Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc UTMB® 2016 Preview

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I won’t be at UTMB this year, Trofeo Kima is happening the same weekend in Italy and I wouldn’t miss this high octane extreme event for anything, especially when it only happens every other 2 years.

But UTMB has a stellar line up this year. It’s going to be a cracking race.

Just in case you didn’t know, UTMB is a 170km circular journey that starts and finishes in Chamonix passing through France, Italy and Switzerland with 10,000+ meters of vertical gain on non-technical trails. In 2014 Francois D’Haene of France set the men’s course record 20:11:44 and the female course record is held by Rory Bosio (USA) who ran 22:37:26 in 2013. Rory in the process ranked in the top-10 overall that year!

Recently, UTMB has hit the headlines after a top 10 finisher in the 2015 race, Gonzalo Calisto, was tested and found positive for EPO. This came to light in June when the IAAF added Calisto’s suspension to its website. However, UTMB were not notified of this positive test? In recent weeks and months, many investigations have been made and you can read them all on this website HERE. Ultimately, this positive test has raised alarm bells and certain aspects of the testing and notification procedure need to change. I hope UTMB will have testing once again this year and they provide data and information to the media.

Racing for the main starts on Friday August 26th at 1800hrs local time and it looks like a great weekend of weather is in store for spectators, it may be a little hot for the runners. Please also remember that many other events happen in and around the UTMB, the PTL, TDS and CCC.

MEN

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Luis Alberto Hernando is in a good place! He is a new Dad, has raced less and when he has raced he has been in top form. A repeat win at Transvulcania and dominant performance at the Skyrunning World Championships for a gold medal and world title and suddenly you begin to see everything clicking into place. Luis dropped from the 2014 UTMB and then came back, one year later to place 2nd. Luis does always race from the front and hard, he tempered this in 2015 but it still may well be his achilles heel in 2016? I hope not, Luis would be a popular champion!

David Laney third at UTMB and 8th at Western States in 2015 are two very significant performances and bode well for a great 2016 UTMB. What doesn’t bode well is the most recent 20+ hour finish at Western States. It leaves a huge question mark on David’s current physical and mental ability to take on the big dance in Chamonix.

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Andy Symonds for me is the dark horse. It’s his first 100 miler and that is a huge disadvantage. But Andy knows how to race, prepares meticulously and I know he’s fired up for this race. In the past he has often played 2nd fiddle at the big races but a podium at Transgrancanaria, a victory at Lavaredo and 2nd (silver) behind Luis at the Skyrunning World Championships tells me that the time is right for the Brit who lives in France. Listen to the podcast here.

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Zach Miller is relatively easy to write about… we will see one of two performances: 1. An all guns blazing early race that potentially will open up a gap that he extends and holds on to take the biggest victory of his life! 2. As 1 but a major blow up that sees him lose the lead and drop substantial places or a resulting DNF. Think Max King at Leadville.

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Didrik Hermansen is a potential revelation in Chamonix and I do believe that he can win. I said that at Western States after I saw his run and victory at Transgrancanaria. He didn’t disappoint in the USA and he placed 2nd at WSER. UTMB is a different playground but this guy can run and hike – he is going to need all those skills in France, Italy and Switzerland. Listen to the podcast here.

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Jason Schlarb was fourth at UTMB in 2014, won Run Rabbit Run, completed Marathon des Sables. skied the Hardrock 100 course, won the Hardrock 100 with Kilian Jornet and here he is, in Chamonix, looking to do an epic double – you know what, I think he can do it! I’m not sure that he will have those extra percentages for victory, Hardrock may well have but pay to that. But I do see a potential top 5 and even the podium if the stars align. Listen to the podcast with him here.

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Gediminas Grinius 5th at UTMB in 2014 and what followed was quite a rise in the sport of ultra-running. Gediminas has an interesting back story of post-traumatic stress and it is running that helped. When you have been to hell, pain in an ultra is nothing. It’s worth remembering that this guy can dig deep. A win at Transgrancanaria, a win at UTMF and a string of top 2nd places certainly elevate GG for a top UTMB place. Listen to the podcast here.

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Tofol Castanyer won CCC and was 2nd at UTMB in 2014. He has a string of top performances and results but his recent form seems a question mark. On paper, he’s a podium contender but I said that last year and he didn’t finish. We will have to see?

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Ryan Sandes had a tough 2015 and has patiently come back in 2016 with a 3rd place in Tararwera and 4th place in Australia at the Ultra Trail. Ryan never likes to race a great deal preferring to train and prepare meticulously for key events. He has done that in the past, Western States for example only to not race at the 11th hour due to injury or illness. Apart from FKT records, Ryan’s career highlights are his win at Transgrancanaria and top results at UTMF and WSER. Ryan has been in Chamonix for some time training and I hope he will arrive at the line fresh. He has all the potential to shake up the podium. Listen to the podcast here.

