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

Ep56

 

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?

NEWS

AUDIO with SCOTT JUREK 
 
Transgrancanaria
  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
AUDIO with CASEY MORGAN
 
AUDIO with SEBASTIEN CHAIGNEAU
  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
AUDIO with FERNANDA MACIEL
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

INTERVIEW with DANNY KENDALL

 

BLOG

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.”

INTERVIEW with RYAN SANDES

 
UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Victoria

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

Canada

British Columbia

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

Yukon

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

France

Pas-de-Calais

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

Hong-Kong

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

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

Hungary

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

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

India

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

Italy

Umbria

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

Veneto

Ultrabericus | 65 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Madagascar

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

Philippines

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

Portugal

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

Senegal

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

Slovakia

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

South Africa

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

Spain

Andalusia

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

Catalonia

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

Taiwan

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

Tunisia

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

Bradford

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

Dorset

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

Somerset

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

Wiltshire

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

USA

Alabama

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

Alaska

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

Arizona

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

Arkansas

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

California

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

Colorado

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

Florida

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

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

Kentucky

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

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

Louisiana

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

Maryland

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

Ohio

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

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

Tennessee

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

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

Texas

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

Utah

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

Virginia

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

Washington

Centennial Trail Run | 37 miles | March 08, 2014 | website
CLOSE
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He is Karl Meltzer and I’m Ian Corless
Keep Running !
LINKS

Race Report – The North Face Transgrancanaria 2014

Ryan Sandes at Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes at Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

“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 ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

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 ©iancorless.com

Transgrancanaria 2014 ©iancorless.com

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 ©iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

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 ©iancorless.com

 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 ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

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 ©iancorless.com

Julien Chorier Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

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 ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas & Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

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

Ladies

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

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 ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

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 ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

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 ©Iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©Iancorless.com

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?

RESULTS

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 ©iancorless.com 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 ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes ©iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau ©iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau ©iancorless.com

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 ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas ©iancorless.com

 

Rob Krar and Michele Yates crowned UROY

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.comArticle and all content (except images) ©ultrarunningmagazine – HERE

Rob Krar is the Male Ultra Runner of the Year. Krar won four major races during the year, capped off with a win at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championship. He set course records at the Leona Divide 50 Mile and the Moab Red Hot 55K. He was also a close second at the Western States 100 Mile, and set a fastest known time of the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim. This is all the more impressive since Krar didn’t run his first ultra until November 2012. Krar, a collegiate middle-distance standout at Butler University, works as a pharmacist in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Michele Yates - iancorless.com ©bradclayton

Michele Yates – iancorless.com ©bradclayton

Michele Yates is the Female Ultra Runner of the Year. Yates, a fitness consultant from Littleton, Colorado, won six of the seven races she entered in 2013, including highly competitive events like The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championship, the Bandera 100K, and the Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile. Yates, a collegiate steeplechaser at UNLV and a 2:38 marathoner, was the outright winner of the inaugural Indiana Trail 100 Mile, finishing first overall out of 154 starters.

You can hear a full interviews with Michele and Rob on Talk Ultra:

Read the full article on ULTRARUNNING HERE

Read my Ultra Running Review of 2013 HERE

TNFUTMB Registration for 2014 opens on December 19th

screenshot_441

Registration for the 12th The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® will be open on December 19th, there will be thousands of runners who register for the world summit of trail-running which, each year, unites more than 50 000 persons (volunteers, organisers, accompanying persons, runners, local inhabitants, general public…) spread out along the paths of the 19 French, Italian and Swiss communities involved around Mont-Blanc.

TNF UTMB IMAGES HERE

tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com

Already running for 11 years, it has seen an extraordinary development over that time. 10 years ago, Trail-running enticed a few enthusiasts, today this discipline has become a social phenomenon. In France, and all over the world, running in open country attracts more and more people, the trail-running market is growing rapidly and the success of the The North Face ® Ultra-Trail of Mont Blanc ® races participates widely in this expanding development. At just few hours away from the opening of the 2014 registration, it is the occasion to outline the news concerning this year’s event.

tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com

Three major new items for this increasingly international event:

The 2014 The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®, which is taking place from August 25th – 31st, will bring together almost 7000 runners coming from all over the world (in 2013, 74 nations were represented…). No other race attracts so many nations…This year there are some new items:

1) A new race, the OCC

The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® is becoming even more cross-border and international with the creation of a new race: the OCC, (Orsières-Champex-Chamonix) will start at Orsières, in the Suisse Valais, in the heart of the St Bernard country and finish in Chamonix. From now on, there is a race starting in each of the countries surrounding Mont-Blanc.

