Skyrunning Mont-Blanc 80k 2015 Preview

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The 2014 edition of the Skyrunning Chamonix 80k proved to be a stunning and exciting race with Emelie Forsberg and Luis Alberto Hernando being crowned respective champions and in the process they also were crowned Skyrunning Ultra World Champions.

The 2015 edition of the race may not be a world championship but racing is expected to be just as fast and ferocious. Runners are travelling from all over the world to take part and as you may have expected we have a who’s who of Skyrunning toeing the line.

New for 2015 too is a tougher course! Yes, if the race wasn’t already tough enough. Changes have been made to avoid towns in favour of more secluded trails. It’s a stunning course with 6000m of vertical gain and it takes in Bel Achat, Brevent, Col de Montets, Buet, Col de la Terrasse, Tre les Eaux, Aiguillette des Posettes, Montenvers, Mer de Glace, Plan d’Aiguille and of course the wonderful finish in Chamonix.

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In the men’s race several names stand out. Dakota Jones fresh from a top placing at Transvulcania will be looking to establish a grip on the race and recently has been training in the area with 2014 ladies champion, Emelie Forsberg. Unfortunately Dakota is injured.©iancorless.com-0271Kima2014_

Manuel Merillas is a rising star in the Skyrunning world after an incredible 2014. All looked to be going well at Transvulcania in May when he was racing with the front 5, however, it all became too much and he eventually finished outside the top 10. Manuel bounced back remarkably well placing on the podium just one week later at Zegama-Aizkorri. He is podium material for sure; he just needs to get his pacing right for the longer distance.

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Hardrock 100 champion (2013) and UTMF winner Sebastien Chaigneau needs no introduction to a French or Chamonix audience. His face is synonymous with the area after repeated runs at UTMB. He placed 2nd in 2009 and 3rd in 2011. He knows the trails in and around Chamonix so well. However, 2014 was a tough year for Seb, we can only hope that he is 100% fit for the 80km. If he is, he is without doubt one to watch.

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Alex Nichols is an ever present on the Skyrunning circuit and his confidence will be high after a top 10 placing at the IAU world trail championships in Annecy.

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Aurelien Dunand-Pallaz had a good run in Chamonix in 2014 and recently placed 10th at Transvulcania. I see him looking for a top 10 once again in the 80k and if his day goes well top 5 may be a possibility but I don’t see him contending the podium.

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Pablo Villa may well dish up a surprise? Since a breakthrough performance at Transvulcania in 2014, he moved to Salomon and that almost certainly has boded well. One to watch!

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My last tip is Cristofer Clemente who placed on the podium just last week at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira and on the podium at Sai Kung MSIG 50k. He is on the up at the moment and his performance in Chamonix will all depend on his powers of recovery.

Catlow ShipeckPascal GiguetDavid PasquioFranco ColleDan DohertyStuart Air and Francois Favre are all names that will add fire to the front of the race.

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The ladies race all looks about 3 people with Dong Li, Mira Rai and Hillary Allen as the main contenders for the podium. The proximity of the IAU world championships in Annecy and Skyrunning’s Ice Trail Tarentaise (in 2 weeks) have impacted on who was available to take on this tough Chamonix course.

Mira Rai has had a sting of high profile victories recently and is without doubt a hot favourite. Mira burst onto the scene in 2014 with victory at the Mustang Trail Race. Recent results are 3rd at Buffalo Stampede, 1st at MSIG HK50 and MSIG Lantau 50.

Dong Li has all the potential to upset Mira’s plans for the top of the podium and in all honesty, a longer race may well fall into her hands. Dong Li won TNF 100 in Australia and placed 3rd at Transgrancanaria.

Hillary Allen is not a lady who I have met on the run circuit, however, I am aware of her 5th place at The Rut (50k) in 2014 and she also placed 4th at Speedgoat 50k. Past records show that 50k or 50 miles are Hillary’s preferred distance so this 80km may well stretch her. This is no ordinary 80k course.

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Racing starts in the early hours of Friday 26th June and you will be able to follow online via the Skyrunning Facebook page and on Twitter @skyrunnning_com

A list of entrants is available HERE

Hardrock 100 2014 Race Preview

Image copyright ©hardrock100

Image copyright ©hardrock100

Hardrock 100 is a small key race for a select few. However, in its history, Hardrock has always become a highly anticipated race that often plays out like a great boxing match reminiscent of the days of Jake La Motta or Casius Clay.

I am pretty sure you remember the Hardrock draw all those months ago. Name after name was drawn from the hat and for once we had a line-up that was not only going to illuminate the high altitude mountains of Silverton but also potentially (despite its size) was possibly going to be ‘the’ race of the year!

That’s a bold statement considering we have already seen the Hernando and Jornet smack down in La Palma, the Krar master class at WSER, a return to form of Anton Krupicka at Lavaredo and the Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix. Oh yes, Hardrock 100 has whetted the appetite of every ultra running aficionado worldwide, but why?

