Adam Campbell – A Rock And A Hard Place

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On August 30th 2016, Adam Campbell was attempting a big traverse that had never been completed in a single push before in Rogers Pass, BC. Adam was accompanied by two partners, Nick Elson and Dakota Jones. They were fairly early on in the journey, going up relatively moderate terrain (class 3/4). Adam followed Nick and Dakota up a route matching their steps and actions, Adam pulled on a rock that the previous two climbers had used. This giant rock came loose, broke and away and Adam fell. He tumbled backwards, summersaulting and rag dolling over 200 feet (70-80 meters) down a serious of ledges and sharp rocks.

Adam ended up breaking his back, several vertebrae, breaking his hip, breaking his ankle, damaging his wrists, shoulders and knees and had severe lacerations across my body. His helmet was shattered and has cracks across all of it,  It still has blood and hair caked into it. Without it he would have suffered severe head trauma, instead, he just had stitches and a mild concussion.

Adam is alive, not paralyzed and is here to tell his story.

All images ©adamcampbell
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Ian: Adam I’m pleased to say is on the road to recovery after a horrendous accident several months ago, and he’s here to talk to me about the incident and maybe about some lessons that we can all learn from spending time in the mountains. Adam, first of all, it’s a great pleasure for you to be here, and I put the emphasis on ‘here!’

Adam: Yes, that’s entirely true. And first of all thanks, it’s great to chat to you, it’s been a while. But I’m really, really lucky, I came very close to having a very different outcome which could have meant paralysis or very, very close to death as well, so I am very lucky to be here speaking to you in the literal sense.

Ian: Yes, absolutely. This is the sort of interview that I don’t want to do, but I’m pleased that you’re here for me to do it. There’s a slight irony in that but you know what I mean.

Adam: For sure, but at the same time, I think it’s important to have these conversations because there are lessons learned and I think after an accident, to a certain degree, I’m a bit of a survivor now and I think talking about it now, analysing it, is really important for my recovery and also hopefully help some other people avoid some of the things that I could have done differently perhaps to avoid ending up in the situation I did.

Ian: It was an awkward one for me because I didn’t know whether to reach out to you and ask you for an interview, because we know each other but that doesn’t really mean a lot in a situation like this because it can be a very fragile thing to talk about, and I sort of, was a little bit plus or minus in the way that I worded the email to you. I’m really pleased to say that you came back because you realize that there are lessons to be learnt for everybody. Let me go back a little bit because if I remember rightly I think the last time that we did an interview together was when you got hit by lightning at Hard Rock.

[laughs]

Adam: Yes, the Hard Rock incident was definitely the first major mountain incident that I had, that one luckily there was no lasting repercussions. Aaron who I was with at the time, he was my pacer at Hard Rock, he came out and visited me in hospital a couple of months ago and I saw him at the weekend. We’re still, really, really good friends and that incident was a little bit different than this one because the outcome was fine, so maybe I don’t analyse it as much, because I walked away from it.

Ian: I think there was an element of, although many of us realized the seriousness of the incident, there was a real comedy element to it and I don’t wish to undermine what happened but it almost became folklore, “Oh, Adam Campbell got hit by lightning”, and of course when Hard Rock came around this year everybody was commenting, “I wonder who’ll get hit by lightning?”, or, “I wonder if there’ll be that sort of incident.” It’s good to see humour in things, but also we do need to be aware of the real life dangers, and we’ll come onto real life dangers but I just wonder, before we talk in depth about your incident, before you went to the mountains on this trip, and I know that you’ve always respected the mountains and the environment but do you think in hindsight you respected them enough?

Adam: Yes, I’d say I would because I have a few friends who had some very, very serious accidents in the mountains and they include losing their life in there, so I think I do have a real respect for it, but I think sometimes you understand the power of the mountain, and the unpredictable nature of them, but I think you understand that in an intellectual level but until you actually experience it in a real tangible way, I’m not sure if the lessons strike quite as deeply, if that makes sense.

I’ve done quite a lot of avalanche courses and, you spend a lot of time talking about these things and reading up on internet sites. If you’re just reading about them and analysing them from a distance they don’t strike you in quite the same way, I don’t think. Although, I’d say, I respected them on a theoretical level, there’s times I’ve been scared up there because you do understand the risk. I think it’s when you’ve actually seen the powers and unpredictable nature of mountains, it’s very hard to fully, fully respect them.

Ian: That makes sense, complete sense. Let’s first of all just provide a little bit of perspective but I think it’s good to just give a little summary. You were going climbing with Nick Elson and Dakota Jones, and you were going to… well, you were on a single push before Rogers Pass in British Columbia. Just give us an insight into what type of climbing terrain this is. What was the purpose of the day out?

Adam: We were tackling something call the Horseshoe Traverse, which in essence, you’re covering 14 different peaks in Rogers Pass. Rogers Pass is a really beautiful area in Canada and it’s basically the birthplace of mountaineering in Canada, so it’s got a lot of history to it, although Canadian history is not nearly as old as it is in a lot of other places, it’s still a very wild and rugged place with very few people that actually visit it, despite it being somewhat touristy. The specific terrain that we are moving over though is 4th to 5th class terrain, so nothing extremely wild, so we were looking to solo everything.

We did have a couple of ropes with us if we had to repel off some of the backside of mountains as we were down coming, or if the conditions changes drastically on us, but we were looking to solo everything. There was nothing in there that was really at our limit, it was something that was well within our capability of doing. Nobody had done this traverse in a single push before, previous parties had done it, but only a handful of people had done it, and it had taken three or four days, so maybe our initial arrogance was looking to do it in a day but looking at the terrain and the distance and the vertical gain, we figured it was possible to do it in under 24 hours but it was going to be pretty close to that 24-hour mark.

It does involve glacier crossings and some rather complex terrain which slows you down quite a bit.

Ian: To give perspective to this, bearing in mind my audience are runners not climbers, but admittedly heavily influence by Skyrunning and by the adventures of runners like Kilian Jornet, where running ventures into this new area, this sport, that is called Alpine Running. Where does what you were doing fit into this? Was it a run with some climbing, or was it very much climbing with some running?

Adam: It was very much climbing with some running. It was more of a mountaineering outing than anything else.

Ian: Okay, so from a perspective of our audience, you needed to be a competent climber, rather than a competent runner.

Adam: Yes, absolutely yes. There’s a trail that approaches the first peak, and there’s a trail that get you home at the end, so in the 24 hours, or however long it’s going to take us, we probably would have been on trail for all of half an hour.

Ian: Right, okay, okay.

Adam: Very much climbing yes, and I’m not sure how much the audience know about Nick Elson, for instance, but Nick Elson is an incredibly competent mountaineer. He just broke the long-standing Teton Grand Traverse record, which is owned by Rolando Garibotti which is the best known alpinists in Patagonia, and he’s not very, very well-known outside of North America but I would argue that he’s probably the best person in North America at the moment, he’s light and fast, mountain objectives.

He’s incredibly fast, he beat Mike Foote at the Squamish 50 last year by quite a bit which instantly means you’re a very, very competent runner. He finished second at the mountain marathon in Alaska, basically going the same time as Kilian went last year on that course so to give you an idea of his competence level, and he’s also an assistant rock guide, and is a very, very good rock climber. He’s done a lot of things in the coast mountains, he just doesn’t advertise himself at all. Obviously, Dakota needs to introduction with his resume for the audience here.

Ian: Adam if you can be objective on this is, how much does your experience and Dakota’s experience in the mountains as mountaineers compare to say, somebody like Nick or Kilian? I’m just trying to draw a parallel, so the audience can understand your abilities.

Adam: Yes, I know for sure. Dakota, I believe has climbed for quite a long time since he was a teenager. Where he lives in Colorado, very mountainous type of terrain. I think he’s got quite a good history of mountaineering. I did mountaineering for probably the last five years at a pretty decent level, but not Nick and Dakota’s level – they have been doing it their whole lives. I have been moving more and more towards doing these mountain objectives. I was fortunate this summer to get out quite a bit with some of the top guys in the world really. Will Gadd for example, who is one of the best ice climbers in the world. I’ve had some really, really good mentors. Definitely, I would say of the party of three, I was the weak link for sure.

Ian: In terms of what you were doing here, obviously, it was challenging and that’s part of the reason why you’re doing it, and that’s part of the attraction. But in advance of going into it I’m sure the three of you sat down, talked about it. Talked about the speed that you needed to go. Talked about the ability level. Talked about where the difficult sections would be. Did you feel calm, controlled, and relaxed by what lay ahead?

Adam: Absolutely, yes. There’s no single part of it that was outside of our comfort zone. I’ve done several parts of the route myself in individual blocks. I just never linked them together before. I proposed the route to Nick Elson originally. Nick was super keen on it, because he enjoys doing these sorts of big pushes. It’s a challenge. No single part of it is difficult. It’s just linking it all together and try do it fast is where you can add complexity that way. Dakota just happened to be around that weekend, he was spending some time at the Canadian Rockies. When we found that out, we invited him along and he was super keen to come.

Ian: You mentioned earlier about faster and light. Obviously, what you were doing here was going to be a fast and light exercise, because if you’re going to cover that amount of ground, that amount of climbing, you can’t be pulled down and dragged down by lots of equipment. You need to be moving at a pace that will allow you to cover the distance within the safe time. How do you decide how light to go on something like this? What does light look like to the audience?

Adam: We are fortunate that we have some of the top end gear, and top end gear often can be really light. We looked at the route and what the objective dangers are, and what the terrain is like. It’s fortunate that we have got guide books for these things, so you can read what the guide books say. I know a lot of people who live in that area, so I could get some information from them. I’ve actually had some other friends who’ve attempted this traverse before and so we can get some route data from them. I also had done sections of it earlier this year, so I had some first-hand information as well. It gives you a sense of what you need.

From there, we met up in the camp grounds the night before the race. Sorry, not the race… the effort. We just put our gear out and had a look. What we had was crampons – a really lightweight aluminium crampon which just attach on our running shoes for the glacier crossings. We had two sections of 30-meter rope. Our rope was more like a rappel cord. It’s just six millimetres, really lightweight. I was using the Petzl glacier rope. We split that up between two runners. We had a few pieces of gear with us, so just a couple of knots in hand.

In case we had to build a belay anchor or a rappel anchor from, and then we had a couple of slings as well so that we get through over rocks the same thing if we had to do an emergency escape. I also had a small emergency bivy sack with me, which is basically like this baseline kit, but it’s an inflated baseline kit. We each had lamps because of how long we’d be out, and then a light windbreaker, a down jacket because Canadian Rockies can get cold especially at the summit and the weather can roll through. A set of gloves. I don’t think any of us had pants with us, like long pants. But basically from there is more or less what you’d be required to use like UTMB.

We had a little bit of water, a little bit of food, but really not that much. We had enough to stay comfortable while you’re moving, but it would’ve gone uncomfortable to stop moving for a night.

Ian: Yes, and this is the point that I was going to come on to is the great thing about fast and light, is light is great when you’re moving fast. It’s not so great when you’re not moving fast, and you’re going to be able to tell us about what not moving was like.

