Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race Preview 2015

The legendary Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ will be taking place for only the third time, starting on Monday 22nd June.
The race is one of the world’s most challenging running events and follows the mountainous spine of Wales from Conwy Castle in the north, to Carreg Cennen Castle in the south. An incredible 5 day journey the route is approximately 300km long with 16,000 metres of ascent across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain.
In September 1992, the original Dragon’s Back Race™ was held and it soon entered into running folklore for its extreme difficultly and surprise female winner. A 20-year absence and it took Shane Ohly and the Ourea Events team to revive it in 2012.  Helene Whitaker (neé Diamantides), the 1992 winner alongside Martin Stone returned to the event and incredibly finished fourth and renowned adventure and Wainwrights record holder, Steve Birkinshaw was the overall winner.  In the 2012 edition only 32 runners managed to complete the full course from 82 starters. Thhe reputation of the event as one of the hardest mountain races in the world was confirmed.
The 2015 race has once again attracted a strong field of 140 runners from Britain and around the world. It will be interesting to see how many manage to climb the iconic steps into Carreg Cennen Castle on the fifth day.
Leading Contenders
The standout competitor in the men’s race is naturally Jez Bragg who as a UTMB winner, Fellsman and Te Araroa Trail record holder has been a force within ultra running for many years.  His top class pedigree means he attracts attention whenever he races.
However, race director Shane Ohly, does not think for a moment that a Bragg win is a foregone conclusion:
“It is a five day race over rough terrain and anything can happen. Jez, also completed a record breaking Ramsay Round the weekend before, which is an interesting approach to preparing for such an arduous event as the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™.”
Ohly continues:
“There is a strong field of both male and female runners and while I do have an opinion on who I think will win, I keep that to myself for now!”
Lining up alongside Bragg are top British mountain ultra runners including Ed Catmur and Berghaus sponsored athlete, Charlie Sharp.
Catmur has an orienteering background that is similar to the 2012 winner Steve Birkinshaw and in recent years he has excelled at the longer endurance races. He has competed over the 100 mile distances with some very fast times, placed highly at the Skyrunning UK 3×3 and has won the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon and Spine Challenger.
Sharp has recently joined the roster of Berghaus sponsored athletes and is a prolific racer. He runs all distances from 5k to 100 miles plus and has great success. In 2013 he raced The Spine and although not directly comparable to the Dragon’s Back Race it does show that Sharp will be a podium contender in Wales.
The main international competition would seem to be from André Jonsson. The impressive Swedish runner has a load of podium results at tough mountain races in Europe including stage wins at the GORE-TEX TransAlpine. Rumour has it that he has been training in Wales earlier this year…
There is also a cohort of other strong British runners, including the likes of Jim Mann, Konrad Rawlik and John Duggan, who Ohly believes are likely to feature high up in the field. He explains why:
“It is such a tough race. Runners get injured, some fade mentally and as Patrick Devine Wright proved in 2012, a relative unknown runner with a determined approach can record a superb result.”
Ohly continues: “It’s easy to dwell on the men’s race, but I actually think that the women’s field is more interesting with a pack of extremely talented runners. I believe that any one of these has the ability to feature at the front end of the overall race.”
Scanning though the list of female entries, Jasmin Paris, Lizzie Wraith, Beth Pascall, Carol Morgan and Joanna Zakrzewski stand out.
Paris has been tearing up the mountain racing circuit for last few years but has managed to keep a relatively low profile, despite some impressive wins. She recently smashed Nicky Spink’s Fellsman’s record by over 40 minutes and recorded the highest ever place for a female runner.
Wraith, with superb results at the UTMB, Lavaredo Ultra Trail and a  her UTLD Lakeland 100 win (and course record) make her the one to watch. However, she has had a very bust race schedule recently with multiple races in Nepal, the GL3D and representing GB at the IAU World Trail Champs. Will Wraith be fresh for  the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ as her final target?
Pascall in particular has impressed. Her slow and methodical run at the UTLD (Lakeland 100) and strong 2nd place behind Debbie Martin Consani was a revelation. She then followed this result up with victory at The Spine. The Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ will most certainly suit Pascall’s skill set. Finally, the dark horse, Zakrzewski is relatively unknown in the mountain running world but she is a star of world 100km athletics with team and individual medals at the world championships. A regular and high place finisher at the iconic Comrades in South Africa, most notably her success at multi-day races such as Atacama Crossing (2010) may well be more relevant to the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™.
The Berghaus Team 
Berghaus, Britain’s leading performance outdoor brand, is the title sponsor of this iconic event and is supporting the event in many ways. Race director Shane Ohly comments:
“What is really great about working with Berghaus is the depth of talent they have within their staff and sponsored athletes. Impressively, staff members Ivan Muckle, Angela Foster, Luke O’Connor and Dan Smith will be completing a day each of the race in a relay, with Berghaus athlete, and 2012 winner, Steve Birkinshaw leading them on Day 1.” 
The relay line up looks like this:
Day 1     Steve Birkinshaw
Day 2     Ivan Muckle
Day 3     Angela Foster
Day 4     Luke O’Connor
Day 5     Dan Smith
What is fascinating about this line up is the impact that 2012 winner Steve Birkinshaw may have on the rest of the field, especially given that he is running the first, and arguably the toughest, day of the race. Certainly, the other competitors would be well advised not to race with Steve if he intends to go full throttle.
Alongside his colleagues in the relay team, Berghaus Castleford store manager Dan Gerachty, will be attempting to complete all five days alone. Certainly, he will have tales of amazing adventures to share afterwards with customers in store.
Following The Race Live
For the third edition of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™, members of the public will be able to follow the race live with GPS tracking of the competitors and a leaderboard of their positions as they pass through each checkpoint.
Award winning Slackjaw Productions will also be filming the event and publishing multiple 90 second videos on the event website as the race unfolds each day. 1992 winner Helene Whitaker will be presenting these films and providing expert commentary.
It is going to be exciting and compelling viewing, which all kicks off on Monday 22nd June.
Also, keep an eye on Twitter for updates from @DragonsBackRace and @TheRealBerghaus, @talkultra and on Facebook –

Episode 83 – Grinius Campbell Murray Bragg


Episode 83 of Talk Ultra has a great interview with rising ultra star, Gediminas Grinius​. Dr Andrew Murray and Donnie Campbell​ talk about their recent epic journey and Jez Bragg​ talks about getting speed back after his epic Te Araroa journey and how he plans to tame the Dragon. Marc Laithwaite​ is back in Talk Training, we have the News, a Blog, Up & Coming races and Niandi Carmont​ joins me as co-host and we discuss the MDS.