As a shorter model, this race will be accessible to lovers of middle distance (in the category Trail Ultra Medium (M) between 42 km and 69 km). Also, so that the less « Ultra » who wish to begin and to participate in the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® can find a race with a format which allows them to enter the event. The route of the OCC will give a taste of the incomparable charm of the villages on the approach to Champex and the last part of the magic of the UTMB® or the CCC®.

Essential details of the OCC

- Start: Orsières, Thursday August 28th at 08:00

- Finish: Chamonix

- Distance: 53 kilometres

- Height gain: 3 300 metres

- Maximum time: 14 hrs

- No qualifying points necessary

- Points acquired by finishers: 1 point

- Maximum number of runners: 1 000

tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com

2) The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® is on the Ultra-Trail® World Tour circuit

Connected to the international community of trail-running, The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® has, since September 2013, been a part of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour, a circuit which has just seen the light of day. It brings together the world’s most emblematic trail-running and ultra-endurance events, which share the same values and which celebrate the last to cross the line with the same passion as the first.

This circuit is an invitation to travel and discover the richness and diversity of the most beautiful races in the world. This annual international competition, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour, for its first year links 10 big races on 5 continents, with its own ranking, which will discern the holder of the title of champion of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour. In agreement with the organisers four events, of which the UTMB® is one, have been selected to be a “series” of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour and will favour the gathering of elite runners.

For more information (programme, date, country, titles) concerning the running of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour: click here

tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com

3) The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® subscribes to the International Trail Running Association (ITRA)Exchanges between interested parties fuels progression, improvement, adaptation and thoughts and ideas for the future. It is with this objective that since 2013, The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® has been a member of theInternational Trail Running Association which unites numerous trail-running organisers, elite runners and also those of all levels, sports’ equipment brands, associations…. By creating a dynamic founded on a gathering and exchange of thoughts and ideas of all the representative players in the field of the discipline, the ITRA has set several goals:

·                   The promotion of Trail-running as a complete stand-alone sport, rich in its diversity of cultures and locations and which is accessible to all.

·                   The development of a sports ethics which leans strongly on its values and the development of environment-friendly sporting events

·                   The implementation of prevention initiatives in favour of the good health of athletes and the fight against doping.

·                   The deployment of initiatives to improve the quality of organisations and the participants’ safety.

The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® participates in the ITRA to contribute to the development of a sport founded on true values, to listen to all the players in the field of trail-running and in order to continue to improve the quality of its races.

More information: click here.

2014 registration

Registration, exclusively by internet, opens on December 19th at 10:00

5 events between August 25th and 31st 2014. Please note that the departure times for the UTMB® and PTLtm have changed:

·                    PTL™: 300 km -  +28 000 m - Starts Monday at 17:30 - Chamonix (FR): open to 100 teams of 2 or 3 persons.

·                    TDS™: 119 km -  +7 250 m - Starts Wednesday at 07:00 - Courmayeur (IT): open to 1600 runners.

·                    OCC: 53 km -  +3 300 m - Starts Thursday at 08:00 – Orsières (CH): open to 1000 runners.

·                    CCC®: 101 km -  +6 100 m - Starts Friday at 09:00 - Courmayeur (IT): open to 1900 runners.

·                   UTMB®: 168 km -  +9 600 m - Starts Friday at 17:30 - Chamonix (FR): open to 2300 runners.

Qualifying races

Since 2007 facing a surge in the number of requests for registration, the organisation has set up the fairest possible selection mode. Registration for the UTMB®, CCC® and TDS™ is only possible for runners who have obtained, between January 1st 2012 and December 31st 2013, the necessary number of qualification points. The list is available on the web-site: qualifying races for the 2014 Ultra-Trail®

·                   UTMB® : 7 points acquired between 01/01/2012 and 31/12/2013 (in a maximum of 3 races)

·                   CCC® : 2 points acquired between 01/01/2012 and 31/12/2013

·                   TDS™ : 2 points acquired between 01/01/2012 and 31/12/2013

·                   OCC : no points required
The pre-registration period will be open from December 19th 2013 to January 6th 2014

If the quota is passed, a draw will be made so that the limit of the number of runners is respected.

