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

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Joe Grant and Speedgoat Karl prepare for The Coastal Challenge 2015

Karl MeltzerThe 11th edition of The Coastal Challenge 2015 (#TCC2015) is just weeks away. For those in the know, the TCC is a gruelling multi-stage race that takes place along the tropical Pacific coastline of Costa Rica. The 230km route weaves in and out of the Talamancas (a coastal mountain range in the south west corner of the country) providing a true multi terrain experience.

A point-to-point race, the course starts in Quepos and finishes in the stunning Drakes Bay close to the border of Panama. Simple in concept, the TCC provides an extreme challenge that tests each individual runner. Participants will need to balance the distance, severity of the terrain and tropical climate to reach the finish line.

If you enjoy long distance running and adventure then The Coastal Challenge is for you and will prove to be a tremendously rewarding achievement. Jungle and rainforest trails, mountain trail and single track across ridge lines, highlands and coastal ranges; pristine beaches, rocky outcroppings and reefs, river valleys, river and estuary crossings. It’s an amazing course.

Following on from the incredible 10th edition line up (2014) that included Philipp Reiter, Nick Clark, Julia Boettger, Veronica Bravo and men and ladies victors; Michael Wardian and Jo Meek, race director, Rodrigo Carazo has once again provided a stunning line up for 2015.

Two of the male contenders for overall victory in the 2015 edition are Joe Grant and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer. I caught up with them to find out how training has gone in the final build up to the race.

*****

Speedgoat Karl Melter – Hoka One One, Red Bull

Karl, you have your mojo back! Is the TCC directly attributable for that? 

I definitely have my mojo back.  I am looking at the TCC as a great week of running, with some harder runs, some good runners to run against, and to hopefully not get ‘chicked!’ Which I suspect I will.  The race has motivated me to come to Zion Canyon and run some multi-long days in January which is great.  I also look at it as an interesting test of my fitness.  I’ve had 3 decent months so far, with the exception of a mildly aggravating neuroma, which will never go away, so I will just continue to run and manage it.

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You are no stranger to running day after day having done the AT (Applachian Trail) and Red Bull Pony Express, have you done anything specific in training for TCC? 

The AT and the Pony Express trail, being much longer days than the TCC really aren’t that comparable.  The Pony was a cakewalk because it was not a race. The AT was just about surviving the distance daily.  The TCC is much shorter and faster each day,   The real key is recovery, so I suspect, I’ll be sleeping plenty and resting a great amount after each day to see how that pans out.

***

I’ve been toying with recovery the past month after long runs. I will likely take in some Ultragen and remain motionless for about 30 min. Eat more. Take a nap with legs elevated for about 2 hours. Then go for a walk about 1-2 miles to loosen the legs again… then eat again!  At least that’s the plan for now. I”m sure it depends on what’s going on too, but the nap is important as well as the walk later in the day.

Any other tips for all those taking part?

Don’t drink as much beer as I will.  :-)  Enjoy more than anything and try and plan to be the “chaser”, not the “chasee” after day 3.  I’m hoping to be the guy who gains momentum after day 3, rather then going out with the fast guys on day 1 and frying myself.  It’s far more entertaining for me to run that way.

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Joe Grant – Buff, Arc’teryx, inov-8

JoeGrant2

You have been back home training in the snow on skis and the ‘phat’ (fat) bike. Will that all work well for your run legs at TCC?

I find that both the ski and biking help develop a lot of power while minimizing the impact on the body you get from running. I can get a lot of vertical in, have a good long day of training where I feel tired, but not banged up. At this point in the year, I think it’s a very sustainable practice and will set me up nicely for spring/summer racing. TCC will definitely be a bit of a shock to the system, particularly the heat, but that’s partly why I’m interested in the race as it will be a great early season training boost.

Are you doing any specific preparation for the heat of TCC?

I did go down to Arizona to visit my uncle over the New Year. I was hoping to get a bit of heat training in down there in the desert, more of a mental thing really to break out of the winter cycle back home. The weather was surprisingly cold though and I only got one warm day of running in shorts. Heat is certainly my biggest concern for the race.

Joe Grant

Multi day racing will place different demands on you in comparison to one long push (like in a 100-mile) do you have any thoughts or strategy for TCC?

I’m approaching the race like a demanding week of training with slightly longer mileage and more intensity. What I’ve found in multi-day races (in a single push) is that even a small amount of sleep and rest can do wonders for recovery. I’ll just need to remind myself during the race, that even if I’m feeling particularly bad on one day, good food and solid rest can really turn things around on the next. It’s a patience game and being able to spread your effort out evenly over the course of the 6 days.

