Episode 225 – Michael Wardian and Michael Jones

Episode 225 of Talk Ultra has an in-depth interview with Michael Wardian after his epic run across America. We also speak with Ultra Trail Snowdia by UTMB race director, Michael Jones. Speedgoat co-hosts.


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Episode 185 – Kilian Jornet, Albert Jorquera and Michael Wardian

Episode 185 of Talk Ultra is a Quarantine Special with Kilian Jornet and Albert Jorquera talking about  Yo Corro En Casa and Michael Wardian talking about winning, the Quarantine Backyard Ultra.
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Looking back: ISRAEL NATIONAL TRAIL FKT – Michael Wardian

One year ago, an epic journey came to an end, Michael Wardian ran the length of the Israel National Trail, starting in the south and finishing in the north. The journey completed in 10-days, 16-hours and 36-minutes for 630km.

Timely to look back at the journey, link to the daily reports and and once again re-live the experience.



As experiences go, documenting Michael Wardian running the Israel National Trail #fkt in March 2019 was a career highlight.
I am ever thankful to Zoli Bihari for the opportunity. We had the most epic 10-days chasing Mike the length of Israel. ‘Bluey’ was the perfect vehicle.
The terrain, landscape and the people magnificent.
The opportunity to create for Mike, run with him while capturing images and importantly, tell the story of the epic undertaking is something I can only dream to repeat.


“The landscape and scenery on day-1 is truly spectacular. Beauty comes at a price though – the trails are technical, have plenty of climbing and descending and then add some intense heat.”



“The highlight of the day came at Vardit and Barak Canyons. These natural wonders are truly spectacular, no, mind-blowing.”



“Mispe Ramon towards Mahmal Fort brought a conclusion to the day at 1900 hours. Mike, as the previous day, was robot like. He maintained a consistent pace. At no point did he say he was tired, on the contrary, at all times, he said, ‘I feel so good!’”



“Karbolet is known as the hardest and most challenging section of the whole Israel National Trail – it was stunning. It involved a long technical climb with rungs, exposure and technical sections. Once at the summit, the trail went up and down, mostly on angled slabs of rock. To the left, a drop to the valley below.”



“Day 5 or 6 are not the days to push over the edge, as a team, decisions will be made on day 7 on what is needed over the final couple of days. Mike is prepared for that and quite simply it may well come down to one or two very long days and then a big rest.”



“Today felt very different to the first 5-days. Not only because of the terrain but mostly due to the amount of support Mike received. Throughout the day runners joined him. At no point was he left alone.”



“A marathon was soon covered. Then 50km. At 61km Mike was still saying how good his legs were and at 73km darkness came and for the first time in the day he was alone on the trail. At 9:15pm, he had covered 89km at ‘Mitzpe Modiin’ and then he departed for a final leg to close out the day at 100km.”



“At Poleg Beach (16:47) disaster almost struck. Mike was freezing cold as the wind whipped in off the sea. Wrapped in blankets, he could not get warm. Adding layers including two jackets and woolly hat also didn’t seem to help.”



“For the final sections of the days trail, he had an entourage of runners, all keen to embrace an opportunity to say, ‘I was there!’ They left the final checkpoint at 2125, the final kms of the day would soon pass…”


DAY 10 FKT (Part One)

“He laughed and complained about his pathetic 4-mile per hour pace. ‘Dude, this sport is so funny. One minute you feel like you are being stabbed in the heart 50 times and then moments later, you can feel great. I love the depths this sport can take you!’”


DAY 10 FKT (Part Two)

“The small group of five left and `mike looked eager to be done with the final miles as soon as possible. Dropping down to river bed, climbing up and finally the running was good. in the night sky, the glow of ‘Qiryat Shemona’ and ‘Krar Gil’adi’ would eventually lead to the finish of the INT in ‘Dan.’”



I wrote one year ago…

“Sitting in Tel Aviv airport waiting for my flights home and I was trying to process the last 14-days with Mike, Zoli and the team. Israel, Mike and the INT has really made an impact.
For now a huge thanks for all the wonderful words, comments and support. This FKT would not have been possible without YOU ALL. Remember, in years to come, you will be able to say, #iwasthere”

Now, looking back I can say, #iwasthere


Follow #fktisrael


#goarava #arava_way

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Israel National Trail FKT #FKTIsrael on SIDETRACKED

“…Word on the trail was getting out and Mike was being met by more and more runners who cheered him on. As the hours passed so did the miles – Mike was like a machine. He pushed into the night to the ancient city of Tel Arad. The rain poured down and the wind gusted and buffeted. Mike ran 91km today.”

