Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 Review #Peak20

Packs for a multi-day race or a running multi-day adventure were once the domain of Raidlight. Of course, other brands ventured into the arena but it was only really the arrival of WAA that made everyone start to stop, look and see what else existed.

Packs are personal.

I think a pack becomes even more personal when one requires something to be comfortable for multiple days and also when carrying 6.5kg or more.

Salomon have now extended their ‘vest design’ to the S-LAB PEAK 20 and in doing so, they will turn the head of many a runner and make them question, is this THE pack for them for their next multi-day adventure or race.

Shape, gender, size, height and so many other variables dictate if a pack is comfortable or not and this depends on you, so, when looking at this pack I try to be impartial and when possible I always try to cross reference with a female perspective. The plus of this pack is it comes in S, M, L and XL so no compromising to be made. I am 38/40 chest and I have a medium which fits perfect.

If you are heading to the mountain for an overnight adventure, I am pretty sure the Peak 20 will work for you. However, would the pack work for a race like Marathon des Sables, Grand to Grand, Everest Trail Race or one of the 4 Desert races when one is completely self-sufficient for multiple days?

Let’s look at the packs highlights:

  • 1 main compartment with a full length zip (double slider) that open up allowing easy access and organisation of what is inside.
  • Fabrics that wick and are quick drying.
  • Three sizes – S, M and L.
  • Soft trims so no chafing.
  • Sensifit is a Salomon buzz word that ultimately means it should be the Rolls Royce of bags when coming to fit and comfort.
  • Front hydration pockets x2 (designed for 500ml soft flasks).
  • Adjustable front straps for customized fit.
  • Zipper pockets – It has 2 large pockets on the front, 2 expandable pockets on the shoulder straps and 2 top zipped mesh pockets.
  • Will take a bladder.
  • Ability to carry poles or ice axes.
  • Lightweight at 484g +/-.

THE PACK

This pack will work for an overnight adventure, mountain marathon race or an adventure when an excessive mandatory kit will be required. But, the big question for many will be, can this pack work for a 6-day self-sufficient race?

In a word – Yes!

Simple reasons why:

  • Yes, it can hold 2 x 750ml of liquid at the front
  • Yes, it has 4 pockets on the front that will allow immediate access to anything you will need whilst running a stage.
  • Yes, it can hold another liter to 1.5 liters on the rear in two external pockets.
  • Yes, it can hold everything you need for 6-days self-sufficiency.

OVERVIEW

The pack has a 20L capacity (typical for Marathon des Sables and comparable with the competition from Ultimate Direction, WAA, Raidlight, OMM and others) and has one large external zip on the rear that works two ways so that you can zip down or zip up depending on preference. Once open, it’s possible to access the pack easily and arrange contents. Internally there is a small mesh panel so that you divide the large compartment in two – a good thing for maybe an overnight jaunt but not required for a multi-day adventure.

It’s light, very light! It has a vest style that echoes and follows on from the designs from Salomon’s other models.

The front of the pack has two stretch pockets for soft-flasks or bottles. On top of these pockets sitting a little lower are two large pockets with zips that hold a surprising amount. On top of the shoulder straps are two stretch zip pockets that provide additional storage.

On the sides of the vest are adjustable cords that pull the pack closer to the body or allow the pack to be looser.

On the top of the rear of the pack above the zip, is a central cord pull. Pull this and the yellow cord that wraps around the pack pulls tighter and compresses the contents. Great when the pack is full to make everything tight and secure but especially useful as the days pass when racing and the pack contents become less.

IN DETAIL

The pack tapers and as you can see from this side-view is narrow at the bottom and then opens up wider as one gets closer to the top. On both sides is an open topped stretch pocket that will take a bottle or other items.

The pack has thin blue padding that does not sit inside the pack but on the outside and underneath the mesh back. The is ingenious as it has been designed so that it can be removed.

It is held in place by small metal buckles that attach to web loops. I removed the padding and used my sleeping mat inside the pack as my padding. Ingenious – not only do you save weight but your mat doubles up as protection when running and sleeping.


The two-way external zip is great to allow access to upper items or lower items in the pack without having to un-zip the whole pack. Importantly, when un-zipped it’s easy to access the inside and arrange items. An internal mesh panel can be used to split the pack into two halves. For some this may be useful but if like me you use the sleeping mat inside, you can only have one large compartment. It’s a great space and like any pack, you will want to play around with how you pack your contents to find the correct balance. As a tip I recommend you leave your sleeping bag out when packing. Put all the contents in and then add the sleeping bag filing in all the empty spaces – you will be amazed how a lightweight down bag will compress.

The external cord the wraps around the pack is designed to be pulled tight and compress the contents. This is adjusted on the rear of the pack just above the zip.

Simply hold the buckle and pull the cord. The cords pulls tight and compresses to make the pack smaller and tight – perfect! You can make this even tighter by pulling the cords on the side and then taking up the the slack by the top adjustment. This on days 3, 4, and 5 will be just incredible at making the pack smaller and smaller as contents are used up.
On the shoulder straps, the yellow cord is also present under the two shoulder zip pockets. Pull the cord here and take up the slack and you pull the top of the pack closer to your back.

 On the sides of the pack between the bottom rear and the front lower pockets there is a yellow cord on each side – again this allows you to pull the bottom of the pack as close to your back as you require.

In a nutshell, this level of adjustment is just perfect and is the best of all packs I have tried.

 The front of the pack is classic Salomon vest design but with some differences. Fitting to the torso comes via 3 straps. Two go right to left and one goes left to right. These attach via a black plastic hooks to a yellow cord.

They can be moved up or down and they can also be made tighter or looser. In particular, this will be useful for lady runners who need to adjust the pack to fit around their chest. It’s a method that works and the on-the-go adjustment is welcome.

There are two stretch pockets that are designed for soft-flasks. This for me caused concern as I was under the impression that they would only hold 500ml. Not so! These pockets will take the Hydrapak SF750 soft-flasks and you can drink from these without the need to remove them.

Prefer straws? The Hydrapak 600ml bottles with straws will fit.

Prefer hard bottles? This is where I needed to think outside the box… OMM make very slim 500ml bottles and they fit like a glove.

Have no fears, you can carry enough water up at the front. Also, lets not forget the two external pockets. In my tests, I had 2x 500ml OMM flasks on the rear too. So, at a minimum you could carry 1litre or 2litres with 2 bottles on the rear. At a max you could carry 3litres with 1.5 up front and 1.5 at the rear.

The two pockets that sit below the bottles are a real welcome addition. They are easy to get at. They have great capacity, trust me, you need no more additional space up front, especially when one considers the two additional sip pockets on the shoulder straps. These pockets are less spacious but they will take a phone, snacks or other essentials.

 

There is an attachment system for poles that comes over the right shoulder. I personally though would probably attach to bungee cords to the front of the pack so that I can place the poles across my chest when not in use.

Fit is sweet and with all the adjusters you can really get this pack close to your torso. It fits like a piece of clothing and there are no rough edges – all the seams are soft. Salomon actually say that the pack may be worn against the skin and it will feel like apparel.

At 484g it’s light.

INITIAL SUMMARY

This pack is still under test and things such as longevity, strength, weaknesses, durability and so on have not been tested as it’s too early to say.

However, what I can say is that this is the best pack I have tested for running when the contents are heavy and I require 20L capacity.

I have long been a fan of the Ultimate Direction Fastpack as I loved its simplicity and no nonsense approach to the task of carrying many items and weight. The Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 has now become my new favourite.

It’s not without flaws – what pack is? The yellow cord compression works like a dream but it can be a little tricky to set up – it’s a small price to pay though.

The front bottle pockets almost certainly require soft-flask use or using the OMM 500ml bottles. I personally would always caution against soft-flasks for a multi-day, if they puncture, you are screwed. However, the Hydrapak soft-flasks are more durable than much of the competition and they have never let me down. The 600 or 750 versions work with the vest – perfect.

We will follow up with some action shots of the pack and an overall summary from a male and female perspective in the coming weeks, for now, this pack gets an ‘A’ for awesome.

Photo below is copyright Ricky Gates – he’s currently using a prototype Peak 20 with front pack. Interesting!


In use at Everest Trail Race, November 2016

Some comments:

Paul Wilson Used one on the spine race. It was ace. Did most of my training with an ultimate direction fast pack then seen got the Salomon pack. Which proved to be far better.

