Episode 84 – Hawker Canaday Kimball


Episode 84 of Talk Ultra has an interview with Sage Canaday talking about coaching and training, Lizzy Hawker tells us all about her new book and Nikki Kimball talks TCC, fell running, her new film and racing in South Africa. Talk Training, the News, Up and Coming Races and Speedgoat.
00:13:48 NEWS
Fair play to Jamil Coury but nobody finished….
Chuckanut 50k
David Laney 3:40
Andrew Benford 3:40
Brett Hornig 3:35
Magdalena Boulet 4:13
Catrin Jones 4:25
Cassie Scallon 4:29
Gorge Waterfalls
Justin Houck 9:22 CR
Chris Denucci 9:49
Ben Stern 9:59
Michele Yates 11:03 CR
Joell Vaught 11:10
Olga Nevtrinos 11:20
Ryan Sandes sets FKT on Table Mountain and Red Bull sets up a website to see if you can beat it…
Kilian tells us about his 2015 plans as does Timmy Olson
Sage Canaday going to run UTMB
Marathon des Sables kicks off…. Preview HERE
00:35:18 INTERVIEW
SAGE CANADY provides us with an insight into his coaching and training ethos and how he applies them to his own racing HERE
01:29:00 BLOG
What goes in the MDS pack? Read HERE
01:30:55 INTERVIEW
LIZZY HAWKER has been away from the running scene with injury. However, she has used the time wisely writing a book called RUNNER. We catch up with her, discuss the book and you have an opportunity to win one of two copies.
Purchase the book HERE
Marc Laithwaite talks all about race pacing. Read the blog post HERE
02:44:50 INTERVIEW
NIKKI KIMBALL talks about The Coastal Challenge, her new film, fell racing and heading to South Africa
Finding Traction movie HERE
03:31:20 UP & COMING RACES


Patagonia Run 100k | 100 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

Patagonia Run 63k | 63 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

Patagonia Run 84k | 84 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Australian Capital Territory

Australian Running Festival Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website


Wildhorse Criterium 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 05, 2015 | website

Wildhorse Criterium 70 km | 70 kilometers | April 05, 2015 | website


Buffalo Stampede Ultra SkyMarathon | 75 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

Western Australia

3 Waters 50km Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website


British Columbia

Diez Vista 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Ultra Fiord 100K | 100 kilometers | April 17, 2015 | website

Ultra Fiord 100M | 100 miles | April 16, 2015 | website

Ultra Fiord 70K | 70 kilometers | April 17, 2015 | website


100 Miles of Istria | 100 miles | April 17, 2015 | website



Trail Sainte Victoire 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website


L’Ultra trace de St Jacques | 740 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website


Le Savagnin | 58 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website


Ultra Beaujolais Villages Trail | 110 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website



Bilstein-Marathon BiMa 53+ | 53 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website


GUADARUN : ultra-marathon des îles de Guadeloupe | 136 kilometers | April 04, 2015 | website


Trans Sumbawa 200 Miles | 200 miles | April 08, 2015 | website



Connemara Ultramarathon | 39 miles | April 12, 2015 | website


Race the Promised Land Ultra | 124 kilometers | April 16, 2015 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 144 km Ultra | 144 kilometers | April 16, 2015 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 54 Ultra | 54 kilometers | April 16, 2015 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 70 km Ultra | 70 kilometers | April 17, 2015 | website



UltraTrail dei Monti Cimini | 80 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


100 km di Torino | 100 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Elba Trail “Eleonoraxvincere” | 54 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website


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


Ecotrail de Ouarzazate | 111 kilometers | April 16, 2015 | website

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


Annapurna Mandala Trail | 250 kilometers | April 15, 2015 | website

Buddhist Stupa Trail Marathon | 50 kilometers | April 04, 2015 | website


North Holland

Castricum Ultraloop | 60 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

De Zestig van Texel – 120 km | 120 kilometers | April 06, 2015 | website

De Zestig van Texel – 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 06, 2015 | website


Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – 1 1/2 Marathon | 63 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – Ultra 100km | 100 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Mayon 360º | 80 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Madeira Island Ultra Trail 115 | 116 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

Madeira Island Ultra Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

South Africa

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon | 56 kilometers | April 04, 2015 | website



24 hores del Cap de Creus | 87 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


LXVII Milhas Romanas | 100 kilometers | April 10, 2015 | website

United Kingdom


The Calderdale Hike – Long | 36 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


Pendine Sands Ultra | 32 miles | April 05, 2015 | website


Coastal Trail Series – Exmoor – Ultra | 34 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


