Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun™ 2016


I am fortunate to travel to many races and work as a photographer and journalist. In 2015, I traveled to South Africa with Nikki Kimball and Olympic rower, James Cracknell for the Richtersveld Wildrun.

It was an incredible experience and I have to say, a highlight of my year. I recently wrote in an online article for AVAUNT Magazine (HERE):

“The simple act of running, placing one foot in-front of the other as a method of transport takes us back to our roots, our basic instincts. In search of a place to sleep, to hunt for food; it is about being in the wild, surviving and fulfilling a primal need.”

Richtersveld Wildrun | Avaunt Magazine-1

In 2016, the race goes one step further and becomes ‘Transfrontier.’ The race will now pass over the Orange River and in to Namibia.

After two years the Richtersveld Wildrun™ has become known as one of the toughest, most scenic and unique trail running stage race events on the South African trail running calendar. In 2016 however, this iconic event takes on a new shape to become the first cross-border trail running event in the world; extending to a linear 200km, five day crossing from South Africa to Namibia through the heart of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have unlocked a truly unique opportunity to experience both sides of such a unique and powerful place  – and to finish a long day at a natural hot springs in the middle of the wilderness is unbelievable!”said Owen Middleton, MD of Wildrunner, the events company behind the Wildrun™ events.

The new route will maintain the best of the first three days of the original edition, including the Vyf Susters, Hellskloof Pass, Armmanshoek, the Tswayisberge, Springbokvlakte and the iconic Tatasberg boulders. On day 4, the route will veer of its original course and cross the Orange River at De Hoop into Namibia and the untouched southern section of the Fish River Canyon. This 50km day will take runners into a wilderness that is completely inaccessible by vehicle and rich in wildlife such as Hartmann’s mountain zebra, kudu, gemsbok, springbok, Namibian wild horses and giraffe.

©iancorless.com_RichtersveldRaceDay32015-0853After a long, tough day, runners will spend the evening in the canyon at a natural hot spring, before taking on the final day of roughly 25km to finish at the /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Resort and wrap up a powerful and truly unique experience.

Race dates are 13-17 June 2016 and entries open midday October 21st

International entries HERE

European entries HERE

The overall race distance for 2016 will be 200km and the daily distances will be – 36.3km + 32.1km + 34km + 48.3km + 21.3km.

Terrain is very mixed, varied and stunning and requires adaptation to sandy terrain, heat, climbing, remoteness and an ability to run with a GPS.

Need help with training, join my 2016 multi-day training camp in Lanzarote.

Details are HERE

Multi-Day Camp Image

Roland Vorwerk, marketing manager of Boundless Southern Africa, one of the driving forces behind the success of the event, said they are very happy to support this new cross-border trail running event.

“This new route contains even more highlights than the original Richtersveld Wildrun™, and promises to give participants a challenging but spectacular trail running experience.”


If you need inspiration, check out the film from 2015 below.

You can also view photo galleries HERE


If you would like more information please use the form below or use the above links.



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

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.’

ianProfile_The Runner

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

Multi-Day Camp Image

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


*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

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

1200 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation.


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


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


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.


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 £800 (early booking discounts now have expired, apartments and places now on application)

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. 

non-running partner cost is £500 or £530.00 if they wish to attend the Volcano walk which is suitable for all abilities.

Balance deadline is now due on booking due to the proximity of the training camp.

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?




Multi-Day (Desert) Training Camp, Lanzarote 28th Jan – 4th Feb 2016

Join Marathon des Sables 2015 ladies champion, Elisabet Barnes and a team of multi-day experienced runners for an incredible 7 day training camp on the island of Lanzarote, just off the coast of Morocco.   Located at the iconic Club La Santa resort, our training camp will provide you with all the knowledge, experience and practical training to make your next multi-day adventure a success.  

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 acclimatise 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.

A full detailed weekly schedule and plan will be provided in due course. Rest assured, if you are taking part in a multi-day race then this is the training camp for you.  

Costs are £800.00 per person based on sharing an apartment with one other person (Children are welcome for free if sharing, max 1 per apartment).

Food is not included, however, you are in self catering apartments should this be preferable to eating at facilities within Club La Santa or at restaurants in La Santa village.

Flights are extra and cheap options are available via Easyjet from many UK airports.

The camp runs Thursday 28th Jan to Thursday 4th Feb and spaces are limited!

Camp cost £800 (early booking discounts now have expired, apartments and places now on application)

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. 

non-running partner cost is £500 or £530.00 if they wish to attend the Volcano walk which is suitable for all abilities.

