Seminal UTMB 2017 – The Men’s Race

Francois D’Haene racing in China, April 2017

The 2017 UTMB was billed as the ‘best ever’ and as the weather finally improves in and around Chamonix, life returns to normal for us all and we have an opportunity to step back and look at how important this years race actually was.

I think it may well be a seminal edition and for many reasons.

Yes, I think this years race may well be a great influencer in the later developments not only of ultra-trail but more importantly the runners who participate.

The men’s race featured a known top-10 and I think it’s fair to say there were few surprises. Unlike in previous editions, the main contenders battled throughout and few dropped or faltered resulting in a super exciting edition of the race.

Read about the Ladies race HERE

THE TOP 10 MEN

 

NO1

Francois D’Haene 19:01:32 – Francois is the best 100-mile mountain runner in the world. No question. Coming into the race, it was a coin toss if he or Kilian would win the race. I like everyone else went with Kilian – how can you bet against Kilian? But with reflection, Francois always should have been the hot-favourite for victory. He prepared meticulously for UTMB with victories in ‘warm-up’ races, he ran the UTMB route over 4-days with Salomon teammates and yes, he is the course record holder. He started at the front, closer than I had anticipated and he never relinquished a firm grasp of the race. Experience, fitness and endurance over the final third of the race saw him pull-away from Jim Walmsley and Kilian to confirm that he is the best in the world.

 

NO2

Kilian Jornet 19:16:38 – It’s tough being Kilian, so much pressure. But he shrugs it off on his own way… At the UTMB this year he interviewed runners on the start, filmed the start and continued to film over the opening miles. He surprised me by keeping with the front of the race, an unusual tactic for him. Maybe he thought that if he let Walmsley, D’Haene and the others go, he would never reel them back in. I expected Jornet to win, as did pretty much everyone else but a lack of running in 2017 and the early fast half of the race no doubt took its toll. He finished 2nd and that in itself is incredible, the fact he suffered so much is even more remarkable. He is an incredible ambassador and I know personally that he will be as happy with D’Haene’s victory as if it were his own. Let’s not forget he summited Everest twice in one week, won Hardrock 100 and won a fast Sierre-Zinal in the lead to UTMB.

 

NO3

Tim Tollefson 19:53:00 – Yep, Tollefson signifies why the 2017 UTMB is a seminal edition for US runners. He placed 3rd last-year and backed it up again with third this year. He started steady and let his experience, training and mental strength run a finely paced and well-judged race. It was impressive to follow how he meticulously worked his way through the race. With approximately 50km’s to go, he moved up into third and he remained in that place all the way to the line – impressive!

 

NO4 – Xavier Thevenard 20:03:14 – He’s won all the UTMB races (CCC, TDS, OCC and UTMB multiple times) and yes, of course, he was a favourite for the podium and or victory. Early on he raced with the front but I think he decided the pace was a little hot and he eased off. He knows how to run this loop though and experience counted. His fourth is no disappointment and confirms his ability over the 100-mile distance in the mountains.

 

NO5 – Jim Walmsley 20:11:38 – This was the seminal performance of the whole UTMB and yes, I have been vocal on Walmsley post his 2017 Western States. I have to say, he impressed the hell out of me at this year’s UTMB. He took the front as I and many expected but unlike Western, he understood the task at hand and who was behind him. A naturally fast runner, he obviously struggled to run slower but he restrained himself, often waiting for Jornet, D’Haene and others. I said before the race started that he would find the final 30% tough and he did. He is incredible over the 100km distance or running say 10-14 hours but beyond that is all new ground. From 100km he slowed and struggled dropping to seventh but then rallied to move back to fifth. This was THE learning curve that Walmsley needed and I am convinced that this IS the turning point in his 100-mile running career. He has already proven up to 100km he is incredible, now we will see him harness this learning curve not only in pacing and race management but also how to handle the mind games that this distance brings. I am convinced we will see Walmsley top UTMB and Western States podiums in years to come.

