Packing for Nepal and Everest Trail Race

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-0463238

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.

MONTANE-2

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.

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-0393231

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:

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-0373229

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

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-0413233

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

AMERICAN ATHLETES DOMINATE DOLOMITES – Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Lavaredo

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

_N3D0125-¬ Giovanni Marchesi

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

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

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

Alberto Orlandi-¬-02931

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

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

Alberto Orlandi-¬-03076

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

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

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

RESULTS

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

Images ©

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

Release ©thenorthface

The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2014 Preview

Lavaredo

 

What a weekend of trail, mountain and ultra running is about to unfold over the weekend of June 27th – 29th. The Skyrunning World Championships take place in Chamonix; the iconic Western States 100-mile run in the USA and in Italy, the Lavaredo Ultra Trail is almost being forgotten with the hype of the other two events.

Now in it’s 8th year, The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail run over 119-km with 5850m of positive incline is a serious undertaking. The Dolomites provide an incredible backdrop for the race and the route includes peaks – Crystal, Tofane, Cinque Torri, and the spectacular Tre Cime.

Lavaredo Profile

Included in the UTWT it’s a double whammy weekend for the series with participants accumulating points at Western States and Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Continuing a tour of the world, this weekends races are number seven and eight. Six races have already taken place in China, Spain, New Zealand, Morocco, Japan and Australia.

Current leaders in the UTWT are as follows:

  1. Antoine Guillon (WAA) – 520-points
  2. Ryan Sandes (Salomon) – 466 points
  3. Brendan Davies (inov-8) – 445 points
  1. Nuria Picas (Buff) – 564 points
  2. Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) – 505 points
  3. Nerea Martinez (Salomon) – 427 points

Interestingly, we will see the top-3 men looking and hunting for points this weekend with Sandes and Davies at Western States and Guillon at Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Picas and Maciel however will look to excel in Chamonix at the Skyrunning World Championships and forego the opportunity to accumulate more points. Martinez will race at Lavaredo Ultra Trail and a podium place will allow the Spaniard to close the gap.

International athletes numbers have increased considerably at Lavaredo Ultra Trail from 33% in 2013 to 50% in 2014 with over 56-nations represented.

Ladies

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Several names stand out, in particular, The North Face UTMB winner Rory Bosio. Rory had an incredible record breaking run at the 2013 TNFUTMB and if Rory brings a fraction of the that form to Italy, she may well be unstoppable.

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa will do her utmost to stop Bosio. Francesca won Lavaredo in 2012 and has been a top and consistent performer at tough, technical and mountain races all over the world.

Katia Fori placed 4th at TNFUTMB in 2013 but her recent form is a little unknown. Katia knows the Lavaredo course after placing 3rd in 2012.

Nerea Martinez will be looking for a podium place and it is a distinct possibility after consistent performances already this year with 5th place at HK100 and Transgrancanaria.

I was looking forward to seeing Brit, Lizzie Wraith, race against these ladies, however, Lizzie has decided to race the 80km event at the Skyrunning World Championships and arguably will have a much tougher race as she toes the line against Nuria Picas, Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg and Ruby Muir amongst others.

Men

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote takes top billing after taking a podium place at UTMF. Mike loves the mountains and we can expect a classic run from Mike. Expect him to be running 5th – 10th early on and then charging in the latter stages to move forward for a podium slot and potential victory.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1080340

One person who will be looking to stop the ‘Foote’ charge is Anton Krupicka. Anton has had a tough couple of years. In and out of injury, Tony has shown glimpses of past form (UTMB 2013) and then seen them disappear with injury flaring up again. A recent win at a relatively low-key 50-mile race (Jemez) has provided Anton with a confidence boost and in a recent conversation with him, he told me he has good form and he feels good. Fingers crossed. If Anton has no flare-ups during the race we can expect a podium place at minimum.

Antoine Guillon has failed to make top-3 at any UTWT event but is Mr. Consistent. I would anticipate the same here at Lavaredo Ultra Trail with a top-10.

Dave Mackey continues his UTWT and after placing 8th at HK100 and struggling at UTMF, one would hope that Dave would take Lavaredo out a little slower and use his speed in the latter stages. On paper, Dave could be top-5.

Scott Hawker may well be the surprise package and I know he is looking for a top-quality run. He will have a real confidence boost after placing 5th at HK100.

©iancorless.com.IMG_1749

Yeray Duran had a break through performance at Transgrancanaria and may well turn a few more heads at Lavaredo. He is well known in Spain and particularly the Canary Islands but in Italy and France, less so.

Ones to watch:

John Tidd

Cyril Cointre

Emmanuel Gault

Filippo Canetta

Stefano Gregoretti

Christophe Le Saux

 

Details:

27th June 2014 11 p.m.


