Navigation 101: Intermediate Navigation – Beyond the Basics by Mountain Run

Mountain Run

This is a second article in a trio of interviews with Ian Corless, about Navigation for Ultra Runners & more. Read article one HERE

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In the first interview we covered the Basics of Navigation, this encompassed maps, compasses, setting your map & how to set a bearing.

The second interview was moving into intermediate navigation & it consisted of the following information & techniques:

  1. Declination/Magnetic Variation
  2. Grid Numbers/Plotting a Grid Reference
  3. Back Bearings
  4. Re-Orienting/Re-locating
  5. Thumbing the Map
  6. Hand-railing
  7. Catching Features
  8. Aiming Off

So lets start with:

1) Magnetic Declination or Magnetic Variation: 

There are 3 points at which north is seen. 1) True North, 2) Grid North & 3) Magnetic North. We are concerned with Grid North & Magnetic North.

Grid North is what is detailed on a map, its where the North/South grid lines show us the direction of north, according to the grid lines printed on the map. This is almost the same as True North, so we will group True North & Grid North the same. These are fixed points & do not move.

Magnetic North is what your compass needle points towards, being magnetised & this is not a fixed point, it moves over time. Magnetic North is explained as so:

“The North Magnetic Pole is the point on the surface of Earth‘s Northern Hemisphere at which the planet’s magnetic field points vertically downwards (in other words, if a magnetic compass needle is allowed to rotate about a horizontal axis, it will point straight down). There is only one location where this occurs, near (but distinct from) the Geographic North Pole and the Geomagnetic North Pole.

The North Magnetic Pole moves over time due to magnetic changes in the Earth’s core.[1] In 2001, it was determined by the Geological Survey of Canada to lie near Ellesmere Island in northern Canada at 81.3°N 110.8°W. It was situated at 83.1°N 117.8°W in 2005. In 2009, while still situated within the Canadian Arctic territorial claim at 84.9°N 131.0°W,[2] it was moving toward Russia at between 34 and 37 miles (55 and 60 km) per year.[3] As of 2012, the pole is projected to have moved beyond the Canadian Arctic territorial claim to 85.9°N 147.0°W.[2]

Because we have a variance between True North & Magnetic North, we therefore need to use something called the Magnetic Variation. This is described as follows: 

“Magnetic declination or variation is the angle on the horizontal plane between magnetic north (the direction the north end of a compass needle points, corresponding to the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field lines) and true north (the direction along a meridian towards the geographic North Pole). This angle varies depending on position on the Earth’s surface, and changes over time.”

It is also explained more formally, Bowditch defines variation as “the angle between the magnetic and geographic meridians at any place, expressed in degrees and minutes east or west to indicate the direction of magnetic north from true north. The angle between magnetic and grid meridians is called grid magnetic angle, grid variation.

Magnetic_North_Pole_Positions

Depending on which country you reside in will then depend on what the Magnetic Variation actually is. For example, if you live in the UK then the Magnetic North is 1.5 degree’s at the start of 2014 west of True North. The reason it is west is that we sit to the east of the Agonic Line or line of Zero Declination where Mag North & True North are the same. There are several points where this occurs around the world. Its a bit technical, but all you need to remember is that the Mag Variation is printed on all maps in the UK to advise what the Mag Variation is at what ever year the map was printed.

IGRF_2000_magnetic_declination

In order to correct your bearing to take into account the Mag Variation, you must adjust the compass 1.5 degrees east of the bearing you have taken, or more easily remembered, add 1.5 degrees on to your compass bearing you have just taken from the map. To make life even more confusing, the Mag Variation in 2015 is 0, therefore Mag Variation need not be corrected for that year, so it is almost not worth making this correction for the next year & certainly if your navigation is broken down into small legs. It really only comes into play right now, if you are travelling over large expanses of land, without any catching features, hand rails etc.

Transversely, if you are using the Mag Variation, remember when making a sighted bearing, whilst relocations, you might want to subtract 1.5 degree’s off your bearing in order to get an accurate bearing when you place the compass on the map. It all depends how accurate you need the bearing to be? Are you looking at a mountain summit? If so, is your bearing really that accurate anyway.

So Mag Variation in the UK is not really necessary right now.

If you are in Europe or other parts of the world like the US, then your Mag Declination/Variation will be different. It should be on the map you are using, if not consult a website like Wiki for more information.

North & South of the Equator. 

If you buy your compass in the northern hemisphere, then it is not set to work in the southern hemisphere & visa versa. Silva produce 3 types of compasses to work in 3 different magnetic zones. The best piece of advise is if you are traveling, then buy a compass for use in the zone which you are traveling. Best to contact a company like Silva to get the right compass.

Can I set the declination on a compass, so I can forget about the Mag Variation? 

Yes is the answer, but they don’t come at a small price. Most compasses, of reasonable value, like Silva 2NL-360 Explorer will have a Declination Scale on the bevel base plate, this can be used for quick adjustment. If you want to set the mag declination, then you need to purchase a compass capable of doing this, like the Silva 15T-360/6400 Green military compass. Its not really necessary for general use, especially in the UK right now.

Ok, so the confusing Mag Declination/Variation is done. Use at will, just remember to check on the country you are in as to what the variation is & apply it if necessary. Its list on the map you have in your hand, or at least the one you will be using.

2) Grid Numbers & Plotting a Grid Reference

Grid numbers are applied to the grid lines. These are a squared matrix applied to the whole country to divide it into different sections. They are laid out to make squares 100k by 100k, these squares are then broken down to have a further matrix applied giving squares of 1km by 1km. These are the lines/squares printed on your map. The lines running from east to west are numbered from south to north, these are the ‘northings’, the lines running from north to south are numbers west to east, these are called the ‘eastings’. A grid reference is made up of these printed numbers.

northings-eastings

So on the image pictured to the left, we have Eastings along the bottom & Northings running up the side. In order to find a certain grid we need 4 of these numbers. This a 4 figure GR.

We are always given the Eastings first & the Northings second.  A 4 figure GR would read as 17 45

Once we understand this we can move to a 6 figure GR. This is done by breaking down each of the squares into a further 10 divisions on either scale, making 100 squares inside the existing square and will allow us to pin point a location to within a 100m square on the ground. A 6 figure GR would be something like 175 454.

This can be taken into a further pin point of 10m squares by using the same logic & so on.

A roamer on your compass can be of great help here to pin point 6 figure GR’s.

Not following? Book on a course….

3) Back Bearings. 