 

NO6 – Pau Capell 20:12:43 – He is a rising star of the sport, he has already had an incredible 2017 with a string of top-10 performances and now sixth at UTMB. He paced well-being a novice at the 100-mile distance but his Transgrancanaria run earlier this year no doubt helped. He was all set for fifth until a flying Walmsley found a late surge to grasp a place from him. A seminal performance.

 

NO7 – Dylan Bowman 20:19:48 – D’Bo nailed his first UTMB finish and confirms that the USA are finally understanding mountain running in Europe and in particular UTMB. I remember a few years back when he finished Transgrancanaria and he was blown away by how difficult and fast that race was. He’s slowly plugged away and learnt the craft.

 

NO8 – Gediminas Grinius 21:24:19 – He nails the 100-mile distance and his eighth place just proves how consistent he is. He will no doubt be disappointed with his placing after placing second last-year, but this year’s race was as stacked as stacked can be and this is a solid performance.

 

NO9 – Zach Miller 21:28:32 – Has been injured in 2017 and I think this no doubt impacted on his race and strategy. Last-year he ran off the front with what was either going to be a blazing victory or an incredible blow-up. It was the latter but he rallied for sixth. This year, he without doubt respected the distance but maybe he also realised he didn’t have the fitness and endurance to blaze a trail at the front. Either way, his 9th is solid, it confirms his ability for the distance and like Walmsley, he may well understand that a little patience will go a long way. A seminal performance.

 

NO10 – Jordi Gamito 21:44:31 – A revelation in 2017 and while I and others thought a solid race was possible, him rounding out the top-10 is a surprise. This will no doubt rally his enthusiasm and commitment for 2018 – a seminal performance.

 

NOTABLES:

The UK’s Damian Hall had an incredible race finishing 12th and top Brit. He only started racing a few years ago and he must be wishing he started earlier! David Laney was the USA’s prime contender for top-5 after two previous solid performances, he finished 14th. Other notable top-10 contenders such as Jeff Browning, Julien Chorier, Jason Schlarb, Tofol Castanyer, Sage Canaday and Miguel Heras all had mixed days. Most finished but Heras and Castanyer dropped. It is important to note that despite the weather and the high-level of competition, I consider the drop-out rate in the men’s race to be low.

Now we just need to wait one year to see how this year’s seminal race impacts on future editions.

It is a great time for the sport!

TOM EVANS – Marathon des Sables #MDS 2017 Part One

Captain Tom Evans, placed third at the 2017 Marathon Des Sables in April, it was a complete surprise. Prior to the race, it’s fair to say, Tom had well and truly kept himself under the radar, a skill no doubt honed whilst in the army. British runners have a long history with the MDS and finally, we have one on the male podium!

I caught up with Tom post MDS to find out a little more about his remarkable story.

Ian: Who’s Tom Evans and tell me how this all came about?

Tom: It’s a very surreal experience. I went out with a few small ambitions. My main goal was to go out unknown and see what I could do. There was no pressure on my running so I could just focus on myself, focus on the race. There were no expectations which I think it’s safe to say I managed to achieve. Absolutely no one had any idea who I was on day one.

Ian: [laughs] Well, you achieved that completely. I remember, on day one, I was scooting around the dunes in a jeep, trying to find the runners because you were ahead of schedule. I saw this shadow in the distance. I told my driver to stop. I’m running through the dunes. Then, you come past me. I look and I think, “Who is this? I don’t know who this is.” Then behind was Rachid and Mohamed, the duo were working together, a little like they do in cycling taking turns to set the pace.

They were holding you at 100, maybe 200-meters which they did to the end of stage one but we’ll come on to the actual race and how it panned out later. I called you Captain, you’re obviously in the army. You were out with a whole bunch of soldiers and Walking with the Wounded. You had Duncan Slater out there with you. Just from that perspective, with your performance, Walking with the Wounded, Duncan Slater – it has been an epic Marathon Des Sables, hasn’t it?

Tom: Yes, it’s been amazing. The support that the whole team has received, not just from Walking with the Wounded and serving members of the British Armed Forces, but from so many across the world. We’ve been incredibly lucky this year; the Walking with the Wounded team had raised a lot of money. Like you say, the likes of Duncan Slater for the first double amputee to complete the race – amazing.