The ONER | 78 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

The ONER Half Day Section | 39 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

East Sussex

South Downs Way 50 | 50 miles | April 04, 2015 | website

Glasgow City

Glasgow – Edinburgh Double Marathon | 55 miles | April 04, 2015 | website


Compton 40 mile Challenge | 40 miles | April 04, 2015 | website


2XU Jogle | 860 miles | April 10, 2015 | website


North Downs Way 50 | 50 miles | April 05, 2015 | website



Solemates Prescott Circle Trail 100 Miler | 104 miles | April 10, 2015 | website

Solemates Prescott Circle Trail 150 Miler | 156 miles | April 09, 2015 | website

Solemates Prescott Circle Trail 200 Miler | 208 miles | April 09, 2015 | website

Solemates Prescott Circle Trail 50 Miler | 52 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


American River 50-mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | April 04, 2015 | website

Grizzly Peak 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 04, 2015 | website

Lake Sonoma 50 | 50 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

Oriflamme 50k | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

Ragnar Relay So Cal | 200 miles | April 10, 2015 | website

Woodside Crossover 50K | 50 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website


Croom Trail 50K Fools Run | 50 kilometers | April 04, 2015 | website

Croom Trail 50M Fools Run | 50 miles | April 04, 2015 | website

Wild Sebastian 100 Spring Edition – 100 Miles | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

Wild Sebastian 100 Spring Edition – 50 Miles | 50 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

Wild Sebastian 100 Spring Edition – 75 Miles | 75 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


Potawatomi 100 Mile Trail Run | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

Potawatomi 150 Mile Trail Run | 150 miles | April 10, 2015 | website

Potawatomi 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


2 Person Team | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

3 Person Team | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

4 Person Team | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

5 Person Team | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

6 Person Team | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

7 Person Team | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

8 Person Team | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


Hawkeye 50k | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Rocking K Trail 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | April 04, 2015 | website


LUR’s Sleepy 50K | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Cape Cod Trail Race – Run Forward. Give Back – Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website


Kal-Haven Trail Run | 33 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


Zumbro 100k | 100 kilometers | April 10, 2015 | website

Zumbro 100M | 100 miles | April 10, 2015 | website

Zumbro Midnight 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


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

Race Across Mississippi – Border to Border (7 Marathons) | 192 miles | April 10, 2015 | website


Ozark Foothills 50K | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Double Half Mary+5 | 50 kilometers | April 10, 2015 | website

New York

100 Mile PEACE Ultra Marathon | 100 miles | April 17, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Cedar Island 40 | 42 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


Forget the PR Mohican 50K | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Tatur’s Lake McMurty Trail Race 50K | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 Mile Trail Run | 40 miles | April 12, 2015 | website

Shotgun Trail Blast 50K | 50 kilometers | April 04, 2015 | website

South Carolina

Blind Pig 100K Ultra Marathon | 100 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

Blind Pig 100 Mile Ultra Marathon | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


Power to the Tower 50k Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 04, 2015 | website

War at Windrock – 3 stages race | 51 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Hells Hills 50 km Endurance Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 04, 2015 | website

Hells Hills 50 Mile Endurance Trail Run | 50 miles | April 04, 2015 | website


Zion 100k | 100 kilometers | April 10, 2015 | website

Zion 100 Mile | 100 miles | April 10, 2015 | website

Zion 50K | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Bull Run Run 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 11, 2015 | website


Alger Alp 50k | 50 kilometers | April 12, 2015 | website

Lumberjack 100 K Run | 100 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

Lumberjack 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

Lumberjack 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | April 11, 2015 | website

Squak Mountain 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


Mad City 100K | 100 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website

Mad City 50K | 50 kilometers | April 11, 2015 | website


33 Miler | 33 miles | April 12, 2015 | website

33 Miler Relay | 33 miles | April 12, 2015 | website

03:35:32 CLOSE

A Day on Fells – Wolf’s Pit, Peak District


A fun weekend in Sheffield for ShAFF (Sheffield Adventure Film Festival) and the opportunity to take American ultra running legend, Nikki Kimball to experience a fell race.

It was a blast. I had so much fun… a course like this for 100-miles would be great! – Nikki Kimball

Well, I am not sure that anyone else in the race would fancy running the route eighteen times to make up the required 160-km but hey, we know what Nikki means (I think!).

The Peak District played ball and the sun came out. Great day!

