UTMB 2014 – Race Preview

tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com

It’s UTMB time and the race kicks off today at 1730 and currently the lights are green for go… phew!

As one would expect, a quality line up and men and ladies will toe the line to run the circular route around Mont-Blanc.

As was shown last year in the men’s race, predicting a winner, even a top-3 can be a tricky thing. One thing is for sure; Thevenard will not do the double as he won TDS just the other day. In doing so, he has become the first runner to win CCC, UTMB and TDS. I like that, it shows a level of skill and speed over multiple distances and terrain.

So, UTMB will roll out and without doubt we will see some drama on the trails. Unfortunately, last years 2nd place, Miguel Heras will not run. Once again injured! Will he ever get a break?

Francois D'Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene is a past winner on the shortened course and for me he has blossomed into one of the best 100 runners out there. His Raid de la Reunion last year and his early season win and sub 20-hours in Japan must make him a hot fave!

Luis Alberto Hernando copyright iancorless.com Luis Alberto Hernando is one guy who I would love to see make the podium. For 12-months he has been building up to this race and wins at Transvulcania and the 80km Skyrunning World Champs must put him in a great place. BUT, he hasn’t run a 100 before and he does like to push. He will need to be patient for 100km and then start racing if he wants any chance of success.

©iancorless.com_IMG_5982SierreZinal_2014_

Tofol Castanyer like Luis is stepping up to the 100. Winner of the CCC he has all the skills and ability to do something special.

 

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera completes a strong Salomon line up and is a hot favourite for the win. He is a beast on tough and technical races and for sure having disappointment with course cancellations in the past, Iker will be looking to make this one count.

Dakota Jones UROC ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones is due a big race. Dropping from Hardrock 100 will certainly have stoked the fire for a great performance here but maybe the ankle isn’t 100%? He has done some epic days with Kilian in and around Mont-Blanc; so, let’s hope he has his day.

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote consistent at UTMB and a great record over long distance races. You won’t see him in the top-10 early on but he will close hard (as usual) eat up those who are struggling and move up the ranks. I don’t see him winning put podium is always a possibility.

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson put his eggs in the Hardrock basket and they got smashed with one of those gutsy, ‘I’m gonna finish no matter what days.’ Respect! Of course, Timmy can win this race, his success this year will all come down to how well he has recovered from HR100. If he is in shape, podium potential and of course a win is a distinct possibility.

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka had the race sewn up for me last year. He was on fire looking relaxed and incredible at every moment. However, the relentless injury problems ruined his day and he has been in and out of injury for 2-years. He had a couple of great early season results, Lavaredo in particular and then dropped from Speedgoat with injury. I have a feeling that Anton will win the race or not finish. I hope he has his day; it’s long overdue.

Jez Bragg TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Jez Bragg will have a solid run; he always does and like Foote, will start way back and work his way to the front. Top-10 would be a great result.

Fabian Antolinus will be an interesting inclusion. He ran a great race at Ice Trail Tarentaise and of course he has continually impressed in French races such as Templiers. UTMB? I would say a top-20 for sure and top-10 if he has a great day.

Hal Koerner is 100m beast and like Mr Meltzer can run 100’s for breakfast. His experiences with UTMB have been somewhat mixed so it is great to see him back and I hope he puts a great race together. He could surprise a few people!

Carlos Sa is a really talented athlete who races road, trail, multi-day, mountains and so on. He has all the ability and potential to create a stir in the top-5. In the past he has gone off course, so this year I hope he nails the route and pushes with the best.

Jason Schlarb has been mixing it up in Europe for a while now. This can only be a really good thing. He raced at Transvulcania and the Skyrunning 80k; so, he has an understanding of what is needed. He may make top-10?

Scott Hawker will be one of the top runners from the Southern Hemisphere who has spent time in Europe this year. Ice Trail Tarentaise would have been a great prep ground.

*****

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio dominated the race last year with arguably one of the most impressive female performances ever. A win at Lavaredo shows that the build up has been good and her recent obscurity can only mean training and training hard. She will be impossible to beat if she repeats the form and condition of 2013.

©iancorless.com.IMG_2050

Nuria Picas was 2nd last year in her 1st 100 and has gone on to run big races all over the world and in most cases, win them too! Without doubt, Nuria can win this race but she must be tired? In contrast to Rory who will be fresh as a daisy.

Nathalie Mauclair ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair winner of Reunion last year and top ranked at Western States, Nathalie brings a mix of speed, endurance and climbing ability and for me, barring issues, will make the podium!

©iancorless.com.IMG_2996

Fernanda Maciel like Nuria has been on the UTWT roller coaster of exhaustion. Fernanda won’t be fresh but like many of the other top ladies can produce a really strong 100 and keep pushing even when fatigued. Her 2014 results alone show what a talent she is.

iancorless.comP1080213

Laurence Klein, now this is an interesting inclusion. The MDS queen on this terrain leaves a huge question mark. She can run quick, for sure has run some impressive times in races such as the Ecotrail de Paris, however, this 100-mile course and vertical will be something new. Interested to see this one plays out.

Uxue Fraille is a consistent performer at around 80-100km but I think this is the first 100 she will run? Always there or thereabouts, Uxue closes well and picks off the others as they crumble. I see more of the same at UTMB.

Ashley Arnold is a question mark and the US’s hope outside Rory. I don’t think this tough mountain 100 will play to her strengths, particularly based on recent results. However, this ladies field has quality but not depth, so, top-10 for sure and top-5 if on a great day.

Rounding out the top ladies, we have 2-Brits, Claire Price and Lizzie Wraith. Both ladies raced the Skyrunning 80km and may well sneak into the top-10. Shona Stephenson has struggled at UTMB in the past but knows how to run 100’s and is top-10 potential and Meghan Arbogast, Simona Morbelli and Leila Degrave round out my ones to watch!

 

You can follow the race live via the UTMB website and Twitter

UTMB LVE HERE

 

Episode 66 – Krar, Enman, Forbes, McGregor

Ep66This is episode 66 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show e catch up with Rob Krar after his incredible Western States. Kasie Enman is on the comeback trail after her 2nd child and we chat after a stellar 2nd place at Speedgoat 50k. Scott Forbes just this last weekend won Race to the Stones in the UK… a great result but Scott has an incredible story. In Talk Training we talk nutrition with Renee McGregor. The News, a Blog, Smile and Miles with Emelie Forsberg, Up and Coming Races and Pocket Rocket is back… Stevie Kremer.

