Dragons Back Race


Whispered about with a mix of awe and trepidation, the original Dragon’s Back Race™ happened just once in September 1992. Many considered it to be the toughest mountain running event ever organised and now, almost twenty years to the day, this legendary race is returning and the running world is ablaze with expectation.
Closely following the original route, the race will start at Conwy Castle in North Wales and trace the mountainous spine of Wales southwards over five days to finish at Carreg Cennen Castle in the Brecon Beacons. Competitors will have to contend with a course that is approximately 320km long and with 15,000m of ascent, across the most remote and wild terrain that Wales has to offer.
The 2012 Dragon’s Back Race™ is being sponsored by Berghaus and as details of the start are revealed, both competitors and spectators can be assured of a very memorable and special send off at 0700 on Monday 3rd September.
Competitors will gather in the inner courtyard of the imposing Conwy Castle, where they will be accompanied by the atmospheric singing of Maelgwn Male Voice Choir, who are multiple winners of the Welsh National Eisteddfod competition. During the countdown to the start the runners will be handed the day one map, giving them their first opportunity to see the course… and it’s a monster with the planner’s optimum route being 52km with 4468m of ascent! The race will be officially started by Cllr Dr Stuart Anderson (Chairperson of Conwy County Borough Council) and Cllr Cedric Rigal (Mayor of Conwy Town Council) and the competitors have received special permission to race out along the ancient town walls of Conwy before heading up to the Carneddau, Glyders, Snowdon and beyond…
With the friends and family of the competitors and local well-wishers expected, it is likely to be a busy start and anyone is welcome to come along and cheer off the runners. The best viewing spot will be Conwy Castle Visitor Centre (address: Vicarage Gardens Car Park, Rose Hill Street, Conwy, LL32 8LD).
Just like the original race, the 2012 Dragon’s Back Race™ has attracted a strong international field with competitors coming from 14 different countries, including Hong Kong, New Zealand, USA, Australia and Canada.
The competitors will be following a route that journeys through the following areas and details of the route will be published online each morning. Results, photos and video will also be published online as the race develops.
•           Monday 3rd September – Carneddau, Glyders and Snowdon area
•           Tuesday 4th September – Moelwyns and Rhinogs area
•           Wednesday 5th September – Cadair Idris and Plynlimon area
•           Thursday 4th September – Elan Valley area
•           Friday 5th September – Black Mountain area
Three pictures of Steve Birkinshaw (seven time OMM Elite winner) and Helen Whitaker (nee Diamantides, the 1992 winner of the Dragon’s Back Race) training togetherl.  Both Steve and Helene are competing in the 2012 Dragon’s Back Race.

Pikes Peak

Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg dominate the Peak

Emelie Forsberg racing for the win. © Droz PhotoThe records stand, but new champions emerge: Kilian Jornet wins the 57th Pikes Peak Marathon, Sunday, in 3h40’26” followed by new skyrunning star, American Alex Nichols in 3h47’22” and Max King, third in 3h50’10”.

In the women’s field, the race went according to forecast with a full Salomon podium:  Sweden’sEmelie Forsberg first, 11th overall, in 4h28’07”, American Kasie Enman second in 4h28’25” and Spain’s Mireia Mirò, third in 4h32’13”, 15th overall.

The men’s race saw a tight group to the summit with Jornet leading throughout. Local runner Alex Nichols is evidently getting a taste for distance and altitude after excelling in his first SkyMarathon® at the recent SkyGames® in the Spanish Pyrenees with a 5th position while Max King, after a brilliant 3rd at Speedgoat, held the pace to close 3rd. Colorado runnerMarshall Thomson took fourth while France’s Greg Vollet and Oscar Casal Mir from Andorra took 5th and 6threspectively.

