Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 – Race Report

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Misty skies, gale force winds, relentless climbing, technical terrain and an incredible field of runners made the inaugural Mourne Skyline MTR a day to remember.

Concluding Skyrunning UK’s first year, the Mourne Skyline MTR really was a fitting end to what has been an incredible year. The course, organisation and the field of runners made this a special and unforgettable day in the mountains.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-6576The addition of Skyrunner® World Series champion (2013 and 2014) Stevie Kremer did provide some icing on the Mourne cake. However, ‘Pocket Rocket’ was not isolated… Jo Meek, British Ultra Trail Champion, provided more than enough pressure on the Colorado based Skyrunner on what proved to be one of the most exciting ladies mountain races I have followed for some time. Sharon Trimble, Diane Wilson and Shileen O’Kane would bring local knowledge and fell experience to the mix making this a classic in the making.

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As expected, Kremer pushed hard from the off and after leaving the Donard Forest the trail became steeper and more technical playing to the Colorado runners strength. Although a gap opened up, it was nothing substantial and Meek maintained a gap keeping Kremer in sight. After passing over the saddle, runners were hit by gale force winds and low cloud as they headed out to Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Meelmore and then an anticlockwise loop that would eventually return them to Slieve Meelmore and then run back to the finish. Conditions were brutal… thankfully the previous nights torrential rain had disappeared. Had it not, runners and marshals would have had a very testing day!

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Wilson, Trimble and O’Kane in many respects were running for third such was the pace of the front two ladies. On the flat, Meek would catch Kremer and then pull away. The relentless and rollercoaster nature of the terrain and mountains would then allow Kremer to pull back and pass on the climbs. This to and froing made for an exhilarating competition of willpower, mental strength and endurance. The latter half of the course, on paper, looked made for Kremer as climb and after climb would allow her to open a gap. However, Meek was having none of it. Running with blinkered vision, Meek fought the technical terrain and chased. ‘I was swearing at the terrain and my own frustrations in managing my technical ability,’ said Meek. Kremer was having no easy ride too, ‘that is the hardest race I have ever done! Harder than Zegama Aizkorri it was just brutal. Relentless climbing, technical and with the wind it was just soooo hard!’

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After CP4, Kremer opened up a gap and extended this on the steep ascent to Slieve Commedagh. Battered by the winds, Kremer put her head down and now pushed hard to the highest point of the course, Slieve Donard. Turning at the summit and descending down the lead extended and on the final technical descent to Newcastle the gap really opened up eventually providing Kremer a winning time of 4:24.2 to Meek’s 4:30.3. The time gaps don’t reflect how close this race was! Post race, Meek was very philosophical, ‘I really did push and race hard but the relentless ankle twisting and gnarly terrain beat me down and in the latter stages as Kremer pulled away I eased off a little knowing that 2nd place was secure.’ Diane Wilson placed 3rd producing a great run on home soil in a time of 4:45.4.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-1133 In the men’s race, local man, Allan Bogle pushed hard in the early stages closely followed by Kim Collison, Eoin Lennon and just 5 seconds back, J Marshall Thomson. It was close, and unlike the ladies race a winner looked likely to come from any of the front contenders. Particularly when one looked at the contenders looking for honours. Ally Beaven, David Steele and Paul Navesy all showed previous results that would mean they could never be ruled out of a podium place.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-0112 ©iancorless.com_Mourne-0130 British Ultra Trail Champion, Collison showed his class at descending and moved away from the other men but Lennon was never going to relinquish the lead without a fight. These two fought a hard battle all day and Lennon showed the wounds of war as blood tricked down his leg.

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Revelation of the race, was Colorado based J Marshall Thomson (Stevie’s fiancé) who raced in the top-5 all day and despite having never raced on ‘typical’ UK terrain pulled out a top-drawer run to place 3rd. ‘That was some of the most crazy terrain I have ever run. It was relentless. The terrain was beyond technical. You had no idea where to put your feet and I can’t tell you how many times I fell over… I loved it!’ said Thomson.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-6344 Collison won the race in 3:57.0 an incredible time in very tough conditions. Ryan Maxwell, race director for the Mourne Skyline MTR had predicted a win time of 4-hours, however, with conditions on the day, we expected this to be optimistic. For Collison and Lennon to both run sub-4 is a real testament to the competition between the two front men.

Thomson moved up into 3rd place and brought a truly international flavour to the men’s podium, his time of 4:08.3 reflecting his ability.

