About talkultra

Ian is a photographer, writer, reviewer and blogger at iancorless.com. Ian is currently travelling the world capturing stories from some of the most iconic ultras on the planet. Ian is also creative director and host of an ultra running podcast called Talk Ultra. The show is available every 2 weeks 'for free' on iTunes and talkultra.com.

Episode 131 – Tom Owens, Jo Meek and Inge Nijkamp

Episode 131 of Talk Ultra and we bring you an interview with TCC winner, Tom Owens. We also speak with Jo Meek who recently placed on the podium in Hong Kong at Translantau 100km. Niandi brings us a ‘one-on-one’ interview with Inge Nijkamp. We have the news and ultra-chat!

Niandi still is injured but back in the pool

Ian has been to Bulgaria w/ Dean Karnazes, Sean Conway and more…

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Niandi is joining me and yes, her foot is still in a moon boot. How’s the fracture?

Lets kick off with Niandi’s next ‘one-on-one’ interviews, this week she talks with Inge Nijkamp who attended our training camp in Lanzarote. In early April, Inge will toe the line at MDS and here Niandi discusses balances life, children and how you fit it all in…

INTERVIEW with INGE NIJKAMP

NEWS

Chuckanut 50k

Max King once again showed his speed ahead of Hayden Hawks. However, both went under to old CR! It was close with Hawks just over 30 seconds back. Max gets an auto qualifier for the IAU Trail World Champs. Sage Canaday placed 3rd.

Ladia Albertson-Junkans (?) won the race in 4:17 and the IAU slot ahead of Yiou Wang and Rachel Jaten

Trail du Ventoux

Marc Lauenstein and Caroline Chaverot too top honours in a race that also gave IAU qualificition. Lauenstein from Switzerland didn’t qulify (obviously) for the French place and this went to UTMB winner Ludovic Pommeret.

Kilian Jornet

Kilian announced his year! Everest figures and an attempt at the Bob Graham Round.

Surprisingly, his run calendar is full, no doubt due to the run series that is currently a little under the radar…. Mont Blanc Marathon, Sierre Zinal, a return to a super stacked UTMB and of course Hardrock 100 and Ultra Pirineu figure. From a UK perspective, KJ will race at Glen Coe which is awesome news.

Antelope Island Buffalo Run

Great to see Sondre Amdahl take the win for the men and Sage Balloock Dixon for the ladies – 6:45 and 8:087 respectively.

Translantau 100km

Harry Jones from the UK took the win ahead of Jacky Leung and Jeremy Ritcey, their times 12:47, 13:28 and 13:44. Marie McNaughton 14:10 once agin won the ladies’ race ahead of Brit Jo Meek 15:05 and  Wei-Ling Tseng 17:42.

I caught up with Jo to hear about the race.

INTERVIEW with JO MEEK

INTERVIEW with TOM OWENS

UP & COMING RACES

Algeria

Ultramarathon des Ziban | 100 kilometers | April 06, 2017 | website

Argentina

50 km | 50 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

80 km | 80 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Patagonia Run 130k | 130 kilometers | April 07, 2017 | website

Australia

Victoria

100 km | 100 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Down Under 135 | 135 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

Ultra SkyMarathon | 75 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

55 km | 55 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Chile

Ultra Fiord 100K | 100 kilometers | April 06, 2017 | website

Ultra Fiord 100M | 100 miles | April 05, 2017 | website

Ultra Fiord 70K | 70 kilometers | April 06, 2017 | website

Croatia

100 Miles of Istria | 108 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

100 Miles of Istria – 110 km | 110 kilometers | April 07, 2017 | website

France

Bouches-du-Rhône

58 km | 58 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Essonne

Rendez-vous de la marche nordique | 100 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Jura

Le Savagnin | 58 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Landes

80 km | 80 kilometers | April 03, 2017 | website

La Ronde des Pains | 80 kilometers | April 03, 2017 | website

Morbihan

66 km | 66 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Puy-de-Dôme

52 km | 52 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Germany

Hesse

Eschollbrücker Ultra-Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Hungary

BSI Half Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 95 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Balatonfüred – Siófok | 51 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 24, 2017 | website

Italy

Lombardy

100 km di Seregno | 100 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

60 km di Seregno | 60 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Tuscany

Ultratrail delle Valli Etrusche | 50 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Malaysia

50 km | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

70 km | 70 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Mexico

50 km | 50 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Morocco

Marathon des Sables | 250 kilometers | April 07, 2017 | website

Morocco Tizi N’Trail | 120 kilometers | March 24, 2017 | website

New Zealand

Oxfam Trailwalker NZ | 100 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Norway

Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – 1 1/2 Marathon | 63 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – Ultra 100km | 100 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Poland

Beskidzka 160 Na – Long Distance | 84 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Portugal

Inatel Piódão Trail Running – 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Réunion

62 km | 62 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Spain

Andalusia

TrailRunning BRIMZ “Guzmán el Bueno” X Sierra Morena – 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Catalonia

Long Trail Barcelona | 69 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Marxa dels Castells PLUS | 81 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Oxfam Intermón Spain – Girona | 100 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Ultra Trail Barcelona | 100 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Sweden

Silva Ursvik Ultra – 75 km | 75 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Calderdale

The Calderdale Hike – Long | 36 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Cheshire West and Chester

Chester Ultra | 50 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

East Lothian

2x25K Relay | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Glasgow City

Glasgow – Edinburgh Double Marathon | 55 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Highland

2XU Jogle | 860 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Lancashire

The Canalathon 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

The Canalathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

The Canalathon 75 km | 75 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

USA

Alabama

Oak Moutain 50+ | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Alaska

White Mountains 100 | 100 miles | March 26, 2017 | website

Arizona

100 Mile | 100 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

50 Mile | 50 miles | March 26, 2017 | website

Crown King Scramble 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

California

50km | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

American River 50-mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 100 Miler | 100 miles | April 06, 2017 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50K | 50 kilometers | April 06, 2017 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50 Miler | 50 miles | April 06, 2017 | website

Nine Trails 35 Mile Endurance Run | 35 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Old Goats 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Old Goats 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Ragnar Relay So Cal | 200 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

Florida

Fort Clinch 100M | 100 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Fort Clinch 50M | 50 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Georgia

Georgia Death Race | 60 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Idaho

Pickled Feet 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Kansas

Prairie Spirit Trail 100 Mile Ultra Race | 100 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Prairie Spirit Trail 50 Mile Ultra Race | 50 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Rocking K Trail 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Maryland

50K HAT Run | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Minnesota

Zumbro 100M | 100 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

Mississippi

150 miles | 150 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

New Jersey

100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

100M Trail Race | 100 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

50M Trail Race | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

North Carolina

Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Umstead 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Ohio

Fools 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Oregon

Shotgun Trail Blast 50K | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Pennsylvania

Mt. Tammany 10 | 40 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

South Carolina

70 mile | 70 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Palmetto200 Relay | 200 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Tennessee

Ragnar Relay Tennessee | 196 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Texas

Hells Hills 50 km Endurance Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Hells Hills 50 Mile Endurance Trail Run | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Utah

100k | 100 kilometers | April 07, 2017 | website

100 Mile | 100 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

Behind the Rocks 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Behind the Rocks 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

West Virginia

Haulin’ in the Holler 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Vietnam

Ultra ASIA Race | 160 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Close

01:41:21

Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.

