UTMB 2017 Draw and Elite Names


The results for the 2017 UTMB were announced on January 12th 2017 at 10.00 (Paris time) and what a draw! The list of persons registered and runners files can be viewed at http://www.ultratrailmb.com, all those entered will be confirmed by email.

Those runners lucky in the draw then have a period of 14 days, January 12th to 25th 2017, to definitively finalise their registration by paying, by credit-card, the balance of the registration price and sending in all the required supporting documents.

It’s a big day for many, dreams are made and broken with the opening of an email.

From a global perspective, a look at the elite start list provides an opportunity to whet ones appetite and imagine the race that will unfold for the UTMB and the races that also that happen in and around the main event, the CCC, TDS and OCC.

In 2016, many considered that the line up in the UTMB was the best ever, well, 2017 may have topped it?

The Top Men for 2017

  • Francois D’haene – Two time UTMB winner and countless other 100 victories.
  • Gediminas Grinius – 2nd at UTMB in 2016.
  • Julien Chorier – 8th at UTMB in 2016 but super solid at the distance.
  • Miguel Heras – Looking for 2013 form when he placed 2nd.
  • Luis Alberto Hernando – Hw wants this! 2nd in 2015.
  • Xavier Thevenard – Champ in 2013 and 2015 the winner of ‘all’ UTMB races – CCC, TDS and OCC.
  • Tofol Castanyer – 2nd in 2014.
  • Pau Capell –  TDS winner stepping up to the big dance.
  • Yeray Duran – Stepping up but 2nd at TDS in 2016.
  • Diego Pazoz – Mont-Blanc 80km winner – an intersting prospect!
  • Andy Symonds – Tried in 2016 but pulled out, he has a big race in him.
  • Carlos Sa – 8th in 2014 and an ever-present.
  • Kim Collison – Arguably the UK’s best hope for a top result.
  • Francesc Sole – 7th at UTMB in 2015.
  • Didrik Hermansen – 2nd at Western States in 2016 and winner at Transgrancanaria

And then look at the talent that will join from the USA:

  • Tim Tollefson – 3rd at UTMB last  year
  • Andrew Miller – Western States winner 2016
  • Sage Canaday – Unfinished business at UTMB
  • Jeff Browning – 2016 double with 3rd and 4th at Western States and Hardrock
  • Dylan Bowman – 4th at Lake Sonoma in 2016
  • David Laney – Placed 3rd and 4th at UTMB
  • Jim Walmsley – Unstoppable in 2016, UTMB is going to be a seriously exciting outing for him and us!

But it doesn’t stop there, there other names to consider, the list goes on!

The Top Women for 2017

  • Caroline Chaverot – Defending champ and un-stoppable in 2016.
  • Nuria Picas – 2nd twice, she wants the top slot.
  • Andrea Huser – Relentless, races week-in and week-out, 2nd in 2016.
  • Emelie Lecomte – Tor des Geants champ.
  • Beth Pascall – Lakeland 100 winner and course record could excel on this big loop.
  • Sophie Grant – Has had two top UTMB placings.
  • Gemma Arenas – Excelled in the Skyrunning ranks in 2016, Ultra SWS champ.
  • Juliette Blanchet – 4th last year.

And then look at the talent that will join from the USA:

  • Kaci Lickteig – Western States champ, Bear 100 champ and ultra-runner of the year – exciting!
  • Magdalena Boulet – 5th at UTMB last year.
  • Stephanie Howe – Western States 2014 champ who looks to be back after 2016 full of injury. Previously 8th at UTMB.
  • Sally McRae – 11th at the 2016 Western States.
  • Meredith Edwards – 2nd at TDS.
  • Aliza Lapierre – Solid performer recently raced MDS in 2015 4th at Western States.

Ones to watch:

Kaori Niwa, Christina Bes, Laia Diez, Joelle Vaught, Alissa St Laurent and many more…

CCC and TDS has always felt like a side show to the UTMB but Zach Miller in many ways changed all that with a show boat victory and we are now seeing the CCC as real stepping stone to UTMB with a highly competitive field.

Notably for 2016, Megan Kimmel, Hilary Allen, Nathalie Mauclair, Maite Maiora and Anna Comet amongst others will go head-to-head in the ladies’ race.

For the men, the prospect of what Hayden Hawks is exciting, especially when one considers Tom Owens and Ryan Sandes will toe the line. Add to the mix Erik Clavery, Ludovic Pommeret, Jorge Maravilla, Ben Duffus, Michael Borst, Marcin Swierc and Aurelien Collet and you have a very exciting race.

TDS will see Rory Bosio head up a quality ladies’ field that includes Lucy Bartholomew and, Dong Li and Lizzie Wraith. For the men, Paul Giblin and Michel Lanne are followed by Samir Tamang, Arnaud Lejeune and many more.

The 2017 UTMB week of races, look set to be a very exciting prospect.

Now, get training!

Marathon des Sables 2016 #MDS2016 Race Preview


MDS, Marathon des Sables, The Toughest Race in the World… whatever you want to call it, the 31st edition is just around the corner. Think about it, 30-years. It’s quite incredible how this race has grown and has become ‘the’ multi-day race to do irrespective of experience. It was the first and is still the best race offering an ultimate adventure for novice and experienced runner.


It’s more than a race. It’s an experience, it’s escape and it’s a challenge. The combination of self-sufficiency, life in bivouac and running 250-km’s through the heat of the Sahara is something that those that have experienced it will never forget. It is the story of life, a story of men and women who have come to the heart of the desert to rid themselves of the superficial to keep only the essentials and get in touch with their true selves.


“What concerns me the most is the runners’ safety, and our capacity to ensure rapid medical intervention and emergency health evacuation. The weather is another worry, but unfortunately totally out of our hands.” – Patrick Bauer

For the past three decades, some 19,000 runners have signed up for this experience, so, with the imminent running of the 2016 edition, it’s fair to say that race will see a great number of participants returning.

