Episode 47 – Bowman, Abdelnoor, Hill, Forsberg

Ep47 iancorless.com

Episode 47 of Talk Ultra and we speak with Dylan Bowman, after placing 5th at Western States, Dylan was looking forward to tackling UTMB, however, things didn’t go quite to plan. Lakeland 50 winner, Ben Abdelnoor talks about training and fell running and we catch up with Tessa Hill who has just had a very succesful season on the Skyrunning circuit. Emelie Forsberg talks Diagonale des Fous in Smiles and Miles, Marc Laithwaite talks winter in Talk Training. We have the News, a Blog, Up and Coming races and Speedgoat talks golf…

Himalayan Trail – Philippe Gatta and Anna – https://iancorless.org/2013/10/29/great-himalayan-trail-philippe-anna-gatta/

00:13:42 NEWS

Diagonale des Fous (Reunion)


Francois D’Haene 22:58

Freddy Thevenin 25:40:16

Pascal Blanc 25:47:18


Nathalie Mauclair 28:45:32

Emelie Forsberg 31:29:05

Christine Benard 34:19:40 

Javelina Jundred


Hal Koerner 14:56:53

Catlow Shipek 15:59:58

Joe Grant 16:50:10


Rhonda Claridge 18:34

Emz Eliason 20:58:55

Erin Churchill 22:56:21

La Course des Templiers

Men 1 Thomas Lorblanchet 6h43min04
2 Xavier Thévenard 6h47min46
3 Michel Lanne 6h48min34

Ladies 1 Nuria Picas Albets (ESP) 7h57min49
2 Malika Coutant (FRA 8h19min19
3 Aurélia Truel (FRA 8h21min47

Ceasers Camp 100-miles only 10 finishers

Stuart Wilkie 21:42

Mick Barnes 22:31

David Rowe 22:48 



  1. Nick Barrable and Gustav Bergman 9:21:12
  2. Steve Birkinshaw and Kim Collinson 9:29:11
  3. Sander Vaher and Timo Sild 9:35:45

Mixed -Jasmin Paris and Konrad Rawlik 11:40:00

Female – Heather Dawe and Andrea Priestley 14:43:27

Full resultshttp://www.theomm.com/events/omm2013/

00:38:50 15 MINS of FAME – Tessa Hill

01:00:00 BLOGS

‘And somehow I reached the finish line of my first 100 miler. I don´t have enough words to describe the feelings. It was bigger than all my races I have done before. This was just something greater.’


01:03:55 Interview – BEN ABDELNOOR

01:24:28 TALK TRAINING – with Marc Laithwaite

01:48:12 INTERVIEW

This week’s interview is with Dylan Bowman. Dylan has not been running ultras for too long, however, he has impressed right from the start. Earlier this year he placed 5th at Western States and was in Europe and ready to run UTMB but unfortunately he picked up an injury while training. 





02:37:40 SMILESandMILES with Emelie Forsbergsmilesandmiles@yahoo.com

03:02:36 RACES


The North Face® Endurance Challenge Argentina – 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

The North Face® Endurance Challenge Argentina – 80 km | 80 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website



New South Wales

Carcoar Cup Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website

Great North Walk 100 km | 100 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Great North Walk 100 Miles | 100 miles | November 09, 2013 | website


Run to Paradise Ultra Marathon | 74 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website




Trail des Hospitaliers | 75 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website


SPARNATRAIL classique | 55 kilometers | November 10, 2013 | website




Chiemsee-Ultramarathon November | 108 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Lower Saxony

KILL 50 | 50 miles | November 09, 2013 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Bottroper Herbstwaldlauf – 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 10, 2013 | website



Salomon LT 70 | 70 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website



Bangalore Ultra Marathon – 100 km | 100 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Bangalore Ultra Marathon – 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Bangalore Ultra Marathon – 75 km | 75 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website




Eroica Running Ultramaratona | 65 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website



Trans 333 | 333 kilometers | November 15, 2013 | website



100 km of Namib Desert | 100 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Desert Ultra | 250 kilometers | November 15, 2013 | website



Everest Trail Race | 160 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website

NEPAL Action Asia 3 day ultra 100km | 100 kilometers | November 01, 2013 | website

Nepal Action Asia Ultra 3 day marathon 60k | 60 kilometers | November 01, 2013 | website