00:32:36 NEWS
Way to Cool 50k
Pay Smyth 3:04:48 new CR beating Max King
Ryan Bak 3:10
Tim Tollefson 3:20
Megan Roche 3:41:56 new CR
Stephanie Howe 3:47
Yiou Wang 3:51
World Records on Treadmills
50k – Mike Wardian failed first time and 36-hours later did it… crazy 3:03:56 (3:06:24 first time)
50k – Gemma Carter in the UK 3:55:28 (Tracy Dean did 4:15 just before Christmas)
12-hour – Denis Mikhaylove ran 80.54 miles
Transgrancanaria article HERE
  1. Nuria Picas 16:53:27
  2. Carole Chaverot 17:16:48
  3. Dong Li 18:15:55
  4. Andrea Huser 18:37:53
  5. Manu Vilaseca 18:42:59
  6. Ester Alves 19:11:45
  7. Lucinda Souza 19:25:46
  8. Aliza Lapierre 19:58:48
  9. Raquel Delgado 20:24:16
  10. Silvia Trigueros 20:38:18
  1. Gedminas Grinius 14:23:27
  2. Didrik Hermansen 14:30:07
  3. Antoine Guillon 14:39:35
  4. Sondre Amdahl 15:06:37
  5. Cyril Cointr 15:28:22
  6. Anton Krupicka 15:29:49
  7. Remi Queral 15:59:11
  8. Freddy Thevenin 16:07:06
  9. Marco Zanchi 16:25:13
  10. Piotr Hercog 16:30:45
Max King impresses once again running 2:17 for an Olympic Qualifying slot. Sage Canaday just missed out!
Hillary Ultra in NZ 80k
Andrius Romanas 8:23
Chris Morrisey 8:55
Scott Hawker 9:07
Beth Cardelli 9:57
Joanna Johansen 10:17
Fiona Hayvice 10:22
Lakes Sky Ultra announced – HERE
00:49:07 INTERVIEW
DONNIE CAMPBELL and DR ANDREW MURRAY need no introduction when it comes to expeditions, I catch up with them and discuss the latest one!
01:18:08 BLOG
ANTON KRUPICKA talks Transgrancanaria HERE
01:19:00 INTERVIEW
JEZ BRAGG talks all about putting speed back in his training and how he will tame the Dragon in 2015.
Marc Laithwaite talks all about butter in coffee… would you do it?
02:25:16 INTERVIEW
GEDIMINIAS GRINIUS is a star in the rising, an incredible 2014 has been followed up with the biggest win in his career: Transgrancanaria.
03:11:41 UP & COMING RACES


Ultramarathon des Ziban | 100 kilometers | April 02, 2015 | website



Crêtes de Spa – 55 km | 55 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website



6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 120 mile | 120 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 350 mile | 350 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 120 Mile | 120 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 350 Mile | 350 miles | March 20, 2015 | website


Action Asia 3 day ultra marathons 60k | 60 kilometers | March 27, 2015 | website

Lijiang Shangri-La AA Ultra Marathon 100km | 100 kilometers | March 27, 2015 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 100 km Ultra Marathon | 100 kilometers | March 27, 2015 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 60 km Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | March 27, 2015 | website


Istratrek Trail Race | 60 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website



Cahors (Lot) – Eauze (Gers) | 185 kilometers | April 01, 2015 | website


Trail du Kreiz Breizh Bras | 55 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Ecotrail de Paris IDF – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Ecotrail de Paris IDF – 80 km | 80 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website



Eschollbrücker Ultra-Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


BSI Half Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 95 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Balatonfüred – Siófok | 51 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 20, 2015 | website



Wicklow Way Ultra | 51 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website



100 km di Seregno | 100 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website

60 km di Seregno | 60 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website

BVG Trail | 73 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Dead Sea Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | April 03, 2015 | website


La GranDucale – 55 km | 55 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Marathon des Sables | 250 kilometers | April 03, 2015 | website

Morocco Tizi N’Trail | 120 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Morocco Trail | 120 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Kathmandu West Valley Rim 50km | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

New Zealand

Northburn Station 100 km Mountain Run | 100 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Northburn Station 50 km Mountain Run | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Oxfam Trailwalker NZ | 100 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Triple Peaks Challenge | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


CEBU50 Trail Ultramarathon – Aspirant | 54 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Inatel Piódão Trail Running – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Caldeira Trail | 74 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

South Africa

Om Die Dam 50 km Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website



Ultra Trail Muntanyes de la Costa Daurada | 90 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Valencian Community

La Perimetral | 65 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Silva Ursvik Ultra – 75 km | 75 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

United Kingdom


Jurassic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

East Sussex

Coastal Trail Series – Sussex – Ultra | 34 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


The Canalathon 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

The Canalathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

The Canalathon 75 km | 75 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

North Yorkshire

Hardmoors 55 Ultramarathon | 55 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


Oldham Way Ultra | 40 miles | March 22, 2015 | website


Hot Runner 14 in 7 | 590 kilometers | March 23, 2015 | website

Hot Runner 7 in 7 | 295 kilometers | March 23, 2015 | website



Lake Martin 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Lake Martin 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Oak Moutain 50+ | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


White Mountains 100 | 100 miles | March 29, 2015 | website


Crown King Scramble 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


3 days of Syllamo | 150 kilometers | March 20, 2015 | website

Race Across Arkansas – Border to Border (6 Marathons) | 161 miles | April 02, 2015 | website


Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 100 Miler | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Canyon Meadow 50 Km Trail Run (March) | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

Nine Trails 35 Mile Endurance Run | 35 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Old Goats 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Old Goats 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


Trap Pond 50K | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Fort Clinch 100M | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Fort Clinch 50M | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Bear Blaster 50k | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Running Dead Ultra 100M | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Running Dead Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website

Running Dead Ultra 50M | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Pickled Feet 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | March 27, 2015 | website


Chicago Lakefront 50K George Cheung Memorial Race | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website


