Michael Wardian returns to The Coastal Challenge #TCC2018

Michael Wardian never stops…. He is a real life Forest Gump. Just recently he ran 400km in the Gobi Desert, a first for him! Wardian though started the year with a world record running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, you can listen to an in-depth interviewer with him HERE about this incredible feat.

It’s a dangerous question asking Wardian, ‘So, what is next?’

It is never a one word answer.

For example, in a few days, October 14th, he will toe the line at Hartford Marathon Charity Chase. Followed by the Marine Corps Marathon on the 22nd. November brings NYC Marathon, JFK 50 Miler, Flanigan’s 10km… do I need to go on? You get the picture!

In 2014, Wardian toed the line at The Coastal Challenge and had a great race winning and at the time setting a new CR ahead of quality runners such Philipp Reiter, Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark.

Wardian promised he would return and in 2018, he will once again arrive on Costa Rican soil for a race that he loves.

 1. Michael, you run and run, race and race. It seems a weekend never passes without you racing at least one race and more often than not, two or three… How do you keep the enthusiasm to race/ run so much? 

MRW: I definitely enjoy toeing the line and throwing down.  The thrill of racing is this something that is internal and I believe keeps me fresh and focused.  I love seeing what I am capable of and I hope I inspire people to do a bit more than they think they can. 

2. This amount of racing and running must take a toll on you and your body – how do you avoid injury?

MRW:  I do race a lot and ask my body and mind  to perform at the highest levels repeatedly but I think instead of causing injury it actually avoids injury a bit because my body is continually adapting and evolving and always improving. That said since my injuries in 2012, I am super mindful to error on the side of less miles and more recovery if something seems off. I also take massage often, foam roll, stretch and work with a personal trainer to get strong and avoid imbalances and injuries. 

3. You have had an incredible 2017 with a full calendar – what are the highlights?

MRW:  2017, has definitely been a banner year, some events that comes to mind are:

1) 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, average pace of 2:45, new World Record

2) Big Sur Marathon Champion 

3) Kauai Marathon Champion

4) Leadville 100 miler/ Pikes Peak Marathon double break Marshall Ulrich record from 1993

5) Ultragobi 400k finish, new personal record for distance and time. 

4. You have raced TCC before, you won it! What is bringing you back to Costa Rica?

MRW: I loved TCC, when I won it a few years ago and have been wanting to come back since but with scheduling it didn’t work out but as soon as the schedule permitted I knew I would come back if the opportunity was there. I loved the organization, culture and nature. 

5. When you won the race, at times you struggled with some of the technical terrain. You used your run speed to close gaps and seize an advantage – any new plans or strategies for 2018?

MRW: I think I got pretty lucky last time to win the TCC, I was was just getting my fitness back and used what has always been my strength faster road running but since 2014, I have really focused on trails and feel much improved so looking forward to putting those earned skills to use in 2018. 

6. You placed 3rd at Marathon des Sables some year’s ago and this year, Tom Evans matched this. Are you excited to race toe-to-toe and see who is the better on Costa Rican soil?

MRW:  I am very excited to race Tom Evans but even more excited to get to run with and know the guys and girls racing. I love connecting with people and making new friends so hoping we get to push each other during the race and become friendly after. I am also excited for my family to meet some of the top athletes in the sport on a personal level and see who is causing me to suffer everyday. 

7. Chema Martinez will return to TCC and the UK’s Marcus Scotney will run, do you know much about them and do you have any strategies to get the edge for victory?

MRW: I just heard of Chema Martinez from my buddy Paul during the 400k UltraGobi, he sounds strong and exciting to get to race with him. I don’t know Marcus Scotney but I am sitting with some English guys and they said he is very strong and on the English 100k World Team…I think I just need to stay in the hunt and run hard when I sense an opportunity. 

8. Heat, humidity, a variety of terrain and stunning views – what excites you most about coming back to TCC and for those new to the race, what three tips can you provide that will make the 2018 experience a special one?

