The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2013 – Men’s Preview

UTMB logo. iancorless.com ©ultratraildumontblanc

UTMB logo. iancorless.com ©ultratraildumontblanc

What an exciting prospect the 2013 TNF UTMB is going to be! Just a few months ago it looked as though the 2013 edition was lacking some really strong top competition, but a surge of confirmed US entries has brought this race to life and to be absolutely honest, if a US runner doesn’t take top slot this year, then maybe they never will…

It’s a quality field and the list of top men has incredible depth. For the purposes of a preview I am going to highlight who I consider to be the contenders for the top three slots and then give notable mentions to those who most certainly stand a chance to make the top ten and if on a great day, they may make the podium.

So, who is going to win? Or should I say, whom do I think stand a chance of the podium? In no particular order, here are my contenders:

Favorites:

Jonas Buud, Anton Krupicka, Julien Chorier, Miguel Heras, Timothy Olson, Jez Bragg, Sebastien Chaigneau, Mike Foote, Mike Wolfe, Carlos Sa, Dylan Bowman, Gary Robbins, Yoshikazu Hara, Francois Faivre, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, Jean-Yves Rey and Arnaud Lejeune.

Preview:

Jonas Buud - UTMB 2012

Jonas Buud – UTMB 2012

Jonas Buud placed second last year over the shortened UTMB route behind Francois D’Haene. It was a great run and a superb confidence boost for this year’s race. His recent run at Comrades when he moved up through the field from around 40th to the podium was not only an incredible lesson in pacing but also how to execute a great race strategy. I am pretty sure that this will be something he will bring to Chamonix. Without doubt he has speed but the full UTMB is a very different race to the shortened version and in this field a podium place will be a great result.

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

What can we say about Anton Krupicka? With a long time out of the sport due to injury, his return seemed guaranteed at the end of 2012 when he placed 2nd behind Kilian Jornet at Cavalls del Vent. We had hoped to see Anton run at Tarawera but just a week or so before the race he pulled out due to a niggle. Racing Ronda dels Cims was on the cards but he decided an attempt at Nolans-14 was a better option; it didn’t go well leaving him in pieces on the trail. One thing that is guaranteed is that Anton is fit and can climb. His recent 2nd placing at Speedgoat is going to be a great boost and he has been in and around Chamonix for several weeks now training with Joe Grant who will be his support during the race. It may be Anton’s year?

Julien Chorier, Ronda dels Cims, 2013 ©iancorless.com

Julien Chorier, Ronda dels Cims, 2013 ©iancorless.com

Julien Chorier is meticulous in planning, knows the UTMB route very well and after watching him run and dominate the 2013 Ronda dels Cims, if he brings ‘that’ form to Chamonix, then he will win! He was consistent, strong and a machine. Julien has been on the podium at UTMB before, 2007 and 2008 but this was relatively early on in his run career (a former cyclist). Since then he has won Hardrock, UTMF, Raid de la Reunion and so on. He will bring his ‘A’ game to UTMB with just one position in mind. A hot favorite!

Miguel Heras, La Templiers 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras, La Templiers 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras has had a tough time recently with injury. Running UTMB was a big question mark, however, I heard just the other day that he has confirmed he will run. His training has been hampered for sure and it is impossible to say at this stage, how that will affect his race. His most recent notable performances came in 2012 with La Templiers and San Fran 50. Like Julien Chorier, he is meticulous in planning and outside of Kilian Jornet; I would have said that an in form Miguel Heras would be the stand out favorite for this race along with Julien.

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

A little like Julien Chorier, Timothy Olson picks his races, plans, trains, turns up and wins. Anyone who can win Western States two years on the run knows how to bring the ‘A’ game to the right race. Timothy placed well at Tarawera and Transvulcania but his notable words to me at the end of Transvulcania were, ‘it just needed to be longer, I was getting warmed up’. Racing at Speedgoat recently he placed in the top ten but that doesn’t reflect a lack of form, in fact the opposite, it shows focus; focus on the big target, which is now UTMB. He has been in Chamonix and getting out on the course and so will now fully understand what he needs to do come this Friday. Along with Anton, he is a key favorite for the outright win, the only thing I can see going against him is the lack of experience in a European 100-mile race particularly in the Mountains.

