Tresidder and Lightfoot to race True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™

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Skyrunning UK is happy to announce that two of the UK’s top mountain runners; Es Tresidder and Ricky Lightfoot will participate in the first edition of the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™

Lightfoot is fresh from victory at USM – Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and considering that the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™ is a home race for him, it only seems correct that he toes the line against Tresidder and others.

‘It is fantastic to see a technical SkyUltra, in the Lake District being added to the UK series in addition to the 3×3. The course is very runnable for the most, but has the glorious ridgelines of Swirral Edge and Striding Edge; they really tick the box for Skyrunning.”

Lightfoot needs no introduction to mountain aficionados; he holds the course record for the infamous OTTER in South Africa, he was crowned IAU World Trail Champion and on home soil has dominated classic fell races like the 3 Peaks.

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To make sure Lightfoot doesn’t have thing all his own way, Es Tresidder will toe the line alongside the Salomon athlete and will no doubt push him all the way. In 2014, after several years completing a Doctorate in Environmental Architecture, Tresidder devoted his summer season to re-finding his form. He scored 8th place at the Matterhorn Ultraks 46k, and 9th at the Giir Di Mont and his goals for 2015 include the Scottish Island Peaks Race (Es’ team, sailing on ‘Obedient’ took top honours), Giir Di Mont, Glencoe Skyline, Els2900, and of course the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™.

“The True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™ takes in some of the best and most challenging terrain that the Lake District has to offer. After doing a few amazing SkyRace’s elsewhere in Europe, I’m really excited to see this sort of ultra-race, incorporating rough and technical ground, come to England.”

Tresidder has long been a strong mover in the mountains, having grown up in a mountaineering family. At the tender age of 16, Tresidder turned up in Snowdonia and bashed out a cracking time round the Snowdon Horseshoe of 1:41. In 2009, he had the opportunity to fully test his mettle on the Snowdon Horseshoe. Coupled with good luck from the weather gods and with running conditions just right, he laid down an FKT, taking in the summits of Crib Goch, Crib Y Ddysgl, Snowdon, Lliwedd W Summit and Lliwedd E summit returning to Pen Y Pass. The time: 1:25.08. It’s a time that stands to this day.

Needless to say, having Tresidder and Lightfoot going head-to-head on UK soil on UK mountains will be a sight to behold irrespective of if you are participating or watching.

Info:

True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra™ is part of the UK Skyrunning Series with the race-taking place on 12th September 2015. Starting in Ambleside it covers +50km with 4300m of ascent. Aimed at mountain runners with scrambling experience the race looks set to be a great addition to the UK Skyrunning series. Entry is £70.

http://www.lakesskyultra.uk

Lakes Sky Ultra social media:

Facebook: LakesSkyUltra

Twitter: @LakesSkyUltra

 

Race Directors’ Contacts:

Charlie Sproson 07989697487 @mountain_run

Andrew Burton 07880331559 @denefell

Karl meets Kilian ©suunto ©sebmontaz

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Many thought there would be some tension between Karl Egloff and Kilian Jornet. After all, Karl has broken 2 of Kilian’s records.

View the original Suunto post HERE

“Nothing was set-up,” says the film maker Seb Montaz. “It was really the first time they met. They were both excited to meet and I hope people see them laughing together – there was no rivalry.” – Seb Montaz

But I already knew the answer and Kilian summed it up himself when he said after Aconcagua:

‘Records are there to be broken!’

So what happened when the duo met up in Chamonix?

Video ©suunto ©sebmontaz

You can read my interviews with Kilian HERE and HERE and HERE

Read about Karl HERE

And listen to them both in my podcast HERE

Skyrunning Mont-Blanc 80k 2015 Preview

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The 2014 edition of the Skyrunning Chamonix 80k proved to be a stunning and exciting race with Emelie Forsberg and Luis Alberto Hernando being crowned respective champions and in the process they also were crowned Skyrunning Ultra World Champions.