Then also we had Oscar who’s 16 years old, he competed with his father. Everyone helps during the race. That was very encouraging throughout. But then also, everyone back home really got behind the team which then led to the successes that Walking with the Wounded had in the race.

Ian: Let’s go back because there’s got to be a starting point. Let’s start with you and your running and then the MDS prep. To prepare for Marathon Des Sables and be non-Moroccan and do well, it normally requires all sorts of specific types of training, whether that is being really anal about kit, working out what type of food you’re going to eat, heat adaptation, how you handle dehydration, and all those things. I’d like to talk to you about that. But first, when did you start running?

Tom: My sister was a good athlete at school. I got slightly jealous of her so I decided that signing up to the Athletics Club was a good idea. That was when I was 13. I raced on the track all throughout school – anything from 70, 100 meters to 5k on the track. I realized that I was a decent, good English runner so I just got pulled in to the cross-country teams. Since being in the army, I’ve had an incredibly busy career and running took a back seat.

However, during 2015, I was based at a posting in Kenya for 10-months. I was lucky and spent a week training at the high-altitude training centre which really got me focused again on my running. Getting back to the UK, I carried on as much as I could but with work commitments, it’s always been difficult to be able to plan out a couple of months in advance of which races I wanted to do.

I’ve always been keen on my fitness and played as much sport as I can. But my running has only been specific for the last six months. I was squeezing everything in as much as I could – my preparations have been fairly rushed. I still see myself as relatively untrained…

Ian: I’ve got a feeling that there’s a lot of runners around the world saying to themselves, “If Tom’s really untrained, what’s going to happen?”

Tom: I think I have to find my distance and to find my passion, for now ultra-trail, that’s where I’ll stick. Hopefully, specific training will then lead on to more great results.

Ian: Like I said, you were a complete unknown but there was a great deal of conversations at MDS about you being a 2;18 marathon runner, aiming for an England vest, wanting to run at the Olympics – what is the truth in that story though? What are the aspirations outside? What you’d like to achieve in ultra and trail? What is your marathon time? What are your objectives, maybe in terms of a GB or an Olympian vest?

Tom: I think for the time being, I’m really going to focus on ultras. Certainly, the next 18-months. It’s always been my ambition to race in the Olympics. My marathon is currently at 2:20, but that was a while ago. I’m hoping with the experience that I’m going to gain in the next 6, 12 and 18-months, that my running will really start to improve. For the moment, I’m doing it because I love the sport.

It’s more than running, It’s the whole community, the preparation. It’s being self-sufficient throughout the race and then also, mixing with the other competitors. It’s a very competitive sport but on the start line, you’re mixing with other people from all over the world – Rachid and Mohamed for example. It’s just that relationship that you can forge over a week-long period which really draws me into ultras, especially multi-day.

Having said that, my ultra-running experience is so limited and I’m sure a lot of the followers will be fairly surprised to read that the MDS was my first multi-day race, so it was completely uncharted territory for me. The long stage of MDS was the farthest I’d ever run by 12-kilometers, ity was all so new.

Ian: Wow.

Tom: It’s just such a huge learning project. I’m so new to that. I’ve got so much to learn and will just be learning as much and as much as I can in the sport.

Ian: Yes, okay. I’m getting a sense that maybe the multi-day type experience is where you will place an emphasis but obviously single-day ultras are also going to figure. Being in the army and the way that Marathon des Sables is organised, is the race just like another army training exercise – Is it just like another military campaign?

Tom: There are certain similarities, I think that’s why Marathon des Sables attracts a great deal of serving and ex-military personnel not only from the UK but also from all across the world. It’s self-sufficient element is classic military and replicates doing something hard – be it a long insertion march or similar, plus you must carry weight. Post the run, it’s about getting yourself back into your tent and then starting to look after yourself, looking after your body, doing all of that, the basic administrations, sorting out your feet, stretching, making sure you’re fully hydrated again, getting your nutrition on – classic army!

This is what really draws everyone closer together, you’re going through that together. You are living in a confined space in a tent with 7 other people and the camaraderie that’s built up over a very short period of time is very similar to the military, which I think is absolutely amazing.

