Everest Trail Race 2018 Tengboche to Lukla #ETR2018

Day 6 Everest Trail Race #ETR2018

Leaving Tengboche the race retraces stage-5 to Phakding via a diversion at Sensa to the amazing Kumjung Valley where the runners would normally have an incredible backdrop of Everest, Lohtse and Ama Dablam. Today, the cloud came in blocking all views and keeping temperatures very cold throughout the stage.  Arriving at Namche Bazaar the ETR then re-traces stage 5 all the way to Phakding and then as the trail heads back to Kharikhola, a left turn leads to the final climb and the swinish line in Lukla.and then branch left to climb to Lukla and the finish of the 2017 ETR.

On paper, the stage is mostly downhill with 3183m of descent in comparison to 2105m of ascent over the 29.5km course. It’s a tough way to finish a race, but the rewards are worth it!

Today Jordi Gamito eased back and ran with Manuela Vilaseca, overall victory was guaranteed and he enjoyed the day. This allowed Joan Soler to finally achieve a stage victory, well deserved after racing hard all week! Sergio Arias has been a consistent 3rd all week but today he slipped to 4th opening a podium place for Pasang Sherpa.

Purnimaya Rai  despite being guaranteed overall victory, did not ease up today and she pushed ahead to secure another stage victory. Manuela Vilaseca and Becks Ferry finished 2nd and 3rd showing great consistency.

OVERALL GC

  1. Jordi Gamito
  2. Sergio Arias
  3. Joan Soler

OVERALL GC

  1. Purnimaya Rai
  2. Manuela Vilaseca
  3. Becks Ferry

The El Kott Twins, Lina and Sanna join the The Coastal Challenge 2019 #TCC2019

The Coastal Challenge reaches new heights in 2019 celebrating 15-years of amazing racing.

The 14th edition completed in February 2018 at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, was a record breaker! Yes, course records were broken daily and Tom Evans and Ragna Debats elevated the overall CR’s to a new level obliterating the 2017 records set by the UK’s Tom Owens and New Zealand’s Anna Frost.

Time never stands still and to make the 15th edition of TCC extra special, race director’s Rodrigo Carazo and Sergio Sanchez have confirmed a new incentive for the 2019 edition of the race.

Feel like a fast start to 2019? It comes no faster than the 15th edition of The Coastal Challenge!

We have already announced Lucy Bartholomew and Ida Nilsson, now the El Kott twins, Lina and Sanna! The twins been a revelation in 2018. They first made an appearance on the skyrunning circuit in 2016 and 2017 but it was really this year that the duo made an impact. They have raced all over the world, at times relentlessly, covering single-stage, multi-day and just recently an adventure race. The twins are going to love Costa Rica and the challenges that the race throws at them.

Lina speaks first…

What attracts you to Costa Rica? 

Lina: The exotic environment! I’ve only been in jungle when I was little so that is very exciting!

Sanna: The nature differs so much from the Swedish, it is just totally different from what I am used to, so I am eager to explore the jungle and the beaches!

This is the 15th edition of the TCC, a special one – what do you know about the race? 

Lina: That it is tough, humid and… tough. So tough I said it twice!

Sanna: I have heard stories from friends who have been running it before. And I have watched a few videos from previous races. It will for sure be a challenge! 

Heat and humidity will play a major factor in the race, how do you plan to adapt? 

Lina: I haven’t planned at all, going directly from low minus degrees in the Swedish winter with lots of skiing. May not be the prefect plan, but I think it’s almost impossible to adapt to those circumstances anyway…

Sanna: I don’t really have a plan to adapt to that. I’m by then in the middle of the ski season in Sweden, so there will be the opposite; cold and crispy days. But I think I can handle it. 

Ragna Debats and Tom Evans set incredible course records in 2017. There is prize money available for a new CR in 2019 – does that motivate you? Can you break the record? 

Lina: It’s mostly the challenge itself that motivates me. I’m not looking for breaking any record, but if I feel in good shape of course I would try to 😉 

Sanna: That’s is such a fun carrot to catch. Though for me it will be really hard. I want to say YES I can break it. But this time, I doubt that. It is many flat parts, and with heat as a combination, it will not be my strongest side.