Balance deadline is now due on booking due to the proximity of the training camp.

If you are interested, please email us using the contact form on this website and we will get back to you ASAP.


Elisabet Barnes and the Sunset Relay


Sunset Relay ( is an event organized by Garnier Ambre Solaire in partnership with Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL). The purpose is to raise awareness of the dangers of the sun. As the name suggests it takes the form of a relay, in which participants race the sun for 96 hours / ~1300km. The line-up included top athletes, business people, bloggers, journalists and celebrities who would run, cycle, row, paddle or roller skate.

Staged in the mythical and beautiful Swedish Lapland during the midnight sun, three main sections forming a triangle constituted the course of this first edition: Luleå à Hemavan à Abisko à Luleå. I took part in the second section with six other trail runners (Olof Häggström, Sylvain Court, Jonathan Wyatt, Elina Usscher, Linus Holmsäter & Maud Gobert) and we were running the famous national trail Kungsleden (”King’s Trail”) northbound from Hemavan to Abisko. This trail is 430km long and offers a great variety of terrain, much of which is more technical than one might think for such a popular trail. In this part of Sweden there is still snow in June and with an exceptionally cold start to the summer it was too deep to run in places. We therefore had some last minute alterations to the route and a helicopter was on hand to help us get to the runnable sections.


Kungsleden is an undulating path. Its highest point is the Tjäkta Pass at 1150 m above sea level. The ground is very varied including rock, trails in the woods with plenty of roots and stones, miles of narrow boards over swampy wetland, meadows, and stream crossings. Although challenging it made the journey on this trail interesting and varied. The views were simply stunning and with the midnight sun it was easy to lose track of time. Was it 2am or 12pm? It was impossible to say without a watch apart from the temperature being a bit cooler at night.

I thoroughly enjoyed the running on Kungsleden. Sweden is my home country and although I spent time in the north as a child skiing and walking in the mountains it was a long time ago. Travelling on this trail felt almost magical. I cherished this unique moment which seemed to encourage me to be present in the now, soaking up the beauty of the surroundings, listening to the roar of the water in the streams I passed and the birds singing in the trees. Occasionally I heard the sound of a branch cracking or leaves rattling on the ground as I disturbed some wildlife. I must admit that I was a bit worried about bears as I ran on the single track through those beautiful mountain birch woods by Abiskojaure Lake. However, it was probably very unlikely I would actually encounter any and all I saw were a few lemmings.


It was a great privilege to get the opportunity to take part in this event. Aside from the experience of the trail running I met some wonderful people. I would love to go back for an ultra-trail event or maybe run Kungsleden in its entirety. It has been done before by at least a couple of Swedish runners and makes for a beautiful but demanding holiday…

For more information about Kungsleden, go to

Videos from the event:


The Sunset Relay – 1300km in 96 hours

Sunset Relay Logo

A newcomer in the world of outdoor pursuits, the first edition of the Sunset Relay will take June 21 to 25 in Swedish Lapland.

The itinerary starts and finishes in Luleå, and form a big loop around and above the arctic circle. This new challenge will see over thirty participants on a journey under the Midnight Sun, covering 1300 kms in under 96 hours. Many outdoor sports will be on the menu, and the highlight of the itinerary will be the part running on the mythical Kungsleden (the ‘Royal Path’), a 430 km long trail to run in less than 43 hours!

Sunset Relay

An original concept, the Sunset Relay also aim to raise awareness of the dangers of sun exposure.

Inspired not only by the sport challenge but also by the messages conveyed by the event, many reknown sports men and women will be participating in the relay.
Amongst them you will find :

Jérôme Fernandez (FRA) handboll player in the French national team, with an impressive number of medals ( Olympics, World championships and European Championships)
Georg Kreiter (DE) World champion in Alpine skiing, downhill handisport
Youri Zoon (NL) World champion in kitesurfing

They will all particpate in the roadbike or adventure sports sections.
The section in trailrunning on Kungsleden will include some of the disciplines specialists:

Sylvain Court (FRA), new IAU World champion in trailrunning

©iancorless.com_MDS2015_1Elizabet Barnes (SWE), recent winner of the Marathon des Sables,


Jonathan Wyatt (NZL) a legend runner, both on trails and mountain marathons, with an impressive track record and numerous medals.

Along with many other athletes and personalities, they will participate in this physical challenge. You will be able to follow them on their personal social media to learn more about the event, their impressions and the the messages around sun protection conveyed through the race.

Follow the event live on,

Twitter #SunsetRelay

 Instagram @SunsetRelay.