Ian: The process of working out how you were going to spend the week in the desert in terms of your kit selection, your food choices, were they just extensions of what you’ve experienced as a soldier or did you specifically pool information and speak to people to find out what type of equipment to use? It can be a daunting task when you think about this whole self-sufficiency thing and the fact that you’ve got to carry everything that you need. The only thing that you’re being given is water and a shelter for the night and it’s all basic.

Join Tom Evans, Elisabet Barnes and Sondre Amdahl on our Multi-Day Training Camp in Lanzarote – information HERE.

Tom: Yes, I spent a bit of time speaking to lots of people. I was lucky enough to be around for the MDS Expo in London which was excellent. That was my springboard to start my research really – the kit, the foods, the heat training and the hydration strategy that I was going to implement during the race.

I spent a great deal of time testing different kit, my room at home now is full with different backpacks and different pairs of shorts and socks – it can be expensive!

Ian: [laughs]

Tom: It’s important to be specific, my needs are different to others in the race. For example, I completed the whole race quicker than say someone takes to do just the long stage. That is significant! The demands on ones feet, clothing, time on legs, nutrition and so on can’t be underestimated.

Ian: Absolutely.

Tom: It’s very different. It’s a very, very different experience. I started day one with six and a half kilo pack exactly. I had a few comforts, had a nice a nice warm jacket, a good sleeping bag but no roll mat, my food reserves were weighed out and light weight and I probably didn’t carry as many calories as I would have liked and no stove, all my food was cold. But having said that, because I ended up getting in  early during the days, I was able to warm my water up naturally in the sun. It can be a very daunting process, ask a 100-people they’d probably tell you 100 different answers.

It’s important to find out what works for you, what’s comfortable but also assess the race and your goals. Most will walk far more than they anticipate, I was lucky, I ran pretty much the whole race but it’s a very different story once you move out of the top 10%.

Ian: Yes. I’m impressed for a first-timer with the fact that you got your pack down to 6.5kg, that obviously must mean that you weren’t eating much more than two and a half thousand calories per day. You said that you’d been quite a big guy over 80 kgs, I don’t know what you’re racing weight is now, you’ve lost weight so need less calories. Andy Symonds from the UK, he was looking for top-10 and he achieved that but he did say to me that as the week went on, he was just permanently hungry and he wasn’t getting enough calories to function as he wanted.

He could run but he didn’t have the energy to run the pace that he wanted to run. How did you manage that and how did you sustain the pace? Is there anything that you had done pre-race that taught your body to use fat as a fuel?

Tom: I ended up doing a lot of my training early in the mornings before breakfast because I was incredibly busy at work. If I could get 1-2 hours in the morning, it meant that I had more time during the day. I’d have a good meal the previous evening but then 10 hours later, eight hours later I’d be running on an empty stomach, it just got my body used using my fat stores and supply the energy I needed.

During the race you’ve got to make sure you have the right nutrients, the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in your diet. I’ve got a good friend back home who owns a small supplement company, OG Supplements, who spent a lot of times of going through my diet plan, just looking at the ingredients – I had the right amount of nutrients in my diet.

On the shorter days I would eat 2,300 calories and then on the marathon days, 2,700, and on the long day, 3,100. Lets be clear, you are going to be in a calorie deficit throughout the week but I think it’s being able to space those meal plans out that works. A sizable breakfast in the morning and then throughout the day, every time I got to the checkpoint, I was taking calories on just to try and maintain a level of energy within my body. You need some good calories quickly when you finish, you need to start the repair process asap.

You must make sure that you look after yourself as soon as possible – going back to being serving officer in the British Army, certainly with the Welsh Guard, that is a key lesson that I learned going through my training, it has become second nature.

Ian: I think certainly being in the Army is a huge advantage. It’s that admin, it’s that protocol, it’s that discipline. I often think of a story that a soldier told me of why you make your bed in the morning and you can probably elaborate on this far better than I can but it’s that process of starting the day and having that discipline.

