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Race Across Arizona – Beeline and Beyond (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Race Across Arizona – Border to Border (15 Marathons) | 405 miles | January 28, 2015 | website

Race Across Arizona – Valley of the Sun (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | January 30, 2015 | website

California

Folsom South Side Trail 38 Mile Run | 38 miles | January 24, 2015 | website

Folsom South Side Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Fort Ord Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Ordnance 100K | 100 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Race Across California – Desert Challenge (4 Marathons) | 107 miles | January 23, 2015 | website

Spooner’s Cove 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

Colorado

Frozen Dead Guy 50km | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Florida

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys | 199 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Skydive Ultra 100M Run | 100 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Skydive Ultra 50 km Run | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Skydive Ultra 50M Run | 50 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Massachusetts

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Minnesota

Arrowhead 135 mile Winter Ultramarathon | 135 miles | January 26, 2015 | website

New York

The Beast of Burden Winter 100 Miler | 100 miles | January 24, 2015 | website

North Carolina

North Carolina Fat Ass 50k | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Ohio

Run for Regis 50K | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Texas

Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile | 100 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile | 50 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Winter Festival Goat 50K | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Winter Festival Goat 50 Mile | 50 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Utah

Snowshoe Festival 50K | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Washington

Lake Youngs NUTS 50K Run | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Venezuela

Ultra Laguna de Urao | 65 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Virgin Islands (USA)

St. Croix Scenic 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

 
CLOSE

03:19:19

Links:

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

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

Website – talkultra.com

Nikki Kimball – ‘Hints ‘n’ Tips’ Marathon des Sables #MDS2015

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Nikki Kimball is one of the most highly respected ultra runners in the world, Her running CV is beyond comprehension. It all started in 2000 with a win at Escarpment Trail Run 30k at the age of 29.

In 2004, Nikki had a break through moment with victory at the iconic Western States. Nikki also won again in 2006 and in 2007 she did the ultra double winning Western States and UTMB in the same year.

An ever present in the world of ultra running, Nikki has often been referenced as a true pioneer of the sport. In 2014 Nikki ran the Marathon des Sables for the first time and won! The Marathon des Sables is 30-years old this year so I wondered, what knowledge could Nikki pass on before the 2015 edition.

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It’s been a while Nikki, when did we last speak?

No, we spent a week together in Morocco.

Exactly… April, not that log ago I guess. A great place to start: was that your first multi day race?

I have done Jungle Marathon in Brazil, very similar to MDS but a lot less comfortable due to humidity. I did that in 2009. You need to carry all your gear just like MDS and I have done Transrockies too which is like summer camp.

I knew you had done Transrockies but not the Jungle Marathon.

 Oh yeah, Transrockies is a vacation.

 What enticed you to Morocco and MDS, great way to start a year?

Yes, I guess. I thought it would be great training for Western States. That was my initial goal. The UTWT helped me get me to Morocco so I must thank them. I had wanted to do MDS for some time but the financial side was an issue. I got the opportunity and wow; it was just awesome. It was so much more than what I expected. I was overwhelmed by the race. It is so professional, so impressive it is quite mind blowing. It was an incredible week of running.

So many have a perception of what MDS is. From a UK perspective it is an expensive race… USA also. The entry fee is high; I guess travel from the UK is okay but less so from the USA. It costs thousands of pounds and dollars. I am often asked: why does it cost so much? But having experienced it, it is the biggest circus I have ever seen.

Oh yeah. It’s amazing. The logistics are amazing. They have full medical teams and so on… There is a good reason why race entry is so much. It is beyond impressive. It is an unbelievable undertaking.

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From your perspective, the ‘Batchens’ (Lisa-Smith and Jay) are heavily involved as USA agents. Lisa-Smith has won the race. Did you speak with them pre race?

Oh for sure. I stayed with them and asked every question possible.

So you came well prepared?

Yes I think so. I also spoke and spent time with 2013 ladies winner, Meghan Hicks, so, between Lisa and Meghan I was well looked after. They understood the race and they could pass that on. You know, the feel of the race. Races have a feel and MDS definitely has a unique feel.

 Great that you should get advice from the other Americans who have won the race?

Oh yeah, we all live relatively close together so it was great.

 Talk me through the 2014 race. Give me some highlights!

Wow, the first couple of days were fun. I didn’t push it hard and I enjoyed the atmosphere. I was kind of having some depression problems prior to MDS. I have major depression anyway and I was kind of not doing too well going into the race. I remember on the first day… I was climbing a dune and I could see nothing but sunshine and happy people. My mood lifted. It was just amazing. The depression broke and it was really instrumental to setting the stage for the race. Day two and three was easy and then I guess it was the long day that I made my move. I had planned beforehand that I would try to win the race that day.

 Yes I remember pre race when we chatted that you said you would make a push that day. You expected Laurence Klein to be faster on the short days but the long day would play into your skill set and 100-mile experience.