To summarise the impact on participants over 30 years:

(statistics provided by MDS media team/ official press documentation)
  • 30-40% are returning,
  • 70% are international,
  • 30% are French,
  • 17% are women
  • and 45% are veterans thus confirming that you are never too old to take part!

2016 will see 1200 runners participate, a huge increase from 1986 when only 23 runners took part.


“The desert strips you bare, all the more so on a race like this. Values like sharing, solidarity, and respect for differences and cultures are omnipresent. So of course, friendships develop between the brothers and sisters of the desert who have no more barriers or boundaries and are all united to achieve the same goal.” – Patrick Bauer


Lasting six days’ participants must be self-sufficient carrying everything they need in a pack. Water is provided but rationed and a tent (bivouac) is provided each evening that must be shared with seven other participants.

The 2016 edition of the race will be 257-km’s offering a series of challenges that will test the mind and body in equal measure.


“We try to convey happiness, enthusiasm and positive thinking through what we do and the sense of belonging is particularly intense for the runners, almost tribal, after ten days of sharing the adventure and fulfilling the same dream. Another thing I’d say was very important and a big part of the marathon’s success is the security and care that we bring the runners. The average age of participants is about forty, and most of them have children and have opted for a mishap-free adventure. In any case, when your family is far away, you count on quality organization.” – Patrick Bauer


The Route

On a course punctuated by difficulties, competitors will get to see all of the Sahara’s different facets. Runners will have to cross ergs (dune fields), djebels (mountains), stony plateaus, dried-up lakes and oueds in which only sand flows, as well as oases, nomad camps, and traditional, rammed-earth villages. The desert has its secret gardens and those taking part in MARATHON DES SABLES will be lucky enough to contemplate them as a recompense for their efforts.

Stage 1 – 10th April

12km of majestic dunes kick off the race anddunes conclude the stage for the last 3km before competitors reach the bivouac. In-between, runners will have the time to appreciate the difficulty of making their way down a sandy oued and crossing a ghost village. Although not confirmed, I would anticipate that the Erg Chebbi Dunes may start the 2016 race. These dunes finished the 2015 edition on the charity stage. This will most definitely mean a longer transfer from the airport to the start of the race and these dunes are tough! “The dunes of Erg Chebbi reach a height of up to 150 meters in places and altogether spans an area of 50 kilometers from north to south and up to 5–10 kilometers from east to west lining the Algerian border.”

Stage 2 – 11th April

A long stage, with a wide variety of terrains. The standard dunes will be accompanied by stony plateaus where time stands still, rammed-earth villages inhabited by courageous souls farming arid land, and some steep djebels. As beautiful as it is difficult.

Stage 3 – 12th April

MARATHON DES SABLES will merit its name on this stage. The first part will go fast but, before the 1st check point the dunes will emerge… and then carry on, with more before and after the 2nd check point and a few more before the bivouac. The desert will go up and down with a slight climb before some slopes of over 20% that will put it all into perspective.

Stage 4 – 13/14th April

Known as “the long one” by old hands, this is the most testing part of the race, where you really need to manage your energy. The list of remarkable sites along this stage is particularly long. It’s the kind of stage that made MDS’s reputation. In less than 35 hours, runners’ minds and bodies will have had their fill. Running through the sand at night under the stars teaches all of them about humility. No one emerges from this long pilgrimage unchanged.

Stage 5 – 15th April

The Marathon stage. For those who thought they’d seen it all, get ready for a revelation. This entirely new route will take you through some splendid sites and end in a battle for the leading places. The less hurried will take their time to admire the landscapes. A lot more dunes and hills for 42.2km.

Stage 6 – 16th April – SOLIDARITY UNICEF legs

This obligatory stage is timed but does not count in the MDS ranking. You have to cross the finish line to feature in the ranking of the 31st MDS and receive a finisher’s medal. When they reach the small village in which the final finish line is located, competitors, sponsors and families signed up on this stage will make up the caravan and be able to appreciate the beauty of the landscape, all wearing the colours of UNICEF, which supports projects for impoverished children. This stage is mostly a chance to reflect on the experience of this amazing human adventure, and raise awareness of solidarity before returning to civilization.



The LADIES ©iancorless.com_MDS2015Day3-2734

Elisabet Barnes is the defending champion and has become a dominant force in the world of multi-day running. She followed MDS victory in 2015 with victory in Oman and placed 2nd lady at the recent The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. Recent life changes have impacted on Elisabet’s preparation for the 2016 edition of the race but she knows the desert, she knows the sand and she knows how to race over multiple days.


“I have a lot more experience than I had in 2012. I do train a little more, but it’s really that I understand more about pushing myself further and how to manage my food and water. My bag was also a lot lighter than in 2012, my 2015 bag only weighed 7 kilos compared to 11 kilos in 2012.”


Fernanda Maciel is a newbie to the Sahara and multiple day racing despite victory at the 2013 Everest Trail Race. One thing is for sure, the heat should not be a problem for the Brazilian ultra runner. An experienced competitor, Fernanda recently spent a long period of time at altitude in an effort to set a ‘FKT’ (fastest known time) on Aconcagua. Something she achieved! Her success at races such as UTMB, Transgrancanaria and Ultra-Trail Mt Fuji will almost certainly mean that she will be a force to be reckoned with.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1000768

Nathalie Maculair will without doubt shake things up at the 2016 edition. Her results speak for themselves and her ability to run fast, climb, handle technical trail will (and quite rightly so) intimidate her competition. Nathalie has raced well at Transvulcania, become a world trail champion and also won the ridiculously tough, Grand Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale des Fous). This will be Nathalie’s first multi-day race but she has raced in ‘Raids’ before. Her small size will without doubt be a huge disadvantage in the early stages.  A wife and mother, this may well be the ultimate escape for her.

