Western States 2014 – Race Preview

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An incredible weekend of trail and mountain running will unfold on the 27th – 29th of June. In Europe, the Skyrunning World Championships will take place on the trails of the endurance capital of the world, Chamonix.

Across the pond in Squaw Valley, the super bowl of trail will take place. The best male and female trail runners will arrive to do battle over the 100-mile distance in what is arguably, the most iconic ultra race in the world, Western States.

One could say that WSER has come a long way since the 70’s when Gordy Ainsleigh blazed a trail, but in reality, little has changed. WSER is still a relatively low key 100-miler that gains worldwide attention due to the history and the quality of the competition.

2014 will not have previous winner and course record holder, Ellie Greenwood on the start line. Equally, we will not have 2-time winner, Timothy Olson. So, does that mean it’s wide open?

Unlike me, I am going to make a prediction from the off!

Men’s champion 2014 – Rob Krar

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

Ladies champion 2014 – Nathalie Mauclair

Nathalie Mauclair ©iancorless.com

 

The Ladies

I can hear the gasp! Nathalie who?

You may be right, I am sticking my neck out here and although Nathalie Mauclair hasn’t run Western States before, I am going to go on my gut feelings, the love of a dark horse prediction and basically put it all on the line and say, Nathalie can do it! Nathalie was a relatively unknown last year and a quality run at Transvulcania La Palma placed her on the map. Winning the World Trail Running championships proved it was no fluke and then to top it all, Nathalie only went on to win Raid de la Reunion, arguably one of the toughest 100-miles races on the calendar. Those three results alone show fast running over technical terrain, just good old fast trail running and the ability to endure, hike and last on a trail for a long time. Nathalie may well turn heads at WSER and although UTMF didn’t go to plan earlier this year, if Nathalie has good form and she has no injuries I am going to stick to my guns and say, Nathalie for the win!

Last years winner, Pam Smith has experienced both ends of the WSER spectrum and understands what it is like to be on top of the podium and way down the field struggling just to finish. Post WSER in 2013, Pam went on a blitz with a 14:11:26 at Desert Solstice for 100-miles, a win at ORRC Autumn Leaves 50m and 5th at Run Rabbit Run. A relatively quiet start to 2014 can only mean one thing, Pam has been in hiding and training; training hard!

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Nikki Kimball cannot be ruled out in any race, especially WSER. Nikki knows how to run the race, loves the heat and although she may not be the fastest lady, (on paper) experience counts for so much. This came to fruition last year with 2nd place. I remember Nikki crying at the finish of Transvulcania, she said, ‘I am back!’ Injury issues put to one side, Nikki now races less but when she races, she makes it count. Great proof of this is her win at the 2014 edition of Marathon des Sables. Nikki will be in the mix.

Stephanie Howe if the early 2014 performances are anything to go by,  is on a roll. A 2nd place 7:33:24 at Lake Sonoma 50m and a win at Mesquite Canyon 50km  must have the female competition looking over and thinking, ‘we gotta keep an eye on her!’ They do. I think Stephanie will move up and almost certainly break top-5 and to be honest, any podium place is for the taking if it all comes together on the day. A 2nd behind Emelie Forsberg at UROC and a win at Speedgoat 50k just proves the potential.

Kaci Lickteig is not a runner I know a great deal about. But what I do know is that she ran 6-races in 2013 and won every one! In 2014, Kaci placed 2nd at Rocky Raccoon 100-mile, 3rd at Sonoma just 10-min behind Steph Howe’s first place and recently won Ice Age Trail 50m in May. That is a lot of racing and will either mean that Kaci will be in the form of her life in Squaw or just a little jaded. If it’s the former, I see top-5!

Emily Harrison placed 7th last year in 20:28 but on recent form at Lake Sonoma 50m (7:26:15 for the win) and Casumett 50k (3:15:01), one has to think that Emily will break top-5 and stir things up. One year on with more experience, Emily will potentially have a break through performance.

Meghan Arbogast like Nikki Kimball knows WSER like the back of her hand and to put this in perspective she placed 4th last year and 2014 will be Meghan’s 8th WSER. A recent 5th place at Tarawera in New Zealand shows good form but in reality, it may well mean nothing. Meghan now lives on the WSER course and in 2014 we may well see her in the best form ever. Can she get the coveted sub 18:30 time she so desires? It may not be politically correct but you have to take your hat off to this lady, not many 50+ runners can kick the butt of runners considerably younger.

Rounding out the top-10 or maybe sneaking top-5

Liza Howard in 2014 was 1st at Umstead 100-mile and 2nd at Bandera but I don’t think will race?