I am going to stick my neck out and say that in the 2013 UTMB we will see a new Jez Bragg. He will run UTMB in a way that he has never run it before. We all know he was the 2010 winner of the race but quite frankly, and no disrespect to Jez, it wasn’t the full race and that makes a big difference. In recent years things have not gone well for him and post 2012 UTMB we discussed certain health issues that may have affected his performance. With those issues under control and then his incredible run in New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail, Jez will mentally and physically be in a different place when on the start line this year and in the famous Speedgoat Karl words he will be thinking, ‘a 100-miles is not that far’.  Jez will have his best UTMB ever! Listen to Jez Bragg talk about UTMB kit HERE

Sebastien Chaigneau, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau has already had an incredible year. His win at the recent Hardrock 100 in a course record time (counter clockwise) is a dream come true for Seb. He actually only got the go ahead for that race just a couple of weeks before as he was a reserve, so, I can’t help but think his long term training was for UTMB but also meticulously preparing for the hope to participate at Hardrock. His early season win at Transgrancanaria and then 3rd place at UTMF will no doubt all take its toll. Seb has all the abilities and experience to win this 2013 edition, however, he may very well be just a touch jaded.

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote placed third last year on the shortened course and by all accounts is in great shape and has been training really hard. However, he has been plagued by injury. His second place at Hardrock 100 in 2012 most certainly means that if he his 100% fit, he will mix it up at the front of the race and be in contention for the podium.

Teammate and great friend of Mike Foote is Mike Wolfe. Mike had a year to forget in 2012 after an incredible 2011. He has loads of skill, great fitness and can run like the wind when he needs to. After some time away to recoup, Mike has now found some form and fitness in 2013. He had a win at Pocatello 50 and recently raced to a podium slot at Lavaredo Trail in Italy. Most recently he set a ‘FKT’ on the John Muir Trail with teammate, Hal Koerner. Now no doubt this was great training and great preparation for a 100-miles in the mountains, but, and this is a big but, was it too close to UTMB?

Carlos Sa placed 4th at UTMB in 2012 and earlier this year won Badwater 135. I witnessed him run at close quarters at the Marathon des Sables where he consistently performed well and eventually finished 7th overall. UTMB is a very different race and with strong competition from ‘mountain men’, Carlos will need a great day to make the top three.

Another American joining the mix is Dylan Bowman. Dylan may well be the dark horse of the US contingent. For sure, European eyes will focus on Krupicka, Olson, Wolfe and Foote and therefore allowing Dylan a little more freedom and a little less pressure. They should take note; Dylan has had consistent top performances at Leadville and Western States. What Dylan’s resume of results lacks is experience on tough mountain courses and that will be the crux of how well he performs. Will he be able to take the ups and downs that the UTMB throws at him?  *update 26th August, pulled out due to injury

Finally, my last contender is Gary Robbins from Canada. He had time away from the sport after having some horrendous injuries that almost stopped his career. With patience and rehabilitation he came back to his nemesis, Hurt 100 and not only won, but also set a course record. He has experience of UTMB and finished outside the top fifty last year, so why pick him as a possible contender? He knows what it is about now and to be honest, a full course is probably much more preferable than a short course for Gary. Also, he placed 4th at UTMF earlier this year behind Hara, Chorier and Chaigneau… that’s good company to be running with!

Yoshikazu Hara was the surprise winner of the 2013 UTMF putting Julien Chorier and Sebastien Chaigneau in 2nd and 3rd respectively. He is coming to this years race prepared and may well cause a few shocks!

Francois Faivre trainer of the French cross-country ski team from the Jura region, was recovering from some health issues at the start of the season. After signing up for the cancelled Maxi Race and after withdrawing from the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, François felt he lost some form. He finished 9th in 2011 and 7th in 2012! UTMB without doubt is his main goal for the season.

D'Haene, Kaburaki (middle) Chaigneau UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

D’Haene, Kaburaki (middle) Chaigneau UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki is extremely experienced at UTMB and has placed from 3rd to 11th in five outings. This year he won Bighorn 100 with some incredible running in the latter stages of the race. The jury is out on 2013 and I will update with more info as and when I have it on Thursday.

Jean-Yves Rey was 6th last year and is very much a dark horse. In his early 40’s he has had some impressive results over the years, 3rd at the iconic Sierre-Zinal in 2000, winner of the CCC in 2009 but recently he started the Eiger Trail and did not finish, so, his form is unknown.