MRW:  I definitely think you should be ready for heat, humidity mixed terrain, the views are spectacular and I am super excited about them. A few tips are be ready to run hard because the pace can be fast especially for early in the year, there are legit climbs and some parts can get technical. Also, there is a little altitude that I didn’t expect the first time. 

9. You are bringing family to TCC this year, does this make it extra special?

MRW: I am definitely excited to share TCC with Jennifer, Pierce and Grant and it will be super special as none of my family have gotten to experience the Tica hospitality. I think they will be as blown away as I have been by the nature, beauty and landscape but most particularly the people. 

10. Finally, TCC is in February, dare I ask what the rest of 2018 holds for you?

MRW: 2018, should be super interesting, I am trying to decide exactly where to race right now and would like to do some new events in different and unique places. If you know anything cool please let me know or your audience. 

The 2018 edition of TCC is already looking like a stunning race. Two-time MDS champion Elisabet Barnes will return to Costa Rica and the UK’s Marcus Scotney who won the Cape Wrath Ultra and the Dragons Back Race has his first TCC experience ahead of him. – read HERE.

In addition, the UK’s Tom Evans will also run the 2018 TCC, read HERE.

TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, traveling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.

You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE

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The Coastal Challenge

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In a matter of days renowned international adventurer Ray Zahab is attempting to undertake a challenge that will be the ultimate test of his endurance. On June 23, Ray and his team will set out in the latest inov-8 Challenge Series expedition which will see them attempt to run across the Gobi Desert at its widest point covering a distance of approximately 2,300km, with minimal daily resupply. This would be the first time anyone has set out to run right across the broadest part of the Gobi Desert.
Canadian Ray is a man who has previously accomplished some astonishing feats. The intrepid athlete has run across the Sahara Desert, which was filmed for a documentary produced by actor Matt Damon. Ray has also broken the world speed record for an unsupported team expedition to the South Pole and was the first person to run the length of the entire Atacama Desert. This new test, however, will be the hardest of his life. It’s the equivalent distance of running from New York to Houston, Texas, in an extreme desert environment.
Starting in Mongolia and finishing in China, Ray and his teammate Kevin Lin will face remote conditions that will force them to tackle this desert adventure with extremely limited external support. At best the team will only be able to rely on one or two drops of supplies each day. This is the bare minimum given the harsh conditions that they will be running in. On foot and overland the team plans to meet with Nomads, learn from them and share their stories via live web broadcasting and film.
Ray will use the best equipment that he can to help him achieve his extreme goal. Ray has been working with the international, British-born brand inov-8 to ensure he has the best footwear, apparel and backpacks to survive the extreme conditions. His chosen footwear is the inov-8 Trailroc 245 and the inov-8 Terrafly 303. Ray’s clothing will include the inov-8 Race Elite Stormshell and also Race Elite Windshell to keep him protected from all the elements and he will carry his day supplies in the Race Elite, Race Pro and Race Ultra Vest packs.
Commenting on the task ahead, Ray said: “The team at inov-8 has been so helpful in preparation for this expedition. Truly…they have thought about everything my feet will go through, plus all the other kit I’ll need to support me. If we make it we will be the first humans to cross this desert running across its widest point – it’s crazy!!”
During the Gobi Expedition, professional photographers and videographers will join the team to capture footage and photos of the desert, the people and the expedition. At the end of the expedition, footage will be made available to schools for free download, for use in classroom projects leading up to the as yet not announced impossible2Possible Youth Expedition.
Ray added: “Our i2P Youth Expeditions are 100% free for participants and schools. My goal is to reach as many youth as possible- and through i2P give them the opportunity through their own adventures to learn that they can indeed achieve the extraordinary in their lives.”
In the final days of the expedition, Ray and Kevin will be joined by youth team members from Asia, and during the expedition a member of the i2P Youth Ambassador Alumni will join as support.
The expedition team will head into the desert on June 19. Ray and Kevin will start their epic run on June 23 and hope to reach the finish line in 35 days. The team hopes to cover an average of 70 kms a day.
For the latest information visit: http://www.facebook.com/Impossible2Possible