Read the full story of Michael Wardian’s epic journey running from the south to the north of Israel setting a new fastest known time of 10-days, 16-hours and 36-minutes.


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Michael Wardian #FKTIsrael – Pre FKT Interview and Photos

We are here in Israel ahead of Michael Wardian‘s #fktisrael attempt, a 631-miles in Israel running the Israel National Trail.

The team arrived in Eilat March, 9th and 12th to prepare. Zoli Bihar and Erez Ganescu are providing planning and essential back up and support for this record attempt.

The Israel National Trail, is a hiking path that was inaugurated in 1995. The trail crosses the entire country of Israel. Its northern end is at Dan, near the Lebanese border in the far north of the country, and it extends to Eilat at the southernmost tip of Israel on the Red Sea, a length of 1,015 km (631 mi).

The idea for this FKT was created by Zoli Bihari of Canaan Running Adventures @CanaanRunning on FB and IG

The Israel National Trail has been listed in National Geographic’s 20 most “epic trails.” It is described as a trail that “delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of the modern Israeli.”

Michael will start his FKT attempt on Tuesday March 12th at sunrise. Ahead of his departure, I caught up with him to find more about this epic challenge.

IanMichael we have been out there to do a little bit of recce on the course, it’s stunning so far, really incredible! What is it that fired you up about running over 600 miles from one end of Israel to the other?

Michael: I met a guy named Zoli at a race that you’re very familiar with (The Coastal Challenge) and I love, last year in Costa Rica. At first what fired me up about it was just Zoli’s passion for Israel and the trail running there and I have to say I knew nothing about that. I didn’t even have that on my radar. It was something that just wasn’t even a thing for me. My sister has been a few times….

She has some Israeli friends that she’s visited, and I remember freaking out like the first time she went just because of the media here in the US. When she returned, I said,” Wow” – It opened my eyes.! She told me how great the food was, the people were so interesting and the countryside sobeautiful.

It peeked my curiosity. Ithen met Zoli and he told me that there is a re al trail running scene.

I visited in December and I ran a few days. Weird really, I didn’t even know they had ultra-marathons there. It was just like a blank spot on my consciousness. It was something else, I had listened to the media, “That place is dangerous, that place is somewhere that if you are an American you want to avoid.” I’m sure Iran is amazing and there’s probably beautiful parts -for example!I went to Cuba a couple of years ago and that was the same thing. I was like, “This place is incredible,” It’s too bad we don’t get to explore that part of the world and so when Zoli mentioned Israel, I was like, “Wow that’s really interesting”.

Importantly, in my progression as a runner, I want to do some longer, bigger things and I’ve been inspired by people that have run across the country (USA). I work full-time and have a family, so, to disappear for a month or more is not possible. However, the opportunity to sneak away for hopefully 10 to 15 days is a little bit more manageable at this point in my life. The FKT is going to be a bigger undertaking than anything I’ve ever done and its nerve wracking and exciting – it’s something where I’m always looking for the opportunity to evolve as an athlete.

I’ve been really embracing the FKTs and that kind of way to explore what one Is capable of. It is an opportunity to explore a different way of challenging oneself. It’s also a building block to further challenges, “Yes, I definitely want to try to run across the US. Then if that goes well, it’d be fun to run across other continents and maybe ultimately doing a run across Antarctica – that would be amazing.”

Ian: One thing that’s great about running and hiking or just moving via foot is that it’s about the journey. Travelling from one end of a country to the other or travelling across a country or basically travelling on a trail, there’s something really, really satisfying about making that journey in a semi or self-sufficient manner.

I like you was contacted by Zoli and he asked would I document the FKT.

Of course, my initial reaction was yes. Then I thought, “Hold on a minute, Israel. Okay. There’s Syria at one end, there’s Jordan, there’s Egypt, there’s Saudi Arabia, there’s the Gaza Strip. What have I just let myself in for?” [I’ve had a few messages from people since we announced that the FKT was going ahead and they said, “Hey, are you going to be okay? Is it safe?” Of course, my answer was immediately, “Yes of course it is.” Then I thought, “Actually, is it?”

I went on the on the UK embassy website and put in Israel, I asked, “is it safe to travel?”

