The North Face ULTRA TR II and ULTRA CARDIAC shoes new for 2015

TNF Men Ultra Trail II Shoe angle

The North Face are stepping things up for 2015 with three new shoes that will allow all of us to choose a specific shoe designed for the trails and conditions we are running on. Just the other week we had a first look and several test runs in the ULTRA MT (read HERE). The ULTRA MT is a bullet proof shoe built on a firm last, 8mm drop and a super grippy Vibram sole.

The ULTRA MT

Sticking to their guns, TNF now have the ULTRA TR II and the ULTRA CARDIAC. As a brand, TNF have obviously decided that 8mm drop is the perfect sweet spot and comprise when coming to a one drop for all scenario. I have to say, I agree! Purest and low drop enthusiasts out there will say, no, no, it needs to be 6mm, 4mm or even lower. To an extent I agree and understand but when you are only making three shoes, you need to commit. For many, particularly when running long, 8mm provides a great compromise and as we run longer and our run style and technique fades, 8mm drop allows for some leeway. I run in 4mm and 6mm drop shoes on a regular basis and I find the 8mm option a pleasure and a joy. Ultimately, there is no shortage of shoes on the market and a selection of drops. If TNF and an 8mm drop shoe is of interest, read on.

TNF ULTRA TR II

TNF Men Ultra Trail II Shoe angle

 

The 2014 Ultra Trail shoe received much praise for it’s look and feel when running on dry trail. However, it did gain some criticism for the the longevity of the upper! So, the launch of the Ultra Trail II is a great sign that all previous pluses and minuses have been pooled to create a new and fast shoe.

The Vibram sole of the Ultra Trail was arguably one of the highlights of the shoe, it’s great to see this carried over to the Ultra Trail II. Vibram are synonomous with grip and this sole had an abundance of grip on dry trails, rocks and road. I do think that the Ultra Trail will work very well as a shoe that can switch between road and dry trail seamlessly.

TNF Men Ultra Trail II Sole

Influenced by cross-country spike shoes, the upper is a featherlight rip stop upper that provides a snug fit. As one would expect, the shoe is using TNF’s CRADLE technology to offer support in the heel and the midsole.

TNF Men Ultra Trail II Shoe side

The Ultra TR II is a lightweight performance shoe that will weigh 230g (UK8) and without doubt, the shoe is all about speed and feel for those faster training sessions or races on dry trails. It is anticipated that the shoe will be available in two colours for men and one colour for ladies.

TNF Men Ultra Trail II Shoe orange

TNF Ladies Ultra Trail IISpecifications:

 

  • Ripstop-tent-fabric
  • Pebax® heel CRADLE™ for support and proper foot positioning
  • Glove-like heel fit with protective suede overlays
  • Suede forefoot and toe protection
  • 16 mm heel
  • 8 mm forefoot
  • Dual-injection-molded EVA CRADLE™ GUIDE midsole platform
  • Vibram® full-length road-to-trail outsole engineered for optimal traction and balance
  • 8 mm offset
  • Approximate Weight: 460 g (pair) *based on Men’s 8

TNF ULTRA CARDIAC

TNF Men Ultra Cardiac Shoe angle

 

The Ultra Cardiac looks to be an exciting shoe… I have long hailed my love for the Ultra Guide (no longer made by TNF) and on first looks, the Cardiac may well take off where the Ultra Guide finished. I hope so!

As mentioned, the Ultra Cardiac follows on with an 8mm drop providing a great sweet spot for many runners. Unlike the Ultra TR II, the Cardiac will ideally suit runners as a one-stop shoe. It will provide grip through a Vibram sole on a multitude of terrain: road, hard trail, rocks and wet/ muddy trail (providing it’s not too muddy.)

TNF Men Ultra Cardiac Sole

The upper has FlashDry technology and it really is a great multipurpose shoe with enhanced cushioning: 20mm rear and 12mm at the front. When compared to the Ultra TR II (16mm/ 8mm) it’s easy to see how these two shoe differ not only in weight but cushioning and purpose. The Ultra Cardiac is a shoe that you can slip on, run all day on mixed terrain and not get home battered and bruised from the experience.

TNF Men Ultra Cardiac Side

Despite a full length Vibram sole, fast drying upper and great cushioning the Ultra Cardiac still weighs in at a lightweight 275g (UK8) which is extremely appealing.

Ultra Cardiac Sole

 

Available in one colour for men, the ladies colour option is as below and will size from UK4 to UK9.

TNF Ladies Ultra Cardiac

Features:

 

  • Ultra Airmesh and FlashDry™ keep you cool and dry
  • Zonal protection in the heel and toe
  • Pebax® heel CRADLE™ for proper heel positioning and support
  • Luxurious cushioning in the collar lining and tongue for a comfortable fit
  • 20 mm heel /12 mm forefoot
  • EVA underfoot
  • Vibram® full-length outsole engineered for optimal traction and balance
  • 8 mm offset
  • Approximate Weight: 548 g (pair) *based on Men’s 8

A full review of both shoes will be available in the coming months. The ULTRA TR II and ULTRA CARDIAC will be available from March 2015 prices are expected to be £85 and £105 respectively.

 

Read a ‘first impression’ review of the new, TNF ULTRA MT HERE

TNF Ultra MT angle

Check out The North Face HERE

the-north-face-logo

 

 

 

Iain Don Wauchope (aka Gandalf) writes about winning The Coastal Challenge 2015

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On Sunday, 25 January, at 15:30pm I departed my home in the Drakensberg, South Africa, and embarked on the longest and most challenging trip of my life. I finally arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Wednesday, 28 January. Actually, I only arrived at my hotel at 17:30 after taking 3 local buses from the airport to Poasito where I had booked a hotel room for the next few nights. In total, 82 hours had elapsed since I had left home! Not only was this trip long and testing in duration, it was extremely stressful and proved to be a bigger challenge than the actual trail running race that was the purpose of my trip to Costa Rica.

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The Coastal Challenge is a 6-day, 225km, supported trail run through the tropical rainforests of the South Western region of Costa Rica, Central America. All runners bring along their own tents, sleeping mats, sheets, mosquito nets etc. The organisers provide the meals, the overnight camping venues, transport for your bag, a well-marked route, aid stations on each day’s route and the usual back-up crew of media, medics, volunteers and logistics people. All runners are treated the same whether you are an international trail running legend or a local Costa Rican that the organisers haven’t even heard of before.

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For me, this race was a true test of perseverance and a reminder of how important it is to maintain a positive mental outlook no matter how bad the situation seems. I struggled for the first 2 days with headaches, my legs feeling lethargic, without rhythm and generally out-of-sorts. It felt as though my body was fighting off a bug or possibly still recovering from my arduous trip. Nevertheless, I kept plugging away and just tried to enjoy the journey and the beautiful surroundings. Despite how I was feeling and the results of each day, it was a privilege and honour to be in Costa Rica running through forests, rivers and beaches that most people would never get to experience.

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As it turned out, the final result of day 1 was not bad. Mike Murphy, the Canadian, was galloping off ahead in the lead, looking mighty fit, when he failed to see the course markings and continued in the wrong direction. As a result, I found myself in the lead and somehow managed to maintain that lead all the way to the end. It was extremely hot towards the end of the stage and it required a lot of mental effort to keep going all the way to the finish. I only had about 6 minutes on Ashur Yousseffi, a local Costa Rican, but about 14 minutes on Mike. There was no doubt that Mike was in great shape and the fastest runner on the day. I would have to keep an eye on him. As expected Karl Meltzer had started slowly and make good progress towards the latter stages. Joe Grant struggled in the heat, as did everyone else. I just seemed better able to adapt to the conditions and get to the finish quickest despite not feeling great.