Prairie Spirit Trail 100 Mile Ultra Race | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Prairie Spirit Trail 50 Mile Ultra Race | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Race Across Louisiana – Border to Border (52 Miles) | 52 miles | March 30, 2015 | website


50K HAT Run | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Hat Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website


Gulf Coast Interstate Relay – Ride or Run | 263 miles | April 03, 2015 | website

Spring Equinox 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Spring Equinox 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


Forrest Gump Challenge 50 Mile Ultra-marathon | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

New Jersey

NJ Ultra Festival – 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 100M Trail Race | 100 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 50M Trail Race | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Badwater Cape Fear 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Badwater Cape Fear 51.4 Mile | 51 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Race for R.A.R.E. 50K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Umstead 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

North Dakota

Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience 100K | 100 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience 50K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Fools 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Gorge Waterfalls 100k | 100 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Gorge Waterfalls 50k | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Lt. J. C. Stone 50K UltraMarathon | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Mt. Tammany 10 | 40 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Tuff FKN 100 miler | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Tuff FKN 100 Miler 2 Person Relay | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Tuff FKN 100 Miler 4 Person Relay | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Western PA Endurance Fest 50K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Western PA Endurance Fest 50K Relay | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

South Carolina

XTERRA Hickory Knob Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website


Race Across Texas – D-Town (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Race Across Texas – Plains to Pines (3 Marathons) | 84 miles | March 25, 2015 | website

The Grasslands 50-Mile | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


24 Hours of Utah – 100K | 100 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

24 Hours of Utah – 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

24 Hours of Utah – 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Antelope Island 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Antelope Island 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Antelope Island 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Behind the Rocks 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Behind the Rocks 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Twin State 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Twin State 50 Miles | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Terrapin Mountain 50km | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website


Badger Mountain Challenge 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | March 27, 2015 | website

Badger Mountain Challenge 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Badger Mountain Challenge 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | March 27, 2015 | website

Chuckanut 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

West Virginia

Haulin’ in the Holler 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website



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JEZ and the DRAGON

Jez and the Dragon

“…it kind of draws upon my all around hill skills really. My ability to look after myself in tricky weather situations, navigate my way between checkpoint stations and just generally manage myself and be safe. Whilst it is a race there’s a kind of survival element, there’s definitely a lot of appeal in all that. I think that UK ultra-running traditionally drew upon all those skills with mountain marathons and similar events. It’s nice to go back and do a big event based on those elements and test myself in different ways. It brings excitement and gets my adrenaline going.” – Jez Bragg


You can read the full article on Jez Bragg on RUNULTRA HERE


The Berghaus Dragons Back Race™

The legendary Dragon’s Back Race™ follows the mountainous spine of Wales from Conwy Castle to Carreg Cennen Castle. This incredible 5-day journey is approximately 300 kilometres long with 17,000 metres of ascent across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain. It is not a trail race.

The original Dragon’s Back Race™ happened in September 1992 and ever since, it has been whispered about with a mix of awe and trepidation. Its reputation had reached legendary status with fell, mountain and ultra runners the World over by September 2012 when the second Dragon’s Back Race™ happened.

The Dragon’s Back Race™ is one of the hardest mountain races in the World.

The next race will be the 22nd-26th June 2015. If you are considering entering or just want to experience the awesome challenge offered by the Dragon’s Back Race™ we strongly recommend that you watch the multi award winning film of the 2012 race.

Potential competitors should read the information here>>>.

Shane Ohly
Race Director

The North Face new PERFORMANCE products for 2015

M Ultra MT

The North Face like many other key brands have some new products launching in 2015 and by all accounts they will be in store from March 2015.

Following on from the success of the ULTRA GUIDE shoe (review HERE) the 2015 incarnation will be the ULTRA MT available in male and ladies options

W Ultra MT

If it is an improvement on the Ultra Guide then this is a shoe I am going to be very keen to try. As you will know from my Ultra Guide review, I thought the shoe was a real winner offering a great combination of comfort, grip and an 8mm drop. The ULTRA MT will have a new Vibram® Megagrip outsole with unrivalled traction to keep you close to the ground. It will also have the benefit of enhanced upper support as well as breathable Ultra Airmesh over the quarter. The innovation continues underfoot, where precise stability and protection ensures a better performance with every step.

Drop will be 8mm and weight estimated at 295g for sample size (usually UK8.) A body mapping layer system on the upper enhances support on the medial side, protecting the toe area. Vibram Megagrip sole.



More daylight during summer means running longer, which is why you should be prepared if the weather changes. This new male/ female Storm Stow Ultralight Jacket is fully waterproof and windproof, but also packs incredibly small, so you can keep it on hand for any emergency. When the trail takes you further, there is no better protection to carry with you.



The new Better Than Naked Long Haul Short will allow you to stay comfortable on longer runs with a wider comfort-fit waistband, stitch-free design on critical seams, and maximum storage capacity for big days.


Combining modern style with superior comfort, this new Better Than Naked Long Haul Skirt is built to minimise distractions. With maximum storage, built-in compressive-short liner, and a wide waistband for added support, you can


Once you’re on the trail, it’s easy to get carried away. In the heart of nature, and surrounded by inspiration, every trail runner is fuelled to go further. That’s why comfort and performance needs to last. To that end, The North Face have designed this new apparel and shoes for 2015.

I anticipate to receive test samples within the coming month and we will provide a full review as soon as possible.

Check out The North Face HERE


ROB KRAR – 2014 Western States Interview

Rob Krar UROC ©

Rob Krar broke onto the ultra running scene in 2013 and set the trails alight with impressive fast running. He popped on many a runner’s radar with his incredible FKT in the Grand Canyon and then with no 100-mile experience placed 2nd behind Timmy Olson at Western States. Later in the year Rob came from behind at UROC and beat Dakota Jones to the line for an impressive win. Crowned Ultra Runner of the Year, Rob was and is quite rightly the ‘one-to-watch’ at any race. In 2014, Rob prepared meticulously for Western States and although nothing is predictable in ultra running, for many, he was the obvious ‘hot-favourite.’ Rob didn’t disappoint with a consummate run and the 2nd fastest time in history. I caught up with Rob, in-between night shifts and training.

IC: Rob how are you doing?

RK: Really good.

IC: How’s the rollercoaster been post WSER?