Multi-day racing brings many different challenges to a single-stage race – what are you most looking forward to? What are you most fearful of? 

Lina: To discover new trails and places everyday! To get injured…

Sanna: That’s what I like with this race. I have done a few stage races before, and that gives me new chances every day. Motivation after another. I look forward to cross some rivers during the race, since I think it will be wanted! My biggest fear is dehydration, I have struggled with that on other races, and nothing I want to face again.. 

The elite line-up is incredible for 2019, you will need to be in the best shape, does that excite you? 

Lina: That’s amazing! I’m really looking forward to race with these strong and inspiring people. Despite I’m now suffering with a knee injury myself, I really hope that I can recover well and start training properly before…

Sanna: It really motivates me to do good training for the races because of that. And it will be so exciting to compete against so strong athletes!

February is early in the season, what will your winter training look like, so you will be ready for February? 

Lina: It’s usually a lot of snow where I live in Sweden so there will mostly be cross country skiing and skimo, but hopefully I’ll manage to squeeze in running everyday too! 

Sanna: There will probably be a lot of cross country skiing, but I always run a few sessions a week. Maybe I’ll put in some flat faster sessions, to get the legs used to those parts. (I know they can climb already).

I am sure you have looked at past editions of the race, viewed the stages, the profile – it is a tough race that suits a rounded athlete. You need to be able to climb, descend, handle technical trail and run on the flat – where will your strengths be? 

Lina: I’m definitely an uphill runner so I’m looking forward to those hills!

Sanna: My strengths.. hmm, I guess the diversity of it. That it is really variated, and definitely that it last for several days. Stage 4 might be my best day. Good elevation, everyones’ legs are a bit tired after three days of racing. I hope I still will have good speed. 

What experience do you have of multi-day racing? 

Lina: I have done Transalpine two times and Transrockies one time in duo-team with Sanna. A lot of suffering, a lot of happiness and memories! I also do adventure racing which is Non-stop racing for days with navigation, trekking, mountain biking and kayaking. So I’m quite used to being out for long.

Sanna: I have experience from both Adventure Racing (where you change diciplines between, running, trekking, mountain biking, kayak, and other sports, during several days, non-stop racing) and stage races. I’ve done TransAlpineRun two times, and TransRockiesRun, though together with Lina. This time will be the first multi-day racing as solo runner.

Racing starts very early in Costa Rica, with the sun! An early finish allows for relaxation on the beach, you can even have a beer – combining racing and relaxation is a key of TCC. It is a ‘Pura Vida’ race – tell us about your hopes and desires for the 2019 edition. 

Lina: One of the best things is absolutely to take a swim after a run, and also to eat fresh fruit, so if I have got both of these I’m more than satisfied!

Sanna: A beer doesn’t appeal me, buth maybe a smoothie? I am excited for the fruits, and hope that they will taste sooo good. I hope we will have nice weather, but that means for me, some clouds on the sky. Otherwise it will be only suffer party. 

What three music choices would sum up your racing style? 

Lina: That’s a hard one since I never listen to music when I’m running… But if I’m in real race mode, some hard rock or up-tempo music for sure fits. I usually run in a steady pace all the race, so maybe some classic music would suit my style too? 

Sanna: I’ll for sure choose Avicii. Any of his hits makes me always be a bit faster. Then some more sing along music tunes, but most likely pop, and in the finish line, Bobby McFerrin “don’t worry, be happy” for relax.

Tell us about your nutrition and hydrations strategies for the race?

Lina: I’ve done both eating too little, and eating too much on races. The key is HYDRATE with both water and electrolytes. Eat something little if hungry…

Sanna: I will probably have gels with me, and get fresh fruit, salty stuff and electrolytes on aid stations. 

Tell us about key equipment such as shoes and apparel that you will use?

Lina: A loose thin tank top from GORE wear, either loose shorts or tight shorts, will try both on the race I guess. Light but steady shoes, probably All Out Crush 2 or Tough Mudder 2 from MERRELL. I really like to go light weight, but on long races and stage races it’s important to have some stability too. 

Sanna: Gore Wear tank top and shorts, thin gococo sportwear socks (that never get blisters!), Merrell All Out Crush 2 and Ultimate Direction Halo vesta. There you have it!