Wolf’s Pit, Peak District

  • Date & time: Sun 22nd Mar 2015 at 11:00
  • Country: England
  • Region: Peak District
  • Category: AS
  • Website: www.wolfspitfellrace.org.uk
  • Distance: 9km / 5.6m
  • Climb: 450m / 1476ft
  • Venue: Shatton, nr Bamford, Hope Valley.
  • Grid ref: 196825
  • Skills & experience: ER, PM, LK, NS
  • Minimum age: 16

Episode 83 – Grinius Campbell Murray Bragg


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

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


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



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



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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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



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


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


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

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



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


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

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

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



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



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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

New Zealand

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

South Africa

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



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

Valencian Community

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


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

United Kingdom


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

East Sussex

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


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

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

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

North Yorkshire

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


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


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

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



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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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


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

New Jersey

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

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

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

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

North Carolina

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

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

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

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

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

North Dakota

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Carolina

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

West Virginia

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


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

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

Website – talkultra.com

JEZ and the DRAGON

Jez and the Dragon

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


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


The Berghaus Dragons Back Race™

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

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

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

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

Potential competitors should read the information here>>>.

Shane Ohly
Race Director

RUNNER – A Short Story about a Long Run : Lizzy Hawker

Lizzy Hawker

RUNNER tells a story, it uncovers a journey of the physical, mental and emotional challenges that runners go through at the edge of human endurance. From a school girl running on the streets of London to breaking records on the worlds mountains and toughest races, Lizzy Hawker is an inspiration to anyone who would like to see how far they can go, running or not.

“Lizzy never ceases to enthuse, inspire and amaze! She knows what it truly means to live life to the absolute fullest, step out of your comfort zone and truly test your limits. So much more than a book about running, this memoir is about an enthralling life journey replete with peaks and troughs, highs and lows and many twists and turns. Most importantly, Lizzy reminds all of us to never stop exploring, discovering and challenging ourselves to do more than we think possible.” – Chrissie Wellington MBE

Runner - Lizzy HawkerLizzy Hawker needs no introduction. Often called the Queen of UTMB, her running has inspired many… me included. Her ability to run tough, relentless mountain trail races has also been matched with road running.

100km Women’s World Champion,  five times winner of the UTMB, record holder for the 24-hour and the first woman to stand on the overall winners’ podium at the iconic Spartathlon; Lizzy is a formidable force irrespective of the distance or terrain.

Lizzy’s remarkable spirit was recognised in 2013 when she was awarded National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award for running 320km in the Himalayas from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu.

RUNNER provides an insight into the mind of one of the most inspiring ladies in the ultra world, Lizzy Hawker.

Order the book HERE


We will have an exclusive interview with Lizzy in the coming weeks so please watch this space.

RUNNER will be published on April 2nd 2015 £12.99 Paperback by Aurum Press

We have two editions to give away as prizes.

Please answer the following question on post your answer on this website:

“How many times has Lizzy won UTMB and what was the fastest time?”

Two winners will be announced after April 18th

Lizzy Hawker website HERE

Aurum Publishing HERE


The North Face Transgrancanaria 2015 – Race Day Images



The 2015, The North Face Transgrancanaria was always going to be an exciting race… you only had to look at the line-up of elite athletes who had travelled from around the world to participate.

However, the script was thrown out of the window and series of surprises continued to unfold for the duration of the race, leaving us all to wonder, who would be crowned 2015 champions?

Nuria Picas (Buff) regained her 2014 title with a time of 16:53:27. Although Nuria didn’t lead the race from start to finish, once the Catalan took the reigns there was no holding her back.

Lithuanian Gediminas Grinius (inov-8) won in the male race in a time of 14:23:37. However,  was a race of many surprises and changing scenarios.

The race started in mild weather but as time passed, an ever increasing wind started to blow making conditions extremely difficult during the night. The breaking of a new day added sun and heat to the equation and this combination of elements caused a continual problem for nearly all the runners.


1 – Núria Picas 16:53:27
2 – Caroline Chaverot 17:16:48
3 – Dong Li 18:15:55


1 – Gediminas Grinius 14:23:27 new CR
2 – Didrik Hermansen 14:30:07
3 -Antoine Guillon 14:39:05

Notable withdrawals during tha race came from: Nikki Kimball, Yan Longfei, Iker Karrera, Pau Bartoló, Fernanda MacielJoe Grant and local hero, Yeray Durán.

A full results article will be posted on Sunday 8th March.

Race Day Images are below. Please respect the copyright of ©iancorless.com

The North Face® Transgrancanaria® 2015 – Race Preview


Transgrancanaria kicks off the first race of an ever growing European calendar and just as has happened in previous years, a stellar field will assemble on the island for what is always a tough and challenging series of races.