©iancorless.com_Mourne-0433The 2014 Mourne Skyline MTR has firmly established itself as a must-do race after just one edition. The combination of location, local infrastructure, great organisation, enthusiastic locals and a brutal course will guarantee that demand will be high for the 2015 edition.

Covering 35km and a total elevation gain of 3370m, the Mourne Skyline MTR is everything a Skyrunning race should be. I for one can’t wait for 2015.

RACE IMAGES HERE 

You can purchase race images HERE

RESULTS WOMEN Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race

Stevie Kremer 4:24.2 (10th overall)

Jo Meek 4:30.3

Diane Wilson 4:45.4

Sharon Trimble 5:02.1

Shileen O’Kane 5:03.1

RESULTS MEN Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race

Kim Collison 3:57.0

Eoin Lennon 3:59.4

J Marshall Thomson 4:08.3

Ally Beaven 4:12.0

David Steele 4:15.0

Limone Extreme SKY – Image Gallery

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Limone Extreme SKY results:

  1. Petro Mamo 2:14:25
  2. Kilian Jornet 2:14:55
  3. David Schneider 2:19:58
  1. Maite Maiora 2:47:05
  2. Stevie Kremer 2:49:03
  3. Elisa Desco 2:52:40

2010 Skyrunner® World Series titles:

Men

  1. Kilian Jornet Burgada (Salomon Santiveri)
  2. Ionut Zinca (Valetudo)
  3. Zaid Ait Malek (Buff)

Women

  1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon)
  2. Maite Maiora (La Sportiva)
  3. Elisa Desco (Scott Sports)

KEVIN CARR exceeds halfway mark in WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT.

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“I have encountered some pretty scary things so far, from packs of wild dogs in Romania, the most extreme weather conditions imaginable and most frightening of all coming face to face with bears in Canada, one of which actually stalked/hunted me before actively coming for me. I used the bear bangers that someone had given me and after 3 misfires, thankfully my fourth attempt sent the bear packing.”

Kevin Carr, an ultra-marathon runner from Devon, has completed 16,592 kilometers of his 26,232 kilometer World Record attempt to become the fastest person to circumnavigate the globe on foot.

Kevin started the run on the July 28 last year from Dartmoor, Devon, and has so far taken Kevin through most of Europe, including France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Running completely unsupported, Kevin most days has run between 50-65 kilometres and has even managed to achieve 85 kilometres on his longest day. If successful Kevin will gain 3 world records, the fastest person to run around the world and the youngest and the first to run completely self-supported. Pushing a trailer with everything he needs to survive, the expedition that will take him across five continents.

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Kevin has run from the west coast to the east of India, before running the entire width of Australia, Perth to Sydney, including a 1,100 kilometer crossing of the infamous, and brutally unforgiving, Nullarbor Desert.

New Zealand followed, where he ran through both the south and north islands. The next stop was Canada, where Kevin officially hit the halfway point of his run – a staggering 13,116 kilometers.

Currently in Peace River, Alberta Canada, Winnipeg will follow before he runs down through the USA to Miami and then on to South America before returning back to the United Kingdom for the last leg of this incredible challenge.

“I’ve had to endure a lot of suffering too. I had severe heatstroke in India and twice been hit by cars; the second time in Perth, Australia, I was flung high into the air with my trailer landing back down on top of me.’’

Kevin, who is sponsored by private investment company Cocoon Wealth, is completing this incredible endurance run for two charities – British Red Cross and Sane. As one would imagine, Kevin has been getting through plenty of run shoes… UK company inov-8 have stepped in and provided all shoes for this epic journey.

“I’m delighted to have exceeded the halfway mark but there’s still a long way to go.”

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Trail Magazin 6/2014 w/ Kilian Jornet & Emelie Forsberg

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German magazine, TRAIL has a 6-page feature on my interview and images of Kilian Jornet in edition 6/2014.

In addition, it has a photo of Emelie Forsberg and text on Trofeo Kima.

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You can purchase and download the magazine in PDF HERE

Rab Mountain Marathon 2014

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Over 500 runners assembled in the English Lakes for 2-days of Mountain Marathon action in what turned out to be two great days.

Although the sun only penetrated the thick cloud a couple of times, the weather was dry and as per usual, the Lakes provided a perfect backdrop to two tough days.

RACE IMAGES available HERE

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A score event (long and short), participants competed in solo or teams of two and as one would expect, the mix of ability was wide. One of the appeals of the RMM.