The 2015 edition of the race may not be a world championship but racing is expected to be just as fast and ferocious. Runners are travelling from all over the world to take part and as you may have expected we have a who’s who of Skyrunning toeing the line.

New for 2015 too is a tougher course! Yes, if the race wasn’t already tough enough. Changes have been made to avoid towns in favour of more secluded trails. It’s a stunning course with 6000m of vertical gain and it takes in Bel Achat, Brevent, Col de Montets, Buet, Col de la Terrasse, Tre les Eaux, Aiguillette des Posettes, Montenvers, Mer de Glace, Plan d’Aiguille and of course the wonderful finish in Chamonix.

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In the men’s race several names stand out. Dakota Jones fresh from a top placing at Transvulcania will be looking to establish a grip on the race and recently has been training in the area with 2014 ladies champion, Emelie Forsberg. Unfortunately Dakota is injured.©iancorless.com-0271Kima2014_

Manuel Merillas is a rising star in the Skyrunning world after an incredible 2014. All looked to be going well at Transvulcania in May when he was racing with the front 5, however, it all became too much and he eventually finished outside the top 10. Manuel bounced back remarkably well placing on the podium just one week later at Zegama-Aizkorri. He is podium material for sure; he just needs to get his pacing right for the longer distance.

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Hardrock 100 champion (2013) and UTMF winner Sebastien Chaigneau needs no introduction to a French or Chamonix audience. His face is synonymous with the area after repeated runs at UTMB. He placed 2nd in 2009 and 3rd in 2011. He knows the trails in and around Chamonix so well. However, 2014 was a tough year for Seb, we can only hope that he is 100% fit for the 80km. If he is, he is without doubt one to watch.

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Alex Nichols is an ever present on the Skyrunning circuit and his confidence will be high after a top 10 placing at the IAU world trail championships in Annecy.

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Aurelien Dunand-Pallaz had a good run in Chamonix in 2014 and recently placed 10th at Transvulcania. I see him looking for a top 10 once again in the 80k and if his day goes well top 5 may be a possibility but I don’t see him contending the podium.

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Pablo Villa may well dish up a surprise? Since a breakthrough performance at Transvulcania in 2014, he moved to Salomon and that almost certainly has boded well. One to watch!

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My last tip is Cristofer Clemente who placed on the podium just last week at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and on the podium at Sai Kung MSIG 50k. He is on the up at the moment and his performance in Chamonix will all depend on his powers of recovery.

Catlow ShipeckPascal GiguetDavid PasquioFranco ColleDan DohertyStuart Air and Francois Favre are all names that will add fire to the front of the race.

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The ladies race all looks about 3 people with Dong Li, Mira Rai and Hillary Allen as the main contenders for the podium. The proximity of the IAU world championships in Annecy and Skyrunning’s Ice Trail Tarentaise (in 2 weeks) have impacted on who was available to take on this tough Chamonix course.

Mira Rai has had a sting of high profile victories recently and is without doubt a hot favourite. Mira burst onto the scene in 2014 with victory at the Mustang Trail Race. Recent results are 3rd at Buffalo Stampede, 1st at MSIG HK50 and MSIG Lantau 50.

Dong Li has all the potential to upset Mira’s plans for the top of the podium and in all honesty, a longer race may well fall into her hands. Dong Li won TNF 100 in Australia and placed 3rd at Transgrancanaria.

Hillary Allen is not a lady who I have met on the run circuit, however, I am aware of her 5th place at The Rut (50k) in 2014 and she also placed 4th at Speedgoat 50k. Past records show that 50k or 50 miles are Hillary’s preferred distance so this 80km may well stretch her. This is no ordinary 80k course.

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Racing starts in the early hours of Friday 26th June and you will be able to follow online via the Skyrunning Facebook page and on Twitter @skyrunnning_com

A list of entrants is available HERE

ISF announce location for the 2016 World Championships

 The 2016 Skyrunning World Championships will be held from 22 -24 July in the Vall de Boí in the heart of the Spanish Pyrenees. The location will host a super-technical Ultra, a SkyMarathon® and a Vertical Kilometer® announce the ISF via a press release. 

