Episode 193 – Damian Hall Pennine Way FKT

Episode 193 – Has a great an interview with Damian Hall on his Pennine Way FKT.
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Talk Ultra is now on Tunein – just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE  You can download the Tunein APP HERE
Talk Ultra needs your help!
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Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
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ARTICLES:
Read about Fastpacking HERE
A review of the NEMO Hornet 1P Tent HERE
FREEDOM in a Pandemic HERE
Shoe reviews of the VJ Sport IROCK 3 HERE and the inov-8 TERRAULTRA G270 HERE
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Tips for the TRAIL:

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NEWS:
FKT’s posted on last show:
* Franco Colle new FKT on Monte Rosa from Gressoney
* Nadir Maguet – Gran Paradiso FKT 2:02:32
* Erik Clavery GR10 9 days 9 hours and a few minutes
* Davide Magnini Ortles FKT 2:18:15
* Kim Collison 24h Lakes achieves 78 Peaks
* Sabrina Verjeee Wainwrights (wishes not to claim)
* Dylan Bowman Loowit Trail 5:11:49
* Josh Pulattie Oregon Coast Trail 12 days 10 hours 25 min
* Candice Burt Tahoe Rim Trail 2 days 12 hours 47 min
* John Kelly Pennine Way 2 days 16 hours 40 min
* Sarah Hansel (57:43) & Joey Campanelli (41:00) for Nolans 14
* Tom Hollins Dales Mountain 30 (130 miles, 30 summits) 41 hrs
UPDATE:
Adam Kimble new FKT on Tahoe Rim Trail, USA
Damian Hall new FKT for the Pennine Way, UK
Adam Jacobs new FKT for Hertfordshire Way, UK
Carla Molinaro new FKT for the JOGLE, UK
Beth Pascall new FKT for the Bob Graham Round, UK and set 5th fastest time.
Check FKT website for latest updates https://fastestknowntime.com/
In other news…
Asif Amirat in the UK is still creating a stir with his 100-marathons in 100-days. Many have been questioning his runs and becoming very vocal on social media. I have reached out to Asif for an interview. At first he was cooperative, however, after I asked several probing questions, he blocked me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
RACES:
Montreux Trail Running Festival – Switzerland COMPLETED
Full results are online here https://montreuxtrail.livetrail.net/ in the main event 112km Jean-Philippe Tschumi and Ragna Debats were crowned champions. Remy Bonnet and Maud Mathys won the 30km.
Speedgoat 50k – USA COMPLETED
Noah Brautigam pipped Hatden Hawks and Anthony Costales to the top slot with Michel Hummel placing 6th on GC and winning the women’s race. Kristina Trystad-Saari and Lelly Wolf were 2nd and 3rd.
Fjallmaraton – Sweden – COMPLETED
Simen Hjalmar Wästlund (Norway) took a surprise victory of UTMB Champion, Pau Capell. In 3rd, Johan Lantz. Times8:50:04, 0:04:49 and 9:35:38.
Azara Garcia took the top slot for the women and placed 9th overall in 10:37:52. Anna Carlsson and Lena Trillelv were 2nd and 3rd.
In the 43km, Tove Alexandersson and Olle Kalered took the top slots
Rondane 100 – Norway – August 15h
Pyrenees Stage Run – Spain (now postponed to 2021)
Marathon des Sables – Morocco (now postponed to 2021)

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Top ultramarathon runner Damian Hall has set a new record time for the 268-mile Pennine Way – while also cleaning the trail of litter at the same time.

The 44-year-old inov-8 ambassador completed the iconic route from Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders to Edale, Derbyshire, which includes a section along Hadrian’s Wall, in an incredible time of 61 hours 34 minutes, beating the previous record by more than three hours.

The Pennine Way is Great Britain’s oldest – and arguably toughest – National Trail. Much of it is over remote, boggy hills, with a total ascent that exceeds the height of Mount Everest.

Popular with hikers, who usually complete it in 16-19 days, Hall did it in just two-and-a-half, battling sleep exhaustion and all manner of tough weather conditions along the way.

Damian and his team of pacers also helped clean the famous trail of litter as they ran, stuffing it in their packs before handing it to support team members at road crossing meet-up points.

“I feel overwhelmed, really. I remember writing about Mike Hartley’s 1989 record in the Pennine Way guidebook before I got into running and thinking ‘That’s insane, I could never do that!’It was a huge team effort and I couldn’t have made it happen without the support of my road crew, pacers and the people we met along the way. I had the inevitable low spells, but the incredible team got me through them. I felt hugely motivated by three things and had FFF written on my arm in permanent marker as a reminder. They stood for Family, Friends, Future – the latter relating to our need to protect the planet. There wasn’t lots of litter on the trails, but we picked up anything we saw. The road support crew did likewise from the places they met me at along the way. Also, the whole attempt has been certified as ‘carbon negative’ by Our Carbon, as has all my running and my family’s lifestyle for 2020.”

The record Hall beat had previously been set just a week earlier by his friend John Kelly (64 hours 46 minutes); an American ultramarathon runner now based in England. Listen to John Kelly on EP182 HERE – Before that it had stood unbeaten for 31 years, belonging to legend of the long-distance running sport, Mike Hartley, who ran 65 hours 20 minutes in 1989. Kelly ran the route south to north, starting in Edale, while Hall followed in the footsteps of Hartley by doing it north to south. Either way, the route is regarded as one of the toughest in the UK.

Damian, has achieved a great deal in recent year’s and notably finished 5th at UTMB as well as setting other FKT’s. This FKT was fuelled without animal products or plastic waste, while raising more than £4,000 on a JustGiving page for Greenpeace UK.

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INTERVIEW : DAMIAN HALL
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Please listen to the INTERVIEWS – please follow the show
Hosted on ANCHOR (HERE) the INTERVIEWS will also be available to listen on many other players, including SPOTIFY (HERE).
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TALK ULTRA podcast will be released as normal providing you long shows as it has always done with ideally two shows per month. The back catalogue will be released randomly via the INTERVIEWS and not chronologically.
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Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein. We are also on Spotify too.
Our web page at www.iancorless.com has all our links and back catalogue.
Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
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inov-8 TERRAULTRA G270 Review

I first got a hold of the original TERRAULTRA 2-years ago, the G260. It was a groundbreaking shoe for inov-8 not only introducing a zero-drop shoe to the brands line-up but also paving the way for Graphene technology.

A great deal has happened in the past 2-years with Graphene appearing in more and more inov-8 shoes but interestingly no other zero drop shoes have been added to the line-up.

The TERRAULTRA G260 was warmly welcomed, particularly by any trail runner using Altra who now had a zero-drop alternative now available with a brand who really know how to make off-road shoes from a long history in the fells of the UK.

Now, the G260 has been updated and we welcome the TERRAULTRA G270.

On first glance, it could look like the same shoe. That green colour is somewhat distinctive! However, one does not need to look longer to see some immediate significant changes.

The upper, the lacing, the outsole and the cushioning all sort of look the same but they are not.

In the words on inov-8:

  • Graphene outsole has 4mm deep cleats all now armed with dispersion channels and rubber dimples to give better grip on wet and dry trails. Cleats are repositioned in key areas and flex grooves fine-tuned for agile sticky traction that lasts longer.
  • Cushioning is a new POWERFLOW MAX that has been increased by 3mm for a plush ride, improved cushioning and double the durability. A BOOMERANG insole apparently will increase energy return by 20 and 40% respectively over the previous model.
  • The upper has ADAPTERFIT which adjusts to the foot and the use of stronger materials will add to durability and protection.

The Shoe

With a fit scale of 5, this is as wide as you can go in an inov-8 shoe, So, toe splay and room at the front end comes no better.

Cushioning is 12mm front and rear providing a zero drop. Using POWERFLOW MAX.

The footbed is 6mm and the lug depth of the outsole is 4mm made of Graphene grip.

It G270 has the necessary points to attach a trail gaiter.

At 270g (UK8) the new TERRAULTRA is 10g heavier than the previous version.

Sizing is true to size BUT take into consideration the wider toe box, maybe (?) a half-size smaller would be better. I always use EU44/ UK9.5 and these were ideal for me.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The G270 is light and it’s clear to see some of the immediate improvements over the previous version. The lacing is flatter, the tongue is different, the upper is different, the toe box protection is increased, and the shoes have the flagship Graphene outsole that looks very different.

Zero drop is NOT for everyone, so, what makes the G270 great for some also make the G270 potentially unusable for others. This is not a negative comment, it’s just a heads-up to say, that if you have not used zero drop before, don’t be tempted to get the G270 and start racking miles up… You will almost certainly get sore Achilles, calf and potentially get injured. Like barefoot running, zero drop running needs to be learnt and the body needs to adapt. Typically, 6-months would be a good transition period. However, some zero-drop running (initially short periods) is great for improving run form, so, the G270 could be a nice new weapon in your shoe line-up?