 

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Kilian Jornet to race in the UK at Salomon Glen Coe Skyline

“If you build it, they will come…”

I have always loved that simple quote from the movie, ‘Field of Dreams.’ I had the same thought process when I started the Skyrunner National Series in the UK. I was told, Skyrunning in the UK, don’t be silly. It’s not possible.

However, over the last three years the small but perfectly balanced series has gone from strength-to-strength. We had Stevie Kremer and Jo Meek race in year-1. In year-2, Emelie Forsberg, Jasmin Paris and wealth of other world-class talent toed the line.

And last year, the world came to Scotland for the UK’s first ever Skyrunner World Series race. This knock-on effect has seen a sell out 2017 calendar and all the races with in the UK Series personify pure Skyrunning.

The season starts with the V3K in Wales, the series then moves to the Lake District with Scaffell SkyRace and Lakes SkyUltra. Skyline Scotland follows with no-less than three World Series events – in the SKY, ULTRA and EXTREME category, the Mamores VK also joins the new VK Series. Finally we finish in Ireland with the Mourne Skyline MTR.

It’s never good to pinpoint one person, but when Kilian Jornet confirms that he will come to the UK and race in the series. That is worth shouting about!

Roll on June when the series starts – we hope you can join us in what will be the pinnacle of mountain racing in the UK!

Did I mention, he’s having a go at the BOB GRAHAM ROUND too!

Kilian marking his own Skyrunning race, TROMSO in Norway.

FIZKULTURA, Bulgaria w/ Dean Karnazes, Sean Conway and more!

Inspiration comes in many forms and ways. I have just been to Sofia, Bulgaria for Fizkultura – a one day event put together by Begach Running Club. The event is geared towards inspiring Bulgarian runners to embrace new challenges, it may be just to start running, or maybe move from marathon to ultra-running, or why not try something bold and new like creating their own running challenge.

My participation was facilitated by the Begach Running Club and the British Embassy – I was joined by ‘the beard!’ The crazy, inspiring and distinctive looking adventurer, Sean Conway

Arriving in the early hours of Friday morning, Sean and myself were working right from the off with a breakfast at the Embassy and an improvised individual presentation – good job this ‘on-the-spot’ request didn’t phase us… some years back, I’d have immediately melted into a ball of nerves; not now!

Sofia is without a doubt Eastern European in feel and architecture. There are bold, brazen and striking monuments everywhere to remind us that Russia is not far away. But I was surprised. The centre had a distinct feeling of wealth with a multitude of high-end shops, plenty of bars and a huge selection of hotels. A backdrop of impressive snow-capped mountains made me feel relaxed.

A drive to the mountains and a leisurely lunch (in an incredible restaurant) provided us all with an opportunity to bond. It’s here that I had a little more time to get to know Sean and extend my introduction to Irina Daniela from Romania who is slowly but surely inspiring Romanians to run and notably empowering women to siege their futures by foot power. Irina recently ran a sub 3h for the marathon and in doing so has shown what is possible for the women of Romania. She’s a striking person – tall (too tall for Sean and myself), great figure, long dark hair and striking features. It’s easy to see how she will inspire those around her. She’s a bundle of energy and enthusiasm but Fizkultra is her first big ‘gig’ out of her homeland. Website here.

Sean by contrast looks like a lion under a mane of ginger. He’s a small and a slight figure who brims with confidence and an accent that’s hard to work out – South African, Irish and British public school make an interesting mix that is captivating to the ear. He casually talks of his up and coming challenge of cycling ridiculous daily distances in Australia to set a new world record. He has a simple motto – to be the first or the fastest – it works for him! His list of achievements is impressive, but more on that later. Website here.

It was early evening before I finally met Dean Karnazes. Dean, aka ‘Marathon Man’ is someone who I have emailed and spoke too on many times but this is my first face-to-face. He taps me on the shoulder. I turn, he grabs my hand and pulls me in close in a tight embrace and says, ‘Ian, finally, good to see you man!’ For once I feel tall, Dean is my height and we are both taller than Sean and if Irina had not been in our presence, for once I may well have been the tallest – just! However, Dean looks incredible – he’s ripped, chiseled, has a Californian tan and he’s swearing shorts. His legs bulge with muscles and I suddenly realize that the reality of meeting Dean didn’t disappoint. This guy, for me, helped change the way the sport of ultra has grown in the last 10-years. It was his book, Confessions of an all Night Runner’ that suddenly made ‘others’ aware of the crazy sport of running long; ultra-running! Website here.

Dinner took place in ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ and we joke, discuss love, life, running and politics. Bed soon arrives for Dean, he has no idea what day or time it is. Jet lag has hit hard and he leaves early. Our trio relax with our hosts and a late-night walk back to our hotel is followed with a night-cap in the bar. I felt at home with my two new friends and like all good new friendships, 12-hours have made them both feel like lifelong friends. We laughed the night away till bed finally called.

FIZKULTURA

Dean kicked off the day 0945. Short clad, the audience welcome him with rapturous applause and he quickly goes into a 30-minute presentation that gives an overview of his running. Of course, it’s an impossible task – he has achieved so much! Despite the launch of his recent book, ‘The Road to Sparta,’ Dean takes us back on a journey to his first book as Fizkultura coincides with its release in Bulgarian. Many of you will know those early stories of taking the shoes out of the garage on his 30th birthday and then running 30-miles. His first Western States, Badwater 135 and running a marathon at the South Pole. It’s classic ‘Dean’ and the audience lap it up.

Irina power dresses and looks like an air hostess wearing a suit, shirt, scarf and ridiculous high-heels. Sean and myself refuse to stand close to her… The style of dress was important, Irina’s background was in banking and she wanted to show everyone that it has been possible to still be a business professional and a runner. “My Story’ was about dreaming, having no limits and empowering herself, other women and yes, men, to wear run shoes and find out what is possible. The story of how she achieved sub-3, one of the fastest female performances for a Romanian and how her dreams may well lead to Olympic selection.

Antoniya Grigorova, Bulgaria’s top female ultra-runner, talked about her plans, planning and training in preparation for running the longest trail in Bulgaria: Kom-Emine. A journey of 600km. A professional athlete she provided an insight into the mind, the training and the nutrition of what the journey will take.

Lunch was followed with the lion roaring. Sean was in fine form and told the story of his world’s longest triathlon with great skill and humor. He was a natural on the stage and it’s fair to say the audience loved him. His presentation was interspersed with still images and small videos that documented the journey – and what a journey! A bent bamboo bike, a Sunday roast dinner blended into liquid form for lunch, skinny dipping in an icy river and his face being stung constantly by jelly fish while swimming.

I followed Sean and what an act to follow. My talk was always going to be a visual one as I planned on taking that audience around the world with a selection of races and images from Running Beyond (here). Of course, I had to provide some context on my journey and my opening dialogue provided a glimpse on how I got to where I am today.

Boyan Petrov is a legend in Bulgaria. An Alpinist, he talked us through the training, the planning and the equipment required to climb 8000+m peaks without oxygen. He’s one of the few climbers to make 3 x 8000m peak in one year, something he has done twice. He also discussed the dream of climbing all 8000+m peaks – more people have been to space than done this!

The day concluded with Dimitrina Sivkova talking about trauma prevention and getting back in shape.