New Zealand

Steelformers Around the Mountain | 100 miles | November 09, 2013 | website

Taranaki Steelformers 100 mile Around the mountain Solo | 100 miles | November 08, 2013 | website

Taranaki Steelformers 150 km Around the mountain Running and Walking Relay | 150 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

The Taniwha – 60 km | 60 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website


United Kingdom


XNRG Druid Challenge 2013 | 84 miles | November 08, 2013 | website



ULTRA Maratón Altas Cumbres Serranas 100K Ultra | 100 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

ULTRA Maratón Altas Cumbres Serranas 60K Ultra | 60 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website




Pinhoti 100 | 100 miles | November 02, 2013 | website


Almaden Hills 50K Run | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Chino Hills Spring Trail Series 50K | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

CTR Lake Chabot Train Run 50 km (Nov) | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Folsom Lake Trail Run – Fall 50K | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

San Lorenzo River Trail Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Two Cities Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website


Georgia Sky to Summit 50k | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website


NorthWest Nazarene University 100 Mile Run & Relay | 100 miles | November 08, 2013 | website


Chicago Lakefront 50K | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website


Owen Putnam State Forest 50K | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Owen Putnam State Forest 50 Miles | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website


Rosaryville Veteran’s Day 50k | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website


Stone Cat 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website


Ozark Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | November 02, 2013 | website


Bootlegger 50K | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Coyote Springs 100K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Coyote Springs 100M Trail Run | 100 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Coyote Springs 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Coyote Springs 50M Trail Run | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas | 195 miles | November 08, 2013 | website

New Jersey

NJ Trail Series One Day – 50K | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

New York

Mendon 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website


Turkey & Taturs 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website


Nashville Ultra Marathon 50 K Race | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Nashville Ultra Marathon 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Nashville Ultra Marathon 60 K Race | 60 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Nashville Ultra Marathon 70 K Race | 70 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Upchuck 50K Trail Running Race | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website


Mountain Masochist Trail Run | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website


First Call Veterans Day 50K | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website


03:05:23 CLOSE




Website – talkultra.com


International Skyrunning Federation Ultra Ranking 2013

©copyright .iancorless.com._1110251

As promised earlier in the year, a ranking has been devised for the three skyrunning disciplines based on 54 races in 2013 (24 Ultra, 20 Sky and 10 Vertical). One of the principal aims was to take into account the quality of the field and the time relative to the winner, along with a proprietary ISF algorithm and other factors.


Today we announce the top 100 men out of 613 selected from 38 nations in 24 races across five continents.  The top 50 ranked women are named out of  273 from 27 nations .  Subsequently, all the runners will be listed along with the Sky and Vertical rankings to be published later.


Here’s an overview:


The ranking was elaborated on the basis of the participation and results obtained by the athletes in the international races selected by the ISF.


In calculating the points, the ranking is based on a proprietory ISF algorithm specifically studied for outdoor running, based on consolidated algorithms used by the International Ski Federation.


Fifty-four races were selected for the 2013 season (24 Ultra, 20 Sky and 10 Vertical) – see ISF announcement in March.  The selection was aimed at identifying the world’s most prestigious races with the greatest number of elite athletes participating, as indicated in the ISF news in January.


In each selected race, the first 30 men and first 15 women were counted. For each athlete, points were calculated on the basis of :  the final position, the time relative to the winner  and the number of elite athletes ahead or behind.


The final points were calculated on the average of the three best results of the season obtained by each athlete.  For athletes who did not participate in at least three of the selected races throughout the season, a penalty of 11% was applied to those who participated in only two races, and 22% was applied to those who participated in just one.


The 2014 ranking will be based on 2013, but with a more precise indication of the elite athletes based on the previous year’s ranking.


The ISF ranking will be complete at the end of the 2015 season as the points will be calculated on the average of the previous three seasons with a weighted coefficient for each year.


The ISF assesses the yearly performances in their whole within the context of the results and performance in each race.  As in other disciplines, it does not analyse the performance in absolute terms due to the many variables in outdoor running (vertical climb, type of terrain, climate, level of the competition… etc), the comparison between different races or different editions of the same race, would be too approximate.