It was here that in 2012 the SkyGames® were held, a spectacular natural arena surrounded by 3,000m peaks and 200 mountain lakes. Rich in cultural history, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.  

Skyrunning is not just about distance and vertical climb, but technical difficulty. The events here tick all those boxes, starting with the 105k Buff® Epic Trail. A gruelling 8,000m elevation gain and a maximum gradient of 56%, it’s not for the feint-hearted. Strict qualification standards will be enforced for participants, which are capped.  

The Buff® Epic Trail SkyMarathon® is a point to point over a rugged 42 kilometres with 3,200m positive vertical climb. Again, a highly challenging extremely technical race with a nine-hour time limit.

For the short and steep specialists, the Buff® Epic Trail Vertical Kilometer® is 4.7 km long with 1,380m positive climb. The average incline is 30.7% and reaches a mean 50.4% at the steepest point. 

The 2016 Skyrunning World Championships title was awarded to Spain, the country that represents the greatest following of the sport and some of the greatest champions. Just take a look at the wealth of talent this country has provided: 

Kilian Jornet, Luis Alberto Hernando, Tofol Castanyer, Augstí Roc, Manuel Merillas, Iker Karrera, Miguel Heras, Aritz Egea, Alfredo Gil, Jokin Lizeaga, Pablo Villa, Jessed Hernandez, among many others…. An equally strong women’s line-up includes Laura Orguè, Maite Maiora, Nuria Picas, Oihana Kortazar, Azara Garcia, Uxue Fraille, Nuria Dominquez, Emma Roca…

Spain also excelled in the highly successful 2014 Skyrunning World Championships held in Chamonix, taking the silver and the outright wins with Luis Alberto Hernando taking the Ultra World title, Kilian Jornet, both the VK & Sky and Laura Orguè the VK title.

FEDME, the Spanish Mountain Sports Federation and ISF member for Spain, will sanction the events and oversee them with their referees. The organisation will be in the capable hands OCI Sport, with whom the ISF has collaborated on a number of high-profile events including the SkyGames® in Andorra and Spain. 

WADA anti-doping tests will be carried out at the Championships.

A number of collateral events will complete the festive weekend, including a half marathon, a mini SkyRace® for children and a cultural trek.

Programme, race and entry details will be published at a later date. Subscribe to our newsletter for all the news and follow us on twitter and Facebook for updates.

Ultra Skymarathon Madeira #USM2015 – Race Images and Summary

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Images to purchase HERE

Waking up at 0400 to pouring rain is never a great way to start a day, particularly when you have 55km of tough, challenging and mountain terrain to get over. After a couple of recce runs in the days leading up to the race, it became very clear that the USM was going to offer a very tough challenge.

Stevie Kremer had flown in from Colorado and was praying for sun. Ricky Lightfoot and Aritz Egea are from Cumbria and the Basque country and ‘it always rains’ they told me, so no need to ask what they hoped for.

The USM course is a unique one. Weaving up and down mountains, around beaches, through dense undergrowth, up a riverbed and of course plenty of climbing and descending. It’s not your ordinary Skyrunning course!

Departing the start line at 0600 on the dot, the runners disappeared down a darkened lane with only head torches and rain for company. It was a brutal start to the day, just 1km to warm up and then a climb of 1400m.

Onwards and upwards the runners climbed and a section of via ferrata at around 6km provided a taster for the final push to the summit. It wasn’t easy going. The mist had come in and visibility was poor. Add to this constant rain and steep gradients.

Ricky Lightfoot and Zaid Ait Malek were the first to appear. The contrast between the two striking, Ricky is tall and well built and a fireman by trade. Zaid is Moroccan, small and probably only about 50kg in weight when completely wet through and wearing three layers of clothes.

They matched each other step-by-step. Minutes later, Aritz Egea appeared looking calm and relaxed in the wet and challenging conditions. With 90 minutes of the race elapsed, the main male contenders came thick and fast and with them, Stevie Kremer.

