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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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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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.
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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!
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….
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01:26:22 Interview with DAMIAN HALL
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02:18:33 Interview with DAVID LANEY
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02:38:19 CLOSE
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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.
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Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE
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.
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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Talk Ultra needs your help! 
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Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
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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.
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The 2017 32nd Marathon des Sables Preview #MDS

The 32nd MARATHON DES SABLES draws near and as usual, we take a look at several of the main contenders who will toe the line looking to place on the podium of this iconic race. We look at some of the impressive statistics and we preview at the route the runners will need to cover.

Since 1986, over 20,000 participants have raced at the Marathon des Sables and over 1200 are registered for 2017. Of the 52 Nationalities represented, the British are the largest contingent followed by the French.

2017 ROUTE SUMMARY

The 32nd edition will cover 250km in five timed stages and one compulsory charity stage. Daily distances will vary from 30km to 90km. The only provision to runners is rationed water and a bivouac each night which must be shared with seven other runners. The race requires self-sufficiency and everything a runner needs must be carried for the duration of the race.

Day 1 – A relatively flat stage with small dunes, lots of sand and a slight climb to the finish. It’s a day when many runners go too fast. Tip: Ease into the race.

Day 2 – Will be a tough stage that is long with a great deal of sand. You will climb a gorge and run down a very steep descent. Tip: Tough day, keep focused, watch your pace and keep hydrated.

Day 3 – A climb starts the day and it is followed by rollercoaster terrain taking runners up and down. One section is very steep with technical passages. If that wasn’t enough, this stage contains the first ‘real’ dunes of the 32nd edition. Tip: One foot in-front of the other and remember the big day is tomorrow.

Day 4 – The long one: a feared and formidable stage. A lot of sand and some pitfalls for the feet. Two start times: 8.15 a.m. for most people and 11.15 a.m. for the first 50 men and the first 5 women. It’s a day of much sand and difficult terrain underfoot – be careful not to fall! Two passages through small gorges, a climb up a djebel, a roller coaster through the sand, and a technical descent add to a tough day. Tip: Watch out for the heat and manage the night carefully! Get your head in the right place.

Day 5 – Two start times: 7 a.m. for the majority and 8.30 a.m. for the first 200 runners. Dunes at the start and then no major difficulties, however, be prepared for a hot stretch over a long plateau… Tip: If you finished the long day, the race is in the bag. Smile!

Day 6 – Compulsory charity stage.

 

THE TOP MEN AND WOMEN

Rachid El Morabity returns and is without doubt, once again, the host favorite for male victory. Russian Natalia Sedyh, who won the race in 2016 has decided not to return in 2017 and this leaves the door open for 2015 MDS champion Elisabet Barnes but it will be no easy run – 2017 is arguably one of the strongest female line-ups the race has seen.

THE WOMEN RACE

Nathalie Mauclair placed 2nd in 2016 and Fernanda Maciel placed 3rd, with Natalya not returning, could victory go to one of these very strong ladies? Of course, yes! They both now know the race better, they will have adjusted their training and equipment and will arrive prepared. Nathalie has won Diagonale des Fous twice and has been trail World Champion twice – this combination of speed and endurance is just what is required in the Sahara.

Fernanda Maciel, like Nathalie, is a powerhouse on trails. A regular competitor on the UTWT she brings incredible experience to the race and a tenacity to push to the line.

Elisabet Barnes won MDS in 2015 and what has followed is a string of world-class performances in multi-day races all over the world – Australia, South Africa, Costa Rica, USA and so on. Elisabet loves the Sahara and this year has stepped up her training and prepared meticulously for the 32nd edition.

Emilie Lecomte will run MDS for the first time in 2017 but last year, pipped Elisabet Barnes to victory at the Grand To Grand in the USA. Emilie is a specialist in long races and the multi-day format suits her. She still holds the FKT for the GR20 in Corsica and like Nathalie has won the Diagonale des Fous.