Alex Nichols on the descent. (c) Tim Bergsten

The women’s race was won on the descent.  A downhill specialist, Forsberg was ten minutes behind at the summit and overtook Enman on the last mile to the finish. Both Jornet and Forsberg set new records on the downhill – a natural for seasoned skyrunners.  Mirò’s tendon injury held off and was pleased to have finally concluded a marathon, the first this year.   Michele Suszek from Colorado was 4th and Britain’s Lauren Jeska, 5th.

Jornet and Forsberg now lead the Skyrunner® World Series ranking.  After just a few days’ rest and training they’ll be ready for the next challenge: the highly technical and gruelling Kima Trophy in Italy, on Sunday, where Jornet will face strong competition from top runners Tom Owens and Andy Symonds from Great Britain, Michel Lanne from France and Germany’s young Philipp Reiter.

Race results

Skyrunner® World Series ranking

The Beauty of the Irrational

Human beings don’t always make rational decisions. But making irrational decisions is precisely what makes us human. These decisions, based on an impulse or a feeling, often lead us to those perfect moments when it feels great to be alive.
“The Beauty of the Irrational” follows Ryan Sandes,  as he returns to the Fish River Canyon to run the 5 day, 84km, Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail in the fastest time possible.

He completed the run, self-supported, in amazing time of 6h57min!

You can read more HERE

Filmed by Greg Fell and Dean Leslie from The African Attachment this movie once again shows Ryan at his best and shows the skills of Dean & Greg.

You can link to the movie on Vimeo here: 47355798

Timothy Olson – Low Carb

Earlier this summer, Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek, authors of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance, headed to the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run, to study how runners in this grueling race fared, literally, for they were checking how the athletes performed AND how they ate.

Steve Phinney says that more and more endurance athletes are choosing low-carb, high-fat.  They’re choosing this diet both to get over digestive problems that hit in such a demanding event, and to win the race, and win it BIG!

That’s what Tim Olson did this year.  A self-proclaimed low-carb eater, Tim won the race — with a record-breaking pace.

You may like to read the article HERE

This obviously links into my previous post on the 40-30-30 diet

Timothy Olson

40-30-30 Diet

40-30-30 means eating the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. When you eat a 40-30-30 meal, 40% of the calories in that meal are from carbs, 30% from protein, and 30% from fat.

When you get the right amount of carbs, along with the right amount of protein and good fats, your body naturally burns fat. And, you aren’t hungry between meals. Plus, you feel better – your mind is clearer and you have more energy. For endurance athletes this ability to utilize fat as a fuel source is something we all need. The old adage of carbo loading’and consuming vast quantities of carbohydrate is slowly but surely being tipped on its head with the smart athlete now consuming considerably less carbs in preference for a more ‘balanced’ diet and one that uses the GI scale to help consume proper calories to maximize performance.

You can listen to a podcast on the 40-30-30 diet with Ian Corless from Talk Ultra and Marc Laithwaite HERE


40-30-30 is a specific nutritional balance of 40 percent calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from proteins, and the remaining 30 percent from fat.

Dr. Barry Sears originally created The Zone Diet for cardiologists, to teach them to use food as if it were a drug. He advocated diet as treatment for heart disease and diabetes. Those two diseases are also tied to excess production of the hormone insulin, the underlying hormonal disturbance that also causes obesity.

Patients on the program quickly reported that eating balanced meals made them feel better. Most of them also noticed that they were losing weight. When you eat a nutritionally balanced diet, your body naturally adjusts to keep you healthy – including dropping those extra pounds you don’t need.


It’s adjusting the amount of three key macronutrients you eat to keep your body in hormonal balance. The ideal is to:

  • Provide enough low glycemic carbohydrates to feed your brain and keep you sharp mentally, without spiking your blood sugar and triggering an insulin response.
  • Provide enough protein to maintain muscle mass, and to trigger fat burning through release of the hormone glucagon.

Provide enough fat that the body can absorb fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E, and K, and Linoleic acid (necessary for growth and reproduction).

GI – Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) is the measure of the amount and the rate of an increase in blood sugar after eating a carbohydrate. The higher the GI, the larger the rise in blood sugar, and the more insulin is released. Unfortunately the more insulin in your system, the more fat you’ll retain.