Jana Studzinska Tested on fully self supported solo running trip across Serra de Tramuntana. Can’t recommend more.

Sito Castello perfecta para la Everest Trail Race.

Robert Kampczyk Cool bag. Like it because my complete Photo Equipment can insert.

What Salomon say:

Ideal for alpine running, superlight mountaineering or fast hiking, the streamlined S-LAB Peak 20 set uses our trail running knowledge to move fast in the mountain, with stretch fit and complete stability. With convenient access to the 20L compartment, both the pack and the load are easily compressed for maximum stability under partial load. It includes front storage solutions for two 500ml soft flasks and essentials and possibility to carry poles, ice axes…

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable fit
  • Breathability

FEATURES:
Back systems
MotionFit Trail
Sensifit (pack)

Load Management
Soft Twin Link
Compression quick lace
Top and bottom sensi load lifter

Pockets & compartments
2 front soft hydration elastic pockets
2 front zipped large pockets
2 shoulder expandable pockets
2 top zipped mesh pocket

Carrying system
4D Pole holder

Opening & closure
Wide front opening with double sliders

Miscellaneous
Soft trims
Apparel sizing
Patent pending

Fabrics
PVC free
Elastic Power mesh
Fast wicking fabrics
70D Nylon Double Ripstop, Waterproof 500mm
70D Nylon Triple Ripstop – Silicone coating, Waterproof 500mm
Elastic Jersey

Pack weight (lb oz) : 17.073
Pack weight (g) : 484
Pack volume (l) : 20
Pack volume (ci) : 1220

Lanzarote Training Camp 2017 – Day 8

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All good things come to an end and today, unfortunately, was the last full day of the 2017 #multidaytrainingcamp.

It started at 0800 with a run to our hill rep volcano (by popular demand) and after a 30-minute easy run, we then played on one of the most amazing natural obstacle courses that provided everyone with a great workout and stunning views.

A short break and then at 1100 we had a 2-hour talk on nutrition looking at the day-to-day needs of a runner at a typical self-sufficient multi-day race. All aspects were covered and of course a few surprises made many of the camp attendees raise an eyebrow and then quickly write a note to make sure they didn’t forget these pearls of wisdom for the future.

Lunch was followed with our last group runs. By popular demand they were easy, really easy. Elisabet ran 8km at ‘long-stage’ pace to provide an insight for the ‘faster’ runners of how to pace an 80+km stage. Niandi and Ian ran nice and easy for 12-15km and Marie-Paule took the walkers out for a long 5-6 hour hike.

That’s it.

I will update more in the coming days on the many highs of the 2017 camp.

As I write this, the bar is open and many camp attendees are practicing re-hydrating… it would be a shame to miss out!

Want to join us in 2018? Go HERE

Lanzarote Training Camp 2017 – Day 5

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Now THAT was a stunning day!

0700 and meeting at the run track at Club La Santa was not, in the majority, most peoples idea of fun. However, the glow of head torches and an easy run of around 1-hours around the trails and lagoon of CLS, very much set everyone up for a perfect day in Lanzarote.

Breakfast was followed by two talks. Rich Carpenter discussed his first Marathon des Sables in 2016 and talked us through his whole preparation and race. He pointed out what worked and what didn’t and he also provided some invaluable personal ‘tips’ that many could take away to improve their own future multi-day experience.

Ian and Niandi then discussed the travel to Morocco, what everyone could expect and they provided invaluable hints-and-tips to make the bivouac experience more pleasurable until the race started.

Lunch and an afternoon break was followed by a run run to a volcano and a series of hill reps. I guess it was a session many feared… But, by unanimous feedback, the session has been the most exciting, the most welcomed and the most inspiring. Everyone loved it!

It was inspirational to see some runners push themselves to their physical limit, while others conquered a fear of climbing, exposed ridges and technical terrain. It was a real winning session and one that set everyone up perfectly for evening drinks in the bar and a relaxing and casual dinner.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is a big day with a long run out and back along the coast.

Interested in our 2018 Training Camp? Go HERE

Lanzarote Training Camp 2017 – Day 3

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A glorious morning was followed by a windy and chilly afternoon but Lanzarote put a smile on every clients face as they arrived in 15-degree temperatures after leaving a -5 London behind.

It was an admin day as everyone checked in, stocks up on supplies, relaxed and then at 1700-hours it was an introduction to the terrain and conditions they will encounter for the next 7-days.

It was a stunning end to the day as we ran for 60-minutes in three ability based groups. The sun accompanied us and as we returned back to La Santa we were provided with one of this magical sunsets that made everyone realise in an instant, why they are here.

Light stretching followed the run and then in the evening it was casual drinks and a group meal.

Day 4 starts at 0800 with a full-on run that will see most participants on the trail for 4 to 6 hours.

Interested in joining us in 2018? Go HERE

Lanzarote Training Camp 2017 – Day 1

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The snow, the ice, the rain and the cold arrived in the UK. Temperatures plummeted. Lanzarote was the only place to be and thank goodness our multi-day training camp is now an annual fixture.

Elisabet Barnes, Niandi Carmont and myself arrived on this majestic Canary island of Lanzarote, two days ahead of our 2017 camp to put logistics in place and do a final check of some of the run routes we will use.

Blue skies and 20 degree temperatures greeted us. The bright blue sky, the warm rays immediately rejuvenating us from the cold and dark of the UK. No confirmation is needed but within seconds we know only too well why we do this camp at this time of year.

Today was all about settling in but it would be rude not to get out on the trails as the day came to a close. Using one of our training run routes, we ran, climbed and scrambled one of the many volcanoes that are located on this island. It was a magical way to end the day.

Wednesday, we will do a full long run route recce and then on Thursday, our clients will arrive from all over the world to start a full-on week learning how best to train, prepare and plan for a multi-day race. Lanzarote is the perfect environment for this.

Out 2017 #multidaytrainingcamp is underway!

Long Term Goal Setting and Planning for Ultra Running

The Long Term Goal

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Recently I have produced several articles that have been created to help runners formulate a plan for a new year of racing and training. The articles have been as follows:

  • Planning a Running and Racing Year HERE
  • To Base Train or not to Base Train HERE
  • Base Training HERE
  • How long should the long run be? HERE
  • In addition, I wrote several articles on walking and how important it is to practice this for:
  • Ultra running HERE
  • Walking with poles HERE
  • Walking efficiency when climbing HERE

Recently I was involved in a series of discussions about the Marathon des Sables, not the 2016 edition of the race but the 2017 and 2018 editions of the race. One thing that became very clear is the panic and apprehension many runners feel about a goal that may well be a ‘one-off’ or lifetime goal.

Experienced runners will know how to goal set, they will know how to periodise and plan their training so that they hopefully arrive at a target event in peak form. This was discussed in Planning a Running and Racing Year (HERE). However, goals that go beyond one macrocycle (one year) require a much greater perspective and overview. If you are new to running, well, it can be just terrifying.

A great deal of advice can be extremely counter productive as it makes many runners feel inadequate, inexperienced, lacking confidence and in the worse scenarios even questioning if they should even go ahead with the race.

Let’s be clear. Everyone is an individual, I have yet to find two runners who need the same training plan or structure. However, certain scenarios work for all and it is with this in mind that I am writing this post.

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Why set a long term goal?

Long term goals provide incredible motivation to step out of the door and to train. You will have heard the saying, ‘if it was easy, everyone would do it!’

To that end, iconic races such as UTMB and Marathon des Sables, are races that for many are the ultimate race, they are races to be built up to and therefore a macrocycle is not enough time to prepare; hence long term goal setting.

Irrespective of experience, two key words come in to play when setting a long term plan: Structured and Progressive.

In this scenario, I am using goal setting for Marathon des Sables.

STRUCTURE

A macrocycle is one training year and this is broken down into mesocycles. It may sound like a fancy word but a mesocycle is a series of blocks of training that make up one macrocycle. For purposes of explanation, let’s assume that you are running the Marathon des Sables which takes place in April 2018.

I always recommend getting a year planner so that you get a big picture of what lies ahead. Fourteen months may seem like a long way off, it is, no need to panic, but also don’t become complacent. What’s important here is experience. I am therefore going to have two runners.

Runner A has run a marathon, runs to keep fit and has set the lifetime goal of Marathon des Sables. Priority is completion.