The results will be published on January 15th 2014 at 10:00 (Paris time).

Registration is managed by over-booking, there is, therefore, no waiting list.

PTL™ special

This event is without ranking, in complete autonomy in teams 2 or 3 participants who should stay together throughout.

·                   A PTL™ team of 2 or 3 persons must, obligatorily, have at least 1 finisher from a precedent UTMB®,  PTLtm or Tor des Géants®.

·                   The team leader (obligatorily the finisher of the UTMB®, PTL™ or Tor des Géants®) registers on behalf of all his team members at the same time.

·                   Registration will be open as of December 19th 2013.

·                   Registration will be closed once the quota of 100 teams is reached.

All information concerning registration is available by clicking here.

2014 registration prices

UTMB® : 207 €

CCC® : 128 €

TDS™ : 142 €

OCC : 68 €

PTL™ : 670 €

The registration prices have been augmented to maintain the quality of the event despite its rapid growth. The development of the number of people welcomed (runners [7 000 expected in 2014], accompanying persons, general public…) generates a rise in organisational costs, particularly in the important areas of: security, reception, logistics, transport, refreshments, gifts, etc … The figures are enormous.

For example : 36 refreshment posts, 15 marquees erected at different points along the route, 10 safety shelters placed on passes by helicopter, 50 000 tuc biscuits, 2 800 kg of cheese, 20 000 persons transported, 170 buses and drivers, 50 control points, etc…

The success of the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® races is, without any doubt, due to the quality of the organisation. To guarantee, once again, irreproachable logistics for the runners and those accompanying them, the visitors and the volunteers, it is essential to strengthen safety devices, reception and to professionalize certain services.

Nevertheless the price per race kilometre for the races around Mont Blanc remains amongst the lowest incomparison with organisations of the same size: Between 1.15€ and 1.30€/km (after augmentation) for this year, 2014.

Compared to:

Paris Marathon = between 70 and 115€ according to the date (between 1.7€/km and 2.73€/km)

NY Marathon = 290€ (6.9€/km)

Western State = 370$ (= 273€) (1.68€/km)

UTMF = 36 000 yen (= 258€) (1.61€/km)

Vasalopett (99km) between 180€ and 230€ according to the date… (between 1.8€/km and 2.32€/km)

In several days thousands of trail-runners will cement a dream…. December 19th, is the green light, the start of an adventure. The start of six month’s training, emotional due to some sacrifices and a lot of pleasure.

Rendezvous on August 25th for a week of partying and trail-running around the Mont Blanc country.

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

San Francisco 50 TNFEC50

My head hurts… it’s December, what happened to the ‘off-season’. Not only do we no longer have an off-season but The North Face have arguably assembled one of the most competitive fields in the 2013 season. Way back in April I was writing about the ‘race of the year’. Of course, it was Transvulcania La Palma. This was followed by another ‘race of the year’, Western States. I then followed this with another race of the year, Zegama and so on… you get the picture! Ultra running and mountain running is booming and as such, we are all seeing the benefits, not only from a watching and a following perspective but also from a racer perspective. It is now possible to have several peaks in one year and TNF may very well have hit on a winning formula with such a competitive race in December.  It’s late enough in the season to have recovered from recent previous efforts, such as UROC or Run Rabbit Run and equally far enough away from ‘key’ races in 2014 to allow for adequate RnR.

Okay, deep breath… here we go.

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras returns after winning the race in 2012. His time of 5:33 in lousy conditions confirmed his ability if any was needed. Having said that, Miguel is used to rough-n-tough weather and as such, may very well have excelled in the conditions over his US contemporaries. Also the 2012 race did have issues over course marking which did lead to several runners going astray. I take nothing away from Miguel, he is a class act and although 2013 has been a difficult season for him, his second place at TNFUTMB proves that he is back. He followed this with a quality performance at Cavalls del Vent so without doubt he is a contender for the win. However, this field is stacked.