Please list a summary of your career highlights for 2017 and 2018:

Lina:

  1. Winning Transalpine 2 years in a row with Sanna
  2. Winning Expedition Oregon (Adventure race) in 58 hours with Team Leki/Merrell.
  3. Winning Skyrace Comapedrosa and Olympus marathon.
  4. To run on amazing places around the world, in Yading, China for example!
  5. Complete the ELS2900 in Andorra 2017 with Sanna as the only female team.
  6. Racing good and being in the top ranking of the Skyrunning series.
  7. Being better and better on vertical races and manage to be on the podium on every one I entered.
  8. Travelling between races in a van during the summer calling myself an elite athlete for the first time!

Sanna:

  1. TransAlpineRun winners both 2017 and 2018
  2. Second in Olympus Maraton and High Trail Vanoise, just one week in between. (where I did a multisport race). 
  3. Sprint with Sheila for third place at Comapedrosa in Andorra. 
  4. Winner of Hornindal Rundt in Norway 2017.
  5. Winner together with TEAM LEKI/MERRELL in Expedition Oregon 2018
  6. Totally 5th in the Skyrunner World Series 2018. 
  7. A few podium places on vertical races.

*****

TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, travelling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.

You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE and the the 2018 edition HERE

Follow in 2019 #TCC2019

Twitter @talkultra

Instagram @iancorlessphotography

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

The Coastal Challenge

Facebook HERE

Website (UK) HERE

Website (Global) HERE

#tcc2019 #thecoastalchallenge #tcc19

IG – https://www.instagram.com/thecoastalchallenge/ 

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Twitter – @tcccostarica

Everest Trail Race 2018 Phakding to Tengboche #ETR2018

Day 5 Everest Trail Race #ETR2018

Phakding to Tengboche is one of the most beautiful trails in the world – the views are constantly incredible, the trails challenging and when one leaves Namche Bazaar, the views of AMA Dablam and Everest as one winds along a narrow path are beyond impressive. When the runner’s arrive at the monastery, the ETR place a finish arch that frames Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam perfectly, It’s quite the picture postcard and the perfect finish line for the ETR.

2124m of positive incline and 20km are the stats for stage 5. Each year, it is considered to be an ‘easy’ day but it never is…

Departing Phakding (2700m), Namche Bazar (3600m) is the first port of call then Kumjung and Cp2 and Phungi Tenga (3300m) before the tough and steep ascent to Tengboche at 3900m.

The finish line at Tengboche is arguably one of THE most amazing finishing lines of any race and this was reflected in some of the emotions shown as runners crossed the line today. It’s a mix of laughter, tears and elation – at times, all three. The view alone is enough to make one cry.

Today, Jordi Gamito and Rai Purnimaya clinched stage victories and almost certainly the title, Everest Trail Race 2018 champions. Jordi has dominated the race winning every stage and Rai appears to have become stronger as the race progressed.

Manuela Vilaseca and Becks Ferry once again placed 2nd and 3rd and will likely finish in these positions on GC at the end of tomorrow’s 6th and final stage.

For the men, Joan Soler finished 2nd running a strong 5th stage and Sergio Arias was 3rd.

Tomorrow is the final day of the ETR 2018 and the runners run back to Lukla via Namche Bazaar.

Everest Trail Race 2018 Kharikhola to Phakding #ETR2018

Day 4 Everest Trail Race #ETR2018

Kharikola to Phakding is very much a transition stage. The first 3-days have been quiet with an occasional glimpse of life. From here on in, the experience changes, the trails become busier – mules and yaks are seen regularly and they must be respected… It can be a confusion for a runner, as they force a slower pace and one must wait for the correct time to pass. In addition, Porters are seen regularly, these people are the hub of this area of Nepal, without them, supplies would not reach the lodges and shops. 

The diversity is incredible. Children play, parents work and the runners navigate a way through this section to finish at what many consider to be the gateway to Everest, Phakding.

At just under 30km’s, stage 4 of the ETR is arguably the most runnable. Leaving the monastery, a short twisting descent leads to the river and a long climb to aid station one at Kari La. It is here that the first real glimpse of the high peaks becomes real. They are no longer distant specs but now feel very real and surprisingly close.

