The Coastal Challenge – Stage 6 – Drakes Bay to Drakes Bay

©iancorless.com.P1130916 All good things must come to an end and today on the beaches of Drakes Bay, the 10th edition of the 2014 The Costal Challenge came to a close.

©iancorless.com._1150551

It has been an epic race that has thrown daily excitement from all angles. The men’s race in particular has been a nail biter with a constant battle for the top slot. However, Mr.Consisitent, Mike Wardian produced the goods on a daily basis with some of the most impressive running I have had the pleasure to witness. Jeez does Mike like to win and boy does he know how to dig deep!

Mike Wardian TCC2014 Champion ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 Champion ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek from the UK dominated the 10th edition producing a stand out performance on a daily basis. Setting her stall out on day-1, Jo won with a convincing 45-min margin. However, she didn’t relax, consistently pushing, consistently running scared, Jo took each day as an individual race and on the beach at Drake she was crowned the 2014 Champion.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Today’s stage was very much a celebration of the previous 5-days racing. With the ‘GC’ established, a unanimous decision was made by all the front-runners that stage-6 would be a Tour de France style victory lap.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

It was great to see the fun and the laughter between all the runners on the trails. Tired and aching bodies once again managed to produce another effort to cover the wonderful circular route of the Corcovado National Park.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Starting with a gentle road incline, participants dropped into a long river section before climbing out and negotiating rocks and a waterfall. Climbing up through lush green vegetation, they then ran through plains and plantation fields before finally making the journey back to the start by weaving in and out of the coast. Beach after beach, cove after cove the finish line at Drakes was a welcome and well earnt reward for each and every participant.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

It was quite a sight to see the top-5 men run to the line as one!

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Michael Wardian said post race, “The Coastal Challenge was a test in so many ways. So much varied terrain. It suited different strengths and weaknesses. I feel really honoured to have the over all victory. The other guys really did push me and I had to fight… I guess it’s a shame a race can only have one winner. But it was a pleasure to have a victory loop on the last day. A memory I won’t soon forget.”

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger and Jo Meek ran together early in the stage but Bottger said post race, “that was by far the most beautiful stage. I was just having fun out there so I hope Jo didn’t mind I pushed on ahead.” As Meek crossed the line, the relief was clear, “I really did not have anything left today. I just took it easy and had comfort in my almost 60-min lead. It’s been a real honour to have such an incredible race with such wonderful people.” Veronica Bravo smiled her way around the TCC course and placed a solid 3rd place. Her joy was visible on the line as the realisation that a tough week was over.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Finish lines are all about emotion and I love to see 6-days effort unfold in a split second. Cheers and laughter, hugs and screams; it’s why we all do our sport.

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

 

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge is one of the toughest races out there… relentless heat, plenty of climbing and multiple terrain variations require a runner to be ‘rounded’. Each and every person, first or last, can take comfort in a great achievement and the medal should take pride of place as a just reminder of what was achieved in February 2014.

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida!

RESULTS Stage-6

  1. Mike Wardian  all same time
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito
  3. Philipp Reiter
  4. Marti Gaffuri
  5. Nick Clark
  1. Julia Bottger
  2. Jo Meek
  3. Veronica Bravo

Results and times to follow

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION Confirmed

  1. Wardian 23:26:23
  2. Beneito +0:25:32
  3. Reiter +0:31:31
  1. Meek 29:17:19
  2. Bottger +0:57:02
  3. Bravo +3:07:06

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 5 – Sierpe to Drakes Bay

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

What a beautiful day! A short bus drive from camp to Sierpe; a ferry crossing to the other side of the river and on the stroke of 0600 runners departed on the journey to the beautiful and iconic Drakes Bay. It was already humid and as the sun burnt the morning mist away, temperatures rose.

