Lille – Londres

HPM Challenge are taking four disabled athletes to the Paralympic Games in London running an ultra-marathon of 239 km over a series of days.

Starting in Lille they are making the journey to London to arrive this coming weekend for the Paralympic Games.

Niandi Carmont is running and escorting/ supporting  with Yves Barbreau and Gloria Nasr to help raise funds. You can go to the Facebook page HERE and ‘Like’. Please offer any support you can.

UTMB pre race

With just over 24 hours to go to the 2012 TNF UTMB here is just a quick look at some of the contenders for this year’s race.

One important factor is the weather!

The race organisers have been tweeting, texting and posting as much as they can about the severe weather that is predicted over the race weekend. It would now appear that a ‘mandatory’ 4 layers of clothing will be required.

Forget being lightweight! Finishing anyone of the races this year in Chamonix may very well come down to how good your kit is.

Australian, Mick Donges has just posted a last minute blog and writes:

The forecast is snow down to 1800m, temperatures on the high mountain passes are -10 degrees and they are saying 4 layers of clothing is necessary. They are predicting severe and dangerous weather.”

Will the course be shortened I guess may very well be one big question. My gut reaction is no! Lessons have been learnt from previous years and I think the process of ‘pre-warning’ via text, email and social media is all in attempt to ensure that all participants are prepared. The 2010 shortened race made the UTMB organisation re look at mandatory kit and increase what was required for 2011 and 2012. It would appear that they are now ‘adding’ to this kit pre race to compensate for worsening conditions. Having said that, safety is paramount and should conditions become extremely dangerous I am sure they will have no issue in ‘pulling the plug’ and I agree and support that.


Firstly, Ellie Greenwood has moved down from the UTMB to the CCC and I predict a win for her! The terrain on this course may not be what she is used too but the cold and snow is something she is well practiced in and actually I think she may even welcome it!

Krissy Moehl is the course record holder and loves the UTMB but she has had a busy year with Western States, Hardrock and mow UTMB. She knows what is needed on this course and she has the invaluable experience. If she is fresh she will be up at the front with Lizzy Hawker.

Amy Sproston has placed well at Western States but UTMB is a whole new ball game for the 100k-world champ and I have to say she may well be in for a surprise.

Rory Bosio is another achiever at Western States but as was shown last year in the men’s race, UTMB is not Western States! I think Rory may be up at the front but not contending with my ladies prediction…

Lizzy Hawker loves the course and I wouldn’t bet against her. I spoke to her at Sierre Zinal and she was racking the training and was running the UTMB course in 2 days as ‘training’. She has some issues with her back but even with this issue, the mountains are her playground and she will take the win barring disaster.

Emma Rocca from Spain is maybe a little more suited to the UTMB as she has a multi-sport background and is a ski mountaineer.

Katia Fori from Italy has been top 10 at UTMB before and will once again contend.

Finally, Meghan Arbogast will toe the line. Another great 100k runner, Western States finisher and 2nd at KFK50 but as I keep saying… UTMB is nothing like those races and I can’t help but think the terrain and cold weather will play against the American field


Dave Mackey has moved down to the CCC and Mike Wardian is out of the race due to a stress fracture. To be honest I don’t think either of those removals will make any difference to the UTMB outcome. Both are great runners but not in contention on this course.

With Kilian Jornet not taking part (or will he?) the field this year is maybe a little more open.

Jez Bragg after winning the shortened race in 2010 hasn’t fulfilled his potential but this may be his year. He didn’t race as he wanted at Western States but that may well have been a good training run for the UTMB. He is super motivated.

Seb Chaigneau after 3rd last year told me that this may be his last UTMB but he recently had a bad accident and damaged his knee. He will start the race but who knows what implications this will have, He knows the mountains, he knows the course and he is tough. If the knee causes no problems he will be up at the front.

Julian Chorier is the hot tip. He is in great form and meticulous in prep for the big races. With the Salomon Team behind him they will be going into this race with a plan. A plan to win.

