Episode 131 of Talk Ultra and we bring you an interview with TCC winner, Tom Owens. We also speak with Jo Meek who recently placed on the podium in Hong Kong at Translantau 100km. Niandi brings us a ‘one-on-one’ interview with Inge Nijkamp. We have the news and ultra-chat!
Niandi still is injured but back in the pool
Ian has been to Bulgaria w/ Dean Karnazes, Sean Conway and more…
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Niandi is joining me and yes, her foot is still in a moon boot. How’s the fracture?
Lets kick off with Niandi’s next ‘one-on-one’ interviews, this week she talks with Inge Nijkamp who attended our training camp in Lanzarote. In early April, Inge will toe the line at MDS and here Niandi discusses balances life, children and how you fit it all in…
INTERVIEW with INGE NIJKAMP
Max King once again showed his speed ahead of Hayden Hawks. However, both went under to old CR! It was close with Hawks just over 30 seconds back. Max gets an auto qualifier for the IAU Trail World Champs. Sage Canaday placed 3rd.
Ladia Albertson-Junkans (?) won the race in 4:17 and the IAU slot ahead of Yiou Wang and Rachel Jaten
Trail du Ventoux
Marc Lauenstein and Caroline Chaverot too top honours in a race that also gave IAU qualificition. Lauenstein from Switzerland didn’t qulify (obviously) for the French place and this went to UTMB winner Ludovic Pommeret.
Kilian announced his year! Everest figures and an attempt at the Bob Graham Round.
Surprisingly, his run calendar is full, no doubt due to the run series that is currently a little under the radar…. Mont Blanc Marathon, Sierre Zinal, a return to a super stacked UTMB and of course Hardrock 100 and Ultra Pirineu figure. From a UK perspective, KJ will race at Glen Coe which is awesome news.
Antelope Island Buffalo Run
Great to see Sondre Amdahl take the win for the men and Sage Balloock Dixon for the ladies – 6:45 and 8:087 respectively.
Harry Jones from the UK took the win ahead of Jacky Leung and Jeremy Ritcey, their times 12:47, 13:28 and 13:44. Marie McNaughton 14:10 once agin won the ladies’ race ahead of Brit Jo Meek 15:05 and Wei-Ling Tseng 17:42.
Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
Inspiration comes in many forms and ways. I have just been to Sofia, Bulgaria for Fizkultura – a one day event put together by Begach Running Club. The event is geared towards inspiring Bulgarian runners to embrace new challenges, it may be just to start running, or maybe move from marathon to ultra-running, or why not try something bold and new like creating their own running challenge.
My participation was facilitated by the Begach Running Club and the British Embassy – I was joined by ‘the beard!’ The crazy, inspiring and distinctive looking adventurer, Sean Conway.
Arriving in the early hours of Friday morning, Sean and myself were working right from the off with a breakfast at the Embassy and an improvised individual presentation – good job this ‘on-the-spot’ request didn’t phase us… some years back, I’d have immediately melted into a ball of nerves; not now!
Sofia is without a doubt Eastern European in feel and architecture. There are bold, brazen and striking monuments everywhere to remind us that Russia is not far away. But I was surprised. The centre had a distinct feeling of wealth with a multitude of high-end shops, plenty of bars and a huge selection of hotels. A backdrop of impressive snow-capped mountains made me feel relaxed.
A drive to the mountains and a leisurely lunch (in an incredible restaurant) provided us all with an opportunity to bond. It’s here that I had a little more time to get to know Sean and extend my introduction to Irina Daniela from Romania who is slowly but surely inspiring Romanians to run and notably empowering women to siege their futures by foot power. Irina recently ran a sub 3h for the marathon and in doing so has shown what is possible for the women of Romania. She’s a striking person – tall (too tall for Sean and myself), great figure, long dark hair and striking features. It’s easy to see how she will inspire those around her. She’s a bundle of energy and enthusiasm but Fizkultra is her first big ‘gig’ out of her homeland. Website here.
Sean by contrast looks like a lion under a mane of ginger. He’s a small and a slight figure who brims with confidence and an accent that’s hard to work out – South African, Irish and British public school make an interesting mix that is captivating to the ear. He casually talks of his up and coming challenge of cycling ridiculous daily distances in Australia to set a new world record. He has a simple motto – to be the first or the fastest – it works for him! His list of achievements is impressive, but more on that later. Website here.