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Fabien Antolinus is an under the radar runner who is known in France and not many other places. A top consistent performer at Templiers and the Ice Trail Tarentaise, Fabien backed this up last year with a 6th place finish at UTMB behind a doping Gonzalo Calisto, so, he finished 5th really. I see a potential repeat performance.

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras could win, could finish in the top 10, may not start and if he does start, may not finish. Yes, Miguel is a class act when the stars align but neither he or us can predict when this will happen. A highlight for sure was his UTMB 2nd behind Xavier Thevenard in 2013.

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Javier Dominguez just had a great run at the Skyrunning World Championships with 3rd place behind Luis Alberto and Andy Symonds. He also placed 3rd at Lavaredo. Although he will be in the mix he is potentially a top 5-10 finisher.

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Julien Chorier has the long game, strength and persistence for a top UTMB performance. I’ve seen him time and time again grind out great results. His victory at Ronda dels Cims a few years back is still one of the most dominant performances of running I have seen. Julien has backed that up at Western States, Hardrock, Diagonale des Fous, UTMF and of course UTMB. His best UTMB was 3rd in 2008 and in 2013 he finished 6th.

Paul Giblin for me is a dark horse. Last year he missed UTMB and compensated with focusing on Western States in 2016, he placed 5th. That’s one of the UK’s best performances at the race. He’s a runner and the 10,000m of vertical may go against his natural abilities but don’t rule him out! Listen to the podcast here.

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You have to draw a line somewhere but we also need to consider, Diego Pazoz who has illuminated several races in 2016, most notably victory at the Eiger Ultra Trail and Mont-Blanc 80km.

He could be a huge surprise as could Stephan Hugenschmidt from Germany who has had many notable results.

Zdenek Kris finished 9th at Ultra Perineu in 2015 and recently placed 5th at the Skyrunning World Championships.

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Two Frenchmen, Arnaud Lejeune who was 2nd at UTMF in 2015 and Thomas Lorblanchet who has wins at Leadville and 4th at Western States will also mix things up.

Ryan Smith, Pau Bartolo, Jez Bragg, Aurelian Collet, Ludovic Pommeret, Armand Teixeira, Jordi Bes and Bertrand Collomb-Patton all have top 10 and certainly top 20 potential.

Needless to say there is a whole stack of other male talent that have experienced UTMB before somewhere in and around the top 50. Any of these runners who could make a breakthrough performance and venture into the high ranking top 20’s or even top 10. It’s what makes the race so interesting.

LADIES

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Rory Bosio holds the course record at UTMB – nuff said! Any lady that finishes in the top-10 overall rocks. But where has Rory been since her repeat victory in 2014? Well, believe it or not, she was filming a reality TV show… really, Rory is an actress! In 2015 she won the Atacama Extreme but other than that she has been relatively low key when racing. UTMB performances are backed up by 2nd, 4th and 5th at Western States so Rory needs no other boosting. I do wonder though if she is in the ‘A’ game frame of mind of 2013 and 2014? We will find out…

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Caroline Chaverot for me is the lady that will win UTMB 2016. Caroline is a machine who smiles from beginning to end and her performances over the last 18-24 months have blown me away. She does race a great deal and I think that went against her at UTMB in 2015 when she DNF’d. This year though I have noticed a difference… she obliterated the Transgrancanaria course, she obliterated the MUT in Madeira and she became Skyrunning World Champion at the Buff Epic Trail – 2016 is Caroline’s UTMB year!

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Nuria Picas has twice finished 2nd and I would normally talk Nuria up as the winner. Last year she dropped early and since has had very mixed performances. I do believe she has the UTWT curse of running and winning too many races in a short period of time which has left her drained. I have seen this in 2016 at Transgrancanaria and most recently at the Buff Epic Trail. Of course, Nuria may well have been savvy and kept her powder dry for Chamonix – I hope so! *August 24th, Nuria will unfortunately not run the 2016 edition due to an injury.

Magdalena Boulet will be there or thereabouts but for me, this course will not allow enough running which is Magda’s strength. No doubt she will be in the mix, her 2nd at CCC proved that but 170k and 10,000m is a big difference to CCC or Western States. Listen to the podcast here.

Uxue Fraille will be out of the mix early on and keep going and produce a solid finish. Uxue’s success is all about pacing and finishing. She lets the other ladies race and fade and then she sweeps them up in the final 1/3rd. Last year she placed 2nd at UTMB and she won UTMF.

