Michael Wardian returns to The Coastal Challenge #TCC2018

Michael Wardian never stops…. He is a real life Forest Gump. Just recently he ran 400km in the Gobi Desert, a first for him! Wardian though started the year with a world record running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, you can listen to an in-depth interviewer with him HERE about this incredible feat.

It’s a dangerous question asking Wardian, ‘So, what is next?’

It is never a one word answer.

For example, in a few days, October 14th, he will toe the line at Hartford Marathon Charity Chase. Followed by the Marine Corps Marathon on the 22nd. November brings NYC Marathon, JFK 50 Miler, Flanigan’s 10km… do I need to go on? You get the picture!

In 2014, Wardian toed the line at The Coastal Challenge and had a great race winning and at the time setting a new CR ahead of quality runners such Philipp Reiter, Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark.

Wardian promised he would return and in 2018, he will once again arrive on Costa Rican soil for a race that he loves.

 1. Michael, you run and run, race and race. It seems a weekend never passes without you racing at least one race and more often than not, two or three… How do you keep the enthusiasm to race/ run so much? 

MRW: I definitely enjoy toeing the line and throwing down.  The thrill of racing is this something that is internal and I believe keeps me fresh and focused.  I love seeing what I am capable of and I hope I inspire people to do a bit more than they think they can. 

2. This amount of racing and running must take a toll on you and your body – how do you avoid injury?

MRW:  I do race a lot and ask my body and mind  to perform at the highest levels repeatedly but I think instead of causing injury it actually avoids injury a bit because my body is continually adapting and evolving and always improving. That said since my injuries in 2012, I am super mindful to error on the side of less miles and more recovery if something seems off. I also take massage often, foam roll, stretch and work with a personal trainer to get strong and avoid imbalances and injuries. 

3. You have had an incredible 2017 with a full calendar – what are the highlights?

MRW:  2017, has definitely been a banner year, some events that comes to mind are:

1) 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, average pace of 2:45, new World Record

2) Big Sur Marathon Champion 

3) Kauai Marathon Champion

4) Leadville 100 miler/ Pikes Peak Marathon double break Marshall Ulrich record from 1993

5) Ultragobi 400k finish, new personal record for distance and time. 

4. You have raced TCC before, you won it! What is bringing you back to Costa Rica?

MRW: I loved TCC, when I won it a few years ago and have been wanting to come back since but with scheduling it didn’t work out but as soon as the schedule permitted I knew I would come back if the opportunity was there. I loved the organization, culture and nature. 

5. When you won the race, at times you struggled with some of the technical terrain. You used your run speed to close gaps and seize an advantage – any new plans or strategies for 2018?

MRW: I think I got pretty lucky last time to win the TCC, I was was just getting my fitness back and used what has always been my strength faster road running but since 2014, I have really focused on trails and feel much improved so looking forward to putting those earned skills to use in 2018. 

6. You placed 3rd at Marathon des Sables some year’s ago and this year, Tom Evans matched this. Are you excited to race toe-to-toe and see who is the better on Costa Rican soil?

MRW:  I am very excited to race Tom Evans but even more excited to get to run with and know the guys and girls racing. I love connecting with people and making new friends so hoping we get to push each other during the race and become friendly after. I am also excited for my family to meet some of the top athletes in the sport on a personal level and see who is causing me to suffer everyday. 

7. Chema Martinez will return to TCC and the UK’s Marcus Scotney will run, do you know much about them and do you have any strategies to get the edge for victory?

MRW: I just heard of Chema Martinez from my buddy Paul during the 400k UltraGobi, he sounds strong and exciting to get to race with him. I don’t know Marcus Scotney but I am sitting with some English guys and they said he is very strong and on the English 100k World Team…I think I just need to stay in the hunt and run hard when I sense an opportunity. 

8. Heat, humidity, a variety of terrain and stunning views – what excites you most about coming back to TCC and for those new to the race, what three tips can you provide that will make the 2018 experience a special one?

MRW:  I definitely think you should be ready for heat, humidity mixed terrain, the views are spectacular and I am super excited about them. A few tips are be ready to run hard because the pace can be fast especially for early in the year, there are legit climbs and some parts can get technical. Also, there is a little altitude that I didn’t expect the first time. 

9. You are bringing family to TCC this year, does this make it extra special?

MRW: I am definitely excited to share TCC with Jennifer, Pierce and Grant and it will be super special as none of my family have gotten to experience the Tica hospitality. I think they will be as blown away as I have been by the nature, beauty and landscape but most particularly the people. 

