Gary Robbins prepares for the Salomon SKYRUN, South Africa

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Gary Robbins has an incredible story… like all Canadians he played Hockey, his first race ‘off the couch’ was a 10-miler but in his late teens the lure of a good party and soft white snow saw him become a ski bum.

Like many, he had a cathartic moment. A moment when you look in, shake yourself up and decide that you need to get a grip. Gary travelled and travelled extensively. It was the millennium and those magic numbers, ‘2000’ provided a stimulus for many, not just Gary.

The process of finding fitness and health was a gradual one. When back home in Banff the partying continued but it was now on a back burner. Running became a normal activity and the mountains provided an incentive for adventure.

2002 ultimately was a key year, Adventure Racing was booming and  Gary had seen the EcoChallenge. What followed was a journey into the unknown and Gary raced with his team the Raid the North Extreme, Mind Over Matter Adventure Racing and the booming Primal Quest.

In 2008 a shift to purely running came and for many, this is the Gary Robbins we all know. His history and story around Hurt 100 makes incredible reading and listening. In 2010, Gary tackled Hurt and not only won the race in 20-hours 12-minutes but broke a Geoff Roes course record… that doesn’t happen very often!

What followed is possibly one of the greatest comebacks in sport. Whilst out training  with Geoff Roes and Max King, Gary broke his leg on the Hurt 100 course. At first he thought it was no big deal, however, what followed was a period of his life that may well have seen Gary never run again.

But mile by mile, Gary eased his way back into the sport with help of fellow ultra runner, Luke Nelson. In 2013, Gary went full circle and returned to Hurt 100, a place of so much glory and so much pain. He had a point to prove and prove it he did. He won the race and a little like Roy Hobbs in the the film, ‘The Natural’ Gary had his moment once again. A moment he followed up in 2014 with a repeat victory.

Hurt 100 holds a special place in Gary’s heart and it is his experiences in Adventure Racing, triumphing over the 100-mile distance, his incredible comeback that will now see him toe the line at the Salomon SKYRUN in South Africa.

SkyRun 2014 on White

IC: How have the last couple of months been from a racing perspective?

GR: From a racing perspective I built out my year to attempt to peak for The Salomon SkyRun and as such I’ve had an unusually low mileage summer of running. I raced the Cascade Crest 100 miler on August 23rd. It wasn’t my best day, especially after a sleep deprived week of race directing my own Squamish 50 just six days prior. I ended up sitting in an aid station just 30 miles in for over twenty minutes after walking for the hour prior. It wasn’t pretty. I stuck with it though and had a great second half rally in which I managed to climb my way back up to finish 3rd overall. Seth Swanson (2nd WS100) took the win in a CR time.

IC:  Do you have any targets between now and your trip to SA?

GR: My target is a big month of training and to show up in peak fitness and injury free. I will be racing Rocky Man Brazil on November 8th though, before flying straight to South Africa.’RMB’ is a relay event in which teams compete by Nationality. It’ll be the first time a Canadian team has competed at Rocky Man and I’m quite excited with the team we’ve built. For me it’ll be a 35km mountain run along with a team based outrigger canoe paddle. The team if five members and the disciplines include surfing, skate board half pipe, SUP, mountain bike, men’s run, women’s run and a team outrigger canoe and team run stage.

IC: How has training gone, you are a busy race director yourself?

GR: It was quite the summer of race directing to be honest. I now oversee twelve races and it’s certainly kept me on my toes. I had a very successful first seven months of training, followed by a few months of non-structured training with lower overall mileage. I’ve just now started bumping up the distance again with a successful three day circumnavigation of the 150km long Wonderland Trail at Mount Rainier. That capped off a 110 mile week and thankfully all systems seem to be a go right now.

IC: Navigation is a key component of the Salomon SKYRUN have you been looking at some maps of the Drakensberg?

GR: I unfortunately have not, and navigating was never my strong suit in adventure racing. I hope to work this in in October.

IC: You have a great adventure racing background, are you intimidated by the navigation element of the SkyRun?

GR: Thus far no, I’ll just follow the route Ryan Sandes did for the course record…!

IC: The course sounds extreme, particularly if the weather turns. Have you researched the course?