Runner B has been running for years, eats marathons for breakfast, races ultra races regularly and is going to Marathon des Sables as a challenge, to test him or herself and plans to compete over complete.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out that runner A and runner B need completely different training plans and strategies. Keeping in mind that A has less experience, more insecurities and a great deal of anxiety about the big target, I will talk through the possible planning cycle for A.

Let’s break down the macrocycle. As I said, we have fourteen months to play with, so a schedule may look like this:

Phase 1: Feb, Mar, Apr, May with C race objective (marathon).

Phase 2: June, July, Aug with B race objective (50k to 50m).

Phase 3: Sep, Oct, Nov with A race objective (multi-day race)

Phase 4: Dec, Jan with B race objective and/ or specific warm weather training camp.

Phase 5: Feb, Mar.

Phase 6: Apr – A race.

Phase 1

Is all about consistent and regular running based on available time, ability and commitments. Set yourself a C race target for the end of this period. It could be a half marathon or even a marathon. It’s always good to have intermediate targets to work to and we often use C and  B races as stepping stones to an A race, in this scenario, Marathon des Sables.

Be realistic here, it’s important. Ask yourself a couple of key questions:

How many days can I train?

How many hours a week can I train?

We are going to assume that running three/four days is possible every week with a fourth/ fifth day for cross training and strength work. A microcycle (week) in phase 1 may well look like:

  • Tuesday – key day
  • Thursday – key day
  • Saturday – Cross training
  • Sunday – key day

In phase 1 we want to just walk, run or walk/ run and build a base of fitness from which to build. No need to rush in and panic. Be sensible and progressive. A safe way to do this is build for three weeks and on the fourth week rest and recover, Yes, rest and recovery is just as important as running.

Use the 10-20% rule and never add more time than this to each run. An example for the first month may look like:

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Over this phase, you would eventually cap the length of time for the Tuesday and Thursday runs at 60 to 90-minutes and the Sunday run would progress to 3-hours 30-minutes as follows:

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Use this system in phase 1 building week on week over four months to lay a great foundation of progressive miles and time on feet. If you have built progressively, your Sunday long run will have progressed to over three hours which puts you in a great place for a C run target.

A marathon would be a good C target at the end of phase 1. You wouldn’t taper for a race like this, it would be a training run that would be added to your plan.

Phase 2

You have phase 1 under your belt and the confidence of completing a C target. Phase 2 now builds and at the end of this phase you will have a B race target as a goal. This race should be challenging but not so challenging that it becomes intimidating or breaks you. If you ran a half marathon as a C race, then your B race could be a marathon. If your C race was a marathon, then your B race may be a 50k or up to a 50-mile race if you feel that training is going very well?

It’s also important now to think ahead to Phase 3 and an intermediate A race target that will motivate you and boost your confidence for phase 4, 5 and 6.

Also think about planning and booking heat chamber sessions or equivalent for the final build up phase just before the race; this usually takes place in the final 2-3 weeks and sessions go quickly.

In the UK, a race takes place in November called the Druids. It’s a three day race where runners take on a marathon for three consecutive days. It’s a perfect ‘mini’ Marathon des Sables scenario and a great opportunity to test clothing, pack, fitness and build confidence.

Assuming that four days training are still possible and that you have had no injury issues or problems, we can now progress training building on endurance in the long runs and adding some faster/ strength sessions during the week.

A week may look like this:

  • Tuesday – Hills.
  • Thursday – Speed
  • Saturday – Cross training and strength.
  • Sunday – Long run.

As in phase 1, progression is really important and the plan would actually change and evolve over this period with each month looking different.

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The above plan is a guide and this is where a run coach can step in and provide structure and remove the guess work away from how the plan is put together. It’s all about placing the right emphasis at the right place and at the right time.

You will see how month 3 changes from months 1 and 2 so that it is specific to the B target at the end of this mesocycle.

Phase 3

You have just completed your longest run in a B race, be that 50k, 50m or somewhere in-between and your confidence is sky high. You now have an A race on the horizon (November) that involves three back-to back marathons and suddenly your appreciation of what is required is much clearer. You respect the Marathon des Sables target but now it is less intimidating as you have moved your way up through logical and incremental steps.

Another three month phase of training that allows is to fine tune and hone in on the racing skills required.

As you may expect, phase 3 starts with recovery from your B race target. You will need to cross train or just run easy for 3-4 days. By the time the weekend comes around, you will feel as though recovery is well on the way, don’t rush. Take your time and the following week run easy Tuesday and Thursday for up to 60-minutes and then do 60 and a 90-minute run on Saturday and build on the Sunday run. An example of phase 3 is below. Please remember, YOU are an individual with specific needs and what I provide below is a possible structure leading to an A race in November.

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The A race at the end of November provides a significant marker in your training. The experience will allow you an opportunity to find out what worked, what didn’t work, how your kit worked, what was good, what was bad and so on.

December is now upon you and Phase 4 is an opportunity to look at weaknesses and work on them so that you are in great shape to take on Phase 5 which is the final period before your key race.

1. If you lacked endurance in your November A race, keep working on consistency and build endurance with time on feet.

2. If you lacked speed and want to run faster, December is a perfect opportunity to cut back on distance and long runs and add some speed work.

3. Due to the demands of running with a pack, running long and all the associated fatigue, make sure that you incorporate a strength and core routine to make you a stronger runner. It’s easy to say here, ‘I don’t have the time!” You do, cut down your run time on a Tuesday and Thursday and free up time for strength and core. Maybe you can even find an extra day in your week (Wednesday) to allow you to work on this. Alternatively, work on strength and core at home maybe while watching television? The time is there, you just need to find it and be creative.

4. Practice walking. Effective and fast walking is a key weapon to a successful race in any long ultra or multi-day race.

With a new year coming, April and the heat of the Sahara looms on the horizon. January provides a perfect opportunity for a warm weather training camp just as the weather is wet, miserable and cold in Europe.

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In conjunction with 2015 ladies Marathon des Sables champion Elisabet BARNES, we run a week long camp in Lanzarote that provides the perfect opportunity to test everything in a real situation. We even provide a bivouac experience. You can ready daily posts and view images from the 2016 camp HERE and you can listen to client feedback below:

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Phase 5 is the last phase and ultimately you have 6 weeks to get prepared and ready for your key race. If you attended a training camp you will now have a full appreciation of everything that you need to do. That may be changing kit, more time on feet, looking at nutrition or even a combination of all elements

Now is the time to make sure you have all your admin sorted – insurance, medical, compulsory kit and so on.

Don’t leave anything to chance now. If in doubt about equipment, contact MyRaceKit, they are able to provide expert advice in regard to everything that you will need.

Think about heat and how you will adapt. With luck, back in phase 2 or 3 you will have thought ahead and booked time in a heat chamber. Ideally this will take place in the final 2-3 weeks before the race. No sessions booked? Train in a gym with additional layers, take a sauna, do Bikram Yoga etc

Again, consistency is key here. You have been training for this long term goal for sometime, don’t do anything silly, don’t do a long run that is really long; you up your chances of injury risk. Remember, training is about ALL the sessions you have done and not just one session

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Phase 6 is race time.

Be organised, be prepared, think of everything and have the race of your life.

It’s in this final phase when you are so close that little things can go wrong. Be prepared as best as you can. You can’t account for the unexpected but reduce chances of anything going wrong by taking no risks.

The information provided above is designed to provide an outline and a guide on how to plan for a long term goal. Although you may be able to take this plan away and use it, please be sensible and assess your own experience, fitness and goals. Importantly, the scenario provided is with a multi-day race in mind, you would need to tweak and adjust this for a single stage race or a mountain ultra for example.

I can’t emphasise enough that we are all individual, so you need to find out what works for you.

Good luck.

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The Ultimate Equipment Guide to Desert Multi-Day Racing – Hints ‘n’ Tips

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Desert running brings many challenges and running in a desert for multiple days brings a whole new set of challenges. Over 30-years ago (1984), Patrick Bauer, filled up a pack with food and water and trekked off alone into the Algerian Sahara to cover 350km’s on foot in a self-sufficient manner. Little did he know at the time, but this journey was the start of something incredible, the Marathon des Sables.

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Also read

Top Tips To Better Multi-Day Running HERE

Multi-Day Food On The Cheap HERE

MDS as it is affectionately known paved the way not only for multi-day desert racing but ‘all’ multi-day racing, be that in snow, ice, rainforest, jungle or the mountains. If multi-day racing was the mafia, MDS would be the Corleone family and Patrick Bauer would be the Godfather – Don Vito Corleone.