10. Finally, TCC is in February, dare I ask what the rest of 2018 holds for you?

MRW: 2018, should be super interesting, I am trying to decide exactly where to race right now and would like to do some new events in different and unique places. If you know anything cool please let me know or your audience. 

The 2018 edition of TCC is already looking like a stunning race. Two-time MDS champion Elisabet Barnes will return to Costa Rica and the UK’s Marcus Scotney who won the Cape Wrath Ultra and the Dragons Back Race has his first TCC experience ahead of him. – read HERE.

In addition, the UK’s Tom Evans will also run the 2018 TCC, read HERE.

TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, traveling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.

You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE

Follow #TCC2018

Twitter @talkultra

Instagram @iancorlessphotography

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

The Coastal Challenge

Facebook HERE

Website (UK) HERE

Website (Global) HERE

Tom Evans to run the 2018 The Coastal Challenge

Tom Evans placed 3rd at the 2017 Marathon des Sables, the highest ever placing by a British male. His result was a complete surprise. He arrived on the start line an unknown, by the end of day one he was a dark horse turning the heads of journalists and runners.

It was no one day wonder. Evans matched the Moroccans stride-for-stride and pushed them all the way to the end. His result was a breakthrough performance!

Not happy to become a multi-day specialist, Evans has since tested himself in mountain races, the Eiger Ultra 101km and the CCC – in both races he placed 4th. With a road marathon coming up, Evans now looks ahead to 2018 and a multi-day training camp in Lanzarote (HERE) where he will coach and run, quickly followed by the 2018 The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica.

I caught up with Evans and fired of ten quick-fire questions.

Images from the 2017 TCC with Anna Frost, Anna Comet, Ester Alves, Jason Schlarb, Sondre Amdahl, Elisabet Barnes, Chema Martinez, Tom Owens and many more.

  1. You placed 3rd at MDS this year, quite a result, what has the following months been like for you?

It’s been pretty crazy since that surprise result at MdS. This year, I wanted to find out more about my running and really learn what my strengths and weaknesses are. I raced in the Eiger 101km and the CCC. Both went really well considering 95% of my training is done in and around London. I have been juggling my military career with my new-found love of running.

  1. How did you train for MDS and what top 3 tips worked that you can pass on?

My training for MdS was pretty limited as I was away with the Welsh Guards in the build-up to the race. I managed to get a week long trip to Lanzarote to focus on the race and get some quality miles in my legs. My top 3 tips are:

  1. Train how you race. Train with the kit and food you are going to use.
  2. Heat acclimatisation is so important. It can be done anywhere hot eg Bikram yoga!
  3. Stay injury free. If you start developing a niggle, get it sorted ASAP! Better to turn up less fit but injury free.

  1. You have followed MDS with mountain races, the Eiger and CCC, is this to broaden your skill set – what is the attraction?

Yes. I wanted to develop my running skills in all different environments. I love being in the mountains and discovering new places. The mountain races have really pushed me outside my comfort zone. I think to be a top quality ultra-runner you have to be a well-rounded athlete. I have learnt so much in the mountains that I will use in the rest of my career.

 

  1. Technical trails, climbing and challenging terrain will be in abundance in Costa Rica, is that one of the attractions of the race?

I have always wanted to go to Costa Rica. I love traveling and I also love running so thought that this was a perfect opportunity. I am really looking forward to the varied terrain in the race and pushing myself to the limit.

 

  1. What else attracts you to TCC? 

TCC is an iconic race that attracts a great crowd. I have loved spending time getting to know lots of different athletes in the past 6 months. I love that everyone has come from a different background and all have such different stories to tell.

 

  1. Heat and humidity in Costa Rica is brutal, very different to MDS and other races you have done – how will you prepare?

I am going to be doing lots of my winter training at St Marys University who have got one of the best chambers in the country. This will help me to understand the effect of humidity and heat on my body. I am also going to Lanzarote for the Pre-MdS training camp. This will give me a great opportunity to do some heat training in great company.

 

  1. You are not self-sufficient at TCC so you can run free – is that an appeal or do you like self-sufficiency?

I am really looking forward to being able to run free and use the aid stations. I have heard great things about what is on offer at the aid stations, especially fruit, which is far more appealing to another energy gel! Having said that, I do like all the preparation for the self-sufficiency races. I am a bit of a sports science nerd and like doing all the research before the races.

 

  1. Any races before TCC?

Yes, I am in my final block of training for Frankfurt Marathon. I am using this to focus on my speed and efficiency before going back to the longer distances. There are a couple of great UK races in December and January that I will probably look to use for training. I will also be racing the XC season, I think the fast training is really important, even for ultra-runners.  I don’t want to race too much though, I want to make sure that I am fit and injury free on the start line in Costa Rica so I can give it my all.