Denise Bourassa has finished WSER twice and placed 8th in 2013

Leila Degrave placed 9th in 2013

Beth Cardelli arrives from the Southern Hemisphere where she is a consistent top performer. Beth run WSER in 2011 and placed 12th with 22:16:28. If she has a good day, top-10 is within her potential for sure.

Shaheen Sattar took her WSER slot with 3rd at Rocky Raccoon and backs up her place with 2nd at Leadville in 2013.

Ones to watch:

Larisa Dannis in 2014: 3rd Ice Age Trail 50m, 1st Land Between The Lakes 50m and 4th at Rocky Raccoon

Tera Dube in 2014: 4th at Miwok 100k, 9th Lake Sonoma 50m. 4th Ray Miller 50m

Sally McRae in 2014: 6th at Lake Sonoma and 2nd at Ray Miller 50

Silke Koester in 2014: 2nd Zane Grey 50m. and 4th at Bandera 100k

 

 

The Men

Rob Krar was on fire in 2013. Relatively unknown until that incredible win at Leona Divide and then the FKT in the Grand Canyon. I remember interviewing him post that incredible rim-to-rim-to-rim and he spoke about WSER and how the 100-mile distance was a complete mystery to him and how he would give it the utmost respect. Well, the respect worked and he took out 2nd place. Following that up with a stomping UROC win ahead of Dakota Jones and then TNF50 victory gave Rob the award of Ultra Runner of the Year and rightly so! With no Timothy Olson in the race, Rob along with Ryan Sandes will have huge targets on their backs. Rob can handle that pressure and for me is the hot favourite.

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Ryan Sandes missed WSER last year after getting injured and what followed was a year to forget for Ryan. However, he has more than put that annus horribilis behind him with an incredible start to 2014 with a win at Transgrancanaria, a FKT on The Drakensberg Traverse and quality run at UTMF behind Francois d’Haene. Ryan knows how to run WSER and his 15:03:36 behind Olson’s 14:46:44 in 2012 shows he has all the potential to top the podium, providing he isn’t too tired. Krar ran 15:22 last year against Olson’s 15:17 so a battle royal is predicted.

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If in form, Miguel Heras could very well upset the apple cart. Miguel has had a real rollercoaster with injury and just earlier this year had to miss Marathon des Sables with injury. Word is, that Miguel is in great shape and ready, if that is true, watch out! Looking back to 2011, Miguel had 6-victories that included Transvulcania La Palma, Ronda dels Cims and Cavalls del Vent, that is some result sheet. Add to that his incredible 5:33:13 at San Fran 50 in 2012 and 2nd at UTMB in 2013 and Miguel can win WSER, no doubt!

Ian Sharman has been very quiet, sacrificed a quality run at Comrades and for one reason only, to have the best run possible at WSER. Ian has a great record at WSER and has continually moved up through the ranks, 5th in 2012 and 4th in 2013. Pulling off 4th whilst continuing on for ‘Grand Slam’ victory and a new Grand Slam record was nothing short of miraculous. Ian will have his work cut out in 2014 against a top quality field.

Nick Clark

Tough guy, Nick Clark needs no introduction. He’s pushed and pushed at WSER and last year pushed Ian Sharman for the Grand Slam and actually held the combined CR, albeit for just 30-min or so before Ian took it over! Clarky is focused on WSER once again and so desperately wants that top slot. He has placed 3rd twice and run under 16-hours a couple of times. Now a vet, statistics would say that in this field he would be hard pushed to podium but you can NEVER rule him out. He would be a popular winner!

Along with Nick Clark and Ian Sharman, British hope will rest in Jez Bragg. I had actually forgot what great results Jez had had at WSER. In 2009 he placed 3rd in a time of 16:54:35 and 4th in 2011 going 1-hour quicker in 15:55:08. Placing 15th male in 2012 was a blip and of course since then, Jez had a little ‘jolly’ in New Zealand. The Te Araroa expedition needed considerable rest and recovery. Placing 10th male at UTMB in 2013 shows us that Jez is on his way back. However, WSER has moved on in the last couple of years and Jez is going to need to be in great shape to contest the top-5.

Dylan Bowman

Dylan Bowman has changed his training and outlook since the 2013 UTMB, a race he was forced to miss with a last minute injury. Getting back in shape and improving fitness gave D’Bo 5th at San Fran 50 in December 2013. Following this up with a great 9th place at Transgrancanaria, Dylan was truly devastated with the effort that Canarian race took. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone so affected by a race. Jump ahead and for sure, we can expect a prepared and ready D’Bo for WSER. His recent win at Ray Miller 50 in 6:23:17 means a great deal and his WSER record of 5th in 2013, 7th in 2012 shows that a break through performance is due. 2014 may well be the year?