Tom: Yes it is! You can look at it in the short term with the same analogy as making the bed in the morning: Start the day as you mean to go on, exactly the same; start of the week, start of the month. You’ve got to be able to take on that attitude in everything you do. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it properly!”

A lot of people say, “Oh, you were very lucky that you get the chances to do these things.” Funny how people who work hard become lucky! Without hard work, none of this is possible. You must delve into the depth of everything and you’ve got to try and cover all bases, looking into to every possible eventuality. I’m a huge believer of visualization and setting goals – short-term, midterm, and long-term.

That brings it much closer to home and making my dreams a reality rather than something that, “Oh, this might be quite nice to do.” It’s the mentality that I use when I go into anything – work, home, training or racing.

Ian: You mentioned about training in the morning and training fasted and the fact that you have a busy working life. What would a typical training week for you look like in the build-up to Marathon Des Sables?

Tom: I have been lucky enough to be training with a group of guys who are training for London Marathon, all guys planning on running a sub 2:20. The majority of my mileage was high-quality miles. I was of the mind-set that I needed to run quality miles. However, when you’re training for ultras, you are doing longer distances, one needs to be specific. If I tried and maintain the same tempo and the same effort in longer sessions I would crumble – all about balance.

I would average 90-miles per week and then in the month before Marathon des Sables, I added two weeks at 120 miles, which was by far the longest that I’d run. My runs would be a real mixture of longer runs, typically back-to-back. I would do a tempo long run on a Saturday and then a slow long run on the Sunday. During the week I’d be on the track once. I woukd join sessions: 4x 8-minutes 10k pace for example, really focusing on speed work and the power. I really think it helped my form for Marathon des Sables.

A lot of the race is about speed and about strength – if racing at the front. If you imagine going over the dunes, the quicker that you’re able to get off the dune, the less chance there is for gravity to work against you and the sand to hold you back. I needed to perform at a high level, day-in and day-out. I did a lot of work with my heart rate monitor and I’ve spent time in the lab looking at my VO2 and my lactate threshold.

My training was based on a marathon training program. I have a coach at Lewes Athletics Club and we mixed everything together to try to work it around my schedule at work – it worked well!

In the second part of the interview, we bring you Tom’s thoughts about the race and how his 2017 Marathon des Sables unfolded.

Episode 134 – Timothy Olson and Kate Driskell

Episode 134 of Talk Ultra brings you two interviews. Niandi Carmont talks with Kate Driskell who is about to take on an epic multi-day challenge and Ian talks with Timothy Olson about his return to the top of the podium. We have the news and Speedgoat is back to talk about winning again and his new film about the Appalachian Trail FKT.
00:05:50 INTERVIEW with KATE DRISKELL 
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NEWS
The Three Peaks, UK
Tom Owens had victory in his grasp but went of course in the latter stage opening the doorway for Murray Strain. Tom finished 2nd and Chris Holdsworth 3rd – 2:49, 2:53 and 2:54 the times.
Victoria Wilkinson won once again and set a new CR 3:09:19. Nichola Jackson and Charlotte Morgan placed 2nd and 3rd.
The Canyons 100k
Bob Shebest and Cat Bradley took top honours results HERE
Highland Flag Race 
Rob Sinclair, Andrew Turkey and Michael Jones placed 1, 2 and 3 in 6:41 (new course record) 7:17 and 7:29.
Nicola Adams Hendry won in 8:16 ahead of Morgan Windram and Rachel Newstead in 8:37 and 8:55.
Thames Path 100
Mari Maurland and Michael Stocks took respective female and male victories in 16:55 and 14:57.
Zane Grey 50
Karl Meltzer won again in 9:32 and Amber Reimondo took the ladies honours in 11:29. Results HERE
Finally, mountaineering legend Ueli Steck was killed whilst in the Himalayas. Reports are mixed on what exactly happened, however, Steck was on Nuptse and apparently fell several 1000 feet to his untimely death. Outr thoughts go out to his family and the climbing community.
01:43:30 INTERVIEW with TIMOTHY OLSON
UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Northern Territory