Adam: For sure. I think there’s a saying in mountaineering that light and fast means “cold, tired, and hungry.”

Ian: [laughs] Yes. I think there’s a real lesson to learn here, because fast and light has become a buzz word. The skyrunning film that came out was called fast and light. I think it’s important. I always try and do a job of making people aware of actually what fast and light means. For you top guys, when you’re moving fast, it’s not really an issue. The problem is that if you fall, if you twist an ankle, if something happens and the weather turns and then you’re stuck. This is when there is a real problem with this type of manoeuvring, but you’re going to be able to provide a perspective of that later on. Let’s cut to the chase.

Let’s talk about the incident… Basically, Nick and Dakota had moved through a section of rock and you were following. There’d been no issues as they moved through, but as you moved through and grabbed hold of a section that had been perfectly safe for the previous two, it moved and came lose, and basically…

…you take over and tell us what happened.

Adam: Yes. I just want to just take one quick set back. The one other part with the light and fast is you want to make sure that you have got the weather. We’re fortunate now with all the forecasting that we have. We made sure that we had a perfect weather window to do this attempt in. We made sure that we had at least 48-hours of good weather predicted, which sort of, adds in element of safety. That means that you can go light and fast, because the weather can change but at least that was one thing that we did account for.

You do have to plan very carefully, because as you say you have very little room for error if things do go wrong. Light and fast also means having just the right equipment for the terrain and route that you’re looking to do.

Ok, back to the incident now. We were probably three and a half hours into the run, and we’re moving up towards the fourth peek on the route. We’re moving in fourth class terrains with the big court side blocks of rock. The rock in that area is normally quite solid. All the rock in the Rockies is quite good, but the rock in Rogers Pass is normally very, very solid court side blocks.

Nick and Dakota were just ahead of me, and I was rushing a little bit to move quickly. Often, you’ll check the rock to make sure that everything is stable as you’re going, but if you’re moving quickly and you’re seeing other people go through a zone, I basically pulled on this block which is maybe the size of a small refrigerator. I felt the rock start to move, and I heard it crack. At that point I knew in some way what was going to happen. As a note, we were all wearing helmets as well, because when you’re scrambling like that with people above you, you need a helmet.

The rock just pulled out on me, and I tumbled backwards down a series of ledges about 200 feet, so 70 to 80 meters. I just basically bounced and rag doll down a series of ledges. I was conscious the whole time, which was quite scary. I still have pretty vivid flashbacks of that happening. I ended up face down. I actually remember slowing down at one point. I’m thinking, “Oh my God, I’m alive. I can’t believe I’m alive.” and then starting to fall again, and then I’m like, “Oh crap, I’m dead.” It was probably saltier language than that. I ended up face down at the base of the rock edge, and all I could see was this pool of blood underneath me. But I was like, “Oh my God I’m alive.” I rolled myself over onto my back and waited for Nick and Dakota to come down.

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I can’t imagine what they were thinking right now. I’m sure they thought they were coming down to a body. But I was conscious the whole time, and yes, it was quite a horrible feeling. As I was laying there, I did a self-assessment, when I knew something was okay because I was able to push myself up onto my back, which in retrospect may not be the smartest thing to do, but you’re not really thinking that clearly at the time. I knew that I had broken my pelvis. I could feel it, and I knew I had broken my ankle, but I didn’t know what kind of internal damage I had, and I knew that there was a lot of blood around me.

Nick and Dakota came down, ran down probably within minutes of this happening. They just have to make their way down the same terrain, and when they got there, I had a locator beacon on me and reach beacon. I had it in my pack, and I also had a cell phone on me, and so I told them where the beacon was on my back pack, and they simply pressed the SOS button on that. We noticed the previous peak there was cellular service. Nick was able to run up to the previous peak with my cell phone, and was able to call Search and Rescue from there.

Dakota stayed with me and made sure I stayed calm. He took out my jacket and my emergency space blanket, and put that on me because I was starting to go in a bit of shock at this point and sort of going in and out of consciousness, and trying to stay with it, but at the same time knowing that I was in a lot of trouble. I knew that I needed help to come quickly because you never know what kind of internal damage is going on. Luckily, Search and Rescue were actually doing a training mission in the area, so within half an hour, a rescue helicopter flown by and had located us.

But then they had to fly back in to Revelstoke to go get a pilot who can longline people in, because not all pilots can longline rescuers in. They had to fly back to town which is 80 Kilometres away, get the new pilot, fly back, set the staging area. They did another flyby to assess where we were. Luckily the terrain that we were in wasn’t so technical that they could longline a rescuer in.

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I remember lying there, watching this helicopter, at the base of the glacier, as they were prepping, and I just lay there, staring at the rotor of the plane just there at the helicopter hoping to see it move because I remember they were going to come and get me. Because of where the wind blows off the glacier, they had to do two flybys, to drop the rescuers off, and then from there, they package you, or they bundle you, make sure that your spine is stable, so they put you on a spinal board. Then they flew me out, and then they flew Nick and Dakota home afterwards.

I was flown to this, it’s like a visitor centre in Rogers Pass, and from there, there was an ambulance crew waiting for me, and they worked on me for over an hour stabilizing me, and making sure that my vitals were in place before getting me in a helicopter and flying me an hour to the main hospital, to the trauma centre, where I was able to get into surgery that night, which is quite lucky.

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Ian: Wow, you’ve sort of described that with such clarity. I need to clarify here that this is only eight or nine weeks ago. It’s almost giving me goose bumps just listening to you describe it, because I’ve got the images that go with it even though I wasn’t there. It’s quite traumatic to listen to. Do you feel in a way a little bit separated from it, although, you’re fully aware of everything that went on, and your body showing the impact of what went on. But do you feel as almost an out of body experience, because you’re describing it as though you’re looking on?

Adam: Yes, I know, for sure. It definitely was. I think because if you’re going in and out of consciousness at the time, it’s mostly just the shock and blood loss. Yes, perhaps there was a little bit of out of body experience going on for sure. But at the time I was very aware of what was going on, and I was trying to stay calm the whole time, again, you know how important it is to stay calm in those situations. I think Nick and Dakota were incredible. I really couldn’t have had two better people because neither of them panicked, which is the last thing that you want in those situations. Dakota just stayed there, holding my hand, sort of stroking me or just doing whatever I needed to just to get some comfort.

I believe that when I was lying there, if I would move a little bit, I would scream on pain. But I don’t really remember that so vividly, what I do remember is the feeling of falling and this feeling of the rocks breaking against, or just say I get these flashbacks and the sound of the sound of the rocks cracking. I have a really, really vivid image of as I was stumbling, because I was stumbling backwards, like seeing the mountain range turned upside down, and thinking how strange it was to see this range upside down. Just how horrific that was.

I do remember at one-point thinking, “I’m dead, this is it. I’m gone.” But at the same time just accepting that, that was my reality. Which sounds maybe kind of morbid, but that was like I’m dead, this is it.

Ian: I guess at that point when you’re falling, we’ve all been there to really varying extents. Even if it’s just tripping over a curb on the way to the shops. You certainly go in slow motion, don’t you? You see the fall coming, you see the pavement or whatever it is getting closer, and that instantaneous thing just seems to become handfuls of seconds rather than the fraction of second that it actually is, and you do get that opportunity to sort of say “Oh, this is going to hurt.” Or in your case, “Oh my God, I’m going to die.”

The reality of when you got to hospital was, you ended up breaking your back, you had several vertebrae broke, you broke your hip, you broke your ankle, you damaged your wrists, shoulders and knees, you had lacerations all over your body, and you went  on to say that had you not been wearing a helmet, then you probably would’ve been toast, you probably wouldn’t have been here because of head trauma.

It is amazing that it is only eight or nine weeks ago because I think myself, and so many other people when we heard of this, well, the instant thoughts were, will you walk again? I’m sure that must have been going through your mind.

Adam: Hell, absolutely. I completely did. I remember being in hospital waiting to go into surgery and wondering this. It’s quite terrifying going into surgery even though, I knew I was around very confident doctors and surgeons. It’s a scary feeling not knowing what’s going to happen to me when I got out of there. Originally they told me I have punctured a lung as well, which didn’t turn out to be true. But yes, you just don’t know what is going to happen.

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My girlfriend is a doctor and she’s from the town where I was flown to, and so her mother was actually the first person to come see me in hospital. She’s called Laura, so Laura who was working in Calgary at the time, got on a flight straight out there and she actually was able to run up to me right before I went to surgery, which is quite moving to have that. When I came out of surgery my mom had flown out as well.

You’re just lying there, in quite a lot of pain and also in this really heavily drugged state because the ambulance people put me on Ketamine, which is quite a powerful narcotic.

I remember the feeling of being in a helicopter and sort of this strange drugged state and this tremendous amount of pain, and then waking up in the hospital corridors being told I was going into surgery, people asking me all these questions, you don’t really know if you can answer. It’s just, it’s so like so much sensory overload really at that point. Yes, not knowing what was going to happen to me for the rest of my life, and then not knowing… Yes, it’s quite powerful.

Ian: Yes. You had eight hours of surgery, you had pins put in your body and then unfortunately some complications arose after the operation with your digestive system basically shutting down and you had to have ongoing treatment for bowel problems, etc. That lasted 10 days and you said in your email that this was almost one of the worst bits because your body started deteriorating, you started to lose muscle mass.

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Adam: I broke my T8 to T11. That’s fine so they put pins in there, I broke my iliac crest, so the top of my hipbone sheared right off and then as they said that I had open lacerations which are actually the biggest concern to them because of infection. There’s rock fall in there, but it was down to the bone across all my hip. Which is pretty horrible and the other parts of me were sore but they weren’t as critical.

The one thing that I found after the fact, there is actually two anaesthesiologists who were working at the hospital and one of them thought that all they would work on is my hip to start and then they would come back and do my spine at a later date because it wasn’t critical. The second anaesthesiologist was like no, this person is young and healthy so we’re just going to do both now, he can handle eight hours of surgery.

Because otherwise I would have sat there in the hospital with a broken back for several days until they got back to operate on it and I understand that dilemma is a doctor because you know this is an emergency trauma centre and they likely have somebody else come in and so how much time and resources to put into helping one person. I’m really fortunate. I found out that after the fact is as always, angels are around the hospital looking out for you and giving you all this special care, so in a lot of ways I got lucky like that. I ended up having, it’s called a “stomach ileus” which means your stomach shuts down.

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That was just horrific, horrific pain. I had never experienced anything like that. The rest of me was pinned, so it was more or less stable at that point. But all my haemoglobin dropped in my body and so they also swelled up to probably like three times my normal size because your body is not able to process in the fluid. I was just sitting in this hospital room and the person across the hall from me he’d been hit by a semi-truck. The other person right beside me had been in a helicopter crash.

Ian: Oh Jeez.

Adam: – Yep, we were pretty messed up.

Ian: Sounds like a hospital ward for Vietnam or something.

Adam: Yes, it certainly is. I mean, the trauma centres really are something else.

