Ricky Lightfoot wins 60th 3 Peaks Race

 ©Mick Kenyon / Racing Snakes

©Mick Kenyon / Racing Snakes

After a number of attempts at glory and a second place finish in 2009, Salomon International runner Ricky Lightfoot eventually added one of fell running ‘monuments’ to his growing list of big wins, as he stormed to victory at the 60th 3 Peaks Race.

Matt Ward, PR for the Salomon Trail Team provides an insight into a classic race.

Understated as ever the Salomon International runner stated:

“I wasn’t expecting much at the 3 Peaks, I thought it would be a good hard training run in preparation for the Maxi Race in Annecy which is in May, I felt I was in good enough shape to get a top 10 finish and I’d have been happy to run somewhere between 3.00-3.10.”

As it turned out his winning time of 2:53:16 was the third fastest time in the last 15 years, and this effort was underlined by second-placer Tom Owens who said:

“Ricky had a very strong run and I was impressed with his finishing time – given the running conditions were not fast with the recent rain which made the course very muddy and then there were the strong winds.”
A compliment indeed from the 2011 winner. Ricky explains how the race unravelled:
“After a troublesome start to 2014 with injuries I hardly imagined that I’d get a chance to have a crack at the 3 Peaks Race this year, but after a late entry I’m happy to say I took the chance and ran it. I was always doubtful that I’d get an entry so late so trained as normal up until Wednesday when I found out I had been given an one, that gave me Thursday and Friday to recover for the race the following day.
“We arrived in Horton on the morning of the race and the weather was pretty horrid, the clag was down and there was shower after shower. I was told that the course would be pretty wet and muddy today and as there was a few other events on the same day the paths would be well trodden. We picked our numbers up and changed, I managed to get a little run up the road to warm up in-between showers and it was almost time to gather on the start. I don’t know where time goes before the race!”
“Another quality field had assembled for the 60th 3 Peaks Race with only 1 or 2 Internationals this year. We toed the start line and the race got under way, I decided to push the pace from the start and led out of the field and onto the road, Salomon GB Team mate Tom Owens followed and we worked together on our way up to Pen Y Ghent, as we approached the summit I began to feel the effects of the fast start and lack of running fast in general, Tom pulled away and I was passed by Thor Ludvigson with Rob Jebb just on my heels as we dibbed the first summit.”
“The run off was wet and the clag was down, I managed to catch Thor and kept Tom in my sights as we reached the path where other runners were coming up (thanks for the shouts). I managed to catch Tom and again we pushed on over to High Birkwith, I felt as though I was hanging on at this point which was a bit worrying but I thought I’d start to fade from the pace around the hour mark.”
“I stuck to Tom along the road and we reached Ribblehead together, Tom stopped to grab his bottle and lost a few seconds while I moved on and picked a Kinetica Gel up off friend Jackie Winn further along the track where Tom caught me again. We could see that we had a gap to 3rd place which was good as we knew Jebby would claw some time back climbing up to Whernside. We reached the top in 1.42 which from previous peaks races I’d ran knew that we were running quick given the underfoot conditions.”
“Tom pulled a few seconds on the Whernside descent but I managed to catch him on the run over to Hill Inn, I took another Kinetica Gel from Jackie at this point as we only had one more summit to climb, Ingleborough. This section seemed to fly by, we reached the bottom of the steep climb with Tom only slightly ahead. Half way up I felt as though a had a little something left so pushed a little harder to the summit, I was surprised to move away from Tom and reach Ingleborough with an advantage. Could I really win the 3 Peaks?”
“I was always conscious of Tom as he’s one of the best descenders around, off the summit I pushed to see whether I could grab a few more seconds, at this point I found myself moving away. There was a strong head wind which made the going feel really slow. I reached Sulber Nick and the finger post which I’d remembered from previous years and took one last glance to see if anyone was catching. At this point I knew there wasn’t far to the finish, looking at my Suunto I knew today it was going to be a PB so pushed a little harder on the run in, I crossed the line in 2.53.16.”
“I’m over the moon at winning my first 3 Peaks Race as it has come so unexpected! Once again the 3 Peaks Race put on an excellent event and is up there with some of the best races around. Thanks to the Jackie Winn, the marshalls and spectators, the shouts of encouragement really do help!”
 ©Mick Kenyon / Racing Snakes

©Mick Kenyon / Racing Snakes

Former winner Owens was also satisfied with his day, especially given his injury issues of 2013, he commented:

“I missed the 3 peaks in 2013 through injury so was delighted to be back at this classic race & knew that I was in pretty good shape. Ricky and myself worked together for much of the race and it was relaxing to be running with a team mate, the pace felt good and we were pulling away from the other runners.
“I was always conscious of the quality of the chasing runners and their ability to make up time- especially Jebby with his climbing ability & pedigree at this race.
“Ricky and I were together through Hill Inn and this is where the race really kicks in -especially this year as the 2nd half of the race was into head winds. On the lower slopes of Ingleborough I still felt okay and started to get away from Ricky on the step sections over the boggy ground but Ricky kept pulling me back! we were also together up the steep section on Ingleborough.
“I had a bad energy blip and Ricky pushed on getting some time on me to the top of Ingleborough. I tried to stay calm and recover as it’s a long slog of a descent to the finish & it is possible to real folk in. I started to descend hard. It was a particularly strong head wind and muddy conditions and try as I might I wasn’t closing the gap! in the end Ricky was pulling away! I took a small tumble which made me cramp and slowed further, so second place it was.”
“Ricky was telling me he’s had injury issues this year but this result shows he’s still in great shape & his ultra running in 2013 has certainly made him resilient. I hope he has a cracking 2014 season.”
“I thought I had a pretty good run and was pleased with the way I was feeling for most of the race – it was certainly exciting to be at the sharp end. Although having won this race once before it’s hard to be happy with second place now! Perhaps I should have started off more conservatively? I also faffed around at the drinking stops finding my water bottles which seemed to zap momentum & I had to work hard to get back…..regardless it’s still very early in the season so onwards and upwards!”
Behind Ricky and Tom, Rob Jebb finished a very strong third, just under 3 hours.
In his first trip the UK for the 3 Peaks race Salomon International’s Thor Ludvigsen finished a highly creditable 6th, and has vowed to return to the event after thoroughly enjoying his day ‘fell running’ and his weekend in Yorkshire!
For further information on any aspect of the Salomon Trail Team and Salomon Avenir athletes, products and racing activity, please contact team PR manager Matt Ward on +44(0)7515558670 or email matt@runcomm.co.uk

Iznik Ultra (in French) – TEMOIGNAGES D’IZNIK ULTRA LE 19 avril 2014

Post by – Niandi Carmont ©

Niandi Carmont & Benoit Laval

Niandi Carmont & Benoit Laval

“Nous courons, non pas parce que nous pensons que ça nous fait du bien, mais parce que nous aimons ça et que nous ne pouvons pas obtenir ce bien-être autrement … Plus notre société et notre travail restreindront notre liberté, plus il sera nécessaire de trouver une issue à cette soif de liberté. Personne ne peut dire, ‘Vous ne devez pas courir plus vite que cela, ou sauter plus haut que cela. » L’esprit humain est indomptable.”

35ème kilomètre, il en reste sept jusqu’à l’arrivée. Je me sens incroyablement fraîche. Heureuse de courir, aucune douleur, pas de baisse d’énergie. J’entre dans un petit village (Müşküle) et mes yeux se remplissent de larmes, impossible de retenir l’émotion qui me gagne.

Coraline Chapatte, 42km

Copyright ©znikultra

Copyright ©znikultra

Devant chaque porte, dans chaque petite ruelle, des villageois assis et qui applaudissent les coureurs qui passent. Ils sont là depuis des heures mais chaque fois qu’un coureur entre dans le village, c’est le même accueil: applaudissements, encouragements. Mais en plus de cela, ces villageois envoient une énergie particulière. Je vous promets, je ne suis pas quelqu’un qui pleure facilement ou qui suis particulièrement émotive, mais en l’espace de 30 secondes j’ai complètement été gagnée par l’émotion.

