He must be CRACKERS! Part One of an interview with James Cracknell

Crackers 1

In a previous life, James Cracknell spent too much time mucking about in a boat with big blokes wearing too much Lycra. He was lucky enough to win gold medals at the Sydney and Athens Olympics. After that he stupidly rowed across the Atlantic and did a race to the South Pole (both filmed by the BBC).


After Antarctica he decided the cold wasn’t for him and entered the Marathon des Sables where he did okay and came 12th. At the time that was the highest place a Briton had ever come until Danny Kendall upstaged the Olympian.

James’s MDS progress was filmed by the Discovery Channel. This was followed with another film documenting a journey from LA to New York: cycling from LA to Death Valley running through Death Valley then remounting and cycling Route 66 to Lake Erie, rowing Lake Erie then cycling to New York and finally swimming to the Statue of Liberty.


Unfortunately James didn’t complete this journey as a fuel truck in Arizona hit him! Placed in a coma and a two-month stay in a Phoenix hospital, James was close to the edge. It’s been a long journey and one that is ongoing.

Read the full (part one) article on RUN ULTRA HERE 


Win €250 COMPRESSPORT goodies!



With the imminent start of the 2015 and 30th edition of the Marathon des Sables (preview HERE), leading sport compression brand COMPRESSPORT are providing you all with the opportunity to win one full set of TRAIL clothing.

Male or female apparel is available, all products will be shipped directly from Compressport.

How do you win?

You need to answer the question below using the contact form on this website.

Deadline – April 10th for last entries.

Image ©compressport

Image ©compressport

The total value of products available is €250 and includes the following items

Trail Running shirt Black 02

                                                                Image ©compressport




TRAIL running shirt (male or female)

Trail Running Shorts black 02

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TRAIL running short (male or female)

Compressport Paire US Black

                                                               Image ©compressport


Compression Calf

prs_v2_trail_ blackred_2

                                                              Image ©compressport


TRAIL sock

If you would like to win a full set of apparel as listed above.

Please answer the following question using the contact form below.

“Please predict the winning male OR the winning female of the 2015 (30th edition) of the Marathon des Sables.”

Entries will close on April 10th and no entries will be accepted after this date.

Please use the form below



Ryan Sandes sets new FKT


Trail-Blazer Sandes sets Table Mountain FKT challenge

Cape Town (South Africa) – Almost a year to the day after he and Ryno Griesel set the record for the Drakensburg Grand Traverse (in a lightning-fast time of 41h 49m), Ryan Sandes decided it was time for a new challenge. In 02h02m13s, Sandes set the ‘Fastest Known Time’ for 15.1km route (with 1070m ascent and 949m decent) across Cape Town’s famed Table Mountain.

Press release by Kelly Burke – Flux

Mention the name ‘Ryan Sandes’ and it immediately conjures thoughts of the ultimate trail runner adventuring through breath-taking landscapes. Not one to lie back and take it easy, Sandes’ decided to be the first to set the Table Mountain record.

Having started out at 6:30 am at Suikerbossie Restaurant, Ryan ventured his way across the sandstone and fynbos checking through 3 designated points before finishing at SAN Parks Information Centre on Lower Tafelberg Road.

“Anything under 50km is a bit of a sprint for me so racing a route under 16km was a shock to my system, “ Sandes joked. “I felt really good, and really enjoyed myself on the route as it is super technical.”

“I’ll definitely have another crack at the FKT when I get another chance this year as I would like to go under two hours. I think that is the beauty of the project – runners can challenge themselves and run the route a couple of times to try better their times.”

FKT chasing has become somewhat of a phenomenon in the ultra-running world over the last few years. Essentially, an FKT is a course record for a given distance on a trail, usually set on trails where a race with many participants would be detrimental to the area.

Would-be contenders should head to http://www.redbull.co.za/FKT where they’ll be able to pit themselves up against Sandes’ time using any GPS device or the Strava App. A simple registration process and uploading the GPS data from their run is all that stands in the way of getting their name on the Table Mountain FKT leader board.

Just by running the route and uploading their result they stand a chance of joining Sandes’ support team as he travels to compete in the Grande Raid Réunion in October. The race, set on the picturesque volcanic isle, is arguably the world’s toughest 100 miler, with over 10 000m of climbing.

“Get out there, hit the mountain and push past what you think is possible! It’s more about challenging yourself and taking in the beauty that the mountain has to offer. I’ve had the opportunity to run all over the world and what we have in Cape Town is pretty special,” says Sandes.

Image copyright Craig Kolesky

For more information regarding the route and to see the current leader board please visit the website – http://www.re

Ryan Sandes to attempt FKT on Table Mountain

©iancorless.com_South Africa14-5983

On Friday Ryan Sandes will be running a Fastest Known Time (FKT) for a 16km route across Table Mountain in Cape Town, which is amongst the new 7 wonders of nature and is a World Heritage Site. There is over 1400m of climbing, and super technical running along the 16km course. He has partnered with Red Bull for this project and they will be setting up a website where local runners can run the route and record their times and the runner with the fastest time will be able to join Ryan, as a spectator, when he travels to the Island of Reunion to run Raid of Reunion later this year.