Ian: Yes

Adam: I end up going almost 10 days without eating any food and I lost a ton of muscle mass during that time and just really had to feed in a huge way. But the same time I had swelled up quite bad, this is a bit of a funny state because I was like jello but I was losing my body. I was just cannibalizing through the whole process which is pretty wild. Then I was finally allowed to start eating it made me violently ill after 10-days because I ate too much right off the bat, so I ended up having to reintroduce food very slowly back into my system.

Ian: At what point did they allow you to leave the hospital and go home?

Adam: I left the hospital two weeks later but ended up staying for a few days in this town Kamloops for a couple of days then. It was quite amazing actually. The one thing I need to say is, despite this being a horrific accident, my family is spread out around the world, my father lives in Nigeria, my brother lives in Thailand and they flew out to come see me. My mother and my father are estranged like they haven’t really spoken much in the last 10 to 15 years. Because of that they were brought together, by the end of the trip they were going out for dinners together and talking and were hugging. That was very powerful and my girlfriend and I were able to connect in this like incredibly special way.

It’s quite incredible how trauma and tragedy can actually bring people very close together. I also have a lot of my friends from Vancouver who drove six hours to come see me. Which was also incredibly special to have these people come. Even my boss from work, happened to be in Kamloops, he came and saw me in the hospital. You have this really strong community of people around you which was really, really help get the recovery process.

Ian: It’s so good to be able to see those positives out of something that is potentially so negative. You have mentioned in other places about how that process has been, something that you’ve been able to look on. It’s something that you can be really thankful for, there’s a real positive to come out of something so bad. Also, it’s made you made you face maybe your position within the world and within your life and look at your own vulnerabilities?

Adam: Absolutely. It also just made me question a lot of other my approach to things because as athletes we can also all be very selfish with our time and maybe not spend an extra bit of time calling family here. Just some day to day life, you kind of pretend you get too busy to do it. But it’s not, it’s just a bit of an excuse and you realize how important family is in those circumstances and even friends too. But how you just taking a few extra seconds to call somebody can make a really, really big difference in their life. What really struck home for me is, one of the person who was hit by a truck beside me, the entire time I was there never had a single visitor.

I just couldn’t imagine how lonely that would be and how terrified I would have been if I didn’t have that love and support around me. It really, really adds to the healing process.

Ian: Wow.

Adam: For sure

Ian: Well I mean, we’re speaking now, as I said it’s 8 or 9 weeks after the incident and you know, I’m happily, happily, say I’m amazed at the speed of your recovery and I know when I say recovery it’s an ongoing process but you’ve said or your doctors have said that they believe that your recovery will be a complete one. Is that still the situation Adam? Does it look as though everything is going to be really, really good?

Adam: Yes. It does. It seems to be. I mean, yesterday I went ski trailing for the first time which I can’t believe…  I already been back up the mountain. My girlfriend and I went out and did a few laps up in the Rockies and we had some deep powder smell which is incredible. Obviously, my ankle still gives me a lot of grief, I have a lot of soft tissue damage in there and still have some bone fragments there, my hip is incredibly tight, like I’ve got a lot of limited range of motion and if I do too much in a day my body does let me know but I was water running within a two and a half weeks…

Ian: No way.

Adam: Yes. By water running I was like moving slowly in the water but it was slowly starting to come back and just doing anything to get my range in motion back. Doing yoga, doing some strength training and like, physio multiple times a week. The one thing I’m really lucky at is my work has been really understanding and I haven’t had any real pressure to come back to work. I am going back eventually, I’m doing a little bit of work for them but I’ve had the opportunity to really just put all my energy into recovering and into a physio, which I think in those first few months really is critical to your long-term recovery.

Ian: Yes

Adam: I saw my surgeons on the weekend, they gave the green light to start skiing and climbing and going for hikes. I can’t run yet because my ankle still super wonky and my hip is still a little too sore but once those settle down I hope to be able to start jogging again a little bit. Within the next maybe month or so. Which will be amazing and I never would have expected any of this happened so quickly.

Pic by Kos from the summer. I did my first walk run (all uphill) this week - 4*30sec run many minutes walking between them. I have also done some easy routes in the climbing gym. I am far from light footed, as I appear to be in this image, but it's all progress - beyond stoked!

Pic by Kos from the summer. I did my first walk run (all uphill) this week – 4*30sec run many minutes walking between them. I have also done some easy routes in the climbing gym. I am far from light footed, as I appear to be in this image, but it’s all progress – beyond stoked!

Ian: Talk me through this mind process, because I’m fascinated by this. It’s traumatic incident and yes, you’re super thankful that you’re here and you’re alive and so, therefore, you’re going to embrace life. Of course, you are. But that first time that you maybe go for that longer walk or that first time you strap on the skis or that first time you look at the rock face. There’s going to be all sorts of stuff going through your head.

Are you just going to be stubborn and respect that the mountain as you’ve always done but think to yourself no life goes on or is there a real element of inner fear that you’re shielding from me and maybe everybody else but really, it’s there?

Adam: No, of course, there’s a lot of different fears. One, there’s fear to what my ultimate movements going to be like, I don’t know if I am ever going to feel fluid on a run again. Am I ever going to feel smooth and fast? There is fear that… the one thing that really strikes home is that when you have these accidents it doesn’t just impact you it impacts a lot of other people; will I be stressing them too much if I do decide to go climbing again. I don’t know what my comfort level is going to be at. The first time I get to anything with a little bit of exposure, how am I going to feel? Am I going to panic and not want to be there? I don’t know those things yet.

Back to your first question, yes. I remember the first time I had left the hospital, although I was still admitted, stepping aside and feeling the cold breeze rush across my body, I started crying because it felt so good to finally be back outside just feeling the cold wind on my skin. The first few steps I took, I remember the first time I walked, I walked about 10 meters and then the next time, and this was all in hospital with a walker, and then the next time it was 50 meters and then it was can I walk and do a lap of the ward? Then can I do two laps of the ward? Until you set these small little process goals for yourself and you break it down to little chunks and you’re just happy with any little victory you get.

Obviously, there’s going to be setbacks. When I first came back, I was walking a little bit and then the doctors thought that I might have another injury in my foot which basically means, more or less the metatarsal of your foot might be broken and that this can be very, very serious with long-term repercussions. I was told I had to be non-weight-bearing again. All of a sudden I’d gone from walking two kilometres to being back in a wheelchair and mentally struggling with that quite a bit but you also just have to accept the process of what comes. You can’t set too many expectations.

I’ve not once put expectations on myself as to what my recovery should be or what it should look like because it’s very individual and the doctors don’t know. It’s a best guess on their effort based on past experiences but my body’s different from other people. My mind is different. At the same time, also, I just didn’t want the pressure of saying, “I have to be able to run a 5K by January,” and not do it and be disappointed. There’s no purpose in my recovery process. It’s very day-to-day. Some days I wake up and I feel quite good and loose and other days I wake up and I feel like I’m getting hit by a truck because I did too much the previous day or I slept funny the night before, I had a beer too many the night before.

Ian: Enjoy those beers.

Adam: Yes, for sure.

Ian: Obviously, the last nine weeks have given you a real opportunity to look at so many different things but I guess one of the things that you really look back at and analyse was that day or what was going to be a day in the mountains. I’m sure you’ve gone over everything and analysed what you were doing and maybe tried to reassure yourself that what you were doing was correct. What’s the outcome been of that looking back? Are you happy and content that you three guys did all the right things?

Adam: No, definitely not because something happened. I did something wrong. I don’t really believe that bad luck necessarily happens in the mountains. One, you’re putting yourself in a dangerous environment so you’ve obviously taken luck out of the equation in that sense. Something that I probably did wrong at the time was, when we were rushing, we’re going fast, but there’s a difference between moving fast and efficiently and rushing and because Nick and Dakota were ahead of me, I was probably rushing a little bit. Just because they went through somewhere safely doesn’t mean you get to. In retrospect, I probably should’ve tested the rock first, that I pulled on.

The other thing, too, is when you’re moving through that terrain unroped, you don’t really want to be pulling on blocks. You more want to be pushing down on things because if you’re pushing down on things, they’re not going to move. If you’re pulling up, when you’re rock-climbing, roped up, you’re pulling on holds and things. If you are secured to the wall, it’s less likely to be risky.

That’s probably the biggest thing. Don’t rush. The way that you move in the terrain can be very, very significant so I was probably using incorrect technique in that kind of, blocky terrain, but in terms of what we did with the rescue itself, that can have a slight element of luck in that, we had cell service but we also had just enough equipment to keep me comfortable. Like having the emergency space blanket was incredible, having a light down jacket to put on made a huge difference, having the right partners. That can really come into it. If either one of them had panicked, I probably would’ve panicked a little bit as well but going to the mountain with people that you really, really trust and have the experience, Nick and Dakota have a lot of experience, so I was lucky to have those two guys with me.

Ian: I’m sure you’ve had plenty of conversations with Nick and Dakota. What impact has this accident had on them? I did see Dakota very quickly after this incident because he came over to the ‘Rut’ but it wasn’t appropriate to have a chat with him about this incident because he was racing and I didn’t want to affect his thought process, his mind, but I’m sure that both he and Nick have been really shook up by this. Dakota wrote an article on iRunFar and I quote a section, “I don’t think I was scarred from Adam’s accident. Not like him certainly, and not very badly in an emotional way either. But that accident really drove home the seriousness of what a lot of us do on a regular basis, often without considering the possibilities. In that event I was given a very visceral demonstration of what can happen in the mountains. A single misstep, a tiny poor judgement, or simply bad luck, and all of a sudden you’re in a crumpled, bloody heap with the dust of rockfall settling around you. It’s very real, and it’s scary.” article link here

Adam: Definitely. I think they both understand that it’s dangerous moving in that terrain. I’ve had regular contact with Nick and Dakota. They’ve both gone back into the mountain since then and they’ve both gone climbing since then. I don’t see how this doesn’t have impact you in some way. Dakota just went and did a rope safety course for mountain rescue so clearly he was impacted, realizing either it was the limitations of what his knowledge base was or he just, I’m just saying that, the more skills that you have to help, the more likely you are to be able to help in the situation.

Having that wilderness first aid course or any kind of first aid course, just when you’re going out and doing these big objectives is a valuable thing to have. Nick had a bit more experience because he’s done The Apprentice Rock Guide, you’re trained to be an alpine guide at that point. That comes with quite a lot of mountain rescue training and theoretical knowledge but the difference between that and seeing one of your friends actively falling down the side of a mountain. It’d be very traumatic to watch that happen and to think that you’re coming up on a body. I think it would definitely make you think twice in a lot of situations or just reinforce how dangerous those environments can be.

I was rather thrilled to be able to take my skis for a walk in the mountains and actually get in some decent turns with Laura. I am so thankful to my support network for helping me get back into the hills so quickly. I have to continue to be patient and listen to my body, but this was a rather huge step/stride forward

I was rather thrilled to be able to take my skis for a walk in the mountains and actually get in some decent turns with Laura. I am so thankful to my support network for helping me get back into the hills so quickly. I have to continue to be patient and listen to my body, but this was a rather huge step/stride forward

Ian: I’m not going to ask the question of what the future holds because as you’ve said, there’s no point in setting a target for a 5K run. That will happen in its own due course and we just have to hope that all the stepping stones are in the right place. As you say every now and again, there’s going to be a step backwards but the direction is forwards and obviously, myself and the whole community wish you the very best with this Adam. I mean, it’s an amazing story and I’m just glad that you’re here to be able to tell it.

