Race images from the Iznik Ultra series of races – marathon, 80k and 130k.
Race report and results to follow.
All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved
Now in its third year, the Iznik series of races in Turkey are assembling a strong UK contingent of runners to race over the marathon, 80km or 130km distances, featuring Jo Meek, Robbie Britton, Tracy Dean, Stu Air and Marcus Scotney. With several races on offer, Robbie Britton and Stu Air will race the marathon distance, Tracy Dean and Jo Meek the 80km and Marcus Scotney the 130km.
Surrounded by eight countries, Turkey has significant geographical importance as it is at a crossroads with Europe and Asia. The noise and colour from an over populated Istanbul are completely contradicted by the sublime tranquility of Iznik, situated on a beautiful lake. Don’t get me wrong! Istanbul is remarkable; it’s an exciting place and certainly, any journey to this region should at least include one-day sight seeing around the old town. The Fire Tower, the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar and Sultanhamet Square; believe me, there is no shortage of things to do.
Located in Bursa, on the banks of Lake Iznik, Caner Odabasoglu and his team have worked tirelessly to make the Iznik Races not only the premier event in Turkey but also with the 130km race, they also have the longest single stage race in the whole of the country.
Running and particularly, Ultra running is not a big sport in this region, to that end, Caner with the help of the Iznik community have continually worked hard to put the races and the local community on the running map.
Using the Iznik Lake as a backdrop, all the races utilize the local terrain to not only provide a beautiful course but also a challenging course. All the elevation comes in the first 80 km’s, so, the marathon and the shorter ultra are very much about going up and down on trails that vary from single-track to wide rutted farm roads. From the town of Soloz (appx 67km) the course flattens and follows the Iznik Lake in a circular route tracing the perimeter to arrive back at the start some 130 km’s later.
Jo Meek (Scott Running) fresh from a victory at The Coastal Challenge multi-day race in Costa Rica has been eagerly awaiting this trip, “I have been to Turkey before but only the touristic bits so travelling to Turkey this time to run through the areas I wouldn’t otherwise see holds a lot of appeal. See the culture as I experience the highs and lows of the countryside is a privilege anywhere but especially as a guest in a foreign country.”
Jo is right, racing in Turkey is a great opportunity to combine so many different elements, of course the opportunity to test oneself against new competition but also to see a new place and explore a new culture, “Iznik has a wonderful history. The Aphasia Mosque amongst others for example intrigues me and it will be amazing to see the architecture of the Hoffman period. I am interested in seeing the tiles that Iznik has a reputation for producing. The main attraction though… food, ha ha to have Turkish delight and fish kebab will be a real treat, just not both on the same dish.” Explained Tracy Dean (inov-8).
Marcus Scotney (Montane) recently won the ‘Challenger’ race at The Spine in the UK, “I wasn’t aware of an ultra scene in Turkey, I hadn’t looked into opportunities until I heard about the Iznik ultra. I’m sure the competition will be very tough, especially from local people who will know the route and what the trails are like.”
Robbie Britton (inov-8) backs this up, “I’ve met a couple of Turkish ultra runners in the UK but I didn’t know much about the scene in Turkey itself. I like competition so hopefully there will be a few guys to enjoy the hills with and we can push each other along.“
Robbie has a reputation for running long and fast, he has represented GB at the 24-hour distance, however, in Iznik he will race the shorter (but hillier) marathon race, “I’m racing the marathon distance this time, a little shorter than usual but it looks like a tough event! The ups and downs look very similar to the profile at Transvulcania on the island of La Palma so I see it as a good chance to race some tough ascents and fly down some steep downhill’s!”