Any tips for anyone taking part in a similar event?

I’d recommend really paying attention to all the little details that can improve your comfort and recovery during the week. It’s easy to be too tired to clean your shoes or tend blistered feet or chaffing after a strenuous stage, but taking care of those little things will pay off. It’s worth having clean, dry clothes to change into particularly at night to get good rest and feel ready to tackle the next day.

 

The 2015 #TCC2015 starts on January 31st and finishes on February 7th. Daily reports and images will be available on this website and you can follow Facebook and Twitter #TCC2015

The Coastal Challenge Facebook page is HERE and the race website is HERE

Route book and profiles available on PDF Here

 

Episode 77 – Greenwood, King, Grant, Maughan

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Episode 77 of Talk Ultra – It’s our Christmas Special. Ian and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer discuss 2014 and some of our highlights.

We have in depth interviews with Ellie Greenwood, Max King, Joe Grant and .Grant Maughan.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to joining you on your ultra journeys in 2015. – Ian & Karl

YOU CAN READ A REVIEW OF 2014 HERE

In the show we mentioned Kilian Jornet’s attempt at a FKT on Aconcagua. Kilian did it! You can read all about his Summit of My Life HERE

Here is a preview of the 2015 The Coastal Challenge – Men HERE, Ladies HERE

 

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SPEEDGOAT, GRANT, DON-WAUCHOPE : The Coastal Challenge 2015

TCC Men 2015

In just 30-days, the 2015 multi-day The Coastal Challenge will get underway. It’s an exciting prospect! We recently announced the female top runners – ANNA FROST, NIKKI KIMBALL, SAMANTHA GASH and VERONICA BRAVO. Today we announce the men’s field:

 SPEEDGOAT KARL MELTZER

JOE GRANT

IAIN DON WAUCHOPE

Race director, Rodrigo Carazo and the TCC team have once again excelled in providing a top quality elite line up making The Coastal Challenge the ‘must-do’ multi-day stage race in the world.

The ‘TCC’ is a supported race. Each day base camp is moved ahead and awaits the runner’s arrival at the finish. Equipment is kept to a minimum allowing runners to travel light and fast.

Karl Meltzer

Karl Meltzer (Hoka One One/ Red Bull) affectionately known as Speedgoat needs to introduction to the ultra world. He is Mr Ultra Running. A professional runner since 1999, Speedgoat has won more 100-mile races than any other runner on the planet. Ironically, he says he has never run a multi-stage race but he has completed the Appalachian Trail and the Pony Express Trail.

In 2006, Speedgoat won 6 100-mile races and the award Ultra Runner of the Year! A strong and fierce competitor, Speedgoat is one of the most respected ultra athletes in the world and his presence at the 2015 The Coastal Challenge is a great honour.

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Joe Grant (Arc’teryx, inov-8, Buff) is a Brit who grew up in France who now lives in the USA. A passionate writer and photographer, he has gained a reputation as an adventurer. He has a passion for moving fast and light over long distances and although he has never run a multiple day race, he has experienced epic races such as the Iditarod and Tor des Geants.

Placing 2nd at the 2012 Hardrock 100 is almost certainly a highlight in his career, however, he is a man who is all about experiencing a race in it’s entirety. I see my life as a continuum of experience, perpetually in motion, changing and becoming, a confluence of ideas, people and places. The happenings of the past feed into each other, shaping who I am today, not as static, separate events to check off a list or rungs on a ladder of accomplishments and failures, but rather as small parts of a whole that make for the totality of my experience.”

Joe is excited about travelling to Costa Rica and experiencing a new place and environment. He also relishes the opportunity to toe the line against some great competition.

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Iain Don Wauchope (The North Face SA) recently won the Salomon SkyRun in South Africa. He covered the 100km course in a blistering time of 12-hours and 8-minutes; a new course record. (Ryan Sandes set the old course record.)

Residing in South Africa, Iain has a history in adventure racing and therefore the TCC will be an exciting opportunity for him to test his multi-day skills over a new format and in a new location.

A multiple victor of the iconic OTTER race, Iain is considered to be one of the best ultra, trail and mountain runners in South Africa. “I am not getting any younger and the opportunity to race in Costa Rica against such a quality field is a dream come true.”

*****

 Interviews with all three men to follow – watch this space.

