Nick Clark counts down to Salomon SkyRun

Nick Clark

Nick Clark is one of the most respected 100-mile runners in the world. He is known for being tough and getting the job done! Born in the UK he moved to the US way back and started notching up a list of stunning ultra results that dates back to 2006.

He placed 4th at Western States and won Wasatch 100 in 2010. In 2011, ‘Clarky’ did an impressive double of placing 3rd at Western States and then 3rd at Hardrock 100 just 2-weeks later.

For many though, Nick elevated his profile in 2013 when he went head-to-head with Ian Sharman in the Grand Slam of ultra running. In an epic battle, the two US based Brits traded blows in one of the most exciting moments in our sport. Sharman came out on top but only just… Clark has often joked that after he won the last race, Wasatch he was the Grand Slam record holder in 2013 until Sharman finished. It takes some doing just completing four 100-mile races but to place 6th at Western States, 3rd at Vermont, 2nd at Leadville and then win Wasatch blows my mind!

Clark started 2014 with The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, his first multi-day race… he went on to say it was one of the toughest races he has done. At UTMF he placed 10th and recently he placed 5th at Run Rabbit Run. The only blip this year came at Western States when he toughed out a 47th place… a real bad day at the office!

And now the Salomon SkyRun in South Africa looms. I caught up with Nick to find out about his expectation are for what will be a tough day out in the Drakensberg mountains.

How have the last couple of months been from a racing perspective?

Up and down, I guess. I had a terrible run at Western States this year – I think I was burned out on the race – then came back and had a much better run at the Run Rabbit Run 100 in September, filling me with a good level of confidence for the SkyRun.

How’s training going; have you been training specifically for South Africa?

As noted above, I’m just looking to get into the mountains and to get into remote, steep terrain with some navigational elements thrown in. Off trail and steep is the mantra.

Maybe you have been brushing up on your navigation and looking at some maps?

I’m forever looking at maps dreaming up fun routes in the mountains. It is for this reason that I’m so excited about Sky Run.

Are you intimidated by the navigation element of the SkyRun?

Absolutely not. It adds a unique and seriously fun, in my opinion, element to racing in the mountains.

The course sounds extreme, particularly if the weather turns. Have you researched the course?

Not in depth, but I will. I plan to be as prepared as I possibly can be for this event.

A strong local contingent will be toeing the line… Iain Don Wauchope, AJ Calitz and so on… do you know much about them?

No, but thanks for the heads up. I’ll seek these guys out and assuming I can keep up, probably slot in behind for much of the course. Working together with friends in the mountains is one of the best parts about hitting remote routes.

Michael De Haast has put up a great price purse should somebody post a great time, is that an incentive for you?

Ask me halfway through the route. I have no idea how stout that time really is. If I’m on schedule through halfway and feeling strong, then I’ll definitely be motivated to go after it. If not, then I’ll just continue to enjoy the primary reason for being in South Africa: enjoying a new mountain range and culture.

Have you been to SA before?

First time. I am seriously excited. I’m really looking forward to connecting with the South African running community, eating some local delicacies, and getting stuck into those Witteberg Mountains.

The South Africa Sky Run provides a truly unique opportunity to race in a remote and scenic mountain location. For me the best part about the event is the navigational aspect. Having no markers to follow means that I’ll need to be in tune with the topography and hyper-conscious of my location in relation to that topography. In my experience, the navigational piece really helps to connect with the particular location I am traveling through, which in turn adds a level of appreciation for the terrain that you just don’t get if you’re racing head down through a landscape. I look forward to bringing home a beautiful mental picture of the Witteberg Mountains to share with friends and family.

 

The Salomon SkyRun takes place on November 22nd and you can view the official website HERE.

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 Terrain:

The Salomon SkyRun is true mountain running with a variety of terrain from hiking paths that lead you up to the tower, some jeep track is a welcome relief from the majority of the terrain which is on the mountain side as this is a self-supported and self-navigation the route choice is very much in the hands of the individual competitors. Once you have left the town of Lady Grey behind the beauty and remoteness of these mountains soon engulfs you and it is not uncommon to run for the entire race without seeing much civilization around you except those involved in the race.

The fauna and flora is incredible and there are over 650 plant and 80 animal species know to habitat the mountains of the Witteberg.

The Coastal Challenge 2014 – Trail Magazin

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Excellent 9-page feature on the 2014 The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica in the current edition of Trail Magazin in Germany.

Images by iancorless.com and words by Martin Gaffuri (New Balance)

Magazine available in PDF from HERE

Places are currently available for the 11th edition of the 2015 The Coastal Challenge, once again it will prove to be an exciting and exhilarating experience for each and every participant.

UK entries HERE

The Coastal Challenge website HERE

MEEK and mild – The Jo Meek interview

©iancorless.com_1120572all images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

The eyes tell the story… they look through you. Deep in focus, almost blinkered like a horse, Jo Meek has only one purpose. To run as fast and as efficiently as possible over 6-days and when crossing the final finish tape, be crowned winner of the 10th edition of the 2014 The Costal Challenge in Costa Rica.

I had seen this look once before, at the end of stage-1 of the 2013 Marathon des Sables. Sitting in a bivouac, Jo Meek had just excelled on the first day of the race. I like others looked around in wonder and asked the question, ‘who is Jo Meek?’

No more questions needed to be asked, at the end of the 28th Marathon des Sables, we all were well aware who Jo was, she was the lady who had just placed 2nd overall behind Meghan Hicks at her first Marathon des Sables.

When you excel at one race it’s easy for many to look on and say, ‘It was first time luck.’ Not that Jo needed to prove anything, certainly not to me! I had seen her race; I had witnessed the dedication and focus as Jo pushed herself daily to get the best she could out of her body.

