IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL

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A new MAGBOOK hits the shelves in the UK today called THE RUNNER. It wall also be available at: http://www.magbooks.com

Please support the magazine with a purchase in-store or online

I have several photos and features in the magazine, primarily one on the Marathon des Sables (10-pages) where I look at the impact of the race on the FACES of 3 runners including 2015 MDS ladies champion, Elisabet Barnes.

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I also have a 10-page feature on THE GREAT LAKELAND 3 DAY.

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Finally, they did a little feature on yours truly. ‘IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL.’

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Multi-Day Training Camp Schedule Jan 28th – Feb 4th 2016

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Located at the iconic Club La Santa resort, our training camp will provide you with all the knowledge, experience and practical training you need to make your next multi-day adventure a success.  Hosted by Ian Corless and 2015 ladies Marathon des Sables champion, Elisabet Barnes,

The 2016 multi-day training camp in conjunction with:

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Lanzarote offers a variety of terrain that can be found in many desert races and therefore it’s the ideal training ground to prepare and acclimatize for an up and coming challenge.

The camp will provide workshops where it will be possible to discuss and test apparel and specific multi-day kit.

You’ll be able to try dehydrated food and test your hydration strategy in a real situation.

You’ll spend a night out under the stars in your sleeping bag and importantly, you’ll be able to test your pack and work out what works and what doesn’t work.

In addition to all this you’ll have 7 days of training geared towards your targets based around your ability and experience. This camp is for everyone; experienced or novice.

Club La Santa as a resort offers a great base and all facilities are included. This is great for relaxation, an opportunity to cross train or more importantly it’s perfect for friends and family to join you as a plethora of opportunities are available.

INFORMATION

The purpose of any training camp is to provide you with specific information and training designed specifically to help you with your future objectives. Although you may run (train) more in this condensed week, it’s not designed to break you! Therefore, all training sessions are flexible and you can dip-in and dip-out as required. Most importantly, just as in any race, we will have a very mixed ability base. You will therefore train at your appropriate pace with like minded people.

Each day will be broken down into one or two specific training sessions, one workshop and leisure time.

Club La Santa as a resort is a great destination for a training camp due to its proximity to Morocco, mixed terrain and the excellent facilities available within the Club La Santa complex. Over 30 different sports are available ‘free’ to anyone staying within the complex and of course they can be included within your schedule or during your free time.

Apartments at Club La Santa are functional and consist of a lounge/ diner with kitchen, bedroom with 2 x single beds and a bathroom. The lounge area coverts to 1 or 2 single beds. Apartments are for 2 adults sharing and 1 or 2 children can join for free as required.

Club La Santa has 4 restaurants: Atlantico is a buffet restaurant, Pool Bar is located outside near the swimming pools and is great for lunch, casual drinks and evening dinner, La Plaza and El Lago are based within the complex and offer a more formal dining experience. La Santa village is less than 2-miles from the CLS resort and a selection of excellent local restaurants are available. Finally, apartments do offer the option to self cater, however, you will find that evenings in CLS are about getting together, relaxing as a group or in smaller groups and bonding. Just as you would in bivouac.

SCHEDULE

This schedule may tweak or change due to situations beyond our control.

 

Thursday 28th

Travel to Arrecife from the UK. Easyjet offer a selection of very affordable flights from London, Bristol, Midlands and Liverpool. Ideally an arrival time at CLS before 1700 hours is preferable.

A taxi from Arrecife airport to CLS is 35-50 euros and that is for 1-4 people. Journey time is less than 30-minutes. Where possible, we can look at journey times and connect people prior to departure so it will be possible to share taxi costs.

1700 – 1900 Meet and greet at the Sports Bar within CLS.

1930 Group dinner and welcome at the Pool Bar (food payable locally)

Friday 29th

Important – unless otherwise stated, all sessions will meet at the run track. Please be punctual. All sessions will start on time.

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0900 – 1200 Coast run to Famara and return. This is a flat run along mixed terrain (sand, lava, rocks) to the coastal town of Famara and then return back to CLS. This is an out and back route and therefore suitable for all abilities.

12-00 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation.