Adam: Yes, thanks so much for the interview and I hope a few people have picked up one or two little tips from this but I guess the biggest takeaway is mountains are dangerous. Going for any little trail run in the woods can be dangerous. We have the ability to move very, very fast as runners into the wilderness and we’re often alone all It only takes is a broken ankle by stepping on the wrong thing then all of a sudden you have a very, very horrible walk home. Especially when you’re going for trail runs. It’s one thing to be lightning fast but make sure that you have just enough gear to survive and bring you home because those things can make a difference. Look at Dave Mackey, for instance…

Ian: I was going to come on to Dave.

Adam: He was going out for an evening run and his life changed on that evening run and in a very, very profound way. He got unlucky in the way that his injury happened. I’d been lucky in that the bones that I’d broke are ones that are basically non-weight-bearing. If I’d fallen a centimetre in a different direction, my outcome could’ve been very different and I’m aware that, there’s not anything that I did special. Knowing it’s in the way that I fell, I broke my back but I didn’t damage my spine in a serious way. I did to a certain degree because I still had some tingling in my feet and hands and things but that should, in theory, go away over time.

These things can happen when you’re outside in the mountains or even just heading out in the woods. An ounce of prevention, an ounce of caution is always a smart thing for sure, really having as emergency blanket with you, having a little bivy sack, having a cell phone, having a light jacket. Even in the middle of summer, if you could go into shock, having a jacket on can save your life. These things, they’re so light these days that we’re able to carry a lot of stuff with us.

Ian: These days, there is no real reason not to carry some of this stuff because it is so light, and as you say, we’ve got all the technology, it’s never been easier to carry this stuff. We have all these amazing packs that fit our body, we have down jackets that way grams, we have windproof, waterproofs, we’ve got spot trackers, in-reach trackers, mobile phones. The technology is really, really there.

Final thoughts?

Adam: I received thousands and thousands of messages, I actually received so many messages that I had to stop going on social media because I just needed to take a big step back from it all, and just focus on myself, and recover for a bit. It was incredibly empowering, and you I just felt the love from everybody, but at the same time, to open your email and just have thousands of messages every time from people is a little overwhelming at that point what with everything I had going on. But it shows you incredible level of support that we have in our little community of people here, which is so touching.

The other thing, in the last two months I’ve actually had two friends or acquaintances die in mountain accidents, and that also really, really struck home, it shows how vulnerable we are. One of them was skiing and the other person was climbing in the Himalayas. It was just very, very touching, and I actually went to one of the funerals and being there and hearing the stories of everybody around this person was very moving. When you know somebody in one context in their life, for example, I knew this girl in a climbing sense, but then you forget just how much depth people have to their life, and how rich they are.

It was a real reminder that everybody has an incredible story, and it’s worth taking time to get to know people because you never know what you can find out from them. There’s always so much complexity to people.

Adam and Laura

Adam and Laura

And finally….

“Over the past few months this amazing woman has been my rock, she has shown me that true beauty, love and joy can be found in even the most trying of circumstances. That spirit defines her.
She was by my side from the moment I went into surgery and has been there every step from there on forward.
In that time we have laughed, cried, struggled and shared the most incredible journey together, a journey that keeps on getting better and better. 
She is the most incredible partner. She is loving, caring, compassionate, adventurous, athletic, curious, smart, passionate, fun and incredibly beautiful and, soon enough, I am proud to announce that I will get to call her my wife. Last week she said “yes” and agreed to share her life with me.
We are beyond thrilled and I am so incredibly lucky, she makes me better in every way.” – Adam Campbell

Episode 123 – Adam Campbell

A_GRAVATAR

Episode 123 of Talk Ultra and this weeks show is a special, one off edition with Adam Campbell

On August 30th 2016, Adam Campbell was attempting a big traverse that had never been completed in a single push before in Rogers Pass, BC. Adam was accompanied by two partners, Nick Elson and Dakota Jones. They were fairly early on in the journey, going up relatively moderate terrain (class 3/4). Adam followed Nick and Dakota up a route matching their steps and actions, Adam pulled on a rock that the previous two climbers had used. This giant rock came loose, broke and away and Adam fell. He tumbled backwards, summersaulting and rag dolling over 200 feet (70-80 meters) down a serious of ledges and sharp rocks.

Adam ended up breaking his back, several vertebrae, breaking his hip, breaking his ankle, damaging his wrists, shoulders and knees and had severe lacerations across my body. His helmet was shattered and has cracks across all of it,  It still has blood and hair caked into it. Without it he would have suffered severe head trauma, instead, he just had stitches and a mild concussion.

Adam is alive,  not paralyzed and here to tell his story.

INTERVIEW WITH ADAM CAMPBELL

UP & COMING RACES

Antartica

The Last Desert (Antarctica) | 250 kilometers | November 18, 2016 | website

Argentina

Puna Inca Trail | 200 kilometers | November 21, 2016 | website

Australia

Australian Capital Territory

Stromlo Running Festival – 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 20, 2016 | website

New South Wales

BUCKLEY’S CHANCE 50km | 50 kilometers | November 20, 2016 | website

Buckley’s Chance 50km Off-trail Ultra | 50 kilometers | November 20, 2016 | website

SURVIVAL RUN AUSTRALIA | 50 kilometers | November 18, 2016 | website

Survival Run Australia 75km | 75 kilometers | November 18, 2016 | website

Victoria

Alpine Challenge 100 km | 100 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website

Alpine Challenge 100 Mile | 100 miles | November 26, 2016 | website

Alpine Challenge 60 km | 60 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

Olne-Spa-Olne | 67 kilometers | November 27, 2016 | website

Cambodia

The Ancient Khmer Path | 220 kilometers | November 25, 2016 | website

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Trail La Transtica – Course Aventure | 117 kilometers | November 23, 2016 | website

Costa Rica Trail La Transtica – Course Extrême | 200 kilometers | November 23, 2016 | website

Egypt

100 Km Pharonic Race | 100 kilometers | November 18, 2016 | website

France

Dordogne

Trail de l’Asterius | 58 kilometers | November 20, 2016 | website

Haute-Garonne

Trail Toulouse Métropole | 50 kilometers | November 27, 2016 | website

Haute-Loire

Raid nocturne Le Puy-Firminy | 68 kilometers | November 20, 2016 | website

Manche

A la Belle Etoile 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website

Germany

Lower Saxony

  1. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website
  2. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website
  3. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website
  4. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website

Hong-Kong

Oxfam Trailwalker Hong Kong | 100 kilometers | November 18, 2016 | website

Italy

Emilia-Romagna

60 km | 60 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website

Luxembourg

Trail Uewersauer | 50 kilometers | November 20, 2016 | website

Malaysia

Putrajaya 100 km | 100 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Putrajaya 100 Miles | 100 miles | November 19, 2016 | website

Putrajaya 52 km | 52 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Putrajaya 78 km | 78 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Morocco

Trail Atlas Tafraout | 65 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

New Zealand

Molesworth Run | 84 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Philippines

Tacloban City to Basey Samar 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | November 20, 2016 | website

Portugal

Trail AM | 60 kilometers | November 20, 2016 | website

Réunion

Mafate Trail Tour | 65 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website

South Africa

Salomon Sky Run 100 km | 100 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Salomon Sky Run 65 km | 65 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Spain

Canary Islands

Haría Extreme Ultra | 80 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Region of Murcia

100k OPEN | 100 kilometers | November 27, 2016 | website

50k OPEN | 50 kilometers | November 27, 2016 | website

Thailand

TU100 | 100 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Kent

Gatliff 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 27, 2016 | website

USA

Alabama

Dizzy Fifties 40 Mile Trail Run | 40 miles | November 19, 2016 | website

Dizzy Fifties 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Dizzy Fifties 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | November 19, 2016 | website

Tranquility Lake 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

California

50 Mile | 50 miles | November 26, 2016 | website

Chino Hills Spring Trail Series 50K | 50 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

San Joaquin River Trail 100K Run | 100 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

San Joaquin River Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Florida

100 Miles | 100 miles | November 25, 2016 | website

50 Miles | 50 miles | November 25, 2016 | website

Louisiana

Big Dog Trail Run 50 K | 50 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website

Maryland

JFK 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 19, 2016 | website

New York

Madhattan Run | 32 miles | November 19, 2016 | website

North Carolina

Derby 50k Ultra Run | 50 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website

Ohio

2 loops | 33 miles | November 25, 2016 | website

3 loop relay | 50 miles | November 25, 2016 | website

3 loops | 50 miles | November 25, 2016 | website

3 loops + an out and back | 56 miles | November 25, 2016 | website

Bill’s Bad Ass | 50 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Flying Feather 4 Miler | 43 miles | November 23, 2016 | website

South Carolina

50K Relay | 50 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Texas

50K | 50 kilometers | November 24, 2016 | website

Wild Hare 50K | 50 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

Wild Hare 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 19, 2016 | website

Washington

Ghost of Seattle 50K | 50 kilometers | November 26, 2016 | website

Grand Ridge 50 K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 19, 2016 | website

CLOSE

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

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

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

Website – talkultra.com

Hardrock 100 2015 Race Preview #HR100

hardrock-100-logo

The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run is an ultra marathon of 100.5 miles in length, plus 33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 67,984 feet, at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet. The race is held on a loop course on 4WD roads, dirt trails, and cross country in Southern Colorado’s San Juan Range, USA.

The run starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado and travels through the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and the ghost town of Sherman, crossing thirteen major passes in the 12,000′ to 13,000′ range.

Entrants must travel above 12,000 feet (3,700 m) of elevation a total of 13 times, with the highest point on the course being the 14,048′ summit of Handies Peak. The race has been held in early July of each year beginning in 1992, except for 1995 (too much snow) and 2002 (nearby forest fires). Each year’s race is run in the opposite direction of the previous year’s event (2008 was run in the clockwise direction, 2009 will be counter-clockwise). In order to complete the event, instead of crossing a finish line, runners are required to “kiss the Hardrock”, a picture of a ram’s head painted on a large block of stone mining debris.

This course offers a graduate level challenge for endurance runs. The course is designed to provide extreme challenges in altitude, steepness, and remoteness. Mountaineering, wilderness survival and wilderness navigation skills are as important in this event as your endurance.

--©iancorless.com.IMG_8606Transvulcania14_kilian

In 2014 Kilian Jornet made the course, dare I say, look easy! He took photos, waited for Julien Chorier and then finally took off and smashed the course record. Hos victory guaranteed him a slot for 2015 and so he’s coming back to go in the opposite direction and it would be fair to say that many of us are expecting a similar display. It’s important to clarify that the weather plays a crucial part in any great Hardrock performance, so if the weather gods are playing ball I certainly expect to see Kilian on top of the podium and I also will stick my neck out and say he will set a new CR and thus will hold the CR for both directions. On a final note though in regard to the Catalan, his preparation for 2015 has been very different to 2014, yes he has been logging some serious training hours and elevation but he has less time at elevation and we saw how he struggled at Aconcagua. A recent top 10 at Chamonix VK and just this last weekend he won and set a new CR at Mount Marathon in Alaska. The stage is set!