For the men, we have some of the 2014 big hitters missing: Ryan Sandes, Julien Chorier, Timothy Olson and Sebastien Chaigneau. That leaves the podium wide open… you’ll soon see though, Transgrancanaria has no shortage of male talent gunning for the top slot.

For the ladies, 2014 champion Nuria Picas returns along with Fernanda Maciel who placed 3rd. The only significant name not starting is Francesca Canepa.

The third race of the 2015 Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT) looks all set for an epic battle.



The competition among male runners will be tough and exciting. Many elite runners already know the race but we need to watch out for several names that are racing for the first time who stand a great chance to contest the podium.

Iker Karrera, Anton Krupicka, Pau Bartoló, Sondre Amdahl, Carlos Sa, Gediminas Grinius, Yeray Durán, Antoine Guillon and Javier Domínguez arguably head up the elite field but there are no guarantees of victory…

Experience always provides an advantage; previous editions of Transgrancanaria have shown that this course offers many surprises due the tough and challenging terrain. Joe Grant, Brendan Davies, Sebastien Buffard, Anthony Gay, Sylvain Couchaud, Cyril Cointre, Christophe Le Saux and Yan Longfei will all ensure that the ‘hot’ contenders will have to fight hard for victory.

Who’s shooting for the podium?

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.comIker Karrera has all the potential to be an unstoppable force at Transgrancanaria. He has a great combination of strength, speed and endurance; Ail essential ingredients for success at Transgrancanaria. Iker’s 2013 Tor des Geants and Eiger Ultra Trail performances and arguably, he would have been a potential 2014 UTMB winner had an unstoppable Francois d’Haene not turned up.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1080340Anton Krupicka had a couple of low-key successes in 2014 with Jemez 50 and the Dirty 30; both great comeback races that precluded a strong and impressive Lavaredo. This had us all thinking Anton is back! Unfortunately, it all went pear shaped at UTMB when his body shut down. If Anton is ‘on’ then he will push at the front and contesting the win. The distance suits his racing style and the technicality will play into his hands.

Gediminas Grinius had a stunning 2014 with 3rd, 4th and 5th places at Lavaredo, UTMB and Raid de la Reunion. Three tough races! Based on these performances, Gediminas has all the potential to podium once again and should all things align, he may even win.


Carlos Sa is an ever-consistent performer who performs exceptionally well on a multitude of surfaces, distances and temperatures. Think: Badwater, UTMB and Marathon des Sables. Without doubt Carlos will be in the mix, definite top-10 material and if he has a great day, the top-5 is not beyond him.

Sondre Amdahl like Gediminas Grinius had a great 2014. He placed 6th at Transgrancanaria last year and then 7th at UTMB. His recent 2nd at HK100 is a sure sign that he is in form. He has prepared meticulously for Transgrancanaria… he even moved to the island! 2015 may very well provide an opportunity for a breakthrough performance?


Pau Bartoló won the 2014 CCC and a tough and challenging Transgrancanaria course will play into his skill set. He’s going to need a great day to make an impression on the podium but this island has a habit of jawing runners up. A little patience early on may well pay dividends later.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1050394

Brendan Davies is a guy who likes to run, a win at TNF100 and top-10 at Western States proves this. However, he always seems less positive on technical courses and as we all know, Transgrancanaria has plenty of this. If Brendan can find his legs and get in a rhythm, he will be a contender.

Javi Dominguez was 7th last year and followed that up with a solid 5th Raid de le Reunion. He’s a shoe in for top-10 but the podium will likely elude him unless several other runners crumble (possible on this course) and he as a great day!

Antoine Guillon is part of the unstoppable WAA team who somehow seems to manage racing almost every race in the UTWT calendar and still come out with great results as his 3rd, 4th and 5th at Tor des Geants, UTMF and Transgrancanaria show. I see no reason why Antoine wouldn’t make top-5 again!

©iancorless.com.IMG_1749Yeray Duran was 4th last year and is always fired up for what is his ‘home’ race. His form however can be little unpredictable, so, I’m going to sit on the fence; he could very well have a brilliant day or a disappointing day. Let’s go for the former… top-5!

Yan Long Fei won HK100 ahead of Sondre Amdahl arguably to his incredible sub 2:15 marathon speed. Ultimately though, Transgrancanaria is not going to all Yan many opportunities to open the after burners and run… I see Yan having a similar race to Brendan; they could both potentially struggle with the technicality.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day6-2991Plenty of other great male runners in this race and any of them could shine. For example, Joe Grant will like this course, how he performs very much depends on his recovery from The Coastal Challenge, which he raced in early February.



