‘Failure’ …or is it? – on IRUN4ULTRA

“Notice here that I place ‘failure’ in commas – for me, Gary didn’t fail. He achieved a great deal, he just didn’t achieve his goal.

Just as John Kelly had failed on 2 previous occasions, he triumphed on a 3rd attempt and the victory was sweet.

Gary of course was left on the floor, a tired wreck facing demons.”

Read the full article on IRUN4ULTRA HERE

Barkley 2017 – High Drama and a 15th Finisher

Image ©canadian running

John Kelly was the 15th and only finisher of the 2017 Barkley. An incredible achievement and something that didn’t come easy (his 3rd attempt) for the Washington DC runner. His time of 59:30 shows just how close it was. However, many would say (including Laz the race director) that 30-minutes leeway is far too much in what is universally considered the ‘hardest’ race in the world.

Kelly had ran the first 4-laps with Canada’s Gary Robbins who was faced with a repeat of 2016 when he ran a similar story with Jared Campbell (who went on to win the race) for the 2nd time.

Kelly and Robins had traded blows, helped each other along and then at the end of the 4th lap they went there respective ways – one clockwise and the other counter-clockwise. A rule introduced by Laz to ensure less finishers and a race to the line. Both didn’t finish in 2016!

It was on this lap that the weather changed. Rain, mist, fog and of course sleep deprivation bullied the runners as they searched for the 13 books from which they must tear out a page.

Kelly triumphed arriving at the infamous yellow gate first having taken ‘anything’ he could find from the course to keep warm – a orange hat, a plastic bag and so on. As his hands touched the gate, he asked, “Where is Gary?”

It was a question many asked and as the 60-hour cut-off approached Robbins could be seen sprinting up the road, poles in hand, desperation on his face…

Image©canadianrunning

Would he make it?

Did he make it?

No – he was 6-seconds over the mythical 60-hour cut-off time. There was no way Laz would be lenient… the ultra world collapsed and universal sympathy was sent to Robbins on what was the most heartbreaking 6-seconds in running.

Image ©canadianrunning

The reality is, it wasn’t as close as many first thought. Robbins had made a navigational mistake in the mist and fog. Although he made the yellow gate with all the relevant pages of the book, he did not take the correct course and therefore Laz would not have permitted the finish, even if Robbins had been within the 60-hour cut-off. Robbins tagged the gate from the wrong direction and in the videos posted on Canadian Running  you can see the desperation of a broken man.

 

So, just as Jim Walmsley became famous with going off course at Western States, Gary Robbins may well become more famous and gain more recognition than the 15th Barkley finisher, John Kelly.

He and the 2017 Barkley, rightly or wrongly, will be remembered as the most stunning 6-seconds in ultra running and it is comparable to those 8-seconds that separated Greg Lemond from Laurent Fignon at the 1989 Tour de France.

Both John Kelly and Gary Robbins are legends of the sport for undertaking the 5-loop beast at Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee as are all those who toe the line.

But we should all remember John Kelly for achieving what so few have done… Robbins brings us tears but as he says below, “I did not finish The Barkley Marathons, and that is no one’s fault but my own.”

Over the years, the Barkley has grown and grown in stature – funny for a race with $1.60 entry fee.

Everyone will now look to 2018. Robbins for sure will go away, lick his wounds and will be back… Kelly summed it up though, ‘Oh no, next years course is going to be even harder!’

40-runners will receive the letter notifying them that they have been unlucky to gain entry to the 2018 Barkley – would you like to be one of them?

Perspective – a statement from RD Laz:

I wish I had never said 6 seconds… Gary had just come in after having run off course and missing the last 2 miles of the Barkley, that is of course, not a finish. I do, however, always record when runners come in, whether they are finishing a loop, or not. So I had looked at the watch, even tho there was no possibility that he would be counted as a finisher. When someone asked if he had gotten in before the limit; I foolishly answered. I never expected the story to somehow become that he had missed the time limit by 6 seconds. He failed to complete the course by 2 miles. The time, in that situation, is meaningless. I hate it, because this tale perpetuates the myth that the Barkley does not have a course. The Barkley is a footrace. It is not an orienteering contest, nor a scavenger hunt. The books are nothing more than unmanned checkpoints. The Boston marathon has checkpoints and you have to show up at all of them or you can be disqualified… that does not mean you are allowed to follow any route you choose between checkpoints. Now, the class with which Gary handled this terrible disappoinment at the end of a truly magnificent performance… that was exceptional and is, in and of itself, a remarkable achievement. But he did not miss the time limit by 6 seconds, he failed to complete the Barkley by 2 miles.