I would be talking about Anton Krupicka now, he finally got an entry in the race that he has always wanted to do and what happens? Injury strikes resulting in a no show for Anton.

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Step in Iker Karrera. Iker is a machine in tough and challenging races. His Tor des Geants performance a classic example of how he gets his head down and churns out the performance. He’s been 2nd at UTMB but I guess one of the most significant indicators comes from Diagonale des Fous (Raid de la Reunion) when Kilian waited for Iker on the trails encouraging him to the line… Kilian went on to win! Iker can win Hardrock but I think it will be because Kilian looses it if you know what I mean!

©copyright .iancorless.com._1000692

Adam Campbell was 3rd last year in 25:56 and then almost disappeared from the scene. It’s really difficult to say if Adam can repeat his 2014 performance, I personally think he can. He’s had great results before at long and gnarly races. He was 2nd at UTMF in 2012.

©iancorless.com_Transvulcania2015-8172

Mike Foote has the race strategy for Hardrock 100. Expect to see him hanging back, taking it easy and then applying pressure and slowly making his way up through the ranks. The only problem with this strategy when Kilian is in the race is that he may very well leave himself far too much work to do but 2nd or 3rd on the podium is a distinct possibility. Mike also does know the Hardrock course; he raced in 2010. When you add that to his highest ever placing at UTMB, 3rd in 2012 it’s easy to see how Mike will pressure the front of the race.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day5-2469

Karl Meltzer is back, he managed to sneak through the door and get a place. You can NEVER rule out Karl. His 5 victories at Hardrock provide him with a wealth of experience and as many an ultra runner has said, nobody hikes like Karl! Karl would be first to admit that if Kilian is ‘on a day’ then everyone else is running for 2nd, but you know what, Karl does have the race and experience for the podium. Don’t rule him out! Recently he won yet another 100 at Cruel Jewel keeping his long streak of winning a 100 miler every year for god knows how many years. In prep for Hardrock, Karl also spent 2 weeks on the AT with Scott Jurek.

A quick addition, I missed Troy Howard who has placed 2nd twice at Hardrock. I don’t think he’ll take the win or maybe even the podium against Kilian and Iker but you never know on 3rd place? He recently was 2nd at Wasatch (2014) and 2nd at Squaw Peak 50 (2015).

Who else is in with a shout?

Jared Campbell has tough and gnarly races for breakfast. He’s finished Barkley twice, this will be his 10th Hardrock and although he won the race in 2010 I don’t see him on the podium. But expect him to be near top 5!

Nick Coury has placed 5th and 6th at Hardrock in 2008 and 2013 respectively. Like Jared, he has the race for a top 10 but a podium.

Scott Jaime has placed 2nd and run the Hardrock almost as many times as Jared Campbell. He is a consistent performer reflected in placing 3rd on 2 occasions. Like Jared though, 5th – 10th is a likely result.

Ones to watch:

Jamil Coury, Matt Hart, Adam Hewey and Matt Hart.

On a final note, lets give a shout out to Bryon Powell from iRunFar. I think he’d be the first to admit that he won’t be contending the front of the race but since he got his slot he has trained real hard. Doing the job that we do, I know how hard it is just to get out for a run but to train too, that’s impressive!

Ladies

Darcy Piceu has top billing as a 3 time defending champion and as such, Darcy is an odds on favourite for a 4th victory. Course knowledge and experience are going to go such a long way and her recent victory (and CR) at Big Horn 50 shows that she is in great form.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day2-0368

However, Darcy hasn’t raced Anna Frost at Hardrock before? I personally feel that if the weather is kind and Anna has no injury issues we may well see a dominating performance that will not only provide a female victory, a course record but a potentially significant performance that will dent the men’s race. That is a bold statement I know, but when Anna is on it, she is on it! She missed Transvulcania recently with injury and of course we all know the highs and lows of the past 30 months. But Anna has been out on the course for a month or so, done the training, adapted herself and as far as I know is fit and healthy.

If Darcy and Anna are firing on all cylinders then I think the rest of the ladies are running for 3rd. The Betsies (kalmeyer and Nye) are legends at Hardrock and between them have 28 finishes. They have the experience and that counts for a great deal in a race like this.

Darla Askew however has the speed but less experience (compared to the Betsies.) In comparison to Anna though, Darla has 2 Hardrock finishes and they were both on the podium! So it would be fair to say that a 3rd is likely again but the potential to leap frog and place 2nd or 3rd is a distinct possibility.

©iancorless.com_MDS2015Day4-6060

Meghan Hicks has won MDS finished Tor des Geants and may well contend the top 5. Meghan knows how to get it done! The 2015 MDS didn’t go to plan event though she still placed well, at the time she was unsure if she would start Hardrock. I am pleased to see that Meghan is on the start list and I’ll be rooting for her.

Ones to watch:

Pam Reed, Liz Bauer, Suzanne Lewis and Missy Gosney.

******

Hardrock 100 is a small key race for a select few. However, in its history, Hardrock has always become a highly anticipated race that often plays out like a great boxing match. It is a constant frustration for me that we don’t get ALL the best ultra runners on the playing field at the same time. Pointless me saying this I know as that is one of the quirks of Hardrock.

However, can you imagine a ladies and men’s field of the depth that we see at Western States or Transvulcania arriving in Silverton?

The race starts on Friday 10th July

Race website HERE

Opening race description ©Hardrock100website

A little bit about Hardrock

In the early 1990s an ultra runner from Boulder CO, Gordon Hardman, wanted to create a 100 mile adventure run emphasizing two things: a. link the historic mining towns of Silverton, Ouray, Telluride and Lake City and b. offer each participant an adventure though the spectacular San Juan Mountains while challenging them with altitude, steepness and remoteness. Gordon placed a notice in Ultrarunning magazine soliciting the help of anyone who may be interested in helping pull this together. Within a year Gordon had enlisted a cadre of local runners with deep ties to the area who believed such a run was possible and voila..the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run was created.

From the beginning, the idea of celebrating the legacy and memory of the hardrock miners was paramount as was the idea that this run should be for those who wanted an extraordinary adventure. Careful attention was paid to developing a route which incorporated the foot trails, wagon roads and burro trails that were constructed for transporting materials to mining sites and hauling ore to market. The Hardrock Hundred follows those routes laid out by those miners who made their living in crags in hopes of making their fortune mining the minerals hidden between the peaks and hidden in the valleys The Hardrock Hundred has stayed true to those ideas to this day and is dedicated to the memory of those wild and tough individuals.

Why Silverton?

The initial idea of Hardrock was to rotate the start/finish of Hardrock between each of the 4 towns. Some demonstrated more excitement about hosting Hardrock than others, chief among those was Silverton. The idea of rotating the start/finish was abandoned and Silverton became the permanent home of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run.

Why alternate courses?

After the decision was made to keep the start/finish in Silverton, Hardrock developed the idea that run the course in alternating directions so that runners could experience all that the San Juans had to offer and wouldn’t get tired of the view! Many runners don’t consider themselves true “Hardrockers” till they have finished in both directions.

The “Hardrock” rock is a big deal-how come?

When Hardrock first started, one of the things we forgot to have is a finish line. When an early Hardrock runner asked how we would know when they were finished, run director, Dale Garland, looked around and found a rock in the ground and told all the runners to “touch” the rock to stop the clock. Touching turned to kissing and the small rock in the ground grew into the 2 ton boulder we have now. Today we have one of the most unique finishes in ultrarunning and are always amazed to see the flood of emotion and relief that kissing the Hardrock brings out in those complete their personal adventure of Hardrock. Over the years we have actually had 2 Hardrock rocks, both of which have enjoyed a very special and unique place in the lore of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run.

The North Face Endurance Challenge, San Francisco, 50-mile Championships Preview (Men)

San Francisco 50 TNFEC50

My head hurts… it’s December, what happened to the ‘off-season’. Not only do we no longer have an off-season but The North Face have arguably assembled one of the most competitive fields in the 2013 season. Way back in April I was writing about the ‘race of the year’. Of course, it was Transvulcania La Palma. This was followed by another ‘race of the year’, Western States. I then followed this with another race of the year, Zegama and so on… you get the picture! Ultra running and mountain running is booming and as such, we are all seeing the benefits, not only from a watching and a following perspective but also from a racer perspective. It is now possible to have several peaks in one year and TNF may very well have hit on a winning formula with such a competitive race in December.  It’s late enough in the season to have recovered from recent previous efforts, such as UROC or Run Rabbit Run and equally far enough away from ‘key’ races in 2014 to allow for adequate RnR.

Okay, deep breath… here we go.

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras returns after winning the race in 2012. His time of 5:33 in lousy conditions confirmed his ability if any was needed. Having said that, Miguel is used to rough-n-tough weather and as such, may very well have excelled in the conditions over his US contemporaries. Also the 2012 race did have issues over course marking which did lead to several runners going astray. I take nothing away from Miguel, he is a class act and although 2013 has been a difficult season for him, his second place at TNFUTMB proves that he is back. He followed this with a quality performance at Cavalls del Vent so without doubt he is a contender for the win. However, this field is stacked.

Dakota Jones UROC 2013 ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones UROC 2013 ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones is back racing and embracing the trails after a quiet start to 2013 and some escape in the mountains. In addition, Dakota became an ‘RD’ in 2013 which primarily caused him to miss TNFUTMB and refocus on UROC. That refocus nearly worked and certainly with 5-miles to go at UROC he looked as though he had the race in the bag. However, Rob Krar pulled something out of the bag and relegated Dakota to second that day. In fine form, Dakota departed for Japan to repeat his 2012 win at Hasetsune Cup, however, disaster struck and he had a tough day and a dnf. Without doubt, Dakota will be recovered and focused on winning at San Francisco. He will be looking for a repeat performance similar to San Juan Solstice 50m when he broke Matt Carpentar’s record.

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday UROC ©iancorless.com

Sage Canaday will bring his speed to this race and along with Cameron Clayton and maybe, Max King. They will be out at the front pushing the pace. Sage has had a mixed 2013 in the sense that he has occasionally pushed and failed below his own demanding standards. His great runs at Tarawera, Transvulcania La Palma and Lake Sonoma may well fall into insignificance in Sage’s own mind as I feel he may well dwell on his performances at Sierre-Zinal and UROC. Don’t get me wrong; I am a big Sage fan. He has all the ability to go out and win San Fran but I just wonder what effect recent performances will have on his confidence. In real terms, caution may well prove a huge bonus allowing him to hold back early on and keep his powder dry for the final 30% were he can use all that natural speed and ability. Unfortunately Sage has Flu – will not start

Cameron Clayton Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Cameron Clayton will be feeling somewhat inspired and motivated coming into San Fran after his 3rd place at UROC behind Rob Krar and Dakota Jones. Cameron was 3rd at this race last year and although he has had a full season, you can’t rule him out from pulling something special out of the bag for that $10,000 prize. His 2013 season has been fulfilled with top placing’s at Transvulcania and Lake Sonoma, however, he has had a few below par performances which I think ultimately were more due to a niggling foot and other health issues. All looks good now though.

