Anna Frost – The Times They Are a- Changin’

 Come mothers and fathers

Throughout the land

And don’t criticize

What you can’t understand

Your sons and your daughters

Are beyond your command

Your old road is rapidly ageing

Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand

Cause the times they are a-changing

– Bob Dylan

Anna Frost is arguably one of the most famous mountain runners in the world. Striking good looks, a huge smile, an insatiable addiction for fun and an ability not to take herself too seriously has made her the no1 all over the world – from a runner and fan perspective.

Recently she returned to Costa Rica and ‘put the record straight’ by finally winning The Coastal Challenge at her third attempt. In year one she was unable to start due to doctors’ orders. In year two she was forced to retire due to injury on the penultimate stage whilst in the lead. In 2017 though she nailed it by winning five-stages and cruising the sixth and final stage knowing the job was done!

It had been an emotional ride and one that was clear for all to see as she sobbed on the shoulder of race director Rodrigo Carazo on the finishing line of the final stage.

“Wow, that has been some ride and I am pleased to put the record straight. I love everything about The Coastal Challenge. The organization is amazing, the place is fabulous, the layout of the course is so challenging and rewarding. Contrast that against the communal environment of camp and you have just the perfect race. For me, will I come back? – absolutely! Will I race again? Probably not – but volunteering, helping at aid stations and marking the course appeals.”

Frosty, as she likes to be known is at a new point in her career if you hadn’t guessed. The turmoil, stress, back-to-back travel and the pressure to perform has taken its toll. “It’s a great problem to have and I have been very fortunate. But there are so many places and events to go to – I can’t do them all and in the past I tried. I am now very careful and I listen to my body. My health is far more valuable than trail running.”

A balanced approach has taken time to learn. Of course, Frosty has made some huge mistakes on the way but that is how one progresses, develops, learns and now with experience, the lady from New Zealand seems to tick along nicely. No doubt helped by her long-term relationships with Braz who Frosty has now developed a series of camps and adventures with.

Relaxed, philosophical, balanced – these are not the words I would have used to describe Frosty when I first met her in 2012 on the island of La Palma. She is still the same force, still the same glowing and open personality but then she wanted it all and of course she had it. Her run at Transvulcania in that edition was legendary and it elevated her onto the world stage.

“Social media placed a great deal of pressure on me and I relate that to my downfall if you can call it that? I didn’t respond well to trail running all of a sudden. I ran trail because I loved it and then suddenly I was ‘professional’ with eyes on me. When it became ‘a thing,’ I wasn’t prepared for it. The pressure got too much an I went to a dark hole. Now though, there is no pressure!”

Community, the spirit of running and running on trail is what this lady bought into and that is what she wants moving forward.

“I want to be part of the community and not separated from it with a ‘professional’ tag. This week in Costa Rica I have watched people race, challenge themselves, learn on the trail and they have got the job done – that is so awesome!”

Trail running is booming and female participation in the sport is growing and growing. Frosty has been clear to emphasize that a woman can be a runner and feminine, after all, she has her own clothing line with sponsor, Salomon.

“Clothing is a lot more feminine now with a great deal of bright colours, we have skirts, dresses and all sorts of products that are specific to make us feel great on the trail. Let’s face it, running is an accessible sport – you just need shoes and an outfit and you can join in, let’s embrace that!”

Despite a feminine side, Frosty doesn’t see herself as a woman, at least not when she is running.

“When I am on the start line, I am just there – a human. Obviously, I know that I am racing the women but I never think I am a girl therefore I can’t run up hill fast, or that I can’t compete with the men – I just race and I race whoever I am near, male or female.”

Maturity comes with age but it also comes as boxes are ticked and life becomes more settled. Frosty has a man in her life and a transition is taking place.

“We met at Hardrock – a Hardrock love affair! The last couple of years of coming home to someone has been very settling. I have always searched for home. It would be New Zealand in winter after months on the road but when I met Braz, I was home! That was very satisfying, very fulfilling and I now feel like I can do anything.”

A new outlook on running, a man, home, the patter of tiny feet may well be the next thing in the ultra, trail and mountain world?

“I have dreamed of being a mum since I was 13-years old. With my travel and work a child has not been an option, but now, my mind is shifting focus. I have Hardrock 100 again this year and a few other races and events, but yes, in the close future it’s something that I will put an emphasis on. Nothing is guaranteed though. I would be privileged and lucky to make my own little baby. However, if not, I sponsor a charity called ‘Children of Uganda’ – if I can’t have my own child, I will help other children in the world that are so much in need.”

Inspiration takes many forms. You may well know Frosty as ‘the runner,’ but think outside the box, step back and see the person. A person who has inspired so many by climbing mountains, running fast over trails but I can’t help but think her best work is to come. Be it her own child or someone else’s, Frosty will lead by example. She will blaze a new trail and I can only hope you follow – we all need to be inspired and I can’t think of any other lady in the sport who can do the job better.

Many thanks to Niandi Carmont who produced an extended interview with Frosty in Costa Rica post the 2017 edition of the race. You can listen HERE.

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Paradise Lost – Salomon Running TV, Season 5, Episode 1

AnnaFrost

Salomon Running take things up a notch for the Salomon Running TV Season 5 Episode 1 with Paradise Lost.

It’s a departure for the running brand who in recent years have inspired and influenced us with a serious of beautiful and short films. The African Attachment (Dean Leslie and Greg Fell) have been instrumental in the visual look and feel of these images.

This is Salomons first project with ‪#‎TAA‬ co-founder Dean Leslie’s new production company Wandering Fever and marks the start of an exciting new journey.

Anna Frost has continued to inspire all of us with her no strings honesty; it is what makes her so approachable. It’s something that I personally have been able to witness at first hand. Paradise Lost gives a new insight into the inspiring lady we have all come to know as Frosty!