It was an incredible day of challenges, feats, adventure, goals, inspiration and living a life with barriers or restrictions. The takeaway was, ‘make dreams happen!’ Dean concluded his talk with a famous quote, it’s not new but it’s apt and it somehow summed up exactly what Fizkultura was trying to achieve:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Despite tiredness and fatigue, an evening dinner in a vegan and vegetarian restaurant provided us all with an opportunity to discuss the day – we were all motivated. We of course were reminded that the following day, Sunday, there was a race in a local park running a 600m loop and two events, a 12-hour and 6-hour race called Project 360. A small selection of runners would start at 0630 looking to log mileage and a qualifying time for Spartathlon. The main event would start at 0900 with a 6-hour event that would allow runners to do as little or as much as they required. Travel plans scuppered any

Despite tiredness and fatigue, an evening dinner in a vegan and vegetarian restaurant provided us all with an opportunity to discuss the day – we were all motivated. We of course were reminded that the following day, Sunday, there was a race in a local park running a 600m loop. A small selection of runners would start at 0630 looking to log mileage and qualifying time for Spartathlon. The main event would start at 0900 with a 6-hour event that would allow runners to do as little or as much as they required. Travel plans scuppered any participation plans for me but I went and cheered on with Irina for an hour and of course, we just had to run a loop with ‘Marathon Man!’

Watch Dean in the video HERE

I love the fact that despite jet-lag, bust days of presenting and travel, Dean rocked up to the start line and run for 6-hours. He personifies his name.

I must say, I was sad to leave Sofia, my new friends and a great, developing running community. Dean, Sean, Irina and myself were there to inspire others but we left inspired. We were each individually energized by our time in Bulgaria. Sean will be bashing out the bike miles for Australia, Irina will be looking for the speed and endurance for a fast marathon, Dean? well, Dean will just keep running and running and me; travel, photography and telling stories. I love to do that and the story of Fizkultura and Bulgaria is a special one – a personal one!

Thanks to:

A huge thanks to the British Embassy, Elenko Elenkov, Begach Running Club and the many new Bulgarian runners who hosted, entertained and looked after us – Alexander, Milen, Vladi and so many more.

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Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 Review #Peak20

Packs for a multi-day race or a running multi-day adventure were once the domain of Raidlight. Of course, other brands ventured into the arena but it was only really the arrival of WAA that made everyone start to stop, look and see what else existed.

Packs are personal.

I think a pack becomes even more personal when one requires something to be comfortable for multiple days and also when carrying 6.5kg or more.

Salomon have now extended their ‘vest design’ to the S-LAB PEAK 20 and in doing so, they will turn the head of many a runner and make them question, is this THE pack for them for their next multi-day adventure or race.

Shape, gender, size, height and so many other variables dictate if a pack is comfortable or not and this depends on you, so, when looking at this pack I try to be impartial and when possible I always try to cross reference with a female perspective. The plus of this pack is it comes in S, M, L and XL so no compromising to be made. I am 38/40 chest and I have a medium which fits perfect.

If you are heading to the mountain for an overnight adventure, I am pretty sure the Peak 20 will work for you. However, would the pack work for a race like Marathon des Sables, Grand to Grand, Everest Trail Race or one of the 4 Desert races when one is completely self-sufficient for multiple days?

Let’s look at the packs highlights:

  • 1 main compartment with a full length zip (double slider) that open up allowing easy access and organisation of what is inside.
  • Fabrics that wick and are quick drying.
  • Three sizes – S, M and L.
  • Soft trims so no chafing.
  • Sensifit is a Salomon buzz word that ultimately means it should be the Rolls Royce of bags when coming to fit and comfort.
  • Front hydration pockets x2 (designed for 500ml soft flasks).
  • Adjustable front straps for customized fit.
  • Zipper pockets – It has 2 large pockets on the front, 2 expandable pockets on the shoulder straps and 2 top zipped mesh pockets.
  • Will take a bladder.
  • Ability to carry poles or ice axes.
  • Lightweight at 484g +/-.

THE PACK

This pack will work for an overnight adventure, mountain marathon race or an adventure when an excessive mandatory kit will be required. But, the big question for many will be, can this pack work for a 6-day self-sufficient race?

In a word – Yes!

Simple reasons why:

  • Yes, it can hold 2 x 750ml of liquid at the front
  • Yes, it has 4 pockets on the front that will allow immediate access to anything you will need whilst running a stage.
  • Yes, it can hold another liter to 1.5 liters on the rear in two external pockets.
  • Yes, it can hold everything you need for 6-days self-sufficiency.

OVERVIEW

The pack has a 20L capacity (typical for Marathon des Sables and comparable with the competition from Ultimate Direction, WAA, Raidlight, OMM and others) and has one large external zip on the rear that works two ways so that you can zip down or zip up depending on preference. Once open, it’s possible to access the pack easily and arrange contents. Internally there is a small mesh panel so that you divide the large compartment in two – a good thing for maybe an overnight jaunt but not required for a multi-day adventure.

It’s light, very light! It has a vest style that echoes and follows on from the designs from Salomon’s other models.

The front of the pack has two stretch pockets for soft-flasks or bottles. On top of these pockets sitting a little lower are two large pockets with zips that hold a surprising amount. On top of the shoulder straps are two stretch zip pockets that provide additional storage.

On the sides of the vest are adjustable cords that pull the pack closer to the body or allow the pack to be looser.

On the top of the rear of the pack above the zip, is a central cord pull. Pull this and the yellow cord that wraps around the pack pulls tighter and compresses the contents. Great when the pack is full to make everything tight and secure but especially useful as the days pass when racing and the pack contents become less.

IN DETAIL

The pack tapers and as you can see from this side-view is narrow at the bottom and then opens up wider as one gets closer to the top. On both sides is an open topped stretch pocket that will take a bottle or other items.

The pack has thin blue padding that does not sit inside the pack but on the outside and underneath the mesh back. The is ingenious as it has been designed so that it can be removed.

It is held in place by small metal buckles that attach to web loops. I removed the padding and used my sleeping mat inside the pack as my padding. Ingenious – not only do you save weight but your mat doubles up as protection when running and sleeping.


The two-way external zip is great to allow access to upper items or lower items in the pack without having to un-zip the whole pack. Importantly, when un-zipped it’s easy to access the inside and arrange items. An internal mesh panel can be used to split the pack into two halves. For some this may be useful but if like me you use the sleeping mat inside, you can only have one large compartment. It’s a great space and like any pack, you will want to play around with how you pack your contents to find the correct balance. As a tip I recommend you leave your sleeping bag out when packing. Put all the contents in and then add the sleeping bag filing in all the empty spaces – you will be amazed how a lightweight down bag will compress.

The external cord the wraps around the pack is designed to be pulled tight and compress the contents. This is adjusted on the rear of the pack just above the zip.

Simply hold the buckle and pull the cord. The cords pulls tight and compresses to make the pack smaller and tight – perfect! You can make this even tighter by pulling the cords on the side and then taking up the the slack by the top adjustment. This on days 3, 4, and 5 will be just incredible at making the pack smaller and smaller as contents are used up.
On the shoulder straps, the yellow cord is also present under the two shoulder zip pockets. Pull the cord here and take up the slack and you pull the top of the pack closer to your back.