They basically said, “Yes, there’s nothing to be scared of.” Obviously, as in any of these countries, they say you need to be logical and sensible and don’t do anything silly, but effectively if you’re missing out the Gaza Strip or one or two of the red areas then everything’s fine.

The Israel National Trailwas created by, Avram Tamir, actually, he got the idea because he hiked the Appalachian Trail in the US.

Michael: Yes, that’s true, yes.

Ian: There’s a really nice connection there, the fact that somebody goes to the US, does the Appalachian Trail, and then basically wants to take that concept back to Israel and creates a trail that goes from one end to the other.

It seems as though most people, if they’re going to do this, start in Kibbutz Dan and then go down towards Eilat. We’re actually going do this FKT the opposite way around, we’re going to go from Eilat to Kibbutz Dan.

Michael: Yes, that’s the way that we’ve designed it in. I’ve researched it both ways and it is Zoli’s suggestion to go south to north. I did a recce in December and checked out the terrain and it makes a lot of sense.

The northern end, where you were talking about, Kibbutz Dan, that’s a little bit more urban and it’s less restrictive as far as travel, so, if need be, we can run into the night.

If you start in the north, one is tempted to run bigger miles at the beginning, and I think that’s what a lot of people try to do. Then they end up getting to the desert and they’re more restricted by the night. The south is more challenging too and hence slower.

We’re thinking that it’s better to tackle, the harder part at the beginning when you’re a little fresher. Ialso think that actually having the restrictions of moving at night should be a good thing, it’’s almost like a governor. I cannot get too excited and run too much!

The route finding is maybe a little bit more difficult in the South too from the looks of it. It piggybacks on local trails, so, I need to make sure I don’t get lost. He based it on the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail does a similar style where there is the Appalachian Trail that’s 2,000 miles or something. Offshoots of that are just local trails that everyone uses. Also, you can jump on the Appalachian Trail for 10 miles or 20 miles or 40k.

You’ve got to make sure you know which marker you’re looking for. You’ve just got to know where to look. I think that’s going to be something – to try to stay on the trail. Luckily, with modern technology I can use GPS for back-up.

As I move forward, I want to try to embrace the Israeli running communion and I think we’ll be able to draw more people out and be part of the journey as we move North rather than South. It’s more populated. It’s easier to get people out on the trails to be a part of it.

IanIn terms of logistics Michael, it’s interesting if you look at the distances for the trail because they don’t seem to be some varying distances. I’ve read on one site, it’s 693 miles, I’ve read on another 631. Let’s estimate that it’s going to be somewhere in that ballpark. It seems as though most people like to try and do it in 30 or 40 days, and you’re going to go for 10, which is effectively 100k a day. It’s quite a challenge. How many hours a day early on do you think you’re going to be able to play with? Obviously, should you get behind later on in the attempt, where the flexibility is greater for running during the night, you can obviously extend your time. Originally what sort of time frame are you working on the early days?

Michael: I think that it’ll be interesting because some of the terrain is challenging. You’ve got some climbing, soft sand, I don’t know, people think of the desert and they think it is like beach sand. Most of the time, it’s not really like that. The deserts that I’ve been in so far, like the Gobi or the Sahara or the desert in Israel, it’s more of hard crusty dirt and rocks.

Some sections I should be able to run pretty quick. One section is really interesting that is 50 or 60 kilometers long where one is running between two military training areas. It’s pretty cool, but it’s basically just like this gravel road, almost. I have done my research with runners like Scott Jurek, Karl Meltzer and others – I will look to break my day down with say a marathon, a break for food and then another marathon.I will also add miles depending on time and how I feel.

“I just want to keep moving the whole day,” I have a crew to look after me, so, let’s see! The local run community will be key too.

It’s similar I feel to the community spirit you get in the UK when you’re trying to do like the Bob Graham Round or the Ramsay Round, local runners love to get involved. Or even like here in the USA when you’re doing the Appalachian Trail or the PCT or the Continental Divide Trail – you have trail angels that come out and maybe drop some food, cash, some water for you or just come and run with you for 10 miles…

I was surprised when I did the FKT here in DC. I ran basically a little around 300 kilometers in 36 hours. I had no impromptu aid stations and then groups of like 15 or 20 people that would join with me for a bit. Other sections I was alone, but for the most part, it just became this thing and I’m hoping for something similar in Israel. I just did an FKT on a trail right by my house and I probably had 40 people that came out, it was awesome.

