Episode 59 – 29th Marathon des Sables and Barkley Marathons

Ep59 Talk Ultra

 

This weeks show is a Marathon des Sables and Barkley Marathons special. We have daily chats from the Sahara with top Brit and 5th overall, Danny Kendall. By contrast, we also have daily chats with actor, Bertie Portal who undertook the challenge of a lifetime at his first MDS. Barkley Marathons are infamous and we speak with rookie ‘fun run’ finisher Jamil Coury and we also speak with two time finisher and 2014 champ, Jared Campbell. The News, a Meltzer Moment, Up & Coming Races and of cousre Speedgoat Karl.

NEWS
Lake Sonoma 50
 
  1. Zach Miller 6:11:10 CR
  2. Rob Krar 6:12:14
  3. Sage Canaday 6:12:58
  1. Emily Harrison 7:26:15 CR
  2. Step Howe 7:33:24
  3. Kaci Kickteig 7:37:42
 
Marathon des Sables
 
Men
  1. El Morabity 20:27:37
  2. Al Aqra 20:37:09
  3. Ahansal 20:50:58
  4. Sa 21:24:58
  5. Kendall 21:30:15

Ladies

  1. Kimball 29:04:49
  2. Klein 30:05:19
  3. Roux 31:30:56
  4. Pierron 32:29:47
  5. Donovan 33:37:17
Zion 100k
  1. Karl Meltzer 9:09:40
  2. Mick Jurynec 10:05:39
  3. Cody Draper 10:44:26
  1. Jen Segger 12:32:02
  2. Linday Tesar 13:04:55
  3. Tonya Littlehales 13:10:14
ZION 100m
  1. Jeff Browning 16:49:53
  2. Jason Koop 19:13:56
  3. Justin Faul 20:30:51
  1. Candice Burt 23:04:08
  2. Cherri Marcinko 24:26:18
  3. Lisa Jones 25:00:31
SDW50
  1. Paul Navesey 6:11:28
  2. Richard Ashton 6:23:26
  3. Mark Perkins 6:24:41
  1. Louise Waterman Evans 7:06:08
  2. Edwina Sutton 7:09:21
  3. Sarah Perkins 7:19:43
Scott Jurek and Rickey Gates - UK and Bob Graham Round
“Quite possibly one of the most difficult courses I have done in my life! Over 28,000 feet of ascent in 65 miles, yet amazingly gorgeous!”
BLOG - 
INTERVIEW
The Barkley Marathons are infamous. It’s the trail that eats its young… on this show, we have an interview with Barkley rookie, Jamil Coury who completed the 60-mile fun run and an interview with 2-time finisher and 2014 champ, Jared Campbell
AUDIO with JAMIL COURY
 
AUDIO with JARED CAMPBELL
 
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat
 
 
UP & COMING RACES
 

Australia

Queensland

Wildhorse Criterium 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Wildhorse Criterium 70 km | 70 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Victoria

Go the Extra Mile Melbourne | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_38dee2e9bf1319cbdffbAustria

Tiroler Abenteuerlauf 60 KM | 60 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_6795a5e624f1622b0bf3Canada

Ontario

Pick Your Poison 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_d512d458411f528ae9efChina

Dalian 100 | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Dalian 50 | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 100 km Ultra Marathon | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2014 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 60 km Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | April 18, 2014 | website

Trail de la Grande Muraille de Chine | 73 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ahotu_5d16c798b1713934efdcDenmark

Hovedstaden

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm -100 Miles | 100 miles | May 02, 2014 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 miles | 50 miles | May 02, 2014 | website

Midtjylland

Gudenaa Trail Challenge | 75 kilometers | April 18, 2014 | website

Ahotu_d6484dc8236b25f1f120Ethiopia

Ethiopian Lakes Trail | 85 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_26e5f4d3970adb6b57f5France

Alpes-Maritimes

Ultra Trail des Balcons d’Azur (79+25) | 104 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail des Balcons d’Azur (UTBA) | 79 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ariège

Trail des Citadelles – 70 km | 73 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Aveyron

Trail “Le Roc de la Lune” – 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Dordogne

100 km de Belvès en Périgord Noir | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

