Royal Ultra SkyMarathon® Gran Paradiso Race Summary and Images – 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

With a course profile that looks like a shark’s dental record and with 10-peaks to ascend and descend over a 55km course, the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series went EXTREME For the first time in 2017! 4287m of vertical gain awaited the runners in the stunning location of Ceresole Reale, Italy, a stunning mountain location towered over by the stunning 4000m peak of Gran Paradiso.

Starting at 0630, a stunning day of blue skies welcomed the runners, the early morning chill soon swept away with the arrival of the sun.

Andre Jonsson who last weekend placed 4th at High Trail Vanoise was showing incredible powers of recovery leading Zaid Ait Malek, Pere Aurell,  Bhim Gurung, Benat Marmisolle, The five ran together over the first high-peak in the National Park and the second peak coming at around 12km with 2-hours 15-minutes elapsed on the clock. They were separated by seconds matching each other’s moves.

By contrast, Zegama-Aizkorri and Livigno SkyMararhon champion Maite Maiora, was showing all the ladies a clean pair of heals. She took a grasp of the race very early on and despite being chased by Katie Schide, Ekaterina Mityaev and Natalia Tomasiak amongst other.

With 4-hours elapsed, the summit of Colle della Porta at 3002m saw a surge from Pere Aurell as he ran fast through the snow fields that followed the tough climb to the summit – Andre Jonsson, Bhim Gurung and Beat Marmisolle all followed with less than a minute separating them. Following and hoping to bridge the gap was Dimitry Mityaev, Zaid Ait Malek and Hector Haines.

Maite Maiora arrived in the same location, her lead was now extended beyond 30-minutes to Katie Schide and Ekaterina Mityaev following over 10-minutes back.

The race was now on in the men’s race, the quartet watching each other and at times changing lead like in a cycling peloton however Andre Jonsson was still pushing but the elastic wouldn’t snap. Passing Colle del Nivole they had a short decent and then climbed to Colle Della Rocca Bianche at 2670m. Again, less than a couple of minutes separated the four front runners but the long descent took its toll and with the final climb to Colle del Nel at 2551m to come, the pressure was on.

Andre Jonsson and Bhim Gurung took the lead but Jonsson started to feel the pressure and although Gurung complained of feeling tired, he unleashed his incredible descending ability on the final 1000m to drop to the line to open a huge gap and take victory just like he did earlier in the year in China at Yading Skyrace. Jonsson earned an incredible 2nd place 10-minutes back, 6:51:37 to Gurung’s 6:41:24. Pere Aurell fought cramps to finish 3rd and Benat Marmisolle held off a charging Cristofer Clemente to finish 4th.

Maite Maiora crossed the line in 8:05:28 having dominated the ladies’ race. It was a stunning victory and confirms her as one of the best female Skyrunners in the world. Katie Schide finished 2nd and Ekaterina Mityaev finished 3rd, 8:37:02 and 8:48:23 respectively.

The 55km course wound through the Gran Paradiso National Park in the royal hunting grounds, hence the ‘Royal’ title, runners will compete with ibex and chamois. Starting at a lake at an altitude of 2000m, participants traversed five passes – the magnificent Gran Paradiso mountain provided a stunning backdrop towering over the race at 4061m. Moraines, rocks, streams and snowfields provide an ultimate extreme challenge.

Next race in the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series is the Dolomites SkyRace that will celebrate its 20th edition – a pure Sky Classic!

all images ©iancorless.com

A full image gallery will be uploaded to iancorless.photoshelter.com HERE

Montrail TRANS ALPS Shoe Review

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Montrail call themselves, ‘The original trail running brand!’ And to USA based runners they may very well be. But to Europeans, they are just a name and in all honesty, I very much doubt that they have seen a Montrail run shoe, let alone used one. Of course, in the last 18-24 months that has all started to change and that is directly attributable to the UTMB.

Yes, when The North Face jumped ship sponsoring the big loop around France, Italy and Switzerland the American brand jumped it. Of course nothing is straight forward and UTMB sponsorship comes in the name of Columbia, Mountain Hardwear and Montrail. All three brands are under the same umbrella and are interconnected.

Topher Gaylord is president of Columbia’s Mountain Hardwear brand and ironically he was the man who originally set up the TNF sponsorship deal – what goes around, comes around.

As one commentator said, “Montrail was once the biggest brand in the American trail running scene, but many other brands have created more buzz in the past few years. This should certainly help create more traction for Montrail, which was acquired by Columbia in 2006.”

So as you see, a picture starts to form and although the above information doesn’t tell you if the Montrail FluidFlex FKT shoe is any good, what it does do is provide some perspective.

Dakota Jones, Ellie Greenwood and Max King have worn Montrail shoes in the past and I often looked on wondering how these shoes performed? Unfortunately, being based in Europe, the possibility to get hold of shoes was either extremely difficult or zero. With UTMB sponsorship, Montrail (Columbia and Mountain Hardwear too) are looking for increased exposure on a world platform.

Last year I tested and reviewed a limited edition UTMB Montrail shoe HERE. I recently reviewed the FluidFlex FKT HERE and I recommend you read that review before getting to grips with TRANS ALPS.

Montrail Trans Alps

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After the curve ball of the FluidFlex FKT I had high hopes for the Trans Alps. Opening the box and taking a first peak in I saw similarities immediately, the cushioning of the two shoes looked very familiar. However, as I peaked at the outsole I immediately became aware that the FluidFlex FKT and Trans Alps are like chalk and cheese – no similarity at all. Picking up the right shoe made the differences marked. The Trans Alps is heavy… I called a couple of friends, they quickly popped over to my apartment, and together they helped me remove the left shoe from the box; my back is far too fragile to lift out both pairs!

I joke of course but at 412g each for a UK9.5 these shoes are the heaviest running shoes I have ever tested.

Overall looks are pleasing, a strong blue contrasted by yellow works. Like the FluidFlex FKT the Trans Alps is on the face of it a simple shoe. So where does all the weight come from?

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Let’s first of all take one step back and clarify what this shoe is for and look at some simple specs.

The Trans Alps is a shoe that is intended to appeal to all with key buzz words like: Protection, Durability and Support. I agree, it does all these things with a huge tick. I still haven’t decided if the shoe is ‘neutral?’ It feels neutral, just neutral with support in a bullet proof casing. The Trans Alps has a full length ‘TrailShield’ to protect pretty much 100% from anything the trail can throw at you. In addition, a rubberized rock guard and reinforced toe and heel cap boosts protection to the max and with 6mm lugs on the outsole I had to start to wonder if I was looking at an approach shoe or a scrambling shoe and not a running shoe.