Enjoy this wonderful movie

[Full multimedia story http://runningtv.salomon.com/episodes…] Anna Frost takes some time out to journey to the highlands of Papua New Guinea to visit the place where she grew up. Anna’s adventure into her past is pause for reflection; the paths travelled, the races lost and won, a life on the road, as she searches for “home”.

A Film by Wandering Fever
A Production by The African Attachment

Music:
“Go Solo” by Tom Rosenthal – courtesy of Audio Network
“Sirens” by Ben Dey – courtesy of SM Publishing
“Stand in Line” by BANFF – courtesy of Create Control & We are Golden
“Portraits” & “Annika” – courtesy of Musicbox Licensing

Additional Footage:
Cavalls del Vent 2012 – Zoopa

Production Supported by:
Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority – http://www.tpa.papuanewguinea.travel
Air Niugini – http://www.airniugini.com.pg/

Wandering Fever

 

Hardrock 100 2015 Race Preview #HR100

hardrock-100-logo

The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run is an ultra marathon of 100.5 miles in length, plus 33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 67,984 feet, at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet. The race is held on a loop course on 4WD roads, dirt trails, and cross country in Southern Colorado’s San Juan Range, USA.

The run starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado and travels through the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and the ghost town of Sherman, crossing thirteen major passes in the 12,000′ to 13,000′ range.

Entrants must travel above 12,000 feet (3,700 m) of elevation a total of 13 times, with the highest point on the course being the 14,048′ summit of Handies Peak. The race has been held in early July of each year beginning in 1992, except for 1995 (too much snow) and 2002 (nearby forest fires). Each year’s race is run in the opposite direction of the previous year’s event (2008 was run in the clockwise direction, 2009 will be counter-clockwise). In order to complete the event, instead of crossing a finish line, runners are required to “kiss the Hardrock”, a picture of a ram’s head painted on a large block of stone mining debris.

This course offers a graduate level challenge for endurance runs. The course is designed to provide extreme challenges in altitude, steepness, and remoteness. Mountaineering, wilderness survival and wilderness navigation skills are as important in this event as your endurance.

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In 2014 Kilian Jornet made the course, dare I say, look easy! He took photos, waited for Julien Chorier and then finally took off and smashed the course record. Hos victory guaranteed him a slot for 2015 and so he’s coming back to go in the opposite direction and it would be fair to say that many of us are expecting a similar display. It’s important to clarify that the weather plays a crucial part in any great Hardrock performance, so if the weather gods are playing ball I certainly expect to see Kilian on top of the podium and I also will stick my neck out and say he will set a new CR and thus will hold the CR for both directions. On a final note though in regard to the Catalan, his preparation for 2015 has been very different to 2014, yes he has been logging some serious training hours and elevation but he has less time at elevation and we saw how he struggled at Aconcagua. A recent top 10 at Chamonix VK and just this last weekend he won and set a new CR at Mount Marathon in Alaska. The stage is set!

I would be talking about Anton Krupicka now, he finally got an entry in the race that he has always wanted to do and what happens? Injury strikes resulting in a no show for Anton.

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Step in Iker Karrera. Iker is a machine in tough and challenging races. His Tor des Geants performance a classic example of how he gets his head down and churns out the performance. He’s been 2nd at UTMB but I guess one of the most significant indicators comes from Diagonale des Fous (Raid de la Reunion) when Kilian waited for Iker on the trails encouraging him to the line… Kilian went on to win! Iker can win Hardrock but I think it will be because Kilian looses it if you know what I mean!

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Adam Campbell was 3rd last year in 25:56 and then almost disappeared from the scene. It’s really difficult to say if Adam can repeat his 2014 performance, I personally think he can. He’s had great results before at long and gnarly races. He was 2nd at UTMF in 2012.

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Mike Foote has the race strategy for Hardrock 100. Expect to see him hanging back, taking it easy and then applying pressure and slowly making his way up through the ranks. The only problem with this strategy when Kilian is in the race is that he may very well leave himself far too much work to do but 2nd or 3rd on the podium is a distinct possibility. Mike also does know the Hardrock course; he raced in 2010. When you add that to his highest ever placing at UTMB, 3rd in 2012 it’s easy to see how Mike will pressure the front of the race.

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Karl Meltzer is back, he managed to sneak through the door and get a place. You can NEVER rule out Karl. His 5 victories at Hardrock provide him with a wealth of experience and as many an ultra runner has said, nobody hikes like Karl! Karl would be first to admit that if Kilian is ‘on a day’ then everyone else is running for 2nd, but you know what, Karl does have the race and experience for the podium. Don’t rule him out! Recently he won yet another 100 at Cruel Jewel keeping his long streak of winning a 100 miler every year for god knows how many years. In prep for Hardrock, Karl also spent 2 weeks on the AT with Scott Jurek.

A quick addition, I missed Troy Howard who has placed 2nd twice at Hardrock. I don’t think he’ll take the win or maybe even the podium against Kilian and Iker but you never know on 3rd place? He recently was 2nd at Wasatch (2014) and 2nd at Squaw Peak 50 (2015).

Who else is in with a shout?

Jared Campbell has tough and gnarly races for breakfast. He’s finished Barkley twice, this will be his 10th Hardrock and although he won the race in 2010 I don’t see him on the podium. But expect him to be near top 5!

Nick Coury has placed 5th and 6th at Hardrock in 2008 and 2013 respectively. Like Jared, he has the race for a top 10 but a podium.

Scott Jaime has placed 2nd and run the Hardrock almost as many times as Jared Campbell. He is a consistent performer reflected in placing 3rd on 2 occasions. Like Jared though, 5th – 10th is a likely result.

Ones to watch:

Jamil Coury, Matt Hart, Adam Hewey and Matt Hart.