All multi-day races have followed and tried to replicate the MDS format, however, the reality is, I have yet to experience a race that matches the size, the scale, the organisation and awe-inspiring splendor of what Bauer and his team have created in the Sahara. Ask anyone, despite experience, despite achievement, MDS is usually ‘on the bucket list!’ It’s fair to say, that MDS is directly attributable for many new ultra-runners. You see, MDS offers more than just running, it offers a challenge, it offers something quite unique – the Sahara and the MDS strips the runner back to basics and deprives them of all luxuries so that they are stripped raw. Runners find themselves in the desert.

 

The 32nd Marathon des Sables takes place in 2017 and runners all over the world are wondering and asking the question, “What equipment do I need for the MDS?”

This question is the same for many other desert races but I need to be clear, not all races are the same. For example, MDS requires the runner to be completely self-sufficient. This harks back to Bauer’s pioneering expedition in 1984. The runner must carry ‘all’ they need for the duration of the event, the only exception being:

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Bivouac – A simple tent cover is provided at the end of each day and this tent must be shared with 7 other runners.

Water – Water is provided in bivouac and out on the course but is rationed.

Anything else the runner needs must be carried – pack, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, food, snacks, luxuries etc.…

The above format is very similar for races such as the Grand to Grand in the USA, Racing the Planet races such as Atacama, Gobi and so on.

So, items discussed in this post directly relate to a ‘self-sufficient’ race in the MDS style. To clarify, races such as Big Red Run in Australia and The Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun in South Africa are ‘semi’ self-sufficient races and therefore runners can carry far less items and often bags are transported each day and therefore the runner can run light and fast. However, please keep in mind that many of the kit items and needs directly relate and are transferable.

The Detail

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Let’s be clear, it is important to note that equipment will not make you complete any race. What it can do is make the process easier and more comfortable. Equipment is something we all must take to any race and finding out what works and doing the research is part of the fun.

If you want to increase your chances of completing your chosen race, commit to the training required, get your head in the correct place and then finish off with the appropriate equipment for the job. Far too many stress about what equipment they need and neglect the appropriate training.

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Multi-day racing in its purest form should be very simple. However, over the year’s deciding what equipment to take has become increasingly more complicated.

It shouldn’t be complicated and in all honesty, it isn’t!

Here is just a simple list of absolute essentials, one could say that this list is mandatory:

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Buff
  • Jacket
  • T-Shirt
  • Shorts/ Skort
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Gaiters
  • Rucksack
  • Sleeping Mat (optional)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Head Torch
  • Flip-flops or similar
  • Toilet paper
  • Personal medical kit (feet etc.)
  • Spot Tracker (supplied at MDS, optional at other races)
  • Road Book (supplied)
  • Salt Tablets (supplied)
  • *Food for the required days
  • **Mandatory kit
  • ***Water

Optional items:

  • Warm jacket (usually down that packs small and light) – I consider this essential and not optional
  • Stove and Esbit fuel blocks
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Spare socks
  • Walking Poles
  • Goggles
  • Spare clothes (?)

Luxuries:

  • Mp3 player
  • Phone
  • Solar charger
  • Kitchen sink…

Perspective:

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Any multi-day race has (arguably) five types of participant:

  1. The elite races who will contest the high-ranking positions.
  2. Top age groupers who will look to race for a high place and test themselves overall.
  3. Competitive runners looking for a challenge.
  4. Those who wish to complete and not compete.
  5. Newbies who are out of their comfort zone.

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When one looks at kit and requirements, it’s easy to think that the needs of the top elites in group 1 will vary from those in group 5. I would arguably say no! All the runners need the same things; they all must carry the same mandatory kit and they all must carry the same minimum food requirement.

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I think the differences come with experience. Novices and newbies will more than likely prepare for the unknown, the ‘just in case’ scenario. Whereas top runners will be on a minimum, the absolute minimum. Groups 2- 4 are a mix of groups 1 and 5 and they fall somewhere between.

So, for me, groups 2, 3, 4 and 5 should (where possible) aim to be like group 1. The only key difference comes with shoe choice. Runners who will spend much longer on their feet and out on the course will most definitely need a shoe that can withstand that pressure and the shoe must also be good for walking. Groups 2-5 never fully appreciate (often until it’s too late) how much they will walk in a desert race.

EQUIPMENT IN DETAIL

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When looking at equipment, I am going to provide a brief synopsis and then some recommendations. I will then supply ‘my’ equipment list.

Hat – A hat is essential to keep the sun off your head; options exist that have a neck cover built in to avoid that delicate area that will almost certainly be in the sun all day.

Sunglasses – So many choice, but you need a good pair that has ideally a large lens to protect the eye. Some desert specific sunglasses include a brow pad that helps stop sweat dripping in your eye. Do you need prescription? If so, I use prescription Oakley and they are excellent. Do you need goggles? Yes and no. If you have good sunglasses with good coverage, then no. However, should a sand storm hit, it can be uncomfortable. Goggles guarantee no sand in the eyes.

Buff – A buff or even two are essential. One around the neck helps keep the sun off and you can also wet it to help reduce core temperature. In wind and sand storms, the Buff is lifted and protects mouth, nose and sometimes eyes. A spare Buff is a luxury but worth considering.

Jacket – Jacket choice will depend on sleeping bag choice. If you are using a light bag, a lightweight down jacket is an essential item. Look at Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, Yeti Companyon Strato, Mont-Bell Plasma 1000 Down, Berghaus VapourLight (not down) and/ or PHD custom made.

T-Shirt – It’s not rocket science, you will have been running in a shirt already, if it works, why change it? I read countless arguments about should it be black or white – you know what, it doesn’t matter. Look at the elite runners, they are often sponsored and have little or no choice on colour. Comfort however is key.

Shorts/ Skort – Same answer as T-Shirt.

Socks – Getting the correct socks are key for any race and like I have said for shirt and shorts, if you have socks that work, why change? So many options exist but for me I am a firm believer in Injinji toe socks.

Shoes – Shoes are personal and must be suited to you, the individual. Consider your gait (neutral, supinate or pronate), consider time on feet, consider your weight, consider how much you will walk (and then double it) also consider shoe drop and how much cushioning you need. It’s impossible to recommend any one shoe because of these variables. You will see top runners using a lighter shoe, remember, these shoes only need to last 20-30 hours. However, you may well need a shoe for 40, 50 or 60-hours. Do you need a trail shoe? No, you don’t need a trail shoe but I would say that many trail shoes are more durable as they are designed for the rough and tumble of variable terrain. Do you need an aggressive outsole? No, you don’t, but I do think some grip is better than none and therefore I would use a trail shoe over road. Protection? Toe box protection is a good idea as deserts include lots or rocks, far more than you may think. Do I need a size bigger? Shoe sizing does depend on what is ‘normal’ for you. I always recommend a thumb nail of space above the big toe, you don’t need any more than this. Recommendations of going a size is bigger is bad advice in my opinion. A shoe that is too large allows your foot to move, a moving foot causes friction, friction causes blisters and the rest is the same old story that I see at desert races all over the world. However, I would recommend a shoe with a little more width in the toe box, this will allow for some comfort as the days progress. If you are prone to feet swelling, discomfort, blisters and so on, get a strategy sorted before you head out to your chosen race.

Gaiters – Are essential and they should be sewn and glued on to the shoe to guarantee that no sand can enter. Raidlight, MyRaceKit, WAA and Sandbaggers make versions of gaiters.

Rucksack – A rucksack is one of the most essential items for the race as it will hold on your kit for the duration of the event. Many versions exist and the type of pack you choose depends on many things: Male/ Female, Small/ Large, Tall/ Short and so on. Some packs just don’t work for some people. You also need to consider if you need a front pack to hold essential items. How will you drink on the go? How much do you plan to run in comparison to walk? I have some simple advice:

  • Keep the pack as small as possible, if you have a bigger pack you will just fill it.
  • Keep the pack simple – far too many packs are over complicated and messy
  • Keep the pack light
  • Make sure that drinks are accessible, easy to use and don’t bounce
  • See how the pack feels full with all food and then see how the pack feels with 5-days food missing.