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Day 2 started with a steep climb from our lovely overnight campsite at Rafiki Lodge. Mike immediately took the lead closely followed by Joe and I. While I kept an eye on Mike and Joe, I remained focused on myself maintaining a constant pace that I was comfortable with at that stage. By the top of the climb Mike and Joe had a few minutes on me and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see them again. So I continued to slog away up and through an overgrown track through the jungle, not feeling great but moving forward. By the 2nd check point / aid station, another local Costa Rican, Jeffrey Portuguez, had caught up to me while Mike had extended his lead to about 10 minutes. Joe was only 3 minutes ahead so I was hoping we could reel him in at some point. The section towards checkpoint 3 was flatter along a good gravel road but it was also getting very hot. Jeffrey dropped off the pace along this section but I was also suffering, so I stopped to buy a coke at a local shop. Shortly thereafter, at checkpoint 3, I was surprised to catch Joe; he had rolled his ankle badly and was hobbling along. We headed off together to tackle the last section along a long open beach; it was hot and we were both suffering a bit. It was great to have some company for this last stretch and I was very relieved to finally reach the end of day 2 alongside a new friend. Mike had a stormer of a run; he set a new stage record and finished almost 30 minutes ahead of us. That evening I mentioned to someone that the only way to beat Mike would be to chop his legs off! He had a 16-minute lead, I still wasn’t feeling 100% and he looked like he was ready to take on the world! Little did I know that he was having a few issues of his own that would soon escalate into more serious problems.

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Day 3 started in much the same way as the first 2 days. Mike sped off from the start and the rest of us followed. I needed a few minutes to warm up and then started feeling okay. I soon realised that Mike wasn’t gaining any more distance on me and I slowly caught up to him. I knew we had a rocky river section ahead of us and I suspected that I would be able to negotiate the slippery rocks better than Mike. As it turned out, this was a critical part of our race and the turning point of our dual. We arrived at the river section together. I focused on just getting over the rocks and through this river section as efficiently as possible. Mike, on the other hand, was struggling over the rocks and kept falling and slipping. He lost his sunglasses and most of his pre-mixed race juice. He grew increasingly angry with himself and I knew I should keep the pressure on by moving swiftly through this tricky section. After 10km, we arrived at checkpoint 1 together. The big difference was that Mike had expended a lot of energy up until this point. He was battered and bruised with numerous cuts on his legs, he had lost his sunglasses and his pre-mixed race fuel and, more importantly, this was now playing on his mind. Incidentally, I had also lost my cap but I didn’t worry too much about it. I filled up my bottles, grabbed some delicious fruit and then ducked off into the bush to alleviate a bit of diarrhoea.

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Soon thereafter, we trotted off from checkpoint 1 together and immediately started a climb out of the valley. Mike dropped back half a stride and then a full stride. I was feeling good so I increased my tempo slightly. I knew I had to take advantage while I was feeling good and Mike was struggling. Even though I was aware of Mike, I remained focused on myself realising that it was still a long way to go to the finish on day 6. I got into a comfortable rhythm, kept myself well hydrated and as cool as possible. Towards the end of the day we had a long beach section to negotiate. It was very hot and, without my peak, the sun felt more intense than usual. I attempted to make a plan with a large leaf to provide some protection from the blazing sun, but it only lasted about 500m. Despite feeling good at the start of the beach section, by the time I reached the other end of the beach I was suffering and really feeling the heat. To everyone’s relief, including mine, there was an Eden-like freshwater stream and plunge pool as the route left the beach and entered the forest. I submerged by body in the cool water, gulped down some oh-so-refreshing water and then started the slog up the steep forest track towards the final checkpoint. From there it was a blistering hot 4km stretch along tar towards the finish. I didn’t want to over-exert myself but I also didn’t want to lose any advantage that I had built up over Mike. Keep in mind that you have no idea of the time gaps between yourself and those behind you; I didn’t know whether Mike was 3 minutes or 30 minutes behind me and how he was feeling or moving. So I just kept trudging along towards the finish. I was pleasantly surprised to arrive in a new stage record time of 4:43, beating the previous record by almost 33 minutes. Mike arrived about 16 minutes later, also under the old stage record. Overall, I was now leading Mike by less than 2 minutes. The race was on!

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Day 4 was another big day starting with a long, steep climb and ending with a very steep descent with a total ascent of 2950m. Mike was a little more tentative at the start and didn’t go tearing off as usual. As soon as we hit the first climb he fell off the pace again. I applied the same strategy as in the previous stages; I kept going at a good, steady pace that I knew that I could sustain all the way to the finish. My body was feeling better each day and I was now in the groove of running on a daily basis in the hot and humid conditions. Interestingly, the long and steep descent towards the end of the day was actually very dry.

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It reminded me of running back home in South Africa with brown, dry grass and dusty paths. My legs felt very good over the last few kilometres and I had a nice spring in my stride. This was a good place to be after 4 days of tough running. In contrast, Mike was taking strain and had fallen again on his elbow. This elbow later became infected and added to his health issues. Nevertheless, he wasn’t giving up and kept persevering all day long. My time of 3:58 was more than 20 minutes faster than the previous stage record and almost 40 minutes faster than Mike. I know had a comfortable lead but anything can happen in a multi-day event so I didn’t want to take my foot off the accelerator.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day4-0841

Day 5 was the last tough day and the longest in distance of the race. We were greeted overnight with some rain and started the day’s run in a gentle drizzle. The road conditions were good for the first 16 kilometres and with the cooler temperatures this made for a relatively fast pace. I was happy to tick along at my pace and soon found myself running alone up front. Shortly after the first check point the route headed onto a smaller forest road that had recently been graded. In fact, I passed the grader and other trucks at the start of this forest section. Consequently, the next section was very muddy and slippery. Even gentle gradients became almost impossible to run up. Instead of fighting through this section of about 16 kilometres, I once again focused on getting through the mud as efficiently as possible. Once I was through the slippery quagmire, I was able to pick up the tempo again and head towards the finish at Drake Bay. Despite the testing conditions I was very surprised to beat the previous stage record by 3 minutes. Unfortunately for Mike, this was the day that his body starting shutting down. He put in a huge effort just to reach the finish line unassisted but he was clearly in some serious trouble. The medics were very quick to attend to him and he was ultimately admitted to hospital the following morning with multiple health issues.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day5-2273

Mike’s withdrawal from the race left the door wide open for Ashur and Roiny to fight it out for 2nd and 3rd place overall. The final day’s stage was only about 24 kilometres and in the end Ashur secured a well-earned 2nd place with Roiny about 10 minutes back in 3rd. I decided to run the last day just like I had run all the other stages and managed to set another stage record.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day6-2849

In summary, I won 5 out of 6 stages, I set records in the last 4 stages and I set a new overall record by almost an hour. I surpassed all my own expectations and was very grateful that I did not experience any major problems. What appeared to be problems for me in the early stages were, in fact, minor in comparison to what others endured, especially Mike. The beautiful setting of the finish at Drake Bay, the wonderful people and fantastic weather (despite the humidity it’s great to be in the sun!) made my victory even more enjoyable.

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While any stage race over this distance requires careful body management, a distinguishing feature of this particular race is learning to deal with the very high humidity and high temperatures. As expected, correct hydration, nutrition and recovery are vital components of this jungle race. And don’t forget to look after your feet and to avoid infections from cuts and grazes while negotiating the trails! Most importantly, remember to maintain a positive attitude and enjoy the beautiful surroundings; Costa Rica has tremendous biodiversity and is a paradise waiting to be explored.