NEWS

HARDROCK 100 results iRunFar
 
·      Kilian Jornet – 22:41:33
·      Julien Chorier – 25:07:56
·      Adam Campbell – 25:56:46
·      Jeff Browning  – 26:58:59
·      Scott Jaime  – 27:46:14

·      Darcy Piceu – 29:49:58
·      Betsy Kalmeyer – 37:57:22
·      Betsy Nye – 42:22
·      Tina Ure – 42:45
·      Suzanne Lewis – 42:55

 
SPEEDGOAT 50K

·      Sage Canaday  – 5:12:30
·      Paul Hamilton – 5:31:15
·      Alex Nichols  – 5:33:30
·      Rickey Gates  – 5:46:36
·      Mike Wolfe – 5:53:17

·      Anna Frost – 6:42:00
·      Kasie Enman  – 6:43:48
·      Ellie Greenwood – 6:53:04
·      Hillary Allen  – 7:03:57
·      Kerrie Bruxvoort  – 7:12:41

INTERVIEW with KASIE ENMAN
 
Skyrunning Ice Trail Tarentaise

  • Francois D’Haene 7:38
  • Fabian Antonilos 7:56
  • Tom Owens 8:02
     
  • Emelie Forsberg 9:25
  • Allessandra Carlini 9:42
  • Maud Gobert 9:42+
  • Skyrunning Dolomites SkyRace
     
  • Kilian Jornet 2:03:50
  • Ionut Zinca 2:05:20
  • Tadei Pivk 2:05:21
  • Manuel Merillas 2:07:29
  • Alexis Sevennec 2:07:54·
  • Laura Orgue 2:26:17
  • Emelie Forsberg 2:27:40
  • Maite Maiora 2:31:58
  • Christel Dewalle 2:35:53
  • Magdalena Kozielska 2:36:23
     
     
    DODO TRAIL
     
    ·      Ricky Lightfoot 5:19:21 new CR
    ·      Jean Pierre Grondin 5:55:30
    ·      Jeannick Boyer 6:02:54
     
    ·      Landie Greyling 6:49:10
    ·      Estelle Carret 6:51:55
    ·      Andrea Clemons 8:37:35 
    BLOG
     
    Dakota Jones has ab excellent write up on Hardrock 100 on iRunFar – http://www.irunfar.com/2014/07/falling-off-edges-hardrock-2014.html

     
    INTERVIEW

    ROB KRAR produced the 2nd fastest run ever at the 2014 Western States. We caught up with him just a few days after the race for a chat.

    SMILES and MILES with EMELIE FORSBERG

    TALK TRAINING with Renee McGregor lead nutritionist
     
     
    INTERVIEW
     
    SIMON FORBES won the Race to the Stones in the UK which is impressive. However, he has a fascinating back story.

     
    UP & COMING RACES
     
    Australia
    Australian Capital Territory
    Bush Capital 60 km Ultra | 63 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website
    Queensland
    Flinders Tour – 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 27, 2014 | website

    Austria
    Dirndltal Extrem Ultramarathon | 111 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website
    Pitztal-Gletscher Trail Maniak 95K | 95 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website

    Belgium
    Flanders
    100 km Dodentocht® | 100 kilometers | August 08, 2014 | website

    Canada
    Alberta
    Canadian Death Race | 125 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website

    Quebec
    Trans Gaspesia | 260 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website

    Finland
    Lapland
    NUTS Midnight Sun Trail Ultra 125 km | 125 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website
    NUTS Midnight Sun Trail Ultra 55K | 55 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website

    France
    Haute-Corse
    Via Romana – 62 km | 62 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website
    Haute-Savoie
    Trail du Tour des Fiz | 61 kilometers | July 27, 2014 | website
    Isère
    Défi de l’Oisans | 200 kilometers | July 27, 2014 | website
    Trail de L’Etendard | 65 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website
    Jura
    Tour du Lac de Vouglans | 71 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Loiret
    L’Orleans-Océan | 410 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Savoie
    Courchevel X Trail 54 km | 54 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website
    La 6000D | 65 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    TCT 50 | 50 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website
    TCT 73 | 73 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website
    Ultra 6000D | 110 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website

    Germany
    Bavaria
    Chiemgauer 100 k Mountain Ultra Run | 100 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Chiemgauer 100 mi Mountain Ultra Run | 100 miles | July 26, 2014 | website
    Brandenburg
    Berliner MauerwegNachtlauf | 62 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Lower Saxony
    Süntel-Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website

    Guadeloupe
    Rèd Mammel | 50 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website
    Ultra Transkarukera | 120 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website

    Italy
    Aosta Valley
    Monte Rosa Walser Ultra Trail | 50 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website
    Piedmont
    Terra Acqua Cielo Wild Trail | 50 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website

    Sicily
    Etna Trail | 64 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website

    Veneto
    Trans d’Havet Ultra | 80 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website

    Latvia
    Cēsis ECO Trail 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website

    Madagascar
    Isalo Raid – Grand Raid | 80 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website

    Mauritius
    Trail des 7 Couleurs | 120 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website

    Mongolia
    Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset 100K | 100 kilometers | August 06, 2014 | website

    Portugal
    Ultra-Trail Nocturno da Lagoa de Óbidos | 50 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website

    Réunion
    Trail du Grand Ouest | 60 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website

    Romania
    VLC Ultra TrailRun Petrimanu 56 | 56 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website

    Russia
    Elbrus Mountain Race | 105 kilometers | August 01, 2014 | website

    Serbia
    Tara Challenge | 61 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website
    Tara Ultramarathon | 115 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website

    Spain
    Andalusia
    Subida Granada Pico Veleta | 50 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website
    Aragon
    Calcenada – 104 km | 104 kilometers | August 01, 2014 | website
    Gran Trail Aneto-Posets | 109 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Vuelta al Aneto | 58 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Castile and León
    Gredos Infinite Run – 120 km | 120 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Tilenus Xtreme Ultra Trail 105 KM | 105 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website
    Tilenus Xtreme Ultra Trail 60 KM | 60 kilometers | July 25, 2014 | website

    Catalonia
    BUFF® Epic Trail Aigüestortes | 100 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website
    Cadí Ultra Trail | 80 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Ultra Catllaràs | 55 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Principality of Asturias
    Ultra Trail DesafíOSOmiedo | 86 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website

    Sweden
    Tierra Arctic Ultra | 120 kilometers | August 08, 2014 | website

    Switzerland
    Grisons
    Swiss Alpine Marathon K78 | 78 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website

    Thailand
    Bangkok Ultra Trail Festival – 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website

    Turkey
    DASK ADAM Anatolian Mountain marathon – Long Course | 75 kilometers | August 07, 2014 | website
    DASK ADAM Anatolian Mountain marathon – Medium Course | 60 kilometers | August 07, 2014 | website

    United Kingdom
    Cumbria
    The Montane Lakeland 50 | 50 miles | July 26, 2014 | website
    East Riding of Yorkshire
    The Montane Lakeland 100 | 100 miles | July 25, 2014 | website
    England
    Round the Rock | 48 miles | August 02, 2014 | website
    Round the Rock Ultra Marathon | 48 miles | August 02, 2014 | website
    Hampshire
    Oxfam Trailwalker GB (South) | 100 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Kent
    The 50 Mile Challenge | 52 miles | July 28, 2014 | website
    North Yorkshire
    Oxfam Trailtrekker GB (North) – 100 km | 100 kilometers | July 31, 2014 | website
    Oxfam Trailtrekker GB (North) – 65 km | 65 kilometers | July 31, 2014 | website
    Stirling
    Devil o’ the Highlands Footrace | 43 miles | August 02, 2014 | website