Excitement will circulate around the 100-mile debut performance of Max King. Max is super talented with incredible depth and ability over a variety of distances. A WMRA world Champion, a fast marathon runner and consistently performant over the 50k and 50m distances, Max potentially could be an unstoppable force over the WSER route. However, I don’t think it will be this year! Records show that as the race gets longer, Max starts to slow a little and more importantly has terrible trouble with his stomach. I think Max is going to need a consistent WSER run just to find his feet. The difficulty will be if Max can hold back the reigns in the first half of the race. If he does, we may well see him in the top-10. If not… it may be a struggle to finish. In 2014, Max has already had to great results with a win at Ice Age Trail 50m in 5:41:07, 7th Lake Sonoma 50m in 6:37:20 and a win at Chuckanut 50k in 3:35:42. I wonder, could he hold that pace for 100-miles?

Rounding out my potential top-10: Thomas Lorblanchet, Brendan Davis and Jorge Maravilla.

Thomas Lorblanchet seemed to disappear after his victory at Leadville. He left Salomon and joined Asics and then just recently the click started to happen. Thomas won Course des Templiers, arguably one of the biggest trail races in France at the end of 2013. His recent 6th at Trail Du Ventoux 46km in March provides little information on his current form. But I often assume, no news is good news and he has the potential to be a surprise package.

Brendan Davies is so focused on WSER. I posted a recent photo of him training on a treadmill, fully dressed with a face maravillamask on and heaters blowing on him. Pure dedication! Maybe too dedicated? He races a lot and races fast. Already this year he has toed the line Narrabeen all nighter 12-hour, MSIG Sai Kung 50, Tarawera, UTMF and TNF100 in Australia. Brendan likes to run and prefers trail if it’s not too technical. So, WSER will play into his hands.

Finally, Mr. Smiler, Jorge Maravilla will be looking to improve on his 8th at WSER from 2012. Jorge had a blip in 2013 placing 23rd but his recent win at Bandera 100km and US Trail Championship title must go a long way in boosting his confidence.

To be honest, WSER has so much depth that a winner and certainly a top-10 finisher could come from anywhere, so, although the following names don’t make my top-10 prediction, anyone of them could!

Chris Price may well be the big surprise after 4th at Hardrock and 2nd at Zane Grey.

Karl Meltzer is preparing for the AT and lacks the speed of many of the other guys but he can run 100-miles with his eyes closed, knows how to pace the perfect race and loves to sweep up as everyone crumbles.

David Laney has already raced a great deal in 2014 – 2nd at Chuckanut 50k and Bandera 100k. This will be his 1st 100-miler.

Matt Laye won Rocky Raccoon 100 in February… should he be in the top-10 prediction?

Vajin Armstrong has been a dominant force in the Southern Hemisphere running for some time and in 2013 he ventured to Europe and placed 2nd at Swiss Alpine Marathon and Zugspitz. A win at Bedrock 50 in 2014 is backed up with 3rd at Tarawera, 4th at Hong Kong 100 and 13th at Transvulcania.

Yassine Diboun placed 9th at WSER in 18:44.

Dominic Grossman winner of Angeles Crest 100 in 2013.

Ones to watch:

Paul Terranova

David Eadie

AJW

And a notable mention for Steve Spiers.

 

Who have I missed and what do you think?

One thing is for sure; it’s going to be quite a race.

Episode 62 – Comrades, Wardian, Meek, Clark

Ep62

Episode 62 of Talk Ultra ia a Comrades Special show. We have a full and in-depth interview with Michael Wardian who is looking for a top-10 placing. Live from Durban, we speak to Jo Kelsey (Meek) who is having her first experience of this race. Nick Clark joins us to discuss UTMF, WSER and the up and coming Salomon SkyRun South Africa. We have a ladies perspective on running with children in Talk Training. The News, a Blog and joining me as a special Comrades Marathon co-host we have 2013 7th placed lady, Holly Rush.

This show is dedicated to Manya Claassen – RIP

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‘As you all know, Niandi my partner has run Comrades 13-times. She has been on the show and discussed it… this year she returns for her 14th. IT IS THE ULTIMATE HUMAN RACE, you need to experience it to fully understand the emotions and the coming together of so many people. For Niandi, this year will be the hardest race ever, not only Comrades but of all the races she has done. I’m very sad to say that last week, Niandi’s sister, Manya, lost a 6-year long battle with cancer. Words can’t express the loss but despite everything she went through, she was and is one of the strongest ladies I have ever known. I remember Manya running Comrades with Niandi whilst in remission a few years ago. I was glued to the live feed whilst home in the UK. The emotions when she crossed the line will last with me forever… on June 1st, at the crow of the cockerel, Niandi will run one more time, not for herself but for her sister, her sisters children and her family… run strong, run free, run proud.’ Ian Corless
 
Niandi Carmont has asked that we read these words on her behalf:
 
Manya 
 
‘It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
― Ursula Le Guin
She was so perky and positive. I’ll will remember her this way.
 
