It was day-1 of the 2023 Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp and what a perfect day! The rain from ‘arrival’ day disappeared leaving a perfect sunny and windy day.
The morning was a 24km ‘Coastal Run’ that had over 50-participants moving along some wonderful, technical single-track on the outward route and easier gravel trails for the run home.
Spilt in to three main groups, Tom Evans and Pierre Meslet guided the faster runners, Ian Corless and Abelone Lyng the middle group and Inge Nijkamp, Kevin Webber and Steve Diederich guided the run/ walker and walkers.
The trails here a stunning and the backdrop superb. Technical trails are compensated with easier non-technical trails but the group bonding, chats and views help the km’s fly past…
After a lunch break, the afternoon was taken up with two talks: the inspirational Kevin Webber told his story of his Prostrate Cancer diagnosis and Steve Diederich (UK agent for MDS) gave an informative talk around MDS logistics.
A 5km recovery run conclude the activities of the day and then relaxation was the order of the day, with some good food, as plans were made ready for day-2.
Interested in joining us? 2024 is open for booking HERE
It’s countdown time to the 2023 Oman Desert Marathon.
Now in its 8th edition, the Oman Desert Marathon will take place January 21st to 24th. A self-sufficient race, the race takes place over 4-stages with a total distance of 165-kms.
January offers excellent conditions for a desert adventure, with highs anticipated and 25-degrees and lows of 17-degrees.
A unique race, the route provides participants the opportunity to explore and discover untouched sands and the highest dunes of Oman while running 47, 55, 42 and 21km.
“The OMD, changed my perspective on ultra-marathon running for the better. The desert is magical and beautiful, but will test you mentally and physically to your limit, but you will be a better person from it. The OMD event should be on every runner’s calendar.” – Adam May.
Arrival in Oman will be on January 20th with transfers to Al Jawharat Resort in Bidiyah. The afternoon will taken up with admin protocols and a race dinner.
Stage 1 – 47km
Satge 2 – 55km
Stage 3 – 42km
Stage 4 – 21km
Daily start times fluctuate and interestingly, Stage 3 has three starts, 1200, 1400 and 1600.
Stage 4 has an 0800 start with the race concluded by 1300 at the Al Jawharat Resort in Bidiyah resort. In the evening, an award ceremony and prize giving will take place.
While Omani runner’s will make up the majority of the field, there are participants from Spain, France, Ukraine, Italy, Germany, Poland, Britain, Belgium, Switzerland and not surprisingly, Morocco will have the main contenders for overall victory.
King of the desert, Rachid El Morabity, 9x winner of the Marathon des Sables will once again lead the field and he is without doubt, the hot favourite for overall victory.
Rachid’s brother, Mohammed, will be his main contender and should Rachid have a bad day, his brother will be able to pounce.
For the women, desert specialist, Aziz Raji, also a winner of Marathon des Sables, will be the main protagonist not only for the female victory, but quite possibly, a highly-ranked overall placing.
How to follow:
Daily reports and images will be issued on this website (connection allowing) each evening and a full and detailed race summary will follow after January 24th. On IG, @iancorlessphotography and @marathonoman
We look forward to welcoming you to the Oman Desert Marathon experience.
Located in the stunning and world-renowned Archipelago of Lofoten, The Arctic Triple team will offer two stunning races, the 175km Expedition Run and the 120km Adventure Run, both starting in the iconic, beautiful, and picturesque Reine and concluding in Svolvær.
Travel point-to-point, on foot, experiencing the majesty of Norway. Stunning trails, majestic mountains, resplendent views, and all during the endless daytime of the midnight sun. A fully supported journey over 4-days (6-days in total) and remembered for a lifetime.
The Lofoten Stage Run will bring the best of what Norway has to offer – fjords, fishing villages, beaches, mountains, ridges and of course the world-renowned Hytte experience.
“Lofoten Stage Run came about after the 2021 Arctic Triple and the realisation that only the 100-mile runners were getting a full 360 Lofoten experience. Not everyone wants or can run 100-miles in one go, especially here in Lofoten. So, we have created the Lofoten Stage Run which effectively breaks down our 100-mile race in 4-stages and therefore offers a more manageable way to experience all that Lofoten has to offer.” – Kristian Nashoug
The Lofoten Stage Run, either the 175km or 120km versions offer a full day to cover the respective stages and the opportunity to really experience all that this area has to offer. In the evening, runners will meet local hosts, experience local food, have comfortable lodging, and create new bonds and friendships with like-minded people. Lofoten is one of the most ‘desired’ places to visit in the world, what better way to experience it?
This is no ordinary multi-day race!
Stages will consist of 4-days, 39km, 60k, 31km and 45km for the 175km Expedition Run and 39km, 29km, 31km and 21km for the 120km Adventure Run, it’s The Arctic Triple’s aim to make this experience available to all.
Day 1 will conclude in one of the best-preserved fishing villages in Lofoten, Nusfjord.
Day 2 at Unstad Arctic Surf.