Et lorsque les enfants ont commencé à tendre leurs petites mains pour que je leur tape dedans et qu’un peu plus loin d’autres enfants se sont mis à courir avec moi, mon visage s’est couvert de larmes.

Vraiment impossible de décrire par des mots ce que j’ai vécu en traversant ce minuscule village. C’est comme si durant ces 800 mètres, j’étais sous l’effet d’un puissant elixir, un elixir d’authenticité et de chaleur humaine.

Benoît Laval, 42km , deuxième homme

Benoit Laval ©iancorless.com

Benoit Laval ©iancorless.com

J’ai trouvé l’organisation de l’Ultramarathon d’Iznik très pro, et les 800 coureurs sur des distances de 10km à 80km sont très bien accueillis. Caner, l’organisateur, a voulu un but au parcours, et c’est un tracé par les crêtes autour du lac d’Iznik, à gauche des montagnes enneigées, à droite le lac. Le parcours est roulant et très abordable. A deux heures d’Istanbul, c’est un formidable prétexte pour aller faire un joli voyage dans cette ville historique au fin fond de l’Europe et traverser le Bosphore pour aller faire ce trail en Asie.

Pour ma part, j’ai fait le 42km, allant faire l’Annapurna Mandala Trail la semaine suivante.

Ce parcours un peu trop roulant n’était pas à l’avantage de mon entraînement moyen, mais je me suis fait plaisir, et j’ai attrapé la 2ème place, la meilleure place que ma forme me permettait. Je retournerais à Istanbul, je retournerais à Iznik…

Jo Meek, 80km, première au classement général


L’organisation était irréprochable. On m’a très bien accueillie que ce soit à l’inscription à la course ou les soins médicaux pendant la course ou encore l’arrivée. La communauté locale était très impliquée et tout le monde nous encourageait. Le parcours était super bien balisé et les coureurs ont emprunté des petits chemins ainsi que de la piste pour traverser des fermes, des oliviers et ensuite quelques passages sur route. Le climat exceptionnel était idéal pour faire des performances. Sans oublier le paysage spectaculaire – des pics enneigés, le grand lac ….tout cela nous pousser à aller encore plus vite. 

Gallery by iancorless.com © – all rights reserved


OureaEventsLogo(500x500-cropped) copy

Each year Ourea Events™ donates 1% of its total sales to grassroots environmental organisations at the forefront of the protection of the mountain environment. Ourea Events’ managing director, Shane Ohly explained his reasons for the company’s association with 1% For The Planet.
“As an event organiser I recognise that the mountains, which we all love to run in, are beautiful, wild yet fragile environments and I am sure that all mountain & fell runners want to minimise their impact. As a business we already take steps to minimise the effect our events have on the environment and improve their sustainability. However, it is inevitable that each event will have some impact on the local environment, even if it is negligible relative to the impact of members of public, agriculture and industry. Therefore we donate 1% of our total revenue to organisations at the forefront of protecting and preserving the mountains.”
In 2013, Ourea Events™ only organised two events, which were both held in the Lake District (Marmot Dark Mountains™ based from Muncaster Castle and the Great Lakeland 3Day™ based from Dowthwaite Head Farm). It therefore seems fitting that the organisation’s 2013 donation goes to the Fix the Fells campaign, which repairs and maintains mountain footpaths in the Lake District.
1% For The Planet inspires members of the business community to contribute 1% of sales to environmental groups around the world. Quoting the 1% For The Planet website, Shane Ohly said, “It’s about businesses recognising that industry and ecology are inherently connected. It’s about realizing the positive effects of connecting businesses, consumers and nonprofits through philanthropy. And it’s about understanding that the true cost of doing business can be mitigated by a simple pledge to the planet”.
Liz Guest from the National Trust, which coordinates the Fix the Fells program said, “Many thanks indeed for choosing to support Fix the Fells and the National Trust, it is very much appreciated.  Every gift really does make a difference to what we can achieve… it will be used to support our work maintaining and caring for the upland landscape in the Lake District”.
If you would like to get involved with Fix the Fells, there is an opportunity to join their Volunteering Day in Langdale on 8th June, to help with some path repair and maintenance work. It will be an opportunity to meet their rangers and Lengthsmen as well as getting stuck in!
Ourea Ltd, trading as Ourea Events™ owns the Dragon’s Back Race™, Great Lakeland 3Day™, Berghaus Trail Chase™, Marmot Dark Mountains™, Cape Wrath Ultra™, Rab Mountain Marathon™, Marmot24™ and Trail-Rush™. The business joined 1% For The Planet in 2012.
This weekend will see the Great Lakeland 3Day™ ‘GL3D’ take place in the English Lakes. Read about the event HERE

Jo Meek Q&A in trailrunnermag.com


The eyes tell the story—they look through you. Deep in focus, almost blinkered like a horse, Jo Meek has only one purpose. To run as fast and as efficiently as possible over six days and win the 10th edition of the 2014 The Coastal Challenge (TCC) in Costa Rica.

I had seen this look once before, at the end of stage 1 of the 2013 Marathon des Sables in Morocco. Sitting in a bivouac, Meek, 36, of Fair Oak, New Hampshire, had just excelled on the first day of the race. I, like others, looked around in wonder and asked the question, “Who is Jo Meek?”

By the end of that 28th Marathon des Sables, no more questions needed to be asked. Meek placed second at her first Marathon des Sables behind Trail Runner Contributing Editor Meghan Hicks.

Switching from the dunes of the Sahara to the beaches and rainforest of Costa Rica was always going to be a cathartic moment for Meek, particularly when one considered the slated seasoned competition: Julia Bottger, Veronica Bravo and Anna “Frosty” Frost. Unfortunately, Frosty had to withdraw from the race just days before the start. While disappointed at not having the opportunity to test herself against one of the best female mountain-ultrarunners in the world, Meek was unfazed: “It changes nothing. I am here to race and race hard. I would have loved to have Anna push me but you know what? I can push myself pretty hard.”

Read the full article HERE

Jo Meek trailrunnermag.com

Transvulcania La Palma 2014 – In-depth race preview

©copyright .iancorless.com._1110251

It’s here… the long awaited Skyrunner® World Series kicks off with what has become, in just 2-years, the iconic Skyrunning Ultra Race, Transvulcania La Palma. The race has come a long way… now considered to be one of ‘the’ races to do, the 2014 edition of the race will only cement this reputation as runners travel from all over the world to take part.

It goes without saying that a quality line-up is guaranteed for this race, however, 2014 has my appetite whet for what I consider to be arguably the most exciting and competitive race we will have ever seen on the island of La Palma. What a line up!

A simple glance at the ladies race confirms one thing, showdown! 2012 Transvulcania winner, Anna Frost returns to the island she loves after missing the 2013 edition through injury. 2013 winner, Emelie Forsberg will toe the line and the trio would not be complete without the ever present and incredibly talented, Nuria Picas*. Add Silvia Serafini, Cassie Scallon, Uxue Fraile and Jodee Adams-Moore amongst others and we have a female melting pot that is going to boil over and may well explode on the trails of the GR131.

But hold on a minute, have you seen the men’s field…? Dakota Jones, like Anna Frost, returns to the island after a year a way and will be looking to take back that ‘President’ title bestowed on him in 2012. Kilian Jornet, 2013 winner will provide the stimulus to push Dakota to a new level but lets not rule out the incredible talent and line-up that will be chomping at the bit to dislodge the 2-previous winners. Luis Alberto Hernando will have prepared all winter to be in the best possible form come May 10th, Timothy Olson, Sage Canaday, UTMB winner, Xavier Thevenard, Ricky Lightfoot, Philipp Reiter… oh boy, how long have I got?

Take out your diary, block out the weekend of May 9th, 10th and 11th and prepare yourself for what will go down as an epic running of the Transvulcania La Palma.