TRACK Outback Race | 520 kilometers | May 17, 2017 | website

Queensland

Glasshouse 50 | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2017 | website
Glasshouse 80 | 80 kilometers | May 14, 2017 | website

Victoria

100km | 100 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
60 km | 60 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

52 km | 52 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website
Trail de Lesse 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Canada

Alberta

Run for the Braggin’ Rights | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Run for the Braggin’ Rights – Relay | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

British Columbia

100K | 100 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50 Miles | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
The North Face Dirty Feet Kal Park 50 | 50 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Ontario

Seaton Trail 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Chile

Atacama Xtreme 100 Miles | 100 miles | May 19, 2017 | website
Atacama Xtreme 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 19, 2017 | website
Atacama Xtreme 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 19, 2017 | website

China

Trail de la Grande Muraille de Chine | 73 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website

Cyprus

Lionheart Run | 80 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Denmark

Hovedstaden

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm -100 Miles | 100 miles | May 05, 2017 | website
Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

France

Ain

La Promenade du Bûcheron | 70 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Drôme

Challenge du Val de Drôme | 153 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Les Aventuriers de la Drôme | 66 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Les Aventuriers du Bout de Drôme | 111 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Haute-Loire

50 km | 50 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website
80 km | 80 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Rhône

Ultra des Coursières | 102 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Var

12,5 km | 125 kilometers | May 14, 2017 | website

Yonne

The Trail 110 | 110 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
The Trail 63 | 65 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
The Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Yvelines

Trail des Cerfs – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 14, 2017 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Stromberg Extrem 54 KM | 54 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Juni | 108 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Hesse

Bilstein-Marathon BiMa 53+ | 53 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Greece

300 of Sparta | 378 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website
Euchidios Athlos 107.5 Km | 107 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Euchidios Hyper-Athlos 215 km | 215 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website
Heroes Ultra | 156 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Indonesia

100 km | 100 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website
60 km | 60 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website
Volcans de l’Extrême | 164 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website

Israel

Mountain to Valley Relay | 215 kilometers | May 10, 2017 | website

Italy

Lombardy

Laggo Maggiore Trail | 52 kilometers | May 07, 2017 | website

Sardinia

Sardinia Trail | 90 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website

Kazakhstan

70 km | 70 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Kenya

TSAVOEKIDEN | 84 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
TSAVORIDE | 84 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Tsavorun | 84 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Korea

100K | 100 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website
50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Madagascar

Semi Trail des Ô Plateaux | 65 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website
Ultra Trail des Ô Plateaux | 130 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website

Malta

55 km | 55 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Martinique

Tchimbé Raid | 91 kilometers | May 05, 2017 | website

Mauritius

Royal Raid 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Morocco

3 étapes | 77 kilometers | May 19, 2017 | website
Trans Atlas Marathon | 280 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website
Trans Atlas Marathon “CHALLENGE” | 120 kilometers | May 12, 2017 | website

Netherlands

Drenthe

UltraRun van Gieten 50 kilometer | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Friesland

Pieter-ROG-pad Special Waddeneilanden | 450 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

New Zealand

Kauri Ultra | 70 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Nicaragua

100k | 100 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Philippines

Hardcore Hundred Miles | 100 miles | May 19, 2017 | website
Mayon 360º | 80 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Spain

Balearic Islands

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls | 185 kilometers | May 19, 2017 | website
Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls Costa Nord | 100 kilometers | May 19, 2017 | website

Basque Country

100 km | 100 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Canary Islands

Transvulcania Ultramaratón | 73 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Principality of Asturias

Ultra Trail Picos de Europa 55 km | 55 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Bielersee Ultra-Marathon | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Bielersee XXL 100 Meilen | 100 miles | May 12, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Argyll and Bute

Kintyre Way Ultra Run | 66 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

North Yorkshire

Hardmoors Ultra 110 | 110 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Perth and Kinross

110 Mile Ultra | 110 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
55 Mile Ultra | 55 miles | May 14, 2017 | website

Surrey

North Downs Way 50 | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website

Wiltshire

Marlborough Downs Challenge – 33 mile | 33 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Worcestershire

