The Coastal Challenge reaches new heights in 2019 celebrating 15-years of amazing racing.
The 14th edition completed in February 2018 at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, was a record breaker! Yes, course records were broken daily and Tom Evans and Ragna Debats elevated the overall CR’s to a new level obliterating the 2017 records set by the UK’s Tom Owens and New Zealand’s Anna Frost.
Time never stands still and to make the 15th edition of TCC extra special, race director’s Rodrigo Carazo and Sergio Sanchez have confirmed a new incentive for the 2019 edition of the race.
A reward purse totalling $8000 will be up for grabs as the race gets underway from the stunning beaches of Quepos, Costa Rica.
Each day, $250 will be up for grabs should the stage course records be broken by the fastest male or female. For example, in 2018, Tom Evans broke every stage record, that would have been rewarded with a $1500 payout!
Should the overall course record set in 2018 by Tom Evans or Ragna Debats be broken in 2019, $2500 will be on offer. Should the male and female record go, that is a payout of $5000.
Feel like a fast start to 2019? It comes no faster than the 15th edition of The Coastal Challenge!
TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, travelling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.
An already stellar line-up of women have been announced for #TCC2019 – Lucy Bartholomew here, Ida Nilsson here, the El Kott Twins here and now Holly Page. Holly has been on fire in 2018, starting her season in China with victory and then concluding with a win at The Otter in South Africa. Between, she has excelled over multiple distances and terrains. For sure, Holly is one of the new stars of the skyrunning calendar – the terrain of Costa Rica will suit her!
What attracts you to Costa Rica?
Although I’ve travelled quite a lot in South America I’ve never had the opportunity to visit Central America. I speak fluent spanish and have heard great things about Costa Rica’s spectacularly diverse natural environment so am really keen to explore.
This is the 15th edition of the TCC, a special one – what do you know about the race?
My friend Tom won the race in 2017 and I remember calling him when he was there and being super jealous as I sat in meetings with government in Tanzania and he chilled in a hammock eating mangoes and running through waterfalls. I’ve heard that the terrain is very mixed, with some fast running but also some technical sections, and the occasional swim! I just did well at the Otter Race in South Africa and I get the feeling that it is a similar profile but just that the TCC will be 30 degrees hotter, and like doing the Otter every day for 6 days….
Heat and humidity will play a major factor in the race, how do you plan to adapt?
Coming from the UK, I’m not really accustomed to sweating it out through the jungle – running across misty hills in the freezing is what I grew up doing… everyone says when it’s raining at a race “Oh you’re British you will enjoy this”…. that’s definitely not true – I don’t know too many people who would rather but running through a blizzard than a sunny Costa Rican beach 😀I’m really lucky in that with my current contract at work I am able to be based remotely so hopefully I’ll be able to travel out before the race and get used to the heat whilst still carrying on with my normal job!
Ragna Debats and Tom Evans set incredible course records in 2017. There is prize money available for a new CR in 2019 – does that motivate you? Can you break the record?
I’m motivated by new experiences rather than prize money – I would never like to go into a race thinking that I am there to win money. I also tend to have a fairly pessimistic (or perhaps realistic!!) view of my own abilities so I am usually on the startline presuming that I won’t do very well… and then it’s always a lovely surprise if I do! It looks like there’s an incredible line-up of women, all of whom have much more experience than I do of racing consistently long distances… but then again, I’ve got used to racing multi-hour races every weekend on knackered legs so maybe my overenthusiastic racing schedule has all been an unintentional build-up to this.
Multi-day racing brings many different challenges to a single-stage race – what are you most looking forward to? What are you most fearful of?
I am really looking forward to the atmosphere of the race – there’s something special about sharing so much time in the company of the people you’re racing against – I think it’ll be a really great week and hopefully an opportunity to meet even more friendly runners from across the world!
I have a horrendous fear of snakes – I can’t even look at a photo of a snake without crying – I think the probability of stumbling across a snake during my time in Costa Rica is pretty high but I don’t want it to stop me going so I’ll just have to get over it and keep plodding along if one does rear its ugly slithery head!
The elite line-up is incredible for 2019, you will need to be in the best shape, does that excite you?