Eating 40-30-30 reduces your glycemic load. High glycemic foods (like candy bars) will give you fast, abundant energy, which unfortunately fades quickly, and is replaced by sleepiness. But when you eat low glycemic carbohydrates like an apple, an orange, pear, or strawberries, you are less hungry between meals and more mentally clear. You feel great, you lose fat, you have more energy, and your mood will be stable.

A low glycemic diet is not a low calorie diet. It is possible to eat fewer calories and not be hungry.

Nutritional Standards

Glycemic Index is based on a scale of 0 to 150.

  • Low is within the range of 0-35,
  • Medium is 36-70,
  • High is 71-100,
  • and Very High is over 100.
  • The Glycemic index cannot be calculated, only measured in lab testing on humans

Learning about GI can be very interesting and certainly you may be very surprised by some of the results that you find

Here is a very useful tool. You can input your food choice and find out its index. Click HERE

  • To search for a food, enter the name only.
  • To generate a list of all high GI foods, enter > 55 in the glycemic index field.
  • For a list of low GI foods, enter < 55 in the glycemic index field.
  • If you enter bread in the name field and < 55 in the glycemic index field, you’ll get a list of all breads with a GI less than 55.
  • Foods containing little or no carbohydrate (such as meat, fish, eggs, avocado, wine, beer, spirits, most vegetables) cannot have a GI value.
  • No carbs = no GI.

Putting it into practice

Adopting a 40-30-30 diet is not difficult. You can view a guide to GI tables here. In principal you want to maintain the balance of 40-30-30 and when eating carbohydrate ensure that it is low GI. When eating breads, pasta and rice ensure they are brown or whole-wheat. Eat good lean proteins and ensure that your fats are good fats such as those that come from oily fish, olive oil and nuts.

In simple terms, the 40-30-30 diet involves cutting out most carbohydrates such as breakfast cereals, rice, potatoes, pasta, noodles, bread, bagels, croissants, muffins, crisps, pastries, pies, chocolate, sweets, sugar and preserves, as these have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels and therefore insulin levels.

Most fruit and vegetables, however, are allowed. Low-fat protein-rich foods such as skinless chicken, turkey and fish should be eaten with every meal. Meanwhile, eating fewer foods that contain saturates and choosing foods that are rich in monounsaturates, such as olive oil, avocado and nuts, is recommended.

Divide your plate into three equal sized sections and then filling one section with low-fat protein such as chicken – making sure it’s no larger or thicker than the palm of your hand – and the remaining two sections with vegetables and fruit. Adding a little olive oil, avocado or a few nuts will help to boost intakes of monounsaturates!

Of course as an athlete you need to think about your food choices in relation to your exercise and racing. For example, reducing carbohydrate intake and eating fats before long training sessions or races will teach your body to utilize the fats that are within your body and use them as fuel. Initially you may feel a little unusual and crave carbohydrate but after 2-3 weeks you will adapt well. During exercise and racing you will need to refuel, particularly for longer races but think about the pace you are running/ cycling at and the energy requirements your body needs. Gels are not always the answer but if you hit a low spot or if you feel flat a gel may be just what you need to ‘lift you up’.

The important thing is that we are all individual. You need to play around with your diet and find out what works for you.

RECIPES linked to iwantfreehealthyrecipes.com

Aragula Scramble: This is a quick breakfast, but because you don’t see arugula used much, it seems kind of elegant.

3 eggs
1 cup arugula

1/2 tomato, diced
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup dry quick oats
1 1/3 cup water
1 cup skim milk

First, get your oatmeal & water cooking in the microwave. Chop the arugula & tomato roughly. Scramble the eggs. Spray a nonstick frying pan with Pam and preheat to medium. Stir-fry the arugula just until wilted, maybe about a minute, then toss in your eggs. Stir over medium heat until almost cooked, and stir in your tomato for the final minute or two. Top with about a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve alongside the oatmeal and milk.