The website will be live from next week


Table Mountain Crossing Fastest Known Time Route

The route is from Suikerbossie Restaurant to the SANParks information centre on lower Tafelberg Road. It takes in Llandudno Ravine and the Kasteelpoort beacon, from where it routes through the Valley of the Red Gods and toward Platteklip Gorge. Then via the Upper Table Mountain Contour path it winds to the Kloof Nek corner beacon and on to the finish.

©iancorless.com_South Africa14-6237

Detailed Route Description (step-by-step)

Start at the main entrance gate to Suikerbossie Restaurant and run towards Llandudno Ravine (Hout Bay Trail Challenge leg 2 route).

Head up Llandudno Ravine where the first Check Point will be a quarter of the way up the climb. Once on top of the mountain, follow the trail towards Kasteelpoort and do not take any of the turn off’s, including the turn off to the WoodHead Reservoir.

Once you reach the beacon at the top of Kasteelpoort, continue straight through the Valley of the Red Gods and towards Platteklip Gorge.

Do not take the turn down to Kasteelpoort.

You will pop out at the top of Platteklip Gorge where Check Point two is. Head down Platteklip Gorge but DO NOT run all the way down to Tafelberg Road.

You must take the Upper Table Mountain Contour path towards Kloof Nek corner (you will run under the Cable Car) and turn down right on the trail once you get to the Kloof Nek corner beacon.

The third and final Check Point is on the Kloof Nek corner trail heading down towards Tafelberg Road.

Follow this trail down to Tafelberg Road. Once you hit the road, turn left follow the road down to the SANParks information centre in the parking-lot where the Table Mountain Trail Challenge starts.

Touch the far lefthand side (if you are facing towards the city centre) of the information hut and you have finished.

©iancorless.com_South Africa14-6838

The run starts with a massive climb up Llandudno Ravine to warm your lungs and legs up. This is a super technical climb to the top of Table Mountain with lots of rock stairs and scrambling. Once on top of Table Mountain the route is a little flatter but don’t be fooled it is not completely flat. It is very technical running along a single track which can be quite overgrown and seeing large snakes is a common occurrence. The views on top of Table Mountain are amazing and makes every drop of sweat getting up to the top of the mountain worth while. Once you get to the Valley of the Red Gods you have a few small ladders to negotiate before descending Platteklip Gorge. This is the hardest part of the run for me, as you have big rock stairs leading down Platteklip which kill your legs and you also have to constantly dodge tourists hiking up the mountain. Once on the contour path, the running is fairly fast to the finish but your legs will be feeling tired after the big descent off Table Mountain. The route is around 16km, but is very slow moving and you can never get into any rhythm. I love the run as it is in my “back garden” and I feel right at home.

©iancorless.com_South Africa14-6931 

Follow Ryan Sandes on his website HERE on Facebook HERE and on Red Bull HERE

Salomon S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra – Review


Okay, calm down. Yes I know it’s the Salomon S-Lab Sense 4. Yes, I know it’s the shoe that Kilian uses… yes, yes, it’s arguably one of the most desired shoes out in the market place. But is it any good and is it the shoe for you…?

Well, first and foremost. Is it the shoe for you?

Potentially NO!

Shock horror. Easy, easy, don’t go and throw your computer on the floor or punch the screen. More importantly don’t hate me. In all honesty, this may well not be the shoe for you!

To clarify, I am not saying the S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra is not a good shoe. Quite the opposite, it’s a great shoe with loads of great features and it’s a shoe that will delight and provide many a happy mile for the appropriate runner.

So what am I going on about?

Well quite simply, S-Lab is the pinnacle of the Salomon line up. It’s the bees knees, the dogs bolx, the big kahuna, the… you get the drift! Yes I know Kilian uses them! But I am not Kilian and to be quite honest, neither are you.


The Sense 4 range of shoes currently Sense 4 Ultra and Sense 4 Ultra SG are the evolution of the original shoe pioneered by Kilian on the trails of Western States many years ago. It has evolved and arguably the current model is the best shoe to date. Salomon have listened to the feedback and most notable improvements are:

  • Improved grip
  • Slightly wider toe box (slightly)
  • Durability
  • Protection

I don’t disagree. All the above boxes are ticked. Without doubt, if you are a Sense 3 user, lover and aficionado, you are going to love the Sense 4 Ultra. The shoe does feel different and from experience they feel great out of the box but even better after 3-4 hours of running in them. they just soften up a little.


The shoe is designed to be light and it is, 240g for UK8.5. It’s designed for dry trail, rocky and mountainous courses and in many respects the shoe is designed for long racing, hence the ‘Ultra’ name. However, this is not an ultra shoe for everyone! (more on that later.)

A 4mm drop shoe, cushioning is 9mm at the front and 13mm at the rear, for comparison, the Sense Mantra 3 has 9mm front and 15mm rear.

You may be asking, why has Ian mentioned the Sense Mantra 3?

Well actually, I personally feel that for many runners out there, the Sense Mantra 3 may very well be a better choice… controversial I know but I will go on to explain.

But first lets look at the Sense 4 Ultra in detail:

The shoe upper has been revised and is one seamless piece uber technology. Overall fit is better (that is hard to believe as the Sense 3 was awesome) and the toe box is a little wider.