Ultimately, Montrail don’t try to sell or big up the Trans Alps as anything other than what is, the shoe does exactly what it says on the tin – a mountain running shoe that offers rigidity, support, aggressive traction while providing a smooth ride.

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The FluidFoam midsole was something that I loved on the FluidFlex FKT, especially the flex grooves which allowed me to run with a responsive and propulsive forefoot strike. In the Trans Alps that is all gone – yes the shoe is cushioned, it has 18mm at the rear and 10mm at the front (8mm drop) but the outsole and full length TrailShield removes any connection with the terrain leaving a flat and lifeless run, albeit protected! But this shoe is designed to protect and yes it does that with bells on. What I am getting at here is that if you require a mountain shoe and ultimate protection, this shoe does the job. If you want a trail shoe for some occasional aggressive trail and daily runs, this shoe is over engineered and too lifeless for that.

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The fit of the shoe is excellent with a padded tongue that is gusseted and sewn into the upper. If you read my shoe reviews regularly you already know I am a huge fan of this. In the Trans Alps it works well but not as well as in the FluidFlex FKT. The main reason for this is that the Trans Alps feels a ‘roomier’ shoe? I went for my normal UK9.5 but I would maybe like to try a UK9 for comparison, keep this in mind when purchasing or testing. The toe box has plenty of room allowing for good toe splay and/ or swelling. The heel box is Snug and secure.

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Drop at 8mm is perfect and completely appropriate for a shoe of this build. The drop allows for long days out and when you get a little tired or your form falters, the 8mm will work well and not punish you. The Trans Alps works exceptionally well when walking – I’d go as far to say that if you are a walker looking for something lighter and more ‘shoe’ like for mountain days out that may involve some jogging, this would be a good choice as an alternative to boots.

©iancorless.com_Montrail-06547The upper is simple, breathable and seamless. A real plus as this should almost certainly reduce the risk of getting blisters or rubbing from any seams. Reinforcement comes on the side of the uppers from thermoplastic strips which leads to the lace holes. Pull the laces tight and this along with the gusseted tongue holds the foot secure. The mesh is breathable and durable.

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The outsole has 6mm aggressive lugs which run the length of the shoe providing grip on a multitude of surfaces. Although aggressive, the grip is not great on mud or sloppy trail. It’s ok, at best adequate, but the Trans Alps is certainly not a shoe I would choose for regular running on this type of terrain. The Trans Alps excels in the mountains where rocks, scree, boulders and all sorts of obstacles and irregular objects can get in the way. But the shoe and sole is so inflexible it does contradict itself at times. It all comes down to compromise. At times I loved the rigidity as it offered confidence, at other times I wanted the shoe to flex more to allow me and my feet to reach more challenging places.

In conclusion, the Trans Alp is not a bad shoe if you use it for its intended use – tough mountain days either running, running and jogging, jogging/ walking or even just walking. Personally I feel it fits the latter options better. I spend many a long day in the mountains with a camera bag covering ground at a slower pace and I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Trans Alp for this use. As a run shoe, it lacks feel, responsiveness and excitement for me. It’s a shoe that you can turn to any day and it will do its job. A little like practical workwear, it will do the job but you are not excited to wear it. Having said all this, the Trans Alp will suit male and female runners who require a sturdy/ bullet proof shoe. It may well be that you are taller and heavier and a flimsy shoe just is ‘too’ flimsy for you and this where the Trans Alp has a place. Also, although not a shoe for a ‘racer,’ if you participating in a multi-day event on a mix of terrain, I am pretty sure the Trans Alp would be as solid on day 6, 7 or 8 as it was on day 1.

Finally, this shoe has lots of pluses – plush and secure fit, 8mm drop, cushioning, rigidity, stability, durability and if this criteria is high on your list, check it out. The Trans Alp is definitely not, responsive, light, fast with a connection for the ground or surfaces that you will run on.

Montrail website HERE

    

Skyrunning Ice Trail Tarentaise 2015 Race Preview #ITT2015

 

©iancorless.comIMG_0945The stunning alpine village of Val d’Isère is the official home of the next two races in the Skyrunner® calendar, the Ice Trail Tarentaise which is the Skyrunning Continental Championship for the Ultra distance and the Bellevarde Vertical Kilometer the first VK in the Skyrunner® World Series.

Val d’Isere is a haven for alpinists wanting to test themselves on the iconic slopes of Meribel, Val Thorens, Courchavel; it is affectionately known as the ‘Le Trois Vallees’. The Ice Trail Tarentaise (ITT) starts and concludes in this beautiful mountain retreat.

The ITT has over 60 km’s above 2000m altitude and with a highest point of 3653m at ‘Grande Motte.’ In just a couple of years, the race has gained a reputation for being one of the most ‘extreme’ races in the Skyrunner® calendar, it is a race not to be taken lightly!

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Traversing glaciers, ascending and descending summits such as ‘Aiguille Pers’ at 3386m, ropes, ladders, way markers, peaks at over 3000m and 5000m +/- ascent and descent guarantees that not everyone will see the finishing tape. The ITT is very true to the heritage of Skyrunning and it harks back to the late 80’s and early 90’s when ISF President, Marino Giacometti pioneered a new form of Alpinism.

 

Who is running?

Men

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ITT has always had a high quality field assemble and 2015 is no different. Luis Alberto Hernando heads up the men’s field after his recent victory at Transvulcania Ultramarathon and placing 2nd at the IAU World Trail Championships. Luis ran ITT last year but pulled out whilst in 2nd place. I am convinced that we won’t see that happen this year and for me, Luis is the hot favourite for victory. He is without doubt in his element on tough courses (with snow) between the 50-100km distance.

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Manuel Merillas is a rising star in Skyrunning and had an incredible 2014. He placed 5th at ITT in 2014, which will most definitely provide him with a great deal of experience coming into the 2015 edition. The recent Transvulcania Ultramarathon did not go well for Manuel; he looked primed for the podium in the first half of the race but then struggled in the latter stages to finish outside the top 10. He showed amazing powers of recovery by bouncing back just 1 week later at Zegama-Aizkorri and placing 2nd. One to watch!

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Fabien Antolinus had a great race in 2014 and placed 2nd behind Francois d’Haene. He does however seem to blow hot and cold and can be a little unpredictable. For sure, he has all the skills and talent required to perform at the highest level. He may well be a podium contender but I don’t see him toppling Luis.

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Pablo Villa shot to our attention in 2014 when he had a great run at Transvulcania Ultramarathon. Shifting sponsors (now Salomon) he backed that performance up with 8th at the 2015 edition of the race. Pablo is a top 10 contender and should he have a great day, the top 5 may well be a possibility.