Dakota Jones UROC 2013 ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones UROC 2013 ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones is back racing and embracing the trails after a quiet start to 2013 and some escape in the mountains. In addition, Dakota became an ‘RD’ in 2013 which primarily caused him to miss TNFUTMB and refocus on UROC. That refocus nearly worked and certainly with 5-miles to go at UROC he looked as though he had the race in the bag. However, Rob Krar pulled something out of the bag and relegated Dakota to second that day. In fine form, Dakota departed for Japan to repeat his 2012 win at Hasetsune Cup, however, disaster struck and he had a tough day and a dnf. Without doubt, Dakota will be recovered and focused on winning at San Francisco. He will be looking for a repeat performance similar to San Juan Solstice 50m when he broke Matt Carpentar’s record.

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday will bring his speed to this race and along with Cameron Clayton and maybe, Max King. They will be out at the front pushing the pace. Sage has had a mixed 2013 in the sense that he has occasionally pushed and failed below his own demanding standards. His great runs at Tarawera, Transvulcania La Palma and Lake Sonoma may well fall into insignificance in Sage’s own mind as I feel he may well dwell on his performances at Sierre-Zinal and UROC. Don’t get me wrong; I am a big Sage fan. He has all the ability to go out and win San Fran but I just wonder what effect recent performances will have on his confidence. In real terms, caution may well prove a huge bonus allowing him to hold back early on and keep his powder dry for the final 30% were he can use all that natural speed and ability. Unfortunately Sage has Flu – will not start

Cameron Clayton Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton will be feeling somewhat inspired and motivated coming into San Fran after his 3rd place at UROC behind Rob Krar and Dakota Jones. Cameron was 3rd at this race last year and although he has had a full season, you can’t rule him out from pulling something special out of the bag for that $10,000 prize. His 2013 season has been fulfilled with top placing’s at Transvulcania and Lake Sonoma, however, he has had a few below par performances which I think ultimately were more due to a niggling foot and other health issues. All looks good now though.

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar, wow, what can we say about Rob that hasn’t already been said. Arguably, one of ‘THE’ ultra runners of the year after his rim-to-rim exploits, Western States run (his first 100) and then his incredible win at UROC. He raced just the other weekend at JFK50 and dropped leaving question marks in his own mind. However, the ‘drop’ may very well have just saved his legs and without doubt, don’t be surprised if he is on top of the podium at the end of the weekends festivities.

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson repeated his victory at Western States, always the sign of a true champion when you can go back to a race and do it again…! He raced at Tarawera and made the podium, he just missed the podium at Transvulcania and dug real deep at TNFUTMB. Surprisingly after such a tough TNFUTMB he then raced Run Rabbit Run on what must have been a tired body. He certainly has an autopilot but I can’t help but think this race will be all about fulfilling sponsorship requirements and showing face. Having said that, showing face will probably still result in a top-10 and should he get his race face on, don’t be surprised if Timmy gets a podium place.

Ryan Sandes Gran Canaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes Gran Canaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes has had ‘one of those years’ that he will be keen to get over! I was with Ryan in Gran Canaria in March, he was all fired up for an exciting season ahead and then injury hit forcing him to miss Western States. Healed, Ryan returned to Leadville in the hope of repeating his 2011 victory, however, injury reappeared. He has tackled some personal projects in South Africa and recently raced in Patagonia. Ryan will be looking to finish 2013 on a high and may just well go under the radar after a quiet year.

Max King La Palma ©iancorless.com

Max King La Palma ©iancorless.com

Max King has not had a repeat of his 2012 season. Winner of the 2012 JFK and UROC, Max was an unstoppable rollercoaster and along with sage Canaday was just on fire. In 2013 he had planned to mix things up and race at different distances and represent the USA in multiple disciplines, it didn’t go to plan and he has been plagued with an ankle problem. If he is recovered and inform, Max will be up at the helm with Cameron and Sage dropping fast minute miles an looking to be the last man standing at the end.

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols placed 5th last year and will come to this race confident after a great 2013 season racing in the Skyrunning calendar. In particular, he has plenty of speed uphill and has improved his down hill speed. 2013 may well just be the year that he moves a couple of places higher on the podium.

Francois D'Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene was last years 2nd place, approximately 13-mins behind his Salomon teammate, Miguel Heras. Francois has raced less in 2013 due to the pressures of owning a vineyard, however, when he has raced, he has been in top form. His was 2nd at Ice-Trail Tarentaise behind Kilian Jornet, he was joint winner at Mont-Blanc Marathon 80k Ultra with Michel Lanne and his recent dominance at the super tough Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale de Fous) means that his presence at San Fran surely means he is a podium contender. *Update “Finally my season ends sooner than expected …since my fall in Death Valley tuesday with a shock in the ribs I hope but I have finally abdicate … So I would support the team tomorrow.”