48 g carbs (39%)
36 g protein (29%)
20 g fat (32%)

Popeye Fritta: A fritatta like this is a great make-ahead breakfast. Put it together while your making dinner the night before, and you can just pop a slice into the microwave in the morning, and get rolling out the door!

4 eggs
3/4 cup cooked chopped spinach (1 pkg. of frozen spinach)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup chopped tomato1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tbs. margarine
4 chopped green onions
1 tbs. chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or sesame seeds

Beat eggs. Combine with spinach (make sure it’s well squeezed first!), parsley or cilantro, garlic and sea salt. Saute the green onions in a medium oven proof frying pan, using the margarine. When the onions are slightly wilted, add the egg mix. Cook over a high heat until the egg starts to set up, shaking constantly to prevent burning. Finish under a broiler for several minutes. Top with the chopped nuts. Makes 2 servings.

Santa Fe Chicken Soup: This is one of our family’s favorites. We eat it all the time in the winter. Even our normally picky kids love it.

1 1/2 lb. chicken breasts
2 large green peppers

2 cups onion
2 cups carrots
1 cup tomatoes
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1/2 cup green chiles
1 qt. water
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
5 tbs. butter
6 cups milk
2 tbs. garlic powder
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbs. cumin
1 tbs. Cajun spices
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbs. seasoned salt
2 tbs. onion powder
5 tbs. chili powder

Start by broiling the chicken. When cooked, shred or dice it, and place in a large stock pot. Dice the peppers, onions, carrots and tomatoes.

Note, we normally add the chopped veggies to the pot now. But if you’ve got picky eaters at home, you could always give these a quick shot in the blender first. It’ll grind them up so they’re unrecognizable, but they still give the soup a ton of flavor, and some added thickness as well.

Add in all remaining ingredients except for the butter, flour and milk. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer on a low burner.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. In another saucepan, heat the milk until steaming, then remove from the burner. When the butter is melted, slowly whisk in the flour. Avoid lumps. As the mixture becomes too dry to work with, slowly alternate adding the flour and the milk. When you’ve combined all of the butter, flour and milk, whisk this mixture slowly into the simmering soup. Let the whole thing cook on low for another 20 minutes.

Makes 10 servings. It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, and freezes well.

Almond & Chicken Casserole: 2 lb. cooked chicken meat (light and dark)
2 lb. red potatoes
4 stalks celery
1 medium onion

4 cloves garlic
2 cans cream of chicken soup (Healthy Choice or other reduced fat)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup bread crumbs

Shred the chicken. Chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces, and steam or boil until about half cooked. Dice the celery & onion, and peel and chop the garlic finely. Mix all of that in a big bowl with the almonds, soup, broth, juice, salt and pepper. Stir it all well, and pour into a greased 13 inch X 9 inch pan. Mix the oil and bread crumbs thoroughly, and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Serves 8

Chille Casserole: 12 whole green chille’s
4 oz shredded jack cheese
4 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (4 oz) shredded, sharp cheddar cheese

Split each chille the long way. Remove the white pith and seeds. Stuff the chilles with the Jack cheese, wrapping each chile tightly around the cheese. Spray a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray, and arrange the chiles in one layer in the pan.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium-high until thick and foamy. Add the milk, flour and baking powder, and beat until smooth. Pour the egg batter evenly over the chiles. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake the chiles uncovered at 375 until the dish is somewhat puffed up (about 1/2 hour). Makes 6 side dish servings.

NOTE: I included this recipe because it’s a great dish, and in terms of carbs vs. protein, the proportions are right on. On the other hand, I’m sure you noticed it has a HUGE fat content. So unless you’ve had a really bad day, combine a small portion of it with a lowfat burrito.

Chicken & Pineapple Stir Fry: 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1 lb. broccoli tops
1 medium red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
8 oz. can pineapple chunks
1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. corn starch
1 tbs. sesame oil
2 tbs. pineapple juice.