50 km Belvès-Sarlat | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Morbihan

Bretagne Ultra Trail – 115 km | 115 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Bretagne Ultra Trail – 63 km | 63 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Seine-et-Marne

Ultra Trail de la Brie des Morin | 87 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Seine-Maritime

Le RaDicAtrAil – 110 km | 110 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Le RaDicAtrAil – 56 km | 56 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Vosges

Trail des Roches | 73 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Yvelines

Trail des Lavoirs de la Vallée de Chevreuse | 65 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_fffd0b607b8778bee13cGermany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Mai | 108 kilometers | May 01, 2014 | website

Lower Saxony

HeXenStieg Ultralauf | 216 miles | April 25, 2014 | website

Hexentanz | 104 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Rhineland-Palatinate

Bärenfels 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 01, 2014 | website

Saxony-Anhalt

Harzquerung – 51 km | 51 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_d08300ae7b802d5cf496Greece

Doliho Ultra-Marathon | 260 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ahotu_c207ef19951ba2657f03Guadeloupe

GUADARUN : ultra-marathon des îles de Guadeloupe | 136 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ahotu_98ea321800d3d03e1c5dIndia

Thar Desert Run – 100 miles | 100 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Thar Desert Run – 50 miles | 50 miles | April 20, 2014 | website

Ahotu_81515ba183d4c083f24eIsrael

The Sea to Jerusalem 144 km Ultra | 144 kilometers | April 24, 2014 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 54 Ultra | 54 kilometers | April 24, 2014 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 70 km Ultra | 70 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Ahotu_add3cc93efa9170be4d3Italy

Emilia-Romagna

50 KM di Romagna | 50 kilometers | April 24, 2014 | website

Sicily

Lafuma Volcano Trail | 80 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Tuscany

The Abbots Way | 125 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Tuscany Crossing Val d’Orcia 100 km | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Tuscany Crossing Val d’Orcia 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_2e9a148b1feaa1fd26c3Japan

Shizuoka to Yamanashi | 85 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail Mt Fuji | 161 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Ahotu_4d4164c8b73a3edc16daLaos

Les Foulées de la Soie au Laos | 109 kilometers | May 01, 2014 | website

Ahotu_10844ffe013896d005acMadagascar

Semi Trail des Ô Plateaux | 65 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail des Ô Plateaux | 130 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ahotu_89998df67965ebec7b86Malta

Eco Gozo Ultra 55k | 55 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_13f92b4304a1bec59e30Morocco

Morocco Trail | 120 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_de7077cf89cd2b33215aNepal

Annapurna Mandala Trail | 250 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Ahotu_9c2d62d9954372cab565Poland

Beskidzka 160 Na – Long Distance | 84 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_5e1eba796118d29b01f6Portugal

OMD – Ultra Trail Serra da Estrela – K100 | 101 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

OMD – Ultra Trail Serra da Estrela – K160 | 166 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

OMD – Ultra Trail Serra da Estrela – K60 | 59 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_d73d2797b1da2ab5b3e9Serbia

Fruska Gora Ultra Plus | 111 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_13e380040edb60835759South Africa

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon | 56 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ahotu_3c1809f603f0f63063a1Spain

Balearic Islands

Trail Mallorca Serra de Tramuntana | 62 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ultra Mallorca Serra de Tramuntana | 102 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Catalonia

24 hores del Cap de Creus | 87 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Long Trail Barcelona | 69 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail Barcelona | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_bba79c9e4f9321814582Tunisia

100km of Sahara | 100 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_7e740fcacd0b51330fbaTurkey

Iznik 130K Ultramarathon | 130 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Iznik 75K Ultramarathon | 75 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ahotu_597d7614a0b1922677c0United Kingdom

Dorset

The ONER | 78 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

The ONER Half Day Section | 39 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

East Dunbartonshire

Highland ‘Fling’ | 53 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Hampshire

Compton 40 mile Challenge | 40 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

North Yorkshire

The Fellsman | 60 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Worcestershire

The Evesham Ultra | 45 miles | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_e9568ffb83e589f455eaUnited States Minor Outlying Islands