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Fulvio Dapit has all the potential to make the podium at ITT. On his day, he is a superb mountain runner and he excels when the terrain is ‘challenging.’ He placed 4th at ITT in the last edition. Recently though he had a tough performance at Lavaredo, however, he did pull out and that may well have saved his ITT performance.

French champion (2013), Sebastien Spehler had victories at TTN and 6000D in 2014. His recent form is a little unknown but he may well make the top 10?

Benoit Cori placed 13th at the IAU World Trail Championships and won Templiers in 2014. The ITT course is far removed from both those courses but Benoit obviously has speed.

Marcin Swierc is another runner who will make his presence felt in the top 10. He placed 8th at Mont-Blanc Marathon and 9th at Templiers and 4th at the recent Mont-Blanc 80km. So it is clear to see that he has speed and strength. ITT adds other aspects and his final result will very much depend on how he can handle snow, ice and additional technical running.

Christophe Perillat is not a runner I know a great deal about. However, he did place 2nd at the 2014 CCC. So with that in mind, he is no slouch in the mountains.

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Cyril Cointre may well start the race? I need to have this confirmed. If he does, he will be a contender at the front of the race. He races extensively, some may say too much but despite this, he always pulls out the results. Recently he finished ahead of Anton Krupicka at Transgrancanaria.

Franco Colle knows how to run in the mountains; look at his results at Tor des Geants. The ITT terrain will suit him but will it be too short and too fast? He certainly performed exceptionally well at Mont-Blanc 80k when he placed 2nd behind Alex Nichols.

Several other names on the start sheet jump out at me:

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Zigor Iturrieta has been there and done it in racing. I was last at a race with him in Nepal when he ran Everest Trail Race (he placed 3rd) and he always manages to pull out the stops for strong consistent results.

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Pavel Paloncy is a renowned adventure racer, 2-x winner of the UK’s Spine Race and recently raced The Dragons Back and would have placed well overall had it not been for a bad fall on day 1. Pavel is a strong and gritty runner. I do wonder though if this race may be too short and too fast for Pavel?

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Stuart Air from the UK has run well at ITT before and top 10 would be a great result.

Ones to watch:

Daniel Garcia, Jessed Hernandez, Robert Niewland, Pawel Dybek,

 

Ladies

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Emelie Forsberg has won ITT 2 x and I have no reason to doubt or question that she will do it again. It’s a course she loves, the terrain suits her and she has great memories. Last weekend she won and set a new course record in Alaska at Mount Marathon. It was 50-minute race but just today (Tuesday) she said her legs are tired! I think they will be okay for the weekend. Her performance and victory (off ski’s) at Transvulcania Ultramarathon in 2015 confirms that Emelie is the one to beat!

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Anna Comet Pascua is on fire at the moment. I witnessed Anna win Everest Trail Race at the end of 2014 and she said then that she planned to race the Skyrunning circuit in 2015. A podium place at Transvulcania Ultramarathon and then a follow up podium behind Mira Rai at Mont-Blanc 80km confirms that Anna is doing something right. Just as in La Palma, I don’t think Anna has the race to beat Emelie but anything can happen?

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It will not be an easy ride for Emelie and Maud Gobert will make sure of that. Maud placed 2nd at ITT in 2014 and although she races lees now than in the past, on her day she can still make her presence felt.

Anne Lise Rousset placed 4th at the IAU World Championships and although she has great potential for top 5 or maybe even the podium, I don’t see her coming close to Emelie on a course like this.

Magdalena Laczack however may well prove to be the dark horse of the race and is my top tip for 2nd place and should Emelie falter, Magdalena could possibly take the victory? Her 3rd place behind Emelie and Frosty at the Skyrunning World Championships (80km) in Chamonix confirms this.

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Nuria Dominguez is an ever present on the Skyrunning circuit and always gets the job done. She has placed top 10 at Transgrancanaria, Zegama-Aizkorri, Dolomites SkyRace, Trans D’Havet, Limone Extreme and so on. Top 5 is a distinct possibility and most certainly a podium contender on a good day!

Beth Cardelli is one of the strongest runners in the Southern Hemisphere and won one of the shorter races at ITT in 2013. Climbing and long distance running is her forte and I am sure if she is making the journey from Australia she will be fired up for a great run. Recently she placed 4th at Mt Difficulty and 3rd at Buffalo Stampede when Landie Greyling topped the podium.

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Ester Alves seems to be running everything at the moment. I would say ‘too much’ for her to have any potential for the podium at ITT but she may well make the top 5 and top 10 should be guaranteed if all goes well. Recently she placed 2nd behind Stevie Kremer at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira.

Ones to watch:

Ragna Debats, Frederica Boifava, Anna Strakova, Sarah Vieuielle and Virginie Govignon.

*****

The Ice Trail Tarentaise weekend is also renowned for the Bellevarde Vertical Kilometer, which was reintroduced in 2014.

The course is a tough one, which may include snow although this looks unlikely after recent high temperatures throughout Europe. This race may well prove to be very exciting, as Francois Gonon will run after his recent excellent CR on the vertical slopes in Chamonix.

Ones to watch:

Men

  • Francois Gonon
  • Nejc Kuhar
  • Marco Moletto
  • Ferran Teixido
  • Xavier Teixido
  • William Bon Mardion
  • Eirik Haugsness
  • Remi Bonnet

 

Ladies

  • Laura Orgue
  • Stephanie Jimenez
  • Emelie Forsberg (tbc)
  • Azara Garcia
  • Therese Sjursen
  • Erika Forni
  • Serena Vittori
  • Ekaterina Mityaev
  • Zhana Vokueva

Follow the racing in images and words on this website, on Facebook.com/iancorlessphotography on Twitter @talkultra and on Instagram @iancorlessphotography

Race Tweets will come to you via @skyrunning_com and on the Skyrunning Facebook page.

Ice Trail Tarentaise 2014 – Race Start Images

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The 2014 Ice Trail Tarentaise got underway at 0400 Sunday 13th July. It was a wet start but temperatures were mild and everyone was enthusiastic at the tough challenge that would be ahead.

Ones to watch in the men are Francois d’Haene winner of the ITT in 2012 and 2nd in 2013 behind Kilian Jornet and Luis Alberto Hernando who beat Francois in Chamonix just 2-weeks ago.

For the ladies, Emelie Forsberg 2013 champion returns but she will have strong competition from Francesca Canepa and Maud Gobert amongst others.