Read about the ladies field HERE

Enter the race in the UK HERE

Enter the race outside the UK HERE

Matterhorn Ultraks 2014 – In-depth race preview

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‘Wow, it’s such a beautiful course with the glacier at Gornergrat and then of course the Matterhorn is ever present while we run.’ Emelie Forsberg

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The Matterhorn Ultraks returns, 1-year on and boy does time fly. The Skyrunner® World Series Matterhorn Ultraks is the penultimate race in the SKY series, followed by Limone Extreme, Italy in October. A magical race over 46 km with 
D+ : 3’600 m | D- : 3’600 m. Combining wild open spaces, high mountains and a course that requires climbing ability, speed and technique. The highest point is Gornergrat at 3100m and this ascent will be a test for all. Panoramic views accompany every runner for the duration of the event and the ever-present Matterhorn will dominate.

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Zermatt, the village at the foot of the Matterhorn is located on the Italian border of the Canton of Valais in the west of Switzerland. The Matterhorn is arguably the most photographed mountain in the world. Zermatt epitomizes Switzerland, high alpine, awe-inspiring and original. Almost one-third of the 4,000-metre mountains in the Alps are grouped around this word-famous health resort, which has been visited by mountaineers from all around the world since the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.

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View 2013 race image HERE

Read Kilian Jornet’s Matterhorn Summits interview HERE

RACE PREVIEW

MEN 

Kilian Jornet will be in Zermatt, however, it looks like the Catalan will be in a supporting role for the 2014 edition of the race after a hectic last few weeks and months. Luis Alberto Hernando who placed 2nd last year will also not be taking part as he prepares for UTMB, therefore, this leaves the door well and truly wide open for a new and fresh podium.

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal.

Marco, 11th August 2012 in the mountains above Zinal.

Marco De Gasperi needs no introduction. Way back in the day, Marco’s Skyrunning career started in and around the slopes of the Matterhorn. This year Marco has struggled with injury, he keeps telling me, ‘I’m getting old and I get more and more little niggles.’ We all know that when this Italian mountain goat is in form, he is unstoppable. His recent poor race at Sierre-Zinal was due to stomach issues, a problem that can hit any of us at any time. So, if Marco feels good, he is my top tip for the 1st podium place.

Michel Lanne

Michel Lanne

Michel Lanne missed Ultraks last year and I am sure he will be looking to make amends this year. His 2nd place behind Kilian at the Skyrunning World Championships clearly states that Michel is great form. If he carries that form over the Zermatt, I think we can expect to see a place on the podium and if all things align, he may well take the top slot.

©iancorless.comIMG_2843Canazei2014

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen has been on a roll lately with a series of performances that have impressed, particularly over the VK distance. His recent run at Sierre-Zinal by his own admission was below par. However, the Ultraks course will suit his strong climbing and fast running.

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Marc Pinsach placed 6th overall at Ultraks last year and not only is he a good friend and sparring partner of Kilian Jornet, he has a similar background, which bodes well for this course.

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Eirik Haugsness had a great race in the 2013 edition of the race and after a strong showing at the Skyrunning World Championships and the Dolomites Skyrace; Eirik will be gunning for top-5 and ideally the podium. It’s within reach!

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Zaid Ait Malek continues to run the Skyrunning circuit with a string of strong performances. A regular top-10, he is currently missing the form or the break that would repeat his 2013 Zegama performance. He has all the ability both as a climber and pure runner. Ultraks may well be his breakthrough race of 2014.

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Aritz Egea an ever present at Zegama-Aizkorri, Dolomites Skyrace and Sierre-Zinal will be looking for another consistent top-10 performance. Aritz complained of not feeling great at the recent Sierre-Zinal and placed just outside the top-20. An unusual blip for the Basque country runner; Ultraks will be a better race, I am sure.

Jordi Bes Ginesta was the winner of the 2013 CCC and placed 11th at Matterhorn Ultraks in 2013. His recent top-10 at Ice Trail Tarentaise, backed up with 17th at Transvulcania must give him a billing as top-10.

Florian Reichert has had a strong year of consistent performances and will be looking to improve on his 66th placing at Ultraks in 2013. That placing is not indicative of Florian’s ability and more importantly his current form.

Nicolas Pianet 13th at Ultraks in 2013 and will be looking to break top-10 this year.