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1500 – 1700 What goes in the multi-day rucksack

1730 Optional easy 20-40min run or walk.

1900 Drinks and the Sports Bar.

2000 Dinner as a group or as per your requirements.

Saturday 30th

Meet 0830 CLS Reception

©iancorless.com_MDS2015Day3-68620900 – 1530 Volcano Walks – 5 hours trekking over 3 different routes catered for all abilities. This is an organized CLS excursion and is suitable for all providing an opportunity to sight see and gain time on feet. Make sure you have sun cream, water and snacks. An official guide and a snack is provided. This is for adults only, apologies for anyone who may be travelling with children.

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1730 – 1900 Food and Hydration for the multi-day adventure (workshop and talk).

1930 Drinks at the Sport Bar.

2000 Dinner – as a group or as per your requirements.

Sunday 31st

0800 – 1200 Coastal run to Timanfaya over mixed undulating terrain. This run has some challenging terrain, a little scrambling and provides an excellent opportunity to test oneself.

1200 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation. ©iancorless.com_MDS2015Day2-0398

1500 – 1630 Foot care what to do and what not to do.

1700 – 1800 Easy run of 20, 40 or 60min.

1930 Meet Sports Bar.

2000 Dinner as a group or as per your requirements.

Monday 1st

0700 – 0800 Optional pre breakfast run.

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0900 – 1200 Rucksack discussion (look at Raidlight, WAA, Ultimate Direction, OMM) We discuss fitting, packing and how to ensure that the pack you choose is specific to your needs and how to pack.

MDS Kit

1200 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation.

1530 Run and Bivouac – This will provide all of you with an opportunity to test your pack, sleeping bag, clothing, food, hydration, cooking options and dehydrated food in a real situation. We will run/ hike out of CLS camp departing at 1700 for an estimated 3-4 hours. We will then bivouac and depart the following morning back to CLS early.

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*Note – due to logistics and functionality we will not be able to provide shelter for the bivouac, so, if you wish you can bring a bivvy bag or you can buddy up with another runner and share a 2-man tent. Alternatively, you can sleep under the stars (weather depending). We strongly recommend that you bring a sleeping matt even though you may wish not to use or carry one when racing. Also, your multi-desert sleeping bag may well be a little cool for a bivouac night in February! Please bring long sleeve base layer and tights. We also recommend that you bring a lightweight jacket (down) for added evening and/ or sleeping warmth. This is all very specific and applicable to a typical evening in a desert race. We will be available to provide any help and advice prior to departure to ensure that you have all you need.

Tuesday 2nd

0700 Depart bivouac and head back to CLS.

1200 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation.

1530 – 1700 Debrief from bivouac run. Lessons learnt, what worked and what didn’t work.

1730 Easy 30min run or walk.

1900 Drinks at Sport Bar.

2000 Dinner as a group or as per requirements.

Wednesday 3rd
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0900 – 1200 Run/ walk with dune/ sand familiarization and technique.

1200 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation.

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1500 What can go wrong and how to prevent it. Be prepared workshop!

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1600 Shoe choice and gaiters.

1730 – 1830 Coast run/ walk – out and back route for all abilities.

1930 Drinks at the Sports Bar.

2000 Farewell group meal. 

Thursday 4th

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0700 – 1000 Coastal run for all abilities with pack and putting into practice everything learned during your week in Lanzarote. We appreciate that Thursday is departure day, so this run is optional and a bonus for those who can make it. You can obviously cut this run short at anytime, hence the out and back route.

Thursday am/pm return back to the UK.

Please book your taxi or bus at CLS reception.

You can download this week schedule HERE in PDF form.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

This training camp is designed to provide an insight into the demands that a multi-day adventure will bring. It is aimed at all abilities and although training and adaptation is a key element of the camp, it is not the most important aspect. Your week in Lanzarote has been designed to provide you with all the information you will need in a ‘real’ environment so that you can ask questions and make mistakes during your training week, not during your race. Leave nothing to chance!

Places are limited and the camp is currently over 50% full.

Camp cost £700

This includes a self catering apartment on a share basis. Inclusion in the above schedule and access to all facilities within the Club La Santa complex. 

Deposit £200 non-refundable.

A non-running partner cost is £450.00 or £500 if they wish to attend the Volcano walk which is suitable for all abilities.

Balance deadline – on or before November 1st. 

What is not included?

Food and drinks are all payable locally. Any additional day trips or excursions and flights/ transfers to and from the UK and internal transfers to and from the airport in Lanzarote.

How to book?

 

 

 

Richtersveld Wildrun™ 2015 – This Week!