Very useful in either re-locating yourself or using a feature to make sure you are looking at what you think your looking at. A back bearing is taken by using a sighting of an identifiable feature, be it a path, summit, building or  large reentrant & applying it to the map. This can help you do one of 2 things. 1 – re-locate yourself on a line feature (its hard to relocate with this technique exactly, but it can help your judgement or give you a rough location) or 2 – help you to make sure the feature you are looking at is the same one you are looking at on the map.

Remember that when taking a back bearing, you might need to subtract the Mag Variation to make sure its correct. 

compassatpeak

To take a back bearing, line the direction of travel arrow at the front of your compass with the feature, make it as exact as possible. Then swivel the rotating bevel so that you line the red end of the needle in the red house/shed, remember the Red in Shed. This is now your bearing set. Next put the compass on the map & line the front side up with the feature you think you are looking at, and move the compass until your orienting lines on the base plate match with the N/S Grid Lines on the map. You should now be able to locate yourself somewhere along the side of the compass.

A back bearing works best if you are already located on a line feature, as this bearing will then cross the line feature at some point, giving you a rough location of where you are on that line feature.

4) Re-Orienting/Re-Locating.

A very necessary skill, used to either make sure you are where you think you are, or as it sounds, to actually re-locate. Once you are adept at this skill, it should be used throughout the day, as you progress through your race or just through the mountains to keep a check on your position, but of course if you are thumbing the map, then it will be a whole lot quicker & easier. When you’re really good at it you will re-locate whilst on the move.

Clients on a recent OMM Mountain Skills Day relocating on Place Fell, Eastern Lakes

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How to do it: 

Use everything at your disposal. This means look for all the identifiable features you can see, summits, paths, streams, woods, walls, buildings, ruins, sheepfolds etc. Orientate your map, if it is not already! Now match the features on your map to the ground, or visa versa. If your still not sure, then use a back bearing by locating a summit or other feature & take a bearing from it by following what was discussed above.

If you are not on a line feature you will then need to start really assessing the contours & because you have studied your contours well at home, you have a good handle on how to interpret what you are looking at to the features/contours on the ground. Are you in a reentrant, or is there one close by. Is the valley in the right place in front of you in relation to the map.

Re-Location requires lots of practice, the more you do, the better you will get until you can re-orientate whilst on the move.

5) Thumbing the map. 

Thumbing the map with compass in hand.

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A very simple, but very useful technique. Once you start to get a handle on navigation, map reading & compass work you will be able to fold your map smaller, so not needing so much of it in view. The smaller you can have your map folded, the easier it is to thumb the map. By doing this we mean, fold your map in half, half again and so on until you have a manageable size to hold in your hand. Obviously make sure you can see the area you are in. Now, knowing where you are on the map, put your thumb over this location. Having the map oriented correctly in your hand is very important. As you walk/run along your chosen courses/bearing, you simply move you thumb small increments to keep up to date with your progress.

Why is this useful? 

Because you need to be able to locate your rough position on the map at a split second or whilst on the move. When you want to check your surroundings against the map, just pull it up to have a look & your thumb will be placed near to where you are, you can then re-locate very quickly & keep a track of your progress from map to land or the other way round. This is how you will learn to re-locate whilst on the move!

6) Hand-railing. 

It is as it sounds, using a handrail to help you on your way as you travel across the land. So what is a handrail? It a feature on the map that allows you to use it as a hand-rail. It is always a line feature & can be as simple as a path, or as obscure as a blind ridge line (by blind I mean rounded & not obvious). Once you have established the handrail is going in the direction of travel you want you can walk/run along it until you need to make your next decision.

Examples of Hand Rails

Handrails

How do you know when to stop? Use the next technique, a catching feature….

7) Catching Features. 

A catching feature again is as it sounds, its a feature that catches you. It can be designed to wake the brain up to say your nearly at your destination, next direction change or just as a marker to what is coming next. You can have as many catching features as you like along your chosen course. Don’t pick too many though, as it will be hard to remember. Try to limit them as wake up calls, or direction changes, but you can still use them as markers to track your progress.

Plenty of Catching Features in the image below: 

Catching-Features_edited-2

A catching feature might be a wall corner, building, junction in a path or river or a crag that you are moving past. Used in conjunction with thumbing the map & hard rails, you can see that you can really track your progress as you move forwards.

8) Aiming Off. 

The last technique in our intermediate navigational skill set. We use aiming off to catch a line feature, that we may then use as our next bearing setter or as a handrail until we reach the next catching feature.

To aim off we use a bearing slightly off to the side of the line feature we are heading for. This can be either left or right, but it need to be obvious, otherwise you might miss it.

Aiming Of below so you don’t miss the control, best practice in foul weather!

Aiming-Off_edited_edited-1

Lets say your travelling across open ground south to north, there is a tarn in front of you running from west to east & you want to catch this feature, but keep moving past it. The weather is in and visibility isn’t what you want it to be. You want to pass the tarn to the east, so you need it to be on the western side of you. How will you know you have passed it, if you can’t see so well due to mist? The tarn might be 500 m long, west to east. By aiming off, rather than passing the tarn on a bearing and checking it off as you go, you are better aiming off your bearing slightly to the west & hitting the tarn, this then gives you an identifiable feature to break up your leg & confirm you are where you think you are. You can then take your next bearing to the location you want to reach, using the techniques of handrails, catching features & possibly aiming off again.

Get these skills dialled in good weather & you can now be ready to head out in to the open fell in inclement weather. Get them dialled in bad weather & your getting ready to head out at night.

Still not got it? 

Are you interested in an UltraTrail Nav Day or a Mountain Marathon Skills Day?

Send us your details here:

 

Rab Mountain Marathon 2014 Preview

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The 8th Rab Mountain Marathon™ will be held on the 27th and 28th September 2014. The Rab Mountain Marathon™ is a two-day fell running and navigation challenge for solos and pairs with an overnight camp.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon kicks off this weekend at 0830. Two days of navigation and running will unfold in the English Lakes using the popular score format.

Now in it’s 8th year, the Rab Mountain Marathon has become an iconic race that has visited many stunning locations, the Cheviot Hills, Derwent Fells, Snowdonia, Howgills and this year it once again returns to the English Lakes.

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Taking on challenging mountain terrain, participants need to be competent and confident at moving fast over tough terrain. As usual, the is the UK and runners will need to be prepared for the worst despite a recent spell of really good weather in the UK.

As one would expect, the Rab Mountain Marathon will take place over rough, steep and technical mountain terrain. Many sections of the course will be isolated and if bad weather comes in, everyone needs to be prepared.