Ones to watch (not in order):

  • Oscar Casal Mir
  • Marc Casal Mir 21st at Transvulcania in 2014 and an ever-present on the Skyrunning circuit.
  • Hassan Ait Chau strong showing at the recent Sierre-Zinal.
  • Dabid Garcia
  • Inaki Uribe-Etxebarria
  • Julien Navarro
  • Ryan Bak 1st place Peterson Ridge Rumble 20m and Horse Butte 10m in 2014. Recent form?
  • Mathieu Martinez 5-top results in 2013 with 2-victories at Le Grand Defi des Voseges and Trail des Marcaires
  • Es Tressider
  • Artem Rostovstev
  • Hector Haines an ever-present top performing Brit. Top-20 would be a great result.
  • Yan Longfei

LADIES

©iancorless.comIMG_3167Canazei2014

Emelie Forsberg returns and after missing Sierre-Zinal to race a ‘home’ race, I can’t help but think that she will be super motivated to repeat her race victory form 2013. Last year, although taking a strong 1st place, Emelie complained of feeling tired with heavy legs for the whole race. Most certainly, she will be looking for fresh legs this year and she is going to need them! The competition is fierce.

©iancorless.com_IMG_0989Zegama14

Stevie Kremer just recently finally won Sierre-Zinal after 2-years of 2nd places. In addition, this last weekend Stevie placed top-5 at the Pikes Peak ascent. Travel is a big issue for Stevie and one of the important factors is managing the fatigue that comes with it. Ultraks will be no different for the Colorado based lady. No one lady is dominating the Sky distance this year, so although Stevie can certainly win the race, like Emelie, she is going to need her ‘A’ game.

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Elisa Desco has arguably shown incredible consistency in the Skyrunner® World Series this year. Well, that was until she dropped from Sierre-Zinal with stomach issues. Current Skyrunning World Champion, we have seen Elisa go head-to-head with Stevie on many occasions and Ultraks will be no different. It’s going to be one seriously interesting race and it’s difficult to call out a winner.

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Kasie Enman has been on the comeback roll and we were seeing consistently better and better performances and as Kasie settled back into racing and training. Her recent 2nd at Speedgoat 50k was a great performance and a real confidence boost. Although Kasie had a strong run at Sierre-Zinal, I did expect her to contend the podium. However, nothing is guaranteed when you have a busy family life, 2-children and travel thrown into the mix. Now based in Europe for several weeks, Kasie may well be more relaxed, fresher and ready to thrown down the gauntlet at Ultraks. Watch out ladies!

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Maite Maiora produced an incredible performance at the 2014 Transvulcania La Palma placing 2nd and has followed up this form with a string of top-10 performances; a highlight 3rd at Zegama-Aizkorri. A consistent and regular performer on the Skyrunner® World Series, Maite will be in the mix at Ultraks looking to repeat the form from La Palma. Placing 6th at the Skyrunning World Championships against many of the same ladies present in this race, I am sure Maite will be looking to improve and make top-5.

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Stephanie Jiminez like many of the ladies above is a Skyrunning ever-present. Racing over the VK and SKY distances, Ultraks will be at the ‘longer’ end of the distances Stephanie likes to race, so, that will impact on her performance. Having said that, she knows how to run in the mountains and for sure, top-10 is a distinct possibility.

Ones to watch:

  • Leire Agirrezabala
  • Uxoa Irigoien
  • Laia Andreu Trias
  • Anna Comet I Pascua

 

Not running:

  • Kilian Jornet
  • Mike Wolfe
  • Tom Owens
  • Pablo Villa
  • Stephan Wenk

 

Race results from 2013

Men

  1. Kilian Jornet (ESP) – Salomon Santiveri – 4h43’05’’
  2. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) – adidas – 4h44’47’’
  3. Nicola Golinelli (ITA) – Arc’teryx – 4h45’57’’

Women

  1. Emilie Forsberg (SWE) – Salomon – 5h41’16’’
  2. Silvia Serafini (ITA) Salomon Agisko – 5h44’37’’
  3. Nuria Dominguez (ESP) – Buff- 5h59’19’’

LINKS:

Skyrunning HERE

Matterhorn Ultraks HERE

Race Images 2013 HERE

Zegama Aizkorri 2014 – Pre Race Images

©iancorless.com_IMG_3459Zegama14

The 2014 edition of the Skyrunning Zegama-Aizkorri starts today, Sunday 24th at 0900 in the town of Zegama.

Read my in-depth race preview HERE

Images and stories will be posted throughout the day (and afterwards) so please stay tuned to this website, @talkultra on Twitter and Facebook.