Finally, Arnaud Lejeune is in his early 30’s placed 8th at UTMB and 3rd at Raid de la Reunion in 2012. He also had a string of top results with wins in; Faverges Trail, Trail de Savoyards, Trail Glieres, Quecha Trail Fiz, Verdon canyon Challenge and the Guyan Trail at 186km long. A resident of Annecy, he has access to the UTMB terrain on a regular basis and this is a distinct advantage. However, 2013 seems to have been very quiet. He may be a surprise!

As mentioned, the race has no shortage of possible winners, for example:

Sebastien Buffard 10th at UTMB and then of course we have Marco Olmo won UTMB at the age of 59yrs and in doing so became a legend. He most certainly won’t win this year but he deserves a mention.

Marco Olmo, MDS 2013 ©iancorless.com

Marco Olmo, MDS 2013 ©iancorless.com

Other names to watch out for:

Vincent Delabarre, Siu-Keung Tsang, Jason Loutitt, Gustavo Reyes, Armando Jorge Teixeira, Zigor Iturrieta, Giuliano Cavallo, Minehiro Yokoyama, Vajin Armstrong, Paul Giblin, Adam Perry and Terry Conway.

The TNF UTMB has gained a reputation as being one of the most iconic 100-mile races in the world. With over 2,000 participants, I will have missed several contenders who will create a stir and surprise us. Do you know who they may be?

Get involved:

  1. Who is your prediction for the race?
  2. Who will have the greatest improvement?
  3. Who will shock us?

Links:

The North Face HERE

TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc website HERE

Episode 42 – Jurek, Maciel, Zahab, Forsberg

Ep42

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

00:00:45 START

00:09:46 NEWS

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

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

00:26:49

Leadville 100

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

Waldo 100k

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

Pikes Peak

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

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

Arcteryx Squamish 50

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

North Downs Way 100

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

Transrockies

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

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

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

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

01:00:55 BREAKING NEWS

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

01:31:06 BLOGS

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

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

01:32:15 TALK TRAINING – Marc Laithwaite

01:57:47 INTERVIEW – Ray Zahab

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

02:45:18 MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat Karl 

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

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

03:31:10 RACES

Austria

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

 

Belgium

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

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

 

Canada

British Columbia

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

 

France

Hautes-Pyrénées

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

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

Isère

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

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

Loir-et-Cher

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

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

Savoie

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

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

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

 

Germany

Bavaria

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

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

 

Iceland

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

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

 

Ireland

Connacht

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

Leinster

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

 

Italy

Aosta Valley

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

 

Latvia

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

 

Norway

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

 

South Africa

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

 

Switzerland

Grisons

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

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

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

 

United Kingdom

Scotland

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

Wales

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

 

USA

California

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

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

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

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

Colorado

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

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

Michigan

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

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

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

Minnesota

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

Pennsylvania

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

South Dakota

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

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

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

Utah

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

Vermont

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

Virginia

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

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

Washington

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

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

Wyoming

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

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

03:33:50 CLOSE

03:40:11 END

LINKS:


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

Website – talkultra.com

UTMB kit with Jez Bragg

screenshot_330

The TNF UTMB is just around the corner and in a previous episode of Talk Ultra I discussed with The North Face athlete, Jez Bragg what he uses for this 160km mountain race. It seemed topical that we should give you all an opportunity to listen to this once again and refresh your minds.

Get your check list and out and go through it step-by-step with Jez.

images

 

 

LISTEN HERE

http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/Jez_Bragg_-_UTMB_Kit.mp3

Equipment list as required by TNF UTMB race organisation:

In order to participate in these events, a set of obligatory equipment is required. However it is important to note it is the minimum necessary and that each trail-runner must adapt it according to their needs. It is important, in particular, not to choose clothing that is the lightest possible weight in order to gain a few grams, but to choose items which will give real protection against the cold, windy or snowy mountain weather, therefore giving a good level of security and performance.