ZoliIs pretty detail oriented and he’s prepared this incredible spreadsheet with estimated times at all the places. It’s nice to have a target each day, but if some days I go more than 100K, we can do that, equally, I may need to do less?

IanYes. The thing is you have to have a time frame to work to otherwise, it just becomes an uncontrolled endeavor. It’s good for you to understand that maybe you need to try and cover X number of miles per day. Also, for myself Zoli and Erez, we need to have an idea of your ETA in places.I’m going to be documenting what’s happening, but also, I’ll be crewing as well, we’re going to double up. We need that timeframe to understand what your objective is and the speed that you’re moving.

Like you say, on something like this, there’s going to be times when you’re clicking along on good hard trail and then other times when moving slow.

Michael: That’s what I was going to say. Just from the little small part that I witnessedin December, some of it it’s like, ‘Wow, you can move pretty quick.” In other parts of it, you’re like, “Huh, this is going to be slow. I’m going to be going like 5k an hour here.”

IanAbsolutely. National Geographic,has listed it as one of THE most epic trails out of a list of 20.

Michael: Totally, yes.

Ian: It seems as though it’s definitely a hidden secret. Of course, you undertaking this FKT is certainly going to open up this trail to a whole new audience, and it will certainly come on people’s radars. I have to admit, I was a little bit like yourself. I was aware of the trail because I interviewed a guy who had done FKTs in the past, who attempted this, an Australian, Richard Bowles.

Michael: He had some issue. I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t figure out. You interviewed him about that?

IanNo. I interviewed him about another FKT that he’d done, but I knew that he tackled the Israel National Trail. I never quite got to the nitty-gritty of what happened. I loved one of the descriptions that I read. It says, “The trail delves into the grand scale of biblical landscape as well as the everyday lives of modern Israel.” I thought, “You know what? If anything made me want to go on this trail, it’s that.”

Looking at the map, you seeJerusalem, Tel Aviv,Bethlehem – they’re all places that have been on my geography radar for such a long time. I get to travel a lot. I’m very, very lucky. But I never thought I would go here! We’re on this epic journey crossing the country. It really, really fascinates me. I’m sure you’ve done a little bit of research. Are there any particular points that you’ve looked at and you thought, “You know what? This is going to be amazing going through this area?”

Michael: I think that that’s a really great description or introduction to your audience. There’s some stuff that’s actually not on the trail that’s actually interesting too. We are going to be running through terrain that I mentioned in the bible. That really excites me. It may feel quite Spiritual, I am not sure, but I am keeping an open mind.

Zoli did a really good job just teasing me with some really cool parts. Canyons, ridges, a section with waterfalls and evenVia Ferrata,

I got this sense of peace and calm while I was out there, and I’d love to get that feeling again at some point. I don’t know if that’s only near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but I felt it in the desert.

IanI was just going to say this because I was having a look at the breakdown of the route and some of the places that they talk about and there’s the Naftali Ridge, the Ramim cliffs, these Kadesh Stream.

Michael: Those cliffs are amazing dude.

Ian: Mount Tabor, Tzippori Stream, Shayarot Range, Judean Mountains, Yatir, Dragor quarry, Mamshit stream and then it’s mentioning words like Jerusalem and I’ve already got images in my mind…

Michael: That’s what I was going to say. You’re just like, wow, okay, I hope there’s room for us at the inn!


Michael:It’s like, wow, this is crazy.

Ian:It motivates the mind and of course until you get there and start to experience that you don’t really know what it’s going to be but certainly my anticipation is high.

From an ultra-running community and a trail-running community perspective, most people just seem to naturally think that Michael Wardian is the perfect person to try aFKTlike this, primarily because it seems though you just never stop running Michael.

I have interviewed you many times, but I think back to our interview a few years back when I spoke to you and basically you were just fractured all over from running.

You had stress fractures everywhere, almost to the point that, for a time, you didn’t quite know what running was going to be after. I remember having this chat with you and saying,“I future you’re going to have to run a little bit less and control yourself.”You replied, saying, “Yes, yes, yes, I’m going to be more sensible.” Then it just seemed as though within a couple of months, forget that. You were back to running a marathon one day, running an ultra the next day. Then once you finished an ultra, getting in your car and going running a 17-minute 5k at a park run or something.

What is it that is in your psyche, because you’re a family man, you’ve got kids, you’ve got a busy professional life, what is it that just makes you want to run so much?