“Given my small size, transporting 6-7 kg will be quite a challenge. But I’ve already run with a large bag on multisport raids. I enjoy the period when you prepare the bag and start picturing yourself on the race and thinking about what you’ll need. Once I’m in that phase, part of me is already there.”


Laurence Klein has won the race multiple times (2007, 2011 and 2012), and knows the sand and the race better than anyone else. You van never rule her out! In recent years’ things have not gone to plan in the big sand pit, but Laurence is back once again, that can only mean one thing; she believes she can win!


Liza Howard ran MDS last year and placed 16th which does not reflect her ability. She has real experience of ultra running as she proved with victory at Leadville 100 in late 2015 (she also won Leadville in 2010) and I am sure that she learnt valuable lessons in the 2015 edition of MDS that will only make her stronger and more resilient in 2016.

Aziz Raji a name I initially missed but a hot contender for the podium after great runs at Trans Atlas Marathon and in Oman.

Meghan Arbogast is another USA based runner that has all the credentials and history to make a real impact in the dunes and the hard packed sand of the Sahara. A fast runner, particularly over 100km, Meghan’s race history dates back to 1996 and is compulsive reading.


Natalia Sedykh placed 3rd last year and like Elisabet Barnes was an unknown entity. She had a steely grit and determination and I can’t help but think that 1-year on, she will come to the race meticulously prepared with just one objective; overall victory!

Ladies to watch:

Frederica Boifava, Annick Ballot, Gweanelle Coupon, Elise Delannoy, Sophie Laversanne, Claire Price, Holly Zimmermann, Maree Jesson and more.



Rachid El Morabity has won the race three times, is defending champion, has local knowledge and is the man to beat, need I say more?


Franco Colle is a surprise entry as he loves the mountains. He had an incredible 2015 racing on the Skyrunner World Series and by contrast he has won the epic and demanding, Tor des Geants. He has strength, technical ability and is used to carrying a pack in the mountains, this is his first MDS but don’t rule him out!


Sondre Amdahl has been a revelation in recent years with a sting of world -class performances at UTMB, Western States, Transgrancanaria, UTMF and so on. He recently pulled out of the 2016 edition of Transgrancanaria and has then devoted himself to preparing for the Sahara. A fierce competitor, he will try his hardest day-after-day.


“I’m not afraid of it, but I do have a great deal of respect for the race. I’m trying to prepare myself as best as I can, especially for the heat, sand and lack of food. I live in Norway, and it’s cold there right now, so I’ll spend some time in Spain and Morocco before the race.”


Erik Clavery is the great French hope. He has said numerous times that MDS is a dream race and he has set his sights high.

“This weekend I set off to the dunes in western France once again with my 6.5 kg bag on my back. The hardest part will no doubt be getting used to the heat. It’s not easy to reproduce those conditions over here in the winter. So I work on my home trainer wearing a thermal jacket!”


Carlos Sa has come close but never quite managed to smoke the MDS cigar. He placed 4th in 2012 and 7th in 2013. This year, Carlos has really set his sights on MDS and his recent run in Costa Rica at The Coastal Challenge was great training. We all know he can run in the heat as his 2013 victory at Badwater 135 confirms. I hope he makes the podium!


Chema Martinez is a 2:08 marathon runner, he placed 6th at MDS last year and recently had a great run in Costa Rica at The Coastal Challenge. He’s a fun loving guy who loves to race and race fast. He made mistakes in 2015 and will look to put them right in 2016 – watch this space!


Jason Schlarb is one of the USA’s top runners who has excelled at races such as UTMB. Just recently he skied (with 3 others) the Hardrock 100 course over 4-days. A world first and a huge achievement. Without doubt, MDS will be a huge learning curve for Jason but it’s a challenge he is embracing. He sees the race as one big adventure!


The Moroccans

  • Aziz El Akad has been in the top 5 six times, so a repeat performance is highly likely.
  • Abdelkader El Mouaziz was 2nd last year and a super fast runner. He will be looking to oust Rachid for the top slot and he has the race to do it!
  • Samir Akhdar has never won MDS but has placed in the top 8 seven times.

Men to watch:

Jean-Sebastien Braun, Marco Olmo, Greg Dunning, Glenn McDougall, Alejandro Lopez Reyes, Ahmed Tahiri, Mohamed Faraj, Marco Pajusco, Juan Manuel Cortes and more.


Crazy Statistics of the MDS

“The logistics are a big headache and we organize every last detail in advance! We’re a village of 2,000 people that has to be set up and dismantled every days and needs to be self-sufficient in energy, food, water and fuel. As one of my friends says, ‘Let’s expect the worst because the best will never surprise us!’ We also benefit from the infallible support of the Royal Moroccan Army, which makes available about 25 6WD military trucks to transport all of our equipment.” – Patrick Bauer


▪    150 volunteers to supervise the race,

▪    450 general support staff,

▪    120,000 liters of bottled mineral water,

▪    300 Berber and Saharan tents,

▪    120 all-terrain vehicles and trucks,

▪    2 Squirrel helicopters and 1 Cessna plane,

▪    8 Transavia ‘MDS special’ commercial planes,

▪    30 buses,

▪    4 dromedaries,

▪    1 incinerator lorry for burning waste,

▪    5 quad bikes to monitor race environment and safety,

▪    72 medical staff,

▪    2.3kms of Elastoplast,

▪    12,200 compresses,

▪    6,000 painkillers,

▪    150 liters of disinfectant,

▪    1 editing bus,

▪    5 cameras,

▪    1 satellite image station,

▪    10 satellite telephones,

▪    30 computers, fax and internet,

▪    18,000 competitors since 1986

▪    30% returning competitors, 70% international, 30% French,
17% women, 45% veterans,
30% in teams,
10% walkers,
90% alternate walking and running,

▪    14 km/hr.: average maximum speed, 3 km/hr.: average minimum speed,

▪    15 years of age for the youngest competitor and the oldest, 83!


