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.

ryno-ryan-dgt-map-drakensberg

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.

©iancorless.comStevie_Zegama

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

Lizzy Hawker announces Ultra Tour Monte Rosa #UTMR

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

I was fortunate to meet up with TNF athlete, Lizzy Hawker earlier this year in Zermatt. I was curious as to the health of Lizzy and also how she had been filling her time whilst away from the sport.

From an injury perspective, it is slowly does it. One step at a time in the hope that Lizzie’s injury woes are behind her. Lizzy said, ‘but I just need to be careful.’

Ironically, our chat in Zermatt was just days before the TNFUTMB, a race Lizzy has dominated in the past. Lizzy would be at the 2014 UTMB but in a role as an ambassador and not racing.

So, what has Lizzy been up to?

Well, to put it quite simply, Lizzy has been working hard to create a race of epic proportions, the ULTRA TOUR MONTE ROSA (UTMR).

UTMR-logo-100px

‘I have been working hard to develop a beautiful trail race around Monte Rosa on the Swiss / Italian border. We will hold a zero edition 4 day stage race in August 2015, and the full inaugural 150km ultra marathon in 2016,’ said Lizzy.

The website: www.ultratourmonterosa.com

all images ©alextreadway

©alextreadway_UTMR_3

‘I first went to Zermatt at the age of 6, and that is where my love of the mountains started. The opportunity to create a race here and to share this love means a lot to me. Having explored the trails in this region extensively, I am convinced they are some of the most magnificent in the alps.’ As we all know, Lizzy has very much pioneered the way for trail and mountain running, particularly for women, so, to have this passion reflected back as a race director can only be a good thing. ‘My intention in founding this race is simply to give people an opportunity to explore these trails, and to experience the value of challenging themselves within the context of an ultra distance race. Running and racing has, over the years, given me so much, and this is what I would like to share with others now.’

©alextreadway_UTMR_5

Crossing six high passes, this race will be a very tough event! Passing through Zermatt, the iconic Matterhorn will provide a backdrop as the race heads away accumulating over 10,000 m of ascent/ descent with an average altitude of 2000m.

‘It is a circumnambulation around the huge and imposing massif of the Monte Rosa. On often technical trails. It is firmly in the “hard” category. It is tough, beautiful and alluring!’

Lizzy is certainly in a reflective period of her career, summed up in her comments, ‘As race director, I would really like to encourage more women to participate and we will work towards achieving this in various ways. It will also be really important to us to support all our runners in their journey to reach the start line, and beyond, so that as many as possible can finish and enjoy their experience.’

Entry criteria for the ultra marathon will be tough, but Lizzy and her team will encourage participation and greater access through our stage race and provision of training camps.

More information will follow in due course and I will be looking to provide a full and in-depth interview with Lizzy in the coming days/ weeks.

Entry opens January 1st 2015

UTMR-logo-100px

2015 Race Route & Details:

RACE DATE20 – 23 August 2015 

©alextreadway_UTMR_1

  • TOTAL DISTANCE: 150km
  • TOTAL ASCENT: +10,000m
  • AVERAGE ALTITUDE: +2,000m
  • COUNTRIES: Switzerland and Italy

 

STAGE I:  Grächen to Zermatt 

  • Date: Thursday 20 August
  • Start: Grächen (CH)
  • Finish: Zermatt (CH)
  • Distance: 33 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2200m / -2000m
  • Time Limit: 12 hours

 

STAGE II:  Zermatt to Stafal 

  • Date: Friday 21 August
  • Start: Zermatt (CH)
  • Finish: Stafal (IT)
  • Distance: 38 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2700m / -2500m
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

 

STAGE III: Stafal – Macugnaga

  • Date: Saturday 22 August
  • Start: Stafal (IT)
  • Finish: Macugnaga (IT)
  • Distance: 36.5 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2700m / -3200m
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

 

STAGE IV: Macugnaga – Grächen

  • Date: Sunday 23 August
  • Start: Macugnaga (IT)
  • Finish: Grächen (CH)
  • Distance: 40 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2600m / -2250
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

*PLEASE NOTE: 2016 will be the first edition and single stage!

©alextreadway_UTMR_2

IMAGE GALLERY HERE all images ©alextreadway

LINKS

For more information, follow on Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE and via the website, HERE

You can sign up to the mailing list, HERE

2015 Registration is available HERE

ROB KRAR – 2014 Western States Interview

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

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

IC: Rob how are you doing?

RK: Really good.

IC: How’s the rollercoaster been post WSER?

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

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

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

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

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

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

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

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

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

IC: How frustrating was that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IC: That’s mile 80 yes?

RK: Yes. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RK: Thanks so much Ian, great to speak.

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

RUNNER by Lizzy Hawker

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release by Aurum Publishing Group