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It is days before the second Richtersveld Wildrun™ kicks off and anticipation is building for what promises to be a tight race through one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.

This four day, 150km stage race is one of the most challenging trail runs in South Africa and runners can expect to take on a harsh, mountainous desert as they are tested to the limit. Similar in format o the iconic Marathon des Sables, ‘Wildrun’ is notably different in that runners are not self sufficient: equipment is transported for them and food is provided.

At the front of the field, three of Southern Africa’s top trail runners and an American ultra-running legend will go toe-to-toe as they battle it out for top spot. Bernard Rukadza and Katya Soggot will both return to defend their titles and will come up against the likes of South African long distance trail running champion, Thabang Madiba and three-time Western States 100 mile champion, Nikki Kimball.   Both Rukadza and Madiba have been enjoying superb form in 2015 with Rukadza securing his second straight ProNutro AfricanX title in March and Madiba taking second place at the same race and at the Otter African Trail Run in October 2014. Madiba will be hoping to go one better at the Wildrun™ and take first place, but he will be up against it thanks to Rukadza’s form and route experience from the 2014 event. This is also the first time Madiba is taking on a run of this magnitude and he will have to adapt quickly to stay in the hunt.

Day 2 of the 2014 Richtersveld Wildrun, 'Die Koei' to Hakkiesdoring, Northern Cape, South Africa on 5th June 2014

“Stage racing is one of the races that helps to find your strength in running. You learn to push while in pain and learn techniques to apply to survive all stages. A win will be a big bonus for me but I’m looking forward to give all my best,” said Madiba.

In the ladies field, Katya Soggot will be representing South Africa off the back of a string of victories in the Western Cape, including the Spur Silvermine Mountain XL, Spur Cape Summer Trail Series™, Three Peaks Challenge, Matroosberg Challenge and Jonkershoek and Helderberg Mountain Challenges. She has been virtually unbeatable locally and will relish the opportunity to measure herself against an ultra-runner of Kimball’s calibre. With three Western States 100 titles as well as an Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and Marathon des Sables title, Kimball is one of the top ultra runners of her time and will be hard to beat, but Soggot’s experience from the 2014 event is sure to come in handy.

“The magnitude of untouched wilderness, the comfort and welcome at every rest camp, and the elves who made it so. My feet touched where angels fear to tread. I never dreamt I would have the privilege to relive such an experience and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to Boundless Southern Africa and Wildrunner for the opportunity,” – Katya Soggot

Since its inception in 2014, the Richtersveld Wildrun™ has had amazing support from Boundless Southern Africa and marketing manager, Roland Vorwerk was equally excited about the quality of racing anticipated.

“The Richtersveld Wildrun™ route includes many of the Park’s most spectacular features, and includes trails that very few people get to traverse. We are looking forward to these runners experiencing the unique natural and cultural landscape of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and meeting the communities associated with this innovative event.”

Mens Four Medal Ceremony

From a British perspective, Olympic rower and all around endurance athlete, James Cracknell was scheduled to race the 4 day Richtersveld Wildrun. However, James already had a commitment in place to commentate for the BBC on a rowing event in Poland. This race commentary was due to finish in time to allow James to travel to South Africa. Unfortunately, the commentating has been extended by one day and although James will still travel to South Africa he will arrive late and miss day one of the race. Needless to say, James is somewhat perturbed by this. Never happy taking the easy option, James and myself are currently looking at doing day 1 of the race at the end. Of course, this would mean a solo run but the team at Wildrunner have confirmed that they can make this happen. So, although James will not be able to compete head-to-head with other runners, we will have an overall time for the 4 day run that we can compare to other competitors.

“What more can be said other than this is going to be one hell of a race! Bernard Rukadza has been on fire in the Cape recently, winning everything from marathons to short Spur Trail Series™ events, but Thabang Madiba comes with the South African long distance trail champion label and arguably more endurance experience. I can’t wait to see these two trail heavy weights going head to head, solo, and in the magical Richtersveld desert,” said Owen Middleton, MD of Wildrunner – the events company behind the Wildrun™.

You will be able to follow the Richtersveld Wildrun through images and words here on this website, via Twitter @talkultra, on Facebook HERE and on Instagram @iancorlessphotography

PHD v YETI v OMM – Sleeping Bag Review

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If you are running a self-sufficient race or if you are going fast packing, a sleeping bag is going to be an essential item. The need to carry all your supplies in your pack quite simply means that you are constantly having a battle against weight and functionality.