– Laz

Of course, Gary Robbins, ever the gentleman has soon penned just a few words to congratulate John Kelly and clarify the final moments of his 2017 Barkley. Read the full article and post HERE

“…I thrashed my way to the road and put my head down and gutted out the hardest three minutes of my life to collapse at the gate, overtime, and from the wrong direction. I did not finish The Barkley Marathons, and that is no one’s fault but my own. That one fatal error with just over two miles to go haunts me.”

– Gary Robbins

 

  Images ©canadianrunning please go to http://runningmagazine.ca

Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji #UTMF 2015 Preview

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UTMF will be a VERY different race this year. First and foremost, the race date has moved from early in the year to late in the year; this is significant! Another important factor is the course. For 2015 (the 10th edition) the race will be run counter-clockwise and as such all the climbing and difficulty will come in the early stages and therefore leave the more runnable sections for later in the race; again significant!

With around 8500m of climbing and a distance over 100-miles (105) this race is a real challenge.

However, for me this years UTMF may very well be all about the UTMB.

Yes, UTMB was only 4-weeks ago and we all know the devastation that took place in and around Chamonix. It was carnage!

Much has been discussed about the DNF’s and failures at UTMB and unfortunately I think it’s a sign of the times. The racing calendar is full and race series like the UTWT encourage runners to race regularly 100km+ and 100-miles often; is too much? Francois D’Haene and Nuria Picas dominated the calendar in 2014 and where have they been in 2015?

Exhausted?

Just look at the start list here at UTMF. Many of the key players are runners who had tough, below par or DNF’s at UTMB.

Fernanda Maciel dropped with 2/3rds of the race done with severe foot pain.

Amy Sproston dnf

Gediminas Grinius dropped with over 90-miles completed.

Sondre Amdahl dropped with just over a marathon covered.

Jeff Browning dropped with a twisted ankle.

Of course, this is not all the favourites at UTMF but a pattern may be forming? All of the above have raced at one or more of the following: Lavaredo, HK100, Transgrancanaria, Western States, UTMB and now they line up at UTMF and I wonder how many post UTMF will travel to Reunion Island to take on the Diagonal des Fous (Raid de la Reunion). For many of the runners that will be 3 big 100-milers or a combination of 100-miles and 100km+ in relatively quick succession. The body may take it in 1-year but can it take year-after-year?

I merely raise the question?

So who is going to win?

©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria15-6112

THAT is a million-dollar question. Keeping in mind what I have said above, we can still expect Grinius, Amdahl and Browning to figure at the front of the race providing they have no issues. Sondre Amdahl (interview on Talk Ultra) should be the freshest of the 3 as he dropped early at UTMB and therefore it was probably just like a typical training run for him. However, what caused the ‘failure’ of his hamstring at a race that he obviously prepared meticulously for?

Jeff Browning (interview on Talk Ultra) loves the long and hard races. He dropped at UTMB but I am pretty sure he will be recovered here. He lacks some of the speed of the competition so although I think he will be in or around the top 5-10 I don’t think the podium could be his.

©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria15-6747Gediminas Grinius (interview on Talk Ultra) has continually impressed. He loves the long hard races and he closes like a demon. I do worry that he is just tired though? I may be wrong. He has the race and skill set for UTMF, pretty sure he would have prepared the course the other way around but Transgrancanaria finishes with a very runnable last 20km and look what he did there!

Okay, so that is the UTMB contingent done and dusted and arguably I am now talking about who may win the race?

©iancorless.com_SkyRun14-5202#ETRkathmandu

Gary Robbins has had a steady year with a great FKT (interview on Talk Ultra) and becoming a new Dad just a few weeks ago. He just missed the podium in 2013 and I think a podium slot may well be his this year.
©copyright .iancorless.com._1050402

Brendan Davies is a runner who I should add to the exhausted list above! He just ran the Worlds 100k and this year he did TNF100, Western States and Transgrancanaria where he had a really tough day out. He has potential to be on the podium BUT…. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria15-6833

That leaves Didrik Hermansen for the top slot and if all things go well I think he can do it. He has the running legs for the latter half of the race and as he showed at Transgrancanaria and more importantly Lavaredo (where he won) he knows how to get the job done!

As one would expect the start list is extensive at UTMF and I have picked out some key names. For sure I will have missed some other key players, in particular the local talent who I am less familiar with.

Anyone we should look out for who can take a podium place?

Uxue Fraile made the podium at UTMB and considering my thoughts at the beginning of this article, can she be recovered? Actually, I think yes? I saw Uxue at the weekend spectating at Ultra Pirineu and she looked fresh, enthusiastic and excited for the race ahead. Her talent lies in the waiting game and more often than not she picks up the pieces as others fall by the wayside. I think we will see a similar strategy here at UTMF. Don’t be surprised with a podium place! ©copyright.iancorless.com.P1060567

Fernanda Maciel was also spectating in Catalonia at the weekend! Her UTMB experience was far more dramatic and maybe traumatic that Uxue’s. Without a doubt, Fernanda has the race for UTMF as she proved last year with 2nd. Can she put the record straight so soon after UTMB?