RK: It’s not been too bad, my schedule with work made it difficult. I had to be back at work at 2100 on Monday. So with a 12-hour drive post WSER made that difficult. It’s been a challenge physically and mentally.

IC: Amazing when you say that, it does put your achievement in perspective. You’re running at the highest level, working long hours and keeping a family together.

RK: Yes it’s tiring. It’s getting increasingly difficult… it’s a long story. I’m Canadian so my Visa required me to have a job working in Flagstaff on the night shift. When I got married I got a green card, so, now I don’t need to be a pharmacist but opportunities never arose. Now this running craziness has started I now have a realistic chance of leaving my job. Work is difficult. It’s s such a contrast, I run a 100-miles and then 48-hours later I am under fluo lights working the night shift. It’s getting harder so I hope to maybe make a change and change my focus.

IC: Does work have an appreciation of what you achieve?

RK: Because I do nights, I don’t real cross paths with my colleagues. They have an understanding and they are supportive but I don’t have long chats.

Rob Krar UROC ©

IC: Lets go back, you have been on the show several times in the last 16-18 months. I think back to last year, we spoke after the Grand Canyon FKT and it was about 1-month before WSER. You were intimidated by the race, the distance the history… I guess you went into the 2013 WSER race with open eyes. You had an amazing race placing 2nd behind Timmy Olson, did you think, ok, I want to win this race in ’14.’

RK: For sure, it’s in my nature. Sitting beside Tim doing an interview with the board of directors post WSER, I didn’t think ‘I want to win!’ I think it was more of a decision days later. You can’t dedicate a year to a race but it did give me focus. I had no doubts after WSER that it would be my goal for ’14.’ I decided to put everything into it.

IC: It’s impressive; you pick your races. You don’t race a great deal but when you do race you make an impact. 2013 was incredible, many would wish for an element of that… FKT, WSER, UROC, Ultra Runner of the Year… did you pinch yourself and ask, is this real?

RK: Funny when I hear it. It is incredible. I am so blessed. I missed an element that allowed me to break through as a runner. I wouldn’t say I was surmised but it’s certainly more than I could have ever expected. I have embraced it in 2014. In 2013 I was learning and it was all happening so quickly. This year I had the thought that I belong here. I am happy in the ultra community. I entered 14 with a new outlook especially in training and racing.

IC: The North Face sponsored you and you had great results, did you feel pressured with a new year ahead.

Rob Krar UROC ©

RK: No, not really! I have a responsibility and that does bring certain additional aspects but I want to perform. I wan to perform for my sponsors and myself. I put pressure in the back of my mind. I must control those pressures and let my running do the talking. I set a goal and I do my best. It’s a simple equation.

IC: Starting 2014 and kicking off the season did you feel in good shape?

RK: After TNF50 in December, I had a partial tear to my achilles and calf. It was the first significant injury I had. It took time to recover but I have been in the mountains doing Skimo and Skinning. It’s my winter plan so it was good. Mentally it can be tough, especially with an injury but I just had to get through December and then refocus. I had a great Ski season. I came out super fit and I was going to run Tarawera, however, it wasn’t meant to be… I clipped my toe on a run, damaged my ribs in a fall and I couldn’t run for 10-days.

IC: How frustrating was that?

RK: Tough. A trip to New Zealand missed but I had the larger goal of WSER and I had time. I put it behind me and moved on. I trained up to Lake Sonoma; I wasn’t in the best shape as sore ribs really do impact on training. The Sonoma course was tougher than expected, I did the best I could and that was it. I soon was back in shape and things started to click for WSER. I got the miles in, did the speed, ate healthy and to be honest my training blog into Western was magical. 

IC: I’m interested in your specific prep for WSER. Last year you hadn’t adjusted training, as you had never run a 100 before. You were doing 50-mile training. So, working on your 2013 run did you stick with your ‘13’ plan or did you make big changes?

RK: A world of difference! Last year I didn’t do a single workout before WSER. I would ‘just’ run. It worked last year but after WSER I planned UROC and I knew I had to step up my game. I wanted to run well. So, last summer I started workouts. That’s the biggest change I made. I have similar cycles for each specific ultra now. Overall I am harder, physically and mentally. I can hit higher mileage, I can add workouts and my sessions are more intense and quicker plus I am injury free. I work hard but I haven’t been beat up. I made sure I get in the mountains. From home, everything is up and I live at 7000 feet. I have a couple of staple workouts – fartlek/ threshold workout that may be 1-4 mile repeats on short rest. Then I also do 8 x 3-minutes on 90sec rest on a decent grade. They are my ‘go-to’ sessions.

IC: They are classic sessions! They show your road and track background. So, do you think that gives you an edge over your peers? For so long, ultra runners have ‘just’ run. Do you think times are changing and this structure will be required to achieve the next level?

RK: Yes, certainly. I don’t follow other runners training. I do think that my training philosophy is less common in the ultra community. If you pick a race like UROC… Dakota and I are at the top of a mountain with 5-miles to go. It’s smooth and runnable. When you can run low ‘5’s that gives me a huge advantage…

IC: I remember Dakota saying what a mad man you were at the end of that race!

RK: I couldn’t have done that without my specific training. It feels good to work hard, run fast. I don’t do 400’s but my long sessions work for ultra.

IC: I know the Grand Canyon holds a strong place in your heart. Do you use it as a benchmark for specific sessions?

RK: Yes, it’s an important place. I have learnt to temper my efforts in the ‘Canyon.’ You need to give it respect. I did two 30-mile out and back sessions pre WSER to condition my quads. The track really does bruise up the quads. The first session I did made me real sore. It surprised me. I hadn’t planned a 2nd session but I decided to return 2-weeks later and I had a great run. My legs felt so much better. I knew I was getting ready! The Canyon provide me with 2-great runs, it was a surprise so I don’t think I’ll be back this year… I feel as though I have already taken too much and I know being greedy in the Canyon can be detrimental.

IC: Let’s talk about the race. The build up you used you said was unique, however, I think Max King probably had a similar structure to your training. How much were you intimidated by Max taking it on from the gun? I know it was his 1st 100-miles but you respect him?