    USA
    Alaska
    Resurrection Pass 100 Mile Ultra Trail | 100 miles | August 08, 2014 | website
    Arizona
    Vertigo 63K Night Trail Run | 63 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    California
    Angeles Crest 100 mile endurance run | 100 miles | August 02, 2014 | website
    Salt Point 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website
    San Francisco 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 02, 2014 | website
    San Francisco 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | August 02, 2014 | website
    San Francisco 52.4 Ultramarathon | 52 kilometers | July 27, 2014 | website
    Skyline 50K | 50 kilometers | August 03, 2014 | website
    Colorado
    Grand Mesa 100M | 100 miles | July 26, 2014 | website
    Grand Mesa 37.5M | 60 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Grand Mesa 50M | 50 miles | July 26, 2014 | website
    Mountain Ultra | 220 kilometers | August 01, 2014 | website
    Mount Werner Classic – 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Ouray 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 02, 2014 | website
    Ragnar Relay Colorado | 200 miles | August 08, 2014 | website
    Wild West Relay | 200 miles | August 01, 2014 | website
    Idaho
    Standhope 60K | 60 kilometers | August 08, 2014 | website
    Wild Idaho 50K Enrudance Run | 50 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Wild Idaho 50M Enrudance Run | 50 miles | July 26, 2014 | website
    Maryland
    Catoctin 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Minnesota
    Minnesota Voyageur Trail 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | July 26, 2014 | website
    Mississippi
    Big Butts 100K | 100 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Big Butts 50K | 50 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Montana
    HURL Elkhorn 50 K Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website
    HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | August 02, 2014 | website
    Nevada
    Ruby Mountain Relay | 184 miles | August 08, 2014 | website
    North Carolina
    Mattamuskeet Death March | 100 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Ohio
    Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 02, 2014 | website
    Oregon
    Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run 50M | 50 miles | July 26, 2014 | website
    Pennsylvania
    Viaduct Trail 100 Mile Ultramarathon | 100 miles | July 27, 2014 | website
    Viaduct Trail 150 Mile Ultramarathon | 150 miles | July 26, 2014 | website
    Viaduct Trail 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | July 27, 2014 | website
    South Carolina
    Landsford Canal 50 K | 50 kilometers | July 26, 2014 | website
    Vermont
    Moosalamoo Ultra – 36 M | 36 miles | August 02, 2014 | website
    Virginia
    Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website
    Washington
    Grand Ridge 50K Trail Run (August) | 50 kilometers | August 02, 2014 | website
    White River 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | July 26, 2014 | website

    CLOSE

3:51:35

RUNNER by Lizzy Hawker

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

The Aurum Publishing Group are delighted to announce the acquisition of RUNNER by Lizzy Hawker, one of the world’s best endurance athletes.

Lizzy Hawker is one of the greatest ultra-distance runners this country has ever produced. She is the first woman to finish on the overall podium of the Spartathlon, one of the world toughest footraces, and has won the legendary The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc five times in its ten year history, the only person, man or woman, to achieve this. She came to the sport almost by accident – she had run a marathon or two, but tried her first ultra, a 40 mile track race, when invited to stay with friends in Wales. One month later she was representing England. Within eighteen months she was the women’s world champion for 100km. Not bad for someone who started life in Upminster, has no coach, no gym, no physio and was finishing her PhD.

Runner is the story of her journey and will get inside the head of the physical, mental and emotional challenges that runners go through at the edge of human endurance, in much the same way as Aurum’s classic running story Feet in the Clouds by Richard Askwith did nearly ten years ago. Her story, as a self- taught champion, will be an inspiration for anyone who has dreamt of lacing up a pair of trainers and wondering how far they could run.

Robin Harvie, Aurum Press Senior Commissioning Editor says: ‘Lizzy Hawker is something of a heroine of mine. Not only did she destroy all her rivals in the searing heat of the Spartathlon, but she is modest, self- deprecating and hugely inspirational. I am extremely proud to be publishing her on the Aurum list.’

In Lizzy’s words, ‘It’s not about the records. It’s not about the medals. It’s not about winning the race or making the podium. It’s about the fears and the tears, the laughs and the smiles. It’s about the shared experiences and raw emotions. Find your challenge, reach for your dream. Do what you do for the love of it, because more is then possible than you might imagine’. 

The book is expected to be released in April 2015. Lizzy has posted on her website:

I am very happy to be working with Aurum Press towards publication of Runner planned for April 2015.

Have you ever been curious to know how someone can run a long way, or what goes on in their mind and emotions when they do? This is my story of competing in a 100 mile mountain race, the 2005 edition of The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, my first mountain race. The story is told from the perspective of the runner in a one-way ‘thought’ conversation. The narrative explores from the physical impact of an ultra to the emotional and mental challenges. Through and beyond this story it also looks at the wider questions that we face during an ultra and during life. The reader is challenged to be bold, to dream and to realise that there is no destination, only the journey.

Press Release by Aurum Publishing Group

Episode 60 – Foote, Scotney, Meek, Britton, Spiers

Ep60

Episode 60 of Talk Ultra – This weeks show has an interview with one of the best ‘closers’ in the ultra scene, Mike Foote. We have a series of interviews from the Iznik Ultra series of races, Marcus Scotney from the 130k, Jo Meek from the 80k and Robbie Britton from the marathon. We speak to British Bulldog, Steve Spiers. Marc Laithwaite is back for Talk Training. News, a Blog, Up and Coming Races and of course, Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.

NEWS
 
UTMF
 
  1. Francois D’Haene 19:09:13
  2. Ryan Sandes 20:18:59
  3. Mike Foote 20:54:16
 
  1. Nuria Picas 23:27:34
  2. Fernanda Maciel 23:46:24
  3. Maria Semarjian 27:16:13
 
ONER
  1. Rob Sartin 18:19:29
  2. Tom Sutton 18:40:08
  3. Max Woods 20:13:19
  1. Nicky Taylor 18:40:10
  2. Erica Terblanche 20:36:34
  3. Melanie Hawker 21:56:54
 
Iznik Races
 
  1. 130k
  • Marcus Scotney (Montane) 12:53:59 new CR
  • Mahmut Yavuz 13:11:55
  • Zhikica Ivanovski 13:53:41
  • Bakiye Duran 19:09:39
  • Svetiana Stojanoska 22:27:08
AUDIO with Marcus Scotney
80K
  • Jo Meek (Scott Running) 6:52:17 new CR first lady and first overall
  • Aykut Celikbas 7:41:34
  • Firat Kara 7:46:07 (tbc)
  • Jo Meek (Scott Running)
  • Yasemin Goktas 9:45:34
  • Ayse Beril Basliqil 9:54:45
AUDIO with Jo Meek
Marathon
  • Robbie Britton (inov-8) 3:08:19 new CR
  • Benoit Laval (Raidlight) 3:30:38
  • Duygun Yurteri 3:31:56
  • Elena Polyakova 3:47:26
  • Aysen Solak 3:51:01
  • Helen Southcott 4:14:07
AUDIO with Robbie Britton
 