GR: I struggle to look past the next event on my calendar and typically work through one event at a time, as such I haven’t been able to put much focus on my SkyRun research just yet. I direct my final trail race of the year this Saturday and following that it’s 100% focus on South Africa.

IC: A strong local contingent will be toeing the line… Iain Don Wauchope, AJ Calitz and so on… do you know much about them?

GR: I do not know much about these runners personally, but what I do know is that South Africans in general are incredible tough and talented runners. There’s no doubt in my mind that South Africans could very literally run away from the rest of us on race day. Home field advantage is certainly a reality over any terrain in which flagging isn’t utilised.

IC: Michael De Haast (race director) has put up a great prize purse should somebody post a great time, is that an incentive for you?

GR: I think it’s great that Michael has been able to put up such a prize purse. Personally I’ve never targeted an event due to a prize purse and am more driven by the aesthetic of a race. Prize purse or not, I can’t wait to run in South Africa! My wife will be joining me for two out of the three weeks that I’ll be in South Africa and we’ve been looking forward to this trip together all year long!

IC: This trip will provide two great opportunities – travel and racing!

GR: In terms of the race itself, I’m really excited to do a slightly non-conventional and more challenging form of a trail race. It seems more akin to an adventure run and I do love me a good adventure run. From a travel perspective, I’m stoked to run in a completely new country, while Linda and I are both really looking forward to taking in a safari while we’re there. Her face also tends to light up real bright when she says the words “dinosaur footprints,” which we hope to check out at some point as well.

The Salomon SKYRUN takes place on 20th-23rd of November and an exclusive package is available for those who may like to join us for the trip of a lifetime. Info HERE

‘I really like what the Salomon SkyRun is as an event, an honest to goodness bad ass mountain race. A lot of races out there like to brand themselves as such, but the Salomon SkyRun appears to be fully legit in this regard.’ Gary says as a parting shot, ‘I think few places in the world would embrace and even sanction an event such as this and I believe that offers great insight into the people, both behind the scenes and those lining up to tackle the race itself. This won’t be easy, as is evidenced by Ryan Sandes course record of almost twelve and a half hours.’

Having said all that, there’s an undeniable element of intrigue that emanates from everything surrounding the Salomon SkyRun.

You can listen to interviews with Gary Robbins below:

Episode 54 of Talk Ultra – Gary Robbins once again returned to the tough and gnarly Hurt 100 and came away with another victory, in this weeks show he tells us all about it and his plans for 2014. HK100 took place just a couple of weeks ago and young Australian sensation, Vlad Ixel placed 3rd overall in a top quality field, we interviewed him about his running and what the future hold. Talk Training as ‘Hint’s n Tips for running from Speedgoat himsel, the News, a Blog, Up and Coming races.. another great show in store!

Episode 29 – has come back man Gary Robbins telling us what it’s like to return from 2 years of injury to not only win Hurt 100 but to set a new CR. Jez Bragg tells us about completing ‘The Long Pathway, Te Araroa’ in New Zealand. Joe Grant says goodbye and heads off to the Iditarod. Colourful Catra Corbett tells us about drugs, alcohol, running, tattoos, clothes and Truman. In addition to all that, we also have… phew; Talk Training about the long run, ‘A year in the life off…, part 3 of our Marathon des Sables special, A Meltzer Moment, Up & Coming races and of course the News.

SkyRun 2014 on White

Episode 54 – Gary Robbins & Vlad Ixel

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERVIEW

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

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

Australia

Queensland

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

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

Victoria

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

Belgium

Wallonia

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

Chad

TREG | 170 kilometers | February 12, 2014 | website

Chile

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

Finland

Lapland

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

France

Aude

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

Aveyron

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

Côtes-d’Armor

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

Germany

Lower Saxony

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

India

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

Italy

Marche

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

Jordan

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

Nicaragua

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

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

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

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

Oman

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

Philippines

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

Senegal

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

South Africa

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

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

Sweden

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

Thailand

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

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

United Kingdom

Devon

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

Kent

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

USA

Alabama

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

Alaska

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

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

Arizona

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

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

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

Arkansas

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

California

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

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

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

Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kansas

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

Nevada

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

North Carolina

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

Ohio

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

Oregon

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

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

South Carolina

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

Texas

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

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

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

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

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

Utah

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

Virginia

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

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

Washington

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

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

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