Episode 47 – Bowman, Abdelnoor, Hill, Forsberg

Ep47 iancorless.com

Episode 47 of Talk Ultra and we speak with Dylan Bowman, after placing 5th at Western States, Dylan was looking forward to tackling UTMB, however, things didn’t go quite to plan. Lakeland 50 winner, Ben Abdelnoor talks about training and fell running and we catch up with Tessa Hill who has just had a very succesful season on the Skyrunning circuit. Emelie Forsberg talks Diagonale des Fous in Smiles and Miles, Marc Laithwaite talks winter in Talk Training. We have the News, a Blog, Up and Coming races and Speedgoat talks golf…

Himalayan Trail – Philippe Gatta and Anna – https://iancorless.org/2013/10/29/great-himalayan-trail-philippe-anna-gatta/

00:13:42 NEWS

Diagonale des Fous (Reunion)

Men:

Francois D’Haene 22:58

Freddy Thevenin 25:40:16

Pascal Blanc 25:47:18

 Ladies:

Nathalie Mauclair 28:45:32

Emelie Forsberg 31:29:05

Christine Benard 34:19:40 

Javelina Jundred

Men:

Hal Koerner 14:56:53

Catlow Shipek 15:59:58

Joe Grant 16:50:10

 Ladies:

Rhonda Claridge 18:34

Emz Eliason 20:58:55

Erin Churchill 22:56:21

La Course des Templiers

Men 1 Thomas Lorblanchet 6h43min04
2 Xavier Thévenard 6h47min46
3 Michel Lanne 6h48min34

Ladies 1 Nuria Picas Albets (ESP) 7h57min49
2 Malika Coutant (FRA 8h19min19
3 Aurélia Truel (FRA 8h21min47

Ceasers Camp 100-miles only 10 finishers

Stuart Wilkie 21:42

Mick Barnes 22:31

David Rowe 22:48 

OMM

Elite

  1. Nick Barrable and Gustav Bergman 9:21:12
  2. Steve Birkinshaw and Kim Collinson 9:29:11
  3. Sander Vaher and Timo Sild 9:35:45

Mixed -Jasmin Paris and Konrad Rawlik 11:40:00

Female – Heather Dawe and Andrea Priestley 14:43:27

Full resultshttp://www.theomm.com/events/omm2013/

00:38:50 15 MINS of FAME – Tessa Hill

01:00:00 BLOGS

‘And somehow I reached the finish line of my first 100 miler. I don´t have enough words to describe the feelings. It was bigger than all my races I have done before. This was just something greater.’

http://emelieforsberg.com

01:03:55 Interview – BEN ABDELNOOR

01:24:28 TALK TRAINING – with Marc Laithwaite

01:48:12 INTERVIEW

This week’s interview is with Dylan Bowman. Dylan has not been running ultras for too long, however, he has impressed right from the start. Earlier this year he placed 5th at Western States and was in Europe and ready to run UTMB but unfortunately he picked up an injury while training. 

02:30:54 MELTZER MOMENT 

GOOD

BAD

UGLY

02:37:40 SMILESandMILES with Emelie Forsbergsmilesandmiles@yahoo.com

03:02:36 RACES

Argentina

The North Face® Endurance Challenge Argentina – 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

The North Face® Endurance Challenge Argentina – 80 km | 80 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

 

Australia

New South Wales

Carcoar Cup Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website

Great North Walk 100 km | 100 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Great North Walk 100 Miles | 100 miles | November 09, 2013 | website

Queensland

Run to Paradise Ultra Marathon | 74 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website

 

France

Aveyron

Trail des Hospitaliers | 75 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website

Marne

SPARNATRAIL classique | 55 kilometers | November 10, 2013 | website

 

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon November | 108 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Lower Saxony

KILL 50 | 50 miles | November 09, 2013 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Bottroper Herbstwaldlauf – 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 10, 2013 | website

 

Hong-Kong

Salomon LT 70 | 70 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

 

India

Bangalore Ultra Marathon – 100 km | 100 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Bangalore Ultra Marathon – 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Bangalore Ultra Marathon – 75 km | 75 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

 

Italy

Tuscany

Eroica Running Ultramaratona | 65 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website

 

Morocco

Trans 333 | 333 kilometers | November 15, 2013 | website

 

Namibia

100 km of Namib Desert | 100 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Desert Ultra | 250 kilometers | November 15, 2013 | website

 

Nepal

Everest Trail Race | 160 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website

NEPAL Action Asia 3 day ultra 100km | 100 kilometers | November 01, 2013 | website