Race Preview HERE

Mountain Man – Robbie Simpson

Pg1 Men's Running

 

Photography by iancorless.com

iancorless.photoshelter.com

Episode 42 – Jurek, Maciel, Zahab, Forsberg

Ep42

Episode 42 of Talk Ultra – We speak to Fernanda Maciel as she prepares for the up and coming CCC and the Everest Trail Race. Ray Zahab has inspired many a runner and we chat to him about his career, Impossible to Possible and his recent Gobi Crossing. We have a chat with Scott Jurek and Nick Clark about Leadville. Smiles and Miles with Emelie Forsberg, Talk Training, the News, a Blog and the up and coming races. It’s another packed show!

00:00:45 START

00:09:46 NEWS

What a race Leadville turned out to be. We had all discussed the race beforehand and the script had been written. However, somebody should have told the runners….

00:10:22 – To set the scene, here is a pre race interview with Scott Jurek 

00:26:49

Leadville 100

  1. Ian Sharman 16:30 (4th fastest time)
  2. Nick Clark 17:06
  3. Mike Aish 18:28
  4. Kyle Pietari 18:37
  5. Andrew Catalano 18:43
  6. Timo Meyer 19:04
  7. Eric Sullivan 19:17
  8. Scott Jurek 19:21
  9. Bob Africa 19:38
  10. Javier Montero 19:45
  1. Ashley Arnold 20:25
  2. Saheen Sattar 22:42
  3. Keila Merino 22:47
  4. Katrin Silva 23:16
  5. Becca Hall 23:43
  6. Kara Henry 23:50
  7. Abby Mcqueeney Menamonte 24:06
  8. Maddy Hribar 24:24
  9. Nicole Struder 24:25
  10. Maggie Nelson 24:37

Waldo 100k

  1. David Laney 9:05
  2. Jesse Haynes 9:45
  3. Dan Olmstead 9:56
  1. Caren Spore 11:07
  2. Joelle Vaught 11:28
  3. Paulette Zillmer 12:42

Pikes Peak

  1. Touro Miyahara 3:43:25
  2. Alex Nichols 3:43:48
  3. Jason Delaney 3:53:46
  1. Stevie Kremer,
  2. Salynda Fleury
  3. Laia Trias

* Stevie Kremer 12th overall and sets new CR for Age Group. Previous record of 4:21:09 and Stevie did 4:17:13. Interestingly, Stevie tells me she can’t run downhill… we all know Emelie Forsberg can! Well Stevie came down quicker than Emelie in 2012, Emelie did 1:34:09, Stevie did 1:33:08 so that is a new descent record too!

Arcteryx Squamish 50

  1. Adam Campbell 7:37
  2. Jason Loutitt 7:40
  3. Ed McCarthy 8:38
  1. Krissie Moehl 9:37
  2. Lisa Polizzi 9:39
  3. Kathy McKay 10:25

North Downs Way 100

  1. Ed Catmur 15:44
  2. Anthony Foryth 16:03
  3. Mark Perkins 17:45
  1. Leila Rose 23:47
  2. Wendy Shaw 24:21
  3. Helen Smith 25:36

Transrockies

  1. Nadyia Fry 17:58
  2. Sara Wagner 18:43
  3. Jess Simson 19:47
  1. Ian Perriman 19:49
  2. Mike Chandler 20:59
  3. Russell Mailin 21:34

Lots of other races and classifications so go to http://transrockies-run.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Zone4-Results-RUN6-TRR-Teams-General-Classification-TransRockies-Run-20131.pdf

Finally, it is the Matterhorn Ultraks this weekend. Going to be exciting to see Kilian, Hernado and some of the other top Europeans going head-to-head. 

Also, UTMB, TDS and CCC is just around the corner. Really strong American contingent… Anton K, Dylan Bowman, Gary Robbins, Dakota Jones, Mike Wolfe, Mike Foote, Timmy Olson and so on… is it the year for the US?

01:00:55 BREAKING NEWS

01:07:58 Brazilian, Fernanda Maciel is racing CCC and I caught up with her about her prep and how she is then preparing for Everest Trail Race later in the year!

01:31:06 BLOGS

Ian Sharman couldn’t sleep after his incredible Leadville win and instead decided to get his thoughts down in a blog post. – http://sharmanian.blogspot.co.u

“In summary, there were some fast guys aiming to do ridiculous times. Scott Jurek wanted to be the second man to break 16 hours and Ryan Sandes was coming back after a fast win in 2011… So Nick Clark and I were dark horses given the two 100s in our legs from recent weeks and we weren’t expected to be around the lead at the end.”

01:32:15 TALK TRAINING – Marc Laithwaite

01:57:47 INTERVIEW – Ray Zahab

This week’s interview is with Ray Zahab. Ray is a passionate guy who through Impossible to Possible has inspired many people. I finally had the opportunity to catch up with Ray after he completed yet another expedition, crossing the Gobi desert. We talk about his career and Ray shows his passion for i2P.

02:45:18 MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat Karl 

02:54:38 SMILESandMILES with Emelie Forsberg – smilesandmiles@yahoo.com

03:16:20 CLARKY’S CORNER –It’s three down and one to go for Clarky and the other ‘Slammers’. Leadville is just around the corner. We catch up with Nick, discuss how Leadville went and what his chances are of taking the Grand Slam away from Ian Sharman

03:31:10 RACES

Austria

Linzer Bergmarathon – 54 km | 54 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

 

Belgium

La Transardennaise – Août | 160 kilometers | August 28, 2013 | website

Oxfam Trailwalker Belgium | 100 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

 

Canada

British Columbia

Meet Your Maker 50 Mile Trail Ultra & Relay | 50 miles | September 01, 2013 | website

 

France

Hautes-Pyrénées

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – le Grand Trail | 80 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – l’Ultra | 160 kilometers | August 23, 2013 | website

Isère

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs | 160 kilometers | August 23, 2013 | website

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs – 90 km | 90 kilometers | August 23, 2013 | website

Loir-et-Cher

100km des Etangs de Sologne | 100 kilometers | August 25, 2013 | website

50km de la Sologne des Rivières | 50 kilometers | August 25, 2013 | website

Savoie

North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc | 166 kilometers | August 30, 2013 | website

Petite Trotte à Léon | 300 kilometers | August 26, 2013 | website

Sur les traces des Ducs de Savoie | 110 kilometers | August 28, 2013 | website

 

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon August | 108 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run | 240 kilometers | August 31, 2013 | website

 

Iceland

Fire and Ice | 250 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

Run Iceland Adventure Trail | 110 kilometers | September 01, 2013 | website

 

Ireland

Connacht

Achill Ultra Marathon | 39 miles | August 24, 2013 | website

Leinster

Longford Ultra Marathon | 63 kilometers | August 25, 2013 | website

 

Italy

Aosta Valley

Courmayeur Champex Chamonix | 98 kilometers | August 30, 2013 | website

 

