Costa Rica Coastal Challenge 2017 Stage 2
Words by Niandi Carmont. Images by iancorless.com
Stage 2 of the 2017 The Coastal Challenge was 39.1km long with 1898m+ and 1984m-. Starting on the beach near Rafiki Lodge, the racing started just as the dawn was beginning – excited runners waited nervously for the start to be given.
A few waves to the drone flying overhead and off they went zigzagging on a sandy beach trail which took them past Rafiki Lodge and up onto the first shaded relentless climb through jungle undergrowth.
It was muggy and the climb was steep taking the runners from sea level to 700m in 4km. After that a steep technical descent on dusty jungle trail to CP1, then the second monster climb of the day on more runnable terrain to reach one of the highest points on the course at 800m waited. This was followed by a very runnable fire trail descent to CP2 and from there on the course was fast exposed fire trail to CP3 followed by the 6km beach section with 2 inlet crossings to negotiate. The finish was at Playa Dominical.
In the men’s race the mountain-running specialists Tom Owens and Jason Schlarb took the lead from the outset setting a gruelling pace in an attempt to shake off their adversaries. They were followed very closely by one of the Costa Rican favourites, Ashur Yousseffi. As predicted Tom, an experienced fell runner, shook off the group in pursuit, opening an impressive gap. Chema Martinez tried to hang on but was not in his element on the first section of the course.
He later tried to close the gap on the flat and downhill fire trail but Tom didn’t give in, finishing the stage with a 13min lead on Chema.
“I felt better than yesterday. The 600m climb was not my strong point. Tom is just so much more competitive on that terrain. Compared to last year I feel a little more in control.” – Chema Martinez
Completing the podium was Jason who took 3rd place, 7min behind Chema. A great result after his detour on day-1! Ashur ended 4th after spending considerable time trading places with Chema. The other Costa Rican favourite Erick Aguero who had placed 3rd yesterday, finished 5th just 2min behind his compatriot. All in all, it was a very good day for the Costa Rican favourites.
In the Ladies race Anna Frost and Anna Comet, both experienced skyrunners, took the lead from the start. Frosty held the lead till the end, finishing a good 3-minutes ahead of Anna Comet. The latter was second until the first summit. She held second place all the way to the finish.
“It went well. I felt good at the beginning up the climb,” Comet said post race. “I tried to go faster uphill to put time in the bank. My strong point is technical terrain –steep climbs and descents.”
Costa Rican favourite Kateyln Tocci was 3rd lady to the summit followed by Ester Alves and Elisabet Barnes. As predicted Elisabet Barnes lost time on the climb and summited out of the top 5.
“Yesterday was great. I enjoyed the flat running and the later start. Today the climbs until CP2 were difficult. There was a lot of hiking. I didn’t enjoy it. After CP2 there were nice flat roads until the finish and the second downhill was not too technical. I had to work hard on the hills and quad-bashing technical descent to CP1. Having said this, I enjoyed it overall. Tomorrow will be a big challenge with the river bed and rock-hopping. The second half and the beach section will be better. This year I feel fitter and more heat-adapted. I gained 11 to 12 minutes compared to last year but the female field this year is stronger and much more competitive.”
Ester Alves, also an experienced sky and mountain runner, had a better day today. “I felt better and preferred the course today. I am still struggling with the heat and hydration. I’m not used to it. Tomorrow my body will dictated my race. It’s only day 3.”
Located next to the sea, Dominical provides a wonderful overnight stop. It’s an early start again tomorrow for stage 3. The day starts with a tough river bed scramble and then passing the stunning Nauyaca Waterfalls.
Tom Owens (Scotland) – 3:44:52
Chema Martínez (Spain) – 3:58:14
Jason Shlarb (United States) – 4:05:43
Ashur Youssefi (Costa Rica) – 4:08:49
Erick Agüero (Costa Rica) – 4:10:36
Anna Frost (New Zealand) – 4:28:00
Anna Comet (Spain) – 4:37:23
Ester Alves (Portugal) – 4:55:43
Katelyn Tocci (Costa Rica) – 5:02:17
Elisabet Barnes (Sweden ) – 5:06:48
Overall Classification (Here)
- Tom Owens 6:29:37
- Chema Martinez 6:46:09
- Erick Aguero 7:13:18
- Jason Schlarb 7:15:20
- Ashur Youessefi 7:37:04
- Anna Frost 7:42:49
- Anna Comet 7:58:46
- Elisabet Barnes 8:26:13
- Ester Alves 8:33:17
- Katelyn Tocci 8:47:52
Daily reports and images will be posted on this website when connection allows.
This was one of my favourite days.