Brazos Bend 50 | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_abc779e2d55a765e25b4USA

Arkansas

Ouachita Trail 50 Km | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ouachita Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

California

Diablo Trails Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Folsom Lake Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Leona Divide 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Leona Divide 50 Miles | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Mokelumne River 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Mokelumne River 50M | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Ruth Anderson 100k | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ruth Anderson 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ruth Anderson 50M | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Sierra Azul Challenge 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Sierra Azul Challenge 50 Miles Run | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Tehama Wildflowers 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Colorado

Cheyenne Mtn. Trail 50K Race | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 100K | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Desert R.A.T.S. 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Desert R.A.T.S. Double Marathon | 52 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Connecticut

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 100k | 100 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 50k | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 50M | 50 miles | April 27, 2014 | website

Traprock 50 | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Florida

DTR Endurance Race 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Fort Clinch 100M | 100 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Fort Clinch 50M | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

JWCorbett 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

JWCorbett 50M | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Indiana

Indiana Trail 100 | 100 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Indiana Trail 50 | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Iowa

Heartland Relay | 205 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Kansas

FlatRock 101K Ultra Trail Race | 101 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Free State Trail Runs 100 km Trail Ultra | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Free State Trail Runs 40-Mile Trail Ultra | 40 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Maryland

C&O Canal 100 | 100 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Massachusetts

TARC Spring Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Michigan

Running Fit Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Missouri

Double Chubb 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Frisco Railroad Run 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Frisco Railroad Run 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

New York

Sybil Ludington 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Run the Rock Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Pennsylvania

The Ironmasters Challenge – 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Utah

Red Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Salt Flats 100 | 100 miles | April 25, 2014 | website

Virginia

Bel Monte 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Bel Monte 50 mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Promise Land 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Washington

Capitol Peak Ultra Marathon – 50 mile | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Capitol Peak Ultra Marathon – 55 km | 55 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Mt. Si 50K Relay & Ultra Runs | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Mt. Si 50 Mile Relay & Ultra Runs | 50 miles | April 27, 2014 | website

Spokane River Run 50K | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

XTERRA Soaring Eagle 50K | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Yakima Skyline Rim 50k | 50 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Wisconsin

Chippewa 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Mad City 100K | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Mad City 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website
CLOSE

LINKS:

Website - talkultra.com

Marathon des Sables 2014 #MDS2014 Images – Stage 4 (The Long Day)

©iancorless.com.IMG_4124MDS2014

The 29th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables.

STAGE 4 BA HALLOU / RICH MERZOUG 81.5KM

MDS2014 Stg4

all images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved
No reproduction or sharing please.

Marathon des Sables 2014 #MDS2014 Images – Stage 3

©iancorless.com.IMG_9787MDS2014

The 29th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables.

STAGE 3 OUED MOUNGARF / BA HALLOU 37.5KM

MDS2014 Stg3

all images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved
No reproduction or sharing please.

Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 4 (The Long Day)

©iancorless.com.IMG_3324
Tough, very hot and exhausting was the general consensus in bivouac. Starting with a tough ascent of a Jebel, also featured in the 2013 race, the long day was going to be brute. Dunes, salt flats; a wonderful passage of a high ridge and plenty of sand and dunes was going to be a test for all.

Al Aqra once again started from the gun and broke tradition. Instead of blowing up and loosing pace, he seemed to get faster and coverd the 82km stage in a crazy 7:14.Second place was taken by race leader, El Morabityok  almost 30min later, 7:37:18. Sa placed 3rd in 7:40:19 and importantly from a UK perspective, Kendall continued his best MDS performance so far with 6th place, 8:04.

Kimballshowed her class and experience starting slowly and nce she had started to pull away the gap tinued to grow and she not only secured a stage winning performance but also (barring disaster) ran a race winning stage. Speaking after the stage, Kimball said that adjusting to the heqt in stages 1 to 3 was essential and that once settled she could run her own race on the 82km leg. Klein unfortunately seemed to have the demons of 2013 looming over head and never looked comfortable. Running to CP3 in the heqt of the day Klein looked distresed by the heat. Soldiering on, Klein finished the stage 5th in 12:06:48, almost 2hrs behind Kimballs 10:48:38.

