Everest Trail Race 2018 Jiri to Bhandar #ETR2018

Day 1 Everest Trail Race #ETR2018

The Everest Trail Race started today in the small town of Jiri.

After the previous day’s long bus ride from Kathmandu to Jiri, a night under canvas and suddenly, the 2018 ETR was rolling out for what will be the most amazing running journey the competitors will ever experience.

The night had been chilly and calm, and it was a first experience of what the next six days will be like – cold nights, warm food and the glow of the stars for company. Anticipation in the camp was high, finally the race was happening!

Runner’s prepared kit, made adjustments and from here on in, everything they would need would be carried on their backs. Clothes, sleeping bag, and snack food – the race providing warm meals and a shared tent to sleep in at night.

 A local group of musicians, providing a local soundtrack to the start of the first day and suddenly they were off…

Stage-1 for the ETR doesn’t reach the high mountains or break the tree line, but had almost 2000m of vertical gain and loss in just over 20km.

Jordi Gamito 4th in 2017, today, was in a league of his own finishing in 2:42 well ahead of the 2nd and 3rd men, Drias and Eleation, 2:51 and 3:04.

Equally, for the ladies, Manuela Vilaseca was a clear winner in 3:22 ahead of the Nepali runner, Rai and Becks Ferry from the UK, 3:31 for both.

etr

A very tough stage lies ahead tomorrow. From the start a long twisting and at times technical descent leads to the river and a crossing bridge, from here on in it is climbing and climbing all the way beyond 4000m to the summit of Pikey Peak.

Limone Extreme 2018 Race Summary and Images

Race report by Lauri van Houten, ISF

A star-studded final closed the intense 2018 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series season in Italy, Saturday, October 13 at the Limone Extreme SkyRace®.

The event attracted 979 runners from 37 countries who gathered in the popular tourist resort on Lake Garda for the tenth and final race of the Sky Classic category. Here, the title was awarded along with the prestigious Overall ranking title.

LIMONE EXTREME SKYRACE® WINNERS
In a deeply stacked international field, youngster Davide Magnini not only took the win but crushed the record by almost eight minutes delivering a memorable performance. He covered the challenging and technically demanding 29 km long course with 2,500m vertical climb in 2h59’24”.

I’m really surprised by this result. Before the start, I thought I couldn’t finish the first climb, but I found my pace and my legs worked really well. I stayed focused all the time and beating the record held by a legend like Marco De Gasperi is simply humbling,” said the 21-year old Italian. Second man was Switzerland’s Rémi Bonnet, fresh from yesterday’s Vertical Kilometer® World Champion title at the same venue. Spaniard Oriol Cardana closed the podium.

The women’s race was won again by orienteering world champion Tove Alexandersson from Sweden who raced her first skyrunning race here last year. Known to give it her all, today’s win was no different.

“It was so tough for me today. I’ve had a long season with many orienteering competitions so I finished the season last weekend with seven races in four days. I wasn’t sure to come here because I was so destroyed,” said the winner. “When I started I felt terrible but I was just fighting, fighting all the way. I come from Sweden where there was snow and I’m not used to this heat so it was a fight from the start to the finish but now I’m so satisfied that I did it. I really enjoy these challenges and that’s what I love!”  She didn’t beat her own record but finished in 3h31’36”, just 25” short. Ragna Debats closed second, triumphant with her new Overall title. Third was Spaniard Sheila Avilés.

SKY CLASSIC CHAMPIONS
The Sky Classic category champions were Pascal Egli from Switzerland and Briton Holly Page. Egli commented, “It’s indescribable. I’m super-happy because I thought I might lose it if some people run really strong today, so I really tried to be smart and stay top ten and not to burn out in the end.

Because it is one year ago that my mother died, I thought I would be very weak emotionally, but I managed to hold on, so I dedicate this win to her. I love skyrunning because it’s an amazing community, so international and the most beautiful races!”

For Page, it was a climb to stardom after racing her first skyrunning race here last year.  “It was actually the best start of a race I’ve had of the season. I felt really good on the first climb which is unusual for me and I pushed really hard. After half way I was sick and had to keep stopping so it was more like survival,” said Page. “I came here last year, it was my first sky race and I never thought I’d be here one year later having won the Sky Classic. When I won the first race in China I thought it was amazing but that it would never happen again – and then I won again and again and just tried to stay consistent all season but it’s been very long. I’m looking forward to next year!”

The Sky Classic title was based on the five best results out of ten with an extra 50% bonus pointsawarded here.