Highland Fling Race 
  1. Sondre Amdahl (Norway) 07:29:15
  2. Justin Maxwell 07:46:35
  3. Neil Macnicol 07:49:08
  1. Jo Zakrzewski 08:30:29
  2. Sally Fawcett 08:38:41
  3. Elaine Omand )8:49:33
 
SDW50 – correction to results
  1. Louise Waterman Evans 7:06:08
  2. Edwina Sutton 7:09:21
  3. Sarah Perkins 7:19:43
**correction – Gemma Carter re SDW50
Oh Ian, that is really very kind of you I know it will mean a lot to Eddy and of course, it means a lot to me (I’m not in the big league YET, so every little result counts! ) thank you… See below: 1st.Edwina Sutton- 7:09:21 2nd. Sarah Perkins-7:19:43 3rd. Gemma Carter-7:32:42
Transvulcania is next week… what a showdown awaits! In-depth preview HERE
BLOG – A Glorious Boston http://www.atrailrunnersblog.com
INTERVIEW
Mike Foote has a great reputation for starting steady and moving his way up through the field. At UTMF he gave another prime example of how to do this….
AUDIO with Mike Foote
 
 
AUDIO with Steve Spiers… the British Bulldog
 
 
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat
 
 
TRAINING TALK with Marc Laithwaite
 
 
UP & COMING RACES
 
 

Australia

New South Wales

WildEndurance 100km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

WildEndurance 50km Team Challenge | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

WildEndurance event | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Queensland

Mt Mee Classic Trail 66 km Teams race | 66 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

The Great Wheelbarrow Race – Mareeba to Dimbulah | 104 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

South Australia

Hubert 100km | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Hubert 100 Miles | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Hubert 50km | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Victoria

Macedon Ranges 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 100km | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 60 km | 60 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

La Bouillonnante – 56 km | 56 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 100K | 100 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

The North Face Dirty Feet Kal Park 50 | 50 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Ontario

Seaton Trail 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

China

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

Denmark

Hovedstaden

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

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

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

Finland

Oulu

NUTS Karhunkierros Trail Ultra – 160 km | 160 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

France

Ardèche

Trail l’Ardéchois – 57 km | 57 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail l’Ardéchois | 98 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Bas-Rhin

Trail du Wurzel | 52 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Drôme

Challenge Charles & Alice | 148 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Les Aventuriers de la Drôme | 65 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Les Aventuriers du Bout de Drôme | 105 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Haute-Loire

Ultra Techni Trail de Tiranges | 50 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Oise

Trail’Oise – 60 km | 60 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Rhône

Ultra des Coursières | 103 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Savoie

Nivolet – Revard | 51 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Yonne

The Trail 110 | 110 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The Trail 63 | 65 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Lauf “Rund um Wolfach” | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Stromberg Extrem 54,4 KM | 54 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Lower Saxony

German 100 mile Trail Run | 100 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Bödefelder Hollenlauf 101 KM | 101 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Bödefelder Hollenlauf 67 KM | 67 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Saarland

RAG-Hartfüßler – Trail 58 km | 58 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Greece

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

Euchidios Athlos 107.5 Km | 107 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Euchidios Hyper-Athlos 215 Km | 215 kilometers | May 09, 2014 | website

Olympian Race – 180 km | 180 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Olympian Race – 62 km | 62 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Indonesia

Volcans de l’Extrême | 164 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Causeway Crossing 100K | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Causeway Crossing 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Israel

Mountain to Valley Relay | 215 kilometers | May 15, 2014 | website

Italy

Liguria

Gran Trail Rensen | 62 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Sardinia

Sardinia Trail | 90 kilometers | May 09, 2014 | website

Tuscany

Elba Trail “Eleonoraxvincere” | 56 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Japan

Oxfam Trailwalker Japan | 100 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Madagascar

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

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

Martinique

Tchimbé du Volcan | 70 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Tchimbé Raid 110 km | 110 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Mauritius

Royal Raid 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Mayotte

Mahoraid | 70 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Peru

Jungle Ultra | 220 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Philippines

The North Face 100®, Philippines – 100 km | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The North Face 100®, Philippines – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Portugal

Madeira Island Ultra Trail 115 | 116 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Madeira Island Ultra Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Ultra-Trail de Sesimbra | 55 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Spain

Andalusia

La Legión 101 km | 101 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Balearic Islands

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls | 185 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls Costa Nord | 100 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Basque Country

Apuko Long Trail – 65 Km | 60 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail Apuko Extreme | 90 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Canary Islands

Transvulcania | 83 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Castile and León

101 Peregrinos | 101 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Bielersee XXL 100 Meilen | 100 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Turkey

Cekmekoy 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Argyll and Bute

Kintyre Way Ultra Run | 66 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Kintyre Way Ultra Run – Tayinloan – Campbeltown | 35 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

County of Pembrokeshire

Coastal Trail Series – Pembrokeshire – Ultra | 34 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Greater London

Thames Path 100 | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Hampshire

XNRG Pony Express Ultra | 60 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Kent

National 100K | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

National 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nottinghamshire

Dukeries Ultra 40 | 40 miles | May 11, 2014 | website

Oxfordshire

T60 Nigh Race | 60 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Wiltshire

Marlborough Downs Challenge – 33 mile | 33 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Worcestershire

Malvern Hills 53 Mile Ultra | 53 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Malvern Hills 83 Mile Ultra | 83 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

USA

Alabama

Run for Kids Challenge 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Arizona

Sinister Night 54K Trail Run | 54 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

California

Armstrong Redwoods 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Badwater Salton Sea | 81 miles | May 05, 2014 | website

Canyons 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Cinderella Trail Run 50 km (May) | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Diablo 50K | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Golden Gate Relay | 191 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Me-Ow Quads | 104 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Me-Ow Siamese | 42 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Miwok 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 100K | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 100 Mile | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 50 Mile | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

PCT50 Trail Run | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Quicksilver 100K Endurance Run | 100 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Quicksilver 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Whoos in El Moro 50k | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Wild Wild West 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Colorado

Cimarron 50k Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Collegiate Peaks 50M Trail Run | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Greenland Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Quad Rock 50 | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

The Divide 135 Ultra | 135 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Georgia

Cruel Jewel 100 | 100 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Cruel Jewel 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Indiana

DWD Gnaw Bone 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

DWD Gnaw Bone 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Iowa

Market to Market Relay | Iowa | 75 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Kansas

Heartland 50 Mile Spring Race | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Rock On! Lake Perry 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Massachusetts

Ragnar Relay Cape Cod | 186 miles | May 09, 2014 | website

Wapack and Back Trail Races 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Nevada

Labor of Love 100M | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Labor of Love 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Labor of Love 50M | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Ride the Wind 100M | 100 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Ride the Wind 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

New Jersey

3 Days at the Fair – 50K | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2014 | website

New York

Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Rock The Ridge 50-Mile Endurance Challenge | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain 50k | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain 50 Mile | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

North Carolina

OBX Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Ohio

50’s For Yo Momma 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

50’s For Yo Momma 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Oregon

McDonald Forest 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Smith Rock Ascent 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

South Carolina

Oconee 50k | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Wambaw Swamp Stomp 50 Miler Trail Run and Relay | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Xterra Myrtle Beach 50 km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Tennessee

Rock/Creek Thunder Rock 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Strolling Jim 40 Mile Run | 40 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Texas

Hog’s Hunt 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Vermont

PEAK Ultra Marathon – 500 Miles | 500 miles | May 13, 2014 | website

Virginia

Singletrack Maniac 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Washington

50K Ultradash | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

50 Mile Ultradash | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Grand Ridge 50K Trail Run (May) | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Lost Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

West Virginia

Capon Valley 50K Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Wisconsin

Ice Age Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Ice Age Trail 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

 

LINKS

The North Face launch ‘Longer Days’

Timothy Olson Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

The North Face®, the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear announces the ‘Longer Days’ campaign, encouraging everyone to spend more time in the outdoors. 

