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 234 – Jasmin Paris and a #BM100 Special

Episode 234 of Talk Ultra is a #BM100 Barkley Marathon Special with an in-depth interview with Jasmin Paris.

The 2023 Barkley Marathon concluded with three finishers, Aurélien Sanchez completing 5-loops in 58:23:12, John Kelly in 58:42:23, and Karel Sabbe becoming the ‘slowest’ finisher in 59:53:33.

John Kelly is only the third person to complete the Barkley Marathon more than once, Jared Campbell who participated in the 2023 event (who did not finish) is a three-time finisher.

For the women, Jasmin Paris became only the second woman ever to start loop 4 and the first woman to complete loop-4, albeit out of time.

Jasmin at the 2025 Dragons Back Race which she won and placed 2nd overall.

On this weeks show, we speak in-depth about her past, her 2022 Barkley Marathon experience and of course, her 2023 record breaking run.

The interview with Jasmin starts at 00:16:30

You can listen to the show on ANCHOR by Spotify HERE

Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB HERE

Tweet us on Twitter – Talk Ultra on Twitter HERE

Instagram – HERE

And use good old word mouth.

Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein. We are also on Spotify too.

Our web page at www.iancorless.com has all our links and back catalogue.

Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patreon at www.patreon.com/talkultra 

THE SHOW

Spotify HERE

ITunes HERE

Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE

Website – talkultra.com

Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX Spike Review

©iancorless

Hoka Speedgoat and the ‘5’ incarnation is arguably one of, if not THE most popular trail running shoe ever. No matter what race, what conditions, you will see countless Speedgoat shoes.

With maximal cushioning, great fitting upper, the option of different widths and an excellent Vibram outsole, it’s easy to understand why they are so popular, especially in the ultra world!

For me personally, I find the stack height just too high, especially on technical and challenging terrain; the risk of an ankle roll is too high! However, on single-track, the benefits are there if cushioning is your thing? For me, give me a Zinal or Torrent 2!

Living in Norway, once November arrives (sometimes earlier), pretty much all my runs require a specific winter shoe that has studs to maximise grip on ice. Until a few years ago, the choice was limited with unsurprisingly, Scandinavian companies such as VJ Sport and Icebug leading the way.

Now though, options from Asics, La Sportiva, Salomon, Salming, inov-8 and others are available, it only shows how the growth of running is booming and how the ‘need’ to run all-year makes it worthwhile for brands to produce a very specific shoe, that by its nature, has a limited market.

©iancorless

Therefore, the addition of a Hoka Speedgoat 5 with spikes is a welcome addition to the market. Certainly, adapting the Speedgoat makes sense, it is Hoka’s most popular trail shoe, so, it will certainly be popular in this version for those who need a specific shoe.

To my knowledge, this version of the Hoka is the *first (?) maximal cushioned shoe with winter spikes on the market, this alone will fill a hole in the market. It’s a welcome addition.

WINTER RUNNING

I have written many articles on winter running, read HERE. However, for clarity, I will provide a quick summary.

Not all winter running is the same and most certainly, conditions vary considerably.

  1. Icy roads and pavement – A spiked shoe with cushioning is perfect. The outsole can be less aggressive.
  2. Icy trails – A spiked shoe with an aggressive outsole is best.
  3. Snow and Ice – A shoe that is used for icy trails works, however, sometimes the addition of Gore-Tex is welcome and in deeper snow, a boot that comes higher over the ankle is recommended.
  4. Snow/ Ice in mountain terrain – We now crossover into alpinism and a more specific shoe is required and depending on conditions, a more specific crampon. This can be a light micro-crampon such as Nortec or a specific mountain crampon.

Needless to say, the Hoka falls in to categories 1 and 2 and depending on conditions, may be applicable for point 3. It is most definitely not a point 4 shoe.

In theory, when you run on ice, your run gait should not change, but it does. For the spikes to work you firstly, need to trust that they will do the job! Secondly, you need as many spikes as possible in the ice to provide grip. So, when running on the flat, you are looking to land mid-foot as much as possible, so, all those spikes, 12 in this case, can grip. Going uphill you will use the front of the shoe, the Hoka has 8 spikes. Downhill you will use the rear (4 on the Hoka) but if very slippery, you may well find that you try to land with a flat foot. Being ‘light’ on your feet is not a benefit on ice, you need to strike the ground, stick those spikes in and then move on; this is often why ice running is more tiring.

IN USE

Road

©iancorless

With the above clarified in regard to usage, for me personally, I found the Speedgoat working really well on hard road and trails. The cushioning is welcome; ice running is always hard on the body. There is a great feel for the conditions, bounce and the propulsive phase is very good and the 12  tungsten carbide spikes work exceptionally well. The placement with 4 at the rear and 8 at the front. Notably, 2 are at the very front, perfect when going uphill! Importantly, ice defrosts and often you can find sections with no ice and just road and/ or trail. Many spiked shoes can feel harsh here, but the Speedgoat works well due to the additional cushioning.

Trail

©iancorless

On some and groomed trail with ice, the feelings and sensations are the same as road. Great feel, good cushioning, and solid grip.

On technical trails, rocks, roots, hard and rutted ice, I find the stack height too high and the shoe becomes unstable. I found myself rolling left or right and for me, it’s a potential ankle sprain waiting to happen.