Kilian Jornet and the Matterhorn ©iancorless.com

With no disrespect to every other participant in the race, the draw and inclusion of Kilian Jornet has transformed the 2014 edition into arguably the most highly anticipated edition of the race ever. You see, Kilian has ‘that’ list, and that list is almost full. It’s ticked off, ruled out, almost complete but one race has eluded him. A race that he would have run years ago had the lottery been kind. As it happens, the luck of the drawer has finally come through and KJ will get his chance. Hardrock 100 is not just any race though and although we are all eagerly awaiting a legendary performance, it’s no foregone conclusion that Kilian will dominate this race. It’s a course that must be learnt, respected and absorbed. Kilian will come to the race probably with the least running ever in preparation for a 100-mile race. Walking off ski’s and on to the Transvulcania La Palma course was almost a textbook start to Kilian’s running season. However, after a repeat win at Zegama-Aizkorri he threw in a curve ball and departed for Alaska for another successful ‘Summit’ record. Just days later in Chamonix, Kilian wins the Skyrunning World Championships VK and SKY races and then hops on a plane for Colorado with just 7-days to go before the main event. KJ’s preparation is far removed from his competitors but after all, we are talking about Kilian Jornet and I for one would not want to bet against him! Word is that Frosty will be pacing sections of the race and I would assume, Kilian will have additional help from Ricky Gates? However, at this stage I don’t know who that will be. Kilian’s’ race may well come apart if he goes for the course record, pushes out at the front alone and then makes a navigation error. It’s easily done and many repeat Hardrock runners have gone on record to say that the race has several key moments that can make or break a successful Hardrock, so, Kilian will need to be wary of this. In contrast, if Kilian just wants to win the race, a likely scenario will be that he keeps himself in contention at the front of the race, probably keeping close to Dakota Jones and then making a break in the latter stages. It’s anyone’s guess and I for one can’t wait to see how this plays out. It is going to be epic!

Dakota Jones UROC ©iancorless.com

Dakota Jones has been 2nd and 3rd at Hardrock in previous years. Without doubt, Dakota knows the course and will be fired up for this years race, particularly after a below par Transvulcania La Palma. It would be fair to say that in any other year, Dakota would be a hot favourite for the win but the competition at Hardrock this year is stellar. So, Dakota becomes just another hot contender in a remarkable field. However, I do believe that Dakota hasn’t run his best race yet on this course and therefore his odds for victory are high.

Seb Chaigneau

Seb Chaigneau has been on the course for a few weeks now and has covered every inch of it with Hardrock ever present, Joe Grant. Seb ran an incredible race in 2013 setting the 2nd fastest time with 24:25. Paced by Scott Jurek, Seb will repeat the 2013 winning formula and hopefully everything will align once again. 2014 has not been a good year so far with DNF’s at UTMF and Transgrancanaria, but Seb has a great outlook on running and an ability to re-build and re focus.

Julien Chorier

Did I say this race was stacked? 2011 Hardrock champion, Julien Chorier is returning and he will bring meticulous preparation and planning to the mix. Julien’s 2013 Ronda dels Cims performance was a stunning master class of grinding it out for hour-on-hour with 100% focus. Just an element of that commitment and Julien will push all the other contenders to the line and don’t be surprised if he passes them. His 2013 6th place at TNFUTMB doesn’t quite do Julien’s talent justice, I remember post race he just said he was constantly fighting the sleep demons. A solid Transgrancanaria in 2014 where he placed 2nd to Ryan Sandes adds a confidence boost to the impressive Frenchman’s palmares.

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson rounds out the ‘hot’ contenders for the win and considering WSER happened just days ago, Timmy’s absence puts his Hardrock expectations in perspective. I have to say that I am just a little worried (in the nicest way) by Timmy’s eagerness to train. He has an immense ability to nail preparation and peak for 1-race as his 2012 and 2013 WSER performances confirm. But, and this is a big but, I have almost seen his love for running impact on great performances in some key races. I think I witnessed this in La Palma this year. Timmy just loves the trails out there, loves the mountains and that enthusiasm saw ‘big’ training days pretty much all the way to the main event which made Timmy, in my opinion, look just a little flat and tired during the race! I may be wrong. I hope Timmy pulls off the reigns, allows some recovery before Hardrock and should he toe the line with a taper similar to the examples set at WSER we are in for one major showdown. One thing is for sure, the longer the race goes on, the better Timmy will get.

Joe Grant - Arc'teryxJoe Grant loves this race! It epitomizes for him what is great about our sport… long tough days in the mountains. Last year things did not go to plan but his best time of just over 25-hours is still up there in the all time best list which he set in 2012. In this field, Joe will need a great day and arguably a performance of his life to win. However, a podium place is not out of reach. Joe is a modern day adventurer who mixes up what he does in a constant pursuit to set new boundaries. His Iditarod and Alaska White performances set Joe apart from the competition and in the long run, may well give him and edge. If recovered from Lavaredo Ultra Trail, expect Anton Krupicka on pacing duty.

Jared Campbell - Ronda dels Cims - iancorless.com

Jared Campbell won’t win the race but he’s been there and done it on tough courses. He’s completed Hardrock multiple times, (8 I think) and he is a 2-times finisher of Barkley. He actually won the race this year in some tough and gnarly conditions.

Ones to watch:

  • Adam Campbell – Had a great run at UTMF a couple of years ago and then had some tough times. Difficult to say how Adam will go on this tough course but he does have a great pacer in Gary Robbins.
  • Jeff Browning – one Hardrock finish 33:18
  • Stuart Air – Stu won’t win and in reality will not be close to the podium but it’s great to see a Brit work through the ranks and be given the opportunity of a lifetime. Stu is no slouch and the longer and harder the course, the better he becomes. Hardrock will suit him down to the ground providing he has adjusted to the altitude.
  • Tsyuoshi Kaburaki – needs know introduction, RD for UTMF and consistent UTMB performer.
  • Nick Coury – top-10 at Hardrock in the past
  • Ty Draney – Like Jared Campbell, Ty loves big days in the mountains. He’s had success at Hardrock in the past but top-10 would be a good performance.