A rolling start on both days, 8:30 to 10:30 on Saturday and 07:00 to 09:00 on Sunday avoided snakes of runners and thus ensured everyone had to hone their ‘nav’ skills in finding the appropriate controls.

One thing that was great to see on both days, was huge smiles and a real enjoyment of the event irrespective of ability or speed.

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Day 1 provided a couple of very obvious controls relatively close to camp 1 to start and then there field of 500 spread over a wide area. The faster runners covering quite some ground to gain maximum points and by contrast, the walkers took a more direct line and less controls to camp 2.

Starting just west of the A6, day 1 went as far north as Mardale Head and Blea Water and west of Stony Cove Pike. In the south, the faster runners could venture below the River Kent.

Stewart Bellamy (300 points) was the stand out solo competitor and Andrew Stirk/ Adam Higgins (290 points) were the leading team of two after day 1 in the long course. Jackie Scarf and Phil Scarf had a 20 point lead in the short score (235 points) and Luke Gordon (210 points) was the leading solo.

©iancorless.com_RabMM14_-2915A strong wind blowing from the south potentially was going to make overnight camp interesting. However, with all runners back the wind suddenly dropped making the evening a calm, still and very warm night.

An early start had participants departing in two start windows, 0700-0800 and 0800-0900. With the exception of just a few, nearly all participants headed south before then heading east and making the way back to day 1 start camp.

A corridor of controls made this section of the course busy with runners coming from all directions as they tried to take accumulate as many points as possible.

Tough terrain and warm temperatures made day 2 all about covering ground fast as controls were much closer together and therefore points were really up for grabs. Steve Bellamy once again lead the way with 240 points with Daniel Gooch and Jon Moulding both raised their individual games with 245 and 240 points respectively. Two man team Andrew Stirk/ Andrew Higgins looked to be moving fast all day but finished 4th with 235 points. However, Stirk/Higgins still held on to 2nd overall behind Steve Bellamy and Daniel Gooch placed 3rd.

Short score competitors had a shake around on day 2 with day 1 leaders, Jackie & Phil Scarf placing 2nd behind Steve Wilson and Peter Stobbs. Patrick Butlin finished 3rd ahead of day 1 2nd place, Luke Gordon. However, the overall results remained unchanged with Team Scarf 1st (425 points), Luke Gordon 2nd (390) and Tim Martland (360) 3rd.

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Shane Ohly as race director and the Ourea Events Team bring slick organisation to difficult terrain and along with the course planning skills of Charlie Sproson, these events are a must do on the calendar. It’s been a busy year for the team, it all started in January with Marmot Dark Mountains. The Rab Mountain Marathon concludes 2014 but already plans are in motion for 2015 and remember, it’s a Dragons Back year! Arguably one of the toughest challenges in the UK

Results are HERE

Ourea events HERE

RACE IMAGES available HERE

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Like The Wind – Action Photography Workshop w/ Ian Corless

 

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Photo ©covadongafernandezcue

We are really delighted to announce a very special event at the Pop-Up: an action photography workshop with the one and only Ian Corless. This is a man who not only takes some of the most beautiful, inspiring and exciting photos of ultra trail running, but he is an ultra trail runner himself, so he really knows what he’s talking about.

LtW_ImageLogos_signatureThis workshop is going to be a perfect opportunity to hone your own photography skills and learn from one of the best. Tickets are limited so that everyone on the course gets as much from it as possible, so if you fancy upping your camera game, this is the one for you!

Event information and booking HERE

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CYCLING for RUNNERS – The Introduction

 

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Welcome to CYCLING for RUNNERS in conjunction with Scott Sports

Over the coming months and year, Ian Corless and Niandi Carmont in conjunction with SCOTT SPORTS will bring you CYCLING FOR RUNNERS.

Ian, Niandi and a series of special guests will provide you with a series of articles from a male and female perspective on how cycling can benefit you as a runner.

Providing simple and clear information, we will write about our experiences, we will tell you about equipment, provide hints and tips and most importantly, we will provide you with a series of training plans that you can incorporate week by week, month by month to make you a better runner through cycling.

We know 3-types of runner:

  1. The runner who is injured
  2. The runner who is recovering from injury
  3. And thirdly, the runner who is about to be injured

Of course, we joke, but many of you will agree there is some real truth in the joke. Running is not bad for you, however, taken to extremes or if rushed, the impact of repetition can damage and break us. Sometimes a couple of easy days are all we need and then we are able to resume full training. But as often happens, a couple of easy days may not be enough and our eagerness to push and get back to full training causes us to take risks and then the inevitable happens, we break!