Snow

©iancorless

In soft-snow with ice underneath, they work well, but, a lower cushioned shoe works better. After all, the snow cushions anyway, so, the extra shoe cushioning is not required. Once through the snow, the grip is good. It can be hit and miss though, but that is down to conditions and not the shoe. Ultimately, once the snow is deeper, the need for a more aggressive crampon or micro-crampon will be required, and then, you are looking at another shoe.

In very soft-snow I would be using a boot with spikes or the addition of a crampon/ micro-crampon.

THE SHOE

©iancorless

A neutral shoe with a balanced feel and 4mm drop, the Speedgoat 5 is a great feeling shoe, albeit, a little on the heavier side – particularly for a Hoka. Listed weight is 349g.

©iancorless
©iancorless

This incarnation is basically a Speedgoat 5 GTX with the addition of 12 tungsten carbide spikes to provide grip in wintry conditions, particularly ice. The spikes are set with 5mm lugs of Vbram MegaGrip.

©iancorless

An EVA midsole, sock-liner fit, rubber toe protection and Gore-Tex mesh upper; this shoe is most definitely one to look at if you are in need of a specific winter shoe with extra cushioning.

©iancorless

Listed as a trail shoe (which of course it is,) it works exceptionally well on the road too. This shoe is all about providing grip on ice, so, it makes no difference if that ice is on road or trail.

©iancorless

The Gore-Tex upper will of course cause debate, some hate Gore-Tex in a shoe, others love it. Ultimately it works really well if one is considerate of conditions and one uses common sense. Quite simply, use a merino sock when wearing the shoe, this makes a huge difference. Accept that Gore-Tex will only keep feet warm and dry IF you do not go in anything that is deeper than the shoe… Once you are in anything that reaches the ankle, be that snow or water, it can enter the top of the shoe and therefore impact on the foot inside the shoe. If conditions are like this, you probably need to move a run boot (such as the La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX) or think about using a shoe without Gore-Tex. Merino socks are a must though, they retain warmth, even when wet. I have used the Speedgoat 5 in a Norwegian winter, temperatures have reached -20 and ice levels have been high. The Gore-Tex has worked perfectly in keeping my feet warm, especially when wind-chill has been high. The Gore-Tex supplies a combination of  waterproofing and breathability, it’s hard to stay perfectly dry, but water does stay on the outside. Perspiration can and does escape from the inside; keeping sweat to a minimum, but that is where merino socks step in. When fresh soft-snow came, I used different shoes so as to ensure I had maximum protection from the elements.

©iancorless
©iancorless

The additional cushioning (29mm/33mm) and bounce has been welcome on harder trails but on technical trails, less so, the risk of ankle roll is too high (for me.) They do keep feet comfortable and supported, maybe even more than the other Speedgoat models. Propulsion is also good through the run gait.

©iancorless

The wider platform is a hugh benefit in snow and ice as is a wider toe box. The more outsole on the ground, the better the grip. Talking of grip, the spikes are held in Vibram MegaGrip which is tried and tested.

©iancorless

It has excellent rubber compound, 5mm logs with zonal multi-directional rubber placement, so, when you need the shoe to hold on, they do. Obviously, the 12 tungsten carbide spikes add the icing on the outsole and even when there is no ice, these spikes offer stunning grip on trail – ask any orienteer!

©iancorless

Everything about the Hoka works really well, they are comfortable, spacious, great foot-hold, medium heel hold and toe protection is superb.

CONCLUSION

©iancorless

Winter shoes are very specific and if you only run on ice a few times a year, the additional expense is probably not worth it. Get some micro-crampons and use them on your favourite trail shoes.

However, if like me, pretty much every run for weeks and months involves ice, a specific spiked shoe is a must. The feel for the ground is so much better than any ‘add-on.’ Usual caveats as in points above, 3 and 4 need consideration.

The Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX with spikes brings something new to the market, I have many spiked shoes, this one is the first with ‘more’ cushioning. For many, it will be a god send! The shoe performs great, and if you are already a Hoka user, you will love the Speedgoat.

For me though, this shoe has it’s place and uses, I have enjoyed road runs with ice, I have enjoyed non-technical trail runs with ice BUT anything technical and/ or with additional snow, I have used another shoe. It’s a me thing!

The Speedgoat 5 GTX with spikes is ideal for any runner looking for a robust, winter trail running shoe with comfort. They have great grip on frozen terrain and come recommended.

*As a footnote, I have become aware of the Icebug Arcus which may well be worth consideration if cushioning is your thing. And, this shoe has 13 studs.

My recommendations? The Asics Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX is still the shoe to beat for ice and winter running. The La Sportiva Blizzard GTX (think point 3 above) is an amazing winter boot with studs and when conditions need something more, the La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX or Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G are perfect for snow and adding a micro-crampon. 

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Scarpa RIBELLE RUN KALIBRA G Review

©iancorless

Winter 2022 and 2023 has witnessed a surge in specific shoes to handle challenging terrain. I recently reviewed the La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX and now the SCARPA RIBELLE RUN KALIBRA G.

©iancorless

Both these shoes are very specific for demanding winter, mixed terrain and extreme condition runners, especially when it is muddy, cold, wet, snowing or a combination of all four.

Both shoes offer greater protection and enhanced reliability in harsh environments.

Built around the very popular and well received Ribelle Run shoe, the Kalibra G has a full gaiter and BOA® Fit System closure.