Latvia

Daugavpils International 50K | 50 kilometers | August 25, 2013 | website

 

Norway

styrkeprøven True West | 50 kilometers | August 31, 2013 | website

 

South Africa

Peninsula Ultra Fun Run | 80 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

 

Switzerland

Grisons

Swiss Irontrail T141 | 136 kilometers | August 23, 2013 | website

Swiss Irontrail T201 | 201 kilometers | August 23, 2013 | website

Swiss Irontrail T71 | 66 kilometers | August 23, 2013 | website

 

United Kingdom

Scotland

Speyside Way Race | 36 miles | August 24, 2013 | website

Wales

Ring o’ Fire | 131 miles | August 30, 2013 | website

 

USA

California

Bulldog 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

Endure the Bear 100 Miler | 100 miles | September 06, 2013 | website

Sierra Nevada Relay | 160 miles | August 24, 2013 | website

Tamalpa Headlands 50K | 50 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

Colorado

Ragnar Relay Colorado | 200 miles | September 06, 2013 | website

Silverton Alpine 50K | 50 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

Michigan

Hallucination 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 06, 2013 | website

LSD 100K | 100 kilometers | September 06, 2013 | website

North Country Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | August 24, 2013 | website

Minnesota

Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 06, 2013 | website

Pennsylvania

Baker Trail UltraChallenge | 50 miles | August 24, 2013 | website

South Dakota

Lean Horse 50 Km | 50 kilometers | August 24, 2013 | website

Lean Horse Half Hundred | 50 miles | August 24, 2013 | website

Lean Horse Hundred | 100 miles | August 24, 2013 | website

Utah

Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | September 06, 2013 | website

Vermont

Jay Peak 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | September 01, 2013 | website

Virginia

Iron Mountain 50 mile Trail Run | 50 miles | August 31, 2013 | website

The Blude Ridge Relay | 208 miles | September 06, 2013 | website

Washington

Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 24, 2013 | website

PCT Bunker to Bonneville 50K | 50 kilometers | August 31, 2013 | website

Wyoming

Grand Teton 50 KM | 50 kilometers | August 31, 2013 | website

Grand Teton 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | August 31, 2013 | website

03:33:50 CLOSE

03:40:11 END

LINKS:


http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/Episode_42_-_Maciel_Zahab_Jurek_Forsberg.mp3

Website – talkultra.com

Sierre-Zinal 2013 Race Summary

©copyright .iancorless.com.iancorless.orgIMGP0638glacierdezinal

What a race the 2013 and 40th edition of Sierre-Zinal proved to be. It was an exciting nail biter in the men’s race with a new star and the old guard shining. For the ladies, we had a new lady on top of the podium, a repeat performance for second and third and the UK showing how to be consistent and perform at the highest level.

Men’s race

Marc Lauenstein (Suisse) 2:32:14 took home the win from Juan Carlos Cardona (Colombia) who was Kilian Jornet’s pre race prediction by just 16 seconds in what proved to be a fitting climax to an incredible race. Cardona looked as though he had the race won but Lauenstein pulled something special out of the bag in the closing stages. Very little is known about Marc, however, he is a Swiss orienteering competitor and he won silver at the 2005 and 2006 World long distance orienteering championships.

Mountain running legend and Sierre-Zinal course record holder, Jonathan Wyatt (NZL) proved that experience and pure class can outwit the competition for a 3rd place in a time of 2:33:44.

Although entered in the race for some time, Kilian Jornet decided to run only in the days before the race. He was already at the Matterhorn and preparing for his next ‘Summit’. The temptation to drive from Italy to Switzerland was too great, and although he may very well have raced for ‘fun’ he placed fourth in 2:33:59. After the race he tweeted, “Super, super, happy today with Sierre-Zinal. I was here to enjoy the race and I feel super good. Finished in an unexpected 4th with my best crono!”

Robbie Simpson from the UK proved what an incredible talent he is, running for inov-8 he placed 5th in 2:35:32. It’s a world-class performance in a world-class field. A star of the future!

As you will see from my pre race summary, the 40th edition of Sierre-Zinal was such a tough race to call. Stars like Tofol Castanyer (7th), Rickey Gates (9th), Sage Canaday (17th); all proved that predictions are a fickle area to delve into, particularly in a relatively short and tough mountain race like Sierre-Zinal.

Sage Canaday runs a 2:16 marathon and has had repeated victories in 2012 and 2013. Many of those victories have come with course records. Just recently he won Speedgoat 50k ahead of runners like Anton Krupicka, Max king and Timothy Olson. Now of course here at Sierre-Zinal he may well have been running on ‘jaded’ legs. It is a distinct possibility. Post race he said, “Total muscle failure. Mountain racing in Europe is totally different from the US ultra-trail scene.” It does beg a question, are some of the top guys racing too much or do they need to be more specific in training? Certainly Rickey Gates has proven here that US male runners can perform in Europe, as did Anton Krupicka at Cavalls del Vent in the latter part of 2012. What are your thoughts?

On a final note, Cesar Costa (Martigny) has placed second at Sierre-Zinal three times before. For sure, many of us thought that 2013 may well have been his opportunity, however, he finished in thirteenth with a time 2:42:11.

iancorless.orgIMGP0584glacierdezinal

Ladies race

Placing 2nd at Sierre-Zinal in 2012, her first European race, I firmly placed my prediction on Stevie Kremer taking out the win after a stunning twelve months racing. At the finish line, Stevie didn’t disappoint, however, the top spot was not hers. In a repeat of 2012, Stevie placed second, 3:03:12 and Maud Mathys placed third, 3:04:13. It was like déjà vu.

One thing that did change though was the top slot on the podium. Unnoticed by me on the start sheet, Elisa Desco produced a career enhancing performance and she once again proved that after some time away from the sport that good things come to those who wait. Marc De Gasperi (2012 Sierre-Zinal winner) summed it up when he tweeted, “No words enough to say how much YOU deserve this victory! Brava, brava, brava!!!”

Kenyan, Hellen Musyoka set the early pace but in the end placed 4th with a time of 3:04:47 and GB mountain running legend, Angela Mudge proved that experience is what really counts when it comes to Sierre-Zinal with a great fifth place in 3:07:21.

Victoria Wilkinson from Bingley Harries in the UK produced a sterling run to place sixth overall and this was ahead of some sterling competition. For example; 2013 Speedgoat 50k winner, Stephanie Howe placed 11th, Lizzy Hawker 14th (admittedly training for UTMB), Zhana Vokueva 15th and Celine Lafaye 18th.