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All in all, The Coastal Challenge is a great event that tests your physical fitness and mental toughness to the maximum. However, what I will remember most about this unique event are the wonderful people that I met along the way. The local race organiser, Rodrigo Carazo is a gem. This guy has done some of the most amazing backpacking trips, adventure racers and explorations that I have ever heard about. Furthermore, he has a fantastic team of workers and volunteers, from the cooks to the medics to the aid station crew to the sweepers. A bunch of great people who have a single purpose, to make The Coastal Challenge as enjoyable as possible for each and every participant.

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Entries for the 2016 The Coastal Challenge are now available online.

Please go to tcccostarica.com and thecoastalchellenge.co.uk

 

The North Face ULTRA MT Shoe – First Impressions

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I have been waiting for this shoe….

I wrote recently that If the ULTRA MT 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. Read HERE

The ULTRA MT has a new Vibram® Megagrip outsole with unrivalled traction to keep you close to the ground. It also has enhanced upper support as well as a breathable Ultra Airmesh. The innovation continues underfoot, where precise stability and protection ensures a better performance with every step.

So what do I think?

Well, fresh from the box, the ‘Power Orange’ colour hits you and you will immediately make a decision if this is a positive colour or negative colour. Me? I don’t mind. Once you have been for a couple of runs, any brightness subsides and the shoes start to look like real trail shoes. I guess the most starling observation, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice this, but the ULTRA MT sure does look like a Salomon Speedcross.

©iancorless.com_TNFUltraMT-3617

Salomon Speedcross

I am not going to go into the pros and cons of this similarity but I am pretty sure all you good folks out in ultra land would notice this, so it would be silly for me not to acknowledge this.

First Impressions

The ULTRA MT is bullet proof.

The upper is thick and durable.

©iancorless.com_TNFUltraMT-3577

The toe box is well protected.

©iancorless.com_TNFUltraMT-3591

The heel box is plush and the tongue is padded.

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The tongue is secured within the shoe to stop movement and provide a secure foothold.

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This shoe will take a battering and survive many a run in harsh conditions.

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The sole of the ULTRA MT is aggressive and is Vibram® Megagrip. It’s actually very similar to the previous Ultra Guide shoe but has a much harder feel and it feels hard when running on non-soft ground.

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As mentioned, I am a real fan of the TNF Ultra Guide and considering that TNF no longer make that shoe, I was anticipating the ULTRA MT to not only be a replacement but an improvement!

Putting the ULTRA MT on for the first time was an eye opener. It felt much more solid, less flexible and less cushioned than the Ultra Guide. Although 8mm drop, the shoe feels lower to the ground, this may well be because of less cushioning (I don’t have fore and rear foot cushioning measurements at the moment). The ULTRA MT also feels less flexible. The Vibram sole is most certainly harder (more durable?) than the previous Ultra Guide sole and in my opinion has less feel. I do wonder why they make the sole in different colours? From experience I have nearly always found a coloured sole under performs when compared to the same sole in black. Of course I am speculating here! Contact with the ground felt a little harsh initially.

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The shoe sizes on the large side. I usually take a UK9.5 and I have a UK9 in the ULTRA MT. The toe box is wide and roomy (maybe why the shoe feels larger) and for those of you that have been looking for a wide roomy trail shoe with an 8mm drop, you are going to be very pleased with the ULTRA MT.

The tongue is padded and I am pleased to say that it is fitted within the shoe to provide a secure foothold and to stop the tongue moving around. A mesh panel is added to reduce debris entering the shoe. The laces are thin (too thin for me) and gnarly but they do pull the shoe tight and stay fastened. For a non waterproof shoe, the upper really does restrict what enters the inside. I have been in some really muddy and wet ground and my socks remained dry.

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The heel box is snug holds the foot well and providing you have the laces tied appropriately you don’t get any movement or slipping.

In Use

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It may come as no surprise that the ULTRA MT is designed for muddy trail. If used in this scenario I am pretty sure you are going to be happy with the results. The Vibram sole provides grip on a multitude of surfaces but does feel a little hard when the terrain becomes harder.

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The shoe really is built to endure tough conditions. The upper, the toe box and the sole all look as though they will take a repeated beating and just keep asking for more… but I do question if this comes at a compromise for feel and feedback? The upper also has body mapping layer system on the upper to enhance support on the medial side, protecting the toe area.

It’s early days in the test and I will update in 3-4 weeks how the shoe has progressed with repeated use.

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The ULTRA MT will be available to purchase from March 2015. Weight is 295g for a UK8 and the estimated RRP is £120.

Check out The North Face HERE

Episode 79 – Amdahl Pascall Kimball

Ep79

Episode 79 of Talk Ultra is another packed show! We speak with HK100 2nd placed runner, Sondre Amdahl. We also speak to the female winner of the UK’s, The Spine, Beth Pascall. Nikki Kimball discusses her incredible 2014 season with victory at Marathon Des Sables, top-5 at Western States Endurance Run and winning Run Rabbit Run. The News, a Blog, Up & Coming Races and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.

00:05:11 NEWS
 
HK100
 
Long-Fei Yan 9:52:42
Sondre Amdahl 9:59:46
Antoine Guillon 10:30:02
Pui Yan Wyan Chow 12:24:56
Dong Li 12:39:54
Lisa Borzani 12:50:38
00:13:27 INTERVIEW
 
Sondre Amdahl check out his website HERE
 
The Spine
 
Pavel Paloncy 79:34 and Beth Pascall 90:59 –  It is the longest non-stop foot race in the UK, set against the unforgiving British winter. 268 miles of ice, snow, cold and savage winds. You have 7 days to complete the race from Edale to Kirk Yetholm.
 
01:08:45 INTERVIEW
 
Beth Pascall
 
HURT 100
 
Michael Arnstein 21:29
Alex Nunn 21:47
Nick Hollon 22:42
Amy Sproston 26:22
Alicia Woodside 28:10
Kiyomi Kuroda 31:22
 
02:04:38 BLOG
Sondre Amdahl – Diagonale des Fous race report – HERE
 
02:05:30 INTERVIEW
 
Nikki Kimball – Finding Traction film HERE
 
03:05:10 UP & COMING RACES
 

Argentina

Columbia Cruce de los Andes | 90 kilometers | February 05, 2015 | website

Queensland

Beerwah at Night – 50 km | 51 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

Caboolture Historical Village Dusk to Dawn 100km | 100 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Caboolture Historical Village Dusk to Dawn 50km | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Chad

TREG | 170 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

Chile

El Cruce Columbia | 103 kilometers | February 05, 2015 | website

Costa Rica

Coastal Challenge | 250 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

France

Tarn

La Ronde Givrée | 62 kilometers | February 01, 2015 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Januar | 108 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Brandenburg

HallenMarathon 50km Ultra-Lauf | 50 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

Hesse

Rodgau 50km Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

India

Thar Desert Run – 100 miles | 100 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 135 Miles | 135 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 160 km | 160 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 50 km | 50 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 80 km | 80 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

Kenya

Kimbia Kenya 100 km | 100 kilometers | January 30, 2015 | website

Kimbia Kenya 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2015 | website

New Zealand

The James Mountain Stampede Ultra | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Nicaragua

Survival Run: Nicaragua | 70 kilometers | February 04, 2015 | website

Oman

Wadi Bih Run | 72 kilometers | February 06, 2015 | website

Réunion

Transvolcano | 52 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

Thailand

The North Face 100® – Thailand | 100 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

The North Face 100® – Thailand – 50 km Solo | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Arc of Attrition | 100 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Lancashire

Marmot Dark Mountains™ – Elite Course | 53 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Milton Keynes