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Rob Krar, wow, what can we say about Rob that hasn’t already been said. Arguably, one of ‘THE’ ultra runners of the year after his rim-to-rim exploits, Western States run (his first 100) and then his incredible win at UROC. He raced just the other weekend at JFK50 and dropped leaving question marks in his own mind. However, the ‘drop’ may very well have just saved his legs and without doubt, don’t be surprised if he is on top of the podium at the end of the weekends festivities.

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Timmy Olson repeated his victory at Western States, always the sign of a true champion when you can go back to a race and do it again…! He raced at Tarawera and made the podium, he just missed the podium at Transvulcania and dug real deep at TNFUTMB. Surprisingly after such a tough TNFUTMB he then raced Run Rabbit Run on what must have been a tired body. He certainly has an autopilot but I can’t help but think this race will be all about fulfilling sponsorship requirements and showing face. Having said that, showing face will probably still result in a top-10 and should he get his race face on, don’t be surprised if Timmy gets a podium place.

Ryan Sandes Gran Canaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes Gran Canaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes has had ‘one of those years’ that he will be keen to get over! I was with Ryan in Gran Canaria in March, he was all fired up for an exciting season ahead and then injury hit forcing him to miss Western States. Healed, Ryan returned to Leadville in the hope of repeating his 2011 victory, however, injury reappeared. He has tackled some personal projects in South Africa and recently raced in Patagonia. Ryan will be looking to finish 2013 on a high and may just well go under the radar after a quiet year.

Max King La Palma ©iancorless.com

Max King La Palma ©iancorless.com

Max King has not had a repeat of his 2012 season. Winner of the 2012 JFK and UROC, Max was an unstoppable rollercoaster and along with sage Canaday was just on fire. In 2013 he had planned to mix things up and race at different distances and represent the USA in multiple disciplines, it didn’t go to plan and he has been plagued with an ankle problem. If he is recovered and inform, Max will be up at the helm with Cameron and Sage dropping fast minute miles an looking to be the last man standing at the end.

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Alex Nichols placed 5th last year and will come to this race confident after a great 2013 season racing in the Skyrunning calendar. In particular, he has plenty of speed uphill and has improved his down hill speed. 2013 may well just be the year that he moves a couple of places higher on the podium.

Francois D'Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene UTMB ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene was last years 2nd place, approximately 13-mins behind his Salomon teammate, Miguel Heras. Francois has raced less in 2013 due to the pressures of owning a vineyard, however, when he has raced, he has been in top form. His was 2nd at Ice-Trail Tarentaise behind Kilian Jornet, he was joint winner at Mont-Blanc Marathon 80k Ultra with Michel Lanne and his recent dominance at the super tough Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale de Fous) means that his presence at San Fran surely means he is a podium contender. *Update “Finally my season ends sooner than expected …since my fall in Death Valley tuesday with a shock in the ribs I hope but I have finally abdicate … So I would support the team tomorrow.”

Michel Lanne Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Michel Lanne is another consistent performer who may well do very well at this race. He had a great run with teammate Francois D’Haene at Mont-Blanc but then picked up an injury. In addition, he has also become a dad! December may well prove to be a great time of year; his life will have settled a little, he will be over his injury and without doubt he will be excited to race in the US.

Dylan Bowman UROC ©iancorless.com

Dylan Bowman UROC ©iancorless.com

My final hot tip for a podium place goes to Dylan Bowman. Dylan had a great Western States and turned up at TNFUTMB in the form of his life but had a freak training accident, which caused him to miss the race. He has a new coach and he is going to be looking to release some of that UTMB frustration.

So who else… it seems crazy that I am not writing about the names below in more depth. But I have previewed above who I think may well take out the top-3 slots

  • Mike Wolfe – was 11th last year and set an incredible FKT this year with Hal he could win this race!.
  • Adam Campbell – 4th last year and I may regret not adding him above?
  • Mike Foote – great 2013 UTMB but been quiet recently.
  • Hal Koerner – Think he will be on TNF duty.
  • Karl Meltzer – Karl says he has no chance in such a fast and ‘short’ field. If it were a 100-miles he would be listed above.
  • Matt Flaherty – another who should maybe be above but he was 2nd at JFK just a week ago, maybe a little tired?.
  • Mike Wardian – anything can happen…. Mike is an unpredictable phenomenon.
  • David Riddle – may or may not race with injury?
  • Gary Gellin – 9th last year.
  • Ryan Ghelfi – 5th at UROC and I may regret not adding him above too.
  • Rickey Gates – mixed 2013 but always a contender.
  • Jorge Maravilla – top 20 in 2012.
  • Martin Gaffuri  – great season on the Skyrunning calendar.
  • And finally, Greg Vollet who continues to amaze and surprise every time he races.

So, there you have it. A super stacked crazy race to end the year, the top-3 are any bodies guess. I have tried to provide a little insight but just don’t be surprised if we see a completely unexpected performance and a surprise win.

Ladies preview HERE.

Arc’teryx Squamish 50 race summary

Adam

This weekend 500 trail runners from across the globe descended on Squamish BC for what is known as one of the toughest Ultra races on the circuit. Vancouverite Adam Campbell took first place in the 50 mile with a time of 7 hours and 37 mins in  a hard fought battle with Squamish local Jason Loutitt, who finished  second  at 7 hours and 40 mins.

In the women’s 50 mile circuit -American Kristin Moehl took first place in 9 hours and 37 mins over local Lisa Polizzi at 9 hours and 39 mins – another closely fought race.

No longer a fringe sport, ultra running now attracts top international athletes and marathoners who want to push to the next level and challenge themselves on uneven terrain. This weekend runners from 9 different countries, 23 states and 7 provinces took part in 3 different race distances over the course of the day.

With distances of 50 miles, 50km and 23km to choose from, each of the runs is uniquely about pushing personal limits –  pushing those limits hard and pushing them far.  On the 50 mile course,  the back half is more difficult than the first. To reach the finish line is victory in itself.

Gary Robbins, one of the two main organizers and no stranger to Ultra Running, couldn’t be happier with how the event went and the finishers’ reactions to how incredibly tough the course was.

“ Nothing pleases me more than having my fellow ultra runners loathe me while they are running this course and many an expletive was issued at me as they crossed the line – but ultra runners have a peculiar sense of humour – they need it to get through these races, I know they enjoyed every bit of the pain!”

“The conditions were great, weather was perfect and it was impressive to see how close some of the top finishers were; all the distances were tightly fought, highly completive races”– Robbins, who personally greeted almost every finisher at the race, adds that “watching everyone else come over the line – that’s truly what makes this event so rewarding. The first time ultra runners, the average daily runners, all pushing their own personal limit, that’s truly inspiring!”

Squamish

The event, now in its second year, is sponsored by North Vancouver based Arc’teryx, a brand that is no stranger to extremes. The company had its own team of runners participating over the 3 distances..

Adam Campbell, the  overall first place finisher in the 50 Mile (7:37:23); Anne- Marie Madden, who took the podium as the first place winner in the women’s 23km (2:08:13); and Catrin Jones, who placed first in the women’s 50km (5:51:52).

Jones, who is relatively new to ultra running, chose one of the hardest courses to “ease” into the sport, but said she was extremely pleased with her achievement considering she hadn’t felt as prepared as she had wanted to be.

“I’m training for the Francophone Games at the moment, where I’ll be representing Canada in the marathon, so I’ve been focusing on road running rather than trails so I was a little scared as well as excited going into this. There was a lot of diversity in the course, tough climbs and scrambles, lots of big power hikes but some beautiful rolling switchbacks and wood work too. A challenging course set in a beautiful area, ultimately I loved it!”

For 2014, the Arc’teryx Squamish 50 is set to become a Trail Race Festival held over three consecutive days. The idea-is to incorporate a film festival element into the event.  Watch for the next Arc’teryx Squamish 50 to take place August 8,9 &10, 2014.

Full Results HERE

Adam Campbell – Interview

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

Arct’eryx  athlete Adam Campbell, gained much notoriety early in 2012 after securing a solid second place behind Julien Chorier in his first 100 mile race at Ultra Trail Mt Fuji in Japan. With high hopes, he moved into the 2012 season looking to race well at TNFUTMB and the Skyrunning calendar. However, injury issues and personal issues got in the way… I caught up with Adam in April ahead of the 2013 season and his first big race, Transvulcania on the island of La Palma.

IC Adam, the last time we spoke you mentioned that your background as a sportsperson came from triathlon.

AC: Yes, what was I thinking! All those accessories to clutter my life. Actually, triathlon was a big part of my life. I started in 97/98 and I made the junior Canadian National Team. It was a great honor to wear the Maple Leaf. It had a huge effect on me. At the same time, Simon Whitfield was world champion, so I had lots to tempt me into the sport. I decided to take the leap. I had an invite to live in Victoria, British Columbia and train. So, I packed in college and lived with Simon Whitfield, he took me under his wing. I trained with him for a few years and raced the world cup circuit. I had the goal of trying to make the Olympics in 2008.

IC: You couldn’t have had a better teacher! Simon Whitfield was the man to beat!

AC: Oh yeah. Amazing. Victoria had a wealth of talent… Lauri Boden, Greg Bennet, Peter Reid and Laura Bennet. I was spoilt with influences and inspiration from a whole host of the best triathletes. Canada was a mecca for the sport.

IC: You decided that your ability as triathlete was limited and you turned to run and run long!

AC: Sport is fair like that. I realized in 2006 I wouldn’t make the Olympics as a triathlete. I gave it a really good shot but I just wasn’t good enough. I lacked certain physical traits. I wasn’t explosive enough and my swimming was poor in comparison to the competition. I worked my butt off to make it happen but the whole time I enjoyed running the most. I loved it. It gave me the most satisfaction. Especially the long runs in woods and trails. The farther I went the better I became, so, it seemed a logical choice. We are all drawn to the things that we are good at. At the same time I was amazed about this guy I would read about in magazines, Scott Jurek. He looked incredible and he ran in incredible places. I have always been drawn to the mountains. I guess it is the challenge of pushing your self, would I have what it would take?

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

IC: 2007/2008 you qualified for the Canadian Mountain Running Team, was that a plan that you had put in place or did it happen by default?

AC: I actually qualified in my first ever trail race. I guess I was lucky. If I want to do something well, I always love to speak the best. So I sent Jonathan Wyatt an email and I asked him to coach me. He said yes! Unbelievable. He wrote me a plan for the Jungfrau marathon and I followed it to the ‘T’.

IC: It worked.

AC It sure did. Thanks to Jonathan. But it wasn’t planned. Initially I just enjoyed the process. I had speed and the rest clicked in place. As for ultra running, beyond 3 hours seemed nuts to me.

IC: It still does…

AC: Oh yeah!

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

IC: Mountain running races do tend to be a shorter distance. Of course the terrain is up and down but it is more like the ‘Sky’ distance of races. You need speed and agility. What was it that interested you to go longer? For many a marathon on a mountainous course  is far enough.

AC: I don’t know to be honest. Curiosity I guess. The longer I went the more I enjoyed it so I decided to race the longer races too. It had a strong appeal. The longer a run gets the more I get the opportunity to really know my body and my mind. I don’t have the ability to run a sub 4 min mile so this type of racing tests the participant in a different way. I was drawn to it.