 On the sides of the pack between the bottom rear and the front lower pockets there is a yellow cord on each side – again this allows you to pull the bottom of the pack as close to your back as you require.

In a nutshell, this level of adjustment is just perfect and is the best of all packs I have tried.

 The front of the pack is classic Salomon vest design but with some differences. Fitting to the torso comes via 3 straps. Two go right to left and one goes left to right. These attach via a black plastic hooks to a yellow cord.

They can be moved up or down and they can also be made tighter or looser. In particular, this will be useful for lady runners who need to adjust the pack to fit around their chest. It’s a method that works and the on-the-go adjustment is welcome.

There are two stretch pockets that are designed for soft-flasks. This for me caused concern as I was under the impression that they would only hold 500ml. Not so! These pockets will take the Hydrapak SF750 soft-flasks and you can drink from these without the need to remove them.

Prefer straws? The Hydrapak 600ml bottles with straws will fit.

Prefer hard bottles? This is where I needed to think outside the box… OMM make very slim 500ml bottles and they fit like a glove.

Have no fears, you can carry enough water up at the front. Also, lets not forget the two external pockets. In my tests, I had 2x 500ml OMM flasks on the rear too. So, at a minimum you could carry 1litre or 2litres with 2 bottles on the rear. At a max you could carry 3litres with 1.5 up front and 1.5 at the rear.

The two pockets that sit below the bottles are a real welcome addition. They are easy to get at. They have great capacity, trust me, you need no more additional space up front, especially when one considers the two additional sip pockets on the shoulder straps. These pockets are less spacious but they will take a phone, snacks or other essentials.

 

There is an attachment system for poles that comes over the right shoulder. I personally though would probably attach to bungee cords to the front of the pack so that I can place the poles across my chest when not in use.

Fit is sweet and with all the adjusters you can really get this pack close to your torso. It fits like a piece of clothing and there are no rough edges – all the seams are soft. Salomon actually say that the pack may be worn against the skin and it will feel like apparel.

At 484g it’s light.

INITIAL SUMMARY

This pack is still under test and things such as longevity, strength, weaknesses, durability and so on have not been tested as it’s too early to say.

However, what I can say is that this is the best pack I have tested for running when the contents are heavy and I require 20L capacity.

I have long been a fan of the Ultimate Direction Fastpack as I loved its simplicity and no nonsense approach to the task of carrying many items and weight. The Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 has now become my new favourite.

It’s not without flaws – what pack is? The yellow cord compression works like a dream but it can be a little tricky to set up – it’s a small price to pay though.

The front bottle pockets almost certainly require soft-flask use or using the OMM 500ml bottles. I personally would always caution against soft-flasks for a multi-day, if they puncture, you are screwed. However, the Hydrapak soft-flasks are more durable than much of the competition and they have never let me down. The 600 or 750 versions work with the vest – perfect.

We will follow up with some action shots of the pack and an overall summary from a male and female perspective in the coming weeks, for now, this pack gets an ‘A’ for awesome.

Photo below is copyright Ricky Gates – he’s currently using a prototype Peak 20 with front pack. Interesting!


In use at Everest Trail Race, November 2016

Some comments:

Paul Wilson Used one on the spine race. It was ace. Did most of my training with an ultimate direction fast pack then seen got the Salomon pack. Which proved to be far better.

Jana Studzinska Tested on fully self supported solo running trip across Serra de Tramuntana. Can’t recommend more.

Sito Castello perfecta para la Everest Trail Race.

Robert Kampczyk Cool bag. Like it because my complete Photo Equipment can insert.

What Salomon say:

Ideal for alpine running, superlight mountaineering or fast hiking, the streamlined S-LAB Peak 20 set uses our trail running knowledge to move fast in the mountain, with stretch fit and complete stability. With convenient access to the 20L compartment, both the pack and the load are easily compressed for maximum stability under partial load. It includes front storage solutions for two 500ml soft flasks and essentials and possibility to carry poles, ice axes…

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable fit
  • Breathability

FEATURES:
Back systems
MotionFit Trail
Sensifit (pack)

Load Management
Soft Twin Link
Compression quick lace
Top and bottom sensi load lifter

Pockets & compartments
2 front soft hydration elastic pockets
2 front zipped large pockets
2 shoulder expandable pockets
2 top zipped mesh pocket

Carrying system
4D Pole holder

Opening & closure
Wide front opening with double sliders

Miscellaneous
Soft trims
Apparel sizing
Patent pending

Fabrics
PVC free
Elastic Power mesh
Fast wicking fabrics
70D Nylon Double Ripstop, Waterproof 500mm
70D Nylon Triple Ripstop – Silicone coating, Waterproof 500mm
Elastic Jersey

Pack weight (lb oz) : 17.073
Pack weight (g) : 484
Pack volume (l) : 20
Pack volume (ci) : 1220

As Hard as a Rock -Jason Schlarb on IRUN4ULTRA

Jason Schlarb is ‘the man!’ – Let’s face it, anyone who can go head-to-head with ‘KJ’ and finish alongside him at Hardrock 100 is doing something right. Jason just placed 3rd at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and while we downed one or three ‘Imperials’ we discussed what 2017 has in store.

Read the article on IRUN4ULTRA HERE

Episode 130 – Sondre Amdahl, Jason Schlarb, Anna Comet, Cherie Soria, Dan Ladermann and Jim Mann

Episode 130 of Talk Ultra brings you some audio from The Coastal Challenge with Sondre Amdahl, Jason Schlarb, Anna Comet and an in-depth chat with Cherie Soria and Dan Ladermann. We also talk with UK based fell and mountain runner, Jim Mann.

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00:18:31 NEWS

Riverbank One Day

Courtney Dewaulter ran 250km (155.3 miles) to set a new American record beating Sabrina Littles best by more than 3-miles. Dewaulter will join Katlin Nagy, Traci Falbo, Jenny Hoffman and Pam Smith in Ireland for the IAU 24-Hour Championships. – That is a seriously strong ladies team!

Transgrancanaria

What a stunning race that turned out to be a Pau Calpell and Azara Garcia show. The two respectively lead from the front to take great victories. Pau (13:21) smashing the old course record set by Didrik Hermansen who placed 3rd in this years edition. Second place went to Lithuanian, Vlaidas Zlabys (13:35) who is going to be one-to-watch this year! Although Azara won the ladies’ race (16:25), she was 1-hour slower that Caroline Chaverots 2016 time. Chaverot dropped at 30km not feeling good! Andrea Huser placed 2nd (17:150 and Melanie Rousset 3rd (17:30).

The Coastal Challenge

Anna Frost won in 27:08. Anna Comet (Spain) and Ester Alves (Portugal) were second and third in 27:58 and 28:23, respectively. Tom Owens dominated the men’s in 22:29. Chema Martinez (Spain) 23:43 and Jason Schlarb 24:34 were second and third. We caught up with Sondre Amdahl, Anna Comet and Jason Schlarb for a post TCC chat.

00:25:10 INTERVIEW with Sondre Amdahl, Anna Comet and Jason Schlarb

The Coastal Challenge images HERE

At TCC Cherie Soria and Dan Ladermann were a constant inspiration to all competitors. Niandi caught up with them and ‘Coastal’ the dog, back in our hotel in San Jose.