3 cups cooked brown rice

Cut the chicken breasts and broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Slice the pepper into thin strips, and chop the green onions. Crush the garlic, and chop the ginger finely. Heat the sesame oil in a nonstick skillet on high heat. Stir fry the chicken and broccoli. Add the ginger, cumin, garlic , pepper and green onions. Cook for about 5 min. While that’s cooking, drain the pineapple chunks and add about 2 tbs. of the juice to the cornstarch. When the stir-fry mixture is cooked, add the pineapple, soy sauce and cornstarch mixture. Continue cooking briefly until the sauce thickens, and serve immediately over brown rice. Makes 6 servings.

More menus are available here: linked to iwantfreehealthyrecipes.com





Leadville 100

What a weekend of racing ahead! Leadville 100, Waldo 100k and Pikes Peak Marathon. Three classic races that contain some ‘classic runners’. Timmy Olson and Hal Koerner are heading to Waldo and Kilian Jornet and Sage Canaday are going to be going head to head at Pikes Peak. But what about Leadville?

For me, Leadville is the ‘real’ one to watch this weekend (no disrespect to Waldo or Pikes) but we all know from results this year that Timmy, Hal, Kilian and Sage are in form; no doubt. Although these races will be great showdowns the one person that we all have great interest in is Tony Krupicka.

Tony returned to racing after an 18 month lay off due to injury at Speedgoat 50k, didn’t have a great race (his words) and still placed up at the front of the race, However, Leadville and 100 miles will hopefully re establish him and confirm that he is back on the scene.

In the words of John Colley, Race Director:

2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the first Leadville Trail 100 “Race Across the Sky.”

Things were a lot different back then. The course description was basically word of mouth, with only four or five major turns actually marked for racers. Search and Rescue consisted of a little plastic whistle included in the racer packets. You were truly on your own. Running through the pack of 50 to 100 racers seemed like a lot of work. Through the years, there have been a lot of changes. Nutrition has evolved, training has become more scientific and our athletes are evolving. Cell phones and Internet give people a sense of security in the backcountry. Aid stations are now stocked with everything you need to complete your race. Rather than spending lonely miles secluded in your own thoughts, you will now be cheered on by hundreds of excited fans spread over the entire race. Some of the most important elements of this race have not changed, however. The course is still offering the same monumental challenge it always has, and Ken and Merilee still welcome you home at the finish line. As the innovators of this wonderful event, Ken and Merilee have helped thousands of athletes commit to and achieve a common goal. As in the past, they continue to be here for each and every one of you. Your Leadville experience is their highest priority.

The will of the athletes has transformed Leadville into what we see today. Year after year we welcome a group of the most dedicated racers to gather on 6th Street and put everything  on the line. There is no stopping their positive attitudes and desire for success. This race has the power to change lives and mold personalities. I have experienced this myself as a past Leadville competitor. I can’t imagine Leadville without this race, or this race without Leadville. It is great to see our past champions continue to be involved in our races while the new crop of young athletes are eager to write their names in the record books.

As the start grows near, there is an excitement in the thin air. The llama crews are hauling supplies up to the Hope Pass aid station. Your personal journey is approaching, and your buckles are here waiting for you.


2012 Race


The mens race has Tony Krupicka at the top of the pre race favourites. Lets face it how can you not tip Tony for a top slot… he won the race back to back in 2006 and 2007 but the big question on everyones mind is will he go for Matt Carpenter’s record?

Troy Howard has performed well at Hardrock 100 and certainly Leadville will hold no fear for him. He has run just over 26 hours at Hardrock with the 5th fastest time. He will be up at the front for sure.

Nick Clark from the UK can never be ruled out of the 100 mile distance. He is tenacious and tough. For me his two third places two weeks apart in 2011 at Western States and then Hardrock show what an athlete he is. At Western States this year he went through a bad patch and seemed to go off pace but he rallied and then moved up the field to podium once again for third. Something that looked unlikely earlier.