If zero drop is your thing, then you will already have a big smile on your face.

Following on from the G260, the G270 has a wide toe box that echoes what brands like Altra have been doing for years. Toe splay is king and the G270 has loads of room for that. I had issues with the G260 in that I always felt I had too much room, the room at the front was made worse by the upper and lacing system not holding my foot how I wanted to compensate for the additional width, space and foot movement.

Slipping the G270 on I was initially worried, the space in the toe box was as much if not a little more than the previous version. However, as soon as I adjusted and tightened the laces, I immediately noticed significant changes. The tongue was a much better fit. The lacing was great improved, and I could really adjust the tension from top to bottom. The ADAPTERFIT pulled in holding my foot. Walking around immediately felt 100% better than the G260. My foot was being held reassuringly.

The upper is far more breathable that the G260.

The cushioning and bounce were notable and the outsole at this stage left me with many questions.

IN USE

The G260 was a little lifeless and felt flat. The G270 immediately felt different with a couple of miles on the road before hitting the trails. So, this was already a great improvement.

With META-FLEX at the front, the propulsive phase felt really good no doubt added to with the insole that inov-8 say increases energy return by 40%. I definitely felt some bounce, but 40% more?

The cushioning was noticeable, particularly over the G260 as was the zero drop. I use zero drop shoes occasionally, but always prefer 4/5mm for faster and more technical running and if going long, 8mm works perfect for me. So, considering the G270 is designed for long-distance running, zero drop would be a challenge for me.

The wide toe box still feels mega wide (too wide for me) BUT the lacing and ADAPTERFIT allowed me to compensate for the room at the front by tightening appropriately. However, I did fine once or twice I over-tightened the laces only having to stop and loosen them a little.

The transition from road to gravel trail was seamless and comfortable. The TERRAULTRA is an out and out ultra-shoe designed for trails that are more groomed, say Western States in the USA or UTMB in Europe. So hard packed single-track felt really good in the G270, equally rocky and stoney ground felt good.

Running up hill surprised me. The META-FLEX allowed for great flexibility and propulsion, but it was the outsole that really gripped. A massive improvement over the G260.

I have to say, I have not always been a fan with the addition of Graphene. At times, I felt it compromised the sticky outsoles and made them less grippy, albeit providing longer life. But on many occasions, for me particularly, grip is king and if it is compromised, I am not happy.

Here, in the G270 there was noticeable difference, and this was coming from just 4mm lugs.

The test of course would really come when I threw in some mud and wet rock.

Gladly, mud (loads of it) rocks, tree routes, climbs, descents, wooden planks, forests and yes, a little fire trail all make up my daily and local runs. So, throwing the G270 in the thick of things was easy to do. And yes, I was being unfair as I actively searched out and aimed for steep rocks with water on them and I aimed for every puddle and sloppy mud I could.

I was impressed.

At times, I would think to myself, almost wanting the G270 outsole to fail;

‘This will get them… wait for the slip!’

But the slip never came, especially on dry and wet rock. On a 3-hour run, as the minutes clicked by, I started to relax more and more and eventually stopped worrying and asking;

‘Will the G270 grip here?’

They did, at all times provide me with the grip I required.

Surprisingly, in really sloppy mud, I did not slip or move as I had expected. Partially due to the fact that I did apply the brakes a little and respect the conditions.

Technical trail is where the G270 shows some flaws. The wider toe box lacks precision, allows one’s toes to move and therefore I felt that there was just ‘too much’ shoe to navigate between rocks, roots, stones and a plethora of other obstacles. But of course, I am being unfair! The G270 is designed for less technical trails, long hours and all-day comfort – that they do really well!

The shoes are responsive and do work well when running fast. However, the wide toe box, zero drop and cushioning do make them feel a little like a saloon car… Plenty of room, comfy seats, and can get the miles done. But I craved a more performance car at times with more precision, tighter handling and a little more fire and daring, especially when coming of road, fire trails or single-track.

The cushioning was plush and considering it is only 12mm, it felt like more. Especially noticeable extra comfort over the 9mm G260 which also was a little hard and lifeless. One thing to note, I found on tree routes and some stones, I could feel them in the bottom of my foot, so protection from obstacles is minimal. The toe box though has a good bumper and that worked really well.

The heel box was noticeably secure on the flat and going uphill, I had little to no slippage.

SUMMARY

Damian Hall just ran 260-miles on the Pennine Way in the G270 and set a new FKT, so, that gives some indication of the intended use of this shoe. Having said that, the Pennine Way is not all single-track and wonderful cruising trail, so, the shoe can handle the rough stuff too.

I was impressed by how versatile the 4mm Graphene outsole worked. There has been some significant improvement over the G260 and in the Graphene outsole in general.

The upper, lacing and tongue now really hold the foot and that for me is essential, especially with such a wide toe box. The toe box is one of the key selling points of this shoe. It allows toe splay, plenty of room and flexibility for a foot to swell wider with accumulated miles.

The cushioning increased from 9mm (G260) to 12mm for the G270 is noticeable. More importantly, the G270 now has life, the G260 felt a little dead.

CONCLUSION

The G270 is a marked improvement over the G260, so, if you liked the previous model you are going to love the latest incarnation.

Zero drop and a wide toe box will be exactly what some people are looking for and they will have a big smile on their face. For me, and this of course is very personal, I can’t run in zero for hours and hours and I feel that the toe box is a little roomier than it needs to be.

So, imagine a Trail Talon 290 made like a TERRAULTRA G270 – slightly narrower toe box (4 fit) 8mm drop; 11mm and 19mm cushioning and this Graphene outsole – that would be a winning shoe IMO. (inov-8 take note)

The G270 is a winning shoe and all packaged perfectly for ultra-distance runner who needs grip, cushioning and comfort for the long-haul out on the trails. It would even make a great road shoe if required.

For multi-day adventures, such as Marathon des Sables, just like the Trail Talon, the G270 would be really excellent.

Get the TERRAULTRA G270 at inov-8 HERE

If technical trail and mud is your thing, this is not the best shoe for that, however, it can handle it remarkably well, so, if you only wanted one trail shoe (with zero drop) to do all, the G270 would be ideal. By contrast, if you wanted a one-stop trail shoe with 8mm drop, I recommend the Trail Talon 290.

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#IRunAtHome – #YoCorroEnCasa – RUN VIRTUAL

#IRunAtHome / #YoCorroEnCasa

Pau Capell, Tofol Castanyer, Kilian Jornet and journalist, Albert Jorquera thought that it would be a good idea to all get together and run virtually, at home, at the same time with the Spanish run community. Ultra-trail runners love to spend long hours running in the mountains, but they wanted to emphasize that during this quarantine and isolation period, the most important thing is to get out of the house as little as possible and help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Listen to KILIAN JORNET

The four, together with Jordi Saragossa and Maria Fainé, decided to create the #YoCorroEnCasa (IrunAtHome) Challenge. With this challenge they wanted to bring a maximum number of people doing sports together in the home; distance did not matter, it could be 100 metres or maybe a marathon! The important aspect was the social side, the coming together as a community to share an experience.

To participate ‘officially’ in this ‘virtual run’ participants made a donation to #YoMeCorono – The team of doctors and researchers who had started pioneering clinical trials to define which drugs will immediately be used to treat the infected patients, prevent ongoing contagion and look for a vaccine against the virus.

It was a huge success with over 7400 participants.
The total raised was an incredible 82.940 Euros.
Every single euro was donated to charity.

This pandemic has deprived us all of so many privileges, running may seem insignificant now, but getting together to run in the mountains or on trails is not possible for most of us. We, as runners though are not willing to give up, we are going to fight Covid-19 together to stop it and fight to continue doing what we are passionate about.

So, come April 18th we want you to join us with the tag, #IRunatHome and in the process we will race funds for the NHS Charities Covid-19 Appeal.
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“Our amazing NHS staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to care for COVID-19 patients. And we want them to know the country has also got their back. We are so proud and in awe of NHS staff and volunteers as they work tirelessly to save lives! This means staying away from their homes and families, working day and night, to treat as many people as possible in need of care.”
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We have multiple confirmed elite runners who you can virtually run with.

Jasmin Paris

Damian Hall

Andy Symonds

Tom Evans

Holly Page

Finlay Wild

Tom Owens

Beth Pascall

And more joining daily.

Please help us spread the word and help us raise money by #IRunAtHome

April 18th 2020 starting 0900 GMT till 2100 GMT.