Without doubt, it was an exceptional weekend of racing and of course, from a UK perspective, it is great to see Robbie Simpson, Angela Mudge and Victoria Wilkinson flying the flag at the front of the top European races.

iancorless.orgIMGP0559glacierdezinal

You can actually watch all the action from the 2013 Sierre-Zinal here:

http://www.rts.ch/video/sport/athletisme/5125770-revivez-la-40e-edition.html

Eirik Haugsnes joins inov-8

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 Prior to the Skyrunner World Series event in Chamonix, France, six weeks ago, Eirik Haugsnes was a relative unknown in the sport of athletic superhumans.

Two outstanding performances under the shadow of Mont Blanc, however, changed all that.

First the 32-year-old Norwegian, who lives in one of Europe’s most northerly outposts, far from the skyrunning hub, claimed the scalps of many top mountain runners when placing third in the brutal Mont Blanc Vertical Km race.

Less than 48 hours later Eirik was at it again, this time finishing fifth in the elite-stacked Mont Blanc Marathon, which sees athletes tackle over 2,500m of grueling mountain ascent.

Having never previously raced in the Alps or over the marathon distance, suddenly he found himself as one of the hottest properties in skyrunning.

It’s therefore no surprise to learn of inov-8’s delight at recruiting Eirik to their talented international team, beating off interest from rival brands in doing so.

“The weekend in Chamonix was an incredible one for me,” says Eirik, who wore inov-8’s X-Talon 190 shoes in the vertical km and Trailroc 245 footwear for the marathon.

“I’ve done a lot of uphill-only races in Norway over steep and technical terrain and knew the Mont Blanc Vertical Km would suit me.

“As a relative unknown I was given an early individual start time, while the guys expected to clock the fastest times set off later.

“I just went for it. I pushed hard right from the beginning and maintained that intensity all the way up the climb.

“To get the third fastest time (35:02) and be within 30 seconds of the winner (Saul Antonio Padua Rodriguez) was really pleasing.

“I wasn’t supposed to be doing the Mont Blanc Marathon two days later, but on the back of my result in the vertical km race I was offered a place.

“Again, I gave it absolutely everything in the race and maintained a really good pace.  The last 10km, however, were really tough. My body was in pain but I pushed through it.

“It was my first race over the marathon distance so to clock 3:47:59 and finish fifth over such a tough course was great.

“I also did it without any support. I had no team on the course to help me and drank only what was at the aid stations.

“I noticed inov-8 had a big team in Chamonix and was really impressed to see five of their runners place in the top-10 men and women for the marathon.

“I have always loved the brand, its philosophy and their big ambitions, so to now join the inov-8 team is really exciting for me.”

Living in Finnsnes, Troms, Eirik was brought up on a diet of cross-country skiing and was one of the best juniors in Norway, recording many podium places in national competitions.

In 2002, he achieved a then-world record for the fastest time skiing unsupported across Greenland, enduring terrifying whiteouts on route – something he says has aided his mental toughness for mountain running.

Eirik began running just five years ago and has since become one of the best mountain exponents in Norway, where many races are uphill-only, featuring ascent of between 500m and 1,800m.

This year, prior to his Chamonix double-header, he finished fifth in two very different races – first the Empire State Building Run-up in New York, which he completed in 11 minutes and four seconds, and then the 83km Transgrancanaria ultra-marathon on the Spanish Island of Gran Canaria, for which he clocked 8:55:24.

“The Empire State Building Run-Up involves scaling 86 floors and 1,576 steps as quickly as possible,” he said.

“In the town where I live the tallest building I could find has five floors. I did a lot of repetitions of those five floors in training!

“Before Transgrancanaria the only off-road races I had done were uphill races in Norway, so it was a totally new experience for me to be competing both up and down big mountains.

“I also went there having only trained in the snow, which every year covers our town between November and May – I think I live closer to the North Pole than the Canary Islands!

“I was therefore happy to finish fifth on the hard-packed trails, especially as for the last 30km I was totally wasted and running on empty.”

The Matterhorn Ultraks is part of the Skyrunner World Series and will see athletes battle it out over a stunning course that includes 3,600m of ascent.

And as for being the new kid on the skyrunning block, he adds: “I rise to it. I think it gives me an advantage. There are no big expectations on my shoulders, except those I put on myself.

 “I will continue to run for adventure and to challenge my limits.”

LINK:

inov-8 HERE

Lizzy Hawker – Interview

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker is arguably one of the greatest female runners of all time. She has transcended what we all think is possible in running. Her versatility over multiple distances and terrain has without doubt made her one of the most respected ultra athletes of all time. She has dominated the UTMB, she is a 24-hour champion and she has set numerous course records. I was fortunate to catch up with Lizzy in early 2013. She had just had a very successful latter half to 2012 but was recovering from an injury before embarking on another full year of racing and personal challenges.

IC: Lizzy, it’s a real pleasure to finally chat, we have been trying to coordinate this for sometime.  Firstly, can we go back to how you got into running, you say you always remember running but at what point did you realize you had ability?

LH: Well going back, I can’t remember NOT running. I guess we all run as children, you know, just running around. I always remember at school that I preferred running in contrast to netball or similar sports. I don’t know how really but it just became normal to run everyday. It was only for fun though. It never crossed my mind to race or join or club. It was just my way to be outside and in nature. It was a balance to school, university and all other distractions. It’s just something that has always been there for me and I don’t think it was really until 2005 when I entered a couple of long races that I realized that I had something that I should really pursue.

IC: Pre 2005 is that when you where travelling doing expeditions. You were in Antarctica. An Oceanographer, yes?

LZ: I was actually finishing off my PHD and then I had a job with the British Antarctic survey.

IC: Running was very recreational then, a way to keep fit?

LZ: Absolutely, it was my way to be outside and an escape.

IC: Did you do any competitions, half marathons, marathons etc.?

LZ: I did London Marathon just because I felt I should… you know, it just seemed logical. I remember it was several years before I actually got a place due to the ballot. This was prior to my PHD but I was working at the Antarctic Survey when I got a place. I was actually at sea for six weeks. It was only a month before London that I got back on land. Not ideal preparation! It was my first race…

IC: How was that, how did it go?

LZ: I enjoyed it but my time wasn’t special.

IC: Time?

LZ: 3:40 ish

IC: Wow, considering how fast you now run that was a humble beginning. Nice for us all to hear… 3:40 for many is a good time but it was a very modest start for you. How did you progress?

LZ: From London a friend suggested that if I love hills then I should do a marathon in a hilly place, you know, somewhere nice. So, I did Snowdonia marathon in Wales for a few years and then the same friend suggested going ‘off-road’. You know, going across hills instead of around them. So, I entered the Welsh 1000’s. Because I didn’t have fell-running experience at all, I couldn’t enter the fell class, so, I was in the mountain class. It meant a heavy pack, long trousers and walking boots. I enjoyed it and did it a couple if times… that was the only experience I had prior to 2005.