Michael: I just love it. I love all aspects of it. I like the hard work that I put into it. I love the training. I love doing the little things. At 5am today I’m heading to my coach to do strength training, mobility and pliability, but I also think that the reward for doing all those little things and putting the time and energy in is the chance to compete against other people and yourself, the opportunity to be out there pushing the boundaries of what I think is possible for myself and the exhilaration you get when you toe the line. I don’t know about you, but when you have that brief moment before the race, when you have the expectation of whatever It is, you’re trying to do, you have this idea and then you actually go and prove it. It’s like solving a scientific problem!

I may say, “Yes, I’m going to run across Israel in 10 days and I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that.” But, to actually have the courage to stand there and try it is what fascinates me. I may fail, but I have to try.

Then once you start, that’s when actually all of the fun starts. I have to decide, “What kind of pace am I going to run?” It’s like playing a game. I have set myself a target of ten days, but I have no idea how I will feel. What the weather will be like. How my legs feel. Will I have stomach issues, and so on, and so on. It’s a complex game and that is what is interesting.

I love that aspect when one is not quite sure. I have a good idea of how I things will go, but who knows? For me, that’s the reason I like to be out there. It’s an opportunity, it’s real, it’s raw. There’s no subjectivity to it, it’s you either do it or you don’t, and it’s very binary.

You’re like, “I’m going to knock this out in a couple hours,” and all of a sudden it gets hard and you have got to decide how to proceed. There’s always that point in a race where you decide, “Am I going to give in? Or am I going to master this? Or am I going to be able to overcome this?” I love that experience that one has. It’s so many little binary decisions that you have to make, “Do I go faster? Do I go slower? Should I eat now? Should I stop? Should I change my shoes? Should I change my socks? Should I take on more water? Should I drink more?

All these little things one has to navigate.Even if one does this perfectly, it doesn’t necessarily mean I am going to end up where you I want to be. If I do it poorly, sometimes I can just overcome. The opportunity to be out there and learn something more about myself, that’s what I want to do as an athlete. I want to continue to evolve. I want to be able to do more things and bigger things, but I also want to do the things I do well and hone those and tweak those. I don’t know, it’s a craft to me, it’s part of who I am and what I do. Every time I go out there, I feel I become a little better at what I do.

I definitely like to be out there and racing. already this year I’ve done 13 or 14 events and I set a world record for the 10 marathons in 10 days. Last weekend, I just did an FKT and before that I did probably arguably one of the harder 100 milers in the world, the HURT100. It’s been a pretty big, amazing year already. This FKT will be that next progression for me.

IanAbsolutely. Our journey starts on March 12th. Target is 10 days for the FKT. Obviously, what we’re going to be doing is updating everybody as this happens as much as we possibly can, and the hashtag is going to be #fktisrael. There’s also a Facebook page which is FKT Israel. We’re going to put a link to all these below. Obviously, we’ll get uploads on Mike’s personal Facebook page. There’ll be @talkultra on Twitter. There’ll be @iancorlessphotography on Instagram and my feeds on Facebook.

We’ll put all these links in and of course Zoli and Canaan Running who are behind the organisation of this. There’s going to be hopefully plenty of media, of course folks this is reliant on the wonderful world of 3G 4G andInternet connections. We are going to be in some remote places, so, bear with us if there’s gaps in feeds and getting things out there and of course, to make this all official, Mike is going to be using multiple instruments to track his progress. One will be his Garmin inReach. I think you’re going to use a polar as well. Is that correct Michael?

Michael: Yes. I have a polar vantage. I’m going to try to upload all that data to Strava. That’ll be one way I do it and then I have a Garmin inReach that I’m planning to use, and I think Zoli is actually going to rent another one there just in case we have any issues with mine. But hey, Ian, I am hoping you will join me some days.It would be fun to share some kilometers and miles with you.

IanYes, I think most certainly, I’ll be on the trails with you at some point. We obviously have to balance this with my role to document what you are doing.

Michael: Yes, exactly. We can’t just hang out the whole time.

IanExactly. Running with a camera does take a toll but I’m sure there’s going to be opportunities for myself and Zoli to spend 5K with you, 10K with you. Now the FKT is imminent.

Michael: It has been almost a year ago now since Zoli first mentioned this. It’s been bubbling in the background. We weren’t sure it was going to happen. I have got to give a big shout out to Zoli and his team for helping to put this together and then for you for being able to make it fit your schedule because I know how busy it is.