30 Years of the MDS

1986 – Michel GALLIEZ (FRANCE) – Christiane PLUMERE (FRANCE)

1987 – Bernard GAUDIN (FRANCE) – Marie-Ange MALCUIT (FRANCE)

1988 – Bernard GAUDIN (FRANCE) – Marie-Ange MALCUIT (FRANCE)






1994 – André DERKSEN (RUSSIA) – Valentina LIAKHOVA (RUSSIA)

1995 – André DERKSEN (RUSSIA) – Béatrice REYMANN (FRANCE)




1999 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Lisa SMITH (USA)

2000 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Pascale MARTIN (FRANCE)





2005 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Simone KAYSER (LUX)

2006 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Géraldine COURDESSE (FRANCE)

2007 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Laurence KLEIN (FRANCE)

2008 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Touda DIDI (MOROCCO)

2009 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Touda DIDI (MOROCCO)

2010 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Monica AGUILERA (SPAIN)

2011 – Rachid EL MORABITY (MOROCCO) – Laurence KLEIN (FRANCE)

2012 – Salameh AL AQRA (JORDAN) – Laurence KLEIN (FRANCE)

2013 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Meghan HICKS (USA)


2015 – Rachid ELMORABITY (MOROCCO) – Elisabet Barnes (SWE)


A brief history of the MDS

1984: At 28 years of age, Patrick Bauer decided to make for the Sahara to try to traverse a 350km expanse of uninhabited desert, on foot, alone, where he wouldn’t come into contact with a single village, oasis or watering place. Totally self-sufficient, with a rucksack weighing 35kg and containing water and food, he set off on a journey that was to last 12 days. It was the starting point of what was to become the MARATHON DES SABLES.

1986: The creation of the first MDS in the Moroccan Sahara. The 23 pioneers who took the start never imagined that their footprints would mark the start of a legendary event, which has today become a must among the major adventure sport meets. The creation of a non-mechanical competition in the Moroccan sands offers adventure runners a wealth of new prospects.

1987: Creation of the MDS logo: the face of a runner covered by a keffiyeh, the eyes protected by a pair of sunglasses and the pipette from the runner’s water container clenched between the teeth.

1989: 170 competitors take the start of the race.

1991: The gulf drama puts the MDS at a disadvantage and the financial partners withdraw. Fortunately, some runners answer the call. For these competitors, the true victory lies in meeting athletes from different backgrounds and their communion in the desert around the same goal. Sport proves once again that it can bring people together and create bonds.

1992: One and the same regulation for everyone. This year sees the establishing of unexpected draconian tests, to ensure that each participant properly transports all his or her gear from one end of the course to the other. A 30-point charter is drawn up.

First participation by the Moroccan Lahcen Ahansal

1994: Arrival of the Doc Trotters at the event.

1995: 10th anniversary. Since the start, over 1,500 men and women have left their footprint and their passion in the desert. Installation of water-pump for the inhabitants of the village of Ighef n’rifi (South of Er-Rachidia) – an idea by competitor Gilles Flamant and backed by Rolland Barthes and Patrick Bauer. Its success is to be repeated again and again

1996: First participation by Mohamed, a younger sibling of Ahansal. The two Moroccan brothers set off together and rank 4th and 5th respectively.

1997: This year heralds the start of the Ahansal saga. Morocco is honored with Lahcen’s first victory. He beats his two pursuers by nearly 30 minutes, despite them being international long-distance running champions.

1999: A mobile hospital on the MDS comes into being. There are around thirty practitioners on the ground, with doctors and nurses joining the caravan. A dedicated helicopter and ten all-terrain vehicles track the competitors each day. On- board these vehicles there are doctors of course, as well as high-tech equipment. The village boasts a genuine field hospital.

2000: Internet puts in an appearance in the large MDS village. The organization decides to broadcast the texts and photos of the race live, day after day. The competitors can communicate with their nearest and dearest and receive messages of encouragement.

2001: For the first time the long leg, traditionally called “The 70”, exceeds the 80km barrier to reach 82km. The threshold of 240km is also surpassed since the 16th MARATHON DES SABLES spans 243km. Another first relates to the fact that there are no Moroccans on the podium this year.

2002: This edition is punctuated by a sandstorm, involving headwinds, which lasts the entire week. The doctors invent a machine for ‘low pressure cleansing’ to rinse out the runners’ eyes. Despite the difficult conditions, there are few retirements to report as the wind considerably reduces the temperature.

2005: The Luxembourg runner Simone Kayser is the first woman to win 3 MARATHON DES SABLES. For this 20th edition, the total number of runners exceeds 700 for the first time, with no fewer than 777 runners taking the start.

2006: A drying wind and very high humidity levels cause damage to the runners’ bodies. Despite additional allocations of water, a whole series of retirements ensues. There are a total of 146 retirements ultimately, which equates to double that of the previous record… Race management decides to shorten the long leg by over 10km given how tired the runners seem.

2008: The Solidarité MDS association is created. The aim: to develop projects to assist children and disadvantaged populations in the domains of health, education and sustainable development in Morocco. 

2009: MDS is disrupted by flooding and the 1st and 6th stages are not able to take place. To avoid the flood zones, the organization is obliged to improvise new legs on a day-to-day basis. In this way, the edition goes down in legend for its 3rd leg, which is the longest ever contested: 92km of sand, loose stones and rocks… The leg even sees the retirement of Lahcen Ahansal… At the prize giving the 2 winners admit to having competed in their hardest MDS. However, it was also the shortest: 202km.

2010: For its 25th edition, the number of participations reaches a record high of 1,013 participants. It is to be the longest MARATHON DES SABLES. It spans 250 kilometers with a course considered by former entrants to be the most difficult ever organized.