Day 3 at Brustranda Fjordcamping in Rolvsfjord, a real gem on the inside of the Lofoten archipelago.
And finally, all races conclude in Svolavær.
Experience the Arctic Circle.
Experience the midnight sun.
Experience the majesty and beauty of Norway under your own power.
PRICE 26,990. NOK (2550 EURO +/-)
Use the contact form below, the first 10 people get a 10% discount.
THIS IS THE LOFOTEN STAGE RUN.
For more information and full detailed itinerary, schedule, and costs.
The Everest Trail Race (ETR) finally was all systems go after an extended break due to the Coronavirus situation. Needless to say, the return was welcome, not only by ETR staff but all the runner’s, many who had postponed entries for 12 or even 24-months.
Nepal is a magical place and to be back in the magic was special.
ETR organisation had not been dormant between 2020 and 2022, the opposite. With the ever expansio of gravel roads leading toward Lukla, it was important to return ETR to more isolated and raw trails, so, in comparison to pre-2020, the 2022 race would be a new experience, particularly over stages one to four with stages five and six remaining roughly the same to 2019.
Travel is coordinated so all participants meet in Istanbul for an onward red-eye flight through the night to arrive in Kathmandu mid morning. During the Covid period, Kathamandu has not stood still either. There have been major improvements to the airport and what was a very painful arrival and immigration procedure is now considerably less painful if you have the relevant documents, photos and cash to pay for an entry visa.
Everyone is welcomed at the airport with a traditional garland and then it’s transfer time to the hotel which will be home for the next two days. For those who have not been to Kathmandu before, the driving is always somewhat of a shock. Organised chaos is the easiest way to explain it.
Arrival at Hotel Shanker, a calm and hidden oasis in noise and craziness of Kathmandu is welcome. Everyone is greeted and then it’s straight into initial race admin before relaxation time after long travel.
Day 1 morning is a group excursion to the Monkey Temple and Patan. The Monkey Temple for 2022 was considerably busier than other years due to timing of an important religious festival. It was rammed with people but that only added to the atmosphere.
Of course, it’s always an eye-opener to experience a place like this. No matter how many times you visit, there is always something new and of course, it’s a popular place for beggars who hope to monetise the charity of the visitors.
From the Monkey Temple to historical Patan. *Patan, also known as ‘Lalitpur’, the city of artisans, lies 5 km southeast of Kathmandu, and is home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who have preserved such ancient techniques as the repoussé and lost wax process used to produce exquisite sculptures. The city retains much of the old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars) and monuments. (*https://ntb.gov.np/patan).
The buildings, the winding streets, the noise and colour – always special. But for many, the people are what is interesting… So many characters full of life, history and colour.
After a morning of relaxation and sightseeing, late afternoon is taken up with pre-race admin checks, number collection, medical checks and onwards to the evenings welcome dinner and race briefing.
TRAVEL TO CAMP 1
Travel to camp 1 in Dhap is via bus and it’s a long and lengthy journey of 8 to 12-hours.
Of course regular stops break up the journey and there is an opportunity to see local colour and character on the way, one of the real benefits of travel via road in comparison to taking internal flights.
Arrival at camp 1 eventually comes. Camp is set up in advance and the glow of lights and yellow tents suddenly makes the whole experience come to life. Now, the ETR finally begins and everyone spends a first night in a tent.
A first night under the stars and by Nepal standards in November, it was a relatively mild despite the layer of frost on all the tents and on the ground.
Participants were undecided if it had been cold or not, basically this came down to how good and warm their sleeping bags were. If a runner felt cold last night, the omens are not good for how well they will sleep in the coming days.
Warm sweet tea is a great way to start a day, especially while relaxing in a sleeping bag. But despite that luxury, breakfast called and the need to add layers and absorb calories for the day ahead was an immediate priority.
The sun came and with it warmth. The glow of head torches replaced, bags were packed and racing apparel was made ready.
Rationed water, gels and bars were provided and at the stroke of 0830 the runner’s departed for Stage 1 of the 2022 Everest Trail Race.
At 23.08km with 1551m+/ 1012m- the day was expected to be completed quickly by the front-runners. Miguel Heras did not disappoint crossing the line at exactly 1100am, behind, the 2019 ETR Suman Kulung finished just a couple of minutes later with the 2018 ETR champion, Jordi Gamito, finishing 3rd off the pace.
Miguel explained how he had made a silly mistake immediately after Cp2 whilst eating at not concentrating, he missed a marker and went off course. The mistake cost him first place and many minutes… He chased, caught Suman, and still obtained victory; a great run. However, he did say, “There are 5-days to go, anything can happen!”
For the women, Silvina Perez ran a strong stage ahead of Nepali, Ang Furba Sherpa. Ester Alves from Portugal finished 3rd ahead of pre-race favourite, Caroline Turner, who summed her day up with a simple summary, “The altitude and the last climb kicked my ass!”
It was a successful day-1 with all participants completing the course before 1700hrs.