©iancorless.com.IMG_5731GL3D_Day1The race format is ‘score’ as this tests navigation skills and avoids snakes of runners going from point-to-point. A rolling start window of 2-hours will spread the runners out and electronic timing is used to track the runners. As normal, different class options are available (including walking) and it’s possible to participate as a solo or team of two.

It’s hard to highlight some standout competitors for 2014. If I were to place a bet on the top Long Score competitors it would be between Adam Stirk and Andrew Higgins (who are a pair) and Stewart Bellamy (solo). Adam and Andrew finished 3rd last year behind Steve Birkinshaw (1st in 2013) and Alex Pilkington (2nd in 2013) both of whom are not taking part this year. They were also 2nd at the Highlander in 2013.

Stewart Bellamy is a strong runner and whilst he may not have featured in the results of recent mountain marathons, he did win the GL3D in 2013.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon’s approach is designed to be relaxed and less formal and structured than that of the OMM, which will take place next month.

Shane Ohly, race director for Ourea Events says, ‘But hey the Rab isn’t really about the elite runners and there is some super generous support from Rab who are providing vouchers to the value of about £10,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd across a huge range of categories. Check them out here: HERE

At registration on the Friday evening or Saturday morning, competitors can view a Master Map of the competition area which will give a full overview of the event area being used plus provide details of any out of bounds areas, map corrections etcetera. The event Master Map will not be over-printed with any control points.

So there you have it… two days of navigational fun in the English Lakes. It’s possible to follow a live stream HERE and a free APP has been created. Details HERE

Apps can be downloaded here:

iOShttp://bit.ly/1wwcbDKAndroidhttp://bit.ly/1AUZNhj

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Race Website HERE

Rab Apparel HERE

Rab Twitter HERE

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

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Check out SCOTT HERE

CYCLING for RUNNERS PAGE HERE

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William Sichel to attempt World’s Longest Certified Footrace – 3100 miles

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Orkney-based ultra marathon runner, William Sichel, has announced that he will be attempting to become the first Scot, first Brit and first person over 60-years of age to complete the World’s Longest Certified Footracethe Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 3100 Mile Race – within the current 52 day time limit.

Described by the New York Times as the “Mount Everest of ultra marathons”, the 18th edition of this event will, once again, take place on a half mile street circuit in Queens, New York from June 15th to August 6th this year. A small field of about a dozen runners is expected.

“I wanted to make this year in particular rather special, it being my 60th year and also my 20th in ultra distance running.  I’ve always specialised in standard road and track ultras so, to me, this is the ultimate in this type of race.  Clearly it is way beyond anything I have previously attempted and I’ll need to use all my experience to try and finish the race!”

Sri Chinmoy was an Indian spiritual master and teacher of meditation, who established himself in New York in the 1960’s and who died in 2007.  The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team organise many running events world-wide, including in Scotland, England and Wales.

“My first ever standard ultra was the Sri Chinmoy 100km race in Edinburgh in 1994, which to my amazement I won. Since then I have done loads of Sri Chinmoy ultra distance events world-wide and up to 6 Days in duration. Their events are always well organised and have the best interests of the runners at heart.”

William has known about this incredible event for a long time but never thought he would be able to participate or realistically consider himself a possible finisher.

“Trying to clear a two months gap in your life isn’t easy and in fact that becomes part of the challenge. It will be the most incredible trial for me – the ultimate really in long distance running.”

For organisational reasons the race is run a bit like a stage race with the runners and organisers having an enforced break between mid-night and 6am every day.  The clock doesn’t stop of course.

So in effect the competitors have 18 hours a day to cover the daily average of 60 miles required to complete the challenge within the time limit.

“I’ve run 153 miles in a single day as a one off. In six day races I cover 80-90 miles as a daily average and in my only 1000 miles race I averaged 72 miles a day. To attempt a daily average of 60 miles, week in and week out, will need the most astonishing effort and conservation of resources.”

Welshman Abichal Watkins, was the first British person to compete in the event, finishing five times in five years, with a best performance of 54 days 11 hours in 2008.  He is now a race organiser and this year is promoting the Celtic Ultra Fest in Weston-super-Mare in September.

William is working on Project165.com in which he will attempt to have set 165 ultra running records before his 65th birthday on October 1st 2018.  Amongst William’s current 95 records he holds nine world age-group records including the fastest time to run 1000 miles.

William is dedicating Project165.com to raise funds for CLAN Cancer Support and his dedicated web page can be found here: http://www.justgiving.com/William-Sichel

Episode 57 – Johnston, Greenwood, Desert Runners Movie, Team inov-8

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Episode 57 of Talk Ultra is available – David Johnston gives us a blow-by-blow account of his record breaking run at the ITI350 (Iditarod Trail Invitational), Ellie Greenwood talks about her comeback run and win at Chuckanut 50 and her plans for 2014. We speak with Jennifer Steinman, Director of the Desert Runners Movie and Samantha Gash who appeared in the film. Team inov-8 provide some chat from the 2014 athlete retreat and Emelie Forsberg brings us smilesandmiles, a Blog, the News, Up and Coming Races and of course Speedgoat Karl Meltzer! It’s a stacked show.

I was at an inov-8 athlete retreat in the English Lakes testing products such as new apparel and shoes and then capturing images.
I caught up with some of the Team Members…
  • Tracy Dean
  • David Schneider
  • Ben Abdelnoor
 
NEWS
Tarawera 100k (65k) – Hit by bad weather so reduced

Men

  1. Sage Canaday – Hoka One One  5:33:38
  2. Yun Yan Qiao – The North Face  5:52:30
  3. Vajin Armstrong – MacPac 5:59:49
  4. Mike Aish – Mizuno 5:58:37
  5. Scott Hawker – Hoka One One 6:06:32
  6. Martin Gaffuri – New Balance 6:21:31
  7. Moritz Auf De Heidi 6:22:21
  8. Mike Wardian – Hoka One One 6:28:46
  9. Matt Murphy 6:36:27
  10. Manuel Lago 6:37:30

Ladies

  1. Jo Johansen 7:02:43
  2. Claire Walton 7:11:48
  3. Dawn Tuffery 7:16:16
  4. Beth Cardelli – Salomon 7:18:54
  5. Meghan Arbogast – Scott Running 7:26:24
  6. Shona Stephenson – inov-8  7:26:24
  7. Fiona Hayvice 7:40:54
  8. Katrin Gottschalk 7:44:33
  9. Katherine Macmillan 7:44:33
  10. Sandy Nyper – Ink n Burn 7:57:24
 
Chuckanut 50k
 
Men
  1. Max King 3:35:42 with new CR
  2. David Laney 3:38:37
  3. Daniel Kraft 3:41:05
 
3 of first 4 men are Nike sponsored !
 