To be honest, I did notice a little extra width but it’s marginal. If you thought the Sense 3 had a tight toe box, you won’t try the sense 4 and think wow, that is so much wider. If you want that, you need to look at the Sense Mantra 3. But toe protection has been improved and you have a great bumper to protect from rocks.


Sensfit mapping on the upper has been tweaked and I find it hard to believe but it does hold the foot even better than the previous model. I go on about Sensfit, Endofit and the Quicklace system all the time but for me, it’s the shoe fitting system that I compare all other shoes too. Yes, it’s that good!


The fit of the tongue has also been improved. Again, the Sense 3 was awesome so any improvement here is a bonus and after several runs I can confirm less debri/dust enters the shoe as the  fit is ‘snugger’ than previous models.


The Contragrip sole has had a significant change with extra depth added to the lugs. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an aggressive sole. I merely compare to the Sense 3.


I would say that the most noticeable change is the outsole compound; It most definitely has greater grip on rock, road and gravel. Salomon say durability has also been improved? I can’t comment on that at the moment as it is too early in testing.


Slipping the shoe on, I noticed the improved fit immediately and almost questioned if I needed a size bigger? I didn’t. I just needed to tweak my foot, pull the tongue and adjust appropriately. I was a UK9.5 in Sense 3 and I am a UK9.5 in the Sense 4 Ultra (and Sense 4 Ultra SG for comparison.)


The S-Lab Sense was always designed to be worn with or without socks. Same applies here. Snug, snug fit and no seams to cause any issues. Endofit, Sensfit and all the usual Salomon S-Lab wonders are present and the shoe fits like a dream.


The heel area is plush, snug, has no hot spots and holds the foot firm. Uphill or downhill you have 100% reassurance.


The S-Lab range of shoes excel with a precision fit. By precision, I mean snug and for some that may well be perceived as tight. But that is the point… the shoe is designed to hold the foot secure and allow little to no movement. When running on tough and technical terrain, you don’t want a sloppy shoe. This is why I said in my introduction that this may not be the shoe for you!


If you are not a fore to mid-foot runner this is not the shoe for you. A drop of 4mm keeps you on your toes and you need to be efficient to make the most of the Sense 4 Ultra. Cushioning at 9mm is very good and ironically is comparable with the Sense Mantra 3. I did it again, I mentioned the Mantra 3!

Looking at the outsole you will see grip on the forefoot and the heal but no grip in the middle of the shoe.©iancorless.com_Sense4-8580

To explain things a little more clearly, look at the image below comparing the Sense 4 Ultra to the Sense Mantra 3.


It’s really noticeable. The Sense 4 Ultra is more streamlined, narrower in the toe box, most definitely narrower in the middle of the shoe and a touch narrower at the back of the shoe. To clarify, the Sense 4 has a racing last.

You may now begin to understand my constant mention of the Sense Mantra 3 and why for many, it may well be a better choice.

Running in the Sense 4 as you would expect is wonderful and secure. The shoe is precise, has great flexibility, improved grip and overall improved feel over the Sense 3. It’s a winner! On technical terrain you have a constant feel for the ground and due to the tight fit, the shoe goes exactly where you want it to go and importantly your foot does not move inside the shoe. The Quicklace and Lace Pocket are still my favourite lacing option of any shoe. As in the Mantra 3, the OS Tendon really works in providing spring and the Profeet Film protects from sharp objects on the trail.


Although the shoe is called ‘Ultra,’ I see this model as being a great mountain race shoe for dry and rocky terrain. Could you run an ultra in them? Well, that depends on the runner, the distance of the race and how long you would be running. For me, I personally don’t feel I could run for longer than four (ish) hours in this model. As I say, this is very personal.


Awesome shoe for the efficient ultra trail and mountain runner who needs a shoe that offers precise control, awesome fit and grip for dry (non muddy) technical terrain.


Okay, that is my alarm bell ringing – read on!

I said in my intro, ‘Shock horror. Easy, easy, don’t go and throw your computer on the floor or punch the screen. More importantly don’t hate me. In all honesty, this may well not be the shoe for you!’

The combination of tight fit, 4mm drop, racing last and narrow toe box may well mean that the Sense 4 Ultra is not the shoe for you to use. Don’t despair…

I have used the Sense 3 in both versions for months and loved them. I love the Sense 4 Ultra but having used the new Sense Mantra 3, I can honestly say that the Mantra 3 may well be my preferred choice for certain types of running.

If I was going for an out-and-out technical trail mountain run I would choose the Sense 4 hands down, The secure fit, improved grip and combination of features make it a winner. But I wouldn’t want to be out all day.

If I was going for a long run on dry trail with rocks, technical terrain and plenty of miles, I would go the Mantra 3.

The Sense Mantra 3 finally provides a real opportunity for many runners who wanted to use a Salomon Sense but couldn’t get a shoe wide enough in the toe box. The addition of 2mm to the drop is also an added boost to the less ‘race’ orientated runner. Yes I know Kilian doesn’t wear the Mantra 3 but you can’t have it all!


