Holly Page to join the The Coastal Challenge 2019 #TCC2019

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.

A reward purse totalling $8000 will be up for grabs as the race gets underway from the stunning beaches of Quepos, Costa Rica.

Each day, $250 will be up for grabs should the stage course records be broken by the fastest male or female. For example, in 2018, Tom Evans broke every stage record, that would have been rewarded with a $1500 payout!

Should the overall course record set in 2018 by Tom Evans or Ragna Debats be broken in 2019, $2500 will be on offer. Should the male and female record go, that is a payout of $5000.

Feel like a fast start to 2019? It comes no faster than the 15th edition of The Coastal Challenge!

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.

An already stellar line-up of women have been announced for #TCC2019 – Lucy Bartholomew here, Ida Nilsson here, the El Kott Twins here and now Holly Page. Holly has been on fire in 2018, starting her season in China with victory and then concluding with a win at The Otter in South Africa. Between, she has excelled over multiple distances and terrains. For sure, Holly is one of the new stars of the skyrunning calendar – the terrain of Costa Rica will suit her!

What attracts you to Costa Rica?

Although I’ve travelled quite a lot in South America I’ve never had the opportunity to visit Central America. I speak fluent spanish and have heard great things about Costa Rica’s spectacularly diverse natural environment so am really keen to explore.

This is the 15th edition of the TCC, a special one – what do you know about the race?

My friend Tom won the race in 2017 and I remember calling him when he was there and being super jealous as I sat in meetings with government in Tanzania and he chilled in a hammock eating mangoes and running through waterfalls. I’ve heard that the terrain is very mixed, with some fast running but also some technical sections, and the occasional swim! I just did well at the Otter Race in South Africa and I get the feeling that it is a similar profile but just that the TCC will be 30 degrees hotter, and like doing the Otter every day for 6 days….

Heat and humidity will play a major factor in the race, how do you plan to adapt?

Coming from the UK, I’m not really accustomed to sweating it out through the jungle – running across misty hills in the freezing is what I grew up doing… everyone says when it’s raining at a race “Oh you’re British you will enjoy this”…. that’s definitely not true – I don’t know too many people who would rather but running through a blizzard than a sunny Costa Rican beach 😀I’m really lucky in that with my current contract at work I am able to be based remotely so hopefully I’ll be able to travel out before the race and get used to the heat whilst still carrying on with my normal job!

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?

I’m motivated by new experiences rather than prize money – I would never like to go into a race thinking that I am there to win money. I also tend to have a fairly pessimistic (or perhaps realistic!!) view of my own abilities so I am usually on the startline presuming that I won’t do very well… and then it’s always a lovely surprise if I do! It looks like there’s an incredible line-up of women, all of whom have much more experience than I do of racing consistently long distances… but then again, I’ve got used to racing multi-hour races every weekend on knackered legs so maybe my overenthusiastic racing schedule has all been an unintentional build-up to this.

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?

I am really looking forward to the atmosphere of the race – there’s something special about sharing so much time in the company of the people you’re racing against – I think it’ll be a really great week and hopefully an opportunity to meet even more friendly runners from across the world!

I have a horrendous fear of snakes – I can’t even look at a photo of a snake without crying – I think the probability of stumbling across a snake during my time in Costa Rica is pretty high but I don’t want it to stop me going so I’ll just have to get over it and keep plodding along if one does rear its ugly slithery head!

The elite line-up is incredible for 2019, you will need to be in the best shape, does that excite you?

It’s always exciting to have competitive fields at races and especially over so many km a lot can change. I think I know all of the elite women’s field and they’re all really nice ladies so it will also be great to spend time with them – that’s what is so great about running these races – even though we fight it out on the trails, everyone is super encouraging and wants the best for each other!

February is early in the season, what will your winter training look like, so you will be ready for February?

This year has been pretty long and I’ve raced pretty much every weekend since April. I’m going to have a bit of a break in October and November and then hopefully motivate myself to do some strength work – my legs will need to be pretty strong to hold up to the test of this TCC course!

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?

I’m usually pretty good on the technical parts and the descents, but I’d say that I’m usually less good at the bits you have to actually be fit for…. flat running and running up hills!!

What experience do you have of multi-day racing?

I did a three day stage race when I lived in South Africa in 2017 but other than that I’ve never done anything which equates to this in terms of distance and number of days.

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.

A combination of racing and relaxation is my kind of dream! It will be super fun to get the morning’s racing done early on and then be able to chill with all of the other runners, chatting through our experiences of the day’s stage, eating lovely tropical fruits and refuelling, psyching ourselves up for the next stage!!

What three music choices would sum up your racing style?

Erm…never been asked that one before… hmmm…. given that I tend to get through races on determination rather than any physical talent, I’ll have to go for…

REM: Everybody Hurts

AC/DC: Highway to Hell

And one especially for the TCC…

The Merrymen: Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot

Tell us about your nutrition and hydrations strategies for the race?