Ladies
  1. Ellie Greenwood 4:11:51
  2. Jodee Adams Moore 4:20:37
  3. Melanie Bos 4:38:20
I caught up with Ellie Greenwood to discuss this comeback run and find out all about her difficult 12-months.
 
AUDIO with Ellie Greenwood
 
South Carolina 24-hour Race
  1. 154.590 Harvey Lewis
  2. 133.470 Katalin Nagy
  3. 127.043 Chris Roman
  4. 125.019 Zach Bitter – dropped from race but with a new 200km record
  5. 123.134 Shannon Johnstone
Translantau 100km (Hong Kong)
  1. Jeremy Ritcey 13:04:13
  2. Chin Keung Leung 14:24:35
  3. John Ellis 14:38:24
  1. Kar Bik Tam 17:44:55
  2. Katja Fink 20:12:01
  3. Marcia Zhou 21:04:20
 
Desert Runners Film
New film has just come out charting the journey of the 2010 Racing the Planet four deserts and four people who attempted the Grand Slam; running all four in one year! I had an opportunity to speak with the director, Jennifer Steinman on the film and the undertaking of such a difficult project
 
AUDIO with Jennifer Steinman
 
Samantha Gash way back in 2010 was one of the ‘unknown’ runners who completed the Four Deserts in 2010. She became the youngest female ever to complete all four in one year and many of you will remember Samantha was on a previous show of Talk Ultra, however, I thought it prudent to have a catch up now this film is out.
DESERT RUNNERS MOVIE DISCOUNT: Listeners can enter the code ‘runners’ for 10% off the film at desertrunnersmovie.com.
 
AUDIO with Samantha Gash
BLOG – Lizzy Hawker http://lizzyhawker.com/ke-garne/
Ke garne? What to do?
“I thought I’d been smart this time. I took time (2 months) not running after the femural stress facture that prevented me racing the 2013 UTMB. I tried to be patient. I mixed up the walking and running during the Manaslu Mountain Trail and ran a bit more during the Mustang Trail Race. I allowed myself to take it slowly. I soaked up just being in those awesome places and sharing the experiences. I was gradually working back to some kind of race fitness. I raced 50km on the rim of the Kathmandu valley, slowly, not full out. So what happened?”
INTERVIEW 
David Johnston was on our show just two episodes ago discussing his epic win and new CR at Susitna 100. Just 7-days later he took on the Iditarod Trail Invitational 350-mile race. Against all logic, he not only won but smashed what many considered to be an unbreakable record… here is his story!
 
AUDIO with David Johnston
 
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat
 
SMILESANDMILES with Emelie Forsberg
 
UP AND COMING RACES

Algeria

Ultramarathon des Ziban | 100 kilometers | March 27, 2014 | website

Argentina

The North Face® Endurance Challenge Argentina – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 23, 2014 | website

The North Face® Endurance Challenge Argentina – 80 km | 80 kilometers | March 23, 2014 | website

Croatia

Istratrek Trail Race | 60 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

France

Yvelines

Eco Trail de Paris IDF – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Eco Trail de Paris IDF – 80 km | 80 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon März | 108 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Hesse

Eschollbrücker Ultra-Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

Greece

Antiparos Ultra 100 | 100 kilometers | March 23, 2014 | website

Hungary

BSI Half Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 95 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Balatonfüred – Siófok | 51 kilometers | March 23, 2014 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 21, 2014 | website

India

Sandakphu 70 Mile Himalayan Race | 70 miles | March 23, 2014 | website

Ireland

Leinster

Wicklow Way Ultra | 51 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Italy

Lombardy

100 km di Seregno | 100 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

60 km di Seregno | 60 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

UMS Ultramaratona Milano Sanremo | 280 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Luxembourg

La GranDucale – 55 km | 55 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

Montenegro

Ultra-Maraton Montenegro | 100 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Morocco

Ecotrail de Ouarzazate | 111 kilometers | March 27, 2014 | website

Marathon des Sables | 250 kilometers | April 04, 2014 | website

New Zealand

Northburn Station 100 km Mountain Run | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Northburn Station 50 km Mountain Run | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Portugal

Inatel Piódão Trail Running – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Spain

Andalusia

TrailRunning BRIMZ “Guzmán el Bueno” X Sierra Morena – 60 km | 60 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Extremadura

LXVII Milhas Romanas | 100 kilometers | April 04, 2014 | website

Valencian Community

La Perimetral | 65 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Wreckers Challenge | 50 miles | March 23, 2014 | website

Dorset

Jurassic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | March 21, 2014 | website

East Sussex

Coastal Trail Series – Sussex – Ultra | 34 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

North Yorkshire

Hardmoors 55 Ultramarathon | 55 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

USA

Alabama

Lake Martin 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Lake Martin 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Oak Moutain 50+ | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Arizona

Mesquite Canyon 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

California

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 100 Miler | 100 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50K | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Canyon Meadow 50 Km Trail Run (March) | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Old Goats 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Old Goats 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay So Cal | 200 miles | April 04, 2014 | website

Florida

Croom Trail 50K Fools Run | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Croom Trail 50M Fools Run | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Georgia

DoubleTop 100 100k | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

DoubleTop 100 100M | 100 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Idaho

Pickled Feet 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | March 28, 2014 | website

Illinois

Potawatomi 150 Mile Trail Run | 150 miles | April 04, 2014 | website

Kansas

Prairie Spirit Trail 100 Mile Ultra Race | 100 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Prairie Spirit Trail 50 Mile Ultra Race | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Maryland

50K HAT Run | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Hat Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Mississippi

Gulf Coast Interstate Relay – Ride or Run | 263 miles | April 04, 2014 | website

Missouri

Forrest Gump Challenge 50 Mile Ultra-marathon | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

New Jersey

NJ Ultra Festival – 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 100M Trail Race | 100 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 50M Trail Race | 50 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Ohio

Fools 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

Oklahoma

Tulsa Running Club Post Oak Lodge 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Oregon

Gorge Waterfalls 100k | 100 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

Gorge Waterfalls 50k | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Pennsylvania

Lt. J. C. Stone 50K UltraMarathon | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Texas

The Grasslands 50-Mile | 50 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Utah

Antelope Island 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 21, 2014 | website

Antelope Island 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Antelope Island 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Moab 100K | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Moab 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Moab 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Zion 100k | 100 kilometers | April 04, 2014 | website

Zion 100 Mile | 100 miles | April 04, 2014 | website

Virginia

Terrapin Mountain 50km | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Washington

Badger Mountain Challenge 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | March 28, 2014 | website