Nepal Action Asia Ultra 3 day marathon 60k | 60 kilometers | November 01, 2013 | website

 

New Zealand

Steelformers Around the Mountain | 100 miles | November 09, 2013 | website

Taranaki Steelformers 100 mile Around the mountain Solo | 100 miles | November 08, 2013 | website

Taranaki Steelformers 150 km Around the mountain Running and Walking Relay | 150 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

The Taniwha – 60 km | 60 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

 

United Kingdom

Northamptonshire

XNRG Druid Challenge 2013 | 84 miles | November 08, 2013 | website

 

Uruguay

ULTRA Maratón Altas Cumbres Serranas 100K Ultra | 100 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

ULTRA Maratón Altas Cumbres Serranas 60K Ultra | 60 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

 

USA

Alabama

Pinhoti 100 | 100 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

California

Almaden Hills 50K Run | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Chino Hills Spring Trail Series 50K | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

CTR Lake Chabot Train Run 50 km (Nov) | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Folsom Lake Trail Run – Fall 50K | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

San Lorenzo River Trail Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Two Cities Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website

Georgia

Georgia Sky to Summit 50k | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Idaho

NorthWest Nazarene University 100 Mile Run & Relay | 100 miles | November 08, 2013 | website

Illinois

Chicago Lakefront 50K | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Indiana

Owen Putnam State Forest 50K | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Owen Putnam State Forest 50 Miles | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Maryland

Rosaryville Veteran’s Day 50k | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Massachusetts

Stone Cat 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Missouri

Ozark Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Nevada

Bootlegger 50K | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Coyote Springs 100K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Coyote Springs 100M Trail Run | 100 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Coyote Springs 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Coyote Springs 50M Trail Run | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas | 195 miles | November 08, 2013 | website

New Jersey

NJ Trail Series One Day – 50K | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

New York

Mendon 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Oklahoma

Turkey & Taturs 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | November 03, 2013 | website

Tennessee

Nashville Ultra Marathon 50 K Race | 50 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Nashville Ultra Marathon 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Nashville Ultra Marathon 60 K Race | 60 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Nashville Ultra Marathon 70 K Race | 70 kilometers | November 02, 2013 | website

Upchuck 50K Trail Running Race | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

Virginia

Mountain Masochist Trail Run | 50 miles | November 02, 2013 | website

Washington

First Call Veterans Day 50K | 50 kilometers | November 09, 2013 | website

 

03:05:23 CLOSE

03:09:40

LINKS:

http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/Episode_47_-_Bowman_Abdelnoor_Hill_Forsberg.mp3 

Website – talkultra.com

 

Skyrunning UK – the first steps

Skyrunninguk logo sign offIt has been a long season… the 2013 Skyrunner World Series came to a close in early October on the shores of Lake Garda at the impressive Limone Extreme race. The Skyrunner ULTRA title had been concluded just weeks earlier in Vail, Colorado at the Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) but at Limone Extreme, VK and SKY champions were crowned confirming the closure of an incredible 2013 season.

It would be nice to sit back, relax and reflect. Oh no, time stands till for nobody, the 2014 Skyrunner World Series needs to be confirmed and announced, in addition, 2014 has the Skyrunning World Championships taking place in Mont-Blanc (here) at the Mont-Blanc Marathon weekend. Champions, male and female will be announced for the distances of VK, SKY and ULTRA.

An exciting year awaits!

Luis Alberto Hernando at Matterhorn Ultraks

Luis Alberto Hernando at Matterhorn Ultraks

The growth os Skyrunning has exploded in the past 2-years, the catalyst, Transvulcania La Palma in May 2012. Arguably, the worlds ‘best’ descended on a small island in the Canaries and although the ULTRA distance was new to Skyrunning, a transformation was made and suddenly, Skyrunning became the next big thing! The foresight of Marino Giacometti (President ISF) and Lauri Van Houten (Executive Director ISF) was rewarded with a big thumbs up from all who attended!

La Palma, Transvulcania La Palma 2012 ©iancorless.com

La Palma, Transvulcania La Palma 2012 ©iancorless.com

Skyrunning today is growing and at an alarming rate. The Skyrunner World Series has now established itself as one of ‘the’ series to do and we are seeing this reflected in the diversity of the nations taking part but also the diversity in the athletes. We are seeing many runners participating in several disciplines and in certain scenarios, such as Kilian Jornet, we are also seeing them crowned champion in multiple disciplines.