Final conclusions:

The Sense 4 Ultra has all the usual S-Lab traits and they have been tweaked to provide you, the runner, with arguably the best incarnation of the Sense yet. But it’s a specialist shoe as mentioned previously. The combination of 4mm drop, tight fit and narrower toe box will not be for everyone. However, if you have been using a Sense 3, you will almost certainly love the Sense 4.

If Salomon and in particular the Sense have been too tight and too low (drop) for you, don’t despair. The Sense Mantra 3 is an absolutely incredible shoe, has all the important ‘Sense’ features and you will not be disappointed.

Read a review of the Sense Mantra 3 HERE

Technical Specs for the S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra

  • WEIGHT 240
  • WEIGHT 1
  • MIDSOLE HEIGHT 13mm/9mm
  • DROP 4mm

Quick drying breathable mesh




Racing last

Lace pocket


Outsole: Non marking Contagrip®

OS Tendon


Chassis: Profeel Film

Midsole: Dual density EVA

Sockliner: Die cut EVA

 Check out Salomon S-Lab range HERE

Salomon Logo


Race Day Nutrition (Part One) – Marc Laithwaite


In recent articles, we’ve discussed the 2 main fuel sources for endurance exercise (fat and carbohydrate) and how you should optimise your body to burn fat, thereby allowing you to save precious carbohydrate stores. When it comes to race day then the game and the rules change completely. As a recap, when training you should:

1. Ride or run at the correct intensity or follow a specific protocol such as Maffetone
2. Avoid fluctuations in intensity, remember that average heart rate or power output are NOT the critical figures, it’s TIME IN ZONE that counts
3. Eat foods which are balanced with low GI carbohydrates and fats to encourage fat usage and avoid sugar spikes
4. Avoid gels and sugar products based on point 3 above

If you follow the above guidance, over a 12-16 week training period, you can teach your body to utilise a greater amount of fat as fuel and also to use less calories overall, making you more economical. The important thing to remember is that ‘training’ and ‘racing’ are 2 separate things and your fuelling approach should reflect this.

What happens during the race?

Okay, let’s presume that you have trained correctly and maximised your fat burning potential and fuel economy. You reach the first event of the year and when riding or running at race pace you are using 700kcal per hour, 50% of which comes from carbohydrate and 50% of which comes from fat. You only need to worry about the carbohydrate loss as that’s the one which is critical, so let’s focus on the 350kcal of carbohydrate which equates to 88 grams of carbohydrate (4 kcal per gram).

The limitation of carbohydrate intake

Here’s the big problem, you can only absorb approximately 60g of carbohydrate per hour. Imagine that there are small boats, which ‘ferry’ carbohydrate across the intestine wall into your blood stream. Unfortunately you only have so many ‘ferry boats’ so no matter how much carbohydrate you throw in there, the amount which can be ferried is limited to a pretty standard 60g. For our example above, that means that you’re going to fall short. You’re using 88 grams per hour and you can only replace 60 grams per hour. That’s a 28 gram / 112 kcal per hour deficit.

So I can’t just eat more?

Unfortunately not. If you eat more, it’s unlikely to be digested and will simply sit in your stomach or intestines without providing energy. There are a lot of people who suffer from gastric problems during long distance events and this is generally caused by eating too much food which they are unable to digest. It’s really important that you understand, eating more food doesn’t mean you’ll have more energy and it may well mean that you’ll face stomach upsets. I stress this point knowing how obsessed Ironman athletes in particular become with regards to feeding on the bike.

A deficit of 112 Kcal per hour doesn’t sound too bad

No, it doesn’t. But that is based on the presumption that you are only using 700kcal per hour, bigger people and less efficient people may be using more. It’s also based on the assumption that 50% is coming from fat and that may not be the case at all, in fact, as much as 80-100% may be coming from carbohydrate. What makes this worse is that bigger people can’t necessarily take on board more fuel, the 60g limit still pretty much applies. It’s a gut issue, it’s not about how big your muscles are and how much you can store in there.

So the 3 things you might want to know are:

1. How many calories do I burn per hour?
2. How many of them come from fat and carbohydrate?
3. How much should I be taking in as a consequence?

As a start point, you can probably work out your calorie usage by using a heart rate monitor or power meter. Run or ride at race pace and it’ll do the calculation for you, although the power meter is a lot more accurate than the heart rate monitor, it’s still a start point. Warm up, then do an hour at your ‘race pace’ and work out the figures. It’s amazing how many people who consider their training and racing to be ‘serious’, still have no clue how many kcal they use when racing. How can you have any grasp of nutrition requirements without knowing this figure? Once you’ve calculated that figure, apply the following rule:

80/20: If you are struggling to ride 50 miles / run 15 miles even when fuelling yourself throughout, then apply the 80/20 rule. That means 80% of your fuel is carbohydrate and 20% is fat.

65/35: If you can ride 50 miles / run 15 miles comfortably using fuel, then apply the 65/35 rule. That means 65% of your fuel is carbohydrate and 20% is fat.

50/50: If you can ride 50 miles / run 15 miles comfortably without using any fuel whatsoever, then apply the 50/50 rule. That means 50% of your fuel is carbohydrate and 50% is fat.