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DONATE TO THE NHS CHARITY HERE

REGISTER TO PARTICIPATE HERE

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Rules for entry

We appreciate that depending on where you are located, that it ‘may’ be possible to run outside by respecting social distancing. However, this challenge is all about ‘Staying Home’ and self-isolating and joining other runner’s in a challenge of #IRunAtHome

  • You must run in your home and/ or garden/ treadmill.
  • Any distance is acceptable.
  • Start at any time from 0900 and finish before 2100 hours.
  • To enter, please DONATE HERE at a specific charity page, all funds go directly to the charity.
  • Register to run HERE.
  • You will receive an email from Eventbrite, please check as you will be provided a link to download a Run Bib. Be creative with the bib! Add a number, name and decorate.
  • Encourage family members to take part, no age limit. The more runner’s, the better.
  • Spread the word. (Logos HERE)
  • Be creative, this is more about being social and sharing – share videos, photos and tell the world that #IRunAtHome

Luis Alberto Hernando and family shows how to be creative with #IRunAtHome

We thank adidas TERREX who will support with prizes of run shoes for the most creative runs and social media posts. Make sure you tag #IRunAtHome and use our Facebook and Twitter account.

Join us

 FACEBOOK HERE

TWITTER @IRunAtHome1

 
RUN VIRTUAL
#IRunAtHome

Episode 182 – John Kelly and Damian Hall

Episode 182 of Talk Ultra brings you an in-depth interview with John Kelly, winner of the 2020 Spine Race and Damian Hall who set a new winter FKT in the UK.
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We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons… you can even join us on the show! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create!
Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
Donate HERE
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00:49:37 DAMIAN HALL
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01:56:35 JOHN KELLY
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Please listen to the INTERVIEWS – please follow the show

Hosted on ANCHOR (HERE) the INTERVIEWS will also be available to listen on many other players, including SPOTIFY (HERE).
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03:27:22 SHOW LENGTH
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Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB https://www.facebook.com/talkultra/
Tweet us on Twitter – Talk Ultra on Twitter https://twitter.com/Talkultra
And use good old word mouth.
Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein.
Our web page at www.iancorless.com has all our links and back catalogue.
Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
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Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE
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TRAINING FOR… UTMR with Damian Hall

Damian Hall ran his first half marathon race in 2011. In his own words, “It was  a life-changing race.” Just 1-year later he ran his first marathon and first ultra-marathon. Dedicated to the art of running, Damian became a student of the sport and through his journalism work, he gleamed as much information as possible. He became his own test subject.

In a very short period of time, he completed the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc on four occasions progressing each year to finally place 5th. He has run Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert,the Ice Ultra in Arctic Sweden,The Coastal Challenge in Costa and has excelled at multi-discipline and long distance races in the UK such as The Spine, The Dragons Back and the UK Trail Championships.

His love for the sport has also seen him test himself on multiple challenges and FKT’s such as running ‘The Rounds’ such as Bob Graham, the South West Coast Path and most recently the Cape Wrath Trail with Beth Pascall.

A lover of a good mug of tea and a Tunnock biscuit, Damian, the husband and father of two children, has a popular voice on the UK ultra-run scene.

Leaving his beloved UTMB alone in 2019, Damian will challenge himself in September with the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa.

Training for…, a series of new articles brought to you by the multi-stage and ultra-running specialist store, myRaceKit, http://www.myracekit.com

We are very fortunate to have myRaceKit sponsoring several articles on ‘Training for…’ in this scenario, the UTMR, the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa, an epic trail race designed by no less than Lizzy Hawker, who in herself is an absolutely stunning multi-day ultra-runner. Lizzy came up with this beast of a race, or should I say beasts of races because now there is more than one, there is the big one which is a 170 km with 11,300 meters of vertical, there is a four-stagerace which is basically the big one broken down into four days and then there are the Ultra Three Passes which is 100 km with 6420 meters of vertical gain, big statistics. I wondered, what enticed Damian to tackle the UTMR instead of UTMB in 2019?

“I thought if I’m not doing UTMB, I’ll do the race with the closest name,” Damian says with a hint of mischief. “No. I think number one, I love running a hundred miles, I think it’s a really special race distance, I also love running a hundred miles in a lumpy place because it’s just that bit more ‘hurty,’ but I think the number one appeal really for me is Lizzy Hawker actually, I’ve never met her and she’s a huge inspiration to me. When Iwas just getting into the sport, she was winning UTMB every year, and I love her outlook on the sport, I’m sure she probably wouldn’t call it a sport, it’s probably more than that to her and probably to me as well, but I’ve read her book, I love that and she’s just super inspiring. I still have that UTMB obsession to shake off, I did four UTMBs in a row and I’m looking forward to a year without one just to freshen things up and see what that feels like and UTMR, it’s not too far away either, is a similar time of year but in a way it sounds very similar and yet very different. Obviously, the crowds will be a lot smaller, the field’s a lot smaller. It sounds like a tougher course, there’s more climb. From the pictures I’ve seen, it’s possibly more spectacular. I’ve had three good friends do it including Nicky Spinks. They’ve all absolutely raved about it. There’s a whole load of reasons to be attracted to the race. I’m really excited.”

Put like that, it’s self-explanatory why Damian will venture to new ground. After all, the Matterhorn as a backdrop to stunning trails is an easy sell. It’s arguably the most iconic mountain in the world, maybe even more so than Everest. After all, Everest did not make it on to Toblerone packaging!

Damian came to this sport later in life, and in doing so, has inspired a great deal of people to relook at their own running and what they can achieve. I’ve always said, age is just a number, it doesn’t actually really mean anything. Not only are you proving that but there’s countless other people proving that. In 2014, Damian placed fourth in the Spine and second in the Cotswold Way, which was then just about over 100 miles. The following year, I raced at the Dragon’s Back, he placed 29th at UTMB. Then the following year, you came to The Coastal challenging Costa Rica where you placed fifth in a super stacked front field. Second at the Highland Fling which was a UK trail championship, a great result. You moved up from 29th to 19th at UTMB, then 19th to 12th and then 12th to 5th! Actually, 2018 was a great year for you because you won the Ice Ultra, you were sixth at Madeira and you were first at Ultimate Trails and second at Mozart 100.

“Yes, I think I’ve realized that UTMB and similar are the races I like.  Long climbs and some technical aspects and fun. I suppose fun, long technical descents. I’ll be honest, I like a hiking race. I like a long climb that’s so long, you can’t really run it. I like the change in rhythm that that brings. I am not full-time but am dedicated. My progression has been gradual, and I am happy. UTMR in a way is perfect because it’s some of the similar format big mountains, similar distance that kind of thing but it feels quite fresh and that’s a new course.”

Running well for any race usually requires very specific preparation and ideally on opportunity to go and run on some of the race route.

“I’m still undecided whether I’ll be able to go on recce or not. Traditionally, I haven’t really recced races because I’m in the sport for the adventure really. Obviously, I love the athletic, the competitive element of it too. I love the adventure element where you’re not really sure what the course looks like and you’re not sure what’s of the next horizon, the next mountain, the next valley.”

A family man who works, how does Damian plan his training? How does he fit in training? What does his research look like when going into a race? So many questions come to mind! It’s very easy with the Ultra Monte Rosa course I guess, look at a map and it’s a nice big circular loop and you suddenly start to see really key statistics like Zermatt and Saas-Fee and then you start to look at everything else and then suddenly you realise there’s lots of 4,000 meter mountains in this area. It’s going to be quite a hard race. How does Damian start to approach the training process for a race like this?

“I guess the distances is a key statistic and you’d hope people would know the distance before they sign up but then it’s also how much vert as the Americans call it, how much ascent is in the race overall. What I learned from my first UTMBis actually the descending is going to hurt than the climbing. It’s always important to know roughly what that figure is and that’s going to dictate probably the latter block of my training.”

You need to be strong for a race like a long distance ultra, particularly when in the mountains, I wondered on Damian’s approach to strength and conditioning?

“I do additional strength work making sure my legs are strong enough for that. I suppose how technical is the course is something that people think about a lot and quite rightly. UTMB for example has got a couple of short technical sections, I suppose, but mostly it’s good terrain, good hard trails. I must admit I haven’t looked in detail yet at UTMR about how technical it is compared to UTMB.I have heard more technical. Strength is key and another thing I’ve done over the time is I’ve worked with Shane Benzie who’s a movement specialist on having good technique for descending, especially for the technical terrain. I still don’t always get it right. I’ve just seen some of my photos from my recent race and they’re a bit disappointing. My technique was out of step. As you get tired sometimes, old habits slip in.”

I am sure that Damian’s training is more than just going for a run, but what about speed?