2012: A dramatic turn of events on the longest leg as the then leader in the overall standing, Rachid El Morabity (MAR) injures himself one kilometer from the finish. Medical examinations reveal a serious muscular lesion in the quadriceps. After over five years on the 2nd or 3rd step of the podium, Jordanian Salameh Al Aqra secures the title.

2013: 1,027 competitors on the start line make this a new participation record. New feature: a final “Charity” stage sponsored by UNICEF and traversing the Merzouga dunes round off the race. Sports wise, Mohamad Ahansal and Megan Hicks are the champions of the 231.5km event. On a human level, all of the finishers pull off their crazy bet.

2014: 2011 winner, Moroccan Rachid El Morabity (MAR) wins the overall ranking and takes Mohamad Ahansal’s crown. In the women’s category, another American stamps her mark, Nikki Kimball. The French revelation is one Michaël Gras, 22 years of age, 8th overall and top Frenchman. A major athletics star, Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj lines up to take the start of Saturday’s Unicef Charity leg.


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Episode 106 – The Coastal Challenge 2016 Special #TCC2016


This is Episode 106 of Talk Ultra. This show is all about The Coastal Challenge multi-day race in Costa Rica. We talk in-depth about Niandi’s experience and we bring you a selection of interviews to give you a feel for the race.

Book writing – RUNNING BEYOND will be released in November 2016 by Aurum Publishing.

00:01:04 Show Start

00:04:58 NEWS

ACONCAGUA – Fernanda Maciel established the first women’s FKT on , Aconcagua, earlier this month and I caught up with her immediately afterwards.

06:07:00 INTERVIEW

Fernanda said at the time should the weather be okay for a 2nd attempt that she would return. Return she did to established the first women’s FKT on the longer route. She traveled from the Horcones entrance gate to the summit and back – 60 kilometers and 4,100 meters of climb in 22:52. The mens record is almost have this time set by Karl Egloff who took the record from Kilian Jornet

ADDO ELEPHANT in South Africa

“As the only national Park in the world that offers visitors a chance to see the ‘Big Seven’ (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and the southern right whale and the great white shark in the marine area), we’re thrilled to be hosting the race again this year,” says Fayroush Ludick, SANParks Regional Communications Manager. “Because athletes will be running through areas of the park that they wouldn’t traditionally have access to, they will experience the park and its residents as never before.”

1 – Bennie Roux and Tom Adams finished together 21:45:08

2 – Chris Darke 22:24

3 – Ryno Griesel 24:55

1 – Linda Doke 29:25:34

2 – Kim Van Kets 33:34:12


1 – Ian Sharman 13:45, Paul Terranova 2nd and Will Swenson 3rd.

1 – Sabrina Little ran the 2nd fastest lasted time of 14:55, Amy Clark and Olga Buber were 2nd

and 3rd.

Notably, WSER legend Gordy Ainsleigh ran 28:31 to gain his WSER entry slot which many feel should have been guaranteed anyway!


Jonas Buud won the race in 8:00 followed by David Bryne in 8:22 and Ryan Sandes 3rd in 8:30

Fiona Hayvice won the ladies race in 10:34 despite Ruby Muir leading for much of the race and then dropping with injury. Melissa Robertson and Fiona Eagles placed 2nd and 3rd with 10:56 and 11:24.

This weekend as the show comes out Transgrancanaria will be staring and it is quite a stacked field, certainly the first big race of 2016. Read the preview HERE


Read the daily reports from Costa Rica HERE

The Coastal Challenge 2016 – The Full Story HERE

Images from The Coastal Challenge 2016 HERE



Australian Capital Territory

100km | 100 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

New South Wales

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 100 km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Party All Night | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Sun, Sand, Surf | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website



55 km | 55 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website


British Columbia

Dirty Duo 50 km Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


Likeys Ultra 6633 – 120 Mile | 120 miles | March 11, 2016 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 350 Mile | 350 miles | March 11, 2016 | website

Costa Rica

51 km | 51 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

80 km | 80 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website



Trail aux Etoiles | 58 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

Ultra du Bout du Cirque | 100 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


Endu’Rance Trail des Corsaires | 64 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


Le Poilu | 51 kilometers | March 13, 2016 | website


Ultra trail de Vulcain | 81 kilometers | March 06, 2016 | website



Chiemsee-Ultramarathon März | 108 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


Translantau 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 11, 2016 | website

Translantau 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website


BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 18, 2016 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 195 kilometers | March 17, 2016 | website



Trasimeno Lake Ultramarathon | 58 kilometers | March 06, 2016 | website


KubUltra 60 | 60 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

TITI 200KM | 200 kilometers | March 18, 2016 | website

New Zealand

Old Ghost Ultra | 85 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Te Houtaewa Challenge 60 km Open Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Waiheke Round Island 100 km Relay | 100 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website


All Women Ultra-Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website


75 km | 75 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

South Africa

Om Die Dam 50 km Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website



150 km | 150 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website

73 km | 73 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website

Canary Islands

Transgrancanaria | 125 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website

Transgrancanaria – Advanced | 84 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


Marxa dels Castells PLUS | 81 kilometers | March 13, 2016 | website

UT les Fonts | 120 kilometers | March 11, 2016 | website

UT les Fonts – Trail de les Fonts | 70 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Valencian Community

84 km | 84 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Sri Lanka

The Wild Elephant Trail | 210 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website


100 km | 100 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

120 km | 120 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

60 km | 60 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Aberdeen City

D33 Ultra | 33 miles | March 12, 2016 | website


Green Man Ultra | 44 miles | March 05, 2016 | website


Haworth Hobble | 32 miles | March 12, 2016 | website


Jurassic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | March 18, 2016 | website