Quadzilla | 164 kilometers | February 05, 2015 | website

Surrey

The Pilgrim Challenge North Downs Way Multistage Ultra | 66 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

USA

Alabama

Mountain Mist 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Arizona

Coldwater Rumble 100 Mile Trail Run | 100 miles | January 24, 2015 | website

Coldwater Rumble – 52K | 52 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Coldwater Rumble – 52 Mile | 52 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Race Across Arizona – Beeline and Beyond (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Race Across Arizona – Border to Border (15 Marathons) | 405 miles | January 28, 2015 | website

Race Across Arizona – Valley of the Sun (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | January 30, 2015 | website

California

Folsom South Side Trail 38 Mile Run | 38 miles | January 24, 2015 | website

Folsom South Side Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Fort Ord Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Ordnance 100K | 100 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Race Across California – Desert Challenge (4 Marathons) | 107 miles | January 23, 2015 | website

Spooner’s Cove 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

Colorado

Frozen Dead Guy 50km | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Florida

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys | 199 miles | February 06, 2015 | website

Skydive Ultra 100M Run | 100 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Skydive Ultra 50 km Run | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Skydive Ultra 50M Run | 50 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Massachusetts

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Minnesota

Arrowhead 135 mile Winter Ultramarathon | 135 miles | January 26, 2015 | website

New York

The Beast of Burden Winter 100 Miler | 100 miles | January 24, 2015 | website

North Carolina

North Carolina Fat Ass 50k | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Ohio

Run for Regis 50K | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Texas

Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile | 100 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile | 50 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Winter Festival Goat 50K | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Winter Festival Goat 50 Mile | 50 miles | January 31, 2015 | website

Utah

Snowshoe Festival 50K | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Washington

Lake Youngs NUTS 50K Run | 50 kilometers | January 31, 2015 | website

Venezuela

Ultra Laguna de Urao | 65 kilometers | January 24, 2015 | website

Virgin Islands (USA)

St. Croix Scenic 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 25, 2015 | website

 
CLOSE

03:19:19

Links:

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

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

Website – talkultra.com

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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SPEEDGOAT, GRANT, DON-WAUCHOPE : The Coastal Challenge 2015

TCC Men 2015

In just 30-days, the 2015 multi-day The Coastal Challenge will get underway. It’s an exciting prospect! We recently announced the female top runners – ANNA FROST, NIKKI KIMBALL, SAMANTHA GASH and VERONICA BRAVO. Today we announce the men’s field:

 SPEEDGOAT KARL MELTZER

JOE GRANT

IAIN DON WAUCHOPE

Race director, Rodrigo Carazo and the TCC team have once again excelled in providing a top quality elite line up making The Coastal Challenge the ‘must-do’ multi-day stage race in the world.

The ‘TCC’ is a supported race. Each day base camp is moved ahead and awaits the runner’s arrival at the finish. Equipment is kept to a minimum allowing runners to travel light and fast.

Karl Meltzer

Karl Meltzer (Hoka One One/ Red Bull) affectionately known as Speedgoat needs to introduction to the ultra world. He is Mr Ultra Running. A professional runner since 1999, Speedgoat has won more 100-mile races than any other runner on the planet. Ironically, he says he has never run a multi-stage race but he has completed the Appalachian Trail and the Pony Express Trail.

In 2006, Speedgoat won 6 100-mile races and the award Ultra Runner of the Year! A strong and fierce competitor, Speedgoat is one of the most respected ultra athletes in the world and his presence at the 2015 The Coastal Challenge is a great honour.

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Joe Grant (Arc’teryx, inov-8, Buff) is a Brit who grew up in France who now lives in the USA. A passionate writer and photographer, he has gained a reputation as an adventurer. He has a passion for moving fast and light over long distances and although he has never run a multiple day race, he has experienced epic races such as the Iditarod and Tor des Geants.

Placing 2nd at the 2012 Hardrock 100 is almost certainly a highlight in his career, however, he is a man who is all about experiencing a race in it’s entirety. I see my life as a continuum of experience, perpetually in motion, changing and becoming, a confluence of ideas, people and places. The happenings of the past feed into each other, shaping who I am today, not as static, separate events to check off a list or rungs on a ladder of accomplishments and failures, but rather as small parts of a whole that make for the totality of my experience.”

Joe is excited about travelling to Costa Rica and experiencing a new place and environment. He also relishes the opportunity to toe the line against some great competition.

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Iain Don Wauchope (The North Face SA) recently won the Salomon SkyRun in South Africa. He covered the 100km course in a blistering time of 12-hours and 8-minutes; a new course record. (Ryan Sandes set the old course record.)

Residing in South Africa, Iain has a history in adventure racing and therefore the TCC will be an exciting opportunity for him to test his multi-day skills over a new format and in a new location.

A multiple victor of the iconic OTTER race, Iain is considered to be one of the best ultra, trail and mountain runners in South Africa. “I am not getting any younger and the opportunity to race in Costa Rica against such a quality field is a dream come true.”

*****

 Interviews with all three men to follow – watch this space.

Read about the ladies field HERE

Enter the race in the UK HERE

Enter the race outside the UK HERE

Ultra Running, Mountain, Trail and Skyrunning Review 2014

2014

Did that just happen?

Another year draws to a close and with it many races, many experiences and many highlights. I don’t need to tell you but our niche sport is progressing at an alarming rate: more runners, more races and more standout experiences, what a year!

It is no easy task being at the top of your game in our sport anymore. Competition is high at every race and past scenarios where a runner could return to a ‘fave’ race year-after-year and win it are long gone! I don’t think we will ever see a Scott Jurek or Ann Trason dominate the sport as they did in their times.

Runners at the top of the game now need to be specific, peak for races; recover and then re peak if they want to perform. The ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) and the UTWT add to the complexity of the race calendar by adding a ‘series’ element to proceedings. The need to be at your best for a series requires planning, commitment, dedication and patience. It’s way to easy to burn out… a good year, maybe two good years and then boom, gone! We have seen this happen time-and-time again. Ask Geoff Roes, ask Anna Frost, Tony Krupicka and so on. The need to balance racing and recovery is now more than ever a key component of the ultra runners weaponry and so therefore when I review a year, I do it with a sense of hesitation.

For sure, I am going to write about several runners who have excelled, who have repeatedly blown my mind with stunning performances and against all logic have recovered, come back and won again. So as I write this, please keep in mind the above. A long ultra running life must come with balance.

Also, the following summary and notes are my highlights of 2014 so I welcome your thoughts and feedback..

2014 in summary

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Jo Meek followed on 2nd place lady in the 2013 Marathon des Sables (2013) with a course record performance in The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. Showing meticulous preparation and dedication, Jo just gave us all a glimpse of what was about to come!

 

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Ryan Sandes and Nuria Picas laid out a stall at Transgrancanaria and put on two consummate displays of ultra running prowess. Nuria lead from the front showing all the ladies a clean pair of heals whereas Ryan played the waiting game and moved through the field slowly but surely to grasp the race by the scruff of the neck in the latter stages and take a superb victory.

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Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel did the DrakTraverse and in doing so they showed us that big projects in the mountains are just as exciting as racing. FKT’s love them or hate them are here to stay and I for one love the concept. Ultimately it gets back to why we all run. Ryan and Ryno with considerable help of Red Bull really put South Africa on the map and the fellas at The African Attachment produced a great film called Trevelyan to document the record.

UTMF (Ultra Trail Mt Fuji) confirmed that Nuria Picas was going to be the lady to beat in 2014. Nuria’s strength, powers of recovery and ability to push beyond the norm elevated her to a new level. Equally, Francois d’Haene showed us that he had recovered from Raid de la Reunion in 2013 and when it came to 100-miles in mountainous terrain he would be the man to beat.