We are not only seeing the ‘regulars’ perform. Skyrunning are being rewarded with new athletes and teams, take a look at Arc’teryx and inov-8. They have taken the bull by the horns and seized an opportunity, not only have they created teams to perform at this high level but they have created apparel and shoes that work in this demanding sport. In 2013, Arc’teryx had UK based athlete, Tessa Hill create some stunning results in the VK and SKY distance, in addition, inov-8 had great success with UK based Anna Lupton and with Alex Nichols (USA) who placed third on the Skyrunner SKY World Series podium.

Tessa Hill and Anna Lupton, Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

Tessa Hill and Anna Lupton, Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

For years, the UK have provided a hard core of athletes who have raced and won on this world stage; Angela Mudge, Ricky Lightfoot, Andy Symonds, Tom Owens and so on… in many respects, these UK runners progressed from a minority sport in the UK, ‘Fell Running’ and participated in a minority sport in Europe called ‘Skyrunning’.

That is all changing and the time is now right, for the UK to progress and not only create a UK based series but also create stimulus within the UK to encourage UK based runners to travel to Europe and farther afield to experience Skyrunning on a global scale.

Salomon athlete, Andy Symonds sums it up very well,

Skyrunning was born in Italy, twenty years ago. For me it’s always represented the best of European and until recently – mainly Italian – racing. It’s about racing high up, on real mountains, on real mountain terrain. The fun comes from the race courses which go to summits, along exposed ridges, gaining incredible views, and from moving fast in a competitive environment over this sort of terrain.

Andy Symonds Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

Andy Symonds Trofeo Kima ©iancorless.com

The UK may lack the altitude of the Italian Alps, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do the same thing on our own moderately sized mountains, fells and hills! It’s great to see the sport branching out of Italy, with national series now launching in France, Australia/NZ the UK and no doubt shortly elsewhere.

The future of proper mountain running will probably lie in the hands of the Skyrunning Associations and I’ll be supporting that growth and hoping to help guide things in a good direction!’

Andy is right! the time is perfect.

Welcome to Skyrunning UK

It is early days for Skyrunning UK and 2014 will almost certainly be a transformative year. We are well aware that Skyrunning in the UK will be a challenge… we don’t have too many 2000m+ peaks! However, as Andy says, ‘The UK may lack the altitude of the Italian Alps, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do the same thing on our own moderately sized mountains, fells and hills!’

To that end, an athlete commission has been created to help guide the sport within the UK from a grass roots level. We already have established and respected runners signed up and confirmed:

  • Ricky Lightfoot (Salomon)
  • Anna Lupton (inov-8)
  • Tom Owens (Salomon)
  • Ben Abdelnoor (inov-8)
  • Andy Symonds (Salomon)

Within the coming weeks, several other athletes will be added to the commission and this will guarantee that the direction of Skyrunning in the UK is not only in good hands but will also consider the well established traditions of fell and trail running.

Skyrunning UK will work in harmony and respect existing races and traditions within the UK.

To interact and get involved, please make sure you:

  • ‘Like’ the Skyrunning UK Facebook page HERE
  • ‘Follow’ on Twitter HERE
  • and sign up to ‘Follow’ our website HERE

Limone Extreme SKY race report

Kilian Jornet and Stevie Kremer Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

It was always going to be a classic race… the male SKY Skyrunner World Series title was sewn up with a dominant Kilian Jornet securing maximum points form three out of five qualifying races. However, the ladies race was a completely different story. Just ten points separated the leader, Emelie Forsberg from fellow Salomon teammate, Stevie Kremer.

Kilian Jornet Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

At the finish line on the shores of Lake Garda, Kilian Jornet once again proved his supremacy with another stunning victory. For the ladies, Stevie Kremer confirmed her incredible mountain running and descending ability to take not only the victory in Limone but also the Skyrunner World Series title.

Stevie Kremer Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

We have witnessed some incredible performance in the 2013 Skyrunner World Series over three distances; VK, SKY and ULTRA. Limone Extreme provided a stunning close to the 2013 season and we are left with some well-established names confirming that they are true champions but in addition, we have several new names on the Skyrunning scene that will most certainly build anticipation for the 2014 season.

Antonella Confortola leading on the first climb

Antonella Confortola leading on the first climb

Antonella Confortola after taking second place in the VK on Friday night had been unsure if she would start the Sky race on Sunday. Start she did and using her impressive abilities at climbing she led the way on the long steep and technical climb. Stevie Kremer followed closely in second and Emelie Forsberg was third and already loosing some ground. Emelie has had an incredible season and just over one week ago took victory and the overall Skyrunner World Series title for the Ultra distance. UROC in Colorado was Emilie’s first 100k-race and as such, she openly admitted it had taken far more out of her than she anticipated.