Don’t get us wrong. If you want to be a good runner, you need to run. However, we don’t always thing big miles, double day runs or running everyday is necessary. It’s all about balance and ultimately what level we are running at and what our objectives are. As we see it, runners fall into four distinct groups:

  • Group 1: Weight loss/ recreational runner
  • Group 2: Budding enthusiast
  • Group 3: Good age group runner
  • Group 4: Elite/ pro or top-level runner

We could break the groups down again but ultimately, for the purposes of explanation, these four groups will suffice.

Group 1 runner’s will run typically three times a week (maybe four) and they will run twice in the week and once at weekend. During the week they will train from 20-60min and at the weekend they will extend their running beyond an hour. Mileage will be 30-50 miles per week.

Group 2 are pretty dedicated and savvy accumulating three to four runs during the week and running once or twice at the weekend. Sunday will typically be a long run of 90+ min and on Tuesday and maybe Thursday they will add some speed or strength running. Mileage will be 50-75 miles per week.

Group 3 runner’s are very similar to group 2, however, they are running six days a week, they double up runs on a couple of days and at weekend they may do back-to-back longer runs. Mileage will hover around 80-miles per week.

Group 4 are pushing the envelope, they run twice a day, four to five days a week and run long, fast and high during the weekend. They typically hover around 100-miles per week.

We generalise above and of course we will be able to find extremes in all the scenarios. However, the four groups provide a picture. We think the risk of injury is high for all the groups and relatively equal. Why?

Well, group 1 for example will be less experienced (typically) and will have less run history and therefore although the time on feet is less, the percentage risk is high based on experience.

Group 4 by contrast will have loads of experience, they have been involved in sports for years and they are knowledgeable. Risk comes for them from volume and because they are often on the edge looking for small performance gains.

For us, this is where cycling for runners can come in!

Cycling provides a great low impact exercise that can be done in or outdoors, it can be very controlled and importantly it can be as easy or as hard as you like.

Yes, if you want to be a great runner, you need to run. BUT cycling can add to your running and not take away from it…

Just think, how many of you have said, ‘I am just popping out for an easy run!’

Is there such a thing as an ‘easy run?’

In terms of effort, yes! For sure, you can run slow, easy and controlled keeping your heart rate down, keeping your cadence light and just tick-over. But, you are still in contact with the ground. You are still ‘impacting’ with the surface beneath you and you are still passing your body weight through all your muscles, tendons and joints. Recovery runs are not about fitness, they are about loosening off and in many cases, we use recovery runs just to make us feel better. So, why not incorporate some cycling as active recovery?

Long runs can really impact on your body. Hours of running adapt you to the demands that will be placed on you when you race but sometimes we will run the risk of pushing too far and risking injury. Long bike rides on hilly terrain for example can be used to provide multiple hours of low impact exercise. Hours where you can push harder than running without the risk of damaging knees, muscles and ligaments. If incorporated with long runs, you have a great way to do back-to-back sessions while reducing impact injury risk.

Speed can damage our fragile bodies, particularly our muscles and tendons. However, run speed work incorporated with cycling speed work can stress the aerobic system and it will stretch us physically and mentally in new ways.

Hill reps provide great aerobic stress pushing us to our threshold limits, however, what goes up, must come down. Often, it is the running downhill that causes damage. Of course, we need to train for this in running, it’s important. However, cycling hill reps incorporated into a structured training plan can provide a great stimulus that will progress your fitness level and once again, the impact implications are low.

Finally, cycling can just be a blast. It’s a great way to head out and see a new place; arguably, we can cover more distance in less time on a bike. If nothing else, cycling may well just provide you with a well-earned break from running. Cycling will freshen your mind, it will freshen your body and I guarantee, your running will improve.

Part one of cycling for runners will be released on Wednesday October 1st and we will look at the basics to get you started:

  • The bike.
  • How to ensure you have a good fit.
  • Dos and Don’ts of cycling.
  • And we will list 5-points why cycling can make YOU a better runner.
Philipp Reiter Cycling

Philipp Reiter Cycling

To kick things off, Salomon International athlete, Philipp Reiter will also give us his thoughts on why cycling works for him as a trail, mountain and ultra runner.

Stay tuned.