The stunning river journey to meet runners at CP2 TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The stunning river journey to meet runners at CP2 TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

If Philipp Reiter or Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito had any chance of taking overall victory away from Mike Wardian, they would need to work hard in the middle section of the course whilst running through the rainforest and plantation fields and hopefully gain enough time to put ‘Mr. Consistent’ in the hurt locker. The only problem in this scenario was Wardian! After CP2 he had gained a 3min lead and with a course profile that suited him down to the ground it was going to take a blow up of epic proportions to see him loose not only the stage but also the overall race. “I felt good man, I opened it up when the running was good and held on when the running was more technical,” said Wardian.

Mr. Consistent TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mr. Consistent TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

I have to say, Wardian has been an absolute star and a great ambassador for ‘our’ sport in this race. He’s pushed hard, fought back on tough days and irrespective of the outcome has had a huge smile on his face… okay, maybe he wasn’t smiling too much when he was 14-min down on stage-3 but he sure was at the finish when he not only pulled back the gap but went on for a joint stage win with Reiter.

Jo Meek ready for the off! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek ready for the off! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek, as one would have expected, started the day at the front of the ladies race and although Bottger caught her back at CP3, Meek took the stage by the scruff of the neck and rand hard to the finish for another stage win! “I was hurting today and didn’t feel great. When Julia caught me at CP3 I panicked… I know it’s crazy as I had an hour lead but the racer kicked in and I flew out of the CP and buried myself to the line,” said Meek after the race.

Meek has been phenomenal in this race, like Wardian she had moments when things did not go well (stage-3 at the start) but Meek played to her strengths, pushed hard and has quite literally dominated from the front.

Clarky TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clarky TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark ran easy today, his issues from yesterday strong in his mind, he just wanted to finish without causing any damage. He ran with Gaffuri for a while but later dropped to 5th.

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito however, seized the opportunity to run strong and pursued Wardian all the way to the line with Reiter running in 3rd place for most of the day. The lack of any steep vertical played into Wardian’s hands and once again he was first past the post; 2-stage wins and a joint stage win with Reiter, not bad for 5-days racing.

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter couldn’t close the gap on Beneito, so once again Beneito finished 2nd.

Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Once Meek had a ‘scare’ at CP3 she ran like a lady possessed and finished almost 5-mins ahead of Bottger and Bravo was 30-mins back. With Gemma Slaughter out of the race due to stomach issues, fellow Canadian and teammate, Van Dyk finished 4th on stage and this moves her up on the overall GC.

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Drakes Bay, the mangroves, the rainforest, the plantation fields and the beaches are the best of Costa Rica. Today’s stage may have lacked elevation but it was replaced with beauty.

Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Stage-6 is a circular route of Drakes Bay and will be a victory lap for all runners. The overall GC is not going to change (barring a disaster) so it’s a great moment to celebrate the company of others and soak up the surrounding of the best of Costa Rica, The 10th edition of The Costal Challenge has been an epic!

RESULTS Stage-5

  1. Mike Wardian 4:14:11
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 4:23:19
  3. Philipp Reiter 4:25:56
  4. Marti Gaffuri 4:46:49
  5. Nick Clark 4:51:52
  1. Jo Meek 5:23:56
  2. Julia Bottger 5:29:11
  3. Veronica Bravo 5:57:43
  4. Hailey Van Dyk 6:40:52
  5. Kelly Ridgway 6:42:19

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

Wardian 21:07:15

Beneito 21:32:47

Reiter 21:38:26

 

Meek 26:23:22

Bottger 27:28:19

Bravo 29:23:05

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 4 – Ventanas Beach to Sierpe

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

A heavy downpour of epic proportions last night didn’t dampen the spirits of the runners as they departed Ventanas Beach for another tough day in Costa Rica. Mike Wardian and Jo Meek have held convincing leads from day-1, however, neither have had an easy journey. Both struggled on the early technical sections of stage-3 but rallied and found something in the tank to reclaim lost time and finish a tough day-3 with stage wins. Mikes run was a classic… pulling back 14-mins was truly a remarkable run.