©iancorless

There are many similarities to the La Sportiva and it’s hard to write this review without constantly referencing the Cyklon Cross GTX as a comparison. Ultimately, if you are after a specific shoe like this, these are the two you will look at!

©iancorless

On first looks, they both offer great outsoles for harsh conditions, all weather protection and the BOA closure.

However, there are differences:

  • The gaiter comes higher on the Scarpa and the zip wraps-around in contrast to offering a more straight closure on the La Sportiva. There is also a velcro cuff at the top to add enhanced tightness/ closure.
  • The toe box is wider offering more toe splay.
  • There is extra cushioning offering a more plush and bouncy ride.
  • The BOA system offers a wrap-around the foot with increased foot hold and security.
  • The drop is lower at 4mm with 20.5mm at the front and  24.5mm at the rear.
  • The upper includes Polartec® Windbloc® for additional warmth.

Subtle differences but they are significant and certainly offer a choice.

THE SHOE

©iancorless

Blue and black, the Scarpa is a great looking shoe and when on the foot they immediately scream that they are a shoe that means business. Scarpa say that the shoe is ideal in summer or winter, however, like the La Sportiva, as much as I would like to use a shoe like this all-year around, they will just be too hot for summer! My feet have actually sweated in -4 degree walks in snow while using the Scarpa.

It’s a technical shoe for soft-ground, snow and mountain adventures. Like the La Sportiva, I had hoped for spikes, but alas no! Unlike the La Sportiva, there is no real option to ‘add’ spikes, so, in ice, you’ll need to use a micro crampon.

©iancorless

Fit is superb. They are true to size and maybe a touch on the larger side, but that is okay for a winter shoe as you will use thicker socks. I strongly recommend a higher sock that comes well above the ankle and is ideally made from merino wool. The Scarpa comes up high!

Lacing in both the La Sportiva and Scarpa is superb and here, the ability to adjust tightness is done from the outside, so, there is no need to open the gaiter once running. Micro adjustment is ‘on-the-go,’ via the L2 BOA – perfect for a winter shoe and yes, you can keep gloves on. The lacing, even though similar, is different. Scarpa use a Wrap360 Lace System which really does hold the foot without pressure points.

©iancorless

The upper of the Ribelle Run is light and breathable with mesh, TPU and a microfiber structure. It’s wrapped in a Polartec® Windbloc® polyurethane membrane that offers protection and warmth. Closure is via a waterproof zip and velcro cuff and of course the shoe is tightened via the BOA once the gaiter is zipped and closed. It all works perfectlty. In contrast to the La Sportiva, there is additional fabric that offers some space and expansion, whereas the La Sportiva is snug, secure and sleek.

©iancorless

The outsole is Scrapa’s own PRESA® TRN-04 which has been specifically designed for challenging terrain. The lugs are 5mm in contrast to 7mm on the La Sportiva and quite simply, the La Sportiva wins on grip. Scarpa say that the SUPERGUM W runner will grip ice and snow – no! They work in snow great, but not ice. Studs work on ice and that applies for the La Sportiva too.

IN USE

©iancorless

Great looks and great fit. The Scarpa is a pleasure to wear on the trail irrespective of conditions and with or without a micro-crampon. Warmth is excellent and resistance to water is superb. I had dry feet on every run. A ´WINTHERM` layer provides excellent breathability and insulates the feet from the cold. It also is designed to reflect heat in summer… They are NOT for summer! They are a very warm shoe!

©iancorless

It’s difficult to say how far I could run in this shoe, it’s comfortable and adequately cushioned with a constant feel for the ground. There is more room than the La Sportiva and certainly feel like an ‘all-day’ shoe. If running in mud, soft-ground and snow, you could keep going and going as the ground adds to the cushioning. On harsh, hard and rocky terrain, I still had plenty of comfort. Within the midsole is a Dynamic Stabiliser Torsion frame made of TPU. This enhances rear foot stability by wrapping under the arch, it also brings torsion control.

The grip is excellent on a multitude of terrain but in contrast to the La Sportiva, not as secure or convincing. The shoe takes a micro-crampon perfectly. I used the Camp Ice Master in really challenging conditions and the lighter/ faster Nortec Trail when conditions required. Run feel is great BUT it is never as good as a specific studded shoe. However, if fresh snow, you don’t notice any difference.

It’s a solid shoe with loads of protection. They are bulletproof and surprisingly light considering how well made they are! 384g for an EU44.5.

The inner shoe is supportive and secure (it’s excellent), and a thick gusseted tongue protects. Heel area is also great. They are supremely comfortable.

©iancorless

Toe protection is superb.

CONCLUSION

The Scarpa is a superb shoe that does the business in harsh, winter and tough conditions. They are so good, they make a great mountain shoe at any time of year. Even if they will be too warm in spring and summer. There are so many positives that it’s hard to find any negatives, however, in comparison to the La Sportiva, the outsole is not as aggressive. By contrast though, the Scarpa has more toe space, arguably a better foot-hold (but both are excellent) and more cushioning. It’s all down to personal preferences and in reality, you would need to try the La Sportiva against the Scarpa and make a decision. Both put a smile on my face and I am happy I can switch between the two! I have no problem using either shoe and during winter I have alternated between the two. If I had to make a choice, I’d struggle. The La Sportiva is great on faster runs, the Scarpa a great all-day shoe. You decide what you need!

