Episode 165 – Great Himalayan Trail Special #GHT with Rayn Sandes, Dean Leslie and Ryno Griesel

Episode 165 of Talk Ultra is a Great Himalayan Trail Special to link with the release of ‘Lessons From The Edge’ film. We chat with Ryan Sandes, Ryno Griesel and Wandering Fever film maker, Dean Leslie.
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Talk Ultra is now on Tunein- just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE  You can download the Tunein APP HERE
Talk Ultra needs your help!
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Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
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Read about Ian’s Christmas Nepal Trek HERE
The route, plan and the equipment he will use.
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NEWS
Lessons from the Edge is the new film by Dean Leslie of Wandering Fever that tells the story of Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel’s epic journey on the Great Himalayan Trail. Read a review of the movie HERE.
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00:30:31 Interview with Ryan Sandes
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01:01:40 Interview with DEAN LESLIE
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01:51:36 Interview with RYNO GRIESEL
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02:41:20 CLOSE
02:44:16
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Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB https://www.facebook.com/talkultra/
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Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein.
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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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Lessons from the Edge – a film by Wandering Fever on Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel’s GHT

“LESSONS FROM THE EDGE” –  a film by Wandering Fever

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A film documenting Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel’s epic adventures traversing the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT).
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Dropping globally on Red Bull TV and Red Bull’s YouTube Channel on Tuesday 04 December 2018.

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FILM REVEW

Many thanks to Dean Leslie of Wandering Fever for the advanced preview of the film.

All images are screenshots from the movie and are ©wanderingfever/ Red Bull

Lessons from the Edge is not your ordinary running film and it is all the better for it. I would even go as far to say, that the film is not about running. It’s about friendship, survival, pushing to the limit, not giving in and adventure.

The film documents, South African runners, Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel’s attempt on the ‘GHT’ – The Great Himalayan Trail. We need to be clear here, that it is ‘their’ FKT (fastest known time) attempt on trying to beat a mark set by fellow South African, *Andrew Potter – a journey of some 1400km in 28-days.

*Lizzy Hawker and others have done other journeys on the GHT.

Sandes and Griesel know each other well and often team up for adventures; their record-breaking Drakensberg Traverse a prime example. I hope they both will forgive me, but Sandes is often the star and the media draw, while Griesel is the brains and brawn behind. I myself always fall into this trap – post the Drakensberg and GHT records, I interviewed Sandes for my podcast Talk Ultra.

Tune into the Talk Ultra Great Himalayan Trail special released Friday 7th December 2018Episode 165 –  it includes an in-depth interview with Ryan Sandes conducted just after the GHT FKT and two post film interviews with Dean Leslie of Wandering Fever and Ryno Griesel.

Podcast HERE

I seriously think that ‘Lessons from the Edge’ is finally going to give Griesel the long overdue credit he finally deserves. The guy really is a legend.

The film is made by Sandes and Griesel’s long-term friend, and good buddy of mine, Dean Leslie of Wandering Fever. I first met Dean in 2012 on the island of La Palma at Transvulcania and it is fair to say, our careers in the world of trail, ultra and mountain running have moved alongside each other ever since.

Let me be clear, I think Dean is one of the best filmmakers out there! He always manages to look beyond running and find metaphors for life, in this movie, he excels himself. 

Listen to a full and in-depth interview with Dean Leslie below:

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The Film

(Review contains spoilers)

WATCH THE FILM HERE

The words of Dean Leslie give an indication of the film and its story, “When Ryan and Ryno started the Great Himalaya Trail they knew it would be physically tough. But no one ever thought this run would be life-threatening.”

I love Nepal, so, I was hooked from the start with the amazing vistas, the beautiful Nepali people and the forever wonderful sound of ‘Namaste!’

While this journey started as an FKT, I think it’s fair to say that as the film unfolds, any FKT becomes irrelevant as one witnesses the danger, pain and discomfort both runners have to go through to achieve their finish. In a conversation with Sandes, he confirmed, “This attempt is more about an experience and amazing adventure, it is a once-in-a-lifetime type experience‚ not just a record attempt and something that I have been able to share with a true friend.”

Leslie narrates, and he has a silky-smooth calm voice that kicks off the movie and its pace. We instantly go to Sandes describing the ‘why’ of the GHT and then we see Griesel.

“Did you push it too far?” Leslie asks Griesel.

 

“No, not at all,” the answer.

Their journey would take them from the Tibetan border all the way to the Indian border in the east. Fast and light was the ethos and they carried no sleeping bags or tents, reliant on the hospitality of the Nepali people.

“If you plan an adventure with no risk, you are way too much inside your comfort zone,” says Griesel.

And from here, the story unfolds. 

Before the FKT started, they had already risked their lives on snow and ice and I was immediately thinking that they were unprepared for the challenge ahead! The film does not shy away from this and the duo explain the danger.

“It was really dangerous, a little stupid,” said Griesel and Sandes admits his lack of experience in this environment.

From the outset, one realizes that Griesel is along not only for the comradeship but for mainly for his navigation and mountain experience. Very quickly they are in extreme snow and ice that visibly shakes them up.

All the time, Leslie’s drone footage provides some amazing shots to Sande’s and Griesel’s GoPro footage.

Kids join them, and the ‘Namaste’ sounds provide a wonderful soundtrack to Sandes and Griesel’s footsteps. Leslie, correctly says in his narration, “Although the Himalaya has the most breathtaking landscape, it is the Nepali people that captures the heart.”

The conditions, the fast and light travel without doubt take a toll on the runners. The Dolpa region approaches and without doubt, fear takes hold. They manage to obtain ice axes and rope borrowed from the locals. They had to change route and with a late winter and poor conditions, the area was desolate. The duo was struggling and seriously worried.

Griesel trying to maximize his time with navigation makes a school boy error and removes his gloves.

From that point, Griesel knew his fingers had frostbite.

From here on in, the story changes.

With only 9 day’s covered, there was a long way to go and everything was looking in jeopardy. All the time, Leslie provides a narrative to the ‘real time’ narrative of Griesel and Sandes. 

Griesel sits with his hands in a bowl – it makes for gruesome viewing, but the will to carry on existed though. Some good running, a change of clothes, some sun and suddenly all was looking good. 

Annapurna region and Sandes turns 36 – what a way to spend a birthday!

Much of what follows is good and you feel a page has turned and then suddenly screams. Griesel falls and is injured. The story unfolds, and one begins to feel the pressure on the two of them and in particular, Griesel. He has feelings on failure and inadequacy in comparisons to Sandes natural running ability.

Let’s be clear hear, Griesel is turning into a hero.

 “It is not an option to quit… If I have committed to go from A to B, that is what I am going to do,” says Griesel. “Whatever we do out there is an extension of our daily lives, if you get in the habit of quitting, if that is an option, that translates to daily life…” And it is here that you really begin to understand the character of the man – his strength, his courage and some would say, his vulnerability?

The film mixes narrative and footage from Griesel and Sandes and constantly the film is interspersed with post GHT interviews to provide perspective.  

It is here that we start to ask, what are the Lessons from the Edge? 

The dilemma of Leslie and Sandes is obvious. 

“Do you pull the plug… It seems silly at this stage, it is just a run!” says Leslie.

The final third of the film explores many questions, one is quite haunting, “Are you prepared to go out and do one of these things and die?” Asks Leslie.

 

“Yes, pretty much,” responds Griesel.

To not push life to the full is a slow death anyway they say and as the footage rolls on, you are left pondering your own life questions as well as the questions that Griesel, Sandes and Leslie had to ask.

 Two mates, crossing a country and drinking tea – they live life to the full and it is these endearing moments that concludes the film with Leslie’s thoughtful narrative.

What would you do, what are your Lessons from the Edge?

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Wandering Fever HERE 

Many thanks to

Dean Leslie

Ryan Sandes

Ryno Griesel

Watch the movie on Red Bull TV and Red Bull’s YouTube Channel on Tuesday 04 December 2018.

Kilian Jornet smashes Bob Graham Round record

It all dates back to 1932 (actually earlier) when a certain Bob Graham broke the Lakeland Fell record by traversing 42 fells and peaks within a 24-hour period, he ran 23:39. The ‘round’ has since become synonymous with fell runners as a bucket list item to do.

In 1960, Alan Heaton lowered the record to 22:18 and it dropped over the years to 17:45 by Mike Nicholson in 1977. But it was in 1982 when Billy Bland stormed around in 13 hours 53 minutes that set the benchmark that stood the test of time; 36-years to be exact.

Bland’s record has been considered almost untouchable… many have tried, but the difficulty of the route, the distance the elevation gain and loss, the need for a team of helpers to run the legs and of course the weather, all must combine for a perfect storm.

In 2016, Jasmin Paris ran 15:24 and suddenly the ‘impossible’ started to look possible. Read Here

Fell runner’s looked at Paris’s run and realised that Bland’s time was possible. It was something that Bland himself agreed on. He has often stated that the record is there to be broken and he couldn’t understand why nobody had.

The route can be run clockwise or anti-clockwise and starts at the Moot Hall in Keswick.

The summits are as follows:

Skiddaw

Great Calva

Blencathra

Threlkeld *road crossing point

Clough Head

Great Dodd

Watson’s Dodd

Stybarrow Dodd

Raise

White Side

Lowerman

Helvellyn

Nethermost Pike

Dollywagon Pike

Fairfield

Seat Sandal

Dunmail Raise *road crossing point

Steel Fell

Calf Crag

High Raise

Sergeant Man

Thunacar Knott

Harrison Stickle

Pike O’ Stickle

Rossett Pike

Bowfell

Esk Pike

Great End

Ill Crag

Broad Crag

Scafell Pike

Scafell

Wasdale Campsite *road crossing point

Yewbarrow

Red Pike

Steeple

Pillar

Kirk Fell

Great Gable

Green Gable

Brandreth

Grey Knotts

Honister Pass *road crossing point

Dale Head

Hindscarth

Robinson

Moot Hall, Keswick

Kilian Jornet has always been interested in the history of running and the Bob Graham Round has certainly been on his radar for some time. However, his Summits of My Life project had most certainly been a priority ever since 2012. But in 2017, this project was complete and he was now open to new possibilities. In September he came to Scotland to race the Glen Coe Skyline, a race that he won. He had considered an attempt at the ‘Bob’ before or after, however, conditions in September were not ideal, so, the project was shelved.

In early 2018, Kilian suffered an accident in a SkiMo race, he broke his leg, this put him out of action for months. However, he dedicated himself to recovery. At times using cycling to keep aerobic fitness and then when allowed by doctors, he returned to the mountains. Not running, just doing big days with the aim of regaining mountain fitness without damaging his fragile leg.

In June, Kilian could see light at the end of the tunnel and he decided, after clearing with medical teams, to return to racing at the Monte Rosa Sky Marathon (here). In all honesty, it was the perfect return event… You see, Kilian has very much based his career around Skyrunning following in the footsteps of Giacometti, Meraldi, Brunod and De Gasperi. The event had not run for 25-years but the Monte Rosa Skymarathon was ‘the’ event that created the sport of Skyrunning. Racing in teams of two, Kilian teamed up with his partner, Emelie Forsberg and the duo created a new part of history… Emelie dictated the pace for the duo and in the process set a new FKT for Alagna-Monte Rosa- Alagna. Kilian was back?

Well, even Kilian was unsure? In his words, “Next week I run the Mont Blanc Marathon, this is a fast running race and I am just not sure how I will feel with such an effort? My leg feels good but this will be a test!”

Mont Blanc Marathon arrived one week later and amongst a world-class field, Kilian won. It was an incredible return and one that confirmed that Kilian as the supreme sportsman that he is.

What was next?

Well, in Monte Rosa, I had discussed the ‘Bob’ with Kilian and he said it was on the cards, and that he just needed the window of opportunity, the weather and the correct people in place.

Cut to early July, just day’s after Mont Blanc Marathon and Kilian arrived in the Lakes. He was on the fells and doing a recce of the route. The weather window was good and with some frantic planning, an attempt was put together.

0600, July 8th. Kilian departed the Moot Hall, Keswick on his first attempt at the Bob Graham Round.

It’s important to clarify and Kilian is the first to acknowledge this, that any record attempt on the ‘Bob’ is not possible without the right people. For clarification, to run an official Bob Graham Round you must have runners with you at all times to help pace, navigate and confirm that you reach the summits. The Bob Graham Round club are very active in helping with this process. It is allowed that these ‘pacers’ can mule for the runner.

Kilian had a line-up of pacers that are world-class, nothing else would do! Let’s face it, if the record was on, he’d need people that could not only navigate the best lines and route, but also be able to keep up! Somewhat intimidating to know that you will need to run with the best mountain runner in the world.

The route is broken down into ‘legs’ and the pacers work on certain legs and are then replaced by fresh runners for the next leg – for the pacers and navigators, it’s like a relay. For Kilian, it’s an all out run as fast as you can loop.

Kilian had stated he was going 13:25.

READ KILIAN’S RACE REPORT HERE

How it unfolded

Early reports came in that he was 6-7 minutes up on the record – I posted this around 10:20am so Kilian had already been going 4-hours.