01:30:14 INTERVIEW with CHERIE SORIA and DAN LADERMANN

Iditarod Trail Invitational

David Johnston once again won the 350-mile journey from Knik Lake to McGrath. Conditions this year were very tough with many drops. This is Johnston’s 5th victory – he finished in 5-days, 21-hours, 43-minutes. Second was Kyle Durand… 2-days later! I am not sure if any woman finishes, results don’t show this HERE

Red Mountain 55k

Once again saw ‘one-to-watch’ Hayden Hawks take another victory in 4:15. Rachel Cieslewicz won the ladies’ race in 5:38. Results HERE for the men and HERE for the ladies.

Way to Cool 50k

Cody Reed won in 3:16 and Megan Roche in 3:52 results HERE

SkiMo

Not many race results yet, still early in the calendar but if you are missing watching some of the top runners in the world, take a look at ski mountaineering. The cross over between mountain running and skimo is growing and growing – Kilian and Emelie have long been exponents but runners like Rob Krar, Nick Elson, Mike Foote, Jason Schlarb and so on are turning to skis over the winter months. Currently the iconic Pierra Menta is happening – it’s the Hardrock (on a much bigger scale) of skimo. Read here.

RUNNING BEYOND BOOK

I will be also going to Sofia in Bulgaria on the 17th, 18th and 19th March for a trail, mountain and Skyrunning expo.

Jim Mann is a low-key highly accompolished fell and mountain runner in the UK. However, he like to keep a low-profile. Recently, Jim completed all 3 UK rounds in 1 month… in winter! On the 22nd January Jim set a new winter record for the Charlie Ramsay Round completing it in 22:23. Three weeks later (11th February) Jim completed the Paddy Buckley Round in 21:37. And then theBob Graham Round in 20:26. I had to chat with him!

02:37:17 INTERVIEW with JIM MANN

UP & COMING RACES

Canada

British Columbia

50 km | 50 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Yukon

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 120 Mile | 120 miles | March 10, 2017 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 350 Mile | 350 miles | March 10, 2017 | website

Costa Rica

51 km | 51 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

80 km | 80 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

France

Ardèche

Trail sud ardéchois | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2017 | website

Haut-Rhin

Trail du Petit Ballon | 52 kilometers | March 19, 2017 | website

Paris

80 km | 80 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Hong-Kong

Translantau 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 10, 2017 | website

Translantau 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Hungary

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 24, 2017 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 195 kilometers | March 23, 2017 | website

Italy

Veneto

Ultrabericus | 65 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Malaysia

TITI 100KM | 100 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

TITI 200KM | 200 kilometers | March 16, 2017 | website

TITI 250KM | 250 kilometers | March 17, 2017 | website

TITI 50KM | 50 kilometers | March 19, 2017 | website

Morocco

Morocco Tizi N’Trail | 120 kilometers | March 24, 2017 | website

Ultra Trail Chaouen 85K | 85 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Nepal

Kathmandu West Valley Rim 50km | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Netherlands

South Holland

50km | 50 kilometers | March 19, 2017 | website

New Zealand

50 km Mountain Run | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Northburn Station 100 km Mountain Run | 100 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Triple Peaks Challenge | 50 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Nicaragua

SURVIVAL RUN NICARAGUA | 80 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Norway

70K | 70 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Philippines

All Women Ultra-Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

TRD80 Ultramarathon | 80 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Réunion

Caldeira Trail | 74 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

South Africa

100 Mile Trail Run | 100 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

44 km Trail Run | 44 miles | March 12, 2017 | website

76 km Trail Run | 76 kilometers | March 12, 2017 | website

Spain

Catalonia

UT les Fonts | 120 kilometers | March 10, 2017 | website

UT les Fonts – Trail de les Fonts | 70 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Taiwan

100 km | 100 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

120 km | 120 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

60 km | 60 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Turkey

85 km | 85 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Aberdeen City

D33 Ultra | 33 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

Andhra Pradesh

Red Rose Ultra | 40 miles | March 19, 2017 | website

Bradford

Haworth Hobble | 32 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

Dorset

Jurassic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | March 17, 2017 | website

East Sussex

Coastal Trail Series – Sussex – Ultra | 34 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

Highland

2XU Jogle | 860 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

North Yorkshire

Hardmoors 55 Ultramarathon | 55 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

USA

Alabama

Lake Martin 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

Lake Martin 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

Arizona

50K | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

50M | 50 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

Arkansas

3 days of Syllamo | 150 kilometers | March 17, 2017 | website

California

Marin Ultra Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

Colorado

High Line Canal 100K | 100 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Florida

100K Individual | 64 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

100K Team ( 3-4 Person Teams ) | 64 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

50K Individual | 32 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

Cross Florida Route 40 Romp | 116 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

Cross Florida Route 40 Romp – 2 Person Relay | 116 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

Idaho

Pickled Feet 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Kentucky

50 mile run | 50 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

60k | 60 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Mississippi

Spring Equinox 50K | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Spring Equinox 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

Nevada

50K | 50 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

50M | 50 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

Vegas Moonlight Ultra 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

North Carolina

Badwater Cape Fear 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Badwater Cape Fear 51.4 Mile | 51 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

North Dakota

Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience 100K | 100 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience 50K | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Pennsylvania

Lt. J. C. Stone 50K UltraMarathon | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

South Carolina

Palmetto200 Relay | 200 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Tennessee

Music City Trail Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Ragnar Relay Tennessee | 196 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Texas

100k | 100 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Prickly Pear 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2017 | website

The Grasslands 50-Mile | 50 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

Utah

Antelope Island 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 17, 2017 | website

Antelope Island 50K | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

Antelope Island 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 18, 2017 | website

Vermont

PEAK Snowshoe 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | March 10, 2017 | website

Virginia

50K | 50 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

50 mile | 50 miles | March 11, 2017 | website

Elizabeth’s Furnace Fat Ass 50K | 50 kilometers | March 11, 2017 | website

Washington

Chuckanut 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 18, 2017 | website

03:18:10 Close

03:23:30

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Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.

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INOV-8 Shoe Review X-TALON 225

‘What shoe shall I use for a muddy race or run?’

It’s a question I get asked a great deal and my answer is always the same –Have you considered inov-8?’

inov-8 has been making shoes for muddy conditions for over 10-years and as such they are my ‘go-to’ brand when I need something to handle ‘off-trail’ conditions such as fell, mountain, open fields, mountain terrain and so on.

I photograph, test and run in many many shoes and no shoes come close to handling thick, sloppy and unpredictable mud like inov-8.

A firm favourite is the Mudclaw 300 which has a 6mm drop. You can read a review from 2016 HERE.

In the last 12-months, inov-8 has tweaked its line of shoes once again and the popular Race Ultra has now become the Trail Talon (one of my favourite trail shoes for dry conditions HERE) and we have the X-Claw 275 (HERE) which is a favourite for me when I want to mix up good trails with mud and rock for longer duration, the 275 version with wider toe box and 8mm drop is perfect.

The X-Talon shoe has been around for sometime as an inov-8 classic and certainly the 212 (6mm drop) is a shoe that I have used time and time again. HERE 

Usually, I prefer 6-8mm drop shoes, however, if I am just running in soft mud, a lower drop of 4mm or 3mm is usually fine and providing I am not running for too long it is preferable as I feel lower to the ground and more connected.

The 225 is a 4mm drop shoe with a 3mm footbed and a stack of 19.5mm at the heel and 15.5mm at the forefoot. The lugs are the same as the Mudclaw 300 with 8mm depth. 