Michel Lanne Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne is another consistent performer who may well do very well at this race. He had a great run with teammate Francois D’Haene at Mont-Blanc but then picked up an injury. In addition, he has also become a dad! December may well prove to be a great time of year; his life will have settled a little, he will be over his injury and without doubt he will be excited to race in the US.

Dylan Bowman UROC ©iancorless.com

Dylan Bowman UROC ©iancorless.com

My final hot tip for a podium place goes to Dylan Bowman. Dylan had a great Western States and turned up at TNFUTMB in the form of his life but had a freak training accident, which caused him to miss the race. He has a new coach and he is going to be looking to release some of that UTMB frustration.

So who else… it seems crazy that I am not writing about the names below in more depth. But I have previewed above who I think may well take out the top-3 slots

  • Mike Wolfe – was 11th last year and set an incredible FKT this year with Hal he could win this race!.
  • Adam Campbell – 4th last year and I may regret not adding him above?
  • Mike Foote – great 2013 UTMB but been quiet recently.
  • Hal Koerner – Think he will be on TNF duty.
  • Karl Meltzer – Karl says he has no chance in such a fast and ‘short’ field. If it were a 100-miles he would be listed above.
  • Matt Flaherty – another who should maybe be above but he was 2nd at JFK just a week ago, maybe a little tired?.
  • Mike Wardian – anything can happen…. Mike is an unpredictable phenomenon.
  • David Riddle – may or may not race with injury?
  • Gary Gellin – 9th last year.
  • Ryan Ghelfi – 5th at UROC and I may regret not adding him above too.
  • Rickey Gates – mixed 2013 but always a contender.
  • Jorge Maravilla - top 20 in 2012.
  • Martin Gaffuri  - great season on the Skyrunning calendar.
  • And finally, Greg Vollet who continues to amaze and surprise every time he races.

So, there you have it. A super stacked crazy race to end the year, the top-3 are any bodies guess. I have tried to provide a little insight but just don’t be surprised if we see a completely unexpected performance and a surprise win.

Ladies preview HERE.

White Flow Nepal – Fernanda Maciel #ETR13

©copyright .iancorless.com.Kalaish

Kalaish Children’s Home – Himalayan Youth Foundation

 You can read this article translated by Fernanda Maciel into Spanish HERE©copyright .iancorless.com.©iancorless.com549

Thirty minutes, that is all it took to depart from Lukla, the trails and mountains of the Himalayas replaced by the noise and frantic activity of Kathmandu. To say that the Everest Trail Race had been an experience would be an underestimation. I have been extremely fortunate to travel to some beautiful places and follow some incredible races in the past couple of years, but the ETR, Nepal and the visual splendor of Everest and its sister peaks was a joy to behold.

As a photographer (amongst other things), Nepal was always going to tick several boxes on so many levels. I love to see culture, people and the life of a place unfold before my eyes and if I get things right, I hope to capture that in images. The diversity of the region; noise, congestion, and the buzz of Kathmandu, to the open trails and the simple pleasures of the Khumbu region was an experience that I will take with me forever. I will return to Nepal but it will be different next time. It will never be like the first time, the first time is unique.

As we landed in Kathmandu, runners and staff from the ETR started to say, ‘it’s over’. I couldn’t disagree more. We had a day and a half before our respective journey’s home and in that time I wanted to make the most of what was on offer.

A trip down Tamil Street to experience the banter, buzz and shopping experiences of a Bazaar is always a great experience. Here in Kathmandu it was no different. Like a step back in time, I bantered and bargained for the ‘best’ price on presents and souvenirs for loved ones at home.

The final day arrived. It’s a very definite thing the word ‘final’. I wanted to ensure that my final day was the start of something else and to that end I was elated to be involved in White Flow Nepal.

Fernanda Maciel, ladies winner of the Everest Trail Race and second placed finisher overall had asked me several months ago would I be involved in this project. It all came about in a pre-race interview for the ETR (here).

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Fernanda, following on from her White Flow Brazil project decided to utilize her free time in Nepal and in conjunction with the *‘Mountaineers for Himalayas Foundation’ (www.mount4him.org), Fernanda created White Flow Nepal with a primary aim to help the children at Kalaish Children’s Home.