At 11:23 I posted that Kilian was on leg 3 and had 21-minutes on Billy’s time. It was getting exciting… Temperatures were rising and Kilian had a sting of supporters.

I had reports coming in from friends on the course and I was doing my best to build a picture of Kilian’s progress. I joked that Kilian was moving so fast that by the time I had an update, it was old news.

It soon became clear that the record was not only on, but it may will be obliterated.

Kilian arrived at Dunmail with 4:30 elapsed and this placed him 30-minute UP on Billy’s record.

It was a hot day though, anything could happen…. And what about Kilian’s leg, would it hold up to the relentless fells?

At Harrison Stickle, Kilian arrived at 11:51 am with approximately 5:51 elapsed – the record was really on and excitement started to grow.

Image copyright Paul Taylor

Bowfell came at 12:45 with 6:45 elapsed. He was looking fresh and reports confirmed that he was moving well.

The pace was relentless and the support incredible.

Image copyright Fellrunningbrief and Kim Collison

Good friend and experienced fell runner, Kim Collison confirmed that Kilian was 34mins UP on the record at Scaffell Pike – history was being written on the Lakeland fells!

Social media became a frenzy of Bob Graham hashtags and by early afternoon, many began to realise history was going to be re-written, a 36-year record was going to fall barring a disaster.

The Moot Hall, Keswick soon became a new meeting point for Sunday night as runners from over the UK made the journey to welcome Kilian home.

Image copyright Amelia Hunt

Amelia Hunt confirmed that Kilian passed Yewbarrow at 14:00hrs – that placed home approximately 40-minutes up on the record.

Kilian passed Gable at 16:10hrs.

As Kilian entered a network blackout area, a lack of updates left questions on how fast he was going and then suddenly I had a confirmed report that he was approximately 45-minutes ahead of Billy’s record… was this possible? Was it possible that he could be going so fast?

Image copyright Andy Jackson

Andy Jackson ran from Grey Knotts with Kilian and confirmed he was flying “Ran from Grey Knotts with Kilian and pacers. He stopped for 2mins for food and drink and pushed on. Had a great team with him: Scoffer, Paul Aitken and Steve Birkenshaw.”

Image copyright Honister Slate Mines

Finally an update came from Honister Slate Mines at 1700 hrs +/-.

Kilian passed Dalehead at 17:26hrs and now sub13 was looking possible!

Image copyright the lakes mike

Kilian arrived at the final summit Robinson at 17:52 – the record was going down and by a big margin!

At 18:20hrs Kilian arrived on the road at Little Town and before we knew it, he was at the Moot Hall.

New record 12:52 (tbc) – 1h 01m quicker than Billy Bland – wow!

IT IS OFF THE SCALE.

Image copyright Tim Harper

In the words of @kilianj 

“Thanks Billy, I had better conditions than you, the best pacers and your inspiration to give everything! And even like that it was sooo sooo hard!!! Thanks to Carl, Chris, Martin, Josh, Jebby, Steve, Paul, Andrew, Neil, Paul and all the guys who has been helping out, without you guys it wouldn’t been possible ! Big big thanks to Martin for making it real and such an organization last minute, thanks Shane, Thanks Jordi and thanks all the people cheering on the route. This Bob Graham Round was an amazing experience!” Photo ©timharper shared from Kilian’s IG account.

As I write today, I still struggle to comprehend the speed at which Kilian completed this route and a huge credit must go to the team behind this. Kilian had the ‘best of the best’ to pace and navigate him. Without them this could not have happened. He had perfect weather, maybe a little too hot for some? And the ground conditions were ideal enabling a fast time.

Like I said, it takes a Perfect Storm for a record to happen. But Billy’s record was just beaten, it was elevated to a whole new level. Just think, Billy’s record has stood for 36-years, how long will Kilian’s stand for?

Records are made to be broken and this is one record that elevates Kilian to a whole new level and I think finally, he may well get the respect from many who have said that he is not a ‘runner!’ With this record, he has done something so special, it is a great sporting achievement that should be embraced by all. It’s not fell running, mountain running, ultra running, Skyrunning or any label, it is just running – let’s embrace it for that.

Kilian undertook this FKT attempt in the true spirit of the ‘Bob,’ *it was low-key, without grandeur, without PR, without announcement, without film crews or photographers – it was man agains the fells. It says a great deal about the man and his character, he is a true ambassador for the sport. Post his finish in Keswick, he returned to the steps of the Moot Hall and sat for a hour with the assembled fans to ‘give back’ as he chatted and posed for photos.

Sporting achievements come and go, some truly last the test of time. Billy Bland’s record stood the test of time and now we have a new level. I personally can’t foresee this record being broken for many a year? But in year’s to come, I will be able to look back at July 8 2018 and remember that I witnessed a truly great sporting achievement by a truly great man. The word legend is used a great deal, in Kilian Jornet we have a living legend.

I will be interviewing Kilian on July 10th or 11th and his interview will be on Episode 159 of Talk Ultra podcast (Here). It will also be transcribed and post as word interview on this website.

*It came to light after the event that Lymbus employed a film crew and photographers to document Kilian’s BGR. At the time off writing this was unknown to me and I think to the general public. I still stand by the fact this attempt was low-key and without fanfare. Having now interviewed several of the pacers who helped Kilian on the legs, they have also confirmed that Kilian was ‘in the true spirit’ of the Bob Graham.

Episode 158 – Forsberg, Symonds, Gerardi and Grant

Episode 158 of Talk Ultra and we bring you three interviews from the Monte Rosa SkymarathonEmelie Forsberg talks about placing 3rd overall with Kilian Jornet and setting their FKT for women. Andy Symonds talks about partnering Tom Owens and Hillary Gerardi was one half of the ladies winning team, her partner was Holly Page. We also bring you a full and in-depth interview with Joe Grant about his unsupported Nolans 14 FKT 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
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00:13:04 NEWS
Start with apology… we couldn’t get Magdalena Boulet for the show, but, we hope to have her on the next show.
WESTERN STATES
Well, Jim Walmsley finally did it and what a stunning and well deserved victory and course record. It took three attempts but finally the patience paid off and he nailed it to perfection. The un-stoppable Francois d’Haene placed 2nd – he is a class act but just didn’t have the speed of Walmsley. Mark Hammond was 3rd. 14:30:04 th new CR, 15:54 for 2nd and 16:08:59 for 3rd. Notably Ian Sharman 4th in 16:23 his 9th top-10 WSER finish.
Courney Dewaulter IS the lady of the moment – wow, she was our favorite and she fulfilled expectations. Kathy Gerbin was 2nd in 18:40:19. Huge shout out to Lucy Bartholomew, I have known this lady for many year’s and always knew that she would elevate herself yo a new level. Over the last three years she has grown, matured and become one seriously driven individual. Mark my words, she is a star of the future. Her time 18:59:45.
MONTE ROSA SKYMARATHON here
After 25 years, Skyrunning returned to its home following in the footsteps if Marino Giacometti’s pioneering days. The legendary race was re-created racing from Alagna, to the summit of Monte Rosa and back to the town of Alagna. It was an epic and monumental day in the mountains and for sure, it has once again illuminated a new spark in the pure essence and roots of Skyrunning.
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00:33:19 Interview with EMELIE FORSBERG
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01:11:08 Interview with ANDY SYMONDS
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01:42:53 Interview with HILLARY GERARDI
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MONT BLANC MARATHON
A week after Monte Rosa and Kilian goes and proves who really is the boss placing Marc Lauenstein and Stian Angermund Vik in 2nd and 3rd – It was a top quality line up! Kilian ran 3:54 ahead of 3:58 and 4:00.
Ruth Croft beat Ida Nilsson 4:37 to 4:39. In 3rd was Eli Gordon.
BUFF EPIC TRAIL 42km
Marc Pinsach was 1st ahead of Finlay Wild and Miguel Cabellro – 4:23, 4:29 and 4:33
Holly Page dominated the ladies race in 5:03 and of Oihana Azkorbebeitia in 5:27 with Mercedes Pila 3rd.
NOLANS 14
What a weekend for the 14ers, Alex Nichols set a supported record of 46:41 beating the previous best by Iker Karrera and Joe Grant set an unsupported record of 49:38
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02:24:10 Interview with JOE GRANT
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UP and COMING RACES
Check out the world ultra calendar on https://marathons.ahotu.comyou can do a specific search for the ultra calendar HERE
Ultramarthon calendar HERE
Race calendar for JULY 2018 HERE
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03:28:55
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Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB https://www.facebook.com/talkultra/
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And use good old word mouth.
Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein.
Our web page at www.iancorless.comhas all our links and back catalogue.
Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
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Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE
Website- talkultra.com
UP & COMING RACES go to https://marathons.ahotu.com

Episode 154 – Ryan Sandes, Elisabet Barnes, Ultra Mirage, Keely Henninger

Episode 154 of Talk Ultra is a packed show! We speak with Ryan Sandes about his amazing FKT with Ryno Griesel on a section of Nepal’s Great Himalayan Trail. Elisabet Barnes discusses taking a break, looking at nutrition and how to return to training and racing healthy. We speak to Amir Ben Gacem about Ultra Mirage and we offer a free place! The Godfather of Trail, Kurt Decker brings us a chat with Keely Henninger and of course, Speedgoat Karl co-hosts!
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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
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00:12:22 NEWS
CHUCKANUT 50K
Keely Henninger took victory ahead of Anne-Marie Madden and Gina Slaby, times 4:07, 4:15 and 4:28.
Cole Watson won in 3:36 ahead of Patrick Smyth 3:40 and Paddy O’Leary in 3:47.
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00:14:27 Interview with KEELY HENNINGER
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MIKE FOOTE SETS WR
Imagine skiing for 24-hours uphill and down again. Foote climbed a huge 61.200ft. He went up a 1020ft ski run (up and down) 60 x.
BEHIND THE ROCKS ULTRA
Courtney Dewaulter winning again ahead of Addie Bracy and Serena Wilcox.
For the men it was Kyle Pietari ahead of Jessie Rosales andEddie Aispuro. Winning time 7:48 for the men and 7:51 for the ladies… Dewaulter was 2nd!
ANTELOPE ISLAND 100
Jeff Browning doing it again at the 100! A win in 15:57 which is fast! Dana Anderson won the ladies race in 20:15.
BARKLEY
The Barkley won this year with nobody making it to the 4th or 5th lap. Gary Robbins managed a ‘fun run’ finish of 3 laps. Really tough conditions out there!
GHT FKT by Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel
Press Release:

On 1 March 2018, South African trail runners Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel bravely set out to establish a new FKT along compatriot Andrew Porter’s roughly 1400km GHT Route across the Himalayas from Hilsa to Pashupatinagar in Nepal, combining the Great Himalaya Trails High Route and Lower Cultural Route. With the previous FKT on this route standing at 28 days, 13 hours and 56 mins the two smashed the record – with 4 days to spare.

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“This has been the biggest adventure of my life, but incredibly challenging at the same time, especially mentally to just keep going day in and day out for so long,” exclaimed Sandes at the final checkpoint.

***

“Traversing any of The Great Himalaya Trails has always been a dream of mine There were so many ups and downs along the route that we could never have anticipated but I’m so stoked we pushed on and made it through. Alongside my win at Western States 100 last year, this has to be one of my biggest sporting accomplishments to date!”

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The attempt saw Sandes and Griesel traverse heavily snow-covered mountains and experience some incredibly extreme weather conditions that were unusual for this time of the year along the way. They suffered frost-bitten fingers, serious tummy bugs, breathing difficulties and a couple of near death experiences. A constant on the route, however, was the incredibly welcoming spirit of the Nepalese people who truly embody the spirit of Namaste, and welcomed the both of them into their homes.

***

“We were the first people to cross the Dolpa region since the start of winter, which made the going very difficult to navigate and very slow,” commented Griesel. “I had to keep taking my gloves off to read the maps and managed to get terrible frost bite on my fingers, which has been painful. One of the villages on our map in that region, a spot where we had hoped to get accommodation, was completely deserted. I honestly believe that if we hadn’t come across a monk and monastery that night we would have frozen to death outside.”

***

Sandes echoed Griesel’s sentiment: “The Nepalese people were amazing! We knocked on their doors late at night, two filthy dirty South Africans, who speak very little Nepalese, and they not only welcomed us into their homes without hesitation, but they have also gave us their beds and gone to sleep at neighbours so that we have accommodation!” says Sandes. “It has been humbling to meet these incredible people. I doubt anyone back home would have opened their homes to strangers as easily as the Nepalse citizens we met along the way have to us.”

***

The pair were thrown another curveball when the route they had plotted prior to leaving for the attempt, in fact turned out to be almost 200km longer than they had previously anticipated.

“The maps on the computer tend to flatten out the track quite a bit as it obviously doesn’t drop a point every single meter, so the distance you work out on the computer is actually a lot shorter than what it is really measured at,” noted Griesel. “What we experienced on the ground was far more brutal that what we had plotted out on the computer, but it was all part of the adventure.”