Switching from the dunes of the Sahara to the beaches and rainforest of Costa Rica was always going to be a cathartic moment for Jo, particularly when one considered the competition she would be up against; Julia Bottger (Salomon), Veronica Bravo (Adventure Racer from Chile) and Anna Frost (Salomon). Unfortunately, ‘Frosty’ had to withdraw from the race just days before the start in Quepos on doctor’s orders. Disappointed at not having the opportunity to test herself against one of the best female mountain/ ultra runners in the world, Jo focused and said, ‘It changes nothing. I am here to race and race hard. I would have loved to have Anna push me but you know what, I can push myself pretty hard.’

As we all found out, Jo can push herself pretty hard; maybe too hard at times? On day-1 of the TCC, Jo raced like a demon. Unaffected by the Costa Rican heat and humidity, she put 45-minutes into the female competition and set the platform on which to build for an incredible victory at the 10th edition of the race.

Back in the UK after a recovery week in Costa Rica, I caught up with Jo as she attempted to move house… a house that she had purchased without seeing! Yes, Jo had purchased a house she hadn’t seen. When I asked her in Costa Rica about this, Jo replied, ‘I was too involved in my training, I had one focus, to be in the best shape for the TCC. I just didn’t have time to go and look at it. I convinced myself it would be okay…’

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IC: A year ago I was talking to you at your surprise 2nd place at MDS. You have now been out to Costa Rica, a very different environment in comparison to the Sahara, raced against stronger competition? And you have won an incredible victory over 6 –tough days of racing. How do you feel?

JM: I feel really pleased. I have complete satisfaction from the race. It’s possible to sometimes come away with question marks but I have none. I feel that the effort I put in was rewarded appropriately. I put a great amount of dedication into this race and sacrificed lots.

IC: Yes, you had that steely MDS look in your eyes. Like blinkers. You dedicate yourself to the task and I guess knowing in advance what the competition was going to be like at TCC and having the MDS experience inside you, you were able to be far more specific in training. I know post MDS that you thought you had maybe been a little over cautious. You could have run quicker? So, did you go to TCC with all guns blazing and take each day as a race?

JM: Yes I did. I remember listening to Ryan Sandes on Talk Ultra and he said it was amazing how quickly one recovers. I thought, I do recover well and I had nothing to loose. I know from MDS that I had been cautious, for example on the last day I pushed hard. Had I done that everyday the result may have been different but it’s difficult to say. So, at TCC I wanted to give it everything. I had prepared for the heat and my training was good.

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IC: You have just mentioned that you committed yourself from day-1. Needless to say, TCC day-1 was impressive. You put 45-mins into the competition, impressive, particularly when we look at the ladies who you were racing against. Of course it gave you a real buffer. A safety net. The biggest issue on day-1 for everyone (except you) was the massive contrast in European weather and Costa Rican weather. Even in Costa Rica itself, the temperatures between San Jose and the coast were remarkable. As you approach the coast the heat goes up along with the humidity. Day-1 has a later start so you are straight into the heat… mid 30’s and closer to 40 at the height of the day. But it did not affect you and the main reason for this was 10-days training in a heat chamber.

JM: Yes. I was prepared. I gave everything on that first day. I had assumed that the competition would have done the same? Using a heat chamber is only a case of contacting Universities and they are usually willing to help. I assumed some heat work would put me on a par. As it turned out it wasn’t the heat that struck me but the pace! We were running slower than I expected so I ran at what was comfortable for me and nobody ran with me. I then ran scared thinking I had made a mistake that I was going to pay for.

IC: Now you have had an opportunity to reflect on TCC can you tell us about the heat chamber, how did it benefit you, are there any crossovers between MDS and TCC prep?

JM: I did the same sort of training. I followed a marathon program but I did more back-to-back runs. Essentially you are training for the same thing. In the heat chamber I was under the guidance of the team. I told them I would do whatever I needed to do… They told me I needed 10-days. You actually don’t need to exercise in the heat chamber, you can just sit inside but it takes longer. I could sit for 3-hours or run for 1-hour. I am dedicated, I am focused, and that’s a really big thing.

IC: Lets talk about the training. When you say a classic marathon program, I guess you are talking about a speed session, hill session and then long runs. Of course, you were training for multi-day so you built from 1-long run to back-to-back long runs. What did a peak week look like; I guess this was 3-4 weeks out from the TCC?

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JM: Yes, 4-weeks out and then I would taper. You are right; I would do a speed session, a threshold run, a hill session and then long runs that would build to back-to-back runs. What you can’t afford to do is not let yourself recover in terms of, if you have done a long run and made it fast, you need to recover. It was all about balance. You need to be sensible and listen to your body. I would do 2.5-3-hours normally for a normal long session, whereas my long run for TCC was 4-hours; but at a slower pace. I wanted to make sure I could incorporate hills to prepare me for the hills of TCC.

IC: Back-to-back sessions, was that 2 x 4-hour runs?

JM: No, I did 3 back-to-back 3-hour runs.

IC: So, 9-hours split over 3-days; I presume when you did this you eased back of speed and hill work?

JM: I actually kept the sessions. In actual fact, that week I did a race. You have to remember, the long runs were really slow. It was just a case of recovering from a food and nutrition perspective. The runs actually didn’t damage my muscles. I am sensible after each run. I rest. For the 3 back-to-backs I took a day off work to make sure I had the best platform from which to build.

IC: So you planned this into work. You took a day off work and you treated this very much from a professional perspective. Feet up after the run, concentrate of food and hydration and make sure you are in the best place.

JM: Yes it was like being a full time athlete. Of course day-to-day life gets in the way; cook dinner and walk the dog for example. I just took this relaxed and in my own time.