It was a cold night at 3500m. The wind and cloud adding to the chilly temperatures. For those who have raced light, today is the day that they understand the importance of layers and a warm sleeping bag. A lack of sleep with a tired body is not pleasant, even warm tea and a hot breakfast could not lighten the mood of some. After day-1, based on finish times, ETR operates two starts for stage, 0700 and 0800, thus allowing slower competitors additional time to complete the stage.
The day started with a 500m climb to the summit of Pikey Peak at 4041m. From here a twisting and technical descent to Jase Bhanjyang (3510m) and the Lamjura Pass towards Langate Peak and onward to Pungmuche and Thumptencholing. From 20.5km another climb to 24.5km, and then a tough finish with a long climb, descent and then a final short climb to the camp at Rinmo.
Everyone was unanimous, it was a seriously tough day and although we missed a peak due to landslide, it added distance, many recording between 34-36km.
The race at the front was intense and today, with so much altitude and added distance, Nepali Suman had the advantage over Miguel Hera, Jordi Gamito once again placing 3rd.
For the women, it was a similar story with Nepali, Purwha Lhamu Sherpa having the advantage over Sivina Perez.
The impact of the day will no doubt be seen in stage 3, when the runners tackle 28.23km with 2028m+/ 2799m-
Many are already discussing the drop of over 2000m from 3855m at km7.5, to 1625m at km23. A tough day!
Nothing better than starting a 30km day with a 1200m climb to just under 4000m through forest trails. The downside, depending on viewpoint and preferences, was the 2700m of descent that followed via steep, technical, challenging and rocky trails. And then just when you think it’s all over, you finish the day with 500m of vert followed by another short decent to camp. It was a tough day!
The action started early with Miguel Heras and Sumun Kulung setting a harsh pace up the first climb, they were inseparable. Event the relentless descent could not break them. It was at the last checkpoint, with approximately 5km to go, 500m of vert, that Miguel put the hammer down and opened up an 11min gap over the Nepali. Quite incredible.
Once again, Jordi Gamito, the 2018 ETR champion, seemed happy to settle for the third spot – the duo ahead are at the moment, untouchable.
Purwha Lhamu Sherpa certainly has settled in to women’s race and once again took victory. Ester Alves, equally has found her comfort on the Nepal trails and today relished the relentless downhill trails to finish second. Day 1 victor, Silvina Perez, finished third.
Mood in the camp was positive after the stage, these trails are quiet and remote. It was only in the final 5km, the climb to Kharikola, that it was possible to see homes and locals working the fields.
KhariKola has been the stage 3 camp, day 4 start for many years. However, for 2022, the ETR no longer camped at the monastery but a little lower down in an isolated spot. Temperatures were mild for the night, just dipping below zero. So, runner’s were refreshed for the start of day 4 with a good nights sleep.
Today is the day the race enters the main trekking routes as Lukla approaches and the end of the day, Phakding.
However, unlike previous years, a new route was developed to avoid the ongoing dirt road development that is impacting on this area greatly.
A tough 1000m climb kicked off the day to Karila at 3080m and then technical rocky trails to the lowest point of the day, Surke at 2300m. From here, a climb to Chaurikara (2621m) a steep descent and then a steep climb to Segma at 2742m. The ETR is now on new trails on the opposite side of the river all the way to the Phakding finish.
Once again it was the Miguel and Suman show at the front, the duo running together, again at a relentless pace. With the longest and arguably the toughest day of the race tomorrow, they crossed the line together, just a 1-second apart, no doubt saving some reserves.
Jordi Gamito finished third, quite a long way behind the leading two, his overall position is safe and he is no doubt just running a smart race now.
The women’s race was different today, with all three women running extremely close together, separated by just minutes. Today, the glory went to Ester Alves who gets better with each day, In the final km’s, Silvina Perez caught a fading Purwha Lhamu Sherpa to place second.
Stage 5, the highlight of the ETR. Today is the day the runners pass through Namche Bazaar and head up higher in the direction of the big peaks.
With much of the day above 3800m, it’s a brute, but the compensation is the magnificent backdrop of Everest, Lohtse, Nuptse and the stunning and iconic Ama Dablam.
Starting in Phakding, it’s up, up and up to Namche and then onwards to Syangboche at 3760m. From here, a descent to Kumjung and then a climb to Mong La, 3973m. Phortse and a stunning single-track trail to Pangboche with amazing views is the cream on the Himalayan cake as the route travels at 4000m. Finally a descent to Debuche, 3741m, and then the climb to the finish at Tyangboche at 3875m.
The day held no surprises with Miguel and Suman running together and at tge line it was red-line effort from the Spaniard to take the stage win. Jordi Gamito once again placing third.
Purwha Lhamu Sherpa for the women took the stage with a truly gritty performance. With one ankle heavily taped and carrying an injury, she still managed a stellar performance, the altitude no doubt being an advantage. Ester Alves finished second, exhausted, expressing, “One of the hardest things I have ever done!’ Once again, Silvina Perez placed 3rd.