2013 ISF Ultra ranking

Top 100 men

Top 50 women

Kilian Jornet – Summits of my Life – Mont Blanc

Image ©kilianjornet ©summitsofmylife

Image ©kilianjornet ©summitsofmylife


Mathéo and I synchronised our watches, switched on the stopwatch and gave each other five for luck before starting to run. It was 4:50 am, and it wasn’t cold in the church square in Chamonix. We were in shorts and thermal T-shirts, but nerves and excitement probably did not let us think about anything other than the challenge ahead. Mont Blanc, as majestic as ever, was just waking up and, from the square, we could spot the headlamps of those who had spent the night at the mountain refuge and were now preparing to reach the summit.

We are ascending well, within the estimated time. Upon arriving at the crack of Grands Mulet, we rope together for safety reasons as large amounts of snow have accumulated there this year. Halfway up, we spot Seb and Vivien, who have come to give us support and to film us. The sun is barely rising and the scenery is breathtaking. We are both using sticks to help us to climb and move faster. The marks we gouged into the ground a few days ago have lasted, and we follow them, so we can move fast and carry on with the ascent.

Read the full report HERE


Hardrock 100 – Lottery Changes

image ©hardrock100

image ©hardrock100

Each year, we are faced with the difficult problem of how to choose 140 starters from nearly six times that many applicants, while still respecting the values that make Hardrock Hardrock. The Board feels that our ideal mix of runners would be 25% first-time Hardrockers, 25% veterans (i.e. >= 5-time finishers), and 50% everyone else. To preserve this mix, we are replacing our single weighted lottery with three weighted lottery pools, each with its own wait list:

  1. First-timers – 35 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone who has never started a Hardrock. The intention is to increase the likelihood for applicants with many DNS’s to get into the run. Modeling suggests that giving applicants 2^N tickets, where N is the number of previous DNSs, will ensure that those with the most DNSs will get in, while still giving first-time applicants a chance. “DNS” includes both those who were on the wait list and those who withdrew from either the wait list or start list.
  2. Veterans – 35 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone who has five or more Hardrock finishes, with the following qualification: an applicant who DNFs in two consecutive attempts beginning in 2012 will be placed into the “Everyone else” pool until they complete the run in a subsequent year. Applicants will get one ticket for each previous Hardrock finish. The number in this pool is about the same as the number of 5-time finishers bypassing the lottery in each of the past few years, and so comes close to preserving this feature.
  3. Everyone else – 70 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone not in one of the previous two lotteries. The algorithm for ticket allocation will be unchanged from the current one. Modeling suggests that the chances of being selected from this lottery will be better than under the current system.

Runners not selected in the first two lotteries WILL NOT be rolled over into the third lottery. If fewer than 35 “veterans” apply, the unused slots will be added to the “everyone else” pool.

A separate wait list will be maintained for each lottery. When a runner withdraws from the start list, a runner will be taken from the wait list for the lottery from which the withdrawn runner was chosen.

The previous year’s winners will continue to bypass the lottery, but they will count against the lottery pool they would have been in.

Read the full post HERE


Why We Run – Salomon Running TV S3 E01


“Ideally I would like to be a bird but running is a close second”

The African Attacment and Salomon Running once again take our sport and the visual story to the next leveel


Bernd Heinrich is a retired Professor living in a log cabin in the woods of Western Maine. He has held numerous running records throughout his life and has committed much of his time to the study of the natural world. In Episode 01 we look back at this man’s incredible life, his achievements, the lessons he has learned, and what we can possibly learn from him.

By SignPost
Written for The African Attachment & SRTV

Additional Race Footage:
Transvulcania & Zegama – Kikazaru Producciones
Marathon du Mont Blanc – Mouss Productions
Olympus Marathon – Stamos Birsim

Great Himalayan Trail – Philippe & Anna Gatta

Philippe & Anna Gatta iancorless.com

Ultra runners and climbers Philippe and Anna Gatta started a major expedition on the 20th September that will travel the length of the Great Himalayan Trail in Nepal. Philippe and Anna are well into the journey that will change both of them, not only from a physical perspective but from within. You can read the daily blog here

Philippe Gatta aims to run the 1,700km route in under six weeks, completing the equivalent of 40 marathons in 40 days.

Anna Gatta will also be running long sections of the route with Philippe, covering 670km, with 39km of ascent and completing the equivalent of 16 marathons. In addition, she will provide essential logistical support to her husband on the sections when he is running solo.

