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

Mourne Skyline MTR 2014 – Race Images

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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.

Congratulations to Stevie Kremer and Kim Collison on two great performances.

Stevie said post race, ‘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. Kilian Jornet would love it!’

A full race report will follow.

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 Collinson 3:57.0
Eoin Lennon 3:59.4
J Marshall Thomson 4:08.3
Ally Beaven 4:12.0
David Steele 4:15.0

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.”

Kevin Carr 2

 

Like The Wind – Action Photography Workshop w/ Ian Corless

 

Photo ©covadongafernandezcue

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

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Check out SCOTT HERE

CYCLING for RUNNERS PAGE HERE

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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.

Superior 100 2014 – Minnesota Nice!

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John Storkamp, race director for the Superior 100 told all competitors at the pre race briefing, ‘Look around, because you may well not see everyone back at the finish. The Superior 100 is rough, rugged and relentless.’

Race images available HERE

John Storkamp - race director

John Storkamp – race director

A point-to-point race, the route traverses the ‘Sawtooth Mountain Range’ in northern Minnesota. Taking part on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), starting at Gooseberry Falls State Park and concluding in Lutsen, 100-miles later.

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It’s a trail of immense diversity and one that is constantly shadowed at all times by the impressive and dominant Lake Superior. Terrain, as the Storkamp suggests, is relentless. With a low point of 183m and a high point of 558m, the race doesn’t get high, however, the repeated nature of the course (Sawtooth profile) offers no opportunity for recovery or rest. Add to the mix, brooks, mud, rocks, tree roots and a rollercoaster of small climbs; the Superior 100 is considered one of the toughest races in the USA. It’s reflected in the current course record of 21:02. Crossing the line in Lutsen is no easy task… Ask each and every finisher, in fact, you don’t need to ask, the gaunt and hollow expression on each and every face shows each mile and each minute and hour that has been undertaken to achieve the buckle!

©iancorless.com-1025Superior100Run in almost perfect weather conditions, Superior 100 2014 was an experience to embrace. Have you heard the term, ‘Minnesota Nice?’ (A stereotypical behaviour of Minnesota residents to be courteous, reserved, welcoming and mild-mannered) Well believe me, this Brit was submerged in it from registration, during the race and beyond.

‘It’s so awesome that you are here, thanks for coming!’ I can’t tell you how many times I heard this phrase during my incredible weekend. No matter at what point in the race, no matter how sleep deprived they were, each an every runner would go out of their way to express warmth. It’s humbling. Of course, it’s in the nature of the people but my host for the weekend, Kurt Decker assured me, ‘These folks are genuinely the salt of the earth, they mean every word but this weekend they have taken it up a notch.’

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Imagine being on the trail in the middle of the night, a runner appears and we shout, ‘Looking good, keep it going, you are doing great!’ the runner stops, looks us in the eyes, grabs our respective hands and shakes them, ‘Thank you guys for being here and supporting, it’s really appreciated.’

Minnesota nice!

No matter how nice these folks are, racing did go down at the weekend and at the front end Kyle Pietari and Michael Borst dictated the early pace followed by Nathan Leehman, Adam Schwartz-Lowe, John Cameron and John Horns, the 2013 race winner.

©iancorless.com-0916Superior100Ultra running legend in these parts, Eric Clifton made his presence felt in the early stages but faded and eventually dropped.

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Eric Clifton running early on in possibly the worst run tights… ever!

In the ladies, 2013 1st place winner and 2nd overall, April Cole looked set be a dominant force pushing consistently hard throughout, however, at the summit of Carlton Peak with just under 90-miles covered she complained of being cooked. To my surprise April dropped at Sawbill with just over 90-miles covered.

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April at Bean and Bear

Adam Schwartz-Lowe had been the bridesmaid on 2-occasions at Superior, 2012 when Steve Moore set the 21:02:41 CR and 2011. After a sub-20 run at Western States earlier this year, Schwartz-Lowe wanted this win, however, Pietari and Borst had different ideas. At halfway, Wisconson runner Borst had pulled away and from Pietari who was paying for the early pace, so much so he would eventually drop. Running without a pacer, Schwarz-Lowe went in pursuit from the Finland aid (51.2) and as he ran past he aptly said, ‘I smell rabbit in front of me.’

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The rabbit took some catching though! Running only his 2nd 100, Borst looked to have the race dialled after dnf’ing his 1st 100 at Zumbro earlier this year. Experience paid off though, at Sonju Lake Road the gap was 8-minutes, at Sugarloaf (72.3-miles) it was 5-minutes and then at Cramer Road (77.9-miles) it was 2-minutes. From here on in, the guys ran together for an hour until eventually Schwartz-Lowe pulled away gaining a 1-minute advantage at Temperance (85-miles) and 24-minutes at Sawbill (90.7-miles). The hay in the barn could be smelt and as the race progressed the gap tweaked open. At the final aid, Schwartz-Lowe didn’t hang around, a quick re-supply, a few questions on the location of the 2nd place runner and then he scooted off up the trail.

Adam at Oberg just over 7-miles to go

Adam at Oberg just over 7-miles to go

From here on in, Borst consolidated his 2nd place looking relaxed and happy, his pacer doing a great job to keep the motivation high. Leehman took a seat at Oberg and although the temptation to hang out and chill was tempting, he rejuvenated himself and pushed on for the final podium place after a welcome ‘Monster’ drink from 4th place runner, Cameron’s crew.

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With April Cole out of the race, the ladies race became a war of attrition and I saw each lady as they climbed up and over Sawbill with 90.7 miles covered. Embracing the relentless nature of the race they pushed on through never failing to offer a smile and a thank you. Ultimately at the line, the gaps were quite wide with Mallory Richard taking the victory ahead of Frayah Bartuska and Johanna Ylanen.

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Ladies winner, Mallory Richard

 

 

100-mile races are tough, no matter what the terrain is like. Here in Minnesota on the Superior Hiking Trail, John Storkamp and the Rock Steady Running crew have a gem. A gem of epic proportions… if you like your trail tough and gnarly and your people warm and welcoming, then Minnesota is for you!

Believe me, it’s Minnesota Nice!

Race website – HERE

RACE RESULTS

100-mile

  1. Adam Schwarts-Lowe 21:58:32
  2. Michael Borst 22:52:28
  3. Nathan Leehman 23:26:47
  1. Mallory Richard 27:32:27
  2. Frayah Bartuska 29:56:58
  3. Johanna Ylanen 31:08:10

 

50m-mile

  1. Chris Rubesch 8:56:33
  2. Forrest Tracy 9:23:47
  3. Alex Kurt 9:35:24
  1. Kristin Rognerud
  2. Annie Behrend 13:03:34
  3. Shelly Groenke 13:41:38

 

Marathon

  1. Ben Kampf 3:32:27
  2. James Sorenson 3:49:30
  3. Ryan Braun 04:00:11
  1. Jayna Tilstra 4:53:31
  2. Kelly Johnson 4:56:10
  3. Heather Weckwerth 5:20:01

Race images available HERE

Jo Meek on RUNULTRA

 

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Jo Meek has illuminated the ultra world in the past 18-months placing 2nd at the 28th edition of Marathon des Sables, winning The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, setting a new course record and an outright win at Iznik Ultra and then placed 5th at the iconic Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa. But it didn’t end…

I caught up with Jo and wrote an article for RUNULTRA on this rising star of our sport.

Please check it out HERE

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UTMB 2014 – Race Preview

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

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