Telford and Wrekin

Millennium Way | 38 miles | March 06, 2016 | website


Imber Ultra Marathon | 33 miles | March 06, 2016 | website



Delano Park 50 Mile Solo | 50 miles | March 05, 2016 | website


50K | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

50M | 50 miles | March 12, 2016 | website

Old Pueblo 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 05, 2016 | website


3 days of Syllamo | 150 kilometers | March 18, 2016 | website


Deo 50K | 50 kilometers | March 13, 2016 | website

Marin Ultra Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 12, 2016 | website

Razorback 100K Endurance Race | 100 kilometers | March 06, 2016 | website

Razorback 100 Mile Endurance Race | 100 miles | March 06, 2016 | website

Razorback 50K Endurance Race | 50 kilometers | March 06, 2016 | website

Razorback 50 Mile Endurance Race | 50 miles | March 06, 2016 | website

Way Too Cool 50k | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


100K Individual | 64 miles | March 13, 2016 | website

100K Team ( 3-4 Person Teams ) | 64 miles | March 13, 2016 | website

50K Individual | 32 miles | March 13, 2016 | website

DWD Green Swamp 50K | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

DWD Green Swamp 50M | 50 miles | March 12, 2016 | website


Bear Blaster 50k | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website


50 mile run | 50 miles | March 12, 2016 | website

60k | 60 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website


Seneca Creek Greenway Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 05, 2016 | website


50K | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

50M | 50 miles | March 12, 2016 | website

New Jersey

Lenape Trail Run | 34 miles | March 05, 2016 | website

North Carolina

Graveyard 100K Ultramarathon | 100 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Graveyard 100 Mile Ultramarathon | 100 miles | March 12, 2016 | website

Long Course | 39 miles | March 12, 2016 | website


Green Jewel 50K Fun Run | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


Naked Bavarian 40M | 40 miles | March 06, 2016 | website

South Carolina

Foothills 50k | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


50K | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website


Antelope Island 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 18, 2016 | website

Red Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website


PEAK Snowshoe 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | March 18, 2016 | website


50K | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

50 mile | 50 miles | March 12, 2016 | website

Thomas Jefferson 100k | 100 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

02:39:31 CLOSE


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

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

Website – talkultra.com

Enter The Coastal Challenge 2017 HERE


The Coastal Challenge 2016 #TCC2016 – The Full Story


The 2016 The Coastal Challenge was an incredible race, year-on-year the race grows and it is now one of the most respected multi-day races on the calendar. Following the classic multi-day format, runners travel in the south of Costa Rica on foot covering approximately 250km’s. Like races such as Marathon des Sables, the TCC is not self-sufficient. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this makes the races easier… read on!

View the full 2016 The Coastal Challenge image gallery HERE


“Hugging the coastline, the race travels in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range via dense forest trails, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beaches backed by palm trees, dusty access roads, high ridges and open plains. At times technical, the combination of so many challenging elements is only intensified by the heat and high humidity that slowly but surely reduces even the strongest competitors to exhausted shells.”



“Encapsulating the true sense of adventure, TCC requires a runner to be more than ‘just’ a runner. The race manages to make or break the most experienced competitor. Hopping from rock-to-rock, traversing a ridge, clambering over slimy boulders, swimming river crossings or running up and down single or double track, the race truly requires a rounded athlete to gain victory.”



“The men’s race looked all set for a group run to the line with Don-Wauchope, Calisto and Martinez running side-by-side over all of the first 25km. Don-Wauchope safe in 1st place, Calisto safe in 2nd and Martinez no threat to the overall standings.”


“But where was Sa?”


“Sa was trailing a few minutes back. When the trio entered the river bed, Sa apparently flew past like a man possessed. It was a last ditch effort to secure 2nd place ahead of Callisto.”



Demand for the 2017 The Coastal Challenge is already high with pre-requests and provisional bookings. Entries open in the UK and Europe this week via www.thecoastalchallenge.co.uk

Why not take part in our 2017 Multi-Day Training Camp which takes place in January each year? Details are available HERE

Interested in The Coastal Challenge 2017? Use the form below to secure one of the 100 available places


The Coastal Challenge 2016 #TCC2016 – Stage 5 Results and Summary


Images available for personal and commercial use HERE

Today was hot, very hot and very long! The longest stage of the 2016 The Coastal Challenge may well have been one of the most beautiful but 50km under the intense Costa Rican heat really did test every single runner int the race.

For the first time in the races’ 12-year history, the stage had an extra 4km. It doesn’t sound a great deal but at times it was technical and in addition, a new long beach section, a water crossing via boat and a stunning wooden rope bridge added to the days attractions.


The cool temperatures from the 0530 start soon disappeared and the intense, uncompromising heat arrived to punish the runners, the only consolation coming at the end with the stunning Drake Bay.


Chema Martinez finally found his Costa Rican legs and ran the stage side-by-side with race leader, Iain Don-Wauchope. They looked to be cruising on what was a very tough day. Don-Wauchope having run and won TCC in 2015 could appreciate the new course:

“The new additions are really stunning, no fantastic. But they are tough and challenging. The beach section was extremely tough due to the high tide. We had to run the tree line which made it difficult. But it’s a beautiful new addition to the race.” – Iain Don-Wauchope.

Crossing the sea to river inlet by boat, Both Martinez and Don-Wauchope took an extended break to cool off and then finished off the stage in style by cruising to the line together.Gonzalo Callisto finished 3rd and secured his 2nd overall.


It was a similar story in the ladies race however it was less planned. Ladies race leader Ester Alves took the lead relatively early on and at one point had extended her lead to approximately 30-minutes. A couple of navigation errors reduced this to just 1-minute in the latter stages of the race and with just 8km to go, Elisabet Barnes and Alves ran together to the line.