Section 1 : Luleå -> Hemavan (roadbike)

• Nicolien SAUERBREIJ (NL) • Georg KREITER (DEU)
• Richard USSHER (NZ)
• Daniel DAUM (DEU)

• Bob DE JONG (NL)
• Juliette BENEDICTO (FR)

Section 2 : Hemavan -> Abisko (trail on Kungsleden)

• Olof HÄGGSTRÖM (SWE) • Sylvain COURT (FR)
• Jonathan WYATT (NZ)

• Maud GOBERT (FR)
• Elisabet BARNES (UK/SWE)

Section 3 : Abisko -> Luleå (adventure sports)

• Jérôme FERNANDEZ (FR) • Youri ZOON (NL)

• Vanina ICKX (BEL)
• Vincent BANIC (BEL) • Tobias ÖSTRÖM (SWE)

Richtersveld Wildrun™ 2015 – This Week!


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

Recent Printed Publications for

TCC Lead Page

The first few months of 2015 have been very rewarding and I have had several articles and features printed worldwide in a series of top ranking magazines.

From the rainforests of Costa Rica, to heat of the Sahara. Anton Krupicka looking broken at Transgrancanaria, Joe Grant between a rock and a hard place at The Coastal Challenge and Sir Ranulph Fiennes beating the heat at the Marathon des Sables.

Here are the magazines with links

Like The Wind HERE

Runners World HERE

Trail Running Magazine HERE

Competitor HERE

Outdoor Fitness HERE

Here is a selection of the printed articles. All my tear sheets can be viewed HERE

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 10.43.40

MDS 2015 Darren Outoor Fitness UTLD Runners World 2015 TCC 2015 Trail Running Mag MDS Sir Ranulph Fiennes captured_spread

Elisabet Barnes writes about victory at Compressport Trail Menorca Costa Sur


The trail that runs along the coastline of Menorca, Cami de Cavalls (CdC), was originally established by the settlers of Menorca as part of a defence system. It was patrolled by soldiers on horses, hence the name (Cavalls mean horses in Catalan). The path weaves its way in and out of the coast, and lets the traveller experience varying terrain and views. These include woodland trails, white beaches with intensely turquoise water, beautiful rock formations, farmland, ravines and urban areas. The profile is undulating with moderate climbs but yet offers a technically challenging experience.


Now in its fourth year, the Compressport Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls has grown quickly since its inception and in 2015 offered 5 courses ranging from 32km to 185km. I opted for the 85km Trail Menorca Costa Sur, TMCS. This starts in Es Castell in the east and finishes in Ciutadella in the west, following the CdC trail along the south coast of the island.


A bus was organised for Saturday morning at 6am to take participants from Ciutadella to the start in Es Castell. During the night there had been thunderstorms and heavy rain was falling as we made our way. Niandi Carmont and I both agreed that this was not what we had come to Menorca for! Luckily, an hour later the skies were clearing. As we were about to start some dark clouds were looming but the temperature was perfect.


I fell into a comfortable pace, which turned out to be amongst the front 20 or so runners. No other women seemed to be in that group but I didn’t look back to figure out where they were, I was going to do my on race. The first few hours took us through a variety of landscapes as we made our way forward on roads along the coast and pretty, undulating trails in a mix of farm- and woodland.

As I was beginning to approach half way it started to get a bit tougher. A few more climbs slowed the pace down and there were many gates to negotiate. I seemed to be running with the same group of people but we were more spread out now. Weaving in and out of each other, some stronger on the ascents, other on the descents or the flats.


The checkpoints were fairly well stocked: sandwiches with jam, peanuts, almonds, fresh fruit (apples, bananas, orange), cheese… I did take orange at most checkpoints but I was largely self-sufficient. The volunteers were very helpful, asking if I was ok or if I needed anything. Good thing I speak a little bit of Spanish so I could understand them.

Just before the half way point at about 39km everything was going swimmingly well. I felt great, I was on a roll and I was moving at good pace. Another gate to negotiate laid ahead at the end of a slight down hill section. A lovely couple held it open for me so I didn’t have to stop. Instead of looking at the ground ahead I looked them and smiled as I cruised though the gate. Just as I passed them, much to their horror and my embarrassment, I stumbled and abruptly face planted on the stony trail.

At first I thought disaster had struck but after a quick assessment I decided that I was only bruised and scraped. Blood was pouring from my knees and pumping rather heavily from a wound in my thumb but it looked worse than it was (or so I told myself!). At this point I was glad that I had carried my first aid kit. After some moderately successful patching up I hobbled on.