Amy Sproston dropped at UTMB with approx. 100km in her legs. She can recover from that I think. Significantly (like Gary Robbins) she is a HURT 100 winner and that will be useful here at UTMF. It’s going to be a long day out!

Victory may well come from Aliza Lapierre. Her 8th at Transgrancanaria was off the lead ladies pace but significantly she placed 4th at Western States and has raced little since. At this point in the year with a whole bunch of tired legs around her, Aliza may well be the best option to fade the least.

Dong Li placed 3rd at Transgrancanaria with a breakthrough performance, she was 2nd at HK100 and won TNF 100. Add to that a 4th place at Mont-Blanc 80km and like Aliza she may well have fresh legs for the UTMF. She is going to need them though… as far as I know, this is the first time she will race 100-miles. This is a tough debut for the distance!

©copyright .iancorless.com._1050256

Shona Stephenson has raced well here in the past and with fresh legs she may well be a contender for the podium if not for the win if everything goes well.

Nora Senn may well turn a few heads and then like the men’s race a whole wealth of local talent will infiltrate the top 10.

Who are your picks?

 

Race website HERE

Episode 75 – Skyrun, Robbins, Greyling, Boettger

Ep75

Episode 75 of Talk Ultra is all about the Salomon Skyrun and South Africa. We bring an interview with the ladies winner Landie Greyling. We also talk with the ladies 2nd place, Julia Boettger. Gary Robbins placed 2nd overall and discusses in-depth his race and co hosts the show. We bring sounds from Moketsi Game Ranch, experiences from Cape Town and talk Skyrun with Adrian Saffy and Michael de Haast.
This weeks show is a little different to our usual episodes.
Gary Robbins placed 2nd overall in the race and he co-hosts providing an in-depth insight into the race, his experiences of South Africa and he even set an FKT on Table Mountain.
We bring you sounds and interviews from Moketsi Game Reserve and race directors, Michael de Haast and Adrian Saffy talk Skyrun and South Africa.
Listen to Hyenas, growl with lions and dance to some quality ‘SA’ tunes.
Experience South Africa….
Images from SA and the Skyrun are available on this website HERE and you can view images from the whole trip HERE
Links:
Website – talkultra.com

Salomon SkyRun 2014 – Race Day Images

©iancorless.com_SkyRun14-4502#ETRkathmandu

 

The Witteberg is a South African mountain range just off the south-west corner of Lesotho. The range, which rises to 2408 metres, stretches for about 60km from Lundin’s Nek in the east to Lady Grey in the west. The range lends its name to the Witteberg Series, the uppermost fossiliferous sequence of the Cape System of sedimentary rocks in South Africa. The race starts in the town of Lady Grey which is famous for its annual Nativity Play and its quaint houses and incredible scenery. Discover the wonder of Balloch cave along the route with it bushman art and idyllic setting nestled between some of the highest peaks in the Witteberg.

The Witteberg range is one of the most picturesque places in South Africa with some distinctive peaks like Avoca and Halston Peaks dominating the skyline.

The Salomon SkyRun and SkyRun Lite are unique in that they are truly self-supported and self-navigational races, where athletes tackle the remote terrain of the Witteberg Mountain range with a Map a Compass or GPS unit and a back pack containing all there food, water and compulsory equipment that will enable them to survive in this harsh environment, while operating at an average height of between 2200-2500 meters above sea level.

The trail starts in Lady Grey and the first 65km of the route is the same for both races, after the compulsory stop and medical check at Balloch are the Skyrunners allowed to continue while the Lite runners have completed their journey. The route climbs sharply out of Lady Grey to the first check point at the Tower; this is about a 12km run and is a combination of hiking trails and mountain running. As you climb the trail to the tower the majestic landscape unfolds in front of you and it now feels as if you are on top of Africa. Following the fence line you make your way along the ridge line to the second check point which is at Olympus, this is another 10km and the terrain is now devoid of paths and trails and athletes must decide which is the best route to the check point. After Olympus the athletes can pick up a small trail that will lead them to Snowden which is check point 3 another 11km or so, there is a natural spring just past Snowden where you can fill up your water bladders (does depend on how much rain has fallen so not always guaranteed a lot of water) before making your way to Avoca Peak the highest point (2756m) on the race. The climb up Avoca peak is challenging as the gradient is steep and the terrain is rough especially after good summer rain. From Avoca the route takes you over the “Dragonback” a ridge line that is about 3 meters wide with steep descends on either side, a fantastic formation of rock that is a feature of the race and a spectacular viewing point on a clear day. The route flattens out for a while as you move towards CP6 at Skidor which is again a leg of about 10km. At Skidor you descend into the valley down a technical descend before picking up the river that will lead you to the compulsory stop at Balloch Cave having now covered about 65km of the race.