Badger Mountain Challenge 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Chuckanut 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Dizzy Daze 100K | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Dizzy Daze 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

WSU 100K Relay & Solo Race | 100 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

West Virginia

Haulin’ in the Holler 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website
CLOSE

David Johnston Interview – Iditarod Trail Invitation 350 #ITI350 and Susitna 100

dave family

 

“This year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational begins in a couple days and I’m looking forward to watching what David Johnston does this time around. Will his recent 18-hour assault of the Susitna 100 hinder his ITI performance? Not many people would be bold enough to run a 100-miler as hard as they can a week before a 350 mile race in which they are trying to run as fast as possible, but Dave is one of the most bold racers I’ve ever come across. He’s also one of the most upbeat, happy, and likeable people you will ever meet. I’ve talked in the past about how ‘unbreakable’ I feel Steve Reifenstuhl’s foot record is at the ITI, but Dave might just be the one person who is crazy enough to try, and talented/experienced enough to pull it off. A year ago I would have said, no way could Dave ever run the ITI as fast as Steve did, but after his amazing run there last year, and his jaw dropping performance at Susitna last week, he has proven that it is within his grasp if the trail conditions are in his favor. He simply has an ability to drag a sled for long distances on snow really, really, really well. I would love to be out there giving it a go beside him, but that will have to wait for another year (or a few) for me. For now I’ll just have to settle for rooting for Dave from the warmth and comfort of my house here in Colorado. Go get ‘em, buddy!”

by Geoff Roes (posted on Facebook, Feb 21st 2014)

Geoff sums it up perfectly. I personally followed the Iditarod Trail Invitational closely last year (2013) as I had arranged with Joe Grant to monitor his progress with a series of step-by-step interviews to record his journey as he prepared for his first attempt at this epic 350-mile race. After the race in a candid catch up, Joe continued to be amazed by what the race leader, David Johnston had achieved, when I mentioned to Joe about my interview with David he said, ‘That’s awesome Ian. Look forward to hearing about it. Dave continues to run phenomenal races on these winter courses. Can’t wait to see what he does at the ITI this year.’

 

I caught up with David just 5-days after he set an incredible new course record at the Susitna-100. Running a time of 18:22, this smashed Geoff Roes 2007 record of 21:43 out of the park.

Believe it or not, today, Sunday 23rd February 2014, David won’t be at home with his feet up recovering, he will be on the start line of the ITI350 to see what he can do… again!

 

 INTERVIEW

IC: In last years punishing 350-mile ITI race, ultra runner David Johnston endured countless problems; sleep deprivation and hallucinations, nausea and diarrhea, sinus problems and a strained right knee. The soles of his feet were numb when he crossed the finish line, and the numbness persisted for more than a week afterward. (From http://www.adn.com)

But David Johnston returns for more!

DJ: Thanks Ian, great to be here.

IC: Last year we followed Joe Grant step-by-step as he prepared for the ITI. It was great to get an insight how he prepared and then catch up afterwards. One thing he said continually was. “This guy David Johnston has had an incredible run, what he has achieved is incredible’. From the outside looking in, the ITI is a small community. Not many know about this race. The 350-mile or the just crazy 1000-mile race; what is it for you that attracts you to this race and severity of course.

DJ: Living in Alaska is the big draw. You know, we Alaskans think of ourselves as locals, we cut our teeth on the shorter races and it gets in your blood and you think what is next? The ITI sits up there as the top shelf whiskey and you long to do it. So it’s great to get the opportunity and when you do, you give it your best.

IC: You completed the 2013 race in 4hrs 13min short of the previous record (considered unbeatable) did you go out for the record or did you just see how it goes?

DJ: When I started the race last year I think my main goal was to see if I could run the whole way. I didn’t know if I could do that. When I started off I was with Joe Grant. We were together for the first 30-miles. He asked, ‘what are you going to do?’ I said you know what, ‘Joe, I am gonna see if I can run the whole way.’ He replied by saying, ‘your nuts, you can’t run the whole way’. But I thought to myself I am gonna try… In the first 150-miles I went through some tough times. At mile 135 I left Fingerlake checkpoint and it was do or die. I probably shouldn’t have left but I was like an animal. I thought I would put my head down and just go for it. I hit mile 200 and I thought, you know what, I am close to the record. I thought lets go for it. I ran as hard as I could… even with 50-miles left I had to run within 10-hours (5-miles per hour). That is pretty much top speed on snow…

IC: That’s crazy! It would be hard enough trying to do that on fresh legs at the beginning but after 4-days? Wow; crazy.

DJ: (laughs) I pulled it off for a while but with 40-miles left I was on pace and then the snow started at it came harder and harder. My effort was reduced to 3-miles per hour and I could see it slipping away. I thought this is all I have got! I definitely had to put up with Mother Nature but that is this race! It was the first time I had ever decided to just go for it… You just don’t know what you will get?

IC: How do you just go for it when it is a 350-mile race in such tough conditions? You have touched on that you live in the environment so you will be far more savvy and aware of what you can and can’t do and of course what will and won’t work. I know that in the process Joe Grant went through, there are certain things that he had to guess. Once at the end, his learning curve was complete. Joe realized what he would do next time and things he wouldn’t do. Do you think that the success for you is that you know what works?

DJ: Yes, it’s a huge part of it. I learn daily. You learn the basics the first time but you never stop learning.

IC: Of course you have just completed Susitna-100 and we will come on to that soon. However it would be rude not to discuss your ITI350 from 2013 but part of the reason I am not talking in depth is because today, Sunday 23rd, you are about to go and do it all again… just 7-days after Susitna. What are the tips that you could provide for anyone competing in something like this?

DJ: Practice and practice. Get out with a sled everyday. Wear the shoes that you are going to wear and prepare the mind. The mentality of it can’t be underestimated. Get out in the cold conditions and get used to what you will have to endure. If you have an indoor track near your home, don’t use it! You need to be out and in the conditions to get ready. It’s just little things. It is interesting, in the snow I run so much better than on dry ground. I think it’s the excitement and the energy of the snow. The whiteness. You know, Christmas is my favourite holiday. Maybe it’s just like Christmas all the time. I can’t repeat my performances on dry land, that is a long term aim for me but something about the snow energizes me.

IC: I opened up our chat mentioning all those things; sleep deprivation and hallucinations, nausea and diarrhea, sinus problems and a strained right knee. How do you mentally focus to get yourself putting one front in front of the other? Is this natural or have you had to work on it?