©iancorless

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Episode 233 – COURTNEY DAUWALTER

Episode 233 of Talk Ultra – YES we are back! With Speedgoat Karl co-hosting and an in-depth interview with Courtney Dauwalter.

It has been a long time, and we can only apologise. Life, family and extensive travel had an impact on available time and while it’s always possible to ‘find some time’ somewhere, the podcast had to be sidelined for the beginning of 2023.

Lanzarote Training Camp, Oman Desert Marathon, The Coastal Challenge, Black Canyon Ultra, a photoshoot for adidas and lastly Transgrancanaria, it was a hectic start to ’23!’

  • Lanzarote Training Camp HERE
  • Oman Desert Marathon HERE
  • The Coastal Challenge HERE
  • Transgrancanaria HERE

But hey, no better way to return than with an in-depth interview with the Queen of Trail, Courtney Dauwalter.

©iancorless

Courtney just recently won Transgrancanaria with a course record and sub 15-hour performance, once again placing in the top-10 overall.

The interview with Courtney starts at 00:21:00

You can listen to the show on ANCHOR by Spotify HERE

Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB HERE

Tweet us on Twitter – Talk Ultra on Twitter HERE

Instagram – HERE

And use good old word mouth.

Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein. We are also on Spotify too.

Our web page at www.iancorless.com has all our links and back catalogue.

Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patreon at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us.

THE SHOW

Spotify HERE

ITunes HERE

Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE

Website – talkultra.com

La Sportiva CYKLON CROSS GTX Review

©iancorless

The La Sportiva Cyklon with BOA® Fit System was a revelation on its release and without a doubt, it has been a perfect shoe for mountain adventures in challenging terrain. On first impressions, the Cyklon could almost have been mistaken for a lightweight boot due to the built in sock-liner which comes higher up the leg, to ankle height which has two purposes: 1. It keeps out debris from entering the shoe. 2. It provides additional support.

The CYKLON is a unique shoe in that it almost occupied its own category, a crossover between mountain running shoe and boot. IT excelled in challenging terrain with incredible foot hold, protection and a great outsole. Standout features were the sock-like fit in conjunction with the BOA/ Dynamic Cage which provided me with arguably one of the most secure footholds I have experienced.

Now, La Sportiva have stepped up the game with the recent release of the Cyklon Cross GTX. Living in Norway, this has been one of my ‘go-to’ shoe throughout the winter months when snow and ice have been my ‘normal’ running conditions.

©iancorless

In simple terms and for ease of clarification, imagine a Cyklon shoe wrapped in a water-repellent gaiter designed to keep snow, mud, ice, water, and other unwanted elements away from the foot.

©iancorless

Add an external zip allowing ease of access and a BOA® Fit System to ‘dial’ how tight or loose the fit of the shoe is, and an aggressive grip made from FriXion® White you have arguably, one of ‘the’ ultimate off-road/ mountain shoes when conditions are harsh.

©iancorless
©iancorless

My first impressions were one of disappointment, why were there no metal studs on the outsole as La Sportiva have on the Blizzard GTX (here)? Of course, I understood why, you really limit the market and the use of the shoe with studs, but here in Norway, you ‘always’ need spikes from November through to March and even April.

However, having messaged Jono Wyatt at La Sportiva asking the above question, his reply was as I expected, “We need to appeal to a larger market to make the shoe viable, but this outsole is designed to be used with AT Grip spikes to enhance grip on snowy and icy terrain.”

Problem solved – the AT Grip HERE is a multi-purpose, adjustable spike, it can be added to the sole quickly, guaranteeing maximum safety and grip on any type of terrain and under any conditions.

So, with my personal ‘needs’ covered re the spikes, I decided NOT to add the AT spikes and try the shoes in a multitude of terrain and as and when required, add micro-spikes (Nortec HERE for example) for ice conditions. Micro-spikes do provide more grip than studs, but the running experience is not as good as a specific winter stud shoe.

THE SHOE

©iancorless

If you used the Cyklon, you are going to love the Cyklon Cross GTX. For me, it takes everything I loved about the original Cyklon and adds a level of refinement that makes this incarnation a pleasure to wear.

Notably, the BOA® Fit System is in a different place to the original Cyklon and now it is clear of the ankle – a problem area for some.

©iancorless

Sliding your foot into the boot and it immediately feels like wearing a pair of gloves, without the BOA® Fit System adjusted, they already feel snug. Engage the BOA and twist and the foot is held snug with the option to micro-adjust tighter (or looser) based on personal needs or conditions. Then pull up the zip. The whole foot and well above the ankle is enclosed in a wonderfully snug Gore-Tex protection against the elements. The plus being that shoe adjustment can be done, ‘on-the-go’ with gloves on at any time while out on a run. Perfect!

©iancorless

Comfort level is extremely high. In all honesty, it’s a game changer for winter conditions. I do recommend using a higher sock that extends beyond the top of the shoe, it increases comfort. I also recommend that you use merino.

©iancorless

Many will say that there is no need for Gore-Tex in a running shoe. And usually, I would agree, especially for a shoe when water can enter below the ankle. Here though, the Cyklon Cross GTX comes much higher with a tight enclosure. It really does reduce what ‘can’ enter the shoe, and, in 3-months of winter running not once have my feet been wet. But go in water (deep) that extends beyond the top of the shoe and yes, water will enter, albeit much slower than any other shoe I have used. For clarity, I have run on many frozen ponds and puddles recently, often breaking through the ice to enter the water below, still no wet feet!