Given how hot it will be during the race and the amount I’ll be sweating I’ll be very focused on making sure I stay very hydrated throughout. It’s a lot of running on consecutive days so I think that if you don’t fuel enough in the early stages you’re likely to suffer the knock-on effects later in the week. My favourite pastime is probably eating… so I will be sure to eat plenty between each stage… using “refuelling” as an excuse to eat large quantities of lovely food 😀

Tell us about key equipment such as shoes and apparel that you will use?

TBC when I have confirmed whether I have a sponsor for next year!

Tell us about your greatest achievement/ result in 2018?

Racing so much whilst also working a normal job, hitch-hiking / camping and tramping like a complete nomad was quite an achievement I guess! I won the Skyrunning World Series with wins in three of the races, and I also came 3rdin the Golden Trail Series and won the Grand Finale of that series out in South Africa in October.

Please list a summary of your career highlights for 2017 and 2018:

Lots of races – a few too many to mention!! These are some where I was in the top 3…

SWS: Yading, China: 1st

SWS: Buff Epic, Spain: 1st

SWS: The Rut, USA: 1st

SWS: Overall Ranking Classic Series: 1st

Monte Rosa Skyrace, Italy: 1st(team race with Hillary Gerardi)

World Trail Running Champs, Spain: 9th(and 1stBritish athlete)

Golden Trail Series / Skyrunning World Champs, Ring of Steall, UK: 3rd

Golden Trail Series, Grand Finale- Otter Trail, South Africa: 1st

Golden Trail Series, Overall Ranking: 3rd

Trail do Porto Moniz, Madeira: 1st

Alanya Ultra Trail, Turkey: 1st

Omu Peak Race, Romania: 1st

Trail du Nivolet Classic, France: 1st

Petit Trail des Aiguilles Rouges, France: 1st 

To conclude, please provide a general quote that summaries your thoughts and anticipation for the 2019 TCC:

Having followed previous editions of the raceI am really excited to have the opportunity to come to Costa Rica in February and experience this prestigious event for myself.

*****

You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE and the the 2018 edition HERE

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Monte Rosa SkyMarathon – 2019 date announced – 22 June 2019, Alagna Valsesia, Italy

After the successful relaunch in 2018 of the historic Monte Rosa SkyMarathon in the Italian Alps, the next edition will take place on June 22, 2019.

The 2018 event attracted some of the world’s top athletes in a field of 300 participants from 23 countries. They included skyrunning superstars Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, the men’s winners Franco Collé and William Boffelli and women’s winners Hillary Gerardi and Holly Page.

It is Europe’s highest race reaching the Margherita Hut at 4,554m altitude.  A “mere” 35 kilometres long, it boasts a gruelling 7,000m ascent and descent over moraine, snow fields and glaciers. Due to the high altitude and challenging conditions, the event is open only to athletes with mountaineering experience. Above the snow line, they must wear harnesses, rope up and wear crampons.

Incredibly spectacular scenery is one of the attractions of the race, where from the summit of Europe’s second highest mountain, Monte Rosa, the 360° view takes in the major 4,000m peaks, including the Matterhorn.

The Monte Rosa SkyMarathon retraces the original course dating back to 1993. It was here that the sport of skyrunning was born and here where it will continue to thrive.

Stay tuned for entry dates and join us on June 22, 2019 for the race of the century!

ENTRIES HERE

Read about the 2018 edition on Sidetracked Magazine

For Marino Giacometti, it was a dream come true. The tears in his eyes showed it. It was here in Monte Rosa that a new sport was born just over 25 years ago, and in 2018 it was re-established – the sport of skyrunning. Start low, go high, reach a summit and then return as fast as possible. A sport free from the clutter of mountaineering equipment, a sport that is fast and light.

 

Monte Rosa SkyMarathon lived up to the hype and delivered beyond expectations. The ‘buzz’ in Alagna after the race was incredible. ‘This is a proper skyrunning race,’ was repeated time and time again. ‘Let’s have more of this Marino… let’s get back to the core values of the sport and yes, let’s go back 25-years!’

READ MORE HERE

View images of the 2017 race below – ©iancorless.com

Images to purchase HERE

Monte Rosa Skymarathon 2018 – Summary and Images

Epic, it was just epic… Monte Rosa Skymarathon lived up to the hype and delivered beyond expectations. The ‘buzz’ in Alagna after the race was incredible. ‘This is a proper Skyrunning race,’ was repeated time and time again. ‘Let’s have more of this Marino… let’s get back to the core values of the sport and yes, let’s go back 25-years!’

For Marino Giacometti, it was a dream come true. The tears in his eyes showed it…! It was here in Monte Rosa that a new sport was born 25+ years ago and today it was re-established – the sport of Skyrunning. Start low, go high and reach a summit and then return as fast as possible but not cluttered with mountaineering equipment, this sport is fast and light.

The course retraced the original route from Alagna Valsesia at 1192m via the Bocchetta delle Pisse (2396m) to the Indren cable car station (3260m). From here the route continues upwards via the Gnifetti Hut (3467m), Colle del Lys (4250m) and then the summit, the Margherita Hut at 4554m. The route re-traces all the way back to Alagna along paths, ski runs, glaciers for a 35km loop and 3490m of vertical ascent.