DJ: You know what, luck plays a big part. Some days it just doesn’t work but I think of cold beer or a great song to help me push through. You know, the benefit of these races is that you just don’t have too many points that you can drop! So, even when you are low you have no choice but to continue. You know, you hit mile 60 and feel like death in a normal race and you can drop because it’s easy, so this is a big plus to racing out here. You are forced to go on.

IC: In terms of food and nutrition, how do you sustain yourself from day-to-day? The interview in adn.com mentions, Smarties and Pop Tarts. Is simple food and simple sugars the way to fuel yourself or do you need a good hot meal at an aid station?

DJ: I’m a big guy with size 12 feet so I need fuel. My biggest problem is my stomach. So that is 75% of the battle with me. If I can figure out how to make my stomach cooperate I will do fine. I am really careful taking in stuff. When my body allows it, I will eat what I can… hot meal or whatever. When my bodies complaining, that is when I kinda just nibble on Smarties or a piece of Pop Tart to try and keep some calories going in. The Susitna-100 last week I ran on probably only 200-calories. With the effort I was putting out I couldn’t take anything. I try to eat well the week and night before any race. It’s a weak link for m. I’d love to work it out one day.

dave susitna

IC: Okay, you mentioned Susitna-100, which happened just last weekend. You raced at Hurt-100 earlier this year, Gary Robbins won once again but you had a tough race and you dropped at 60-miles. Did that play on your mind going into the Susitna race or are the 2-races just so different it wasn’t an issue. I know Hurt was very hot and humid!

DJ: It was a huge disappointment. I went to Hurt in the best shape I have had for years. I was gunning for a top-3 position. I started out at a pace that I thought would do that but I just started to fall apart. The course is brutal. You know, up here in the winter you can’t come close to getting anything like that Hurt course. The other guys were flying over roots and rocks. No way I could run like that… I thought I could go out and tough it out and forge on but by mile 60 I was reduced to a stumbling walk and I thought, I gotta pull the plug. So, lining up at Susitna last week that was on my shoulders. You have 100’s of your friends at the line watching and they are supporting so you want to do your best. It was definitely a determining factor to go hard and not stop.

IC: Can you give us an insight into the course and the race, what is it like?

DJ: Oh man it is a neat race! You line up at a famous Iditarod dog mush kennel. You line up with 75-biker, 40-runners and 20 or so skiers and they say go…! This year it was so icy. It’s unique; it’s a race that I would recommend anyone to try. Particularly if they want to do the ITI or other winter races that require qualification. I’m not kidding you; at least 10-miles was like running on an ice rink. It was glare ice. On the rivers or lakes it was glare ice. This year was all about shoes. At the start I checked shoes and I was thinking, mmm, some of you guys will have an interesting run. Shoe experience is invaluable. I strapped on some new ice bug racing flats and those things grip like Spiderman. They are not a100-mile shoe so I got pretty beat up but when I hit the ice I started running 8-min miles. My sled would start to overtake me…

(Laughter)

IC: Okay, so that is how you broke the record?

DJ: Conditions were excellent. You know I went into this race a 60-mile brutal training run in Hawaii and so the confidence of the training and my preparation was excellent.

IC: Geoff Roes set the record in 2007. His time is over 2-hours slower than what you achieved this year. I guess having listened to what you have just said, I guess the ice wasn’t a bad thing because you knew and were prepared to run well in those conditions. You had the correct shoes but of course a big advantage is that the slid glides instead of you pulling it in soft snow.

DJ: The sled weighed about 24lbs with everything in it. As you say, it got great glide. The thing with a course record, every few years the course changes a little. Maybe 50% of the course was different? The distance is always spot on, always 100-miles but the courses are not the same. Also, when Geoff ran in 2007 he wasn’t in his prime. I think he would definitely have beaten his previous time with his form of a few years ago.

IC: You ran 18:22 and Geoff ran 21:43. A big difference! When you run a race like this and when conditions are good do you think about CR’s or is it a case of I will see how it goes?

dave training

DJ: I didn’t think about a CR. The courses are too unpredictable. I am hoping they keep this new course for a while but it will take a real effort to be at the time I have set, 18:22 will be super tough. I would almost say it is going to be impossible. My goal before the race was to break 20-hours. Only a few people knew this before the race and they shook their heads thinking it was crazy! I started out at a pace faster than 20-hours. Conditions for skiers were terrible. One of the top skiers was with me for a long time, at mile 35 he skies up behind me and says, ‘don’t you think you went out a little too fast this year?’ I agreed with him but thought, you can’t go back now so I put my head down and pushed on.

IC: Did you have any bad points?

DJ: Mile 45 or so I guess. I hit that point and my stomach was saying I don’t like you anymore. I was getting low on energy. I had a 10-mile stretch when I was struggling. I was thinking to myself that maybe I had gone out too fast. I had no choice. I wasn’t going to let myself down again so I stared at the snow and pushed as hard as I could. At mile 55 I cam out the other side; I think my body was using fat as fuel, I could tell the difference. At mile 60 you hit a resort that is road accessible and my 2-kids and wife met me. That picked me up. I actually hung out for 20-minutes with them. It was a great burst of energy. I realized the last 40-miles just needed to be done!

IC: So at 60-miles you hung out for 20-minutes. So, at this pint you weren’t covering ground… maybe the CR could be 20-min quicker? (Both laugh)

DJ: Normally I would have taken a 5 to10-min break but they had driven out to see me. We sat at the table while they ate… I couldn’t eat but I sat talking and shivering (laughs). The temperature was sort of cold but not cold if you know what I mean. I chattered my teeth and decided it was time to push on. My wife was begging me to slow down, ‘I don’t want to find you lying on the trail.’ My son told me I was nuts! It was great to see them, I just didn’t think about the time. Also the course was so hard. I took a beating out on the trail so the rest may have well been good. For the final 10-miles I was running 9-min mile pace which was great.

IC: Considering Susitna was last weekend and today, you embark on the ITI350, was this a long-term plan or have you just seized an opportunity?

DJ: This was always a long-term plan. It started 12-months ago after the 2013 ITI350. I knew I would do both races. In regard to how hard I would run Susitna I didn’t know that until a week before the race. I was doing one of my daily 10-mile runs with a sled and I was flying. I knew conditions were going to be opportune so I had to take advantage. When the gun went at Susitna I embraced the conditions and went hard. I hope the damage is done… a week is not long recovery especially when going into a 350-mile race. I went out a couple of days ago for a 5-mile run with the sled and I didn’t move too fast (laughs). I guess we will find out how the ITI350 goes. Many are shaking heads thinking I am crazy but hey, I have to give it a go.