IC: How did you break speed sessions down? Many ultra runners look at speed sessions as something that they don’t need to do. But that is not the case, you actually need endurance and speed, so, how do you work this to your benefit, how did you go about speed sessions?

JM: It is difficult to answer as we are all individual and it depends on your race. You need to target your sessions at the pace you want to achieve and then sometimes faster. I would do some track work running 400’s or I would do 1-mile reps. I guess you need to vary what you do… try to enjoy it! We all think, speed; it’s going to hurt. But if you find sessions you enjoy it makes a big difference. Also try training with others.

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IC: So you had your plan, you did speed, you did strength, you did hills, you did back-to-backs but you realized that to give you an edge or in your terms an equal playing field was that you needed to adapt to the heat. It was a variable. It was one thing you couldn’t account for. You did 10-days consecutive in a heat chamber?

JM: Yes, 10-days.

IC: What is day-1 like?

JM: Oh you think I will never be able to run in this? I went in thinking that I would run at ‘pace’ but actually you run at a slow pace as they don’t want your temperature to rise too quickly. It feels bearable at the start. They monitor the core temperature and mine went too high after 30-min so then I had to walk and rest to keep it under control. It’s not as physically as hard as you may think. It’s all about core temperature.

IC: What is important is the lesson that we can all learn. You trained in the UK; you did the heat sessions, which gave you massive temperature and humidity fluctuations. You got that process over with before arriving in Costa Rica. By contrast, nearly all the runners had to go through that process on day-1 of the race… for example; Philipp Reiter had a really tough 1st day. He was overheating and red, he was trying to control himself but to no avail. However his recovery was phenomenal. He recovered so well to come back strong on day-2.

JM: That is the benefit of being 20!

IC: Yes, for sure that helped. However, had Philipp and the others got day-1 over with in a heat chamber it would have made a massive difference. It could have been the difference between top-3 and a win.

When you went back to the heat chamber how was the adaptation?

JM: Mentally I was more prepared. On day-1 I felt nauseous and tired but I guess it just gets easier. By day-3 my resting core had reduced dramatically. It gets easier and easier unless you are a moron like me and fall off the treadmill.

(Laughter)

IC: Mmmm yes, you did make a mess of your face. Not the best thing to land on in the final days of prep in the build up to an important race!

So, you adapted in the heat chamber. The process went exceptionally well and pretty much after the last session you made your way to Costa Rica. It’s a shock, isn’t it? Time changes, a day of registration, logistics and presswork, an early bed and then a very early start the following day that starts at 3am. A transfer by bus to the coast and before you know it, day-1 starts at 0930 just as the heat of the day is beating down. It’s hot, really hot, however it caused you no problems. You had that amazing first day. Post day-1 you said you felt great. You had taken the race on, you had pushed yourself and you had stamped your authority on the race. How did the rest of the race unfold for you? You had a couple of key moments; day-3 in the river section start when you struggled with the technicality, ironically, very similar to the male winner; Mike Wardian. You and he are very similar runners, you both run well on fast terrain but less so on technical terrain.  However, as the race progressed you both adapted and became far more efficient.

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JM: Yes, without doubt.

IC: Moving up hill and covering technical ground became so much better for both of you.

Lets go back to that day-3 start when you had Veronica Bravo and Julia Bottger ahead of you, did you think you were loosing the race?

JM: When you can’t see runners you immediately think you are loosing 45-mins. It’s funny. However, when it is so technical you can’t think about anything other than what is below your feet and what is ahead. I just had to follow the course markers and cover the ground as best as I could. All the time I was thinking, I just need to get on the flat or get on a good hill and start chasing and pulling time back.

IC: You got through the section and you started to chase. You clawed back the time, you caught Julia and Veronica and then on the final beach section in 40-deg heat you pulled away and got another stage win. You re-established your dominance of the race. It must have been a great day and a great boost?

JM: The 3rd day was the longest and most emotional day. It almost felt like the end of the race. I was very emotional. Had someone been waiting for me at the end I would have cried. Even though I still had 3-days of racing ahead I had concentrated so much it had exhausted me. Having got through that it was a case of maintaining it. But as you very well know, I like to race and continued that way. I didn’t want to take anything for granted. I could have fallen and hurt myself and with Veronica and Julia chasing, I couldn’t be complacent. I raced hard to the end.

IC: Post race you said one day in particular is the day that you got things wrong that impacted on the final 2-days, was that day-4?

JM: I gave everything on day-3 and then I continued to race on day-4 when I didn’t need to?

IC: Yes, we had that conversation when I said to you, ‘you know what, you have a 60-min lead so be sensible. You have no need to put yourself in the ground. Consolidate what you have and be sensible.’ But in true Jo Meek fashion you continued to push…

Day-5 was significant. You had been in the lead and then Julia came back to you with about 10-km to go. It was the final feed station. You had a 60-min lead, so, overall victory was secure.

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JM: I was at the feed and Julia arrived and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, I thought I have to go.’ I ran, ran hard and closed out the final 10-km like a stand-alone session. I finished out of breath with hands on knees.

IC: Funny, when I saw you, you said, ‘I am an idiot.’

JM: I did.

IC: When I asked why, you explained the situation. Of course you have now reflected and I hope you realize that it wasn’t clever racing? You could have still had a bad moment on the last day and needed the reserves.

JM: Oh yes. I am well aware. What hurt me on the last day were sore quads. It was all the descending from the previous days. So I ran the last day within myself, however, had I thought Julia would have really pushed I would have found something, some extra energy.

IC: You have 2-great experiences under your belt. Marathon des Sables provided an introduction into multi-day racing and you performed maybe beyond our expectations but not beyond your own and now you have the victory at The Coastal Challenge. You have confirmed yourself as someone who can race hard, day-after-day, so, what are the hints ‘n’ tips you can provide for multi-day racing?