©iancorless.com_Menorca2015-4266It was a mental relief to get over the first Marathon and know that I “only” had half way to go. Here, the terrain started to get a bit trickier. We ran on beautiful but equally brutal uneven rock formations, close to the coastline. It was now also getting warmer and I had to drink more and focus on my nutrition and hydration. This part of the race was hard mentally. I kept thinking: “when I get to 65km it’s only 20km left and flat”. That became my next target but little did I know that flat could be so hard!

©iancorless.com_Menorca2015-4525After a while I started to see more people around me on the trail. I was catching up the slower runners in the 185km race (they had been out for nearly 30 hours at this point!), and the fresh runners who had just started the shorter Trekking Costa Sur (TCS) came bouncing along on annoyingly fresh legs.

To my relief we hit roads as we were approaching the last checkpoint at 73 km. I ran into it feeling positive and was informed I was the leading lady. I had incredible support from the spectators and the checkpoint volunteers were very helpful, just as they had been at all support points so far.

I left the checkpoint to cheers and felt good. I followed the road to the end where it turned, about 100 metres or so. As I turned the corner I was abruptly hit by the next obstacle which came in the form of an extremely forceful headwind. It would of course be silly not to expect strong winds on a small island like Menorca but this was something different altogether. Apparently there is a Menorcan legend that the winds of the island change people’s personalities. Whether there is any truth in that I don’t know but I certainly needed a large portion of positivity at this point!

I told myself that it could be worse, that I could still be on those treacherous rocks and that at least I was on the road. Well, guess what awaited a few hundred metres ahead… That’s right, the rocks, taking us even further out on a completely exposed section of coastline. There was nowhere to hide, no shelter.


This went on for what felt like an eternity but eventually we entered an urban area and could run on the road again. The finish in Ciutadella came quicker than I thought. I could hear the music from the speakers and the cheering from the crowds. I recognised my hotel on the other side of the little bay by Platja Gran, just a stone’s throw from the finish line. What a relief! I turned left onto the final stretch, entered the funnel on the artificial grass that had been laid out and to the sound of the cheering crowds I crossed the line.

©iancorless.com_Menorca2015-4601 ©iancorless.com_Menorca2015-4608

I was very happy to have battled through all the obstacles of this race! Knowing how tough the finish was I felt for those brave runners I had passed out there who were completing the final stretch of the 185 km. Some of them would not finish until Sunday morning and maybe some would not finish at all, finding the challenge too big to muster this time. I sent a thought their way before enjoying my post-race relaxation in the finish area, which offered a pool, cold beer and paella to the competitors. What more could you wish for?



This was my first time in Menorca and I hope there will be many more (maybe those winds did have some impact after all!). The scenery is stunning and the coastline, having been protected from development, offers many areas of raw beauty and wilderness. The course is very pretty but deceptive and should not be underestimated. Having said that it is perfectly achievable. On reflection I think it could be a great race for those looking for a course with some technical challenge but who don’t like heights or who struggle at altitude. It is also perfect to combine with a long weekend or holiday. The people involved in this event and the passion and effort they put into it makes it a very memorable experience and I can highly recommend it.


Entries for the 2016 Compressport Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls are not yet available, however, please check the website HERE

Elisabet Barnes won the 2015 Marathon des Sables (ladies category) holds course records at the GoBeyond C2C and XNRG Pilgrims. She now holds the course record for the 85km for the Compressport Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls

Zoe Salt – Ladies winner race report Iznik Ultra


Zoe Salt may not be a name that you know… however, a little look back to 2013 and you will see that Zoe placed 3rd (behind Meghan Hicks and Jo Meek) at the Marathon des Sables. It’s a podium place that didn’t get the recognition it deserved. Fast forward to 2015 and Zoe has now won the 130km Iznik Ultra and in the process placed 4th overall. In the coming weeks, Zoe is preparing for Transvulcania La Palma, she knows full well that the racing in La Palma will be very different to the racing in Turkey. Here Zoe writes about her Turkish experience.


I arrived in Istanbul. It’s not quite the West, it’s not quite the East, and it is different, special and unique. Minarets dominate the skyline as the sun begins to set.

I am a kid in a sweet shop – literally! Turkish delight and Baklava abound.

Friday – I awake to the exotic sound of the call to prayer. The sun has come out and it is gorgeous! From the breakfast room at the top of our hotel we realise how enormous Istanbul is (14.4million people). It stretches out in every direction towards and beyond the horizon. From the ferry crossing we can still see its sprawl an hour after leaving the port of Yenikapi. But enough sightseeing – I really should try to sleep!