Stu Air (Scott Running) equally has gained a reputation for racing tough, technical and long events; in 2013 Stu had great results at Ronda dels Cims in Andorra and the tough Tor des Geants. Fresh from a top-10 placing at MSIG50 in Hong Kong, Stu too has chosen the marathon distance race, “I have chosen the Mountain Marathon 42km course, as I feel that this distance will help me focus on my weakness (speed) over some of the longer races. I have several races in 2014 which are 100-miles. Transvulcania (80km) on the island of La Palma is a few weeks after Iznik too, so I thought this race would be perfect to help me in preparation for this longer race.”
Caner Odabasoglu and the MCR Racesetter Team are passionate ultra runners and have devoted an incredible amount of time, energy and money in creating a stunning weekend of racing on the shores of Iznik Lake. Dedicated to the cause, the 2013 edition will be bigger, better and potentially faster across all three key race distances… watch this space, the Brits are coming!
Race website: HERE
Follow the race at: iancorless.com and on Twitter @talkultra
Athlete race calendars 2104:
Kasie Enman hails from the small town of Huntington, Vermont where she lives with her husband and family. She was World Mountain Running Champion in 2011 and had a string of podiums in the 2012 SkyRunning Series before falling pregnant with her second child.
In this episode we discover Kasie’s home and family life as she shares her thoughts and feelings on running during pregnancy.
Another great film from Salomon Running and The African Attachment that shows us the importance of balance and passion.
Kasie Enman is not your normal runner! 2011 World Mountain Running Champion, Olympic Trials Team Member, 2012 winner of the Skyrunning Giir di Mont and 2:39 marathon runner (Marathon PB 2:37:14 set in 2008) just 9-months after her first child was born.
Kasie has said many times before that her priorities changed after the birth of her first child;
“I’m not the same person any more in terms of priorities. Running is no longer as important as it used to be and I have to work a lot harder at hanging on to my goals and not letting opportunities pass me by.” credit http://www.baa.org
“That’s When I Knew” & “Birth”
Written for The African Attachment & SRTV
It is barely three months since the 2013 Snowdonia Marathon Eryri took place, and was hailed as one of the best races ever. However, such is the popularity of marathon running these days that entries for the 2014 event went live on at midnight on the 1st of January with the organisers expecting to fill the race in record time, exceeding the 40 day record from 2013.
Race co-ordinator Jayne Lloyd has been at the head of organsing the race since 2004 and says that judging by the feedback from the 2013 event that the race could well be full inside those 40 days:
“2013 was incredible, as we now use online entry systems we could see the flow of entries coming in over January and February, it was pretty exciting to watch! Once again in 2014 runners were literally sat in front of their computers at midnight on New Years Eve waiting to enter and by midday on the 1st of January we have received nearly 700 entries.
We are seen as one of the premier marathons in the UK now, and demand for places is getting higher every year”.
Regarding the feedback which the race receives, Jayne continues:
“We are very proud of the praise that we get for the race, some of the comments received in 2013 were very humbling. People obviously see the race as their ‘event of the year’, creating holidays in the area around participating in the race, and come back year after year – that can only be a good thing for communities, sport in Wales and local business.”
Entries for the 2014 race opened on Wednesday Jan 1st at 00.01am and can be accessed by going to www.snowdoniamarathon.co.uk and clicking on ENTER THE RACE.
Salomon International athlete, Tom Owens is back… this weekend Tom raced in Tenerife at the K42 Canaries Anaga Marathon and took out the win!
Tom had an incredible season in 2012 racing and placing at a very high level in the Skyrunning World Series. He was one of the few runners to give Kilian Jornet a race. You can read my interview with him HERE.
Tom and his followers had looked forward to 2013. We all expected an improvement and a move up a notch to another level. However, disaster struck and Tom has been out of racing for much of ’13’ and several months ago had an operation.
In his recovery Tom took to cycling but stuck to his ‘off-road’ roots and participated in cyclocross racing to maintain his fitness.
Tom’s participation in the K42 Anaga Marathon on the lagoon side of the island may very well be a relatively low-key return to racing, however, a victory is a victory and it’s a great sign that Tom will be back in 2014. To gain victory, he did have to beat some strong competition from Raul Camara (NB), Pablo Villa (Scott), Yeray Duran and Raul Burgos.