©iancorless

The grip is excellent on rock, mud, trees and all trail conditions, especially soft snow. Add micro-spikes for ice and you have a perfect ice shoe, albeit not as comfortable as a specific ice shoe, but on many occasions, I have gladly used this boot as an alternative, especially when encountering fresh snow with ice underneath, the boot offers more warmth and comfort.

©iancorless

Feel for the ground is superb. They are cushioned but not too much. They combine comfort and excellent proprioception so that you feel at one with the terrain and always in control. Propulsive phase is superb and all-around comfort is magnificent. The Cyklon Cross GTX feels so good that I’d love to use them beyond the winter months, they would make excellent mountain shoes for all-year BUT I fear, they will be too warm in late spring and summer.

©iancorless

The toe bumper is robust and amazingly protective.

Despite the obvious appeals for winter and mountain running, the Cyklon Cross GTX is ideally placed for ‘fast-and-light’ alpinism when a normal shoe just wouldn’t cut it, think of Monte Rosa Skymarathon as a prime example.

A neutral fit I suggest you size up. I find that with La Sportiva I always need to do this; I am usually an EU 44 (UK9.5) but with La Sportiva I am in EU 45. Weight of an EU 45 is 382g which is quite incredible for a shoe with such solid build. Drop is 8mm.

Looks are awesome – the classic La Sportiva yellow/ black is stunning.

CONCLUSION

The La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX gets a 9.5/10 from me. Why not 10? Well, I’d love to see them ‘with’ a winter spike, but I fully understand why a spike is not standard. At least La Sportiva have thought of this with an appropriate outsole and the option of AT spikes.

Amazing foothold, amazing grip, warm, durable and dare I say, bullet proof. This is a shoe that makes me smile and want to run in harsh, cold, and tough conditions. BOA is the perfect fit system here and arguably it’s a best-case scenario allowing the user to adjust the shoe when running, especially when wearing gloves on.

The ride is predictably stable, firm, protective and suitable for any terrain and they excel in mud and snow. Ground feel is superb with adequate comfort.

They look awesome and surprisingly streamlined. When zipped up, they fit snug, some would even say tight, which only adds to the secure and warm feeling.

They are not cheap at 260 euros, but this is a specific bespoke shoe and if used as intended, they will last year-on-year for many winters.

Quite simply, one of the best, (if not the best) winter shoes I have ever used !

©iancorless

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Trail Menorca – Camí de Cavalls 2023 Countdown

©iancorless

Located in the Mediterranean Sea, the Balearic Island of Menorca has long been a more low-key holiday location, in contrast to its immediate neighbours of Ibiza and Mallorca. With an area on just 700 km square, Menorca is a small island full of endless beaches, pine trees, turquoise water, rugged coastline, and a winding network of trails. Mahon is the capital and Ciutadella de Menorca is the second largest centre on the opposite side of the island, both filled with narrow streets and wonderful architecture. There is a great deal to love and appreciate in Menorca.

©iancorless

With a highest elevation point of 358m (Monte Torro), Menorca is essentially flat. However, if you journey around the coastline, you soon realise that the rollercoaster of trails that continually take you up and down make a circumnavigation of the island, a challenge.

©iancorless

Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (1993) the island is a paradise for botanists, especially in spring when meadows are carpeted with wildflowers. Calm, peaceful, rest and relaxation, Menorca is, without doubt, not the party destination as associated with its nearest rivals. Culture, gastronomy, local products and produce, places of interest, Menorca is waiting to be explored.

Many ask, what is the best way to see the island of Menorca? The immediate answer, is nearly always, rent a car and go explore…

©iancorless

Ask a trail runner, and the answer is clear, ‘Enter Trail Menorca!’

Trail Menorca, created 10-years ago utilizes the ‘Camí De Cavalls’ GR223 route to journey around the island either in entirety (185km,) or in sections broken down as 100km, 85km, 58km, 45km, and 27km. North or south, Menorca has a great deal to offer, there is no better way to explore than by running or walking this hidden gem of the Mediterranean. As the race says, 7 adventures, 1 legend.

©iancorless

The Camí de Cavalls (way of the horses) according to some sources goes back to the 14th century. Named after the ‘Cavalleries’ (knights) who were charged with defending the perimeter of the island from invading forces – pirates! The 360-degree route that weaves around the island with watch towers and trenches randomly located for protection; both still in existence to this day were created by the British who marked the path to defend against the constant sieges of invaders.

©iancorless

In the 1990’s, after long and lengthy protests, much of the Camí de Cavalls which had been closed for decades, was once again made accessible. Finally, some of the most pristine landscape and coastline of the Mediterranean was once again available to be explored. With 185kms of marked trail, 130 bays and coves, desert like beaches, dense woodland, rugged, harsh and rocky terrain, the GR223 became a reason to journey to Menorca for an active holiday. For many, the journey takes at least one week to complete the circular route, while 10-14 days is more normal. Off limits to cars, a journey must be undertaken on foot, by bike or horse; or maybe a combination of all 3!

©iancorless

However, in May every year, Trail Menorca provides the opportunity to experience the Camí de Cavalls over a stunning weekend of racing. Breaking the island down in to north and south sections, runners can decide a distance and direction. The north being more rugged, exposed, and rough. The south more groomed, tranquil, and picturesque with the turquoise Mediterranean as a backdrop.