It was sometime before the 2nd lady Ester Alves came into sight and the writing was on the wall. Stevie was going to need to crumble to loose this race. Descending over the summit, an inversion came in allowing the surrounding vistas to come clear. It was quite special to see so many mountains and trails all above the cloud.

Running the ridges and several more climbing sections, the front of the race didn’t change until a decisive phase around the 30km mark. Climbing from the sea and beach, Ricky Lightfoot continued to extend his lead looking strong. However, Zaid Ait Malek looked in trouble and Aritz Egea was closing. After 5km of ridge running and a technical descent, a riverbed with boulder hopping awaited.

Ricky was long gone but here Aritz moved ahead of Zaid. It looked like a decisive move but as we know, nothing is guaranteed in racing. Behind, Clemente Mora and Nuno Silva were coming to life. In particular Nuno, he ran over the boulders in the river like a man possessed.

But another long climb needed to be ascended and descended before the finish line and here the podium changed. Zaid was having trouble and feeling dizzy. His only option to ease off the pace providing a gateway to third. As Clemente and Nuno battled for 3rd, Aritz exploded through a lack of calories and was forced to jog/ walk it into the finish. Seizing an opportunity, Clemente proved the stronger and finally pulled away from Nuno and they finished 6:17:22 and 6:24:57 respectively behind Rick Lightfoot’s new course record, 6:09:56.

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Steve Kremer was almost in another race by the time the riverbed and the final climb came. However, she did say she wasn’t feeling great. This was the longest race she had ever run! It was academic, Stevie despite what she said ran into the finish looking strong in 7:33:37 almost 45 min ahead of 2nd placed Ester Alves in 8:14:45. Lucia Franco took the final podium place in 9:01:53.

Post race, Stevie went on to say, ‘USM is one of if not the hardest race I have ever done. I think it is a much harder race than Zegama-Aizkorri. It was relentless terrain and the conditions just made it so much harder. Race organisation was brilliant and course marking superb. It was brilliant but so tough.”

By contrast, Ricky seemed relaxed after his run, ‘It was a great course and one that embodies Skyrunning exceptionally well. However, the first hour of the course is not designed for someone as tall as me! All those trees that needed to be crawled under; I was bent double,’ he said with a laugh. ‘Zaid is only tiny so he could just run. I felt like I was crawling. The views when the mist lifted were incredible. It was almost as though I was running in another race.’

The 2nd edition of the Ultra Skymarathon Madeira has been a great success. Madeira is an amazing island with a tough and challenging course. The future looks bright for this new addition to the Skyrunning calendar.

Results:

  1. Stevie Kremer 7:33:37
  2. Ester Alves 8:14:45
  3. Lucia Franco 9:01:53
  1. Ricky Lightfoot 6:09:56
  2. Clemente Mora 6:17:22
  3. Nuno Silva 6:24:57

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Ultra Skymarathon Madeira #USM2015 Pre Race

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It’s the day before the 2015 Ultra Skymarathon Madeira and this morning we had a shake out on a couple of sections of the course with several of the top elite athletes including Stevie Kremer and Ricky Lightfoot.

Renowned for glorious sunshine, Madeira today showed us a very wet day. The rain poured and poured.

It seemed appropriate that the days short run concluded with a run up a riverbed that ultimately will be a very important section of the USM2015 race. Wet rocks that will require boulder hopping is never an easy prospect and this section of the course last 500m. It’s going to be tough.

To be honest, it doesn’t seem as though Madeira posses ant flat. You are either going up or down. Ricky Lightfoot, no stranger to tough and wet conditions said, ‘It’s going to be tough tomorrow. The climbs and descents we have passed over today were quite a challenge while running easy. Taking these sections while racing will be very different.’

Stevie Kremer had a typical beaming smile irrespective of the rain, ‘How did you guys run down that descent so quickly. That is one seriously tough drop!’ Looking at the boulder section, it would be fair to say that Stevie had a mixed look, ‘Oh boy, that section is going to be fun.’

Racing starts tomorrow at 0600 local time. You can read a pre race preview HERE.