Philippe Gatta iancorless.com

The Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) extends for 1,700km and includes over 88km of vertical gain. The route includes many passes at an altitude higher than 5,000m and two that are at 6,200m, and it navigates through some of the highest mountains in the world, including Everest, Makalu and Kangchenjunga.

The Gattas are facing temperatures ranging from -25 degrees Celsius to +35, will run at altitudes from 880m to over 7,000m, and in jungle terrain, forests, deserts and on glaciers.  To add even more to the challenge, on the 30th day Philippe is planning to complete a speed ascent and descent of Baruntse (7,129m).

Philippe Gatta, Anna Gatta iancorless.com

“It is amazing to look back at the last 18 months, since we decided to run the Great Himalayan Trail.  After all of the expeditions and races I have done in the past 15 years, I never thought that this would be so complex to organize.  When we climb a big mountain, we establish a base camp with all the gear we need for the following weeks.  Of course, there are limits to the amount of things we can take but that’s nothing compared to the challenge of running 40km every day, carrying all we need in small packs and across the Himalaya. There are still areas of uncertainty – about the trail in several sections and about the conditions on the trail and mountains after the monsoon – but that’s all part of the adventure.  We have both set new personal records in term of training intensity and volume and are very confident and happy about our preparation, the kit and the logistics.”

Great Himalayan Trail Map - GHT - iancorless.com

Philippe and Anna are sponsored and supported by Berghaus for this journey and will be sending updates which will be posted on the Berghaus community, Facebook and Twitter.

The journey has been troubled due to heavy snowfall and difficult conditions; here is an outtake from the 18th October, day 24.

“Yesterday Philippe called from the sat phone. He was devastated since he realized that after 10 hours of opening up a path in extreme conditions to Tilman Pass they had advanced only 2 km due to snow up to waist and hidden crevasses. Despite very hard efforts they simply couldn’t continue. Philippe said it had been harder than the summit day of Everest. He and the Sherpa return back to the Kyangin camp and have decided to not take more risks and turn back to Katmandu to analyze what parts of ght that are still possible to realize. Another pass he was supposed to do, Tashi Labsta 5800m, is not doable now neither and the 3 cols had avalanches…”

The Ultimate Trail – facts and figures

– Distance – 1,700km across Nepal

– Vertical height gained – 100km

– Temperatures ranging from -25 degrees Celsius to +35

– Altitude from 880m to 7,220m

– Jungle, glacier, forests and desert

Key sections

– Dolpo – 300km with eight passes at over 5,000m

– Philippe will be self-sufficient for seven to eight days in a remote area where he is unlikely to meet anyone.

– Philippe will use a pack with a maximum weight of 10kg, which will hold all of his equipment and food for the section.

– The Three Cols – from Everest to Makalu

– Four days above 5,000m with two technical passes at 6,200m

– Challenges will include glaciers, crevasses and abseils.

– Kangchenjunga

– 230km in a very wild region

– From rain forests to a 5,160m pass

– Lacking in good trails but littered with landslides

Follow the blog here

GHT, Great Himalayan Trail info iancorless.com

Epic Marathon Camps – Morocco


Another year will soon be over, it will be January and you will be feeling the effects of all those extra calories and you will realize that you are way behind with your training… yes, Spring is just around the corner and irrespective of your 2014 events distance, your are going to need to kick start your training and get in shape! What better way to get the ball rolling or should I say, the legs running than a week in Morocco.


Epic Marathon Camps are ideal for runners of all ability and provide the opportunity to train and learn with like-minded individuals in a fantastic location, close to Marrakesh, Morocco.

The foothills of the Atlas Mountains will become your playground. Alice Morrison and Charlie Shepherd will be your hosts for the week along with coaches, Holly Rush and Karl Zeiner.

rsz_prvenuerun3 Combining excellent facilities with superb views and a high level of comfort. The hotel for the week has two swimming pools, a spa, and numerous different areas in which to exercise or relax. The venue’s style and philosophy fits perfectly; to offer a traditional Moroccan experience in comfort and style and with access to some superb scenery that is perfectly suited to physical training.