Cortina d’Ampezzo (BL) 
Dolomites – Italy


119 km / 5.850 m+

Time limit: 31 hours


No. Participants: 800 max

 

Race website HERE

Live Tracking HERE

UTWT HERE

The North Face launch ‘Longer Days’

Timothy Olson Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

The North Face®, the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear announces the ‘Longer Days’ campaign, encouraging everyone to spend more time in the outdoors. 

Spring is dawning, and more daylight means more time to explore. As the clocks go forward, there will be more hours to embrace and a chance to run, hike, climb and explore longer. With many people leading busy lives, staying connected with the outdoors gives everyone a chance to refresh their spirit and stay active while discovering the world. So prepare yourself for endless possibilities this spring and Never Stop Exploring™

The adventure begins on daylight savings. To capture this season’s greatest moments in the outdoors, The North Face® will introduce the Explorer Photo Competition, awarding daily prizes for the best photos of exploration. Whether you’re on top of a mountain or along your favourite trail, The North Face® invites you to share your extra hours using #LongerDays.

Fernanda Maciel Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

The celebration of spring continues with the launch of the new Explorer App. This exciting tool lets you track your performances, share your achievements via photos, and earn rewards. There are many challenges to take on, from going higher to pushing yourself further. Weekly prizes are awarded for the best explorers, and there is a grand prize for the overall champion. The app is also supplemented by an online microsite that allows users to view their profiles and interact with fellow explorers.

With the right gear, everyone will be able to explore more and truly enjoy an active lifestyle. The North Face® have built the athlete-tested spring/summer collection with innovation and style. It offers everything you need to spend more time in the outdoors and stay protected in all conditions.

For The North Face® athletes, this active lifestyle can mean many things. Whether it’s competing in events, discovering new places, travelling the world, or training for next season, they all have exciting plans to enjoy their extra hours. How will you spend yours?

Join The North Face® for daylight savings at longerdays.thenorthface.com and get ready for a full season of exploration.

Join the North Face® on March 29th aT Longerdays.thenorthface.com

Marathon des Sables, 29th Edition, Race Preview

MDS Logo

It begins again, the Marathon des Sables! Now in its 29th year, the epic multiday race in the Sahara is considered by many the Father of stage racing. Often called ‘The Toughest Race on Earth’ we all know that it isn’t but one thing is for sure… it’s no walk in the park.

all images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

iancorless.comP1030603Heat, sand, survival, reduced calories and self sufficiency pushed to the limits will test each and everyone of the 1079 participants who will toe the line in South Morocco.

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 Participants from France will represent 30% of the field and over 45 other nations make up the remaining 70% with the UK providing the largest contingent. The provinces of Errachidia and Tinghrir will host the 2014 Marathon des Sables over 6-stages with a total distance of 250km’s. An easy day will be 30km and the longest day, 75km. It’s a wonderful way, albeit a tough and challenging way to embrace the Moroccan dessert.

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The 2013 edition of the race was noted as ‘one of the toughest’ in the races prestigious history, 2014 will be no different; traversing ergs, djebels, stony plateaus, dried-up lakes (wadis) and of course lush oasis. Occasional passing traditional villages and encampments of nomads, the 29th edition of the Marathon des Sables promises to be a ‘secret garden’ of the Sahara.

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Described by race founder, Patrick Bauer as ‘the greatest show on earth’, his comparisons to a circus are apt. The Marathon des Sables really is a large circus like operation on a scale that is second to none. Volunteers number 130 to supervise the race, 430-general staff support the race and 300-local Berbers man the bivouac. All-terrain vehicles number 120, 8 ‘MDS’ planes, 25-buses, 4-dromederies, 1-incinerator lorry, 5-quad bikes and 2-helicopters keep the show on the road. Add to this 52-medical staff, journalists, photographers and you really have what I have come to call, the ‘Cirque de Sahara’, it’s quite special.

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A race with a history, the Marathon des Sables dates back to 1984 when Patrick Bauer, aged 28, ventured into the Sahara to traverse solo a 350km journey with a pack weighing 35kg. It was an ultimate self-sufficient expedition that lasted 12-days.

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Inspired by the experience, in 1986 the first edition was created, just 23-pioneers embarked on what must have been ‘the ultimate’ expedition. Who would have thought those formative years would have laid the foundations for what is, without question, the father of multiple day racing. The race has had memorable moments; in ‘1991’ the Gulf drama had an impact on the race, ‘1994’ the arrival of Doc Trotters, ‘1995’ the 10th anniversary, ‘1996’ Mohamed Ahansal participates for the first time, ‘1997’ Lahcen Ahansal wins his first MDS one of many),  ‘2000’ internet arrives in the Sahara, ‘2001’ the ‘long’ day exceeds 70km, ‘2002’ a week of sandstorms and wind, ‘2009’ flooding at the MDS, ‘2010’ the 25th edition and finally, in ‘2013’, solar energy arrives in bivouac. What does ‘2014’ hold for us…?