IC: In 2005 what changed, what was it that you then did that paved the way to were you are now?

LZ: Two things really. I was visiting friends in South Wales to escape my PHD for a weekend. They were running a 40-mile track race in Barry. So I just entered it. Primarily because they had. I think that was March and then I was selected for the England team for the UK 100k champs. That was based on my time at the 40-mile race. The 100k was a month later and in-between that I went to Turkey to SkiMo (Ski Mountaineer). Not conventional prep! Also, I had read an article about the Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc (UTMB). UTMB did not have the prestige it has now and it had no wait list, so I entered. I was due to finish my PHD and it was a great excuse to go to the Alps. I would goo climbing and then race at the end. That was my first mountain race.

IC: So in 2005 with little or no experience, you go to UTMB. That is quite a step up eh?

LH: I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I had nothing to gauge it against. I had no idea even if I would get back to Chamonix after starting. I certainly expected not to make one of the cut offs… I was on the start and I thought about a quote from Alice in Wonderland, you know, the one about starting in the beginning and stopping when you get to the end. That was my goal. To start and keep going until I stopped or was stopped.

IC: What was that first experience like?

LH: I loved it. I started in the masses. I was way back at the start. I was on the Church steps way back from the front. It was a long long time before I even started to run. Just the sheer number and volume of people slowed everything down. I can remember, after about 15 to 20k I was somewhere between about 500/600th place. I actually finished 25th or 26th overall by the time the end came. I just worked my way past everyone… I just loved it. It was my first experience of running at night and I can remember after one of the feed stations, I was running up  a climb and I could feel the beauty of the mountains. I knew then that I would have to go back. Yes, it was magic.

IC: You have won that race (UTMB) five times…

LH: Well, kind of five times…

IC: Ok, yes, five variations of the race! We spoke after the 2012 finish and you said you still had unfinished business. You want that ‘time’* on the course. Will that mean you will be back?

*Lizzy is very keen to set the fastest ladies time in the UTMB course.

LH: Yes, I am mulling over my plans. I can’t confirm for 2013 but I almost certainly will be back to UTMB, if not this year then maybe next. I do have unfinished business.

IC: Do you think the plans that the UTMB organization have made for 2013 and moving forward to correct issues* in the past will work?  *by issues, we refer to the race being shortened due to unpredictable weather.

LH: I don’t know. What I would like to see is a sliding start time. So that they have the possibility to bring the race forward or delay by 24 hours, this will allow for good weather windows. I am not sure how that would work with the other races (CCC and TDS) going on but it seems to me that the weather systems work through quite quickly and this window may very well be ideal to allow the full race to go ahead. We want the race to be as it should be, a full tour of Mont Blanc. That is 160km. If I were taking time of work, paying money to get there, I would much prefer to add one extra day either side and have that possibility to race for what may very well be moderate additional expense. I don’t think they (UTMB organization) have taken this as an option but it is what I would like to see.

IC: I think many would agree with you. The race is a ‘tour ‘of Mont Blanc. Not a 60k, 100k or 140k. You want to go back and do the race and get the time* but your variety of races are extreme, you know, you run on the track, you run on the road, you run mountains, you run trail, you do multi stage, how do you apply yourself in your training, do you literally just go out and run and enjoy it?

LH: Pretty much I guess. I think over the years I have kind of built up a high level of base endurance so depending on the race I am targeting next I kind of focus training to that specific event. But because of the way I came into running, running was part of my daily routine. I wanted to be outside, I wanted to be moving and I just love running, So, that is really the backbone of my training even now I guess. I just like to run.

IC: For someone who loves the mountains so much, You are passionate about Nepal for example, what is it in your mind that allows you to run on a 400m track, time and time again for 24 hours?

LH: I haven’t done that yet!

IC: Yes I know that, but I am curious what it is within you that will allow you to do this?

LH: I can remember back to my first track race in 2005. I hadn’t been on a track since school. It was funny, I couldn’t get lost, I couldn’t fall down a crevice, I had no avalanches to think about and it basically just simplified the process. I could think about the running movement. I could just focus. Almost like meditation.

IC: Do you use meditation when running?

LH: I use mediation for it’s own sake. But that is just during the last 12 months or so. But I have realized that most of my running is kind of a meditation. Or at least  it is my quiet time. Time alone with myself. Not every case obviously but when I am alone it is a relaxing and spiritual time.

IC: I followed you at UTMB in 2012. I had the benefit of being in the feed stations with Keith (Lizzies crew from The North Face). You would arrive; Keith would have everything laid out. It looked planned with a definite strategy. Get you in and out ASAP. But I remember you said to me that it isn’t that planned.

LH: No not at all. I never know what I want but if I have the options I can choose what I want. I need to move through as quickly as possible.

IC: Do you find that you turn yourself off? Do you almost become metronomic?

LH: Not really. It’s a body and mind connection. It has to be very strong. You need to know what is going on; particularly with your body but at the same time you need to be able to cut pain off. You need to hang on in and sort it out. It’s two sides of the coin if that makes sense.

Lizzy Hawker at Sierre-Zinal 2012 copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker at Sierre-Zinal 2012 copyright Ian Corless

IC: If we look at your achievements, UTMB, 100k champs, 24-hour world record and in 2012 you had a golden period… UTMB, Run Rabbit Run and then Spartathlon. If we look at all these things, what are your highlights?

LH: Ultimately it is the running. It is an essential part of my life. The races are stepping stones within that. I think it is funny though, I look at what you call the ‘golden period’ and I don’t feel I raced at my best! I could have done so much more… It is kind of funny; I am always trying to improve. Go faster, go longer. I want to be so much better. I was happy with those three races but I felt I could have given more.

IC: Lets take Spartathlon. It is an iconic race in the ultra calendar. It is a race that has a different variety of people who take part, we often look at that race as giving some significant performances, and for example we talk about Yiannis Kouros and Scott Jurek. You raced for the first time in 2012. Did the race live up to its billing?

LH: It is an iconic race. The atmosphere is amazing. The route is not that wonderful, not so much the route but the fact that you are on busy roads and they don’t close them. I had times during the night with lorries passing me that were less than comfortable. It is an incredible race to be a part of though.

IC: Of course you had a pretty darn good race. You set a women’s course record, you were on the podium overall but yet you say it wasn’t good enough! Did you want to win outright?

LH: yes!

(Joint laughter)

IC: Funny. I love the standards that you set yourself. Will you go back?

LH: Yes, I am not sure in 2013 but I will go back and try again one year.

