February 21, 2013
HARDCORE new inov-8 athlete Joe Grant is preparing to tackle the extremes of Alaska in a 350-mile race described by organisers as the world’s longest human powered winter ultra-marathon.
An interview with Joe is available on Episode 27 of Talk Ultra and just THIS WEEK, Ian from Talk Ultra caught up with Joe before he headed out to the race. You can listen to that audio in Episode 29 of Talk Ultra released on February 22nd.
The 29-year-old, who will form part of a new global inov-8 team of athletes set to push boundaries and stretch limits in 2013, begins the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Knik, Alaska, on Sunday.
Born in the UK, raised in France and now based in Colorado, US, Joe will wear inov-8’s roclite™ 286 GTX boot to tame the snow and ice in a race that can take runners anything between four-and-a-half and ten days, depending on conditions in the Alaskan wilderness.
There are just seven checkpoints on the course where food and lodging is available. Between checkpoints racers have only each other.
Joe said: “It will be the longest ultra I’ve done in terms of distance and the extreme cold will make it tough but it’s a super exciting challenge. I just hope I can keep all my toes until the end!
“When racing over 350 miles in such wilderness and conditions it’s crucial to have trust in your footwear.
“The roclite™ 268 GTX is light and close to the ground, which is good on uneven snow. It runs like a low top trail shoe, but has all the advantages of a high top for these kinds of conditions.
“The GORE-TEX membrane helps keep my feet dry and warm, while the height of the boot in combination with gaiters prevents snow from getting in.”
Following that, Joe hopes to go head-on with the world’s best mountain runners at the opening race in the 2013 Skyrunner ultra series.
May’s 83km Transvulcania ultra-marathon monster on the island of La Palma in the Atlantic Ocean, which features 4,415m of elevation gain, was last year won by Dakota Jones, with Joe in joint 11th.
Joe went on to record an outstanding second place finish at the epic 2012 Hardrock 100-mile race in the US – an achievement he wants to better this year.
“I want to be on the start line for Transvulcania but it will depend on how my recovery goes after the Iditarod Trail Invitational,” said Joe, who has finished top-20 at the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB).
“The Hardrock 100 is a big one for me this year. It’s an awesome race, which embodies everything I like about racing in the mountains. I really want to do a fast time there in July.”
Joe will wear shoes from inov-8’s trailroc™ and roclite™ ranges to race over trails and mountains across the world in 2013.
He said: “I’m super excited about the roclite™ 243 (new for spring/summer 2013). Its specifications are spot-on and I couldn’t think of a better shoe for trail and mountain running.”
More details on Iditarod Trail Invitational visit http://www.alaskaultrasport.com/alaska_ultra_home_page.html