Once Athletes have done their medical and been give the all clear by the doctor, it upwards and onwards as they take on the challenge of Balloch Wall a climb with a vertical ascent of over 500m in just 3km and back down the other side on the way to CP 8 at Edgehill Farm. Most athletes will now be operating in the dark as night fall will have replaced the harsh African sun. Navigating through the Bridal Pass from EdgeHill to the turn is tricky with a lot of athletes losing a lot of time trying to find the correct entrance into the pass that will lead them onto the ridgeline again. The Bridal pass has now been included as a waypoint on the route to assist athletes in negotiating the pass. A steady climb up the Pass will take you onto the ridgeline and to the check point at the Turn. From here you will double back toward the Wartrail Country Club via Halston Peak which is the last check point on the route. The climb down from Halston’s is technical and is made more difficult by the fact that you are very fatigued at this stage but buoyed by the fact that you are now heading to the finish at Wartrail Country Club.

RESULTS *to be updated

  1. Iain Don Wauchope 12:08:15 – new course record
  2. Gary Robbins 13:46
  3. Jock Green 14:12

 

  1. Landie Greyling 16:14
  2. Julia Boettger 19:53
  3. Sue Chapman 23:33

Ladies results to follow.

More images to follow.

Episode 54 – Gary Robbins & Vlad Ixel

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This is episode 54 of talk Ultra we speak with Gary Robbins on his repeat victory at Hurt 100 and his plans for 2014. We also speak to rising star, Vlad Ixel who recently placed 3rd overall at HK100. We have the news, a blog, up and coming races and of course Speedgoat Karl.

NEWS
 
Results Coldwater Rumble
  1. Catlow Shipeck 15:09:52
  2. Tsutomu Nagata 16:14:21
  3. Jeremy Bradford 18:29:30
  1. Gina Dhaliwai 20:05:43
  2. Katelyne Fishbeck 21:00:52
  3. Emz Eliason 23:26:14
Arrowhead 135
  1. Scott Hoberg 43:26:00
  2. Juhn Storkamp 46:30:00
  3. Alicia Hudelson 47:59:00 and 1st lady
Rocky Raccoon coming up with Pam Smith and Michele Yates and Ian Sharman.
Looks like Michele is going to shoot for a new CR… also, Ian Sharman.
 
Shaun O’Brian 50 coming up
 
 

On the recent episode of Talk Ultra I interviewed Johan Van De Merwe. For those who don’t know, running in SA can sometimes be a little risky… however, has anyone ever experienced this anywhere else in the world?

 
“My mid-week long run was cut short at the 18km mark by two robbers with knives. Had to walk 7km’s back home on my socks. Took my shoes and bottle-belt but luckily left my Garmin!!” Johan Vd Merwe
 
BLOG

“Just as the worldwide running community suspected, it turns out that the supposed “18-year-old” Ethiopian, Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa, who won the Standard Dubai Marathon Sunday, January 20th, in a near world-record time of 2:04:32 is not 18 years of age. It turns out that the brand new “world junior” record holder is actually just 12. When interviewed shortly after his race he said, “When I grow up I want to be an Injera and Wat Chef.”

Mekonnen currently trains between 175 and 190 kilometres per week. His training week includes a three hour long run, done without a watch, as well as a two interval sessions. One is a fartlek session, the other is made up of long intervals, “I run two kilometre repeats at 9000 metres elevation in 6:20 with a one minute jog recovery 10 times,” said the shy athlete as he played on the village swing set. Mekonnen’s next goal is a sub-27 minute 10,000 metres during the IAAF Diamond League, this spring.”
 
TALK TRAINING
 
with Karl Meltzer preparing to run your first long ultra, be that 100km or 100-miles
Hint’s n Tips
1. Choose a race
2. What time period to prepare
3. Key sessions
4. Recovery
5. Core & Strength
6. Warm up races
7. Prepare the mind
8. How long is long in training
9. The taper
10. the race

INTERVIEW

Gary Robbins once again returned to the tough and technical HURT100 course and came away with another victory. We caught up with him for a blow-by-blow account and he tells us his plans for 2014.

 
INTERVIEW
 
Vlad Ixel from Australia recently placed 3rd overall at the HK100 ahead of impressive runners such as Vajin Armstrong, Dave Mackey and Jez Bragg. We caught up with him to find out about his story and expectations for the coming year.
 