JM: Assess what you as an individual want from the race and then train accordingly. You must have a goal. Do you want to compete or complete? It makes a big difference. If you get your mind it the right place it is half of the battle. Prepare mentally, don’t be scared of the environment. Do what you can do and make sure that is clear. Have a great understanding of your body and how it recovers. Give yourself what you need. Without doubt eating after exercise within an hour is key, especially for multi-day racing or training. Rest when you get an opportunity; elevate your legs. For sure your feet and ankles will get tired. Relax, eat, drink and let everything settle. If you can sleep, do so. It provides great recovery. Ultimately, common sense prevails and the body is an amazing thing.

IC: TCC and MDS are very different. At MDS you had to be self-sufficient and carry a pack whereas at TCC tents and food were provided so you could run light, you just needed a hydration pack. Of course it’s a level playing field as everyone must do the same but from your perspective what are the pros and cons from both races and which did you prefer?

JM: That is very tricky. At TCC having food in abundance is obviously great. You can eat when you want and as much as you want so that makes recovery easy. However, everyone has that option so it’s not a personal advantage it’s just a different scenario. At MDS you can use this to your advantage, if you have planned well and your nutrition is optimum for your own personal needs then of course your competition may have not, so this can be something you work into a positive. It requires more planning. It’s a game of calories v weight. I like the challenge of the MDS scenario but equally your running style changes; your speed changes and you are carrying the burden of the pack.  I guess it depends if you prefer faster racing or a more expedition type of approach.

IC: It’s a crazy question but MDS compared to TCC, which race, all things considered was the hardest race?

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JM: The Coastal Challenge course. It has everything, ascending and descending, the damage the course did to my legs was far greater than the MDS. I found the MDS was harder from a food perspective, it took me 4-5 weeks post MDS to put the weight back on. The Coastal Challenge course tests the body and mind and the continual changes of terrain keep you guessing and working hard.

IC: So what is next, recovery is first and foremost I guess?

JM: I want to prove myself as an ultra runner. I want to run in a GB vest. I will try to qualify for GB in a trail race. I’d like to do more stage races and I have entered Comrades in June. That will be an interesting test and very different to what I have currently achieved.

IC: Finally, Costa Rica, what was the experience like for you, can you sum it up?

JM: The race is incredible. Where else can you run (or walk) in such an amazing place! The organizers have created a race and a route that often is inaccessible to most; riverbeds, jungle and plains. I probably didn’t look around too much while racing but I stayed for 1-week afterwards and I had a holiday. I went diving, saw a whale, I walked, went white water rafting and saw plenty of wildlife. It’s just an incredible and exciting place. Even if you did just the race you would come away with a whole new outlook. It really is incredible.

LINKS:

TCC 2014 race images – HERE

The 2015 The Coastal Challenge is now available to book. Want a discount? Use the form below for early bird booking.

Race Website – HERE

Episode 55 – Wardian, Meek, Clark, Johnston

Ep55

Episode 55 of Talk Ultra – We have a The Coastal Challenge special with an interview with male overall winner, Michael Wardian. Jo Meek, ladies overall winner talks about her training and preparation for the TCC race and Nick Clark discusses how stage racing compares to 100-milers. We have an interview with the 2013 ITI350 winner and recent Susitna 100 winner and new course record holder, David Johnston before he emarks, once again on the ITI350 just one week after his impressive Susitna win! A special Talk Training on nutrition specific to Marathon des Sables with Rin Cobb (PND Consulting). Emelie Forsberg is back for smilesandmiles and of course we have the News, Up and Coming Races and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.

NEWS

Rocky Raccoon 

1. Matt Laye 13:17:42

2. Ian Sharman 13:38:03

3. Jared Hazen 13:57:17

Mention for Steve Spiers 15:26:25 follower of Talk Ultra and 4th – top job!

1. Nicole Struder 15:42:04

2. Kaci Lickteig 15:45:32

3. Shaheen Sattar 16:45:26

Shaun O’Brien 50

1. Dylan Bowman 6:23:17

2. Mike Aish 6:37:34

3. Mike Wolfe 6:57:15

1. Cassie Scallon 7:38:16

2. Sally McRae 8:36:25

3. Denise Bourassa 8:42:57

El Cruce Columbia

1. Marco De Gasperi 6:34:10

2. Sergio Jesus Trecaman 6:38:46

3. Dakota Jones 6:52:37

1. Emma Roca 7:59:23

2. Amy Sproston 8:11:59

3. Adriana Vanesa Vargas 9:30:26

Red Hot Moab 50K

1. Alex Nichols 3:57:11

2. Paul Hamilton 3:59:37

3. Mike Foote 4:07:26

1. Jodee Adams-Moore 4:31:28

2. Kerrie Bruxvoort 4:42:39

3. Hiliary Allen 4:52:01

Susitna 100

1. David Johnston

2. Piotr Chadovich

3. Houston Laws

1. Laura Mcdonough

2. Jane Baldwin

3. Sarah Duffy

 

AUDIO with DAVID JOHNSTON

 

The Costal Challenge

1. Michael Wardian 23:26:23

2. Vicente Beneito +0:25:32

3. Philipp Reiter +0:31:31

1. Jo Meek 29:17:19

2. Julia Bottger +0:57:02

3. Veronica Bravo +3:07:06

 

 AUDIO with JO MEEK

 

TALK TRAINING

With sports dietician Rin Cobb from PND Consulting – http://www.pndconsulting.co.uk

 

INTERVIEW  – TCC Special

MIKE WARDIAN

NICK CLARK

 