***

“We would like to thank the trail running community for their incredible support in the lead up to and throughout our FKT record attempt,” said Sandes. “It has been great to read all of the messages of encouragement and support. And to the Nepalese people, we can never say thank you enough for your incredible hospitality and friendliness, there is definitely no other place on earth like Nepal.”

*****
01:02:36  Interview with RYAN SANDES
*****
01:39:06 Interview with ELISABET BARNES
*****
Ultra Mirage El Djerid 
The Ultra Mirage© El Djerid (UMED) is the first 100km Ultra Trail taking place in the stunning Tunisian Sahara Desert. A 20-hour time limit, five checkpoints, medical and technical help to ensure safety, the UMED is open to all runners. Importantly for the fleet of foot, prize money is available totaling 10.000 euros split equally between the male and female fields.
WIN a FREE PLACE HERE
*****
02:24:40 Interview with AMIR BEN GACEM race director for UMED
*****
UP & COMING RACES go to https://marathons.ahotu.com
  • Badger Mountain Challenge
    50 Mile Ultramarathon
    North America / USA / Pacific / Washington / Kennewick
    2018-03-30
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Badger Mountain Challenge
    100 Mile Endurance Run
    North America / USA / Pacific / Washington / Kennewick
    2018-03-30
    Ultramarathon
    MountainUTMB QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Great Barrow Challenge – Spring Quad
    Ultra – Day 1
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Suffolk / Bury St Edmunds
    2018-03-30
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • 24 hores del Cap de Creus
    Ultra
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Llança
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailWalkingSoloMore info
  • 24 hores del Cap de Creus
    Half
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Llança
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailWalkingSoloMore info
  • Badger Mountain Challenge
    50k Ultramarathon
    North America / USA / Pacific / Washington / Kennewick
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Fools 50K & 25K Trail Run
    Fools 50K
    North America / USA / East North Central / Ohio / Peninsula
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Georgia Death Race
    North America / USA / South Atlantic / Georgia / Vogel State Park
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    Western States QualifierTrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultramarathon
    Glasgow – Edinburgh Double Marathon
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / Scotland / Glasgow City / Glasgow
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningSoloMore info
  • Great Barrow Challenge – Spring Quad
    Ultra – Day 2
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Suffolk / Bury St Edmunds
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Maidenwell Marathon Weekend
    56 km
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / Queensland / Maidenwell
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Manx Mountain Marathon & Half Manx Mountain Marathon
    Manx Mountain Marathon
    Europe / Northern Europe / Isle of Man / Ramsey
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Nord Eifel Ultra – Oster
    Nord Eifel Ultra
    Europe / Western Europe / Germany / North Rhine-Westphalia / Düren
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    RunningHillyMore info
  • Old Goats 50 Mile Trail Race
    50 Mile
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Cleveland National Forest
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Old Goats 50 Mile Trail Race
    50K
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Cleveland National Forest
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon
    Africa / Southern Africa / South Africa / Cape Town
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningMore info
  • San Jose Trail Run
    50km
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / San Jose
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Tanana River Challenge
    Tanana River Challenge 45 Mile
    North America / USA / Pacific / Alaska / Fairbanks
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    SnowTrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • The John Muir Way Ultra Marathon
    2x25K Relay
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / Scotland / East Lothian / Dunbar
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningRelayMore info
  • The John Muir Way Ultra Marathon
    50K
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / Scotland / East Lothian / Dunbar
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • VALENCIA Trail Race
    50K Ultra
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / 29889, San Francisquito Canyon Road
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Wild Horse Criterium
    55 km
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / Queensland / Beerburrum
    2018-03-31
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Grand Trail Stevenson
    66 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Languedoc-Roussillon / Lozère / Florac
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Great Barrow Challenge – Spring Quad
    Ultra – Day 3
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Suffolk / Bury St Edmunds
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • La voie Romaine
    44 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Burgundy / Côte-d’Or / Sombernon
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Medianitrail
    49 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Lorraine / Vosges / Moyenmoutier
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Millevaches Monédières Raidlight Trail
    Olympic Trail des Bruyères
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Limousin / Corrèze / Treignac
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Millevaches Monédières Raidlight Trail
    45 km Relais
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Limousin / Corrèze / Treignac
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    RunningRelayMore info
  • Signes Trail
    La Trace des Montrieux
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur / Var / Signes
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    UTMB QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Trail des Citadelles
    Trail des Citadelles – 54 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Midi-Pyrénées / Ariège / Lavelanet
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningMore info
  • Trail des Citadelles
    Trail des Citadelles – 70 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Midi-Pyrénées / Ariège / Lavelanet
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    MountainUTMB QualifierTrailRunningMore info
  • Trail Hillion
    Le Grand Tra Hillion duo
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Brittany / Côtes-d’Armor / Hillion
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Trail Hillion
    Le Grand Tra Hillion
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Brittany / Côtes-d’Armor / Hillion
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Trail La Voie Romaine
    44 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Burgundy / Côte-d’Or / Sombernon
    2018-04-01
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Great Barrow Challenge – Spring Quad
    Ultra – Day 4
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Suffolk / Bury St Edmunds
    2018-04-02
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Liverpool to Manchester Ultra
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Liverpool / liverpool
    2018-04-02
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Ultra Fiord
    Ultra Fiord 50K
    South America / Chile / Puerto Natales
    2018-04-03
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Ultra Fiord
    Ultra Fiord 50K Duo
    South America / Chile / Puerto Natales
    2018-04-03
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningRelayMore info
  • Super Awesome! Day One
    50K
    North America / USA / West North Central / Missouri / Sikeston
    2018-04-04
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless
    Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50K
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Mountain Center
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningMore info
  • Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless
    Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 100 Miler
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Mountain Center
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningMore info
  • Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless
    Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50 Miler
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Mountain Center
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    200 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    50 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    150 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    30 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    Night RaceTrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    100 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Super Awesome! Arkansas Edition
    50K
    North America / USA / West South Central / Arkansas / Jonesboro
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Ultra Fiord
    Ultra Fiord 70K
    South America / Chile / Puerto Natales
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Ultra Fiord
    Ultra Fiord 100M
    South America / Chile / Puerto Natales
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Down Under 135
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / Victoria / Bacchus Marsh
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • LXVII Milhas Romanas
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Extremadura / Mérida
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • LXVII Milhas Romanas
    XXX Millas Romanas
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Extremadura / Mérida
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    RunningSoloMore info
  • Patagonia Run
    100k
    South America / Argentina / San Martín de los Andes
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    Western States QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Patagonia Run
    100Mi
    South America / Argentina / San Martín de los Andes
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    Western States QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Ragnar Relay So Cal
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Huntington Beach
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Super Awesome! Tennessee Edition
    50K
    North America / USA / East South Central / Tennessee / West
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Ultra Fiord
    Ultra Fiord 100K
    South America / Chile / Puerto Natales
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • American River 50-mile Endurance Run
    50 Miles
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Sacramento
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningPoint to PointSoloMore info
  • Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3
    Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – 1 1/2 Marathon
    Europe / Northern Europe / Norway / Bergen
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3
    Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – Ultra 100km
    Europe / Northern Europe / Norway / Bergen
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Brazos Bend 50
    100K
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Needville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningFlatSoloMore info
  • Brazos Bend 50
    50 Mile
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Needville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningFlatSoloMore info
  • Brazos Bend 50
    50K
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Needville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningFlatSoloMore info
  • Bull Run Run 50 Mile
    North America / USA / South Atlantic / Virginia / Clifton
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • BVG Trail
    Europe / Southern Europe / Italy / Lombardy / Salò BS
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • BVG Trail
    BVG Marathon +
    Europe / Southern Europe / Italy / Lombardy / Salò BS
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Coastal Trail Series – Exmoor
    Coastal Trail Series – Exmoor – Ultra
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Devon / Exmoor National Park
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    UTMB QualifierTrailRunningMore info
  • Enkarterri Extrem Trails
    Maratón Trail
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Basque Country / Zaramillo
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMountainMore info
  • Enkarterri Extrem Trails
    Ultra Trail
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Basque Country / Zaramillo
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMountainMore info
  • Enkarterri Extrem Trails
    Long Trail
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Basque Country / Zaramillo
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMountainMore info
  • Hells Hills Trail Run
    50 mile
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Smithville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Hells Hills Trail Run
    50 km
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Smithville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Inatel Piódão Trail Running
    50 km
    Europe / Southern Europe / Portugal / Inatel Piódão
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailWalkingSoloMore info
  • Jabulani Challenge
    Jabulani Challenge 45 km
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / New South Wales / Lindfield
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Kielder Ultra Trail
    80 km
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Northumberland / Kielder
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Kielder Ultra Trail
    100 km
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Northumberland / Kielder
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Kielder Ultra Trail
    50 km
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Northumberland / Kielder
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Le Grand Défi des Vosges
    Le Défi des Seigneurs
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Alsace / Bas-Rhin / Niederbronn-les-Bains
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Marató de la Fageda
    Marató
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Fageda
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSingle loopSoloMore info
  • Marató de la Fageda
    Trail la Fageda
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Fageda
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainUTMB QualifierTrailRunningSingle loopSoloMore info
  • Ozark Foothills 50K/25K
    50K
    North America / USA / West North Central / Missouri / Wildwood
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Patagonia Run
    70k
    South America / Argentina / San Martín de los Andes
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Rockin K Trail Runs
    Rocking K Trail 50 Mile Run
    North America / USA / West North Central / Kansas / Kanopolis State Park, Marquette
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Shotgun Trail Blast
    50K
    North America / USA / Pacific / Oregon / Marcola
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningFlatMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • South Downs Way 50
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / East Sussex / Eastbourne
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    UTMB QualifierTrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Squak Mountain Trail Runs
    50K
    North America / USA / Pacific / Washington / Issaquah
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Super Awesome! Kentucky Edition
    50K
    North America / USA / East South Central / Kentucky / Paducah
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Tar Springs Ranch Ultra
    50k Run/Walk/Hike
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Arroyo Grande
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningMore info
  • The ONER
    The ONER Half Day Section
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Dorset / Lyme Regis
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • The ONER
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Dorset / Lyme Regis
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    UTMB QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Trail de l’Aber-Wrac’h
    Alternative Race
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Brittany / Finistère / Le Folgoët
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Trail des 2 Rivieres
    60 km
    Africa / Eastern Africa / Réunion / Saint-Joseph
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Trail des 2 Rivieres
    60 km Relais
    Africa / Eastern Africa / Réunion / Saint-Joseph
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningRelayMore info
  • Ultramarathon des Ziban
    Africa / Northern Africa / Algeria / Biskra
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    DesertRoadRunningSoloMore info
  • Ultra Trail Barcelona
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Begues
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainUTMB QualifierTrailRunningMore info
  • Ultra Trail Barcelona
    Long Trail Barcelona
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Begues
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainUTMB QualifierTrailRunningMore info
  • Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run
    50 Mile
    North America / USA / South Atlantic / North Carolina / Raleigh
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RunningSoloMore info
  • Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run
    100 Mile
    North America / USA / South Atlantic / North Carolina / Raleigh
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    Western States QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Vale of Glamorgan Coastal Ultra Challenge
    Full Course
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / Wales / Penarth
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Woodside Crossover /Purisima Creek Crossover
    50K
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Woodside
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Yamacraw 50k/10k
    Yamacraw 50k
    North America / USA / East South Central / Kentucky / Stearns
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • 3 Waters Running Festival
    3 Waters 50km Ultra Marathon
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / Western Australia / Bunbury
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Brew to Brew Relay
    Solo
    North America / USA / West North Central / Missouri / Kansas City
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Cape Cod Trail Race
    50K
    North America / USA / New England / Massachusetts / East Falmouth
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Le Grand Défi des Vosges
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Alsace / Bas-Rhin / Niederbronn-les-Bains
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Les Terrasses du Lodévois
    45 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Languedoc-Roussillon / Hérault / Lodève
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Mad City Ultras
    100K
    North America / USA / East North Central / Wisconsin / Madison
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Mad City Ultras
    50K
    North America / USA / East North Central / Wisconsin / Madison
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Mad City Ultras
    50K Relay
    North America / USA / East North Central / Wisconsin / Madison
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningMultiple loopsRelayMore info
  • Mount Buller Skyrun
    Mount Buller Skyrun 45 km
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / Victoria / Mirimbah
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningMore info
  • Mt Solitary Ultra
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / New South Wales / Wentworth Falls
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMore info
  • Super Awesome! Illinois Edition
    50K
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Metropolis
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Super Trail Nantais
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Pays de la Loire / Loire-Atlantique / Nantes
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Super Trail Nantais
    Super Trail Nantais (relais)
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Pays de la Loire / Loire-Atlantique / Nantes
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningRelayMore info
  • Trail de l’Aber-Wrac’h
    Trail Extrême Duo 55 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Brittany / Finistère / Le Folgoët
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningRelayMore info
  • Trail de l’Aber-Wrac’h
    Trail Extrême 55 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Brittany / Finistère / Le Folgoët
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Trail delle Valli Etrusche
    Ultratrail delle Valli Etrusche
    Europe / Southern Europe / Italy / Tuscany / Castiglion Fiorentino
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Trail des 2 Amants
    53 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Upper Normandy / Eure / Pîtres
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    UTMB QualifierTrailRunningMore info
  • Trail des Reculées
    Les Laves
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Franche Comté / Jura / Lons-le-Saunier
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Trail du Josas
    50 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Ile de France / Yvelines / Jouy-en-Josas
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Trail So Bugey
    44 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Rhône-Alpes / Ain / Lhuis
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Trail So Bugey
    44 km Relais Duo
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Rhône-Alpes / Ain / Lhuis
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Ragnar Trail Atlanta – GA, Presented by Salomon
    Ragnar Trail Atlanta- GA, Presented by Salomon
    North America / USA / South Atlantic / Georgia / Conyers
    2018-04-13
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Zumbro 100
    Zumbro 100M
    North America / USA / West North Central / Minnesota / Zumbro Falls
    2018-04-13
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunning
*****
02:45:50 CLOSE
02:47:21
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Website – talkultra.com