Join us on STRAVA

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Thanks to SCOTT SPORTS for the support and backing

Print

Check out SCOTT HERE

CYCLING for RUNNERS PAGE HERE

Cycling for Runners Logo

inov-8 Race Ultra Vest 2015 *New Product Review

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The 2013 incarnation of the inov-8 Race Vest was a revelation. It was arguably the most simple and minimalist pack on the market that fit and functioned perfectly for the task at hand. It had a unique design, the ability to carry 2-bottles and/ or bladder and in addition it had a series of really useful and importantly, ‘usable’ pockets. No pack is perfect, however, I did say the Race Vest was close.

Many agreed. The pack sold incredibly well and it won awards.

However, it did have some restrictions. In reality, the pack was perfect for 1-day races when minimal mandatory kit was required. But if you where doing a longer event such as UTMB then the original pack had limited space. I actually was able to put all my mandatory kit in the pack but I had to be creative and yes, I had to have the smallest and lightest kit available.

©iancorless.com_S0152108RaceUltraVest2015I personally don’t think this is a fault of the pack! The original Race Vest had a use and if used in the scenario for which it was intended, then it was arguably one of the best packs available.

When the product became available to purchase (early 2014), a few tweaks had been made from the original prototype, which I was using. The key change was in the upper. My pack would allow the 2-bottles to fit low (near the rib cage) or high on the shoulder straps. After testing, many people commented that the shoulder straps rubbed around the neck, so, Matt Brown, the designer, reworked the design, narrowed the straps (which did provide a better fit) but unfortunately this meant you couldn’t fit the bottles in the upper position. A real shame in my opinion! More importantly, original retail samples had a couple of question marks on durability. Many runners complained of some less than perfect construction. This was soon nipped in the bud but as we all know, this is never a good thing.

Below, the original Race Ultra Vest with bottles: 

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Jump to the inov-8 athlete retreat in the English Lakes, spring 2014. A weekend of running: looking at new shoes, apparel and accessories for the coming year (2015). Needless to say, as a running aficionado, I love this. I love to see how a brand takes past and current ideas, develops them and comes up with something new. The new apparel looked incredible, new shoes were promising; particularly the new Ultra 290 shoe and then we saw the packs… the new Race Vest.

Similarities could be drawn to the original 2013/2014 model but boy oh boy. This was a complete overhaul taking all the features from the original, adding tweaks and then coming up with something new. inov-8, Matt Brown and the rest of the team had pimped their packs!

No longer was one pack available but three: 5ltr, 10ltr in this style and a larger 24ltr for mountain marathon or multi-day events. Using the ‘vest’ fitting system, these new packs in one word are awesome.

I said in my original Race Vest review back in 2013 that ‘This new product from UK company; inov-8 may very well be the next key moment in pack design stripping away complication and providing a pack that would almost make a perfect accessory for Batman.’

It was a bold statement and one that I still hold. However, that unique innovation has moved up a step and lessons have been learnt.

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So, what is new?

  • Larger capacity (3 different sizes)
  • Pole fitting attachments
  • Redesigned vest
  • New soft flasks with extended drinking straws
  • Dump pockets
  • Zipper pockets

I have 2-packs for testing, the 5ltr and 10ltr. They are exactly the same, obviously the only difference being capacity. For the purpose of this review, I have tested and photographed the 10ltr as I feel this will be the most popular option. However, I will say that the 5ltr does have far more capacity than the original Race Vest despite them being arguably, on paper, the same size!

My test product is a prototype and I am aware of some tweaks that will be made based on my review and the feedback I provide. So please refer to this review and I will update with any key changes and revisions that may happen over the coming weeks/ months.

The vest fits like a glove. I never expected anything else. You put it on and immediately it is like adding another piece of well fitting clothing. Unlike the original Race Vest, this pack will not have adjustment straps on the side. Therefore, the pack will come in a variety of sizes so that you can get the product that fits you! I believe this will be S/M and M/L and fit has been tweaked under the arm to a better fit under the arm from my prototype.

Why no side straps?

Well, two large ‘dump pockets’ have been added to the pack. It made sense. This was an area not utilised in the original design and now you have 2-easy access pockets for food, clothing or any other item you may need.