“There’s volume of course, ultra-runners need volume and miles. But I’ll be going to the track as well because last year for the first time, I started doing track work. I hate it but know it’s effective. I’m 43, I’m trying to squeeze every… I guess people would call it marginal gains, but I make sure I’m as fast as can be as well legs being as strong as can be and so on. I will be going to the track.”

Vertical climbing is a key element to a race like UTMR, as well as the descending as Damian has mentioned. Breaking training down into blocks, ‘periodization’ is important, I asked Damian how he approaches these elements.

“A good plan is all about periodizing, for now, I am in a good spell of getting fast. Vertical training will come a bit later nearer the race, which thankfully is in the summer when it’s a bit more pleasant getting to mountainous places. Also, what’s changed for me over the couple of years also is that I really look forward to runningraces. Now, I think I’m more sensible in picking three or four key ones for a year. Actually, I really enjoy the training. I love training for the sake of training, which is a nice feeling, a nice place to be, I suppose.”

Adding races in to training can be difficult, especially if one of those ‘other’ races can be as important as another ‘A’ race. For example, Damian hopes to run Western States which is close to UTMR and the courses are very different.

“Yeah, at the moment, I’ve still got this outside hope or outside wish of doing Western States in late June. Obviously, some of the Western States training would benefit UTMR, but some of it would be quite different. I don’t know if I’ll be doing it yet. In a way, I can’t plan too much of that, but I know that July and August will be all about UTMR for me. That probably means a big amount of days and trying to get a lot mountain running.”

Equipment for Western States is pretty straightforward. You need a pair of running shoes, shorts, and a top, and a hydration vest, whereas UTMR is going to be something that is completely different. Variables in terrain, extremes of hot and cold, mandatory kit, poles, etcetera. I asked Damian what are some of the specifics in a mountain race in terms of equipment that he needs, must have, and then the optional extras that he takes?

“There is something special about doing a mountain race where you have a pack, where you’re feeling self-reliant, where you know you can be okay for 6, 8, 10, 12 hours with everything in your pack, maybe even 24 hours if you get off-course. I do like that. That’s mostly why I got into the sport really is to have those mini mountain ventures. I do love agonizing over what kit to take and checking the weight of everything and checking the weather and all that aspect in the few weeks beforehand. I love all that, the anticipation.”

So, what equipment does Damian take?

“I’ll take two if not three waterproof jackets because probably the last weather forecast, the day before the race, will probably determine which one I take. With UTMB, I learned in the past that the weather can do anything and you’re not really sure. You need to be prepared for bad weather in high mountains. Any jacket should have taped seams and of course one needs appropriate trousers to go with the jacket.”

 

“I’ll probably, depending on the time of year, take a Protec-Shell which is probably a winter jacket. I wouldn’t expect to use that, but you never know, the weather really might come in and you don’t want to be caught out. I don’t expect to race in that, but I’ll take that out with me just in case.”

 

“Base layers, I use merino wool because that just gives you a little bit of extra warmth. For the last two years at UTMB I’ve worn merino gloves. I’m pretty sure they’ll be on mandatory kit list. If the weather is rough, I might be taking two, I might be taking a pair of mitts to go over the top of the gloves. I imagine there’ll be some mid layer. Again, that’s a tricky one. Sometimes if you go the lightest possible then you might get caught out. Again, I’ll probably go two different options maybe a merino one and maybe a PrimaLoft. I’ll probably take a light pair of tights as well if it’s on the mandatory kit.”

 

“Headlamp and spare batteries are essential, I really like the Petzl NAO+ which you can program in an app. You can decide exactly how many hours you want it to last for. It’s really bright. It’s been dependable so far. Poles, I like the Black Diamond Z Pole.”

Poles have become increasingly popular in ultra-races, particularly in mountain races. Certainly, in America, you wouldn’t see anybody using poles. I think that’s primarily because the terrain out there is probably more runnable. I’m not saying that they don’t have plenty of vert. For example, Hard Rock has got plenty of vert. Hard Rock is a good example because now if you look at the elite field in Hard Rock, they’re pretty much all using poles. Poles have become almost the ‘go to’ in races like UTMB and all these other mountain races but a lot of people think that they can just pick up a pair of poles the day before a race and use them. There is absolutely a real skill to using poles. Damian has used poles on many occasions, I wondered about his thought process?

Read about using poles HERE

“Poles still causing some debate definitely in some British circles where I think they still get called cheat sticks. About whether they’re really useful or not, in the last couple years I’ve seen definitely even people like Jim Mann and Nicky Spinks, Jasmin Paris and so on use them. Personally, I think they help me with long climbs. I can’t prove they do really unless I suppose I did a huge climb without them and then a huge climb with them to compare. I suppose I’ve never actually done that. Some of it may be psychological. You might feel you’re climbing better with them, but I really believe in this sport the mental side is so important. If you think you’re climbing well, then chances are it will help, positive mindsetis key and think. I really feel they helped with climbing. It’s not just spreading the load of the muscles. It keeps you more upright as well which can aid your breathing. It also means your muscles, especially your quads, get less stress because there’s always a temptation to bend. Practice in training is essential, especially on your long runs. Also, press-ups are excellent to tone the required muscles.”

 

“Also, the better your arms are moving your legs tend to follow your arms. If your arms are keeping a decent cadence your legs are hopefully not being too lazy and keeping a decent smaller cadence. A bigger cadence but a smaller gap, smaller stride. That’s what I found. I also try hard to tuck them away for any flats or downhills because I think they seem to slow me up. I think that’s a cadence thing where if you’re holding poles your arms move less and therefore your legs can move less. Poles also aid travelling down hill,  sometimes I’ve been so wrecked that my quads have needed the extra help on the downhill.”

Safety is a key element in mountain races, the need for minimum calories, minimum liquid, a mobile phone and so on. I wondered if Damian had witnessed key changes?

“When I started out in the sport, I think I’d usually go with a bladder, that seemed to make more sense but the last few years I’ve been using soft flasks. I think it’s easier to see how much water you’ve got and to monitor how much you’re drinking. For example, at Station A, you might just fill them both up and try and drink them both by the time you get to the next one. I think if I need to carry one and a half, I’d probably just take three soft flasks. One might stay in the back of my pack depending on how hot it is. If it’s getting hot I’ll maybe bring that into play, but what I’ve learned as well as sometimes you have a third one that’s full of water and you use that for tipping over your head if it’s really hot rather than drinking because it can be more important to bring the body temperature down, definitely what I learned at Costa Rica! In regard to nutrition, it goes in waves and it constantly changes, I usually go with one gel and some nuts to be honest because nuts are high calorie per weight. If you are in trouble or you found someone else is in trouble, the sugar from a gel is going to help them quicker. Emergency food is very personal. In addition to a phone, often a space blanket or even a form of bivvy bag is required along with a whistle and compass. It all makes sense. Now I even would consider a GPS like a Garmin inReach as a really useful safety addition.”

Most mandatory kit lists include whistle and compass, that’s pretty normal. Some sort of elastic bandage or strapping is also useful should you have a bad ankle or a knee that you can strap it up is useful. Also, your own cup just makes sense.

“Yes, definitely, it is kind of horrifying especially in road running. I’m not trying to beat up on road running necessarily but when you see a city half marathon or marathon. Then you just see the debris left behind afterwards of water bottles. I don’t know how practical it is to turn that to road races and stuff but obviously, this is the way forward. We’re all in the last year or two become really aware of plastic wastage and yes it’s horrifying some of the stuff we’ve seen in the oceans.”

Finally, I asked Damian for a top-tip to get ready for UTMR.

“There are a few things. An obvious thing is a bit more strength work which obviously has other benefits and should help prevent injury and stuff. I must credit Ian Sharman who used to coach me, his signature session is probably the weight vest hike which I’ve become a fan of, and a weight vest is only probably only about £30 or £40 online, maybe eight to 10 kilograms and you wear for half an hour at a time, one or two miles, ideally a little bit of hill involved. Not running and just hiking you definitely don’t run downhill because that’s a hell of a lot of weight to go through your knees. If you just get in the habit of doing a short walk, often for people it’s a dog walk maybe, that can grow a bit of strength quite safely.Ultimately if you live somewhere flat it’s probably a good idea if you can sometimes get away to somewhere lumpier and do some specific training. Personally, I live near Bath in the bottom of the Cotswold’s, I go to the Brecon Beacons quite regularly, which is a three-hour round trip for me. The longest climb there still is just only 400 meters, that’s not even half of what it will be in the Alps, but one can do repeats.”

One thing is for sure, in any running adventure, if you want to progress and perform, you need to be specific. Damian has applied these principles and year-on-year, as he has learnt and has progressed. It’s not just the ‘running’ part but the planning, the equipment, the strength, core, nutrition and importantly the mind. To achieve one must address all those aspects to perform.