On a final note, lets give a shout out to Bryon Powell from iRunFar. I think he’d be the first to admit that he won’t be contending the front of the race but since he got his slot he has trained real hard. Doing the job that we do, I know how hard it is just to get out for a run but to train too, that’s impressive!

Ladies

Darcy Piceu has top billing as a 3 time defending champion and as such, Darcy is an odds on favourite for a 4th victory. Course knowledge and experience are going to go such a long way and her recent victory (and CR) at Big Horn 50 shows that she is in great form.

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However, Darcy hasn’t raced Anna Frost at Hardrock before? I personally feel that if the weather is kind and Anna has no injury issues we may well see a dominating performance that will not only provide a female victory, a course record but a potentially significant performance that will dent the men’s race. That is a bold statement I know, but when Anna is on it, she is on it! She missed Transvulcania recently with injury and of course we all know the highs and lows of the past 30 months. But Anna has been out on the course for a month or so, done the training, adapted herself and as far as I know is fit and healthy.

If Darcy and Anna are firing on all cylinders then I think the rest of the ladies are running for 3rd. The Betsies (kalmeyer and Nye) are legends at Hardrock and between them have 28 finishes. They have the experience and that counts for a great deal in a race like this.

Darla Askew however has the speed but less experience (compared to the Betsies.) In comparison to Anna though, Darla has 2 Hardrock finishes and they were both on the podium! So it would be fair to say that a 3rd is likely again but the potential to leap frog and place 2nd or 3rd is a distinct possibility.

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Meghan Hicks has won MDS finished Tor des Geants and may well contend the top 5. Meghan knows how to get it done! The 2015 MDS didn’t go to plan event though she still placed well, at the time she was unsure if she would start Hardrock. I am pleased to see that Meghan is on the start list and I’ll be rooting for her.

Ones to watch:

Pam Reed, Liz Bauer, Suzanne Lewis and Missy Gosney.

******

Hardrock 100 is a small key race for a select few. However, in its history, Hardrock has always become a highly anticipated race that often plays out like a great boxing match. It is a constant frustration for me that we don’t get ALL the best ultra runners on the playing field at the same time. Pointless me saying this I know as that is one of the quirks of Hardrock.

However, can you imagine a ladies and men’s field of the depth that we see at Western States or Transvulcania arriving in Silverton?

The race starts on Friday 10th July

Race website HERE

Opening race description ©Hardrock100website

A little bit about Hardrock

In the early 1990s an ultra runner from Boulder CO, Gordon Hardman, wanted to create a 100 mile adventure run emphasizing two things: a. link the historic mining towns of Silverton, Ouray, Telluride and Lake City and b. offer each participant an adventure though the spectacular San Juan Mountains while challenging them with altitude, steepness and remoteness. Gordon placed a notice in Ultrarunning magazine soliciting the help of anyone who may be interested in helping pull this together. Within a year Gordon had enlisted a cadre of local runners with deep ties to the area who believed such a run was possible and voila..the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run was created.

From the beginning, the idea of celebrating the legacy and memory of the hardrock miners was paramount as was the idea that this run should be for those who wanted an extraordinary adventure. Careful attention was paid to developing a route which incorporated the foot trails, wagon roads and burro trails that were constructed for transporting materials to mining sites and hauling ore to market. The Hardrock Hundred follows those routes laid out by those miners who made their living in crags in hopes of making their fortune mining the minerals hidden between the peaks and hidden in the valleys The Hardrock Hundred has stayed true to those ideas to this day and is dedicated to the memory of those wild and tough individuals.

Why Silverton?

The initial idea of Hardrock was to rotate the start/finish of Hardrock between each of the 4 towns. Some demonstrated more excitement about hosting Hardrock than others, chief among those was Silverton. The idea of rotating the start/finish was abandoned and Silverton became the permanent home of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run.

Why alternate courses?

After the decision was made to keep the start/finish in Silverton, Hardrock developed the idea that run the course in alternating directions so that runners could experience all that the San Juans had to offer and wouldn’t get tired of the view! Many runners don’t consider themselves true “Hardrockers” till they have finished in both directions.

The “Hardrock” rock is a big deal-how come?

When Hardrock first started, one of the things we forgot to have is a finish line. When an early Hardrock runner asked how we would know when they were finished, run director, Dale Garland, looked around and found a rock in the ground and told all the runners to “touch” the rock to stop the clock. Touching turned to kissing and the small rock in the ground grew into the 2 ton boulder we have now. Today we have one of the most unique finishes in ultrarunning and are always amazed to see the flood of emotion and relief that kissing the Hardrock brings out in those complete their personal adventure of Hardrock. Over the years we have actually had 2 Hardrock rocks, both of which have enjoyed a very special and unique place in the lore of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run.

Salomon S-Lab HYBRID Jacket M and HYBRID Pants M review

Kasie ©salomonrunning

Kasie Enman ©salomonrunning

Just imagine it, you go to a car dealer looking to purchase a new car. You have set yourself a budget. You know what you want and you have narrowed your search down. 

Walking through the door, you see the car you want and in the colour you had selected. It ticks all the boxes, it’s your dream car and most importantly it’s the price you can afford and maybe more importantly, it’s what you can afford.

Just behind ‘your’ car is the new version… more streamlined, go faster stripes, a little more minimalist and certainly faster. It’s almost double the price! But you want it. No matter how much sense and logic says you have the ‘ideal’ car in front of you, at the price you can afford and in the colour you want. The ‘go-faster’ model behind keeps pulling you ever closer…

Welcome to the Salomon S-Lab range.

Let’s be clear right from the off. If you are looking for a budget jacket and/or trousers for trail and mountain running then the HYBRID M Jacket and trousers are not for you.

These two products are the Ferrari, the Stella Artois, or the Caviar of the running apparel world.