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Results recap

2013

  1. 1. Mohamad Ahansal (MAR) 18:59:35
  2. 2. Salameh Al Aqra (JOR) 00:41:40 deficit
  3. 3. Miguel Capo Soler (ESP) 1:19:56 deficit
  1. 4. Meghan Hicks (USA) 24:42:01
  2. 5. Joanna Meek (UK) 00:00:59 deficit
  3. 6. Zoe Salt (UK) 02:21:57 deficit

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2014 Preview

Ladies

2013 female winner, Meghan Hicks unfortunately will not return to the Sahara this year. Meghan would have loved nothing more than to defend her title, however, Meghan has received an injury and has had no other option but to retire; a real shame.

Laurence Klein

Laurence Klein

Jo Meek and Zoe Salt will not return, this leaves the floodgates open for 2011 and 2012 champion, Laurence Klein (Fra) to return and dominate the race. Laurence dropped from the 2013 edition of the race with dehydration whilst in the lead. I have no doubts, Laurence will return, 1-year wiser, 1-MDS wiser and with lessons learnt. Laurence raced at Gruissan Phoebus Taril 50km in February this year and won, in the process, she also placed 20th overall. She’s in form!

Nikki Kimball

Nikki Kimball

Nikki Kimball (USA) looks to be the hot US replacement for Meghan Hicks and I have no doubt that this formidable lady can push Laurence all the way to the line. It’s a showdown that I am really looking forward to watching unfold. Nikki returned to Western States in 2013 and placed 2nd, she was also 2nd at Run Rabbit Run 100-miler… would you like to bet against her? *UTWT entrant

Simone Kayser from Luxemburg has 3-MDS (2002, 2004 and 2005) victories and returns in 2014. With past experience, knowledge of multi-day racing and an understanding of the Sahara, Simone will also test the podium positions. However, her current form is unknown.

Men

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Salameh Al Aqra and Mohamad Ahansal have battled ‘royal’ in the dunes of the Sahara for years. In 2009, Ahansal won, Al Aqra was 3rd, in 2010 it was Ahansal 1st, Al Aqra 2nd, 2011 Ahansal placed 2nd and Al Aqra 3rd, 2012 Al Aqra took honours relegating Ahansal to bridesmaid, however, last year, Ahansal once again regained his crown with Al Aqra chasing the locals heals. Both return in 2014 and based on past records you have to tip Ahansal with his 5-victories and 9-second places to dominate once again.

Mohammed Ahansal

Mohamad Ahansal

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Salameh Al Aqra

Rachid El Moriaty won in the race in 2011 and in doing so placed Ahansal in 2nd by just 7-minutes. He’d do well to repeat that performance.

Miguel Capo Soler is arguably the hot prospect to place Mohammed and Salameh under pressure, his 2013 3rd place will without doubt have ignited a fire and a desire within him to take his performance one step further and move up one notch on the podium and if all goes well, two notches to reign supreme.

Carlos sa

Carlos sa

Carlos Sa, 4th in the 2013 edition will do all he can to infiltrate the podium and if his form is good, he may very well upset the front of the race. His 2013 season was quite spectacular, in particular, his win at Badwater a highlight and his 4th at the 2012 TNFUTMB establishes him as ‘hot’ for the podium at the 29th edition. *UTWT entrant

Miguel Heras certainly is a surprise entrant for MDS and I guess this is a significance of the *UTWT flexing its muscle and introducing runners who we would not normally see at a multi-day race. This is a good thing! However, Miguel had to withdraw from Transgrancanaria with injury issues and I am not sure currently his status? Should he race he will without doubt bring an interesting dynamic to the race. When in form, he is world class and one of the best ultra runners in the world, Miguel has proved this time and time again and is 2nd place at the 2013 TNFUTMB proves this. I hope he’s fit, firing on all cylinders and ready to bring his ‘A’ race to the Sahara.

Danny Kendall

Danny Kendall

UK hopes are in the legs and lungs of Danny Kendall. A ‘regular’ at the MDS, Danny has consistently worked hard on his training, racing strategy and in in 2013 he placed 10th overall, the best ever performance by a Brit. The podium may well be out of reach but anything higher than 9th will be something to celebrate and embrace.

Cyril Cointre also takes a *UTWT place and will be a potential force at the front of the race. Cyril placed 8th at Transgrancanaria and 11th and HK100 in the last 2-months. Will he be recovered.

Wild card may well be Abdelkader El Mouaziz who has 13 sub 2:10 marathons! He hasn’t run the MDS before and that speed may well transfer well to the dunes and terrain of the Sahara, however, one has to wonder what if? Mouaziz won London Marathon in 1999 and 2001; in addition, he also won New York in 2000 and Madrid in 1994. He may well be nowhere near his glory days but Mouaziz is an exciting addition to the 29th edition.