RK: For sure, Max is an incredible runner. Look at his range! I don’t think many can match him. I expected him to be at the front but I wanted to run my own race to Forest Hill (62-mile). I felt comfortable. The last 20-miles are the key. I kept a track but I didn’t worry what Max was up to. From Forest Hill he only had 3-4 min gap. On Cal Street I ran strong in 2013 and I planned to make that a defining moment in 2014. I caught Max and we almost turned it into a track race. I watched his body language, listened to his voice and I made a choice. I think if we had stayed together the final 20-miles would have been a head-to-head to the line. So, I went for a gap and I put in a strong move. It was a move that was all out. I didn’t hold back. I had a moment when I looked back and we made eye contact. I thought oh no, we have locked eyes. It was a distinct moment. I thought I had lost a physiological advantage but I pushed on and opened the gap.

IC: That’s mile 80 yes?

RK: Yes. 

IC: I suppose you didn’t really get any feedback till Highway 49 with 10k to go?

RK: That’s correct. Last year I hit the river about 4-mins behind Tim. He commented that he could hear the crowd when I arrived. So this year I did the same… I listened out for loud cheers, as that would signify Max arriving. The cheers never came. At one point I stopped and listened. I couldn’t hear anything and that gave me confidence. I thought I had at least 5-mins. Later I was given some bad information, I was told the gap was just 1-min. I had a ‘thoughtful’ following 5-miles but it all proved to be okay. A gap of 6-minutes actually became 30-minutes, so, with 10k to go I felt safe but I kept the pressure on to No Hands Bridge. From here I felt confident but I never became complacent. A tear or cramp could ruin my race.

IC: At what point did you relax and embrace the moment?

RK: Just with 1-mile to go at Roby Point. I was in the town of Auburn on a quiet street. People were out and I saw a child on a bike. I had a distinct moment on the final climb; a girl waited for me and she started to ride next to me. That last mile gave me so many memories and thoughts. At that moment I had a strong feeling of childhood. I could feel my inner sense. It was such a contrast. I was finishing 15-hours of physical and mental focus and the child gave it balance; this little girl didn’t have a care in the world. The smile came and I soaked it up.

IC: You ran 14:53:24 did you have any aspirations for Timmy’s record?

RK: The win was the priority. A course record would have been a bonus but the win was the most important.

IC: If you look back, start to finish, you planned a strategy, you thought about the race, did it go to plan?

RK: It went very closely to plan. I wanted to feel good at Forest Hill and I did. I was holding myself back and I felt great over that opening two-thirds. I tried not to plan too much as anything can happen. I thought Max or Mike Aish may have been up front so when I hit Cal Street I made a decision to go. I had planned to be at the river in the lead or with the leaders; so it went close to plan! Nothing unexpected happened.

IC: Amazing, running 100-miles almost to a script! Were you surprised that maybe some of the pressure didn’t come from Ryan Sandes? He’s had a great season and a great WSER. Maybe his ‘14’ has been too good which impacted on WSER. One thing that can happen, you may think pre race that Ryan may be the one to watch and you can loose a race by watching the wrong runner.

Rob Krar UROC ©

RK: I was surprised that Ryan wasn’t in the lead pack but he runs smart. He really does know how to run but for me, I wanted to run ‘my’ race and that was what was important. I was very focused on my mind-set and me.

IC: So what’s next Rob after some quality RnR? I assume you will have another big target for the year?

RK: Yes, I ‘ve had a great recovery. Every ultra I have done and the fatigue that comes with it, the recovery gets shorter. I didn’t run a step for 10-days. I escaped to Colorado, played in the mountains, went fishing and took a mental and physical break. In the next week or two I will get back into it. TNF50 in December is my 2nd focus. I may do Leadville even thought it’s a short time frame. UROC, Run Rabbit Run may figure, I am not sure yet> I want more experience of 100-miles and I want to focus on UTMB for ’15.’ I’ve raced in the night so Run Rabbit Run may well be a good opportunity as it has an afternoon start.

IC: Can we expect you in Europe pre UTMB in 2015? It’s very different terrain to what you have in the USA. Your TNF teammates will provide you with info I am sure.

RK: It’s possible. I am not sure yet. I haven’t looked that far ahead. I love Transrockies and I may use that race as preparation? I don’t know yet. I may have a recce trip to gain some experience; we will have to see?

IC: One last question; we mentioned the life/ work balance. If you gave up your job do you feel that maybe you would over train or over race because of the extra time… has the work/life/ training balance kept you balanced?

RK: It’s a great point. I think about this a great deal. We have seen examples of runners who have left work, become pure runners and it has been a negative, however, the nature of my job is not healthy, mentally and physically. I have been doing it for 12-years. But it does provide focus and routine. I can’t help but dream of what I can do with a ‘normal’ life. For example just a regular sleep routine. The graveyard shift is a killer! I think I know myself now and I also know my running very well. I hope not to fall into any traps.

IC: Awesome, thanks so much for your time Rob and many many congratulations.

RK: Thanks so much Ian, great to speak.

Rob Krar UROC ©



Under threatening skies Cortina hosted the eighth edition of The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Expectations were high for a competitive race as the quality of the field was the strongest in the event history with runners from 56 nations on the start line.

_N3D0125-¬ Giovanni Marchesi

The 119km race started in front of a packed Cortina crowd at 11pm on Friday evening. 782 trail runners left the sanctuary of the Cortina valley and headed out on a journey of 119km through the Dolomite National Park with the knowledge that they would also climb 5,850 metres of elevation over the next 12 to 31 hours (race cut off time was 31 hours).

The women’s race was predictably a fierce two horse race between local favorite Francesca Canepa and her US rival Rory Bosio. The two of them spent the night section of the race pushing each other and by first light Canepa held a seven-minute advantage at KM48 as Bosio was struggling to shake off a severe headache.

Daylight and the stunning mountain scenery seemed to energise Bosio to the point that she had overhauled Canepa by km75 and the gap continued to grow as they both raced for the finish line. Their pace was incredible as they pushed each other which would result in Bosio smashing Canepa’s course record by almost one and half hours. The value of two strong athletes pushing each other could be seen in the fact that Francesca Canepa ran one hour faster than in 2012 but was still unable to stop the sheer power and speed of Rory Bosio. Something that Europe saw for the first time at The North Face® UTMB in 2013.