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Jasmin Paris is one lady who may well win UTMB one day. I’d love to say that 2016 will be the year but I don’t think it will happen. Jasmin runs a great deal and therefore rarely ‘peaks’ for any one race. This is sometimes a good thing but also a bad thing. Although Jasmin can run long, this will be her first big 100+ miler and the Chamonix experience may well overwhelm her. This year she blitzed the Bob Graham Round FKT to a new level and a week after getting married took bronze medal at the Skyrunning World Championships and then won Tromso SkyRace. Personally, I feel Jasmin’s forte and skill set will be best suited to the Skyrunner courses where her fell and mountain running background really shines. She will do well at UTMB but this year will be a learning curve. Don’t get me wrong though, top 5 and certainly top 3 is possible. Listen to the podcast here.

Andrea Huser like Jasmin is a non-stop racer and for me always lacks that extra 5-10% when required due to a constant element of fatigue. Her string of top 2nd and 3rd places for me confirm this. In this 2016 field, Andrea can better her 2014 7th and potentially will make the top 5 and may even challenge the podium but I don’t see a victory.

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Fernanda Maciel is a another runner who mixes many sports, races regularly and is always in and around the action. Like Andrea Huser, I see her in the mix but not taking the top slot. If we look at recent results, the consistency is there – 4th at UTMB in 2010, 3rd at MDS, 3rd at Lavaredo 2016 and a string of other podium places at UTWT races. * Fernanda will not run 23rd August. News from her doctors: “They said I was in an advanced stage of injuries to my kidneys caused by my last 2 long races due to dehydration I suffered during the races. Now my blood tests from last friday done here in Chamonix seem normal but not 100% recovered, and of course I am thinking of the UTMB on friday… I’m really sad because they only told me it today!”

Emilie Lecomte has the long game, strength and tenacity for a 170km race but she lacks the speed of many of the other ladies. A top 10 is an almost guaranteed and as other ladies fade, we can expect Emilie to move up.

Francesca Canepa and Emilie Lecomte in many ways are similar runners and Francesca has a strong history with UTMB and Tor des Geants. On her day, she can be up there and in the mix. Recently her form has been questionable.

Amy Sproston has won Hurt 100 and placed 2nd at Western States. For me, Amy is a runner but then again, Hurt has some gnarly terrain on those 20-mile loops, so, is this the year that Amy puts UTMB demons to rest? Her history is not good with the race – three starts and only one finish when she placed 8th.

Aliza Lapierre is potentially the USA’s top contender behind Rory Bosio. Her list of results in all varieties of races bodes well for a solid UTMB. But at really specific races, Transgrancanaria for example the mountainous terrain has caused her to struggle a little. Aliza like to run and although UTMB has plenty of that, it also has plenty of hands-on-knee action.

Larisa Dannis likes a running race and like many of the American ladies the increased vertical causes an issue. On paper though, she has the racing pedigree for a top performance. you don’t get 2nd at Western States by accident.

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Ester Alves is a good friend and races too much (sorry Ester). One day, Ester will pick a race and prepare meticulously for it and then excel. I saw this earlier this year when she won and dominated The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. I think what worked there was it was the first race of the season and she could therefore be specific over the winter. What has followed is a string of races in many varied locations with a list of good results but no stand out results! Ester placed 8th at the 2014 UTMB so the potential is there!

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Gemma Arenas I know well in the Skyrunning circles but this will be her first 100 and it’s a tough one with strong competition. It will be a learning curve.

Like in the men’s race, curve balls will swing in and we can expect to see these ladies’ mixing it up, Silke KoesterNicky Spinks, Sally McRae, Sarah Willis, Sophie Grant, Frederica Boifava, Joelle Vaught, Alissa St. Laurent and Manu Vilaseca amongst others.

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#EPO #CALISTO #UTMB – Statement from COMPRESSPORT

CALISTO - PRESS RELEASE

Another week passes and it’s important not to let the momentum drop around the positive test of Gonzalo Calisto at UTMB in 2015. This is possibly even more important with the proximity of the 2016 event which is just weeks away.

If you are coming to this story new, you can read my post below:

Post 1 UTMB faces positive EPO test HERE

Post 2 Michel Poletti HERE

Post 3 IAAF HERE

Post 4 Update IAAF and Catherine Poletti HERE

Post 5 Gonzalo Calisto statement HERE

Post 6 ITRA statement HERE

Post 7 DRUGS in Mountain, Ultra and Trail #EPO #UTMB

I am pleased to say, today, Compressport have replied to my emails and forwarded me a press release that I assume will be distributed through the appropriate channels in due course.

I have been vocal that brands and sponsors MUST act accordingly when an athlete is found positive and I therefore applaud Compressport for stepping up to the plate and sending out a clear message. And I quote:

“Given the evidence surrounding Gonzalo Callisto’s alleged actions, we determined that our relationship with Gonzalo no longer aligns with out companies mission and core values.”