Spring is dawning, and more daylight means more time to explore. As the clocks go forward, there will be more hours to embrace and a chance to run, hike, climb and explore longer. With many people leading busy lives, staying connected with the outdoors gives everyone a chance to refresh their spirit and stay active while discovering the world. So prepare yourself for endless possibilities this spring and Never Stop Exploring™

The adventure begins on daylight savings. To capture this season’s greatest moments in the outdoors, The North Face® will introduce the Explorer Photo Competition, awarding daily prizes for the best photos of exploration. Whether you’re on top of a mountain or along your favourite trail, The North Face® invites you to share your extra hours using #LongerDays.

Fernanda Maciel Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

The celebration of spring continues with the launch of the new Explorer App. This exciting tool lets you track your performances, share your achievements via photos, and earn rewards. There are many challenges to take on, from going higher to pushing yourself further. Weekly prizes are awarded for the best explorers, and there is a grand prize for the overall champion. The app is also supplemented by an online microsite that allows users to view their profiles and interact with fellow explorers.

With the right gear, everyone will be able to explore more and truly enjoy an active lifestyle. The North Face® have built the athlete-tested spring/summer collection with innovation and style. It offers everything you need to spend more time in the outdoors and stay protected in all conditions.

For The North Face® athletes, this active lifestyle can mean many things. Whether it’s competing in events, discovering new places, travelling the world, or training for next season, they all have exciting plans to enjoy their extra hours. How will you spend yours?

Join The North Face® for daylight savings at longerdays.thenorthface.com and get ready for a full season of exploration.

Join the North Face® on March 29th aT Longerdays.thenorthface.com

The North Face® Transgrancanaria® race day images

Ryan Sandes and Nuria Picas were crowned 2014 champions of the The North Face® Transgrancanaria®

Ryan Sandes (Salomon) won the 2014 edition in 14 hours and 27 minutes  covering a total distance of 125km. Julien Chorier (Hoka One One/ Compressport) and the current two-time champion of the Western States 100; Timothy Olson (The Noth Face), came second and third with respectively.

Núria Picas (Buff), excelled amongst the female competition with a time of 16 hours and 44 minutes, followed by the Italian  Francesca Canepa (Vibram/Montura) with 17 hours and 29 minutes and Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) came third just two minutes later.

A detailed race report will follow.

IMAGES of an exciting day of action:

All images ©iancorless.com : all rights reserved

The North Face FL Race Vest

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The North Face FL Race Vest is a race vest that has been well over 12-months in the making. I first had a look at this pack in November 2012. It was a prototype that had been created in preparation for Jez Bragg‘s epic run on the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand.

FL prototype 2012

FL prototype 2012

FL prototype 2012

FL prototype 2012

You will see the above images are a more minimalist version of the current FL Race Vest, however, lessons were learnt from the prototype and with feedback from Jez Bragg and Lizzy Hawker, the current model has been developed and tweaked with the TNFUTMB and similar long distance races primarily in mind.

I picked up my current vest just days before the 2013 edition of the TNFUTMB and it was reassuring to see that my vest was exactly the same as the ones being used by Rory Bosio, Jez Bragg and the rest of the TNF team.

Rory Bosio wearing the FL Race Vest after dominating the 2013 TNFUTMB.

Rory Bosio wearing the FL Race Vest after dominating the 2013 TNFUTMB.

Race vests have become the ‘norm’ in regard to race packs. All the leading brands are developing new systems, new sizes and new designs in the quest for the ultimate product. Certainly, Salomon have very much paved the way recently with S-Lab 5lt and 12ltr. In addition, my recent review of the inov-8 Race Ultra Vest had me 99% convinced that in my opinion, this new product by the UK brand was currently the ‘best’ available of its type.

The North Face FL Race Vest sits between the inov-8 Race Ultra and Salomon S-Lab products. Although the inov-8 product is supremely comfortable and perfectly designed, it may just not be big enough for a tough or long race when mandatory kit will stress a packs capacity. By contrast, the Salomon S-Lab 12ltr has been designed with long racing in mind and offers an excellent form fitting pack that many swear by. At 8ltr capacity, the FL Race Vest sits nicely in the middle ground and actually may very well be the perfect size for a mountain 100-mile race like TNFUTMB or similar.

Like all current vests, the FL comes with a bladder that sits inside a mesh pocket within the main compartment of the pack. However, if you are like me, you may very well prefer bottles or soft flasks? The front of the FL has two upper drawstring pockets that can accommodate bottles/small soft flasks or other items. I initially tried two 500ml bottles but found the ‘balance’ all wrong. When running they would feel far too close to my face and noticeable bounce from the weight was annoying. However, replacing the bottles with two smaller soft flasks that could accommodate 250ml each, this irradiated bounce and made the whole system not only infinitely more comfortable but also more practical.

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On the outside of the upper pockets are small stretchy mesh pockets that would hold gels or similar products.

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The lower part of the front vest has two Velcro closure pockets that may be useful in holding valuable items such as phone, keys, gps, camera and so on. Equally, you could add any food products for easy access on the go.

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Behind the Velcro pockets are two larger mesh stretch pockets. They are capacious and ideal for gloves, hat or buff type products. In actual fact, they are so spacious you can add soft flasks to increase liquid capacity.

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The rear of the pack has an upper zipper pocket that can hold a phone, keys, camera or any other item of value .

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Directly below the upper zip pocket is a capacious stretchy open pocket that can be accessed from the top or the left/ right side. This pocket has been designed so that you may add or remove essential items while still moving… gloves, hat or jacket!

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Two smaller zipper products have been added to the left and right hand sides of the larger rear mesh pocket. These pockets may also be accessed without removing the pack. They are small but ideal for money, keys or similar sized items.

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On the upper right hand side of the rear of the pack, is a blue bungee cord designed to hold ‘poles’ when not in use. Equally, at the bottom of pack on the rear is another blue bungee to hold the opposite end of the poles.

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A key feature of the pack is the adjustability on the side and the front. Underneath the arms are two independent straps that may be lengthened or shortened to get just the correct fit.

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On the front are two adjustable straps that have quick release buckles. The straps may be moved up and down independently to get the correct fit based on your morphology.

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A key point, particularly for ladies, above the pockets on the front are soft panels that stretch and adjust dependent on the size of your boobs/chest. When testing the pack, we ensured that we cross referenced everything with a female perspective. The feedback? ‘The best and most comfortable pack I have used for the female form’.