By 33km, Tom had a commanding lead and victory was almost guaranteed from second placed runner and 2012 victor, Raul Camara.
In the ladies race, Buff athlete Emma Rocca was victorious in 4:55:07
Race website: http://www.k42anagamarathon.com
K42 series : http://www.k42series.com
Another year will soon be over, it will be January and you will be feeling the effects of all those extra calories and you will realize that you are way behind with your training… yes, Spring is just around the corner and irrespective of your 2014 events distance, your are going to need to kick start your training and get in shape! What better way to get the ball rolling or should I say, the legs running than a week in Morocco.
Epic Marathon Camps are ideal for runners of all ability and provide the opportunity to train and learn with like-minded individuals in a fantastic location, close to Marrakesh, Morocco.
The foothills of the Atlas Mountains will become your playground. Alice Morrison and Charlie Shepherd will be your hosts for the week along with coaches, Holly Rush and Karl Zeiner.
Combining excellent facilities with superb views and a high level of comfort. The hotel for the week has two swimming pools, a spa, and numerous different areas in which to exercise or relax. The venue’s style and philosophy fits perfectly; to offer a traditional Moroccan experience in comfort and style and with access to some superb scenery that is perfectly suited to physical training.
‘It’s quite simple, both Charlie and myself have entered the Marathon des Sables for 2014. Charlie has great experience of Morocco and has already coordinated multiple camps in the area, it seemed logical that we should extend our portfolio to a run specific camp,’ explained Alice.
Holly Rush is a TeamGB athlete and in 2013 placed 7th lady at the highly competitive Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa. In addition to this, Holly won a Bronze medal at the World Mountain Marathon Championships.
Karl Zeiner recently placed 16th overall at the ‘Ring of Fire’ in the UK and brings an extensive knowledge of marathon and ultra marathon training to the camp.
I asked Holly about her expectations of the camp and what participants can expect…
‘We are specifically targeting runners who want to get away from the January blues at home and get stuck into some focused, specific endurance training with like minded people in beautiful surroundings.’ Holly said with a look of eagerness on her face, ‘The January camps will be a great way to kick start the New Year with a possible eye on a spring marathon or ultra.’
Morocco is the ideal place to enjoy some winter sun without a long haul flight and yet once you arrive it will feel like you could be in another world. Participants will have the opportunity to train on a variety of surfaces, road, trail, sand and of course hills so every run can be different.
The camp can be as involved as each individual person requires. The team will offer plenty of easy running, all guided of course so that it’s possible to investigate the surroundings. Specific session will be mixed in to the week, threshold, marathon race pace, reps and hill repeats will keep everyone literally on there toes.
A unique selling point of EMC (Epic Marathon Camps) will be the magnificent location, high-end accommodation and facilities and of course the knowledgeable staff with quality training.
‘The camp will provide the perfect running experience allowing each and every person with one-to-one sessions with Holly and Karl.’ Explained Charlie. ‘It doesn’t stop there… days are based around running, core building, stretching and in the evenings lectures will be available about specific subjects to help progress each participants individual progression in the sport they love. Tired and aching bodies will be eased with in-house massage as required.’
Running is not only about miles, it is also about the food we eat and how we can enhance food choices so that we become efficient in every aspect of the sport. To that end, a nutritionist will be available for the whole week (a keen runner and cyclist herself) inspirational, balanced and incredible cuisine will be provided. You know you are on to a winner when the chef says, ‘I would never sacrifice taste for calories’.
Places are limited for the January training camps, January 11th to 18th/ January 19th to 26th.
The price for the all-inclusive week (transfers to-and-from the airport in Morocco, food, soft drinks, laundry and all services from the coaches) will be £1,495 for seven days (excl flights)
Please use the enquiry form below to receive a special £50 discount from the Epic Marathon Camps team.