Who else to watch:

Christophe Le eaux

Christophe Le Seaux

Marco Olmo

Marco Olmo

Christophe Le Saux – 9th at MDS 2013

Marco Olmo – 13th at MDS 2013

Anything can happen and without doubt, 2014 will throw up some surprises and names that we have never heard of before. 2013 was no different and that is what makes this sport so exciting and exhilarating.

What does the 2014 course look like?

Leg No.1 – Sunday 6 April

We get straight to the point and attack hard with a good fifteen kilometers or so of dunes in total on this first leg. Our imagination transports us into the shoes of British explorer, Sir Wilfred Thesiger, or to the very core of superb cinema, which were a wonder to us all!

Leg No.2 – Monday 7 April

This is coloured by fields of dunettes on the mountainside and a vast reg plateau, where the marathon runners will be able to really show what they’re made of at over 16km/hr. An abandoned adobe village, a dried-up lake crossing, a small erg with some beautiful dunes, an extensive plateau of black rock, the negotiation of a remote village and a djebel climb will make up the varied menu of this long second leg, where managing ones effort will take on its full meaning.

Leg No.3 – Tuesday 8 April

After 8km of running on fair terrain, the sand will put in an appearance again prior to a djebel ascent where a fabulous erg can be perceived at the bottom of the valley. There the runners will again negotiate some high dunes to make CP2, from where they will discover an ancient town, in ruins and perched on a hill, before making the night’s bivouac.

Leg No.4 (referred to as the long leg or the 80) – Wednesday 9 / Thursday 10 April

An ultra flat plateau running along a series of dunettes will form today’s backdrop before the runners traverse a wadi and hopefully get a bird’s eye view of the desert from up high after a tough little climb of around thirty-minutes. The landscape is truly breathtaking! Once you make it to the valley, you can make out a fabulous little erg followed by vast plateaus and a succession of djebels. The images here are strikingly beautiful and herald the discovery of an impressive sandy valley. Here, a laser beam will guide runners surprised by the cover of darkness. Participants will then link onto terrain dotted with crevasses before traversing a long, winding, sandy wadi and finally the bivouac. It will be important to follow the markers!

Leg No.5 (Marathon leg) – Friday 11 April

A long plateau of black reg will lead the runners into the ‘Out of Africa’ valley before they link onto a mountainous path, which will guide them to the bottom of a deep wadi. It’s a place where a number of villagers have taken up residence along this dried up river in which the palm trees are kings and agriculture is the only resource. A vast plateau peppered with dunes and dunettes will lead the competitor to the bivouac in this final timed leg.

Leg No.6 (the solidarity leg) – Saturday 12 April

As they make for the small village that will play host to the final finish destination, the competitors, sponsors and families that form the caravan will be able to appreciate the beauty and softness of the landscape in the ambience of closeness and sharing that is synonymous with this UNICEF leg (which supports projects benefiting disadvantaged children). For the majority of participants, this walk gives them time to reflect on this beautiful human adventure and collectively realize their accomplishments before getting back to civilization.

Links:

Follow the 2014 Marathon des Sables on www.iancorless.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/talkultra and on Twitter @talkultra

Updates will be posted daily as and when possible based on wifi connection and gps. Please be patient. I will do all I can to upload images and daily reports.

Info:

*UTWTIn 2013, the event became part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour Series, which groups together the major Ultra Trail races across all the different continents. The MARATHON DES SABLES will represent Africa in this circuit, where the distance (at least 100km), the site, the participation (at least 500 at the start), the internationality (at least 20 nations) and the length of existence (at least two editions) determines which events are selected. Beyond these sporting criteria, moral and ethical values, sporting equity, respect for oneself and others, as well as a respect for the environment, must be brought to the fore. Such values have always been conveyed by the MARATHON DES SABLES. 10 races, 5 continents, 150 global elite athletes… the Ultra-Trail® World Tour 2014 draws together the superlatives to provide the biggest number of runners with a world tour of the most prestigious races off the beaten track. Indeed, through their specific features, the #UTWT races illustrate the true diversity of the trail. Their sporting formats call for participants to have a real ability to adapt. As such you need a range of very different qualities to be a contender for victory! The MARATHON DES SABLES, the 4th leg of the 2014 tour, ranks among the ‘series’ races. As such, the number of points won in this event is increased, which makes it a decisive race in the bid for the #UTWT 2014 champion’s title. Participating in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour gives everyone a chance to discover unique cultural and sporting features. All the continents will be visited: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. So many opportunities to enrich one’s sporting culture, to create new friendships and to feed on emotions and perhaps, one day, be a ‘finisher’ in every one of the events!