I have never had a race go so well. It went perfect. Exactly to plan; easy couple of days and then ramp it up. I’m really happy with how it all went.

Did you get nervous early on? You know, thinking that you were giving time away to Laurence or did you have complete confidence?

I had confidence that I was racing the best way for me and that my strategy would give me my best performance. I had no idea how Laurence would race. I couldn’t control her pace, so I just ran my own race. I didn’t know I would beat Laurence but equally I wasn’t convinced I would loose to her either. After day two one of the French reporters asked me, “At this point do you think that you could possibly beat Laurence?” Big mistake… I was polite but I thought, ‘I will show ya!’

Well it’s a French race and Meghan won in 2013 so I guess they were hoping they would have a French lady back on the podium.

I guess so.

You upset the apple cart. Once the long day was done, did you just consolidate?

Absolutely! I have just completed sixteen years of ultra running. That is a long time. Once I took that lead on the long day, I knew I had no need to push. I could just defend and race smart. I don’t even know how many ultras I have done… but I know I don’t need to destroy myself.

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Great tactic. No extra points or extra prestige for winning by more hours. A great lesson for us all here!

I knew I had races coming up so I wanted to be sensible.

It’s a new year and MDS is not far away… the 30th edition. Runners are now suddenly panicking. The race is just months away. So may questions. What rucksack, what shoes, what sleeping bag, what food, tell us about bivouac and so on. What tips do you have for everyone that worked for you?

I had a very light sleeping bag and that was all I needed. I was warm in that but I do believe 2014 was a warm year. It didn’t really get cold at night, so, you may need to be careful on that. If you are racing and want to be competitive then weight is everything. You must go as light as possible. I didn’t have a sleeping pad, no luxuries, and no creature comforts. But if you want to ‘complete’ it makes sense to have a few comforts but don’t go crazy, remember you have to carry it!

How about food, what strategy did you use. You need a minimum calorie allowance.

Yes, I carried the minimum.

How did you break those calories down? It’s always a big debate; fat v carbs, dried food, bars, liquid, gels and so on. What did you do?

I took advice from Lisa and Meghan and a woman called Susan Hunt who had done loads of research on MDS. I went with what I thought would work for me. That is what you have to do. For me, I did one freeze-dried meal at night, which provided good calories. I rolled out all my food before I went to Morocco and mad it as small as possible and then put it in new bags. I just added water and then put them back in the sun to warm it so I didn’t need a stove. I also took a great deal of calories in peanut oil. It’s oil that lasts (it doesn’t go rancid) and it has loads of calories.

How did you carry that peanut oil?

I decanted it to small plastic bottles. I had over 1000 calories of peanut oil and I added it to my food. It was easy calories. If I go to MDS again I would take more. It worked really well.

So you had 1000+ calories to last the week?

Yes, I wasn’t eating 1000 calories of oil a day but I would definitely take much more for another trip or race like this. It’s great; just add to food and it really works.

 

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What did you do for breakfast?

I had dehydrated potatoes but it didn’t really work for me. I don’t eat a high carb diet anyway so it was a struggle. They tasted great for a couple of days and then I couldn’t stand it. I was throwing my breakfast away, crazy.

Yes, so many struggle with what they thought was safe food and then they can’t eat it. I remember Meghan saying she had a favourite bar that she loved. It was a bar she could eat anytime, so she took them to MDS. After day one (I think) she couldn’t face them! It is funny how your palette changes so quickly when under stress.

Exactly. I’m not sure how you find out what works though? I think variety is good. You need to play safe to a certain extent.

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What would be a breakfast choice now?

I would still take potato but only for a couple of days and then I would take some other freeze-dried option.

On the trail each day, how did you get calories?

I ate dried mango. I loved them and I never got sick of it. They were really great. I also had little packets of ‘Vespa’ for amino acid. That helped too. I knew I would burn my own fat for calories. You can’t race on 2000 calories alone so you will burn fat. I didn’t need to eat all that much really.

Great point! You have already mentioned you don’t eat much carb so am I correct to assume that you have a low carb and low sugar diet. You look to be fat adapted.

Not always but yes, for the last few years I have raced this way. I let myself go a little in the off-season but when I am racing I need to be 100% on my nutrition game. It’s all about balance, running is important but not all consuming.

I guess you prepared for MDS when the New Year started, what was training like. Did you do anything specific so that you knew you would be performant in Morocco?

When I signed up for MDS, I got invited to India to do a run. That wasn’t planned so I had to fit that in. This race was in February. It was a 100km in the heat in a salt desert on the Pakistan border; that was perfect! It was a great jump-start. I had no heat training at all really from that point onwards but I did run in the snow and that worked great. Running in the snow is very similar to the sand and dunes.

Yes, sand and snow very similar feel when running.