IC: After Spartathlon I guess you had a cleansing period in Nepal. You did Manasulu Trail. Is that type of race more for you, a personal race?

LH: Half and half. Of course, I love to be in Nepal. Nepal gives me so much back, to be in that place is rewarding but those Nepalese guys can really run, it is not easy.

IC: I love you say that you mention the men and the fact that you are not racing the women.

LH: It’s a small race!

IC: Yes, but women usually race women. You always race for the overall instead of racing for first lady. Are you very competitive?

LH: I guess I am competitive but the competition is within. I want to be the best I can be. I can win a race and not be happy or I could come way down the field but be happy because I did my best on that day. That is the way I feel about racing. It is a personal thing.

IC: You love Nepal. You attempted a full crossing, which unfortunately didn’t go to plan… you lost your sat phone amongst other things!

LH: Or the permits! Just a few things… (laughs)

IC: Will you try again; I know the rules have changed on how you can now do these crossings?

LH I definitely want to go back. It is my dream journey. To cross the Himalayas keeping as high as possible and moving fast is what really motivates me. I would love to go back.

IC: How long is that journey?

LH: About 1,000 miles.

IC: A long way!

LH: Yes, a pretty long way.

IC: A race has been announced that will take this whole route for 2014.

LH: Yes, Spring 2014 and 2016 I think.

IC:  Is that of interest to you or would you prefer solo?

LH: I can do both! (Laughs) I still want to do my solo journey because it will be so different. The race will miss the high passes. You can’t really compare the two. They both have validity and I would like to do both.

IC: 2013 is here, what does it have in store for you?

LH: Good question. I am mulling that over. Nothing is definite, not that it ever is. I am formulating race plans at the moment.

IC: Western States, Skyrunning, and UTMB?

** Please see UPDATE below

LH: Ronda del Cims 100m Skyrunning race is looking very likely in June. I hope to do Hardrock 100. I am on the wait list so I hope to race.

IC: You are high up on the wait list for Hardrock 100 if I remember correctly?

LH: Not sure it is high enough though? I will try to do those two and then we shall see what the rest of the year holds for me.

Lizzy Hawker copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker copyright Ian Corless

IC: Ronda del Cims is a tough course. It has plenty of climbing and altitude.

LH:  Yes. I am looking forward to it. It will be a real challenge and a great race.

IC: Well Lizzy as per usual, it has been an absolute pleasure to talk to you. Without doubt you are an inspiration to all. I really appreciate your time and I look forward to seeing you and following you around the Ronda del Cims course in late June.

LH: Thanks so much Ian.

*To get 2013 rolling, Lizzy raced at Annapurna 100k and won the ladies race. She then decided to break her own personal record running from Everest base camp to Kathmandu (319km/ 198m) in 63 hours and 08 minutes (here) smashing her previous record. Not content with running for 63 hours, Lizzy then raced the 277km Mustang Trail Race and was 2nd overall. However, just recently she entered the 24-hour championships and pulled out. Apparently all is well with Lizzy and her focus is now on Ronda dels Cims. I have to say, that Lizzy has not only the potential to win the ladies race but the race outright. Race preview HERE

UPDATE June 6th, An email from Lizzy “As it turns out I’ve just had an MRI confirming a stress fracture in my foot. So, Hardrock would have been off the cards, and now I also have to pull out of Ronda del Cims.”

Links:

The North Face – AK Stormy Trail

A5YKJK33As the main sponsor of the TNFUTMB, The North Face fully understand the needs of every runner when embarking on the epic alpine journey. Irrespective of distance, the mountains can be a cruel and hard place.

Look at the history of the race. For several years the TNFUTMB has been hampered by bad weather. Just last year, 2012, the race was shortened at the last minute and ‘mandatory’ kit was increased to 4 layers to ensure the safety of every runner.

Two pieces of mandatory kit are a fully waterproof jacket with hood and taped seams but also over trousers. Now many runners, particularly the elite runners think… “I will never wear over trousers”. The 2012 edition of the TNFUTMB confirmed to many that mandatory kit, (although sometimes one may think it is over the top) is absolutely necessary,

To this end, The North Face have created two items that tick all the boxes. The AK STORMY TRAIL JACKET and AK STORMY TRAIL PANTS. Available in Black & Yellow

A5YKJK3

A48DJK32

Key Features

It’s simple really…. a tailored fit to reduces excess material and flapping. A reduction in ‘extras’ as these only add opportunities for onward problems or areas were leaks may appear. Lightweight and small pack size.

Box TICKED

The AK STORMY range do all the above and then some. Of course that doesn’t come cheap. At £160 for the jacket and £110 for the pants this is an investment. But you get what you pay for and I certainly wouldn’t want to compromise when I am several thousand feet up in the rain and snow.

SPECS

AK JACKET – The North Face® Men’s AK Stormy Trail Jacket is a waterproof, breathable, hooded running jacket for maximum protection in the foulest weather. Featuring The North Face® FlashDry™ technology, microporous particles improve and accelerate the removal of excess moisture from the skin, allowing drier and more comfortable performance for longer, in a range of weather conditions. Used and recommended for endurance races such as The Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc, the jacket is constructed with a reflective brimmed, stay-put hood, an adjustable hood cinch and a reflective drop-tail hem for increased coverage and weatherproofing. Easily stowed in a backpack and with a glued zip chest pocket for secure storage, follow the athletes in The North Face® Men’s AK Stormy Trail Jacket.

A5YKJK32

  • Reflective brimmed hood with stay
  • Adjustable hood cinch
  • Glued chest pocket
  • Reflective drop-tail hem
  • Stowable

available S,M,L,XL

AK PANTS – The North Face® Men’s AK Stormy Trail Pant is a waterproof, windproof, breathable running trouser for maximum protection in the foulest weather. Featuring The North Face® FlashDry™ technology, microporous particles improve and accelerate the removal of excess moisture from the skin, allowing drier and more comfortable performance for longer, in a range of weather conditions. Used and recommended for endurance races such as The Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc, these performance fit pants are constructed with an elasticized waist with adjustable drawcord and articulated knees for increased mobility. Easily stowed in a backpack and with reflective logos for increased security on night and low level visibility runs, follow the athletes in The North Face® Men’s AK Stormy Trail Pant.

A48DJK3

  • Elasticated waist with adjustable drawcord
  • Performance fit
  • Articulated knees, Ankle zips
  • Reflective logos
  • Packable

available S,M,L,XL

A full test of the AK range will follow soon. Initial impressions are superb. Fit is excellent. The attention to detail really is spot on and both garments are a real joy to wear but ultimately, they are a pleasure to run in… that is what counts!