MELTZER MOMENT
 
Good
Bad
Ugly
 
UP & COMING RACES
 

Australia

Queensland

Caboolture Historical Village Dusk to Dawn 100km | 100 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Caboolture Historical Village Dusk to Dawn 50km | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Victoria

Dendy Park Urban Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

Trail des bosses – 65 km | 65 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Chad

TREG | 170 kilometers | February 12, 2014 | website

Chile

El Cruce Columbia | 103 kilometers | February 07, 2014 | website

Finland

Lapland

Rovaniemi 150 | 150 kilometers | February 14, 2014 | website

France

Aude

Gruissan Phoebus Trail | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Aveyron

Trail des Ruthènes | 65 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Côtes-d’Armor

Défi Glazig (45 + 18) | 63 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Germany

Lower Saxony

Brocken-Challenge | 86 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

India

Run the Rann 101 km | 101 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Italy

Marche

Maratona sulla sabbia – Ultra maratona | 50 kilometers | February 09, 2014 | website

Jordan

Sahara Race | 250 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Nicaragua

Fuego y Agua 100k | 100 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Fuego y Agua 100k Relay | 100 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Fuego y Agua 50k | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Fuego y Agua Survival Run | 70 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Oman

Wadi Bih Run | 72 kilometers | February 07, 2014 | website

Philippines

Hardcore Hundred Miles | 100 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

Senegal

100 km du Sénégal | 100 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

South Africa

Three Cranes Challenge | 106 kilometers | February 20, 2014 | website

Wild Coast Ultra | 270 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Sweden

Ice Ultra | 230 kilometers | February 14, 2014 | website

Thailand

The North Face 100® – Thailand | 100 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

The North Face 100® – Thailand – 50 km Solo | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Devon

Coastal Trail Series – South Devon – Ultra | 34 miles | February 08, 2014 | website

Kent

Moonlight Challenge | 32 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

USA

Alabama

Black Warrior/Phillip Parker 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Alaska

Little Su 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Susitna 100 | 100 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

Arizona

Black Canyon Trail 100K Run | 100 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Pemberton Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Del Sol | 200 miles | February 21, 2014 | website

Arkansas

Sylamore Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

California

American Canyon 50K Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Bandit Ultra Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

West Coast 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Florida

Destin 50K Beach Ultra | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Destin 50M Beach Ultra | 50 miles | February 16, 2014 | website

Iron Horse 100 km | 100 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Iron Horse 100 Mile | 100 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

Iron Horse 50 Mile | 50 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

Manasota Track Club 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys | 199 miles | February 07, 2014 | website

Kansas

Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Nevada

Jackpot Ultra Running Festival 100 Miler | 100 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Maysville to Macon 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | February 08, 2014 | website

Ohio

Run for Regis 50K | 50 kilometers | February 16, 2014 | website

Oregon

Bristow 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Hagg Lake 50k Trail run | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

South Carolina

Mill Stone 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Texas

Cross Timbers Trail Runs 50M | 50 miles | February 15, 2014 | website

Piney Woods TrailFest 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Valentine Golden Hearts 50K | 50 kilometers | February 09, 2014 | website

Valentine Romantic Couples 50K | 50 kilometers | February 08, 2014 | website

Valentine Romantic Couples 50 Mile | 50 miles | February 08, 2014 | website

Utah

Moab’s Red Hot 55K | 55 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

Virginia

Holiday Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

The Wild Oak Trail 100 | 100 miles | February 08, 2014 | website

Washington

Fishline 50K | 50 kilometers | February 09, 2014 | website

Woolley Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | February 15, 2014 | website

CLOSE
LINKS

The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2013 – Men’s Preview

UTMB logo. iancorless.com ©ultratraildumontblanc

UTMB logo. iancorless.com ©ultratraildumontblanc

What an exciting prospect the 2013 TNF UTMB is going to be! Just a few months ago it looked as though the 2013 edition was lacking some really strong top competition, but a surge of confirmed US entries has brought this race to life and to be absolutely honest, if a US runner doesn’t take top slot this year, then maybe they never will…

It’s a quality field and the list of top men has incredible depth. For the purposes of a preview I am going to highlight who I consider to be the contenders for the top three slots and then give notable mentions to those who most certainly stand a chance to make the top ten and if on a great day, they may make the podium.

So, who is going to win? Or should I say, whom do I think stand a chance of the podium? In no particular order, here are my contenders:

Favorites:

Jonas Buud, Anton Krupicka, Julien Chorier, Miguel Heras, Timothy Olson, Jez Bragg, Sebastien Chaigneau, Mike Foote, Mike Wolfe, Carlos Sa, Dylan Bowman, Gary Robbins, Yoshikazu Hara, Francois Faivre, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, Jean-Yves Rey and Arnaud Lejeune.

Preview:

Jonas Buud - UTMB 2012

Jonas Buud – UTMB 2012

Jonas Buud placed second last year over the shortened UTMB route behind Francois D’Haene. It was a great run and a superb confidence boost for this year’s race. His recent run at Comrades when he moved up through the field from around 40th to the podium was not only an incredible lesson in pacing but also how to execute a great race strategy. I am pretty sure that this will be something he will bring to Chamonix. Without doubt he has speed but the full UTMB is a very different race to the shortened version and in this field a podium place will be a great result.