 

  1. What does the future hold beyond Costa Rica?

There are a couple of big races that I am targeting for 2018. The first being the World Trail Championships in Penyagolosa in May. After that, I am going to be focussing on fast 100k races, with ambitions to race in the 100km World Championships in September. I will also be doing a couple of UTWT and Skyrunning races, but haven’t fully worked out which ones. There are so many amazing races all over the world but I don’t want to race too much too soon!

 

  1. And finally, Michael Wardian from the USA has won TCC and placed 3rd at MDS – he is back in 2018, is the battle on?

Michael is a fantastic athlete and one of my inspirations to get into running. It will be a honour to be on the start line with him in Costa Rica. I am really looking forward to the journey and I guess we will have to wait and see what happens!

The 2018 edition of TCC is already looking like a stunning race. Two-time MDS champion Elisabet Barnes will return to Costa Rica and the UK’s Marcus Scotney who won the Cape Wrath Ultra and the Dragons Back Race has his first TCC experience ahead of him. – read HERE.

TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, traveling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.

You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE

Follow #TCC2018

Twitter @talkultra

Instagram @iancorlessphotography

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

The Coastal Challenge

Facebook HERE

Website (UK) HERE

Website (Global) HERE

Wardian nails the World Marathon Challenge

©worldmarathonchallenge

©worldmarathonchallenge

Michael Wardian needs no introduction. The dude has been blowing our minds for years with a stunning display of running. Only recently I wrote an article for IRUN4ULTRA (here) about Wardian’s incredible 2016.

Well, ‘The Running Man’ has kicked off 2017 in fine style with the World Marathon Challenge. Yes, 7-marathons on 7-continents in 7-days.

Ask anyone, running 7-marathons back-to-back is a tough challenge but doing them with just 16-hours sleep and all at an average pace of a new world record 2:45:56 sets the mark to a whole new level The fastest marathon was in Miami where Wardian clocked 2:37:56 – he said it was a tough day!

The challenge began in Antarctica on Jan 23rd and concluded in Sydney, Australia just 7-days later. Argentina, Miami, Madrid, Morocco and Dubai filled the gap.

The previous record of 3:32:25 held by Dan Cartica was blown off the scale by Wardian who in his interview for Talk Ultra podcast discussed how tough, physically and mentally this challenge was.

The World Marathon Challenge was the brainchild of Richard Donovan (Ireland). He himself completed the challenge twice, the first time for a charity, GOAL and the 2nd time in 2012 when he lowered the elapsed record to 4-days, 22-hours and 3-minutes. The first ‘official’ challenge took place in 2015.

You can listen to a 1-hour special with Michael Wardian on Talk Ultra podcast released Friday 3rd February on this website.

Michael Wardian – The Running Man on IRUN4ULTRA

“He keeps running and running. Michael Wardian just never stops. Many runners have been given the tag, ‘Forest Gump’ and in 2016 we certainly witnessed a couple of real life ‘Gump’s’ in Pete Kostelnick and Karl Speedgoat Meltzer who respectively set two new records: Running Across the USA and setting an FKT on the Appalachian Trail. Kostelnick and Speedgoat produced two remarkable performances, but Michael Wardian raced 47 events in 2016, he raced 1,254-miles in total and in the process, he set 2 World records, had 8-victories, 22-podiums, 31-top ten placings and 26 ‘master’s’ victories. Wardian is a man on a mission and 2016 is not an unusual year… this committed husband and father of two races like this, year-in and year-out.”

Read about Michael Wardian in my article for IRUN4ULTRA  HERE

Episode 26 – Talk Ultra

TU 26

A super stacked show and maybe our longest yet… our main interview is with The North Face athlete, Mike Wardian. We speak with inspirational film makers and ultra runners, JB & Jennifer Benna from JourneyFilm. Live from the Te Araora trail in New Zealand we speak with The North Face athlete, Jez Bragg on his incredible journey. We have our first ‘A year in the life of…‘ chat, Talk Training with Marc Laithwaite, A Meltezer Moment with Speedgoat Karl, the News with Ian Sharman, a blog post, 15mins of fame and of course the up and coming races.