Morning in the rainforest, 6am TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Morning in the rainforest, 6am TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Day-4 started and ended with technical sections. From the off runners would climb for over an hour on an overgrown forest path and then spend time going up and down in the plains before descending 3km on a tough trail that twisted, gnarled and one could almost say that the trails ‘bite back’. It was a day that Julia Bottger for the ladies would revel in and although the chances of pulling back her deficit on Meek was unlikely, I thought Julia might shine. By contrast, the middle section of the course would suit Wardian, but the tough climb and super tough final descent could potentially allow a stronger competitor on technical terrain to pull back time…?

©iancorless.com.P1220782

Clark and Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark and Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

At the summit of the first climb Reiter appeared first dripping in sweat in the early morning humidity. Wardian appeared 3-min in arrears and then Clark and Beneito appeared once again attached at the hip 5-mins in deficit. The race was on!

Jo Meek loving stage-4 of TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek loving stage-4 of TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

To my surprise Meek was having a great day… I don’t say that in a negative way but I certainly expected Bottger to take control on that first climb and pull away causing Meek to chase. “I loved today, it was a stage that had everything and the climbs weren’t so technical that I couldn’t use my strength and fitness,” said Meek.

Mike Wardian pulling back time on Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian pulling back time on Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

On the rolling sections after the first climb Wardian once again started to close the gap. This guy is relentless…! Beneito and Clark seem to have found comfort in each others pace and certainly they move well together, however, as Wardian caught Reiter at CP3, the dynamic duo were starting to loose time on the other dynamic duo.

Beneito and Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito and Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

For the ladies race, it was starting to take a very familiar format; Meek lead Bottger and Bottger lead Veronica Bravo. Focused on the end goal, Meek runs scared and pushing, “Anything can happen and I need to run the way that makes me feel secure and while I feel good I will utilize it.”

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Victoria Bravo on her way to the high point of the course TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Victoria Bravo on her way to the high point of the course TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter and Wardian ran through the plains together until the final descent, as I expected, Reiter pulled away, “I wasn’t sure if we should run together” said Reiter “Wardian is so much fun to run with, he talks constantly and makes me laugh. On the descent I stopped for a short while but he was nowhere in sight so I pushed on.”

Philipp Reiter powering up a climb TCC2 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter powering up a climb TCC2 ©iancorless.com

Reiter gained another 3-mins and considering his day-1 experience, his form and dedication has been remarkable. Beneito placed 3rd on the stage and unfortunately Clark had a tough day; he started to pass blood and therefore took his foot of the gas and walked in to the finish. Martin Gaffuri once again had another consistent day and his fifth place is secure.

Nick Clark showing the fatigue of hard days and heat TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark showing the fatigue of hard days and heat TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek crossed the line first, followed by Bottger and Bravo finished 3rd. A big loss to the race and the overall GC was 2013 TCC champ, Gemma Slaughter. Unfortunately she had a tough night and was sick in the morning of the race… she did start but had to withdraw during the race.

Carlos Sa (leading) midway on stage 4. He's feeling the effort of his overlong first day! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa (leading) midway on stage 4. He’s feeling the effort of his overlong first day! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

With two days to go, the ladies race looks set. However, the men’s race is wide open; this has been one of the most exciting stage races I have ever had the pleasure to follow and it isn’t over yet!

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Clark at a water crossing TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark at a water crossing TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

RESULTS Stage-4

  1. Philipp Reiter 4:19:11
  2. Mike Wardian 4:22:07
  3. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 4:32:14
  4. Nick Clark 4:54:59
  5. Marti Gaffuri 5:09:51
  1. Jo Meek 5:38:42
  2. Julia Bottger 5:44:55
  3. Veronica Bravo 6:12; 42
  4. Hailey Van Dyk 6:52:21
  5. Sandra Meija 7:16:51

 GC to be confirmed

Men

  1. Wardian
  2. Beneito
  3. Reiter

Ladies

  1. Meek
  2. Bottger
  3. Bravo

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 2 – Rafiki Lodge to Dominical Beach

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Sleep is a precious commodity in any multi-stage race. The ability to recover from one day’s effort and then go again requires discipline not only in training but also the ability to get to sleep early and ensure a full battery charge for the next day!

