Hardrock 100 preview

Joe Grant, Cavalls del Vent 2012 copyright iancorless.com

Joe Grant, Cavalls del Vent 2012 copyright iancorless.com

So many races, so little time. No sooner am I back from three weeks travelling around the Canaries, Spain, Italy and France covering races and I am back in France for Ice Trail Tarentaise and then the Skyrunning European Championships in Canazei, the Dolomites. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love what I do. But it can be difficult to keep up… of course Western States occurred while I was travelling, I did manage to preview that and now as I am sitting in Italy to head to Val D’Isère, Hardrock 100 is due to start. So, here is a preview.

 

Just a week ago the race looked as though it may have problems due to wildfires. However, the fires subsided and the race is on. In comparison to previous years, the route appears to have less snow, so a faster time may well be a possibility. Although the race has a quality field, it ultimately looks like a two horse race in both the men’s and ladies races.

 

Joe Grant is returning after second place last year and sacrificed participation in Ronda dels Cims to make sure he is in the best possible shape to win. He had an awful run at Transvulcania in May after picking up a bug that would appear to have leaped around many of the elite runners staying at the same hotel. A bug that took Anton Krupicka out of the race. Joe dedicated late 2012 and early 2013 to the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a super long race in freezing temperatures pulling a sled. He should be well recovered now and I am sure the benefits of that race will come to the fore at Hardrock 100.

Sebastien Chaigneau, TNFUTMB 2012 copyright iancorless.com

Sebastien Chaigneau, TNFUTMB 2012 copyright iancorless.com

Last minute entrant, Sebastian Chaigneau has wanted to run this race for some time and he finally gets his chance. Always a tough competitor, this long, hard and gnarly course will work to his strengths and I think you will see Joe and Seb battle at the front of the race. Joe has two advantages; he has done the race before and he will also be more adapted to the altitude. It will be a compelling race to watch.

 

Speedgoat is returning, like Joe he knows this course like the back of his hand. He had a few problems early this year with a niggling calf but despite all logic, he turned up at Western States just a few weeks ago and still pulled off tenth place. Possibly the most experienced 100 miler on the planet, you can never rule Karl Meltzer out!

Jared Campbell at Ronda dels Cims copyright iancorless.com

Jared Campbell at Ronda dels Cims copyright iancorless.com

Jared Campbell needs no introduction; he loves races that are tough gnarly and a challenge. He recently raced the super tough 177km Ronda dels Cims and finished 7th. When I interviewed him the day after the race he looked fresh and trouble free. Ronda took him nearly 34 hours and that has to leave some fatigue in the body, however, I think we will see him improve on his 13th overall at Hardrock 100 in 2012.

 

Scott Jamie is an experienced Hardrocker (does that term exist). Anyway, he has finished in the top ten five times with a best overall placing of second. He appears to be in good shape with a recent win at Antelope Island Buffalo run.

 

Other male contenders:

  • Ted Mahon
  • Troy Howard
  • Chris Price
  • Nick Coury
  • Jamil Coury

 

LADIES

 

Diana Finkel was out front last year and dominating the race. Karl Meltzer sums it up when he says, ‘Diana is the best in the business on these long tough courses, and she can hike really quick’. However, she dropped at just over 80 miles last year due to ongoing health issues that she needs to monitor. It was very much a safety precaution and the correct call. Diana will be gunning for the top of the podium and if her health remains positive, I think we will see her in the no1 slot in the ladies race… don’t rule her out for the ‘overall’ too!

 

Last years winner, Darcy Africa returns and will be looking for a repeat performance. When Diana dropped in 2012 she was 1 hour behind, so, Darcy will need to up her game a little if she wants to remain in contention in 2013. It’s going to be an exciting battle.

 

Other female contenders:

  • Sarah McCloskey
  • Darla Askew
  • Betsy Kalmeyer
  • Betsy Nye

RACE WEBSITE HERE

 

Fuego Y Agua 2013

Ometepe

The fourth running of Ultramaratón Fuego Y Agua, features 3 races: 100 km, 50 km, and 25 km trail races. Taking place on February 16, 2013, the race this year has a very strong contingent from the US taking part. Held on Ometepe, an island known for its astonishing biodiversity with prehistoric rock carvings and a vibrant local culture. It rises out of Lake Nicaragua. It has twin volcanoes, one of which is still active. The lake is the largest in Central America and situated in the SE of Nicaragua. Ometepe is the world’s largest volcanic island in a fresh water lake, It was made a UNESCO biosphere preserve in 2010 to promote sustainable development of agriculture and ecotourism.

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An Ultra Trail du Mont-Banc qualifier for three points.The Fuego Y Agua 100K trail race course is a rugged single-loop course. The terrain includes technical single track trail, paved road,dirt trail, technical single track trail, and the infamous “jungle gym” section where racers will navigate a chaotic web of Ometepe trees. The course includes the Volcan Maderas and Concepcion climbs and has11 Aid Stations spread throughout the course.

  • Start Date/Time: Saturday February 16, 2013, 4:00 a.m.
  • Start/Finish Location: Main Street, Moyogalpa
  • Cutoff Time: 24 hours/4:00 a.m. the next day.
  • Aid Stations: Start (Moyogalpa), San Jose Del Sur, Ojo de Agua (outbound), El Porvenir, Volcan Maderas, Monkey’s Island Merida, Ojo de Agua (inbound), Altagracia, La Flor, Volcan Concepcion, El Galillo, Finish (Moyogalpa)

*Finish in under 11 hours and receive a refund on your entry fee!