“It was the correct thing to do,” Alves said after the race. “There was nothing left to race for in the final km’s and I enjoyed the time talking with Elisabet.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Elisabet Barnes:

“I was feeling very rough this morning with a very dodgy tummy and took me 20km’s to feel good. Ester pulled away and there was nothing I could do. I eventually caught her but we once again entered a very technical section and she once again pulled away. We finally came together again after the rope bridge with 8km to go, running together was a pleasure after a great battle. Today was beautiful but so hot!”

The race concludes tomorrow with what will be a victory lap of Drake Bay and the National Park. The 2016 TCC has been an incredible race; very tough but many will remember it because of the intense heat.

The overall standing in the ladies’s race are now:

  1. Ester Alves 7:42:49
  2. Elisabet Barnes 17:42:49
  3. Tbc

Full ladies’s results HERE

The overall standings in the men’s race are now:

  1. Iain Don-Wauchope 5:4130
  2. Chema Martinez 5:41:30
  3. Gonzalo Calisto 5:52:16

Full men’s results HERE

Stage 6 is a wonderful looped lap of drake Bay – a victory lap.

Full race results HERE







The Coastal Challenge 2016 #TCC2016 – Stage 4 Results and Summary


Images available for personal and commercial use HERE

The 2016 ‘TCC” (The Coastal Challenge, moved inland today for 35km’s of relentless climbing, at times technical trail and a brutal descent that hammered tired legs all the way to the finish line. The early morning start of 0530 guaranteed the runners a good 1-hour window of cool temperatures but as they climbed higher and higher, low cloud sheltered them but eventually the cloud burned away and searing heat punished the runners.

Ester Alves made her mark on the race today by extending her lead by over 30-minutes, however, the winning margin doesn’t tell a true story. Elisabet Barnes fought very hard early on the keep Alves in sight and hopefully pull away, however, technical trail and a long section in a very technical river bed ruined any chance.

Alves was in her element; comfortable with Skyrunning and mountain races, she pushed at a comfortable pace and never looked in any discomfort on the challenging terrain. Although she had a 10-minute lead in the river bed section at approximately 30km covered, it was on the final descent (almost 1000m) were the real gap was opened. Barnes said post race:

“I hated that final descent, I was out of my comfort zone and I knew any chance of catching Ester was over. I took my time and made my way down without injury.”

Alves finished the stage and many commented how relaxed she looked and how well she has adapted to the heat after a tough day 1. A real point of topic is how little she has been drinking… a no, no for the local but it has worked for Alves.

“Every stage I have anticipation, I never know what to encounter… roads, forests, rivers or trails. It has been amazing. I wasn’t ready for the heat but as the days pass I am getting better and better. I love the heat. I trained before the race for 30km run sessions on little water and that has worked well here. Everyone has been amazed how little I am drinking but it has worked. I like to go simple; fast and light! The competition with Elisabet has been great. She has won MDS and that inspires me, she has been a great competitor. I think if we were in the desert I am sure she would pull away from me but here I love the technical trail and that has been a great advantage for me.” – Ester Alves

The overall standing in the ladies’s race are now:

  1. Ester Alves
  2. Elisabet Barnes
  3. Amy Gordon

Full ladies’s results HERE


The men’s race looked all set for a group run to the line with Iain Don-Wauchope, Gonzalo Callisto and Chema Martinez running side-by-side over all of the first 25km. Don-Wauchope safe in 1st place, Callisto safe in 2nd and Martinez no threat to the overall standings. But where was Sa?


Sa was trailing a few minutes back.

When the trio entered the river bed, Sa apparently flew past like a man possessed. It was a last ditch effort to secure 2nd place ahead of Calisto.

“We were having a great run, relaxed, chatting and just a great day on the trails and then Sa flew past us,” Don-Wauchope said. “He really mixed things up and as he pulled away I went with him. He was really motoring. We started to pull away and I felt good. Eventually I pulled away and Calisto bridged the gap back to Sa. The downhill at the end was tough as it was so rutted but I was glad for another stage victory” – Iain Don-Wauchope.

All credit to Sa for making a move and throwing it all on the line. Tomorrow is the longest stage of the week and I wonder if Sa will have another go? The longer the stage, the better he gets and heat is no issue as he proved by winning Badwater 135.


The overall standings in the men’s race are now:

  1. Iain Don-Wauchope
  2. Gonzalo Calisto
  3. Carlos Sa

Full men’s results HERE

Stage 5 starts is the longest day of the week and leads into the stunning Drakes Bay. Everyone is tired now, no exhausted! It’s going to be a tough day.

Full race results HERE

The Coastal Challenge 2016 #TCC2016 – Stage 3 Results and Summary


Images available for personal and commercial use HERE

Today was always gone to be a tough one and it lived up to expectations. Departing Dominical beach, the runners very quickly entered a river bed that lasted for km after km. Rock hopping, running through flowing river water with slimy slippery rocks, it was just perfect terrain for South Africa’s ‘The Otter’ previous course record holder, Iain Don-Wauchope.

Running in his element, Don-Wauchope opened up a gap almost immediately and by the time he reached the stunning waterfalls, he had time to dive in the lagoon and pose for a photograph before moving onwards and upwards on the trail. Running with apparent ease Don-Wauchope continued to open up a gap on Gonzalo Callisto and Carlos Sa. This course and its variety is made for Don-Wauchope’s running style and just as in 2015, he pushed the pace all the way to the long and lengthy final beach section before climbing through a small hilly section of rainforest and finishing a triple of stage wins.

“I made sure I covered myself with water every 5mins or so on the beach. It was so hot and it seemed to go on forever. The highlight of the day was the waterfalls though. In 2015 I was too busy racing and I didn’t have time to soak up the location. This year I promised myself I would take a swim and climb on the rocks.” – Iain Don-Wauchope

Sa and Calisto weren’t hanging around, not at all. They were gently running the climbs and pushing as hard as they could under the intense heat and humidity. Running side-by-side, they have most certainly become good friends on this TCC journey.


