Episode 173 of Talk Ultra is here… Casey Morgan, Debbie Martin Consani and Rob Sinclair talk all about Ultra Trail Scotland. Sondre Amdahl discusses Trans Atlas and plans for Ultra Mirage and Elisabet Barnes co-hosts.
Speedgoat is currently on ‘The Longtrail” with Belz (his crewman from the AT)
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Sondre Amdahl and Elisabet Barnes won in 30:14 and 34:15 for the 6-stage race in Morocco.
WORLD TRAIL CHAMPIONSHIPS, PORTUGAL
Jon Albon is the world champ along with Blandine L’Hirondel. The podium was Julien Rancon and Christian Mathys for the men and Ruth Croft and Sheila Aviles for the women.
Edward Mothibi in 5:31 ahead of Bongmusa Mthembu who was 2nd just 25-secs later – ouch! Nah Kazami was 3rd in 5:39. Gerda Steyn broke the record books with a sub-6 5:58 – the first time in the 94 year history! Alexandra Morozova 6:17 for 2nd and Ireland’s Caitriona Jennings was 3rd 6:24.
Pau Capell Sally McRae took the wins in 10:54 and 14:38 with Aysen Soland and Colette Coumans 2nd/ 3rd for the women and Andris Ronimoiss and Gerald Fister rounding out the podium for the men.
Great win by Florian Reichert who is in fine form this year! He was ahead of Tofol Castanyer and Marcin Swierc 6:04, 6:10 and 6:13. Magdalena Laczak 7:29 was ahead of Simone Schwarz and Juliane Totzke 7:44 and 7:50.
Pau Capell Sally McRae took the wins in 10:54 and 14:38 with Aysen Soland and Colette Coumans 2nd/ 3rd for the women and Andris Ronimoiss and Gerald Fister rounding out the podium for the men.
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The Isle of Arran, a hidden gem just 90-minutes away from Glasgow. Many describe the island as ‘Scotland in miniature!’ Have to say, for a first-time visitor I was a little blow away by this little gem.
On first impressions, I thought travelling to Arran would be difficult. I couldn’t have been more wrong. A flight to Glasgow, a 30-minute train journey from Paisley to the harbour station of Ardrossan and 15-minutes later, the ferry departed for the 55-minute journey to Brodick and then a 5-minute walk to the race HQ where the weekend’s race would start and conclude.
Ultra Trail Scotland is the brainchild of elite mountain runner, Casey Morgan and Andrew Falconer of Find Your Adrenaline – www.findyouradrenaline.com – Also important to mention the incredible work of Noreen Devine and her incredible logistics and support who held the event together.
The duo have created two races, the Ultra Trail Scotland and The Tarsuinn Trail – both races showing the best of the incredible trails and mountains that Arran have to offer over the distances of 45km and 26km respectively.
The main event of the weekend is the Ultra Trail which manages to provide 3500m of epic running for vetted runners. This really is an out-and-out pure mountain running experience that harks back to the heritage of skyrunning races in Italy.
Nerves of steel, a head for heights, the ability to traverse amazing ridge-lines, climb and descend technical routes that pound not only the body but the mind. Remote and sublime, the route is an epic day of running compressed into 45km. Highlights coming with the technical ridge that follows Mullach Buide leading to Cioch na h-Oighe. Cir Mhor and of course, the Witches Step.
One could almost say the 26km Tarsuinn Trail is the fun run…! But it is no easy race with 2000m of vertical. The early trails to Goatfell at 873m only a warm up for what is to follow as the route shares some of the trail with its bigger brother.
The day before the races was bathed in sun with blue skies, white fluffy clouds and the Arran skyline looking magnificent. But as the day came to a close and as the race briefing concluded, the patter of rain started what was to become a very wet night. At 11pm, the weather forecast completely changed and the early forecasts of rain clearing to sunny skies disappeared.