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball arrived in Morocco and for the 2nd year running put an American on the top of the ladies podium and in doing so she confirmed her status as one of the best female ultra runners in the world.

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I mentioned Anna Frost above and after 12+ months in an ultra wilderness the ever smiling lady from New Zealand returned to the volcanic island of La Palma and produced not only one of the best comebacks in our sport but in the process set a new course record for the Transvulcania La Palma course.

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As Frosty made that comeback, up the trail in La Palma, Luis Alberto Hernando was having one of the best races of his life as he went toe-to-toe with Kilian Jornet. He pulled it off! He beat Kilian and in doing so he achieved something that so few have done. His emotions on the line in Los Llanos provided a special moment in the sport.

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Zegama-Aizkorri had all the excitement and buzz of previous years and Kilian started a winning streak that placed his career on an all time high. By comparison, Pocket Rocket, Stevie Kremer took top honours confirming that her 2013 results were no flook (never in question) and that a repeat performance for the Skyrunning World Series was on the cards

Ellie Greenwood did it… she won Comrades and achieved the ultimate tick for her own bucket list but inspired so many Brits, Canadians and Americans in the process. It was quite a run and one that Ellie will take to the grave as a defining moment of her running. Jo Meek followed up victory in January’s The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica with 5th in South Africa; the ultra community looked on and asked the question: who is Jo Meek?

Kilian Jornet obliterates the record for Denali in Summits of my Life (11:48) – nuff said!

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Luis Alberto Hernando bolstered by his Transvulcania performance laid it all on the line in Chamonix for the Skyrunning World Champions in the 80Km Ultra event. Collapsing on the finish line not only had Luis achieved a lifelong dream but he had relegated the almost unbeatable Francois d’Haene into 2nd place. Emelie Forsberg won the ladies race against Anna Frost and Kilian Jornet proved what an incredible athlete he is by working his craft in the VK and SKY race just days after setting a new Summits of my Life record on Denali. Elisa Desco became ladies SKY world champion in a highly competitive and exciting race and Laura Orgue confirmed her outright climbing ability and was crowned VK world champion.

Steve Birkinshaw

Steve Birkinshaw produced the ultimate FKT and broke a long-standing record for the Wainwrights (518km) in the English Lakes. Summiting 214 tops with an elevation gain/loss of 36,000m Steve set a new record of 6-days and 13-hours.

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Ice Trail Tarentaise in the stunning resort of Val D’Isere allowed Francois d’Haene to once again excel in the snowy and cold mountains of this tough, technical and amazing Skyrunning course. Running head-to-head with Luis Alberto Hernando (again) with less than 20km’s to go, Francois moved ahead and took top honours. Emelie Forsberg took a back-to-back victory at the race and confirmed that her ability at the 80km distance was unmatched.

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Hardrock 100 will go down in the history books as one of THE runs of all time. It was the most stacked field ever, it was a who’s who of ultra running and the prospect of Kilian Jornet finally getting an opportunity to test himself on what many consider to be the ultimate course was just way too exciting. Like a script from a screenplay, Kilian bided his time, pulled away, hung out waiting for Julien Chorier and then by his estimations ‘wasted’ 55-minutes in aid stations and still smashed the record. KJ’s victory guarantees an entry for next year when the course is run the opposite way; I wonder… could we see Kilian set two CR’s?

Western States was all about Rob Krar doing his thing and coming back for a repeat victory (14:53:22). This quiet unassuming man let his legs do the talking and produced what was the start of a trio of 100-mile successes. Max King in his first 100-miler set a blistering pace early on and eventually placed 5th… more on him later! Stephanie Howe was crowned ladies champion in 18:01:42.

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The Skyrunning Dolomites Skyrace was remarkable for two reasons. Laura Orgue progressed from a VK specialist to a SKY victor and remarkably Kilian Jornet, just 7-days after Hardrock ran the VK on Friday (placing top-10) and then won the SKY race on Sunday against the best in the world; ridiculous.

Sierre-Zinal, the epic mountain race in Switzerland was finally won by Pocket Rocket herself, Stevie Kremer after placing top-3 on two previous attempts. It was a defining moment for the little lady from Crested Butte and post race she said if she could only win one race, Sierre-Zinal would be it. A pattern is forming… yes, those two words: Kilian Jornet. Yes, he did it again!

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Trofeo Kima (Italy) only happens every 2-years and is arguably the jewel in the Skyrunning crown. It’s a kick-ass race of epic proportions and if I could only ever cover one race as a photographer, Kima would be it. Combining running, climbing, descending, chains, ropes, ladders and vertical drops it is a course that is made for Kilian Jornet. Needless to say the Catalan won and in doing so, he set a new course record. Emelie Forsberg look set to take the ladies crown but a lapse of concentration mid race took Emelie of course and loose approximately 1-hour. Despite chasing like a demon, Emelie could not pull back the time on ladies winner, Kasie Enman.

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The British Ultra Trail Championships crowned Jo Meek and Kim Collison as respective champions in two exciting races on the Lakeland 50 course.

Iker Karrera and Nura Picas won Buff Epic Trail in ‘testing’ conditions.

UTMB provided confirmation that Rory Bosio is one of the best female mountain runners in the world. Her 2013 course record performance was epic but as we all know, to come back and win again confirms the accolades. Nuria Picas placed 2nd and gets a nod here as her list of performances and results (on the UTWT) are off the scale. If anyone questioned who is the best 100-mile mountain runner in the world at the moment – Francois d’Haene backed up his incredible UTMF performance with an outstanding UTMB run against a stellar field.

Rob Krar backed up victory at WSER with a stunning Leadville 100 victory and set the stage for a repeat ‘Ultra Runner of the Year’ award.

Run Rabbit Run came pretty close after Leadville and to my surprise we saw Rob Krar toe the line. I was a little surprised. Rob has always been one of the more savvy runners on the circuit in that he peaks, recovers, trains and then re peaks. For Rob to run 100-miles so soon after Leadville was a surprise! Maybe the big prize bucks were a motivating factor? Anyway, what do I know… he took the win and the bucks! Nikki Kimball followed up 5th at WSER with the biggest payday victory of her career and she shed a few tears to show how much it meant.

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Skyrunning Limone Extreme confirmed Stevie Kremer as Skyrunner® Word Series Champion for the 2nd consecutive year but the big news came via Kilian Jornet. His victory in the VK confirmed him as Skyrunner® World Series Champion in all 3 Skyrunning disciplines – VK, SKY and ULTRA. If any of us needed confirmation of the Catalans all around ability, this was it!

Ultra Pirineu (Cavalls del Vent in the past) had Nuria Picas and Luis Alberto Hernando take top honours – unstoppable!

USA’s The Rut set the benchmark for Skyrunning in the USA with universal accolades about the course. It may come as no surprise that Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg took top honours and respective Skyrunner® World Series titles.

Raid de la Reunion became the Francois d’Haene show. He followed up his 2013 victory with a repeat consummate performance. Dare I say, ‘he makes 100-miles in the mountains look easy!’ Nathalie Mauclair also produced a quality back-to-back victory and along with great runs on the UTWT circuit set herself firmly at the top of the best female ultra runners in the world.

Doha finally became the venue for the 100km world championships and Ellie Greenwood backed up an incredible Comrades victory and placed herself on top of the world with a stunning performance. Big shout here too for the British ladies, Joasia Zakrzewski and Jo Meek who both placed in the top-5 ad took home team gold. Max King showed amazing depth of ability, speed and performance in taking the male victory ahead of some of the fastest men in the world.