 

Ester Alves from Portugal won The Coastal Challenge in 2016 and this year placed 3rd. Like the ladies’ above she is a fierce competitor and although this is her first foray into the Sahara, I have a feeling we will see her contend for the top 5, if not the podium.

Our women’s top ten to watch:

Aziza Raji is the Moroccan hope. She won the race in 2008 and 2009 but the speed of the race has increased and she is unlikely to contend with the other top elites.

Lizzie Wraith from the UK is a strong runner who will be under the radar here in the Sahara – watch out, she may surprise many people! Lizzie made the podium at the UK’s tough, Dragons Back Race.

Mélanie Rousset is attempting MDS for the first time but has a string of top-10 results at Diagonale des Fous and UTMB.

Nahila Hernandez San Juan from Mexico placed 8th at MDS in 2009 and was 5th at Badwater 135 in 2013.

Marie Eve Trudel a newcomer to ultra but placed 4th at the Grand To Grand in 2015.

Amy Costa winner of the Badwater 135 in 2013.

Kerri Kanuga 6th at Badwater in 2016.

THE MEN RACE

Rachid El Morabity, Samir Akhdar, Aziz El Akad and Abdelkader El Mouaziz are the strong men on this 32nd MARATHON DES SABLES. Rachid has won the race in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016 – do you want to bet against him?

Samir Akhdar is a MDS regular but his best result came in 2015 when he placed 4th. In 2017, he has the potential for 2nd or 3rd. Equally, Aliza El Akad although he is getting on in years, his seven completions at MDS and all within the top-5 would suggest he will continue that consistency.

This year the race does not have Chema Martinez from Spain or Danny Kendall from the UK. Therefore, the great European hope comes with a trio of Brits.

Andy Symonds is a world-class runner who has made the podium all over the world in iconic ultras. Although this is his first MDS he has the running skill to be up there! It all depends if he has adapted to the pack and the additional weight.

Nathan Montague is coming to the race with clear intentions to do well and ideally be the first Brit and hopefully that highest placed Brit ever. He’s a fast runner with some impressive times for 50km and 100km.

Damian Hall has been top-20 at UTMB and placed on the podium at The Spine. He raced in Costa Rica in 2016 with an excellent performance against a world-class field. Like Andy, Damian is on a MDS learning curve but he has the potential to do well.

Moroccans may well provide the competition for the other Moroccans. Abdelkader El Mouaziz is a 2:06 marathon runner and has won London Marathon in 1999 and 2001. He may well be slower now with the passing of the years but class is permanent. His highest placing at MDS is 2nd – one to watch!

Miguel Capo Soler was 3rd at MDS in 2013 and is the most experienced non-Moroccan who will potentially contend the top-10 placing. In recent years, he has run at The Coastal Challenge and Everest Trail Race.

Our men’s top ten to watch:

Mustapha Ait Amar finished MDS 13-times and was 12th in 2012.

Andrew Fargus placed 11th at MDS in 2013.

Luca Papi is a novice MDS runner but brings a wealth of experience.

Marco Olmo is a legend of ultra-trail and MDS – he will not contend the podium but he will be up around the top-20. Not bad for a 68-year old!

Notable mentions for blind runner Didier Benguigu who aged 67 will participate in his 13th MDS.

Also, Duncan Slater from the UK who lost both legs during a mission in Afghanistan. He did not complete in 2016 due to medical complications – he’s back this year for the medal!

Finally…

1216 runners will toe the line and the youngest male is Oscar Daglish from the UK who is just 16-years old. He will be running with his father who has already completed MDS.

The youngest female is Emily Rolfe, also from the UK. Emily will also run with her father.

Claude Leonardi from France is the oldest male runner. The 32nd edition will be his 5th time on the race, not bad for 80-years old!

Edda Hanna Bauer got into sport late, she ran her first marathon and 60. Now aged 72 she has made up for it clocking up 26 marathons and 63 ultra-marathons.

Crazy Statistics of the MDS

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

You must see Marathon des Sables t appreciate the size and scale of the event. It’s like the largest moving circus you will ever see and it’s impressive to witness.