In addition, 2014 will see the inaugural running of the Transvulcania VK. Weaving up the zigzag path from the port of Tazacorte, an exhilarating and awe inspiring test of leg and lungpower will unfold at 1600hrs Friday, May 8th

Please note: the 2014 edition of the race is now listed as 73km and not 83.3km as on the website. In real terms, runners have said for the last couple of years that they thought that the course was short, so, this may just well be an acknowledgement. Importantly though, the route from Tazacorte Port to the finish in Los Llanos has now changed. Runners will now run along the ravine and not along the road as in previous editions. It’s difficult to say at this stage what impact this will have on the race. My initial reaction would be that a fast road ultra runner could use the previous final section to his advantage (Sage Canaday?) to pull back some time, maybe this advantage will no longer exist!

So, who’s going to win?


The ladies race has real quality at the front but barring a disaster, I don’t think we will see any real surprises. A select group of 4-6 are outright favourites for the win and my outside tip goes to Maite Maiora Elizondo for surprise performance.

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Emelie Forsberg was unstoppable in 2013. Notable for the diversity of her racing; Emelie started the season with a win at Transvulcania and whilst also racing and winning at VK and SKY distances, Emelie crowned out her year with 2nd pace behind Nathalie Mauclair at the super tough, Raid de la Reunion, Emelie’s first ever 100-mile race. Since then, Emelie like Kilian pretty much hangs up her run shoes and spends her time on ski’s. Other than the occasional 20-30min jog and a week of running at the Salomon athlete retreat in Limone, Emelie will arrive on the start line of Transvulcania thinking to herself, ‘I wonder how this will go?’ Emelie had the same thoughts last year and secured an incredible victory over Nuria Picas. Dare I say that she almost made it look easy? I have no reason to think that 2014 will be any different and therefore Emelie is my no1 tip for the crown and a potential new course record.

©iancorless.com.IMG_2858Nuria Picas* fresh from another victory (just this last weekend) will join the ladies on the island and will without doubt bring her incredible talent, dedication and entourage to ensure that the best possible performance can be guaranteed. However, and this is a big however, her recent win at Transgrancanaria and more importantly, her win at the 105-mile UTMF in Japan on April 26th must leave the Catalan feeling a little tired and jaded. Anyone else and I would say that the occasion, fatigue and tiredness would take a heavy presence and a potential lackluster or under par performance can be expected. But I just can’t rule Nuria out… Anna and Emelie know only too well what a talent Nuria is and equally, Nuria will understand the challenge ahead. I can’t wait! Nuria has decided to rest and recover after UTMF and will not race at Transvulcania. She will prepare for Australia.


Anna Frost arrived on the island of La Palma weeks before the 2013 edition of the race and the reality struck that she was going to have to miss the race due to ongoing injury. It was a tough decision and what followed was a year fighting with injury that forced Frosty to look within and find out what was really important. Even in February 2014 whilst attending The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, Anna was forced to reassess her objectives and take more rest. However, a recent win at the marathon distance at the Buffalo Stampede in Australia may well mean that our beloved Frosty is on her way back! Already on the island of La Palma, Frosty will be preparing mind and body for the challenge ahead. Can she win? A b s o l u t e l y! You can never rule out an inform Frosty, particularly on this course. However, it’s early days on the comeback trail and I am going to sit on the fence not wishing to add any additional pressure. Finishing healthy and uninjured will be a major victory.

Cassie Scallon has already had 2-victories in 2014. Most recently at the MSIG Sai King 50 in March and the Ray Miller 50 in February. Dating back to 2006, Cassie has been a force to be reckoned with at the 50k to 80km distance. A victory at the 100km Bandera in 2012 shows that endurance is not a problem for the Boulder based athlete. Transvulcania and its trails will suit Cassie and we will without doubt see her at the front of the race.  Cassie posted on Facebook I am terrible at recognizing broken bones in myself. This is bone #2 that I decided didn’t hurt enough to be a break, so I continued to run on it. Again I thought it was getting a little better every day, but it was actually getting worse. Not awesome.’

Jodee Adams-Moore, had a great 2013 and has showed form in 2014 at the 50k and 50-mile distances with 6 top-4 places. Jodee won Orca Island 50k in 2013 and 2014 and the Chuckanut 50k. Just recently, Jodee placed 2nd behind Ellie Greenwood at Chuckanut 50k and placed 4th at Lake Sonoma. The trails of La Palma will offer a new challenge and although we can expect to see Jodee pushing towards the front end of the race, I don’t see her making the podium.

Silvia Serafini copyright iancorless.com

Silvia Serafini is an incredible talent and has always been there or thereabouts at many of the big races. A highlight of 2013 would have been placing 2nd behind Emelie Forsberg at Matterhorn Ultraks. Silvia is not without race victories; in actual fact, her consistency has been incredible. Like so many other runners, Silvia just needs a little luck on one of the big occasions and this will elevate her and her confidence to a new level.  Silvia has injury issues and tells me that she may actually not race at all in 2014. A real shame… get well soon Silvia!

Uxue Fraile placed 5th at Transvulcania 2012 and 3rd in 2013. Add to this, top performances at Cavalls del Vent, Trans D’Havet and a recent 6th place at Transgrancanaria and you can’t rule out that Uxue will be looking for an opportunity and an opening to dislodge one of the hot favourites should they falter. On paper, Uxue does not have the outright speed to contest the podium (she was 60-min behind Emelie in 2013), however, she does have the patience and endurance for the survival game.

Maite Maiora Elizondo – my rank outsider for a surprise and potential shock in the overall classification and standings. Maite is a pure mountain runner with a reputation for performing at a high level over the SKY distance. Transvulcania at 73km will be a stretch, however, class is permanent and I predict a surprise.

Ones to watch:

  • Krissy Moehl – Not sure she is racing?
  • Alicia Shay – 3rd at Chuckanut 50k in 2013
  • Alessandra Carlini – 2nd at MSIG Sai Kung 50 in 2014
  • Natalie White
  • Maxime Cazajous
  • Hiroko Suzuki


So, if you thought the ladies race was a tough one to call. Look at the quality of the men’s field. It’s a who’s who of mountain runners.

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Kilian Jornet like Emelie Forsberg will step off his skis and make the transition to running with the flick of a switch. In 2012, Kilian lost out to Dakota Jones and Andy Symonds at Transvulcania, it was a combination of elements that influenced his performance, not enough running, dehydration and a particularly hot day! In 2013, Kilian corrected these mistakes and secured victory ahead of Luis Alberto Hernando. Post the 2013 race, I asked him what he had done different? ‘I ran for 7-days before the race instead of just 3!’. Need I say more… no matter how stacked the field you can’t rule out victory for the Catalan, however, he won’t have an easy day! Many of the competition see ‘this’ race as the perfect opportunity to beat the master as he makes the transition from snow to trail.

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Luis Alberto Hernando is without doubt looking for that opportunity to take the crown away from Kilian. Luis, for me, is one of the greatest mountain runners in the world. Modest, professional and pure class; he is without doubt one of the few runners who can take Kilian to an edge and hold him there. Luis, along with Marco De Gasperi pushed Kilian to better performances in 2013. It was down to the line at Zegama-Aizkorri and a hand-in-hand finish at Trans D’Havet after personal circumstances dictated a truce between the two warriors. At Everest Trail Race in November, Luis picked up an injury that forced him to only walk, he told me then, I have time, I only have one thing I need to be ready for… Transvulcania! Excited is an understatement.iancorless.orgIancorless_TVraceday_424

Dakota Jones went ‘AWOL’ in the early part of 2013 seeking new experiences. A red-hot performance at San Juan Solstice 50m was followed with ‘dns’ at TNFUTMB, as he didn’t feel as though he had adequate preparation time. Dakota re-focused and concentrated on UROC. Victory seemed secure in Colorado; however, a charging Rob Krar stole Dakota’s glory in the latter stages of the race. Since then, Dakota has travelled racing at low-key multi day races and a recent quality performance at the Buffalo Stampede in Australia. Dakota’s return to Transvulcania is eagerly anticipated. It’s a re-match of Balboa and Creed proportions…

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Sage Canaday I think was still learning last year. Sage had plenty of natural speed and wanted to run every ultra in the same way he would run a marathon… go out hard, hold on and finish in glory. On many occasions this worked; Bandera 100km, Lake Sonoma, Cayuga Trails and Speedgoat 50k, however, it was a tightrope existence. At Tarawera he just about held off a charging Timmy Olson and at Transvulcania, Sage slowed along with Cameron Clayton and opened the door for Kilian and Luis Alberto. One year on with a repeat victory at a shortened Tarawera and 3rd place behind a dominant Zach Miller at Lake Sonoma, I think we will Sage run a more cautious first half of TV and look to be more in the mix in the latter stages. He can win for sure!