Alberto Orlandi-¬-02931

At the finish line Rory told the cheering crowd; “This was the most inspiring course I have ever raced on. The last 45km of the course was incredibly challenging and the most technical I have ever raced on. It was just brutal”.

In the men’s race the real action started at km33, Hotel Cristallo. Anton Krupicka, Mike Foote and Gediminias Grinius were all in the lead pack of about ten runners as they left this aid station. Anton took advantage of the short punishing climbs on the way to Lake Misurina to establish a lead as they hit the base of the longest climb of the course up to the race high point of Rifugio Auronzo.

Alberto Orlandi-¬-03076

First light greeted the leaders as they passed close by to the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo mountain spires as they reached a high point of just below 2,500 metres. The crowds up here who had braved an early start were rewarded with some stunning mountain scenery. The long technical descent from the top of Forcella Lavaredo to the valley floor at km67 would benefit Italian Fulvio Delpit with his strong skyrunning skills so we had a new leader but Anton Krupicka was in no mood to give up his lead and charged through the aid station without even stopping for new supplies.

Krupicka’s determination was rewarded as he arrived first into the aid station at km75 at Ra Stua. This was a lead he would never relinquish over the next 44km. Unbeknown to him the big fight was going on behind him for second place. Fulvio Delpit pulled at Km75 leaving a very tense battle between Mike Foote now in second place with Gediminias Grinius breathing down his neck in third.

Grinius led Foote for the first time into Col Gallina at km95 but they had swapped places once more by the time they had reached the majestic location of Passo Giau at km102. They would push each other for the next 16km with Foote holding onto second place with Grinius three minutes behind, such a small gap after thirteen hours of racing.


  1. Rory Bosio (US) 14:29:54 (New course record)
  2. Francesca Canepa (IT) 14:45:55
  3. Katia Fori (IT) 15:57:27
  1. Anton Krupicka (US) 12:42:31
  2. Mike Foote (US) 12:57:38
  3. Gediminias Grinius (Lithuania) 13:01:22

Images ©

  • ©Giovanni Marchesi / The North Face or
  • ©Alberto Orlandi / The North Face

Release ©thenorthface

Episode 56 – Sandes, Jurek, Morgan, Chaigneau, Maciel, Kendall



Episode 56 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show we have a Transgrancanaria special with a whole series of interviews. We speak with Scott Jurek, Sebastien Chaigneau, Casey Morgan, 3rd place lady, Fernanda Maciel and we have an in-depth chat with race winner, Ryan Sandes. In addition, we have a chat with top Brit at the MDS, Danny Kendall who returns this year to hopefully move higher up the field. The news, a blog and of this week only, a new co-host, Niandi Carmont.

What we have both been up to?


  1. Ryan Sandes Salomon/Red Bull : 14:27:42
  2. Julien Chorier  Hoka One One/ Compressport “14:36:28
  3. Timothy Olson The North Face : 14:39:03
  4. Yeray Duran : 15:06:54
  5. Antoine Guillon WAA : 15:17:30
  6. Sondre Amdahl : 15:28:35
  7. Javier Dominguez Vibram : 15:46:06
  8. Cyril Cointre WAA : 15:47:08
  9. Dylan Bowman Peral Izumi : 15:59:13
  10. Casey Morgan Salomon 16:00:31
  1. Nuria Picas Buff : 16:44:55
  2. Francesca Canepa Montura : 17:29:18
  3. Fernanda Maciel 17:31:57
  4. Ildko Wermescher Mammut :18:50:45
  5. Uxue Fraile Vibram 19:21:00
  6. Nerea Martinez Salomon 19:21:00
  7. Magdalena Ostrowska-Dolegowska : 20:27:02
  8. Ester Alves : 23:03:10
  9. Laureda Tirepied : 23:10:44
  10. Helen Allison : 23:40:48
ITI350 and ITI1000
David Johnton was on the last show and after smashing the Susitna 100 record just 7-days later took on the ITI350. He was on the last show if you need and insight and he will be on our next show! Amazingly, he smashed the CR thought by many to be unbeatable by an incredible, 4d 1h 38m – broke record by 13h 22m set by Steve Refenstuhl
Jeff Oatley gonna smash the 1000m in around 10-days
MSIG Sai Kung 50
  1. Rudy Gilman 4:51
  2. Siu Keung Tsang 5:05
  3. Brendan Davies 5:15
Brit Stu Air – 8th
  1. Cassie Scallon 6:00
  2. Allesandra Carlini 6:05
  3. Joe Joe SuiPing Fan 6:11
St Peters Way Ultra
  1. Richard Ashton – new CR 5:34
  2. Christopher Howe 5:59
  3. Keith Moule 7:03
  1. Naomi Newton Fisher 8:20
  2. Fiona McNeils 9:58
  3. Nicki Edwards 10:13
4 Refugios non-stop Argentina – 70k
  1. Dakota Jone 7:18
  2. Sergio Jesus Trecaman 7:51
  3. Carlos Galosi 8:12
  1. Laura Lucero 9:40
  2. Sonia Beartriz 10:32
  3. Yanet Guzman 11:18
ADDO Elephant 76km
  1. Quintin Honey 8:05
  2. Mike Els 8:45
  3. Miema Murray (lady) 9:22




Zach Bitter

Big Fat Theory

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the ratio of fat and carbohydrate expenditure while running at varying paces.”





Maroondah Dam 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 16, 2014 | website

Razorback 58K Run | 58 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Razorback 58K Run (March) | 58 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Razorback 64K Run | 64 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Razorback 64K Run (March) | 64 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Razorback 68K Run (March) | 68 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


British Columbia

Dirty Duo 50 km Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website


6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 120 mile | 120 miles | March 14, 2014 | website

6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 350 mile | 350 miles | March 14, 2014 | website



Trail Bullygeois des Poilus – 55 km | 55 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website


Translantau 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Translantau 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 21, 2014 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 195 kilometers | March 20, 2014 | website


The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 135 Miles | 135 miles | March 14, 2014 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 160 km | 160 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 80 km | 80 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website



Trasimeno Lake Ultramarathon | 58 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website


Ultrabericus | 65 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


Nosy Be Trail – 65 km | 65 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website

New Zealand

Tarawera 100K Ultramarathon | 100 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Tarawera 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Tarawera 85K Ultramarathon | 85 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Te Houtaewa Challenge 60 km Open Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Triple Peaks Challenge | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