The final stage back to Lukla. At 29km with 1770m+/ 2802m- it is by no means and easy day or chilled day and that was reflected in Miguel and Suman pushing hard all the way to the line finishing well under 3-hours and in course record for the stage. Miguel Heras was the 2022 ETR champion.
For the rest of the participants, the day was one of victory, the finish line providing the completion of an epic journey. The top women and a group of others, decided to enjoy the day and they all finished together.
Lukla provided an end to the 2022 ETR and the mood was high. For many, the experience had been a tough one. The altitude, climbing and descending providing a much harder and more challenging experience than other multi-day adventures.
“MDS is a walk in the park in comparison to the ETR. MDS may well be self-sufficient, but the terrain here is so much harder, add the altitude and cold nights, the challenge is considerably harder.”
Now attention turn to 2023 and the next edition of the ETR. It really is one of the ‘must-do’ races not only for the challenge but for the immersive beauty and experience that Nepal brings.
Before you start a multi-day, be that a race or a personal challenge, one thing is for sure, NOW is the time to set a goal and focus, fine-tune everything, including training, so that you can be at the start in the best shape possible.
First and foremost, have a complete understanding of the task ahead and set a goal or target. This is key not only in the physical adaptations that are required, but also the mental adaptations. There is a huge difference in doing something supported and in doing something self-sufficient. Marathon des Sables a prime example, understand the nature of the event and set a realistic but challenging goal.
MDS is an extreme event that takes place in the Sahara. The nature of the event is self-management both physically and mentally to endure the challenge, survive and reach the finish line. The weather (heat) is one of those challenges and surviving the weather is integral to the nature of the event. As is the ‘self-sufficient’ nature. Other than rationed water and a bivouac, be prepared to endure and complete this event with no outside assistance. Of course, help is at hand, but that help is and should be a safety element that is required in emergency. Equally, if undertaking a solo multi-day experience, do the research, plan routes, look at back-up options, can you re-supply with food, is water available?
Plan and prepare.
We are all unique and individual. Some of us are faster, some are mentally tough, some have a capacity to go for hours and hours and even days and yes, some runners combine all those elements.
Therefore, a multi-day training plan must be used as a template and framework to provide a structure for you, the individual, to achieve your goal.
Be sensible and adjust training plans so that they fit your ability, aspirations, training history and time available.
Think about when you place rest days, when you do long runs and when you work on hills and faster running. A training plan is like a jigsaw puzzle and managing the pieces and adding them together sensibly is how you make a successful and complete picture.
Any training plan is designed to progressively build strength, endurance, and confidence with gradual load increases. Rest is an important element of any training plan, so, rest with the same intensity that you train. Ultimately, you have decided to undertake this adventure, so, enjoy the process and make it fun.
Be specific. Make sure the training terrain, as much as possible, simulates your target event.
Always focus on the goal. Training plans for me start with the goal date and I then count back in time to a start point. That start point for you may well be before the 12-weeks but once you start the plan, focus on the target, and always make every session is as specific to the goal as possible.
For example, if participating in Marathon des Sables, you already know some key and important information:
It will be hot.
You will need to deal with hard and rocky plateaus, but you will also need to deal with soft sand and dunes.
You will be on rationed food/ calories.
You will only be supplied water to drink, and this is *rationed. In extreme weather such as the October 2021 edition, water rations were increased.
Everything (not the tent) will be carried in a pack, on day 1 this will be at a minimum weight of *8kg. (*Minimum pack weight is 6.5kg but you must carry 1.5 liters of water which equates to 1.5kg.)
You will sleep in an open tent, on the floor using a mat and sleeping bag.
The long day comes on day 4 after approximately 90-100km of running, so, you need to be able to run for consecutive days and manage your pace and effort.
The long day is (typically) between 70 and 90km and you have one full day, one night and most of the next day to complete it.
After the ‘rest day’ is a marathon.
You can complete the race by covering just 3km’s per hour.
In 2019, the MDS was won by Rachid El Morabity and Ragna Debats in 18:31:24 and 22:33:36 respectively. The last runner was Ka Chun Chan from China in 69:29:16. For perspective, Rachid could have run the race nearly four times in 69:29! We are all individual.
Key elements each runner needs for a multi-day like MDS.
You need to be mentally tough.
Physically strong to endure multiple days of back-to-back exercise.
Strong enough to carry a loaded pack and still move at a good pace.
Adapted to function on restricted calories and food choices.
Able to drink only water.
Adapted to perform and function in heat.
You need to be able to walk.
You need to be able to handle un-planned situations.
Have A, B and C goals.
Multi-day racing and multi-day adventures are unique and particularly self-sufficient ones when you must carry all you need for the duration of the event. In a race, you will carry clothing, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, essential items and food for the duration of the event. At MDS minimum weight is 6.5kg plus water. Just as you prepare physically and mentally, also be meticulous with equipment and food preparation. You ideally need your pack to be 6.5kg and no more… Additional weight is additional stress.