‘It’s quite simple, both Charlie and myself have entered the Marathon des Sables for 2014. Charlie has great experience of Morocco and has already coordinated multiple camps in the area, it seemed logical that we should extend our portfolio to a run specific camp,’ explained Alice.

Holly Rush is a TeamGB athlete and in 2013 placed 7th lady at the highly competitive Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa. In addition to this, Holly won a Bronze medal at the World Mountain Marathon Championships.

Karl Zeiner recently placed 16th overall at the ‘Ring of Fire’ in the UK and brings an extensive knowledge of marathon and ultra marathon training to the camp.

I asked Holly about her expectations of the camp and what participants can expect…

‘We are specifically targeting runners who want to get away from the January blues at home and get stuck into some focused, specific endurance training with like minded people in beautiful surroundings.’ Holly said with a look of eagerness on her face, ‘The January camps will be a great way to kick start the New Year with a possible eye on a spring marathon or ultra.’


Morocco is the ideal place to enjoy some winter sun without a long haul flight and yet once you arrive it will feel like you could be in another world. Participants will have the opportunity to train on a variety of surfaces, road, trail, sand and of course hills so every run can be different.

The camp can be as involved as each individual person requires. The team will offer plenty of easy running, all guided of course so that it’s possible to investigate the surroundings. Specific session will be mixed in to the week, threshold, marathon race pace, reps and hill repeats will keep everyone literally on there toes.


A unique selling point of EMC (Epic Marathon Camps) will be the magnificent location, high-end accommodation and facilities and of course the knowledgeable staff with quality training.

‘The camp will provide the perfect running experience allowing each and every person with one-to-one sessions with Holly and Karl.’ Explained Charlie. ‘It doesn’t stop there… days are based around running, core building, stretching and in the evenings lectures will be available about specific subjects to help progress each participants individual progression in the sport they love. Tired and aching bodies will be eased with in-house massage as required.’


Running is not only about miles, it is also about the food we eat and how we can enhance food choices so that we become efficient in every aspect of the sport. To that end, a nutritionist will be available for the whole week (a keen runner and cyclist herself) inspirational, balanced and incredible cuisine will be provided. You know you are on to a winner when the chef says, ‘I would never sacrifice taste for calories’.


Places are limited for the January training camps, January 11th to 18th/ January 19th to 26th.

The price for the all-inclusive week (transfers to-and-from the airport in Morocco, food, soft drinks, laundry and all services from the coaches) will be £1,495 for seven days (excl flights)

Please use the enquiry form below to receive a special £50 discount from the Epic Marathon Camps team.


  • Training Camp Dates HERE
  • You can view the website HERE
  • Follow on Twitter @EpicMCamps
  • And ‘Like’ on Facebook ‘Epic Marathon Camps’

*This is an advetorial post on behalf of Epic Marathon Camps

Western States changes entry criteria

WSER logo ©westernstatesendurancerun

WSER logo ©westernstatesendurancerun

Keep it fair. Keep it Simple. Raise the Bar.

….the Board also realizes that something needs to change to alleviate the increasing pressure on our lottery. Thus, the qualifying standards for entering the WS lottery beginning with the 2015 race are:

  • 100K finish in under 16 hours or
  • 100M finish in time allowed by race.

We have limited the number of qualifying races to the largest trail 100 milers domestically, and the largest 100Ks that are also of significant difficulty. The 100K distance aligns better internationally. Worldwide, we’ve included the largest races but also have the goal of geographic diversity so runners from anywhere in the world have an opportunity to run a qualifying race. There are 63 races on the 2015 qualifying races list.

The 2015 qualifying run must be run from Monday, November 11, 2013 through Sunday, November 14, 2014.

You can read the full post on the WSER website HERE

Call for comments:

  1. What do you think about the qualifying races?
  2. What are your thoughts on the criteria for entry, 100km in sub 16-hours or a 100-mile finish within the cut-off?
  3. How will this impact on those who wish to race in UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour)?
  4. Any other thoughts or concerns?

On a personal note, Western States ultimately have no choice (in my opinion) to make entry more difficult. If they are not able to increase the field and allow more runners, then they need to ensure that those who run, ‘earn’ the place. However, I do agree with the comments in regard to Gordy running the race way back in the early 70’s with no experience and completing the task… such a difficult balance act to get right. Western States needs to progress with the times and we can look at TNFUTMB as an example of how a race changed criteria to balance supply and demand.