Yes, I have been running in the snow this winter and it has reminded me of MDS. Obviously running in the cold isn’t ideal but snow-running technique was brilliant. I have however always run well in the heat. My Western States performances confirm this.

What about back-to-back runs, speed sessions and running with a pack?

I didn’t run with a pack at all… I had one of those WAA packs and they are incredible. It fit me like a glove. I recommend people train with a pack but I do ski mountaineering and I always use a pack so I don’t need to adapt. I am 100% used to it.

I mentioned speed work and back-to-back runs. I guess you have been running so long that running a multi day is second nature?

Yes. I did no back-to-backs or speed. I have been doing this running thing for years.

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You have an incredible running history. You’ve won Western States and UTMB and so many other incredible races, so where does MDS fit. Is it one of the best?

Oh yes. It’s up there. It was a surprise for me. I didn’t expect it to be as fun and as challenging as it was. As I mentioned, I was a little depressed pre race and so therefore I was a little down. But the race kicked me out of that and I had a ball. I’d love to go back some day. It was a wonderful learning curve too. I met so many amazing people. It holds a special place in my heart.

I agree, MDS is quite special; I feel fortunate to witness the race from the outside looking in. Documenting each participant’s journey through images and words. Final question; how difficult do you rate MDS?

It’s no easy race if you are pushing at the front. But it’s as easy or as hard as you want it to be. The cut offs are generous and that provides so many with an opportunity, which is great. But if you are looking to be at the front, you have to be fit, dedicated and focused. It’s not the hardest race I have done but it is also not the easiest.

*****

Nikki will race The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica (HERE) in February and will hopefully peak for the 2015 Western States.

Nikki has a new film about to be released called FINDING TRACTION that documents her journey on the Long Trail (see Here)

If you require any photography, words or articles re Marathon des Sables please email using the contact form below.

 

 

Episode 78 – Fiennes, Ulrich, Macy, Tortorich

Ep78

Episode 78 of Talk Ultra celebrates its third anniversary with interviews with two legends, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Marshall Ulrich. We also speak to adventure racer turned ultra runner, Travis Macy and in Talk Training we chat with America’s Angriest Trainer, Vinnie Tortorich. The News, Up & Coming Races and of course, Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.

00:09:13 NEWS
Across the years
David Johnston 551.148 miles
Sue Scholl 437.769 miles
all results – HERE
 
Kilian Jornet 12:49 for Aconcagua – HERE
00:24:21 INTERVIEW
 Sir Ranulph Fiennes – read about Sir Ranulph HERE

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been called, ‘The World’s Greatest Living Explorer.’ It’s a difficult statement to argue. Sir Ranulph’s list of achievements is quite incredible.

Born in ‘44’ he was educated at Eton, served in the Royal Scots Greys for eight years and progressed to the Special Air Service (SAS) where he specialized in demolitions. In 68’ he joined the Army of the Sultan of Oman where he was decorated for bravery after leading several raids deep into rebel territory.

Sir Ranulph married his first wife, Virginia (Ginny) in 1970 and between them they lead expeditions all over the world. Ginny was awarded the Polar Medal in ’87.’ Sir Ranulph has raised incredible sums of money for Marie Curie Cancer Charity as his wife, mother and sister all died from the disease within 18 months of each other (2004.)

Currently, Sir Ranulph is the only person alive to have to have travelled around the Earth’s circumpolar surface. Continually a pioneer, Sir Ranulph is ever present at pushing boundaries.

The first explorer to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported, Sir Ranulph has come a long way since leading a British Expedition on the White Nile in ’69.’

Ran, as he likes to be known, may perhaps be best known after travelling to the North Pole unaided. Dr Mike Stroud has figured heavily in Ran’s career and amongst many expeditions, two stand out! A 97-day trek across Antarctica in ‘93’ and running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents (2003.) The latter was undertaken just four months after a triple heart bypass.

In 2000, Ran attempted to walk solo to the North Pole but his sled fell through thin ice. Exposure to the ice-cold water resulted in severe frostbite and some months later, the famous ‘finger’ incident.

Having been to both Poles and participated in over 30 major expeditions, Ran summited the Eiger in 2007 and at the age of 65 (2009) he pushed the boundaries once more to be the oldest Briton ever to climb Everest after two failed attempts in 2005 (he had a heart attack) and in 2008 when he ‘went a little too quickly’ and exhaustion foiled his attempt.

After 5 years of planning, in 2012, Sir Ranulph set off on his latest expedition, ‘The Coldest Journey’ leading the first team on foot, across Antarctica during the southern winter. The expedition was brought to a sudden halt for Ran when in training he removed a glove to attend to a ski binding. Ran was evacuated for frostbite and treatment but the expedition continued without him.

In 2015, Ran will attempt the 2015 Marathon des Sables.