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Iain Don Wauchope smashes the Salomon SkyRun record in South Africa and Landie Greyling tops the ladies podium.

Rounding out the year, Sage Canaday and Magdalena Boulet took top honours at San Francisco 50.

Phew…

Wait a minute! Kilian Jornet gets the last word. As I write this Mr Jornet is attempting another summit, Aconcagua. Only appropriate that we should end a year on a real high… Just below 7000m to be exact.

Get involved:

I am going to have missed races, missed performances and no doubt you will remind me of what they are. I welcome that. I’d love you all to comment (below) on what 2014 has meant to you and what/ who in your opinion deserves a tip of the hat.

MY 2014 AWARDS

  • Male ultra runner of the yearFRANCOIS D”HAENE (Rob Krar came close)
  • Female ultra runner of the yearNURIA PICAS
  • Best male performanceKILIAN JORNET for Hardrock 100
  • Best female performanceANNA FROST for Transvulcania La Palma and ELLIE GREENWOOD at Comrades
  • Best single stage raceTROFEO KIMA
  • Best multi day raceEVEREST TRAIL RACE
  • Best FKTSTEVE BIRKINSHAW, The Wainwrights
  • Biggest surprises of 2014ZACH MILLER and the rise of JO MEEK. The AUSSIES at the Skyrunning World Championships.
  • Stand out athlete of the year – KILIAN JORNET
  • Best cinematography – The African Attachment and Seb Montaz
  • Best film – Dejame Vivir

Anything else worthy of a mention?

Personal message:

On a personal note, 2014 has been an incredible year! I have travelled the world and in the process I have attended and worked on 31-races. From the humidity of Costa Rica, to the heat of the Sahara and the cold of the Himalayas, my job has afforded me the privilege to watch, observe and photograph the best runners in the world work their craft.

 

I am eternally grateful to each and every race, race director and of course I must give huge thanks to Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti from the ISF for the continued support and opportunities they have afforded me in allowing me the opportunity to work on and cover the Skyrunner® World Series.

 

I must also give a huge thanks to every single person who listens to my podcast, Talk Ultra, reads this website and ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ my respective Facebook and Twitter feeds.

I am eternally thankful.

 

Now roll on 2015 and lets do it all again!

Packing for Nepal and Everest Trail Race

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Packing for Nepal…

If you are like me, packing and deciding on kit is harder than doing an event sometimes. This is magnified in an event like the Everest Trail Race when I need to cover the same ground as participants, be self sufficient AND carry all my camera equipment.

It has taken me a long time to tweak and get this right. I am still not sure I am 100% but I am close.

I have been asked many times what do I take, how do I do it and what are my hints ‘n’ tips are? So as I pack for Nepal it seemed to make sense to document this and provide a little insight.

From the start I want to express many thanks to The North Face, Montane and Suunto for the support on making these trips possible. I couldn’t do it without help.

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To start with I use a F-Stop camera rucksack. F-Stop are without doubt the ‘dogs bolx’ when it comes to combining cameras and equipment for tough long days on any terrain. Unlike other camera bags, these packs work just as well as any top quality hiking or run pack but with the addition of providing a safe and functional home for my gear. They use ICU‘s that are possible to purchase in different sizes so you can have exactly the camera storage you need allowing you to customise ‘free’ space for essential kit. I usa the LOKA UL which is a lighter version of the classic LOKA.

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The above picture shows my LOKA UL with a small pro ICU. Inside the ICU I have the following:

  • Canon 6D with 70-200mm F4
  • Canon 50mm F1.8
  • Canon 17-40mm F4
  • Flash
  • Remote flash triggers

On the waist belt I have a camera holder that will take my 2nd Canon 6D with a 24-105mm F4 lens.

The above set up allows me to have immediate access and quick access to another camera and accessories as required.

A huge plus of the F-Stop is the storage and comfort capacity.

The above photo asol shows a selection EXPED dry bags with all my equipment for a week on the trail. These bags are great as you can colour code, they come in different sizes and of course they keep everything dry!

Here it is in the pack:

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So what am I taking? Take a breath….

  • Montane Direct Ascent 800 down sleeping bag – see HERE
  • PHD Minimus Down pants – see HERE
  • PHD Minimus Down Socks – see HERE
  • TNF Victory hooded jacket – see HERE
  • TNF Thermoball gilet – see HERE
  • TNF – GTD tights – see HERE
  • TNF GTD shirt – see HERE
  • TNF GTD shorts – see HERE
  • Ice Breaker Merino wool base layer
  • Smartwool Merino socks
  • TNF Ultra Trail shoes (not shown) HERE

Essentials:

  • TNF Gloves Red Point HERE and eTip HERE
  • TNF Neckwear HERE and Hat HERE
  • TNF Balaclava HERE
  • Leki ‘Stick’ walking poles (not shown) HERE
  • Suunto Ambit 3 Peak HERE

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I am not sure on the overall weight. To be honest, if it was just the clothing and sleeping bag I would be travelling very very light indeed. The cameras add some serious weight but once in or on the pack the whole package is very workable and comfortable.

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I will be posting daily from Nepal as and when connections allow. Everything will be posted on this website, Facebook and Twitter.

FROST – KIMBALL – GASH : The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica 2015

TCC Ladies 2015

The 2015 multi-day The Coastal Challenge gets underway in less than 3-months. Runners from all over the world will arrive in San Jose in preparation for the journey down to the coast to Quepos and the 11th edition of the “TCC.”

After a stellar line-up for the 10th edition, Rodrigo Carazo and the TCC team have once again excelled in providing a top quality elite line up making TCC arguably one of the ‘must-do’ multiple day stage races in the world.

Come race day, elite runners will toe the line in Quepos with everyday runners, with one purpose in mind, to embrace an ultimate challenge in the remarkable Talamancas.

Unlike other multi day races, the TCC is supported. Each day camp is moved ahead and awaits the runner’s arrival at the finish. Running light and fast, runners are able to keep equipment to a minimum and as such, racing is extremely competitive. The 2015 edition of the race is proving to be extremely exciting, particularly when one looks at the line up of runners.

Heading up the ladies field is a trio of hot talent that will without doubt make the race one to remember.

KIMBALL – FROST – GASH

NIKKI KIMBALL

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball is a legend of female ultra running. A multiple winner of the iconic Western States her palmares are longer than my arm… just this year, Nikki won Run Rabbit Run 100 and the 29th Marathon des Sables. Nikki’s presence in Costa Rica is a defining moment for the TCC. It is a confirmation of the credibility of the race and Nikki’s years of experience will be something to embrace, not only for the other runners but all those involved in the experience.

‘I loved MDS and am excited to add TCC to my stage racing experience.  I’ve run MDS, Transrockies (3 times), Jungle Marathon and each was very special in its own way.  Each experience will help me in my preparation for TCC.  Transrockies, like TCC, transported runner gear and set up their tents, which gives me a sense of racing daily with the speed allowed by running without gear.  The Jungle Marathon exposed me to rain forest and the accompanying heat and humidity.  And MDS gives me a more recent experience of racing in extreme conditions against great competition. I absolutely loved, though occasionally hated, each event. As for direct comparison with MDS, a few points are obvious: I will be exchanging dry oppressive heat, for humid oppressive heat; varied types of sandy surfaces for wet and rocky footing; desert vistas for close forests and ocean views; and nearly full self sufficiency for the relative luxury of camps with food and sleeping supplies I do not need to carry.  I recommend MDS very highly to fellow runners, and believe I will finish TCC similarly impressed.’

Running without a pack and all the weight, do you think it will be a fast race?