Welcome your thoughts!


La Course des Templiers – 2013

Nuria Picas Templiers 2012 ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas Templiers 2012 ©iancorless.com

Millau, Southern France. The iconic ‘La Course des Templier’ has often been regarded as the Holy Grail of Trail in France. Salomon athlete and Brit, Andy Symonds won the race a couple of years ago and it made him a household name. Of course living in France and speaking the lingo did help.

The Great Race of the Knights Templar was founded in 1995 with a humanitarian purpose. To financially support an orphanage in Chad

Sighting the Leadville Trail 100 miler in the US as an influence, Odile and Gilles Bertrand decided to embark on this adventure in March 1995. The project was launched and a date was selected, the last Sunday of October.

But the format of 100 miles as at the Leadville race was considered too long and Odile and Bertrand decided to offer a more appealing distance of 65 km.

In October 1995 before the fortress of St. Eulalie de Cernon 500 runners assembled and the first edition was undertaken. La Course des Templiers gave birth to trail running in France. This first edition of Templiers was won by Patrick Fox and Corinne Favre.

Race start 2012 ©iancorless.com

Race start 2012 ©iancorless.com


. Distance: 72 km – altitude: 3200 m +
. Departure: 5:15 (note time change), Millau, Millau Plage road (attention, 1h 20 ‘night in the morning) and arrive in Millau, Millau Beach Road 1.2 km from city center
. 4 stations (Peyreleau, St André de Vézines, Pierrefiche, The Cade)
. Registration limited to 2500 runners

A weekend of racing – Festival de l’Endurance

The Templiers race is part of the Festival de l’Endurance. The main event takes place on Sunday, the Grande Course – THE GREAT RACE OF THE TEMPLARS is steep and rocky, so steep that the race organisers place ropes in many areas so that runners can ease their way through rough spots without falling.

To add to that magical ambiance, it helps to know that Nant was one of many points in a network of secret trails built by the Knights Templar, the monastic, international military order formed at the end of the First Crusade with the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. The Knights Templar, known for their architectural skills and fighting alongside Richard I were the first warrior monks and were prevalent in that part of France until their downfall in 1307.

The race route uses the secret paths of the Templars which ncludes two long tunnels that had been used as shortcuts to beat enemies to strategic locations. The region has become a popular tourist attraction primarily due to the success of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

2013 RACE

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB

The 2012 edition of the race concluded the Skyrunner World Series but not this year! However, a quality field is assembled. Miguel Heras (Salomon) just missed out on the win last year so he will be looking for the top of the podium. However, he will have a re match with TNFUTMB winner, Xavier Thevenard (Asics). Thomas Lorblanchet, teammate of Xavier will also return, he has won this race several times before and without doubt be at the front of the race. Julien Rancon will be looking to repeat his victory but Michel Lanne may well be the favourite, he had some time way from the sport with a new baby and an injury but he is back.

Xavier winning TNFUTMB

Xavier winning TNFUTMB

The ladies race has the return of Nuria Picas (Buff) Nuria dominated the race last year ahead of Emelie Forsberg and Lizzy Hawker. Nuria has gone from strength to strength and after placing second at TNFUTMB and then shortly afterwards winning Cavalls delVent once again, she is for me, the outright favourite for the ladies race. Julia Bottger (Salomon) will also participate, however, I can’t help but feel it will be a little too short for her.

Nuria Picas winning Templiers 2012 ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas winning Templiers 2012 ©iancorless.com

The main event takes place on Sunday.

You can see images from the 2012 race HERE

Skyrunning UK – the first steps

Skyrunninguk logo sign offIt has been a long season… the 2013 Skyrunner World Series came to a close in early October on the shores of Lake Garda at the impressive Limone Extreme race. The Skyrunner ULTRA title had been concluded just weeks earlier in Vail, Colorado at the Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) but at Limone Extreme, VK and SKY champions were crowned confirming the closure of an incredible 2013 season.

It would be nice to sit back, relax and reflect. Oh no, time stands till for nobody, the 2014 Skyrunner World Series needs to be confirmed and announced, in addition, 2014 has the Skyrunning World Championships taking place in Mont-Blanc (here) at the Mont-Blanc Marathon weekend. Champions, male and female will be announced for the distances of VK, SKY and ULTRA.