Training for…A series of new articles brought to you by the multi-stage and ultra-running specialist store myRaceKit, http://www.myracekits.com.

MANDATORY EQUIPMENT for UTMR

Mobile Phone HERE

Head Torch and batteriesHERE

Bottles x2 or bladder (1.5ltr)  HEREor HERE

Emergency food (400 cal)HERE

Bivvy bagHERE

Whistle

Elastic bandageHERE

Drinking cupHERE

Waterproof jacket w/ hoodHERE

Waterproof trousers HERE

3/4 or full run tightsHERE

Warm hatHERE

GlovesHERE

GPS tracker (provided)

Identity papers– Passport is required in a waterproof bag

Rear lightHERE

Thermal warm layerHERE

Run packHERE

PolesHERE

Dry BagHERE

LINKS:

myRaceKit – HERE

UTMR – HERE

Damian Hall – HERE

 

Listen to the ‘Training for…’ article on Talk Ultra Podcast HERE

Join Ian Corless in London with Lizzy Hawker ‪@lizzihawker in June for a special @myRaceKit ‬#Tailsfromthetrails couple of days!

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Episode 169 – Michael Wardian #fktisrael and Damian Hall #training for by myRaceKit

Episode 169 of Talk Ultra is here… We bring you an interview with Michael Wardian ahead of his 631-mile #fktisrael – We also introduce a new segment to Talk Ultra ’Training for…’ brought to you by myRaceKit – this week we chat with Damian Hall and Ultra Tour Monte Rosa
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Talk Ultra is now on Tunein- just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE  You can download the Tunein APP HERE
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*****
NEWS
THE COASTAL CHALLENGE
Well we discussed on the last episode how The Coastal Challenge would be an epic race and wow, it was! Pere Aurell from Spain won the race outright but the real drama came from the women with Ida Nilsson winning two stages outright, setting 4 female stage records, obliterating the old CR by 3-hours and placing 2nd overall! We also need to shout out to Holly Page who set 2 female stage records… It was an incredible edition of the race. Read the race reports 1 HERE 2 HERE 3 HERE 4 HERE 5 HERE 6 HERE and Photographs HERE
WAY TOO COOL 50km
Anthony Costales (3:17) and Clare Gallagher (3:53) topped the podium for a very muddy 50k!
TRANSGRANCANARIA
Pau Capell produced a masterclass performance to dominate the race ahead of Pablo Villa and Cristofer Clemente12:42, 13:31 and 13:42.
The women’s race was much closer with an interesting dynamic at the front, last-year’s winner Magdalena Laczak triumphed in 16:22 ahead of Kaytlyn Gerbin and Fernanda Maciel, 16:35 and 17:03.
Read HERE
BLACK CANYON 100KM
Matt Daniels took top honours ahead of Chris Mocko and Eric Senseman. The top 2 obtaining WSER Golden Tickets but Mocko already had a ticket from Bandera 100km and therefore Senseman benefited.
Kaci Lickteig is back and now back at WSER after her victory ahead of YiOu Wang and Mallory Richard.
FKT ISRAEL
Michael Wardian on March 11th (tbc) plans to take on the Israel National Trail running the approximate 631-miles in a target window of 10-days. Read HERE. 
I will be along to document the attempt in words and images with daily updates on this website and of course on all the relevant social media. Follow #fktisrael
READ HERE
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00:10:45 Interview with MICHAEL WARDIAN
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TRAINING FOR…
In a series of new podcasts and articles, ’TRAINING FOR…’ will bring you discussion with runners on how they will prepare for their next big adventure.
This is brought to you by myRaceKit – the multi-stage and ultra-running specialist store  www.myracekit.com
 
01:00:23 TRAINING FOR… with DAMIAN HALL
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Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
Keep running
01:47:30
*****
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UP & COMING RACESgo to https://marathons.ahotu.com

Transgrancanaria 2019 Race Preview

Transgrancanaria is upon us once again. Arguably, it is the first big European race to kick-off a new racing season. Due to it’s timing, it’s a popular race for many high-ranking elites, European and from over the pond, it allows them to race hard and recover in time for the next big targets that will come in May, June, July or beyond.

Starting in the north of the island, the race travels all the way south covering many kilometres with vertical in abundance. Starting at night, the race involves many hours of darkness before the arrival of dawn. It’s a tough race, ask anyone who has done it and they will tell you, ‘It is a brute!’

The 2019 line-up as in previous years is spectacular.

The 2018 champion, Pau Capell, returns looking for another victory. Pau had a relentless 2018 campaign and will for sure come to the race ready to give it all.

Cristofer Clemente placed 3rd in 2018 and is a master of pacing. Expect him to be out of the top-10 early on and then move up the ranks with the arrival of dawn.

Julien Chorier just raced in Hong Kong at the two stage 9 Dragons. He won the first day and placed 2nd on day-2, he lost time due to the heat and humidity and finished 2nd overall behind Kazufumi Ose. He will be in great shape for Transgrancanaria.

The UK’s Damian Hall has been on a roll these past year’s. He seems to really be honing his craft and 5th at the 2018 UTMB proves it. He recently set a FKT with Beth Pascall on the Cape Wrath trail – expect Damian to do really well!

Hayden Hawks won Lavaredo in 2018 and this race will be a step-up for him. His natural running ability and speed will be beaten down by this relentless course.

Min Qi won Hong Kong 100km and as anyone knows, Hong Kong trails are super tough – I see Min being a force to be reckoned with.

Vaidas Zlabys placed 2nd at Transgrancanaria in 2017 and although he has raced many races since, he hasn’t quite fulfilled the expectation of that 2017 performance… Will we see something special in 2019?

***Dmitry Mityaev from Russia has grown over the last 2-3 year’s with a string of excellent performances, most notably on the skyrunning circuit. He won High Trail Vanoise in 2018 and for sure, that is a great indicator that he has the potential for a podium performance here in Gran Canaria. ***pulled out with injury

Pablo Villa is a force to be reckoned with, he has raced over the shorter distances in previous editions. This year he moves up to the full distance.

What follows is a list of runners who have excelled on this course or others, placing in the top-10 or just outside. They will all be ones to watch and for sure, any of them could pull of a big surprise:

Anthony Gay

Yeray Duran

Timothy Olson

Johan Lantz – notable story! Four years ago he broke his leg at Transgrancanaria while in 3rd place. This is his comeback…!

Andris Ronimoiss

Sebastien Sanchez

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The women’s line-up is a compelling one and certainly will provide a stunning race.

***Azara Garcia won Transgrancanaria in 2017 and she is back. She is always focused and fights hard – she will be difficult to beat. ***pulled out with injury

Magdalena Laczak, the 2018 champion, also returns for battle. If she, Azara and Caroline are in good form, we could witness an epic race!

Just 18-months ago, had I seen *** Caroline Chaverot’s name on a start list, I would have said, she is the one to beat. She really was unstoppable. However, the recent year and more has not been kind with a string of health problems. It’s great to see her on the start list here and I hope we see the Caroline of 2017! ***pulled out with a broken leg

Denise Zimmerman is a fierce competitor. She has been on the podium at UTMB so her long game is not in question.

Marianne Hogan may well be a surprise package? Her 2017 UTMB performance is a great indicator that she will be able to handle Gran Canaria’s tough trails.

Miao Yao like Min Qi won Hong Kong 100 in 2018 and that elevates her to a hot favourite on this course.

Lisa Borzani, Ester Alves and Ildiko Wermescher heads-up the remaining competition amongst others.

Action starts on Friday evening, March 22nd and the first runners can be expected in Maspalomas Saturday afternoon, March 23rd.