It’s easy to see from the off that the X-Talon 225 is designed for a more efficient runner and having switched between the Mudclaw 300 and the X-Talon 225 the main differences come with a touch more cushioning in the Mudclaw, otherwise, both shoes feel very similar as they have ‘precision’ fit, same lug depth, similar lacing and a similar feel when running. Obviously, the X-Talon is 25% lighter and that does feel different! 

Running off-trail in muddy and sloppy conditions requires control and precision, therefore, the X-Talon 225 is a precision fit shoe. You need your foot to feel controlled and yes, maybe a little tight in the shoe. This is what gives you the control and the security to let yourself go. The only time you would compromise on this precision feel is if you were running for hour upon hour or running a very long race where the fit may cause an issue. Therefore, I see the X-Talon as a perfect shoe for up to say marathon distance – it does depend on the runner?

They are feather light. You pick them up and you know straight away they will be a delight to wear. They are simple and no fuss. Good bumper around the toe with a reinforced section. The upper is durable, lightweight and designed to be breathable and protective. The tongue is lightweight and the laces almost feel inadequate but they really pull the shoe tight and give a wonderful secure feeling around the middle of the foot to offer that security and control that is so essential when running in the sloppy and unpredictable terrain that mountains or fells give us. The heel box is classic inov-8 and wraps around providing a comfortable and secure hold with no rubbing. 

The X-Talon is ultimately what is on the bottom of the shoe and as the name suggests, you have a plethora of 8mm talons to provide maximal grip. The compound is DUAL-C as seen in other inov-8 shoes and this works well in transitioning from mud to rock without a compromise on grip. The configuration is designed to shed mud and debris, however, I have yet to find a shoe that when it’s really muddy sheds the mud as I run. Certainly, transitioning from muddy terrain to harder, firmer or dry trail and the mud falls away quickly.

Another key feature is META-FLEX which allows the shoe to bend just in the correct place to facilitate the propulsive phase. One of the tings I love about inov-8 shoes is this really does work! It’s not some name jargon that doesn’t mean anything.

IN USE

My daily trail run requires me to run a 1-mile of road to the trail and 1-mile home. The X-Talon handles this well and just for kicks, try it yourself – you will here the outsole grip to the pavement and road. It’s quite a feeling! Of course, you want to keep road use to a minimum in a shoe like this – the outsole won’t thank you for rubbing it against such an abrasive surface. Ideally, this is a shoe that you will put on just before you start to run. Rest assured though, the shoe gives a wonderful feeling on hard pack. How wonderful depends on you, your efficiency and your need for cushioning. If you are looking for a shoe that can handle some road, some hardback trail, rocks and some mud – I recommend the X-Claw.

I mix between shoes with a wider toe box such as the Trail Talon and X-Claw and can quite happily use a shoe with a more precision or tighter toe box such as the Roclite, Mudclaw or the X-Talon, so, the precision fit is not a problem for me.

I prefer a higher drop shoe of 6-8mm but the 225 with 4mm felt really great on soft and muddy trails – I didn’t really notice the lower drop and the lightness/ flexibility is a real pleasure.

The shoes are really comfortable and secure. The heel box really grips and the lacing really holds the foot secure. I had no movement or sloppiness.

Toe protection is good. I’ve had a few toe collisions with rocks and had not problems. The 3mm footbed and 15.5/19.5 cushioning is certainly on the minimal side and when running on rocky, dry or stony trails I could certainly feel the ground beneath me. Again, this comes down to choosing a shoe that is fit for purpose and fit for the duration you are running. Again, need more shoe? Look at the Mudclaw 300 or X-Claw 275.

Grip is awesome and few shoes in the marketplace can compare to the grip offered by the 8mm lugs. The compound also works great when transitions from mud to rock – a real winner.

SUMMARY

If you need a low drop, lightweight shoe with loads of grip and a precision fit, look no further than the X-Talon 225. This shoe has very little not to like and actually the negatives for some are what make this shoe great:

  • Low drop
  • Light
  • Minimal
  • Deep lugs

If all of the above is ‘too’ minimal for you, look at the Mudclaw 300 and if you need a higher drop (8mm), a little more toe width, good lugs but not as aggressive and more cushioning, you can’t go wrong with the X-Claw 275. If I was only going to have one pair of shoes for trail, mud and rock then I would go for the X-Claw. However, if I can pick and choose and use shoes shoes like weapons, the X-Talon 225 would be fast and light shoes for racing a fast and furious fell race, Skyrunning race or even a VK.

SPECS

  • Fit
  • Precision
  • Drop
  • 4mm
  • Footbed
  • 3mm
  • Lug Depth
  • 8mm
  • Midsole
  • Injected EVA
  • Midsole Stack
  • Heel 19.5mm / Forefoot 15.5mm
  • Shank
  • DFB™
  • Product Weight
  • 225g / 7.9oz

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Osprey DURO Running Pack Review

iancorless-com_lanza2017-04399

Born in ’74’, the Californian brand of Osprey has long provided a great example of innovation in backpack design. For me, Osprey packs have personified quality, great build, longevity. They offer an ‘All Mighty Guarantee’ and they will always prefer to repair products rather than replace them. Currently when waste is commonplace, this is a great USP!

From adventure treks, holidays, commuting, cycling, skiing snowboarding and summiting mountains, Osprey can be seen around the world. For 2017, Osprey will launch DURO – a series of products aimed at runners.

 

Three packs, DURO 15, DURO 6 and DURO 1.5 are available in s/m and m/l with two colour options, electric black and silver squall.

druro-belt

DURO SOLO BELT (here)

druro-handheld

and the DURO HANDHELD (here)

In addition, there will be 500ml and 250ml soft Flasks and a series of bladders that will work along the Osprey line of products.

We received the DURO 15, DURO 1.5 and the DURO HANDHELD in January and have been fortunate to test and try the products in multiple locations and scenarios. Day-to-day running in the UK, a 10-day training camp in Lanzarote and working and racing in Costa Rica at the multi-day The Coastal Challenge.

iancorless-com_lanza2017-03619

REVIEW

 

Let’s be clear, launching any running pack in a saturated market is brave. There is no shortage of choice out there, so, any new product really does need to offer something new and different, or, it needs to offer what is available in other products but it needs to do it better!

osprey15_4

The DURO 15 is rich on features and comes in two sizes, S/M and M/L. On the front, the pack is classic ‘vest’ fitting with two bottle pockets occupying the left and right sides. Supplied are two 500ml soft flasks with straws that allow drinking on-the-go with no need to remove the bottles. On the left outer front is a zipper pocket that would take an iPhone 7 Plus (reference for size), cash, cards or other items. On the outside is a small open topped stretch pocket for snacks/ gels etc. The right-hand side has just the open topped stretch pocket. Fastening between the left and right sides comes from two straps with a unique fastening system that really works. Also, easy to open and close with gloves on.  There are six adjustment points for a snug fit.

osprey15_1

Unlike many vests, the DURO 15 has a waist belt which provides a zipper pocket on either side. These pockets are spacious and can hold substantial snacks or even essentials such as windproof, hat and gloves. I like this! For me, the waist belt provides added comfort and stops any swing or bounce from the rear.

osprey15_2

The rear of the pack is where all the storage comes and sitting closest to ones back is a large zippered pocket that holds a 2.5ltr bladder. Remove the bladder and you have more storage.

osprey15_5grey

The next pocket is also zippered and is small with two mesh pockets inside. This is designed for smaller items such as wallet, phone, keys, gps, camera etc. It’s not waterproof so a small dry bag would be required.

