TALK ULTRA is now on STITCHER

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Due to demand, TALK ULTRA has now been added to STITCHER.

You can listen to and view the show HERE

You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE

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Marmot Dark Mountains 2015

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The organisers of the formidable Marmot Dark Mountains™ have just announced that the 2015 event will take place in the Howgills on the night of 24th & 25th January 2015.
Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes the classic two-day mountain marathon format and gives it a new… darker twist. Rather than two days of running with an overnight camp in between, Marmot Dark Mountains™ packs everything into one winter’s night!
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The event kicks-off on the Saturday evening with the longest classes setting off first for dusk-to-dawn racing. The shorter classes set off later in the evening with the aim of most competitors finishing within an hour or so of each other the following Sunday morning. This makes for an exciting finale as all the courses and most of the competitors converge on the finish as dawn breaks.
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Race Director, Shane Ohly from Ourea Events describes the 2015 event area, “The Howgills provide a superb setting for Marmot Dark Mountains™. The terrain is definitely more runable than previous editions of the race but with the steep sided valleys that are typical, there is significant height gain, and the course are sure to provide a suitable test of endurance.” He continued, “The Howgills also seem to catch more than their fair share of winter weather and we are anticipating a tough challenge for those competitors brave enough to enter.”
©iancorless.com.©iancorless.com.P1100464Marmot Dark Mountains™ has a growing reputation as the test of competence for experienced mountain runners. Ordinarily a standard mountain marathon with its combination of mountain running and navigation at its heart is a sufficient challenge but Marmot Dark Mountains™ takes it a step further by packing two days of running into one long winters night with dusk-to-dawn racing.
Marmot Dark Mountains™ 2013 was held in the southwest fells of the Lake District National Park. That year the event experience extremely poor weather and the completion rate for the linear courses averaged just 21%. In 2014 the event moved to the Peak District National Park and with better weather the completion rate rose to 53%. Still, these are low completion rates considering that competitors are vetted for experience before their entry is accepted.
With the announcement of the venue, the organisers have also released details of the routes, which have been planned by Charlie Sproson who is a regular Race Planner for Ourea Events. These are:
  • Elite Course: 53.1km / 2,966m
  • A Course: 42.3km / 2,415m
  • B Course: 35.8km / 2,311m
  • C Course: 33.9km / 1,770m
  • Long Score: 10 Hours
  • Short Score: 8 hours
Working in collaboration with Harvey Maps at the 2014 Marmot Dark Mountains™ bespoke ‘high contrast’ maps were produced for the first time. These were designed to show contours more clearly in the dark and when the map is illuminated by high-powered headtorches. These were a great success and the 2015 event will also feature these special night maps.
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Race Director, Shane Ohly elaborated, “For an event that is focused on mountain navigation and running, we understand completely that the quality of the map is directly linked to the quality of the overall experience and as such, we invest significant time and energy into the map. As in previous years we will be using waterproof and tearproof paper and our special night-nav high contrast printing developed with Harvey Maps. Whilst checking control sites both Charlie Sproson and I have been recording new paths, fences etc with GPS and combined with Harvey’s updating their base data from a new photogrammetry survey data, we are confident that we will provide a high quality and accurate map for the competitors.”
With the support of sponsorship from Marmot® and Petzl® there is a £500 cash prize for the winning elite team. In 2014 Steve Birkinshaw and Tom Gibbs won and Alex Pilkington and Kim Collison won in 2013.
Key Event Information
Website: www.Marmot-Dark-Mountains.com
Date: 24th & 25th January 2015
Venue: Howgills, Northern England
Entry: from £50 per person
Courses: Elite, A, B, C, Short and Long Score

Marmot Dark Mountain - FINAL (BLACK)

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SALMON SKYRUN package for International runners 2015

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Embrace an opportunity to not only take part in one of South Africa’s toughest races but also be privy to a VIP package that will allow you to experience the journey of a lifetime.

Following on from a successful inaugural experience in 2014, Salomon SkyRun are now offering a very exclusive package for 15 very lucky individuals in 2015.

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The Salomon SkyRun is a true mountain running experience on an unmarked course in the stunning Witteberg Mountains just off the southwest corner of Lesotho. Offering a variety of tough and challenging terrain, SkyRun is a self-supported and self-navigation journey of 100-kms.

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Leaving the town of Lady Grey behind, the beauty and remoteness engulfs each and every runner. It is not uncommon to run for the entire race without seeing much civilization around you except those involved in the race.

BIG NEWS a $10,000 prize purse is available for the first male to go under 12-hours or the first lady to go sub 14-hours 30-minutes.