Following statistics provided by the Marathon des Sables office:

▪      150 volunteers to supervise the race,

▪      450 general support staff,

▪      120,000 liters of bottled mineral water,

▪      300 Berber and Saharan tents,

▪      120 all-terrain vehicles and trucks,

▪      2 Squirrel helicopters and 1 Cessna plane,

▪      8 Transavia ‘MDS special’ commercial planes,

▪      30 buses,

▪      4 dromedaries,

▪      1 incinerator lorry for burning waste,

▪      5 quad bikes to monitor race environment and safety,

▪      72 medical staff,

▪      2.3kms of Elastoplast,

▪      12,200 compresses,

▪      6,000 painkillers,

▪      150 liters of disinfectant,

▪      1 editing bus,

▪      5 cameras,

▪      1 satellite image station,

▪      10 satellite telephones,

▪      30 computers, fax and internet,

▪      20,000 competitors since 1986

▪      3 runners aged 10-20, 108 aged 20-30, 314 aged 30-40, 491 aged 40-50, 299 aged 50-60, 66 aged 60-70 and 13 aged 70-80 years.

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

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

30 Years of the MDS

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

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

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

1989 – Hassan SEBTAOUI (FRANCE) – Marie-Claude BATTISTELLI (FRANCE)

1990 – Hassan SEBTAOUI (FRANCE) – Claire GARNIER (FRANCE)

1991 – Hassan SEBTAOUI (FRANCE) – Monique FRUSSOTE (FRANCE)

1992 – Mohamed BENSALAH (MOROCCO) – Monique FRUSSOTE (FRANCE)

1993 – Mohamed BENSALAH (MOROCCO) – Irina PETROVNA (RUSSIA)

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

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

1996 – André DERKSEN (RUSSIA) – Anke MOLKENTHIN (GERMANY)

1997 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Rosanna PELLIZZARI (ITALY)

1998 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Rosanna PELLIZZARI (ITALY)

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

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

2001 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Franca FIACCONI (ITALY)

2002 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Simone KAYSER (LUXEMBOURG)

2003 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Magali JUVENAL (FRANCE)

2004 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Simone KAYSER (LUXEMBOURG)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014 – Rachid EL MORABITY (MOROCCO) – Nikki KIMBALL (USA)

2015 – Rachid EL MORABITY (MOROCCO) – Elisabet BARNES (SWE)

2016 – Rachid EL MORABITY (MOROCCO) – Natalya SEDYH (RUSSIA)

A brief history of the MDS:

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

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

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

1989: 170 competitors take the start of the race.

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

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

First participation by the Moroccan Lahcen Ahansal

1994: Arrival of the Doc Trotters at the event.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can follow the 2017 Marathon des Sables on this website.

On Facebook – Facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

On Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

On Twitter – @talkultra

 

Please remember, communications in the Sahara will be sporadic and we will upload content as and when possible.

Episode 118 – Damian Hall and Jo Meek

A_GRAVATAR

This is Episode 118 of Talk Ultra and this week is going to be a short and sharp show… it’s all about the UTMB races and Trofeo Kima. We have interviews with Jo Meek who placed 2nd lady at the CCC and Damian Hall who placed 19th in the UTMB and recently completed a ‘FKT’ on the South West Coast Path in the UK. This weeks show is co hosted by Albert Jorquera.

Firstly, this show is being recorded in the USA on the day of the RUT VK and so therefore we are somewhat pressed for time… joining me is a co-host is my good buddy and fellow Skyrunning hack, Albert Jorquera.

If you haven’t guessed, Albert is from Spain!

Karl is on the AT as many of you will know, Speedboat has passed halfway on the AT. He really is doing great, racking up some daily mileage and as you can guess is going through some real highs and lows. We are posting 7-day updates on my website so please check out the links on the show notes. I need to give out a bog thanks to Red Bull who hooked us up with Eric, Karl’s chief crew and I had a chat with him on day 19.