MELTZER MOMENT

Good, Bad and Ugly

 

UP & COMING RACES

Argentina

4 Refugios Classica | 80 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

4 Refugios Non Stop | 70 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

La Misión | 160 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

La Misión – 80 km | 80 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Australia

NEW SOUTH WALES

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 100 km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | February 28, 2014 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Party All Night | 50 kilometers | February 28, 2014 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Sun, Sand, Surf | 50 kilometers | February 28, 2014 | website

France

DORDOGNE

Trail en Night and Day 55 km | 57 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

GARD

Trail aux Etoiles | 58 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

LOIRE-ATLANTIQUE

Le Trail du Vignoble Nantais – 50 km | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

PUY-DE-DÔME

Trail de Vulcain – 72 km | 72 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Germany

HESSE

Lahntallauf 50 KM | 50 kilometers | March 02, 2014 | website

Hong-Kong

MSIG Sai Kung 50 | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Italy

TUSCANY

Terre di Siena 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 02, 2014 | website

Mexico

Ultra Caballo Blanco | 50 miles | March 02, 2014 | website

New Zealand

Bedrock50 | 53 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Taupo 155 km Great Lake Relay | 155 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Taupo 67.5 km Great Lake Relay | 67 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Waiheke Round Island 100 km Relay | 100 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Philippines

Davao50 | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

Hardcore Hundred Miles | 100 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

Slovakia

Kysucká Stovka | 120 kilometers | March 07, 2014 | website

South Africa

South African Addo Elephant 44 km Trail Run | 44 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

South African Addo Elephant 76 km Trail Run | 76 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Spain

ANDALUSIA

Ultra Trail Sierras del Bandolero | 150 kilometers | March 07, 2014 | website

CANARY ISLANDS

Transgrancanaria | 125 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Transgrancanaria – Advanced | 84 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

ESSEX

St Peters Way Ultra | 45 miles | March 02, 2014 | website

KENT

White Cliffs 100 | 104 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

White Cliffs 50 | 53 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

NORTHUMBERLAND

Coastal Trail Series – Northumberland – Ultra | 34 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

USA

ALABAMA

Mount Cheaha 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

ALASKA

Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 mile | 1000 miles | February 23, 2014 | website

Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 mile | 350 miles | February 23, 2014 | website

ARIZONA

Elephant Mountain – 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Old Pueblo 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Del Sol | 200 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

CALIFORNIA

Chabot Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

FOURmidable 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Montara Mountain 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

San Juan Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

COLORADO

Headless Horsetooth Fat Ass 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

FLORIDA

Everglades 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Everglades 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

Palm 100K | 100 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Palm 50K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

MARYLAND

Hashawha Hills 50 km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

MISSISSIPPI

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Miles | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

NEW JERSEY

Febapple Frozen Fifty – 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Febapple Frozen Fifty – 50M | 50 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

Lenape Trail Run | 34 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

NEW YORK

Caumsett State Park 50K | 50 kilometers | March 02, 2014 | website

NORTH CAROLINA

Mount Mitchell Challenge | 40 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

TEXAS

A2B2: Alamo To Border 2 | 162 miles | February 28, 2014 | website

Cowtown Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

Nueces 50K Endurance Trail | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Nueces 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

VERMONT

PEAK Snowshoe 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | February 28, 2014 | website

VIRGINIA

The Reverse Ring | 71 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

WASHINGTON

Lord Hill 50 Km | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

CLOSE

LINKS

▪   http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/Episode_55_Wardian_Meek_Clark_Johnston.mp3

▪   ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

▪   Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

The Coastal Challenge Images #TCC2014

©iancorless.com_1150085_SnapseedImages from the 10th edition of The Coastal Challenge are now available on my photoshelter website.

You can view them HERE

A portfolio of images will be updated on this website in the coming days.

 

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 6 – Drakes Bay to Drakes Bay

©iancorless.com.P1130916 All good things must come to an end and today on the beaches of Drakes Bay, the 10th edition of the 2014 The Costal Challenge came to a close.

©iancorless.com._1150551

It has been an epic race that has thrown daily excitement from all angles. The men’s race in particular has been a nail biter with a constant battle for the top slot. However, Mr.Consisitent, Mike Wardian produced the goods on a daily basis with some of the most impressive running I have had the pleasure to witness. Jeez does Mike like to win and boy does he know how to dig deep!

Mike Wardian TCC2014 Champion ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 Champion ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek from the UK dominated the 10th edition producing a stand out performance on a daily basis. Setting her stall out on day-1, Jo won with a convincing 45-min margin. However, she didn’t relax, consistently pushing, consistently running scared, Jo took each day as an individual race and on the beach at Drake she was crowned the 2014 Champion.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Today’s stage was very much a celebration of the previous 5-days racing. With the ‘GC’ established, a unanimous decision was made by all the front-runners that stage-6 would be a Tour de France style victory lap.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

It was great to see the fun and the laughter between all the runners on the trails. Tired and aching bodies once again managed to produce another effort to cover the wonderful circular route of the Corcovado National Park.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Starting with a gentle road incline, participants dropped into a long river section before climbing out and negotiating rocks and a waterfall. Climbing up through lush green vegetation, they then ran through plains and plantation fields before finally making the journey back to the start by weaving in and out of the coast. Beach after beach, cove after cove the finish line at Drakes was a welcome and well earnt reward for each and every participant.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

It was quite a sight to see the top-5 men run to the line as one!

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Michael Wardian said post race, “The Coastal Challenge was a test in so many ways. So much varied terrain. It suited different strengths and weaknesses. I feel really honoured to have the over all victory. The other guys really did push me and I had to fight… I guess it’s a shame a race can only have one winner. But it was a pleasure to have a victory loop on the last day. A memory I won’t soon forget.”