Ultra light, form functioning and with an attention to detail that is seldom seen, the HYBRID products are seriously impressive products.

I can see you are already tempted. So, if I need to provide any additional clarification or just to ensure that your bank manager doesn’t sue me for unfair persuasion, the HYBRID Jacket M has a RRP of £220 and the HYBRID Pant M has a RRP of £170. Yes folks, that is £390 of apparel porn.

Still tempted? Read on.

 HYBRID JACKET M

Jacket 1

Okay, joking aside, Salomon and more importantly the S-Lab range are all about travelling light and fast on technical, mountainous and challenging terrain and as such, the products they design are 100% committed to making that process as easy as possible. No compromises! So, price point to a certain extent is irrelevant. If you want the best technology, the lightest products and functional kit that does the job… the price will be what it will be and you just take out your credit card and commit. The question ultimately is, is it worth it?

This is a difficult one because affordability is very different for each and every individual. For example, I know many people who would reluctantly pay £2.50 for a coffee but wouldn’t flinch at paying £220 for the HYBRID Jacket M.

Breathability – Freedom of Movement – Ventilation

Jacket 4

Three serious buzz words when we look at any garment that needs to protect us from tough and challenging elements. The jacket is ridiculously light at just 120g. On first look, I really questioned if this would provide 100% waterproof protection. It does to an extent! (More on that later) Using ‘Motion Fit Technology’ the jacket is tailored like a fine Saville Row suit to provide non abrasive comfort around the neck and shoulders with unrestricted movement and more importantly ones arms don’t feel restrained.

The jacket has a ¾ front zip, glued seams and has ‘Advancedskin Shield,’ reflective panels and two seriously impressive breakthrough details that I haven’t witnessed on any product before. (Let me know if anyone else has?)

  1. Quick stash waist – this is an ingenious idea. So ingenious that I thought to myself, ‘I wonder why nobody hasn’t thought of this before.’ Basically, below the ¾ zip you have a large stretch band that goes around your waist. Initially I thought this was to stop the jacket riding up… no! This works as a ‘retainer’ when the jacket is not required. So imagine, conditions are changeable; one minute it’s raining, one minute it’s not. It’s cold, it’s hot and the need for protection is constantly changing. This system allows you to take off and put on the jacket without actually removing the jacket completely. You basically remove your arms and slide the excess fabric to your waist and then ‘store’ in the elasticated fabric band that sits around your waist. Ingenious.
  2. In the hood is a headband like product that sits around your head and therefore holds the hood in place and stops the hood moving and causing any annoying hassle. Again, so simple it’s ingenious.

Jacket 3

In all other aspects, the HYBRID Jacket M would appear just like any other jacket until you wear it. The key features then become apparent:

  • Ultra lightweight
  • Form fitting
  • Functional
  • No pockets
  • Ventilated armpits
  • And dare I say, ‘special.’

But this may not be the jacket for you?

Salomon may well not agree with me here but I have to say it like it is. This really is an awesome product and innovative but I can’t help feel that it is for shorter races, faster runners or faster runners doing longer distances.

I am no racehorse, if I were doing a tough mountain 100-miler say UTMB. I would not be finishing in 20-hours like Francois d’Haene, in reality it would be the opposite. I’d be getting full value for money and be out on the course for 30+ hours (I think). So, should bad weather come in and lets say a worse case scenario of torrential rain, snow, blizzards and zero temperatures I personally don’t feel that the HYBRID would provide me (or maybe similar runners) with enough protection. This is not questioning its waterproofing, the jacket is waterproof BUT only in key places. Also I need to state here, I am not sure if this jacket would comply with ‘mandatory’ specifications?

Jacket 2To clarify; the jacket is waterproof on the chest, hood, upper arms, shoulders and upper back. The remaining areas; under arms, under the armpit and lower back use a lightweight fabric. These fabric areas obviously reduce weight but do mean that the whole jacket is not 100%. So, if you are in gusty winds in bad weather, rain will gain access.

*So you see the dilemma. If you are moving quick and retaining core temperature, the HYBRID Jacket M will be ideal allowing adequate protection in a lightweight, breathable and seriously functional product. But if your pace drops, you have extended walking and your core temperature starts to drop, this jacket may well not be the best for you… something a little heavier, a little more robust and 100% waterproof may well be the better product.

See the BONATTI HERE

Salomon are very clear on this, they say:

“Ultra light jacket integrating water-proof panels for foul weather, and innovative quick stash waist, a stretch panel around the waist that enables you to remove and store your jacket without stopping.”

Fit is streamlined and as one would expect, excess fabric is at a minimum. For reference, I have a medium product and the jacket fits snuggly (I am 40” chest) with enough room to wear the S-Lab 1L or 3L vest underneath the jacket. Again, this is a real plus! If the jacket is stored around your waist, you can constantly add and remove your jacket as conditions change without adding or removing your race vest.

In conclusion, the HYBRID Jacket M is an awesome piece of apparel. It’s expensive, innovative and in my opinion has a very specific use. The jacket is light enough and small enough that it can be taken on every run as a ‘just in case’ product but its real use comes when racing and racing fast… it’s all about function, speed and providing adequate protection and freedom of movement. If you have the legs and lungs to go with this jacket, you won’t be disappointed.

 

HYBRID PANT M

Trouser 1It may come as no surprise that many of the comments above relate to the HYBRID Pant M too. Like the jacket, the pants weigh in at a ridiculous 120g. They fold up and compress into something similar in size to an orange and so therefore take up little to no room in any pack and to be honest, with the minimal weight you wouldn’t even know you had them with you. So, as mentioned with the HYBRID Jacket M, these pants could be added to your pack for every run and would provide a great emergency cover.