Malvern Hills 105 Mile Ultra | 105 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Malvern Hills 34 Mile Ultra | 34 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Malvern Hills 44 Mile Ultra | 44 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Malvern Hills 52 Mile Ultra | 53 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

USA

Alabama

Run for Kids Challenge 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

California

100 Miler | 100 miles | May 19, 2017 | website
200 Miler | 200 miles | May 18, 2017 | website
50 km | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50M Run | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Armstrong Redwoods 50K | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
Golden Gate Relay | 191 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
Gold Rush 50K | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Horseshoe Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
Miwok 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
PCT50 Trail Run | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Whoos in El Moro Race Spring Edition 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Colorado

Greenland Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
Quad Rock 50 | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website

Georgia

Cruel Jewel 100 | 100 miles | May 19, 2017 | website
Cruel Jewel 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | May 19, 2017 | website

Idaho

Priest Lake 50K Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Indiana

DWD Gnaw Bone 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
DWD Gnaw Bone 50M | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website

Kansas

Rock On! Lake Perry 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Maine

39.3 Mile Maine Coast Challenge | 39 miles | May 14, 2017 | website
Big A 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website

Massachusetts

43 Miler | 43 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
50 Miler | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Ragnar Relay Cape Cod | 186 miles | May 12, 2017 | website

Michigan

Nevada

Vegas Valley Voyage 3 Day Assisted | 80 miles | May 11, 2017 | website
Vegas Valley Voyage 6 Day Assisted | 150 miles | May 11, 2017 | website

New Jersey

50K | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2017 | website

New Mexico

Cactus to Cloud Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

New York

50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50 Mile | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Kids Fun Run | 1000 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

North Carolina

100 Mile | 100 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Ohio

50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Oregon

50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
McDonald Forest 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Pennsylvania

50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50-Mile | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
50 Mile Relay | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Dawn to Dusk to Dawn 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

South Carolina

Forest Freak 50k | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Knock on Wood 100 Mile | 100 miles | May 12, 2017 | website

Texas

50K | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
50k Ultra-marathon | 50 kilometers | May 06, 2017 | website
50 Mile Ultra-marathon | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website
50 Mile Ultra Relay | 50 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Vermont

100 Miles | 100 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
200 Miles | 200 miles | May 11, 2017 | website
50 miles | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website

Virginia

100K | 100 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | May 06, 2017 | website

Washington

50 Miler | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
Lost Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website

Wisconsin

Ice Age Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | May 13, 2017 | website
Ice Age Trail 50M | 50 miles | May 13, 2017 | website
02:40:13
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Transgrancanaria 2017 Race Summary and Images

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The island of Gran Canaria once again hosted the Transgrancanaria series of races. Over the years, the races have grown not only in stature and entries but also in quantity. In total, there are now seven races and this year the addition of the TRANS 360 (265km) really has elevated the race portfolio so that TRANSGRANCANARIA now contrasts and compares directly to the UTMB series of races.

Starting with a FAMILY race (17km) you then have PROMO (17km), STARTER (30km), MARATHON (42km), ADVANCED (82km), the TRANS 360 and then the main event of the weekend, TRANSGRANCANARIA at 125km and 8000m of vertical gain.

Over the year’s, TRANSGRANCANARIA has had the world best come to this Canary island and do battle. Ryan Sandes, Sebsatien Chaigneau, Nuria Picas and Caroline Chaverot are amongst the winners and the 2017 edition, like previous years, had a high quality field.

Notably, the 2017 edition is also earlier in the year, in the past, the race has been in March. This is significant, the 125km race is tough at anytime of the year but coming so early means that the end of one season and the beginning of the next becomes increasingly cloudy. If you want to do well here, it’s fair to say that the previous year’s season needs to end in September or October to allow for recovery and then building training once again to be ready in February.

Caroline Chaverot and Didrick Hermansen were 2016 returning champions and without doubt they were pre-race favourites. Didrick most definitely would have a fight on his hands with the final result going anyway. By contrast, Caroline after an incredible 2016 season was almost guaranteed a victory. But this is ultra-running and things don’t always go the way you expect.