An exciting year awaits!

Luis Alberto Hernando at Matterhorn Ultraks

Luis Alberto Hernando at Matterhorn Ultraks

The growth os Skyrunning has exploded in the past 2-years, the catalyst, Transvulcania La Palma in May 2012. Arguably, the worlds ‘best’ descended on a small island in the Canaries and although the ULTRA distance was new to Skyrunning, a transformation was made and suddenly, Skyrunning became the next big thing! The foresight of Marino Giacometti (President ISF) and Lauri Van Houten (Executive Director ISF) was rewarded with a big thumbs up from all who attended!

La Palma, Transvulcania La Palma 2012 ©iancorless.com

La Palma, Transvulcania La Palma 2012 ©iancorless.com

Skyrunning today is growing and at an alarming rate. The Skyrunner World Series has now established itself as one of ‘the’ series to do and we are seeing this reflected in the diversity of the nations taking part but also the diversity in the athletes. We are seeing many runners participating in several disciplines and in certain scenarios, such as Kilian Jornet, we are also seeing them crowned champion in multiple disciplines.

We are not only seeing the ‘regulars’ perform. Skyrunning are being rewarded with new athletes and teams, take a look at Arc’teryx and inov-8. They have taken the bull by the horns and seized an opportunity, not only have they created teams to perform at this high level but they have created apparel and shoes that work in this demanding sport. In 2013, Arc’teryx had UK based athlete, Tessa Hill create some stunning results in the VK and SKY distance, in addition, inov-8 had great success with UK based Anna Lupton and with Alex Nichols (USA) who placed third on the Skyrunner SKY World Series podium.

Tessa Hill and Anna Lupton, Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

Tessa Hill and Anna Lupton, Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

For years, the UK have provided a hard core of athletes who have raced and won on this world stage; Angela Mudge, Ricky Lightfoot, Andy Symonds, Tom Owens and so on… in many respects, these UK runners progressed from a minority sport in the UK, ‘Fell Running’ and participated in a minority sport in Europe called ‘Skyrunning’.

That is all changing and the time is now right, for the UK to progress and not only create a UK based series but also create stimulus within the UK to encourage UK based runners to travel to Europe and farther afield to experience Skyrunning on a global scale.

Salomon athlete, Andy Symonds sums it up very well,

Skyrunning was born in Italy, twenty years ago. For me it’s always represented the best of European and until recently – mainly Italian – racing. It’s about racing high up, on real mountains, on real mountain terrain. The fun comes from the race courses which go to summits, along exposed ridges, gaining incredible views, and from moving fast in a competitive environment over this sort of terrain.

Andy Symonds Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Andy Symonds Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

The UK may lack the altitude of the Italian Alps, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do the same thing on our own moderately sized mountains, fells and hills! It’s great to see the sport branching out of Italy, with national series now launching in France, Australia/NZ the UK and no doubt shortly elsewhere.

The future of proper mountain running will probably lie in the hands of the Skyrunning Associations and I’ll be supporting that growth and hoping to help guide things in a good direction!’

Andy is right! the time is perfect.

Welcome to Skyrunning UK

It is early days for Skyrunning UK and 2014 will almost certainly be a transformative year. We are well aware that Skyrunning in the UK will be a challenge… we don’t have too many 2000m+ peaks! However, as Andy says, ‘The UK may lack the altitude of the Italian Alps, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do the same thing on our own moderately sized mountains, fells and hills!’

To that end, an athlete commission has been created to help guide the sport within the UK from a grass roots level. We already have established and respected runners signed up and confirmed:

  • Ricky Lightfoot (Salomon)
  • Anna Lupton (inov-8)
  • Tom Owens (Salomon)
  • Ben Abdelnoor (inov-8)
  • Andy Symonds (Salomon)

Within the coming weeks, several other athletes will be added to the commission and this will guarantee that the direction of Skyrunning in the UK is not only in good hands but will also consider the well established traditions of fell and trail running.

Skyrunning UK will work in harmony and respect existing races and traditions within the UK.

To interact and get involved, please make sure you:

  • ‘Like’ the Skyrunning UK Facebook page HERE
  • ‘Follow’ on Twitter HERE
  • and sign up to ‘Follow’ our website HERE