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Timothy Olson 8th at Ray Miller 50 and 3rd at the recent Transgrancanaria knows all about peaking for a race. A repeat back-to-back victory at Western States in 2013 confirms this. The question for me is Timothy looking for a Transvulcania victory or is he looking for another solid and consistent performance on the road to Hardrock 100? Don’t get me wrong, I am not questioning Timothy’s ability, performance or dedication, on the contrary, I am actually saying that his focus can very often be at the sacrifice of other races. Of course, if a podium place or win is up for grabs, Timothy will dig deep and seize the opportunity. I expect top-5 and wouldn’t be surprised with an out and out win. What do you think?

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1010566Xavier Thevenard was the surprise winner of the 2013 TNFUTMB, a result, considered by many to be one of the performances of the year! It would be fair to say, that Xavier, to many, was an unknown runner. However, this would be a great injustice. In 2013 alone, Xavier placed 11th at Transvulcania, 3rd at 80km du Mont-Blanc and closed out the year with 2nd at Templiers. His 2013 performance at Transvulcania was 1-hour behind the lead men; one year on one can’t help but think that with renewed confidence the gap will be much less.

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Tofol Castaner is a great mountain runner and on his day can push with the best in the world. His record at Cavalls del Vent proves this, 2nd in 2013 and 2011. However, he shot to worldwide ultra fame with his dominant CCC performance at the 2012 edition of the race covering the distance in 8:57:04. He will be in the mix.


Philipp Reiter placed 11th in 2012 and 12th at the 2013 edition of Transvulcania. Always on the verge of a big result, his 2012 season was beginning to look like the big time was just around the corner… victories at the Maxi Race in Annecy, Zugspitze Supertrail and Salomon 4 Trails. Add to this Gore-Tex Transalpine and 5th at a stacked Cavalls del Vent and 2013 was a season to be grasped. However, the season lacked any big victories that many of us had expected, arguably his best performance came at Ice Trail Tarentaise placing 3rd behind Kilian Jornet and Francois D’Haene. 2014 started well with some great running at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. At Transgrancanaria (82kmr race) Philipp placed 8th, a disappointing performance for him. A constant issue whilst racing has been his stomach and getting this to cooperate with the intensity of racing. If Philipp gets this inline, we will see him regularly back in the top-10, more likely the top-5 and every now and again, the top-3.

Ricky Lightfoot for me has the no1 slot to cause a massive upset on May 10th and come away with a surprise top-3 and even victory. I personally think Ricky has all the right combination of abilities to take the rest of the field on and just as Andy Symonds did in 2012, rock them all to the core. His course record at The Otter in South Africa was a sublime run and when you add to that an IAU World Trail title, you have all the necessary elements of speed, technical ability and endurance that will make a difference on La Palma. Just this last weekend, Ricky took the crown at the iconic Three Peaks fell race in the UK. The only negative has been a recent knee injury that may very well take the edge of what may have been possible at Transvulcania.

Tom Owens was missed in the 2013 season. After an inspirational year in 2012 were Tom really did chomp at the heels of Kilian Jornet, 2013 was always going to be, what can Tom do next? It soon transpired to be very little… Tom was plagued with injury and lost a year. Playing the patience game, Tom is back. He has had a couple of good trail marathon wins recently and placed 2nd behind Ricky Lightfoot at Three Peaks. Transvulcania will be a long race for Tom and that for sure will count against him, however, I have seen him race and seen the skill set this guy holds. If he has a good day, don’t be surprised to see him create a shock!

Giuliano Cavallo placed 9th at Transvulcania in 2012 against a top quality field. He had injury issues in 2013 but still managed victories at Alpago Ultratrail and Gran Trail Courmayer. Top-10 once again is a distinct possibility.

Martin Gafurri had a great 2013 Skyrunning season and although he placed just outside the top-20 at Transvulcania, based on his recent top-10 at Tarawera, I think we will see Martin make more impact this year. *running the marathon not the ultra

Jason Schlarb had a break through run at Run Rabbit Run 100-miler taking out the win in 2013. Add to this, top-3 places at Speedgoat 50k, San Juan Solstice and Leona Divide one can conclude that Jason has the required speed and endurance to compete with the best. Ultimately though, Jason’s Transvulcania performance will all come down to how he manages the lava trails, the technical caldera and the 18km descent to Tazacorte. If all those elements fall into place, Jason will be up amongst the top-10.

Vajin Armstrong is an ever present podium hogger in the Southern Hemisphere. Always top-3, the big win has somehow eluded him. For the past 4-years Vajin has raced Tarawera for example and placed, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd and 3rd. He has plenty of speed and on his day will be in the mix at any race. In 2013, Vajin spent a great deal of time in Europe placing 2nd at Zugspitz and the Swiss Alpine Marathon all good preparation for what a Skyrunning race will throw at him. However, at TNFUTMB his race didn’t go too well. Transvulcania and the quality of the field will provide Vajin with a real test and if he’s having a good day he may well be in the mix but I don’t see him on the podium.

Fulvio Dapit placed 4th at Ice Trail Tarentaise in 2013. Transvulcania will be a test for sure but he does have the ability to create a stir up at the front.

Robbie Britton gets the final nod. He has been on La Palma for over a month preparing. He has endurance and speed but lacks the climbing and descending ability to compete with the best Skyrunners. In addition, this will be Robbie’s first Skyrunning race. Without doubt it will be a learning curve but he does have the ability to make waves should all go well.

Ones to watch:

  • Jordi Bes Ginesta winner of the CCC in 2013
  • Josh Arthur 4th at Run Rabbit Run and 7th at the recent Ray Miller 50
  • Luke Nelson 11th at UROC and 6th at Speedgoat
  • Stu Air 8th at Tor des Geants and 18th at Ice Trail Tarentaise (*recently injured)
  • Johan Lantz 9th at Rocky Raccoon 100-mile in 2014
  • Ty Draney 8th at Ronda dels Cims
  • David Laney 2nd at Bandera 100km and Chuckanut 50km
  • Ryan Ghelfi 4th at Chuckanut 50k and 6th at Lake Sonoma.
  • Sylvain Couchaud 23rd at Transvulcania in 2013 and 4th 80km du Mont-Blanc
  • Santiago Obaya 5th at Transgrancanaria in 2013
  • Stu Air – Top 10 at Ice Trail Tarentaise and Tor des Geants finisher
  • Kim Collinson won the Fellsman in the UK recently
  • Oscar Casal
  • Marc Casal
  • Dani Tristany
  • David Lopez
  • Marcin Swierc
  • Valentin Vergilyush
  • Isaac Riera
  • Nil Gurt
  • Xavier Musach
  • Adriana Grosu
  • Roberto Sancho Martin
  • Maxime Cazajous
  • Yoann Stuck
  • Ryan Bak

One thing is for sure. A great weekend of racing lies ahead on the island of La Palma

I will be on the island reporting, photographing and providing news as it happens.

Make sure you follow on Facebook, Twitter and of course, here, on this website.


Transvulcania website HERE

Skyrunning HERE

Transvulcania La Palma – A Guide HERE

Transvulcania VK HERE

Transvulcania 2013 Images HERE

Transvulcania 2013 preview HERE


Chris Steele (inov-8) wins Santa Cruz Extreme

photo European Mountain Marathons Series

photo European Mountain Marathons Series

Chris Steele, inov-8, headed out to Tenerife to tackle the gruelling 42km Santa Cruz Extreme in preparation for the UK’s Three Peaks and the first Skyrunner World series event, Zegama-Aizkorri. Returning to the UK with a big international win under his belt, Chris will be one-to-watch when the elite toe the start line in North Yorkshire on Saturday.