Obligatory material :

  • mobile phone with option enabling its use in the three countries
    (put in one’s repertoire the security numbers of the organisation, keep it switched on, do not hide one’s number and do not forget to set off with recharged batteries)
  • personal cup or tumbler 15cl minimum (water bottle not acceptable)
  • stock of water minimum 1 litre,
  • two torches in good working condition with replacement batteries,
  • survival blanket 1.40m x 2m minimum
  • whistle,
  • adhesive elastic band enable making a bandage or a strapping (mini 100cm x 6 cm),
  • food reserve,
  • jacket with hood and made with a waterproof (recommendation: minimum 10,000 Schmerber) and breathable (recommendation: RET lower than 13) membrane (Gore-Tex or similar) which will withstand the bad weather in the mountains.
  • long running trousers or leggings or a combination of leggings and long socks which cover the legs completely,
  • Additional warm midlayer top: One single midlayer long sleeve top for warmth (cotton excluded) with a minimum weight of 180g (Men, size M)
    OR a two piece clothing combination of a long sleeve baselayer/midlayer for warmth (cotton excluded) with a minimum weight of 110g (Men, size M) and a windproof jacket* with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) protection
  • cap or bandana
  • warm hat
  • warm and waterproof gloves
  • waterproof over-trousers

* The windproof jacket does not replace the mandatory waterproof jacket with hood

Required by the frontier police forces :

  • identity papers

Very strongly recommended :

  • Knife or scissors with which to cut the self-adhesive elasticised bandage
  • walking poles for security on slippery ground in case of rain or snow
  • a change of warm clothes indispensable in the case of cold weather, rain or injury
  • the sum of 20 € minimum (in order to cover the unexpected….)

Advised (list not definitive) :

Telescopic sticks, change of clothing, compass, knife, string, sun cream, Vaseline or anti-chaffing cream, needle and thread,…

All clothing must be the runner’s size and without alteration since leaving the factory.
You will carry this material in a pack which must be tagged at the race-bib distribution and is not exchangeable during the race.

If you decide to use poles, you must keep them throughout the whole of the race… It is forbidden to start without sticks and recover them up along the way.
No poles will be allowed in the spare’s bags.

 

A full list of UTMB specific equipment is available via The North Face by going HERE

Jez Bragg website HERE

Everest Trail Race – Fernanda Maciel Interview

LOGO ETR

Everest! Do you really need any other description? Later this year, the third edition of the Everest Trail Race (ETR) will take place. Starting on the 3rd November and finishing on the 15th November, runners from around the world will join together for one of the toughest high altitude ultra marathons.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©

Set against one of the most awe inspiring backdrops, the race will last for six days covering a total distance of 160km. Daily distances are on the face of it relatively easy at; 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22km, however, daily altitude difference goes from 3000m to almost 6000m.

It is a demanding race and although each participant is required to be self-sufficient during each day, food, water and an evening camp are provided by the race organization.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©

Daily temperatures can vary from -10c to +18c and the terrain will offer incredible variety; frozen earth, snow and rocks of varying color. Without doubt, the ETR is a challenge, why else would you do it? But it is a challenge all can undertake with some specific training. It is ideal for runners or hikers who want to push the limit.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©jordivila

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©jordivila

Created in 2011 by Jordi Abad, a Spanish extreme ultra runner, the ETR is staged at the beginning of the dry season. Why? Well, the air is clean after the monsoons, visibility is impeccable and the surroundings are resplendent.

In order to get a greater understanding of what the ETR may offer, I caught up with Brazilian, Fernanda Maciel. Fernanda is currently preparing for the ‘CCC’ in Chamonix at the end of August and will make the journey to Nepal in November to take part in the 3rd edition of the ETR.

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1100588

IC – Fernanda, welcome, how are you, I believe you are currently at your home in Spain?

FM – I am great thanks Ian. Yes, I am in Spain.

IC – I presume you are training in the mountains?

FM – Yes sure, one month ago I damaged my foot so I have been recovering and training. I live in the Pyrenees. It’s a great place to be. It is a great background for training and to prepare for the CCC and other races.

IC – Let’s hope they get good weather at the CCC this year…

FM – I Hope so!

IC – I guess coming from Brazil you would prefer hot weather.

FM – Yes, but I live in the Pyrenees so I am used to the cold and snow but hot weather would be nice for the race.

IC – I often think of you as an ultra runner but you are a much more diverse person than that. Can you take me back to what got you into sport and what made you realize that you had a passion for all things connected to running, cycling and swimming. You have done so many sports with such variety.

FM – From the age of 8 I was training as an Olympic gymnast. At 10yrs old I was in the US doing competitions and training every day for four hours. So, my background in sport was established when I was a child. This helped a great deal. For me the sports I have done in my life I have really enjoyed. I couldn’t separate sport from my life; it is my life. I also did martial arts. My father was a master and my grandfather was also a master in jujitsu. So I was always fighting too…

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1100600

IC – So a gymnast and fighter, the message is, don’t mess around with Fernanda!