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View race images HERE

To experience first hand the journey of SkyRun, listen to Episode 75 of Talk Ultra HERE. It is a special show that discusses in detail the route, the experiences of South Africa and has in-depth chat with Gary Robbins who placed second in the men’s race. The show also has interviews with ladies first and second place, Landie Greyling and Julia Boettger. In addition the show brings sounds of SA and interviews the race directors, Adrian Saffy and Michael de Haast.

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An evening in Lady Grey post race allows some rest and recovery before the 3-hour transfer journey to the stunning Moketsi Game Ranch.

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Moketsi is a jewel. A five star resort offering luxury accommodation on a full board basis.

 

Moketsi provides an opportunity to experience wildlife on a personal level that is seldom scene or experienced. Go on safari in custom made Land Rover vehicles, drink a ‘sundowner’ as the sun departs the day and if you are lucky, experience the reserve ‘on foot’ under the guidance of the Ranch Manager, Gustav.

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The Ranch covers some 6,000 hectares (65 km²) of beautiful grassland plains and contrasting mountain landscapes in a unique and comfortable setting for an exclusive and private experience. It may even be possible to run up Moketsi mountain… can you set an FKT?

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Moketsi has a large variety of game with four of the Big Five (including Lion, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard). The varied landscape, range of animals, birdlife and luxurious accommodation make for a true outdoor experience.

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Leaving the quiet seclusion on Moketsi Game Ranch, a 90-minute transfer to Bloemfontein and an internal flight to Cape Town will awaken the senses to the bustle of South Africa’s second largest city. Hooking up with the local run scene, you will climb Lion Head, run up and down Table Mountain.

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By contrast you will relax on the wine route visiting vineyards, watch the penguins at Boulders Colony and chill in Hout Bay with some quality seafood.

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 The Salomon SkyRun International Package is a once in a lifetime experience that is available at an incredible price.

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Package (excludes flights to South Africa)

£975.00 (€1250 or $1750)

Only 15-places are available for this incredible experience distributed as 5 to the USA/Canada, 5 to Germany and 5 to UK/ Europe.

Package includes:

  • Transfer from Bloemfontein to Lady Grey
  • Race entry
  • 2 nights pre race lady grey bed and breakfast one night post race
  • 2 nights Moketsi Game Ranch fully inclusive
  • Flight from Bloemfontein to Cape Town
  • 3 nights in Cape Town bed and breakfast all transfers and transport

The trip starts from Bloemfontein with a transfer to Lady Grey on Thursday 19th Nov and finishes with departure from Cape Town on Nov 28th.

Please note that all arrivals must be in Bloemfontein on Thursday 19th November 2014 by 3pm.

Included:

  • All meals as specified in Package (note race entry includes a meal at race briefing and a meal at finish line as well as Breakfast/ Brunch before prize giving)
  • All transfers in aircon Vehicles and domestic airfares as stipulated in package
  • Area Permit to traverse Conservancy
  • All accommodation is per person on a sharing basis as applicable. Single supplement applies.

Excluded:

All meals not stipulated in package

All beverages except at Game Lodge

International flights: into and departing South Africa – arrival Bloemfontein, departure Cape Town.

How to book:

To book a place a non-refundable 25% deposit secures your place. Full balance is due, on or before 1st August 2015. Please specify your booking country.

PACKAGE PLACES ARE AVAILABLE FROM DEC 8th 2014

Darkness to Light

Darkness to LightThe Marathon des Sables needs no introduction. It has been hailed as one of the toughest races in the world. Like it or love it, it has produced some wonderful and epic stories.

One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I marvel at the front runners moving fast through the dunes, up a jebel and ignoring the heat. However, the middle of the field and those who struggle each day to make the cut off no doubt provide me with incredible inspiration.

Gilles and Didier have provided such thoughts on numerous occasions.

Tears stream down his face as he sobs uncontrollably. Gilles, all smiles, pulls away and kisses him on each cheek with a passion seldom seen. It’s a moment to savor! They are the last two runners on the course and the moment epitomizes all that the Marathon des Sables represents. It shows a bond between two people and confirms all that is good and pure in human nature and ultra running.
Read the full article on RUNULTRA HERE
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ELS 2900 Alpine Run – Run. Tag a peak. Repeat.

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Run. Tag a peak. Repeat.

Inspired by our FKT on Els 2900 route, we customized our track to add more ridge running and off track segments. Be ready to tackle one of the most incredible alpine route ever made for a runner. It’s hard and steep. Think averaging 1,000m of vertical variation every 5K.