For me though, these dump pockets make the ideal location for storing the new soft flasks. This wasn’t the original idea of designer, Matt Brown. However, after 1-week of testing, I contacted Matt and told him of the way I was using the pack. It made perfect sense to me. It had the bottles in an easy access and comfortable place, the new ‘extended straws’ meant that I could feed as and when I wanted without removing them and if I needed to refill, I could just pull them out, take off the top, fill and replace. In addition, you could still use the dump pockets for additional storage either under or over the soft flasks. I typically put my gloves, Buff or other essential items in this area. Being a photographer, I have often replaced one soft flask with a camera. Yes, they are that adaptable.

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On the front of the pack, you have zip pocket on either side. These pockets are for the soft flasks, however on my prototype they were a little too small and tight. For me, they are perfect for valuable items such as phone/ money/ credit card or similar. Matt Brown has confirmed for me that the zipper pockets have been re-designed and made larger accommodating the flasks with ease and comfort, ‘I used the updated sample at CCC and kept the bottles in the zipper pockets, a lot easier to remove and get back in again,’ said Matt. So, the choice will be yours? I do recommend you try options and see what works for you.

Several other stretch pockets are available that work well for keys, food and or gels.

 

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The front fastening system has also changed from the original. This pack no longer uses the quick release system that some found fiddly on the previous vest (I didn’t). Now it has 2-fixed straps, upper and lower and both use the classic male/ female quick release fastening system.

The rear of the pack has 2-zippers: one on the outside of the pack that allows access to an uncluttered open pocket.

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On the reverse, the part of the pack that would sit against your back, has a zipper that would allow direct access to a bladder should you wish to use one.

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Of course, this is perfect, especially in long events when you are carrying mandatory kit. You don’t want to be pulling kit out to get to a bladder. In addition, elastic cords have been added to the top and bottom to attach poles.

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The large open pocket (10ltr version) held with ease:

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Buff
  • Gloves
  • Base layer
  • Compass
  • Gps
  • Phone
  • Arm warmers
  • Beanie
  • Gels/ bars

And I still had space to squeeze other items in. No question, it’s perfect for a UTMB style event or similar. Should you carry fewer items, the adjustable bungee drawstring on the pack will allow you to compress unwanted space.

The pack has an optional (purchase extra) 2ltr bladder that sits within a temperature control sleeve and this easily slides into the rear zipper pocket. The feed pipe is insulated and can be used on the left or right hand side of the vest. Ideal should you require the option to carry 3ltrs of liquid: 2ltrs in the rear and 1ltr at the front two soft flasks.

IN USE 

It may come as no surprise that I find the pack perfect. I have yet to find an issue with any aspect of the design.

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The soft flasks with extended straws are a revelation and make ‘on the go’ drinking a breeze. It also makes refilling very easy.

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The vest fits like a glove, does not bounce and is extremely comfortable even when filled to capacity.

Fabrics are light and breathable as the original. Of course with any vest, you are going to get a hot spot on your back. You can’t avoid that with this style of product. Having said that, I have yet to find a pack that doesn’t do this…

10464062_10152436307373891_1576851184164900850_nThe rear large zippered pocket requires some thinking when packing, as it is just an open space. You push things in and keep pushing. I recommend if using a bladder, add this first and then pack. Place the items you are likely to need less at the bottom and then work your way up leaving the most essential items at the top. It’s not rocket science but good to think ahead. Once the bladder is in place, you don’t need to remove it as it has a separate zipper access thus allowing refilling as and when required. It works really well. As mentioned previously, you can fit all mandatory kit (UTMB requirement) in the spacious pocket.

You can attach poles to the rear. I tried but didn’t find this to be a good option for me. More often than not, the new folding poles such as Black Diamond or Leki are shorter in length. This makes fastening more awkward and problematic. To resolve this, I attached two adjustable bungees to the shoulder straps and I store my poles folded across my chest; works for me and makes storing and access to the poles easier. It’s a personal thing.

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The multiple front packets provide immediate access to anything I needed whilst running. I had a phone, camera, bars, gels, keys and money all at hand. Perfect. The front zipper pockets add extra security if not used for the soft flasks.

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I used the two large dump pockets for my soft flasks and then placed gloves, buff and some snack items on top. This works great but you need to think when coming into an aid station… if you just pull out the soft flask, what is on top will hit the deck!

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Conclusion

I raved about the original Race Vest (2013/14 model) and hailed it as arguably the ‘perfect’ pack. In refection, I was wrong. It was perfect to a point. The new range of packs (in 3-sizes) have addressed the issue of storage (or lack of) and with the addition of soft flasks with straws, these packs offer everyone the opportunity not only to get the right size to fit them but also the correct capacity for your needs. For me, if you were only going to purchase one pack, the 10ltr would be the most logical option.