Episode 150 – Ryan Sandes and Brian Boyle

This is Episode 150 of Talk Ultra and we chat with Ryan Sandes ahead of his new and exciting FKT attempt in Nepal. Kurt Decker chats with Brian Boyle and Speedgoat is here.
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NEWS
Not much news this early in 2018, Ian and Karl chat about Bandera 100k and HURT 100. We also give a shout out to Dave Mackey!
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00:38:11 – Kurt Decker talks with BRIAN BOYLE
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01:01:55 – Ian Corless talks with RYAN SANDES
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Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel FKT on GHT.
Hope you had an amazing festive season and got to enjoy a very well deserved breakJ In early March 2018, Ryan Sandes and his trail running best bud, Ryno Griesel, will be undertaking their next mission impossible in attempting to set the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Holy Grail of Mountain Trails, the Great Himalaya Trail’s.Ryan and Ryno will be leaving from high altitude training in Afriski on the 5th of Feb before they head out to Nepal on the 21st of Feb.
While most of us mere mortals started off the year setting fitness goals that we hope to achieve by at least the end of 2018, Ryan Sandes and fellow Salomon athlete, Ryno Griesel, have set themselves the goal of running, and hopefully beating, the current fastest known time (FKT) for the Holy Grail of Mountain Trails, the Great Himalaya Trail. They are aiming to tackle the more than 1400km in early March and in under 28 days – that’s essentially running an ultra-marathon every day for under 28 days, in the mountains, and at breathless altitude levels.
What makes this feat so impressive? The Great Himalaya Trail attempt is a single long distance trek from the west end of Nepal across to the East end, covering a staggering 1406km, with 68 500m of ascent and 70 000m of descent, a distance that takes a normal human roughly 5 months to walk. There are currently more people who have walked on the moon than those who have completed this entire trail!
“I am really excited, but also a bit nervous to be attempting to run the Great Himalaya Trail with Ryno in a few weeks’ time,” says Ryan. “This is going to be, by far, the greatest challenge of my life. I have never covered a distance (in one go) this far on my own two feet. There are so many unknowns we are going to have to deal with along the way, but that I guess is what intrigues me most about the challenge. This distance is so great and the mountains are so big that I have not quite gotten my head around the project yet. The plan will be to take it day by day and adjust our strategy accordingly!”
The current FKT was set by fellow South African Andrew Porter in 2016, who completed the challenge in 28days 13hrs 56min.
The Great Himalaya Trail is not a single trail but rather a combination of various trails in either the upper (GHT High Route) or middle (GHT Cultural route) districts of Nepal stretching from the west to the east (or vice versa) end of the country. Ryan and Ryno will traverse the route combining the High GHT and Cultural GHT to challenge the current recognised FKT, whilst self-navigating the best possible route to link up the 12 required check-points as set by Andrew.
“I am extremely excited and humbled by the opportunity to share the Himalayas with Ryan in such a cool adventure,” says Ryno. “Researching a project of this scale, I am nervously aware that we simply cannot prepare for everything and that we will have to rely on the foundation of our friendship built from previous “epics” to find solutions on-the-go and carry each other through! I am really looking forward to it & we will take it day by day – looking after each other!” 
This challenge is a follow on project to Ryan and Ryno’s very successful 2014 Drakensberg Grand Traverse. The much larger mountains and extreme conditions in the Himalayas would be a natural progression for both of them to explore their limits. Although there will be limited points where they meet up with crew to receive permits and basic kit exchange, Ryan and Ryno will rely on local hospitality for nutrition, water and a place to sleep.
The route that Ryan and Ryno will be taking is (based on the Andrew’s current FKT) :
·         Start in the village of Hilsa on the Western Nepal/ Tibetan border and cross the following points (villages and passes).
·         Simikot at roughly 77km
·         Gamgadhi at roughly 150km
·         Jumla at roughly 193km
·         Juphal (280km) or Dunai at roughly 290km
·         Chharka Bhot at roughly 380km
·         Kagbeni at roughly 444km
·         Thorang La Pass at roughly 463km
·         Larkye La Pass at roughly 561km
·         Jiri at roughly 928km
·         Tumlingtar at roughly 1075km
·         Finishing on the Eastern Nepal/ Indian border at Pashupatinagar.
Thanks to our ability to ALWAYS be in contact, Ryan and Ryno will have live tracking throughout the traverse, and will also do regular social media updates to show how they are doing and what they are experiencing.
01:41:07
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*****
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Episode 144 – Darcy Piceu and Anna-Marie Watson

Episode 144 of Talk Ultra brings you an interview with Darcy Piceu after her incredible FKT on the John Muir Trail. We also speak with Anna-Marie Watson who this year placed 7th at UTMB and just recently won the first edition of the Half Marathon des Sables Fuerteventura. Speedgoat is back co-hosting!
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We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons… you can even join us on the show! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create! 
Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
Donate HERE
*****
00:10:24 NEWS
Bear 100
Jeff Browning does it again winning another 100 – very soon after UTMB too. Lars Kjerengtroen 2nd and Timmy Olson 3rd – 18:28, 19:28 and 19:36 respectively.
Hannah Green beat Amie Blackham and Kelsey Bingham – 24:22, 25:50 and 25:54 respectively.
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Spartathlon
The legendary 153 mile race was won by Aleksandr Sorokin in 22:04. He set a relentless pace from the off and his time ranks as one of the all time best, of course, Yiannis Kouros holds the fastest times. Radek Brunner was 2nd and Nikolaos Sideridis 3rd, 22:49 and 22:58.
Patrycja Berenzowska won the ladies’ race in 24:47 setting a new CR! Zsuzanna Maraz and Aleksandra Niwinska was 2nd/ 3rd in 25:43 and 26:28.
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Ultra Gobi 
The UK’s Dan Lawson blew the race and CR apart with 2 days and 22 hours for 248 miles. Incredible. Dan has also placed 2nd at Spartathlon.
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Kilimanjaro FKT
Fernanda Maciel set a new FKT 0f 7:08 for Africa’s highest peak climbing 5895m. Her round trip time was 10:06. Previous best by Anne-Marie Flammersfield was 8:32 and 12:58. Kilian Jornet did hold this record for the outright fastest time but this was bettered by Karl Egloff setting 4:56 and 6:42 for the round trip.
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Grand Canyon Rim to Rim FKT
FKT’s are just getting more popular… now Tim Freriks who won Transvulcania earlier this year has set a new bar of 2:39:38 beating Jim Walmsley’s time (Jim helped Tim for this FKT and are friends) – Walmsley still holds the R2R2R record.
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John Muir Trail FKT
Hardrock 100 specialist Darcy Piceu (formerly Africa) covered the 223 miles in California to set a new FKT of 3-days, 8-hours beating the previous CR by 12-hours. Notably this was very close the the men’s record and later this year Francois D’Haene will attempt this FKT.
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00:31:09 Interview with DARCY PICEU
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Ultra Pirineu
Pablo Villa and Maite Maiora produced solid performances at this classic race amongst world class fields. Full results HERE. In the marathon race, Kilian Jornet obliterated the old CR in a super close race and Ruth Croft won for the ladies.
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Half MDS Fuerteventura
MDS have spread their wings and introduced a new 120km, half-distance event on the island of Fuerteventura in the Canaries. It was won by Peru’s Remigio Huaman and the UK’s Anna-Marie Watson. Full report, results and story HERE.
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01:35:24 Interview with ANNA-MARIE WATSON
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UP & COMING RACES

Andorra

Els 2900 Alpine Run | 70 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Argentina

La Pachamama 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 15, 2017 | website
La Pachamama 53 km | 53 kilometers | October 15, 2017 | website
La Pachamama 73 km | 73 kilometers | October 15, 2017 | website

Australia

New South Wales

Hume & Hovell 100 | 100 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Hume & Hovell 50 | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Washpool/Gibraltar World Heritage Trails 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 15, 2017 | website

Victoria

Great Ocean Walk 100 km Trail Run | 100 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

Bahamas

50K | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Canada

Nova Scotia

Valley Harvest Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website

Quebec

Bromont Ultra 160 km | 160 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Bromont Ultra 55 km | 55 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website
Bromont Ultra 80 km | 80 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website

Croatia

109,8 km | 109 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website
161.4 km | 161 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website

Finland

Eastern Finland

Vaarojen Ultramaraton | 86 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

France

Ardèche

Trail noir 58 km | 58 kilometers | October 15, 2017 | website

Aude

Grand Raid des Cathares | 177 kilometers | October 19, 2017 | website
Raid des Bogomiles | 101 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website

Aveyron

Endurance Trail | 100 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website

Essonne

Trail du Viaduc des Fauvettes 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website

Haute-Corse

A Paolina | 70 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Haute-Saône

52 km | 52 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website

Ille-et-Vilaine

51 km | 51 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

Orne

85 km | 85 kilometers | October 15, 2017 | website

Pas-de-Calais

58 km | 58 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website

Pyrénées-Orientales

100 Miles Sud de France | 100 miles | October 06, 2017 | website
Grande Traversée Mer Montagne | 110 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Rhône

55 km | 55 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

Somme

100 km | 100 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
100 km Relais | 100 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

Tarn-et-Garonne

50 km | 50 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Herbstlauf Schloss Thurn Hobbylauf | 87 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

Greece

Rodopi Advendurun 100 miles | 100 miles | October 20, 2017 | website

Hong-Kong

Prohiker – Round-trip Course | 156 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

India

Karnataka

110 km | 110 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
50 Km | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
80 km | 80 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

National Capital Territory of Delhi

Bhatti Lakes 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 07, 2017 | website
Bhatti Lakes 220 km | 220 kilometers | October 06, 2017 | website
Bhatti Lakes 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 06, 2017 | website

Indonesia

MesaStila 4 Peaks | 65 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
MesaStila 5 Peaks | 100 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Italy

Emilia-Romagna

100 km | 100 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Tartufo Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website
Tartufo Trail 66 km | 66 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

69 km | 69 kilometers | October 15, 2017 | website

Piedmont

120 km | 120 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website
57 km | 57 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website
82 km | 82 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website
Morenic Trail | 109 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Kenya

Kenya Wildlife 50K | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Korea

100 km | 100 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

Morocco

The Saharan Challenge | 52 kilometers | October 12, 2017 | website

Netherlands

Gelderland

Herfst Ultraloop Berg en Dal | 60 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

New Zealand

100 km | 100 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
100 km Relay | 100 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
74 km | 74 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

Portugal

180 km | 180 kilometers | October 06, 2017 | website
Azores Triangle Adventure | 103 kilometers | October 06, 2017 | website
Réccua Douro Ultra Trail | 80 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Réunion

La Mascareignes | 67 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website
Le Grand Raid | 167 kilometers | October 19, 2017 | website
Trail de Bourbon | 111 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website

Slovakia

105 km | 105 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

South Africa

Bonitas Golden Gate Challenge | 70 kilometers | October 20, 2017 | website

Spain

Aragon

Long Trail Guara Somontano | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Ultra Trail Guara Somontano | 102 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Castile and León

The Way of Legends | 254 kilometers | October 13, 2017 | website

Valencian Community

Ultra Trail Del Rincon 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Ultra Trail Del Rincon 170 km | 170 kilometers | October 06, 2017 | website

Sweden

Sörmland Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Switzerland

Valais

Les Défis du Jubilé – 52 km | 52 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Les Défis du Jubilé – 68 km | 68 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Les Défis du Jubilé – 71 km | 71 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

Tunisia

Ultra Mirage El Djerid 100km | 100 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Atlantic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | October 06, 2017 | website