It’s fair to say, that for most people a 20 ltr pack has now become the ‘norm’ for multi-day adventures and they vary considerably. But hey, we are not here to talk about packs, we are here to discuss the sleeping bag that will go in the pack and importantly provide you with warmth and comfort during the night so you feel fresh for the following day.

I have just returned from working (3rd consecutive year) at the Marathon des Sables. Arguably, MDS as it is affectionately known is the daddy of multi-day racing. To draw a comparison, it holds the same allure and respect that Western States holds for the 100-mile distance.

Now in it’s 30th year the race has seen it all. Today, the British contingent are the most represented nation at the race, closely followed by the French. Following online forums as the 30th edition came close, one question was repeatedly asked, ‘What sleeping bag are you taking?’

It was a good question and on the face of it, a question that could easily be answered by each person clearly writing the name of their chosen product. However, nothing is ever that simple and sleeping bags (along with which pack) may very well have been the most argued and discussed topic prior to the race.

One thing was apparent from a British perspective. Three names repeatedly cropped up – OMM, PHD and YETI. Armed with this information, I decided to take all three to the MDS and test them, ‘in situ’ and feedback my thoughts.

Are you running a 2016 multi-day race? Join our Lanzarote Training Camp in January/February 2016. Check it out HERE

Firstly a little background history.

OMM 1.6

OMM – (website HERE) OMM stands for Original Mountain Marathon and they have pioneered apparel, packs and products to enable runners to move fast and light in challenging terrain for multiple days.

Minimus

PHD – (website HERE) PHD stands for Peter Hutchinson Designs is a UK based company who provide a range of functional and technical apparel for adventures all over the world. They offer a range of ‘off the shelf’ designs but they are renowned for their bespoke services. You can read a profile here.

Yeti Passion One

YETI – (website HERE) YETI are a small German based company who specialise in down sleeping bags. They also making clothing and accessories.

THE TEST

Before I get down to the nitty gritty, I must clarify certain things. Firstly, the weather at MDS in 2015 was quite variable, we had warm days, plenty of variable wind (including sand storms) and at night temperatures dropped considerably towards the end of the week.

I alternated between bags and in particular on the first night (particularly warm) I slept in all three bags for approximately 90-120 minutes each. Also, I did this on the coolest night which coincided with the longest day.

So that you can draw comparisons, here are my personal body stats:

  • Height : 5ft 9in.
  • Weight : 73 (ish) Kg.
  • Waist : 32″ inch.
  • Shoulders : 40″ chest.

It will soon become apparent why the above stats are important. Each night I used a sleeping matt and a small travel pillow. I also had a TNF down jacket that weighed 250g as an optional ‘warmth’ layer if required. For consistency I used a ‘Exped’ dry bag for all my sleeping bags. It does add extra weight (36g) but I like the security of a bag like this protecting my sleeping bag from the elements.

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Lets look at the sleeping bags in detail

OMM

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OMM provide two sleeping bag options, the 1.0 and the 1.6 (as tested). As you would imagine, OMM want to make a bag or bags that are light, functional and pack small. I like two key things about the OMM bags: they are cheap in comparison to the competition and the filling is not down. By using Primaloft the OMM is functional in varied weather and as such, this bag can get wet and it will still remain warm. This does not happen with down! Of course, rain in the Sahara may well be far from your mind but remember, MDS is just one race… I am sure you will use your bag for may adventures.

OMM say:

The bag is made from a combination of materials to ensure maximum performance. The Purist bag for the Minimalist, The shell is made from PointZero, It has a DWR treatment to the fabrics face to give it a degree of water repellency and also extra stain resistance. The synthetic insulation is Primaloft Gold to give the best warmth to weight ratio available on the market, we have used different weights per panel to ensure the best technical usage of the fill. The base sheet is filled with Primaloft Gold 60g, we then put the Primaloft Gold 100g on the top sheet. The footbox is also shaped and filled with Primaloft Gold 100g to keep the feet warm. The construction is also considered as we have a loose laid outer shell and the inner stitched through to the insulation again this is to maximise insulative value and eliminate cold spots.