Albert, what do you reckon, 2100 miles in under 50 days, trying to average somewhere between 45-50 miles a day?

RUNNING BEYOND BOOK well I have a first copy in my hand and I have to say I am somewhat pleased and happy. It’s taken a couple of years and at times it never felt quite real. The book in my hand confirms it is real and Spanish, German, Italian and UK versions will be available in the coming months. I believe Spain is first (September) Italy is October and the UK November. I don’t have a date on the German edition yet! – HERE

00:32:00 NEWS

TROFEO KIMA HERE

  1. Bhim Gurung 6:10 new CR
  2. Marco De Gasperi 6:12
  3. Leo Viret 6:15
  1. Emelie Forsberg 7:49
  2. Ruth Croft 8:02
  3. Emanuela Brizio 8:21

UTMB WEEKEND

OCC

Xavier Thévenard (France) won the 55k OCC race with 5:28 on the clock. Marathon des Sables sensation Rachid El Morabity (Morocco) was second, 15 minutes back. Mercedes Arcos (Spain) cruised to the front of the women’s field in 6:54.

CCC

Michel Lanne (France) in 12:10, five minutes ahead of Ruy Ueda (Japan). Mimmi Kotka (Sweden) gained the women’s victory in 13:42, 27 minutes better than second-place Jo Meek (U.K.).

INTERVIEW with JO MEEK

TDS

Pau Capell (Spain), Yeray Duran (Spain), and Franco Colle (Italy) filled the men’s podium with 14:45, 15:14, and 15:32 finish times, respectively. Delphine Avenier (France) led the women with an 18:46 winning time with Meredith Edwards (U.S.) took second 13 minutes back.

UTMB

  1. Ludovic Pommeret 22:00:02
  2. Gediminas Grinius 22:26:05
  3. Tim Tollefsen 22:30:28
  4. David Laney 22:41:14
  5. Javi Dominguez 22:44:16
  6. Zach Miller 22:54:26
  1. Caroline Chaverot 25:15:40
  2. Andrea Huser 25:22:56
  3. Uxue Fraile 27:10:22
  4. Juliette Blanchet 27:37:18
  5. Magdalena Boulet 28:18:05
  6. Jasmin Paris 28:34:35

INTERVIEW with DAMIAN HALL

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

New South Wales

Great North Walk 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Great North Walk 100 Miles | 100 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Queensland

Glasshouse 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Glasshouse 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Victoria

100 km | 100 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Walhalla Wound-Up – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Western Australia

Oxfam Trailwalker Australia – Perth | 100 kilometers | September 16, 2016 | website

Austria

“GRAWE” 50km Lauf | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

“NKE Austria” 100km Lauf | 100 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Wörthersee Trail-Maniac 114 K | 114 kilometers | September 16, 2016 | website

Wörthersee Trail Maniak 114K Superior | 114 kilometers | September 16, 2016 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

55 km | 55 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Brazil

Desafio das Serras 80 km | 80 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Canada

Alberta

Lost Soul 100 Km Ultra | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2016 | website

Lost Soul 100 Mile Ultra | 100 miles | September 09, 2016 | website

Lost Soul 50 Km Ultra | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

British Columbia

50K Cody Claim Run | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Finlayson Arm 50k Fat Ass | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Mount Robson 50km Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Ontario

Haliburton Forest Trail 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Haliburton Forest Trail 50 km Race | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Haliburton Forest Trail 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Quebec

125 km | 125 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

65 km | 65 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

80 km | 80 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Chute du Diable 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Chute du Diable 80 km | 80 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Croatia

Ucka Trail – 73 km | 73 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Denmark

Nordjylland

100 Miles – Around the isle of Mors | 100 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

France

Alpes-Maritimes

Ultra-Trail Côte d’Azur Mercantour | 140 kilometers | September 02, 2016 | website

Ardèche

100 km | 100 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

60 km | 60 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

70 km | 70 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

80 km | 80 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

90 km | 90 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Bas-Rhin

Grand Trail du HK ” The Magic Trail | 54 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