If fastpacking, you may possibly be as above, but you will need to carry your own tent and you will need to re-supply with water en-route either using natural water supplies or utilizing retail outlets.
Be specific and understand the demands of the event you are undertaking and plan accordingly.
WHAT SHOULD A TRAINING PLAN LOOK LIKE?
All plans need to be progressive and geared towards the end goal of a multi-day like Marathon des Sables or a fast-packing adventure.
Remember, we are all individual, so while a generic plan may provide a guide and structure from which to work from, it’s important to adapt and tweak to individual needs. For example, the training plan for someone who is trying to be top 100 at a race will vary greatly to someone who hopes to complete and not compete.
Each week will typically have one or two rest days.
A simple strength training structure that can be done at home or in a gym.
Hill sessions and speed sessions (tempo/ intervals/ fartlek) have a place in any training plan, but the quantity and duration will depend on what type of runner you are and what your aspirations are.
Long sessions are essential and most certainly, an element of back-to-back sessions will help adapt the mind and body for the challenge ahead. However, injury risk goes up with any block like this, so, it needs to be placed carefully with adequate rest and recovery.
Learn to walk. There is a huge difference walking with purpose and pace to ‘just’ walking. Except for the top runners, walking is an integral element to a successful completion of a multi-day race or adventure. Many only realise during the event. Get walking dialed in training.
Do some specific work with a pack and weight BUT be careful as it is easy to get injured.
Think of training as blocks of 4-weeks, build for 3-weeks and then rest/ take it easier on the 4th. An example could be as below.
The final phase of a training plan should taper to allow you to be strong and fresh when the start comes, typically this 2 or 3-weeks long. This a perfect time to add specific race adaptations such as heat training, preparing for humidity, preparing for a cold environment and of course fine-tuning equipment and packing.
Multi-day running or racing is exciting and adds many more elements to think about than ‘just’ running. Taking time to plan training and working to a goal is a worthwhile and constructive – it gives you something to aim for!
MDS 2021 Summary HERE The Ultimate Guide to Desert Multi-Day HERE
Choosing a sleeping bag for an adventure can be tedious, especially when the costs are so high. Never fear, this article will answer all the questions you may have re a sleeping bag for a multi-day desert/summer adventure or similar.
First and foremost I recommend you read THIS in-depth article on ‘How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for an Adventure.’
In this article, I will look at three down filled sleeping bags:
Rab Mythic Ultra 180
Sea to Summit SP1
PHD Minimus K
Down as a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than synthetic fill. In simple terms, a down bag can achieve the same warmth (or be warmer) than a synthetic bag for less weight. A key consideration when weight is crucial.
Is down warmer? If synthetic insulation was the same weight as the down, down nearly always will be warmer. Down traps warm air, while synthetic fibers pack densely to reduce heat loss. Both offer great warmth, especially when you use high quality products.
Is down always best? No, not always. Down cannot get wet. If it does, the feathers clump together, and all insulating power is lost. Synthetic retains heat, even when wet. So, if you are using a sleeping bag in a wet and humid environment, synthetic will probably be the best choice… BUT, many brands now do hydrophobic down which is treated to be efficient in wet conditions.
Size is extremely important in any adventure and quite simply down compresses considerably more than synthetic.
Cost is always a key consideration and typically, down will be more expensive than synthetic.
SLEEPING BAG KEY QUESTIONS
First and foremost, consider several key things before choosing a bag.
Where are you going?
Will it be dry and what are the risks of rain?
Do I sleep cold or warm?
Am I tall or small (sleeping bag length is crucial for comfort)?
Do I have wide shoulders?
Do I need a zip, if so, half zip or full zip?
How light does it need to be?
What temperatures can I expect at night?
Quite simply, a sleeping bag needs to be as light as possible without compromising the above if you are carrying it.
Also consider that it is often a wise choice to choose a sleeping bag that has less warmth and lower weight if you are also carrying top/ bottom base layers and a down jacket. These clothing items can be used to layer and add warmth.
WEIGHTS AND PRICE
Rab Mythic Ultra 180 retails at £550.00 and weighs 400g (900 fill down)
Sea to Summit SP1 Retails at £260.00 and weighs 350g (850 fill down)
PHD Minimus K Retails at £484.00 and weighs 330g (this bag has no zip but has 1000 fill down)
The Mythic Ultra utilizes breakthrough technology with TILT (Thermo Ionic Lining) which in simple terms works a little like a space blanket offering exceptional warmth. The down is hydrophobic treated and therefore can be used in wet/ damp conditions. It is offered in regular and long. It has a ⅛ zip by YKK on the left, an excellent hood with baffles and is provided with a dry bag and a drawstring storage bag.
Sea To Summit
The SP1 is tiny and provided in a zipper storage bag and a small compression sack is provided. Using ‘ultra-dry’ 850 fill down, the bag has excellent water repellent property and warmth. It has a YKK zipper, available in regular and long with excellent hood and baffles.