Other Salomon athletes such as Iker Karrera who placed 2nd in 2011 will also be chomping at the bit and we may well see Chorier, Karrera and Francois d’Haene all running together to help each other along until the latter more decisive stages. Francois d’Haene has a good year this year and he will be in the top 10 if all goes well.

Nemeth Csaba from Hungary placed 4th last year and knows the race well. He has finished multiple times in the top 10 and I guess he only needs a ‘perfect’ year to move onto the podium or take the win. He did after all finish 2nd in 2006.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, Carlos Sa and Patrick Bohard all paced top 10 in 2011 and return to the 2012 race. Although Kaburaki finished behind Sa and Bohard you can’t help but think a good race will move him up the field and place him top 5. In 2009 he was on the podium in 3rd and the previous year he was 4th.

Jonas Buud from Sweden is super quick and his 100m-world record of 12:32 confirms that. But just like Ian Sharman, this speed doesn’t translate to the high mountains. He has won the Swiss Alpine Marathon though. He may make top 10 but not top 3.

I am still uncertain if Miguel Heras is running. If he is he will be up at the front and may well take the win but he has had a mixed year. My outsiders are a couple of Aussie – Jim Villiers and Clarke McClymont. Clarke is running the race for the first time but having met him, chatted and discussed him with a close friend he may just create a surprise…

I will be in Chamonix over the race weekend and provide updates and news as and when I can.

Without doubt an interest race lies ahead.

Faces of KIMA

Skyrunning Trofeo KIMA

A personal project on some of the faces that illuminated an incredible day in the Alps.

Trofeo Kima race summary

Less than 2 hours from Milan Bergamo airport and nestled in the peaks of Val Masino, every other year a race takes place. A race so severe, so difficult and so demanding that it has a restricted field of just 100.

The Trofeo Kima was established to honor the memory of mountain guide Perangelo Marchetti affectionately known as ‘Kima”. I can think of no better way to honor a mountain guide.

The race, 50km long and covering some 7 mountains passes is part of the Ultra Skyrunning series and is billed as ‘the one’. Starting in Filorea the race goes in an anti-clockwise direction. Preda Rossa at 1940m, Rifugio Ponti 2559m, Roma 2894m, Bivaccio Kima 2894m and Cameraccio 2950m and this is just the first full ascent and the highest point of the course.

Kilian Jornet ran the race for the first time in 2010 after UTMB was cut short due to bad weather. Desperate not to waist his training and a weekend he headed over to Italy from Chamonix and the next day, along with Heras tackled what he know calls an iconic race. Setting a new course record of 6:19:03 in the process.

The night before the race electrical storms entered the Val Masino and a deluge of rain fell making many wonder as we lay in bed if the race would actually go ahead. Morning came and with it a new day. Dry weather and an improving sky confirmed that the race could go ahead but with a 30 min delay.

Once underway Kilian Jornet soon made clear his intentions leading from Tom Owens, Andy Symonds, Franco Sancassani (3rd place 2007), Philipp Reiter and Michel Lanne.

In the ladies race Emelie Forsberg and Nuria Picas raced neck and neck with Emanuela Brizio (2008 and 2010 winner) chasing behind. Forsberg pushed ahead and at Cameraccio 2950m she took the lead and the prize money for the first lady to the highest point of the course.

At Camerozzo 2765m a super technical section in what already is a very technical race, Kilian descending by the chains securely bolted to the wall and had a lead of nearly 10 mins over Tom Owens.

Nuria Picas and taken the lead here and was looking super strong. Behind Emelie Forsberg and Emanuela Brizio now raced neck and neck.

In the men’s race Michel Lanne chased Francis Sancassani now in 3rd. Several minutes behind Andy Symonds and Philipp Reiter chased together.

Kilian used all his mountain skills and ran into the finish to win comfortably in 6:28. Tom Owens pulled of an impressive 2nd place after (in his words) a disappointing Sierre Zinal just two weeks ago to cross the line in 6:39. He said as he finished:

“Wow, so hard, so technical… an incredible race, you can’t describe what that course is like”.