Raidlight used to be ‘the’ pack for a multi-day race but that has changed in recent years. For sure, Raidlight are still one of the main options, however, the WAA pack is a ‘go-to’ at many races and the Ultimate Direction Fastpack is slowly but surely becoming a favourite. New entries to the market are coming from Salomon and OMM have been making packs for multi-day adventures for years.

Sleeping Mat (optional) – Inflatable, Foam or no mat. I’m a firm believer in taking a mat, the weight v comfort is a no brainer. I would also choose an inflatable mat even though it does run a risk of puncture. However, with good admin, good care, in years of using inflatable I have never had an issue. A foam mat is guaranteed to last the race but for me a large and cumbersome. OMM make a very thin foam mat that they use as the back padding for their packs – this may be a god option for the real minimalist runner. Look at products from Thermarest, Sea to Summit, Klymvit and OMM.

Sleeping bag – Like the pack, a sleeping bag is a key item is it is likely to be the largest and heaviest item (except food and water) that you will carry. A sleeping bag is important as a good night’s rest is key for day-to-day running. If you are on a budget, Raidlight offer a ‘Combi’ that is a sleeping bag that converts into a jacket. You kill two birds with one stone and the price is a bargain. However, for me it has downsides – it’s large, heavy and offers limited flexibility with temperature regulation. I will always go with a sleeping bag and down jacket scenario is this for me provides less weight, less packed size, more flexibility and the option to get warmer at night by wearing the jacket inside the bag. Problem is, this comes at a price. A lightweight down bag and jacket will be more than likely three to four times the price of the Raidlight Combi. Also, consider your size, shoulder width, height and so on. Some bags are very small whereas bags such as PHD and Yeti can be purchased in small, medium or large. Recommended bags are PHD (custom or off-the peg), Yeti, Western Mountaineering, Haglofs, OMM (not down) and Raidlight.

Head Torch – Don’t compromise, you need a good head-torch that provides enough light for running in a black desert at night. Don’t use rechargeable or a torch with gizmos. You just ideally need variable power, a red-light option so you don’t disturb others at night and it will either take AA or AAA batteries. Recommendations are Black Diamond, Petzl, Silva or LED Lenser.

Flip-flops – Free slippers that hotels give away are popular as they are small, fold and are lightweight. However, they don’t stay on and they don’t protect from thorns or stones. Cheap, lightweight plastic or rubber flip flops work for me. I have seen some improvised flip-flops made from run shoe insoles and some string. It’s that group 1 to group 5 scenario again!

Personal medical kit (feet etc.) – Foot care is essential and although many races have a medical team on hand to look after you and your feet, understanding how to do this yourself is key. learn foot care and treatment and understand how to tape your feet. Ready-made foot care kits are available such as this at MyRaceKit here

Spot Tracker (supplied at MDS, optional at other races)

Road Book (supplied)

*Food for the required days – (see clarification below). Food is very personal and it’s imperative you find out what works for you based on your size, gender, calorie burn and speed of running. The front runners will use carbohydrate and fat as fuel as they will run at a faster pace and therefore they will potentially fuel ‘during’ each stage with carbs. However, as you move through the pack going into groups 2-5 the need for fat as a fuel is more important and therefore ALL runners before heading out to any multi-stage race should ideally have taught their bodies to use fat – we have an unlimited supply of this fuel! Post run it’s important to repair, we need protein for this and re-stock energy supplies, we need carbs for this. Dehydrated meals for many runners form the basis of a morning meal and evening meal. Many options are available, some people can eat anything, others are very particular. Keep in mind allergies such as gluten intolerance and decide in advance will you go hot or cold food. For me, the additional weight of a Titanium stove and fuel is worth it for hot food and a drink. We sampled some dehydrated food in 2015 HERE. In 2015, my partner Niandi Carmont ran Marathon des Sables and we worked hard to reduce pack weight to the minimum and we made sure we dialed food choices in to provide her with her desired calorie needs but also keep weight low.

As an example:

  • Dehydrated Meals x6 672g
  • Dried Mango 93g x 4 372g
  • Porridge 59g x 7 413g
  • Coffee 1g x 10 10g
  • Peanut Butter 33g x 5 165g
  • Honey 21g x 8 168g
  • Mini Salami 10g x 10 100g
  • Tropical Mix Bag 194g
  • Sesame Bites 27g x 6 162g
  • Dried Banana Block 270g
  • Mixed Nuts 200g x 2 400g
  • Macademia Nuts Bag 153g
  • Cranberries Bag 175g
  • Pitta Wraps 296g

Total Weight 3550g

**Mandatory kit – see clarification

***Water – see clarification

MY EQUIPMENT LIST

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It’s important to note that equipment must be specific to the race you are doing and race conditions. The list below is an example of equipment for Marathon des Sables. However, if I was going to Atacama or the Grand to Grand (both self-sufficient) I would be looking at a heavier and warmer sleeping bag and a warmer jacket. Temperatures at night get much colder than the Sahara. The Grand to Grand can also have rain. If a rain jacket is on your list, the inov-8 AT/C Stormshell at 150g is hard to beat.

It’s important to note that equipment will not make you complete any race. What it can do is make the process easier and more comfortable. If you were looking for a one-stop solution, I would say that if you went away and purchased the equipment list below, you would have a comfortable and successful race. The exceptions come with shoes, that is personal and food. Food choices below are personal but a good example, you must find what works for you.

Also, note that minimum pack weight (on day one) at MDS is 6.5kg. So, you can keep purchasing lighter and lighter and then find that you are too light. I have done this. The plus side of this, is that lighter equipment allows you to take more food and/ or more options – again a good thing. For example, in my equipment list, I could go with a slightly lighter jacket, I could not take poles and I could leave the iPods at home and that would allow me 2 or 3 more dehydrated meals. However, I would prefer the equipment I want and am happy with and add 2,3,4 or 500g for the first day. Remember, the pack gets lighter as the day’s pass.

WEARING:

Hat: inov-8 or The North Face

inov-8-hat

Shirt: inov-8 AT/C Base with zip or The North Face ‘Flight’ Series – Both light and functional and allow air flow. I don’t like tight or compression as they are too hot.

inov-8-atc-t-shirt

Shorts: inov-8 AT/C 8” Short or The North Face ‘Flight’ Series – Both light and functional and allow air flow. I don’t like tight or compression as they are too hot.

inov-8-atc-trail-short

Socks: Injinji Trail Midweight or Injinji Outdoor 2.0 (which is Merino wool)

injinji-midweight

Shoes: The North Face Ultra Endurance, Scott Kinabalu Supertrac or inov-8 Trail Talon – Please note, I am a ‘neutral’ runner who prefers a moderately cushioned shoe with an 8mm drop. I would happily use any of these shoes in any multi-day race. They are comfortable, take a gaiter well, have good protection and they work excellently when walking. Remember what I said, shoes are very personal.

scott-kinabalu-supertrac

tnf-ultra-enduranceinov-8-trail-talon-275

Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Peak 3 – Has enough battery life for a whole race. If I was worried about weight I would just go with a cheap digital.

Buff: Any

Glasses: Oakley Prescription – Prizm Trail Flak 2.0 has interchangeable lenses so I can switch from clear and smoke

oakley-flak-20-xl-matte-black-black-iridium

IN THE PACK:

Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20L 520g – It’s a simple pack that is light, fits to the torso well, comes in S/M or M/L, holds two large bottles comfortably against the torso and importantly they don’t bounce and it has 3 external stretch pockets. The main compartment has a roll-top closure, so, as pack contents get less, you can roll the pack smaller to reduce any problems with contents moving around.

ultimate-direction-fastpack-20

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket 180g – is super light, has a full zip and pockets, it’s a jacket I can use anywhere. I could go lighter, a little lighter, for example, the Mont-Bell is 50g lighter!

mountain-hardwear-ghost-whisperer

PHD Minimus K Sleeping Bag 380g – PHD work for me, you can have them custom made with or without zips and they are excellent. Yeti make a bag that is more than 100g lighter but I prefer the warmth and comfort of the PHD.

phd-minim-ultra-k

Thermarest Prolite Small 310g – Small, comfortable and you can double up and use it as padding in your pack.

 thermarest-prolite-small

Black Diamond Carbon Z Poles 290g – Lightweight and folding that provide 4-wheel drive when walking.

black-diamond-carbon-z-pole

Black Diamond Spot Headtorch w/ batteries and spares 120g – Powerful (200 lumens), lightweight with many varied settings.

 black-diamond-spot

Esbit Stove 11g – Small, lightweight and simple.

esbit-stove

Esbit Titanium Pot 106g – Small, lightweight and durable.

esbit-pot 

Esbit Fuel 168g

esbit-fuel

iPod Shuffle x2 64g – Life saver

Buff 16g – Essential

Spare Socks 91g – Injinji Trail Midweight or Injinji Outdoor 2.0 (which is Merino wool) 

Flip-Flops 150g – But Xero True Feel are good.

 sandals

Total Weight 2406g If I was looking to be very minimalist and as light as possible, I would not take the stove, pot and fuel and the poles, total 1831g. But, I would probably prefer the option for hot food/ drinks and work around no poles, so total weight would be 2116g.