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger and Jo Meek ran together early in the stage but Bottger said post race, “that was by far the most beautiful stage. I was just having fun out there so I hope Jo didn’t mind I pushed on ahead.” As Meek crossed the line, the relief was clear, “I really did not have anything left today. I just took it easy and had comfort in my almost 60-min lead. It’s been a real honour to have such an incredible race with such wonderful people.” Veronica Bravo smiled her way around the TCC course and placed a solid 3rd place. Her joy was visible on the line as the realisation that a tough week was over.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Finish lines are all about emotion and I love to see 6-days effort unfold in a split second. Cheers and laughter, hugs and screams; it’s why we all do our sport.

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

 

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge is one of the toughest races out there… relentless heat, plenty of climbing and multiple terrain variations require a runner to be ‘rounded’. Each and every person, first or last, can take comfort in a great achievement and the medal should take pride of place as a just reminder of what was achieved in February 2014.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida!

RESULTS Stage-6

  1. Mike Wardian  all same time
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito
  3. Philipp Reiter
  4. Marti Gaffuri
  5. Nick Clark
  1. Julia Bottger
  2. Jo Meek
  3. Veronica Bravo

Results and times to follow

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION Confirmed

  1. Wardian 23:26:23
  2. Beneito +0:25:32
  3. Reiter +0:31:31
  1. Meek 29:17:19
  2. Bottger +0:57:02
  3. Bravo +3:07:06

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 5 – Sierpe to Drakes Bay

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

What a beautiful day! A short bus drive from camp to Sierpe; a ferry crossing to the other side of the river and on the stroke of 0600 runners departed on the journey to the beautiful and iconic Drakes Bay. It was already humid and as the sun burnt the morning mist away, temperatures rose.

The stunning river journey to meet runners at CP2 TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The stunning river journey to meet runners at CP2 TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

If Philipp Reiter or Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito had any chance of taking overall victory away from Mike Wardian, they would need to work hard in the middle section of the course whilst running through the rainforest and plantation fields and hopefully gain enough time to put ‘Mr. Consistent’ in the hurt locker. The only problem in this scenario was Wardian! After CP2 he had gained a 3min lead and with a course profile that suited him down to the ground it was going to take a blow up of epic proportions to see him loose not only the stage but also the overall race. “I felt good man, I opened it up when the running was good and held on when the running was more technical,” said Wardian.

Mr. Consistent TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mr. Consistent TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

I have to say, Wardian has been an absolute star and a great ambassador for ‘our’ sport in this race. He’s pushed hard, fought back on tough days and irrespective of the outcome has had a huge smile on his face… okay, maybe he wasn’t smiling too much when he was 14-min down on stage-3 but he sure was at the finish when he not only pulled back the gap but went on for a joint stage win with Reiter.

Jo Meek ready for the off! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek ready for the off! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek, as one would have expected, started the day at the front of the ladies race and although Bottger caught her back at CP3, Meek took the stage by the scruff of the neck and rand hard to the finish for another stage win! “I was hurting today and didn’t feel great. When Julia caught me at CP3 I panicked… I know it’s crazy as I had an hour lead but the racer kicked in and I flew out of the CP and buried myself to the line,” said Meek after the race.

Meek has been phenomenal in this race, like Wardian she had moments when things did not go well (stage-3 at the start) but Meek played to her strengths, pushed hard and has quite literally dominated from the front.

Clarky TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clarky TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark ran easy today, his issues from yesterday strong in his mind, he just wanted to finish without causing any damage. He ran with Gaffuri for a while but later dropped to 5th.

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito however, seized the opportunity to run strong and pursued Wardian all the way to the line with Reiter running in 3rd place for most of the day. The lack of any steep vertical played into Wardian’s hands and once again he was first past the post; 2-stage wins and a joint stage win with Reiter, not bad for 5-days racing.

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter couldn’t close the gap on Beneito, so once again Beneito finished 2nd.

Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Once Meek had a ‘scare’ at CP3 she ran like a lady possessed and finished almost 5-mins ahead of Bottger and Bravo was 30-mins back. With Gemma Slaughter out of the race due to stomach issues, fellow Canadian and teammate, Van Dyk finished 4th on stage and this moves her up on the overall GC.

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Drakes Bay, the mangroves, the rainforest, the plantation fields and the beaches are the best of Costa Rica. Today’s stage may have lacked elevation but it was replaced with beauty.

Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Stage-6 is a circular route of Drakes Bay and will be a victory lap for all runners. The overall GC is not going to change (barring a disaster) so it’s a great moment to celebrate the company of others and soak up the surrounding of the best of Costa Rica, The 10th edition of The Costal Challenge has been an epic!

RESULTS Stage-5

  1. Mike Wardian 4:14:11
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 4:23:19
  3. Philipp Reiter 4:25:56
  4. Marti Gaffuri 4:46:49
  5. Nick Clark 4:51:52
  1. Jo Meek 5:23:56
  2. Julia Bottger 5:29:11
  3. Veronica Bravo 5:57:43
  4. Hailey Van Dyk 6:40:52
  5. Kelly Ridgway 6:42:19

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

Wardian 21:07:15

Beneito 21:32:47

Reiter 21:38:26

 

Meek 26:23:22

Bottger 27:28:19

Bravo 29:23:05

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 4 – Ventanas Beach to Sierpe

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

A heavy downpour of epic proportions last night didn’t dampen the spirits of the runners as they departed Ventanas Beach for another tough day in Costa Rica. Mike Wardian and Jo Meek have held convincing leads from day-1, however, neither have had an easy journey. Both struggled on the early technical sections of stage-3 but rallied and found something in the tank to reclaim lost time and finish a tough day-3 with stage wins. Mikes run was a classic… pulling back 14-mins was truly a remarkable run.