Francis Sancassani sealed the men’s podium in 6:45.

Nuria Picas ran a wonderful race to finish first in a new Course Record of 7:36:21 some 10 mins faster than the previous best. Emelie Forsberg had to move up a gear in the final km’s to win a well earned second place in 7:46 from Emanuela Brizio who was just seconds behind.

I have witnessed many races and the Trofeo Kima stands out as the most incredible, the most beautiful and the most frightening I have ever seen. It’s an incredible race and with just 100 entries every other year it is one race that should make it to all ultra runners bucket list. It is a fitting tribute to KIMA.




Trofeo Kima 2012

Kilian Jornet once again proved himself as the worlds premier mountain runner at the biennial TROFEO KIMA in the Italian Alps producing an outstanding win ahead of Brit, Tom Owens.

In the ladies race, Nuria Picas ran away from Emelie Forsberg to secure a win and a new CR by 10 mins at her first attempt at this iconic race.

A full race report will follow.

Until then feast your eyes on what I consider to be the most outstanding, impressive and frightening course I have ever seen.

Kima – Pre Race Interviews

Andy Symonds and Philipp Reiter planning for the race

Pre Race interviews with Andy Symonds, Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet in Val Masino in preparation for Skyrunning Trofeo Kima.

Tom Owens, Philipp Reiter and Emelie Forsberg discuss the route and feed stations

You can listen to the audio HERE

Kilian relaxes pre race – slack lining

“… All the travellers who find themselves in Morbegno should spend a few hours at Val Masino. 
A clear stream full of trout rumbles along the rocky bottom of the valley of the glacial traces are clearly visible on the rounded surface of the rocks … we all agree that no valley that we know more than the Val Masino in variety and beauty natural. ”

SE KennedyFirst conqueror of Misfortune

Climbing for hours…  slow and focused in the moment when your hands feel at one with the rock. You gradually climb up to the summit and a vista of blue. Peaks and clouds are in front of you. Nothing is more satisfying than hours of hard work and sweat to see the joys of what the Val Masino and Val Bregaglia offers. Beautiful granite mountains in a circular vista. Incredible.

The major peaks of Val Masino like so many other mountains I guess were first scaled by the local people. Maybe hunters in search of game, peasants who climbed to retrieve livestock or forage for food. As often the case and with the passage of time, explorers came into the area and used the mountains for fun.

Val Masino became a legend of mountaineering with important ascents becoming “the classic routes” of modern mountaineering. 
Routes such as taking the mountain guide lace Cengalo on Badile in Vall Parcellizzo, on top of Castle Valley in Zocca, or along the wall of the Sphinx or maybe climb to the summit of Mount Accident ?

Stunning climbs that start at 400 meters at the base with modern and hospitable mountain huts from which to start an unforgettable mountain experience.

Trails, waterfalls, forests, pastures, ice in the valley. Serene and secluded, large in size. The most fascinating natural granite sculptures that the Alps have to offer. Climbers from all over the world contend with granite monsters that have been created by wind and glacial erosion.

The memory of the mountain guide, Pierangelo Marchetti, the unforgettable “Kima” takes place fulfilling the mission of providing a great race on the Rome Path that attracts the leading specialists in high altitude marathon running.

New Hoka One One

New HOKA ONE ONE for 2013


A new lightweight trail shoe for 2013

 The Rapa Nui Comp is the new addition to the trail offerings available from Hoka One One. It still has all the benefits of the Hoka range – cushioning, rocker profile and bucket seat but offers a more minimalist approach. It has a 5mm drop and 1.5x cushioning. Designed for the fast trail runner who requires more feel over longer distances or for those runners who require a lighter shoe for shorter races/ training.