Cumbria

Lakes in a Day | 50 miles | October 07, 2017 | website

Essex

75 Mile | 75 miles | October 07, 2017 | website

North Yorkshire

“Round Ripon” Ultra Studley Roger | 35 miles | October 07, 2017 | website

Rotherham

Shropshire

The Longmynd Hike | 50 miles | October 07, 2017 | website

Wales

Gower Ultra 50 | 50 miles | October 07, 2017 | website

USA

Arizona

Canyon De Chelly Ultra | 55 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Cave Creek Thriller 50K | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Flagstaff Sky Race 55K | 55 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Arkansas

Arkansas Traveller 100 | 100 miles | October 07, 2017 | website

California

50K Ultra Run | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Coyote Ridge 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 15, 2017 | website
Cuyamaca 100K Endurance Run | 100 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Euchre Bar Massacre 50 M | 50 miles | October 14, 2017 | website
Midnight Express Ultra 72 | 72 miles | October 14, 2017 | website
Skyline to the Sea 50km | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Super Tahoe Triple Marathon | 124 miles | October 13, 2017 | website
Tahoe Double Marathon | 52 miles | October 14, 2017 | website
Tahoe Trifecta | 39 miles | October 13, 2017 | website
Triple Marathon | 78 miles | October 13, 2017 | website
Twin Peaks 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Twin Peaks 50 Miler | 50 miles | October 14, 2017 | website

Colorado

50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Georgia

Relay | 60 miles | October 07, 2017 | website
Running Dead Ultra 100M | 100 miles | October 20, 2017 | website
Running Dead Ultra 50M | 50 miles | October 20, 2017 | website

Illinois

100 Mile | 100 miles | October 07, 2017 | website
50K | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
50 Mile | 50 miles | October 07, 2017 | website
Des Plaines River Tail 50 Miles | 50 miles | October 14, 2017 | website

Kansas

Lake Perry Rocks! 50K | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Kentucky

100 Mile Run | 100 miles | October 14, 2017 | website

Maine

The Pounder | 50 kilometers | October 15, 2017 | website
The Punisher | 50 miles | October 15, 2017 | website

Michigan

Montana

Le Grizz Ultramarathon | 50 miles | October 14, 2017 | website
Ultramarathon | 50 miles | October 14, 2017 | website

New Jersey

New York

50K | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
50 Mile | 50 miles | October 07, 2017 | website
Tesla Hertz 100K Run | 100 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Tesla Hertz 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | October 07, 2017 | website
Tesla Hertz 50K Run | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Tesla Hertz 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | October 07, 2017 | website

North Carolina

Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock Ultra 50K Run | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Tuna Run 200 | 200 miles | October 20, 2017 | website
WC-50 Ultra Trail Marathon 50k | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
WC-50 Ultra Trail Marathon 50M | 50 miles | October 14, 2017 | website

Oregon

50K | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
50K | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
50+K | 54 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Pennsylvania

50K | 50 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website
50K | 50 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website
Lt. J. C. Stone 50K UltraMarathon | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Oil Creek Trail Runs 100 Miles | 100 miles | October 14, 2017 | website
Oil Creek Trail Runs 50K | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
Oil Creek Trail Runs 50 Miles | 50 miles | October 14, 2017 | website
Quad State Quad Buster | 46 miles | October 14, 2017 | website

South Carolina

50K Relay | 50 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website
50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website
Ragnar Trail Carolinas-SC, Presented by Salomon | 120 miles | October 06, 2017 | website
Swamp Rabbit Urban Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Tennessee

Rock/Creek StumpJump 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website

Texas

50 Mile | 50 miles | October 07, 2017 | website

Utah

Pony Express Trail 100 | 100 miles | October 20, 2017 | website
Pony Express Trail 50 | 50 miles | October 20, 2017 | website

Virginia

50K | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website
GrindStone 100 | 101 miles | October 06, 2017 | website
The Wild Oak Trail 100 “Hot” TWOT | 100 miles | October 20, 2017 | website

Washington

Baker Lake 50k | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Defiance 50K | 50 kilometers | October 07, 2017 | website
Ft. Steilacoom 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 14, 2017 | website

West Virginia

West Virginia Trilogy – Day One 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 13, 2017 | website
West Virginia Trilogy – Day Two 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 14, 2017 | website

Wisconsin

50 Miler | 50 miles | October 07, 2017 | website
Glacial 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 08, 2017 | website
Glacial 50M Trail Run | 50 miles | October 08, 2017 | website
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CLOSE
02:51:35
*****
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*****
Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE
Website – talkultra.com

Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer – “Made To Be Broken” The Appalachian Trail Movie

Last September, Red Bull athlete and ultra-runner Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer finally captured his white whale when on his third attempt in eight years, he set a new Appalachian Trail thru-hike speed record with a time of 45 days 22 hours and 38 minutes. Now, the story behind the trek from Mt. Katahdin, Maine, to Springer Mountain, Ga., is told in the new documentary “Karl Meltzer: Made To Be Broken” which will debut on Red Bull TV and can be streamed for free beginning April 13.

The 42-minute documentary captures the ups and downs of Meltzer’s world record run, from injuries and sleep deprivation to the challenges faced by his close-knit crew, which included his father, wife and former Appalachian Trail record holder, Scott Jurek.

Read the daily reports from Karl’s FKT HERE

Read the full in-depth interview HERE

Listen to Karl talk in-depth and discuss the highs and lows HERE 

“The trail challenges people. It has changed a lot of people’s lives and visions of what they can do and what they can’t do,” Meltzer proclaims in the film’s opening minutes. “The A.T. is the hardest, most iconic trail in the United States, and I’ve always been drawn back to it.”

The Appalachian Trail runs from Maine to Georgia stretching 2,190 miles through 14 states.  It is roughly the distance between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as the crow flies.  A thru-hiker will experience 464,500 feet of elevation change, or 16 climbs of Mt. Everest.  Thousands of people attempt an Appalachian Trail thru-hike every year, yet only one in four hikers finish the journey, and they typically take five to seven months to complete the entire trail, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

For more information on the project visit www.redbull.com/atrun.

 

 

The Green Tunnel – Speedgoat Karl Meltzer and the Appalachian Trail

karlmeltzeratfinish

‘Speedgoat’ Karl Meltzer needs no introduction to the ultra-world, Speedgoat was running 100’s when most of us didn’t even know they existed. So much so, he has won more 100’s than any other runner; 38 at the last count. Five of those hundreds came at Hardrock 100, impressive! Speedgoat’s tally of runs and records make history and in 2016, he finally added the ‘FKT’ for the Appalachian Trail to his palmares. It was a long time coming, two previous attempts (2008 and 2014) had left him short but 2016 was different. Speedgoat had had the opportunity to assess his past attempts while helping his buddy, Scott Jurek, achieve his own FKT on the AT in 2015! With this information and a wealth of ultra-running experience, Speedgoat was a different man in the ‘Green Tunnel’ in 2016.

On Sept. 18 at 3:38 a.m., professional ultra-runner and Red Bull athlete Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer emerged from the Appalachian Trail’s southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Ga., and set a new Appalachian Trail thru-hike speed record with a time of:

45-days 22-hours and 38-minutes.

Speedgoat started his supported run at 5 a.m. on Aug. 3 from Mt. Katahdin, Maine, and averaged approximately 47 miles per day at a pace of 3.2 miles per hour.  Speedgoat’s time beats the previous record by more than 10 hours, which was set by Scott Jurek in 2015.

The project, in planning for more than two years, was accomplished with a small core crew consisting of Speedgoat’s father, Karl Sr., and crew chief Eric Belz.  Others joined the crew to support Speedgoat for short periods throughout the hike, including Speedgoat’s wife, Sheryl and fellow ultra-runners such as David Horton.  The crew travelled alongside Meltzer every day, providing him with food, water, medical attention and logistical support. Speedgoat’s time on the trail typically began around 5 a.m. and ended between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

 Download and view a full map of the Appalachian Trail HERE

The Appalachian Trail runs from Maine to Georgia stretching 2,190 miles through 14 states.  It is roughly the distance between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as the crow flies.  A thru-hiker will experience 464,500 feet of elevation change, or 16 climbs of Mt. Everest.  Thousands of people attempt an Appalachian Trail thru-hike every year, yet only one in four hikers finish the journey, and they typically take five to seven months to complete the entire trail.

Here is Speedgoat’s story.

******

karlmeltzer1

Ian: Many, congratulations Karl, you did it!

Karl: Yes, thanks. It was a long journey but yes, it’s over. Thank God. All the misery and pain is over.

Ian: All the misery and pain. Well you say that, but it’s not is it? Because now you’re going through media and interviews and repeating the same story to a lot of different people.

Karl: At least a dozen times yesterday…!

Ian: [laughs]

Karl: Yes, I did talk yesterday for maybe six hours. Then we did the CNN World Sports thing, which was right around the corner from the hotel I was staying at. Yes, it was a busy day. By the time I got to the last three interviews I was like, “Can you ask me what’s next one more time.” But it was good. There was a lot of part of that going on. I have quite a few more this afternoon, but they don’t start till 11.

Ian: That’s good. That’s good, so you can give me some time and hopefully we can ask some interesting questions. Epic journey, epic journey. It was fantastic being here in the UK getting the updates from Red Bull. What I was doing was re-showing them on my website and getting the audience engaged, because they really wanted to know what was happening. Right from the off, it appears you started with some real intention and nailing it for the first seven days. In retrospect, do you think that maybe you were pushing a bit too hard in those early seven days?

Karl: Actually, everything was super textbook and really good all the way for the first 19 days. The first seven days you get to go in New Hampshire, you must get to that point to set yourself up and put yourself in a good position. Honestly, I felt on my game… I was getting plenty of sleep. Everything was working out well. I wasn’t overly tired. I wasn’t pushing myself or getting to those points where I was worked or thinking, “Oh my God, I’m not going to get up tomorrow.”

New Hampshire went perfectly well. The big game in New Hampshire is the Route 302 which is called Crawford notch. It was 47 miles over Mount Washington and then over Carter Ridge, it was a huge day. I finished it a little after 10:00 PM. The following day I think I went like 28 miles, but that 28 miles was ridiculously hard but I was good that day…

Generally speaking, through 19 days before my shin started bothering me, I was a full day ahead of Jen Pharr’s pace, and when I got to that point I was like just stay even with her, with her pace through Pennsylvania which was my plan, and then just try to close it out from there. My shin went down running on flat grass, the easiest piece of the trail of all, flat grassy piece but it just tweaked and I was like, “Uh.” When I was going along I was like, “Oh man, that might be the one that throws me off.” And it did, it obviously did.

Ian: It’s interesting with day 19 because that was the day that I phoned in and spoke to Eric Belz whilst you were on the trail. He was giving me an update of how things had been going. He gave me an itinerary of what it’d been like and how you were crushing the miles, how they were giving you ice cream and looking after you. I will come on to that… One of the things I remember reading on the day nine (I think it was) reports, when you were going through Mount Lafayette, Eric referred to a knife edge. I couldn’t quite place what the knife edge was. What was that?

Karl: You mean in New Hampshire? Well, there’s a ridge called San Antonio Ridge. It’s not that technical of a knife edge. You’re on a ridge line that’s fairly narrow, but it’s not super. It’s not like exposed or anything. Yes, he had been up there before in 2014, he hiked that section with me when I was doing trail at that time too. New Hampshire is ridiculously hard. That might have been what he was referring to as a knife edge. It wasn’t really super techie or anything like that. It’s called San Antonio Ridge, and it’s a very very super popular place. You see more hikers on that trail probably in New Hampshire than anywhere else other than maybe Mount Washington.

Ian: And then day 10, you’re into Flume Gorge the White Mountains, and I think that was the first sign where you were beginning to show some wear and tear on your feet. Eric also touched on the fact that you were mentally beginning to feel a little fatigued. Neither of those things obviously turned into a big issue, but one of the important things about anything like this where you’re doing multi-day and going out for another 40, 50 miles is maintenance. What was that maintenance side like, and how did Eric and Senior (Karl’s Dad), and Sheryl (Karl’s wife) keep you on track, and how did you react to them keeping you on track?

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Karl: We had some protocols. Every time I stop, when I stop at the end of the day, my dad’s job if you want to call it that, Sr’s job, was to have me setup so I can clean my feet. He’ll just setup a bin of water and some cleaning stuff, some soap or whatever. The first thing I do when I came in, I sit down, he took my shoes off and I clean my feet up. I never had any blisters on my toes over the whole time, the whole trip. They were solid as rock. I had a blister on my heels, but those things we drain them early in the thing and run and they just went away. Generally, we just cleaned my feet and got those taken care of, have them dried out, and just moved on.

That was the protocol for that. After we did that, once we cleaned my feet and I was good. I was sitting on a higher chair and I went to a lower chair, put my feet up, put ice on my shins and I ate my dinner as I was icing my shins, and then I went straight into bed. I was in bed within 30 minutes usually after every stop; after every night, which was super-fast. I certainly fell asleep quickly. It was really good. They were super-efficient in terms of taking care of things. The further we get down the trail, the more efficient they got. When you did talk to Eric, we were at a place called Bake Oven Knob and that was in Pennsylvania. I think that was my day 20, maybe 20 or 21?  Maybe 20.