‘I actually love the challenge of carrying my entire kit for MDS, but am looking forward to the freedom from gear that TCC will give. Yes, the running is much faster without a heavy pack, and TCC will be very fast in places.  Hopefully the technical elements will slow the pace down a bit, as I run more on strength, endurance and technical skill than speed.  This is particularly true in the winter when nearly all my training is done on skis.  I think anyone peaking her running training for TCC will be running quickly.’

How excited are you to race in Costa Rica?

‘As we said growing up in Vermont, I’m wicked psyched!  Seriously, running has given me access to parts of the world I would never otherwise see.  And I’ve run in Mexico and South America, but never run between the two.  I feel I gain so much from playing with other languages, exploring other cultures and environments, and bonding with runners throughout the world.  I cannot wait, not only to run in Costa Rica, but to spend a few days before the event picking up a few more Spanish phrases, meeting local people and splashing in the water while knowing that my friends at home are playing on top of a much colder form of water.’

You will be racing against Anna Frost and Samantha Gash amongst others…. does this excite you?

‘I do not know Samantha, but I very much look forward to meeting her.  And, like anyone who has spent time with Anna, I absolutely adore her.  I love racing with/against anyone, and Anna is certainly a great talent.  But more than that, she is a fantastic person with a depth of character that far exceeds her running achievements. I get to hang with Anna for a week, and that is always great.  For that matter, every stage and ultra race I’ve been in (and over 16 years there have been many) attracts great people.  From volunteers to elite athletes to less experienced racers looking to see what’s possible, the people of this sport keep me doing it.  I’m excited by the top end competition and just as excited to hear stories from TCC participants I have yet to meet.’

 

ANNA FROST

Anna Frost Skyrunning World Championships 2014 - Chamonix

Anna Frost Skyrunning World Championships 2014 – Chamonix

Anna Frost arrived in Costa Rica for the 10th edition but unfortunately couldn’t race due to an injury set back which was really disappointing for the New Zealander. However, Costa Rica was a cathartic process… Frosty followed up her TCC experience with victory and a course record at Transvulcania La Palma, Speedgoat 50k and Bear 100.

‘I gained so much energy and pleasure out of just being in Costa Rica that I came home almost injury free. I cant wait to get back to explore further and see all of the course. The atmosphere is so much fun, great food, wonderful campsites, beautiful beaches and rain forests and HOT weather! IM SO EXCITED!’

The Coastal Challenge is a supported multi-day race and therefore allows runners to run fast and free. Looking at the quality of the ladies field, I asked Frosty about the 2015 race and if she expected it to be fast?

‘There are a lot of fast trails and dirt roads, long flat beach sections and smooth trails. But in between that there is hard, steep, trail-less, muddy, rain forest covered dirt, spiders, noises? and more to keep the challenge high. But luckily the race has many aid stations so you don’t need to carry too much which means you can move as fast as possible through all of that!’

Nikki Kimball has won MDS and WSER and Sam Gash has just run for 1-month all over South Africa, two real solid runners. How excited are you to test yourself over the multi-day format against these ladies?

‘It will be fantastic to share this race with them. They are both super strong girls and also great friends, so it is going to be so much FUN!’

You ran your first 100-miler recently, do you think that will be a benefit in Costa Rica?

‘Definitely. With each race I undertake I am beginning to understand more about myself, my limits, and what challenges me. This process allows me new ways to overcome obstacles. It will be good to put what I have learnt in practice.’

‘Visiting Costa Rica again. The people and places we see along the way are wonderful! And being able to share that with all the other runners in the Coastal Challenge is so awesome!’

 

SAMANTHA GASH

Samanha Gash ©samanthagash

Samanha Gash ©samanthagash

Samantha Gash is the youngest lady to ever complete ‘The Four Deserts’ and was one of the featured runners in the film, ‘The Desert Runners.’ Just last week, Sam has completed an epic journey…

‘Oh boy I have just been on an adventure of a lifetime, one that took me close to 2 years to prepare for. I ran with Mimi Anderson from the UK and side-by-side we ran an ultra every day for 32-days through some pretty challenging terrain. Our run focused on supporting a South African based initiative, so it was pretty special to run through some incredibly remote & rural locations.’

‘It was great preparation for Costa Rica in the sense that a multi day format suits me. However my run along South Africa was an expedition not a race, so the pace was very different. It’s been less than a week since I’ve finished the biggest physical & mental challenge of my life so I’m looking forward to letting both recover for the month of November. Come December I will evaluate how my body is going & hopefully begin to train for the Coastal Challenge. Once I start training again I will need to put my legs through some serious speed work.’

Kimball and Frost need no introduction. Are you looking forward to racing them? 

‘Geez these ladies are of a different caliber to me and I predict they will place at the top of field outright. I’ve met Anna a couple of times so I’m looking forward to catching up again & meeting Nikki too. Just to race with them both will be an absolute pleasure; they have had incredible years. Great to see Anna dominate in her first 100-miler; I had no doubt she would also excel over that distance.’ 

I recently watched ‘The Desert Runners’ again and I must say I love the film and the experiences that you all had, how significant was that process for you?  

‘When I did the 4 deserts it was my first experience to ultra running. I fondly look back on that year (2010) as it started my passion into a sport & lifestyle I never really knew existed. What I love about multi stage racing is the relationships you develop with other competitors & volunteers over the duration. Of course there are moments when you are intensely racing but then there are other moments where you are relaxed and are enjoying banter with people you’ve just met. Some of the closest people in my life are people I’ve met in these types of races. I also like the build up you can have over the days. I tend to start a touch more conservatively to let my body adapt and then work into the longer stages.’ 

You have been fortunate to travel with racing. Costa Rica will be a new experience for you, are you excited?

‘The setting for the race looks spectacular and Rodrigo seems like a top-notch race director. I am also drawn to the race because it offers variety in terrain – mountains, river crossing, single track, rock and glorious beaches.’

Would you like to join these incredible ladies in Costa Rica?

Entries are open in the UK HERE

or HERE for outside the UK.

Links

Official race website HERE and Facebook HERE

You can view images from previous editions HERE

And race day reports from 2014 and 2013 HERE

Episode 71 – Frosty, Hawker, Draney, Warburton, Robson

Ep71

This is episode 71 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show we speak to Frosty who not only ran her first 100-miler but won it with a new CR. Ty Draney talks about his career and we discuss running the Bear 100… twice! Caine Warburton discusses running in the Southern Hemisphere and the comparisons with Europe. Lizzy Hawker announces a race and Sam Robson tells us what it’s like being the first Brit at the iconic Spartathlon. The New, a Blog, Up and Coming races and Speedgoat.