  • Upper: Synthetic PU /Polyester Mesh / TPU
  • Lining: Polyester fabric
  • Midcsole:  HiR Eva – 1,5X volume
  • Cushioning: Under Meta: 21 mm / Under Heel: 26 mm
  • Heel to toe drop: 5mm
  • Hoka Grip – 4 mm Lugs
  • Footbed: 2 mm die cut Ortolite
  • Lacing: Quick fit
  • Sizes women: 4-8UK
  • Sizes men: 7-13,5Uk
  • Weight:  275gr (in 8UK) – 240gr (in 5UK)


A new lightweight road shoe for 2013

 The Kailua Comp is the new addition to the road offerings available from Hoka One One. It still has all the benefits of the Hoka range – cushioning, rocker profile and bucket seat but offers a more minimalist approach. It has a 5mm drop and 1.5x cushioning. Designed for the fast road runner who requires more feel over longer distances or for those runners who require a lighter shoe for shorter  races/ training. 

  • Upper: Synthetic PU /Polyester Mesh / TPU
  • Lining: Polyester fabric
  • Midsole: HiR Eva – 1,5X volume
  • Cushioning:  Meta: 21 mm / Under Heel: 26 mm
  • Heel to toe drop: 5 mm
  • Outsole: Hoka Grip – 1,5 mm Lugs
  • Footbed: 2 mm die cut Ortolite
  •  Lacing: Standard
  • Sizes women:  4-8Uk
  • Sizes men: 7-13Uk
  • Weight: (in 8UK) – 230gr (in 5UK)

These shoes will have a selling price of £139.00 and £134.00 in Feb/ March 2013. They are available to Pre Order at for a discount of £20.

Orders can be made now with a February/ March delivery.

Kima King

Fresh from their victories at Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado, World Series ranking leaders Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg have arrived in Italy’s Val Masino for Sunday’s Kima Trophy, third of the new Ultra Series races.

Joining them for the challenge on the gruelling course are Britain’s Tom Owens and Andy Symonds, Michel Lanne and Matteo Jacquemoud from France and Germany’s Philipp Reiter. Contenders in the women’s field include Spain’s Nuria Picas and past skyrunning world champions Emanuala Brizio and Corinne Favre.

Certainly the most technical race on the Series, the 50 km course boasts 3,800m total elevation over a decidedly alpine course climbing seven passes – all over 2,500m and reaching a top altitude of nearly 3,000m.

Described by Kilian Jornet, 2010 winner, as “the most spectacular race in the world”, race organiser Ilde Marchetti comments: “’Only’ 150 lucky competitors can participate in this biennial race because, while the race philosophy, distance and course features embrace the trail spirit, the severity of the course and the strict Italian law, force us to cap the entrants to ensure a safe and well organised race everybody can enjoy”.

Episode 16 – Samantha Gash

On the show we speak to South African Linda Doke in Zinal, we catch up with Terry Conway from the UK and break some great news upon the ultra world. Ian Sharman joins the show for the news and Talk Training is back. Our interview is with Australian, Samantha Gash and Speedgoat Karl chews the ultra fat in a Meltzer Moment. We mention three blogs, discuss the up and coming races and get ready for UTMB.

 Listen now | Direct download | iTunes

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Show Notes


00:00:45 Show Start

00:02:23 Linda Doke –  Linda been running for about 18 years, always with a preference for long distance and ultras. She was a roadie for the first 10 years, but came to her senses in 2004, when she moved to Cape Town and found trail. And she has never looked back…. I caught up with Linda just before she ran Sierre Zinal.

00:19:50 Terry Conway – Press Release HERE

00:25:00 News with Ian Sharman

00:52:10 Talk Training with Marc Laithwaite

01:11:30 Blogs

  • Linda Doke who I do a short interview with in this weeks show has a nice write up about Sierre Zinal. BLOG
  • Craig Thornley writes an interesting blog post on Ham Radio. BLOG
  • Jared Campbell writes about his Nolans 14 success – an epic Mountain Adventure in the Sawatch Mountains of Colorado. The route was 104 miles and tokk Jared and Matt Hart 58 hrs 58 min. BLOG

01:12:14 Interview with Samantha Gash –  As a recent graduate of a double degree in Law and Performing Arts (with honours), Samantha Gash may seem like another run-of-the-mill 20-something-year-old struggling to find the right balance and direction for her life to take… it takes less than a minute’s worth of conversation with Samantha to realize that she is exactly the opposite. Even the briefest glance at her life experiences to date reveals a truly outstanding, unique, and above all, inspiring student, worker, athlete and person. Incredibly well rounded with a finger in every high-achieving pie, Samantha has found time where no one else could to work up an impressive and ever-growing list of life achievements.