At 0600 on race morning, two-hours before the scheduled start, Casey and Andrew took all the elements and mountain conditions into consideration and delayed the start to 10am. However, conditions did not improve, and a revised route was devised to still offer the runners of the Ultra Trail an incredible 38km mountain run, but unfortunately removing the two key technical sections of the ridge and Witches Step to ensure the safety of the competitors. The shorter, Tarsuinn Trail route was left unchanged due to the shorter distance and the midday start.
Let’s be clear here, the revised route for the Ultra Trail was still a beast of a course and as the race was underway, it was clear to all, that the conditions to change the route were completely justified. Visibility for much of the time was down to a few meters, the rain relentlessly poured, and the wind gusted and thrashed the mountain. The predicted clear patch in the early afternoon did arrive and provided everyone, runners and Marshalls included, a welcome warm and dry patch before the mist and rain returned later in the afternoon to remain well into the evening.
Caisteal Abhail provided a turnaround point for the Tarsuinn Trail and a key checkpoint for the Ultra Trail as runners passed through here on the way to the Glasson carpark, where they turned and re-traced back to Caisteal Abhail before concluding the race. As they passed through, there were no complaints from the Ultra Trail of a revised route or shorter course, just appreciation and thanks for the bravery of the decision, no matter how hard, to make the right decision for everyone’s safety.
The Ultra Trail was dominated by Rob Sinclair who was untouchable in the men’s race, he made the course and the conditions, dare I say, look easy. Stuart Whittle and Michael Reid had a much closer battle for the two remaining podium slots.
Debbie Martin-Consani needs no introduction to the ultra-world in Scotland and despite saying she would be happy with a top-five placing, she went on to win ahead of Katie Henderson and Ruth Stanley.
Tarsuinn Trail was led by Hamish Battle early on and unfortunately, he took a wrong turn and dropped to seventh place. Ahead the race went on with Gregor Stewart taking the win. However, Hamish battled hard and clawed his way back to second with a great run. Graham Connolly rounded out the podium.
Highly respected and renowned hill, fell and mountain runner, Jill Stephen controlled the 26km’s with a strong and dominant performance ahead of Hazel Wright and Erin Rendall.
The event concluded with the last runner arriving just before the 10pm cut-off. It had been a testing day for all concerned, but gladly, there were no major injuries and despite constantly testing conditions, everyone had had a great day on Arran.
Full results, reports and additional information will be posted HERE
From the heat and humidity of Costa Rica and The Coastal Challenge to the the Canary island of Gran Canaria and the Transgrancanaria 125km.
This is my fourth year working on the flagship 125km race and once again it appears in the UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour) calendar. The race starts on Friday evening, 24th February at 2300 hours’ local time. If it was ever in doubt, this race is a tough one! With over 8000m of positive gain, each and everyone of those 125km’s will be felt by the the time the runners reach the finish.
Starting on the north-west coast, the race travels south via the mountainous spine of Gran Canaria and then arrives at the finish, close to the sea in Maspalomas. The route is logical and therefore very appealing from a run aesthetic point of view.
Over the years, the race has had some stellar performances and 2017 will see the return of the 2016 champions, Caroline Chaverot and Didrik Hermansen.
Didrik Hermansen won the race last year with a high quality and well paced performance. He followed Transgrancanaria up with a stunning Western States and world-class 100km races. Didrik can mix running and climbing and therefore goes into the 2017 race as the hot favourite. Fellow Norwegian, Sondre Amdahl, tells me that Didrik is in great shape!
The UK’s Andy Symonds ran a stunning race in 2016 and placed 5th – I have a felling he will be on the podium this year! His 2016 season was solid one with UTMB being his only blip. A win at Lavaredo, 2nd at Buff Epic behind Luis Alberto Hernando and 4th at Transvulcania confirms that Andy’s stepping stones to longer racing is working – 2017 will be his year and I also hear he will be racing at Marathon des Sables.
Diego Pazos finished 3rd last year and what followed was a steady growth in the sport. I predicted he was a ‘one-to-watch’ for 2017 and I stand by that. His victory Mont-Blanc 80km confirmed that he is on the up.