PHD are unique in that they make all the products in their factory in the UK. Therefore, it is possible to purchase any bag ‘off-the-shelf’ as a standard product OR you can order and have a product custom made. For example, you can specify, no zip, half zip or full zip. You can ask for wider shoulders, longer length, warmer toe box and so on. All of this comes at a price, so if bespoke is for you, PHD is the place to go. You can see options HERE.
The Minimus bag has a Drishell outer, no zip, standard length, standard width and 900 fill. Should you require the bag a different length, the price varies, short is no extra charge, long adds 8% and extra-long adds 14%. Equally, if you require extra width, slim is no extra charge, wide is plus 11% and extra-wide adds 20%. Need a zip? Short is £25 extra and full is £41.00 extra.
Quite simply, PHD are the Tesla of the sleeping bag world. Great comfort, weight and warmth. It has a mesh bag for storage and comes with a nylon stuff sack*
*stuff sack replaced with dry bag.
HOW THEY COMPARE
First and foremost, weight is a key consideration, and these three bags are so close in weight, it is hard to say one is better than the other. The Sea to Summit wins though, a full 100g lighter than the PHD.
On my scales:
Rab 397g Rab has a tiny eighth zip.
Sea to Summit 344g *Sea to Summit a half zip.
PHD 445g **The PHD has a full-length zip.
When one considers the PHD has a full zip, the weight is impressive. A full zip offers more flexibility and on a hot night, the bag can be used more like a blanket. Not an option with the other two.
Size can be as crucial as weight and the Sea to Summit is a standout packing to an incredibly small size with the compression sack provided – 38g.
The Rab is supplied with a dry bag and I should point out it would be possible to use a smaller bag and compress the Mythic Ultra 180 smaller – 34g
For the PHD I used a generic 4L dry bag – 31g
It’s worth noting though, often when fast packing, it’s better not to store the sleeping bag in a storage bag as it makes for an odd, sausage like shape that does not utilise the space available.
The three bags are very similar in weight, fill and design. However, each brand describes their bags warmth differently. The Comfort Rating indicates the minimum temperature where an individual can sleep in a relaxed position and get a good night’s sleep.
Rab – Sleep limit 0 deg
Sea to Summit – 9 deg comfort
PHD – 5 deg typical.
Based on the above if we take Rab 0 deg minimum rating, Sea to Summits 9 deg comfort and PHD’s 5 deg typical rating, it’s fair to assume that all are good for around 5 deg as a good sleeping temperature. In theory, the Sea to Summit should be the one that ‘may’ struggle at 5 deg but that is not the reality after testing. It is a warm bag and certainly trades blows the Rab and PHD. All three perform exceptionally well at 5 degrees or above.
The Limit of Comfort Rating is the temperature range where an individual sleeping in a curled position and fighting against the cold can still sleep through the night – 0 degrees would apply here. I had several summer nights with temperatures dropping and all three bags performed exceptionally well with the addition of Merino top and bottom layers, a pair of socks and the use of a Buff or hat.
COMFORT and FEEL
All three bags win out on feel and comfort. Each have their own attributes. The PHD wins on full comfort as it has a full zip. The Rab though has the best hood of all three bags and a superb baffle to keep out drafts. The SP1 has a half zip, good hood and no baffle.
All are silky smooth to the touch and comfortable.
The Rab with black outer, silver logos and silver TILT lining feels and looks premium. Equally, the SP1 has a superb look of grey/ yellow and excellent logos/ branding. The PHD is a no fuss bag. If the other too are Tesla and Porsche, the PHD is a Land Rover but you know it will get the job done.
VALUE FOR MONEY
These are three excellent sleeping bags offering the best option in their class. Quite simply, you cannot go wrong with any of them. They have all been used and tested in similar environments, conditions and temperatures whilst camping. However, when looking at weight, pack size, warmth and price, we have a clear winner.
The standout is the Sea to Summit SP1 which offers an unbeatable package of low-weight, small packing size, incredible warmth, and a low price. It is half the price of the competition and does not compromise on any features. It’s a winner. More info HERE.
The Rab is a great bag, which offers a little more warmth, larger pack size and just a fraction more weight. The black colour is a plus for me and the hood/ baffles are the best of the three. The zip is of no real use and for me I would prefer either no zip to save on weight or prefer the additional weight and half a zip that offers more practical use. The treated down offers incredible flexibility and certainly if I planned on using one bag for different conditions and environments, the Mythic Ultra 180 would be a great choice. More info HERE.
PHD are always a winner, and they make incredible products. But ‘off-the-shelf’ it’s difficult to justify the cost in comparison to the excellent Sea to Summit SP1. However, long, tall, short, wide, large, small, zip or no zip, PHD will make a bag just for you and it will be perfect. That comes at a price though and it will be arguably, the best sleeping bag you have ever had. More info HERE
A Multi-Day race or a long-distance ultra is a huge undertaking. For many, it’s a 12-month project (or longer) that slowly but surely can consume every available day, hour, minute and second.