That morning, when I woke up at Bake Oven Knob that was the day my shin was probably was at its worst. It was like on fire. I woke up at 4:15 AM in the morning or something like that and I couldn’t really extend on my right leg. It was swollen and red and I’m like, “Oh god.” I’m like, “I need to sit here and ice it a couple of times this morning before I get going anywhere.” I did that because again, I was a day ahead of Jen’s itinerary, I had a little time to I waste to say I had money in the bank, it’s not my style, or miles in the bank, that’s not my style but I had to do it.

We did that, and then finally after a few hours, I put my shoes on and I started moving. I believe I only covered 32 miles that day. After 25 miles during that day, again my shin was on fire. Pennsylvania is all rocky so your leg is twisting around a lot. It was just aggravating it even more. After 25, I stopped again I said, “Hey, I got to ice this thing a couple of times.” And then we’ll just see what happens. It felt a little better after I sat for a while and then I went another seven miles down the trail, and I think we finished at 32.

Ian: Yes, that was the day that Mike joined you. He made a comment that because you are obviously protecting your shin, your knee was buckling underneath you during the run. What’s going through your mind at this point Karl? Because it wouldn’t be an underestimation to say that completing the AT in a fast time has been a priority for you for years. I think we both knew before you went into this when we discussed it that this was probably the last chance to get this record. Did you see it? All the hard work starting to potentially crumble beneath your shin?

Karl: Well, maybe? I think the thing is Scott got hurt, Jen got hurt, I got hurt. With my knee buckling thing, that issue was with me back in May before it even started. The whole thing is like it wasn’t affecting my running. I just put on a knee wrap on my knee, and that reminded me not to extend out, hyper extend my knee. The brace isn’t going to do something bad, the brace isn’t going to stop you from hyper extending your knee.

But it was protecting a little bit from doing that just in my mind and just physically. But then that day again, when Mike was walking with me and my shin was killing me, my knee buckled a couple of times and Mike was walking behind me. I was like, “Oh my God. Why is this happening?” And feel like, “Why are these things aren’t falling into place?” But yes, I was a little worried about it for sure. I was just like, “Well, who is my knee going down now too?” I started to get mentally frustrated. I started getting a little upset.

Again, having that cushion that I had built up made huge difference because it gave me time. It’s not like I fell 40 miles behind quickly because I was hurt. I was still in it. I just said to myself, “You just got to stick with it for a while and see what happens.” I do remember in 2008 when both my shins were bothering me, and on the Pony Express when they were bothering me, you sort of keep using them and keep walking through it, it sorts of goes away. I said, “Well, we’ll see if that happens here.” As you saw, we did 32, and then we did 50 something, and then we did 16 which again my shin was on fire that day too. The next day, we did 50 something…

Ian: It was interesting watching because there was obviously this dilemma going through your mind, and I’m sure your crew’s mind. You had your blinkers on, and it was very interesting following some of the comments on Facebook. The doubters were going to doubt, and of course they were going to say, “Oh no, the shin is hurting. That’s it. He’s got no chance.” The one thing that I kept going back to in commenting on was, “Look guys, Karl is completely 100% blinkered for this. We discussed it. He knows what he has to do because he experienced it with Scott and there were valuable learning lessons.”

One of the things that was worrying me from the side-lines was that I could see this accordion. I could see you suffering, and then the next day it was almost as though you refused to accept that your body was doing what is was doing, and you were bullying it into doing what you wanted it to do. A classic example was day 20 when you did 35 miles, but then the next day you spent 17 hours on the trail. Of course, this is a real bouncing act, isn’t it? Because that’s your bloody mindedness wanting to get it done, but then the problem comes with day 22; you can be wrecked. How did you manage that? Did you just think to yourself, “You know what, I’m just going to give this everything and see what happens?”

Karl: Yes, absolutely. I think what was funny too is I was sort of telling myself in a jokingly kind of way that, “Well gee Karl, you did 16 miles yesterday so you’re rested for tomorrow.” Seriously, it didn’t make a difference in the rest there because I went to bed 7:15, or 7:30 as opposed to maybe 9:00 or something like that. Because I don’t really do well with sleep deprivation, that made a difference for me the next morning to get up and say, “Okay, I’m up and wired, I’m awake.” I’m kind of, “I’m going to do what I can. I know my shin is going to hurt, just deal with it.”

The rest helped me be able to go those 50 plus miles after the short days if my shin wasn’t bothering me. It was amazing, my shin with those shorter days was not able to re-heal overnight, of course. But the swelling went down so I had more time to just settle down a little bit. I could keep going, and then my gig going into Duncannon, Pennsylvania which is the end of the rocky section of Pennsylvania, I survived. I crashed hard going down that trail a couple of times. You’ll see that in the film probably which is quite entertaining for all the people watching.

When I finally got to Duncannon, it was just a two mile walk through town. I walked through town and I said,” Let’s just… I’m only eight miles behind where Jen was. I’ll stop here, I need to rest and wake up in the morning, we’ll see what happens.” We stayed in this nasty camp around in Duncannon. We got up the next morning. I was driven to where I stopped walking that morning, and I started walking uphill. It was a steep rocky climb for about maybe a mile and half, going uphill wasn’t so bad. It was going downhill where my toes would extend out forward, which would make it sore and hurt.

I get to the top of the climb and the terrain sort of changed where it started to get smooth. There’s an area there called Cumberland Valley where Pennsylvania is sort of known for being smooth. I knew that was coming, and it’s funny because I reached that ridge line and turned into Cumberland Valley and there’s this CVATC, we manage the trail here. I was like, “Uh, Cumberland Valley ATC. Thank God I’m here.” The uphill section is gradual, very gradual uphill I’d say. I started running, yep, very slowly running the gradual uphill’s.

I said to my dad, I said, “I’ll just start to run uphill now and see what happens.” Instead of running downhill, I started running uphill. It was weird but the shin pain went away. When the terrain got smooth and the shin pain went away, I think it is a 53, a 60, and 57 miles all in a row, boom boom boom! That got me right back where Jen was and even put me ahead of her pace. Once again, the confidence builds up, “My shin doesn’t hurt. Man, I’m back. I’m back in the game.” Again, I never felt I ran off pace. I was so confident I could still get there as long as I stayed fairly close to that pace.

Ian: What are the frustrating things I guess for me and people who were following you. Was that for reasons that you discussed prior to departing was that Red Bull and Appalachian Trail didn’t want people to know exactly where you were. Your updates were coming out maybe two to three days late. But day 22 to day 25, certainly looked as though it was a real crunch phase in the whole thing. As you said, day 22 you did 16.4 miles in seven hours, but you benefited from good rest, good sleep. The next day you get back up on the trail, and then day 24, you do 35 miles. Day 25, it didn’t list how many miles you’ve done.

Basically, it reaffirmed how far you’d gone, how far you had to go, what your age was, and it was saying this is crunch time. I got a real sense of feeling that it was a massive pivotal point within the whole thing that this reading between the lines from the feedback and from what Eric was saying. How you pivoted on this point was where the success or failure was going to happen. As you just said, you go into day 26, and you banged out 60.1 miles. I remember writing at the time, I just can’t comprehend it because 60.1 miles for any of us is a big day out just on its own.

Karl: Yes, and the funny thing is too, 60 is a lot more than 50! 10 miles is three hours whatever, but it’s a huge difference because you don’t get that sleep. You don’t get that rest. You don’t get that recovery. Yes, but it was sometimes that was logistics, and sometimes the terrain was tough; that’s near Shenandoah I think? The terrain is a little bit smoother in there, so your average pace is no longer 3.2, it might be like 3.5. That .3 miles per hour over that long period is five miles or whatever. It made a difference in terms of being able to go 60. 60 was huge no doubt about it. I think Scott only pulled one 60-mile day too. Yes, it was confidence. It got me back.

Ian: That day 26 was the day that your dad, Senior, came back onto the trail. One of the questions that cropped upon Facebook on the Talk Ultra feed was that. There was an obvious reference to Sheryl and Senior throughout the whole thing. Its’ obvious how important those people are in your life. This process, because it’s so intense for you and let’s face it, you’re tired, you’re fatigued, you can be cranky, you can be moody, you can be probably pretty offensive at times. But the one thing that I could imagine from the outside looking in is that this type of experience as a family can only bring everybody so much closer together. I just wondered what impact Senior joining you on day 26 had on you producing that 60.1 miles?

Karl: It’s funny that… I can be a little annoying jerk and stuff like that. It was funny, I talked to Dave Horton along the trail about this, he was inspirational too.

He was like “When I was on the trail,” and he knows, because he’s done it, so he understands. He’s like, “When I was on the trail, I would yell at my wife, and I would say not so nice things, and things like that. And he’s like, “It’s sad that we feel like we can say mean and cruel things to our spouse or our dad or something like that, but not others.” I wouldn’t say those types of things to Belz as I’d say it to Sheryl, or say it to my dad. It’s bad that we do that huh?

But I guess we accept the fact that they won’t bite back, or something like that. My dad would just kind of let it blow it over his head. Sheryl will sometimes take it a little more offense, but that’s okay. She sort of mostly will let it blow over her head. She knew that I was dealing with a lot of mental misery. It definitely brings them closer together; they did such an incredible job of always being positive when I would come to a stop. Even if I was grumpy or something like that, they still didn’t bite back at me or yell at me or something like that. It was more like, “Karl, just relax. Calm down.”

Ian: Yes, I’m sure there was a fair amount of stuff said.

Karl: Yes. My dad was incredible, I mean he, well Belz was sort of crew chief. My dad was sort of the monkey worker on the side, always kind of doing stuff. My dad doesn’t sleep. The guy moves back and forth all the time. I mean, he was awake at 3:30 in the morning going back and forth to his truck when I was still sleeping, like, “Why is he up now?”.

He never took a nap when they had an opportunity to rest; they needed a rest too! He just would never do that. He was so into it. It was so cool to spend that time with my dad. Even though I wasn’t there spending time with him, I knew he was always there and helping me out. Yes, it brings us closer for sure. It was quite the experience, having them there.

Ian: So, day 26, 60.1 miles. Day 27, 55.8. Day 28 was just another whopping day. And at this point, I’m looking at my computer and a photograph came on your Facebook page, and it drew complete parallels to the photo last year of Scott Jurek. Remember when everybody discussed about his vegan diet and Marshall Ulrich went on record and said, “You can’t do the AT without eating meat”.

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And there’s this photograph of you with your Red Bull scarf around your neck looking damn drawn, looking damn lean. And it just goes to show the incredible impact that the trail, the multiple days of hours and hours and hours on the trail has. Belz said to me that you were having ravioli and mandarin oranges. What was the diet like, and could they predict what you wanted?

Karl: Well, they couldn’t really… They would go and say “Hey Karl, what do you want today to eat? If you want some food, just find something.” I would more or less eat anything. I ate a lot of good food too. The stories came out where it was like Meltzer doses on some beer and candy. Well, it’s not true. I didn’t do it on beer and candy. That’s just the media doing their thing. I ate a fair bit of meat.

I think Belz probably cooked me five or six or seven rib eyes when I’d come the end of the day. I had a steak and some asparagus and some rice and things like that. But I had a great dinner every night. I think that was really, really important. And even though many people thought that I was looking skinny… I’m a skinny guy anyway, and you know me! I’m a skinny guy anyway. Over the whole entire trip, when I weighed myself two days later at the Red Bull office, I had lost three pounds, that’s all!

So, I gained maybe a pound or two back after I finished, but the bottom line is, I was eating a lot of food. I mean, the stuff that I was eating on the trail, I was pretty much eating real food. My last gel I ate was in Maine. I didn’t eat that much gel or chump things or anything like that. I went to real food because I still feel like that just fills up your belly a little more. It doesn’t mean it gives you better energy, but it fills you up a little more.

I ate a combination of anything. Dave Horton would bring chicken for me and ice cream. And I think it was dense calories. So, I was eating a lot. Scott, being vegan, it’s going to be a lot harder for him to get as much protein. He certainly knows what he’s doing, don’t get me wrong, but he lost 19 pounds when he was done. Being vegan, you probably can’t get as many calories. And he was eating all day long, too. He was doing the same kind of thing, and I think, what Marshall said, it’s like, you do need to eat meat. You need to eat a lot of protein. I drank a lot of Ultragen, a lot of calories there. I did a lot of that kind of stuff. I ate a lot of sweets. I ate a lot of cinnamon buns.

Ian: [laughs] What where you eating Karl…?

Karl: It’s kind of funny, but it’s just calories, you know?

Ian: What were you eating between seeing the crew? Or was that not so much of a priority? Because I’m just trying to think that let’s say you see your crew every ten miles. As you’ve said, that’s three or four hours. Maybe even longer in some places. So, you’ve got to be eating something while you’re out on the trail. You can’t just be relying until you see Eric and Senior and Sheryl.

Karl: Yes. I had a small pouch on my little waist pack, and I would just have like a quesadilla or something like that, or a steak and cheese wrap, or something like that. A piece of chicken, a cinnamon bun, a donut, even. I never buy donuts, but they were so good on the trail. I had a little bit of candies for some straight sugar. That article was true. I did eat some candies. Spree was my favorite. They’re just little sugar things. And yes, I ate a combination of protein and sugar and carbohydrates. I would bring a piece of pizza along with me.