This is a big step for Mountain, Ultra, Trail and Skyrunning and as a fellow colleague said, “Nicely worded, clear and unequivocal and shows compressport in a really good light!”

Lets be clear here, Callisto’s positive test has never really been about the individual for me. At first it was about the system, how a positive test was almost hidden, how UTMB were not notified of the positive test and ultimately what the repercussions are/ were for the sport. This is not a witch hunt!

Our sport is potentially at the early stages of doping and I can’t stress enough how important it is that we all – runners, races, sponsors, brands and so on set and send a very clear message.

We now need MOVISTAR AVENTURA TEAM (web here) who sponsor Calisto to clarify their stance in regard to this positive test and the implications for their brand and race team.

The press release from UTMB, ITRA and now COMPRESSPORT set the example.

#cleansport

As usual I welcome your thoughts.

How Do We Keep Doping Out of Trail Running? by Outside Online

Calisto_OutsideOnline

I have been very vocal lately about the doping scandal around Gonzalo Calisto and his positive test for EPO at the 2015 UTMB. Outside Magazine contacted me and and asked for my input based on my articles and research as listed below.

Post 1 UTMB faces positive EPO test HERE

Post 2 Michel Poletti HERE

Post 3 IAAF HERE

Post 4 Update IAAF and Catherine Poletti HERE

Post 5 Gonzalo Calisto statement HERE

Post 6 ITRA statement HERE

Post 7 DRUGS in Mountain, Ultra and Trail #EPO #UTMB

********

You can now read an article by Meaghen Brown published on Outside Online

Over the past few years, rumors have swirled in ultrarunning circles about how some frequent podium finishers seem so resilient to the endless, hard, mountain miles. But when news broke in mid July that Ecuadorian ultrarunner Gonzalo Calisto had been busted in a positive EPO test and subsequently disqualified from the prestigious Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, it marked an important turning point for a sport that has thus far maintained a pretty wholesome image.

 

“To be honest, it breaks my heart,” says professional ultrarunner Mike Foote, who’s twice placed in the top five at UTMB. “The ultrarunning community prides itself on a deep we-are-in-this-together mentality, and Calisto being busted for EPO undermines this culture and this mutual respect and celebration of one another.”

You can read the full article online HERE

Episode 116 – Beth Pascall and Donnie Campbell

A_GRAVATAR

This is Episode 116 of Talk Ultra and We speak with Beth Pascall who obliterated the female record at the UK’s Lakeland 100 and placed 4th overall in the process. We also speak with Donnie Campbell who won the Lakes Sky Ultra. We have the news, results and Niandi Carmont co-hosts while Speedgoat Karl goes for a jog on the AT!

Karl is on the AT check it out and follow – http://atrecord.redbull.com/karl-meltzer-mobile/p/1

00:15:00 NEWS

SKY RUNNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS images HERE

Luis Alberto Hernando and Caroline Chaverot were crowned champions for the ULTRA in 12:53 and 14:41 of the 105km course with 8000m of vert. Andy Symonds and Javier Dominguez were 2nd and 3rd and Eva Moreda and Jasmin Paris were 2nd and 3rd in the ladies. HERE

Stian Angermund did a double winning the VK and SKY. He ran 3:56 for the SKY to beat Tom Owens and Ismail Razga. Maite Maiora won the ladies race in 4:42, Azara Garcia placed 2nd and Elisa Desco 3rd. HERE

In the VK it was Stian Angermund and Christel Dewalle who took top honours. HERE

KENDAL MOUNTAIN RUN

Dakota Jones and Emelie Forsberg both had two great runs and returns to form to win in 1:37 and 1:59. In the men’s race Daniel Hadis placed 2nd and Timmy Parr 3rd. Sarah Pizzo and Taylor Nowlin were 2nd and 3rd respectively in the ladies’ race.

BADWATER 135

Pete Kostelnick set a new CR** of 21:56 beating Valerie Nunes 2007 record. Harvey Lewis placed 2nd and Dan Lawson from the UK 3rd.

Alyson Venti won the ladies race with a new CR**too in 25:53 – 23 minutes better than the old CR. Brenda Guajardo was 2nd and Nikki Wynd 3rd.

** The race now starts at night as opposed to the morning start and may very well influence the new CR’s?

SKYRACE COMAPEDROSA HERE

Male:

  1. Tom Owens 2:40
  2. Hassan Ait Chaou 2:41
  3. Aritz Egea 2:44

Female:

  1. Laura Orgue 3:14
  2. Oihana Kortazar 3h17
  3. Angela Castello 3h20

LAKES SKY ULTRA

Donnie Campbell and Sarah Ridgeway, champions at the 2nd edition of the LAKES SKY ULTRA their respective times 07:30:40 and 8:38:46 and new CR’s.