After that stellar men’s line up, the ladies race of just 18-entrants looks far too formulaic (if a tough 100-miler can be) with two ladies leading the charge for overall victory, Diana Finkel and Darcy Piceu (Africa).

Darcy Africa with Nicky Kimball and Frosty, Transvulcania 2012.

Darcy Africa with Nicky Kimball and Frosty, Transvulcania 2012.

Darcy Piceu has won this race the last 2-times with 2-great performances, however, it has almost been at the faltering of Diana Finkel that has opened the gateway for Darcy to take over the lead and charge on for the finish. Darcy has already run 5-races in 2014 and come away with -4-victories and a 4th place, so, the form looks good! Having run on or around 29-hours previously, it’s fair to assume that Darcy will be looking to repeat that time this year which will set her up for another potential victory. In the past 4-years, Darcy has been Miss Consistent – 30:14 in 2010, 29:46 in 2011, 29:09 in 2012 and 29:54 last year!

Diana Finkel has been the stand out lady on the Hardrock course in recent years. In 2009, Diana ran 27:18 and that is some way quicker than Darcy and many of the men who will toe the line have run! Her most recent victory was 2011 when running 29:27 and in all honesty, 2012 and 2013 looked to be set for repeat performances but medical issues have plagued Diana’s performances. On her day, Diana will win this race, so, let’s hope the medical gods are on her side this year! Diana looks to have good form with a recent win at Jemez Mountain 50m (where Anton Krupicka won) and 3rd at Zane Grey 50.

Ones to watch:

Sarah McCloskey – 4th at Hardrock 2013 and winner of Wasatch 100 and 2nd at Bear 100-miler.

Betsy Kalmeyer – 14 Hardrock finishes and 5th last year.

Betsy Nye – 12 Hardrock finishes and 3rd last year. Best performance in 2014 was 5th at Marin Ultra Challenge 50m.

Kim Gemenez – 7th Hardrock 2013.

Liz Bauer – 9th Hardrock 2013.

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Course description: (content ©hardrock 100 website)

The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run is an ultramarathon of 100.5 miles in length, plus 33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 67,984 feet, at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet. The race is held on a loop course on 4WD roads, dirt trails, and cross country in Southern Colorado’s San Juan Range, USA.

The run starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado and travels through the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and the ghost town of Sherman, crossing thirteen major passes in the 12,000′ to 13,000′ range. Entrants must travel above 12,000 feet (3,700 m) of elevation a total of 13 times, with the highest point on the course being the 14,048′ summit of Handies Peak. The race has been held in early July of each year beginning in 1992, except for 1995 (too much snow) and 2002 (nearby forest fires). Each year’s race is run in the opposite direction of the previous year’s event (2008 was run in the clockwise direction, 2009 will be counter-clockwise). In order to complete the event, instead of crossing a finish line, runners are required to “kiss the Hardrock”, a picture of a ram’s head painted on a large block of stone mining debris.

This course offers a graduate level challenge for endurance runs. The course is designed to provide extreme challenges in altitude, steepness, and remoteness. Mountaineering, wilderness survival and wilderness navigation skills are as important in this event as your endurance.

Race website HERE

 

 

Ultra Trail Mount Fuji 2014 Preview #UTMF2014

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 The UTWT rolls on and Japan will host what will arguably be one of the most competitive 100-mile races we will see this year… certainly over a tough course (Hardrock excluded). I say a 100-miles but actually the course is 105 with approximately 10,000 meters of altitude gain. The fifth race in the UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour) in reality, UTMF is a follow on race from Transgrancanaria as many of the big hitters will re-assemble in Japan, to do battle once again for key ranking points. Nuria Picas was always going to race on the clockwise loop around Mount Fuji, by contrast, Ryan Sandes after his success in the Canaries has shifted focus from Australia and placed his emphasis and efforts on this tough and challenging race.

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Without doubt, at the stroke of 3pm (local time) on Friday 25th April a battle royal will unfold both in the ladies and men’s respective races. Dropout rates are usually around 30% to give an indication of how tough this race is.

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Race statement:

The ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI is an unparalleled event that challenges the human spirit through the outdoor sport of trail running. By connecting mountain trails, local footpaths and forest roads around the foothills of Mt. Fuji, this 168km course allows participants to enjoy majestic 360 degree views of Mt. Fuji while experiencing the stunning natural beauty and culture of this region.’

LADIES

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas; would you want to bet against her? Nuria has transformed herself in the last 24-months into one of the most competitive and focused female mountain, trail and ultra runners in the world. Her skill, dedication and focused attitude has seen the Catalan excel over every distance and terrain. Her only nemesis has been her good friend, Emelie Forsberg. In 2013, Nuria raced TNFUTMB, her first 100-mile race and placed 2nd behind an unstoppable Rory Bosio. Earlier this year at Transgrancanaria we once again had a master class in how to prepare for, run and win a race! Without doubt, Nuria is a hot favourite for UTMF.

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa excels at tough, long and hilly races when the terrain is not too technical. To be honest; the longer, the better. A 100-km race is very much a warm up for Francesca as her impressive victories at Ronda dels Cims and Tor des Geants confirm in 2013. However, Francesca is no one trick pony. She has placed highly at shorter and faster races such as Speedgoat 50k and UROC. UTMF will without doubt suit Francesca’s running style and after her win at HK100 and second at Transgrancanaria earlier this year, Francesca will without doubt be looking for a consistently strong repeat performance and important UTWT points.