*This is an advetorial post on behalf of Epic Marathon Camps
Though heavy rains and flooding have caused havoc in Manitou Springs, the famous Skyrunner World Series Pikes Peak Marathon will go ahead as planned with the Ascent starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday and the Marathon at 7 a.m. Sunday.
“Our primary event locations, Memorial Park and Soda Springs Park were flooded and are unusable this year,” said race director Ron Ilgen. “We’ve decided to go with the smallest event footprint we can in order to reduce impact to the city.” Taken from HERE
The race begins in front of the City Hall in Manitou Springs, 6 miles west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The majority of both races are run on Barr Trail in Pike National Forest. Barr Trail is a US Forest Service trail that is on the east face of Pikes Peak and Rocky Mountain. The course has an elevation gain of (start to summit) is 7,815′ (2,382 meters). The start is at 6,300′ (1,920m) and the summit is 14,115′ (4,302m).
The course for the 26.21 mile Pikes Peak Marathon® covers the same route as the 13.32 mile Pikes Peak Ascent® race but returns down the trail from the summit and finishes at Ruxton and Manitou Avenues in Manitou Springs
2012 winner Kilian Jornet (3:40:26) will not return to Pikes Peak in 2013 and therefore this leaves the door open for Alex Nichols, (inov-8)2nd in 2012, to move up the podium to the top slot and potentially improve on his time of 3:47:22. He is a local lad, knows the course like the back of his hand and he is without doubt the hot favorite. Last years third place, Max King will also not race and therefore the main protagonist for Alex will be Cameron Clayton. Cameron raced last weekend at Dakota Jones’s Telluride mountain ascent and won and although he will race in Swiitzerland next weekend at the Skyrunning, Matterhorn Ultraks, I am sure he will bring his ‘A’ game to Pikes Peak.
Although I have not had 100% confirmation, Fulvio Dapit may well toe the line, if he does, Fulvio without a doubt will push Cameron and Alex all the way to the line and has all the potential to top the podium. In addition, Jokin Lizeaga Mitxelena is very strong and he too will race at the Matterhorn Ultraks.
The rest of the men’s field does have depth and we can see many of the following runners looking for top ten placings: Gary Gellen, inov-8, Narc Caros, FEEC, Mikael Pasero, New Balance,
Dai Matsumoto, Hagolfs *injued, Toru Miyahara, La Sportiva, Eric Diaz Martin, FEEC, Josep Vines Soler, FEEC and Oscar Casil Mir, FAM.
Emelie Forsberg (4:28:07) 2012 ladies winner will also not return and in addition, last years second, Kasie Enman or third, Mireia Miro Varela will not return, so, who is the hot tip?
Step in Stevie Kremer. Stevie has been on fire for the last twelve months, she has been racing regularly and making consistent podium places. Just last weekend she placed second at the iconic Sierre-Zinal. For me, Stevie is the outright favorite, however, she hasn’t had much time at altitude lately and that may play against her.
On the face of it, the ladies field looks wide open, but expect pressure to be applied from, Laia Anfreu Trias, FEEC, Leila Degrave and Ragna Debats.
Pikes Peak Facebook HERE
In Progress Results HERE
Prior to the Skyrunner World Series event in Chamonix, France, six weeks ago, Eirik Haugsnes was a relative unknown in the sport of athletic superhumans.
Two outstanding performances under the shadow of Mont Blanc, however, changed all that.
First the 32-year-old Norwegian, who lives in one of Europe’s most northerly outposts, far from the skyrunning hub, claimed the scalps of many top mountain runners when placing third in the brutal Mont Blanc Vertical Km race.
Less than 48 hours later Eirik was at it again, this time finishing fifth in the elite-stacked Mont Blanc Marathon, which sees athletes tackle over 2,500m of grueling mountain ascent.
Having never previously raced in the Alps or over the marathon distance, suddenly he found himself as one of the hottest properties in skyrunning.