The Kailash Hostel (www.hfy-us.org) is operated by the Himalayan Children’s Foundation. The ‘HCF’ is a Nepali charity organization who provides education and care to underprivileged children. Currently, 92-children are homed at Kalaish.

Evicted from three rental buildings, the children at Kalaish have been provided with a home due to donations and charitable endeavors. These donations allowed HCF to build a completely new hostel consisting of three buildings, a dining/administration room, boy’s dorm and girls dorm. Located in the quiet valley of Gorkarna just outside the center of Kathmandu, they have created a secure and stable environment for the children. The buildings were inaugurated by the US Ambassador to Nepal in 2007.

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Education, healthcare, extra-curricular activities, a vegetable garden, music, dance, swimming, and mountaineering all provided to the children who come from the remotest parts of mountain villages in Nepal with an emphasis placed on children from the Tibetan border region. The main reason for this has been the lack of facilities on offer for the children in these remote areas. For example, the nearest school was a three to four hours walk away. Children are accepted from 5-7 years old and are cared for until they graduate. It’s an incredibly warm, welcoming and happy environment.

Fernanda wanted to provide some assistance, no matter how small. So armed with bags of clothes and with assistance from Overstims, Compressport and The North Face, Fernanda provided essential items to help facilitate the day-to day experiences of the children of Kalaish Children’s Home.

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Our experience started at Hotel Shanker, we were picked up by staff from the school and joined by several of the older students. Departing from the center of Kathmandu we ran through the chaotic streets to the hostel in Gorkarna. Weaving in and around the traffic, passing homes, shops and farmland, we progressed along the 7km route and children from the school joined us at different stages. The closer we were to our arrival, the younger the children became until the final 200m when we where joined by the youngest!

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It was quite an experience! The joy, the laughter, the cheers and most importantly, the smiles, made every step of this run a wonderful step to something more positive. I could see a bigger picture and after all I had experienced in the past 12 to 13 days I could see it all making sense in this final journey. We were doing something very small that was making and creating a massive impact.

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At the school, Fernanda was welcomed like a queen. A banner had been placed on an external school wall congratulating her on her ETR victory. On the school playing field the children formed a large circle and then under the instruction of the ETR ladies champion, they all performed some simple stretches.

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Inside the dining/ community room a surprise awaited. Once a month, birthdays are celebrated and today an extra cake had been made, one for Fernanda. Joining the ‘top table’, Fernanda blended in perfectly. Grinning like a small child, Fernanda embraced the celebrations and when it came to celebrating, she followed tradition by smearing some cake on the children’s faces. In a place were food is such a precious commodity, it was wonderful to see the children, irrespective of age, allowed to be children.

The whole experience was rewarding, uplifting and reassuring. Nepal and its people are special. Amongst the beauty and diversity I witnessed great extremes. Poverty on a scale I have not witnessed before and this was contrasted by some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery I have had the pleasure to witness. The Kalaish Children’s Home and other places like this are the very very tip of the iceberg. They don’t even make a dent in the very apparent social issues that are so clearly present within the whole of Nepal. But, every little helps. In spite of this, I have the found the people, irrespective of wealth or social standing, the most welcoming, generous and friendly of all I have met. I leave Nepal not with something coming to an end, but with a beginning. I witnessed on the face of each and every child that our ‘disposable’ items could generate happiness, warmth and pleasure. It’s time to look within and think, ‘what can I do to help?’ Believe me, the donation of clothes, toys, books, writing materials or a donation of say £10 literally can make a huge difference.

I sincerely thank Fernanda Maciel, the staff and the children from Kalaish Children’s Home for providing me with the opportunity to experience something that will allow me the opportunity to look within and find a way to help in the future.

Namaste

Would you like to help? Why not donate to one of the faces Kalaish HERE make a payment to Paypal account: iancorless@mac.com all proceeds will go to the Kalaish Children’s Home.

Fernanda Maciel – Here

*Mountaineers for the Himalaya’s Foundation is a private, non-political, non-profit making, non-religious and non-governmental organization created by Mountaineers to help and assist children in remote and mountainous regions of Nepal, Pakistan, Tibet, India and Bhutan.