IC: You have been noted and still have a reputation as a fast runner, even in the ultra circles you are noted as being fast. What combination of speed do you bring to ultra training?

AC: Well, that is all relative. No sub 2:04 marathons coming out of these legs!

IC: Well you say that but speed is becoming very important, particularly if we look at Sage Canaday and Max King. 

AC: For sure, speed is important. The terrain brings many changes and it is important to adapt. I do a couple of hard runs a week but it is more organic. Certainly less structured than when I was a triathlete. I have been in sport a long time and I have become more intuitive. I listen to my body. If I want to go hard I will and when I do I tend to go really hard. By contrast my easy days are easy. I have a long background in sport and that has benefits. I can apply that knowledge to what I do. I also talk with John Brown from the UK, he helps me with my planning and calendar. It’s critical now with the way races are going. You can’t be fast all year and race all year.

IC: One thing that crops up with ultra runners is the desire and need to get in lots of vertical. Do you bring that into your training?

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

AC: Absolutely. I never look at weekly mileage. I just log vertical. That is what is the most important for me, how much vertical and it’s huge how much strength comes from this. It creates a great foundation.

IC: Anton Krupicka and Kilian Jornet have the same approach. It’s all about going up. Kilian in particular just logs vertical ascent.

AC: Geoff Roes and Mike Wolfe amongst others do the same. I guess the Europeans do the same? No magic formula is required. It is all about being specific to the terrain and distances that I race.

IC: If we look back at your ultra career what would you consider a highlight?

AC: That is tough. I like to pick races that are in beautiful places or races with competitive fields. So, every race has been special. I guess UTMF in Japan last year… my first 100-mile race was special. I was 2nd behind Julien Chorier. I had a respectable race and it really challenged me. It took a huge physical and emotional toll on me as I raced very hard. Also my first ultra back in 2010, Chuckanut 50, that to me was awesome. Just being on the line to start was incredible. I was definitely scared going beyond a marathon distance!

IC: Most of us are Adam. The first time can be a worrying experience. You mentioned UTMF and we actually spoke last year not long after that race. I was interested in your training but also your equipment. You had specific needs which Arc’teryx helped with. I guess one of the benefits you have had is your location and the proximity to Arc’teryx HQ. They can manufacture and provide equipment for you usually within a couple of days?

AC: Incredible. I have been with Arc’teryx since 2007. I cold called them and my timing was perfect. I actually was suggesting making running apparel and luckily somebody in the design team had the same thought. I was lucky. I work closely with them and we are constantly developing more run specific apparel. They have the best materials and the highest quality. They have a no compromise approach, which is amazing. It can take ages to bring something to market. This is the price of quality. I test lots of products on the trail so I am lucky. 

IC: Your physique is unique. You are a small guy so I guess you have lots of custom clothing made?

AC: Oh yeah, I take take XS in Japan. Now that is small.

IC: That IS small

AC: Yep. I am lucky. I get custom clothes from Arc’teryx because I am very particular. I don’t like baggy clothes for running. It must fit and it must have no excess fabric. For UTMF I had some specific kit made. I wanted the most minimal gear possible. If I am not going to use it, I don’t want to carry it. I don’t want to carry an extra gram. It must be functional and suit the purpose it is intended for.

IC: In 2012 you spent time in Europe. You had planned to do TNFUTMB but you had some niggles which ultimately meant that TNFUTMB had to be taken out of your calendar. Do you have plans to go back to Chamonix and race the iconic 100 mile race?

AC: For sure. I love Chamonix. It’s an incredible town. I will be racing the Skyrunning Mont Blanc Marathon in summer and Arc’teryx are putting the Arc’teryx Alpine Academy together; a week of mountaineering so that will be incredible. I do a little climbing but I am really looking forward to working on my mountain skills.

IC: Mountain skills? So is this going to be climbing and everything related?

AC: Glazier travel, mountaineering and learning specific skills.

IC: Sounds awesome.

AC: It will be an amazing week.

IC: You mentioned Skyrunning, Arc’teryx are heavily involved in the series. It is going to be a great year for you, the team and the brand.

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

AC: I was gutted last year not to race in the Skyrunning series due to unjury. I like to race the best people on the best and most beautiful terrain. Skyrunning personify that!. They have done a brilliant job. Nothing like being recognized for personal achievement and Skyrunning offer this. It’s the vibe, the experience and yes, Arc’teryx are involved as a sponsor.

IC: Transvulcania kicks it off with a stacked field. I said in 2012 it was the race of the decade, but 2013 is equally impressive.

AC: It’s going to be great fun. Racing the best brings out the best in me and the field doesn’t get any better than at this race. I will be interested to see how I perform. I believe I have put the work in and I am in good shape.

IC: I presume you are doing the ultra series? You need three events to qualify but five in total are available, are you planning on the five?

AC: Jeez have you seen this 100 miler, Andorra, Ronda del Cims! It has massive appeal BUT boy I don’t know…. It took Miguel Heras 30 hours! That is a long time to be out on such a tough course. That race may end my summer. I would need plenty of recovery so I will have to see? I can’t recover like Kilian.

IC: It is all about balance and finding what works for you. You have to cherry pick and keep the balance.

AC: An incredible race but a little much for me at the moment.

IC: Tell me about your world record in 2012… some inspired idea to run a marathon in a business suit. What was that all about…?

AC: I had read an article on letsrun.com and I saw some guy had set a record in a suit in 3:25. I was sure I could run quicker. I was going through a divorce and I needed a distraction. I needed some fun and an escape. I wasn’t in a great place personally so that seemed a quirky thing to do. It was a good excuse to raise money for a charity also. I had a lot of fun. It was a great challenge… it was also really hot!

IC: Yes, running a marathon fast is a test but to run it in a shirt, tie, jacket and trousers… c’mon, what was the time?

AC 2:35! I started slow looking for 3 hours but after the first mile I rolled and I felt great. I hadn’t run in the suit before so it was all new to me. I actually negative split the race heavily 1:19 and 1:16 for the second half.

IC: Wow  – ridiculous.

AC: Yes, I guess, I surprised myself.

IC: What is your marathon PB?

AC: I haven’t really run marathons before. My first marathon was 2:29 in 2006. I don’t run too much road.

IC: You finished 2012 with San Francisco 50. You had a great race. Sage Canaday and your self at the front…  erm, who was to blame for going of course (laughs)?

AC: (laughs) Well I was leading but we were all together as a group. Nobody questioned the decision. It was foggy, dark, windy, raining and it was just hard. The route seemed correct and we all took responsibility.

IC: I am only joking. Sage does have a small reputation for going off course.

AC: The dude just runs way too quick!

IC: Yep, so fast he doesn’t see the markers. A great race for you though and a great boost for 2013.

AC: For sure, it’s good to be competitive and it is nice to have it in the bag. It had been a rough year so it was a good way to finish. I get confidence from racing and performing.

IC: 2013 comes around and you think about a new season and then I see you post a photo on facebook of your leg in plaster!

AC: It was dumb. These things happen. The day before I had seen my physio. He said, “Have you ever sprained your ankle?” I said no…. oh dear, fatal last words. I was 2.5 hours into a run and I slipped on a wet log. I went down hard and I had no option but to hike out. Really painful but I got great treatment and support. All is good, it flares up a little but I will be okay.

IC: And your recovery?

AC: I didn’t respect the recovery. I should have been a little more patient but we all learn.

IC: These things need time.

ARC'TERYX/Brian Goldstone

ARC’TERYX/Brian Goldstone

AC: Yes I tried to make up time. It never works; patience is key. I am good now, I have plenty of volume and I did cross country skiing and climbing to break things up, I have tried to save my legs a little, it is a long season. I want to be good in September and still have motivation.

IC: To finish off I would like to discuss the video ‘Silence’. I remember seeing it early on and it really switched for many people. It was a change, a breath of fresh air. It not only fulfills a running purpose but it was also a piece of art. Was it your idea?

AC: It came together by the people at the production company. I fitted the narrative perfectly and I was really keen to do it. Everything about it was perfect. When they pitched the story I said yes immediately. I could relate to it.

IC: It was a great movie. We all get stuck in our day-to-day lives. I am fortunate I think, I spend lots of time on a computer but my life evolves around running, mountains and races. I get my fix. I guess living where you do you can get on trails quickly… the film manages to get that perspective across

AC: Yes it was a fabulous. The entire production was top notch. I am really happy. The story struck a chord with so many. Canada is a great place for running. One moment in the office, the next on a beautiful local trail.

IC: You have a great local running group too.

AC: Oh yeah, Ellie Greenwood, Garry Robbins, Jason Loutitt and so on…

IC: Gary hasn’t tempted you to run Hurt 100?

AC: That race looks brutal. The time he ran in 2012 is seriously impressive.

IC: Particularly with Gary’s story; two years out of the sport with injury.

AC: Gary is a great guy. Great to see him back!

IC: Adam, it has been great to catch up. We will meet up at Transvulcania. As the season unfolds I guess we will see each other on a regular basis. It’s going to be great to see you on the circuit.

AC Looking forward to it. It is a privilege to compete. I don’t take that lightly. I consider myself extremely lucky. I will be prepared and I hope to race well. We shall see how I go.

IC Brilliant have a great 2013 season.

 Links

Ultra Trail Mount Fuji preview

Asia’s answer to the TNFUTMB is the UTMF 100, a mountain 100 miler that circumnavigates the ancient volcano of the title name. It has over 9000 metres of elevation gain so it is not for the feint hearted.

utmf_map

The ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI is an unparalleled event that challenges the human spirit through the outdoor sport of trail running. By connecting mountain trails, local footpaths and forest roads around the foothills of Mt. Fuji, this 161km course allows participants to enjoy majestic 360 degree views of Mt. Fuji while experiencing the stunning natural beauty and culture of this region.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki has been instrumental in this race and after his experiences at the TNFUTMB, he was sure that Mt Fuji was the only place in Asia possible to offer a race on a par with the iconic 100 miler that has its home in Chamonix. In actual fact, TNFUTMB race director, Michel Poletti is toeing the line at UTMF just two weeks after finishing the 28th edition of the Marathon des Sables.

2012 review

The 2012 and inaugural edition of the UTMF had initially had an incredible start list that had included Scott Jurek, Mike Wolfe, Sebastien Chaigneau and Tracy Garneau. However, all mentioned did not turn up and race. This opened up the race and Salomon athlete, Julien Chorier topped the podium in a time of 18:53:12. Running his first 100 miler, Arc’teryx athlete, Adam Campbell placed 2nd (listen to Adam on the latest Talk Ultra episode HERE) and Kenichi Yamamoto placed third.

The 2012 ladies race was dominated by Salomon athlete Nerea Martinez Urruzola in 24:05:04 with Hiroko Suzuki second almost three hours later and Nora Senn third.

What does 2013 have in store?

MEN

Well, from a European and Australian perspective we will see a quality race at the head of the race. The success of the 2012 UTMF has encouraged Julien Chorier, no1 to return and defend his title.