Trouser 2Like the jacket, the pants are not 100% waterproof but where waterproof panels are added, the rain and wind resistance is excellent. Arguably the pants are two halves; waterproof and wind resistant front and lightweight fabric to the rear except round the calf/ ankle area where the waterproof fabric extends around.

Trouser 3

A long zip that almost extends to the knee allows the pants to removed or added without removing shoes and elastic at the ankle keeps them nice and tight. The waistband is lightweight, breathable and has stretch with an adjustable cord.

Trouser 4I have a medium product and they fit close (maybe a little too close for me) but I need to clarify, I have big legs and large calf muscles. I am not boasting, just stating a fact. For most ‘normal’ people, these pants will fit really well. I am 31/32” waist with an inside leg of 31” and the medium is ideal (despite my huge legs).

Trousers 4

Running in the pants is a joy. They are so light that you don’t really notice them. The stretch panels allow plenty of unrestricted movement and the ‘Motion Fit’ ensures that no excess fabric gets in the way.

I personally feel these pants suit the racer who needs some protection when still moving fast. If you are in a long race and moving slow, I personally don’t feel these pants would provide the necessary protection or warmth for really long periods in challenging conditions. This is particularly apparent on the rear of the pants. For example, should wind and rain be coming from behind, the trousers have no waterproof panels to protect. Again, Salomon does not hide away from this fact. They are offering a product that clearly states what you get:

“S-lab hybrid includes a waterproof membrane on the front, with wind protection on the back for cold, wet weather training. Stretch panels ensure comfort and motion fit specific to running.”

As I stated above* and I repeat, “So you see the dilemma. If you are moving quick and retaining core temperature, the HYBRID Pant M will be ideal allowing adequate protection in a lightweight, breathable and seriously functional product. But if your pace drops, you have extended walking and your core temperature starts to drop, these pants may well not be the best for you… something a little heavier, a little more robust and 100% waterproof may well be the better product.”

See the BONATTI HERE

In conclusion, having spoken to and spent a great deal of time around many runners, wearing pants when racing is a no, no! It’s funny really, I often hear the phrase, “If I am wearing pants then my race is over.” I understand that but as we have seen on so many occasions, when conditions go tits up (as they often do) a functional and protective layer is essential. Salomon provides a very specific product that fulfils a need for many a runner and/or racer but that product comes at a price.

Summary

The HYBRID Jacket and pant M are two seriously impressive products with loads of innovation. They are light, pack small and are a dream to wear and use. Although anyone can wear them, I do feel that the products suit a particular type of runner. However, having said that, if you have the money, want a lightweight jacket and pants to take on every run, these two beauties are absolutely ideal for that. Ultimately though, you have to ask the question, do I want to pay £390 for that option? Personally, I would still need a more substantial jacket and trousers for big mountain days and products that are 100% waterproof (See the BONATTI HERE). I welcome the HYBRID products to my wardrobe but they do not replace other items. They are an addition and a really welcome addition.

 

CHECK OUT THE SALOMON S-LAB RANGE HERE

Salomon Logo

The Coastal Challenge #TCC2015 Day 2 Savegre Valley to Dominical Beach

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TCC 2015 Day s Savegre Valley – Dominical Beach

39km

2250+ ascent

Days don’t come much more exciting than day two of The Coastal Challenge… could Frosty pull back the time lost to Veronica Bravo? Could Mike Murphey refocus after going off course on day 1, loosing a chunk of time to Iain Don Wauchope and then going into the red trying to pull back time?

Well the simple answer is yes!

Both Frosty and Mike Murphey showed incredible powers of recovery and lead the race  from the front.

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Frosty took an early lead from Veronica Bravo and slowly but surely extended her lead as day-2 threw everything at her; tough climbs, sections of fire trail, gnarly descents, km’s of fire trail, water crossings and then a long hot stretch of relentless beach.

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“Today was true Costa Rican; jungle, trail, beaches and wonderful people… oh, and darn hot! I felt good for 20km but I didn’t like the fast section of road but I was able to push to the end. A good day” – Anna Frost.

As the finish came, Frosty had clawed back all lost time on day-1 and took the overall lead of the ladies classification. Veronica Bravo didn’t have a bad day… Frosty was just having a great day. Veronica looked strong and relaxed mile-after-mile and always gave a smile.

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Nikki Kimball rounded out the top-3 for the ladies and as we expected, Nikki is just pacing herself. Post race Nikki said, “I am just off ski’s and the heat and humidity is relentless. It’s so different to Marathon des Sables where the heat is dry. But then again, I am not in the shape I was in for the 2014 MDS?”

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Mike Murphey pushed and pushed, slowly pulling away and extended a lead over Joe Grant who he had run with over the first climb and descent. Running so hard in this heat, humidity and with such mixed terrain was a consummate performance. Mike certainly showed his speed, endurance and commitment, so much so it gave Mike a course record for the Savegre Valley – Dominical Beach stage. Mike had said the previous day,

“I love some motivation and to chase, so I plan to go for it. I need to pull back the time I lost from going off course and then gain some time for the lead. I love that.”

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Joe Grant had felt really good and matched Mike step-by-step in the early stages while Iain Don Wauchope (day-1 stage winner) chased some 90-seconds to 2-minutes back. But Joe rolled his ankle and then had to run cautiously.

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Eventually, Joe and Iain joined forces and ran the final stages together but Mike was long gone… they crossed the line almost 30-minutes back confirming Mike as the new race leader with Iain in 2nd and Joe in 3rd.

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1-Mike Murphey – Canada- 4:03:57
2- Joe Grant – UK – 4:32:22
3- Iain Don Wauchope – South Africa – 4:32:22

 

1st – Anna Frost – 4:57:20
2nd – Veronica Bravo – 5:21:05
3rd – Nikki Kimball – 5:35:10

Overall classification to follow (times)

Mike Murphey and Anna Frost are current leaders.