Blog post by Chris Steele, courtesy of inov-8 and Chris Steele.

‘Oh man…. I’ve blown it!’

Those were my thoughts as I passed the 40km mark whilst leading a field of 250 runners at the Santa Cruz Extreme race (part of the European Mountain Marathons Series) in Tenerife.

I hadn’t seen one of the by-now familiar pieces of blue and white tape marking the course for at least 500m. They had been far more frequent before this.

Panic set in. I had only 2km (or at least I thought I did) to go but no idea which direction to run in!

I stopped. With nobody in sight, my only option was to stick to the main path and hope for the best.

Another few hundred metres later I saw somebody in the distance. Fired-up and full of anger, I put in a massive effort up a big climb to try and catch the man in front.

Pushing my body to the limit, I gained quickly on the new ‘leader’ only to be told, upon catching him, that I was last and he was in charge of taking down the course markers.

What? How the hell did this happen? Did he think the last race of the day was the 21km event? Had he forgotten about us out on the longer course? My anger heightened and a barrage of expletives spewed out of my mouth.

European Mountain Marathons Series

European Mountain Marathons Series

I decided just to carry on – at least I was now able to follow the pieces of tape he hadn’t so far taken down.

Another five minutes of tough ascent later I reached a summit checkpoint, at which point a hardy gang of Spaniards began to roar ‘champion’. By now I had absolutely no idea what was happening and, with my watch having passed 42km, how far I still had to run!

A super-technical descent followed before 4km of torrid asphalt. Eventually the finish line came into view. I was still unsure as to whether I was in the lead or not, but the cheers from the huge crowd suggested I may well be.

Arms aloft, I crossed the line. Yes, I had indeed won. Phew! Oh, and I’d run 48km too, with 2600m of ascent thrown in for good measure.

European Mountain Marathons Series

European Mountain Marathons Series

Set in the Santa Cruz region of Tenerife, the race certainly lived up to its billing as extreme. The landscape was tropical but very rough underfoot.

Bussed out from Santa Cruz early in the morning, the race started on the beach at La Terisitas at 9am.

Once underway, I was pleased that the early pace was steady. I had been informed of ‘who was who’ at the start and whom I should keep an eye on. I stayed to the fore, alert to any breaks.

The course profile was brutal and involved 700m of ascent inside the first 6km. As it turned out only 100m of that ascent was in the first 4km. Then, at that point, we hit what can only be described as a 2km wall rising 600m in elevation.

At the foot of the climb, Andres Fernandez made a break for it. It was a move I knew I had to cover, so I went with him. It was tough, but at the same time I felt comfortable with the pace.

As we topped out the first climb and went through the first feed station the weather began to worsen. This made the next descent even trickier. Wet and slimy underfoot, my inov-8 roclite 243 shoes gripped superbly and definitely gave me an advantage.

By the time we hit the bottom of the descent I afforded myself a glance over my shoulder and was happy to see nobody in sight. I had the gap, now I just had to keep pushing hard.

This wasn’t too difficult as the trail was amazing; every twist and turn brought something new. The climbs were steep but often runnable, while the trails were flowing along the coast and the descents technical. It was, to be fair, my dream course.

I kept pushing at the front, unaware of how big the gap actually was. The big panic over route-choice followed before I eventually completed the course in a time of 4hrs 51mins, over 15 minutes in front of second-placed Andres.

I raced for the first time in the inov-8 Race Ultra Vest. I was amazed its effectiveness. Long European races often require athletes to carry water as part of their mandatory equipment list. This race was no exception with organisers insisting everyone carried a mobile phone, emergency blanket, waterproof jacket and 1.5 litres of fluid.

Having such ease of access to the water bottles meant I was able to keep drinking regularly and grab gels from the pockets without having to slow my pace. The vest didn’t move or bounce throughout, there was no sloshing of water and it was super-comfortable, leaving no rub marks.

It was most definitely the best win I’ve ever taken, over one of the most amazing courses too. My focus is now on this Saturday’s high-profile Three Peaks race, which this year celebrates its 60th running. The 37km race, which has 1608m of ascent over the summits of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, always attracts a top-quality field and this year will be no different. After that I will ramp up my preparations for the opening race in the 2014 Skyrunner World Series, to be held at Zegama, Spain, in May.

Photos: ©European Mountain Marathons Series

Ultra Trail Mount Fuji 2014 Preview #UTMF2014


 The UTWT rolls on and Japan will host what will arguably be one of the most competitive 100-mile races we will see this year… certainly over a tough course (Hardrock excluded). I say a 100-miles but actually the course is 105 with approximately 10,000 meters of altitude gain. The fifth race in the UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour) in reality, UTMF is a follow on race from Transgrancanaria as many of the big hitters will re-assemble in Japan, to do battle once again for key ranking points. Nuria Picas was always going to race on the clockwise loop around Mount Fuji, by contrast, Ryan Sandes after his success in the Canaries has shifted focus from Australia and placed his emphasis and efforts on this tough and challenging race.


Without doubt, at the stroke of 3pm (local time) on Friday 25th April a battle royal will unfold both in the ladies and men’s respective races. Dropout rates are usually around 30% to give an indication of how tough this race is.


Race statement:

The ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI is an unparalleled event that challenges the human spirit through the outdoor sport of trail running. By connecting mountain trails, local footpaths and forest roads around the foothills of Mt. Fuji, this 168km course allows participants to enjoy majestic 360 degree views of Mt. Fuji while experiencing the stunning natural beauty and culture of this region.’


Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas; would you want to bet against her? Nuria has transformed herself in the last 24-months into one of the most competitive and focused female mountain, trail and ultra runners in the world. Her skill, dedication and focused attitude has seen the Catalan excel over every distance and terrain. Her only nemesis has been her good friend, Emelie Forsberg. In 2013, Nuria raced TNFUTMB, her first 100-mile race and placed 2nd behind an unstoppable Rory Bosio. Earlier this year at Transgrancanaria we once again had a master class in how to prepare for, run and win a race! Without doubt, Nuria is a hot favourite for UTMF.

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa excels at tough, long and hilly races when the terrain is not too technical. To be honest; the longer, the better. A 100-km race is very much a warm up for Francesca as her impressive victories at Ronda dels Cims and Tor des Geants confirm in 2013. However, Francesca is no one trick pony. She has placed highly at shorter and faster races such as Speedgoat 50k and UROC. UTMF will without doubt suit Francesca’s running style and after her win at HK100 and second at Transgrancanaria earlier this year, Francesca will without doubt be looking for a consistently strong repeat performance and important UTWT points.

Nathalie Mauclair Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair burst onto the scene in 2013 with a stunning top placing at Transvulcania La Palma. A relative unknown, Nathalie went on to impress her female competitors (especially Emelie Forsberg) and not only did she become IAU World Trail Champion that required pace, she also was crowned Raid de le Reunion (Diagonale des Fous) champion. Her diversity of pace, endurance and technical ability earmarks Nathalie as ‘one-to-watch’ at UTMF.

Shona Stepenson, Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Shona Stepenson, Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Shona Stephenson placed 2nd at UTMF last year but had a very mixed 2013. Shona dropped from TNFUTMB and Ice Trail Tarentaise and just recently placed 6th at Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon (also a UTWT race) where I expected her to place top-3, so, the jury is out. She will be in the game early on pushing at the front, let’s hope she can hold on and keep the momentum going.

Fernanda Maciel Everest Trail Race ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel Everest Trail Race ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel after a 3rd place at Transgrancanaria is looking for more UTWT points to boost her overall rankings. Her Everest Trail Race win in late November 2013 would appear to have boosted Fernanda’s running after a troubled 2013 season. Certainly Fernanda’s 7th at TNFUTMB and Transgrancanaria win in 2012 shows that she has all the required armory to compete with the best-of-the-best; she will just need a little luck!