Sifting through my e-mail I came across this message by my sister. These were words she’d written about a friend who like herself had lost the struggle against breast cancer. Manya had helped the same friend complete the Manya-Tough-One, a race in honour of breast cancer survivors.
Manya called herself a survivor. She was both a survivor and tough. And she loved a challenge. Nothing would irk her more than the words You can’t do that! Once she put her mind to something she did it, irrespective of the difficulty and the dissuasive arguments.
She ran 3 Comrades 2000, 2003 and 2010 – the latter in remission from breast cancer! Manya climbed Kiliminjaro, trekked Europe’s toughest hike the GR20 in Corsica with me, flew over at the drop of a hat to hike the UTMB route, did a crash course on artificial slopes in South Africa to ski on the black slopes in the Alps, bought a road bike and entered the Argus for the fun of it, drove from Jo’burg along the Mozambican coast on her own, transported tons of cement in her SUV to lay the foundations of a house she was building whilst raising 2 generations of kids.
I can honestly say she had no regrets – she lived life to the full and loved life. Manya’s leitmotiv was Carpe Diem but at the same time she was generous and thoughtful of those she loved giving of her time and energy especially to her sons Nathan and Dylan who meant the world to her.
I will miss my little sister – as will her boys, her family and all her friends.
Niandi
 
NEWS
 
ZEGAMA
THIS IS SKYRUNNING…. WATCH THE VIDEO Can you imagine it, one day, hopefully these scenes in the Lakes, the Peaks, Welsh mountains HERE

Men

1. Kilian Jornet (Salomon) 3h48’38”

2. Marco De Gasperi (SCOTT Sports) 3h50’38”

3. Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas) 3h50’57”

4. Ionut Zinca (Valetudo Skyrunning Italia) 3h53’14”

5. Zaid Ait Malek (Buff) 3h55’06”

 

Women

1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon) 4h46’44”

2. Elisa Desco (SCOTT Sports) 4h50’21”

3. Maite Mayora (La Sportiva) 4h51’48”

4. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) 4h52’11”

5. Kasie Enman (Salomon) 4h53’35”

 
TNF100 Australia
 
Men
  1. Stu Gibson – 9:31:11
  2. Andrew Tuckey (The North Face) – 9:31:??
  3. Brendan Davies (Inov-8) – 9:53:10
  4. Jonathan O’Loughlin – 9:53:30
  5. Ben Duffus (Hoka OneOne) – 9:56:16
Ladies
  1. Núria Picas (Buff) – 10:57:46
  2. Joelle Vaught (Montrail) – 11:45:15
  3. Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) – 11:47:52
  4. Gill Fowler (La Sportiva) – 11:56:01
  5. Claire Walton – 12:05:30
GUCR – 145 miles
 
1st Pat Robbins 26:20

2nd Jon Kinder 27:48
3rd Stuart Gillet 29:35
7th Isobel Wykes 31:18 (1st Lady)
14th Heike Bergman 33:18 (2nd Lady)
19th Natasha Farid-Doyle 34:35 (3rd Lady)
NDW50
Richard La Cock 7:05:12
John Melbourne 7:47:36
Thomas Jeffrey 7:52:40
Annabelle Streams 8:18:32
Gemma Carter 8:36:15
Deborah Turner 8:54:36
 
Speedgoat Karl Meltzer puts in another day at the office at the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run this past weekend.  Karl punched the clock for his 4th win at Massanutten in 18:40:23 extending his world record at the 100 Mile distance to 36 wins and counting.  Karl’s win comes on the heels of a 100k win and course record in early April at the Zion 100k. 
 
BLOG
 
INTERVIEW
Michael Wardian talk about his preparation for the 2014 Comrades
 
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat 
 
INTERVIEW
 
Jo Meek speaks to us live from the Hilton, Durban just days before the race
TALK TRAINING with mum, Sue Fisher
 
INTERVIEW
Nick Clark talks UTMF, WSER and the up and coming Salomon SkyRun – https://iancorless.org/salomon-sky-run-south-africa/
 
UP & COMING RACES
 

Argentina

Fiambala Desert Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Fiambala Desert Trail 80K | 80 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Australia

New South Wales

Sydney Trailfest | 100 kilometers | June 06, 2014 | website

Queensland

Endura 50K | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Gold Coast 50 Miler | 50 miles | June 08, 2014 | website

Runners ConneXion 100 km | 100 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Western Australia

Kep Track 100km Ultra Marathon II | 100 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Kep Track 75km Ultra Marathon II | 75 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Bhutan