At The Costal Challenge, this ‘strength of will’ is tested to the max… each day starts at 0330 to ensure an adequate breakfast and a race start that coincides with the sun. It’s important; the heat beats down here in Costa Rica with a strength and power that can wilt the most ardent sun worshiper.

©iancorless.com.P1120120

Today’s route involved two tough climbs in succession and then a long drop down to the coast before a final 8-km along the beach that involved two water crossings.

The last water crossing less than 1-km form the finish #TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The last water crossing less than 1-km form the finish #TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The 10th edition of the TCC was always going to be a stunning race; the quality of the elite line up was second to none. Stage 2 did not disappoint…

From the off, Wardian, Gaffuri, Clark, Reiter, Beneito and Sa marked each other’s move on the tough first climb. It was all-together at the summit with just seconds spreading the whole group. Gaffuri, loving to run downhill fast moved to the front and pushed hard but even Sa who must have been feeling his ‘extra’ miles from the previous day matched his effort.

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek opened up a gap in the ladies race right from the start but today’s stage was for more to the liking of Bottger and although initially Meek gained some time, the gap was matched and held.

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

At the checkpoint before the second climb, the banter in the men’s race was superb. So much so, Reiter, Wardian and Gaffuri thought an impromptu sprint trying to be first for the water was a good idea…

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter was first to leave the aid station and he committed himself. He started to open up a gap and push. A remarkable run considering on day-1 he suffered in the heat; not helped by long travel and little sleep.

Clark and Wardian pursuing Reiter at the bottom of the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark and Wardian pursuing Reiter at the bottom of the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Continuing to open up a gap, one would have assumed that Reiter would have succumbed to Wardian’s natural speed when on the flat. However, in the final 8-km’s of beach, Reiter pushed on and held for a great stage win. Wardian placed second and Beneito and Clark finished together taking 3rd and 4th. The men’s race without doubt is poised for some heated competition over the coming days; Wardian leads Beneito and Clark by 3:42, Reiter is just over 22-mins back after his unfortunate day-1. I wonder, can Reiter pull back that time? It would take something remarkable from Reiter in this quality of field. Nick Clark post race said, “Wardian didn’t close on Reiter as we expected in those e final stages, he may have gained a little more time on me but a time gap of 4-mins is easily pulled back. It’s all to up for grabs.”

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bottger caught Meek on the second climb and lead much of the way on the descent; however, with approximately 20-km’s of relatively flat road and beach to the finish we all expected Meek to open up a gap and start to pull away. She certainly opened a gap and enough of a gap to secure a comfortable stage-2 victory, however, it wasn’t a performance of complete dominance as expressed on day-1. Post race I asked her how she felt, “That was a tough day. You can’t run those climbs; it’s all about economy of effort and hiking. I am less used to technical descents so I played safe, however, over the last km’s I could get in my run stride and take the lead again.”

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek has a 46:02 lead going into stage-3 and barring a disaster; I can’t see her loosing such a margin. She no longer needs to be aggressive and certainly, Meek can ease off a gear and see if Bottger wants to take up the challenge to pull back time.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Third place lady, Veronica Bravo is now 1:32 in arrears and has a comfortable margin of almost 50-minutes over 2013 The Coastal Challenge winner, Gemma Slaughter for 3rd place.

RESULTS Stage-2

  1. Philipp Reiter
  2. Mike Wardian
  3. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito
  1. Jo Meek
  2. Julia Bottger
  3. Veronica Bravo

General Classification after Stage 2

  1. Mike Wardian 7:14:05
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 7:17:47
  3. Nick Clark 7:17:48
  4. Philipp Reiter 7:36:27
  5. Martin Gaffuri 7:45:37
  1. Jo Meek 8:40:45
  2. Julia Bottger 9:26:47
  3. Veronica Bravo 10:12:57
  4. Gemma Slaughter 11:02:34
  5. Wendy Tseng 11:35:13

 

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica celebrates its 10th anniversary with an incredible line up.