Ultra Trail du Haut-Koenigsbourg 108 km | 108 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Cantal

Trail des 6 burons | 65 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

Isère

Ultra Trail du Vercors | 88 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Lot

Trail Vallée Cere et Dordogne – 53 km | 53 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

Pas-de-Calais

Trail de la côte d’Opale – 62 km | 62 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Rhône

La Nuit des Carbones – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 09, 2016 | website

Vendée

Bol d’Air – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Vosges

L’Infernal 110 | 110 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

L’infernal 160 | 158 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

L’Infernal 210 | 210 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

L’infernal 72 | 72 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Germany

Bavaria

GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run | 240 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

P-Weg Ultramarathon | 73 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Hungary

2x25k Relay | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Hammer 50k Ultra | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Iceland

Run Iceland Adventure Trail | 110 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

India

Jammu and Kashmir

Khardung La Challenge | 72 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Tamil Nadu

Chennai Trail Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Ireland

Kerry

Dingle Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

Kerry Way Ultra | 120 miles | September 02, 2016 | website

Italy

Aosta Valley

Tor des Géants | 330 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Sellaronda Trail Running | 56 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Japan

100 km | 100 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Mauritius

50 km | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Netherlands

Gelderland

53 km | 53 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

New Zealand

Marton-Wanganui Ultramarathon | 66 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Norway

Telemark’s Toughest | 81 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Philippines

100K Champioship | 100 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

100K Relay | 100 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

50K Challenge | 50 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

Poland

7 Valleys Run Ultramarathon of the Festival | 100 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Bieg 7 Dolin – Ultramaraton – 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Bieg 7 Dolin – Ultramaraton – 66 km | 66 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Romania

Ciucas X3 Ultramaraton | 105 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Singapore

Craze Ultra 100 miles | 100 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

Craze Ultra 101 km | 101 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Craze Ultra 78 km | 78 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Slovenia

Marathon Celje-Logarska dolina – 75 km | 75 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

South Africa

50 km | 50 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

Bonitas Sunday Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Hout is Goud Day-Breaker | 80 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Spain

Castile and León

The Way of Legends | 250 kilometers | September 16, 2016 | website

Catalonia

Ultra Trail dels Comtes d’Erill | 82 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Turkey

Frig Vadileri Ultramaratonu 60K | 60 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Anglesey

Ring o’ Fire | 131 miles | September 02, 2016 | website

Argyll and Bute

Tiree Ultramarathon | 35 miles | September 04, 2016 | website

Cumbria

The La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw | 44 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

England

Oxford to Henley Challenge | 84 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Oxfordshire

Thames Path Challenge 100km | 100 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Thames Path Challenge 50km | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Powys

10 Peaks Brecon Beacons – Long Course | 89 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

10 Peaks Brecon Beacons – Short Course | 58 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Stockport

Bullock Smithy | 56 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

USA

Alaska

Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay | 175 kilometers | September 09, 2016 | website

Arizona

Javelina Jangover 100K Night Trail Run | 100 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Javelina Jangover 50K Night Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Javelina Jangover 75K Night Trail Run | 75 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Paatuwaqatsi Run 50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

California

Headlands 100mi | 100 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Headlands 50mi | 50 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Headlands 75mi | 75 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Kodiak 100 Mile UltraMarathon | 100 miles | September 16, 2016 | website

Kodiak 50 Mile UltraMarathon | 50 miles | September 16, 2016 | website

Los Pinos 50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Tahoe 200 | 200 miles | September 09, 2016 | website

Colorado

Devil on the Divide 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Flaming Foilage Relay | 160 miles | September 09, 2016 | website

Hideaway Hundred 100 Miler | 101 miles | September 04, 2016 | website

Hideaway Hundred 50K | 33 miles | September 05, 2016 | website

Hideaway Hundred 50 Miler | 50 miles | September 04, 2016 | website

Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile Ultra Marathon | 100 miles | September 16, 2016 | website

Florida

The Pinellas Trail Challenge | 46 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