NEWS

BEAR 100

Brian Peterson 18:59:24
Luke Nelson 19:51:21
Jason Koop 20:06:58

Anna Frost 20:59:24
Sarah Vlach 24:47:32
Petra McDowell 25:45:51
 
INTERVIEW with ANNA FROST

SPARTATHLON

Ivan Cudin 22:29:29
Florian Reus 23:57:13
Andrzej Radzikowski 25:49:05

Szilvia Lubics 26:53:40
Katalin Nagy 28:55:03
Esnaola Eva 30:52:41

Sam Robson 51st and 1st Brit 32:04:48

INTERVIEW with SAM ROBSON
·
LIZZY HAWKER announces new race – HERE

INTERVIEW with LIZZY HAWKER
 
ULTRA PIRINEU (Cavalls del Vent)

Luis Alberto Hernando
Francesc Sole Duocastella
Jessed Hernandez Gispert

Nuria Picas
Raquel Rivero Delgado
Angels Llobera Vicens
 
BLOG
 
‘Most of us will never forego mountain boots for trail running shoes or just a pack of gel and 40cl of water for a 20-hour day on the hill, but at the uber light end of the game, this is exactly what the elite are doing. To travel in this fashion imagines a mountain day without mishaps, bad weather, a slip or twisted ankle. The lightweight rucksacks are filled with immense self-belief and partnered with sure-footedness over difficult ground now branded as ‘sky running.’ TREK & MOUNTAIN magazine

 
INTERVIEW

CAINE WARBURTON tells us all about running in the Southern Hemisphere and how it contrasts to his European experiences in 2014

 
INTERVIEW
 
TY DRANEY has been running ultras for a looooong time. Just this last weekend he ran the Bear 100 for the 4th time…. and the 5th! We catch up and discuss his career

 
UP & COMING RACES

Argentina
La Pachamama 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
La Pachamama 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website

Australia
Queensland
Bribie Beach Bash 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Victoria
Great Ocean Walk 100 km Trail Run | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Great Ocean Walk 100 mile Trail Run | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Western Australia
Oxfam Trailwalker Australia – Perth | 100 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website

Canada
Alberta
Iron Horse Ultra 100 Km (CAN) | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Iron Horse Ultra 100 Miles (CAN) | 100 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Nova Scotia
Valley Harvest Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Ontario
Run for the Toad 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website

Chile
Atacama Crossing | 250 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
Rapa Nui GrandTrail – 80 K | 80 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website

Croatia
Valamar Trail 53 | 53 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Valamar Trail 73 | 73 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website

Finland
Eastern Finland
Vaarojen Ultramaraton | 84 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Western Finland
Wihan kilometrit – 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Wihan kilometrit – 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

France
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
Trail Gapen’Cimes Edelweiss | 52 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
Charente-Maritime
100 km de Royan | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
50 km de Royan | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Essonne
Trail du Viaduc des Fauvettes 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Haute-Corse
A Paolina | 70 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Loire-Atlantique
Trail de Mauves en Vert – 50 km | 53 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
Pyrénées-Orientales
100 Miles Sud de France | 100 miles | October 10, 2014 | website
Grande Traversée Mer Montagne | 110 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Somme
100 km de la Somme | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

Germany
Bavaria
Herbstlauf Schloss Thurn Hobbylauf | 87 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
North Rhine-Westphalia
50 km von Hitdorf | 50 kilometers | October 03, 2014 | website

Greece
Rodopi Advendurun 100 miles | 100 miles | October 17, 2014 | website

Hong-Kong
Challenger – Whole Course | 78 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Prohiker – Round-trip Course | 156 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website

India
Bhatti Lakes 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Bhatti Lakes 220 km | 220 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website
Bhatti Lakes 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 10, 2014 | website

Italy
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Magredi Mountain Trail 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Magredi Mountain Trail 40 Mile | 40 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Piedmont
100 km delle Alpi | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Morenic Trail | 109 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Puglia
Run & Go 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Run & Go 100 Miglia | 100 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Umbria
Ultra Trail le vie di San Francesco Long Way | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Ultra Trail le vie di San Francesco Short Way | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

Macedonia
Krali Marko Trails 60 km | 64 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website

Nepal
Royal Penguin Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website

Netherlands
Gelderland
Herfst Ultraloop Berg en Dal | 60 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

Philippines
Olango Island Ultramarathon Eco Adventure 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website

Poland
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 150K | 150 kilometers | October 03, 2014 | website
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 220K | 220 kilometers | October 03, 2014 | website
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 55K | 55 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 85K | 85 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website

South Africa
Legends 68km Ultra Marathon | 68 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
The Hobbit 100 | 100 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website

Spain
Aragon
Long Trail Guara Somontano | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Ultra Trail Guara Somontano | 98 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Madrid
Sunrise Trail Ultra International | 68 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Valencian Community
Ultra Trail Del Rincon 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Ultra Trail Del Rincon 170 km | 170 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website

Sweden
Sörmland Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

Switzerland
Valais
Les Défis du Jubilé – 52 km | 52 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Les Défis du Jubilé – 68 km | 68 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Les Défis du Jubilé – 71 km | 71 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

United Kingdom
Cornwall
Atlantic Coast 3-Day Challenge | 78 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Cumbria
3×3000 Ultra Trail | 80 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Devon
Bideford Bay 50km | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Greater London
Royal Parks Foundation Ultra | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
North Yorkshire
“Round Ripon” Ultra Studley Roger | 35 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Shropshire
The Longmynd Hike | 50 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Surrey
Downslink Ultra | 38 miles | October 05, 2014 | website

USA
Arizona
Canyon De Chelly Ultra | 55 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Flagstaff 56K Endurance Run | 56 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Arkansas
Arkansas Traveller 100 | 100 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
California
Boggs Mountain Boogie 50k | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Cuyamaca 100K Endurance Run | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Dick Collins Firetrails 50 | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Euchre Bar Massacre 50 M | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Owen’s Peak Man vs Horse 50K Trail Adventure | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Pioneer Spirit 50M | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Skyline to the Sea 50km | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Weaver Basin 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Weaver Basin Trails 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Whoos in El Moro 50k | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Colorado
24 Hrs of Boulder – 100 K | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
24 Hrs of Boulder – 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
24 Hrs of Boulder – 50 K | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Animas Surgical Hospital Durango 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Florida
John Holmes 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Hawaii
Peacock Ultramarathons 100K | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Peacock Ultramarathons 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Idaho
Foothills 50K Frenzy | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Illinois
Farmdale 33 Mile Trail Runs | 33 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Farmdale 50 Mile Ultra Trail Run | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Iowa
The Runner’s Flat 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Kansas
Heartland 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Heartland 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Lake Perry Rocks! 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Kentucky
Cloudsplitter 100K | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Cloudsplitter 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Cloudsplitter 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Maine
Farm To Farm Ultra 50K Run | 50 kilometers | October 13, 2014 | website
Farm To Farm Ultra 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | October 13, 2014 | website
Maryland
Ragnar Relay Washington D.C. | 200 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Montana
Le Grizz Ultramarathon | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Nebraska
Market to Market 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Market to Market Relay | Nebraska | 78 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
New Hampshire
Pinnacle Ultra Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
New York
Can Lake 50 K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Can Lake 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Tesla Hertz 100K Run | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Tesla Hertz 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Tesla Hertz 50K Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Tesla Hertz 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
North Carolina
Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock Ultra 50K Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock Ultra 50- Mile Run | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Pennsylvania
Blues Cruise 50k Trail Ultra | 50 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
Green Monster 50K Trail Challenge | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Oil Creek Trail Runs 100 Miles | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Oil Creek Trail Runs 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Oil Creek Trail Runs 50 Miles | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
South Carolina
Swamp Rabbit Urban Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Tennessee
Cumberland Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Rock/Creek StumpJump 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Texas
Hunter Gatherer 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Survival Run: Hunter Gatherer | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Utah
Antelope Island 100K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Antelope Island 50K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Pony Express Trail 100 | 100 miles | October 17, 2014 | website
Pony Express Trail 50 | 50 miles | October 17, 2014 | website
Red Rock Relay Park City Edition | 65 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Utah 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Utah Gore-Tex® 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Virginia
GrindStone 100 | 101 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
New River Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
The Wild Oak Trail 100 “Hot” TWOT | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Washington
Baker Lake 50k | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Defiance 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
West Virginia
West Virginia Trilogy – Day One 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website
West Virginia Trilogy – Day Two 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Wisconsin
Glacial 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Glacial 50M Trail Run | 50 miles | October 12, 2014 | website

CLOSE

LINKS

http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/Episode_71_-_Frost_Hawker_Draney_Warburton_Robson.mp3

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

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

Website – talkultra.com