EXTRAS:

  • Compeed 22g
  • Sportshield 8g
  • Corn Wraps 8g
  • Spork 10g
  • Pen Knife 22g
  • Compass 32g
  • Matches 20g
  • Savlon Antiseptic 18g
  • Toothpaste 36g
  • Tooth Brush 15g
  • Superglue 3g
  • Space Blanket 60g
  • Hand Gel 59g
  • Wipes 85g
  • Toilet Paper 36g
  • Safety Pins 5g
  • Ear Plugs 2g
  • Venom Pump 28g
  • Blindfold 15g
  • Sun Cream 80g
  • Whistle 15g
  • Signal Mirror 12g
  • SPOT Tracker 113g

Total Weight 806g

TOTALS:

Pack and Main Kit Contents: 2406g

Extras: 806g

Food: 3550g

Total 6762g

This pack weight includes poles and cooking utensils plus luxuries like Mp3

 (water would be added to this weight)

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IN SUMMARY

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I enjoy the process of looking at kit, looking at the options available and working out what is best for me and my situation. In some respects, I am lucky as I can test many items out in the market place and decide what I do and what I don’t like. However, trust me, products these days are so good that you can’t go wrong with almost any of the choices. Yeti, PHD, Haglofs etc. all make great sleeping bags, they will all work. Mountain Hardwear, Yeti, Mont-Bell etc. down jackets are all excellent, they all work. I could go on, but you get the picture. Like I said at the beginning, multi-day and desert racing is not complicated, don’t make it so. The only item you need to be sure on is shoes, make sure you get that right. But then again, I am sure you were running before you entered your multi-day race? You were using run shoes, be them road or trail and one must assume that they gave you no problems? If the answer is yes – why change them!

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Finally, we all love equipment and gadgets, it’s fun to go shopping and get new items. However, being physically fit and mentally strong is what will get you to the finish line – equipment is just part of the process, remember that.

Good luck!

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Clarification:

*Food (As required at Marathon des Sables)

He/she must select the type of food best suited to his/her personal needs, health, weather conditions, weight and backpack conditions. We remind you that airlines strictly forbid the carrying of gas (for cooking) on board either as hand luggage or otherwise. Each competitor must have 14 000 k/calories, that is to say a minimum of 2,000 k/calories per day, otherwise he/she will be penalized (see ART. 27 and 28). Any food out of its original packaging must be equipped, legibly, of the nutrition label shown on the product concerned. Any food out its original packaging must be equipped, legibly, of the nutrition label shown on the product concerned. 

**Mandatory Kit (as specified at Marathon des Sables)

  • 10 safety pins
  • Compass 1deg precision
  • Whistle
  • Knife
  • Disinfectant
  • Venom pump
  • Signal mirror
  • Survival blanket
  • Sun cream
  • 200-euro note
  • Passport
  • Medical certificate

***Water (as specified for Marathon des Sables)

Liaison stage: 10.5 liters per person per day

  • 1.5 liters before the start each morning,
  • 2 or 3 x 1.5 liters during the race, at check points,
  • 4.5 liters at arrival post.

Marathon stage: 12 liters per person per day:

  • 1.5 litre before the start in the morning,
  • 1.5 liters at check-points 1 and 3,
  • 3 liters at check-point 2,
  • 4.5 liters at arrival post. 

Non-stop stage: 22.5 liters per person over 2 days:

  • 1.5 liters before the start of the race in the morning,
  • 1.5 liters at check-points 1, 3, 6,
  • 1.5 or 3 liters at check-points 2, 4 and 5,
  • 4.5 liters at arrival post,
  • 4.5 liters at the bivouac.

Why not join our Multi-Day Training Camp in Lanzarote with 2015 Marathon des Sables ladies champion, Elisabet Barnes. The camp takes place in January each year.

Information HERE

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Support on PATREON HERE

support_patreon

Big Red Run 2016 – Stage 1 ‘Birdsville Marathon’ – 42.195km

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The 2016 Big Red Run got underway today, Saturday June 25th from the ‘Outback’ town of Birdsville on the edge of the Simpson Desert.

Located in the ‘Northern Territory,’ the Simpson Desert is a large area of red sand and dunes that currently resembles a green pasture due to excessive rain in recent weeks and months. It’s quite a contrast to the Sahara. The Simpson Desert is an erg described as a broad, flat area of desert covered with wind-swept sand. Erg means ‘dune field’ in Arabic and ironically it should have little or no vegetation… not so currently here in the Simpson.

The first European explorer to visit this region was the explorer Charles Sturt and today, Elisabet Barnes from Sweden (who resides in the UK) followed in the footsteps of Sturt and set a blistering pace over the marathon distance to win the stage outright by over 15-minutes. Elisabet’s finish time of 3:59:59 confirming her as one of the most impressive desert runners currently racing.

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Elisabet pulled away from the group of runners before they had even left the suburbs of Birdsville and she never looked back. Opening a gap slowly but surely, Elisabet extended her lead throughout the day to win by a clear margin.

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“I felt very good today considering the extensive travel, jet lag and only racing the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun in South Africa just last week. But the terrain was very runnable and I was happy to run… maybe too quickly? We shall see tomorrow!”

Andy Dubois had trailed Elisabet with two other runners early on, Braddan DB Johnson and Jamie Hildage but Andy pulled away looking to close the gap on Elisabet. He didn’t make it and over the final 20km from Cp2 Elisabet held or marginally extended her lead.

Jamie Hildage, a previous competitor at the Big Red Run finished 3rd overall on the stage,

“It is so green this year and the ground is firmer making conditions underfoot very good. In addition, we had cool temperature and a constant breeze today; it made for great running conditions.”

Braddan dropped to 5th overall behind a strong run from 2nd lady and 4th overall, Helen Durand.

Completing the ladies top 3 was Amon Sheddon who finished 12th overall.

Official times to follow on completion of the stage.

BigRedRunLogo

Tomorrow’s stage is  the ‘Adria Downs Marathon’ at another classic distance of 42.195km

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Episode 93 – Kimmel Zundel Donovan

TALK ULTRA LOGO

Episode 93 of Talk Ultra has an interview with lady on fire, Megan Kimmel. We also speak to Harald Zundel about running long and super hard races. We also speak with Greg Donovan about running the 4 Deserts Grand Slam and the Big Red Run in Australia. Speedgoat is with us and we have some new music and new logo!

 

00:04:43 NEWS

 

Help Nepal – Nepal images ‘FACES of NEPAL’ – order a print and all funds donated to Nepal charities https://iancorless.org/2015/04/28/nepal-appeal-nepalearthquake/

You will notice a few changes in episode 93 of Talk Ultra. Yes, we have some new music, a new logo and over the coming weeks and months we will start to add some new interview sections.

TRANSROCKIES

Notable as Rob Krar pulled out….. UTMB?

Jenn Shelton and Kathryn Ross won the ladies event

Florian Nueschwander won the male race and Shannon Thompson won the ladies

Results HERE

SIERRE-ZINAL

1 – Kilian Jornet 2:33:13

2 – William Rodriguez 2:33:17

3 – Robbie Simpson 2:33:34

1 – Lucy Wambui Murigi 2:56:48

2 – Megan Kimmel 3:02:08

3 – Elisa Desco 3:03:08

PIKES PEAK MARATHON

1 – Alex Nichols 3:46

2 – Abu Diriba 3:54

3 – Ricky Gates 3:55

1 – Hirut Guangul 4:29

2 – Hayley Benson 4:45

3 – Kim Dobson 4:46

NORTH DOWNS WAY 100

1 – Ed Catmur 18:02 (the CR is 15:44:39 set by Ed!) apparently the weather was great?