BLOG
Summits of my Life – Aconcagua HERE
01:11:55 INTERVIEW
Marshall Ullrich 

The ultimate endurance athlete, Marshall Ulrich has run more than 120 ultramarathons averaging over 125 miles each, completed 12 expedition-length adventure races, and climbed the Seven Summits all on his first attempts.

He finished the first-ever circumnavigation on foot of Death Valley National Park, about 425 miles in one of the hottest, driest places on earth, during the most blistering month in U.S. history (July 2012). He’s ranked this expedition as tougher than ascending Mount Everest, but not as challenging as his record-setting transcontinental run of more than 3,000 milesfrom San Francisco to New York City, which was the subject of his memoir, Running on Empty.

In his sixties, Marshall inspires adventurers, active and armchair athletes, and a growing general audience by sharing his experiences and defying the ideas of “too far,” “too old,” and “not possible.”

01:45:36 INTERVIEW
Travis Macy sponsored by Hoka One One and Vitargo

Travis Macy summited glacial peaks in the French Alps, rapelled into cavernous limestone caves in China, and ran through parched deserts in Utah.  Most famously, he won the Leadman, a high-altitude combination trail running marathon, 50-mile mountain biking race, 100-mile mountain biking race, 10K run, and 100-mile trail run.  Macy accomplished it without exceptional strength, speed, flexibility, high tech performance labs, or performance-enhancing drugs.  His secret?  A precise and particular outlook he calls the “Ultra Mindset,” principles for daily life which are neither mysterious nor the sole province of ascetics or elite athletes: embrace fear, rewrite stories we tell ourselves, and master the art of seeking help, among others.  By applying the Ultra Mindset principles to other areas of life, anyone can find success that otherwise would have been impossible.

More about The Ultra Mindset here.

Available for purchase here.

02:30:38 TALK TRAINING
Vinnie Tortorich

Vinnie Tortorich (born September 27, 1962), is an author, radio and podcast host, fitness trainer, and model based in Beverly Hills, California.

In 2012, he started the “Angriest Trainer” podcast HERE with co-host Anna Vocino, who was best known for the self-improvised show “Free Radio” on Comedy Central. as a personal trainer is working with Hollywood celebrities and Ironman triathletes.

In July 2013 Vinnie released his second book called “Fitness Confidential.”

In October 2014, Vinnie launched Pure Vitamin Club, an online subscription-based business selling an original multivitamin/multimineral formula.

 
03:33:58 UP & COMING RACES

Antartica

Antarctic Ice 100k | 100 kilometers | January 15, 2015 | website

Australia

Queensland

Bogong to Hotham | 64 kilometers | January 11, 2015 | website

Victoria

Two Bays Trail Run 56km | 56 kilometers | January 11, 2015 | website

Brazil

Brazil 135 Ultramarathon | 135 miles | January 14, 2015 | website

Brazil 281 Relay | 281 miles | January 14, 2015 | website

France

Essonne

Raid 28 | 80 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Semiraid 28 | 50 kilometers | January 18, 2015 | website

Eure-et-Loir

Ultra Raid 28 | 120 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Schwabacher Winter Ultra | 56 kilometers | January 18, 2015 | website

Lower Saxony

7. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM | 100 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

7. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

8. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM | 100 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

8. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Nord Eifel Ultra | 56 kilometers | January 11, 2015 | website

Hong-Kong

Vibram® Hong Kong 100 Ultra Trail® Race | 100 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

India

Ultra India Race | 220 kilometers | January 21, 2015 | website

Netherlands

North Holland

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 100 km | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2015 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2015 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 75 km | 75 kilometers | January 09, 2015 | website

New Zealand

Hutt River Trail Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Serbia

Mojstir Extreme km Trail Run 100 | 100 kilometers | January 18, 2015 | website

Spain

Valencian Community

GR10-Xtrem Valencia Ultra Trail | 93 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Sweden

W-R-T Sandsjöbacka Trail Marathon – 68 km | 68 kilometers | January 18, 2015 | website

Thailand

Columbia Trails Masters – 50K | 50 kilometers | January 11, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Anglesey

Coastal Trail Series – Anglesey – Ultra | 34 miles | January 17, 2015 | website

Buckinghamshire

Country to Capital | 45 miles | January 17, 2015 | website

Derbyshire

Montane Spine Race | 268 miles | January 10, 2015 | website

USA

Alabama

Nicholas Wilson Memorial Tashka Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Arizona

San Tan Scramble – 50K | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

California

Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | January 10, 2015 | website

Crystal Springs 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 11, 2015 | website

Long Beach Enlightened Ultra 100K | 100 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Long Beach Enlightened Ultra 100 Mile | 100 miles | January 10, 2015 | website

Long Beach Enlightened Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Long Beach Enlightened Ultra 50 Mile | 50 miles | January 10, 2015 | website

Pacifica Foothills Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Race Across California – Border to Border (10 Marathons) | 266 miles | January 16, 2015 | website