Emelie Forsberg Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

Stevie by contrast had raced a couple of shorter races the weekend before and arrived at Limone ready for action. After alternating the lead with Antonella, Stevie finally made her move and although she says that she can’t descend very well, she used every ounce of her ability to hold off Antonella and Emelie to win by over seven minutes. On the line Stevie said, “I was running down that final descent scared, it was twisty and technical but I just didn’t want to look back. I ran as fast as I could. It worked!”

Stevie Kremer with Skyrunning legend and Limone course designer, Fabio Meraldi

Stevie Kremer with Skyrunning legend and Limone course designer, Fabio Meraldi

Kilian Jornet bided his time in the men’s race but when he made his move he just pulled away and secured not only another impressive victory, but also another World Series title. Kilian didn’t have it easy though.

Kilian Jornet Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com

On the first climb, new signing for inov-8, David Schneider led the way followed by Aritz Egea and Ionut Zinca. Salomon team manager, Greg Vollet (finally finished eleventh) was showing some stunning climbing ability holding a top five place along with up and coming star, Zaid Ait Malek from Morocco all the way to the summit.

Greg Vollet leading Zaid Ait Malek

Greg Vollet leading Zaid Ait Malek

One of the pre race favourites and second overall in the Skyrunner World Series, Luis Alberto Hernando was having a tough day protecting an injury, however true to his great sportsmanship he soldiered on knowing full well that I had no possibility to make a top ten position. A true champ!

Luis Alberto Hernando

Luis Alberto Hernando

Kilian made his move and a battle followed for the second and third podium places. Ionut Zinca finally pulled away from Aritz Egea and finished just one minute behind Kilian and thirty seconds ahead of Artiz. Showing great potential for 2014 season, David Schneider turned a few heads with a great fourth place with Zaid Ait Malek fifth.

Ionut Zinca second place

Ionut Zinca second place

The 2013 season has shown some incredibly diverse and consistent performances, Alex Nichols from the US in his first season participating in the Skyrunner World Series placed eighth at Limone Extreme and this elevated him to third overall in the World Series.

Alex Nichols third overall in the Skyrunner world Series

Alex Nichols third overall in the Skyrunner world Series

A similar story for Arc’teryx athlete, Tessa Hill, not only did she have a great VK on Friday but she placed fourth on the day. Anna Lupton (inov-8) from the UK also proved that fell/mountain runners can perform with the best on high and technical mountain courses in Europe.

Tessa Hill with fellow Brit, Anna Lupton

Tessa Hill with fellow Brit, Anna Lupton

The influx of new names such as Thorbjorn Ludvigsen and Leire Aguirezabala and responding great performances show all of us that Skyrunning is not only in a great place for the future but that the participants are eager for true mountain courses that test the mind as well as the body,

Roll on 2014!

IMAGES from the Limone Extreme race are available to view HERE or purchase HERE

Skyrunning website HERE

WIN, Stevie Kremer’s signed race number HERE

Results taken from ISF website:

Limone Extreme race results

Men

1. Kilian Jornet (ESP) Salomon –  2h17’03

2. Ionut Zinca (ROU) Valetudo Skyrunning Italia – 2h18’27”

3. Aritz Egea (EMF) – 2h18’53”

4. David Schneider (AUT) inov-8 – 2h20’40”

5. Zaid Ait Malek –  2h21’09”

Women

1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon Agisko) – 2h46’13”

2. Antonella Confortola (GS Forestale) – 2h53’58”

3. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 2h54’54”

4. Tessa Hill (Arc’teryx) –  2h58’20”

5. Leire Aguirrezabala (EMF) – 2h58’54”

Sky Series Final Ranking (provisional)

Men

1. Kilian Jornet (ESP) – Salomon

2. Luis Hernando (ESP) adidas Trail Running

3. Alex Nichols (USA) invo-8

4. Jokin Lizeaga (ESP) – EMF

5. Aritz Egea (ESP) EMF

Women

1. Stevie Kremer (USA) – Salomon Agisko

2. Emelie Forsberg (SWE) – Salomon

3. Silvia Serafini (ITA) – Salomon Agisko

4. Nuria Dominguez (ESP) – Buff

5. Anna Lupton (GBR) – inov-8

Teams

1. FEEC

2. Salomon

3. EMF

4. inov-8

5. Salomon Agisko