Arriving in Yalova everything is much calmer. Driving to Iznik reveals some of the terrain we are likely to be encountering in a few hours…. Namely hills. Panic. They look a lot bigger than Muswell Hill… Must try and sleep…

The race village is already buzzing when we arrive. Where is my list?


  1. Register – check!
  2. Kit – check!
  3. Nerves – check!
  4. Food – check!
  5. Water – check!
  6. Pin number to t-shirt – check!
  7. Change t-shirt – check!
  8. Pin number to new t-shirt – check!
  9. Eat – check!
  10. Take photo of incredible sunset over the lake – check!


Then to bed to try and sleep…. count sheep…. count breathing…. so that’ll be no sleeping then….

We leave for the midnight start, which is completely new to me – way past my bedtime. It is cold. I already have on a fleece top, gloves and balaclava … should I put my jacket on? That will require a re-pin of the number. But surely even cold-blooded me will be running in a t-shirt when the sun comes out? No. Leave it alone. Number is on t-shirt. 11:50pm I think I’ll put my number on my fluorescent vest. Re pin!


11:55pm on the start line. Vaguely distracted as a little Labrador puppy comes to see me off! And soon we are on our way into the darkness of Iznik. Within a few metres I am on my own, so I speed up to follow someone as my worst fear is getting lost in the dark. It turns out that this is another of my unnecessary stresses as there are markers every 50’ish’ meters – foolproof even for me! We run through miles and miles of olive groves and trees full of blossom. It is so quiet. Then bam! I am confronted with what in the dark seems to be a near vertical climb. Have I packed climbing shoes or rope? My calves are burning. And this is only a smallish hill, according to the course profile! Just as I’m worrying about the big hills to come, a certain Mr Corless runs past me backwards taking pictures!


Dawn arrives and with it the wonderful call to prayer. As the sun rises over the hills, bathing the landscape in beautiful colours, I reach the halfway point and am told by the race director that the most picturesque part of the race is still to come.


I have caught up with Mariya Niklova and Alper Dalkilic. I like having them in sight, especially as we are hounded by packs of dogs, some baring teeth. I run behind them for miles, them pulling away, me catching up, until eventually, around 72km they slow enough and I pass them. I’m on my own and the uphill begins again. Up, up, up… when do we go down again? I see a runner in front and I am spurred on. Up, up, up – how high is this going? I pass the runner. I have no idea how far it is to the next checkpoint as my watch has died. I’m wondering if this is a metaphor. Finally I start descending. It seems like an eternity to the next aid station. The dirt track gives way to a paved road, a few right turns into a village and there is the checkpoint! I ask a man how many girls are ahead of me and he replies ‘Three.’ My heart drops. ‘Three girls?’ I repeat.


He laughs.

I obviously give him a confused look and he says ‘Three people.’ I’m obviously still giving my best confused face as he repeats in very slow English, as if it is me whose first language is not English, ‘THREE. MEN. IN. FRONT. YOU. ARE. 4th’ Well, this I don’t believe so I laugh along with them, eat a bit of orange while they kindly fill my water bottle and am off again.


Up, up, up again. I see no other runners but the scenery is as promised. The hills offer views of distant snow-capped mountains. In the foreground a lake, its surrounding fields and minarets marking each village and town. How I manage to resist the urge to stop to take pictures I will never know. Wild tortoises, goats and their shepherds, dogs and toads surround me. I feel like David Attenborough!


I keep looking behind me. Where is everyone else? I feel like I’m travelling in reverse. Surely others should be overtaking me? I keep going. Plodding. Finally I reach the last checkpoint. I stick my head under the village fountain because I am so hot! The villagers come out and cheer. It is an incredible atmosphere – I will appreciate it more later!


It’s downhill, at least for a bit then the uphill starts again! Where is Iznik? I could see it before but now I’m back in the trees and the lake has vanished. I come to a puddle I can see no way around. It’s quite big but I know it’s not the lake! I put one foot in and half my leg disappears. At least it’s cold! Back on track and it’s now downhill. Iznik finally comes into sight; I keep looking behind me as I feel like I’m barely moving. Still nobody else in sight! A bicycle that escorts me to the finish meets me. I work out it’s about a mile left to go. I concentrate and dream of my legs carrying me a little more. Eventually I cross the finish line…. 4th overall and the ladies winner.

Presented with a lovely ceramic medal, I try to say, ‘this is nice, I am from the *Potteries’ (the *Potteries – known as Stoke on Trent in the UK) but now it is they who look on, confusingly at me…!

Iznik Ultra – Check!

View the Iznik Ultra race images HERE

Iznik Ultra report on RUNULTRA HERE