©iancorless

The 185km route (TMCdC) starts in Ciutadella and travels clockwise providing a full, immersive and difficult 360-degree journey. The other routes all conclude in Ciutadella but start in different areas of the island and then either travel clockwise or anti-clockwise to return to the finish.

The TMCN 100km starts at 0100am in Maó and travels north winding through rugged coastline of exposed and harsh terrain.

The TMCS 85km starts in Es Castell and weaves its way through the full length of the south coast and its incredible coves and beaches.

The PTCN 58km starts in Fornells and concludes in Ciutadella taking in the final sections of the TMCN route.

The PTCS 45km starts in Es Migjorn Gran and arguably provides the most beautiful and picturesque journey of the whole GR233 route.

Finally, the STCN 26km, which starts in La Vall provides an entry level distance travelling the final section (or opening sections, depending on direction) of the GR233. Enough to whet the appetite to return the following year and take on a longer distance.

©iancorless

The beauty of Trail Menorca is that you can quite easily race year-on-year and never have the same race experience as it is possible to run north or south sections over multiple distances. Perfect for those who consider the full 185km route a step too far!

Menorca may not have high mountains, but what it does have is unique and special. There is an incredible beauty and calm in Menorca. Racing is just one attraction, the opportunity to chill, relax, recuperate, and enjoy the islands gastronomy post-race makes this Balearic gem an essential to-do list location.

©iancorless

JOIN THE 2023 EVENT

Race website HERE

The 2023 edition is already close, but it is not too late to join Trail Menorca!

‘Trail Menorca Camí de Cavalls is an opportunity to discover what is hidden on this wonderful island, jewel of the Mediterranean, beyond its fantastic beaches. Running on tarmac, road, track, rocks, forest trails and depending on the race and distance, experience a night illuminated by stars. Come and immerse yourself in the beauty of Menorca.’

©iancorless

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Transgrancanaria 2023 Summary

Courtney Dauwalter #goat ©iancorless

Transgrancanaria, year-on-year, the race continues to grow and expand and in 2023, once again, a new level has been reached! For ’23,’ Instead of gathering all races in one weekend, this edition was extended to five days. Overall, more than 3,600 runners from more than 60 different nationalities took part in any of the eight races, the most important change for 2023 was to increase the number of race days to five. Shorter races, were moved to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning including the KV El Gigante, Starter, Promo, Youth, Family, a non-competitive kids race and the marathon.

Epic landscape ©iancorless

The ‘Classic’ and ‘Marathon’ races were broadcast, worldwide, with more than 17 hours of live streaming. In total, 16 cameras offered full coverage during the two days of broadcasting with English and Spanish ‘live’ commentary. In addition, journalists, photographers and related media provided global exposure of one of ‘the’ key trail running events in the world.

Transgrancanaria, at the sharp edge of trail running ©iancorless

Transgrancanaria is part of the Spartan Trail World Championship circuit and four races of the TGC week are awarded with ITRA points. As a result, this recognition translated into better prizes for the winners. The Spartan Trail World Championship has awarded $30,000 to the top three finishers of Transgrancanaria 2023.

Gemma Arenas on her way to victory in the Advanced race ©iancorless

A CLASSIC EDITION

From the short and sharp KV to the long and arduous Classic, Transgrancanaria has something for all. However, the pinnacle race of the week is the 128km ‘Classic’ with 7060m of vertical gain. All who toe the line to undertake the challenge are heroes, however, in 2023 a special mention must go to the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) Courtney Dauwalter who not only placed 7th overall on GC but ran under 15 hours to stop the clock in 14:40:39. Courtney, over the years, has slowly but surely ticked off victories in the worlds biggest ultras and in the process, along with course records, has set a new level in this crazy sport of ultra running. Now she has a Transgrancanaria course record to add to the list.

©iancorless

Canada’s Jasmine Lowther and Catalonia’s Claudia Tremps placed 2nd and 3rd, for perspective, they were almost 2-hours behind the trailblazing ‘Court!’ One has to ask the question, what is next for this amazing athlete.

Claudia Tremps 3rd place ©iancorless

In the men’s category, Andreu Simón was the fastest of all in 13:29:33 with an impressive run from the front, his victory never looked in question. A previous winner in Transgrancanari,, 2020 and 2021 in the Marathon distance.

Andreu Simón on his way to victory ©iancorless

Miguel Arsénio from Portugal and Tyler Green (America) completed the podium, 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Tyler Green ©iancorless

OTHER RESULTS

George Foster and Azara García won the Advanced, while the Marathon went to Kenyan Robert Pkemoi, and Catalan Nuria Gil. Poland’s Bart Przedwojewski did a double win with Starter and KV El Gigante, while Switzerland’s Rea Iseli won Starter women’s category. Poland’s Katarzyna Solińska joined her countryman Przedwojewski as winner of the KV El Gigante.

France’s Enzo Rati and Italy’s Cecilia Basso Promo finished on top of the podium in the Promo category. In the Youth category, a French double win for Camille Cucherousset and Lili Perignon.