Lastly, I want to also just put an invitation out there to anyone that’s reading, especially if you’re close to Israel or based in Israel. We are completely open to people coming out on the trail. I’d love for people to be a part of it in any way. If you want to run with me that would be amazing, or if you want to just come in and cheer, or set up an aid station, or just come out and heckle me that’s all welcome. I look forward to a being out there and sharing the amazing trail with everyone and the opportunity to see what is possible.

The entire FKT will be documented here on iancorless.com on Instagram at @iancorlessphotography and on Twitter @talkultra – I will be providing an extensive photographic story that will delve into the entire FKT showing the highs and lows of this epic undertaking. In addition, there will be regular stories and videos to help explain this journey across Israel.

More detail and information will follow every day. #fktisrael will have updates and information.


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Episode 169 – Michael Wardian #fktisrael and Damian Hall #training for by myRaceKit

Episode 169 of Talk Ultra is here… We bring you an interview with Michael Wardian ahead of his 631-mile #fktisrael – We also introduce a new segment to Talk Ultra ’Training for…’ brought to you by myRaceKit – this week we chat with Damian Hall and Ultra Tour Monte Rosa
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Well we discussed on the last episode how The Coastal Challenge would be an epic race and wow, it was! Pere Aurell from Spain won the race outright but the real drama came from the women with Ida Nilsson winning two stages outright, setting 4 female stage records, obliterating the old CR by 3-hours and placing 2nd overall! We also need to shout out to Holly Page who set 2 female stage records… It was an incredible edition of the race. Read the race reports 1 HERE 2 HERE 3 HERE 4 HERE 5 HERE 6 HERE and Photographs HERE
Anthony Costales (3:17) and Clare Gallagher (3:53) topped the podium for a very muddy 50k!
Pau Capell produced a masterclass performance to dominate the race ahead of Pablo Villa and Cristofer Clemente12:42, 13:31 and 13:42.
The women’s race was much closer with an interesting dynamic at the front, last-year’s winner Magdalena Laczak triumphed in 16:22 ahead of Kaytlyn Gerbin and Fernanda Maciel, 16:35 and 17:03.
Matt Daniels took top honours ahead of Chris Mocko and Eric Senseman. The top 2 obtaining WSER Golden Tickets but Mocko already had a ticket from Bandera 100km and therefore Senseman benefited.
Kaci Lickteig is back and now back at WSER after her victory ahead of YiOu Wang and Mallory Richard.
Michael Wardian on March 11th (tbc) plans to take on the Israel National Trail running the approximate 631-miles in a target window of 10-days. Read HERE. 
I will be along to document the attempt in words and images with daily updates on this website and of course on all the relevant social media. Follow #fktisrael
00:10:45 Interview with MICHAEL WARDIAN
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Michael Wardian to take on Israel National Trail Fastest Known Time – #fktisrael

Ultra-running legend, Mike Wardian, to take on the 631-mile Israel National Trail


Michael Wardian needs no introduction to the running world. For year’s the husband, dad and international ship broker has blazed a trail of incredible running performances that have defied logic.

Just recently, he broke the world record for 10-marathons in 10-days. He ran the first 7-marathons as part of the World Marathon Challenge, running 7-marathons on 7- continents. An event he has already completed once. However, 2019 was different… Read on Runners World (here) – “I wanted to do it last time I did WMC, but we ended in Australia that year, and I had to go back home to get my family to go to Tarawera 100K, so it didn’t work out,” Wardian told Runner’s World. “This year, we ended in Miami, so I set it up with a guy at Pacers (Running Store in Washington, D.C.), Chris Farley, who had a planned marathon course at Haynes Point in D.C.”

Running The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica 2018.

In March, Michael will take on 631-miles in Israel running the Israel National Trail. Dates are to be confirmed, however, the current scheduled start date will be March 12th (tbc).

The Israel National Trail, is a hiking path that was inaugurated in 1995. The trail crosses the entire country of Israel. Its northern end is at Dan, near the Lebanese border in the far north of the country, and it extends to Eilat at the southernmost tip of Israel on the Red Sea, a length of 1,015 km (631 mi).

The idea was created by Zoli Bihari of Canaan Running Adventures @CanaanRunning on FB and IG

Michael will start his journey in Eilat.

The trail is marked with three stripes (white, blue, and orange), and takes an average of 45-60 days to complete. It does not enter the Golan Heights or the West Bank.

Michael will look to run the entire route in 10-days or less. 

The Israel National Trail has been listed in National Geographic’s 20 most “epic trails.” It is described as a trail that “delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of the modern Israeli.”