From Calisto’s perspective, his lead over Sa is enough to secure 2nd place and I am sure he plans to just mark Sa and respond to any surges. Will Sa try to take 2nd away? His best chance will come tomorrow on the very undulating 4th stage.

The overall standings in the men’s race are now:

  1. Iain Don-Wauchope 11:42:01
  2. Gonzalo Calisto 12:32:18
  3. Carlos Sa 12:38:08

Damian Hall from the UK moved up into 5th place after a great  run today, his overall time is 13:45:36

Full men’s results HERE

The ladies race was always going to be exciting today and as expected, Ester Alves opened up a gap on Elisabet Barnes in the opening riverbed section. At the waterfalls, Barnes trailed by 7-minutes. It was a good result, the gap could have quite easily been larger. After the climb out and following the 2nd waterfall, Barnes started to pursue Alves and eventually caught her 3km before Cp2.


“I caught Ester just before the Cp but unfortunately it was followed with a s series of technical terrain and she started to open up a gap again; all the handwork to a certain extent was wasted. By the time I reached Cp3 just before the beach, the gap was 6-minutes,” Barnes said post race. “I felt good though and I thought to myself, this is great, it’s a long beach section that is runnable and I was convinced I would close the gap and with luck, I may catch her. But unfortunately she ran well and I didn’t run to expectation. It was just so hot and relentless. Thank goodness the small lagoon was at the end so that I could cool down.”



Alves ran a great race and looked strong on the beach maintaining a good pace and cadence. She was obviously very happy with her day once past the finish tape:

“It was a beautiful day and I am really happy. The course was stunning and the variety was just incredible. The beach was beautiful but too long… I couldn’t wait for it to end!”

Alves now leads Barnes but anything can happen. It just takes a bad moment or a bad day for all the good work to be lost. Day 4 has plenty of climbing and day 5 plenty of running. It’s wide open and very exciting.


The overall standing in the ladies’s race are now:

  1. Ester Alves 15:59:12
  2. Elisabet Barnes 16:10:38
  3. Amy Gordon 21:06:44

Full ladies’s results HERE


Full ladies’s results HERE

Stage 4 starts with a tough climb and finishes with a steep technical descent. Between the two are rolling hills and pastures made of runnable trails.

Full race results HERE

More images to follow when I have suitable wifi – apologies


The Coastal Challenge 2016 #TCC2016 – Stage 2 Results and Summary


Images available for personal and commercial use HERE

It was an 0345 start to day 2, a 0400 breakfast and then a 0530 start with the rising of the sun. Camp 1 bivouac was in an idyllic location next to the Savegre river and it appeared that everyone had had a good night, if not a little too short for some!

Departing camp, the course went immediately up with a long climb that was at times technical. Iain Don-Wauchope feeling very content after day 1 unfortunately rolled his ankle very early on and was forced to tike some time out due to dizziness. This allowed Carlos Sa and Gonzalo Callisto to pull away. However, as the summit of the climb approached, Don-Wauchope had clawed his way back to the duo and was looking strong.

In the ladies race, day 1 leader Elisabet Barnes was well aware that day 2 would be a battle due to the technical uphill start. Ester Alves comes from a Skyrunning and mountain running background and therefore, the early sections of the course played into her hands. At the summit, Alves had a lead of approximately 7-minutes and the ladies race was on!

The heat had arrived and with it the humidity. It was going to be a hot day and with no clouds in the sky, the conditions would be relentless for the runners.

Don-Wauchope bided his time and decided at Cp2 it was time to apply the pressure:

“I rolled my ankle on day 1 and protected it. To roll it again on day 2 was just annoying. Having taken some time to compose myself and close the gap back to Sa and Calico, I decided that my moment to extend my lead was from Cp2. I upped the pace and Sa went with me. He held on for quite sometime before I finally make the gap. I was protecting my ankle all the day though. To win again feels great. I still think the racing is not over, Sa and Calico look strong.” – Iain Don-Wauchope.

Don-Wauchope pulled away and Sa and Calico ran together in pursuit. Calico looked relaxed all day and was often seen running with a GoPro. He is racing, no doubt but he’s also enjoying the journey.

The overall standings in the men’s race are now:

  1. Iain Don-Wauchope 6:30:56
  2. Gonzalo Calisto 7:05:14
  3. Carlos Sa 7:10:56

Full men’s results HERE

Alves was in her element on the mountain terrain and used it to her advantage to slowly close the gap between her and Barnes. As the running became more consistent, Barnes started to slowly cut away at the gap Alves had created. We all soon realised that we had a real race on our hands.

“I felt much better in the heat today,” Alves said. “This course and place is amazing, the views are incredible and I am loving the race. To win today’s stage is a real bonus.”


It was a sentiment echoed by Barnes, “The course is incredible but extremely tough. Combined with the heat and the humidity it’s just brutal. I knew that I was always going to lose time this morning on that technical climb and I have to accept that Alves is stronger than me on those sections. I used my running speed to close the gap today but over the final km’s on the beach when I had hoped to push harder, I had nothing left to give. It’s very close now with another very technical start to tomorrow’s stage; I have a race on my hands.”

Alves looked strong over the final 10-15km’s of today’s route, several river and sea crossings spiced up the race and the action but she didn’t waiver.

The overall standing in the ladies’s race are now:

  1. Elisabet Barnes 9:01:20
  2. Ester Alves 9:02:53
  3. Amy Gordon 11:15:53

Full ladies’s results HERE

Stage 3 is a tough day and the longest so far. The early stages of the race are very technical with a long run through a river bed that includes scrambling. The crossing of a waterfall and an extremely tough climb and then a long descent to the beach with a short final road section to camp. It’s a day where Don-Wauchope will be put under pressure but the real race will come between Alves and Barnes. Expect Barnes to lose time early on and then the big question will be, can she close the gap and reel Alves in.

Full race results HERE