It’s therefore no surprise to learn of inov-8’s delight at recruiting Eirik to their talented international team, beating off interest from rival brands in doing so.
“The weekend in Chamonix was an incredible one for me,” says Eirik, who wore inov-8’s X-Talon 190 shoes in the vertical km and Trailroc 245 footwear for the marathon.
“I’ve done a lot of uphill-only races in Norway over steep and technical terrain and knew the Mont Blanc Vertical Km would suit me.
“As a relative unknown I was given an early individual start time, while the guys expected to clock the fastest times set off later.
“I just went for it. I pushed hard right from the beginning and maintained that intensity all the way up the climb.
“To get the third fastest time (35:02) and be within 30 seconds of the winner (Saul Antonio Padua Rodriguez) was really pleasing.
“I wasn’t supposed to be doing the Mont Blanc Marathon two days later, but on the back of my result in the vertical km race I was offered a place.
“Again, I gave it absolutely everything in the race and maintained a really good pace. The last 10km, however, were really tough. My body was in pain but I pushed through it.
“It was my first race over the marathon distance so to clock 3:47:59 and finish fifth over such a tough course was great.
“I also did it without any support. I had no team on the course to help me and drank only what was at the aid stations.
“I noticed inov-8 had a big team in Chamonix and was really impressed to see five of their runners place in the top-10 men and women for the marathon.
“I have always loved the brand, its philosophy and their big ambitions, so to now join the inov-8 team is really exciting for me.”
Living in Finnsnes, Troms, Eirik was brought up on a diet of cross-country skiing and was one of the best juniors in Norway, recording many podium places in national competitions.
In 2002, he achieved a then-world record for the fastest time skiing unsupported across Greenland, enduring terrifying whiteouts on route – something he says has aided his mental toughness for mountain running.
Eirik began running just five years ago and has since become one of the best mountain exponents in Norway, where many races are uphill-only, featuring ascent of between 500m and 1,800m.
This year, prior to his Chamonix double-header, he finished fifth in two very different races – first the Empire State Building Run-up in New York, which he completed in 11 minutes and four seconds, and then the 83km Transgrancanaria ultra-marathon on the Spanish Island of Gran Canaria, for which he clocked 8:55:24.
“The Empire State Building Run-Up involves scaling 86 floors and 1,576 steps as quickly as possible,” he said.
“In the town where I live the tallest building I could find has five floors. I did a lot of repetitions of those five floors in training!
“Before Transgrancanaria the only off-road races I had done were uphill races in Norway, so it was a totally new experience for me to be competing both up and down big mountains.
“I also went there having only trained in the snow, which every year covers our town between November and May – I think I live closer to the North Pole than the Canary Islands!
“I was therefore happy to finish fifth on the hard-packed trails, especially as for the last 30km I was totally wasted and running on empty.”
The Matterhorn Ultraks is part of the Skyrunner World Series and will see athletes battle it out over a stunning course that includes 3,600m of ascent.
And as for being the new kid on the skyrunning block, he adds: “I rise to it. I think it gives me an advantage. There are no big expectations on my shoulders, except those I put on myself.
“I will continue to run for adventure and to challenge my limits.”
The Skyrunning Mont Blanc Marathon, part of the Skyrunner® World Series weekend has really been a truly incredible experience. Mont Blanc, location of the 2014 Skyrunning World Champuionships, the 2013 event was so much more than a test run for next year!
The VK on Friday was an exhibition of exploding lungs and legs full of lactic acid as 400 runners climbed 1000 vertical meters over a 3.8km course – follow HERE
Today however, Sunday, was the classic marathon with a stellar field toeing the line to tackle a tough but fast course over the Mont Blanc mountain range. Wet and misty weather from Saturday cleared to one of the most glorious days in the mountains I have had the pleasure to witness.