Magical Gran Canaria ©iancorless

CLASSIFICATION

Classic 128 Km

General Men

  • Andreu Simón (SPA) 13:29:33
  • Miguel Arsénio (POR) 13:44:37
  • Tyler Green (USA) 14:06:46

General Women

  • Courtney Dauwalter (USA) 14:40:39
  • Jazmine Lowther (CAN) 16:26:41
  • Claudia Tremps (SPA) 16:33:34

Advanced 84 Km

General Men

  • George Foster (GBR) 08:29:14
  • Alexander Hutter (AUT) 08:45:15
  • Tom Joly (GBR) 08:49:19

General Women

  • Azara García de los Salmones (SPA)09:45:54
  • Johanna Antila (FIN) 09:55:48
  • Giulia Vinco (ITA) 10:20:38

Marathon 45 Km

General Men

  • Robert Pkemoi (KEN) 03:25:30
  • Roberto Delorenzi (SWI) 03:33:20
  • Juho Ylinen (FIN) 03:34:19

General Women

  • Nuria Gil (SPA) 04:08:00
  • Johanna Amström (SWE) 04:18:11
  • Gemma Arenas (SPA) 04:21:32

Starter 24 Km

General Men

  • Bart Przedwojewski (POL) 02:02:48.500
  • Alex García (SPA) 02:02:48.940
  • Christopher Richards (GBR) 02:04:50

General Women

  • Rea Iseli (SWI) 02:35:33
  • Mireia Pons (SPA) 02:40:54
  • Noemie Vachon (FRA) 02:44:04

Promo

General Men

  • Enzo Rati (FRA) 00:59:47
  • Wilson Cardoso (CPV) 01:00:34
  • Damián Ramis (SPA) 01:02:56

General Women

  • Cecilia Basso (ITA) 01:09:13
  • Ainara Uribarri (SPA) 01:11:51
  • Saida Martín (SPA) 01:30:59

Youth

General Men

  • Camille Cucherousset (FRA) 00:58:12
  • Javier Moreno (SPA) 01:07:06
  • Jiri Vemola (CZE) 01:44:00

General Women

  • Lili Perignon (FRA) 01:53:18
  • Sohvi Vapaaoksa (FIN) 01:56:10
  • Noelia Santana (SPA) 02:26:31

KV El Gigante

General Men

  • Bart Przedwojewski (POL) 00:39:46
  • Yoel de Paz (SPA) 00:40:12
  • Henri Aymonod (ITA) 00:40:47

General Women

  • Katarzyna Solińska (POL) 00:50:32
  • Marie Dessart (BEL) 00:51:18
  • Sophie Horrocks (GBR) 00:57:07
Past winner, Pau Capell missed the podium this year ©iancorless

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

The Coastal Challenge 2023 #TCC2023 – Stage 6

The women’s podium, Katie Schide, Paolo Herrera and Tomomi Bitoh ©iancorless

The 2023 The Coastal Challenge concluded today in Bahiá Drake on the north side of the Osa Peninsula located on the coast of southwestern Costa Rica.

Party time on the trail ©iancorless

In many respects, the 2023 race concluded in regards to general classification after stage 5 when Didrik Hermansen opened up a 20-minute gap over race leader, Mathieu Blanchard.

©iancorless

It was clear as day 6 started that there would be no racing, instead a victory loop with friends.

Mathieu leading through Naguala waterfall ©iancorless

For the women, the same applied, Katie Schide ran conservatively enjoying the day. Tomomi Bitoh ran in 2nd place and Paolo Herrera took it easy finishing in 3rd with a 2nd place on GC confirmed.

Katie on the home straight to the finish ©iancorless

Stage 6 is a highlight of TCC with a loop that manages to encapsulate a little of everything that has gone before in the previous five stages. Gravel roads, river running, waterfall crossings, water crossing, beaches, rocks, coasteering and of course, heat and humidity.

©iancorless

It was a day to run slower, with friends, enjoy the views and get ready to relax and recover.

Tomomi 3rd place ©iancorless

As with all races, there was plenty of emotion at the finish line, tears, joy and relief.

©iancorless

Now it’s time to relax, hang up the run shoes and enjoy some down time. Next year is the 20th edition of TCC, already the plans are being made for a special edition.

©iancorless

Classification: (times to follow)

  • Didrik Hermansen
  • Mathieu Blanchard
  • Dani Jung

  • Katie Schide
  • Paolo Herrera
  • Tomomi Bitoh
©iancorless

#tcc2023

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thecoastalchallenge

Instagram @thecoastalchallenge

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

The Coastal Challenge 2023 #TCC2023 – Stage 5

Didrik Hermansen ©iancorless

Crossing the Sierpe river at dawn with a new sun welcoming the day, stage 5 of TCC is always a key day due to large amounts of gravel road, a technical and steep descent, the iconic estuary crossing and the heat and humidity that punishes the runner’s when they leave the shade.

©iancorless

Of course, all the talk was about Mathieu Blanchard and Didrik Hermansen, we and they knew it was going to be a key day. The writing was on the wall when Didrik offered Mathieu his hand before the start, it was a clear statement of let the best man win.

©iancorless

In the early stages the duo were matched but it didn’t take long before Mathieu dropped back on one of the early climbs. As the race progressed, this gap opened and at first it was difficult to ascertain if this was a tactic by Mathieu?

©iancorless

At CP2 the gap was 3-minutes, at CP3 it was 6-minutes. Didrik was pushing hard and looking relaxed and in control.

©iancorless

Mathieu by contrast seemed to be off his normal relaxed look. The toll of 4 hard stage was taking its toll and it was clear to see.

©iancorless

Didrik came to the estuary crossing, 4km to go. He jumped on the boat, crossed and pushed for the line.