FM – Yes, it was so funny. My grandfather’s house had a fighting ring.

IC – Like a dojo?

FM – Yes a fighting ring. So my cousin and I would fight all the time. It was so funny. I loved this time. When I was 15/16 years old I started to run, 5k on the road and then 10k. When I was 20 years old I started doing half-marathons. The changing point came at 23 years old. I was invited to do some adventure racing. I purchased a bike and started to do mountain biking. I was running before but not MTB. So I progressed to adventure racing at 23. I became an endurance runner through adventure racing. The races are always long, you don’t stop, you don’t sleep so it was perfect preparation for ultra running and ultra trail. It was easy for me to progress to long distance.

IC – Do you think with ultra and trail you have found ‘your’ sport?

FM – I feel complete when I do trail and ultra. I am not sure if I can try another sport and be better but I love running. I cannot be without one day of running. I love it. Of all the sports I have done, running gives me movement, style and great experiences during and after. To be on the trails, mountains, sand or whatever; it is what I really enjoy. Currently I love the mountains. It provides great views, fresh air; I love it. It completes me. I also love flowers and animals so it’s great. Very interesting. When you go above the clouds the sensations are so amazing. It’s a great feeling.

IC – I’d like to talk about your professional life. I think of you as a professional sports person, which of course you are. But you practiced as an environmental lawyer and a sports nutritionist. Do you still practice law?

FM – I have a company in Brazil. I am a businesswoman. I also work in sport nutrition. I can do all my work remotely, so, I just need a computer. I have people in Brazil who help me. In the past I was a lawyer but when I came to Spain I needed five more years study because the law was different. Lawyers need to be in a city, I chose sport instead. Sport nutrition allows me more flexibility. It fits in with my life. I breathe sport. It’s better. I love law, I love to study and read but I didn’t want to be in an office all day. I didn’t have much contact with nature. I also became an outdoor bound instructor in addition to everything else.

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1100803

IC – If we look back over your run career, it starts in 2006 and you have had some great results. You won at Transgrancanaria, you won Andorra Ultra Trail, you were fourth at UTMB, recently you had success at Lavaredo, TNF Mt Fuji but the one thing that sticks out is Camino of Santiago de Compostela, 860km and you did this as a personal challenge in ten days. What was that like?

FM – It was the hardest run of my life. I knew the Camino. I thought maybe if I run the Camino I could help children with Cancer. When I was in Brazil as Lawyer, I also helped children with cancer. So, I made this project with charity in mind and it was really tough. I was running 90-100km per day without a support team. I carried everything and slept in huts along the route. It was super tough. It think it’s a great way to do the Camino… I am writing a book now about the experience to encourage others to maybe run the Camino instead of hiking.

IC – I remember when we spoke at Haria Extreme race you told me of the difficulty on getting approval. They wouldn’t stamp your card because you moved along the trail too quickly.

FM – Yes, the church think that the runners move too fast so they don’t have time to think and reflect… I told them I had plenty of time! I was running ten or eleven hours a day. I had plenty of time to think. I hope that running will be an option for others in the future.

IC – Other races in your career, what would you pinpoint?

FM – I love the UTMB, CCC and TDS. I did the TDS in 2009 and for me it is an amazing race. It is so technical and beautiful. It is so different to the UTMB. The views are amazing. It is a really great race and one I would recommend. I have run in many races around the world, but I prefer races in Europe because they have more elevation. I prefer high mountains. I would like to try Hardrock 100. Hopefully I can get a place next year? I am going to Patagonia soon, this will give me high mountains and altitude.

IC – You have mentioned the high mountains and both of us will be in the high mountains in November. We are going to Everest Trail Race. I will be along as a journalist and photographer, very exciting for me. You will be participating. An exciting place to race…

(Laughter)

FM – Yeeesssss!

(Laughter)

IC – I can hear the excitement.

FM – Yes, I am so excited. We have support but we also need be self-sufficient too. I prefer this. It is wilder. I like this aspect of racing; it makes things more interesting. The race will provide the best views ever. It will be hard and it will be technical. It is my first stage race. It will be interesting; I can share my feelings and thoughts with other runners. We will all learn so much. The mountains will also teach us. We will be one week in this environment.