Morrisey from Ireland finished 2nd in 11:36:10 and must be cursing the bqd luck of stage 1 when she was unwell. Pierron placed 3rd and Roux 4th.

Top Brit Julie Donovan finished a little further down the classification but still holds 5th overall.

GC with one stage to go:

Men:

El Morabity 16:53:56

Al Aqra 17:03:19

Ahanal 17:14:17

Kendall 5th 18:07:49

Ladies:

Kimball 24:11:08

Klein 25:11:00

Roux 25:38:08

Donovan 5th 28:16:19

©iancorless.com.IMG_4017 ©iancorless.com.IMG_3966 ©iancorless.com.IMG_3807 ©iancorless.com.IMG_3415 ©iancorless.com.IMG_0482 ©iancorless.com.IMG_0382

Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 5

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What a day for the Brits… Morrisey won the ladies race ahead of Roux and Kimball and Kendall placed 2nd behind a flying El Mouaziz.
The final official day of the 29th Marathon des Sables came to a conclusion today over a classic marathon distance in the sands of the Sahara. From the outside looking in, it would appear that the leading ladies and men were happy with the overall standings and raced pretty much together. However, Morrisey had something to prove… had she not had a terrible first day due to illness, we may well be looking at a different set of results for the ladies GC, however, as we all know, that is racing… Morrisey pushed the pace throughout and a little like Meek in 2013 stamped her authority on the final stage taking out the win in 4:35:23. Roux from France placed 2nd, 4:52:47 and Kimball and Klein placed 3rd and 4th respectively in times of 4:53:41 and 4:54:19. Kimball looked extremely happy with her foray into a miltiday race and Klein was respectful in defeat.
El Morabity and Al Aqra ran side by side throughout the final day, both happy with 1st and 2nd places. Ahansal trailed a little behind also confident his third place was secure. However, at the front of the race, Elmouaziz used his 2:06 marathon pace to set the sand alight and take a convincing stage victory in 3:11:22. I cannot help but think that he will be back, learning curve over and ready to push the front of the race in the 30th edition. Kendall pe race told me he was going to go for it and go for it he did. Not only did he need to maintain a 1 min lead over Solaris he also had the possibiliy to chase Sa for 4th. As the day unfolded, Sa matched Kendall, however, in the latter stages, Kendall pushed and placed 2nd on the stage with a stunning run, 3:22:26 and Sa finished less than 1 min later in 3:23:12.
El Morabity, Al Aqra and Ahansal placed 5th, 6th and 7th confident that the GC would nt change.
The 29th MDS has been a tough and hot race… the hardest; maybe. Each and every runner, first to last achieved something very special in Morocco this year. To see the joy, the tears, the passion and the pain released on the final finish line is a joy to behold. Medal in hand, memories to last forever. The 29th MDS is done. A short charity stage takes place on Saturday and the the parties begin… a hotel, a shower, clean beds and plenty of food.
The MDS is quite a race and no sooner will this race be over and preparations will begin for 2015; the 30th edition.

Men

  1. El Morabity 20:27:37
  2. Al Aqra 20:37:09
  3. Ahansal 20:50:58
  4. Sa 21:24:58
  5. Kendall 21:30:15

Ladies

  1. Kimball 29:04:49
  2. Klein 30:05:19
  3. Roux 31:30:56
  4. Pierron 32:29:47
  5. Donovan 33:37:17

Great result for Brit ladies: 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Donovan, Leakey, Morrisey and Young

Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 3

Stage 3 MDS2014
Stage 3 of the 29th edition of the MDS wil be remembered for heat and dunes. It had both in abundance! With over 20km of dunes in a 37km stage, it was always going to be tough and it was.
Ahansal and Al Aqra pushed the pace in the early stages with El Moriaty playing it cool. However, El Moriaty pushed after cp1 and once again showed his impressive form. Equally, fast man and MDS novice is showing that dunes are not slowing his 2:06 marathon pace. The two, once again placed 1 and 2, 2:58:47 and 2:59:37. Ahansal had a better day and despite pushing hard early on placed 3rd in 3:00:46. Brit, Kendall purposely had an easier day and placed 9th in 3:20:32 keeping some powder dry for tomorrows long 82km day.
Kimball from the USA finally took the reigns in the ladies ra:ce and finished 4min clear of pre race favourite, Klein; 4:24:53 to 4:28:26
Roux is proving to be the new French darling wth another third place. It is all to plaf for tomorrow and I think Kimball will come into her own on a long and tough stage.
British interest took a jump with Donovan placing 7th and Morrisey and Young pipping her to the line.