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One of the key elements of the pack is the inside of the main compartment. Instead of one large space, it has been compartmentalized to provide storage space for specific items. Of course, this is open to personal taste but as you will see fromm the photographs, this is a great help for a long race when one needs to carry a jacket, over trousers, space blanket, elastic bandages, cup and so on.

The zipper for the main compartment is full size, allowing the pack to be opened completely. This makes access very easy. On the back panel is a large mesh pocket that would hold the ‘bladder’ if this was your chosen method of hydration. I personally use this for space blanket, elastic bandages, cup, first aid and other mandatory items.

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The other side has a larger mesh pocket that is open ended, I add my hat and over trousers here and above is an internal zipper pocket.

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The open space between the front panel and back panel is roomy and ideal for a bulkier item such as a fully waterproof jacket.

This FL has been thought out to minute detail. It has perfect storage space built around the needs and desires of a long race when mandatory kit is required. It has also been designed to make access easy and stress free. The added combination of ‘on the go’ access to key areas of the pack while running makes this a serious and top contender for those looking for a fast, light and responsive pack that will allow the user to run stress free.

IN USE and TESTING

The FL has been on many runs and tested over the last 4-5months. On faster sessions of up to 90-mins and long days in the mountains, this pack holds firm against the body and is a pleasure to wear.

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I had no issues on it’s storage capacity. I could fit all my required kit in the pack and it still retained its form and comfort, even when fully loaded.

If I added the bladder to the rear compartment, this certainly did eat into storage space and one had to be a little more creative with packing.

As mentioned previously, I would always prefer to use bottles to a bladder and this may very well be the stumbling block with the FL. Two 250ml soft flasks are not adequate liquid capacity for any long run in the mountains, even when feed stations are on the route. Adding additional soft flasks in the lower stretch pockets on the front of the pack is possible but it feels like a compromise. I did add 500ml flat bottles to these pockets for one run and I thought I had found a solution. However, after an hour my ribs started to hurt with the pressure placed on them. I never did find a full solution for the problem other than, if I was out for a longer time, I used the bladder! Of course this worked and it worked admirably. So, this is very much a personal comment. If you like bladders, this will not be an issue for you.

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Running with the pack is a dream. It fits close to the body and does not move or bounce. Access while ‘on the go’ is excellent and you can certainly get food, gels, gloves, hat and even a jacket without stopping if you pack with those objectives in mind.

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The side adjustable straps offer on the go adjustment and unlike some other vests that are one size, with the FL if you add or remove layers, you can adjust pack tension while on the go to ensure you maintain a comfortable fit.

The front of the pack with two adjustable straps allows for customised tensioning and as mentioned, the upper stretchy mesh panels will be popular with lady users!

CONCLUSION

The FL is a great pack. It addresses many of the problems we all have when mandatory kit is required. The pockets, internal and external allow you to customise the pack for your own personal needs ensuring that you have stress free training and race days. At 8ltrs, the FL is not ‘too’ big that you can’t use it in training but more importantly, it is not too small that you can’t use it for racing. Certainly, if you only wanted to purchase one pack, this may very well be the ideal purchase.

In use it is extremely comfortable and the ‘open sides’ allow increased airflow providing a more breathable and cooler running experience, certainly in comparison to the Salomon S-Lab.

Verdict? – Very highly recommended.

  • Cost – £85 tbc
  • Availability – Feb 2014
  • The North Face HERE

The female perspective… by Niandi Carmont

Niandi is South African born, a former resident of Paris, she now lives in the UK. A runner for over 20-years; Niandi has completed Comrades Marathon 13-times, Washie 100 2-times and has finished well over 100 marathons and ultras  all over the world. Currently residing in the UK, Niandi splits her work life between the UK and France.

Niandi

 

The North Face FL Race Vest

This was my first test run with a race vest. Although no stranger to trials of varying distances ranging from 22km to 160km, I had never found a race vest to my satisfaction and had always resorted to the “safer” choice of race pack. The reasons for this choice are multiple, but basically:

  • Uncomfortable fit and inadaptability to the female morphology
  • Lack of breathability
  • Chafing which can also be linked to female specificity
  • Hydration strategy limited to bladder

In contrast the The North Face FL Race Vest addressed all the above issues:

  • Comfortable fit and perfect adaptability to the female morphology.
  • Very lightweight, breathable mesh back panel and front vest, covering very little surface area but offering maximum storage capacity.
  • No bounce, no uncomfortable rubbing or pull from the straps.
  • The upper front pockets can be used to carry 2 small 250ml bottles with either water or energy drink in addition to a TNF 2L bladder in the back for longer self-sufficiency races. Personally, I find this ideal as I can fill up the bottles on the go at the feed-stations and know exactly how much I am consuming. The bladder can be used in addition to the bottles as a safety measure for races which require more autonomy.

So when I tried the FL Race Vest in my training run I was pleasantly surprised to find I actually forgot I had it on. It wasn’t even a question of getting used to the vest. I instantly felt at ease in it. The front vest fitted perfectly over my chest – a sort of stretchy material which meant it never felt too loose and never to tight allowing the diaphragm to expand naturally and not causing any chafing issues.

The 8L back pack has a storage capacity suitable for any trail distance between 30km and 160km. There is absolutely no bounce – it sits comfortably in the middle of your back – no sagging to the waistline or bouncing from side-to-side. Two sets of independent straps underneath the arms and 2 sets of buckles/ straps on the front allow you to adjust the vest to fit perfectly. No unnecessary and complicated irritating, dangling straps you find on so many back-packs.

Another bonus is that the vest and pack covers very little surface area thus ensuring better breathability and less over-heating and chafing should you be a heavy sweater.

Hydration-wise as mentioned above the race vest is multi-purpose and depending on the length of the event and frequency of the feed-stations, you can carry bottles in the upper front pockets and/or bladder.

Speed is less of an issue for me but for runners wishing to waste as little time as possible, reaching around for a rain jacket, gloves, hat, head-lamp, Kleenex, energy bars; there are two lower zipped pockets on the vest and behind each of these two mesh pockets. I like this not only because it’s a time saver on technical terrain. In the dark it is also a stress-free option – nothing worse than groping behind you to get hold of a bar when your body is tired and aching all over or you are slipping around on a rocky, muddy descent in the dark. And it saves begging the runner behind to pull out a bar (or tampon) for you!

The back pack is equipped with a small zipped upper pocket – great for mobile phone and a lower mesh pocket for a jacket or over-trousers.

Inside is the bladder compartment, which can also be used for carrying race kit should you prefer, a central compartment and another pocket – so great for compartmentalizing!

Finally, my last pre-requisite – upper and lower draw strings to attach poles diagonally when not in use and the compulsory whistle on the front, should your navigation skills be as poor as mine!

Conclusion

I want it for my next 55km self-sufficiency event at night AND AT £85 it’s a bargain!

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica, 2014 – 4 weeks and counting

TCC 2014 ©iancorless.com

Four weeks today The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica will start. Celebrating ten glorious years, the 2014 edition of the race will arguably be the most competitive in the races history.