Although we haven’t done a full test from a female perspective, initial feedback has been good. As I am sure you can imagine, this very much depends on the lady and the chest size.

We will update this review with a female viewpoint ASAP.

Finally, inov-8 has come up with another winner. I’d recommend this pack to anyone and everyone. The 10ltr does have some strong competition from many other key brands so ultimately it will all come down to personal taste. But if you are ordering online without seeing the product have confidence, you won’t be disappointed.

Check out inov-8 HERE

Availability? This pack is a 2015 model and as such will retail in early 2015. Pre orders and enquiries should be sent to inov-8

Price? 5L £110 / 10L £120 inc bottles

Note: I was asked on Facebook about a lack of negative comments. It’s simple really, I don’t have any. My comments re the zipper pockets being too small and tight was my big gripe which ironically made me look at storing the soft flasks in the dump pockets. Matt Brown, the designer has reworked these pockets and as he says, he personally used the pack for CCC with no issues. I do hope to get a couple of images from Matt to show this tweak to the design.

Like the Wind Pop-UP : Photography with Ian Corless

Photo ©covadongafernandezcue

Photo ©covadongafernandezcue

Are you a budding photographer? Do you want to learn from an expert? Then the Like the Wind Pop-Up has the answer – a masterclass and workshop with the one and only Ian Corless, the man behind many of the most inspiring and moving photos from the ultra and mountain running scene.

This will be a chance to learn from an expert about all the things it takes to create a great photo of a runner. Bring your camera and leave with information and inspiration. Details on how to book will be released in the next few days, but for now… who’d be interested in signing up for this?

Provisional date : Thursday October 30th1400 to 16/1700.

Like the Wind Pop-Up – what is it?

Like the Wind was conceived as a way for the running community to share each others stories – a magazine dedicated to collecting words, images and art that coveys what it is to be a runner. We want every piece to evoke something about running.

Happily, the running community, around the world, has embraced the magazine and enjoyed reading – and contributing – stories. Now, with two successful issues under our belts, we have decided to go beyond bringing runners together online and through the pages of the magazine. We are going to bring them together in a physical space.

The Like the Wind Pop-Up will be in the heart of the creative hub that is Shoreditch in east London. There will be space for brands who want to support the Pup-Up, there will be film nights, inspiring talks, guided runs and a launch party to rival the one that we held for the launch of the first issue of Like the Wind.

For one week, there will be a home for running stories in central London. Runners will be able to come and meet one another, interact with the magazine, buy limited edition artwork from the artists who have appeared on the pages, check out some of the finest running brands and generally have their running mojo given a boost.

We hope that as many runners as possible will join us and make this a special week for Like the Wind and everyone associated with it.

You can find out more about our Pop Up Gallery here.

UTMB 2014 – Race Preview

tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com

It’s UTMB time and the race kicks off today at 1730 and currently the lights are green for go… phew!

As one would expect, a quality line up and men and ladies will toe the line to run the circular route around Mont-Blanc.

As was shown last year in the men’s race, predicting a winner, even a top-3 can be a tricky thing. One thing is for sure; Thevenard will not do the double as he won TDS just the other day. In doing so, he has become the first runner to win CCC, UTMB and TDS. I like that, it shows a level of skill and speed over multiple distances and terrain.

So, UTMB will roll out and without doubt we will see some drama on the trails. Unfortunately, last years 2nd place, Miguel Heras will not run. Once again injured! Will he ever get a break?

Francois D'Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene is a past winner on the shortened course and for me he has blossomed into one of the best 100 runners out there. His Raid de la Reunion last year and his early season win and sub 20-hours in Japan must make him a hot fave!

Luis Alberto Hernando copyright iancorless.com Luis Alberto Hernando is one guy who I would love to see make the podium. For 12-months he has been building up to this race and wins at Transvulcania and the 80km Skyrunning World Champs must put him in a great place. BUT, he hasn’t run a 100 before and he does like to push. He will need to be patient for 100km and then start racing if he wants any chance of success.

©iancorless.com_IMG_5982SierreZinal_2014_

Tofol Castanyer like Luis is stepping up to the 100. Winner of the CCC he has all the skills and ability to do something special.

 

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera completes a strong Salomon line up and is a hot favourite for the win. He is a beast on tough and technical races and for sure having disappointment with course cancellations in the past, Iker will be looking to make this one count.