Second place went to Neil Talbott and Sophie Grant with Alexander Beaven and Katie Boden placing 3rd.

00:26:22 INTERVIEW DONNIE CAMPBELL

FKT RECORD

Yassine Diboun and Scott Loughney set the new Supported FKT on the Oregon Section of the PCT running the length of the state in 8 days 12 hours & 5 minutes (Finishing the 453 mile journey yesterday). Brian Donnelly still holds the overall FKT of 7 days 22 Hours & 37 minutes (Respectively unsupported).

Gonzalo Calisto, 5th at 2015 UTMB tests positive for EPO

Post 1 UTMB faces positive EPO test HERE

Post 2 Michel Poletti HERE

Post 3 IAAF HERE

Post 4 Update IAAF and Catherine Poletti HERE

Post 5 Gonzalo Calisto statement HERE

Lizzy Hawker has just completed a solo foot circumnavigation of monte Rosa on the Tour de Monte Rosa.  Approximately 170km and 11,700m of elevation change in just over 37 hours. She returned to grachen after leaving the church square at 4am on Friday.

Controvery over UTMB, the Polettis and the term, ‘ULTRA TRAIL’

LAKELAND 100

Michael Jones 20:30:03

Marco Consani 21:13:17

Chris Bookham 21:26:49

Beth Pascall 21:29:36 (4th overall)

Fiona Mayley Peterson 29:08:33

Ashleigh Bennett 29:25:15

01:05:50 INTERVIEW BETH PASCALL

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

New South Wales

Altra Centennial Park Ultra100km | 100 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Altra Centennial Park Ultra 50km | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Northern Territory

The Malbunka | 133 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

The Namatjira | 80 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Queensland

64km Kuranda to Port Douglas Ultra Trail Marathon | 64 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Kuranda to Port Douglas Ultra Trail Marathon | 64 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Lamington Eco Challenge Two Marathons on Two Consecutive Days | 84 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Austria

Dirndltal Extrem Ultramarathon | 111 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Belgium

Flanders

100 km Dodentocht® | 100 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Wallonia

Trail des Fantômes – 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Trail des Fantômes – 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Bulgaria

Persenk Ultra | 157 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Wild Boar Ultra | 104 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Canada

Alberta

Iron Legs 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

British Columbia

Fat Dog 100 Trail Race: 120 mile | 120 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Fat Dog 100 Trail Race: 50 mile | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Fat Dog 100 Trail Race: 70 mile | 70 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Ontario

50K | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

75K | 75 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Quebec

Trans Vallée | 67 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Colombia

Ultra Trail Parque Los Nevados – 59 km | 59 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Ultra Trail Parque Los Nevados – 93 km | 93 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Denmark

Sjælland

NDURE Trail 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

NDURE Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

France

Isère

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs | 160 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Savoie

Courchevel X Trail 54 km | 54 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

EDF Cenis Tour 50 | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

EDF Cenis Tour 73 | 73 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Allgäu Panorama Ultra Trail | 70 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Berlin

100MeilenBerlin | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Lower Saxony

Süntel-Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Monschau Ultra-Marathon | 56 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

India

Jammu and Kashmir

La Ultra – The High 111 | 111 kilometers | August 11, 2016 | website

La Ultra – The High 222 | 222 kilometers | August 11, 2016 | website

La Ultra – The High 333 | 333 miles | August 11, 2016 | website

Ireland

Donegal

Quadrathon | 169 kilometers | August 11, 2016 | website

Galway

Connemara 100 | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Kenya

Tsavorun | 84 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Latvia

Cēsis ECO Trail 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Madagascar

Boby Trail | 80 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Namoly Trail | 50 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Mauritius

Xtreme Dodo Trail | 50 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

Montenegro

1500 km | 1500 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

3000 km | 3000 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Norway

Bèrghem Ultra90 Hare Hunting 2016 | 90 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Peru

80 K | 80 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

80K Relay | 80 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Portugal

Ultra-Trail Nocturno da Lagoa de Óbidos | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Réunion

Trail du Grand Ouest | 60 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Romania

VLC Ultra TrailRun Petrimanu 56 | 56 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

South Africa

Merrell Whale of Trail | 53 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Spain

Aragon

Calcenada Vuelta al Moncayo – 104 km | 104 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Catalonia

Ultra | 104 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Sweden

Björkliden Arctic Mountain Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Björkliden Arctic Mountain Marathon 70 km | 70 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Tierra Arctic Ultra | 120 kilometers | August 05, 2016 | website

Trans Scania | 246 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

Switzerland

Grisons

Swiss Irontrail T141 | 147 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Swiss Irontrail T201 | 202 kilometers | August 18, 2016 | website