Race Across California – Desert Challenge (4 Marathons) | 107 miles | January 23, 2015 | website

Race Across California – Urban Challenge (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | January 16, 2015 | website

San Diego 50 | 50 miles | January 17, 2015 | website

Steep Ravine 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Florida

Clearwater Distance 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | January 18, 2015 | website

Long Haul 100K | 100 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Long Haul 100M | 100 miles | January 17, 2015 | website

Georgia

Savannah Rails to Trails 50K | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Hawaii

H.U.R.T. 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | January 17, 2015 | website

Idaho

Wilson Creek Frozen 50k | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Illinois

Frozen Gnome 50K | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Iowa

Tripple D Winter Ultramarathon Run | 50 kilometers | January 18, 2015 | website

New Jersey

The Batona 50K | 50 kilometers | January 18, 2015 | website

The Batona 50 Mile | 50 miles | January 18, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Weymouth Woods 100k Trail Run | 100 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Oklahoma

Ouachita Switchbacks 50K | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2015 | website

Tennessee

Swampstomper 50k | 50 kilometers | January 18, 2015 | website

Texas

Bandera 100km | 100 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Bandera 50km | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Big Bend 50 | 50 kilometers | January 18, 2015 | website

Virginia

Willis River 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Washington

Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Capitol Peak Mega-Fat Ass 34 miles | 36 miles | January 17, 2015 | website

Pullman Winter Ultra Series 50K | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2015 | website

Wisconsin

Frozen Otter Ultra Trek – 32 Miles | 32 miles | January 17, 2015 | website

Frozen Otter Ultra Trek – 64 Miles | 64 miles | January 17, 2015 | website

Show length 03:43:00

 

SHOW LINKS

Sir Ranulph Fiennes to run the 2015 Marathon des Sables – Interview

sir_ranulph_fiennes_bigussiue.com

sir_ranulph_fiennes_bigissue.com

Ranulph Fiennes (March 7th 1944)

 Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been called, ‘The World’s Greatest Living Explorer.’ It’s a difficult statement to argue. Sir Ranulph’s list of achievements is quite incredible. 

Born in ‘44’ he was educated at Eton, served in the Royal Scots Greys for eight years and progressed to the Special Air Service (SAS) where he specialized in demolitions. In 68’ he joined the Army of the Sultan of Oman where he was decorated for bravery after leading several raids deep into rebel territory.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes Portrait 2012_militaryspeakers

Sir Ranulph Fiennes Portrait 2012_militaryspeakers

Sir Ranulph married his first wife, Virginia (Ginny) in 1970 and between them they lead expeditions all over the world. Ginny was awarded the Polar Medal in ’87.’ Sir Ranulph has raised incredible sums of money for Marie Curie Cancer Charity as his wife, mother and sister all died from the disease within 18 months of each other (2004.)

Currently, Sir Ranulph is the only person alive to have to have travelled around the Earth’s circumpolar surface. Continually a pioneer, Sir Ranulph is ever present at pushing boundaries.

The first explorer to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported, Sir Ranulph has come a long way since leading a British Expedition on the White Nile in ’69.’

Ran, as he likes to be known, may perhaps be best known after travelling to the North Pole unaided. Dr Mike Stroud has figured heavily in Ran’s career and amongst many expeditions, two stand out! A 97-day trek across Antarctica in ‘93’ and running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents (2003.) The latter was undertaken just four months after a triple heart bypass.

In 2000, Ran attempted to walk solo to the North Pole but his sled fell through thin ice. Exposure to the ice-cold water resulted in severe frostbite and some months later, the famous ‘finger’ incident.

Having been to both Poles and participated in over 30 major expeditions, Ran summited the Eiger in 2007 and at the age of 65 (2009) he pushed the boundaries once more to be the oldest Briton ever to climb Everest after two failed attempts in 2005 (he had a heart attack) and in 2008 when he ‘went a little too quickly’ and exhaustion foiled his attempt.

After 5 years of planning, in 2012, Sir Ranulph set off on his latest expedition, ‘The Coldest Journey’ leading the first team on foot, across Antarctica during the southern winter. The expedition was brought to a sudden halt for Ran when in training he removed a glove to attend to a ski binding. Ran was evacuated for frostbite and treatment but the expedition continued without him.

In 2015, Ran will attempt the 2015 Marathon des Sables.

*****

Ranulph Fiennes Interview undertaken by Niandi Carmont at ‘The Druid Challenge’ 2-day race in November 2014. An event both Niandi and Sir Ranulph were using as preparation for Marathon des Sables in 2015.

NC: Welcome Sir Ranulph

RF: Many thanks for the invite and showing an interest.

NC: You hold multiple records, I am a little overwhelmed. You were in the army for many years, did that ignite a passion for adventure?