Are those figures accurate?

Absolutely not, I just made them up. They are by no means 100% accurate but they will give you a good start point and will allow you to calculate an approximate figure. The running figures are less ‘straight forwards’ than the cycling, as the impact of running can really fatigue your legs, so you may find 15 miles difficult, even if your fat burning and fuel economy is good. for cycling, the impact is low, so it’s more likely governed by metabolism and fuel.

Ok, so what’s the next step?

Here’s what we’re going to do. Prior to next week you are going to do a 1 hour ride or run at your ‘race pace’ and then using your cycle power meter, GPS or heart rate monitor, calculate how many calories per hour you are using when exercising at that intensity. I feel this is a pretty important thing for you to understand if you are to race successfully. It’s easy with a power meter for cycling, it does the maths for you. Most heart rate monitors will use your age and weight to work out kcal per hour. There are some tools on the internet such as: http://www.braydenwm.com/calburn.htm which can help to give you a basic idea.

Go forwards my endurance friends and do the maths, next week, we will be looking at planning your intake.

Until then, stay healthy.

– Marc Laithwaite

About Marc:

Sports Science lecturer for 10 years at St Helens HE College.

2004 established The Endurance Coach LTD sports science and coaching business. Worked with British Cycling as physiology support 2008-2008. Previous Triathlon England Regional Academy Head Coach, North West.

In 2006 established Epic Events Management LTD. Now one of the largest event companies in the NW, organising a range of triathlon, swimming and cycling events. EPIC EVENTS also encompasses Montane Trail 26 and Petzl Night Runner events.

In 2010 established Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 LTD. This has now become the UKs leading ultra distance trail running event.

In 2010 established The Endurance Store triathlon, trail running and open water swimming store. Based in Appley Bridge, Wigan, we are the North West’s community store, organising and supporting local athletes and local events.

Check out the endurance store HERE

Endurance Store Logo

Glen Coe Skyline™ – Skyrunning comes to Scotland


Skyrunning will be coming to Scotland in 2015 with a world-class course based around Glen Coe. Aptly named the ‘Glen Coe Skyline™’ this race has already caused a storm of speculation as rumours of its launch swept through the mountain running community earlier this year.

The provisional route starts at the Glencoe Mountain Resort and, via the West Highland Way, reaches and ascends Buachaille. A full traverse of Bidean nam Bian ensues before dropping down into Glen Coe to then climb up to Sgorr nam Fiannaidh. There is then an extended traverse of the entire Aonach Eagach ridge, before rejoining the West Highland Way and descending into Glen Coe Pass via the Devil’s Staircase and returning to Glencoe Mountain Resort. The provisional route statistics are approximately 45km with 4500m of ascent.

As many experienced hill walkers and climbers have pointed out, this route covers some of the most challenging mountain terrain in the UK with long sections of exposed and serious Moderate standard rock climbing. 


Shane Ohly

Race Director Shane Ohly explained:

 “I am not trying to create another fell or trail race, but bring to the UK World class Skyrunning and a course that has World class challenges. It is not meant to be easy, and a course of this caliber has inherent risk. We are not creating another mass participation running event, rather, a world-class course for experienced and competent participants. The Glen Coe Skyline™ is a fusion of mountain running and alpinism where competitors need to be skilled at both disciplines to negotiate the course.” 

Indeed, there has been a hotly debated forum thread about the Glen Coe Skyline™ on the popular UKClimbing / UKHillWalking website, and in response, Ohly has provided a detailed Q&A about the race, which is available HERE.


Leading British Skyrunners were quick to endorse the route with Tom Owens from the Salomon International Team saying,

 “Wow – This will be a seriously brilliant and challenging route,” whilst teammate Any Symonds said, “Excellent! Glen Coe Skyline. Couldn’t get much of a better setting and route for a Sky Race in the UK.”

Ohly continued, “The Glen Coe Skyline™ follows in the finest tradition of the most prestigious Skyrunning races and competing on such challenging and technical terrain is not without precedent.” 

For an event that has not even happened, the Glen Coe Skyline™ is already one the most talked about races on the UK calendar and it is clearly challenging many observers’ perceptions of what mountain running is.

Ian Corless from Skyrunning UK provided further context to the race, “The UK may lack high mountains but we have unique terrain and what we lack in altitude can be compensated for with challenging routes as we have seen at the V3K and the Mourne Skyline MTR. The Glen Coe Skyline™ however takes Skyrunning UK to the next level! Having experienced the iconic Trofeo Kimain Italy in 2012 and 2014, I was inspired to extend that experience to a UK and worldwide audience but on UK soil. Shane Ohly and his team have put my dream into reality. The Glen CoeSkyline™ will arguably be the toughest race in the UK and takes it inspiration from the Skyrunner World Series races such as the Dolomites, Zegama-Aizkorri and Tromso SkyRace’s®. The Glen Coe Skyline™ will not be for everyone though; it is a challenging race over a tough and technical course. It harks back to Marino Giacometti’s vision of Skyrunning that was created on the slopes of Monte Rosa in the late 80’s.” 

The organisers have been careful to consider the impact the race may have on other recreational users of Glen Coe and have been working with the National Trust for Scotland who are the major landowner.