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

Anton Krupicka, Cavalls del Vent, 2012 ©iancorless.com

What can we say about Anton Krupicka? With a long time out of the sport due to injury, his return seemed guaranteed at the end of 2012 when he placed 2nd behind Kilian Jornet at Cavalls del Vent. We had hoped to see Anton run at Tarawera but just a week or so before the race he pulled out due to a niggle. Racing Ronda dels Cims was on the cards but he decided an attempt at Nolans-14 was a better option; it didn’t go well leaving him in pieces on the trail. One thing that is guaranteed is that Anton is fit and can climb. His recent 2nd placing at Speedgoat is going to be a great boost and he has been in and around Chamonix for several weeks now training with Joe Grant who will be his support during the race. It may be Anton’s year?

Julien Chorier, Ronda dels Cims, 2013 ©iancorless.com

Julien Chorier, Ronda dels Cims, 2013 ©iancorless.com

Julien Chorier is meticulous in planning, knows the UTMB route very well and after watching him run and dominate the 2013 Ronda dels Cims, if he brings ‘that’ form to Chamonix, then he will win! He was consistent, strong and a machine. Julien has been on the podium at UTMB before, 2007 and 2008 but this was relatively early on in his run career (a former cyclist). Since then he has won Hardrock, UTMF, Raid de la Reunion and so on. He will bring his ‘A’ game to UTMB with just one position in mind. A hot favorite!

Miguel Heras, La Templiers 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras, La Templiers 2013 ©iancorless.com

Miguel Heras has had a tough time recently with injury. Running UTMB was a big question mark, however, I heard just the other day that he has confirmed he will run. His training has been hampered for sure and it is impossible to say at this stage, how that will affect his race. His most recent notable performances came in 2012 with La Templiers and San Fran 50. Like Julien Chorier, he is meticulous in planning and outside of Kilian Jornet; I would have said that an in form Miguel Heras would be the stand out favorite for this race along with Julien.

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

A little like Julien Chorier, Timothy Olson picks his races, plans, trains, turns up and wins. Anyone who can win Western States two years on the run knows how to bring the ‘A’ game to the right race. Timothy placed well at Tarawera and Transvulcania but his notable words to me at the end of Transvulcania were, ‘it just needed to be longer, I was getting warmed up’. Racing at Speedgoat recently he placed in the top ten but that doesn’t reflect a lack of form, in fact the opposite, it shows focus; focus on the big target, which is now UTMB. He has been in Chamonix and getting out on the course and so will now fully understand what he needs to do come this Friday. Along with Anton, he is a key favorite for the outright win, the only thing I can see going against him is the lack of experience in a European 100-mile race particularly in the Mountains.

I am going to stick my neck out and say that in the 2013 UTMB we will see a new Jez Bragg. He will run UTMB in a way that he has never run it before. We all know he was the 2010 winner of the race but quite frankly, and no disrespect to Jez, it wasn’t the full race and that makes a big difference. In recent years things have not gone well for him and post 2012 UTMB we discussed certain health issues that may have affected his performance. With those issues under control and then his incredible run in New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail, Jez will mentally and physically be in a different place when on the start line this year and in the famous Speedgoat Karl words he will be thinking, ‘a 100-miles is not that far’.  Jez will have his best UTMB ever! Listen to Jez Bragg talk about UTMB kit HERE

Sebastien Chaigneau, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau has already had an incredible year. His win at the recent Hardrock 100 in a course record time (counter clockwise) is a dream come true for Seb. He actually only got the go ahead for that race just a couple of weeks before as he was a reserve, so, I can’t help but think his long term training was for UTMB but also meticulously preparing for the hope to participate at Hardrock. His early season win at Transgrancanaria and then 3rd place at UTMF will no doubt all take its toll. Seb has all the abilities and experience to win this 2013 edition, however, he may very well be just a touch jaded.

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote, UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote placed third last year on the shortened course and by all accounts is in great shape and has been training really hard. However, he has been plagued by injury. His second place at Hardrock 100 in 2012 most certainly means that if he his 100% fit, he will mix it up at the front of the race and be in contention for the podium.

Teammate and great friend of Mike Foote is Mike Wolfe. Mike had a year to forget in 2012 after an incredible 2011. He has loads of skill, great fitness and can run like the wind when he needs to. After some time away to recoup, Mike has now found some form and fitness in 2013. He had a win at Pocatello 50 and recently raced to a podium slot at Lavaredo Trail in Italy. Most recently he set a ‘FKT’ on the John Muir Trail with teammate, Hal Koerner. Now no doubt this was great training and great preparation for a 100-miles in the mountains, but, and this is a big but, was it too close to UTMB?