Nerea Martinez Ronda dels Cims ©ianccorless.com

Nerea Martinez Ronda dels Cims ©ianccorless.com

Nerea Martinez like Francesca Canepa like races that are long and tough. Winner of the inaugural UTMF, Nerea won’t repeat that performance in 2014. She has all the required abilities but lacks the pace required that Picas, Mauclair and Canepa have in abundance. However, if it comes down to survival and pushing on through to the line, Nerea will be around and ready to mop up the places. Her 2nd place at the 2012 Tor des Geants proves that she cannot be ruled out in any race.

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger had a solid start to 2013 placing 2nd behind Jo Meek at the tough multi day race, The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. However, she was DNS at Transgrancanaria due a potential niggling injury. Recently she has been working on and providing instruction on several training camps. If in form, UTMF will suit Julia’s skill set and we can expect a top-10 performance and if she has ‘one of those days’ we may well see her top-5.

Nora Senn placed 3rd at UTMF in 2012 behind Nerea Martinez. Taking into consideration that result and the ladies previously mentioned, Nora can hope for top-10.

Hitomi Ogawa along with Kumiko Amikura and Akemi Ban may well have the hopes of Japan in their legs, placing 3rd, 4th and 6th respectively in 2013; they all have the knowledge and understanding of what UTMF requires from a race and survival aspect. Top-10 is possible for all-3 and top-5 with this quality of field would be an incredible result.


Yoshikazu Hara gets the nod first as last years UTMF champ. One could arguably say it was a lucky day… but hold on a minute, you don’t beat Julien Chorier and Seb Chaigneau on luck alone! Had Hara excelled at the 2013 TNFUTMB I would be hailing him as a potential 2014 champ as he does seem able to use some seriously fast 100km speed (6:33) on long courses. However, Hara dropped from Tarawera with injury and this leaves some huge question marks in this quality of field.

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes is on a roll… having spent a great deal of time with him on Gran Canaria and getting a great understanding of the man, his training and his thought processes, I’d find it difficult to bet against Ryan at UTMF. As we are all aware, his 2013 season was one to forget but his 2012 season had moments of brilliance and his 2014 victory at Transgrancanaria and then subsequent FKT on the Drakensberg Traverse with Rhyno Griesel will either mean ‘Sandman’ will be in the form of his life or a little jaded. What do you think?

Seb Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Seb Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Seb Chaigneau placed 3rd at UTMF in 2013 so knows the course. A tough competitor with a unique and endearing view of our sport, he is a true champion. His win at Hardrock 100 and CR in 2013 was a popular result and without doubt he would be a popular champion in Japan. His recent drop from Transgrancanaria leaves a couple of question marks but I don’t have the answers… you see, dropping from a race whilst in the lead leaves the door wide open. I think we will see Seb pushing top-3.

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera is understated and arguably one of the best ultra distance runners out there. His quiet, modest, no nonsense approach of arriving, winning and leaving a race often leaves a void in this media savvy world. However, you would have to have been in an ultra void not to notice his impressive victory at Grand Raid des Pyrenees in 2013 and then his follow on victory at Tor des Geants. Potential winner!

Francois D'Haene ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene has a vineyard and that has taken a priority. His run season now evolves around seasons, grape picking and bottling, however, it hasn’t affected Francois’s performances. When Francois races, he races in top form. His 2nd at Ice Trail Tarentaise where he raced side-by-side with fellow teammate, Kilian Jornet shows he has all the skill and speed required to win any race. He proved this with a great victory at the tough and technical Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale des Fous). This race amongst all his experiences, even his victory over a shortened UTMB course, will put him in a great place for success at UTMF.

Nick Clark The Coastal Challenge ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark The Coastal Challenge ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark; enough said really! Tough as nails, really competitive and one of the best 100-mile runners out there; his consistent performance over the ‘Grand Slam’ in 2013 was a joy to behold. Nick kicked off 2014 with a tough outing at his first multi day race at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, a race that provided Nick with a new perspective on how tough running back-to-back, day-after-day can be. With some solid training behind him and experience on tough courses such as Hardrock 100, one has to give a nod to Nick and put him on the ‘hot’ list for this race.

Mike Foote TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote has been super consistent at TNFUTMB with 3rd place at the shortened race when Francois D’Haene won and 5th place in 2013. Don’t expect to see him up front in the early stages… Mike has a canny knack of almost being out of the race and then in the latter third applying the afterburners and moving up through the field. In addition to great climbing ability, he also has speed. This natural speed will be extremely useful on the faster section of the UTMF course.

Gary Robbins TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Gary Robbins TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Gary Robbins 4th at UTMF in 2013 and recent winner at HURT100 will bring his adventure racing background, the love of the tough and gnarly and some pure old grit back to Japan and armed with knowledge, I can’t help but think that Gary will be a force this year. Of course, one must consider that this field is super stacked and to repeat 4th or move even in higher in 2014 will be a supreme effort, but Gary on his day can do it.

Thomas Lorblanchet looked to be about to break into the big time after winning Leadville 100 and placing highly at Transvulcania whilst running under Salomon colours. However, since moving to a new sponsor, Thomas appears to have been in a running wilderness. Surely a win at the highly competitive ‘Templiers’ was a great result in late 2013 but I have little else to go on… he may well surprise us.

Joe Grant Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Joe Grant Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Joe Grant recently won Alaska White Mountains 100 with a new CR; a great result! However, it is extremely difficult to say how this performance will set up Joe for UTMF. Post his impressive Iditarod performance in 2013, Joe struggled to find form (more due to fatigue) and even at his beloved Hardrock 100, he had to drop (whilst in 2nd place) with medical issues. Regularly training with Anton Krupicka, Joe is very much a new breed of ultra runner, inspired by Kilian Jornet, who combines running, climbing and time in the mountains to fulfill his passion. UTMF in principal will suit Joe 100% and if in form, we can expect him to be a main protagonist at the front of the race.

Brendan Davies Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Brendan Davies Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Brendan Davies 5th at UTMF in 2013 has plenty of speed but lacks true mountain experience. He openly said that the 2013 edition of the race was a shock to the system and the time he lost going up, he pulled back on the fast flatter sections. I am sure Brendan will come to UTMF with more vertical training. However, this field is stacked with out-and-out mountain men. It’s going to be a tough race to keep in touch with the top-5 and repeat his 2013 performance.

Antoine Guillon 4th at Reunion and 5th at Transgrancanaria will be hunting UTWT points. I think he will be in the mix but not top-5.

Dave Mackey was one of the first runners to embrace the UTWT and I am sure we will see his presence throughout the series. One of the most respected ultra runners out there, had this been a 100km race he would be a hot favourite. But over the 100-mile distance and on this terrain, I don’t see Dave making top-5 despite his success at Western States. But he is due a big performance…

John Tidd to many will be a complete unknown, I first met him at Transgrancanaria in 2013 when he went on to place 6th running a strong and consistent race. Later in the year he repeated this consistency with 6th at UTMF and then 10th at TNFUTMB. I very much doubt he will make top-5 but top-10 is a distinct possibility.

Emmanuel Gault recently won the Eco Trail de Paris in a quick 5:40, so, he’s in good shape. However, even dating back to 2007, I am not sure he has raced over 100km. So, he may be up front in the early stages but past 80km he may well fade. It’s an unknown? Without doubt, Emmanuel specialises in French races such as Templiers, SainteLyon, CCC and so on, his recent 22bd place at Transvulcania gives us little insight into what may be achieved at the tough UTMF.

Stone Tsang from Hong Kong will potentially be a ‘one-to-watch’ after solid UTMB and HK100 performances, but he will need a great day to break top-5.

Minehiro Yokoyama,

Kenichi Yamamoto,

Koji Yamaya,

Minehiro Yokoyama,

Shougo Mochizuki

And Shinsuke Isomura have all raced UTMF in the past and in reality it is about as much insight as I can provide.