2 – Ally Watson 18:11:15

3 – Jeremy Isaac 18:56:54

1 – Sally Ford 19:20:40

2 – Maryann Devally 21:17:56

3 – Mari Mauland 21:24:37

BIGFOOT 200

1 – Gavin Woody 64:12:35

2 – Gennadii Tertychnyi 65:34:38

3 – Harald Zundel 70:32:30

1 – Gia Madole 73:28:42

2 – Van Pahn 79:00:35

3 – Tina Ure 85:14:40

 

00:28:32 INTERVIEW 

HARALD ZUNDEL

 

FAT DOG 120 miler

Nick Hollon 25 hr 7min

Bethany Lewis 30 hours

  1.  

EASTERN STATES 100

Mike Wardian 21:21 new CR

Jay Lemos 24:18

Tsutomu Bessho 24:37

Kathleen Cusick 24:57

Robin Watkins 27:30

Jennifer Brunet 29:41

Frosty and Missy is currently taking on the Nolans 14ers and FINISHED •Breaking News

Coming up Squamish, Leadville UTMB, Glen Coe, Matterhorn Ultraks

 

01:02:19 INTERVIEW

GREG DONOVAN read up and enter the Big Red Run HERE

 

01:57:46 INTERVIEW

MEGAN KIMMEL

 

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Northern Territory

The Malbunka | 133 kilometers | August 27, 2015 | website

The Namatjira | 80 kilometers | August 27, 2015 | website

Queensland

Kuranda to Port Douglas Ultra Trail Marathon | 64 kilometers | August 23, 2015 | website

Belgium

Flanders

Oxfam Trailwalker Belgium | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Bulgaria

Orehovo Ultra | 80 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Persenk Ultra | 130 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Black Spur Ultra – 100km | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Black Spur Ultra – 100km Relay | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Black Spur Ultra – 50km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Squamish 50 | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Squamish 50/50 | 130 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Squamish 50K | 50 kilometers | August 23, 2015 | website

TrailStoke Ultra | 60 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Quebec

Chute du Diable 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Chute du Diable 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

France

Alpes-Maritimes

Ultra-Trail Côte d’Azur Mercantour | 140 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

Ariège

Ultra du Montcalm | 65 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Hautes-Pyrénées

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – le Grand Trail | 80 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – l’Ultra | 160 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Grand Raid des Pyrénées – Tour des Cirques | 117 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Isère

La Traversée Nord | 85 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

L’Echappée Belle Intégrale | 144 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs | 160 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Ultra Tour des 4 Massifs – 90 km | 90 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Loir-et-Cher

100km des Etangs de Sologne | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

50km de la Sologne des Rivières | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Rhône

La Nuit des Carbones – 50 km | 50 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

Savoie

North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) | 166 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Orsières – Champex – Chamonix (OCC) | 53 kilometers | August 27, 2015 | website

Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL) | 300 kilometers | August 24, 2015 | website

Tour de la Grande Casse | 62 kilometers | August 23, 2015 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Allgäu Panorama Ultra Trail | 70 kilometers | August 23, 2015 | website

GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run | 240 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Greece

Athens-Sparta | 245 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

Iceland

Fire and Ice | 250 kilometers | August 31, 2015 | website

India

Uttarakhand

Uttarkashi 135 | 135 miles | August 28, 2015 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Achill Ultra Marathon | 39 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

Leinster

Longford Ultra Marathon | 63 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Munster

Kerry Way Ultra | 120 miles | September 04, 2015 | website

Italy

Aosta Valley

Courmayeur Champex Chamonix (CCC) | 98 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Sur les traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) | 119 kilometers | August 26, 2015 | website

Japan

Hakusan Geotrail 100 K | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Hakusan Geotrail 250 K | 250 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Malaysia

Gunung 5 Nuang | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Most Beautiful Thing Ultra Trail Marathon – 100K | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Most Beautiful Thing Ultra Trail Marathon – 50K | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Netherlands

North Holland

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night (Summer Edition) | 75 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night (Summer Edition) – 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

New Zealand

Great Naseby Water Race 100 km | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 160 km | 160 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 60 km | 60 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Great Naseby Water Race 80 km | 80 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Norway

styrkeprøven True West | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Peru

80 K | 80 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

80K Relay | 80 kilometers | August 28, 2015 | website

Réunion

Cimasalazienne | 55 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Romania

Dracula 106K | 106 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

Dracula 106K 2-Day Stage Race | 106 kilometers | September 04, 2015 | website

South Africa

Namaqua Quest | 110 kilometers | August 26, 2015 | website

Peninsula Ultra Fun Run | 80 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Spain

Aragon

8K | 78 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Sweden

Fjällmaraton Bydalsfjällen 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

UltraVasan 90K | 90 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Taiwan

50 km of Wild Pig | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Anglesey

Ring o’ Fire | 131 miles | September 04, 2015 | website

Buckinghamshire

Ridgeway Challenge | 86 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

Cumbria

Grand Tour of Skiddaw | 44 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

Greater London

London 2 Cambridge Ultra | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

T184 | 184 miles | August 28, 2015 | website

Hertfordshire

Chiltern Way Ultra 100k | 100 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Chiltern Way Ultra 214k | 214 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Moray

Speyside Way Race | 36 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

USA

Arizona

Javelina Jangover 100K Night Trail Run | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Javelina Jangover 50K Night Trail Run | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Javelina Jangover 75K Night Trail Run | 75 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

California

Bulldog 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Castle Peak 100k | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Castle Peak 100K | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Diablo Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Headwaters Ultra – 50K | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Pioneer Spirit 50M | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Salt Point 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Tamalpa Headlands 50K | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Colorado

Devil Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Devil Mountain 50 Mile Ultra | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Leadville Trail 100 Run | 100 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Silverton Alpine 50K | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Georgia

Yeti Snakebite 50K | 50 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Yeti Snakebite 50M | 50 miles | August 30, 2015 | website

Idaho

Resort to Rock 60K | 60 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Michigan

Ultra Marathon | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Montana

Fool’s Gold 50M | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Fool’s Gold 50 Miler | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Ghosts of Yellowstone | 100 miles | August 21, 2015 | website

Ghosts of Yellowstone 100M | 100 miles | August 21, 2015 | website

Mystery Ranch 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Rampage the Roots Montana’s Ultra Challenge 50 km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Nevada

51 km | 51 kilometers | August 30, 2015 | website

Black Rock City 50km | 50 kilometers | September 02, 2015 | website

New Hampshire

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race | 80 kilometers | August 21, 2015 | website

MadAthlete Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race 2-Person Relay | 80 miles | August 21, 2015 | website

New York

Green Lakes 100 km Trail Race | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Green Lakes 50 km Trail Race | 50 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Twisted Branch Trail Run | 100 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Oregon

Hood to Coast Relay | 199 miles | August 28, 2015 | website

Where’s Waldo 100k Ultra | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Pennsylvania

Baker Trail UltraChallenge | 50 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

South Dakota

50 km | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Lean Horse Half Hundred | 50 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Lean Horse Hundred | 100 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Texas

Habanero Hundred 100k | 100 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Habanero Hundred 100 miler | 100 miles | August 22, 2015 | website

Habanero Hundred 50k | 50 kilometers | August 22, 2015 | website

Reveille Peak Ranch – 60km | 60 kilometers | August 29, 2015 | website

Washington

Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | August 29, 2015 | website

02:36:45 CLOSE

 

02:38:35

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Website – talkultra.com

Episode 57 – Johnston, Greenwood, Desert Runners Movie, Team inov-8

Ep57

Episode 57 of Talk Ultra is available – David Johnston gives us a blow-by-blow account of his record breaking run at the ITI350 (Iditarod Trail Invitational), Ellie Greenwood talks about her comeback run and win at Chuckanut 50 and her plans for 2014. We speak with Jennifer Steinman, Director of the Desert Runners Movie and Samantha Gash who appeared in the film. Team inov-8 provide some chat from the 2014 athlete retreat and Emelie Forsberg brings us smilesandmiles, a Blog, the News, Up and Coming Races and of course Speedgoat Karl Meltzer! It’s a stacked show.

