The Coastal Challenge reaches new heights in 2019 celebrating 15-years of amazing racing.
The 14th edition completed in February 2018 at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, was a record breaker! Yes, course records were broken daily and Tom Evans and Ragna Debats elevated the overall CR’s to a new level obliterating the 2017 records set by the UK’s Tom Owens and New Zealand’s Anna Frost.
Time never stands still and to make the 15th edition of TCC extra special, race director’s Rodrigo Carazo and Sergio Sanchez have confirmed a new incentive for the 2019 edition of the race.
Feel like a fast start to 2019? It comes no faster than the 15th edition of The Coastal Challenge!
We have already announced Lucy Bartholomew and Ida Nilsson, now the El Kott twins, Lina and Sanna! The twins been a revelation in 2018. They first made an appearance on the skyrunning circuit in 2016 and 2017 but it was really this year that the duo made an impact. They have raced all over the world, at times relentlessly, covering single-stage, multi-day and just recently an adventure race. The twins are going to love Costa Rica and the challenges that the race throws at them.
Lina speaks first…
What attracts you to Costa Rica?
Lina: The exotic environment! I’ve only been in jungle when I was little so that is very exciting!
Sanna: The nature differs so much from the Swedish, it is just totally different from what I am used to, so I am eager to explore the jungle and the beaches!
This is the 15th edition of the TCC, a special one – what do you know about the race?
Lina: That it is tough, humid and… tough. So tough I said it twice!
Sanna: I have heard stories from friends who have been running it before. And I have watched a few videos from previous races. It will for sure be a challenge!
Heat and humidity will play a major factor in the race, how do you plan to adapt?
Lina: I haven’t planned at all, going directly from low minus degrees in the Swedish winter with lots of skiing. May not be the prefect plan, but I think it’s almost impossible to adapt to those circumstances anyway…
Sanna: I don’t really have a plan to adapt to that. I’m by then in the middle of the ski season in Sweden, so there will be the opposite; cold and crispy days. But I think I can handle it.
Ragna Debats and Tom Evans set incredible course records in 2017. There is prize money available for a new CR in 2019 – does that motivate you? Can you break the record?
Lina: It’s mostly the challenge itself that motivates me. I’m not looking for breaking any record, but if I feel in good shape of course I would try to 😉
Sanna: That’s is such a fun carrot to catch. Though for me it will be really hard. I want to say YES I can break it. But this time, I doubt that. It is many flat parts, and with heat as a combination, it will not be my strongest side.
Multi-day racing brings many different challenges to a single-stage race – what are you most looking forward to? What are you most fearful of?
Lina: To discover new trails and places everyday! To get injured…
Sanna: That’s what I like with this race. I have done a few stage races before, and that gives me new chances every day. Motivation after another. I look forward to cross some rivers during the race, since I think it will be wanted! My biggest fear is dehydration, I have struggled with that on other races, and nothing I want to face again..
The elite line-up is incredible for 2019, you will need to be in the best shape, does that excite you?
Lina: That’s amazing! I’m really looking forward to race with these strong and inspiring people. Despite I’m now suffering with a knee injury myself, I really hope that I can recover well and start training properly before…
Sanna: It really motivates me to do good training for the races because of that. And it will be so exciting to compete against so strong athletes!
February is early in the season, what will your winter training look like, so you will be ready for February?
Lina: It’s usually a lot of snow where I live in Sweden so there will mostly be cross country skiing and skimo, but hopefully I’ll manage to squeeze in running everyday too!
Sanna: There will probably be a lot of cross country skiing, but I always run a few sessions a week. Maybe I’ll put in some flat faster sessions, to get the legs used to those parts. (I know they can climb already).
I am sure you have looked at past editions of the race, viewed the stages, the profile – it is a tough race that suits a rounded athlete. You need to be able to climb, descend, handle technical trail and run on the flat – where will your strengths be?
Lina: I’m definitely an uphill runner so I’m looking forward to those hills!