Swiss Irontrail T81 | 89 kilometers | August 19, 2016 | website

Trail Marathon 70 KM | 70 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Tanzania

Kilimanjaro Stage Run | 260 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Inov-8 Roseland August Trail – 32 Mile | 32 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Inov-8 Roseland August Trail – The Plague | 64 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

England

Round the Rock Ultra | 46 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Gloucestershire

Oxford Ultra | 65 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Thames Challenge | 184 miles | August 11, 2016 | website

Windsor Ultra | 43 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

South Lanarkshire

John Lucas Memorial Run | 50 miles | August 14, 2016 | website

Suffolk

Stour Valley Path 100km Ultra Run | 100 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Surrey

North Downs Way 100 | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Wiltshire

Salisbury 54321 50K Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | August 14, 2016 | website

USA

Alaska

Nifty Fifty 50K | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Resurrection Pass 100 Mile Ultra Trail | 100 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Resurrection Pass 50 Mile Ultra Trail | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Arizona

Vertigo 63K Night Trail Run | 63 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

California

Angeles Crest 100 mile endurance run | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Cinderella Trail Run 50 km (Aug) | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Cool Moon 100M | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Cool Moon 50M | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Crystal Springs 50 Km Trail Run (summer) | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Skyline 50K | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Colorado

GORE-TEX TransRockies Run – Run3 | 59 miles | August 09, 2016 | website

GORE-TEX TransRockies Run – TRR6 | 120 miles | August 09, 2016 | website

Ouray 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 05, 2016 | website

Ragnar Relay Colorado | 200 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Silverheels 100 Mile Endurance Run | 102 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Silverton 1000 – 100 Miler | 100 miles | August 16, 2016 | website

Telluride Mountain Run | 38 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Wild West Relay | 200 miles | August 05, 2016 | website

Idaho

Standhope Ultra Challenge | 83 miles | August 18, 2016 | website

Wild Idaho 50K Enrudance Run | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Wild Idaho 50M Enrudance Run | 50 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Massachusetts

TARC Summer Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

TARC Summer Classic 50M | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Minnesota

Ragnar Relay Great River | 200 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Montana

HURL Elkhorn 50 K Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Nevada

Ruby Mountain Relay | 184 miles | August 19, 2016 | website

New Hampshire

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race | 80 kilometers | August 12, 2016 | website

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race 2-Person Relay | 80 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

New Jersey

100k | 100 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

50k | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

50M | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

New York

Beast of Burden Summer 100 Miler | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Beast of Burden Summer 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Team Relay Race | 234 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

The Mighty Mosquito 99 Mile Trail Relay | 99 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

North Carolina

Death Before DNF Ultra 100 Miler | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Drop to 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

North Dakota

Badlands 50K | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Badlands 50 miler | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Ohio

100 Mile | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

50 Mile | 50 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

50 Mile Back Half | 50 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Oregon

Elkhorn Relay | 203 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Post Canyon 50k | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Pennsylvania

Eastern States 100 | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Viaduct Trail 100 Mile Ultramarathon | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Viaduct Trail 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Texas

Colorado Bend – 60k | 60 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Utah

Kat’cina Mosa 100K Mountain Challenge Run | 100 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Ultra Adventure Tushars 100 Mile | 100 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Ultra Adventure Tushars 93K | 93 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Vermont

100on100 Heart of Vermont Relay | 100 miles | August 13, 2016 | website

Moosalamoo Ultra – 36 M | 36 miles | August 06, 2016 | website

Virginia

Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

Martha Moats Baker Memorial 50Km | 50 kilometers | August 13, 2016 | website

Washington

Bigfoot 200 Mile Endurance Run | 205 miles | August 12, 2016 | website

Wisconsin

50K Run | 50 kilometers | August 07, 2016 | website

Wyoming

El Vaquero Loco 50K | 50 kilometers | August 06, 2016 | website

01:54:00 CLOSE

02:01:36

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Stitcher You can listen on iOS HEREAndroid HERE or via a web player HERE

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

Website – talkultra.com

DRUGS in Mountain, Ultra and Trail #EPO #UTMB

EPO-Doping-Offers-No-Benefit-to-Athletes-286x300

Last week and the week before, EPO, DOPING and the UTMB was the hot topic after Gonzalo Callisto’s positive test. Everyone was talking about it… this week it’s all gone quiet. That can’t happen! You can catch up on my posts below.

Post 1 UTMB faces positive EPO test HERE

Post 2 Michel Poletti HERE

Post 3 IAAF HERE

Post 4 Update IAAF and Catherine Poletti HERE

Post 5 Gonzalo Calisto statement HERE

Post 6 ITRA statement HERE

There are far too many questions unanswered, there are far too many people being quiet and if we want to eradicate doping from Mountain, Ultra and Trail running – we need to keep talking and discussing.