TCC Banner

The 2014 edition of The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica gets underway in less than 1-week. Runners from all over the world will arrive in San Jose in preparation for the journey down to the coast to Quepos and the 10th edition of the “TCC”.

“It’s a decade of exploring, adventuring and discovering Costa Rica and the beginning of a bright new decade to come!” Rodrigo Carazo

Rodrigo Carazo (Costa Rican architect and adventure racer) and Tim Holmstrom (race director and Lost Worlds Racing founder) have pulled together an incredible field for the race and without doubt it will arguably be one of the most competitive multi-day races of 2014.

“Reaching the 10th edition is a milestone that is both humbling and gratifying. It is a privilege and not to one to be taken lightly.  It represents a massive amount of work over those 10-years by all those involved.  As it transformed from concept to a fully realized dream, we had no idea it might weather all storms and remain 10-years later as a race that could attract runners from all over the world.  We are happy and grateful to have made it this far, accomplishing much with little more than hard work, persistence and vision. We look forward to many more years to come and making many more new friends from around the globe.” Tim Holmstrom

Elite runners will toe the line in Quepos with everyday runners, they will all have one purpose in mind, to embrace the tough and technical challenge that lies ahead of them and enjoy every moment. For many, to be on the start is already a victory; the journey will provide the icing on the cake.

Steve Diederich (http://www.thecoastalchallenge.co.uk) the UK agent for the TCC had this to say, “The Coastal Challenge has come of age and has joined the exclusive club of iconic multi-day ultras – with the added twist of a backdrop of some of the most breathtaking rainforest and coast on the planet and accompanied with now legendary catering that outclasses any other event. The TCC in 2014 is a vintage race in the making.”

Known locally as the Rainforest Run, the TCC is a 236km stage race over 6-days that weaves in and out of a lush and tropical Pacific coastline. The Talamancas – a coastal mountain range spread across the southwest corner of the country – provides not only a stunning backdrop but also many of the tough and technical challenges that the runners will face on a day-to-day basis.

Beaches that last km after km are interspersed with dirt tracks, mountain paths, dense jungle, ridges, water crossings, open plains and highland; Costa Rica is bursting with variety. In addition, add 40deg temperatures and high humidity, the TCC is no easy challenge.

Unlike other multi day races, the TCC is supported. Each day camp is moved ahead and awaits the runner’s arrival at the finish. Running light and fast, runners are able to keep equipment to a minimum and as such, racing is extremely competitive. The 2014 edition of the race is proving to be extremely exciting, particularly when one looks at the line up of runners.

Gemma Slaughter ©iancorless.com

Gemma Slaughter ©iancorless.com

Gemma Slaughter from Canada is returning as defending champion of the race. By her own admission she is a newbie to ultra running. One year on, Gemma has embraced the challenge to return to coastline of Costa Rica for what she calls, “the opportunity of a lifetime”. However, Gemma will have her hands full. Julia Bottger (Germany), Anna Frost (New Zealand) and Jo Meek will create a stunning spectacle and highly competitive race. To put this in perspective, we only need to look at some of the career highlights of these incredible ladies:

Julia Bottger ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger

Julia is a strong and fierce runner. By her own admissions, she may not be the fastest runner on a course but she brings great strength, endurance and grit. Julia loves tough and challenging courses, without doubt she will embrace the TCC. Career highlights: TranMatinique winner 2013, Ultra Trail Atlas Tarabouki winner 2013, 2nd Sardona Ultra Trail 2013, 2nd Grand Raid des Pyrenees 2013 and in addition to these incredible results, Julia has placed 2nd at the super tough Tor des Geants in 2010 and placed 3rd at Diagonale des Fous in 2012.