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OMM do not provide a rating for their bags and this does cause some issues for many people. I can understand why, no rating does leave a question mark on how warm the sleeping bag will be. The bag is mummy shaped with a short zip that sits in the middle of the bag and not at the side. It has a drawstring hood and is silky soft to touch. As mentioned this bag is fast drying and has an element water repellency.

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The bag only comes in one size, so, if you are taller than 6ft it’s not the bag for you. In addition, as with all the bags in this test, they are designed to be minimalist and therefore some compromises must be made. When zipped up I personally had little room to move around in the bag, this was not a problem for me. However, if you have a big chest and shoulders you may want to make sure that it’s comfortable. At £170 this bag is a bargain and I would really recommend it. On the warm nights at MDS, particularly the first night, I was able to open the zipper which allowed me to get air to my torso and cool down. On the coldest night, I zipped up, put my head inside the hood and I used the draw string to keep out any drafts. I took a TNF lightweight down jacket but did not need it, however, the addition of a sleeping bag liner or lightweight thermal top and pants would be recommended for the coldest MDS nights

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Weight is good (426g) but it’s the heaviest bag here and the bag packs down really small.

PROS:

  • Primaloft fabric is extremely versatile.
  • 1/2 zip keeps weight lower and does offer ventialtion.
  • Soft feel and comfortable.
  • Price.

Price

CONS:

  • Not the lightest bag
  • You need to be under 6ft tall
  • Not warm enough on the coldest night.
  • Need a liner or base layer clothing for colder nights

What 2015 MDS participants said:

Henry Potter Had the omm, was cold after about 2 am every night. I’m usually a petty hot person so thought I would get away with it. Also being 6,1ft it was a little on the small side!

Mark Gibson Used the OMM. Felt cool in the night but not uncomfortably, I like to spread out so the narrow end took some getting used to. Would use it again.

Ben Daly Omm1.6 cold between 3 and 5am every night and I’m quite brave when it comes to the cold

 

PHD

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PHD make several sleeping bags and the Minimus K has become a regular at MDS. As mentioned, PHD make custom products for the entire range, however, it is possible to purchase the Minim Ultra K (330g from stock) at a cost of £263 in ‘standard’ fit. The big plus of PHD over other sleeping bags is how it is possible to customise a bag specific to your needs:

  • Length – short, standard, long and extra long
  • Width – slim, standard, wide, extra wide
  • Outer fabric – MX or ultra shell
  • Zip – no zip or short zip

Adjusting all of the above obviously alters the price, but if you are tall, wide, get cold feet, require no zip or require a half zip, PHD can give you exactly what you want! I recommend you allow time for this… don’t try to order a bag in March when you have a race in April…

For example, lets say you are small, slim build and require a half zip – Cost is £335 and the weight is 372g.

By contrast, lets say you are very tall, have huge shoulders and require a half zip – Cost is £458.28 and the weight is 588g.

A standard ‘off the peg’ Minim Ultra K with no zip in standard length and width weighs 330g and cost £263.

PHD say:

This K Series product has been created for one single reason, to take warmth-for-weight performance to the limit of what’s possible. Unique 1000 down, super-light materials, and specific design features mean that the word Ultralight now applies to this wide range of gear that will take you to the Poles as well as on a Sahara Marathon.

To those who like to shave every gm of weight off their load, the Ultra K sleeping bag is designed for you. The 10X inner brings a new soft comfort as well as reduced weight, while the unique 1000 down ensures max warmth per gram. An ultralight dream at 330gm (11.5oz).

Minim Ultra K.   330grm  (Mostly selected for weight saving).
Minimus K.         380grm  (designed for 5c nights – for a good nights sleep and recovery. This is the most popular choice)
Minim 400 K.     585grm  (mostly selected by those that do feel the cold)

Zip options are interesting. We find for MdS we’re sometimes putting in a short zip and occasionally just a foot zip. The Design Your Own Sleeping Bag site allows foot zips:  http://www.design-your-own-sleeping-bag.com/

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The PHD was actually too warm for me on the warm nights and was perfect on the colder nights without any base layer or liner. It’s a real plush bag and very comfortable. The lack of a zip means temperature regulation is cumbersome. My only option was to pull the bag below my arm pits or push down around my waist. I personally would order a custom bag with a half zip given the choice. The fill is 1000 European goose down (hence the warmth).

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The bag tapers nicely and doesn’t restrict in any way. The construction of the bag guarantees a great spread of down and it packs small and weighs a very competitive 380g.My bag actually weighed 392g.