Gary Tompsett

Rebecca Amiel, Individual Giving Manager, from the National Trust for Scotland said “We are delighted to be involved in Scotland’s first skyrunning event at Glencoe.  We look forward to welcoming participants who may never have visited Glencoe to take in its beauty as they complete this challenging event. The National Trust for Scotland is Scotland’s largest conservation charity and relies on membership and donations to care for these wonderful places.  The magnificent landscape of Glencoe is loved by so many, yet cared for by so few which is why it’s so important to raise the profile of our conservation work. Find out more about the Footpath Fund and mountain conservation at www.footpathfund.org.uk

Ohly added, “Each year Ourea Events™ (the company organising the Glen Coe Skyline™) donates 1% of its total income to charitable environmental organisations at the forefront of the protection of the mountain environment. The business has been a member of 1% of the Planet since day one because, whilst we always seek to mitigate our environmental impact, we understand that we do still have some form of impact, but our policies over the years have given some very attributable payback”.

OureaEventsLogo(500x500-cropped) copy

Entries will open at 9pm on Monday 13th April 2015


For further Information about:

Ourea Events visit www.OureaEvents.com or contact Shane Ohly on 07771516962 or ShaneOhly@OureaEvents.com

Glen Coe Skyline visit www.GlenCoeSkyline.com

SkyrunningUK visit http://skyrunninguk.com or contact Ian Corless on 07725813457 or iancorless@mac.com


Key Event Information

Website: www.GlenCoeSkyline.com

Date: Saturday 22nd August 2015

Venue: Glencoe Mountain Resort, Scotland

Entries Open: Monday 13th April 2015

Courses: 45km with 4,500m ascent (TBC)

A Day on Fells – Wolf’s Pit, Peak District


A fun weekend in Sheffield for ShAFF (Sheffield Adventure Film Festival) and the opportunity to take American ultra running legend, Nikki Kimball to experience a fell race.

It was a blast. I had so much fun… a course like this for 100-miles would be great! – Nikki Kimball

Well, I am not sure that anyone else in the race would fancy running the route eighteen times to make up the required 160-km but hey, we know what Nikki means (I think!).

The Peak District played ball and the sun came out. Great day!

Wolf’s Pit, Peak District

  • Date & time: Sun 22nd Mar 2015 at 11:00
  • Country: England
  • Region: Peak District
  • Category: AS
  • Website: www.wolfspitfellrace.org.uk
  • Distance: 9km / 5.6m
  • Climb: 450m / 1476ft
  • Venue: Shatton, nr Bamford, Hope Valley.
  • Grid ref: 196825
  • Skills & experience: ER, PM, LK, NS
  • Minimum age: 16

Marathon des Sables – What goes in the rucksack?


It’s countdown time to the 30th edition of the iconic Marathon des Sables. The training is done and it was time for Niandi Carmont to go through all her equipment, lay it all out, weigh everything and decide what to take and what not to take.

Running a mult-day race? Check out our 2017 training camp http://d.pr/f/18cqZ

To be clear for those who do not know. Minimum pack weight is 6.5kg.

Minimum food requirement is 2000 calories per day for 7-days.

In addition to the above, each runner must have ‘mandatory’ kit that includes venom pump, compass, penknife and so on…

Marathon des Sables is a self-sufficient race and therefore the runner must carry everything they need for the duration of the event. The only exception comes with water (this is provided and rationed) and a Bivouac (tent) for the evening which is shared with 7 other runners.

Niandi was very clear… my pack will be minimum weight: 6.5kg

It’s been an interesting process and one that has provided both Niandi and myself with some real eye openers… normally you would have too much kit and you would be deciding what to take and what not to take! The reality has been here that we have EVERYTHING that Niandi wants to take and we are under weight. A nice situation to be in.

You can download the equipment list in Word HERE or Excel HERE

Before we get to the pack. Lets look at what Niandi will wear:

  • inov-8 Race Ultra 290 shoes with Raidlight gaiters (gaiters sewn on by Alex in London)
  • Injinji toe socks
  • Raidlight Skort
  • Raidlight T-Shirt
  • Arm Coolers
  • Anita sports bra
  • inov-8 peaked hat
  • Oakley sunglasses
  • Buff

The above is essential and will be worn for the duration of the event.

The pack is an Ultra Aspire Fastpack that will have 2x750ml bottles that sit on the hips and provide easy access


*Update – This pack was changed at the 11th hour to an Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20 (available here). This proved to be a good decision! The UDF pack turned out to be a revelation at the 2015 MDS runners. Elisabet Barnes and may others used this. It’s simplistic, no-nonsence approach was a real winner and the bottle holders on the chest perfect for ‘on-the-go’ hydration.


Points to consider:
1. The bottle holders are ‘on’ the shoulder straps in an excellent position (lower) and they do not bounce! You can fit 750/800ml bottles in them.
2. The pack fits snug to you pack and can be tightened to remove all bounce. It’s vest like.
3. The pack is just an open space, so, it’s really simple. The downside is that you do need to think about how you pack, anything you may need ‘en-route’ should be near the top.
4. As you eat food and pack contents and weight gets less, the pack has a roll top closure which means that you can make the pack smaller as the day’s pass.
5. It has no waist belt so no stomach stress.
6. It has elastic stretch pockets on the outside for easy access and additional items.
It has no waist belt so therefore you way wish to add a small waist belt for food, snacks, salt tabs etc


Sleeping bag (with Piglet) Yeti Passion One


The North Face Summit Series down jacket


Raidlight Tyvek suit which has been tailored and modify for a tighter fit and to reduce weight.