“My training is going very well. As our winter is not really a winter this year I could run a lot in the mountains and do some cross training. But I noticed that my winter break was a bit too short. Last race in Martinique is not long ago. As well as I would like to focus on the Transgrancanaria race in march I have a bit of a problem on what kind of training to focus on.. But I feel great and healthy – that’s the best. I am really looking forward to the warm temperatures, beaches, new country and new people. And I am excited about doing a stage race again – has been a while. It is different from Ultratrails and very challenging. I love sleeping in a tent, having a very simple life out in the nature – so the Costa Rica Coast Challenge sounds like great fun.”

Anna Frost ©iancorless.com

Anna Frost ©iancorless.com

Anna Frost

Anna has had a tough 2013 fighting recurring injuries but the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 has allowed Anna to find a great place, not only physically but mentally. It’s going to be a pleasure to have ‘Frosty’ on the trails of Costa Rica. Career highlights:  Transvulcania La Palma winner and course record holder 2012, winner Speedgoat 50k 2012, winner La Maxi Race du Lac d’Annecy 2012 and 2nd Cavalls del Vent 2012.

“I am just super excited to be in a new and wonderfully exciting place – Costa Rica – with new and old friends. got my bikini and snorkel packed, oh and I guess some running gear would be good too!

Jo Meek ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek 

Jo Meek comes to the TCC as a relatively unknown runner, however, a stunning and strong performance at MDS in 2013 confirms that Jo will be pushing hard at this race and for me, she is a hot favourite for victory! Career highlight: 2nd overall 2013 Marathon des Sables.

“I am busy packing my bag ready for this amazing experience that lies ahead of me. I am a little nervous because I want to race the best I can but more excited than anything else. As I reflect back on my training I  am pleased. It has gone really well and because of it I qualified to represent my County (Devon) and then the South West Region which was a privilege with these ageing pins of mine.”

On a final note, we have just had news that Veronica Bravo (Chile) will attend the race. This adds a new and exciting element. Veronica is famous or should I say infamous for suffering frostbite in 2006 and then returning to running after fourteen operations. After 19-months of recuperation she returned to racing.

The men’s race is looking to be a classic in the making, defending champion and multiple TCC winner Dave James is not returning to Costa Rica, this therefore leads the door open for not only a new winner of the TCC but maybe a course record… who knows.

Philipp Reiter (Germany), Nick Clark (UK), Martin Gaffuri (France), Mike Wardian (USA), Carlos Sa (Portugal) and Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito (Spain)

It’s a top quality field!

Philipp Reiter ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter 

Philipp is an incredible talent. His growth in the professional ranks for such a young age has had many look twice and draw comparisons with his Salomon teammate, Kilian Journey. Philipp races hard but knows how to relax and enjoy the experience too. Costa Rica is going to be a dream come true for young German. Career highlights: Winner Salomon 4-trails, multiple winner of Zugspitz, winner of the TransAlpine and many more.

“I am very excited – in exactly ONE week I am sitting in the plane to central America! This year the winter here in Bavaria (south Germany) is unusual warm and almost no snow, which is very bad for skiing but good for trail running. As I usually barely run in winter time (1-2 times a month) I have done more km’s than the years before and it feels much better (if my feeling is right). I am worried about the climate change and the jet-lag of the long travel (27 hours from door to door) as I have only ONE day to make my body adapt to the 30°C and the high humidity. But I am so looking forward to explore jungle trails, see the beauty of the rainforest and to get to know new runners from all over the world! The tropical plants and wildlife is said to be unique, no need to mention the beaches of the Pacific ocean. Another thing I am afraid are snakes (brrrr) and I don’t hope to see any of them.”