The Last Secret | 200 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Vancouver 100 km | 100 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vancouver 50 km | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vancouver 62.5 km | 62 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vancouver 75.8 km | 75 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vancouver 87.9 km | 87 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Ontario

Ragnar Relay Niagara Ontario | 192 miles | May 30, 2014 | website

Chile

Ultra Trail Putaendo | 60 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

China

Gobi March 2013 | 250 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Gobi March 2014 | 250 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Czech Republic

Craft Gemini Maraton | 84 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Mammut Ultramaraton | 85 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Denmark

Midtjylland

Nordisk eXtrem maraton X50 | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Nordisk eXtrem maraton X70 | 70 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Syddanmark

Bramming 100K Ultramaraton | 100 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Bramming 50K Ultramaraton | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Finland

Western Finland

Perniön 60 km | 60 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

SUOMI-RUN 100 km | 100 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

France

Côtes-d’Armor

Trail de Guerlédan – 56 km | 56 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Haute-Savoie

Trail des Allobroges | 64 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Trail du Gypaète | 73 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Trail du Lac d’Annecy – Maxi Race | 86 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Trail du Lac d’Annecy – XL Race | 87 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Hautes-Pyrénées

Trail du Hautacam – 50 km | 59 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Week-end Trail Pyrénées | 60 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Haute-Vienne

Le Grand Trail du Limousin | 68 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Hérault

6666 Occitane | 105 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Grand Raid Occitan | 165 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Jura

La Transju’trail – 70 km | 72 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Lozère

Ultra Lozère | 108 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Manche

Ultra D Day Trail | 100 miles | June 12, 2014 | website

Orne

Trail du Massif d’Ecouves en Pays d’Alançon – 61 km | 61 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Pas-de-Calais

Trail des Pyramides Noires – 100 km | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Euskal Trails – Ultra Trail | 130 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Trail des Villages | 80 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Trail Gourmand | 50 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Saône-et-Loire

Ultra Trail de Côte-d’Or – 105 km | 105 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Var

Verdon Canyon Challenge – 110 km | 110 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

Vendée

100 km de Vendée | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Schefflenzer Ultralauf – 100 km | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Schefflenzer Ultralauf – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Lower Saxony

EulenburgTrail 100 Meilen | 100 miles | May 30, 2014 | website

EulenburgTrail 96 km | 96 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

HiLL50 | 52 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

SchnupperUltra | 64 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

TorTour de Ruhr | 230 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Rhineland-Palatinate

Saar-Hunsrück-Supertrail | 128 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Ultra-Trail: 85 km, 2800 hm | 85 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Guadeloupe

Volcano Trail – Le Grand Raid | 51 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Hungary

Ultrabalaton | 212 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Italy

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Magraid | 100 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

Liguria

Avatrail | 50 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Piedmont

Trail del Monte Soglio – Gir Lung | 63 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Sardinia

Sardegna Lakes Trail | 150 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Vigolana Trail | 65 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Veneto

Dolomiti Extreme Trail | 53 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Japan

Hida Takayama Ultra Marathon -100 km | 100 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Hida Takayama Ultra Marathon – 72 km | 72 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Netherlands

Friesland

Pieter-ROG-pad Special Waddeneilanden | 300 kilometers | June 12, 2014 | website

New Caledonia

Ultratrail des Cagous | 80 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Norway

Romerike 50 | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Portugal

Caminhos do Tejo | 146 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

Romania

Fundu Moldovei 3-day staged 115km ultra | 115 kilometers | June 09, 2014 | website

Fundu Moldovei Ultra Romania | 115 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Slovakia

Štefánik Trail | 140 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

South Africa

Comrades Marathon | 89 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Spain

Basque Country

Euskal Herria Mendi Erronka | 65 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Castile-La Mancha

Quixote Legend | 166 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Catalonia

Trail Els Bastions® | 52 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Ultra Els Bastions® | 90 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Sweden

Jättelångt | 68 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Ladonia Crossing 100K | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Ladonia Crossing 50K | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Switzerland

Berne

100km run Biel | 100 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Endurancelife Classic Quarter Ultra Marathon | 49 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Devon

Dartmoor Discovery | 32 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

East Sussex

Norman Conquest 100 | 108 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

Norman Conquest 50 | 51 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

Northamptonshire

Northants Ultra | 35 miles | June 01, 2014 | website

Northern Ireland

Mourne Way Ultra Marathon | 84 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Oxfam Trailtrekker Ireland – 50 km | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

USA

California

Big Basin Trail Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Canyon Meadow 50 km Trail Run (May) | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

DRTE 100K | 100 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

DRTE 100 Mile | 101 miles | May 30, 2014 | website

San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Santa Barbara 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Shadow of the Giants 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Colorado