Images and race updates will be posted on this website, Twitter @talkulta and on Instagram @iancorlessphotography

USM website is here

Es Tresidder and Finlay Wild to run Glen Coe Skyline in August

 

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Es Tresidder and Finlay Wild, the two leading British ridge runners of their generation, have confirmed that they will race in August. In addition to this great news, the organisers of the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ race have confirmed that they will include the classic grade III scramble of Curved Ridge in the race route.

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Es Tresidder, who holds the Snowdon horseshoe record (1:25:08 details HERE), said:

“I’ve always loved exploring that line between running and mountaineering and ever since running my first Skyrace, the legendary Sentiero delle Grigne in Italy, I’ve wondered about whether you could do something similar in the UK: very technical, fully marked so as not to offer too much advantage to locals, very long and very aesthetic. Until now this sort of ground has been the reserve of solo records such as those on the Cuillin ridge or Snowdon horseshoe, but it will be awesome to have a race over such technical terrain. I’m planning on making this race one of my main objectives for the summer.”

 

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The confirmed route for the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ will now take in the two most popular and iconic mountaineering challenges in Glencoe with the inclusion of both Curved Ridge and the Aonach Eagach in a route that is 45.6km with over 4,000m of ascent.

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Race Director, Shane Ohly explained his decision to include Curved Ridge.

“From the start we wanted to included Curved Ridge but were unable to confirm this 100% until completing a series of risk assessments on the route in different weather conditions and consulting with independent experts on our plans to manage the runners on the route. The winter snow stayed on the higher parts of the route longer than expected so we had to delay this announcement until the route and our management plans could be site assessed in snow free conditions. I am happy that we have now done this.”

 

“I am not creating another mass participation running event, rather, a world-class course for experienced and competent participants and the inclusion of Curved Ridge is in keeping with this. The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ is a fusion of mountain running and alpinism where competitors need to be skilled at both disciplines to negotiate the course.”

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Finlay Wild, the Fort William based runner and Cuillin Ridge record holder (2:59:22 – details HERE), said:

 “I’m really excited about this race. The European Skyraces look like a fantastic mix of technical running and scrambling, and Scotland certainly has loads of suitable terrain. Running the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ includes some of the best scrambling in Lochaber. The Aonach Eagach is one of the most famous ridges in Scotland and is well suited to running as the more technical sections are short-lived and relatively easy. Of course much of the route is hugely exposed and should attract only confident scramblers. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but for runners who relish moving fast on rough mountaineering ground this route is totally inspiring. Although not as rough as the Cuillin, there’s a huge amount of interesting technical terrain up there. In fact a large amount of the route is on narrow but very runnable ridges, with fantastic views to the rest of Glencoe and beyond. I love the feeling of being on top of the world that comes with running light and fast along narrow exposed ridges. For me, the biggest challenge will be the sheer length of the route.”

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The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline™ will take place on Saturday 22nd August 2015 and will be part of the UK Sky Runner Series.

The race website is available HERE

Imagery all ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

 Full Image Gallery available HERE

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RUNNING BEYOND – A new book announcement

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Multiple meetings, trips backwards and forwards to London and I am pleased to say that I can now announce that I will have a new book available in late (September tbc) 2016.

It has been a long term dream to find the backing of a publisher and I am pleased to say that Aurum Press Ltd (Here) have had the trust to allow me to produce a book on a sport I love through photography and words.

An added bonus is that Kilian Jornet has agreed to write the foreword.

A work in progress, I anticipate some long days and nights as I evolve this project. I hope through imagery and words it will be an inspiration to those who look at it and read it.

Grubby pages with repeated use, I’d like to see multiple ‘post it’ notes marking races for future ‘bucket lists’ and most of all I hope it will be a book that allows you to dream.

Wish me luck as I put this together. Many thanks for the continued support and most importantly, thanks to Aurum Press Ltd, Kilian Jornet and all the wonderful races and people around the world who have afforded me the opportunity to make a dream a reality.