Show Notes:

00:00:00

00:00:45 Show start and introduction

00:12:45 Interview with JB Benna & Jennifer Benna of Journey Film

Journeyfilm is a film production and distribution company that focuses
on adventure, sports, and travel. Established in 1999, the company is
led by filmmaker JB Benna, a USC Cinema/TV graduate and outdoor
enthusiast with an adventure resume that includes the 2,700 mile
Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim 100 Mile Endurance Run.
Since its launch, Journeyfilm has produced documentaries such as The
Runner (David Horton’s 2,700 mile run of The Pacific Crest Trail),
UltraMarathon Man: 50 Marathons * 50 States * 50 Days (Dean Karnazes’s
North Face Challenge), Spinning Southward (a 16,000 Mile Bike Journey
from Alaska to Chile for the Brain Tumor Foundation) and GoLite’s Andy
Skurka and his 7000 Mile Trek. Benna and his team are also committed
to raising awareness for conservation, simpler living, and greater
appreciation of the world.

00:46:20 ‘A Year in the Life of…‘ is a new addition to Talk Ultra. For 2013 we will follow two people on their ultra journeys. This week we speak with Amanda Hyatt.

00:55:10 Back to the show

00:58:10 The News with Ian Sharman as guest co host

01:09:30 Interview with The North Face athlete, Jez Bragg live from New Zealand as he makes his process along ‘The Long Pathway’ the Te Araroa Trail. You can read and listen to my interview with Jez from The North Face press conference HERE and an update HERE. Also a first video has been added HERE

01:37:00 Back to the news

01:50:45 15 mins of Fame – this week we speak to Amanda Boldy and Sarah Gardner Hall. October 2012 Amanda entered a competition to win a prize to go to The Ocean Floor race in Egypt. Running 160 miles non stop departing at the beginning of February. She only went a won it… we speak to Amanda and Sarah with just 2 weeks to go before an adventure of a lifetime.

02:00:30 Blog by Emelie Forsberg. Emelie discusses her incredible 2012 season and you can read that HERE – ‘The Year of 2012’

02:01:00 Talk Training with Marc Laithwaite we discuss year planning and setting objectives.

02:22:40 Interview with The North Face athlete Mike Wardian. Mike is without doubt one of the most formidable ultra runners (and marathon runners) in the world. He has a reputation for running lots of races… he doesn’t only run but he wins them too. Unfortunately for the latter half of 2012 he has had a series of injuries. We catch up with him to discuss his progress and find out about his career.

38 years old, Arlington, VA-United States of America Father of 2 young boys (Pierce-5 years old & Grant-3 years old) BLOG HERE

Current Results:

  • 2nd place at 2011-Disney Marathon
  • 3rd place at 2011-ING Miami Marathon
  • 14th place at Empire State Building Run Up
  • 1st place at 2011 Lower Potomac Marathon-set Guinness World Record-Fastest Marathon as Superhero (Spider Man)
  • 3rd place at 2011 Shamrock Marathon
  • 1st place at 2011 National Marathon (5 time winner)
  • 19th place at Two Oceans Marathon (56K)-First USA
  • 11th place at Comrades Marathon (87K)-First USA
  • 3rd place at The North Face Endurance Challenge-50 Miler
  • 1st place at The North Face Endurance Challenge-1/2 Marathon
  • 13th place and Olympic Trails Qualifier (2:17:49)-Grandma’s Marathon
  • 3rd Place at Badwater Ultra Marathon
  • 1st Place at Grant and Pierce Indoor Marathon (4 days after Badwater)
  • 1st Place at San Francisco Marathon
  • 1st Place at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K-Kansas City
  • 1st Place at The North Face Endurance Challenge 1/2 Marathon-Kansas City
  • 2nd Place at the Kauai Marathon
  • 2nd Place and Silver Medalist at 100K World Championships and First ever Team Gold Medal for 100K World Team for USA-The Netherlands
  • 2nd Place at the Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100K

Previous Results:

  • 1st at 2010 ING Miami Marathon
  • 1st at 2010 Delaware Marathon
  • 1st at 2010 National Marathon-Washington, DC
  • Bronze Medal at 2009 & 2010 50K World Championships-Gibraltar, Gibraltar
  • 3rd Place at 2010-100K World  Championships-Gibraltar, Gibraltar
  • 6th Place at 2009-100K World Championships-Torhout, Belgium
  • USATF National Champion: 2008, 2009, 2010 USATF 50K National Championships
  • USATF National Champion: 2008-USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships
  • USATF National Champion: 2008-USATF 100K
  •  Accolades:
  • IAU Ultra Runner of the Year 2010
  • USATF Ultra Runner of the Year-2008 & 2009  & 2010 & 2011
  • New York Road Runners Ultra Runner of the Year: 2009

03:13:40 Back to the show

03:19:30 A Meltzer Moment with Speedgoat Karl

03:29:34 Up & Coming Races for the coming two weeks

03:31:30 Close

03:25:35

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