Golden Gate Dirty Thirty – 50K | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Connecticut

Trail 2 Trail Series Chatfield Hollow State Park 50K | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Idaho

Pocatello 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Pocatello 50 Mile Trail Run | 51 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Kansas

Flint Hills Trail 40 Mile | 40 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

Massachusetts

TARC 100 | 100 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

TARC 100 – 50 Miler | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Michigan

Yankee Springs Trail Double Marathon | 84 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

New Jersey

Mayapple 100K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Mayapple 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

New York

Cayuga Trails 50 | 50 miles | June 01, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Badwater Cape Fear | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie 50 Mile | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Ohio

Buckeye Buster 50 | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Buckeye Buster 50K | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Pennsylvania

Dawn to Dusk to Dawn 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Tennessee

Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race | 60 miles | June 13, 2014 | website

Utah

Squaw Peak 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Vermont

PEAK Ultra Marathon – 100 Miles | 100 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

PEAK Ultra Marathon – 50 miles | 50 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

Virginia

Old Dominion 100 Cross Country Run | 100 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Washington, DC 50K | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Washington, DC 50 Mile | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Washington

Beacon Rock 50k | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Echo Valley 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Echo Valley 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Rainier to Ruston 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Rainier to Ruston 50M Ultra | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Vashon Island 50K Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vashon Ultramarathon 50k | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Wisconsin

Kettle Moraine 100 km Trail Run | 100 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Trail Run | 100 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Kettle Moraine 38 Mile Night Fun Run | 38 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Chicago | 194 miles | June 06, 2014 | website

CLOSE

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Ultra Trail Mount Fuji 2014 Preview #UTMF2014

logo

 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.

utmf_map

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.

utmf_elevation

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/

The Coastal Challenge 2014 – Trail Magazin

Page 1

 

Excellent 9-page feature on the 2014 The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica in the current edition of Trail Magazin in Germany.

Images by iancorless.com and words by Martin Gaffuri (New Balance)

Magazine available in PDF from HERE

Places are currently available for the 11th edition of the 2015 The Coastal Challenge, once again it will prove to be an exciting and exhilarating experience for each and every participant.

UK entries HERE

The Coastal Challenge website HERE

Episode 55 – Wardian, Meek, Clark, Johnston

Ep55

Episode 55 of Talk Ultra – We have a The Coastal Challenge special with an interview with male overall winner, Michael Wardian. Jo Meek, ladies overall winner talks about her training and preparation for the TCC race and Nick Clark discusses how stage racing compares to 100-milers. We have an interview with the 2013 ITI350 winner and recent Susitna 100 winner and new course record holder, David Johnston before he emarks, once again on the ITI350 just one week after his impressive Susitna win! A special Talk Training on nutrition specific to Marathon des Sables with Rin Cobb (PND Consulting). Emelie Forsberg is back for smilesandmiles and of course we have the News, Up and Coming Races and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.

NEWS

Rocky Raccoon 

1. Matt Laye 13:17:42

2. Ian Sharman 13:38:03

3. Jared Hazen 13:57:17

Mention for Steve Spiers 15:26:25 follower of Talk Ultra and 4th – top job!

1. Nicole Struder 15:42:04

2. Kaci Lickteig 15:45:32

3. Shaheen Sattar 16:45:26

Shaun O’Brien 50

1. Dylan Bowman 6:23:17

2. Mike Aish 6:37:34

3. Mike Wolfe 6:57:15

1. Cassie Scallon 7:38:16

2. Sally McRae 8:36:25

3. Denise Bourassa 8:42:57

El Cruce Columbia

1. Marco De Gasperi 6:34:10

2. Sergio Jesus Trecaman 6:38:46

3. Dakota Jones 6:52:37

1. Emma Roca 7:59:23

2. Amy Sproston 8:11:59

3. Adriana Vanesa Vargas 9:30:26

Red Hot Moab 50K

1. Alex Nichols 3:57:11

2. Paul Hamilton 3:59:37

3. Mike Foote 4:07:26

1. Jodee Adams-Moore 4:31:28

2. Kerrie Bruxvoort 4:42:39

3. Hiliary Allen 4:52:01

Susitna 100

1. David Johnston

2. Piotr Chadovich

3. Houston Laws

1. Laura Mcdonough

2. Jane Baldwin

3. Sarah Duffy

 

AUDIO with DAVID JOHNSTON

 

The Costal Challenge

1. Michael Wardian 23:26:23

2. Vicente Beneito +0:25:32

3. Philipp Reiter +0:31:31

1. Jo Meek 29:17:19

2. Julia Bottger +0:57:02

3. Veronica Bravo +3:07:06

 

 AUDIO with JO MEEK

 