RF: Well when I was in Germany it was the Cold War. We had 60 70-ton tanks facing the German border waiting for the Soviets to attack… but they never did attack. So the soldiers got bored. So, we were made to run, canoe or whatever it may be. I was told I would be the running officer. I wasn’t asked, I was told! I became an expert in a week. I started to train 600 soldiers. We got to be 5th best regiment out of about 80 regiments after 4-years. All the races were 6miles though.

NC: Wow an interesting beginning and somewhat unique. What was it like to be the first person to visit both poles?

RF: Well, it was my late wife Ginny (married 38-years) who motivated me. Before we married we had done various hot expeditions in the Sahara, the Nile and Arabia. In the 70’s the British press were no longer interested in media for hot expeditions. So, no sponsorship equals no expeditions. Ginny decided we should go to cold environments. We looked at a globe and we decided that nobody had gone vertically between the poles. There was only one route!

NC: How long did this take?

RF: It took 7 years to get sponsorship. We had 1900 sponsors and raised 29 million pounds. This was in the 70’s! Nobody paid us to get sponsors so we had to work at weekends in pubs to make a living. Eventually Jennies dream was ready to go… we had a team of 52-people who had given up everything. Engineers and so on… we got a 40-year old Norwegian vessel and set off from Greenwich and arrived back 2.5 years later. We were the first to go around the earth surface vertically around the world ever and nobody else has repeated this. More people have been on the moon! So in all, 10 years!

NC: Amazing that the record still stands. So remarkable! You were the first person to cross Antarctica on foot?

RF: That was the Antarctic Continent? Antarctica changes all the time… I did coastline to coastline: Atlantic to Pacific. We completed the first crossing in ‘79’ but we used skidoos, nonetheless the first crossing side-to-side. But when we crossed the Continent that was 20-years later and that was unsupported. So, what we carried on day-1 was enough for 2000 miles without resupply. That was somewhat problematic but we did do it and we were in a bad way at the end!

NC: Problematic?

RF: We ran out of food! I started at 15.5 stone, at halfway I was 9-stone despite eating 5000 calories a day. So we had a daily deficiency of 3500 calories per day. So, we were officially starving. Mike Stroud thought this was fascinating… he is Europe’s top physiologist studying in starvation and muscle cannibalisation, so he was able to study this first hand. It had only been possible to study something like this previously at Auschwitz!

NC: You had frostbite. Many have heard the stories about you cutting your fingers off. Are they true?

Fiennes_standard.co.uk

RF: I got frostbite on a solo expedition to the Arctic Ocean. If I had had a doctor with me he would have pulled me out and got the tent out with a cooker on and avoided the frostbite. As it was, because I was alone by the time I had got out of the water… the damage was done. I was too cold too pitch a tent, start a cooker and so on. It was -48. Think about it, it was pitch black on a semi frozen sea, so I went back to the start to find land again and sent a radio message. An amazing Canadian ski pilot landed in the dark on the edge of the coast and he saved me. I was taken to hospital. I had special pressure treatment for 60-hours to lengthen the living part of the fingers on one hand. They cut off about 2-inches of the five fingers on one hand. The other hand recovered. My insurers refused to pay unless the operation was in the UK. I tried to find someone in the UK who knew something about frostbite. Navy divers are susceptible to the bends and apparently they can lose fingers. Apparently they don’t amputate until after 5-months to allow for some recovery. Five months is a long time. Every time you touch something with mummified fingers it hurts… after 2 months my wife and I decided to cut them off. We went to the garden shed. We got a Black & Decker workbench and micro saw. It took 2 days and lots of tea. Apparently a physio in Bristol said I did a great job but my surgeon was less pleased.

NC: Did it take courage and did it hurt?

RF: No, if it hurt or started to bleed I just moved further away and just made sure the bit I was cutting off was dead. It doesn’t hurt!

NC: In 2009 you summited Everest at the age of 65-years; what impact did age have on you if any?

ranulph-fiennes_mpora.com

RF: This was my 3rd Everest attempt. My 1st attempt had been somewhat risky from the Tibet side and I had a heart attack on the last night after 2-months of acclimatizing. Bad timing eh but I survived! I said I would never go back… but I was told that was a rubbish idea and that I should go from the other side.

So my 2nd attempt was from the Nepal side; which is easier. But we still failed as we passed a load of bodies including the father of my Sherpa. We passed a Swiss climber too who had summited without Oxygen but died on the way down with hypoxia.

In 2009 it was easy… I guess I understand why I had failed the first and second times. I had been trying to catch up with my British guide the second time. Competitiveness can be a bad thing. When you have had a heart attack you must obey your surgeons advice and not exceed 130bpm. So, in 2009 I took it easy and it all came together.

NC: You are obviously endurant and resilient?

RF: When I was in my 50’s I enjoyed running a great deal and I had success. In my 60’s running was no longer an option… I was jogging until about 69-years of age and that was okay, not that I ever went in for races in that decade. Jogging became shuffling and that is very annoying! Avoid geriatric status at all costs.