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Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 2

Al Aqra (previous MDS winner) went from the gun the morning and set a relentless pace that only El Moriaty could match. A third of the way into the stage they ran side by side but the pace took its toll, Al Aqra faded allowing a repeat victory in 3:13:43 for El Moriaty. Fast man, Elmouaziz but his 2:06 pace to good use and finished just over 1min back with Al Aqra taking 3rd in 3:21:11.
Ahansall could not take the pace today and finished 4th just 30 secs ahead of Brit, Danny Kendall in 3:23:05.
Klein once again provided a very familiar pattern for the ladies race with a solid stage win just 11min clear of Kimball in 4:30:08. Roux from France placed 3rd in 5:03 and Brit, Donovan placed 4th, 5:15:33.
The heat once again was relentless today with apparently 50deg recorded. The tough course and extreme temperqtures are impacting on all the racers with over 20 drop outs yesterday and more today. Stage 3 continues the format with high temperatures forecast and almost 30km of dunes….

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Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 1

Day 1 was a tough and exciting day in the dunes of the Sahara. Arguably one of the toughest first days on record. The sand was relentless as was the heat… mid 40s.
Rachid El Moriaty and Mohamad Ahansal used local knowledge to advantage and placed 1 and 2 on the day, 3:04:06 and 3:05:08 respectively.
2:06 marathon runner Elhouaziz used his speed to make up for navigation errors to place 3rd, 3:12:26.
Top Brit Danny Kendall, 10th in 2013 placed 5th in 3:19:40.
Laurence Klein used her experience and speed for a convincing stage victory over Nikki Kimball from the USA. However, Laurence does not look as relaxed as previous years, 4:05:37 and 4:16:33 respectively.
Julie Bryan from the USA was third 35min back and top Brit was Julie Donovan in 5th.

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FAILURE! Isn’t an option – Robert Portal attempts the 29th Marathon des Sables

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It doesn’t happen everyday does it… an actor with a career spanning back to 1992 taking on the challenge of the Marathon des Sables; arguably one of the most iconic multiday races in the world.

Bertie (Robert) Portal however is not shy of a challenge or putting himself way out of his comfort zone. In 2012, along with James Cash, Bertie crossed the Atlantic in 63-days and in doing so raised £350,000 for ‘Facing the World Association.’

‘…the idea of setting foot again on another waterborne vessel, let alone our boat, Patience, fills me with dread and horror.’ Bertie explained in a Telegraph interview (Feb 2012).

Swapping water for sand, Bertie will attempt the 29th edition of the iconic ‘MDS’ and his journey begins on April 3rd. I was intrigued; what had attracted an actor who has appeared in some modern day blockbusters such as, The Iron Lady, My week with Marilyn and The Kings Speech to leave the comfort of ‘Blighty’ behind for a week of self-sufficiency in the Sahara? After all, reduced food and water rations, sharing a bivouac with 7-others, oh, and the small matter of running approximately 250 km’s wouldn’t appeal to everyone?

I caught up with Bertie in the final days before his departure for Morocco, for the first of several interviews that will help document Bertie’s journey into the unknown.

MDS Logo

IC Bertie, you are renowned for your acting career, what has attracted you to the Marathon des Sables, it’s going to be a little different to what you are used to!

BP People ask me this all the time and I often give different answers, however, as an actor I spend my professional life in someone else’s clothes, speaking someone else’s lines and being told where to stand and what to do… these events are me being me! Facing a challenge, it’s what I enjoy. I also enjoy facing the elements, be that the Atlantic of the Sahara on its own terms to see what it has to offer.

IC Is this something that has come to you later in life or have you always been interested in testing yourself in sport?