It was early evening before I finally met Dean Karnazes. Dean, aka ‘Marathon Man’ is someone who I have emailed and spoke too on many times but this is my first face-to-face. He taps me on the shoulder. I turn, he grabs my hand and pulls me in close in a tight embrace and says, ‘Ian, finally, good to see you man!’ For once I feel tall, Dean is my height and we are both taller than Sean and if Irina had not been in our presence, for once I may well have been the tallest – just! However, Dean looks incredible – he’s ripped, chiseled, has a Californian tan and he’s swearing shorts. His legs bulge with muscles and I suddenly realize that the reality of meeting Dean didn’t disappoint. This guy, for me, helped change the way the sport of ultra has grown in the last 10-years. It was his book, Confessions of an all Night Runner’ that suddenly made ‘others’ aware of the crazy sport of running long; ultra-running! Website here.
Dinner took place in ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ and we joke, discuss love, life, running and politics. Bed soon arrives for Dean, he has no idea what day or time it is. Jet lag has hit hard and he leaves early. Our trio relax with our hosts and a late-night walk back to our hotel is followed with a night-cap in the bar. I felt at home with my two new friends and like all good new friendships, 12-hours have made them both feel like lifelong friends. We laughed the night away till bed finally called.
Dean kicked off the day 0945. Short clad, the audience welcome him with rapturous applause and he quickly goes into a 30-minute presentation that gives an overview of his running. Of course, it’s an impossible task – he has achieved so much! Despite the launch of his recent book, ‘The Road to Sparta,’ Dean takes us back on a journey to his first book as Fizkultura coincides with its release in Bulgarian. Many of you will know those early stories of taking the shoes out of the garage on his 30th birthday and then running 30-miles. His first Western States, Badwater 135 and running a marathon at the South Pole. It’s classic ‘Dean’ and the audience lap it up.
Irina power dresses and looks like an air hostess wearing a suit, shirt, scarf and ridiculous high-heels. Sean and myself refuse to stand close to her… The style of dress was important, Irina’s background was in banking and she wanted to show everyone that it has been possible to still be a business professional and a runner. “My Story’ was about dreaming, having no limits and empowering herself, other women and yes, men, to wear run shoes and find out what is possible. The story of how she achieved sub-3, one of the fastest female performances for a Romanian and how her dreams may well lead to Olympic selection.
Antoniya Grigorova, Bulgaria’s top female ultra-runner, talked about her plans, planning and training in preparation for running the longest trail in Bulgaria: Kom-Emine. A journey of 600km. A professional athlete she provided an insight into the mind, the training and the nutrition of what the journey will take.
Lunch was followed with the lion roaring. Sean was in fine form and told the story of his world’s longest triathlon with great skill and humor. He was a natural on the stage and it’s fair to say the audience loved him. His presentation was interspersed with still images and small videos that documented the journey – and what a journey! A bent bamboo bike, a Sunday roast dinner blended into liquid form for lunch, skinny dipping in an icy river and his face being stung constantly by jelly fish while swimming.
I followed Sean and what an act to follow. My talk was always going to be a visual one as I planned on taking that audience around the world with a selection of races and images from Running Beyond (here). Of course, I had to provide some context on my journey and my opening dialogue provided a glimpse on how I got to where I am today.
Boyan Petrov is a legend in Bulgaria. An Alpinist, he talked us through the training, the planning and the equipment required to climb 8000+m peaks without oxygen. He’s one of the few climbers to make 3 x 8000m peak in one year, something he has done twice. He also discussed the dream of climbing all 8000+m peaks – more people have been to space than done this!
The day concluded with Dimitrina Sivkova talking about trauma prevention and getting back in shape.
It was an incredible day of challenges, feats, adventure, goals, inspiration and living a life with barriers or restrictions. The takeaway was, ‘make dreams happen!’ Dean concluded his talk with a famous quote, it’s not new but it’s apt and it somehow summed up exactly what Fizkultura was trying to achieve:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Despite tiredness and fatigue, an evening dinner in a vegan and vegetarian restaurant provided us all with an opportunity to discuss the day – we were all motivated. We of course were reminded that the following day, Sunday, there was a race in a local park running a 600m loop and two events, a 12-hour and 6-hour race called Project 360. A small selection of runners would start at 0630 looking to log mileage and a qualifying time for Spartathlon. The main event would start at 0900 with a 6-hour event that would allow runners to do as little or as much as they required. Travel plans scuppered any
Despite tiredness and fatigue, an evening dinner in a vegan and vegetarian restaurant provided us all with an opportunity to discuss the day – we were all motivated. We of course were reminded that the following day, Sunday, there was a race in a local park running a 600m loop. A small selection of runners would start at 0630 looking to log mileage and qualifying time for Spartathlon. The main event would start at 0900 with a 6-hour event that would allow runners to do as little or as much as they required. Travel plans scuppered any participation plans for me but I went and cheered on with Irina for an hour and of course, we just had to run a loop with ‘Marathon Man!’