I was approached by Outside Magazine and they asked me a few questions. I am pretty sure that what gets used or published will be an edited version and with that in mind here are my thoughts, un-edited.

In light of the latest news from UTMB, what you think this positive test means for the sport? 

One has to embrace the positive test as a good thing as it confirms that preventative measures against doping are working. This positive was an ‘in competition’ test which only confirms the need for out of competition testing and blood passports. Of course, the answer is always that testing is too expensive. We have to act now and be proactive. I don’t have the answers but I do feel that we could start to address certain issues that would help. Maybe it’s time that we ask (for example) the top 100 male and top 50 female runners as listed on ITRA to pay for a regular medical? Sage Canaday recently released a full report on his medical status to ‘prove’ he is clean; that’s a good thing! (See below). Athletes of course may well say that they can’t afford it but this is where sponsors come in maybe? We cannot keep making excuses as to why we can’t but find ways to make sure we can! We are at the very early stages of doping in our sport and if we don’t act now it will only become worse and God forbid, we could end up like cycling or athletics.

Do you think doping is really becoming something to worry about, or is this a case of an outlier?

We need to worry, yes! This is not the first positive test, it maybe a high profile conviction, but it would be foolish to think that this is an isolated incident.

Are people starting to talk about doping more in ultarunning than before? Or maybe a better way of asking this is how are the athletes you know, talking about this subject and what it means for the sport?

I certainly have witnessed more discussion about doping and of course this was highlighted at the end of 2015 at San Francisco 50. This was a moment when the sport really looked at itself and many questions were asked. It actually became quite nasty at times and I think a sense of perspective was lost. For example, WMRA (World Mountain Running Association) and Skyrunning have been testing athletes for many years. They have very much paved the way but they acknowledge they can only do so much. In competition testing costs 1000’s of euros or dollars for one event and of course, only urine can be tested. Many say it takes an idiot to to be caught ‘in competition’ but it happens. I go back to blood passports – we really need them for elite, professional and sponsored runners. Some races do not have a ‘PED’ policy and San Francisco highlighted the need for races and RD’s to address this in the rules of the race. Western States for example has re-written its race rules to say that any runner who has had a positive conviction cannot race. Many runners have asked for a lifetime ban for any positive test and they have been vocal about this. I personally am reluctant to go down this route… I do believe that mistakes can happen in drug testing but I am not an expert. This creates a whole new debate and raises questions about the lasting effects of a doping program. For example, we used to have two positive tests and out, I liked that but apparently that has been deemed unfair?

Are people starting to test more for doping than in previous years? What has this looked like?

As mentioned previously, WMRA and Skyrunning have been testing for many years but not at all events. Skyrunning for example had its World Championships in Spain in July, they had three events, VK, SKY and ULTRA and WADA performed tests at all three race distances. The problem comes, once again with cost. At the Skyrunning World Championships, 12 athletes were tested. The make and female winner in each category (making 6) and then 6random tests. Let’s assume testing at an event is $10,000 – who pays? Do we add a surcharge on every runners entry fee? Does that race find a sponsor to cover the cost? Do we rely on a wealthy donor or do we approach all the major brands in the sport and say, you must pay! It’s a complex matter and this is why doping control is a rarity in contrast to the norm. Let’s look at races such as Speedgoat 50k, Run Rabbit Run and San Francisco 50 – these races have some substantial prize money, in some scenarios it could mean a pay check of $10,000+ for a win. Yet nobody has any idea if the winner is clean? Moving away from trail running and looking at ultra road running, Comrades in South Africa has huge prize money and it has a very chequered past with doping: Max King, Ellie Greenwood, Sage Canaday and Michael Wardian (amongst others) have all witnessed the impact of it first hand.

What is your own experience with testing?

I attend races as a photographer and a journalist so in reality, I have little experience of the drug testing process. However, I am a media partner for Skyrunning and I have been present and seen the processes undertaken at several major events where doping control has been in place by WADA. For example, I was at the Skyrunning World Champions on July, 22, 23rd and 24th. I also experienced doping control at Limone Extreme in 2015 and Mont-Blanc 80k in 2014 amongst others.

Do you think the tests, or the conversation about doping in general in ultras is lacking? What could be done better?

Certainly the positive test of Gonzalo Calisto has raised some major flaws in the communication process. I have done extensive research over the last weeks and my conclusions have been quite worrying. I will elaborate:

  • Gonzalo Calisto was tested after placing 5th at UTMB by French drug control – AFLD In August 2015.

  • AFLD have a written policy that a positive test is given to (in this case) the runner within three weeks.

  • The runner is then entitled to appeal and ask for a B sample test.