BP Fair to say I have pushed the envelope recently! However, I have done marathons, triathlons and swum to keep fit. I found that when I did the Atlantic, we were halfway across in a storm and I thought if I get out of this, I will do something land based. The Sahara fits the bill!

IC MDS has a reputation. It’s one of the oldest, if not THE oldest multiday races. It’s on many a runners bucket list, for you, the contrasts between the Atlantic and the Sahara will be extreme. When did you start preparing?

BP I have been training for about 18-months specifically. Ultra marathons are very different from doing a ‘normal’ marathon of 26.2-miles, so, doing longer runs of 30 or 40-miles have been a great eye opener. The thought of doing them back-to-back is very different; running on tired legs is something you need to adapt to. I have done lots of that; I don’t take this lightly! I think the MDS will be more painful physically than the Atlantic as it is more compacted in terms of time.

IC I guess 18-months ago you were just getting consistency in running. When did you start being very specific; placing an emphasis on MDS and doing specifics that will allow you to run in the Sahara?

BP I have been training with a pack for quite a long time. I availed myself of the services of Rory Coleman, he has done MDS 10-times and he helps out people with coaching. He set me a program and I have followed it. I went to Wales a month ago, we had a weekend program of running in dunes. It was a nightmare! I hated it… it’s grueling, debilitating, energy sapping, exhausting and depressing to be honest. It was a big eye opener and I found it incredibly hard. I am under no illusions of what to expect. Recently I have been in a heat chamber and I have 2-more sessions to do before we depart. That was horrible too!

IC Aaagh, you are really looking forward to the MDS then? (Laughs)

BP The heat chamber was just a small room. Quite claustrophobic, so it’s not ideal, however, it serves a purpose. You just want to get out of the room but you can’t. Lots of people are watching so you can’t ‘wuss’ out.

IC You will learn from anyone that has done MDS that heat sessions in the final days before departure are a great thing to do. It can be a savior to have that adjustment done before arriving in Morocco. Let’s go back a month ago if I may… the dunes, I guess you wanted experience and also a confidence boost. Do you now have a sense of dread of what the MDS holds?

BP The weekend was 2-days; Saturday was dunes and Sunday was a little different. I felt a little down after the first day but running up a mountain on day-2 was much better. I have also been told that dunes only make a small part of the MDS. The terrain is quite compact, hard, and rocky at times and we have salt flats to cover so that is good, we have a bit of everything! Dune day sounds like it will be day-1 so I shall grit my teeth and push through it.

IC Yes, you are correct. Dunes only usually make about 20% of the race route. However, the dunes take longer to get through because of the difficulty. What are you most fearful of?

BP Not finishing! It’s a fear of failure… far more than the heat, dehydration and so on. I think I can control those things. I need to look after myself. Personal admin is important. If I have my head screwed on that will be okay. However, I will have unknowns, maybe the medical team could pull me out of the race. I would hate that. All I can do is look after myself as best I can and don’t start too quickly. I need to enjoy the experience. I am so looking forward to it.

IC If you look at the race objectively; completion over competition, It is a great attitude to have. Cut-off times are very generous so you can slow down and still finish. Have you thought about this?

BP Well I set myself goals and I like to do things to the best of my ability otherwise I don’t see much point in doing them! I want to be the best that I can be. I’m in the middle I think; I won’t win but I want to give the best account of myself.

IC With a couple of days over and once familiarized, you will then be able to asses and decide if you can test yourself. You will know at that point how you feel and how you are reacting.

Bivouac will be interesting; an open tent with 7-other people. For me, it’s an attraction. You do have a celebrity status do you think at MDS you will be recognized?

BP I’m always ‘another’ person! I love these events because I can get away… no e-mail, no phones, I am away from all the humdrum day-to-day routine and I love that.

IC You have appeared in The Kings Speech, My week with Marilyn, The Iron Lady; they are all films about strong individuals. They are all characters that have overcome diversity, pressures and so on that have used strength of character to survive. Can you take anything away from the real life situations and apply that to the MDS?