I get it, a long-distance race over multiple days in an unfamiliar terrain can leave more questions than answers. However, don’t panic, it’s not that complicated – read HERE.
As your key adventure looms, it’s time to focus the mind, body, and equipment so that you can plan for and anticipate all that may go wrong and right while undertaking this key target.
Quite simply, the old saying, ‘Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail’ does and can ring true.
So, what can be done?
Luck can have a place in any success; however, it should never be relied on. In multi-day events, particularly self-sufficient ones, the need to fine tune everything is a key element.
All of the above have very important roles to play in success.
Get the training wrong, you may not have the fitness or an injury that will result in you not achieving the finish line.
Get the kit wrong, be it too heavy, not durable or inappropriate may impact on your ability to achieve your goal.
Many say the mind is a key and an integral part of any success. Often, the body can be willing, but the mind can be weak, get the mind focused and prepared.
You need to be prepared for whatever your multi-day adventure will throw at you.
In the final phase of training, 6-8 weeks before your adventure starts, is a great time to start working on the final phases and plans that will help ensure success.
THE PREPARE PHASE
If we assume that tapering will take 2 to 3-weeks, this key ‘Prepare Phase’ should be in weeks 4, 5, 6 and 7 before D-Day.
First and foremost, understand the challenge that you are undertaking. You may feel that you already have a grasp on this, but there is no harm sitting down and going through all they key aspects. Terrain, weather, mandatory kit, distance, and conditions. Look at the October 2021 edition of Marathon des Sables, the race started with a series of protocols to manage Coronavirus. Ultimately, Coronavirus was not a consideration, it was extreme heat, sickness and stomach problems.
Walk, WALK, WALK! – Walking will (for most) be an absolute essential skill to complete any multi-day adventure. You may think you will run most of the distance… But experience confirms that walking is a key to success. Walking, and walking with purpose is a skill. Practice. Consider poles, they may enhance your walking experience, if so, practice and use them.
Without doubt you will have long days, and some will go in to the night and through the night. Take time and plan and include a session like this in the ‘Prepare Phase!’ Understand here that this is an opportunity to test kit, not only yourself. Is your head torch bright enough, how do temperatures vary, how does my appetite and requirement for fluid change etc. By doing this in training, you do it in a safe environment. If it all goes badly, you can always make a call and get picked up or get a taxi. You can’t do that in your race or event. Darkness and nighttime can play tricks.
Back-to-back runs may well have featured in your training but running/ walking tired is a skill. However, be careful how you plan this in training. You want adapt body and mind, not break them.
Perform training with rationed water and race/ event food. You need to learn what works and what doesn’t work. It’s all very well going for a long run and then getting home and eating chocolate and drinking Coca Cola – can you do that in your event? Mentally this can be a real tough challenge – be prepared.
Your pack will be with you for the duration of your event. It must be as light as possible and also sturdy enough to last the challenge without breaking. Be minimalist on equipment and purchase the lightest equipment possible. Remember though, lightweight can often mean less durable, less warm, less functional and so on… Better to break or damage equipment in training so that you can make changes ready for the important challenge ahead. Modify and adapt.
Be specific. Snow, mountains, altitude, heat, or cold. Understand the demands that will be placed on you in your challenge and plan for a specific phase (typically in the 2-3 weeks before the event) to help acclimate. This could be a heat chamber, it could be arriving early before an event and adjusting to high altitude, it could be some specific cold, ice or snow training.
Plan an ‘event simulation’ that will require you to run for a specific distance, be self-sufficient overnight, sleep in a similar scenario/ situation to your event and then get up and run the next day. This can be a key element in understanding what does and does not work. Is your sleeping mat comfortable? Is the sleeping bag warm? Did your food taste good? How easy was it to cook? How about snacks, did they work? How was the pack weight and distribution of contents?
Train with your pack and add weight, however, be careful NOT to do too much training with too much weight. This can result in injury. In addition, learn how to pack your bag so that it sits comfortably with minimal bounce. Understand where to put snacks so that you can access them on the go.
Feet and shoes. Please do not ask. ‘What shoe shall I use for ‘X’ Event?’ Runners are individuals and what works for one does not work for others. Gait, foot shape, foot width, foot length, toe length, run conditions and so on all impact. Read THISarticle on how to find the correct run shoe.
Food glorious food. Calories are essential for an event, so is what they weigh. Understand food and its nutritional values and make sound educated choices that balance fat, protein, and carbohydrate. Also understand that taste changes. Sweet may be ok early on but typically savory is better as time passes. Is beef jerky better than nuts? What food rehydrates quickly or with cold/ warm water? Should I take bars? What about protein drinks? So many questions… They need answering!
You only have to do three things at most multi-day events:
All three impact on each other, so, make sure you have all of them dialed.