Episode 161 – Damian Hall, Neal Collick and David Laney

Episode 161 of Talk Ultra brings you a chat with Damian Hall who finally fulfilled his dream of placing top 10 at the UTMB. We also have a catch up with David Laney who is taking a year to get back to fitness after overdoing it in 2017 and we also speak with Neal Collick who won Superior 100 with a blistering course record.
*****
Talk Ultra is now on Tunein- just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE  You can download the Tunein APP HERE
Talk Ultra needs your help!
We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons… you can even join us on the show! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create!
Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
Donate HERE
*****
NEWS
KIPCHOGE – Berlin
Wow – Eliud Kipchoge runs 2:01:39 for the marathon…. Off the scale
RUN RABBIT RUN
Unbelievable that Michelle Yates came back from being incredible in 2013 to win in 22:33 ahead of Emma Rocca and Kerrie Bruxvoort.
Jason Schlarb did it again winning in 18:48 – his 3rd win! Mark Hammond 2nd and Jeff Browning once again nailing another hundo!
SUPERIOR 100
Neal Collick and Mallory Richard set 2 course records in the process of winning the 2018 edition of the race. Read the report HERE.
00:24:39 Interview with NEAL COLLICK
SKYRUNNING WORLDS
Laura Orgue and Remi Bonnet were crowned the 2018 world champs for the VK ahead of Lina El Kott, Hillary Gerardi, Thor Ludvigsen and Stian Angermund-Vik on one of the toughest day’s on a mountain I have ever spent – torrential rain, windy and super cold. HERE
Ragna Debats backed up her IAU World Trail title with an ULTRA title in the Ben Nevis Ultra ahead of Gemma Arenas and Mercedes Pila. Jonathan Albon ran a stunning race to win against ever-present Andre Jonsson and Luis Alberto Hernando – the race route was changed due to bad weather making for less elevation, less technical running and a shorter course. HERE
Kilian Jornet obliterated the old course record after battling all day with Nadir Maguet in the SKY distance Ring of Steall. Stian Angermund – Vik placed 3rd. Tove Alexandersson also obliterated the old CR ahead of Victoria Wilkinson and Holly Page. HERE
GLEN COE SKYLINE
The bad weather continued to bombard Scotland after the world champs and the SWS race once shortened with the Aonach Eagach ridge removed from the race – it was just too dangerous in high winds. However, Curved Ridge remained and post-race everyone commented what a challenging race they had despite the changes… Kilian Jornet pulled off a weekend double ahead f Andre Jonsson (wo also placed 2nd in the ultra) and Dani Jung. For the women, Hillary Gerardi and Jasmin Paris battled side-by-side during the race and were separated by seconds on the line – Hillary taking the win! Brittany Peterson was 3rd. HERE
TOR DES GEANTS
Franco Colle once again won the big jaunt in the Aosta Valley in 74:03. Silvia Trigueros won for the women in 87:50.
WORLDS 100km
Hideaki Yamauchi took the honours ahead of Takehiko Gyoba and Comrades champ, Bongmusa Mthembu – 6:28, 6:32 and 6:33.
Nikolina Sustic, Nele Alder-Baerens and Mai Fujisawa ran 1,2,3 in 7:20, 7:22 and 7:39.
TAHOE 200
Kyle Curtin and Courtney Dauwalter battled at the front and in the end, Kyle took the top slot in 49:32 ahead of Courtney’s 49:54.
UTMB
The carnage edition….
*****
01:26:22 Interview with DAMIAN HALL
*****
02:18:33 Interview with DAVID LANEY
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02:38:19 CLOSE
*****
Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB https://www.facebook.com/talkultra/
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Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein.
Our web page at www.iancorless.com has all our links and back catalogue.
Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
*****
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Website- talkultra.com
UP & COMING RACES go to https://marathons.ahotu.com

Mountain, Ultra, Trail and Skyrunning Review of 2017

As a year comes to a close, I always like to look back and consider the highlights of the year, not only personal highlights but global highlights of the running world.

It is a daunting task at times.

The running year is now so full that it can be difficult to remember what happened just weeks ago, never mind months ago. So, with this in mind, please consider that this article is my thoughts and not a definitive highlight of 2017.

Having said that, I am going to make some huge mistakes and I am going to miss some key people, races and performances.

I welcome you, the reader, reminding me of what they are – please, just be nice!

So, let us look at 2017.

I was considering going through chronologically and in all honesty, it may have been the better solution to the task at hand, however, I have just gone on impulse! 

Western States was won by Ryan Sandes and I have to say, it was a sweet victory for the South African who over the years I have considered a great friend. Ryan was my first ever interview on Talk Ultra podcast and I love his story. The non-runner who became a runner who eventually won Western States. It’s a dream story. While on the subject of Western, we also need to mention the ladies champ, Cat Bradley. While all the top contenders faded, Cat ran a sound and solid race to take the biggest win of her life. It was no one-off, something she has proven recently by setting a FKT in the Grand Canyon – Rim – to – Rim – to – Rim fastest known time in 7:52:20

Francois D’Haene racing in China, April 2017

Francois D’Haene is the best 100-mile mountain runner in the world – end of the story. The dude has been nailing it for years and when Rob Krar won 3 100’s in one year, so did Francois. The Frenchman has consistently dominated the distance and when the trail has vertical, he is almost unbeatable. In 2017, he elevated himself to a new level firstly beating the ‘unbeatable’ Kilian Jornet at UTMB and then setting (obliterating) the FKT for the John Muir Trail. He also ripped MIUT (Madeira Island Ultra Trail) apart, and the previous CR set by Zach Miller. Without doubt, Francois is the male ultra-runner of the year in my eyes. We just need to see him at Hardrock 100 now!

Andrea Huser blows my mind constantly. She is the most impressive and consistent runner in the ultra-world and I often ask the question, if she raced less, would she win more? She has a string of top results but often has missed the big win. But when you race as much as she does, you can’t help but just nod in respect.

Caroline Chaverot was unbeatable in 2016 and 2017 started with some issues, issues that she has battled with throughout 2017. Despite this, she won Hardrock 100. It was a great victory and not one without controversy… she left her bleeding pacer on the trail for others to help. Just recently she rounded out her year with a win at Saint E Lyon in France – the classic November night race.

Ida Nilsson and Tim Freriks kicked off their seasons with victory at Transvulcania. Ida’s win was to be expected, but Tim’s win was a revelation. The ‘cowboy’ then went on to set a FKT in the Grand Canyon. Ida continued her great running throughout 2017 and then the duo turned up at San Francisco 50 and both won again – they topped and tailed the year and we can expect big things in 2018!

Jim Walmsley and the PR machine in many ways signified a new era in the sport of ultra-running and not all for the better in my opinion. The hype around the 2017 Western States before the race pretty much had Jim with his buckle, the Cougar and a new CR. The reality was very different. Jim then went to UTMB and showed signs of learning the craft. He watched Francois and Kilian and paced his day. It eventually went wrong but he rallied and closed out strong. A definitive moment for Jim and I was well aware that this would be a turning point for his 100-mile future. He then confirmed he would run on Reunion Island at Raid de la Reunion! While I can admire the decision, for me, it was always going to be a questionable decision in regard to his ‘professional’ development. But I am being judgmental and I hope not in a negative way. I ‘get’ that Jim wanted to run on the island but the step-up from UTMB was huge and despite leading the race, he eventually dropped around the 100km mark. It has been a huge learning year for the fast man and I still hold true that up to 100km, the guy is pretty much un-matched. I am looking forward to seeing him nail 100-miles in 2018 (maybe 2019) and when he does, watch out, it will almost certainly be super-fast and mind blowing. 

Kilian Jornet pretty much was missing from the mountain, ultra and trail calendar for the past 18-months and rightly so. He had set targets on the final summit of his Summits of my Life – Everest. A failed attempt in previous year and then Nepal earthquakes had put things on hold. No bad thing. Kilian learned, progressed and then finally summited Everest twice in one week which blew the minds of the whole world. Of course, anything so amazing has questions raised over it and rightly so. Just recently an article appeared and Kilian responded. Read HERE. More will come to light in regard to Everest and ultimately one has to assume the Everest film will answer all questions. Post Everest, Kilian started running again and won a super-fast Sierre Zinal, he won Hardrock 100 with a dislocated shoulder, placed 2nd behind Francois at UTMB and won Glen Coe Skyline. In the winter, he has had operations on his shoulders and now is in recovery and waiting to get back into the SkiMo season. Kilian has nothing to prove in my eyes. What does 2018 hold? Who knows really, ultimately, Kilian is at the top of his game and he will go where his heart takes him… expect a Zegama appearance, a Hardrock appearance, maybe the Bob Graham will be on the cards and maybe he will be back in Scotland for Glen Coe. Who knows? Whatever the path, he will inspire.

Camille Herron won Comrades, wow, it is the holy grail of road ultra-running. She then followed with a DNF at Western States and Leadville and I, and others, was left wondering what had happened. Oh, my word has she put the record straight. In recent weeks Camille has set a 100-mile world record 12:42:39, a 100km USA track record 7:36:39 at Desert Solstice and then went on to run for 12-hours and set a 12hr All-Surface World Record 92.708 miles. She is the new Ann Trason and arguably, she will be in for a shout as ultra-runner of the year.

Courtney Dewaulter can push Camille close. This lady won Run Rabbit Run (again) this time losing her vision in the final 10km. She then went on to win Moab 200 (actually 238-miles) outright and then recently ran 250.079km / 155.391 miles in 24-hours setting an American record. Wow!