BP Gosh! I don’t think so… my film life and my adventure life are so different. My actor mates and directors just don’t understand what I do. I was about to row the Atlantic when I did ‘Marilyn,’ my peers just didn’t get it. So, I don’t intertwine the two things at all. You are correct though; the films were about strong people. It’s the first time I have ever thought of it… it’s a great question. I will need to go away and think about it! Ask me on day-3 of the race.

IC How has training gone for you, are you confident, can you maybe give us an idea what a training week has looked like?

BP If I am honest, I was at my fittest in October last year. I was doing 3-day ultra runs. A normal week would be as follows: Monday, power hour on a treadmill – this is 4mins at pace and then sprint for 1-min and repeat. It’s horrible but gets your speed up. I may run a 5km the next day, 10km the day after and then on Thursday I would do a long run in the park. Richmond Park is my ‘killing ground’ and this is where I do my entire running. It has some nice hills! Then I would race at the weekend, a marathon or an ultra.

IC Okay, so how many races have you done in the build up?

BP Lots! I must have done somewhere in the region of 20 marathons in the last 11-months.

IC Wow, that is great. That’s lots of racing.

BP I have always ticked over. A typical year for me would include what I call the ‘Big-5.’ That would be 2-half marathons before London, London marathon and then another couple of other events. I am also a swimmer; I do that throughout the year. So I have a good base.

IC Tell us about your equipment. I am sure you have been through everything, weighing it and looking at options. Are you taking any luxuries?

BP I am looking at my bag now. I had problems with packs. I was going to use one pack but I found it too small, I just couldn’t fit everything in so I have changed it recently to something a little larger. I can’t run on nuts and air! (Laughter). My luxuries are ‘sweeties’ such as jellybeans, cola bottles and so on. I have a few gels but they can make me run to the bushes… not many of those in the Sahara! I have kept luxuries to a minimum; I see this as 7-days and 7-days only, I can get through that!

IC What is your pack weight?

BP About 9kg I believe.

IC You will need to add water to that?

BP Yes, I will add water and that is provided. I have packed food that I had left over from the Atlantic and I have trimmed packets, cords, and other items to reduce any weight. The food packets are useful as I can eat out of them.

IC You will take a stove then?

BP Yes.

IC Do you have any words of wisdom or is that only something you can pass on after the experience?

BP I think there is only so much you can do. You can train, you can prepare and you can plan but you can’t actually prepare for running in 45 degrees other than doing it. It’s no sprint; it’s what I call the Sahara shuffle.

IC You have the physical and mental strength to last 63-days in the Atlantic. I am sure you will be able to draw from that experience and apply it in the Sahara.

BP Yes, I do have lots to call on and I am grateful for that experience. I had some horrible moments. When things get tough, I will think to myself, it’s only 7-days. My father said, ‘you can doing anything for 7-days.’ However, I don’t think my dad has done MDS! (Laughter)

IC In the Atlantic you broke your oars and you bobbed around in the water for 7-days unable to move… ironically you could have run MDS in those 7-days.

BP Absolutely! Thank you for that. I will think on that whilst I am in the Sahara.

(Laughter)

See you in the Sahara!

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Information

 A race preview of the 29th edition of the MDS is available HERE

MDS hints ‘n’ tips from 3x ladies winner, Laurence Klein HERE

 

Links:

Bertie will be raising money for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity (Facebook Here)

To make an individual donation, please visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Blazing-a-Trail
Or send cheques payable to Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity to: 
6 Cleeve Court, Cleeve Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 7UD

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity website – HERE

Go to ‘Blazing a Trail’ on Facebook – HERE

Follow Bertie’s MDS experience on www.iancorless.com and on Twitter @talkultra

Images from ©IMDB

Atlantic Crossing in The Telegraph – Here

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

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

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

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1/ RUNNING IN THE SAND

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

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2/ AVOIDING BLISTERS

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

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3 / HYDRATE REGULARLY

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

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4/ PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN

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

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5/ A LIGHT, BALANCED BAG

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

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6 / GET SOME REST

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

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7/ EAT PROPERLY

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

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8/ FINDING ONE’S BEARINGS

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

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9/ MANAGING ONE’S EFFORT

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

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10/ LIFE IN THE BIVOUAC

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

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

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

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