The descent to Surke (Cp2) is a 17km rollercoaster series of switchbacks of technical trail with occasional short climbs to sap the legs and lungs.

From Surke, the trail now flattens a little, with a series of small climbs and descents that lead all the way to the finish at Phakding. 

Today was once again all about Jordi Gamito and Rai Purnimaya, the duo led from the front and were untouchable, they crossed the line in 3:34 and 4:25 respectively and now have strong leads for overall victory with two stages to go.

Joan Soler and Sergio Arias once again were 2nd and 3rd, 3:52 and 3:58 for the men and Manuela Vilaseca was 2nd in 4:49 ahead of Becks Ferry in 5:31 who picked up and injury on stage 3.

Tomorrow, stage-5 is a short day of just 20km’s and 2124m of vertical gain. It culminates at the monastery at Tyengboche with Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam providing arguably the most impressive finish line of any race!

Everest Trail Race 2018 Jase Bhanjyang to Kharikhola #ETR2018

Day 3 Everest Trail Race #ETR2018

After yesterday relentless uphill struggle today, day-3 of the Everest Trail Race was all downhill, well, sort of. Starting in Jase Bhanjyang runners passed through Jumbesi, Phurteng, Salung, Taksindu and then from Jubhing the race finishes with a tough climb to the stunning monastery at Kharikhola. At 37.4km in length the total descent is a quad busting 4110m in contrast to 2512m of ascent.

While many talk about day 2 of the ETR being the most demanding, I personally over the years have found day 3 very challenging! The terrain is more technical and in all honesty, 4110m of descent is tough on ones legs and knees… Give me the climbing any day! The final push to the line is long, steep and comes when everyone is very tired, the final steps to the monastery at Kharikhola are relentless.

Jordi Gamito was unstoppable today setting a blistering pace that nobody could match. He now has a lead that almost certainly guarantees victory in the 2018 edition of the race, barring an accident. Joan Soler and Sergio Arias worked together today and finished together consolidating 2nd and 3rd places.

For the women, Nepali Rai Purnimaya worked hard and took victory ahead of Manuela Vilaseca in 2nd – these two have a real battle ahead. Becks Ferry was once again 3rd.

The trails and route for the ETR from Kharikhola to Tengboche and back to Lukla are now on the main trekking route of this area of Nepal. In particular, from Lukla, many trekkers are making slow and steady process to Everest Base Camp. The experience over stage 4 really does change for the participants, the more kilometres one covers, the more people one sees. The arrival in Bhandar next to the river is a welcome one.

Everest Trail Race 2018 Bhandar to Jase Bhanjyang #ETR2018

Day 2 Everest Trail Race #ETR2018

Starting in Bhandar runners have the pleasure of running downhill along some twisting and technical trail before crossing a suspension bridge that stretches over Kinja Khola River. It’s a day when the true Nepal starts to reveal itself. The occasional glimpse of the high peaks in the distance pulling the runners along the course. 

From the river, it’s relentless climbing to Golla at just over 3000m. Here an aid station provides a little respite and some flat trails. But flat does not last long, the climbing starts again firstly to Ngaur and then onward to the highest point of the ETR; Pikey Peak at 4063m. The summit at Pikey Peak on a clear day offers an amazing Himalayan vista with the first glimpse of Everest possible in the distance.

From the peak, a tough technical descent for several kilometres winds its way down to a lodge and then a tough short climb is the sting in the tail to the arrival at Jase Bhanjyang at 3600m.

Day 2 of the Everest Trail Race is the toughest of the race: fact! It’s a brutal exercise in climbing and one that takes place at attitude stretching each and every participant to the limit. In 2017, Luis Alberto Hernando dare I say, made this stage look easy! He smashed the old course record and in the process set a new time of 3:35.

It was another strong day for Jordi Gamito. He forged ahead running close to the 2017 time of Luis Alberto Hernando. “I am much stronger than last year and feel really good,” said Jordi at the finish. Today Joan Soler, running his 4th ETR pushed for 2nd ahead of Sergio Arias.

For the women, it was much closer today with Manuela Vilaseca and Rai Purnimaya running close together, the duo now only separated by minutes on general classification. Becks Ferry was a solid 3rd and 3rd on GC.