NC: I agree 100%. You have a great collaboration with Mike Stroud – 26-years?

RF: Mike comes up with all the ideas. For the last 5-years we have been working on an idea that involved Antarctica. Mike unfortunately had a hip problem. In the last couple of years his other hip went, it wasn’t as easy as the first one so Mike took on all the scientific side. In many ways this is more difficult and that is what he is in charge of now. We are still doing things. There was a time when Mike and I didn’t do expeditions; this was after the Antarctic crossing. We did running races. Mike led an Eco-Challenge team, which must have been one of the first in British Columbia in the Whistler Mountains. That was very enjoyable… it was a team of five and it included Rebecca Stephens the first the British lady to summit Everest, his Father who was over 70-years, the editor of Runners World and an SAS man, David Smith. Mike put the team together and introduced all of us back to running in 1995. We have also done many events as a pair such as the 7-marathons on 7-continents.

NC: He is also a friend, It’s more than running surely?

RF: You don’t choose people for expeditions because they are friends. We chose Mike Stroud in the very beginning because I was already in the Arctic. The man I was with was recalled to London and I was left with nobody. I rang my wife in England and said, ‘I need someone in 3-days who is completely ‘polar’ trained.’ Dr Mike Stroud had been a reserve on another expedition and had only just returned from Antarctica after 1-year away. Somehow he pulled it off… he managed to come away on a 3-day turnaround.

NC: You obviously relied on your wife a great deal.

RF: Absolutely! Since my wife has passed away, Mike has taken on the ‘idea’ role.

NC: Can we discuss the 7-marathons in 7-days on 7-continents?

RF: Mikes’ idea again! The New York marathon club considered themselves the best marathon club in the world. The only non New Yorker as part of this group was Dr Mike Stroud. They swore him to silence that they thought it may be possible to run 7-marathons on 7-continents in 7-days. Mike kept his word and 2-years later, Mike approached American Airlines and they said they couldn’t schedule the flights. (You need jumbo jets and 5-hours in each continent.) Delta said they couldn’t do it. United said they couldn’t do it and now 6-years had passed. It was 2003 and Mike had still kept the secret. I called Mike in 2003 about another expedition. He said great, I’ll ask the boss. They told him he could only have 1-week’s holiday as he taken so much time already. Mike phoned me and said, I can’t do your expedition but I want you to do mine! So, Mike asked me to contact British Airways and within 2-months they phoned back and said they had cracked it! They said we had to finish with New York and not Asia. Asia would need to be in the middle. Also, if we were a minute late ever they would fly without us. They wouldn’t keep passengers waiting. So, they provided 2 free first class beds and food (this was our only opportunity to rest) and yes, it was all systems go! It all went well to Argentina. We were suppose to be running on King George Island (Shetland), the night before we were due to run the ‘Argies’ blocked the landing on King George with their own planes. So we had a team meeting, Mike and myself, BBC news, a reporter from The Times and a photographer: 6-people in total. When we suddenly arrived the whole thing had been cocked up, the BBC bloke said, “I’ve got a very good friend in Santiago, I will ring him now and get him here and he will fly us to one of the other Antarctic Islands.” So we had to run one of the South American marathons locally. That night we ran a marathon and we had officials to make sure we ran an official marathon in 3:45, which was extremely stupid. The next morning we get on this plane without a worry of which island we would go to. Apparently the only island to run on would be the Falklands. You may know, but you are not supposed to fly from Argentina to the Falklands without 6-months notice. So we slept on the plane. Mike woke me up and we looked out of the plane window. We had two Tornado jets on either side of us… they made us do a force landing on a military airstrip on the Falklands. We were marched to the CO who was furious. He told us we had no permission and that we could all face prison. At this point, one of the reporters went forward and said, “Did they realise that the news and the papers would make this not look good for the army!” There was a fairly quick turnaround…

“You can run your 26. something miles locally and we will watch them every step of the way,” The CO said.

They never saw us off. Funny really.

NC: This seems extremely stressful. Running, logistics, last min changes and so on.

RF: The BBC and The Times did all that for us.

NC: Yes, but it must have been stressful.

RF: The 7x7x7 challenge was sponsored by Land Rover and they did everything for us. It was incredible. They did all the work for us and they had cars waiting for us at anytime. Land Rover and British Airways made this all possible. They had the contacts.

NC: Before the 7-challenge you had a heart attack and a double bypass. It’s amazing that you would undertake this.

RF: I was on a drip for 3-days and nights, they decided to cut me open and do a double bypass. They just decided to do this! It took 13 attempts to revive me after they sewed me up. When I woke up my late wife said, “Ran you had a heart attack 3-days ago” but I still can’t remember anything!

NC: You aborted your most recent expedition, is that the end of cold journeys for you now?