 

 

 

The Coastal Challenge #TCC2015 Day 1 Playa de Ray – Savegre Valley

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TCC 2015 Day 1 Playa de Ray – Savegre Valley

36.4km

850m+ ascent

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-9696 Day one of The Coastal Challenge is always a tough day. For many, the heat and the humidity are just too great and along with excitement and adrenaline, the early run pace is too fast and the inevitable happens. In past years runners have dropped the ball on the first day and dug so deep in to reserves that they have not been able to recover. It looks like everyone managed to hold back just a little, however, the story in camp post race was one of fatigue, dehydration and intense heat.

After a 0300 start and a three-hour bus drive to the coast, runners departed Playa del Rey at 0800 and within a couple of kilometres the intense heat and high humidity could visible seen as sweat soaked bodies pushed along the strong. Canadian, Mike Murphy was clearly intending to race hard and it was long before he started to open a gap followed by Iain Don Wauchope from South Africa, a couple of local Costa Ricans, Speedgoat Karl Meltzer and Joe Grant.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-0642Anna Frost and Veronica Bravo raced neck-and-neck and it was very clear that an interesting battle would develop between the two. Nikki Kimball ran in third, Costa Rican, Maria Guevara and then Samantha Gash.

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At Cp1 a pattern was forming as Mike Murphy and Anna Frost opened up gaps in their respective fields, Frosty just had a couple of minutes over Veronica Bravo but Murphy was extending a lead into double -figures.

In the dense forest section that followed, approximately five kilometres later Iain Don Wauchope had taken the lead in the men’s race followed by Costa Rican Roiny Villegas and Karl Meltzer. Anna Frost held a two-minute lead over Veronica Bravo and the stage looked set for a great battle. As runners passed, no sign of Mike Murphy and I was beginning to wonder what had happened?

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Murphy later appeared on the trail out of the top ten; it turned out he missed a key right turn that took the runners from a fire road and into the dense jungle. Mike complained the signs had not been in place but that was not correct. The turn had been clearly marked well in advance of any runners!

Eyes focused, Mike pushed hard on the trail looking to pull back time and although running with great speed and style he paid a price in the intense heat and eventually slowed. However, he did pull back great junks of time and he is certainly not out of the fight.

Iain Don Wauchope held on for victory but said, “A great deal tougher than I expected, I really suffered in the heat and slowed a great deal. Everyone did! The heat was just so intense.”

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Roiny Villegas placed second, Karl Meltzer placed third, Joe Grant fourth and Mike Murphy closed well to place fifth.

At Cp3 Anna Frost still had a strong lead but at Cp4, Veronica Bravo had closed and passed Frosty. Frosty suffered in the intense heat and had no option but to submerge her self in the river to reduce her core.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-9659Veronica pulled away and gained more and more time and eventually gained over seven minutes lead. Post race Veronica said, “I almost didn’t want to pass Anna, but she waved ne through. I couldn’t believe it. I respect her so much. I just held my form, listened to my body and maintained my rhythm.” The coming days are going to be very exciting as Bravo and Frost battle for the lead.

Maria Guevara placed third ahead of Nikki Kimball and Samantha Gash placed fifth.

Day two is going to be a tough day. How will everyone feel, will they have recovered?

Anna Frost and Samantha Gash : 2-weeks and counting #TCC2015

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The Coastal Challenge 2015 (#TCC2015) is point-to-point race starting in Quepos and finishing in the stunning Drakes Bay close to the border of Panama. The 230km route weaves in and out of the Talamancas (a coastal mountain range in the south west corner of the country) providing a true multi terrain experience.

Participants are required to balance the distance, severity of the terrain and a tropical climate to reach the finish line. Jungle, rainforest trails, mountain trail, single track across ridge lines, highlands and coastal ranges lead into pristine beaches, rocky outcroppings, reefs, river valleys, river and estuary crossings to provide an ultimate journey.

I caught up with two of the male contenders for overall victory in the 2015 edition just the other day:  Joe Grant and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer (read HERE.) Today we have a catch up with Anna ‘Frosty Frost and Samantha Gash.

Anna Frost – Salomon

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You have been back home in the Southern Hemisphere over the Christmas period, what have you been doing to prepare for TCC?

Well, it only seems like yesterday the 2014 race season finished. So I have been having a break and catching up with family and friends after a long race season away from home. It has been a wonderful hot summer so I have naturally been getting used to the heat and enjoying some beach runs and swims! It is a perfect time to be in the mountains on overnight adventures so I have taken the opportunity to get some long days back to back. 

You managed to experience the TCC race in 2014 without racing, how beneficial has that been in preparation for the 2015 race?

 I learnt a lot about the course and was able to see the challenges without putting myself through them. Although nothing really prepares you like the experience itself. I hadn’t expected such long beach sections so I have been making the most of living beside the beach and doing most of my runs there. 

Your mum is joining you out in TCC. That’s going to be quite special. Are you planning making this a holiday race?

Yes, my mum is joining me which will be fabulous to be able to share this part of my life with her. Stages races are so social and exciting everyday so for spectators to get involved is really nice for everyone. I got my travel blood from my parents so she is definitely looking forward to seeing somewhere new and in a new way through my race. (Im not sure what you mean by a holiday race) I am not fully back into race mode or training hard as I have a long season ahead, but this race will most definitely give me a good base to kick start the year.   

Any tips for all those taking part?

Drink lots of water, anytime you go past water submerge yourself to fully cool down, drink some replacement fluids afterwards and even in the morning and then drink some more water. It is so hot there…we are all going to need it. 

Anna Frost ©iancorless.com

Samantha Gash

Sam Gash

You have been back home after South Africa, what have you been doing to prepare for TCC?