OVERALL CHAMPIONS
After winning three races outright, the Catalan king of skyrunning, Kilian Jornet took the Overall champion title, unaffected by his sixth place in today’s race. He said, “This season I was coming back from an injury, so I didn’t have real goals, but I saw I could do the Skyrunning Overall because it was four races, possible with some long and some short races.  Today here in Limone I wanted to give it everything and actually with Petter had a nice 14 km of fighting. It’s good to see these guys coming from all over the world and very young. It was like looking at the next generation.

“After Glen Coe I had some problems, so I wasn’t able to run, just skiing and cycling. Today I came here and thought if I do top six I’ll win the Series even if Petter was first. That was my goal today. I knew he was super strong – he’s an amazing runner and very talented I’m so happy for him. Next season? I haven’t thought about that yet but I’m always in the game!”

Ragna Debats was overjoyed by her title, which she had to fight hard for. “I’m really, really pleased and even more pleased to get the Overall which is what I aimed for as I was second last year. I was a bit worried because this year I didn’t do any really good Sky races as I was training for the longer races. I started the year with a very long race so it was hard to get fast for the shorter races. I’m very pleased that I finally did and said to myself (mainly) that I can hard go hard if I want to!” The words of a true champion.

The Overall ranking took into account a maximum of the best two results in each category, Sky Classic and Sky Extra.

The 2018 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series awarded an end of season bonus pool amounting to € 66,000 across the Sky Classic, Sky Extra and Overall rankings.

Eighteen races across three continents saw a selection of the best skyrunning events with the best runners, great champions and rising young stars. The 2018 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series has come to a close and it’s time to look forward to the 2019 calendar.

A big thanks go to all the runners that took part, the teams, the race organisers and to our partners for their support with whom there will always be: Less cloud. More Sky!

Limone Extreme results
Men

  1. Davide Magnini (ITA) – 2h59’24”
  2. Rémi Bonnet (SUI) – 3h0414”
  3. Oriol Cardona Coll (ESP) – 3h06’07”
  4. Petter Engdahl (SWE) – 3h06’49”
  5. Stian Angermund-Vik (NOR) – 3h09’56”

Women

  1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) – 3h31’36”
  2. Ragna Debats (NED) – 3h40’07”
  3. Sheila Avilés (ESP) – 3h45’28”
  4. Michelle Maier (GER) – 3h48’36
  5. Elisa Desco (ITA) – 3h53’30”

Results

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adidas Terrex Two Boa Shoe Review

I have used adidas shoes for many years both in road and trail versions, Adizero Adios were a personal favourite and recently I enjoyed using the Skychaser based on the laces and the excellent Continental outsole.

The Terrex range which is basically the outdoor/ trail running line of adidas really has some excellent products, so, when I was sent a pair of TERREX TWO BOA to test I was intrigued and interested.

The BOA® system (more info HERE) has been around many years. I actually first used the Boa fastening system on cycling shoes and to this day, I still do; it is my preferred method for fastening. Trail running, I used a pair of The North Face shoes way back in 2008 and recent years I have seen the system used in running packs, inov8-8 and Raidlight have used the fastening system in many products.

So, the BOA system for the new adidas really had me interested.

THE SHOE

First off, the Terrex Two Boa is a great looking shoe, it comes in several colour options, but the black/white version I have on test is my favorite. The BOA system sticks out on the side of the shoe with the very obvious fastening dial, it is the USP of the shoe. If you are new to BOA, the system works by one lace threaded through the shoe. Press the BOA button and you engage the ‘lock’ system, turn the dial and the lace pulls tight. The more you turn, the tighter the laces become. To release, you pull the BOA button, and this works like a quick-release and the lace immediately becomes lose.

The shoe is 5mm drop and cushioned with 19.5mm at the front and 24.5mm at the rear of EVA. The drop is a great compromise and sits in a nice middle ground, however, I wonder why adidas chose 5mm instead of the more obvious 4mm?

The upper is seamless mesh with TPU overlays and is extremely comfortable. The heel box is plush, comfortable and holds securely. The toe box is very wide – very wide! So, if you need wide shoes, the Terrex Two Boa should be on your list to check out, it is one of the widest shoes I have used.

The outsole is by the German company Continental™(more info HERE) who are famous for making car and cycling tires. The outsole is one of the stars of the adidas Terrex range – it has incredible grip in the dry and wet. In my opinion, it is one of the best outsoles. The Terrex Two Boa has a classic ‘trail’ outsole that is designed for trails without too much mud.

IN USE

As I said, the Terrex Two Boa is a great looking shoe. Slipping the shoe on you immediately feel how comfortable the upper is and how cushioned the shoe is. They feel like slippers. You also notice how wide the toe box is. Engaging the BOA system, I tightened the lace by turning the dial and when I felt I had the appropriate tension on my instep I stopped.