Kenichi Yamamoto Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

Kenichi Yamamoto Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

If I had to pick one runner it would be Kenichi Yamamoto. Kenichi raced against Julien Chorier in 2013 and placed 2nd. A happy and talented guy (expect film crews following him) he has had success with a top-3 at UTMF in 2012 but not against a field of this quality.

The 2014 UTMF will be quite a race. In addition to all the above, several other notable runners are taking part and it almost feels rude not to mention the ever present Christophe Le Saux, Jeremy Ritcey or Timo Meyer. But I have tried to preview who will contend top-5.

UTMF website – http://www.ultratrailmtfuji.com/en/

Runner entry list – http://www.ultratrailmtfuji.com/en/about/entrylist/

Iznik Ultra 2014 – Race Summary

iznik ultra+asics_250
British runners dominate the Iznik Ultra race series, Iznik, Turkey.

Located just 2-hours away from Istanbul, Iznik is very much a quiet holiday resort for those in the know. Situated on an idyllic lake, the town comes to life as the Iznik Series of races arrive in town. The idea of Caner Odabasoglu (a keen ultra runner himself) and now in its 3rd edition, the races is very much a highlight of the Turkish racing season.

Offering 4-race distances, 130km, 80km, a classic marathon and a 10km, Caner and his team from MCR Racesetter have provided an opportunity for all. The 130km race is the longest single stage ultra in Turkey and therefore it appeals and has a loyal following from the ever-growing Turkish ultra running community.

In just 3-years, the races have grown in numbers. US ultra runner Amy Sproston raced the 80km in 2013 and set a new CR proving that interest and international appeal in Iznik and ultra running in Turkey is on the up! In 2014 a strong British contingent crossed the channel and joined runners from France, China, South Africa, Germany, Australia and New Zealand making the races a truly international event. Arriving in Bursa prepared for a stunning weekend of racing; the race or the racing didn’t disappoint.


Marcus Scotney Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Marcus Scotney Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

On the stroke of midnight in Iznik Square, participants ventured out onto a clockwise loop of Iznik Lake. The harder and more challenging part of the course, the first 60km would run in darkness, whilst the flatter and far more runnable sections would be taken in daylight. From the off runners separated with a small lead pack pushing the pace. However, Marcus Scotney (Montane) and Akin Yeneceli forged ahead and opened up a convincing lead ahead of John Bayne from New Zealand by the 11km mark. At cp1, Edwards arrived first closely followed by runner after runner. Something was wrong and it soon became clear that our front two runners had gone off course.

Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

By the time they arrived well over 30-minutes had elapsed and Scotney had visible and vocal frustration at the dilemma, ‘That’s it, it’s all ruined now… what a waste!’ What followed was a master class in pacing and distance running, one-by-one, Scotney moved his way up the field using each runner ahead as a carrot. Closing the gap to 26-mins, 22-mins, and 16-mins and by the time he arrived at the 60-km mark Marcus was 4th with 6-mins to catch up. All the early protagonists who had set the early pace had faded whereas Scotney had become stronger and stronger. The big question mark would be could he hold on? Chasing Yavuz and Ivanovski from Macedonia, Scotney eventually took the lead of the race and never looked back. A course record had always been on Scotney’s mind and his wish came true, despite an epic detour, he arrived in Iznik 12 –hours, 53-minutes and 59-seconds later. The effort of his endeavor was clear to see. Mahmut Yavuz retained local celebrity status with 2nd place and Zhikica Ivanovski placed 3rd.


The ladies race was a low-key affair with just 3-entrants. Previous 130km winner, Elena Polyakova would not defend her title after injury issues and therefore decided to race the marathon. This provided an open stage for local ultra runner and legend, Bakiye Duran to shine. Shine she did! Bakiye covered the course from start to finish in the lead with only Svetiana Ivanovski to worry about.

  1. Marcus Scotney (Montane) 12:53:59 new CR
  2. Mahmut Yavuz 13:11:55
  3. Zhikica Ivanovski 13:53:41
  1. Bakiye Duran 19:09:39
  2. Svetiana Stojanoska 22:27:08


Jo Meek Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek (Scott Running) and Tracy Dean (inov-8) set a blistering pace in the 80km race. Dean leading Meek over the first 10km with just a 1-min lead but at cp1, Meek took over the lead and never relinquished it. Dean pursued all day keeping Meek in her sights never allowing the gap to grow beyond 1-2 mins. However, stomach issues struck for Dean and post race she went on to say that she continually felt as though she was struggling and never felt comfortable. Meek however had her blinkers on and was pushing not only for the outright win but a new course record, a record set by Amy Sproston!

Aykut Celikbas Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Aykut Celikbas Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Aykut Celikbas (very much a pioneer of the Turkish ultra scene) had chased the dynamic duo of Dean and Meek all day and eventually moved into 2nd place after Dean dropped at 60-km.

Tracy Dean Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Tracy Dean Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Meek ran like a woman possessed, without doubt she is currently one of the most exciting prospects in the UK ultra running scene as her 2nd place at the 2013 Marathon des Sables and her victory at the 2014 The Coastal Challenge confirms. In the final 10km with flat trail and road, Meek pushed and crossed the line in sub 7-hours blasting the old CR to a new level. Celikbas and Kara placed 2nd and 3rd but the day belonged to Meek.

With Dean out of the race, Yasemin Goktas and Ayse Beril Basliail took 2nd and 3rd places in the female race. 

  1. Jo Meek (Scott Running) 6:52:17 new CR first lady and first overall
  2. Aykut Celikbas 7:41:34
  3. Firat Kara 7:46:07 (tbc)
  1. Jo Meek (Scott Running)
  2. Yasemin Goktas 9:45:34
  3. Ayse Beril Basliqil 9:54:45


Robbie Britton Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Robbie Britton Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Taking the front of the race in the opening meters, Robbie Britton (inov-8) continued to extend his lead over the opening km’s and never looked back. Running strong with a permanent smile on his face, Britton reveled in the warmth of a sunny Turkish day and put to good use all his training of the past month on the island of La Palma in preparation for Transvulcania.

Benoit Laval Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Benoit Laval Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Benoit Laval (Raidlight) was Britton’s closest rival but it soon became clear, as each checkpoint came, that Britton was continually extending his lead the only question mark; what margin would he win by? On the line, Britton set a new CR of 3:08:19, a great time for a hilly and undulating marathon. Laval placed 2nd in 3:30:38 and Duygun Yurteri 3rd just over 1-min later 3:31:56.

Elenya Polyakova Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Elenya Polyakova Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Elena Polyakova is an ever-present runner at the Iznik series of races and a previous 130km champion. Due to injury, Polyakova decided to play safe and run the marathon, however, her class shone and not only did she place 4th overall but she had a convincing victory ahead of Aysen Solak and Brit, Helen Southcott in 3rd.

  1. Robbie Britton (inov-8) 3:08:19 new CR
  2. Benoit Laval (Raidlight) 3:30:38
  3. Duygun Yurteri 3:31:56
  1. Elena Polyakova 3:47:26
  2. Aysen Solak 3:51:01
  3. Helen Southcott 4:14:07


Robbie Britton (inov-8) and Tracy Dean (inov-8) not content with racing in the 80km and marathon distances also towed the line for the 10km fun run the following day and both topped the podiums, Britton running a solid 34-min was impressive after his marathon exploits just 24-hours earlier.


Iznik Ultra ©iancorless.com

Results: HERE


All images credit ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Iznik Ultra 2014 – A race in images


Race images from the Iznik Ultra series of races – marathon, 80k and 130k.

Race report and results to follow.

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Episode 59 – 29th Marathon des Sables and Barkley Marathons

Ep59 Talk Ultra


This weeks show is a Marathon des Sables and Barkley Marathons special. We have daily chats from the Sahara with top Brit and 5th overall, Danny Kendall. By contrast, we also have daily chats with actor, Bertie Portal who undertook the challenge of a lifetime at his first MDS. Barkley Marathons are infamous and we speak with rookie ‘fun run’ finisher Jamil Coury and we also speak with two time finisher and 2014 champ, Jared Campbell. The News, a Meltzer Moment, Up & Coming Races and of cousre Speedgoat Karl.