  • This process can then go backwards and forwards for several weeks and in this scenario (as I understand it) months. Don’t get me wrong, the runner has rights and it’s only fair that he or she has every opportunity to clear his or her name.

  • In June 2016 the IAAF released its current banned list.

  • On July 18/19th British Ultrarunner Robbie Britton noticed that Gonzalo Calisto was convicted of EPO and banned till March 2017.

  • I picked up the case and contacted UTWT and UTMB directly and asked were they aware of this conviction? I later found out, no!

  • Within 12 hours, UTMB released a press release disqualifying Gonzalo Calisto of doping.

The above raised so many questions for me:

1. How was it possible that Gonzalo Calisto had tested positive but UTMB did not know?

2. Why was his period of exclusion dated till March 2017 when he had been tested in August 2015?

3. Why had the IAAF only published this in June 2016?

I asked questions of the UTMB and the IAAF. In both scenarios they were both helpful. 

1. To cut a long story short it would appear that when an athlete is tested positive, the testing control, in this scenario AFLD, are not required to inform the race. REALLY? A race has a runner place 5th, the runner is tested, the runner is found guilty, due process is run and then a positive is confirmed and a sanction is put in place without the race being told…. C’mon that HAS to change! Had it not been for the eagle eyes of Robbie Britton and me grabbing the bull by the horns, nobody ‘may’ have known?

2. IAAF explained the ‘due process’ to me and although they were not able to supply specifics, they did say that these things can often take much longer than we would all like and that 6 months is not unusual. Considering Calisto was tested on the last day of August, that potentially could take us to February or March the following year.

3. The IAAF then confirmed that an error had been made! As I pointed out to them, why was Calisto banned till March 2017? The answer: Calisto’s ban and records were amended from a memo dated March 2016 and it was therefore human error. Calisto’s ban dates actually run from March 2016 to March 2018. This coincided with point 2 above and a lengthy due process where one assumes Calisto tried to clear his name.

4. From the March conviction, Calisto’s records then entered the IAAF system and his conviction was uploaded to the ‘sanctioned athletes’ list in June 2016.

5. The IAAF confirmed to me that AFLD did not have to notify UTMB of a conviction but they would look into it?

So, for UTMB to be aware that an athlete had cheated at a previous edition of their race it would appear that the only option open to them is to check daily on the IAAF website for any additions to the sanctioned athlete list.

 

I could go on…

Why do you think the sport has stayed clean for so long, and what might be changing that would compel people to cheat? 

The sport hasn’t been clean for so long. That is a naive viewpoint. Doping has existed in trail running for ages but if you don’t have testing or a blood passport, how would you know that…? I like to use an example and I must be clear here, I don’t doubt the integrity of the runner I use as an example. Karl Meltzer, my co-host for Talk Ultra podcast has won more 100 mile races than anyone. He has even won Run Rabbit Run and he took home $10,000+ He has been running ULTRA’s for 20+ years. You know how many times he has been tested for PED use?  NEVER. Need I say more… This is why our sport has bean ‘clean’ for so long, no testing!

For the most part it seems like the conversation around doping in ultras is relatively new, and also that cheating might be a new thing too. Do you think there’s a chance for race directors, athletes, etc. to get out in front of this and keep the sport clean before it becomes the kind of large-scale issue it is in some other sports?

The Calisto case has raised eyebrows, we need to latch on to that momentum and we need to consider many of my points above but let’s be clear, Calisto is not the first!

On a final note we need to keep this discussion open, we need to keep asking questions and we need to find answers and solutions. It’s too easy to say it’s too expensive, too difficult and so on. We could start by:

  • Blood passports for runners
  • Regular in and out of competition testing
  • Positive results MUST be sent to a race or RD as soon as possible if a positive test came from a race.
  • IAAF need to find a way to communicate ‘new’ sanctioned athletes to the relevant sport discipline. This is where ITRA or maybe an athlete commission could be set up.

We, as runners, journalists, sponsors and so on must be loud and clear that doping is not welcome and we must do all we can to work together. In the Calisto case I have still not seen or heard any public statement from his sponsors, Movistar and Compressport. Compressport did contact me to say that they were ‘looking into it!’ What does that mean…? They also said that Callisto’s sponsorship with Compressport was with a local distributor and not the International division. As far as I am concerned, local or International, Calisto is still representing a brand and that brand gains attention. And also what about the races that Calisto has run and placed in in post August 2015?  The IAAF now confirms the suspension dates back to that time and until March 2018. Not one word, not one public statement from any race that I have seen… do these races condone doping? What about the runners who placed top 5 or top 10 only to loose a place… come on, speak up!

Update August 12th and Compressport respond


A great place to start is here, Sage Canaday has just recently posted his results online for all to see. Let’s lead by example!

SageDopingReport

I welcome your thoughts!