Salomon athtlete, Thomas Lorblanchet will be representing Europe and is having a great season so far.He was fith at Speedgoat, raced will at Transvulcania La Palma and has also placed highly in Salomon 4 Trails.

Mike Aish  I guess is somewhat of an unknown . Mike is from New Zealand and is a fast marathon runner and comes to Leadville as a 2 x Olympian over the 5000 and 10000m distance. To learn the ropes of ultra endurance, he’s befriended Frank Bozanich, a 44 time ultra-marathon winner. To improve on his hiking skills, Mike gave his ear to Ben Clark, who has spent the past 10 years pioneering routes up the tallest mountains in the Himalayas. In July, Mike finished first overall in the Leadville Silver Rush 50, a grinding warm-up to the main event so although the 100 distance will be new to the New Zealander, one can’t help think he may surprise us!

Mike Aish credit The Runners Tribe

At Leadville we also have a race within a race with Grand Slam runners, Australian Mike Le Roux and Paul Terranova going head to head for honours. Mike currently leads but these guys have been churning out some quick 100’s and with the tough Wasatch 100 to follow this could be anyones race.


Darcy Africa, Liza Howard and Aliza Lapierre have to be the three names that jump of the page for the Ladies race. Lynette Clemens the defending Leadville champion who ran 19:50:06 in 2011 would be the ‘hot tip’ for the race win but rumours are abound that the local lady will not be on the start.

Darcy has won Leadville in 2006 and 2009 which confirms her ability on the tough terrain but Liza won the race in 2010 and is fast over the 100 mile distance. If Lynette Clemens doesn’t turn up I would place my money on Liza.

Aliza Lapierre will be up at the front and should Darcy or Liza have a bad day or should Aliza have a great day, she may well top the podium. In real terms I see her placing 3rd.

Liza Howard, New Balance credit McDowell MountainMan

Fresh from a second place behind Anna Frost (Frosty) at Speedgoat 50k is Salomon Athlete, Kerrie Bruxvoort. She is un-tested over the distance but may be one to watch!

FACTS about Leadville

But how much do you really know about Leadville? Here are some fast facts. We can’t give you a buckle for knowing this stuff, but it will take your mind off those hundred miles.

  • Leadville has multiple nicknames, including Cloud City, Magic City and Two- Mile-High City.
  • Leadville is North America’s highest incorporated city.
  • Even though Leadville was founded during the Silver Boom, there were too many other cities around that same time with “silver” in their names, so founders decided to name it after the ore.
  • Leadville was founded in 1877 by mine owners Horace Tabor and August Meyer.
  • Leadville’s population at the height of the mining boom is said to have been close to 30,000. Leadville’s population today is 2,700.
  • Leadville’s past was filled with legends, eccentrics, entrepreneurs, dreamers, and other characters famously euphemized as “colorful,” including Horace and Baby Doe Tabor, Molly Brown, Texas Jack, Frank and Jesse James, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
  • Leadville is one square mile and its 70 square blocks of Victorian architecture have been designated a National Historic Landmark District.
  • Leadville had the highest unemployment in the nation when Ken Chlouber, determined to bring Leadville back from the brink, organized the inaugural Leadville Trail 100 Run in 1983. The mountain bike race was added 11 years later.
  • The Climax Molybdenum mine, shuttered in the 1980s, is set to officially reopen this summer and employ 300 people.A live race feed will be available from iRunFar 

Glacier de Zinal

Had a free morning yesterday, 13th August, before heading home from Sierre-Zinal and I went on a 5 hour run (hike) into the Glacier de Zinal with Salomon running athlete, South African, Linda Doke.

We had the most incredible run/hike and reached 2886m Cabane de Mountet  in front of  an amphitheater of mountains and ice:

Zinairothorn 4221m, Wallenkuppe 3903m, Ober Gabelhorn 4063m, Matterhorn 4476m, Pte de Zinal 3789m and Dent Blance 4357m.