Ian

*Please note the cover is just an illustration. I anticipate a new cover for the actual book.

 

Beat The Heat (Part Two) – Marc Laithwaite

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Exercise in the heat can place a lot of strain upon your body, if you’re used to cooler climates. For this reason, many elite athletes will spend time acclimatising to the higher temperature. Acclimatisation can require up to 14 days, so what if you’re an amateur athlete traveling abroad for an endurance event, who can’t afford to travel 3 weeks before the event?

This is part 2 of our ‘exercise in the heat’ blog series. Last week we explained why exercise in the heat is such a problem (you can read by clicking the coaching articles link at the top of the page and then scrolling down through past blogs). In this week’s blog, I’ll explain how you can acclimatise before you travel and highlight the key physiological changes that take place, as a consequence of acclimatisation.

It’s a bit cold up North, so acclimatising might be difficult!!

Okay, if you live in the North of the UK and you’re traveling abroad to race, then you might be struggling to understand how you can possibly acclimatise. I use the term ‘North of UK’ as we all know that in the South of the UK, the temperature rarely drops below 18c. I’ve never traveled further South than Birmingham, but I hear they wear shorts and flip-flops pretty much year round.

In simple terms, to acclimatise before traveling, you need to make yourself hot and encourage sweating when you train. There are really easy ways to do this:

  1. Wear extra clothing
  2. Run on a treadmill or cycle indoors and turn up the heat
  3. Spend time in a sauna or steam room on a daily basis

I’d recommend you start doing this from 2 weeks out, but you need to do it consistently. Ideally it should be on a daily basis. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the above methods can help acclimatise you before travelling to warmer climates.

General guidelines:

  1. If you’re exercising outdoors, wearing extra clothing will lead to a higher sweat rate, so make sure you hydrate during the session. The same can be said for indoor running or cycling, make sure you are hydrating throughout.
  2. You should expect it to affect performance to some extent. If you use a power meter when cycling or you run at specific speeds on the treadmill, you should expect your power of speed to be a little lower than normal. If you’re temperature is higher, attempting to maintain the same intensity as usual could result in you being exhausted by the finish of the session!
  3. Try to progress the sessions in terms of exposure and intensity. For example, if you ride indoors, gradually turn up the temperature over a 7 day period and gradually build up the volume and intensity of the session. Don’t simply crank up the heat on day 1 and ride the full session as you’d expect to in cooler temperatures.
  4. The same rule applies for the sauna and steam room. Start with 10-15 minutes and gradually build your time to 30-45 minutes. Take a drink into the sauna or steam room with you to ensure you are hydrating adequately.

What are the physiological changes that take place?

There are a couple of key changes that take place when you are forced to sweat at a high rate:

The first is an expansion of plasma volume, this refers to an increase in the amount of blood plasma. Last week we explained that blood is made up of plasma (the fluid part) and cells. As you sweat, you lose plasma, which then thickens the blood. Part of the acclimatisation process in as increase in plasma, which means your blood is thinner. By increasing your plasma volume, this also means that you have more blood in general. The amount of cells doesn’t change, but the fluid component is increased, thereby increasing the overall blood volume. This is handy when your blood has to supply both muscles and skin, as discussed last week.

The second key change is a reduction in salt loss. Early in the acclimatisation process, your sweat contains a high amount of sodium. As the acclimatisation process progresses, your body retains sodium by reducing the amount lost in sweat. In simple terms, your sweat becomes less salty. If you’re acclimatising over a 2 week period, lick your skin every day and see if you can taste the change. It’s not socially acceptable to lick someone else’s skin.

As stated earlier, for these 2 changes to occur, you simply need to encourage a high sweat rate when training. The more you sweat, the more these changes will occur. Be sensible, reduce the intensity of the training session and gradually build up heat exposure over the 2 week period.

Until then, stay cool.

About Marc:

Sports Science lecturer for 10 years at St Helens HE College.

2004 established The Endurance Coach LTD sports science and coaching business. Worked with British Cycling as physiology support 2008-2008. Previous Triathlon England Regional Academy Head Coach, North West.