IC: I guess you can start, see how it goes and you will know relatively quickly if it is a good idea or really a bad idea. I suppose the only thing that may happen, it may take a day before you feel good?

DJ: Yeah. We are starting to get some fresh snow; I was hoping for the super fast conditions but we have had fresh snow; which will slow things down. It is amazing what a few inches of snow can do. Just 3-inches can slow you down by 1-mile per hour. But I am going to go for it!

IC: You did 4-days 19-hours 14-mins last year and you were 37-hours ahead of 2nd. What’s the competition like this year.

DJ: I have some great competition. It’s hard to distinguish because you have runners doing both 350 and 1000-mile races. But everyone does the 350! So the harden 1000-mile races push hard for 350-miles and then rest for a day before pushing on for the 1000-mile journey. Tim Hewitt is one of the world’s best winter endurance athletes. John Logar raced with Joe Grant last year and I would say that Parker Rios will perform; he won Arrowhead in 2013.

IC: Well, I am really looking forward to following the action as the race unfolds. It has been really great to speak to you before the ITI350 and post Susitna. I am really looking forward to catching up with you after this year’s race so that we can have a blow-by-blow account of the 2014 ITI350 was like.

DJ: Thank you so much… I hope it’s a good blow-by-blow!

 

Notes and links:

All images ©davidjohnston

The Iditarod Trail Invitational

iditarod-route

The Race

The Iditarod Trail Invitational is the world’s longest human powered winter ultra. Beginning in Knik, Alaska it follows the Iditarod Trail to McGrath covering 350 miles. Ironically this is called the ‘short race’. They also have a ‘long race’ covering 1100 miles finishing at Nome, Alaska. Support is minimal. Two snow machines ride ahead of the leaders providing a broken trail to McGrath. Food drops are provided at 130 miles, 210 miles and in even numbered years a feed is provided at ‘Cripple‘ and odd numbered years at ‘Iditarod‘.

That’s it!

Between checkpoints, racers are solo or may work with each other. If they continue to ‘Nome’ for the 1100 mile journey once past McGrath it os solo all the way apart from a food drop at ‘Ruby‘. After that they can use village stores, mail packages ahead or possibly use a school for a warm nights rest. Hard core!

Somehow this quote seems a little understated: Tim Hewitt, six time finisher of the 1100 mile race said:

“It’s the toughest race in the world.”

History

The Iditarod Trail Invitational follows the historic Iditarod Trail. The famous sled dog route runs 1000 miles through frozen Alaska every March since 1973 in memory of those brave individuals who brought the important serum to Nome in 1925 during a diphterie outbreak. Using bicycles as a means of transportation on Alaska’s frozen rivers and tundra might seem a little odd and a crazy idea, but men looking for gold around 1900 that couldn’t afford a dog team actually used what they then called a “wheel” and followed the gold rush from Dawson City to Nome on the Yukon River on bicycles.

How do you get in?

This is the most remote and longest winter ultra race in the world.
Competitors in the human powered event go through an interview process with race organizers Bill & Kathi Merchant.

If they have the skills and knowledge to be self sufficient in cold weather, such as high altitude mountaineering experience or previous arctic expeditions they can enter the race.
Prior finishes in races such as the following are qualifying events.

 

 

 

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 6 – Drakes Bay to Drakes Bay

©iancorless.com.P1130916 All good things must come to an end and today on the beaches of Drakes Bay, the 10th edition of the 2014 The Costal Challenge came to a close.

©iancorless.com._1150551

It has been an epic race that has thrown daily excitement from all angles. The men’s race in particular has been a nail biter with a constant battle for the top slot. However, Mr.Consisitent, Mike Wardian produced the goods on a daily basis with some of the most impressive running I have had the pleasure to witness. Jeez does Mike like to win and boy does he know how to dig deep!

Mike Wardian TCC2014 Champion ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 Champion ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek from the UK dominated the 10th edition producing a stand out performance on a daily basis. Setting her stall out on day-1, Jo won with a convincing 45-min margin. However, she didn’t relax, consistently pushing, consistently running scared, Jo took each day as an individual race and on the beach at Drake she was crowned the 2014 Champion.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Today’s stage was very much a celebration of the previous 5-days racing. With the ‘GC’ established, a unanimous decision was made by all the front-runners that stage-6 would be a Tour de France style victory lap.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

It was great to see the fun and the laughter between all the runners on the trails. Tired and aching bodies once again managed to produce another effort to cover the wonderful circular route of the Corcovado National Park.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Starting with a gentle road incline, participants dropped into a long river section before climbing out and negotiating rocks and a waterfall. Climbing up through lush green vegetation, they then ran through plains and plantation fields before finally making the journey back to the start by weaving in and out of the coast. Beach after beach, cove after cove the finish line at Drakes was a welcome and well earnt reward for each and every participant.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

It was quite a sight to see the top-5 men run to the line as one!

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Michael Wardian said post race, “The Coastal Challenge was a test in so many ways. So much varied terrain. It suited different strengths and weaknesses. I feel really honoured to have the over all victory. The other guys really did push me and I had to fight… I guess it’s a shame a race can only have one winner. But it was a pleasure to have a victory loop on the last day. A memory I won’t soon forget.”

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger and Jo Meek ran together early in the stage but Bottger said post race, “that was by far the most beautiful stage. I was just having fun out there so I hope Jo didn’t mind I pushed on ahead.” As Meek crossed the line, the relief was clear, “I really did not have anything left today. I just took it easy and had comfort in my almost 60-min lead. It’s been a real honour to have such an incredible race with such wonderful people.” Veronica Bravo smiled her way around the TCC course and placed a solid 3rd place. Her joy was visible on the line as the realisation that a tough week was over.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Finish lines are all about emotion and I love to see 6-days effort unfold in a split second. Cheers and laughter, hugs and screams; it’s why we all do our sport.

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

 

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge is one of the toughest races out there… relentless heat, plenty of climbing and multiple terrain variations require a runner to be ‘rounded’. Each and every person, first or last, can take comfort in a great achievement and the medal should take pride of place as a just reminder of what was achieved in February 2014.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida!

RESULTS Stage-6

  1. Mike Wardian  all same time
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito
  3. Philipp Reiter
  4. Marti Gaffuri
  5. Nick Clark
  1. Julia Bottger
  2. Jo Meek
  3. Veronica Bravo

Results and times to follow

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION Confirmed

  1. Wardian 23:26:23
  2. Beneito +0:25:32
  3. Reiter +0:31:31
  1. Meek 29:17:19
  2. Bottger +0:57:02
  3. Bravo +3:07:06

Episode 54 – Gary Robbins & Vlad Ixel

A Gravatar

This is episode 54 of talk Ultra we speak with Gary Robbins on his repeat victory at Hurt 100 and his plans for 2014. We also speak to rising star, Vlad Ixel who recently placed 3rd overall at HK100. We have the news, a blog, up and coming races and of course Speedgoat Karl.