TRD80 Ultramarathon | 80 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


Território Circuito Centro 3a Etapa – Vila de Rei – K67 – Ultra Trail | 67 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Território Circuito Centro 3a Etapa – Vila de Rei – Trail Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website


Raid Téranga 250 | 250 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website


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

South Africa

Om Die Dam 50 km Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website



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


Marxa dels Castells PLUS | 81 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website

UT les Fonts | 120 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website

UT les Fonts – Trail de les Fonts | 70 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


Southern Cross-Island Road Ultra Marathon – 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Southern Cross-Island Road Ultra Marathon – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website


100 Miles Camelus | 100 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

45 Miles Camelus | 45 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Aberdeen City

D33 Ultra | 33 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Deeside Way Ultra | 33 miles | March 15, 2014 | website


Haworth Hobble | 32 miles | March 15, 2014 | website


Jurassic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | March 21, 2014 | website


Exmoor Ultra – 40 Miles | 40 miles | March 15, 2014 | website


Imber Ultra Marathon | 33 miles | March 09, 2014 | website



Delano Park 50 Mile Solo | 50 miles | March 08, 2014 | website


Chena River to Ridge Endurance Race 45 Mile | 45 miles | March 08, 2014 | website


Monument Valley 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Monument Valley 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Old Man 52K | 52 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


3 days of Syllamo | 150 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website


Coyote Cohorts Backbone Trail Ultra | 68 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Lake Natoma 50K | 50 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website

Marin Ultra Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Old West Trails 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Rodeo Valley Trail Run Spring 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Way Too Cool 50k | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Whoos in El Moro 50k – Race #2 | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website


High Line Canal 100K | 100 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


DWD Green Swamp 50K | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

DWD Green Swamp 50M | 50 miles | March 08, 2014 | website

Lost 118 | 118 miles | March 15, 2014 | website


Georgia Death Race | 60 miles | March 15, 2014 | website


Land Between The Lakes 50 mile run | 50 miles | March 08, 2014 | website

Land Between The Lakes 60k | 60 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website


Q50 50M Ultra | 50 miles | March 08, 2014 | website


Seneca Creek Greenway Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Graveyard 100K Ultramarathon | 100 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Graveyard 100 Mile Ultramarathon | 100 miles | March 08, 2014 | website

Reservoir Park 50K | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website


Buzzard Day 50k | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Green Jewel 50K Fun Run | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website


Fall Creek Falls 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 16, 2014 | website

Music City Trail Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


Prickly Pear 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website


Antelope Island 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 21, 2014 | website


Elizabeth’s Furnace Fat Ass 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website


Centennial Trail Run | 37 miles | March 08, 2014 | website
We say this every show, but Talk Ultra is nothing without downloads and listeners so please help us spread the word.
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He is Karl Meltzer and I’m Ian Corless
Keep Running !

Race Report – The North Face Transgrancanaria 2014

Ryan Sandes at Transgrancanaria ©

Ryan Sandes at Transgrancanaria ©

“The Canary Islands Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing announces Ryan Sandes as winner of The North Face Transgrancanaria 2014. The arguments explained by the South African runner has been accepted by the arbitral team and the disqualification has been corrected.”

Excitement on the trails almost faded into insignificance on the morning of Sunday Mar 2nd as a press release was released claiming that Julien Chorier would be crowned 2014 Transgrancanaria champion and that Ryan Sandes would be disqualified for a failure to comply with mandatory kit as specified in the race rules.

A couple of hours of frantic activity followed and eventually a resolution found! The incidence arose due to a misunderstanding in regard to a space blanket, which was translated into the word, ‘cover’ by the local race official. Ryan understood cover to mean jacket and produced the item from his pack. The official noted this as a noncompliance of race rules and of course the rest is now history. Discussions will go on in regard to this situation, certainly, errors were made. A simple discussion with Ryan and officials prior to any statement would most certainly have been preferable in contrast to the media frenzy that preceded the awards ceremony.

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©

Ultimately, Ryan was crowned champion and Timothy Olson summed up everyone’s sentiment post the decision, ‘I’m really pleased to hear this. Great decision. Ryan is a great athlete and true professional. He’s a great ambassador.’

The Race

Transgrancanaria 2014 ©

Transgrancanaria 2014 ©

The 2014 Transgrancanaria was always going to be a great race, tough 125km technical course with vertical gain and loss to make the most seasoned trail runner squirm in pain. Add to the course a top-quality men’s and ladies field and we had the makings of a classic.

Pre race we had a couple of notable drops from the line-up, Nathalie Mauclair was expected to be a real presence in the ladies race but she decided her form was not where she needed it to be. Julia Bottger also dropped with a niggling leg injury. In the men’s race, Jez Bragg withdrew before making the journey to Gran Canaria due to a cold, in contrast, Jez’s TNF teammate, Mike Wolfe arrived in Gran Canaria only to come down with flu like symptoms in the days before the race. Miguel Heras’s injury problems continued and he too unfortunately didn’t make the race

Starting at midnight in Agaete, runners would endure tough, technical terrain and relentless climbing before arriving at the finish in Faro de Maspalomas in an expected winning time of 14-hours. At the toll of midnight, runners disappeared into the night. Conditions in comparison to the 2013 edition of the race were good; light rain, some mist and blustery winds caused little problems. Ryan Sandes and Sebastien Chaigneau ran smart races in the early stages allowing time to get in the flow. Ryan in particular showed incredible maturity and patience and gave a master class in how to work your way up through the field and finish in the top slot. For nearly half of the race, Ryan was just on the edges of the top-10, British runner Casey Morgan said post race, ‘He really knew what he was doing and he looked so relaxed and calm. For sure, he was running within himself and I was just waiting for him to take off.’ Take off he did, just after the 70km mark Ryan was lying in 4th-place and in contrast to the 3 –runners in front of him, he looked relaxed and on a mission. Moving up in to 3rd and then 2nd, Ryan finally took the lead with just under 20km to go. Pushing from the front, Ryan couldn’t be complacent… Julien Chorier and Timothy Olson were pursuing. At the line, Ryan had opened up a 9-minute margin confirming that not only is he one of the best ultra distance runners in the world but also that patience is a precious commodity in any race.