I was at an inov-8 athlete retreat in the English Lakes testing products such as new apparel and shoes and then capturing images.
I caught up with some of the Team Members…
  • Tracy Dean
  • David Schneider
  • Ben Abdelnoor
 
NEWS
Tarawera 100k (65k) – Hit by bad weather so reduced

Men

  1. Sage Canaday – Hoka One One  5:33:38
  2. Yun Yan Qiao – The North Face  5:52:30
  3. Vajin Armstrong – MacPac 5:59:49
  4. Mike Aish – Mizuno 5:58:37
  5. Scott Hawker – Hoka One One 6:06:32
  6. Martin Gaffuri – New Balance 6:21:31
  7. Moritz Auf De Heidi 6:22:21
  8. Mike Wardian – Hoka One One 6:28:46
  9. Matt Murphy 6:36:27
  10. Manuel Lago 6:37:30

Ladies

  1. Jo Johansen 7:02:43
  2. Claire Walton 7:11:48
  3. Dawn Tuffery 7:16:16
  4. Beth Cardelli – Salomon 7:18:54
  5. Meghan Arbogast – Scott Running 7:26:24
  6. Shona Stephenson – inov-8  7:26:24
  7. Fiona Hayvice 7:40:54
  8. Katrin Gottschalk 7:44:33
  9. Katherine Macmillan 7:44:33
  10. Sandy Nyper – Ink n Burn 7:57:24
 
Chuckanut 50k
 
Men
  1. Max King 3:35:42 with new CR
  2. David Laney 3:38:37
  3. Daniel Kraft 3:41:05
 
3 of first 4 men are Nike sponsored !
 
Ladies
  1. Ellie Greenwood 4:11:51
  2. Jodee Adams Moore 4:20:37
  3. Melanie Bos 4:38:20
I caught up with Ellie Greenwood to discuss this comeback run and find out all about her difficult 12-months.
 
AUDIO with Ellie Greenwood
 
South Carolina 24-hour Race
  1. 154.590 Harvey Lewis
  2. 133.470 Katalin Nagy
  3. 127.043 Chris Roman
  4. 125.019 Zach Bitter – dropped from race but with a new 200km record
  5. 123.134 Shannon Johnstone
Translantau 100km (Hong Kong)
  1. Jeremy Ritcey 13:04:13
  2. Chin Keung Leung 14:24:35
  3. John Ellis 14:38:24
  1. Kar Bik Tam 17:44:55
  2. Katja Fink 20:12:01
  3. Marcia Zhou 21:04:20
 
Desert Runners Film
New film has just come out charting the journey of the 2010 Racing the Planet four deserts and four people who attempted the Grand Slam; running all four in one year! I had an opportunity to speak with the director, Jennifer Steinman on the film and the undertaking of such a difficult project
 
AUDIO with Jennifer Steinman
 
Samantha Gash way back in 2010 was one of the ‘unknown’ runners who completed the Four Deserts in 2010. She became the youngest female ever to complete all four in one year and many of you will remember Samantha was on a previous show of Talk Ultra, however, I thought it prudent to have a catch up now this film is out.
DESERT RUNNERS MOVIE DISCOUNT: Listeners can enter the code ‘runners’ for 10% off the film at desertrunnersmovie.com.
 
AUDIO with Samantha Gash
BLOG – Lizzy Hawker http://lizzyhawker.com/ke-garne/
Ke garne? What to do?
“I thought I’d been smart this time. I took time (2 months) not running after the femural stress facture that prevented me racing the 2013 UTMB. I tried to be patient. I mixed up the walking and running during the Manaslu Mountain Trail and ran a bit more during the Mustang Trail Race. I allowed myself to take it slowly. I soaked up just being in those awesome places and sharing the experiences. I was gradually working back to some kind of race fitness. I raced 50km on the rim of the Kathmandu valley, slowly, not full out. So what happened?”
INTERVIEW 
David Johnston was on our show just two episodes ago discussing his epic win and new CR at Susitna 100. Just 7-days later he took on the Iditarod Trail Invitational 350-mile race. Against all logic, he not only won but smashed what many considered to be an unbreakable record… here is his story!
 
AUDIO with David Johnston
 
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat
 
SMILESANDMILES with Emelie Forsberg
 
UP AND COMING RACES

Algeria

Ultramarathon des Ziban | 100 kilometers | March 27, 2014 | website

Argentina

The North Face® Endurance Challenge Argentina – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 23, 2014 | website

The North Face® Endurance Challenge Argentina – 80 km | 80 kilometers | March 23, 2014 | website

Croatia

Istratrek Trail Race | 60 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

France

Yvelines

Eco Trail de Paris IDF – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Eco Trail de Paris IDF – 80 km | 80 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon März | 108 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Hesse

Eschollbrücker Ultra-Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

Greece

Antiparos Ultra 100 | 100 kilometers | March 23, 2014 | website

Hungary

BSI Half Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 95 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Balatonfüred – Siófok | 51 kilometers | March 23, 2014 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 21, 2014 | website

India

Sandakphu 70 Mile Himalayan Race | 70 miles | March 23, 2014 | website

Ireland

Leinster

Wicklow Way Ultra | 51 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Italy

Lombardy

100 km di Seregno | 100 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

60 km di Seregno | 60 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

UMS Ultramaratona Milano Sanremo | 280 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Luxembourg

La GranDucale – 55 km | 55 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

Montenegro

Ultra-Maraton Montenegro | 100 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Morocco

Ecotrail de Ouarzazate | 111 kilometers | March 27, 2014 | website

Marathon des Sables | 250 kilometers | April 04, 2014 | website

New Zealand

Northburn Station 100 km Mountain Run | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Northburn Station 50 km Mountain Run | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Portugal

Inatel Piódão Trail Running – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Spain

Andalusia

TrailRunning BRIMZ “Guzmán el Bueno” X Sierra Morena – 60 km | 60 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Extremadura

LXVII Milhas Romanas | 100 kilometers | April 04, 2014 | website

Valencian Community

La Perimetral | 65 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Wreckers Challenge | 50 miles | March 23, 2014 | website

Dorset

Jurassic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | March 21, 2014 | website

East Sussex

Coastal Trail Series – Sussex – Ultra | 34 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

North Yorkshire

Hardmoors 55 Ultramarathon | 55 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

USA

Alabama

Lake Martin 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Lake Martin 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Oak Moutain 50+ | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Arizona

Mesquite Canyon 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

California

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 100 Miler | 100 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50K | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Canyon Meadow 50 Km Trail Run (March) | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Old Goats 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Old Goats 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay So Cal | 200 miles | April 04, 2014 | website

Florida

Croom Trail 50K Fools Run | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Croom Trail 50M Fools Run | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Georgia

DoubleTop 100 100k | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

DoubleTop 100 100M | 100 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Idaho

Pickled Feet 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | March 28, 2014 | website

Illinois

Potawatomi 150 Mile Trail Run | 150 miles | April 04, 2014 | website

Kansas

Prairie Spirit Trail 100 Mile Ultra Race | 100 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Prairie Spirit Trail 50 Mile Ultra Race | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

Maryland

50K HAT Run | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Hat Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Mississippi

Gulf Coast Interstate Relay – Ride or Run | 263 miles | April 04, 2014 | website

Missouri

Forrest Gump Challenge 50 Mile Ultra-marathon | 50 miles | March 29, 2014 | website

New Jersey

NJ Ultra Festival – 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 100M Trail Race | 100 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

NJ Ultra Festival – 50M Trail Race | 50 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Ohio

Fools 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

Oklahoma

Tulsa Running Club Post Oak Lodge 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Oregon

Gorge Waterfalls 100k | 100 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

Gorge Waterfalls 50k | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Pennsylvania

Lt. J. C. Stone 50K UltraMarathon | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Texas

The Grasslands 50-Mile | 50 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Utah

Antelope Island 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 21, 2014 | website

Antelope Island 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Antelope Island 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Moab 100K | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Moab 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 22, 2014 | website

Moab 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Zion 100k | 100 kilometers | April 04, 2014 | website

Zion 100 Mile | 100 miles | April 04, 2014 | website

Virginia

Terrapin Mountain 50km | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Washington

Badger Mountain Challenge 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | March 28, 2014 | website

Badger Mountain Challenge 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Chuckanut 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 29, 2014 | website

Dizzy Daze 100K | 100 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

Dizzy Daze 50K | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website

WSU 100K Relay & Solo Race | 100 kilometers | March 30, 2014 | website

West Virginia

Haulin’ in the Holler 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 22, 2014 | website
CLOSE