I spent Christmas and New Years in New Zealand with my partner and fellow ultra running friends. It was only my second overseas trip in four years that didn’t revolve around a race! We spent everyday outside, running some incredible trails and hiking hard up some mountains. Although it wasn’t planned to be so, it was great training for TCC. 

You had a wonderful no racing multi day experience in South Africa. Great preparation for TCC but have you recovered?

To be honest I wouldn’t say I have recovered 100% yet. I get more tired after a run and mentally my mind isn’t yet committed to doing long runs for the purpose of training. It would be easier to be hard on yourself for feeling weaker whilst climbing hills and weary after a 20km run, but it is to be expected after what we experienced – both from a running and preparation perspective.

You have multi day racing dialled. What for you are the secrets of racing/ running day after day?

Be strategic in how you attack each stage. I personally like to think of the entire race as an arch as opposed to separate stages. There will be times where you may choose to run more conservatively to complete the entire arch. Nutrition and how you choose to recover between the stages is also important. So, I will aim to get some rest after each days run in addition to a good nights sleep. 

Any other tips for all those taking part?

Have fun, look around and get to know the other competitors. These are the things you will probably remember more than how you placed. 

Sam Gash2

The 2015 #TCC2015 starts on January 31st and finishes on February 7th. Daily reports and images will be available on this website and you can follow Facebook and Twitter#TCC2015

The Coastal Challenge Facebook page is HERE and the race website is HERE

Route book and profiles available on PDF Here

Top images of Anna Frost – ©paulpetch.co.nz

Jordi Saragossa ‘Through the Lens’ on RUNULTRA

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In this modern day era of trail, mountain and ultra running, the need for information via Facebook, Twitter and other social mediums has become essential for the growth of our sport.

Photography, now more than ever is essential in providing an immediate connection with an audience. Of course, as a photographer this not only something I know about but is also something that I am extremely passionate about.

For years I have travelled the world documenting the action and on many an occasion I have been joined by Catalan photographer, Jordi Saragossa.

Jordi is someone who I respect immensely. Now in his late 20’s, Jordi has progressed through the running photography ranks in the last 4-years and has been employed by Salomon Running to document stories of their athletes in action.

I caught up with Jordi; as the 2014 season closed to find out just what it is like to live a life ‘Through the Lens.’

Read the full article HERE

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(c)JordiSaragossa_portfoli008

READ THE FULL STORY HERE on RUN ULTRA

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FROST – KIMBALL – GASH : The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica 2015

TCC Ladies 2015

The 2015 multi-day The Coastal Challenge gets underway in less than 3-months. Runners from all over the world will arrive in San Jose in preparation for the journey down to the coast to Quepos and the 11th edition of the “TCC.”

After a stellar line-up for the 10th edition, Rodrigo Carazo and the TCC team have once again excelled in providing a top quality elite line up making TCC arguably one of the ‘must-do’ multiple day stage races in the world.

Come race day, elite runners will toe the line in Quepos with everyday runners, with one purpose in mind, to embrace an ultimate challenge in the remarkable Talamancas.

Unlike other multi day races, the TCC is supported. Each day camp is moved ahead and awaits the runner’s arrival at the finish. Running light and fast, runners are able to keep equipment to a minimum and as such, racing is extremely competitive. The 2015 edition of the race is proving to be extremely exciting, particularly when one looks at the line up of runners.

Heading up the ladies field is a trio of hot talent that will without doubt make the race one to remember.

KIMBALL – FROST – GASH

NIKKI KIMBALL

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball on her way to victory in the 2014 MDS.

Nikki Kimball is a legend of female ultra running. A multiple winner of the iconic Western States her palmares are longer than my arm… just this year, Nikki won Run Rabbit Run 100 and the 29th Marathon des Sables. Nikki’s presence in Costa Rica is a defining moment for the TCC. It is a confirmation of the credibility of the race and Nikki’s years of experience will be something to embrace, not only for the other runners but all those involved in the experience.

‘I loved MDS and am excited to add TCC to my stage racing experience.  I’ve run MDS, Transrockies (3 times), Jungle Marathon and each was very special in its own way.  Each experience will help me in my preparation for TCC.  Transrockies, like TCC, transported runner gear and set up their tents, which gives me a sense of racing daily with the speed allowed by running without gear.  The Jungle Marathon exposed me to rain forest and the accompanying heat and humidity.  And MDS gives me a more recent experience of racing in extreme conditions against great competition. I absolutely loved, though occasionally hated, each event. As for direct comparison with MDS, a few points are obvious: I will be exchanging dry oppressive heat, for humid oppressive heat; varied types of sandy surfaces for wet and rocky footing; desert vistas for close forests and ocean views; and nearly full self sufficiency for the relative luxury of camps with food and sleeping supplies I do not need to carry.  I recommend MDS very highly to fellow runners, and believe I will finish TCC similarly impressed.’

Running without a pack and all the weight, do you think it will be a fast race?

‘I actually love the challenge of carrying my entire kit for MDS, but am looking forward to the freedom from gear that TCC will give. Yes, the running is much faster without a heavy pack, and TCC will be very fast in places.  Hopefully the technical elements will slow the pace down a bit, as I run more on strength, endurance and technical skill than speed.  This is particularly true in the winter when nearly all my training is done on skis.  I think anyone peaking her running training for TCC will be running quickly.’

How excited are you to race in Costa Rica?

‘As we said growing up in Vermont, I’m wicked psyched!  Seriously, running has given me access to parts of the world I would never otherwise see.  And I’ve run in Mexico and South America, but never run between the two.  I feel I gain so much from playing with other languages, exploring other cultures and environments, and bonding with runners throughout the world.  I cannot wait, not only to run in Costa Rica, but to spend a few days before the event picking up a few more Spanish phrases, meeting local people and splashing in the water while knowing that my friends at home are playing on top of a much colder form of water.’