Wildcat 100 km | 100 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Wildcat 100 Miler | 100 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

Idaho

Moscow Mountain Madness | 50 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Illinois

50K | 50 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Double-Ender 25k | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Kansas

Hawk 100 | 100 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Hawk 50 | 50 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Maine

Last Man Standing | 100 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

Maryland

Ragnar Relay Washington D.C. | 200 miles | September 16, 2016 | website

Massachusetts

TARC Fall Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

TARC Fall Classic 50 M | 50 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Michigan

Freak 50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Hallucination 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 09, 2016 | website

LSD 100K | 100 kilometers | September 09, 2016 | website

Peace, Love & 50 mile | 50 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Minnesota

Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile | 100 miles | September 09, 2016 | website

Superior Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

Missouri

Forrest Gump Challenge 50 Mile Ultra-marathon | 50 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

Montana

The Rut 50K | 50 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

Nebraska

Bohemian Alps 50 Kilometer Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

New Mexico

50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

50 miles | 50 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

New York

Shawangunk Ridge 74-Mile Trail Run/Hike | 74 miles | September 16, 2016 | website

North Carolina

Weymouth Woods 50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Oklahoma

3 Half Marathons in 3 Days | 39 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

3 Marathons in 3 Days | 78 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

DoWackaDo 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

DoWackaDo Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Oregon

McKenzie River Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Pennsylvania

50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Pine Creek Challenge 100K | 100 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Pine Creek Challenge 100M | 100 miles | September 11, 2016 | website

Tennessee

Stanky Creek 50K | 50 kilometers | September 11, 2016 | website

Texas

50K | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Utah

Red Rock Relay Zion Edition | 187 miles | September 09, 2016 | website

Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | September 09, 2016 | website

Vermont

Jay Peak 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

Virginia

Iron Mountain 50 mile Trail Run | 50 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

Odyssey 40 Mile Trail Ultra | 40 miles | September 10, 2016 | website

The Blude Ridge Relay | 208 miles | September 09, 2016 | website

The Ring – Massanutten Trail Circuit Run | 71 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

Washington

Centennial Trail Run | 37 miles | September 03, 2016 | website

Day Two- (September 7) 50k | 50 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

PCT Bunker to Bonneville 50K | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

Volcanic 50 | 50 kilometers | September 03, 2016 | website

West Virginia

Charlies Challenge | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

Wisconsin

Lake Michigan Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | September 04, 2016 | website

Wyoming

Sundance 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | September 10, 2016 | website

CLOSE

 

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Website – talkultra.com

The Coastal Challenge 2016 #TCC2016 – The Full Story

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

View the full 2016 The Coastal Challenge image gallery HERE

TCC

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

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READ PART ONE – HERE

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

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READ PART TWO – HERE

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

 

“But where was Sa?”

 

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

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READ PART THREE – HERE

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

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

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

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The Coastal Challenge 2016 Race Preview

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The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica celebrates it’s 12th year with an incredible line up once again!

The 2016 edition of The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica gets underway on February 14th, yes, valentines day! It’s appropriate, most people fall in love with Costa Rica. Runners from all over the world will arrive in San Jose in preparation for the journey down to the coast and the 12th edition.

“Reaching the 12th edition is humbling and gratifying. It is a privilege and not to one to be taken lightly. We are happy and grateful to have made it this far.” – Rodrigo Carazo

Rodrigo Carazo has pulled together an incredible line-up for the race and without doubt it will arguably be one of the most competitive multi stage races of 2016 with the 2015 Marathon des Sables ladies champion, Elisabet Barnes heading up the ladies field and 2015 champion and course record holder, Iain Don-Wauchope returning after his incredible 2015 performance and course record.

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“Twelve years of exploring, adventuring and discovering Costa Rica and the beginning of a bright new era to come!” Rodrigo Carazo

RD - Rodrigo

RD – Rodrigo

Elite runners will toe the line in Quepos with everyday runners, they will all have one purpose in mind, to embrace the tough and technical challenge that lies ahead of them and enjoy every moment.