Course records fall at the 2013 Mont Blanc Marathon
If you have never seen the Mont Blanc mountain range, a photo may give an impression but the awe inspiring majesty of these enormous beasts is a sight to behold and remember. They are truly incredible.
At 0700 two thousand runners departed from the square in Chamonix. The early pace was relentless over the first 10km’s due to relatively flat and very runnable terrain.
A lead group of men sped past at Argentiere pushing the pace hard. As expected, the main protagonists of the day were present; Kilian Jornet, Marco De Gasperi, Luis Alberto Hernando, Florian Reichert, Nicola Golinelli, Didier Zago, Alex Nichols, Tofol Castanyer and Salomon Team Manager, Greg Vollet amongst other.
First lady was Stevie Kremer. Pushing the pace hard very early on she shouted as she passed, “they are not far behind”. As it happened, at this early stage in the race she already had a ninety second lead over Emelie Forsberg.
On the trails the terrain changed and started to undulate. Kilian Jornet, Marco De Gasperi along with Luis Alberto Hernando and Nicola Golinelli started to pull away from the rest of the filed. Stevie Kremer extended her lead from ninety second to three minutes and this pattern continued.
At the Col de Posettes the race was blown apart with Kilian Jornet and Marco De Gasperi pushing each other stride-for-stride. Four minutes later Luis Alberto Hernando arrived. Nicola Golinelli was pursued by team mate Didier Zago and then we had Alex Nicholls and Florian Reichert. The pace was relentless.
Stevie Kremer flew down the descent and I waited… three, four, five, eight, ten and then Emelie came in sight… she was ten minutes and thirty seconds behind Stevie. Quite incredible! Emelie did say post race that she was having stomach issues, “I take nothing away from Stevie’s incredible performance, but today I just couldn’t push, I had no additional energy”.
From Tre les Champ at 1363m and approximately 32km into the course, the final 10km was all uphill! A relentless climb was broken with some relief just after Flegere before the final push to the summit finish at Plangraz, 2016m.
First around the bend was Kilian Jornet. Waving to the crowds he approached the line, turned, gave his usual one arm wave and then bent double as he tried to recover from the effort, 3h30’41 a new course record!
Marco De Gasperi was second just over a minute later. the two sparring partners had pushed each other to the line and in the process had once again provided an incredible racing spectacle that we can only look upon in disbelief.
Luis Alberto Hernando completed the podium. Post race he expressed his thoughts, “I have been training for longer races and I found the early relentless pace difficult to keep up with. However, from half way I improved and felt good. Maybe I am a little tired?”.
Stevie Kremer absolutely dominated the ladies race and blew the old course record off the scale by some twenty five minutes, her time of 4h03’16 placed her within the top 20! As she approached the line she could finally relax and that incredible smile appeared on her face. It was a stunning performance and one that many of us will never forget.
Emelie Forsberg arrived twenty two minutes later, despite her issues during the race she smiled and waved to the crowds. Emelie in her meteoric rise in the sport has become a firm crowd favorite and the cheers from all who watched acknowledged this.
Celine Lafaye completed the podium closely followed by Silvia Serafini. The Mont Blanc Marathon really was a showcase event. The anticipation for the 2014 World Skyrunning Championships will now start in earnest, with the inclusion of an 80km event, the race weekend will provide participants the option to race over the three classic Skyrunning disciplines:
Notable mentions must go to the incredible performances from the inov-8 International Skyrunning Team and Arc’teryx, both placed runners in the top ten.
Attention now turns to the Skyrunning Ice Trail Tarantaise and the European Championships in July – Information HERE
IMAGES FROM THE RACE AVAILABLE HERE
1° Kilian Jornet 3h30’41 NEW COURSE RECORD
2° Marco De Gasperi 3h31’42 –
3° Luis-Alberto Hernando-Alzaga 3h36’14
1° Stevie Kremer 4h03’16 NEW COURSE RECORD
2° Emelie Forsberg 4h25’10
3° Céline Lafaye 4h35