Kicking off the 2014 racing season, runners from all over the world will assemble in Quepos for an exhilarating journey along the Costa Rican coast and within the rain forests of this exciting and idilic land.

Unprecedented in the races history, an elite line up of runners will toe the line featuring:

  • Anna Frost (New Zealad) – Salomon International
  • Nick Clark (UK) – Pearl Izumi
  • Julia Bottger (Germany) – Salomon
  • Philipp Reiter Germany) – Salomon International
  • Michael Wardian (USA) – Hoka One One
  • Jo Meek (UK) – tbc

The words are still ringing true in my ears, ‘the tenth edition of The Coastal Challenge is going to be special, very special indeed’.

Rodrigo Carazo and Tim Holmstrom from the TCC organisation have quite a race lined up!

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In addition, Gemma Slaughter, 2013 female winner of the TCC will return to defend her title. Without doubt, Gemma will find the 2014 race very different to 2013. However, she does have experience and knowledge of what this race can bring; from a physical and mental perspective. I will be catching up with Gemma in the coming week for an interview on how she feels, how training has gone and what are her expectations for the 10th edition.

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Frosty‘Costa Rica is exotic to me. A place I have never been but it intrigues me with images of its beautiful coast lines, native bush that seems a little bit like home (NZ) to me and the bright clear blue sea that is so luring. So when I heard there was a stage race that covers this coastline I wanted to know more.’

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Wardian‘I definitely enjoy the challenges of multi-day races as there are a lot of factors to account for besides just running and that intrigues me and inspires me. I think of all the things I learned in my previous outings at multi day races; to be as light as possible and balance your energy expenditure throughout the race but also, and this is a little contrarian, but to push more than you think possible because it is possible to recover quicker than you think. I also, take care of the small things because over a week of racing they can make all the difference.’

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Clarky‘I actually haven’t been to Costa Rica before. Last year I raced in Nicaragua at the Fuego y Agua 100k. Nonetheless, I’m sure conditions will be much the same. Coming from mid-winter in Colorado, the transition to 95+ degree heat and high humidity in Central America is very tough, but I felt like I handled it decently last year. January and February have always been base-building months for me as I prepare for goal races in the summer, so I definitely won’t be sharp, but any time I toe a start line I have my race face on. That will be the case in Costa Rica for sure, especially as it looks like there will be good competition to race against.’ 

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Reiter – ‘It sounds like a great adventure to me. Running eight days in the jungle, crossing rivers, hopefully seeing some wild and dangerous animals, sleeping in a tent-village and of course tasting some new food and local specialties. Running is such a great sport that we can all experience, I am really excited to share the trails with others who are equally passionate. It’s what I love and want to experience.’

Julia Bottger ©iancorless.com

Bottger – ‘I have never been to Costa Rica before. I am really excited to see the trails and landscape over there. The climate will be very different, the terrain and of course the culture and people. It is just a very nice mix of a lot of new things and impressions. I have never done a multi day race like this before; sleeping in tents next to the beach in a foreign country, spending some days with great people and becoming a “family”. It’s going to be really exciting’

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Meek - ‘I am always very attracted to a country that is hotter than the UK. That is a no brainer! It’s the challenge, the opportunity to compete in something so different. This race I don’t need to carry all my kit, so, unlike the MDS I will be able to just run, admittedly for repeated days. It will be interesting and it should mean I can go faster.’

The stage is set!

I will be reporting live ‘daily’ from the race and posting each evening a synopsis of the action with images (connections allowing).

Follow on FacebookHERE Twitter: @talkultra and of course on this website.

If you’d like to read more about The Coastal Challenge, here are my links to the 2013 (9th edition).

SUMMARY of the 2013 edition of the race – HERE

Images from the TCC – HERE

The Coastal Challenge on RUN247HERE

The Coastal Challenge on TrailRunnerHERE

The Coastal Challenge in Spanish TrailChileHERE

Daily Blog posts from the 2013 edition of the race:

TNF50 San Francisco Results #TNF50

San Francisco 50 TNFEC50What a weekend and what a race! Rob Krar and Michele Yates once again proved that they are the people to beat in 2013.

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar has had quite a year, he really made people look twice with his Rim-to-Rim Grand Canyon FKT earlier this year. However it was victories at Moab Red Hot 50 and Leona Divide that set Rob up for 2nd on the podium at Western States in his first 100-mile race. A win at UROC against a flying Dakota Jones and now an outstanding run at San Francisco 50 surely must elevate him to a potential Ultra Runner of the Year!

Rob Krar - iancorless.com ©bradclayton

Rob Krar – iancorless.com ©bradclayton

Michele Yates UROC ©iancorless.com

Michele Yates UROC ©iancorless.com

Michele Yates grasped the bull by the horns at San Francisco and lead from the front in a strong and gutsy run. Add to this her 3rd place at UROC and her win at Run Rabbit Run 100-mile and is Michele currently topping the ‘earning’ ranks for ultra running in 2013. It has been a great year for Michele, her wins at Bandera 100km, Nueces 50 and Indiana Trail 100-mile confirm this.

Michele Yates - iancorless.com ©bradclayton

Michele Yates – iancorless.com ©bradclayton

RESULTS

Full results HERE

Men

  1. Rob Krar 6:21:10
  2. Cameron Clayton 6:31:17
  3. Chris Vargo 6:33:33
  4. Daniel Kraft 6:35:56
  5. Dylan Bowman 6:37:14

Ladies

  1. Michele Yates 7:21:51
  2. Magdalena Boulet 7:31:12
  3. Emelie Forsberg 7:46:24
  4. Aliza Lapierre 7:46:58
  5. Cassie Scallon 7:50:42

Notable mentions:

Cameron Clayton has had a great 2013 and certainly in the latter third has progressed to another level. 2014 looks very exciting for Cameron.

Cameron Clayton -  iancorless.com ©bradclayton

Cameron Clayton – iancorless.com ©bradclayton

Daniel Kraft is pretty much unknown to me, so a name to watch for the future.

Magdalena Boulet was my hot-tip as a dark horse for TNF50 and it’s great to see a new name to watch who lived up to the surprise billing.

Emelie Forsberg finished a stunning 2013 with a 3rd place on pretty much no running for the last 6-8 weeks. What does the future hold for this lady?

Finally, great to see Anna ‘Frosty’ Frost back in a race and Anna sums up her thoughts far better than I could:

“Today I won a race. A race against myself. Physically I suffered…the cold wind freezing my pelvis filling each step with shocks of pain. Mentally I could have come last and would have been as happy as if I won. I crossed the line with tears of joy. My friends there to congratulate and welcome me back to the running world. It has been a hard but amazing journey that so many of the people that were there today have helped me through. Thank you for sharing this joy.”

The North Face Endurance Challenge, San Francisco, 50-mile Championships Preview (Ladies)

San Francisco 50 TNFEC50

The North Face Endurance Challenge continues to cause a lack of sleep and the red eye continues with a look at the ladies field. Without doubt, just like the men’s field, we have a line up here to create enough excitement to continue on through the Christmas period and into the New Year.