Carlos Sa placed 4th at UTMB in 2012 and earlier this year won Badwater 135. I witnessed him run at close quarters at the Marathon des Sables where he consistently performed well and eventually finished 7th overall. UTMB is a very different race and with strong competition from ‘mountain men’, Carlos will need a great day to make the top three.

Another American joining the mix is Dylan Bowman. Dylan may well be the dark horse of the US contingent. For sure, European eyes will focus on Krupicka, Olson, Wolfe and Foote and therefore allowing Dylan a little more freedom and a little less pressure. They should take note; Dylan has had consistent top performances at Leadville and Western States. What Dylan’s resume of results lacks is experience on tough mountain courses and that will be the crux of how well he performs. Will he be able to take the ups and downs that the UTMB throws at him?  *update 26th August, pulled out due to injury

Finally, my last contender is Gary Robbins from Canada. He had time away from the sport after having some horrendous injuries that almost stopped his career. With patience and rehabilitation he came back to his nemesis, Hurt 100 and not only won, but also set a course record. He has experience of UTMB and finished outside the top fifty last year, so why pick him as a possible contender? He knows what it is about now and to be honest, a full course is probably much more preferable than a short course for Gary. Also, he placed 4th at UTMF earlier this year behind Hara, Chorier and Chaigneau… that’s good company to be running with!

Yoshikazu Hara was the surprise winner of the 2013 UTMF putting Julien Chorier and Sebastien Chaigneau in 2nd and 3rd respectively. He is coming to this years race prepared and may well cause a few shocks!

Francois Faivre trainer of the French cross-country ski team from the Jura region, was recovering from some health issues at the start of the season. After signing up for the cancelled Maxi Race and after withdrawing from the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, François felt he lost some form. He finished 9th in 2011 and 7th in 2012! UTMB without doubt is his main goal for the season.

D'Haene, Kaburaki (middle) Chaigneau UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

D’Haene, Kaburaki (middle) Chaigneau UTMB 2012 ©iancorless.com

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki is extremely experienced at UTMB and has placed from 3rd to 11th in five outings. This year he won Bighorn 100 with some incredible running in the latter stages of the race. The jury is out on 2013 and I will update with more info as and when I have it on Thursday.

Jean-Yves Rey was 6th last year and is very much a dark horse. In his early 40’s he has had some impressive results over the years, 3rd at the iconic Sierre-Zinal in 2000, winner of the CCC in 2009 but recently he started the Eiger Trail and did not finish, so, his form is unknown.

Finally, Arnaud Lejeune is in his early 30’s placed 8th at UTMB and 3rd at Raid de la Reunion in 2012. He also had a string of top results with wins in; Faverges Trail, Trail de Savoyards, Trail Glieres, Quecha Trail Fiz, Verdon canyon Challenge and the Guyan Trail at 186km long. A resident of Annecy, he has access to the UTMB terrain on a regular basis and this is a distinct advantage. However, 2013 seems to have been very quiet. He may be a surprise!

As mentioned, the race has no shortage of possible winners, for example:

Sebastien Buffard 10th at UTMB and then of course we have Marco Olmo won UTMB at the age of 59yrs and in doing so became a legend. He most certainly won’t win this year but he deserves a mention.

Marco Olmo, MDS 2013 ©iancorless.com

Marco Olmo, MDS 2013 ©iancorless.com

Other names to watch out for:

Vincent Delabarre, Siu-Keung Tsang, Jason Loutitt, Gustavo Reyes, Armando Jorge Teixeira, Zigor Iturrieta, Giuliano Cavallo, Minehiro Yokoyama, Vajin Armstrong, Paul Giblin, Adam Perry and Terry Conway.

The TNF UTMB has gained a reputation as being one of the most iconic 100-mile races in the world. With over 2,000 participants, I will have missed several contenders who will create a stir and surprise us. Do you know who they may be?

Get involved:

  1. Who is your prediction for the race?
  2. Who will have the greatest improvement?
  3. Who will shock us?

Links:

The North Face HERE

TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc website HERE

Arc’teryx Squamish 50 race summary

Adam

This weekend 500 trail runners from across the globe descended on Squamish BC for what is known as one of the toughest Ultra races on the circuit. Vancouverite Adam Campbell took first place in the 50 mile with a time of 7 hours and 37 mins in  a hard fought battle with Squamish local Jason Loutitt, who finished  second  at 7 hours and 40 mins.

In the women’s 50 mile circuit -American Kristin Moehl took first place in 9 hours and 37 mins over local Lisa Polizzi at 9 hours and 39 mins – another closely fought race.

No longer a fringe sport, ultra running now attracts top international athletes and marathoners who want to push to the next level and challenge themselves on uneven terrain. This weekend runners from 9 different countries, 23 states and 7 provinces took part in 3 different race distances over the course of the day.