Petzl head torch with spare batteries


The items below make up additional items that are optional extras (such as iPod) and mandatory kit. One or two items are missing: Spot Tracker, signalling mirror and sun cream.

Food is broken down on the excel spread sheet but here is a summary in words and images:

Dehydrated Meals x6 672
Dried Mango 93g x 4 372
Porridge 59g x 7 413
Coffee 1g x 10 10
Peanut Butter 33g x 5 165
Honey 21g x 8 168
Mini Salami 10g x 10 100
Tropical Mix 194
Sesame Bites 27g x 6 162
Dried Banana 270
Mixed Nuts 200g x 2 400
Macademia Nuts 153
Cranberries 175
Wraps 296

We have not added photos of the dehydrated meals as currently we do not have them but we have calculated the weight and you can see a review of dehydrated meals and options HERE

So in a nutshell. With everything listed above we have a current pack weight (without water) of:

*all weights in grams

Niandi does have some additional optional items that she was considering taking and now based on the weight above she will add:

  • Flip Flops 250g
  • Cheese 150g
  • Stove and fuel 150g

The above 3 items tip the scales at 550g

This will make a total pack weight of 6189 + 550 = 6739g


Read an in-depth preview of the 2015 Marathon des Sables HERE

Episode 83 – Grinius Campbell Murray Bragg


Episode 83 of Talk Ultra has a great interview with rising ultra star, Gediminas Grinius​. Dr Andrew Murray and Donnie Campbell​ talk about their recent epic journey and Jez Bragg​ talks about getting speed back after his epic Te Araroa journey and how he plans to tame the Dragon. Marc Laithwaite​ is back in Talk Training, we have the News, a Blog, Up & Coming races and Niandi Carmont​ joins me as co-host and we discuss the MDS.

00:32:36 NEWS
Way to Cool 50k
Pay Smyth 3:04:48 new CR beating Max King
Ryan Bak 3:10
Tim Tollefson 3:20
Megan Roche 3:41:56 new CR
Stephanie Howe 3:47
Yiou Wang 3:51
World Records on Treadmills
50k – Mike Wardian failed first time and 36-hours later did it… crazy 3:03:56 (3:06:24 first time)
50k – Gemma Carter in the UK 3:55:28 (Tracy Dean did 4:15 just before Christmas)
12-hour – Denis Mikhaylove ran 80.54 miles
Transgrancanaria article HERE
  1. Nuria Picas 16:53:27
  2. Carole Chaverot 17:16:48
  3. Dong Li 18:15:55
  4. Andrea Huser 18:37:53
  5. Manu Vilaseca 18:42:59
  6. Ester Alves 19:11:45
  7. Lucinda Souza 19:25:46
  8. Aliza Lapierre 19:58:48
  9. Raquel Delgado 20:24:16
  10. Silvia Trigueros 20:38:18
  1. Gedminas Grinius 14:23:27
  2. Didrik Hermansen 14:30:07
  3. Antoine Guillon 14:39:35
  4. Sondre Amdahl 15:06:37
  5. Cyril Cointr 15:28:22
  6. Anton Krupicka 15:29:49
  7. Remi Queral 15:59:11
  8. Freddy Thevenin 16:07:06
  9. Marco Zanchi 16:25:13
  10. Piotr Hercog 16:30:45
Max King impresses once again running 2:17 for an Olympic Qualifying slot. Sage Canaday just missed out!
Hillary Ultra in NZ 80k
Andrius Romanas 8:23
Chris Morrisey 8:55
Scott Hawker 9:07
Beth Cardelli 9:57
Joanna Johansen 10:17
Fiona Hayvice 10:22
Lakes Sky Ultra announced – HERE
00:49:07 INTERVIEW
DONNIE CAMPBELL and DR ANDREW MURRAY need no introduction when it comes to expeditions, I catch up with them and discuss the latest one!
01:18:08 BLOG
ANTON KRUPICKA talks Transgrancanaria HERE
01:19:00 INTERVIEW
JEZ BRAGG talks all about putting speed back in his training and how he will tame the Dragon in 2015.
Marc Laithwaite talks all about butter in coffee… would you do it?
02:25:16 INTERVIEW
GEDIMINIAS GRINIUS is a star in the rising, an incredible 2014 has been followed up with the biggest win in his career: Transgrancanaria.
03:11:41 UP & COMING RACES


Ultramarathon des Ziban | 100 kilometers | April 02, 2015 | website



Crêtes de Spa – 55 km | 55 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website



6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 120 mile | 120 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 350 mile | 350 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 120 Mile | 120 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 350 Mile | 350 miles | March 20, 2015 | website