I always use any run shoe in my apartment for one day to get a feel of the shoe. My immediate thoughts on the Terrex Two Boa was comfy, cushioned and excellent grip. However, with the wide toe box, I found that I wanted to add more and more tension to the lace to hold my foot secure. But once tightened, the BOA system never comes lose. A great plus.

On my first run which is on a classic 8-mile loop that includes a little of everything – mud, trail, dry single-track, stones, rocks, climbs, descents and also 2-miles of road, I was impressed with the shoe. They are really comfortable. The cushioning provides a nice bounce without losing a feel for the ground below. The Continental™ grip is really great – it grips everything and on rocks it is superb, be they wet or dry. It is a reassuring outsole.

Midway through the run I decided that I didn’t have my laces tight enough. There were two reasons for this:

  1. When the trail was technical, and I was changing direction, my foot was moving inside the shoe. This is not good!
  2. The toe box is wide, and I think maybe a little too wide for me. But to compensate for such a wide toe box, I needed to make the laces tighter. To hold my foot secure.

So, I turned the dial, the laces tightened, and they immediately felt better. On all runs that followed, I made sure I really tightened my laces to the maximum. It made my runs so much more pleasurable.

As a trail shoe, the Terrex Two Boa worked exceptionally well. It handled everything on my normal trail/ test loop and the mile of road at the beginning and the end was extremely comfortable. It would be a great ‘jack of all trades’ shoe.

PROS and CONS

The USP of the shoe is the BOA system and this may well put some people off immediately – does it over complicate something that doesn’t need to be complicated? One thing is for sure, break a lace when out running or racing and you are screwed… But the laces rarely break, however, the chance it can happen may be enough for some.

I often like to adjust my laces (I have a high instep) so that I can have good tension at the bottom and the top of the lacing section, but a little lose towards the top. With BOA there is no option for this. Turn the dial and it tightens as one.

I personally found the toe box so wide I wanted to really have the laces tight. However, once really tight I enjoyed the shoes. If trails were rocky and technical, I would prefer to use a shoe that had a precision fit. The Terrex Two Boa just had too much room for me. BUT for long-distance trail runs, the shoe is really comfortable. The toe box allows their toes to splay and the cushioning provides great comfort.

The Continental™ grip is a winner but if you are going in mud, you need a more aggressive outsole.

CONCLUSION

There is a great deal to like in the Terrex Two Boa. It is a great ‘all-rounder’ and as such I can see this really appealing to runners who are transitions from road to trail and need something that can handle a little of everything. If you have wide feet, check these out, they may well be the shoe you have been looking for. The looks of the shoe are great, and the outsole is excellent, the upper comfortable and has no hot spots. The BOA system works really well and only you can decide if the system is something that you can use and be happy with. I personally love the system, it works really well, once tightened it doesn’t come loose and when you have finished a run, you just pull the dial and you can slip the shoes off. The downsides are the lack of ability to adjust tension at different points – they are either tight or loose. The other aspect, although I had no issues or worries, if the lace breaks, you need to send the shoes away to be fixed.

FINAL THOUGHT

The Terrex Two Boa for me is a great shoe that I can use for pretty much any run, be that road or trail. It’s a perfect travel shoe when you may be compromised on space and just need a shoe that can handle a little of everything. For those runners who don’t want to spend a great deal of money on shoes and have a specific shoe for trail, road, mountain and say sand for example, then the Terrex Two Boa would be a great option as a one shoe does all. The price is good too at £109 rrp – BUT, they are wide and for many runners, they may well be too wide?

What adidas say:

“Feel the flow and discover your potential on any terrain in these trail running shoes. Built with a breathable mesh upper, the shoes have a thick midsole cushioning that delivers long-range comfort for off-road training and competition. They feature a Boa® Closure System that offers unmatched adjustability and security to meet the demands of rigorous trail use. A grippy Continental™ Rubber outsole holds the trail in all conditions, wet or dry.”

Terrex shoe range HERE and HERE (female)

Terrex clothing range HERE and HERE (female)

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Trofeo Kima 2018 – Summary and Images

Kilian Jornet takes back the record at the Kima Trophy with a supreme effort. Equaling the record of Mario Poletti, Kilian took his fourth title after missing the race in 2016. Hillary Gerardi followed her victory in Tromso with another incredible win proving that she is the woman to beat on technical courses!

The 23rd edition of the Kima Trophy that will be remembered amongst one the most beautiful ever after overnight rain cleared to an amazingly beautiful cold day. However, temperatures were cold due to strong winds and ice was present on the course. The race director Matteo Colzada and his staff checked the various critical points on th ehigh passes and postponed the start but to the relief of all the runners, the full route was allowed.