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1110316

IC – It takes place in the Solukhumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal. It has an altitude gain of more than 25,000m (ouch). It has long hard trails of frozen earth, snow, rocks it is 160km in total over 6-days broken down into 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22km‘s per day. The distances don’t sound too much but when you look at elevation per day of 3000 to 6000m per day that will be extremely tough. It will be a different experience. Have you been doing anything specific in preparation?

FM – I am already preparing as I climb and spend time at elevation. It will be like a climb/run because of the elevation. The race has short distances but high elevation and that will make it tough. I go into the mountains to adapt, in the last two weeks for example I did a 60km race and I did 4500m in elevation. This is good preparation. I need altitude and high elevation. Sometimes I prefer to climb, it is good cross training and it is also good for my mind. It’s good to be in open areas.

IC – In terms of the race, snacks, meals and water are provided both along the route and at camp at the end of each day. During the race you need to be self sufficient in terms of safety kit. You need technical kit, sleeping bag, warm clothes, and mandatory kit. You have already said that this is something that excites you. Do you have any specific things that you will take?

FM – No. I will have what I need and what is specified in the rules. I will want my kit to be light, so, I will use the lightest products possible. I won’t have special drinks or food. I don’t eat cheese or meat but I have made sure that vegetarian food will be available. Apparently we need to be careful with water but apparently we will be supplied good water.

IC – You are sponsored by TNF (The North Face), are they producing any products for you specifically or will you use what is available in the consumer range

FM – I will use normal product. I may have some prototypes to test in the coming weeks, so, I may take some of this with me but I will need to test. But I think for Everest, the pack, sleeping bag, jacket and so on will be normal product in the TNF range.

IC – One thing that has always impressed me is that you like to raise money for charity. You get involved. Are you doing anything in particular for the Everest trip.

FM – Yes, at the Everest trip I have one day free after the race. I have a friend who asked if I could help children for Fundació Muntanyencs per l’Himàlaia. So, the Everest trip was perfect. Last week I had a meeting with the foundation in Spain. They need children’s clothes. In the race, we will pass through the villages of the children, where they were born. So I will hopefully bring clothes and resources to Nepal and provide them for the foundation. In the coming weeks I will start to collect everything and then I can take it with me.

IC – Great, something really incredible to help the local communities.

FM – We will need to run to the Village to help them, so if you can help me that would be great. Also, I hope Lizzy Hawker will help us too.

IC – Absolutely, I would love to get involved. It’s a great thing! Finally, many people will read this and look at your achievements and the experience you have. If you had to give advice to someone who was maybe thinking about going to Nepal, what advice would you give to help him or her?

FM – Have an open mind and open heart. The mountains will talk with you. This is the best experience for everyone. It will be incredible to be in this place. Yes, for sure, you need to train but this is only one aspect. Train the mind and the heart, the rest will follow.

IC – Perfect. Of course, the Everest Trail Race is about experience. Due to the nature of the terrain and altitude it will not be a full on running race, you will also need to be a good hiker…

FM – Yeeesss. For sure! I think if you have confidence and a good mind then it won’t be a problem. Yes we will walk, we will also run but we will also take photographs. It’s about being in the mountains. After all, it is Everest! It is another world.

IC – Fernanda, than you so much for your time. I am looking forward to catching up at CCC and of course later in the year in Nepal.

FM – Great. Here are the details of the foundation:

The children (5 to 18 years old) that we can help…

Mountaineers for Himalayas Foundation

Fundació Muntanyencs per l’Himàlaia

info@mount4him.org

www.mount4him.org

Finally, a word from Jordi Abad, ETR director.

” If this was only a pure and hard competition, it would be a nonsense; environment gives its hardness but not the competitiveness itself. We are here to share and to help each other. It is possible to make the effort running any city marathon in the world, but the sensations, the environment and the feelings are to share them with friends, to know new people with whom laughing and weeping. This is what remains in the end and what makes it an unique experience for all”.

LINKS:

  • Website for ETR – HERE
  • Fernanda Maciel – HERE
  • The North Face – HERE 

INTERESTED? in participating in the 2013 Everest Trail Race? It is not too late… some places are still available. Please use the contact form below and obtain a discount, only available through this contact form:

*Note, I will attend the 2013 ETR at the invite of the race organisation.

UTMB press release

2013 will continue to see the international success of the four events of the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®! Yet again this year trail-runners from the world over will be at the rendezvous, keen to attend to face the challenge, and despite the increase in the number of qualification points necessary this year (7 instead of 5 for the UTMB®, 2 instead of 1 for the CCC®).