Morning in the rainforest, 6am TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Morning in the rainforest, 6am TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Day-4 started and ended with technical sections. From the off runners would climb for over an hour on an overgrown forest path and then spend time going up and down in the plains before descending 3km on a tough trail that twisted, gnarled and one could almost say that the trails ‘bite back’. It was a day that Julia Bottger for the ladies would revel in and although the chances of pulling back her deficit on Meek was unlikely, I thought Julia might shine. By contrast, the middle section of the course would suit Wardian, but the tough climb and super tough final descent could potentially allow a stronger competitor on technical terrain to pull back time…?

©iancorless.com.P1220782

Clark and Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark and Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

At the summit of the first climb Reiter appeared first dripping in sweat in the early morning humidity. Wardian appeared 3-min in arrears and then Clark and Beneito appeared once again attached at the hip 5-mins in deficit. The race was on!

Jo Meek loving stage-4 of TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek loving stage-4 of TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

To my surprise Meek was having a great day… I don’t say that in a negative way but I certainly expected Bottger to take control on that first climb and pull away causing Meek to chase. “I loved today, it was a stage that had everything and the climbs weren’t so technical that I couldn’t use my strength and fitness,” said Meek.

Mike Wardian pulling back time on Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian pulling back time on Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

On the rolling sections after the first climb Wardian once again started to close the gap. This guy is relentless…! Beneito and Clark seem to have found comfort in each others pace and certainly they move well together, however, as Wardian caught Reiter at CP3, the dynamic duo were starting to loose time on the other dynamic duo.

Beneito and Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito and Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

For the ladies race, it was starting to take a very familiar format; Meek lead Bottger and Bottger lead Veronica Bravo. Focused on the end goal, Meek runs scared and pushing, “Anything can happen and I need to run the way that makes me feel secure and while I feel good I will utilize it.”

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Victoria Bravo on her way to the high point of the course TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Victoria Bravo on her way to the high point of the course TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter and Wardian ran through the plains together until the final descent, as I expected, Reiter pulled away, “I wasn’t sure if we should run together” said Reiter “Wardian is so much fun to run with, he talks constantly and makes me laugh. On the descent I stopped for a short while but he was nowhere in sight so I pushed on.”

Philipp Reiter powering up a climb TCC2 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter powering up a climb TCC2 ©iancorless.com

Reiter gained another 3-mins and considering his day-1 experience, his form and dedication has been remarkable. Beneito placed 3rd on the stage and unfortunately Clark had a tough day; he started to pass blood and therefore took his foot of the gas and walked in to the finish. Martin Gaffuri once again had another consistent day and his fifth place is secure.

Nick Clark showing the fatigue of hard days and heat TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark showing the fatigue of hard days and heat TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek crossed the line first, followed by Bottger and Bravo finished 3rd. A big loss to the race and the overall GC was 2013 TCC champ, Gemma Slaughter. Unfortunately she had a tough night and was sick in the morning of the race… she did start but had to withdraw during the race.

Carlos Sa (leading) midway on stage 4. He's feeling the effort of his overlong first day! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa (leading) midway on stage 4. He’s feeling the effort of his overlong first day! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

With two days to go, the ladies race looks set. However, the men’s race is wide open; this has been one of the most exciting stage races I have ever had the pleasure to follow and it isn’t over yet!

©iancorless.com.P1130132

Clark at a water crossing TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark at a water crossing TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

RESULTS Stage-4

  1. Philipp Reiter 4:19:11
  2. Mike Wardian 4:22:07
  3. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 4:32:14
  4. Nick Clark 4:54:59
  5. Marti Gaffuri 5:09:51
  1. Jo Meek 5:38:42
  2. Julia Bottger 5:44:55
  3. Veronica Bravo 6:12; 42
  4. Hailey Van Dyk 6:52:21
  5. Sandra Meija 7:16:51

 GC to be confirmed

Men

  1. Wardian
  2. Beneito
  3. Reiter

Ladies

  1. Meek
  2. Bottger
  3. Bravo

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 2 – Rafiki Lodge to Dominical Beach

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Sleep is a precious commodity in any multi-stage race. The ability to recover from one day’s effort and then go again requires discipline not only in training but also the ability to get to sleep early and ensure a full battery charge for the next day!

At The Costal Challenge, this ‘strength of will’ is tested to the max… each day starts at 0330 to ensure an adequate breakfast and a race start that coincides with the sun. It’s important; the heat beats down here in Costa Rica with a strength and power that can wilt the most ardent sun worshiper.

©iancorless.com.P1120120

Today’s route involved two tough climbs in succession and then a long drop down to the coast before a final 8-km along the beach that involved two water crossings.

The last water crossing less than 1-km form the finish #TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The last water crossing less than 1-km form the finish #TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The 10th edition of the TCC was always going to be a stunning race; the quality of the elite line up was second to none. Stage 2 did not disappoint…

From the off, Wardian, Gaffuri, Clark, Reiter, Beneito and Sa marked each other’s move on the tough first climb. It was all-together at the summit with just seconds spreading the whole group. Gaffuri, loving to run downhill fast moved to the front and pushed hard but even Sa who must have been feeling his ‘extra’ miles from the previous day matched his effort.

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek opened up a gap in the ladies race right from the start but today’s stage was for more to the liking of Bottger and although initially Meek gained some time, the gap was matched and held.

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

At the checkpoint before the second climb, the banter in the men’s race was superb. So much so, Reiter, Wardian and Gaffuri thought an impromptu sprint trying to be first for the water was a good idea…

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter was first to leave the aid station and he committed himself. He started to open up a gap and push. A remarkable run considering on day-1 he suffered in the heat; not helped by long travel and little sleep.