Yup, you read it right…

Here are some info about our race…
  • Name: Els 2900 Alpine Run
  • What: 70km, 6,700m of vert.
  • When: October 16-18, 2015
  • Where: Andorra

Why this is a race like no other:

  • We tag the 7 highest peaks of Andorra in a row (all above 2,900m of altitude, hence the name ‘Els 2900′ which means ‘The 2,900′ in Catalan);
  • A 100% alpinrunning course, mixing ridge running, scrambling, off-track segments and even a via ferrata!
  • For safety reasons, 50 spots only: The race are only looking for highly skilled mountain runners w/ alpine background;
  • The race is over a day but start and finish lines are from and to mountain huts above 2,300m. So the race will have an approach hike the day before the race and will spend the night at the first hut all together. Same thing after the race, runners will all spend Saturday’s night in a hut before to get down to the valley the next day;
  • All meals, hosting and supplies are taken care of within the price
  • Cost – 200EUR for the 3 days
We ran our Edition Zero last October and runners have been amazed to say the least. Some pictures here.
Some useful links:
Important:
  • We’re a non-profit organisation;
  • Our only aim is to demonstrate that alpinrunning is not ‘a daredevil thing’ or yet another trend, but a real sport that requires strong skills from both mountaineering and running worlds…

Salomon SkyRun 2014 – Race Day Images

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The Witteberg is a South African mountain range just off the south-west corner of Lesotho. The range, which rises to 2408 metres, stretches for about 60km from Lundin’s Nek in the east to Lady Grey in the west. The range lends its name to the Witteberg Series, the uppermost fossiliferous sequence of the Cape System of sedimentary rocks in South Africa. The race starts in the town of Lady Grey which is famous for its annual Nativity Play and its quaint houses and incredible scenery. Discover the wonder of Balloch cave along the route with it bushman art and idyllic setting nestled between some of the highest peaks in the Witteberg.

The Witteberg range is one of the most picturesque places in South Africa with some distinctive peaks like Avoca and Halston Peaks dominating the skyline.

The Salomon SkyRun and SkyRun Lite are unique in that they are truly self-supported and self-navigational races, where athletes tackle the remote terrain of the Witteberg Mountain range with a Map a Compass or GPS unit and a back pack containing all there food, water and compulsory equipment that will enable them to survive in this harsh environment, while operating at an average height of between 2200-2500 meters above sea level.

The trail starts in Lady Grey and the first 65km of the route is the same for both races, after the compulsory stop and medical check at Balloch are the Skyrunners allowed to continue while the Lite runners have completed their journey. The route climbs sharply out of Lady Grey to the first check point at the Tower; this is about a 12km run and is a combination of hiking trails and mountain running. As you climb the trail to the tower the majestic landscape unfolds in front of you and it now feels as if you are on top of Africa. Following the fence line you make your way along the ridge line to the second check point which is at Olympus, this is another 10km and the terrain is now devoid of paths and trails and athletes must decide which is the best route to the check point. After Olympus the athletes can pick up a small trail that will lead them to Snowden which is check point 3 another 11km or so, there is a natural spring just past Snowden where you can fill up your water bladders (does depend on how much rain has fallen so not always guaranteed a lot of water) before making your way to Avoca Peak the highest point (2756m) on the race. The climb up Avoca peak is challenging as the gradient is steep and the terrain is rough especially after good summer rain. From Avoca the route takes you over the “Dragonback” a ridge line that is about 3 meters wide with steep descends on either side, a fantastic formation of rock that is a feature of the race and a spectacular viewing point on a clear day. The route flattens out for a while as you move towards CP6 at Skidor which is again a leg of about 10km. At Skidor you descend into the valley down a technical descend before picking up the river that will lead you to the compulsory stop at Balloch Cave having now covered about 65km of the race.

Once Athletes have done their medical and been give the all clear by the doctor, it upwards and onwards as they take on the challenge of Balloch Wall a climb with a vertical ascent of over 500m in just 3km and back down the other side on the way to CP 8 at Edgehill Farm. Most athletes will now be operating in the dark as night fall will have replaced the harsh African sun. Navigating through the Bridal Pass from EdgeHill to the turn is tricky with a lot of athletes losing a lot of time trying to find the correct entrance into the pass that will lead them onto the ridgeline again. The Bridal pass has now been included as a waypoint on the route to assist athletes in negotiating the pass. A steady climb up the Pass will take you onto the ridgeline and to the check point at the Turn. From here you will double back toward the Wartrail Country Club via Halston Peak which is the last check point on the route. The climb down from Halston’s is technical and is made more difficult by the fact that you are very fatigued at this stage but buoyed by the fact that you are now heading to the finish at Wartrail Country Club.