Nathalie Mauclair Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair burst onto the scene in 2013 with a stunning top placing at Transvulcania La Palma. A relative unknown, Nathalie went on to impress her female competitors (especially Emelie Forsberg) and not only did she become IAU World Trail Champion that required pace, she also was crowned Raid de le Reunion (Diagonale des Fous) champion. Her diversity of pace, endurance and technical ability earmarks Nathalie as ‘one-to-watch’ at UTMF.

Shona Stepenson, Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Shona Stepenson, Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Shona Stephenson placed 2nd at UTMF last year but had a very mixed 2013. Shona dropped from TNFUTMB and Ice Trail Tarentaise and just recently placed 6th at Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon (also a UTWT race) where I expected her to place top-3, so, the jury is out. She will be in the game early on pushing at the front, let’s hope she can hold on and keep the momentum going.

Fernanda Maciel Everest Trail Race ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel Everest Trail Race ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel after a 3rd place at Transgrancanaria is looking for more UTWT points to boost her overall rankings. Her Everest Trail Race win in late November 2013 would appear to have boosted Fernanda’s running after a troubled 2013 season. Certainly Fernanda’s 7th at TNFUTMB and Transgrancanaria win in 2012 shows that she has all the required armory to compete with the best-of-the-best; she will just need a little luck!

Nerea Martinez Ronda dels Cims ©ianccorless.com

Nerea Martinez Ronda dels Cims ©ianccorless.com

Nerea Martinez like Francesca Canepa like races that are long and tough. Winner of the inaugural UTMF, Nerea won’t repeat that performance in 2014. She has all the required abilities but lacks the pace required that Picas, Mauclair and Canepa have in abundance. However, if it comes down to survival and pushing on through to the line, Nerea will be around and ready to mop up the places. Her 2nd place at the 2012 Tor des Geants proves that she cannot be ruled out in any race.

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger had a solid start to 2013 placing 2nd behind Jo Meek at the tough multi day race, The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. However, she was DNS at Transgrancanaria due a potential niggling injury. Recently she has been working on and providing instruction on several training camps. If in form, UTMF will suit Julia’s skill set and we can expect a top-10 performance and if she has ‘one of those days’ we may well see her top-5.

Nora Senn placed 3rd at UTMF in 2012 behind Nerea Martinez. Taking into consideration that result and the ladies previously mentioned, Nora can hope for top-10.

Hitomi Ogawa along with Kumiko Amikura and Akemi Ban may well have the hopes of Japan in their legs, placing 3rd, 4th and 6th respectively in 2013; they all have the knowledge and understanding of what UTMF requires from a race and survival aspect. Top-10 is possible for all-3 and top-5 with this quality of field would be an incredible result.

MEN

Yoshikazu Hara gets the nod first as last years UTMF champ. One could arguably say it was a lucky day… but hold on a minute, you don’t beat Julien Chorier and Seb Chaigneau on luck alone! Had Hara excelled at the 2013 TNFUTMB I would be hailing him as a potential 2014 champ as he does seem able to use some seriously fast 100km speed (6:33) on long courses. However, Hara dropped from Tarawera with injury and this leaves some huge question marks in this quality of field.

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes is on a roll… having spent a great deal of time with him on Gran Canaria and getting a great understanding of the man, his training and his thought processes, I’d find it difficult to bet against Ryan at UTMF. As we are all aware, his 2013 season was one to forget but his 2012 season had moments of brilliance and his 2014 victory at Transgrancanaria and then subsequent FKT on the Drakensberg Traverse with Rhyno Griesel will either mean ‘Sandman’ will be in the form of his life or a little jaded. What do you think?

Seb Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Seb Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Seb Chaigneau placed 3rd at UTMF in 2013 so knows the course. A tough competitor with a unique and endearing view of our sport, he is a true champion. His win at Hardrock 100 and CR in 2013 was a popular result and without doubt he would be a popular champion in Japan. His recent drop from Transgrancanaria leaves a couple of question marks but I don’t have the answers… you see, dropping from a race whilst in the lead leaves the door wide open. I think we will see Seb pushing top-3.

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera is understated and arguably one of the best ultra distance runners out there. His quiet, modest, no nonsense approach of arriving, winning and leaving a race often leaves a void in this media savvy world. However, you would have to have been in an ultra void not to notice his impressive victory at Grand Raid des Pyrenees in 2013 and then his follow on victory at Tor des Geants. Potential winner!

Francois D'Haene ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene has a vineyard and that has taken a priority. His run season now evolves around seasons, grape picking and bottling, however, it hasn’t affected Francois’s performances. When Francois races, he races in top form. His 2nd at Ice Trail Tarentaise where he raced side-by-side with fellow teammate, Kilian Jornet shows he has all the skill and speed required to win any race. He proved this with a great victory at the tough and technical Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale des Fous). This race amongst all his experiences, even his victory over a shortened UTMB course, will put him in a great place for success at UTMF.

Nick Clark The Coastal Challenge ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark The Coastal Challenge ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark; enough said really! Tough as nails, really competitive and one of the best 100-mile runners out there; his consistent performance over the ‘Grand Slam’ in 2013 was a joy to behold. Nick kicked off 2014 with a tough outing at his first multi day race at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, a race that provided Nick with a new perspective on how tough running back-to-back, day-after-day can be. With some solid training behind him and experience on tough courses such as Hardrock 100, one has to give a nod to Nick and put him on the ‘hot’ list for this race.