The most incredible backdrop to ANY run I have done.


Sierre Zenal round up

De Gasperi and Cardona

What a day !

Marco de Gasperi after a turbulent 7 months in 2012 returned to form in a race that he loves! You can listen to what he had to say the day before the race HERE

Initially Marco de Gasperi and Cardona (Columbia) raced neck and neck going through 10km’s side by side. But Marco looked relaxed and in control. Post race in a finish line interview (listen HERE) he told me that the Columbian looked tired and he decided to push hard on the descent. We had discussed only the day before the race how he practices the skills to run down technical trail quickly.

He soon opened a gap and ran into the finish with a gap of just under 6 mins to prove to everyone that Marco is back!

Cardona obviously struggled with the pace and the effort that Marco had dictated and relinquished second place to Cesar Costa from Martigny. Cesar crossed the line in 2:37:39 in comparison to Marco’s 2:31:69.

David Cardona did hold on to third place though in 2:38:06

British men excelled in what was a very tough field with 43 year old and previous winner of Sierre Zenal (in his younger days as he told me) Billy Burns taking a great 9th place (2:43:38) in front of Tom Owens in 12th (2:45:56) and Joe Symonds in 18th (2:48:42).

In post race chats with both Tom and Joe they said how they had been going well running in the top 10 but the altitude had hit them making it really tough when racing along the plateau.

Tom Owens leading Joe Symonds

Billy Burns on the other hand who lives locally was adjusted. He kept saying to me post race “You know I’m over 40 don’t you? You know, don’t you?” He seemed really stoked at gaining a top 10 in an incredibly tough field. So he should!

The Ladies Race

Aline Cmboulive – FR – Ladies winner

Well, I guess the ladies race didn’t quite go to plan… or should I say, it didn’t quite go to the form book! Pre race favourites such as Oihana Kortazar and Nuria Picas didn’t have the races they wanted with Oihana dropping early and Nuria arriving at the finish looking in real pain.

Aline Camboulive from France moved ahead of the ladies field early on and maintained the gap all the way to the finish.

Stevie Kremer – USA

Big surprise of the race was American, Stevie Kremer who ran an incredible race to finish just 1:30 down on the winner for second place. She had been my pre-race dark horse! I had several chats with her prior to race day and although we all knew little about her she seemed motivated and very modest about her ability. On the finish line she looked as though she had just run a 10K !

Third placed lady some 6 mins behind the winner was Maud Mathys from Ollon.

Surprise of the day came from a last minute entrant! Non other than Lizzy Hawker. Apparently, she had phoned the race organiser at the 11th hour, obtained and entry and slipped into the race as a ‘training run’ (her words) on the back of some serious UTMB training. She still placed 9th!

Lizzy had this to say on the finish: listen HERE

Lizzy Hawker

Once again Sierre Zinal confirms itself as a race for everyones bucket list! At 31km’s it is a manageable distance for all. With two starts, one at 0500 am for the walkers and slower runners and then 0900 for the main runners it provides everyone with a possibility to experience the scenery, the altitude and the climbs of this beautiful area of Switzerland.

Course Profile


Top 10 Men

Top 10 Ladies

Pre Race Nerves!

A lack of eye contact.

Head dropped low.

A runner sits down opposite and breaks the thoughts, space interrupted!

Gaunt in features with eyes deeply recessed into his face, this is a runner on the edge.

Is it the expectation of competition and personal pressure to succeed that keeps him in this solitary world or is he a loner?

A question comes from the runner opposite. It’s unwelcome.

Without lifting his eyes a mumbled response.


Eyes remain down. His right hand returns the fork to the plate and with his index finger he raises his glasses and rubs vigorously at his eye!

Eyes now read with irritation he sets his chin on his left hand, sighs and forces a response from within.

The desire to get away from conversation is visible. He squirms in his seat.

A failed attempt to leave provides an opportunity for another question.

This time, no answer.

He stands, nods and without a word leaves.

Tomorrow is race day!