RF: We aborted the crossing but we kept the team (all 5 of them) not Mike and not me through frostbite, but we kept all the team for 8-months at 11,000 feet above sea level doing scientific work on each other. It has delighted the Royal Society and all the scientists, we raised 2.3 million dollars for blindness in Bangladesh and I went with Joanna Lumley to Bangladesh to see what they were doing with the money. For £19 they could remove cataracts from babies. Quite remarkable! For £9 they could provide spectacles to children. This means they can go to school and have opportunities in the future. We really need charity PR people to get behind us, the more money we make, the more people we can benefit.

NC: What does the future hold for you?

RF: Well, I am not allowed to talk about this until I get the nod, but I will be going to Marathon des Sables in 2015. And I am also writing another book. One book actually came out last week.

Marie Curie Logo

Get involved and support Sir Ranulph! Text RUN and a message of support to 70007 to donate £5, or you can visit his Just Giving page here:http://bit.ly/1xUB298

Find out more about Sir Ranulph and his Marathon des Sables challenge:http://bit.ly/1wvffi8

NC: Can you tell me about Agincourt, your most recent book?

Agincourt

 

Book on Amazon HERE

RF: A historian would normally write a book like Agincourt… but it turns out that I am related to Robert Fiennes from the village of Fiennes in the Pas de Calais.

NC: What an amazing story?

Niandi speaks French to Sir Ranulph and he is taken aback. He also speaks French and they enter into a short dialogue. 

Sir Ranulph comments that he could hear an accent in Niandi’s voice but not French! Niandi explains that she is South African born…

NC: So you lived in South Africa?

RF: Yes, my relatives live in South Africa. I spent the first 12-years of my life in SA.

Anyway, we digress. I decided to go to Fiennes and find my French cousins. They were wiped out at the battle of Agencourt and I found out how. One of them was part of an 18-strong commando group with the specific aim of killing King Henry V in the battle. One of them, maybe not Robert Fiennes, got to knocking the crown of his head… Two of King Henry V’s generals, one was a sheriff of Kent in Sussex. He was corrupt man; so corrupt that Henry V1 made him into the Chancellor of the Exchequer. When soldiers came back from France, 20,000 of them attacked London. The King gave the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the mob and they killed him… nasty business!

NC: I guess we are going to have to read the book. Sounds like a fascinating story. Looking at modern day adventurers, what are your thoughts on Uli Steck and Kilian Jornet?

RF: Uli is amazing, incredible… I do not understand how you can go up the Eiger in 2-hours or something ridiculous like that. He is unbelievably amazing. Both of them are just incredible.

NC: And what about your new book, what is it called?

RF: My new book will be called HEAT. Nice contrast to my other book, COLD.

“Physically I’m going to be a wreck pretty quickly.” But these challenges are fought in the mind, he says. “There’ll be a voice in my head saying I’ll have a heart attack, I’ll get hyperthermia, I’ve got a family, it’s stupid to carry on. That sort of wimpish voice tries to appear logical, finding reasons for stopping. You have to fight it. I’ve had it so many times.”

-BBC News, Tom de Castella

 

Cold

On Amazon HERE

Sir Ranulph Fiennes will participate at the 2015 Marathon des Sables. An announcememt will be made on January 8th. We hope to have follow up interviews with Sir Ranulph to help document this exciting journey.

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AWARDS

In 1970, Fiennes received the Sultan’s Bravery Medal.

He has also been awarded a number of honorary doctorates, in 1986, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2011

Fiennes received the Royal Geographical Society’s Founder’s Medal.

Fiennes was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1993 for “human endeavour and for charitable services”

In 1986 Fiennes was awarded the Polar Medal for “outstanding service to British Polar exploration and research.”

In 1994 he was awarded a second clasp to the Polar Medal, having visited both poles.

In 2010 Justgiving named Fiennes as the UK’s top celebrity fundraiser, after raising more than £2.5 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

In September 2011 Fiennes was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Science from Plymouth University and

In July 2012 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Glamorgan.

In October 2014 it was announced that Fiennes would receive an honorary Doctorate of Science, from the University of Chester, in recognition of “outstanding and inspirational contribution to the field of exploration”. 

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Links and credits:

‘I am not a madman’

http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2007/oct/05/features11.g21

Fiennes climbs to Everest summit

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8060649.stm

Ranulph Fiennes pulls out of Antarctic journey

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/02/25/ranulph-fiennes-antarctic-journey/1946571/?AID=10709313&PID=6156889&SID=w7wk81lnnmpn

The world’s greatest living explorer

http://www.militaryspeakers.co.uk/speakers/sir-ranulph-fiennes.aspx

Interview with TIME

http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1900969,00.html?imw=Y

Ranulph Fiennes – Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranulph_Fiennes

Who, What, Why: Is it harder to run in the Sahara Desert or the North Pole?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-30716727