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PROS:

  • Warm
  • Packs small
  • Comfortable
  • Customiseable

CONS:

  • Off the shelf it has no zip
  • Maybe too warm for some (without zip)
  • Lighter than OMM but not as light as Yeti
  • You don’t want to get the bag wet.

What 2015 MDS participants said:

Leigh Michelmore Used the PHD Minimus during MdS and found it to be perfect for what I needed. Compact, lightweight and very comfortable. It may have actually been a little too warm as I had one or two nights where it did too good a job. Overall very happy with it and will use it again!

Mat Needham I used the minimus Ian.

Super warm and I had to sleep partly out of the bag due to how well it performed, there were a couple of nights where I had to fully get in but that was more to do with the wind and sand blowing in the tent. Fitted in my small pack perfectly and very light. I would definately recommend it to others.

Dafydd Lewis I used the PhD minimus. Brilliant bag, really warm and light enough. Would definately take again……if I go again!!

Rich Torley Had issue with the zip on the PHD Minimus: would jam frequently and mostly during the night when I needed to escape for a pee. Wondered if it was to do with sand but never proved conclusively. Grew quite jealous of the Combi being doubled up as a jacket, especially on the colder mornings.

YETI

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YETI (new bag, Fever Zero above) are specialist sleeping bag makers. They offer a range of products so that you can decide on the exact bag for your needs and requirement. However, unlike PHD, they only offer ‘off the shelf’ products. The Passion One bag was extremely popular at the 2015 MDS for two reasons: small pack size and low weight. Weighing just 320g this bag has a full zipper, a real bonus for hot nights and it has Goose Down class 1 filling. It’s worth noting that if you require more warmth, a Passion Three (465g) and a Passion Five (690g) is available.

The Passion One is silky smooth, soft on the skin and on the first night in camp it was a real pleasure to have a full length zip to allow air to get around my body and regulate temperature. However, on the coldest night, I found the Passion One on the cold side and found the need for an additional layer.

YETI say:

Perfect for people who experience adventures while others sleep; who enjoy a trip with good companions; who consider flirting an adventure as well; who believe life is too short for bad design; who do not consider fashion and nature to be inconsistent with one another; who dream about flying; who believe their eyes travel as well; who consider the lightness of being absolutely bearable.

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In comparison to the PHD and OMM products, the Passion One felt ‘too light’ which I guess is a good thing.

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The scales confirmed that my bag was 304g, so, a good 100g lighter the the PHD Minim Ultra K and 122g lighter than the OMM 1.6. However, weight isn’t always everything… like the PHD, the Passion One comes in a choice of sizes: M, L or XL. The M is Ideal for me as I guess I am pretty much ‘standard’ size, however, big shoulders, extra height and you may struggle so rest assured that Large (6′ 3″) and Extra Large (6′ 9″) are available – obviously weight increases. The cost of the Passion One is £300

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As with all the bags in this test, space is at a premium. It’s the nature of travelling light, however, I did find the Passion One offered a little more room in the toe box.

PROS:

  • Lightest bag in the test.
  • Full length zip.
  • Draw string hood.
  • Small size.

CONS:

  • Not warm enough on the coldest night.

What 2015 MDS participants said:

John Evans Took the Yeti Passion One without liner, cover or mat. Found that stuffing it into my bag nearest my back provided good cushioning and saved 40g on carrying the cover  The bag itself was fine, a little too warm on the first few days but the full length zip was fine for temperature adjustment; got cool on the later stages when the wind was up (i was sleeping in the centre of the tent with most airflow) and body reserves were low, but manageable. Stuck it in the washing machine when i came back which seems to have screwed up the lining.

Melissa Venables Yeti – freezing cold with silk liner most nights except the warmer night where I did hang a leg out. Stage 4 I got in it with the space banker they had also given me and did that for a few nights (sorry tent 183 for rustling like a crisp packet)
The last three days it started shedding down everywhere as the material is so thin it split (inside)
I am a cold person hence taking liner – chose it because it was small and at one point I was going with a 14 l pack. Wouldn’t take again I would go for something warmer even if it meant a little more bulk and weight!

Rob Shaw I used the Yeti one. Very light and packed up small. Decided at the last minute not to pack the silk liner and regretted it. Very cold on the later days of the race mainly due to wind blowing. It’s a warm bag but if you are in a draught the wind blows right through it. If you can drop a side of your tent to block the wind it certainly helps.