©iancorless

It was over 20-minutes later when Mathieu arrived. It’s fair to say, the 2023 TCC was decided today. Didrik’s effort, pace and consistency has been text book stage racing.

“After yesterday, I would not have been happy with 2nd. So the plan was to push the pace. Mathieu was having a bad day and he let me go early. I pushed and kept it steady. I opened a gap and more, and more minutes. It was motivating. I had considered taking it easy and saving something for stage 6, but, if Mathieu was having a bad day, I decided to push and get more time. It’s not over, we still have a day to go.” – Didrik Hermansen

Mathieu joking before the start ©iancorless

“Yes a tough day. But last night I had already decided to go easier. Yesterday I witnessed Didrik push the downhill at an incredible pace. I little bit mad maybe? But for me, it’s February, I have a long season and I can’t risk it all here in Costa Rica. Today we had another downhill like yesterday, he took many minutes again and it’s just not possible for me to get that time back when he runs so well. I came here for an adventure and fun, I didn’t expect these first 4-days and such a pace. I am very happy.” – Mathieu Blanchard

©iancorless

For the women, Katie Schide had a controlled and relaxed day. Her lead is far in advance of 2nd and 3rd and still she was able to take another stage win.

Paolo Herrera ©iancorless

Behind, Tomomi Bitoh started strong leading Paolo Herrera. But as the day passed they switched places and although close together at the end, it was another solid 2nd for Paolo.

©iancorless

Tomorrow, the final stage at 35.7km and with 875m+ is to all intents and purposes a victory loop, if you can call running 35.7km a victory loop. With GC places decided, I don’t anticipate a charge from Mathieu, so, let’s expect a Pura Vida loop of enjoyment.

©iancorless

Stage Reasults:

  • Didrik Hermansen 3:59:38
  • Mathieu Blanchard 4:22:14
  • Dani Jung 4:55:02

  • Katie Schide 5:22:47
  • Paolo Herrera 5:55:55
  • Tomomi Bitoh 6:02:26
©iancorless

#tcc2023

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thecoastalchallenge

Instagram @thecoastalchallenge

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

The Coastal Challenge 2023 #TCC2023 – Stage 4

Head-to-head, Mathieu and Didrik ©iancorless

Stage 4 of The Coastal Challenge and today, the runner’s move away from the coast and climb high on the relentlessly rolling terrain that is backed by the Talamanca range.

©iancorless

Steep climbs, steep descents and technical terrain. It’s a tough stage, especially when you add heat and humidity.

Mathieu Blanchard ©iancorless

Today, was an anticipated key stage for Mathieu Blanchard and Didrik Hermansen, the duo have been closely matched each day and despite Didrik’s best efforts, Mathieu has come 1st each day.

©iancorless

The duo today once again went head-to-head, it’s stunning to watch and also exhausting. The pace is unbelievable and between them it’s impossible to tell who is the most tired.

©iancorless

At each point along the route they were never more than meters apart but for those watching, and knowing the course, the crux would come at the end of the day with a very steep and technical descent to the line.

©iancorless

Didrik threw caution to the wind and attacked. The gap opened and opened and he crossed the line in 4:39:23.

The clock ticked, 1-minute, 2-minutes and Mathieu crossed in 4:42:23, exactly a 3-minute gap. Wow! Seriously exciting racing and then the calculations, had Mathieu held the overall on GC?

Yes, 16:48:32 for Mathieu and 16:49:16 for Didrik. Before stage 4, the 19th edition of the TCC was witnessing an epic race, now stages 5 and 6 are going to be epic. Who’s your money on?

©iancorless

Dani Jung once again placed 3rd looking relaxed despite a sleepless night. He had questioned wether to start, gladly he did.

“I had to do something, I felt during the days I was better than him on the downhill and I was willing to take the risk, I couldn’t believe I would take 3-minutes… It’s a real fun battle, we are neck-and-neck, we are so similar in strength. It’s fun, it’s cool. Nice to finally take a stage. I feel as though I could have pushed harder. I wanted to win and obviously reduce the gap. I am prepared to fight and compete, if I come 2nd so be it, but I will fight!” – Didrik Hermansen

By contrast, Mathieu looked relaxed post-race and he was candid with his thoughts.

“Didrik went down the last decent like a mad man. It was steep, technical with many potential problems.  I have a long season ahead and I wasn’t prepared to risk everything here. I feel good, so, let’s see what happens.”

Katie Scide ©iancorless

For the women, Katie Schide was a long way clear of any other competition and looked relaxed on the trail. Victory in the 2023 The Coastal Challenge is hers to lose, so, she just needs to run smart over the next two days.

Tomomi Bitoh 2nd on the stage ©iancorless

Tomomi Bitoh today ran strong and finished 2nd ahead of 2nd on GC, Paolo Herrera. The gap between the two only 6-minutes.

With no ocean and beaches, today was a contrast of farms, farmland, animals and epic rural vistas. It felt like ‘real’ Costa Rica.

©iancorless
©iancorless

Tomorrow stage 5 with 40.6km and 1670m+.

Stage Results:

  • Didrik Hermansen 4:39:33
  • Mathieu Blanchard 4:42:23
  • Dani Jung 5:15:57

  • Katie Schide – 6:11:08
  • Tomomi Bitoh – 6:40:10
  • Paolo Herrera – 6:46:11

#tcc2023

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thecoastalchallenge

Instagram @thecoastalchallenge

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com