Antoine Guillon placed on the podium previously and I have no reason to doubt that he can provide a repeat performance. In real terms, the podium may well be decided by those who pace themselves and come strong in the latter stages. Antoine may well be one of these guys – he will be able to bring the ‘long game’ to the race, something he learned when he won Diagonale des Fous (Raid de la Reunion) in 2015.
Yeray Duran is Transgrancanaria regular and is very popular within Spain and the Canary Islands. Arguably, it was Transgrancanaria that elevated his profile. He had a tough race last year but that blip is not indicative of how Yeray runs – I think we will see him up there this year.
Julien Chorier is always a tip for the podium and victory – he is one seriously classy runner. He was 2nd at Transgrancaria in 2014 and 7th last year. Mixing Hardrock and Western States shows that Julien can mix speed and climbing perfectly – one to watch for the top-5 for sure and maybe the podium!
Timothy Olson has raced on the island before (2014) and placed 3rd. He arrived in advance of this years race to train and prepare, something he has done on many occasions for multiple races. Normally, I would be pushing Timmy for the win but for the past year or so, the form has been missing. So, it’s difficult to predict the outcome here in the Canaries. Can Timmy win? Absolutely! So, lets cross our fingers and hope that we see a return to 2013 when this guy was on fire!
Pau Capell won the 85km event previously and last year held hands with Diego Pazoz and crossed the line for an equal 3rd place. He will be up there!
Fabien Antolinus is a runner I first met at Les Templiers and since then he has continually impressed with his ability to mix speed and climbing to great results. Two years ago he was 5th at UTMB but for me, his performances at Ice Trail Tarentaise were stand out. He’s a top-5 contender for sure.
Casey Morgan will keep UK interest high. He’s been up there at Transgrancanaria in the past and currently he is on a roll with a series of top quality victories. I last saw him race at Everest Trail Race and he was in great shape. He followed that race with another race victory in the Spanish mountains and just recently he raced in Hong Kong with great success.
Fulvio Dapit has come close in the past and is often let down with stomach issues. He won’t make the podium but he will be up in the top-10.
Ones to watch:
and many more…
This race has Caroline Chaverot’s name written all over it and no disrespect to the other female competitors but I don’t see anyone coming close to this French lady. Caroline was on fire in 2016 and was for me, THE, female ultra-runner of the year. She was unstoppable with a sting of high-profile victories. In summary, anyone who wins UTMB, becomes UTWT champion, becomes Skyrunning World Champion and IAU World Trail Champion all in one-year deserves the upmost respect. I think she will win the race by at least 1-hour!
I am going to throw a curve ball in and put my neck on the line with a stunning performance expectation from the UK’s Beth Pascall. She will be somewhat of a dark horse over in Gran Canaria but she has all the potential to produce a shock. She has with the UK’s Spine Race and the shorter distance, Challenge Race. She obliterated the ladies’ record at the Lakeland 100 and won the Hoka Highland Fling. One to watch! *Update 21st Feb, Beth will not race due to an injury to her foot.
Andrea Huser never stops. She is like Michael Wardian and each time she runs I am amazed with her ability to recover and race again. She doesn’t have the speed of Caroline and therefore, providing Caroline has no problems. I don’t see the Swiss lady beating her. However, she has a list of results that makes the podium almost guaranteed – victories at Lavaredo, Diagonale des Fous and Swiss Irontrail and let’s not forget 2nd at UTMB behind Caroline!
Azara Garcia and Gemma Arenas have set their tables out in Skyrunning races and we know that have speed and can climb with the best. However, 125km and 8000m of vertical is a long way and this may well be the downfall for the Spanish duo. Gemma probably has the edge over Azara as she has excelled at Ultra Pirineu with victory. For Gemma, I see 125km possibly being a real learning curve.
Lisa Borzani likes the long and mountainous races such as Tor des Geants and Ronda dels Cims – that will set her up well for this tough and challenging Transgrancanaria course. She may lack the speed but as others fade, she will continue to push strong.