It’s always exciting to have competitive fields at races and especially over so many km a lot can change. I think I know all of the elite women’s field and they’re all really nice ladies so it will also be great to spend time with them – that’s what is so great about running these races – even though we fight it out on the trails, everyone is super encouraging and wants the best for each other!
February is early in the season, what will your winter training look like, so you will be ready for February?
This year has been pretty long and I’ve raced pretty much every weekend since April. I’m going to have a bit of a break in October and November and then hopefully motivate myself to do some strength work – my legs will need to be pretty strong to hold up to the test of this TCC course!
I am sure you have looked at past editions of the race, viewed the stages, the profile – it is a tough race that suits a rounded athlete. You need to be able to climb, descend, handle technical trail and run on the flat – where will your strengths be?
I’m usually pretty good on the technical parts and the descents, but I’d say that I’m usually less good at the bits you have to actually be fit for…. flat running and running up hills!!
What experience do you have of multi-day racing?
I did a three day stage race when I lived in South Africa in 2017 but other than that I’ve never done anything which equates to this in terms of distance and number of days.
Racing starts very early in Costa Rica, with the sun! An early finish allows for relaxation on the beach, you can even have a beer – combining racing and relaxation is a key of TCC. It is a ‘Pura Vida’ race – tell us about your hopes and desires for the 2019 edition.
A combination of racing and relaxation is my kind of dream! It will be super fun to get the morning’s racing done early on and then be able to chill with all of the other runners, chatting through our experiences of the day’s stage, eating lovely tropical fruits and refuelling, psyching ourselves up for the next stage!!
What three music choices would sum up your racing style?
Erm…never been asked that one before… hmmm…. given that I tend to get through races on determination rather than any physical talent, I’ll have to go for…
REM: Everybody Hurts
AC/DC: Highway to Hell
And one especially for the TCC…
The Merrymen: Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot
Tell us about your nutrition and hydrations strategies for the race?
Given how hot it will be during the race and the amount I’ll be sweating I’ll be very focused on making sure I stay very hydrated throughout. It’s a lot of running on consecutive days so I think that if you don’t fuel enough in the early stages you’re likely to suffer the knock-on effects later in the week. My favourite pastime is probably eating… so I will be sure to eat plenty between each stage… using “refuelling” as an excuse to eat large quantities of lovely food 😀
Tell us about key equipment such as shoes and apparel that you will use?
TBC when I have confirmed whether I have a sponsor for next year!
Tell us about your greatest achievement/ result in 2018?
Racing so much whilst also working a normal job, hitch-hiking / camping and tramping like a complete nomad was quite an achievement I guess! I won the Skyrunning World Series with wins in three of the races, and I also came 3rdin the Golden Trail Series and won the Grand Finale of that series out in South Africa in October.
Please list a summary of your career highlights for 2017 and 2018:
Lots of races – a few too many to mention!! These are some where I was in the top 3…
SWS: Yading, China: 1st
SWS: Buff Epic, Spain: 1st
SWS: The Rut, USA: 1st
SWS: Overall Ranking Classic Series: 1st
Monte Rosa Skyrace, Italy: 1st(team race with Hillary Gerardi)
World Trail Running Champs, Spain: 9th(and 1stBritish athlete)
Golden Trail Series / Skyrunning World Champs, Ring of Steall, UK: 3rd
Golden Trail Series, Grand Finale- Otter Trail, South Africa: 1st
Golden Trail Series, Overall Ranking: 3rd
Trail do Porto Moniz, Madeira: 1st
Alanya Ultra Trail, Turkey: 1st
Omu Peak Race, Romania: 1st
Trail du Nivolet Classic, France: 1st
Petit Trail des Aiguilles Rouges, France: 1st
To conclude, please provide a general quote that summaries your thoughts and anticipation for the 2019 TCC:
Having followed previous editions of the raceI am really excited to have the opportunity to come to Costa Rica in February and experience this prestigious event for myself.
You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE and the the 2018 edition HERE
Follow in 2019 #TCC2019
The Coastal Challenge
Website (UK) HERE
Website (Global) HERE
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