Dakota Jones UROC ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones is due a big race. Dropping from Hardrock 100 will certainly have stoked the fire for a great performance here but maybe the ankle isn’t 100%? He has done some epic days with Kilian in and around Mont-Blanc; so, let’s hope he has his day.

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote consistent at UTMB and a great record over long distance races. You won’t see him in the top-10 early on but he will close hard (as usual) eat up those who are struggling and move up the ranks. I don’t see him winning put podium is always a possibility.

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson put his eggs in the Hardrock basket and they got smashed with one of those gutsy, ‘I’m gonna finish no matter what days.’ Respect! Of course, Timmy can win this race, his success this year will all come down to how well he has recovered from HR100. If he is in shape, podium potential and of course a win is a distinct possibility.

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka had the race sewn up for me last year. He was on fire looking relaxed and incredible at every moment. However, the relentless injury problems ruined his day and he has been in and out of injury for 2-years. He had a couple of great early season results, Lavaredo in particular and then dropped from Speedgoat with injury. I have a feeling that Anton will win the race or not finish. I hope he has his day; it’s long overdue.

Jez Bragg TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Jez Bragg will have a solid run; he always does and like Foote, will start way back and work his way to the front. Top-10 would be a great result.

Fabian Antolinus will be an interesting inclusion. He ran a great race at Ice Trail Tarentaise and of course he has continually impressed in French races such as Templiers. UTMB? I would say a top-20 for sure and top-10 if he has a great day.

Hal Koerner is 100m beast and like Mr Meltzer can run 100’s for breakfast. His experiences with UTMB have been somewhat mixed so it is great to see him back and I hope he puts a great race together. He could surprise a few people!

Carlos Sa is a really talented athlete who races road, trail, multi-day, mountains and so on. He has all the ability and potential to create a stir in the top-5. In the past he has gone off course, so this year I hope he nails the route and pushes with the best.

Jason Schlarb has been mixing it up in Europe for a while now. This can only be a really good thing. He raced at Transvulcania and the Skyrunning 80k; so, he has an understanding of what is needed. He may make top-10?

Scott Hawker will be one of the top runners from the Southern Hemisphere who has spent time in Europe this year. Ice Trail Tarentaise would have been a great prep ground.

*****

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio dominated the race last year with arguably one of the most impressive female performances ever. A win at Lavaredo shows that the build up has been good and her recent obscurity can only mean training and training hard. She will be impossible to beat if she repeats the form and condition of 2013.

©iancorless.com.IMG_2050

Nuria Picas was 2nd last year in her 1st 100 and has gone on to run big races all over the world and in most cases, win them too! Without doubt, Nuria can win this race but she must be tired? In contrast to Rory who will be fresh as a daisy.

Nathalie Mauclair ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair winner of Reunion last year and top ranked at Western States, Nathalie brings a mix of speed, endurance and climbing ability and for me, barring issues, will make the podium!

©iancorless.com.IMG_2996

Fernanda Maciel like Nuria has been on the UTWT roller coaster of exhaustion. Fernanda won’t be fresh but like many of the other top ladies can produce a really strong 100 and keep pushing even when fatigued. Her 2014 results alone show what a talent she is.

iancorless.comP1080213

Laurence Klein, now this is an interesting inclusion. The MDS queen on this terrain leaves a huge question mark. She can run quick, for sure has run some impressive times in races such as the Ecotrail de Paris, however, this 100-mile course and vertical will be something new. Interested to see this one plays out.

Uxue Fraille is a consistent performer at around 80-100km but I think this is the first 100 she will run? Always there or thereabouts, Uxue closes well and picks off the others as they crumble. I see more of the same at UTMB.

Ashley Arnold is a question mark and the US’s hope outside Rory. I don’t think this tough mountain 100 will play to her strengths, particularly based on recent results. However, this ladies field has quality but not depth, so, top-10 for sure and top-5 if on a great day.

Rounding out the top ladies, we have 2-Brits, Claire Price and Lizzie Wraith. Both ladies raced the Skyrunning 80km and may well sneak into the top-10. Shona Stephenson has struggled at UTMB in the past but knows how to run 100’s and is top-10 potential and Meghan Arbogast, Simona Morbelli and Leila Degrave round out my ones to watch!

 

You can follow the race live via the UTMB website and Twitter

UTMB LVE HERE