Sebastien Chaignea TNFUTMB copyright Ian Corless

Sebastien Chaignea TNFUTMB copyright Ian Corless

Certainly Julien is the pre race favourite, he has knowledge of the course, understands the demands required and of course he is the title holder. However, TNF athlete, Sebastien Chaigneau will almost certainly have a different outlook on how the race unfolds… he had a mixed 2012 and ultimately it was a year to forget by his standards. He came into 2013 motivated and his stunning performance at Transgrancanaria will mean Julien will need to be looking over his shoulder or maybe even ahead of him for this race.

Gary Robbins, no 102 (Salomon) from Canada is also going to be flying and ready for this race. Gary has an incredible story (listen to his interview on Talk Ultra HERE) and after being sidelined for almost two years, he returned in the latter half of 2012 and not only dominated but set a new CR at Hurt 100. He has a new outlook on his racing… he is going to race less, but when he races, he will make it count. Definitely my hot tip for the win.

Brendan courtesy of Inov-8

Brendan courtesy of Inov-8

Inov-8 athlete Brendan Davies, 1061 fresh from Tarawera ultra will be confronting the 3,776 m Mount Fuji and he will revel in the task ahead of him. Brendan has plenty of speed but will he have the climbing legs to be up at the front. He has said on his blog that he his in the form of his life. (listen to Brendan Davies interview HERE).

Christophe Le Saux - MDS 2013 copyright Ian Corless

Christophe Le Saux – MDS 2013 copyright Ian Corless

Christophe Le Saux, 1099 (Hoka One One) only last week finished in the top ten of the Marathon des Sables. He will be lining up to test himself. Logic says that fourteen days between ‘MDS’ and UTMF is not enough, but, Christophe loves the hard, technical and gnarly courses as he has proved at Tor des Geants in the past.

In addition to the above, Grant Guise, 108 from Australia, Jeremy Ritcey, 111 a Canadian who lives in Hong Kong and of course many of the local Japenese runners will figure.

LADIES

Nerea Martinez Urruzola is not returning to defend her title, so, this does mean the ladies race is wide open… arguably though, the competition has greater depth for the second edition of the race.

Krissy Moehl, 1106 (Patagonia) from the USA needs no introdction to the ultra world. Her reputation is well established and as such, her twelve years in the sport and her TNFUTMB win will all come into play in helping her make the top of the podium here. She was fourth at the renowned Hardrock 100 in 2012 and of course this will set her up perfectly for the 9000m of vertical at UTMF.

Hong Kong based Brit, Claire Price, 173 (Salomon)will have a great perspective of what is required on this demanding course. She recently won Hong Kong 100 and although this is the first time racing in Japan, the distance may be her stumbling block. She will need to respect the distance and the terrain. She finished Western States in 2012 but didn’t have a great race.

Shona - image courtesy of Inov-8

Shona – image courtesy of Inov-8

Finally, Inov-8 athlete Shona Stephenson, 1062 will be racing in her first international 100 miler ahead of what is a daunting year of races. She has already raced at Tarawera and Northburn 100 and will be racing at TNFUTMB and also participating in the Skyrunning ultra series in 2013. Shona has trained in the Blue Mountains and although she has great speed, will this lack of high mountains allow her to perform to her best in and around Mount Fuji?

Of course, local competition will have an advantage on this course. So expect some surprises!

STATISTICS

DATE Friday, April 26, 2013. Starting at 3:00 pm.
DISTANCE 161km
CUMULATIVE ALTITUDE GAIN 9,000m
TIME LIMIT 46hours
# OF RACERS 800
START / FINISH Yagisaki Kouen, Kawaguchiko, Fujikawaguchiko-cho, YamanashiPrefecture

Race website: HERE

Episode 33 – Marathon des Sables and Adam Campbell

Ep33 Talk Ultra

 

This weeks show honours the injured and fallen at Boston Marathon. We have daily chat from the Marathon des Sables (Tobias Mews, Danny Kendall and Stuart Rae) bivouac and interviews with top placed Brits, Danny Kendall and Jo Meek. We interview Arc’teryx athlete, Adam Campbell. We discuss Mojo in Talk Training with Niandi Carmont, we have ‘A year in the life of…’ a Blog, Speedgoat, the News and ‘Up & Coming Races’.

00:00:44 Start
00:18:40 A year in the life of… with Amanda Hyatt. Amanda has been struggling with training and recently run the Brighton Marathon.
00:29:30 News from around the ultra world
00:35:40 MDS special from the bivouac with chat from Stuart Rae, Danny Kendall and Stuart Rae.
01:11:55 Back to the news
01:18:45 MDS special – after 28 editions of the race, Danny Kendall has surpassed James Cracknell and is now the highest ever placed Brit in the race.
01:35:40 MDS specialJo Meek entered the MDS several years ago and in 2012 got the nod that 2013 would be the year. With no experience of multi day racing, Jo wanted to finish the race but also perform to the best of her ability – she made the podium in 2nd place!
015215 BlogNick Cark always writes an in depth blog about his running HERE
01:52:55 Back to Karl
01:55:30 Talk Training – have you lost your Mojo? We discuss ways to get your mojo back with Niandi Carmont.
02:03:10 Interview – with Arc’teryx athlete Adam Campbell as he prepares for the 2013 season.

A former member of the Canadian National Triathlon and Duathlon teams, in 2006 Adam decided to shed the extra gear and rely solely on his running shoes to get around. He also decided to put down the stopwatch and set intervals and hit the trails.

Adam’s love for running began on the beaches of West Africa and Spain, where he spent his childhood running after soccer balls and chasing waves. It wasn’t until he moved to Canada in his late teens that he began running competitively. Adam’s love for all individual athletic challenges quickly saw him jump into the multi-sport world of triathlons and duathlons where he was renown for his running ability, which saw him win a national duathlon title.

However the drudgery and structure of training and racing for triathlons caught up with him and he began to seek out new challenges. After running the roads for a year, he jumped into his first trail race in 2007 and a new love was born. Adam qualified for the Canadian Mountain Running Team in his first trail race and continued to post the best ever finish by a Canadian at a Mountain Running World Championship at the Jungfrau Marathon, a gruelling 42k uphill run with 6000ft elevation gain from start to finish.

His running goals are to seek out interesting challenges in inspiring settings. A lifelong traveler and racer, Adam’s new belief is: if you are going to be suffering, you might as well suffer somewhere beautiful!

Occupation: Trail runner/law student (environmental, aboriginal, employment law)
Favourite Trail: anywhere I haven’t run before
Favourite Place to run: Soft & hilly terrain. Summer alpine runs
Favourite Race: Comfortably Numb, Whistler BC/ Jungfrau Marathon, Interlaken Switzerland
Favourite Distance: I will race anyone, anywhere…

02:33:20 A Meltzer Moment
02:36:20 Up & Coming Races
02:41:25 Close
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Why do we run?

Why do we run? Arc’teryx athlete Adam Campbell tells his “why” in a story with no words.

Silence, Adam Campbell, Arcteryx, Arc'teryx

Surrounded by the noise of the city, a noise that can drown out our ability to fully listen to what our bodies are telling us, the video highlights how it can disconnect us from the places that we’re running in and although running becomes an escape – it isn’t always relaxing.

“The noise and bustle of a city often make my running feel tense and forced and I often feel like I’m trying to run away from it all,” said Campbell, one of Canada’s most renowned Ultra Runners.

“My greatest pleasures in running are those times when I’m not trying to run away, but rather, when I’m fully immersed in the moment. I find those moments when I’m running high in the mountains, when all I can hear are my footsteps on the trail, my breath and the sounds of nature around me. During these runs, I feel most in tune with my body and the places I’m running, making the act effortless and highly meditative. That quiet effort brings incredible inner peace and gives me a deep appreciation of the places I’m moving through,” Campbell said.

Directed by Austin Siadak (cinematographer & editor on The Gimp Monkeys) the film is shot on the streets of Vancouver and the high country around Whistler, Silence is the story of every runner, climber and skier who chases their passion rather than the modern world’s trappings.

It is an unusual way to depict the peace of running – via sound, but Austin was inspired after a run in Seattle trying to clear his head of his growing daily task list.

“I came up with the idea to tell a story about the challenge that so many of us face in trying to quiet the noise of city life and create silence in our lives.  I wanted to capture that shared experience, and it seemed natural and fitting to use sounds instead of words to tell that story.” Says Siadak.

Best with headphones – ARC’TERYX and Duct Tape Then Beer, present – Silence

Enjoy the film:

 

http://www.arcteryx.com/Video.aspx?EN&video=Silence

You can download a high res image of Adam HERE

S13_ARCTERYX_Endorphin (4)_Snapseed

Skyrunning World Series Participants 2013

Skyrunning Image Banner 2_Snapseed

SWS – champions choice

Building on the 2012 Skyrunner® World Series success and the introduction of the Ultras, 2013 prepares for an even bigger star-studded cast.

ISF-logo

The line-up of champions is headed by 2012 SWS winners Kilian Jornet, Emelie Forsberg and Nuria Picas, joined by past world champions Emanuela Brizio, Oihana Kortazar, Luis Alberto Hernando and Tofol Castanyer and WMRA champions Marco De Gasperi and Stevie Kremer.

Nuria Picas copyright Ian Corless

Nuria Picas copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter copyright Ian Corless

Emelie Forsberg copyright Ian Corless

Emelie Forsberg copyright Ian Corless

With some of the big American ultra legends crossing the pond last year to get a taste of skyrunning, the word is out!  Joining them this year: Anton Krupicka, Dakota Jones, Rickey Gates, Mike Foote, Timothy Olson, Joe Grant….

Kilian and Tony Krupicka copyright Ian Corless

Kilian and Tony Krupicka copyright Ian Corless

Dakota Jones copyright Ian Corless

Dakota Jones copyright Ian Corless

It’s full immersion for Kilian Jornet who, with his unique skills, will participate in no less than all three Series:  Vertical, Sky and Ultra!

Kilian Jornet copyright Ian Corless

Kilian Jornet copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker will be toeing the start-line at the Series’ first 100-miler while Anna Frost will take part in both the Sky and the Ultra Series.  The mix includes Phillip Reiter and Julia Böttger from Germany, top French names:  Francois d’Haene, Julien Chorier, Michel Lanne, Yann Curien, Maud Gobert and Stephanie Jimenez, Britons Andy Symonds and Tom Owens, Canada’s Adam Campbell.

Marco de Gasperi - copyright Ian Corless

Marco de Gasperi – copyright Ian Corless

Anna Frost copyright Ian Corless

Anna Frost copyright Ian Corless

Strong team participation is engaged right across the Series headed by the heavy-duty Salomon team as well as hefty, international line-ups from inov-8, La Sportiva, Salomon Agisko and Arc’teryx, The North Face, Haglöfs, Montrail, Scott as well teams from Spain, Italy, Russia, Japan

Take a look at the mix here.  Have we got everybody?

You’re still in time to join the throng and remember, if you’re competing in the World Series, there’s always a slot available for you.

Follow us for who goes where as the skyrunning season unfolds.

Follow the action on Skyrunning HERE

Follow on Talk Ultra HERE

On Twitter @talkultra