TALK TRAINING

With sports dietician Rin Cobb from PND Consulting – http://www.pndconsulting.co.uk

 

INTERVIEW  – TCC Special

MIKE WARDIAN

NICK CLARK

 

MELTZER MOMENT

Good, Bad and Ugly

 

UP & COMING RACES

Argentina

4 Refugios Classica | 80 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

4 Refugios Non Stop | 70 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

La Misión | 160 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

La Misión – 80 km | 80 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Australia

NEW SOUTH WALES

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 100 km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | February 28, 2014 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Party All Night | 50 kilometers | February 28, 2014 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Sun, Sand, Surf | 50 kilometers | February 28, 2014 | website

France

DORDOGNE

Trail en Night and Day 55 km | 57 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

GARD

Trail aux Etoiles | 58 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

LOIRE-ATLANTIQUE

Le Trail du Vignoble Nantais – 50 km | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

PUY-DE-DÔME

Trail de Vulcain – 72 km | 72 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Germany

HESSE

Lahntallauf 50 KM | 50 kilometers | March 02, 2014 | website

Hong-Kong

MSIG Sai Kung 50 | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Italy

TUSCANY

Terre di Siena 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 02, 2014 | website

Mexico

Ultra Caballo Blanco | 50 miles | March 02, 2014 | website

New Zealand

Bedrock50 | 53 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Taupo 155 km Great Lake Relay | 155 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Taupo 67.5 km Great Lake Relay | 67 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Waiheke Round Island 100 km Relay | 100 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Philippines

Davao50 | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

Hardcore Hundred Miles | 100 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

Slovakia

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

South Africa

South African Addo Elephant 44 km Trail Run | 44 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

South African Addo Elephant 76 km Trail Run | 76 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Spain

ANDALUSIA

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

CANARY ISLANDS

Transgrancanaria | 125 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Transgrancanaria – Advanced | 84 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

ESSEX

St Peters Way Ultra | 45 miles | March 02, 2014 | website

KENT

White Cliffs 100 | 104 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

White Cliffs 50 | 53 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

NORTHUMBERLAND

Coastal Trail Series – Northumberland – Ultra | 34 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

USA

ALABAMA

Mount Cheaha 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

ALASKA

Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 mile | 1000 miles | February 23, 2014 | website

Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 mile | 350 miles | February 23, 2014 | website

ARIZONA

Elephant Mountain – 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Old Pueblo 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Del Sol | 200 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

CALIFORNIA

Chabot Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

FOURmidable 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Montara Mountain 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

San Juan Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

COLORADO

Headless Horsetooth Fat Ass 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

FLORIDA

Everglades 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Everglades 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

Palm 100K | 100 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Palm 50K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

MARYLAND

Hashawha Hills 50 km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

MISSISSIPPI

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Miles | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

NEW JERSEY

Febapple Frozen Fifty – 50K | 50 kilometers | February 22, 2014 | website

Febapple Frozen Fifty – 50M | 50 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

Lenape Trail Run | 34 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

NEW YORK

Caumsett State Park 50K | 50 kilometers | March 02, 2014 | website

NORTH CAROLINA

Mount Mitchell Challenge | 40 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

TEXAS

A2B2: Alamo To Border 2 | 162 miles | February 28, 2014 | website

Cowtown Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

Nueces 50K Endurance Trail | 50 kilometers | March 01, 2014 | website

Nueces 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 01, 2014 | website

VERMONT

PEAK Snowshoe 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | February 28, 2014 | website

VIRGINIA

The Reverse Ring | 71 miles | February 22, 2014 | website

WASHINGTON

Lord Hill 50 Km | 50 kilometers | February 23, 2014 | website

CLOSE

LINKS

▪   http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/Episode_55_Wardian_Meek_Clark_Johnston.mp3

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

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

Website – talkultra.com

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

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

©iancorless.com._1150551

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

Mike Wardian TCC2014 Champion ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 Champion ©iancorless.com

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

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

 

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Pura Vida!

RESULTS Stage-6

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

Results and times to follow

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION Confirmed

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

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 5 – Sierpe to Drakes Bay

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

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

Mr. Consistent TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mr. Consistent TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

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

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

Clarky TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clarky TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Costa Rica TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

RESULTS Stage-5

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

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

Wardian 21:07:15

Beneito 21:32:47

Reiter 21:38:26

 

Meek 26:23:22

Bottger 27:28:19

Bravo 29:23:05

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 4 – Ventanas Beach to Sierpe

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

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

©iancorless.com.P1220782

Clark and Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark and Beneito TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beneito and Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Beneito and Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

Philipp Reiter powering up a climb TCC2 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter powering up a climb TCC2 ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

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

©iancorless.com.P1130132

Clark at a water crossing TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark at a water crossing TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

RESULTS Stage-4

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

 GC to be confirmed

Men

  1. Wardian
  2. Beneito
  3. Reiter

Ladies

  1. Meek
  2. Bottger
  3. Bravo

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 3 – Dominical Beach to Ballena Beach

Mike Wardian exiting the riverbed section TCC2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Wardian exiting the riverbed section TCC2012 ©iancorless.com

What a day… it was always going to be spectacular. A long-stretch of running through a riverbed that involved multiple water crossings, rock hopping and climbing. A steady climb to the impressive waterfalls followed by more technical twisting climbing. A fast descent, climbing and the a long stretch of stunning beach that would be undertaken just as the heat of the day took hold.