Finally, remember, we are all individual. What works for one person, will not work for another. It is your responsibility to take ownership of yourself, the challenge you are undertaking and the challenges it will bring. Ultimately, that is why you signed up, no?
We announced earlier this week that the Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2023 would have two ’Special Guests’ and this has resulted in a surge of entries for 2023.
Rachid El Morabity the 8x MDS champion will join us Friday to Monday for run sessions and a 2-hour talk/ workshop on MDS, Multi-Day running and ‘What goes in the pack?’ of a champion. ‘Dead Man Running,’
Kevin Webber will join us for the whole week looking after a walking group and providing a 2-hour talk and workshop telling his incredible story of his Prostrate Cancer diagnosis and how he has embraced running and adventure to not only inspire others but to raise money for charity and raise the bar of what is possible as a human.
It has been great to confirm Tom Evans will once again join us. Tom guided on the 2018 Training Camp after placing 3rd at the 2017 Marathon des Sables. It was the start of an incredible story that has resulted in victory at CCC, Tarawera Ultra, and a 3rd place at the iconic, Western States 100-mile race in the USA.
Rab athlete Abelone Lyng should have joined the camp in 2022 but unfortunately had to withdraw late in 2021 due to the pandemic situation and her role in the medical profession. We are pleased to confirm that Abelone will join us for 2023. Abelone has won the Ice Ultra and placed 4th at The Coastal Challenge. An adventurer, ultra, trail and mountain runner, Abelone is a specialist fastpacker who loves to travel solo or with friends.
Pierre Meslet, a physiotherapist, placed 9th at the 2021 Marathon des Sables and joined us in Lanzarote Jan 2022. Pierre provided excellent guiding, a superb talk and the added bonus of offering the 2022 attendees with the option of treatment. A huge success, Pierre returns in 2023.
LATEST INFO Currently, we only have 4-apartments remaining for 2023 which will sold on a first come, first served basis. If you’d like to join us, don’t wait too long…
Latest deal (2 available) – We do have the option to add 3 adults in a 1-Bed apartment (2 single beds and 1 sofa bed) at the price of £875 pp making a saving of £170 pp on the normal ’shared’ occupancy price. Please email if this is an option you are interested in.
Tom Evans burst on the ultra running scene when he placed 3rd at the iconic Marathon des Sables in 2017. An unknown runner, what followed was a meteoric rise in the sport.
Tom joined me at our Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp in 2018 and his presence was a great success. I knew then, one day that we’d have him back…!
January 2023 and Tom returns to Lanzarote amongst a stellar line-up that included 8x Marathon des Sables champion, Rachid El Morabity and the amazing and inspirational, ‘Dead Man Running,’ Kevin Webber.
MDS opened the door for Tom. He followed up with a win and course record at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica.
A 3rd place at the IAU World Trail Championships, a foray in the world of skyrunning and suddenly top was on the start line of the CCC, one of the key races of UTMB week. Running a perfect race, Tom closed on the lead in the latter stages of the race, forged ahead and won the biggest race of his life. A sponsorship deal with adidas Terrex followed and the dream of Western States started to fall in to place.
Western States, the iconic 100-miler in the USA is a ‘bucket list’ dream for any trail and mountain runner. For Tom, it would be his first time racing such a long distance in one day. Taking a unique training approach, Tom moved to Ethiopia to prepare. Race day was a dream scenario with a podium finish and a time that dipped under 15-hours.
Victory at Tarawera Ultra in New Zealand at the start of 2020, whet the appetite for what was to come.
A certain pandemic got in the way of racing plans and Tom decided to have surgery to fix a persistent injury problem. 2021 was very much a year of rehabilitation gaining strength and fitness.
With the arrival of 2022, Tom is back and it is now a great pleasure to confirm his attendance at the 2023 Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp.
With some new routes, new talks and workshops, new guests, the 2023 Multi-Day Training Camp will take what is already a special and unique formula and take it up several notches.
We have so many attendees returning year-after-year and this keeps me on my toes always looking for something new. In the last two editions we have added a ‘Long Day’ that is a point-to-point run offering an opportunity to see and experience new trails. In 2022 we added some new routes that offered a little more technicality and vertical meters.
2023 WILL BE THE BEST YET
First and foremost, we will have some new coaches and special guests. The big news is that 8x Marathon des Sables champion, ‘King of the Desert,’ Rachid El Morabity will join us, arriving Friday 13th and departing Monday 16th. He will join us for two runs, provide a 2-hour Talk & Worskshop and yes, I am pretty sure you will all get an opportunity to have a photo taken with him.
The amazing and inspirational, ‘Dead Man Running,’ Kevin Webber will join us for the whole week. He will look to inspire each and every attendee by quite literally, leading by example. As Kevin says, “Got told my prostate cancer may kill me in 2yrs but here I am, nearly 5 years later running ultra marathons, raising awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer UK!”
With some new routes, new talks and workshops, new guests, the 2023 Multi-Day Training Camp will take what is already a special and unique formula and take it up several notches.