Known locally as the Rainforest Run, the TCC is a 236km stage race over 6-days that weaves in and out of a lush and tropical Pacific coastline. The Talamancas – a coastal mountain range spread across the southwest corner of the country – provide not only a stunning backdrop but also many of the tough and technical challenges that the runners will face on a day-to-day basis

Steve Diederich (HERE) the UK agent for the TCC had this to say:

 “A backdrop of some of the most breathtaking rainforest and coast on the planet, The Coastal Challenge has joined the exclusive club of iconic multi-day ultras.”

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Beaches that last km after km are interspersed with dirt tracks, mountain paths, dense jungle, ridges, water crossings, open plains and highland; Costa Rica is bursting with variety. In addition, add 40deg temperature and high humidity, the TCC is no easy challenge.

TCC is a supported race and each day camp is moved ahead of the runners. Running light and fast, equipment is kept to a minimum and as such, racing is extremely competitive. The 2016 edition of the race is proving to be extremely exciting, particularly when one looks at the line up of runners.

 

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2016 will see an incredible line up of runners and in the men’s Chema Martinez (José Manuel (“Chema”) Martínez Fernández) brings super fast 10,000m and maybe more importantly, marathon running speed to the TCC. A 2:08 marathon runner, Chema cut his multi-day teeth at Marathon des Sables in 2015 and TCC will allow him to run fast without the weight of a pack.

CarlosSa

Carlos Sa has run at the TCC before but made a huge navigational error on day 1 which ruined any chance of overall success. A runner who inspires through inspiration, Carlos has a varied list of results with highlights coming with 1st place at Badwater 135, 4th at the Marathon des Sables and a string of top-10 places in races all over the world, including UTMB.

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Miguel Capo Soler has placed 3rd at Marathon des Sables (2013) and shows great pedigree in multi-day and single day running. TheTCC will suit his running style but he will need to watch out for all the local ‘Tico’ talent: Ashur Youseffi, Roiny Villegas and Frederico Pacheco.

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A surprise package may well come from Brit, Damian Hall. The other runners in the race will almost certainly not know Damian but recent success at the UK’s Dragon Back Race, The Spine and last year a top-50 result at UTMB means that he will certainly be in contention in the top-5.

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Finally returning champ, Iain Don-Wauchope from South Africa impressed everyone in 2015 with how he made what is a very tough course look (relatively) easy.  This year he has said in advance that training has been sporadic and that he has suffered with some over training issues. What’s important is, he is back.

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The ladies race has less depth than in previous years and defending champion, Veronica Bravo is taking a year away from the race. However, two ladies will battle on this course. Ester Alves from Portugal had an impressive 2015 with a very full calendar, maybe too full! High quality and world-class performances were sometimes followed with less impressive performances due to fatigue. A former road cyclist, her transition to trail came in 2014. Top performances are 8th at UTMB, 6th at Transgrancanaria and 7th at Transvulcania.

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Elisabet Barnes is a lady on fire at the moment, particularly in multi-day racing. Her 2015 victory at Marathon des Sables (she won every stage) was followed up with a repeat performance in Oman. Having just completed a multi-day training camp in Lanzarote (here), Elisabet went into the heat chamber to prepare for Costa Rica’s humidity. It’s going to be exciting to see Elisabet race this TCC course. Recent sonship with Raidlight and a full calendar of multi-day racing in 2016 will see Elisabet race at MDS, Richtersveld Wildrun, Big Red Run and Grand to Grand.

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“This race will bring a whole new experience. I expect it to be more technical than what I am used to and I know from the heat chamber sessions I have done that the humidity will make it very tough. I am really looking forward to the challenge though and to visiting Costa Rica for the first time” – Elisabet Barnes

Racing starts on Sunday very early and I will be posting daily reports and images on this website as and when internet connection allows.

You can view the race route below.

Follow the race on Twitter @talkultra on Instagram @iancorlessphotography and on Facebook facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

#TCC2016