          Israel Trail Information taken from ©wikipedia

The entire FKT will be documented here on iancorless.com on Instagram at @iancorlessphotography and on Twitter @talkultra – I will be providing an extensive photographic story that will delve into the entire FKT showing the highs and lows of this epic undertaking. In addition, there will be regular stories and videos to help explain this journey across Israel.

More detail and information will follow in the coming weeks. #fktisrael will have updates and information.

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The Coastal Challenge 2019 #TCC2019 – BREAKING NEWS!

The Coastal Challenge reaches new heights in 2019 celebrating 15-years of amazing racing.

The 14th edition completed in February 2018 at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, was a record breaker! Yes, course records were broken daily and Tom Evans and Ragna Debats elevated the overall CR’s to a new level obliterating the 2017 records set by the UK’s Tom Owens and New Zealand’s Anna Frost.

Time never stands still and to make the 15th edition of TCC extra special, race director’s Rodrigo Carazo and Sergio Sanchez have confirmed a new incentive for the 2019 edition of the race.


A reward purse totalling $8000 will be up for grabs as the race gets underway from the stunning beaches of Quepos, Costa Rica.

Each day, $250 will be up for grabs should the stage course records be broken by the fastest male or female. For example, in 2018, Tom Evans broke every stage record, that would have been rewarded with a $1500 payout!

Should the overall course record set in 2018 by Tom Evans or Ragna Debats be broken in 2019, $2500 will be on offer. Should the male and female record go, that is a payout of $5000.

Feel like a fast start to 2019? It comes no faster than the 15th edition of The Coastal Challenge!

With only 120 places available, the 2019 edition of the race looks set to be a record breaker on every level.

Fast man and repeat TCC competitor, Chema Martinez has already confirmed he will toe the line. He missed the race in 2018 and after seeing the epic race by Tom Evans and Hayden Hawks unfold, he knew that he would need to come back!

In breaking news, we also announce here that Ultra-Trail Cape Town winner Lucy Bartholomew, will join the Pura Vida party as we roll out from the Pacific Ocean come February 2019.

Lucy is a rising star of the ultra-trail world and the Salomon team. She has an infectious smile, a bubbling personality and an abundance of natural born talent that will no doubt set the trails on fire as she makes her way over 234km’s of Costa Rican rainforest, beaches, waterfalls, river beds and dusty fire trails.

Lucy started running to spend more time with her Dad and going against the wishes of her father, she toed the line of Australia’s only multi-day race, the 250km Big Red Run aged just 17-years! She won it! What has followed is an inspiring journey.

Make sure you follow up next week as we interview Lucy about her rise in the sport and what it is about Costa Rica and The Coastal Challenge that has enticed her back to multi-day racing in 2019.

Follow #TCC2019

IG @thecoastalchallenge


You can read all about the record breaking 2018 edition below

Race Reports and Images

Day 1 HERE
Day 2 HERE
Day 3 HERE
Day 4 HERE
Day 5 HERE
Day 6 HERE

The Coastal Challenge 2018 #TCC2018 – Stage 6

The 2018 The Coastal Challenge today came to an end on the stunning beaches of Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula.

Tom Evans and Ragna Debats are the champions after a masterclass of multi-day running. The duo obliterated the 2017 records set by Tom Owens and Anna Frost. I think it’s fair to say, these records may be around for while!

The 22km final day is a stunning day, starting and finishing on Bahia Drake, the loop is like a mini Coastal Challenge all compressed into one stage. Waterfalls, rainforest, plantations, dusty fire trail, water crossings, beaches, coves and the stunning Pacific as a backdrop as the runners make the way to the finish.

Tom Evans wanted the course record and he ran today, once again with Hayden Hawks. The duo worked together, creeping in under the 2-hour mark and securing a place in history. Tom Evans as the champion and Hayden Hawks as the 2nd. Any other year and Hawks would be the champion, but as the American said, “Tom has been on fire and I have tried to push but really, I have been holding on!’

Previous TCC winner and course record holder Michael Wardian finished 3rd overall and then the battle for first Costa Rican was on – Erick Aguero dominated the day.

For the ladies’ it was a neutral day with the top-3 ladies running together for much of the stage. Finally, Ragna Debats finished hand-in-hand and third places Suzanna G finished 3rd.

The line was full of emotion as an epic journey has come to an end. The 2018 TCC will go down in history as the fastest ever.