Nick Clark ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark 

‘Clarky’ comes to Costa Rica and the TCC as one of the most respected 100-mile runners in the world. His 2013 performance in the Grand Slam of ultra running (4 100-mile races) was nothing short of spectacular. His consistent performance at Western States 100, Hardrock 100 and other tough and challenging events places him at the ‘to-watch’ list irrespective of the race or the distance. TCC will be no different. Career highlights: Wasatch 100 winner, 2nd Leadville 100, 3rd Vermont 100, 1st Fuego Y Agua and that is just 2013

“I am very much in base-building mode for the summer season right now, and really only starting get back after it in late December after a long break post Grand Slam. That said, I have been trying to put together a few longer back-to-back runs the past few weeks to try and replicate a bit the daily grind of a stage race. Other than that I’ve been logging lots of easy paced mileage with a focus on vertical gain. I feel like I’m in decent shape, if not particularly sharp, which should be just fine for a longer stage race like the Coastal Challenge.”

Martin Gaffuri ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri 

Martin had a breakthrough in 2013 participating on the ISF Skyrunner® World Series. Without doubt, Martin will add a surprise element to the racing and who knows, he may just turn a few heads. Career highlights: 7th Ice Trail Tarentaise, 8th UROC, 13th TNF50 and 21st Transvulcania La Palma

“So, one week to go… training only just started again after a 3 weeks break in December and all my long runs have been performed in the snow. I’m just coming home from a night out so at this very moment I’m feeling pretty… drunk. I’m most looking forward to catching up with good friends and make new ones and I’d say my only concern about this week will be to deal with mosquitos!”

Mike Wardian ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian

What can you say about ‘Wardian. He is a prolific runner from anything from a 5k to the 135m Badwater Marathon. He is unstoppable; racing week in and week out he will often race 2-3 times a week. He has speed and endurance and in addition knows how to race over multiple days as he showed by placing 2nd overall in a previous edition of the Marathon des Sables. Career highlights: 3rd JFK50 2013, 2nd UROC 2011, 2nd IAU 100km 2011, 3rd Badwater, 11th Comrades and 3rd Marathon Des Sables plus many, many, more.

I am most looking forward to pushing my body for a week straight and to see how it does with the terrain, heat, climbs, descents, and for course the recovery…that is always interesting me.  I am also looking forward to exploring the countryside, mountains and Rain forests of Costa Rica, I have been to Costa Rica a few times but never for very long and each time I go I know I am missing a lot so this time I hope to get an even fuller and more robust experience.”

Carlos Sa ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa

Started running ultras in 2008. In a relatively short period of time, Carlos has established himself not only as one of the top multi-day racers in the world but also as great runner in the mountains. Repeated top-10 performances at Marathon des Sables and TNFUTMB will without doubt mean that his presence will be felt a the front of the 2014 TCC. Career highlights: 4th UTMB 2012, 5th UTMB 2011, 8th Marathon des Sables 2011 and 1st Grand Raid des Pyrenees.

“I haven’t done any special preparation for the TCC. I am currently doing my normal day-to-day training for a mountain race. My objective is to enjoy this hard race, and have an adventure in a different environment. I have been told Costa Rica is unique. I would like to be in the first 5, but we shall see, I have not run any race since the last UTMB and I’m far away from my optimum capacity.”

Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito ©iancorless.com

Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito ©iancorless.com

Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito

Vicente may well not be a runner you know… however, you should! Coming into the TCC he is arguably the most prolific and successful multi-day racer around. Just recently he was the winner of the Grand To Grand Ultra in Utah and winner of Ultra India Race 2014. He has raced in Chile before and I can’t help but think he will make his presence felt each day as the racing unfolds at the 10th edition of The Coastal Challenge. Career highlights: Winner of the 4 Desert Races in 2012 – Atacama (CETRhile), Gobi (China), Sahara (Egypt) and Antartica. NB* Ryan Sandes is the only other under to achieve this but Vicente is the only person to do this in one year!

The stage is set for the 2014 The Coastal Challenge. The action starts on Sunday February 2nd and culminates at the incredible Drakes Bay 6-days later.

Daily updates will be available on via iancorless.com website and on twitter @talkultra

In addition, the TCC Facebook page HERE will have updates.

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