RESULTS *to be updated

  1. Iain Don Wauchope 12:08:15 – new course record
  2. Gary Robbins 13:46
  3. Jock Green 14:12

 

  1. Landie Greyling 16:14
  2. Julia Boettger 19:53
  3. Sue Chapman 23:33

Ladies results to follow.

More images to follow.

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 6 Image Gallery

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Race Summary for Stage 6 HERE

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 6

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Day 6 #ETR2014

On paper, today’s stage of the Everest Trail Race was mostly downhill with 3183m of descent in comparison to 2105m of ascent over the 29.5km course. Don’t be fooled though, it was a tough day. The terrain is relentlessly tough and technical and the altitude burns the lungs.

Leaving Tengboche the race retraces stage-5 to Phakding and then branches left up to the race finish in Lukla. It’s a course with stunning views and vistas and Namche Bazar is impressive when looked upon with a bird’s eye view. Surrounded by beautiful white peaks it would be easy to be tempted to stop and just look in wonder at the awesome arena the Himalayas create. Behind the runners, Everest, Lohtse and Ama Dablam slowly but surely disappear from view with every step to Lukla, a sure sign that the 2014 ETR is drawing to a conclusion.

Samir Temang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa really put the pressure on early in the stage reaching Khumjung in just 45-mins. From here they pushed on together through Namche Bazar, Monjo, Phakding, Cheplung and they crossed the line together in just 3-hours 20-minutes. A crazy time for the course and one that confirmed Samir as the 2014 Everest Trail Race champion. Zigor Iturrieta found his legs again today and finished 3rd on the stage and 3rd overall.

Anna Comet looked to take things a little more relaxed today secure in the knowledge that barring some disaster the ladies overall title was secure. Equally, Kerry Sutton decided to enjoy the final day and ran with 3rd place lady, Yangdi Lama Sherpa. Post race Kerry said, ‘I really enjoyed today and it was nice to look around and enjoy the surroundings.’

James Eacott placed 4th overall in the men’s race and he said that the ETR was one race that he would definitely come back to do again.

Samir Temsang and Anna Comet are crowned the 2014 ETR champions but all credit goes to each and every finisher. At 100-miles, this race may not be the longest but it is surely one of the toughest! The combination of tough technical terrain, relentless climbing and descending and of course altitude, all combine to make the ETR a race to do!

 

Results top-3 *times to follow

 

  1. Samir Temsang
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa
  3. Zigor Iturrieta

 

  1. Anna Comet
  2. Kerry Sutton
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

OVERALL RESULTS *times to follow

 

  1. Samir Temsang
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa
  3. Zigor Iturrieta

 

  1. Anna Comet
  2. Kerry Sutton
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

 

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 5

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Day 5 #ETR2014

Many say that the 16km route from Phakding to Tengboche is one of the most beautiful trails in the world. The view of the Himalayan peaks is beyond mind blowing. Especially when you arrive at the summit an Everest, Lohtse and Ama Dablam await. It’s quite the picture postcard.

However, to take in this spectacle a journey of 16km and 2124m of positive incline waits. It doesn’t sound too much does it? However, many runners crossed the line saying, ‘that was a seriously tough day!’

Departing Phakding (2700m), Namche Bazar (3600m) is the first port of call then Kumjung and Cp2 and Phungi Tenga (3300m) before the tough and steep ascent to Tengboche at 3900m.

Samir Temsang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa once again ran like demons and ran the course in a super impressive 2:51. Samir once again pipped Phudorje for the tape and a couple of seconds. James Eacott from the UK ran a great race and looked really strong to place 3rd on the stage from Zigor Iturrieta who struggled in the closing kilometres.

Anna Comet made a clean sweep of 5-stages and 5-wins and Kerry Sutton despite a sprained ankle once again placed 2nd to secure her overall 2nd lady ranking. Yangdi Lama Sherpa repeated her consistent 3rd-place for every stage.

The finish line at Tengboche is arguably one of THE most amazing finishing lines of any race and this was reflected in some of the emotions shown as runners crossed the line today. However, a tough 30km from Tengboche back to Lukla awaits each and every runner on day-6 of the Everest Trail Race.

I’m pretty sure a few cold beers may well be enjoyed in Lukla tomorrow evening… believe me; they have been earned! The ETR may well ‘only’ be 100-miles but they are some of the toughest and most challenging miles available. The ETR is without doubt a bucket list race.

 

Results top-3 times to follow

 

  1. Samir Temsang
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa
  3. James Eacott

 

  1. Anna Comet
  2. Kerry Sutton
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 4 Image Gallery

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Results top-3 stage 4

  1. Samir Temsang 3:53:35
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 2:53:38
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 4:09:41
  1. Anna Comet 4:28:18
  2. Kerry Sutton 5:06:09
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 5:35:47