The third pocket also zippered and is the main storage area and you will have no problem adding a jacket, trousers, gloves, hat, base layer and so on. It’s roomy.

Storage doesn’t stop here. On the last zippered pocket is an open-topped stretch pocket with male/female buckles that provides a great place to add say a jacket that may be needed and then not needed. It’s not the type of pocket that can be accessed without removing the pack but it’s a great storage space and extremely flexible that adapts to the contents

Finally, on the rear right and left are two zipper pockets that can be accessed with a little dexterity without removing the pack. These are also a stretch fabric and they are very roomy.

On the outside rear is a loop for a light attachment and there are also two straps, left and right, that will allow you to pull the pack tighter and closer to your torso.

iancorless-com_lanza2017-02453

Like I said, this pack is full of features. One could say it’s an Osprey trademark but all the features come with a weight penalty. One thing is for sure, this pack will last and last and you won’t be struggling to store things… a downside may be that you can’t find them after?

IN USE

iancorless-com_tcc2017-6074

It fits like a glove. I absolutely love the feel of this pack against my body and the big difference for me is the waist belt. It just adds some additional comfort and security. It also adds two great pockets. The chest straps work a treat to get a comfortable and secure fit and the adjustment from the waist and two lower left and right side straps really allows me to get the pack close and snug. It’s a winner.

It’s possible to reach around to the rear of the pack and access the two lower zipper pockets. These pockets are ideal for food and items such as a lightweight jacket, gloves, hat, buff and so on.

The other pockets on the rear can only be accessed by removing the pack. If using a bladder, the feed pipe comes from the rear and neatly comes to the front and the mouth piece is held in place by a magnet.

This pack will take loads of kit and space is not a problem. Fully loaded, the pack is snug and secure and whilst running it’s possible to have the pack snug against the body with little or no bounce. Importantly, it’s possible to adjust how tight or how lose the pack is whilst running. This is important, as you remove contents or drink the contents of the bladder.

Padding in the pack is very good and it’s extremely comfortable against the body. In addition, bungee cords allow poles to be attached securely when not in use.

Quite simply, this is a great pack and the only downside is the weight in comparison to other brands and the reduced capacity of the two front soft flasks – it would be great if these pockets could hold 700-800ml flasks or bottles.

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Niandi on the 15L

“The 15 is a good pack for trekking, fast packing, hiking and long races such as UTMB. On first impressions, I thought it may work for a self-sufficient event or multi-stage event like MDS, sadly not, you’d need more volume – 20/25L version would be great! Also, it is not the lightest of packs but it is very durable and extremely well made, it will take years of abuse and use. Although this pack takes 500ml soft flasks, I am not convinced by the 500ml soft flasks as they are not as easy to fill as bottles and bottles can be used in camp after to hydrate. On a pack with this capacity, I would like to see 700-800ml bottles up at the front. Great chest fastening system like the 1.5ml and loads of adjustment = No bounce! I like the fact it comes in two sizes, I had the  S/M. The rear has loads of room and pockets and it would be perfect for a race like UTMB or an overnight mountain marathon. In Lanzarote, we did an overnight bivouac and I carried spare clothes, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and food and it worked well. The addition of a waist belt also helps to secure the pack against ones back and reduce any movement, it also adds 2 pockets for ‘on-the-go’ essentials around the waste – these are roomy pockets. Like the 1.5, this pack also takes a bladder and it comes supplied with a 2.5L. It’s not the lightest pack when one compares it to the competition but it’s full of features and a pack I will use time and time again.”

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The DURO 1.5 echoes many of the features of its big brother but it’s a minimal and slimmed down version that is ideal for shorter races or races where mandatory kit requirements are minimal. The front of the pack is a copy of the DRURO 15 but and this is a big but, the large pockets only take 250ml soft flasks. It is possible to replace the soft flasks with hard bottles but be warned, not all bottles will fit. I had two OMM 500ml bottles which are narrow and they worked great. Two small open stretch pockets and one zipper pocket are the same as the Duro 15.

 

This pack has no waist belt and to clarify, it doesn’t need it as the overall contents and weight is considerably less than the DURO 15. The rear has two zipper pockets, the one closest to the back will hold a bladder – ideally 1.5ltr and if you don’t use a bladder, it is the main storage space with good capacity. The second zipper pocket is small and contains a key loop – it’s ideal for a camera, phone, wallet etc.

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Lower down the pack are two open stretch pockets that can be accessed whilst wearing the pack. These are relatively small. You could get gloves and hat in one side and a windproof on the other side. Or you would use them for food and snacks.

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Two pole attachments and two adjustment straps finish off the rear along with a web loop for a rear light attachment.

Like the DRURO 15 this pack fits well, is secure, comfortable and a pleasure to wear. Space is compromised but then again, it is a 1.5L pack. If you need more space, you’d use the DRURO 6 or DRURO 15.

It’s a pack that is ideal for fast and short races where aid stations would be regular and the requirement for mandatory kit is minimal. I think it would suit Skyrunning races, fell races, trail marathons or even ultras providing aid was regular – every 10km?

Niandi on the 1.5L

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“The 1.5 was a good fit, great adjustment and the fastening system is easy to use and fast. Great for multi-day events when one is not self-sufficient and when one only needs to carry a minimum. You can put extras in the back pocket like a rain jacket, space blanket or some extra snacks. You can use it with or without a bladder Osprey 2L or 1.5L both fit. I preferred the latter as the 2L was a tight squeeze. I like the magnetic system on the drinking tube – no unnecessary flapping. The pack front pockets only fit 250ml soft flasks, this is a huge drawback for me and any other runner in my opinion. The need for 500ml minimum is essential. As things stand, one would either need very regular checkpoints to refill bottles or one would be forced to supplement with a bladder – I don’t like using bladders! I also think rigid bottles are a better option. I managed to buy 2 x 600ml plastic drinking water bottles which were slim enough to slide into the front pockets and these sat quite smugly. There are 2 little stash pockets on the front for carrying snacks and 2 stash pockets on the back too for snacks or other essential items. The ones on the back are not that easy to access while you are running, especially if you are on technical terrain. The sac is not great in terms of easy accessibility and capacity for snacks and energy bars. The back pocket is zipped too so you’d need to take it off to refill the bladder or access kit. There is a nice little zipped pocket on the left front pocket for putting a page from a road book, tissues, mobile phone or cash/ cards.”

 You can view the DURO range HERE

Duro is a range of running packs designed to carry all you need for your preferred distance, including running waistpacks, hydration vest style packs and handheld solutions.

Product images ©osprey

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Skyrunning UK announce the 2017 Skyrunner National Series

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Skyrunning UK is pleased to announce the confirmed calendar for 2017.

Following on from a very successful 2016, changes have taken place over the winter months and Skyrunning UK is now pleased to confirm races that will take place in the UK calendar for 2017.