Mike Foote TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote has been super consistent at TNFUTMB with 3rd place at the shortened race when Francois D’Haene won and 5th place in 2013. Don’t expect to see him up front in the early stages… Mike has a canny knack of almost being out of the race and then in the latter third applying the afterburners and moving up through the field. In addition to great climbing ability, he also has speed. This natural speed will be extremely useful on the faster section of the UTMF course.

Gary Robbins TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Gary Robbins TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Gary Robbins 4th at UTMF in 2013 and recent winner at HURT100 will bring his adventure racing background, the love of the tough and gnarly and some pure old grit back to Japan and armed with knowledge, I can’t help but think that Gary will be a force this year. Of course, one must consider that this field is super stacked and to repeat 4th or move even in higher in 2014 will be a supreme effort, but Gary on his day can do it.

Thomas Lorblanchet looked to be about to break into the big time after winning Leadville 100 and placing highly at Transvulcania whilst running under Salomon colours. However, since moving to a new sponsor, Thomas appears to have been in a running wilderness. Surely a win at the highly competitive ‘Templiers’ was a great result in late 2013 but I have little else to go on… he may well surprise us.

Joe Grant Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Joe Grant Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Joe Grant recently won Alaska White Mountains 100 with a new CR; a great result! However, it is extremely difficult to say how this performance will set up Joe for UTMF. Post his impressive Iditarod performance in 2013, Joe struggled to find form (more due to fatigue) and even at his beloved Hardrock 100, he had to drop (whilst in 2nd place) with medical issues. Regularly training with Anton Krupicka, Joe is very much a new breed of ultra runner, inspired by Kilian Jornet, who combines running, climbing and time in the mountains to fulfill his passion. UTMF in principal will suit Joe 100% and if in form, we can expect him to be a main protagonist at the front of the race.

Brendan Davies Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Brendan Davies Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Brendan Davies 5th at UTMF in 2013 has plenty of speed but lacks true mountain experience. He openly said that the 2013 edition of the race was a shock to the system and the time he lost going up, he pulled back on the fast flatter sections. I am sure Brendan will come to UTMF with more vertical training. However, this field is stacked with out-and-out mountain men. It’s going to be a tough race to keep in touch with the top-5 and repeat his 2013 performance.

Antoine Guillon 4th at Reunion and 5th at Transgrancanaria will be hunting UTWT points. I think he will be in the mix but not top-5.

Dave Mackey was one of the first runners to embrace the UTWT and I am sure we will see his presence throughout the series. One of the most respected ultra runners out there, had this been a 100km race he would be a hot favourite. But over the 100-mile distance and on this terrain, I don’t see Dave making top-5 despite his success at Western States. But he is due a big performance…

John Tidd to many will be a complete unknown, I first met him at Transgrancanaria in 2013 when he went on to place 6th running a strong and consistent race. Later in the year he repeated this consistency with 6th at UTMF and then 10th at TNFUTMB. I very much doubt he will make top-5 but top-10 is a distinct possibility.

Emmanuel Gault recently won the Eco Trail de Paris in a quick 5:40, so, he’s in good shape. However, even dating back to 2007, I am not sure he has raced over 100km. So, he may be up front in the early stages but past 80km he may well fade. It’s an unknown? Without doubt, Emmanuel specialises in French races such as Templiers, SainteLyon, CCC and so on, his recent 22bd place at Transvulcania gives us little insight into what may be achieved at the tough UTMF.

Stone Tsang from Hong Kong will potentially be a ‘one-to-watch’ after solid UTMB and HK100 performances, but he will need a great day to break top-5.

Minehiro Yokoyama,

Kenichi Yamamoto,

Koji Yamaya,

Minehiro Yokoyama,

Shougo Mochizuki

And Shinsuke Isomura have all raced UTMF in the past and in reality it is about as much insight as I can provide.

Kenichi Yamamoto Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

Kenichi Yamamoto Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

If I had to pick one runner it would be Kenichi Yamamoto. Kenichi raced against Julien Chorier in 2013 and placed 2nd. A happy and talented guy (expect film crews following him) he has had success with a top-3 at UTMF in 2012 but not against a field of this quality.

The 2014 UTMF will be quite a race. In addition to all the above, several other notable runners are taking part and it almost feels rude not to mention the ever present Christophe Le Saux, Jeremy Ritcey or Timo Meyer. But I have tried to preview who will contend top-5.

UTMF website – http://www.ultratrailmtfuji.com/en/

Runner entry list – http://www.ultratrailmtfuji.com/en/about/entrylist/

Episode 56 – Sandes, Jurek, Morgan, Chaigneau, Maciel, Kendall

Ep56

 

Episode 56 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show we have a Transgrancanaria special with a whole series of interviews. We speak with Scott Jurek, Sebastien Chaigneau, Casey Morgan, 3rd place lady, Fernanda Maciel and we have an in-depth chat with race winner, Ryan Sandes. In addition, we have a chat with top Brit at the MDS, Danny Kendall who returns this year to hopefully move higher up the field. The news, a blog and of this week only, a new co-host, Niandi Carmont.

What we have both been up to?