Teams of two, roped together to raced across moraine, snow fields and glaciers for 35 kilometres with an astonishing 7,000m ascent and descent.

Of course, any mountain adventure is at the mercy of the mountain and the weather. Today, the weather and mountain gods looked down on an Alagna and smiled; it was a perfect day!

From the gun, Franco Colle and William Boffelli dictated the pace and they looked relaxed, comfortable and in control. They were pursued by Alberto Comazzi and Cristian Minoggio, however, Colle and Boffelli were just too strong. Throughout the race they pulled away, constantly working in unison to eventually return to Alagna in 4:39:59. Comazzi and Minoggio placed 2nd but over 20-minutes later, crossing in 5:03:26.

The big news was all about Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet. Forsberg just two days previously had summited Mont Blanc in a super fast time, and now she was here, with Jornet powering up from Alagana to the summit of Monte Rosa to return in 5:03:56, just 30-seconds off 2nd overall. However, their time blew the ladies fastest time out of the water – congratulations Emelie on the new record. For Jornet, it was a return to racing after time away from the sport with injury. The duo beamed after the race, “this is the sport of Skyrunning,” said Jornet. “The ambiance here is excellent, the route is incredible, it’s just a pleasure to be here.” Emelie had set her sights on the record before the race, “I wanted the ladies fastest time and with a requirement to have two in a team, I needed someone like Kilian to allow me to run a fast pace knowing that he could keep up. I lead all day and he followed.”

Tom Owens and Andy Symonds were 4th to cross the line, the duo beaming with happiness from the experience, although Symonds did say, “I just need to be in better shape next time”

The first female duo were regular Skyrunner’s, Holly Page and Hillary Gerardi, they crossed in 5:51:32 and were 12th overall.

Ultimately though, the general consensus post race was that Marino Giacometti, the race organisation team, Alagna and Monte Rosa were the real stars of the day. It may have been a return to 25-years ago, but many feel it’s a new beginning!

IMAGES AVAILABLE HERE

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Yading SKY and KORA ULTRA 2018 Summary and Images – Yading Skyrunning Festival

The 2018 Yading Skyrunning Festival concluded today with two incredible races, the 29km Sky Race and the 46km Kora Ultra. Both races started in Shangri La at the same time and both concluded at the Monastery in the Yading National Park.

It turned out to be quite a day for both races!

The predicted snow came and with it wind, cold temperatures and snow flurries; the landscape turned into a winter wonderland. It made the conditions very difficult for the runners. Fighting the challenging terrain and at times bitter cold, the 2018 Ultra and Sky race will be remembered for many years to come.

It was a day when finally the ever-present Skyrunner, Oscar Casal Mir topped the podium after many years of commitment to the Skyrunner World Series. He was just behind Andy Wacker at the iconic prayer flag turn and then used his descending skills to clinch victory. Andy finished just over a minute later and rising Nepali star, Bed Sunuwar placed 3rd, particularly notable after placing 2nd in the previous day’s VK.

The ladies’ race turned out to be an epic battle between Holly Page and Ruth Croft. The duo were pretty much together throughout the race with Holly having the edge.

Ruth used her road skills on some of the earlier section but it was Holly who triumphed clinching victory. Sheila Aviles clinched the final podium spot in a very competitive race.

  1. Oscar Casal Mir 3:06:26
  2. Andy Wacker 3:07:30
  3. Bed Sunuwar 3:07:57
  4. Yongning Gao 3:11:27
  5. Finlay Wild 3:13:14
  1. Holly Page 3:32:04
  2. Ruth Croft 3:33:38
  3. Sheila Aviles 3:37:20
  4. Hillary Gerardi 3:42:36
  5. Lina El Kott Helander 3:45:57

In the Kora Ultra it was a record breaking day with both the male winner and female winner beating the 2017 times; truly remarkable when one considers the conditions. This was reflected in the words of Francois D’Haene, ‘I went 10-minutes quicker than last year and still came 4th!’

The talk though was all about the ladies’ winner, Miao Yao who obliterated the field and smashed the course record setting the new level at 5:50:28. For perspective, Mira Rai was a distant second in 6:32:40. Many of the elite men could feel the pressure, the speed and skill of this lady who placed 7th overall.

The men’s race was equally impressive, let’s face it, anyone who betters Francois D’Haene deserves respect, especially when setting a CR 4:49:02, that credit goes to Dongrenjia Jia. But also a great nod to 2nd and 3rd, Yousheng Guan and Ji Dong.

  1. Dongranjia Jia 4:49:02
  2. Yousheng Guan 5:04:10
  3. Ji Dong 5:13:54
  1. Miao Yao 5:50:28
  2. Mira Rai 6:32:40
  3. Qiao Wen 8:17:44

Yading, the impressive landscape and the mountains were the true stars of the festival though. It’s an incredible place to race, run or hike and will doubt make it to many a bucket list.

IMAGES available HERE