Contact

Himalayan Youth Foundation – UK

18 Holeyn Hall Roade

Wylam

Northumberland

NE41 8BB

Tel 0044 1661 852278

IMAGE GALLERY:

Everest Trail Race – Day 7 Race Day 4 Kharikhola – Phakding

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Everest Trail Race – Day 7 Race Day 4 Kharikhola – Phakding

Image gallery and image sales available HERE

Temperatures were just above freezing last night and it was a wonderful calm night with many hours of solid sleep achieved by all. I was up and on the trail by 0630 to hike my way in to CP1 at Kari La (2893m). It was a tough 8km, basically climbing 1000m in 5km. I was thinking; this would make a great VK!

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It was a wonderful start to the day having the opportunity to have time alone on the trail. However, that didn’t happen… Kaharikhola to Phakding is a very busy trail with Sherpa’s and Porters making journeys up and down the trail. In addition, there are continual mule trains ferrying all sorts of supplies to shops, lodges and other facilities. This is the only way to move things around. I am still in awe at what some porters are able to carry; all on a band that stretches across the forehead and around the supplies usually in a basket on the lower back. We have all seen ‘The North Face’ basecamp bags I am sure… ok, think of the biggest one and then put two of them together, base-to-base and attach with rope. Then add tow more bags on top. Okay, now add all this to your back. These guys are carrying 60kg up and down technical trails with serious vertical ascent and descent. It’s quite amazing and makes me feel somewhat feeble with my 22ltr pack.

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I arrived at CP1 approximately 30 minutes before Upendra. He covered the initial 8km in a ridiculous 60-minutes. He looked as fresh as a daisy. Today, Andreas Schambeck was having a good day; he followed in 2nd place but some way behind Upendra on time. Fernanda Maciel controlled the ladies field from the front but today Fernanda had company, Francisco Salas was consolidating a 3rd place on GC if he continued to put time into Ismael Dris.

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When Ismael Dris arrived he didn’t look happy; his knee was bandaged up from the fall on the previous stage and he was now making the most of the ‘Nepal’ experience and forgetting about racing. When I walked with him on the trail, he pointed at his video camera and said, ‘I am now a tourist’.

Shiri Leventhal and Nepalese, Yangdi Lama Sherpa continued to fight for 2nd and 3rd place. In many respects, barring a disaster, it would seem impossible for Fernanda and Upendra not be crowned champions of the 2013 Everest Trail Race, but behind, an exciting battle is unfolding the other podium places.

From Kari La, the trail drops down through twisting and winding trail; sometimes technical and occasionally muddy. However, if you are confident on your feet and feeling good, you can certainly keep a great pace going.

Upendra arrived at CP2, Surke in 2-hours with 17km covered. His nearest rival was 40-minutes later and Fernanda arrived 50-minutes back. I know we are in Nepal and Upendra is Nepalese but boy can he move… he is in a league of his own.

The further down the trail we went, the busier it became. We started to see more and more groups of trekkers with Sherpa’s and porters and of course the continual ferrying of all sorts of items escalated as the demand for supplies increased.

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It’s a beautiful trail section moving in and out of valleys, occasionally crossing rivers and then moving up and then down. Continuously passing small houses, children playing or women working in fields. Every now and again you will come across something a little larger.

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From CP3 at Cheplung, passing Nurning and then arriving at our stage 4 finish in Phakding, towns became a little more organized, formal and touristy. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but our early days on the trail had been remote, almost isolated.

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We were now entering in to the hub of Nepal’s trekking arena and our proximity to Lukla was obvious. Lukla is a main hub for the doorway to Everest, it has a small airport and therefore is the place where many begin and end a journey.

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Weaving in and out of the trails, passing on the right of mules, squeezing past trekkers on the left and jumping around porters, the finish of stage 4 was soon in sight.

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Dropping down the trail and crossing the Kamsyawa Khola (river) our day was done. An exhilarating and eye opening day on the trails of Nepal. Nepal and the ETR continues to offer wonderful places, fantastic sights and beautiful friendly people to fill the memory bank.

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Stage 5 Preview: Phakding to Llegada 20km

Leaving Phkakding at 2600m runners will only gain 200m in the first 8km. The climbing of the day begins but the terrain and severity is much more relaxed than the previous days. CP1 Namche Bazar is at 10km  (3400m).  Phunki Tenga at 17.5km (3300m) now will offer the runners the most spectacular views of Everest and the other 8000m peaks. This sight will spur them on for the kick in the tail, the 2km climb from 3300m to 3700m and the finish at Tyangboche.