With distances of 50 miles, 50km and 23km to choose from, each of the runs is uniquely about pushing personal limits –  pushing those limits hard and pushing them far.  On the 50 mile course,  the back half is more difficult than the first. To reach the finish line is victory in itself.

Gary Robbins, one of the two main organizers and no stranger to Ultra Running, couldn’t be happier with how the event went and the finishers’ reactions to how incredibly tough the course was.

“ Nothing pleases me more than having my fellow ultra runners loathe me while they are running this course and many an expletive was issued at me as they crossed the line – but ultra runners have a peculiar sense of humour – they need it to get through these races, I know they enjoyed every bit of the pain!”

“The conditions were great, weather was perfect and it was impressive to see how close some of the top finishers were; all the distances were tightly fought, highly completive races”– Robbins, who personally greeted almost every finisher at the race, adds that “watching everyone else come over the line – that’s truly what makes this event so rewarding. The first time ultra runners, the average daily runners, all pushing their own personal limit, that’s truly inspiring!”

Squamish

The event, now in its second year, is sponsored by North Vancouver based Arc’teryx, a brand that is no stranger to extremes. The company had its own team of runners participating over the 3 distances..

Adam Campbell, the  overall first place finisher in the 50 Mile (7:37:23); Anne- Marie Madden, who took the podium as the first place winner in the women’s 23km (2:08:13); and Catrin Jones, who placed first in the women’s 50km (5:51:52).

Jones, who is relatively new to ultra running, chose one of the hardest courses to “ease” into the sport, but said she was extremely pleased with her achievement considering she hadn’t felt as prepared as she had wanted to be.

“I’m training for the Francophone Games at the moment, where I’ll be representing Canada in the marathon, so I’ve been focusing on road running rather than trails so I was a little scared as well as excited going into this. There was a lot of diversity in the course, tough climbs and scrambles, lots of big power hikes but some beautiful rolling switchbacks and wood work too. A challenging course set in a beautiful area, ultimately I loved it!”

For 2014, the Arc’teryx Squamish 50 is set to become a Trail Race Festival held over three consecutive days. The idea-is to incorporate a film festival element into the event.  Watch for the next Arc’teryx Squamish 50 to take place August 8,9 &10, 2014.

Full Results HERE

Episode 29 – Robbins, Bragg, Grant, Corbett

Episode 29 Talk Ultra

 

Come back man Gary Robbins telling us what it’s like to return from 2 years of injury to not only win Hurt 100 but to set a new CR. Jez Bragg tells us about completing ‘The Long Pathway, Te Araroa’ in New Zealand. Joe Grant says goodbye and heads off to the Iditarod. Colourful Catra Corbett tells us about drugs, alcohol, running, tattoos, clothes and Truman. In addition to all that, we also have… phew; Talk Training about the long run, ‘A year in the life off…’, part 3 of our Marathon des Sables special, A Meltzer Moment, Up & Coming races and of course the News.

Show Notes:

03:45:45

00:00:00

00:00:45 Start and introduction

00:09:31 “Year in the life of….” This week Amanda Hyatt tells us all about her first ultra. Not  one day, but two days of 33 miles. As many of you will be able to relate to, it didn’t quite go to plan. But did she finish…?

00:27:52 News Plenty of news with a catch up from Rocky Raccoon, The Coastal Challenge, Fuego Y Agua and more…

00:35:06 Jez Bragg completed The Long Pathway, Te Araroa and I was very fortunate to speak to him less than 24 hours after he crossed the finish line. I think you will be able to hear in his voice how this journey not only exhausted him but changed him. Check out his website HERE and take a look at his sponsors The North Face

00:54:30 back to Karl

01:18:50 Joe Grant spoke to us several weeks ago about his preparation for the 350 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational. I caught up with him this week, just a day before he headed out to the race. Joe’s website Alpine Works. The ITI website HERE

01:35:05 back to Karl

01:38:15 BlogCatra Corbett colourful, fresh, modern and different. Catra or Dirt Diva adds some spice to the ultra scene. Listen to what she has to say and check out her blog HERE

02:12:25 Talk Training with Marc Laithwaite – this week we talk about the long run….

02:31:35 Interview with Gary Robbins. Life with passion, pursue your dreams. Gary just a few years back won the Hurt 100 and in doing so broke Geoff Roes old course record. He was suddenly seeing all the hard work pay off but then a series of events almost ended his running career… hear Gary talk about that period of his life and what it is like to comeback and be on top! For more information and a list of results, check out his blog HERE

03:18:00 Back to Karl

03:20:30 A Meltzer Moment with Speedgoat Karl. Good, Bad and Ugly.

03:27:25 Marathon des Sables spécial. This is part 3 and we are back with Stuart Rae to find out how the progress is going to the 2013 edition in April.

03:40:55 Races the up and coming races for the next 2 weeks

03:42:30 Close
03:45:45
LINKS