NEWS

AUDIO with SCOTT JUREK 
 
Transgrancanaria
  1. Ryan Sandes Salomon/Red Bull : 14:27:42
  2. Julien Chorier  Hoka One One/ Compressport “14:36:28
  3. Timothy Olson The North Face : 14:39:03
  4. Yeray Duran : 15:06:54
  5. Antoine Guillon WAA : 15:17:30
  6. Sondre Amdahl : 15:28:35
  7. Javier Dominguez Vibram : 15:46:06
  8. Cyril Cointre WAA : 15:47:08
  9. Dylan Bowman Peral Izumi : 15:59:13
  10. Casey Morgan Salomon 16:00:31
AUDIO with CASEY MORGAN
 
AUDIO with SEBASTIEN CHAIGNEAU
  1. Nuria Picas Buff : 16:44:55
  2. Francesca Canepa Montura : 17:29:18
  3. Fernanda Maciel 17:31:57
  4. Ildko Wermescher Mammut :18:50:45
  5. Uxue Fraile Vibram 19:21:00
  6. Nerea Martinez Salomon 19:21:00
  7. Magdalena Ostrowska-Dolegowska : 20:27:02
  8. Ester Alves : 23:03:10
  9. Laureda Tirepied : 23:10:44
  10. Helen Allison : 23:40:48
AUDIO with FERNANDA MACIEL
ITI350 and ITI1000
David Johnton was on the last show and after smashing the Susitna 100 record just 7-days later took on the ITI350. He was on the last show if you need and insight and he will be on our next show! Amazingly, he smashed the CR thought by many to be unbeatable by an incredible, 4d 1h 38m – broke record by 13h 22m set by Steve Refenstuhl
Jeff Oatley gonna smash the 1000m in around 10-days
MSIG Sai Kung 50
 
  1. Rudy Gilman 4:51
  2. Siu Keung Tsang 5:05
  3. Brendan Davies 5:15
Brit Stu Air – 8th
  1. Cassie Scallon 6:00
  2. Allesandra Carlini 6:05
  3. Joe Joe SuiPing Fan 6:11
St Peters Way Ultra
  1. Richard Ashton – new CR 5:34
  2. Christopher Howe 5:59
  3. Keith Moule 7:03
  1. Naomi Newton Fisher 8:20
  2. Fiona McNeils 9:58
  3. Nicki Edwards 10:13
4 Refugios non-stop Argentina – 70k
  1. Dakota Jone 7:18
  2. Sergio Jesus Trecaman 7:51
  3. Carlos Galosi 8:12
  1. Laura Lucero 9:40
  2. Sonia Beartriz 10:32
  3. Yanet Guzman 11:18
 
ADDO Elephant 76km
  1. Quintin Honey 8:05
  2. Mike Els 8:45
  3. Miema Murray (lady) 9:22

INTERVIEW with DANNY KENDALL

 

BLOG

Zach Bitter

Big Fat Theory

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the ratio of fat and carbohydrate expenditure while running at varying paces.”

INTERVIEW with RYAN SANDES

 
UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Victoria

Maroondah Dam 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 16, 2014 | website

Razorback 58K Run | 58 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Razorback 58K Run (March) | 58 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Razorback 64K Run | 64 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Razorback 64K Run (March) | 64 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Razorback 68K Run (March) | 68 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Dirty Duo 50 km Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Yukon

6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 120 mile | 120 miles | March 14, 2014 | website

6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 350 mile | 350 miles | March 14, 2014 | website

France

Pas-de-Calais

Trail Bullygeois des Poilus – 55 km | 55 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website

Hong-Kong

Translantau 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Translantau 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Hungary

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 21, 2014 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 195 kilometers | March 20, 2014 | website

India

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 135 Miles | 135 miles | March 14, 2014 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 160 km | 160 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website

The Great White Rann – Run of Kutch – 80 km | 80 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website

Italy

Umbria

Trasimeno Lake Ultramarathon | 58 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website

Veneto

Ultrabericus | 65 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Madagascar

Nosy Be Trail – 65 km | 65 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website

New Zealand

Tarawera 100K Ultramarathon | 100 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Tarawera 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Tarawera 85K Ultramarathon | 85 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Te Houtaewa Challenge 60 km Open Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Triple Peaks Challenge | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Philippines

TRD80 Ultramarathon | 80 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Portugal

Território Circuito Centro 3a Etapa – Vila de Rei – K67 – Ultra Trail | 67 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Território Circuito Centro 3a Etapa – Vila de Rei – Trail Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Senegal

Raid Téranga 250 | 250 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Slovakia

Kysucká Stovka | 120 kilometers | March 07, 2014 | website

South Africa

Om Die Dam 50 km Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Spain

Andalusia

Ultra Trail Sierras del Bandolero | 150 kilometers | March 07, 2014 | website

Catalonia

Marxa dels Castells PLUS | 81 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website

UT les Fonts | 120 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website

UT les Fonts – Trail de les Fonts | 70 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Taiwan

Southern Cross-Island Road Ultra Marathon – 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Southern Cross-Island Road Ultra Marathon – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Tunisia

100 Miles Camelus | 100 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

45 Miles Camelus | 45 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Aberdeen City

D33 Ultra | 33 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Deeside Way Ultra | 33 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Bradford

Haworth Hobble | 32 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Dorset

Jurassic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | March 21, 2014 | website

Somerset

Exmoor Ultra – 40 Miles | 40 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Wiltshire

Imber Ultra Marathon | 33 miles | March 09, 2014 | website

USA

Alabama

Delano Park 50 Mile Solo | 50 miles | March 08, 2014 | website

Alaska

Chena River to Ridge Endurance Race 45 Mile | 45 miles | March 08, 2014 | website

Arizona

Monument Valley 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Monument Valley 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Old Man 52K | 52 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Arkansas