Manuela Vilaseca was 5th at Transgrancanaria two-years ago and in this line-up, I believe the podium is a possibility – a win would only really come should Andrea and Caroline have bad races.
Ildiko Wermescher would be a long shot for the podium but a top-5 and certainly a top-10 is a distinct possibility. 2016 seemed to be a below par year but 2014 saw the German lady place 4th at Transgrancanaria.
Debbie Martin-Consani is my dark horse for a shake up in the ladies’ rankings. Like Beth Pascall, she is a Lakeland 100 winner and she has excelled at other 100-milers and races like Spartathlon, she ha s also raced in a GB vest. Word on the street (or the hills) is that Debbie has been going up and down those Scottish mountains to prepare for this 125km race.
This is Episode 117 of Talk Ultra and it’s a packed show. We talk with Jonathan Albon who last year won the Tromso SkyRace and this year placed 2nd. Debbie Martin-Consani talks about running long and her recent CR at the North Downs Way 100 in the UK. We also speak to my fellow podfather and good friend, Martin Yelling, about his inspiring, ‘Long Run Home.’ The News and Niandi co-hosts.
Karl is on the AT and he is now through the first week and everything seems to be going well. Each week I will post a 7-day update on my website, days 1-7 are HERE
RUNNING BEYOND BOOK is going to be available from October in Italy with Germany, Spain and the UK following – HERE
The VK which was run the day before saw Stian Angermund confirm his form from the Skyrunning World Championships with a strong victory and Emelie Forsberg won a nail biting sprint for the line to show us all she is on her way back. Read and view images HERE.
00:16:07 INTERVIEW JONATHAN ALBON
It was a Kenyan victory for Petro Mamu ahead of the UK’s Robbie Simpson and Francesco Puppi from Italy was 3rd. In the ladies race, Michelle Maier took a great victory in 2:58 ahead of Lucy Wambui Murigi and Elisa Desco was 3rd.
120 miles over 6 stages and victory went to David Laney/ Ryan Ghelfi in the men’s race and Amanda Basham/ Keely Henninger for the women.
NORTH DOWNS WAY 100
Neil Kirby 16:46:21
James Poole 17:20:27
John Stocker 18:03:26
Debbie Martin-Consani 18:34:54 (6th overall)
Annabelle Stearns 21:41:32
Wendy Shaw 22:33:55
00:50:14 INTERVIEW DEBBIE MARTIN-CONSANI
MONTANA BRIDGE RIDGE RUN
This 20 mile race gets a mention as Jim Walmsley of Western States fane was apparently flying ahead of course record and then…. a lack of confidence saw him backtrack, WSER is obviously haunting him. Turns out he was on the correct course, he turned around and this time won but missed the record.
Gonzalo Calisto, 5th at 2015 UTMB tests positive for EPO – Compressport have now released a statement which is a really positive sign. Read HERE.
ANGELES CREST 100
Guillaume Calmaettes 19:14
Dominick Layfield 19:30
Dominick Grossman 19:57
Jenny Welch 26:51
Maria Lourdes Rivera 27:02
Selina Nordberg 28:54
SRICHIMNEY SELF-TRANSCENDENCE 3100mile
It was the 20th edition of the 3100m journey and Yuri Trosteny completed the distance first in 46 days and just 94-minutes faster than Asprihanal Aalto. Asprihanal won the race in 2015 in a record 40 days. This time he came from behind and on one day he ran 86 miles to try to steal victory – 94 minutes super close! Yuri ran consistently more than 63 miles everyday!
When this show comes out it will be the Matterhorn Ultraks in Switzerland and then the week after it’s UTMB with a super stacked field and the iconic Trofeo Kima in Italy.
What an incredible weekend of racing in the stunning English Lakes. The Montane UTLD 100 and 50 mile races certainly have become two of ‘the’ must do events on the 2014 calendar. With the long term continued sponsorship of UK brand, Montane. The event has grown from very humble beginnings as an alternative to UTMB to an outright ‘must-do’ for any enthusiastic ultra runner.