As in 2012, 3 600 candidates were unable to validate their registration this year due to lack of places.

UTMB® [Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®] : 3 countries – 168 km and 9 600 meters of vertical gain in semi-autonomy. 2300 runners at the start on Friday at 16:30 from Chamonix to Chamonix in 46 hours max.

CCC® [Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix] : countries – 100 km and 5 950 meters of vertical gain in semi-autonomy.    1 900 runners at the start on Friday at 9:00 from Courmayeur to Chamonix in 26 hours max.

TDS® [sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie] : 119 km and 7 250 meters of vertical gain in semiautonomy. 1400 runners at the start on Wednesay at 7:00am from Courmayeur to Chamonix in 33 hours max.

PTL® [la Petite Trotte à Léon] : 3 countries – 300 km and 24 000 meters of vertical gain in complete autonomy. A non-stop adventure race without rankings open to 80 teams Start on Monday at 22:00 from Chamonix to Chamonix in 138 hours

Registration figures

Pre-registration was closed on the January 8th with a record number of 10 105 candidates (of whom 10.3% were women) for the 4 events of the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®.

The UTMB® and the CCC® were over subscribed. It is obvious that the organisation are proud of the popularity and success of the event but a serious draw was necessary and will mean that numerous trail-runners will have to postpone their dream for at least another year.

It is worth remembering that those who were unlucky in the 2012 draw were able to register without going through the draw this year. The limit of numbers for each event meant that there was a draw for the UTMB® and the CCC®. 2 500 requests for registration for the UTMB® and 1 100 for the CCC® were not able to be accepted this year.

The TDSTM registers a score in permanent progression, with more than 1 300 requests. It may, taking into account over-booking, accept round 500 runners form the more than 3 600 unlucky in the draw for the UTMB® or the CCC®.

Full card equally for the PTLTM for which registration closed on January 3rd, with 88 teams registered.

A reminder that each race is limited to the number of participants possible in order to respect the quality of the race for the runners, the security, the environment and the quality of the organisation.

The The North Face® Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc® races are welcoming 74 nations:

A record number in the field of open country races!

International participation is as always important with a record level of 49.6% who are not French.

In the lead France with only 50.4%. Then there is Spain with (9.5%) and Italy (8.9%). It is worth noting that Japan is in 5th position with 3.6% of the participants.

The nations represented are : Albania / Algeria / Andorra / Argentina / Australia / Austria / Belgium / Belarus / Bolivia / Brazil / Bulgaria / Canada / Chile / China / Colombia / Costa Rica / Croatia / Czech Republic / Denmark /  Ecuador / England / Estonia / Finland / France / Gabon / Germany / Greece / Hungary / Iceland / Indonesia / Iran / Ireland / Israel / Italy / Japan / Jordan / Latvia / Lithuania / Luxembourg / Malaysia / Malta / Mexico / Moldavia / Monaco / Morocco / Netherlands / New Zealand / Niger / Northern Ireland / Norway / Peru / Philippines / Poland /  Portugal / Rumania / Russia / Scotland / Serbia / Singapore / Slovakia / Slovenia / South Africa / South Korea / Spain / Sweden / Switzerland / Thailand / Turkey / Ukraine / Uruguay / Venezuela / United States of America / Wales / Zimbabwe

A world-wide success which confirms the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc® as a trail-running event which has become a dream for trail runners from all over the world.

Faces of UTMB

A series of people, faces and experiences from the 2012 UTMB.

Starting at 1900 in Chamonix the race took a shorter route of 100k and remained in France covering 6000m+ of vertical gain on a very wet, snowy and cold night. These images tell the story of 15 hours following the race.

UTMB pre race

With just over 24 hours to go to the 2012 TNF UTMB here is just a quick look at some of the contenders for this year’s race.

One important factor is the weather!

The race organisers have been tweeting, texting and posting as much as they can about the severe weather that is predicted over the race weekend. It would now appear that a ‘mandatory’ 4 layers of clothing will be required.

Forget being lightweight! Finishing anyone of the races this year in Chamonix may very well come down to how good your kit is.

Australian, Mick Donges has just posted a last minute blog and writes:

The forecast is snow down to 1800m, temperatures on the high mountain passes are -10 degrees and they are saying 4 layers of clothing is necessary. They are predicting severe and dangerous weather.”