Sebastien Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©

Sebastien Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©

Sebastien Chaigneau had looked like a potential winner early in the race. He was the defending champion after all and he knows the trails well. Like Ryan, Seb had paced himself well early in the race and then took over the lead. Running relaxed but with focus, Seb traded blows with Arnaud Julia (Buff) and local runner, Yeray Duran (Yeray placed 5th at CCC in 2013) was arguably a revelation and surprise of the day, despite his 3rd place at the 2013 edition of Transgrancanaria, against such strong competition in 2014, I personally thought he would finish lower down the top-10.

However, Seb dropped with dehydration and Arnaud dropped having run too hard in the early stages of the race. This allowed the two main protagonists and pre race favourites, Julien Chorier and Timothy Olson to take control of the race.

Arnaud Julia Transvulcania ©

 Timothy ran a smart race and respected the terrain and the competition. Taking over the lead at just over halfway, Timothy battled with Julien until Ryan passed them both. Post race, Timothy was very happy with his race, ‘It beat me up; I like that, that’s why I do them. It was a beautiful and technical course. It’s a race I will do it again’.

Timothy Olson Transvulcania ©

Timothy Olson Transvulcania ©

Julien Chorier impressed me at the 2013 Ronda dels Cims and without doubt was a potential favourite for the top title here on the island of Gran Canaria. Meticulous in preparation, Julien would bring a clever strategy to the race and having run the whole race in or around the top-5, one just wondered ‘when’ he would make his move. With Timothy out in front, the stage had looked set for an American win, however, a charging Ryan Sandes changed that and when Timothy faltered in the latter stage, Julien pounced to take 2nd place just 2.5mins ahead of the American.

Julien Chorier Transgrancanaria ©

Julien Chorier Transgrancanaria ©

It was Ryan Sandes day. After a troubled 2013, 2014 is certainly looking to be a great year for the South African. In just two weeks he will attempt an FKT in South Africa and then attention will focus on the Holy Grail of ultra; Western States.

Nuria Picas & Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©

Nuria Picas & Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©

*Notable mention to Brit, Casey Morgan who ran an incredible race for 10th overall


Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©

Nuria Picas came into Transgrancanaria as a pre race favourite and the Catalan did not disappoint. Starting slowly over the first 10km she took the lead ahead of Francesca Canepa and then never looked back. Pre race Nuria had said how important it would be to have reserves for the latter stages; however, Nuria didn’t need to worry. Her consistency of effort was superb. Without doubt, Nuria’s 2nd place at the 2013 TNFUTMB has provided incredible confidence in how to run long and technical trail.

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©

With Nathalie Mauclair and Julia Bottger out of the race, in reality, 2nd place and 3rd place was always going to be a battle between Francesca Canepa and Fernanda Maciel.

Fernanda Maciel Transgrancanaria ©

Fernanda Maciel Transgrancanaria ©

Fernanda looked to have 2nd place sewn up and post race, she told me, ‘I was told I had a 30-45 minute lead over Francesca and I think I became a little complacent. In the latter stages of the race the terrain became easier and more runnable which played into Francesca’s hands. We arrived at the last feed station together and Francesca didn’t stop.’

Needing to eat and hydrate may very well have cost Fernanda 2nd on the podium, we will never know, certainly missing the last feed was not an option!

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©

Francesca had an incredible 2013 dominating long distance racing, however, she found the trail on Gran Canaria a little too technical for her style of running. For much of the day she ran in 3rd place but in the latter stages, Francesca found some extra energy, closed the gap on Fernanda and managed to take 2nd place by just under 3-minutes.

Attention will now turn to UTMF in Japan; many of the runners at Transgrancanaria will be present to do battle once again on very different terrain. I wonder, who will come out on top?


Ryan Sandes Salomon/Red Bull : 14:27:42

Julien Chorier  Hoka One One/ Compressport “14:36:28

Timothy Olson The North Face : 14:39:03

Yeray Duran : 15:06:54

Antoine Guillon WAA : 15:17:30

Sondre Amdahl : 15:28:35

Javier Dominguez Vibram : 15:46:06

Cyril Cointre WAA : 15:47:08

Dylan Bowman Peral Izumi : 15:59:13

Casey Morgan Salomon 16:00:31

Nuria Picas Buff : 16:44:55

Francesca Canepa Montura : 17:29:18

Fernanda Maciel 17:31:57

Ildko Wermescher Mammut :18:50:45

Uxue Fraile Vibram 19:21:00

Nerea Martinez Salomon 19:21:00

Magdalena Ostrowska-Dolegowska : 20:27:02

Ester Alves : 23:03:10

Laureda Tirepied : 23:10:44

Helen Allison : 23:40:48

Julien Chorier & Hoka One One Transgrancanaria

all images © no reproduction or copying please

Julien Chorier and Hoka One One team mates (Caroline Chaverot & Pascal Blanc) freed up some time to head out on the trails of Gran Canaria and allowed me the opportunity to capture some images ahead of the 2014 The North Face Transgrancanaria.

  • Julien Chorier can be found at – HERE
  • Caroline Chaverot – HERE
  • Pascal Blanc – HERE
  • Hoka One One – HERE
  • Hoka One One Pro Team – HERE

The North Face® Transgrancanaria 2014 pre race and press conference images

Ryan Sandes ©

Ryan Sandes ©

Sebastien Chaigneau ©

Sebastien Chaigneau ©

Tension builds ahead of the 2014 The North Face® Transgrancanaria with runners arriving from all over the world to take part in the second race of the UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour).

You can read an in depth race preview HERE

Important news from the last couple of days are key withdrawals from the ladies race; firstly Julia Bottger has decided that recent racing and training stress has left a niggling leg injury a disaster waiting to happen and so therefore has made the wise and cautious decision not to start. Nathalie Mauclair was without doubt a potential winner of this years race and unfortunately she too has withdrawn  saying that she too has a niggling leg injury and that she doesn’t feel ready.

In the men’s race, Miguel Heras once again has picked up an injury in the build up to the race and his problematic injury issues continue. Will he be ready for Marathon des Sables?

The 125km The North Face® Transgrancanaria  starts at midnight on Friday and images and updates will be provided on this website, Talk Ultra Facebook and @talkultra on Twitter as and when possible.

Thursday evening saw a presentation of some of the key athletes in this years race.

Nuria Picas ©

Nuria Picas ©