Clark and Wardian pursuing Reiter at the bottom of the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark and Wardian pursuing Reiter at the bottom of the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Continuing to open up a gap, one would have assumed that Reiter would have succumbed to Wardian’s natural speed when on the flat. However, in the final 8-km’s of beach, Reiter pushed on and held for a great stage win. Wardian placed second and Beneito and Clark finished together taking 3rd and 4th. The men’s race without doubt is poised for some heated competition over the coming days; Wardian leads Beneito and Clark by 3:42, Reiter is just over 22-mins back after his unfortunate day-1. I wonder, can Reiter pull back that time? It would take something remarkable from Reiter in this quality of field. Nick Clark post race said, “Wardian didn’t close on Reiter as we expected in those e final stages, he may have gained a little more time on me but a time gap of 4-mins is easily pulled back. It’s all to up for grabs.”

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bottger caught Meek on the second climb and lead much of the way on the descent; however, with approximately 20-km’s of relatively flat road and beach to the finish we all expected Meek to open up a gap and start to pull away. She certainly opened a gap and enough of a gap to secure a comfortable stage-2 victory, however, it wasn’t a performance of complete dominance as expressed on day-1. Post race I asked her how she felt, “That was a tough day. You can’t run those climbs; it’s all about economy of effort and hiking. I am less used to technical descents so I played safe, however, over the last km’s I could get in my run stride and take the lead again.”

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek has a 46:02 lead going into stage-3 and barring a disaster; I can’t see her loosing such a margin. She no longer needs to be aggressive and certainly, Meek can ease off a gear and see if Bottger wants to take up the challenge to pull back time.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Third place lady, Veronica Bravo is now 1:32 in arrears and has a comfortable margin of almost 50-minutes over 2013 The Coastal Challenge winner, Gemma Slaughter for 3rd place.

RESULTS Stage-2

  1. Philipp Reiter
  2. Mike Wardian
  3. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito
  1. Jo Meek
  2. Julia Bottger
  3. Veronica Bravo

General Classification after Stage 2

  1. Mike Wardian 7:14:05
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 7:17:47
  3. Nick Clark 7:17:48
  4. Philipp Reiter 7:36:27
  5. Martin Gaffuri 7:45:37
  1. Jo Meek 8:40:45
  2. Julia Bottger 9:26:47
  3. Veronica Bravo 10:12:57
  4. Gemma Slaughter 11:02:34
  5. Wendy Tseng 11:35:13

 

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 1 – Quepos to Rafiki Lodge

©iancorless.com.P1110517

HOT! Hot racing and hot temperatures. The 10th edition of The Coastal Challenge was always going to be a competitive race and stage-1 did not disappoint.

Departing from the beaches just outside the center of Quepos at 0930, the heat of the day was already beating down. Broad smiles, arm waves and cheers were immediately followed a rush for the head of the race.

Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

As expected, the elite runners dictate the early pace with Mike Wardian immediately taking the front of the race closely followed by Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark.

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek started conservatively finding her legs after the long journey from San Jose. However, once she had found them, she pressed on the gas pedal and didn’t let up. Entering the dense forest canopy at just over halfway into the days stage she had that ‘glare’ I had witnessed at the 2013 Marathon des Sables. Completely focused on the task at hand, Jo was calm and relaxed and looked surprisingly in control despite of the oppressive heat. “It pays to get adjusted to the heat before you come out here” said Jo, “I have been doing heat chamber session in the UK to prepare myself; it works!”

At the same point in the course for the men’s race, Mike Wardian had a 45-second lead over a pursuing Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark…. Less than a minute in arrears, Carlos Sa and Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito chased.

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Dense jungle, the noise of the wildlife and the oppressive heat tested each and every participant. “I wasn’t prepared for that,” said Martin Gaffuri, “I was running well and then suddenly just felt a switch turn off. I knew it wasn’t liquid or food as I had kept on top of both; it was the heat… I was overheating and I just needed to cool down”

Crossing the river to CP3, Mike Wardian had taken the lead once again after a little toing and froing with Nick and Vicente. Carlos Sa was running in fourth and Martin Gaffuri was fighting the pressure of the heat. At the line, Mike had pulled out 3-minutes over Nick and Vicente. However, the big looser of the day was Carlos Sa. With just a few 100-meters to go he made a disastrous navigation error and somehow managed to do an extra 20-30km…. missing from the finish he arrived several hours later.

©iancorless.com.P1110558

Jo Meek dominated the ladies race on the first day putting 30-minutes in to Julia Bottger and Veronica Bravo.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Day-1 at The Coastal Challenge is always a tough day. It may only be just over 30-km’s but the travel, early starts and oppressive heat really do take the toll. In camp post run, runners unpacked tents, ate food and raised their legs just with one thing in mind; recovery.

Stage-2 at just under 50-kilometers with two tough climbs will be a challenge. However, a 0530 start will allow everyone an opportunity to ease into the day. The sting comes towards the end of the day as participants enter a long stretch of beach that takes them to the finish. For many, this will be just when the sun is at its highest and most harmful.

RESULTS Stage-1

1. Mike Wardian (USA): 3:03:30
2. Vicente Juan García (España): 3:06:23
3. Nick Clark (UK): – 3:06:23

1. Jo Meek (UK): 3:31:45
2. Julia Bottger (Germany): 4:13:20
3. Verónica Bravo (Chile): 4:29:48

Anna Frost followed the race route offering support and encouragement. Obviously frustrated and not being able to run but embracing Costa Rica….

PURA VIDA

Anna Frost TCC204 ©iancorless.com

Anna Frost TCC204 ©iancorless.com