THE 2013 RACE

Dave James just one week ago dominated the 6 stage Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. Not only did he perform at the top level everyday but racing in a rainforest in high heat and humidity will mean that he is adapted and well adjusted for the conditions in Nicaragua. He is an odds on favourite for the win providing the 236km have not fatigued him too much.

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The front of the race will also have the presence of Brit (based in the US) Nick Clark. Nick will be gunning for the win with Dave James but he is coming from cold temperature is the US with little time to adapt. Also, this is the first big race of the year and Nick has a very busy year ahead as he plans to Grand Slam.

iancorless.orgIancorless_transvulcania_037

 

Ian Sharman is also in Nicaragua but it would appear that a knee injury has raised its head and he may well not start the race. I had an email from him last night and I am just waiting confirmation on this. Of course, should Ian be fit he has the speed to be up at the front pushing the pace. However, it is still early in the year. He extended his 2012 season to the New Year and by his own admission he should have ‘stopped’ when he had planned to stop. He has run a marathon recently so watch this space.

Ian Sharman in La Palma copyright Ian Corless

Ian Sharman in La Palma copyright Ian Corless

Yassine Diboun from Oregon, Sean Meissner and the Coury brothers,  Nick and Jamil add spice at the front end of the field. I met Nick and Jamil in Costa Rica as they passed through on the way to Nicaragua. Great to hear that Nick has now been placed first option for the 24hr World Championships. Nick will be in the mix at ‘Fuego’ with that ‘leg speed’ but rumour has it Jamil will drop to the 50k distance.

What I am unsure of is what local competition will turn up and push things at the front end of the race. South America has a real talent pool of runners and one can’t underestimate the ‘severe’ conditions that this race will take place in. The heat and humidity takes some getting used to.

The course record is 11:08 held by Javier Montero set in 2009. Female record is held by Amy Sproston, 13:12 set tin 2008.

Ultrasignup link HERE

2012 results for reference HERE

The mission of Ultra Fuego y Agua is to bring responsible ecotourism to Isla de Ometepe in the form of challenging and exciting jungle races.

Our purpose for the race is to bring an event that gives back to the island without taking anything more than beautiful memories and experiences.

The word ecotourism is a form of tourism that appeals to ecologically and socially conscious individuals. Generally speaking, ecotourism focuses on volunteering, personal growth, and learning new ways to live on the planet; typically involving travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions.

By using local guides, local food preparation, locally owned hotels and businesses, to name just a few, Ultramaraton Fuego y Agua hopes to boost the local economy and promote sustainable events on the island. For example, finisher’s trophies are locally crafted and produced by island artisans.

Runner’s and volunteers are encouraged to participate in the annual Isla Limpia trash pickup. This organized effort promotes local awareness of the island as a natural resource that must be preserved and maintained.

Portions of race entry costs and donations are used to host the Calzado Ometepe Kids Run, a children’s race for local islanders. The children’s race promotes running, fitness, healthy eating and awareness of the island as an endangered environment that must be cared for. All participants of Calzado Kids Run receive a pair of running shoes donated by supporters and participants of Ultra Fuego y Agua.

About Isla de Ometepe

Isla de Ometepe is a volcanic island (approx. 276 km sq) located on Lake Nicaragua (also known as Lago Cocibolca) in the southwestern region of Nicaragua. Two volcanoes form most of the island. Volcan Concepcion (1610 meters) is considered an active volcano but has not had a major eruption since 1957. Concepcion is thought to be the most perfectly formed volcano cone in Central America. Volcan Maderas (1394 meters) has a crater lagoon and is surrounded by cloud forest and thick jungle. Its slopes are dotted with petroglyphs and stone idols.The forests of Ometepe are full of monkeys, tropical birds, rare insects, plants and flowers. Both volcanoes are now protected as national forests. The island is full of legends surrounding the volcanoes and its former inhabitants, the Nahuatl. Ometepe literally means “two hills” in the native Nahuatl language. The fertile volcanic soil makes Ometepe an agricultural phenomenon. Coffee, cacao, beans, rice, tobacco, bananas and many other fruits are plentiful on the island.

There are two major towns on Ometepe, Moyogalpa (pop. 2900) and Altagracia (pop. 4080). The total population of the island is only about 30,000 with an economy mainly based on livestock, agriculture and tourism. See our activities section for more information on Isla de Ometepe activities.

The Story of Ometepe

As the story goes, long ago there was no Lake Nicaragua or Isla de Ometepe, only a lush valley of the gods named Valle de Coapolca. Several tribes who were hostile to each other lived around the valley and would visit it often to gather fruit and hunt game. One day, a young warrior named Nagrando met and fell in love with Ometepetl, a beautiful maiden from an enemy tribe. They tried to keep their romance a secret, but eventually Ometepetl’s father learned of the affair and vowed to kill Nagrando. The young lovers fled and hid in the forest, where they decided that the only way they could be together was by committing suicide. The pair slit their wrists and died in each other’s arms. As Ometepetl fell backwards, the sky darkened and rains flooded the valley, forming Lake Nicaragua. Ometepetl’s breasts then grew into the twin peaks of Volcan Concepcion and Volcan Maderas, and Nagrando’s body became the nearby Isla Zapatera.