01:58:20 A Meltzer Moment with Speedgoat Karl

02:15:25 Races

02:17:00 Show Close


SKY HIGH for Terry Conway

Sky High for Terry Conway

Arguably the man of the moment on the UK ultra scene is Terry Conway. His success at the Lakeland 100 in 2011 with a sub 22 hour finish and course record for what actually is 105 miles of hard running on a super tough course was seen as a break through run.

In 2012 he returned to the Lakeland course buoyant after setting a new course record on another tough course, the 95-mile West Highland Way. His CR at this event was significant as the previous course record was set by no other than Jez Bragg.

So, in late July Terry lined up on the start line in Coniston to run 105 miles of what the English Lakes had to offer. Before the race started it was all ready being touted as a potentially great race. Paul Tierney and Barry Murray would be taking part along with previous winner Stuart Mills. In addition to this was the young upstart Ed Batty who had placed 5th in the 50 mile event the previous year and was coming to the longer race with the intention of running hard.

In the early stages of the race Ed Batty pushed hard while Terry, Paul, Barry and Stuart marked each others moves. With 50 miles covered Ed had over a 30 min lead. Was this young lad going to steal the glory from the experienced guys behind?

In Terry’s words “I needed the loo and didn’t want to go ‘al fresco’ and with the next checkpoint not too far away I upped my pace a little”. This upping of the pace quickly eradicated 20-mins of Ed’s lead and with the blink of an eye a 20 min deficit became a 20 min lead. Running on the terrain that Terry calls ‘home’ he left the chasers behind and in the words of Race Director, Marc Laithwaite, “Terry ran into the finish line at Coniston as though he was finishing a 5k”. Not only did Terry win the race but he annihilated his own course record by 2 hours crossing the line in 19:51 for the 105 mile route.

Nobody doubted Terry’s ability as a runner but this win in that time confirmed for me that he was now at the pinnacle of UK ultra running. I had discussed with Terry what his dream scenario would be. His answer I guess was somewhat predictable;

“To race the best! to take part in Western States, to run UTMB and to take on the Skyrunning ultra series”

This is a dream that we as runners and more importantly as ultra runners all have. However, for pretty much all of us this will always be a dream. In Terry’s case he has the ability to potentially ‘race’ in this environment and therefore if the ability is there then surely a chance should be created…

Making dreams happen

I sent an email and contacted a couple of close friends in the business. I was well aware of an opportunity available for the right person! In actual fact I had personally been asked to ‘look out for’ a possible contender.

An introduction was made, emails were exchanged and I am pleased to say that Terry Conway will now be taking part in the next Ultra Skyrunning race at Cavalls de Vent in the Pyrenees in late September 2012. He will be representing Canadian company Arc’teryx who are slowly progressing into the ultra scene with a new clothing range called Endorphin.

This is incredible news for Terry but it’s also incredible news for the UK ultra community. Terry is a popular guy and I know this news will be welcomed with open arms.

Of course Terry now has some pressure on his shoulders. Not only is he getting the opportunity to race on a wonderful and tough course but he will be going head to head with the likes of Anton Krupicka and Anna Frost. It’s an incredible opportunity.

Following in the foot steps of Jez Bragg, Ian Sharman, Ellie Greenwood, Tom Owens, Andy Symonds, Joe Grant, Lizzy Hawker and Nick Clarke to name but a few of the Brits who are currently dishing it out on the world ultra stage, Terry now has an opportunity to announce himself and hopefully fulfil some of those dreams he has told me about.

He will need some adjustment to this style of racing and of course he will be looking to find his feet at the Cavalls de Vent event.

If he finds his feet, the SKY may very will be the start and not the limit of what he can offer the ultra world!