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The season will start with the V3K taking place on June 24th. Now in its 4th year on the Skyrunning UK calendar, the race personifies what makes a great Skyrunning course – technical terrain, elevation, a challenge and amazing landscape. It’s a rugged race that requires an awareness of the mountains and the challenging Crib Goch provides exposure and lofty heights to place each and every runner in the sky! 55km and 4000m of vertical ascent provides a stunning start to the 2017 season.

Closing date for entries is June 1st. Website here

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The Lakes Sky Ultra team once again bring us the Lakes Sky Ultra and a new race, Scafell Sky Race for 2017. This duo of races take place on the 15th and 16th July and provide two incredible opportunities. The Lakes Sky Ultra is a tough, challenging and adventurous race that requires experience and vetting. Elevated ridge lines, exposure, tough, challenging and technical terrain all pale into insignificance with grade 3 scrambles. Extreme, gnarly and hardcore, it’s everything a Skyrunning race should be! 55km in length and 4500m of vertical gain.

Entries are available HERE

The Scafell Sky Race offers a 40km race and 2700m of vertical gain. It’s a challenging race that like its bigger brother offers an incredible Skyrunning experience. However, the challenge is less extreme and vetting is not required. Therefore, this race is open to all. 

Entries are available HERE

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In 2017 Skyline Scotland provided us with three events, the Mamores VK, the Ring of Steall Sky Race and the Extreme Glen Coe Skyline – the latter event was a Skyrunner World Series event. In 2018, race organisers Ourea Events add an Ultra, the Ben Nevis Ultra.  For the UK series, to have a Skyrunner World Series event in the UK was incredible – in 2017 we don’t go one step farther, but three steps. The Ring of Steall, Ben Nevis Ultra and Glen Coe Skyline will all be in the SWS calendar. The Mamores VK will be added to the new VK Series. Taking place over an action packed weekend of the 15th, 16th and 17th September, Skyline Scotland will not only provide one of the key weekends on the UK calendar but also the world calendar.

Salomon Mamores VK™

Friday 15th September 2017 – 5km / 1,000m – enter now

An incredible leg burning and lung-busting ascent from sea level to Munro summit.

Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra*new for 2017*

Saturday 16th September 2017 – ~110km / ~4,000m – enter now

Weaving through remote glens, crossing high mountain passes and embracing the superb wilderness on offer in the Scottish Highlands. Truly, this course is for the boldest all-round ultra-runners.

Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace

Saturday 16th September 2017 – 29km / 2,500m – enter now

A variation of the classic ‘Ring of Steall’ ridge-walking route, the Skyrace® has spectacular views of Ben Nevis from the Mamores and includes short sections of easy scrambling.

Salomon Glen Coe Skyline

Sunday 17th September 2017 – 55km / 4,750m – entries CLOSED for vetting

Does this race need any introduction? Pure Skyrunning that includes the most challenging Scottish mountain terrain. Scrambling/climbing experience required.

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To conclude the 2017 season will be the Mourne Skyline MTR in Ireland which takes place on October 21st. This race over the last 3-years has grown to become a favourite of all the runners who have participated in the UK series. At 35km’s it is one of the shorter races in the UK circuit, however, the Mourne Mountains pack a whopping 3370m of vertical gain. Salomon International athlete and Skyrunning World champion, Stevie Kremer, said it is one of the hardest events she has ever participated in. Don’t let that put you off though. The landscape, terrain, views and Irish hospitality make this a stunning way to close the 2017 series. Entries are available HERE (note, entries open March 17th)

In 2016, the Skyrunning UK Series was won by Bjorn Verduijn and Sarah Ridgway, they both will gain free entry into all 2017 events as part of their prize.

For 2017, the Series will take place once again but with some changes.

Points will be awarded for the top 20 men and top 10 ladies in the following races:

V3K

Lakes Sky Ultra or Scafell Sky Race

Ring of Steall or Ben Nevis Ultra or Glen Coe Skyline

Mourne Skyline MTR

The Mamores VK will not be included in the points for the UK Series.

To participate in the series, you will need to run at least three races. If you run more, your best three results count.

Points will be awarded as follows (please note, new scoring points

Ladies: 25, 22, 19, 12, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Men: 25, 22, 19, 15, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1

In addition, points will also go to the Skyrunning World Ranking. The Skyrunning World Ranking is a rolling 52-week ranking based on all the points awarded to the athletes from his/her participation in:
(i) All the Skyrunner® World Series races.
(ii) The SNS races, wherever run (best four results).
(iii) The Skyrunning World Championships.
(iiii) The Skyrunning Continental Championships.
(maximum one counting).

Points in the world ranking will be awarded to the top 30 men and top 20 women.

Skyrunning UK, the V3K, Lakes Sky Ultra team, Skyline Scotland team and Mourne Skyline MTR look forward to welcoming you all for LESS CLOUD, MORE SKY in 2017!

Fuerteventura hosts the Half Marathon Des Sables 

The race will be held from September 25-30 and it will have a maximum of 500 runners.

This morning, Fuerteventura hosted the official presentation of the Half Marathon des Sables, a spectacular stages race which will take place between the 25th and the 30th of September 2017.

The president of the Cabildo de Fuerteventura, Marcial Morales, the race’s directors, Patrick Bauer and Fernando González, and Mario Valle in behalf of Playitas Resort assisted to the act.

The legendary Marathon des Sables has been held in Morocco since 1986, and it is one of the most famous stage races all over the planet. It will now expand to Europe and America. Fuerteventura has been the selected place for it, as Marcial Morales explained: The European edition will be in the South of Fuerteventura, which gathers the required conditions for an international, self-sufficiency race as this one. This will mean an enormous boost for the island as sports destinations”.

This first edition will have a maximum of 500 runners coming from all over the World, who will be the best promoters of Fuerteventura’s beauties and its perfect conditions as a destination for this sport which has experimented such an enormous growth in the last years.

The sandy and desert-like landscapes in Fuerteventura will be essential for this kind of event. This is one of the reasons why Patrick Bauer, the race’s founder, chose this place in the Canary Islands for it.

Patrick Bauer wanted to thank the collaboration of all the administrations which will make the Half Marathon des Sables Fuerteventura possible. He described the island as wild, with a unique nature and with similar weather conditions as Morocco.

Bauer revealed that the event will take place from the 25th to the 30th of September 2017. The race will have the the same philosophy as the original one: a multi-stage event, in self-sufficiency where you fight against yourself in a desert like landscape.

The total distance will be of 120 kilometres, divided in a yet undefined number of stages. The race will have a couple of basecamps during the course, starting from the South of Fuerteventura and ending in Gran Tarajal.


All the runners who are accepted for the challenge will receive a specific WAA tent, where they will be able to sleep during the race, as well as some carbon hiking poles.

Bauer wanted the presence of Arista Eventos in the direction of this prestigious multi-stage event. Thus, Fernando González and David Déniz, managers of the company in charge of races such as Transgrancanaria HG or Haría Extreme Lanzarote, were both present in the presentation. Amongst other tasks, Arista will handle the logistics of this massive event. To learn about the philosophy of the race, they will assist to Morocco in April to live the African event.


Mario Valle, in behalf of Playitas Resort, was also in the presentation as they will also collaborate with the event. “We’ve been promoting the sports and high quality tourism, and that is why we will support the celebration of the Half Marathon des Sables in Fuerteventura, in collaboration with the Cabildo de Fuerteventura with the only goal of having a successful event”, he stated.