2019 will see the 15th edition of the race and I believe we can expect something special!

For now though, it’s all about Evans and Debats celebrating victory. This evening, the awards will take place on the beach with a roaring camp fire.

What else would you expect?



  1. Tom Evans 1:59:54
  2. Hayden Hawks 1:59:55
  3. Erick Aguero 2:00:26
  4. Neruda Cespedes 2:09:09
  5. Michael Wardian 2:10:48


  1. Ragna Debats 2:27:57
  2. Ester Alves 2:27:58
  3. Suzanna Guadarrama 2:34:38
  4. Shannon Colley 3:08:39
  5. Kerri Treheme 3:09:35




  1. Tom Evans 21:44:11 new CR
  2. Hayden Hawks 21:48:36
  3. Michael Wardian 25:17:42
  4. Erick Aguero 25:36:15
  5. Neruda Cespedes 25:39:00


  1. Ragna Debats 26:14:39 new CR
  2. Ester Alves 29:59:42
  3. Suzanna Guadarrama 30:41:30
  4. Mirta Reaple 35:08:36
  5. Josephine Adams 36:07:38


Full results at www.webscorer.com

Follow the action as the race unfolds #TCC2018

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The Coastal Challenge 2018 #TCC2018 – Stage 5

It was the longest day of the 2018 The Coastal Challenge and what a day! At 49km, it was only 2km more than day 3 but coming at this stage in the race, it is always a tough one.

Runners departed camp via bus for a short bus ride to the Sierpe river and ferry across to the other side. At 6am, they were released.

Much of today’s race is very runnable on wide gravel roads. It’s great if you can run, but for many it’s a tough day. Technical forest sections break up the distance and then at 2/3rd of the race covered, the runners turn right on a loop around the peninsula, running through forest trails before finally dropping to the beach and taking a small boat from one side to the other.

Once across the estuary, it is 10km’s to the line with the final sections on the beach to the stunning Drake Bay.

It was a day of drama, Tom Evans and Hayden Hawks pushed all day, but they are so matched – Tom the obvious stronger runner who is marking Hawks to ensure he retains his winning margin. To watch these two has been seriously impressive, the pace mind-blowing and the old course record is being obliterated. With the finish in sight, Hawks lifted the pace, Evans was having none of it and they started a 400m sprint… Evans pulled away winning by 4 seconds, 4:32:14 to 4:32:18. It’s fair to say, that Tom Evans will be the 2018 TCC champion with a new course record!

Ragna Debats, just like Evans and Hawks has been an unstoppable force, not only in the ladies’ race but the men’s. She has pushed and pushed, obliterated all previous times and in the process has smiled all the way to each line. Today she went through a bad patch, rallied and then crossed the line 7th in 5:34:55.

The big news of the day, unfortunately, saw Marcus Scotney and Jorge Paniagua (3rd and 4th on yesterday’s stage) disqualified from the race after missing a key right turn and missing many challenging kilometers. They were told to turnaround and retrace; they chose not to. I will provide more information on this when I have spoken to Marcus and Jose. In simple terms they were out of water and would have needed to run another 20km before reaching an aid station, in this heat, that would have been reckless. Needless to say, both are devastated with the mistake!

This mistake has opened up the general classification and of course the first place for Costa Rican runners.

Erick Aguero seized the opportunity finishing 3rd on the stage in 5:11 and Michael Wardian 4th in 5:16. Neruda Cespedes was 5th in 5:19.

Suzanna Guadarrama has been a revolution as the days have passed and she has become stronger. Yesterday she finished with Ester Alves, today, she pulled away and finished 2nd lady in 6:01. Ester Alves, ever the fighter, pushed hard and finished 3rd, just over 20 minuses later in 6:22. Josephine Adams had a great day finishing 4th and that will certainly move her up the rankings!

Tomorrow’s stage is a loop of Drake Bay – it’s a stunning day that manages to encompass all the previous 5 days in one loop.

  1. Tom Evans 4:32:14
  2. Hayden Hawks 4:32:18
  3. Erick Aguero 5:11:46
  4. Michael Wardian 5:16:22
  5. Neruda Cespedes 5:19:18
  1. Ragna Debats 5:34:55
  2. Suzanna Guadarrama 6:01:34
  3. Ester Alves 6:22:51
  4. Josephine Adams 7:17:23
  5. Kerri Treheme 7:36:16

Full results at www.webscorer.com

Follow the action as the race unfolds #TCC2018

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