Dave Benison Yeti Passion One with no liner. Perfect choice for me. Full length zip allowed for legs to pop out on the warmer nights, and during the sandstorms the drawcord around the top meant I could really batten down the hatches & keep sand free inside. On the cooler nights I would say it was ‘just about’ warm enough, and only had to reach for my Ghost Whisperer jacket once (at about 4am after the long stage.)

For what it’s worth…

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Another popular bag/ combination at MDS is the Raidlight Combi Down Sleeping Bag / Jacket. At £170 it represents real value for money as it combines a jacket and sleeping bag in one package. This obviously sounds like a great idea… However, the weight of the Raidlight is 700g. I personally prefer the flexibility of a sleeping bag and separate lightweight down jacket as this not only provides extra flexibility but reduced weight.

Raidlight say:

Raidlight’s ‘Combi Duvet’ dual purpose Sleeping Bag and Jacket. It is down-filled for great warmth to weight ratio. Perfect for use on multi-day races such as MdS or any event where duel purpose is key. At night, a warm sleeping bag and by day just unzip the arm holes, fold the bag up inside the back section, and it’s a really warm jacket.

CONCLUSION

As you can see, purchasing a sleeping bag is not as easy as you think, particularly when you are trying to pack this in a pack with all your food and other equipment for a multi-day adventure. You need to ask some very specific questions to ensure that you get a bag that works for you and fulfils your needs:

  • Are you tall?
  • Are you wide
  • Do you sleep cold or hot?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want to use your sleeping bag for other trips?
  • How important is weight?
  • How important is pack size?
  • Will you carry an additional base layer and/ or down/ thermal jacket?

One you have answered the above you can be very specific about what you need and it should, I hope become obvious which of the above bags is likely to be suitable for you.

I of course need to stick my neck on the line and say what my choice would be!

To be honest, it’s a relatively simple decision, I would go for a custom made PHD Minim Ultra K with zip so that I could regulate my temperature. With this bag, I would not need to carry an additional down jacket (weight saving 250g) and I could carry a small wind shell as a layer when not sleeping. Bag and wind shell £320.

But, the OMM 1.6 represents real value for money (if you are under 6ft). It provides a sleeping bag that can withstand the elements (rain) and the money saved on the bag would allow me or you to spend up to £200 on a real super lightweight down jacket that would offer great flexibility not only at a race such as MDS but at other events. Combined bag and Jacket price £370.

If I was an out-and-out racer looking for the lightest bag, the Yeti Passion One with full length zip and options of M, L or XL make this a tempting choice. But for me the money spent on making this bag small and light is potentially outweighed with the need for an additional warm layer that not only adds cost but weight. I would say that this bag and jacket may well come close to a combined cost of £500.

The curve ball comes with the Raidlight Combi Down Sleeping Bag / Jacket that provides great value for money. It’s certainly warm and the flexibility of the jacket option is attractive for some. However, it does weigh slightly more and packs larger. The cost at £170 is a bargain.

So what do you think…. what would you go with?

 

Marathon des Sables 2015 #MDS2015 – Race Images

©iancorless.com_MDS2015Day7-2789

The 30th edition of the iconic Marathon des Sables is over! What a race… we all knew that race director, Patrick Bauer would create something special and he did not disappoint.

Tough stages and the longest days had runners tackling 92km’s, the longest stage ever in the 30 year history of the race.

Rachid El Morabity (20:21:39) won the men’s race once again in true style and Elisabet Barnes (26:42:13) showed pure class in winning every stage of the ladies race. A race summary will follow.

Below is a selected portfolio that encompasses the 30th edition of the race. A full image gallery will be uploaded to iancorless.phtoshelter.com in due course.

All images ©iancorless.com

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

©iancorless.com_MDSkit-7707

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.

FullSizeRender (3)

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

FullSizeRender (5)

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.

logo

 

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?

©iancorless.com.IMG_2599MDS2014

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. 
©iancorless.com.IMG_8009MDS2014

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.

Jolanda Linschooten gets a heads up from my friend Jeroen Krosse and he says, ‘one to watch’ for sure. So I agree, she is one to watch. Jolanda has been 2nd and 4th before!

Claire Morrisey is the British hope who returns after placing 7th in 2014.

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