You will be racing against Anna Frost and Samantha Gash amongst others…. does this excite you?

‘I do not know Samantha, but I very much look forward to meeting her.  And, like anyone who has spent time with Anna, I absolutely adore her.  I love racing with/against anyone, and Anna is certainly a great talent.  But more than that, she is a fantastic person with a depth of character that far exceeds her running achievements. I get to hang with Anna for a week, and that is always great.  For that matter, every stage and ultra race I’ve been in (and over 16 years there have been many) attracts great people.  From volunteers to elite athletes to less experienced racers looking to see what’s possible, the people of this sport keep me doing it.  I’m excited by the top end competition and just as excited to hear stories from TCC participants I have yet to meet.’

 

ANNA FROST

Anna Frost Skyrunning World Championships 2014 - Chamonix

Anna Frost Skyrunning World Championships 2014 – Chamonix

Anna Frost arrived in Costa Rica for the 10th edition but unfortunately couldn’t race due to an injury set back which was really disappointing for the New Zealander. However, Costa Rica was a cathartic process… Frosty followed up her TCC experience with victory and a course record at Transvulcania La Palma, Speedgoat 50k and Bear 100.

‘I gained so much energy and pleasure out of just being in Costa Rica that I came home almost injury free. I cant wait to get back to explore further and see all of the course. The atmosphere is so much fun, great food, wonderful campsites, beautiful beaches and rain forests and HOT weather! IM SO EXCITED!’

The Coastal Challenge is a supported multi-day race and therefore allows runners to run fast and free. Looking at the quality of the ladies field, I asked Frosty about the 2015 race and if she expected it to be fast?

‘There are a lot of fast trails and dirt roads, long flat beach sections and smooth trails. But in between that there is hard, steep, trail-less, muddy, rain forest covered dirt, spiders, noises? and more to keep the challenge high. But luckily the race has many aid stations so you don’t need to carry too much which means you can move as fast as possible through all of that!’

Nikki Kimball has won MDS and WSER and Sam Gash has just run for 1-month all over South Africa, two real solid runners. How excited are you to test yourself over the multi-day format against these ladies?

‘It will be fantastic to share this race with them. They are both super strong girls and also great friends, so it is going to be so much FUN!’

You ran your first 100-miler recently, do you think that will be a benefit in Costa Rica?

‘Definitely. With each race I undertake I am beginning to understand more about myself, my limits, and what challenges me. This process allows me new ways to overcome obstacles. It will be good to put what I have learnt in practice.’

‘Visiting Costa Rica again. The people and places we see along the way are wonderful! And being able to share that with all the other runners in the Coastal Challenge is so awesome!’

 

SAMANTHA GASH

Samanha Gash ©samanthagash

Samanha Gash ©samanthagash

Samantha Gash is the youngest lady to ever complete ‘The Four Deserts’ and was one of the featured runners in the film, ‘The Desert Runners.’ Just last week, Sam has completed an epic journey…

‘Oh boy I have just been on an adventure of a lifetime, one that took me close to 2 years to prepare for. I ran with Mimi Anderson from the UK and side-by-side we ran an ultra every day for 32-days through some pretty challenging terrain. Our run focused on supporting a South African based initiative, so it was pretty special to run through some incredibly remote & rural locations.’

‘It was great preparation for Costa Rica in the sense that a multi day format suits me. However my run along South Africa was an expedition not a race, so the pace was very different. It’s been less than a week since I’ve finished the biggest physical & mental challenge of my life so I’m looking forward to letting both recover for the month of November. Come December I will evaluate how my body is going & hopefully begin to train for the Coastal Challenge. Once I start training again I will need to put my legs through some serious speed work.’

Kimball and Frost need no introduction. Are you looking forward to racing them? 

‘Geez these ladies are of a different caliber to me and I predict they will place at the top of field outright. I’ve met Anna a couple of times so I’m looking forward to catching up again & meeting Nikki too. Just to race with them both will be an absolute pleasure; they have had incredible years. Great to see Anna dominate in her first 100-miler; I had no doubt she would also excel over that distance.’ 

I recently watched ‘The Desert Runners’ again and I must say I love the film and the experiences that you all had, how significant was that process for you?  

‘When I did the 4 deserts it was my first experience to ultra running. I fondly look back on that year (2010) as it started my passion into a sport & lifestyle I never really knew existed. What I love about multi stage racing is the relationships you develop with other competitors & volunteers over the duration. Of course there are moments when you are intensely racing but then there are other moments where you are relaxed and are enjoying banter with people you’ve just met. Some of the closest people in my life are people I’ve met in these types of races. I also like the build up you can have over the days. I tend to start a touch more conservatively to let my body adapt and then work into the longer stages.’ 

You have been fortunate to travel with racing. Costa Rica will be a new experience for you, are you excited?

‘The setting for the race looks spectacular and Rodrigo seems like a top-notch race director. I am also drawn to the race because it offers variety in terrain – mountains, river crossing, single track, rock and glorious beaches.’

Would you like to join these incredible ladies in Costa Rica?

Entries are open in the UK HERE

or HERE for outside the UK.

Links

Official race website HERE and Facebook HERE

You can view images from previous editions HERE

And race day reports from 2014 and 2013 HERE

Transvulcania La Palma – Catch up videos

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Dreamteam Television have worked on Transvulcania La Palma for the last 3-years producing some great quality films allowing us to experience, one again… this iconic race on the island of La Palma.

The 2014 edition of the race won by Luis Alberto Hernando and Anna Frost will be screened on British TV on CH4 – 15th June at 06:40 and +1 TV.

If you missed out on 2013 and 2013 films, here is an opportunity to watch them.

Dreamteam Television archive all recordings so that you are able to watch past editions of many races HERE

Future broadcast dates are available HERE

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