Ragna Debats had a stunning 2017 racing all over the world in multiple Skyrunning events and distances – surprising that someone born in the flatlands of the Netherlands can run so well in the Mountains. It was a full year and one that at times could have so easily pushed her over the edge. However, Debats managed her time well and concluded her racing year with an epic journey to Nepal.
A break over the Christmas period and a return to consistent training, Ragna now sets her sights on Costa Rica and The Coastal Challenge. It will be a new challenge and one that should suit the Skyrunner well, the mixed terrain and technical challenges should suit her skill set.
In May, Ragna has her sights set on the IAU World Trail Championships.
I caught up with Ragna, with 1-month before Costa Rica it is all systems go.
You have had a great year – Skyrunning Champion, IAU World Trail top result and recently racing in Nepal – what has been a highlight?
For me personally, my highlights have been the Olympus Marathon where I won and set a new race record, High Trail Vanoise where I became EU Champ. The Rut, USA, I won and set a new race record too whilst having fun – a dream! However, I have enjoyed all of the races, 2017 was a great year!
Racing in Costa Rica will be very different but it will suit your skill set, what are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to racing in a completely new scenery! I can’t wait to see the tropical rainforests and the beaches, it is going to be incredible.
Are you doing any specific training for the heat, humidity in Costa Rica – if so, what?
I have just started training again after a break over Christmas. Basically, I am working towards the IAU World Championship in May and during January and February I will mainly focus on strength training and volume, Costa Rica will work well in this plan, however, adapting to the heat will be difficult.
You have just done a multi-day race in Nepal, is multi-day something you’d like to do more of in the future?
Nepal was a great experience, mainly on a humane level and because it was a real cultural adventure. From a running prospective I was a little disappointed, but Nepal offered so many new challenges it was always going to be a learning curve. Also, the race concluded a long and hard year of racing.
Do you have a plan or strategy for Costa Rica, or will you take each day as it comes?
I hope I will feel like when I ran the Pyrenees Stage Run in 2017 where I could push every day and enjoy the race from the beginning until the end. We shall see what happens!
You will have strong competition from Ester Alves, Elisabet Barnes and more… does that excite you?
Yes, definitely! I’m always looking for good competition and I will revel in it. It’s exciting.
Tell me a little about your preparation for Costa Rica – what are you doing at the moment?
At the moment, I am just getting back to regular training sessions after my running break and my Christmas holidays in Holland. But I feel really motivated to get into a good shape for 2018.
What will a multi-day race bring you for your plans later in 2018?
I think it will give me a good base for the season. After the race, I will start with specific speed work which will lead into the world champs!
What are the plans for 2018?
Until May I will be mainly focused on the Trail World Championship and afterwards I will follow the ISF World Series and the ISF World Championship.
Finally, what is your lifetime, long-term dream race or goal?
I would love to win the UTMB, the Trail World Championship and to become the overall World Champion!
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
The Coastal Challenge
Website (UK) HERE
Website (Global) HERE