Nuria Picas came out of the wilderness of 2016 and quite rightly, finally won UTMB. Nuria was unstoppable for many years but the big loop around Chamonix had eluded her, I firmly believe she can consider her career complete with this win!

The UK’s Dan Lawson flew around the Gobi Desert to win with a new CR at the 400km Ultra Gobi. Dan is the UK’s hottest prospect at the long game, particularly when you consider past runs on the Grand Union Canal and 2nd at the iconic Spartathlon.

Marco De Gasperi pioneered the way for Skyrunning on Monte Rosa in the early 90’s and has had incredible journey as one of the most respected mountain runners in the world. Finally, in 2017, Marco became the Skyrunner World Series (SWS) champion after an incredible season of consistent running and podium places – a true inspiration.

Maite Maiora moved up several notches in 2017 and was a dominant force on the Skyrunning circuit with a string of victories and podium places. 2017 was her year in the sky! But let us not forget Ragna Debats, she had an amazing full season and triumphed over multiple distances in addition to a great run at the IAU World Trail Champs. Also, Sheila Aviles came of age… a name to watch in future years! For the guys, keep an eye on Jan Maragarit.

UTMB had arguably the greatest male line-up of elite runners ever and it turned out to be great show down and we saw the confirmation that US runners are getting UTMB. Tim Tollefson was again flying the flag with a 3rd place. It is only a matter of time until we see an American win the big dance around France, Italy and Switzerland – will it be 2018? It could well be if Francois d’Haene and Kilian Jornet don’t run.

Hillary Allen has represented the USA in Europe for a couple of years now and once again she was doing so in 2017. However, it all fell apart, before my eyes, at Tromso SkyRace in Norway. She fell many meters, bounced on the rocks below and came away with some serious injuries. Thankfully, the recovery process has gone well and I wish Hillary well for 2018.

Ruth Croft has been in the mix for some time and I think it is fair to say that her victory at ‘Templiers’ in France recently has elevated to the New Zealander to a new level for the coming year… what does 2018 hold for this lady?

2017 most certainly has been a FKT year – Iker Karrera, Darcy Piceu, Francois d’Haene, Tim Freriks, Cat Bradley, Alicia Vargo, Rickey Gates and so many more have all taken the Fastest Known Time discipline to new heights but I wonder if ‘Stringbean’s’ FKT on the Appalachian Trail is the one that should have had more press and coverage? He soloed the AT quicker than Karl Meltzer and Scott Jurek and without help, but, relatively slipped under most radars. Read here.

Jeff Browning crushed the 100-mile distance in 2016 and did so again in 2017, he is a great ambassador for the sport.

Luis Alberto Hernando is for me, arguably one of the most talented runners in the world. But he is a quiet guy who in many ways, keeps himself to himself. He races hard and crushes the competition. In 2017, he once again became IAU World Trail Champion on a course that he, and many others said, didn’t suit him. The guy is pure class!

The UK’s Damian Hall came to running late in life (not that he is old) but he has slowly and surely chipped his way through the ultra-ranks and this year just missed the top-10 at UTMB – an incredible result.

Tom Evans broke on the scene by placing 3rd at MDS Morocco and in the process set a new benchmark for UK based runners to aim for. He followed this up with some other solid results in 2017 and I, like many others, wonder what 2018 holds in store.

Rickey Gates ran across America. Nuff said! Read here.

Ueli Steck, the Swiss Machine, died on the mountains and left the mountain world devastated by his passing. Here.

Alex Honold free soloed El Cap in arguably one of the most awe-inspiring and risky climbs in the history of the sport. It is quite literally, off the scale and beyond comprehension. I know it’s not running but it is without doubt worth a mention! Here.

The infamous Barkley once again served up another serving of spine tingling history with John Kelly finishing and Canada’s Gary Robbins left wiped out on the floor in tears. You can’t make stories like this up.

Gary Cantrell (Lazarus Lake of Barkley fame) organised a race that went through his garden, The Big Backyard Ultra. Every 60-minutes, runners set off on a loop. During the night, the loop changed. The principal was simple, you keep going till one man or woman is left Standing. Well, Guiiiaume Calmettes was that man in 2017 running 245.835 pipping Harvey Lewis. 

Rachid Elmorabity once again won Marathon des Sables in Morocco proving that he is the greatest multi-day desert runner in the world at the moment. Elisabet Barnes, 2015 MDS champion once again returned to the sand pit after missing victory in 2016 and was unstoppable with a dominant and impressive force of sand running.

MDS Peru followed on the 32-year traditions of its Moroccan big brother with the first edition in Peru’s Ica Desert. This was the first time any event was allowed permission to take place in this amazing National Park. It was great first event with Morocco’s Rachid Elmorabity and France’s Nathalie Mauclair taking the top honours.

Michael Wardian did what he always does, run and run and run throughout 2017. But he kicked off the year with a world record running 7-marathons on 7-continents in 7-days. The guy just continues to impress.

Best shoes of 2017? Well, this is well and truly a can of worms and I can only answer from a personal perspective. The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 here blew my socks off and is now my favourite day-to-day trail running shoe. For when it gets technical, gnarly, muddy and I need an aggressive shoe, the VJ Sport iRock2 here has set a new benchmark for me in regard to grip.

Best clothing? inov-8 have continued to impress me with not only excellent run shoes but appeared to match. They now have a really specific line of products (including packs) that make them an excellent one-stop shop for anything that you would need for a messy and muddy 5km fell run to the tough and challenging 100+ mile UTMB.

Best moment of 2017? That is a serious toughie but maybe Ryan Sandes finally taking that WSER top slot. I know how much he wanted it and he didn’t have an easy journey obtaining it. Huge respect! But hey, I have been inspired by so many in 2017.

On a personal note to conclude:

For me, I started travelling in January and I stopped in December. Yes, I have been on the road for 12-months and I consider myself to be truly blessed for the opportunities I have had to follow my dreams and make a living from it. I never take it for granted! While I could go into the details of each trip, I won’t. Every race is documented in words and images on this website and my social channels and you can find out about them should you so wish.

INSTAGRAM here

TWITTER here

FACEBOOK PHOTOGRAPHY here FACEBOOK TALK ULTRA here

PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITE here IMAGE SALES here

Don’t forget Talk Ultra Podcast which has documented this sport HERE

BUT, and this is a huge BUT. My passion, and my work calendar comes at a price. I have a son, a family and an amazing partner, Niandi. They have all been neglected in 2017 with my travel and race coverage. It’s a dilemma and one that keeps me awake. I struggle for answers but I want to say THANK YOU for the support to all those people who mean the world to me, you know who you are.

 

Episode 142 – Damian Hall and Elisabet Barnes

Episode 142 of Talk Ultra brings and we bring you a full and in-depth interview with Damian Hall who was first Brit, first Vet and 12th overall at UTMB. We also speak to Elisabet Barnes about her training and racing at altitude at the 2017 Transrockies. The show is co-hosted by Kurt Decker.
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*****
00:06:20 NEWS
Superior 100
Neal Collick, Paul Shol and Adam Schwarz-Lowe – 19:31:40, 22:12:46 and 22:14:40
Gretchen Metsa, Tina Johnson and Stephanie Hoff – 25:23:03, 28:19:14 and 28:39:58
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Superior 50
Brent Loberg, Forest Tracy and Marc Malinoski – 8:42:53, 9:12:56 and 9:55:20
Kelly Teeselink, Rochelle Wirth and Anna Yurchenko – 10:47:22, 11:42:16 and 12:05:18
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Superior Marathon
Michael Borst, James Sorenson and Kurt Keiser – 3:36:36, 3:49:45 and 3:51:38
Emma Spoon, Ashley Hansen and Stephanie Sathre – 4:49:50
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Run Rabbit Run
Courtney Dauwalter two times in a row and the big pay cheque, nice! 20:38:45 – not an easy run after multiple falls and temporary blindness in the final 10-miles. Emma Rocca 2nd and Becky Kirschenmann 3rd, 22:31 and 22:34 respectively.
Jim Rebenack took the win ahead of Mark Hammond and Charlie Ware – 18:44, 18:53 and 19:35. Notably Alex Nichols, winner last year dropped early. Speedgoat was 9th.
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Devils Ridge
Francesca Canepa and Min Qi won the SWS race in China’s Gobi desert – 8:00 and 6:18 respectively.
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Wasatch 100
Luzia Butler took the win ahead of Emilee Walker and Jennilyn Eaton – 25:08, 26:55 and 27:29.
Trevor Fuchs ran 20:59 with Jesse Rich and Robert Edminster 22:12 and 22:15.
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The RUT
Luis Alberto Hernando and Ragna Debats won the main race of the weekend read reports HERE, HERE and HERE
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FKT – Appalachian Trail
Joe McConaughy, covered the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail in 45 days, 12 hours, and 15 minutes. The time broke supported and self-supported FKTs, ranking ahead of Karl Meltzer’s supported 45:22:38from 2016.
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UTMB
Read my analysis reports from the Men’s race and the Ladies race HERE and HERE.
CCC won by Hayden Hawks and Clare Gallagher
TDS won by Michel Lanne and Mimmi Kotka
OCC won by Marc Lauenstein and Eli Rodriguez
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01:08:33 Interview with DAMIAN HALL
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01:58:25 Interview with ELISABET BARNES
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UP & COMING RACES