Will the course be shortened I guess may very well be one big question. My gut reaction is no! Lessons have been learnt from previous years and I think the process of ‘pre-warning’ via text, email and social media is all in attempt to ensure that all participants are prepared. The 2010 shortened race made the UTMB organisation re look at mandatory kit and increase what was required for 2011 and 2012. It would appear that they are now ‘adding’ to this kit pre race to compensate for worsening conditions. Having said that, safety is paramount and should conditions become extremely dangerous I am sure they will have no issue in ‘pulling the plug’ and I agree and support that.

The LADIES

Firstly, Ellie Greenwood has moved down from the UTMB to the CCC and I predict a win for her! The terrain on this course may not be what she is used too but the cold and snow is something she is well practiced in and actually I think she may even welcome it!

Krissy Moehl is the course record holder and loves the UTMB but she has had a busy year with Western States, Hardrock and mow UTMB. She knows what is needed on this course and she has the invaluable experience. If she is fresh she will be up at the front with Lizzy Hawker.

Amy Sproston has placed well at Western States but UTMB is a whole new ball game for the 100k-world champ and I have to say she may well be in for a surprise.

Rory Bosio is another achiever at Western States but as was shown last year in the men’s race, UTMB is not Western States! I think Rory may be up at the front but not contending with my ladies prediction…

Lizzy Hawker loves the course and I wouldn’t bet against her. I spoke to her at Sierre Zinal and she was racking the training and was running the UTMB course in 2 days as ‘training’. She has some issues with her back but even with this issue, the mountains are her playground and she will take the win barring disaster.

Emma Rocca from Spain is maybe a little more suited to the UTMB as she has a multi-sport background and is a ski mountaineer.

Katia Fori from Italy has been top 10 at UTMB before and will once again contend.

Finally, Meghan Arbogast will toe the line. Another great 100k runner, Western States finisher and 2nd at KFK50 but as I keep saying… UTMB is nothing like those races and I can’t help but think the terrain and cold weather will play against the American field

The MEN

Dave Mackey has moved down to the CCC and Mike Wardian is out of the race due to a stress fracture. To be honest I don’t think either of those removals will make any difference to the UTMB outcome. Both are great runners but not in contention on this course.

With Kilian Jornet not taking part (or will he?) the field this year is maybe a little more open.

Jez Bragg after winning the shortened race in 2010 hasn’t fulfilled his potential but this may be his year. He didn’t race as he wanted at Western States but that may well have been a good training run for the UTMB. He is super motivated.

Seb Chaigneau after 3rd last year told me that this may be his last UTMB but he recently had a bad accident and damaged his knee. He will start the race but who knows what implications this will have, He knows the mountains, he knows the course and he is tough. If the knee causes no problems he will be up at the front.

Julian Chorier is the hot tip. He is in great form and meticulous in prep for the big races. With the Salomon Team behind him they will be going into this race with a plan. A plan to win.

Other Salomon athletes such as Iker Karrera who placed 2nd in 2011 will also be chomping at the bit and we may well see Chorier, Karrera and Francois d’Haene all running together to help each other along until the latter more decisive stages. Francois d’Haene has a good year this year and he will be in the top 10 if all goes well.

Nemeth Csaba from Hungary placed 4th last year and knows the race well. He has finished multiple times in the top 10 and I guess he only needs a ‘perfect’ year to move onto the podium or take the win. He did after all finish 2nd in 2006.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, Carlos Sa and Patrick Bohard all paced top 10 in 2011 and return to the 2012 race. Although Kaburaki finished behind Sa and Bohard you can’t help but think a good race will move him up the field and place him top 5. In 2009 he was on the podium in 3rd and the previous year he was 4th.

Jonas Buud from Sweden is super quick and his 100m-world record of 12:32 confirms that. But just like Ian Sharman, this speed doesn’t translate to the high mountains. He has won the Swiss Alpine Marathon though. He may make top 10 but not top 3.

I am still uncertain if Miguel Heras is running. If he is he will be up at the front and may well take the win but he has had a mixed year. My outsiders are a couple of Aussie – Jim Villiers and Clarke McClymont. Clarke is running the race for the first time but having met him, chatted and discussed him with a close friend he may just create a surprise…

I will be in Chamonix over the race weekend and provide updates and news as and when I can.

Without doubt an interest race lies ahead.