In 2006 established Epic Events Management LTD. Now one of the largest event companies in the NW, organising a range of triathlon, swimming and cycling events. EPIC EVENTS also encompasses Montane Trail 26 and Petzl Night Runner events.

In 2010 established Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 LTD. This has now become the UKs leading ultra distance trail running event.

In 2010 established The Endurance Store triathlon, trail running and open water swimming store. Based in Appley Bridge, Wigan, we are the North West’s community store, organising and supporting local athletes and local events.

Check out the endurance store HERE

Endurance Store Logo

Pivk and Garcia crowned champs at Zegama-Aizkorri 2015

Image ©FabioMenino

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Press release by isf ©laurivanhouten

Today, the Basque town of Zegama hosted the 2015 Skyrunning European Championships and it was unsurprisingly the host country that came out tops with a gold, two silver and two bronze medals in this iconic race. Italy took the gold for the men’s title with Tadei Pivk cruising to the finish in 3h51’11”.  The women’s European Champion is Azara Garcia who closed in 4h41’23. A last minute appearance by Kilian Jornet recently arrived from Nepal added to the excitement of a stellar field.

The first half of the race at the famous Sancti piritu aid station, saw Ionut Zinca comfortably in the lead with Aritz EgeaTadei Pivk and Pere Rulan hot on his heels, followed by Manuel Merillas and Kilian Jornet. At the final summit, the group remained intact. It was the descent that changed the game. Tadei was alone with Kilian and, feeling comfortable, took his chance to accelerate the pace. “I knew this was my chance. I thought if I accelerate here I can do it. On the last bends I looked back and was alone. I still can’t believe it,” he commented.

The men’s line-up finished with Manuel Merillas 2nd and Pere Rullan 3rd completing the gold, silver, bronze medals for Spain.

The stacked women’s field started without Maite Maiora, one of the favourites, due to injury. Another strong favourite, Oihana Kortazar led the field and looked strong to the final summit, followed by Paula Cabrerizio, Azara Garcia and Elisa Desco. Again, the descent was the decider. Elisa Desco, 2014 winner and World Champion, gave it her all, possibly too much, and collapsed at the finish line in 6th position.  It was to be Azara Garcia’s day, crowned European Champion and taking the gold for Spain. Paula Cabrerizio and Oihana Kortazar were a close second and third respectively. Emelie Forsberg, with the Transvulcania win just a week earlier still in her legs, raced bravely to finish 4th.

Yet again the Zegama-Aizkorri, now in its 14th year, was dampened by the weather, but not the spirit of the crowds cheering on the runners, every single one of them, every part of the way along the 42 km and 5,472m ascent and descent.

Today’s race represented not only the European Championships for the Sky category, but scored points for the Skyrunner® World Series ranking.

The two 2015 Skyrunning European Champions, Tadei Pivk and Azara Garcia, were awarded a prestigious  Alpina Horological SmartwatchOfficial Watch of the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series and European Championships.

2015 European Skyrunning Championship – SKY

Spain – 1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze

Italy – 1 gold

European Skyrunning Champions – SKY

Tadei Pivk, (Crazy Idea/Compressport)

Azara Garcia (Compressport)

Race results

Men

  1. Tadei Pivk (ITA) – Crazy Idea/Compressport – 3h51’11”
  2. Manuel Merillas (ESP) – Mammut – 3h51’47”
  3. Pere Rulla (ESP) – 3h52’50”
  4. Aritz Egea (ESP) – EMF – 3h59’27”
  5. Marco De Gasperi (ITA) – SCOTT Sports/ Compressport – 3h5948”

Women

  1. Azara Garcia (ESP) – Compressport – 4h41’23”
  2. Paula Cabrerzo (ESP) – 4h43’44”
  3. Oihana Kortazar (ESP) – Salomon – 4h44’57”
  4. Emelie Forsberg (SWE) – Salomon – 4h49’38”
  5. Federica Boifava (ITA) – Montura – 4h51’32”