But I did eat as much as possible! When I stopped at the van, I probably consumed at least 500 calories. Fruit. I ate a lot of fruit. Those mandarin oranges and canned peaches were just the greatest thing ever. I ate so many mandarin oranges, it’s kind of silly. But I like them. That kind of stuff was boom boom boom and I’d eat a whole can of it in like a minute.

Ian: Just to sort of clarify there, because your pace is going slower, did you feel as though you could take in more calories and that it had less stomach distress? Because we all know the balancing act between eating calories and it sitting in your stomach. And your stomach having to work to digest that food. It doesn’t always go in line with trying to move quicker or faster. But I’m guessing your hiking and jogging pace was allowing you to eat big calories and it not causing any gastric distress?

Karl: You’re right. When you’re going slower, you can definitely digest food. Not once did I have a stomach problem the whole time. I was never like, oh my god, my stomach’s upset because I ate that whole pint of ice cream in three minutes. I did eat an entire pint of ice cream in a few minutes one time. And you would think, “I’m never going to be able to run for a couple of hours.”

But it’s funny because you take that in and you suck it down and I would start hiking and it was like, I was good for about an hour or so after that. I wouldn’t have to eat any food. But after an hour, I’m like, “I need to get in my pouch and get me something to eat.” Your body is such a furnace on these multi-day things like this, that it really doesn’t matter how much you eat at once, because you are. You’re moving a lot slower.

I mean, my average heart rate was probably 100. I’m going to guess, but somewhere in that ballpark. It wasn’t that high. So, I could digest, I could use the fuel and the power from whatever I was eating and not have that stomach distress. Again, any 100-mile race, or smaller, shorter races, there is that fine balance of taking in too much at one time. But it is pretty easy to just eat whatever you want and not have that problem.

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And Dave Horton would say the same thing, and so I’m sure Scott would say the same thing. It didn’t matter how much I ate at a stop. It never bothered the stomach. Scott’s stomach never bothered him either. Dave Horton said he had a lot of problems. He’s like, “I could never eat like you, Karl.” I sat there one time, he brought me a bucket of chicken, and I got a big bucket of chicken at one place, and I ate like the whole thing.

And he’s sitting there watching me eating, and he’s like, “Man, I could never eat like that. I couldn’t eat it when I was done.” And he’s like, “You are amazing.” I’m just like, just give me another piece.” I would just take it right down. I didn’t have problems with that. It was just fortunate, you know. Obviously, that’s why I didn’t lose 19 pounds, probably.

Ian: Absolutely.

Karl: It was cool to be able to do that.

Ian: Let me talk about day 29, Virginia. Again, I’ve said pivotal points. And it appears this was another pivotal point. That day, you covered 50.4 miles. And Eric said that it was relatively pain-free because you’d found a new way of taping your shin. What was that? Was that just a little bit of luck, of trying different methods? Because I know that you’d been wearing a compression sock and you’d tried taping it.

And you were icing as much as you often could. But you found a way of taping that seems to just work?

Karl: That information came from Scott when I was in Duncannon. Belz called Scott and I was just talking about my shin, why it was bothering me, where it was hurting that kind of a thing. Scott has a physical therapist background, so he’s like, “Try to get a brace or like a wrap – that will compress your interior tibialis, the muscle there over your shin. And compress the muscle belly.

Don’t put the wrap over your tendon, down lower towards your foot. When my leg came on fire, that wrap was down on my tendon on the lower part of my foot, and it was there and it was freaking killing me. I changed the location of it a little bit, and it just didn’t hurt as much. That was a game changer.

There were a few game changers in this whole thing that gave me the record basically. There’s another one down the road I’ll explain in a minute, but the allocation of that wrap helped. I never took it off all the way to the end. I’m like, “Just wear it.” Even though it wasn’t bothering me later. I’m like, “Just keep it on dude.”

Ian: Exactly. If it ain’t broke, don’t change it. Don’t change it. You said the game changer, and it was that game changer that strapping that made you on day 30 cover 60 miles.

Karl: Little things that count.

Ian: What was very interesting was that you’d obviously got out for the day, you’d planned to stop at 6:00 PM, but that blinkered vision, that feeling good, maybe the reassurance in this new taping sent you out for another 11 miles. Of course, at the end of that day, you’re feeling damn good. Your crew are thinking, “This is amazing Karl. Is just absolutely killing it.” I made a comment when I wrote about this and I said that you were killing it and I was blown away by your tenacity.

Karl: It was amazing how it came about.

Ian: Yes, amazing. First, tell me about that, that come back and what goes through your mind to bang out 60 miles when you’re 30 days into something incredible like this? And then tell me about the day after.

Karl: It was weird. I’m running long like, “Why doesn’t my shin hurt anymore?” Obviously, I was trying to do the right thing here with the wrap and icing and all that stuff. But it’s just like suddenly it went away. [laughs] It’s hard to explain why and everything else, but it went away so it gave me more and more confidence. I kept telling myself, “Don’t be greedy here. You still have tomorrow. You still have 15 more days to go. You just got to be patient with it. Don’t do anything stupid. Always watch where you’re stepping.” Again, my shin was still a little tight, it just didn’t have that searing pain that it had before.

Believe me, I was just like blown out of the water that it wasn’t hurting anymore. I was quite surprised. And even everyone like Belz, my dad was just like, “Wow. How come it’s not hurting anymore?” I don’t know how to explain that. It’s like Jen, she had the same thing, Scott had the same thing. I’m sure when Scott hurt his knee or his quad, he tore his quad muscle like a week later it healed. How does that stuff heal while you’re doing 50 miles a day? God, I don’t know. Your body is just adopting to it.

Ian: Can I ask a question Karl, how much other pain did you have?

Karl: Well, soreness like if you run a hard race, the next day you wake up and you’re sore and you’re hobbling around. On these types of things, your body starts to adopt after two to three weeks. I never had that deep soreness or anything like poke your muscles out and you get that sore pain. Not once that I ever really have that type of thing. The real pain is between your ears. [laughs]

You try to deal with it mentally, but as I get going every day, your legs are just heavy like you’re carrying around these two heavy cement logs but you don’t have that excruciating soreness pain. If you’re not having that and you’re still able to walk, you can always walk. And walk is what you’re doing most of the time anyway. If you could walk fast, and I taught myself how to walk a little faster than normal, and I was just able to keep going.

The jogging, you don’t jog very fast. You’re jogging slow. You’re barely picking your feet up off the ground or you’re stumble all the time. The real pain, it really isn’t there– that much. It’s just the pain is between your head and you’re just trying to keep moving forward.

Ian: Let’s go to day 31, because it certainly seemed as though that extra 11 miles that you banged out on the evening of day 30 may very well have been 11 miles too far and certainly that’s what Eric was touching on… in his report from that day where that you were feeling tired, you were feeling fatigued, you’ve got a blister under your foot, and as I can only imagine, I think I would have been done a long time ago…. I don’t have the mental or physical strength to maybe put myself through what you’re putting yourself through, but the highs of day 30 probably were feeling pretty rubbish on day 31?

Day 30 was Virginia when you were in the Shenandoah National Park. That’s when you’d had your leg taped up and you’re sort of planning to finish at 6:00 PM, and then you went out for 11 miles in the evening, and then you did 60 miles that day. But day 31 was Blue Ridge Parkway section. You were very fatigued, and you had got a blister under your foot, your crew got you a little bit happier by giving you two steaks for dinner.

Karl: Yes, the blister thing under my foot I must mention, this is probably the ultimate game changer. There is a guy, Johnathan Basham, he holds the record of the long trail. Jonathan I’ve known for a long time. He was pretty close to there. He came out to visit me, he’s the stay-at-home dad. He’s got two kids, two young kids, and his wife is an ER doc. Now, his wife was off that day. He could come out and say hello, and see how I was doing.

He shows up, and I come in to the stop where my crew was and my left foot was killing me under the bottom center of my foot. I’ve had a neuroma under there for a long time – for years. The same pain, the pain of that under my left foot felt like my neuroma. It was numb. It was pretty excruciating to step on it. I got to the stop and I said, “Man, my foot is just on fire. It’s killing me.” Jonathan was sitting there, and he says, “Karl, how’s it going.” I took my shoe, “Oh my God.” Every time I would put my foot down in the ground, it would start throbbing, like throbbing hard.”

John looks at it,” No, Andre Thompson had this too back when he did it. It’s just a really deep blister, like way, super deep blister under your foot.” I was like, really? “Do you have anything to try to drain that thing?” I said, “Well, I have a scalpel.” It was a needle type scalpel. He’s like, “No, that blister gets wider as you stick it. Do you have like a needle or a safety pin or something like that?” I was like, “Well, we have a safety pin.” We tried that, and it got a little bit of fluid out, but not everything. He’s like, “I’ll tell you what, tomorrow, I’ll bring you a surgical needle.”

He shows up on cue at four o’clock in the morning, and I’m awake ready for him. We stick my foot with the needle, and we got all the fluid out. I put my socks and my shoe on, and I started hiking again, all pain was gone, and my foot was an entirely new foot. The pain was absolutely gone. That was the ultimate game changer. Yes, it was incredible. Suddenly I could get running again… it totally got me jogging again.

Ian: This way day 32?

Karl: Yes. I guess it’s 32.

Ian: Yes, day 32 you did 57 miles. I think what’s interesting here is you’ve just said that draining your foot was a game changer. But also, day 32 was also nearly the day where you ruined your whole attempt. Because that was the night that you actually slept out on the trail. You slept at Scorched Earth Gap instead of continuing for another four miles to your crew. You bedded down on the trail. You had a bad night and then what followed on day 33 was one of those days that probably your crew and you want to forget in that you were just completely exhausted.

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You couldn’t function. They found you face down asleep on the trail and basically you just said, “I need to sleep.” During the middle of the day you went and slept for three hours. I guess that was a really awful time for Eric and Senior and Sheryl in that they’re looking and thinking, “Carl, is this it? Is this over?” What was going through your mind at that point?

Karl: When I slept on the trail, Eric packed the tent, he had food for me and he did everything right. I got to him a little after ten so it was kind of a late night for me too. They got there and we went to bed to sleep and I did not sleep very well. We tossed and turned a little bit and it just wasn’t very good sleep. We got up at four o’clock in the morning and I got my shoes on and stuff and I started walking. Eric picked up the tent stuff behind me. He said we’d all just catch up. I started walking and I was just super-duper fatigued.

Every time I went uphill I was just like, I couldn’t. I was just so slow. My legs were so tired. That lactic acid burned and built up after every step. We went in a mile or two slow and I said, let me crash for 20 min. Give me a 20-minute power nap and see if that makes a difference. That’s when you saw the picture where I was face down trying to sleep on the trail. I was only down for 20 minutes on the trail that time and Belz was like, “Okay Carl. It’s 20 minutes.” I was like, “All right.” I got up. The same thing. It was just like I had nothing in the tank!

It was like going on empty. I finally get the van. Five hours for 10 miles which is ridiculously slow. I got to the van and I was like, “I need to sleep.” I just walked there and I went right down. Sheryl was there and my dad was a little like, “You know you can’t do that.” I’m like, “Well, I’m sleeping for two hours.” This is when I was the ultimate jerk. I won the award for the ultimate jerk. I was just like, “No. I’m not going anywhere. I’m sleeping. Leave me alone.”

Two hours. I slept for a while and, did that help me? I guess it helped me a little bit in terms of waking up and having a little more energy. But we were kind of milling around the van and stuff like that and I was just really frustrated. Obviously didn’t have a pack while I was sleeping and stuff like that. I just kind of got up and I just walked off. I was mad. I just kind of walked off and got on the trail and l said, “Don’t give up.” I told myself, “Don’t give up yet.” I just got on the trail I started walking south… my crew never saw me leave.

Ian: I know. I can imagine them going to look for you and suddenly you’ve disappeared and then they have no idea where you are. You’re somewhere down the trail of course. Then they are rushing packing things away to go and meet you at the next stop.

Karl: I expected someone to come behind and say, “Hey, wait. Where are, you going?” But I kept looking back and, “No.” I walked about a mile and a half or something like that and I saw a couple of other hikers. I said, “Hey you guys. If you see people down the trail, if they’re looking for a Speedgoat. Tell them, I am on the trail.” Then another mile or two went by and Sheryl came running backwards towards me. It was a short section. It was like five and a half miles or something.

She came running backward. She just gave me some water. I didn’t need water or anything. She gave me some stuff and I just kept walking to the next stop and then I consumed a massive pint of ice cream. Still frustrated and all that but I got my craft together a little bit and put my pack on and I walked those seven miles. That’s when Dave Horton showed up again and was saying to me, “You got to keep going. You’re still in it. The foods are in front of you. You still have it, Karl.”