Lake Sonoma 50
  1. Zach Miller 6:11:10 CR
  2. Rob Krar 6:12:14
  3. Sage Canaday 6:12:58
  1. Emily Harrison 7:26:15 CR
  2. Step Howe 7:33:24
  3. Kaci Kickteig 7:37:42
Marathon des Sables
  1. El Morabity 20:27:37
  2. Al Aqra 20:37:09
  3. Ahansal 20:50:58
  4. Sa 21:24:58
  5. Kendall 21:30:15


  1. Kimball 29:04:49
  2. Klein 30:05:19
  3. Roux 31:30:56
  4. Pierron 32:29:47
  5. Donovan 33:37:17
Zion 100k
  1. Karl Meltzer 9:09:40
  2. Mick Jurynec 10:05:39
  3. Cody Draper 10:44:26
  1. Jen Segger 12:32:02
  2. Linday Tesar 13:04:55
  3. Tonya Littlehales 13:10:14
ZION 100m
  1. Jeff Browning 16:49:53
  2. Jason Koop 19:13:56
  3. Justin Faul 20:30:51
  1. Candice Burt 23:04:08
  2. Cherri Marcinko 24:26:18
  3. Lisa Jones 25:00:31
  1. Paul Navesey 6:11:28
  2. Richard Ashton 6:23:26
  3. Mark Perkins 6:24:41
  1. Louise Waterman Evans 7:06:08
  2. Edwina Sutton 7:09:21
  3. Sarah Perkins 7:19:43
Scott Jurek and Rickey Gates – UK and Bob Graham Round
“Quite possibly one of the most difficult courses I have done in my life! Over 28,000 feet of ascent in 65 miles, yet amazingly gorgeous!”
The Barkley Marathons are infamous. It’s the trail that eats its young… on this show, we have an interview with Barkley rookie, Jamil Coury who completed the 60-mile fun run and an interview with 2-time finisher and 2014 champ, Jared Campbell
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat



Wildhorse Criterium 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Wildhorse Criterium 70 km | 70 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website


Go the Extra Mile Melbourne | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Tiroler Abenteuerlauf 60 KM | 60 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website



Pick Your Poison 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Dalian 100 | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Dalian 50 | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 100 km Ultra Marathon | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2014 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 60 km Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | April 18, 2014 | website

Trail de la Grande Muraille de Chine | 73 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website



Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm -100 Miles | 100 miles | May 02, 2014 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 miles | 50 miles | May 02, 2014 | website


Gudenaa Trail Challenge | 75 kilometers | April 18, 2014 | website


Ethiopian Lakes Trail | 85 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website



Ultra Trail des Balcons d’Azur (79+25) | 104 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail des Balcons d’Azur (UTBA) | 79 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Trail des Citadelles – 70 km | 73 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website


Trail “Le Roc de la Lune” – 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website


100 km de Belvès en Périgord Noir | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

50 km Belvès-Sarlat | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Bretagne Ultra Trail – 115 km | 115 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Bretagne Ultra Trail – 63 km | 63 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Ultra Trail de la Brie des Morin | 87 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Le RaDicAtrAil – 110 km | 110 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Le RaDicAtrAil – 56 km | 56 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website


Trail des Roches | 73 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website


Trail des Lavoirs de la Vallée de Chevreuse | 65 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website



Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Mai | 108 kilometers | May 01, 2014 | website

Lower Saxony

HeXenStieg Ultralauf | 216 miles | April 25, 2014 | website

Hexentanz | 104 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website


Bärenfels 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 01, 2014 | website


Harzquerung – 51 km | 51 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Doliho Ultra-Marathon | 260 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website


GUADARUN : ultra-marathon des îles de Guadeloupe | 136 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website


Thar Desert Run – 100 miles | 100 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Thar Desert Run – 50 miles | 50 miles | April 20, 2014 | website


The Sea to Jerusalem 144 km Ultra | 144 kilometers | April 24, 2014 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 54 Ultra | 54 kilometers | April 24, 2014 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 70 km Ultra | 70 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website



50 KM di Romagna | 50 kilometers | April 24, 2014 | website


Lafuma Volcano Trail | 80 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website


The Abbots Way | 125 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Tuscany Crossing Val d’Orcia 100 km | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Tuscany Crossing Val d’Orcia 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Shizuoka to Yamanashi | 85 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail Mt Fuji | 161 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website


Les Foulées de la Soie au Laos | 109 kilometers | May 01, 2014 | website


Semi Trail des Ô Plateaux | 65 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail des Ô Plateaux | 130 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website


Eco Gozo Ultra 55k | 55 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Morocco Trail | 120 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Annapurna Mandala Trail | 250 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website


Beskidzka 160 Na – Long Distance | 84 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


OMD – Ultra Trail Serra da Estrela – K100 | 101 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

OMD – Ultra Trail Serra da Estrela – K160 | 166 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

OMD – Ultra Trail Serra da Estrela – K60 | 59 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Fruska Gora Ultra Plus | 111 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_13e380040edb60835759South Africa

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon | 56 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website


Balearic Islands

Trail Mallorca Serra de Tramuntana | 62 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ultra Mallorca Serra de Tramuntana | 102 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website


24 hores del Cap de Creus | 87 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Long Trail Barcelona | 69 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail Barcelona | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


100km of Sahara | 100 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website


Iznik 130K Ultramarathon | 130 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Iznik 75K Ultramarathon | 75 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ahotu_597d7614a0b1922677c0United Kingdom


The ONER | 78 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

The ONER Half Day Section | 39 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

East Dunbartonshire

Highland ‘Fling’ | 53 miles | April 26, 2014 | website


Compton 40 mile Challenge | 40 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

North Yorkshire

The Fellsman | 60 miles | April 26, 2014 | website


The Evesham Ultra | 45 miles | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_e9568ffb83e589f455eaUnited States Minor Outlying Islands

Brazos Bend 50 | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website



Ouachita Trail 50 Km | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ouachita Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website


Diablo Trails Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Folsom Lake Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Leona Divide 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Leona Divide 50 Miles | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Mokelumne River 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Mokelumne River 50M | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Ruth Anderson 100k | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ruth Anderson 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ruth Anderson 50M | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Sierra Azul Challenge 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Sierra Azul Challenge 50 Miles Run | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Tehama Wildflowers 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website


Cheyenne Mtn. Trail 50K Race | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 100K | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Desert R.A.T.S. 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Desert R.A.T.S. Double Marathon | 52 miles | April 19, 2014 | website


Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 100k | 100 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 50k | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 50M | 50 miles | April 27, 2014 | website

Traprock 50 | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website


DTR Endurance Race 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Fort Clinch 100M | 100 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Fort Clinch 50M | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

JWCorbett 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

JWCorbett 50M | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website


Indiana Trail 100 | 100 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Indiana Trail 50 | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website


Heartland Relay | 205 miles | April 26, 2014 | website


FlatRock 101K Ultra Trail Race | 101 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Free State Trail Runs 100 km Trail Ultra | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Free State Trail Runs 40-Mile Trail Ultra | 40 miles | April 19, 2014 | website


C&O Canal 100 | 100 miles | April 26, 2014 | website


TARC Spring Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Running Fit Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website


Double Chubb 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Frisco Railroad Run 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Frisco Railroad Run 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

New York

Sybil Ludington 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Run the Rock Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website


The Ironmasters Challenge – 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website


Red Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Salt Flats 100 | 100 miles | April 25, 2014 | website


Bel Monte 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Bel Monte 50 mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Promise Land 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website


Capitol Peak Ultra Marathon – 50 mile | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Capitol Peak Ultra Marathon – 55 km | 55 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Mt. Si 50K Relay & Ultra Runs | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Mt. Si 50 Mile Relay & Ultra Runs | 50 miles | April 27, 2014 | website

Spokane River Run 50K | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

XTERRA Soaring Eagle 50K | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Yakima Skyline Rim 50k | 50 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website


Chippewa 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Mad City 100K | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Mad City 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website


Website – talkultra.com