Kima has 52 technical and very challenging kilometers with 8,400 m of total height gain and loss with 7 alpine passes all above 2500m (maximum altitude Cameraccio 2.950 m). 

Already winner of this race and record holder before the Nepalese Bhim Gurung beat it (6h10’44 “), the star of Team Salomon ran with Alexis Sevennec for much of the race. The two raced shoulder to shoulder until the final descent, a real 2000 meters dive from Passo Barbacan to the village of San Martino. Here Kilian launched a winning attack, an attack that allowed him to cross the line in 6:09:19 beating the 06;10:44 mark set in 2016.

Alexis Sevennec 2nd in 6:11:59 was a popular favourite and rounding out the podium was Transvulcania winner, Pere Aurell in 6:20:50. 

The top ten of the day also Andre Jonsson, Leo Viret, Petter Engdahl, Andy Simonds, Cristian Minoggio, Cody Lind and Samuel Equy. With today’s success, Kilian enters right into the history of Kima joining Mario Poletti in the golden book of success.

Hillary Gerardi, did not beat the record of 7:36:21 set by Nuria Picas in 2016 but she produced an outstanding race, following up victory in Tromso. On the first descent towards Bocchetta Roma, Ragna Debats had tried to make a difference and close the gap, but Hillary was too strong. In the high altitude crossing, Hilary pulled away with a slender 5-minute lead, chased by Jasmine Paris, Brittany Peterson, Robyn Owen and Martina Valmassoi. Ragna was unfortunately suffering and dropped back.

 At the end, the South African, Robyn Owen tclosed on the leadership, but Hillary kicked and came back and won in 7:37:29. 

Second place for Robyn in 7:39:01 was a real surprise… watch out for this woman! Third was for the Nepalese Mira Rai in 7:41:46.

The American Brittany Petterson, who had been in 2nd at the midway point, and the Italian Martina Valmassoi followed to round out the top-5!

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VJ XTRM Shoe Review – VJ Sport

Last year I finally got my hands on a pair of VJ Sport IRock 2 (HERE). I was blown away by pretty much everything about the shoes. The upper, the way they held one’s foot, the durability of the materials used, and the outsole was just incredible – the most amazing grip. The only reservation that I had, was how long I could run in these shoes… They are pretty minimal and although cushioned, the cushioning for me would probably only take me to 3-4 hours of running.

OCR World Champion and Skyrunner World Series Champion, Jonathan Albon, agreed. In some of the longer races, Trofeo Kima for example where the terrain is hard, rocky, muddy, has snow, maybe the odd glacier thrown in and when the male winning time is over 6-hours, although the IRock 2 was perfect on grip, the cushioning made a really long run like this tiring for the feet.

With Jon’s feedback, VJ Sport went back to the drawing board, took all the best elements of the IRock 2 and created a new shoe:

VJ XTRM.

The king is dead, long live the king!

Let me just say in simple terms everything that was brilliant in the IRock 2 has been transferred to the new VJ XTRM and what VJ Sport have done, in my opinion, they have created the most perfect mountain running shoe for when the trails are demanding, rocky and throwing all sorts of variables at the runner.

So, what is new in the VJ XTRM.

  • Two new cushioning units have been added to the front and rear.
  • A full-length RockPlate.
  • A medium last.
  • A little extra room in the toe box.
  • New Fitlock.

As I mentioned, much of the IRock 2 crosses over. For example, the outsole is the amazing Butyl Rubber which for me offers the best grip I have encountered on any mountain shoe. The outsole studs are 6mm which offers a good compromise between grip on muddy/ wet trails and excellent grip on smooth and easy single-track.

At 250g for a standard UK8, the shoe is light and 4mm drop sits in a comfortable middle ground for the zero drop fanatics and those who like a more comfortable and relaxed 8mm drop.

Kevlar and Polyester make the upper and the IRock 2 has been the most durable shoe I have ever used, so, I don’t anticipate the VJ XTRM to be any different. There is also Fiberclass stability control.

THE SHOE

Slipping one’s foot into the VJ XTRM one immediately feels the snug and precision fit. However, the slightly wider toe box is noticeable. Don’t get me wrong here, this is not a wide and spacious toe box, so, if that is what you personally need, this may well be not the shoe for you. Please remember though that this is a specific mountain/ skyrunning shoe that will be used on technical mountainous terrain, so, a shoe for this type of running should be precision.

Pulling the laces tight, the FITLOCK takes hold and provides the most secure and comfortable hold of my foot. It is the best I have tried, no question. The laces are excellent, they pull tight and stay tight.