I love the fact that despite jet-lag, bust days of presenting and travel, Dean rocked up to the start line and run for 6-hours. He personifies his name.
I must say, I was sad to leave Sofia, my new friends and a great, developing running community. Dean, Sean, Irina and myself were there to inspire others but we left inspired. We were each individually energized by our time in Bulgaria. Sean will be bashing out the bike miles for Australia, Irina will be looking for the speed and endurance for a fast marathon, Dean? well, Dean will just keep running and running and me; travel, photography and telling stories. I love to do that and the story of Fizkultura and Bulgaria is a special one – a personal one!
A huge thanks to the British Embassy, Elenko Elenkov, Begach Running Club and the many new Bulgarian runners who hosted, entertained and looked after us – Alexander, Milen, Vladi and so many more.
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.
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!
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.
Clear skies. Yes, at 0800 the sky was clear and we all knew that it was going to be a great day!
Friday, was the first full day of the 2017 Multi-Day Training Camp and what a way to start! Participants were split into three groups and they would cover somewhere in the region of 32 – 38km. Elisabet Barnes lead the fast group, Niandi Carmont the medium group and Marie-Paule Pierson looked after the walkers. Ian Corless worked as ‘pick-up’ between the groups looking after runners who found the pace of their respective groups a little to ‘hot’ and needed to drop the the group below.
It was a stunning day. Hugging the coastline, all the groups headed out to Famara and beyond and then circumnavigated back via a different route with the climb of a dormant volcano.
One thing was clear – a warm day, terrain that replicated race scenarios and specific paced groups made for a happy bunch of runners.
Back at Club La Santa, it was time to refuel and hydrate before two talks in the early evening, one on foot care and the other on hydration.
The day ended with some good food and of course, the odd beer or glass of wine, it’s a holiday after all…
Interested in the 2018 Training Camp? If so, go HERE
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.
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.
2016 has been an incredible year. I have travelled to more races, worked with some incredible people, interviewed inspirational athletes from all walks of life and I launched Running Beyond Book.
As one year comes to an end, it’s always good to give thanks. I want to thank all the races and race directors worldwide that have asked me to cover their races; I started my race coverage in Costa Rica and concluded it Nepal with a whole string of stunning locations and places in between.
Skyrunning for an incredible calendar of races – VK, SKY, ULTRA and in 2016 we launched EXTREME, it really is such an inspiring race series.
So many magazines, websites and resources that have used my content throughout the year.
Karl ‘Speedgoat’ Meltzer has once again provided another year of co-hosting with Talk Ultra and somehow along the way he managed to set a ‘FKT’ on the Appalachian Trail.
Niandi Carmont has been invaluable with her support – without that, what I do would not be possible and in addition, she has been working at many of the races I have attended as writer and podcaster. I hope 2017 is a great year for her as she progresses her run coaching.
Finally, all of you who read the articles, view the images and listen to the podcast – a huge thanks!
Have a great end to 2016 and I wish you all a successful 2017.
Episode 125 of Talk Ultra is our Christmas Show – Happy Christmas everyone! We have interviews with Zach Miller, Caroline Boller and Samantha Gash. We also have a review of the year and Niandi Carmont is co-hosting.
RUNNING BEYOND BOOK is travelling the world and of course I recommend it as a great Christmas present… we mentioned in the last show about Running Beyond Event which will take place 3, 4 and 5th March in London, plans are progressing for that… in addition, Niandi and myself will now be in Amsterdam on Feb 3rd, 4th and 5th for a Trails in Motion event and Running Beyond book signing with Mud Sweat and Trails and I will be also going to Sofia in Bulgaria on the 17th, 18th and 19th March for a trail, mountain and Skyrunning expo.
Need a run coach for 2017? Check out coaching with Ian and Niandi HERE