NEWS
 
Results Coldwater Rumble
  1. Catlow Shipeck 15:09:52
  2. Tsutomu Nagata 16:14:21
  3. Jeremy Bradford 18:29:30
  1. Gina Dhaliwai 20:05:43
  2. Katelyne Fishbeck 21:00:52
  3. Emz Eliason 23:26:14
Arrowhead 135
  1. Scott Hoberg 43:26:00
  2. Juhn Storkamp 46:30:00
  3. Alicia Hudelson 47:59:00 and 1st lady
Rocky Raccoon coming up with Pam Smith and Michele Yates and Ian Sharman.
Looks like Michele is going to shoot for a new CR… also, Ian Sharman.
 
Shaun O’Brian 50 coming up
 
 

On the recent episode of Talk Ultra I interviewed Johan Van De Merwe. For those who don’t know, running in SA can sometimes be a little risky… however, has anyone ever experienced this anywhere else in the world?

 
“My mid-week long run was cut short at the 18km mark by two robbers with knives. Had to walk 7km’s back home on my socks. Took my shoes and bottle-belt but luckily left my Garmin!!” Johan Vd Merwe
 
BLOG

“Just as the worldwide running community suspected, it turns out that the supposed “18-year-old” Ethiopian, Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa, who won the Standard Dubai Marathon Sunday, January 20th, in a near world-record time of 2:04:32 is not 18 years of age. It turns out that the brand new “world junior” record holder is actually just 12. When interviewed shortly after his race he said, “When I grow up I want to be an Injera and Wat Chef.”

Mekonnen currently trains between 175 and 190 kilometres per week. His training week includes a three hour long run, done without a watch, as well as a two interval sessions. One is a fartlek session, the other is made up of long intervals, “I run two kilometre repeats at 9000 metres elevation in 6:20 with a one minute jog recovery 10 times,” said the shy athlete as he played on the village swing set. Mekonnen’s next goal is a sub-27 minute 10,000 metres during the IAAF Diamond League, this spring.”
 
TALK TRAINING
 
with Karl Meltzer preparing to run your first long ultra, be that 100km or 100-miles
Hint’s n Tips
1. Choose a race
2. What time period to prepare
3. Key sessions
4. Recovery
5. Core & Strength
6. Warm up races
7. Prepare the mind
8. How long is long in training
9. The taper
10. the race

INTERVIEW

Gary Robbins once again returned to the tough and technical HURT100 course and came away with another victory. We caught up with him for a blow-by-blow account and he tells us his plans for 2014.

 
INTERVIEW
 
Vlad Ixel from Australia recently placed 3rd overall at the HK100 ahead of impressive runners such as Vajin Armstrong, Dave Mackey and Jez Bragg. We caught up with him to find out about his story and expectations for the coming year.
 
MELTZER MOMENT
 
Good
Bad
Ugly
 
UP & COMING RACES
 

Australia

Queensland

Caboolture Historical Village Dusk to Dawn 100km | 100 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Caboolture Historical Village Dusk to Dawn 50km | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Victoria

Dendy Park Urban Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

Trail des bosses – 65 km | 65 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Chad

TREG | 170 kilometers | February 12, 2014 | website

Chile

El Cruce Columbia | 103 kilometers | February 07, 2014 | website

Finland

Lapland

Rovaniemi 150 | 150 kilometers | February 14, 2014 | website

France

Aude

Gruissan Phoebus Trail | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Aveyron

Trail des Ruthènes | 65 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Côtes-d’Armor

Défi Glazig (45 + 18) | 63 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Germany

Lower Saxony

Brocken-Challenge | 86 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

India

Run the Rann 101 km | 101 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Italy

Marche

Maratona sulla sabbia – Ultra maratona | 50 kilometers | February 09, 2014 | website

Jordan

Sahara Race | 250 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Nicaragua

Fuego y Agua 100k | 100 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Fuego y Agua 100k Relay | 100 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Fuego y Agua 50k | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Fuego y Agua Survival Run | 70 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Oman

Wadi Bih Run | 72 kilometers | February 07, 2014 | website

Philippines

Hardcore Hundred Miles | 100 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

Senegal

100 km du Sénégal | 100 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

South Africa

Three Cranes Challenge | 106 kilometers | February 20, 2014 | website

Wild Coast Ultra | 270 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Sweden

Ice Ultra | 230 kilometers | February 14, 2014 | website

Thailand

The North Face 100® – Thailand | 100 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

The North Face 100® – Thailand – 50 km Solo | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Devon

Coastal Trail Series – South Devon – Ultra | 34 miles | February 08, 2014 | website

Kent

Moonlight Challenge | 32 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

USA

Alabama

Black Warrior/Phillip Parker 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Alaska

Little Su 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Susitna 100 | 100 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

Arizona

Black Canyon Trail 100K Run | 100 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Pemberton Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Del Sol | 200 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

Arkansas

Sylamore Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

California

American Canyon 50K Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Bandit Ultra Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

West Coast 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Florida

Destin 50K Beach Ultra | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Destin 50M Beach Ultra | 50 miles | February 16, 2014 | website

Iron Horse 100 km | 100 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Iron Horse 100 Mile | 100 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

Iron Horse 50 Mile | 50 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

Manasota Track Club 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys | 199 miles | February 07, 2014 | website

Kansas

Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Nevada

Jackpot Ultra Running Festival 100 Miler | 100 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Maysville to Macon 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | February 08, 2014 | website

Ohio

Run for Regis 50K | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Oregon

Bristow 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Hagg Lake 50k Trail run | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

South Carolina

Mill Stone 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Texas

Cross Timbers Trail Runs 50M | 50 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

Piney Woods TrailFest 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Valentine Golden Hearts 50K | 50 kilometers | February 09, 2014 | website

Valentine Romantic Couples 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Valentine Romantic Couples 50 Mile | 50 miles | February 08, 2014 | website

Utah

Moab’s Red Hot 55K | 55 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Virginia

Holiday Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

The Wild Oak Trail 100 | 100 miles | February 08, 2014 | website

Washington

Fishline 50K | 50 kilometers | February 09, 2014 | website

Woolley Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

CLOSE
LINKS

Grand to Grand Ultra 2013

Not much opportunity to upload images from the trail, so apologies. Here are a few images in the build up to the race. More to follow as and when possible.