The upper is a mix of materials and is extremely durable. Although it is too early to comment on longevity of the VJ XTRM upper, the materials and comparisons with the IRock 2 are very close. My IRock 2 have been through everything and are still going strong. The heel box has minimal padding but holds the foot secure and is extremely comfortable. The toe box is well protected and ideal for mountain terrain.

The colours of the upper are a little bright. They wouldn’t be my choice, I certainly loved the red & black combo of the IRock 2, but colours are just colours and after a good muddy run, the colours soon become muted.

Like the IRock 2, the VJ XTRM looks heavy, pick them up and you realise they are not, they are super-light!

The bottom of the shoe is what helps VJ Sport stand out amongst the competition and why they have such a following. The Butyl Rubber they use is the best outsole I have ever tested and on rock terrain, dry or wet, they are the most reassuring footwear ever! The 6mm studs are the same as on the IRock 2 and this is significant, the IRock 2 provided the best grip ever, so, to see this transferred over to the XTRM is superb.

IN USE

The IRock 2 last-year was the best mountain shoe I have ever used. This has now been replaced by the VJ XTRM and for me, moving forward, I would always purchase the VJ XTRM and not the IRock 2. For me, VJ Sport may well have killed the IRock 2 because the VJ XTRM is so good.

 sport

WHY?

To all intents and purposes, the IRock 2 and VJ XTRM are very similar shoes. One difference is 6mm drop for the IRock 2 and 4mm drop for the VJ XTRM, this may be a decision maker for some? However, the new additions to the VJ XTRM just make it a much more versatile shoe without compromising what made the IRock 2 great, no, superb!

  1. The added cushioning doesn’t compromise feel for the ground, control, stability for faster shorter mountain running but what it does allow is more cushioning and comfort for longer runs.
  2. The RockPlate is a no brainier, it is added protection and added comfort for little to no additional weight.
  3. The new Fitlock holds the foot as well, if not better than the Fitlock on the IRock 2.
  4. The toe box has been widened to allow for a little more room and toe splay when running longer but not at the compromise of precision and feel.
  5. The upper is as the IRock 2 with Kevlar and outstanding durability.
  6. The outsole is the same, 6mm studs in the amazing Butyl Rubber.

The additions make the VJ XTRM the perfect all-round mountain shoe be that for short or long outings. Whereas, the IRock 2 was a shoe that I personally would not want to be out in for much longer than 4-hours.

SUMMARY

This is the best mountain running shoe I have ever used. For skyrunning, it is THE perfect shoe and for me, all other shoes that I test for that intended use will be compared to the VJ XTRM. Jonathan Albon’s influence can be felt in this shoe and I am sure his feedback with VJ Sport has been paramount in retaining all that was brilliant in the IRock 2 and then tweaking it to add what Jonathan and many other runners wanted; more cushioning, a RockPlate and a slightly wider toe box.

I personally am unable to find any negatives.

Obviously, the Butyl Rubber outsole works so well because it is soft and grippy, so, if you start running on roads and pavements, be aware, the outsole won’t last.

But the VJ XTRM is a formula 1 shoe and not a Ford Escort or similar. Maybe the VJ XTRM should make an appearance for those special runs or races?

However, if you are like me, I think the shoes are so awesome that if I am going to run anything technical, wet or dry, I want these shoes on my feet.

VJ SPORT website

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Golden Ring Ultra Trail 2018 – Running Heroes Russia

The Golden Ring Ultra-Trail® 100 is a trail race for runners of all backgrounds and levels of experience.

It’s no coincidence that the race is held in the town of Suzdal

Founded in the 11th century, Suzdal is one of the oldest towns in Russia and home to more than 300 unique historical sites and monuments from ancient Rus, including several that have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Awarded federally protected status in 1967 and surrounded by expansive forests and fields, Suzdal offers visitors a chance to travel back in time.

Set against this breathtaking landscape across which a millennium’s-worth of history has unfolded, the Golden Ring Ultra-Trail® 100 is designed for those who yearn for new adventures, discovering untapped strength within themselves, and finding total freedom in the outdoors.

A wide variety of distances is offered:

Participants can test themselves with a 5km, the City Run T10 and even kids can race!

Experienced amateurs can push themselves with the T30 and T50.

And finally, extreme ultramarathoners can set new challenges for themselves in the T100*

* All T100 finishers will receive ITRA/UTMB points (4 UTMB points)

A full summary of the 2018 event will follow on this website. For now, enjoy the images of the 2018 Golden Ring Ultra-Trail® 100.

Images available HERE

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