The star of the day; was a dog! Yes folks, a dog. As the race departed Dominical Beach a little dog joined Philipp Reiter, Nick Clark, Mike Wardian and the rest of the elite male field and he ran all the way to the line some 50kms away; incredible.

Running through the river bed overall GC leaders Jo Meek and Mike Wardian struggled with the technicality of the terrain. At the end of the riverbed section, Gaffuri, Clark, Reiter, Beneito and Sa and had gained 10-mins effectively placing Beneito as race leader whilst on the course.

TCC2014 Stage 3 ©iancorless.com

TCC2014 Stage 3 ©iancorless.com

Experienced adventure racer, Veronica Bravo excelled in the tough and harsh conditions and reveled at the opportunity to show her skill. Equally, Julia Bottger started to put time into female race leader Meek. At the waterfall section, Bravo had a convincing lead but any chance of her ability to pull back 90-mins looked limited. Bottger had started to gain a few minutes on Meek and it was quite apparent from Meek’s face as she arrived at the waterfalls that the early part of the course had tested her.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

From the waterfalls the guys held it together. They were putting time into Wardian but as Clark went on to say post race. “I think we were taking it just a little too relaxed. We were comfortable and not pushing.” When Wardian arrived he was 14-min in down and looking a little worried. The race was on!

Julia Bottger crossing the rocks at the waterfall section TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger crossing the rocks at the waterfall section TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bottger was having a good day and was well aware that she needed to gain time before the long beach section that would allow Meek to open up her stride and find her natural flat running pace. However, after catching Bravo, Bottger made a navigational error that paved the way for Meek to regain the lead and push on to the finish for another stage win and a substantial gain of time over Bottger and Bravo. In camp, Meek was looking weary, “I had to dig deep today. I found the riverbed so difficult. It’s just not my natural talent. I pushed hard out of the waterfall section to ensure that I gained time back. By the time I hit the beach I knew I just needed to run as hard as possible. However, 12km’s of beach in mid 30’s temperatures are not something you take lightly.”

Jo Meek exits the waterfalls TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek exits the waterfalls TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bottger had a sense of frustration, “I was feeling good today. I made a wrong turn and lost a junk of time working my way back on to the course. I have no doubt that Meek would have caught me on the beach section though… that’s trail running!”

Philipp Reiter in the riverbed TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter in the riverbed TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

In the men’s race, Wardian somehow closed a 14-min gap on a small group of leaders made up of Reiter, Beneito and Clark. “I looked around and Mike was there. I couldn’t believe it. I really thought we had him on the ropes” said Clark.

Costa Rican Beaches - stunning but hot! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Costa Rican Beaches – stunning but hot! TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The four entered the beach section and were running neck and neck for a couple of km. “Reiter and myself started to push each other and Beneito and Clark started to fade” said Wardian, “It was a matter of gritting your teeth and hurting.”

“I could hold on no longer” said Clark, “Reiter and Wardian started to pull away and Beneito and myself dropped off. The heat got to me further and I faded again allowing Beneito to pull away from me. It was a darn tough day out there.”

Reiter and Wardian pushed each other to the line, neither able to pull away. Both should be applauded for incredible racing and powers of recovery… Wardian for pulling back an incredible 14-min deficit on the stage and Reiter for recovering from a poor day-1 to potentially move himself back in contention on GC.

Racing days don’t get much better than this!

RESULTS Stage-3

  1. Mike Wardian 5:16:52
  2. Philipp Reiter 5:16:52
  3. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 5:19:27
  4. Nick Clark 5:27:16
  5. Marti Gaffuri 6:01:27
  1. Jo Meek 6:39:59
  2. Julia Bottger 6:47:26
  3. Veronica Bravo 6:59:43
  4. Gemma Slaughter 7:40:57
  5. Hailey Van Dyk 8:12:58

PS – apologies for the late upload, internet connection is sparse and very slow.

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

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

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

©iancorless.com.P1120120

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

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

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

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

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

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

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

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

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

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

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

RESULTS Stage-2

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

General Classification after Stage 2

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