©iancorless.com.IMG_2858The female field can often lack depth, but not at Transgrancanaria… 2014 champion Núria Picas heads up the ladies race along with 2014 3rd place, Fernanda Maciel. Nikki Kimball fresh from The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica will also be a major contender.

From Europe, Caroline Chaverot, Emilie Lecomte, Denise Zimmerman, Ildiko Wemescher and Elena Polyakova are the main contenders but they will need to suppress competition from American and Canadian: Aliza Lapierre and Stephanie Case. Manuela Vilaseca, Dong Li, Wyan Chow, Nerea Martínez, Xari Adrián, Silvia Trigueros and last but not least, Claire Walton make this arguably one of the strongest female fields we have seen at Transgrancanaria.

Who’s shooting for the podium?

©iancorless.com.IMG_2053Nuria Picas was unstoppable last year winning or making the podium in pretty much every race she ran. Kicking off 2015 with a podium place at UTMF was clear sign that Nuria was running herself in to form. I think she will show the ladies a clean pair of heels at Transgrancanaria and take a strong and decisive victory.


Fernanda Maciel placed 3rd last year and arguably gave 2nd place away to Francesca Canepa (who has decided not to race) after having a to-and-fro battle with the Italian. Fernanda had a strong 2015 consistently making the podium in UTWT races. Recently, she has had an extended period at Aconcagua and all that altitude must be advantageous.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day4-2099Nikki Kimball needs no introduction, she has been there and done it: from Western States to UTMB. Nikki, like Joe Grant raced The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and by contrast to Joe, I don’t think TCC will have fatigued her, on the contrary, it will have provided a great kick-start for a potential podium performance in Gran Canaria.

Aliza Lapierre placed 5th at Templiers in 2014 and has won Bandera 100k. I can’t help but think that a ‘running’ course would play into Aliza’s hands more than this course, however, she has loads of class and we can expect that to shine through for a potential top-5.

Emilie Lecomte copyright iancorless.comEmelie Lecomte lacks outright speed but she is a pure mountain lover and she has endurance in abundance. The tougher the better! Emilie has set records on the GR20, excelled at Tor Des Geants, Raid de la Reunion and Ronda dels Cims.

Nerea Martinez and Emelie are made from the same mold and ironically have very similar race histories. Top-10 for sure and don’t expect Emelie and Nerea to finish next to each other in the results.

Wyan Chow won HK100 and may well upset things a little. I don’t see victory coming Wyan’s way but a podium is a possibility. Similarly, Dong Li who placed 2nd at HK100 and Sai Kung 50 will almost certainly make top-10 but the podium is a long shot.

A surprise may come Caroline Chaverot who placed 5th at Mont Blanc 80K in 2014 and my dark horse is Claire Walton and possibly Elena Polyakova.

Stephanie Case gets a nod as a last minute entry.

Follow the race in images and posts on Facebook HERE and on Twitter HERE



Elite runners will not be seen just in the Ultra race but also in the Advanced race of 83 km. The Advanced has been included this year for the first time in the Spain Ultra Cup® Aml Sport HG and will start from Moya town. Furthermore, this race will allow runners score points for the Championship of the Canary Islands. Zaid Ait Malek, from Morocco, Jorge Aubeso, Pau Capell, Judit Franch, Laia Díez, Yolanda Fernández, among a number of local runners from the Canary Islands, are the ones who will keep the level of this race very high.

Additionally, last year winner Nuria Domínguez will participate in the Marathon and the Polish Tomasz Kilsz, winner of Marathon in 2013, will run this year the Starter race. Efrén Segundo, Trail Series, Championship and Cup of the Canary Islands winner, will participate in the Promo race.


What is the UTWT? 

The aim of the UTWT is to gather the most important races of the five continents and to offer the runners the opportunity to discover new landscapes while running. These races also show how diverse trail running can be: steep mountains on Gran Canaria, strenuous uphill in the Alps, paths in California, hills and beaches in Hong Kong or the Moroccan desert.

The proposed races are made for runners with high adaptability and each and every of them is unique: The North Face® Transgrancanaria®, Vibram® Hong Kong 100, Tarawera Ultramarathon, Marathon des Sables, The North Face® 100 Australia, The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra-Trail®, Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, Eiger Ultra-Trail®, Ultra-Trail® du Mont-Blanc, Ultra-Trail® Mt.Fuji® and Le Grand Raid de la Réunion. All these races require different skills in order to win or to be one of the finishers.

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.


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 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 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



  • 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





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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


The toe box is well protected.


The heel box is plush and the tongue is padded.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.



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