3 days of Syllamo | 150 kilometers | March 14, 2014 | website

California

Coyote Cohorts Backbone Trail Ultra | 68 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Lake Natoma 50K | 50 kilometers | March 09, 2014 | website

Marin Ultra Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Old West Trails 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Rodeo Valley Trail Run Spring 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Way Too Cool 50k | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Whoos in El Moro 50k – Race #2 | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Colorado

High Line Canal 100K | 100 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Florida

DWD Green Swamp 50K | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

DWD Green Swamp 50M | 50 miles | March 08, 2014 | website

Lost 118 | 118 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Georgia

Georgia Death Race | 60 miles | March 15, 2014 | website

Kentucky

Land Between The Lakes 50 mile run | 50 miles | March 08, 2014 | website

Land Between The Lakes 60k | 60 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Louisiana

Q50 50M Ultra | 50 miles | March 08, 2014 | website

Maryland

Seneca Creek Greenway Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Graveyard 100K Ultramarathon | 100 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Graveyard 100 Mile Ultramarathon | 100 miles | March 08, 2014 | website

Reservoir Park 50K | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Ohio

Buzzard Day 50k | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Green Jewel 50K Fun Run | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Tennessee

Fall Creek Falls 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 16, 2014 | website

Music City Trail Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Texas

Prickly Pear 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2014 | website

Utah

Antelope Island 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 21, 2014 | website

Virginia

Elizabeth’s Furnace Fat Ass 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2014 | website

Washington

Centennial Trail Run | 37 miles | March 08, 2014 | website
CLOSE
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He is Karl Meltzer and I’m Ian Corless
Keep Running !
LINKS

Hardrock 100 Lottery Results

hardrock-100-logoIn case you missed it, the Hardrock 100 lottery results were announced on Saturday. Ironically, many ultra fans were following #TNF50 in San Francisco via twitter and as the race unfolded, updates from Hardrock 100 came in lighting up twitter with all sorts of excitement and anticipation for the 2014 race.

From the Hardrock 100 site:

“Thanks to the whole Board of Directors and our host board member Blake Wood, our 2014 Lottery was a hoot and went without a wrinkle. The starter list will be updated on Ultrasignup in the next few days. See Hardrock 100 Entrant List on Ultrasignup for the list once it is ready.”

“In the meantime, see the image below for a snapshots of the starters list! That is the posterboard with the actual physical tickets taped in place. Did you doubt that we actually draw tickets??”

Image ©hardrock100

Image ©hardrock100

If you are not familiar with Hardrock 100 and the race. Each year only two people are guaranteed an entry; last years male and female winners, so, in this case that is Sebastien Chaigneau and Darcy Africa.

The rest is a lottery and a lottery for very few places.

The 2013 draw saw a change in how these tickets are drawn but firstly you can’t just throw your name in the hat. Each person must comply to entry criteria:

“The Hardrock Hundred is a “post-graduate” run. For safety reasons, not as an attempt at elitism, we cannot accept novice runners. The challenges faced during the HRH are much more than the exertion and fatigue expected from running 100 miles, and require the ability to navigate the course with uncertain conditions that may include:
  • High Elevation
  • Long, steep climbs
  • Extended distance and time between aid stations
  • Severe weather, including heat, cold, rain, hail, and lightning
  • Water and snow crossings
  • Exposure to potential for falls
Any runner attempting the HRH must understand that these challenges exist and they must be prepared to make decisions for his or her own safety under uncertain conditions without any expectation of assistance. While there is no guarantee that the runner is prepared for every eventuality, finishing a qualifying event gives some evidence of being prepared for the HRH. Finishing a qualifying event additionally improves the chances for a runner to finish the HRH” taken from Hardrock 100 website ©hardrock100

You can read the full qualification criteria HERE

So the Lottery, how did it work this year and what changes were made? Taken form Hardrock 100 website ©hardrock100

Each year, we are faced with the difficult problem of how to choose 140 starters from nearly six times that many applicants, while still respecting the values that make Hardrock Hardrock. The Board feels that our ideal mix of runners would be 25% first-time Hardrockers, 25% veterans (i.e. >= 5-time finishers), and 50% everyone else. To preserve this mix, we are replacing our single weighted lottery with three weighted lottery pools, each with its own wait list:

  1. First-timers – 35 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone who has never started a Hardrock. The intention is to increase the likelihood for applicants with many DNS’s to get into the run. Modeling suggests that giving applicants 2^N tickets, where N is the number of previous DNSs, will ensure that those with the most DNSs will get in, while still giving first-time applicants a chance. “DNS” includes both those who were on the wait list and those who withdrew from either the wait list or start list.
  2. Veterans – 35 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone who has five or more Hardrock finishes, with the following qualification: an applicant who DNFs in two consecutive attempts beginning in 2012 will be placed into the “Everyone else” pool until they complete the run in a subsequent year. Applicants will get one ticket for each previous Hardrock finish. The number in this pool is about the same as the number of 5-time finishers bypassing the lottery in each of the past few years, and so comes close to preserving this feature.
  3. Everyone else – 70 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone not in one of the previous two lotteries. The algorithm for ticket allocation will be unchanged from the current one. Modeling suggests that the chances of being selected from this lottery will be better than under the current system.

Runners not selected in the first two lotteries WILL NOT be rolled over into the third lottery. If fewer than 35 “veterans” apply, the unused slots will be added to the “everyone else” pool.