Emelie Forsberg Ice-Trail Tarentaise ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg Ice-Trail Tarentaise ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg returns and after the year she has had and in addition to being defending champion, how could we possibly not think that Emelie would not win this race! Emelie oozes talent and she’s one of the nicest people I know to boot. This makes the perfect trail running package. 2012 was a great year for Emelie; she burst onto the scene at Zegama-Aizkorri and then continued through ‘12’ going head-to-head with Anna Frost and Nuria Picas. To be honest, you could have no better peers to learn from and learn Emelie did. By the end of the year she had progressed to longer distance racing at Cavalls del Vent and then followed that up with a sublime performance at San Fran for not only the win but also the big bucks prize money! 2013 saw the progression continue and Emelie is now regarded as arguably one of the best ultra/ mountain runners in the world. Transvulcania La Palma, Zegama-Aizkorri, Trans D’Havet, UROC and most recently a 2nd place in her first 100-miler at the super tough Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale des Fous). However, Emelie has not had it her own way in 2013. Twice she has been relegated by another star of the future, Stevie Kremer. Emelie post ‘Reunion’ was tired and quite rightly she removed her Salomon shoes and had a rest. Unfortunately she also picked up some illness which ultimately meant 20-days of no exercise. She recently got back on skis and other than the odd 30-minute run has done arguably no run training for the last 6-8 weeks. However, you can’t rule Emelie out in any race she enters, in addition, it looks like Emelie will have no other than Kilian Jornet on ‘pacing’ duty in this race. At least that is what she said last week… of course Kilian would need to agree and then decide if he can keep up with her!

Stephanie Howe UROC ©iancorless.com

Stephanie Howe UROC ©iancorless.com

Steph Howe placed 2nd behind Emelie at UROC and placed 2nd behind Emelie at San Fran last year, without doubt, Stephanie would have been my hot tip for potential victory this year. However, this is all academic, word is on the TNF grapevine that Stephanie will not run. I have emailed Stephanie for a confirmation on this. From Stephanie: “Hi Ian, I’m not racing I’m taking a break to prepare for the 2014 season. I raced a lot this year and battled a lot of injuries. I want to give myself a break so I can kick butt next year.”

Cassie Scallon will push Emelie and everyone else in this race. Without doubt, Cassie is probably one of the best 50-mile female racers in the US at the moment. Anyone who can put 20+ minutes into Rory Bosio needs to be highly respected and elevated to ‘hot favourite’ status. Cassie hasn’t really excelled beyond 50-miles and I therefore wonder that even if Emelie is not her ‘best’ shape, she may well be able to pull on the power and experiences gained in some of her longer races and find that ‘extra’ that may just give her the win.

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio may well have pulled off female performance of the year after her incredible performance at TNFUTMB. Rory obliterated the ladies field and pretty much obliterated the men’s field. Her 7th place overall is really quite ridiculous and therefore one has to assume that if Rory is in good shape a place on the podium is secure. However, Rory can run hot and cold. She told me in Chamonix that she is not competitive, that she just loves to run… I am not sure about that, I saw plenty of competitive grit in and around Mont-Blanc but I also witnessed someone having a blast! The 100-mile distance may well suit Rory more and of course, with such a great UTMB done and dusted, Rory may well be happy to represent her TNF sponsor and have a fun day on the trails.

Michele Yates UROC ©iancorless.com

Michele Yates UROC ©iancorless.com

If Michele Yates pulls off a win at TNFEC50 not only will she have had an incredible final 3-months of 2013 but she will also have topped the podium on prize money. Her win at Run Rabbit Run, 3rd place at UROC and then of course possible win in San Fran could arguably provide $20K+ in rewards. That is serious money and just goes to show how the sport is moving. Ultimately though, Michele must be feeling a little tired and jaded. But hey, so are Emelie, Rory, Cassie and the rest… Michelle can win this race, no doubt.

Anna Frost La Palma ©iancorless.com

Anna Frost La Palma ©iancorless.com

Anna Frost has had a tough year. The 2011 champion of San Francisco 50 when in form is unstoppable. However, 2013 has been a tough year for Frosty, she has been plagued by health issues and ultimately if Frosty makes the start line here and has a trouble free and unpressured run, that is a bonus. Recently she has spent 6-8 weeks in Morocco and Nepal with Lizzy Hawker. Although participating in races, she has had no pressure and the priority has been to enjoy the trails and find inner piece and health. I think she has found it. All emphasis and priority at San Francisco must be about preparation for 2014. Run well Frosty, we all want to see you back in 2014 with the strength, dominance and force of your 2012 Transvulcania La Palma performance.

My wild card is Magdalena Lewy-Boulet. Who you may ask? Well, Magdalena gained my attention earlier this year when she raced in Poland at the WMRA championships. She placed 11th at that race but I don’t think that performance shows her potential. Magdalena is a 2:26 marathon runner and as far as I know, I don’t think any other lady in the San Fran field has a marathon time even close to this? In addition, Magdalena is a 2x Bronze medalist at the IAAF World Cross Country Champs (team comp). San Francisco may well provide the platform and the terrain to allow this Polish lady to let rip and cause some devastation.  In a side note, Magdalena won the San Francisco Marathon in 2002. Watch this space!

Joelle Vaught has had a great 2013 season with a string of wins; Foothills 50k, McCall Trailrunning Classic 40m, Pocatello 50, Silver Plate 50 and Wilson Creek 50. A recent 2nd place at Waldo 100k continues and confirms Joelle’s ability over the 50-60 mile distance. Joelle placed 13th at San Francisco last year which arguably is a below par performance that may well be attributed to just a ‘bad day’ or the conditions did not suit her. I am pretty sure that based on recent form she will be looking to come back and improve on her previous best of 2nd in 2009.

Aliza Lapierre with 3rd and 6th place at Western States in recent years has to be a contender for the crown in San Francisco. Aliza recently raced Vermont 50 and beat her old course record with a time of 7:01 so her form is good. Looking at her records, Aliza also has wins and CR’s at Bull Run 50, Stone Cat 50, Pineland Farms 50 and Bandera 100k in the last 3-years so the combination of distance and speed is going to suit her.

Finally, Ashley Arnold is the 2013 Leadville Champion and therefore gets a nod here. However, her 2013 results are sparse and on ultrasignup her only other result for this year is a win at White River 50m in 8:28. Your guess is as good as mine?

In a similar vein to the men’s field, although the top-3 is likely to come from one the ladies above, it is quite possible that one of the ladies below will pull something out of the bag and create a surprise

Keri Bruxvoort – 5th at UROC and arguably she should be in the list above considering she won Run Rabbit Run 50m too.

Melanie Bos – second at Hurt 100 in 2013

Megan Kimmel – more a short distance runner with 2 victories in 2013

Catrin Jones – notable result in 2013 was 2nd behind Steph Howe at Gorge waterfalls and a win at Squamish 50

So there you have it… if you missed the men’s preview, you can read it HERE 

  • Who are your picks for the ladies and men’s race?
  • Who will surprise us?
  • Who will under perform?