Action Asia 3 day ultra marathons 60k | 60 kilometers | March 27, 2015 | website

Lijiang Shangri-La AA Ultra Marathon 100km | 100 kilometers | March 27, 2015 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 100 km Ultra Marathon | 100 kilometers | March 27, 2015 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 60 km Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | March 27, 2015 | website


Istratrek Trail Race | 60 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website



Cahors (Lot) – Eauze (Gers) | 185 kilometers | April 01, 2015 | website


Trail du Kreiz Breizh Bras | 55 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Ecotrail de Paris IDF – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Ecotrail de Paris IDF – 80 km | 80 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website



Eschollbrücker Ultra-Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


BSI Half Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 95 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Balatonfüred – Siófok | 51 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 20, 2015 | website



Wicklow Way Ultra | 51 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website



100 km di Seregno | 100 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website

60 km di Seregno | 60 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website

BVG Trail | 73 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Dead Sea Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | April 03, 2015 | website


La GranDucale – 55 km | 55 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Marathon des Sables | 250 kilometers | April 03, 2015 | website

Morocco Tizi N’Trail | 120 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Morocco Trail | 120 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Kathmandu West Valley Rim 50km | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

New Zealand

Northburn Station 100 km Mountain Run | 100 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Northburn Station 50 km Mountain Run | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Oxfam Trailwalker NZ | 100 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Triple Peaks Challenge | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


CEBU50 Trail Ultramarathon – Aspirant | 54 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Inatel Piódão Trail Running – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Caldeira Trail | 74 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

South Africa

Om Die Dam 50 km Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website



Ultra Trail Muntanyes de la Costa Daurada | 90 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Valencian Community

La Perimetral | 65 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Silva Ursvik Ultra – 75 km | 75 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

United Kingdom


Jurassic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

East Sussex

Coastal Trail Series – Sussex – Ultra | 34 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


The Canalathon 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

The Canalathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

The Canalathon 75 km | 75 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

North Yorkshire

Hardmoors 55 Ultramarathon | 55 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


Oldham Way Ultra | 40 miles | March 22, 2015 | website


Hot Runner 14 in 7 | 590 kilometers | March 23, 2015 | website

Hot Runner 7 in 7 | 295 kilometers | March 23, 2015 | website



Lake Martin 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Lake Martin 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Oak Moutain 50+ | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


White Mountains 100 | 100 miles | March 29, 2015 | website


Crown King Scramble 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


3 days of Syllamo | 150 kilometers | March 20, 2015 | website

Race Across Arkansas – Border to Border (6 Marathons) | 161 miles | April 02, 2015 | website


Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 100 Miler | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Canyon Meadow 50 Km Trail Run (March) | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2015 | website

Nine Trails 35 Mile Endurance Run | 35 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Old Goats 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Old Goats 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


Trap Pond 50K | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Fort Clinch 100M | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Fort Clinch 50M | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Bear Blaster 50k | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Running Dead Ultra 100M | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Running Dead Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website

Running Dead Ultra 50M | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Pickled Feet 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | March 27, 2015 | website


Chicago Lakefront 50K George Cheung Memorial Race | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website


Prairie Spirit Trail 100 Mile Ultra Race | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Prairie Spirit Trail 50 Mile Ultra Race | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Race Across Louisiana – Border to Border (52 Miles) | 52 miles | March 30, 2015 | website


50K HAT Run | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Hat Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website


Gulf Coast Interstate Relay – Ride or Run | 263 miles | April 03, 2015 | website

Spring Equinox 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Spring Equinox 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


Forrest Gump Challenge 50 Mile Ultra-marathon | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

New Jersey

NJ Ultra Festival – 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 100M Trail Race | 100 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 50M Trail Race | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Badwater Cape Fear 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Badwater Cape Fear 51.4 Mile | 51 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Race for R.A.R.E. 50K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Umstead 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

North Dakota

Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience 100K | 100 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience 50K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website


Fools 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Gorge Waterfalls 100k | 100 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Gorge Waterfalls 50k | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2015 | website


Lt. J. C. Stone 50K UltraMarathon | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Mt. Tammany 10 | 40 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Tuff FKN 100 miler | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Tuff FKN 100 Miler 2 Person Relay | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Tuff FKN 100 Miler 4 Person Relay | 100 miles | March 28, 2015 | website

Western PA Endurance Fest 50K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Western PA Endurance Fest 50K Relay | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

South Carolina

XTERRA Hickory Knob Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website


Race Across Texas – D-Town (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Race Across Texas – Plains to Pines (3 Marathons) | 84 miles | March 25, 2015 | website

The Grasslands 50-Mile | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website


24 Hours of Utah – 100K | 100 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

24 Hours of Utah – 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

24 Hours of Utah – 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Antelope Island 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Antelope Island 50K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

Antelope Island 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 21, 2015 | website

Behind the Rocks 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Behind the Rocks 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Twin State 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Twin State 50 Miles | 50 miles | March 28, 2015 | website


Terrapin Mountain 50km | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website


Badger Mountain Challenge 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | March 27, 2015 | website

Badger Mountain Challenge 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | March 28, 2015 | website

Badger Mountain Challenge 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | March 27, 2015 | website

Chuckanut 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website

West Virginia

Haulin’ in the Holler 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 21, 2015 | website


ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com