A separate wait list will be maintained for each lottery. When a runner withdraws from the start list, a runner will be taken from the wait list for the lottery from which the withdrawn runner was chosen.

The previous year’s winners will continue to bypass the lottery, but they will count against the lottery pool they would have been in.

The Outcome

First and foremost, the big news is Kilian Jornet’s name came out of the hat and this not only creates a great buzz about what he can do at this race but also it is one step closer for Kilian completing his ‘bucket list’. He is without doubt going to put a great emphasis on this race in 2014 and late last night he tweeted:

“in the @hardrock100 🙂 I will need to (re)think about next summer calendar…”

The prospect of Kilian racing against Seb Chaigneau is something that excited us all but then the names continued to be drawn form the tub:

Jared Campbell – regular Hardrock entrant and winner in 2010. This year Jared did the Hardrock and Ronda dels Cims double.

Joe Grant – once again has an angel sitting on his shoulder and gets an opportunity to come back and win his dream race. Second in the past behind Hal Koerner he is going to want to seize this opportunity after a troublesome 2013 race.

Julien Chorier – winner of Ronda dels Cims in 2013 and winner of Hardrock 100 in 2011. He is going to bring meticulous planning to this race and without doubt elevates the competition to a higher level.

Timothy Olson – Western States two times winner now gets a chance to compete at the iconic Hardrock and against a top quality field.

Dakota Jones – Dakota prepared meticulously for this race in 2012 and maybe just too meticulously leaving his best performance on the route in training. Dakota, like Joe is going to relish this opportunity to come back and move up the podium.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki – regular performer at TNFUTMB, he will like all the others be in his lament on this course.

Ty Draney – competitor at Ronda dels Cims this year and along with Jared Campbell, someone who loves the rough and tough terrain.

Scott Jaime – maybe less well known (particularly in the UK) but he has finished Hardrock multiple times and that counts for a great deal on a course like this.

Finally, a mention for Brit, Stuart Air. Stuart is relatively new on the ultra scene but in 2013 he completed Ronda dels Cims and Tor des Geants. He may not be in the league of some of the names above but expect a surprise… he has time to prepare and focus.

Two notable names are high up on the wait list, both drawn no2 which almost certainly means they will get a run; Adam Campbell and Jeff Browning.

Notable names that did not get an entry are quite long, however, a couple stand out. In particular:

Anton Krupicka – shame really, TK in this line up would have made the race an absolute classic.

Iker Karrera – equally, Iker after his Tor des Geants performance would have relished Hardrock with this current field.

Nick Clark – can you imagine if Nick had made the cut too; wow.

Ian Sharman

Mike Wolfe

Gary Robbins

Mike Foote and so on…

The ladies race has less depth than the men’s field but reigning champion Darcy Africa is going to take some beating. She has the race dialled now and knows how to not only pace it, but also win it!

Rhonda Claridge – placed 2nd at Hardrock in 2012 and therefore will be able to push at the front of the race with a complete understanding of what will be required to win the race.

Jen Segger – has just had a baby and so may still be in shell shock at the prospect of taking on the Hardrock course, however, she did tweet yesterday that surely going up and down mountains with a baby on your back is good training!

Helen Cospolitch – had hoped to nail a solid TNFUTMB in 2013 but it didn’t go to plan, so, the prospect of Hardrock 100 is going to be a great boost going into the Christmas period.

Diana Finkel – was 3rd at Bear 100 and has won Hardrock 100 four times in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2009 and 2010 Diana was 3rd and 2nd overall respectively. Need I say anymore… Darcy Africa is going to need to pull out all the stops for a 2014 victory.

As it currently stands I think that covers the main contenders for the ladies race and looking at the wait lists, it doesn’t appear that any other big hitters stand a chance of a run. More notable, are the ladies who didn’t get a place:

Kerrie Bruxvoort

Nikki Kimball

Claire Price

Joelle Vaught

Jenn Benna

Meghan Arbogast

And Ann Trason amongst others.

Without doubt, the 2014 Hardrock 100 is looking like a classic race in the making, certainly from a male perspective. If the weather is good, one can anticipate one of the fastest Hardrock races in history and we may well see a course record.

Don’t know about you, but July 11th 2014 is going to be an exciting prospect.

Hardrock 100 website HERE

Get Ready For – The Otter

For this last episode of 3rd season of Get Ready For. Seb bring us to the heart of the Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa. The Otter African Trail Run is one of the most popular trail in South Africa, because of its difficulty, originality and location.

It is most certainly a race for the bucket list.

Magnetic South has been given permission to run the Otter in alternate directions on a yearly basis.

2012:  from WEST to EAST, the “Up-Run” – the RETTO

2013:  from EAST to WEST, the “Down-Run” – the OTTER

The OTTER – African Trail Run – the iconic and South Africa’s most popular 5 day hike, the Otter, has been walked from Storms River to Nature’s Valley right from its inception. Following this route the Otter – African Trail Run took place 3 years in a row from East to West.

The RETTO (Otter spelt backwards) –  Two scouting runs have been done in the last month to ensure our Safety Management Plan has considered all the variables associated with running the trail in reverse. The 2012 ”Retto” as it has been nicknamed, will still include over 2600m of elevation in its 42km traversed, however the experience of running the route with the sea constantly on your right is going to give you a completely different thrill and perspective to this spectacular challenge.

The OTTER course record is held by Ryan Sandes 4:40:15 and Jeannie Bomford 5:17:12

The RETTO course record is held by Iain Don Wauchope 4:23:24 and Krissy Moehl 5:24:59