Sanna: My strengths.. hmm, I guess the diversity of it. That it is really variated, and definitely that it last for several days. Stage 4 might be my best day. Good elevation, everyones’ legs are a bit tired after three days of racing. I hope I still will have good speed.
What experience do you have of multi-day racing?
Lina: I have done Transalpine two times and Transrockies one time in duo-team with Sanna. A lot of suffering, a lot of happiness and memories! I also do adventure racing which is Non-stop racing for days with navigation, trekking, mountain biking and kayaking. So I’m quite used to being out for long.
Sanna: I have experience from both Adventure Racing (where you change diciplines between, running, trekking, mountain biking, kayak, and other sports, during several days, non-stop racing) and stage races. I’ve done TransAlpineRun two times, and TransRockiesRun, though together with Lina. This time will be the first multi-day racing as solo runner.
Racing starts very early in Costa Rica, with the sun! An early finish allows for relaxation on the beach, you can even have a beer – combining racing and relaxation is a key of TCC. It is a ‘Pura Vida’ race – tell us about your hopes and desires for the 2019 edition.
Lina: One of the best things is absolutely to take a swim after a run, and also to eat fresh fruit, so if I have got both of these I’m more than satisfied!
Sanna: A beer doesn’t appeal me, buth maybe a smoothie? I am excited for the fruits, and hope that they will taste sooo good. I hope we will have nice weather, but that means for me, some clouds on the sky. Otherwise it will be only suffer party.
What three music choices would sum up your racing style?
Lina: That’s a hard one since I never listen to music when I’m running… But if I’m in real race mode, some hard rock or up-tempo music for sure fits. I usually run in a steady pace all the race, so maybe some classic music would suit my style too?
Sanna: I’ll for sure choose Avicii. Any of his hits makes me always be a bit faster. Then some more sing along music tunes, but most likely pop, and in the finish line, Bobby McFerrin “don’t worry, be happy” for relax.
Tell us about your nutrition and hydrations strategies for the race?
Lina: I’ve done both eating too little, and eating too much on races. The key is HYDRATE with both water and electrolytes. Eat something little if hungry…
Sanna: I will probably have gels with me, and get fresh fruit, salty stuff and electrolytes on aid stations.
Tell us about key equipment such as shoes and apparel that you will use?
Lina: A loose thin tank top from GORE wear, either loose shorts or tight shorts, will try both on the race I guess. Light but steady shoes, probably All Out Crush 2 or Tough Mudder 2 from MERRELL. I really like to go light weight, but on long races and stage races it’s important to have some stability too.
Sanna: Gore Wear tank top and shorts, thin gococo sportwear socks (that never get blisters!), Merrell All Out Crush 2 and Ultimate Direction Halo vesta. There you have it!
Please list a summary of your career highlights for 2017 and 2018:
- Winning Transalpine 2 years in a row with Sanna
- Winning Expedition Oregon (Adventure race) in 58 hours with Team Leki/Merrell.
- Winning Skyrace Comapedrosa and Olympus marathon.
- To run on amazing places around the world, in Yading, China for example!
- Complete the ELS2900 in Andorra 2017 with Sanna as the only female team.
- Racing good and being in the top ranking of the Skyrunning series.
- Being better and better on vertical races and manage to be on the podium on every one I entered.
- Travelling between races in a van during the summer calling myself an elite athlete for the first time!
- TransAlpineRun winners both 2017 and 2018
- Second in Olympus Maraton and High Trail Vanoise, just one week in between. (where I did a multisport race).
- Sprint with Sheila for third place at Comapedrosa in Andorra.
- Winner of Hornindal Rundt in Norway 2017.
- Winner together with TEAM LEKI/MERRELL in Expedition Oregon 2018
- Totally 5th in the Skyrunner World Series 2018.
- A few podium places on vertical races.
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, travelling 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 and the the 2018 edition HERE
Follow in 2019 #TCC2019
The Coastal Challenge
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Website (Global) HERE
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