Although run on the same course, the 100 and 50 events are two very different beasts. Both races are point-to-point. The 100 starts in Coniston and does a circular route around the northern lakes dropping back down from Pooley Bridge towards Windermere and then heads around Windemere Lake via Ambleside taking in the Langdale Valley and then a push over Tilberthwaite concludes what is unanimously called a ‘brutal’ event.
Not surprisingly, the ’50’ starts pretty much halfway around the 100 route, in Dalemain and is run over the exact same course as the latter half of the 100 event.
Sun and the Lakes can be a rare commodity but participants in both events had plenty of relentless heat to partner them over every step. Even during the first night, temperatures were ridiculously balmy with nothing more than a short sleeved shirt required. The second night however did throw a curve ball for 100 runners entering another night on the trails or for 50 runners finishing after 2100 hours. The heavens opened with some biblical rain… I guess for some it was a welcome cool down and refresher from the oppressive heat.
Marco Consani (21:14:52) was very much a dominant force in the 100 event. Over the early stages Marco had close competition and ran side-by-side with eventual 2nd place, Charlie Sharpe. However, when Marco took over the lead he never looked back. Climbing out of Howtown with the start of a new day he had a 30-minute lead which he continued to extend all the way to the line finishing almost 90-minutes ahead of Sharpe in 2nd (22:47:56). Lee Knight finished 3rd, 23:21:48 after pushing relentlessly for the duration of the event.
In the ladies race, Beth Pascall proved to be a revelation. Having never run longer than 60-miles before, this lady started at the front of the race and at Buttermere one wondered if she would pull off something quite special. However, experienced ultra runner and Montane athlete, Debbie Martin Consani (yes, Marco’s wife) slowly pulled back the gap and extended the lead away from Beth. Apart from a rough patch at Mardale Head, Debbie never looked in doubt of winning the race but Beth really was charging and at the line it was 25:28:33 to 25:48:36. Impressive. Nicky Taylor was 3rd lady in 29:37:08.
One thing must be said, the Lakeland 100 is a tough event. Even contemplating the start and the race deserves respect. Each and every runner who toed the line achieved a great deal. For those who finished, they have memories and experiences to take to the grave. For those who didn’t finish, they will be back… the UTLD100 get a hold like no other race.
The Lakeland 50 was a British Championship event and as such competition was higher than normal. The men’s race had Lakeland 100 winner and Montane athletes, Stuart Mills and Iznik and Spine Challenger winner, Marcus Scotney. In addition, we had Danny Kendall who just this year placed top-5 at the Marathon des Sables. Add to the mix, Kim Collison, and Lee Kemp a fast race was always on the cards. Fast it was… maybe too fast! Starting at 1130am, the heat of the day was already pushing down and when Danny Kendall says ‘it’s too hot!’ then you know it’s hot… In the early stages, a small group formed but it was Collinson who eventually snapped the elastic. Scotney came from behind and charged into 2nd place and then behind, Kendall and Mills had a tough battle for 3rd. At the line, Collinson finished in 7:48:01, Scotney 2nd in 8:06:42 and Kendall 3rd in 8:13:39.
The ladies race had Lakeland 50 course record holder, Tracy Dean racing against the female Lakeland 100 course record holder, Lizzie Wraith. For sure, it was an exciting head-to-head. However, add to the mix Jo Meek and a real battle was always going to unfold. Meek as expected pushed ahead of Wraith and Dean and never looked back. Running with 100% conviction, Meek dominated the race and never for a moment looked under threat. Dean unfortunately dropped due to illness leaving the door open for Wraith to take 2nd place and Bonnie Van Wilgenberg ran a controlled and impressive race for 3rd. Meeks run was so impressive that she placed 6th overall in a time of 8:43:14. Wraith ran 9:18:22 and Wilgenberg completed the top-3 in 9:31:05.