He was trying to inspire me to do another seven or eight miles. He was like, “You’ve done the seven or eight. You’re still three miles ahead!” I’m like, “What dude? I need to sleep.” I had to the stop and I decided that I would be better off sleeping instead of trying to push seven more miles and get there in the dark. I need to sleep. I knew that if I slept eight hours I’d be much better tomorrow. That’s what I did and then obviously, you know things turned back in my favour again.

Ian: Yes.

Karl: It’s funny, I had one day where I was just so tired that I just walked into the van and “boom”. Then I went down for three hours. A lot of it is in your head but at the same time, I just felt like I had to do that. Again, I wasn’t out of it because I heard I was a little bit ahead over general. I wasn’t out of the game yet.

Ian: It brings up so many questions. But let’s think back to your last attempt when you failed. We’ve discussed that in-depth and one of the things that seem to be far more significant about the failure last time was probably not so much your physical self, but more to do with your mental self and the fact that your crew weren’t quite doing what you needed. Now you obviously learned from that process. You got to witness Scott last year and we discussed in the build-up to this attempt and questioned, did you have the grit? Did you have the blinkers? Where you prepared to go back out when you were tired? Was your crew going to be nailing it?

It’s just unequivocal yes to all those points this time around, isn’t it? You knew what had to be done. But also, what is so important is that Eric and Senior and Sheryl just seemed to be so on the ball – making sure that you had what you need. They were there for you. I know that you’ll give them credit. But we know how hard it is to follow somebody for 40 days on the trail with minimal sleep, looking after you, finding you, feeding you, packing up, breaking down. It’s just an incredible challenge.

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Karl: Well, they stayed positive all the time. That was the whole thing. Instead of arguing or not, not giving me grief about being a jerk or something like that. It rubbed off me. The positive parts rubbed off me. Why aren’t they yelling back at me? Sheryl and I had a few conversations that weren’t so pleasant. But at the same time, she kept saying, “You’re not out of this yet. You can do this. You can still do this.” I had to believe in that and she helped me believe in that.

Again, they didn’t get negative and kind of walk away. They just said, “Karl, you’re still in it. Don’t give up yet.” I still knew in the back of my head that I was still in it but I never wanted to quit. There’s a lot of time and effort spent on this thing. Not just Redbull, but all the money in support. It’s just one of those things that you must stay positive and it worked. It worked. The crew was amazing. Crew was super important.

Ian: After day 33, I think Eric said it was probably the lowest day of the whole AT experience. It was a day where you covered 23 miles. You physically and mentally were feeling jaded. Day 34 comes around in you’re in Virginia and the calculations are done. That from here on, in its 50-plus mile days to get the record. You go out and you bang out 50 miles as though it’s a normal scenario. It goes back to the amazing highs and lows of being out on the trail. Do you think that 50-plus mile day was the Karl Meltzer determination, or was it the fact that day 33 was a shorter day, and you got more rest and you managed to get out there and kick trail butt?

Karl: A combination of both. I just said to myself after Sheryl locked me out that morning the dark and it wasn’t so good for a little while but I kind of turned the switch on of being happier Karl again. I tried to not being mean Karl. It just said, “All right Karl, turn the switch on. What are you doing? Get your shit together?” I just sort of did and I came into a happier place and then it just turned back to good old Karl on the trail. It was amazing.

Ian: Okay. Then at this point Scott is joining you on the trail?

Karl: A little later. I think a little bit later maybe he joined me. Somewhere like day 37 or something like that.

Ian: Okay, so, talk me through from, say, day 36 because this is the point where I wrote on my website that you could smell the barn, and I know that I was probably a little bit premature with you smelling the barn…

Karl: Just a little, yes, but that’s okay.

Ian: But you knew what I meant in writing that. At that point you’re much closer to the goal than you were at the beginning. And although the smell of the barn might be a faint one, it’s there, it’s in your nostrils. And there are no guarantees because there was still a long way to go. But I guess mentally there must’ve been a change for you, and if there was a change, what was that change?

Karl: Well, you’re right, I mean, I smelled a little. I knew if I kept my crap together I could still get it. That feeling came around day 40 or day 41. I was like, “If your body holds up, you can do this” then I knew I could bang out 80-something miles in the last day. That’s when I started to smell the barn, it was probably 40, 41. I was near Smoky Mountain National Park, and that’s when I knew that I kind of had it. And then Scott came in there too, he was amazing, he ran into places to crew for me that other crew couldn’t get to.

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He did whatever to help me, he brought my stuff into camp overnight that one time and that my crew wouldn’t have been able to do. He was inspirational. Whenever we ran together we just were chatting about old times, and the miles went by a lot faster that way too. He made a huge difference. Then he took off one day, he had to go to New York, so he jumped on a plane to New York, came back the next day.

Ian: Brilliant.

Karl: Yes, that was pretty cool. Scott said,” Yes, I’m coming back for sure”, and he made a big difference for sure.

Ian: Yes, certainly on social media Scott’s presence was significant because the community fully realized not only what you were undertaking, but the true nature of the sport. Scott had got the record, you’d been there, you’d helped, and then he was returning that favour even though you were going to potentially break something that he’d worked very hard for. There’s many questions that we could go on and ask about but what was Scott’s demeanor during the attempt? How did he verbally encourage you on the trail, and what hints and tips was he giving you that maybe you knew but maybe you didn’t know?

Karl: Well, clearly, if you would have shown up and Scott was there, you would never know at the time that he held the record and that’s kind of the friend he is, he’s just like — Whatever you need to do, he would take over some logistical stuff. You would never know that I was breaking his record, he was just there to help me, kind of like when I was there to help him. He just did what he needed to do to make me move forward. The funny thing is that on the last day Jenny was like, “Hey, Karl, why don’t you take an eight-hour nap?”

She was just joking around, of course, but it’s just like, “No, Jenny, I want to get it”. But, no, you would never know that he was the guy that held the record because he was just helping me, and that was special, and I felt that from him. He was just like, “I’m just going to do what I need to do”.

Ian: Yes. Day 36, 57 miles. Day 37 was another 50 plus mile a day. Day 38 was 55.6 miles. At this point it looks as though you were cruising. Were you?

Karl: Yes, yes, more or less. Those mileages are basically I needed to get that far, but road logistics had something to do with that too, it was like, “Today you have to do 55 because you can’t stop before that”. Some of those big miles came like that, but I wanted to stay a certain amount ahead of Jen, so that I knew that the last day I’d be safe if I did the 85 miles. So, yes, I was cruising, though, I was still getting done early, I was getting to bed by 8-8:30 PM.

And, yes, it’s just about 15 hours. I get out the door at five o’clock every morning, and I could get those miles in well. It’s hilly down there, but it’s smoother, so you can definitely move better, especially on downhill. You could go a tiny bit faster if it wasn’t so technical, and I was just able to get those miles in, and get to sleep at the same time.

Ian: On day 40 Dave Horton had to leave the trail early but he turned to you at one point, and said, “You can do this. You should quit now if you don’t plan on beating Scott’s record”. Basically, reading between the lines, you’ve got this! Did you feel as though you had this at day 40?

Karl: Yes. I mean, I knew only if my body held up, like I said. Yes, I knew that because, again, the last day I knew I could blow out a lot of miles. And Jen didn’t blow out the last day and nor did Scott. He was just struggling to get there. I had the opportunity, and that was basically by blowing out that last day. I had a 20-mile lead, or whatever you want to call it. So, that gave me the confidence to know that once I started on Saturday morning, I’m going to the end. That’s where I gained all the ground.

Ian: The last day, or the last couple of days lived up to a Meltzer trademark that 100 miles is not that far.

Karl: [laughs]

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Ian: I still find it ridiculously unbelievable that after 40 plus days banging out an average of 40 odd miles a day. That you have the strength, physically and mentally, to bang out what was 88 miles…

Karl: 85.4.

Ian: 85.4. And it was interesting, Karl, because I thought back to our interview just before you went out to the AT, and I said to you, I don’t know if you can remember it, but I said, “Are you prepared? Are you prepared to not sleep in those final days to get it done?”. It just seemed as though everything clicked into place physically and mentally, despite highs and lows. Scott called it his masterpiece. Do you feel as though it’s your masterpiece?

Karl: I don’t know if “Masterpiece” is the best word. I was kind of a mess after 19 days. [laughter] But, it was just his call on it. Scott was kind of a mess too at the end. It was totally, necessarily not a masterpiece either, but to me, I call it more of a stamp. Obviously with a lot of 100 mile wins, this was raising the bar just another time, and to say that I’ve won all these hundreds, and then actually did something bigger and more beyond, winning all those hundreds– It was, in my eyes– It’s sort of a stamp in my career. Will I keep running? Of course, I will.

I’ll keep going, I’m not going to end it, but I have nothing to prove. It feels good to be successful the third time. This time I finally got it done and it makes me feel like I can still do this. I’ll be able to go after the 50 age plus records maybe, in a year and a half or something like that. We’ll see what happens, I don’t know.

Ian: Well, you’ve got the record – 45 days, 22 hours, 38 minutes. I’ve got to ask one question… But you went the opposite way to Scott, and one question that springs to my mind, it sprung to several other people’s minds too, is it two records or is it one record?

Karl: I think it’s two records and I even said it to Scott, it’s different, he finished in a different way. George is smooth to finish; Maine is ridiculously hard. Just think, Comrades has a record up and down, right? Hardrock has a record back-and-forth. In Hardrock it doesn’t recognize it that way but we all know there’s two. I think there’s a north to south bound on the AT for sure.

Ian: Okay, so does that mean that you might have a go the other way?

[laughter]

Karl: Not the right time to ask that question but at the same time I doubt it, I think the fact that I got this one time, that was what I was shooting for and I don’t need to do it again. I would have to have quite the incentive to try again but I don’t think so. The misery is too much, it’s just mentally incredibly tiring. Not so much the physical things, just the misery of every morning getting up at four o’clock and grinding out the day. It’s just ridiculous.

Ian: I cannot even fathom it Karl. Many congratulations on the ‘stamp!’

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Pete Kostelnick looks set to break the Run Across the USA #FKT

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As records go, the 36-year old record of 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes of Running Across America by Frank Giannini Jr is a classic.

Many a runner has challenged the distance but few have close to the time.

As I write this, two times Badwater 135 winner, Pete Kostelnick, looks set to elevate the record to new level. His possible new record will not come down to minutes… it won’t even come down to hours! In reality, Pete is looking to smash the record by days. Yes, days!

Today as I write this, Pete is 38-days in and current projections are 41 or 42 days. That’s a whole new level!

Imagine it, Pete has been running over 70 miles a day for 36 days. In a recent chat for the next edition of Talk Ultra podcast, co-host Speedgoat Karl Meltzer, who just recently set a new FKT on the Appalachian Trail confirmed that Pete is on a whole new level. “He’s doing it the right way,” said Karl. “He started under the radar and momentum has picked up as the days have passed. He will smell the barn and although he may well be in pain, he will know the end is in sight. For sure he is going to break the record, it will just depend by how much. These next few days will fly by!”

With approximately 5 or 6 days to go the mental boost o knowing the finish line isn’t too far away is really keeping him motivated to keep pushing along!

“The performance by Peter is almost super human,” said Speedgoat. “I am pleased that he is a Hoka One One teammate and I am certainly looking to catch up with him after the challenge is over and found out how it went. What’s interesting is that day off he took after 7 days. The same thing happened to Scott Jurek, Jen Phar Davis and me, albeit a little later. It’s a s though the body says, hold on a minute, what are you doing? One day off or one easy day and then everything comes back. It has certainly gone that way for Pete!”

Running 70+ miles a day is a phenomenal physical and mental challenge, it’s difficult to comprehend that it is possible… but here is Pete proving how remarkable the human body is. At 29-years old maybe Pete is in that prime age target where fitness and the bodies ability to recovery is optimum? It certainly poses man questions.

However, it’s important to note that this has been know easy ride. Pete went out at a relentless pace covering 450 miles in the first week and as Speedgoat has already said, he was forced to take a day off. That day’s rest may well prove to be one of the most crucial days on this long road. Tendonitis, aches, pains, tight muscles, sore hamstrings, swollen knee, tight hips and so many more niggles… “It happens,” says Speedgoat. “But the body is a remarkable thing, one day you feel lousy and then the next day you feel great. The pain travels and moves around and let’s be clear, when you run this type of mileage day-after-day you just become numb.”

Tracie Phan (Team Manager) told competitor.com in an interview that Pete seems to be getting stronger with each day. Something that Speedgoat can relate too, “It’s all about getting into a rhythm and routine. One advantage that Pete has is that the terrain is constant and smooth. His crew can support all the time and within reason he can stop, rest, eat and drink when he wants.”

During the last month, Pete has started each day around 0400 and covered in the region of 40-miles and then taken a break before heading back out on the road aiming to finish around 5pm. “This is crucial for a successful attempt,” Speedgoat confirms. “Finishing early evening allows for quality rest, recovery, massage and it also means that eating and drinking is not compromised.”

Watch this space, we are about to witness history being made. Pete Kostelnick will set a new record for Running Across America.