Albania

GlobalLimits Albania 2017 – The Hidden Treasure – | 220 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website

Argentina

Ultra Marathon 50K | 50 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website
Ultra Trail 80 | 80 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

Australia

New South Wales

Great North Walk 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Great North Walk 100 Miles | 100 miles | September 09, 2017 | website

Queensland

Glasshouse 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Glasshouse 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 09, 2017 | website

Victoria

100 km | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Western Australia

100 km | 100 kilometers | September 22, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | September 22, 2017 | website

Austria

“GRAWE” 50km Lauf | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
“NKE Austria” 100km Lauf | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Wörthersee Trail-Maniac 57 K | 57 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

Belgium

Brussels Capital Region

80 km | 80 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Wallonia

55 km | 55 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Ultra Hérou | 80 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Canada

Alberta

Lost Soul 100 Km Ultra | 100 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website
Lost Soul 100 Mile Ultra | 100 miles | September 08, 2017 | website
Lost Soul 50 Km Ultra | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

British Columbia

Golden Ultra | 80 kilometers | September 22, 2017 | website
Mount Robson 50km Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Ontario

100 Mile | 100 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
50 Mile | 50 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
50 Mile | 50 miles | September 16, 2017 | website

Quebec

125 km | 125 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
65 km | 65 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Saskatchewan

Beaver Flat 50k | 50 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

Chile

63K | 63 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Denmark

Nordjylland

100 Miles | 100 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
100 Miles – Around the isle of Mors | 100 miles | September 09, 2017 | website

France

Drôme

74 km | 74 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

Hautes-Alpes

Grand Tour des Cerces | 50 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website

Isère

Ultra Trail du Vercors | 88 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Manche

Relais pédestre normandie bretagne | 70 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website

Pas-de-Calais

62 km | 62 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

Vendée

Bol d’Air – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

Vosges

L’Infernal 110 | 116 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
L’infernal 200 | 204 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website
L’infernal 60 | 64 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Mittelbayerische Landkreislauf | 61 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

Lower Saxony

Volkslauf ” Gesund beginnt im Mund” – 52.8 km | 52 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

P-Weg Ultramarathon | 73 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

Rhineland-Palatinate

Dorint-RUN50 | 50 kilometers | September 22, 2017 | website

Iceland

Run Iceland Adventure Trail | 110 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

India

Jammu and Kashmir

Khardung La Challenge | 72 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

Tamil Nadu

Chennai Trail Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

Iran

150 km | 150 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website
250 km | 250 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website

Ireland

Tipperary

Glen of Aherlow Loop De Loop Ultra Trail Run | 39 miles | September 17, 2017 | website

Italy

Aosta Valley

Tor des Géants | 330 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Sellaronda Trail Running | 56 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

Tuscany

Montanaro Trail | 50 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website

Japan

100 km | 100 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website
100 km | 100 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website
60 km | 60 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website

Luxembourg

112 km | 112 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
75 km | 75 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Macedonia

Kozjak Trail | 65 kilometers | September 22, 2017 | website
Krali Marko Ultra Trail | 110 kilometers | September 22, 2017 | website

Malaysia

100K | 100 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website
50K | 50 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

Martinique

Etape 5 | 74 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website

Mauritius

50 km | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

New Zealand

Marton-Wanganui Ultramarathon | 66 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Philippines

100K Champioship | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
100K Relay | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Poland

7 Valleys Run Ultramarathon of the Festival | 100 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website
Bieg 7 Dolin – Ultramaraton – 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Bieg 7 Dolin – Ultramaraton – 66 km | 66 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Romania

Unicredit Leasing Transmaraton – Double Marathon | 84 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website

South Africa

Bonitas Sunday Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Spain

Catalonia

RialpMatxicots Extrem | 82 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

Sweden

100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | September 16, 2017 | website
50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | September 16, 2017 | website

Switzerland

Fribourg

50 km | 50 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website

Valais

170K | 170 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website
170 km | 170 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website
80K | 80 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
80 km | 80 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Vaud

Ultratour du Leman | 175 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

Turkey

Frig Vadileri Ultramaratonu 60K | 60 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Kaçkar Ultra Maratonu 64K | 64 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Argyll and Bute

Tiree Ultramarathon | 35 miles | September 10, 2017 | website

Cumbria

Cumbria Way Ultra | 73 miles | September 16, 2017 | website

East Ayrshire

River Ayr Way Challenge | 44 miles | September 16, 2017 | website

Highland

Salomon Glen Coe Skyline | 53 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website

Oxfordshire

50 miles | 50 miles | September 16, 2017 | website
Thames Path Challenge 100km | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Thames Path Challenge 50km | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Powys

Long Course | 89 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Short Course | 58 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Redcar and Cleveland

Hardmoors 60 | 60 miles | September 16, 2017 | website

Shropshire

34 mile | 34 miles | September 16, 2017 | website

Ulster

Mourne Mountain Marathon Elite 55k | 55 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

USA

Alaska

Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay | 175 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website

Arizona

100 Mile | 100 miles | September 16, 2017 | website
105K | 105 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website
Javelina Jangover 100K Night Trail Run | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Javelina Jangover 50K Night Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Javelina Jangover 75K Night Trail Run | 75 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

California

50K | 50 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website
50 Mile | 50 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
Headlands 100mi | 100 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
Headlands 50mi | 50 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
Headlands 75mi | 75 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
Pacifica Summit Run 50K | 50 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website
Tahoe 200 | 200 miles | September 08, 2017 | website

Colorado

50K | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
50 Mile Ultra | 50 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
Devil on the Divide 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website
Flaming Foilage Relay | 160 miles | September 08, 2017 | website

Idaho

IMTUF 100 | 100 miles | September 16, 2017 | website
Moscow Mountain Madness | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

Illinois

Evergreen Lake Ultra and a Half | 51 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
Evergreen Lake Ultras | 34 miles | September 09, 2017 | website

Kansas

Hawk 100 | 100 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
Hawk 50 | 50 miles | September 09, 2017 | website

Maine

Standard Relay Team (5-8 Person) | 128 miles | September 08, 2017 | website
Ultra Relay Team (4 Person) | 128 miles | September 08, 2017 | website

Maryland

Reebok Ragnar Washington D.C | 200 miles | September 22, 2017 | website

Massachusetts

50K | 50 kilometers | September 17, 2017 | website
50 Mile | 50 miles | September 17, 2017 | website
50 Miler | 50 miles | September 16, 2017 | website

Michigan

Hallucination 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 08, 2017 | website
LSD 100K | 100 kilometers | September 08, 2017 | website

Minnesota

Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 08, 2017 | website
Superior Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | September 09, 2017 | website

Missouri

Mark Twain 100 Mile Endurance Race | 100 miles | September 16, 2017 | website
Mark Twain 50 Mile Endurance Race | 50 miles | September 16, 2017 | website

New Hampshire

Reebok Ragnar Reach The Beach | 200 miles | September 15, 2017 | website

New Jersey

50K Cruller Crawl | 50 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

New York

Chautauqua Ultras 50K | 50 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website
Chautauqua Ultras 50 Mi | 50 miles | September 16, 2017 | website
Reebok Ragnar Adirondacks | 200 miles | September 22, 2017 | website

Ohio

60K Run | 60 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website

Oklahoma

DoWackaDo 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
DoWackaDo Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Pennsylvania

50K | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Tennessee

50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website
Stanky Creek 50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2017 | website

Texas

50K | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2017 | website

Utah

50 Miler | 50 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | September 08, 2017 | website

Virginia

Odyssey 40 Mile Trail Ultra | 40 miles | September 09, 2017 | website
The Blude Ridge Relay | 208 miles | September 08, 2017 | website

Washington

100K | 100 kilometers | September 16, 2017 | website
100 Mile | 100 miles | September 16, 2017 | website

Wisconsin

Ragnar Trail Northwoods-WI | 120 miles | September 22, 2017 | website
Ragnar Trail Northwoods-WI, Presented by Salomon | 120 miles | September 22, 2017 | website
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CLOSE
02:43:14
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I’m Ian Corless and he is Kurt Decker.
Keep running
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