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Click on an image to view the gallery

From the off, Pau Capell and Azara Garcia dictated the race from the front and by the time they reached Artenara (approx 30km), the duo had a convincing lead in their respective races. Many had predicted pre-race that 2017 was Pau’s year, however, Azara was stepping up to the 125km distance – she normally races hilly, technical mountain races of marathon distance, so, stepping up to 125km and 8000m of vert was going to be a challenge.

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Click on an image to view the gallery

 

The Spanish duo most certainly had some highs and lows on an incredible journey to the line but they didn’t falter. Pau looked to be a man on a mission throughout the race and although he went through a bad patch in the last 20km, he rallied and then continued to pull away to take one of the biggest victories of his life.

Azara battled and battled and from Roque Nublio looked tired and maybe a little bit broken. Somehow she managed to find the mental strength to beat and will her body to the line. She finished with a convincing lead over 2nd lady Andrea Huser, but Azara was an empty shell on the line. She was broken and the emotion of the biggest win of her career seemed all too much as she sat lost in her exhaustion. Eventually she was stretchered away to recover.

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Click on an image to view the gallery

Behind two amazing performances were the highs and lows of the ultra world. In the ladies’ race we saw Caroline Chaverot drop from the race at Artenara lacking energy with tired legs. We saw Andrea Huser produce an ever-consistent and well placed performance to place 2nd and gain another high-ranking podium place and Melanie Rousset from France rallied to finish 3rd ahead of Kirstin Berglund. Full ladies’ results HERE.

The men’s race was a cracker, however, everyone was running in the wake of Pau Capell who produced a dominating world-class performance. Vlaidas Zlabys from Lithuania was the revelationn of the race and a name to note for the future. Right from the beginning he was in the mix and he produced a strong, consistent and well paced performance to finish 2nd 14:35 minutes behind Pau. In the final 20km he had closed that gap down to 10-minutes but Pau surged. Didrick Hermansen ran much of the race off the podium but he knows his strength. In the last 3rd of the race he closed hard and moved up through the race to finally finish on the podium in 3rd – a great result!

Behind the top-3 is a story of trials and tribulations, pre-race favourites of Andy Symonds, Diego Pazos and Timothy Olson all finished in the top-10 but it was stories of niggles, sickness, fatigue and fighting a cold and challenging night. Full men’s results HERE.

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Click on an image to view the gallery

The 2017 edition of the race will be remembered for a very cold and windy night that challenged the runners. Even the arrival of daylight did not warm the ambient temperature in the mountains. It was only as the runners descended to the sea in the final 20-30km’s did temperatures rise and of course, this brings it’s own problems. From 4-degrees to 25-degrees is a tough ask. The challenge was clearly seen on each runners face.

Pau Capell and Azara Garcia are the names of 2017, I wonder, who will be the names of 2018?

Men Results

  1. Pau Capell 13:21:03 (Didrick ran 13:41 in 2016)
  2. Vlaidas Zlabys 13:35:38
  3. Didrick Hermansen 13:50:06
  4. Jordi Baus 13:53:53
  5. Maxime Cazajous 13:53:54

Ladies Results

  1. Azara Garcia 16:25:20 (Caroline ran 15:23 in 2016)
  2. Andrea Huser 17:15:45
  3. Melanie Rousset 17:30:40
  4. Kistin Berglund 18:00:04
  5. Ildo Wermescher 18:17:43

Images will be uploaded to iancorless.photoshelter.com

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UTMB and UTWT face first positive drug test of EPO abuse

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Twitter came alight on the evening of Monday 18th July when British ultra runner Robbie Britton broke the news that Ecuador athlete, Gonzalo Calisto had tested positive for EPO.

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You can see a screenshot of the IAAF website HERE

The test was taken on the 29th August 2015 – the day that Calisto placed 5th at arguably the most high profile race on the ultra calendar – Ultra Trail Mont-Blanc.

Needless to say this is devastating news for the sport! Drug taking and awareness of drug abuse is something that gained a high profile at the end of 2015, highlighted at San Francisco 50 (see post here).

More importantly why have UTMB and UTWT not responded to this and sent out a media release and if this positive test is confirmed, as the IAAF suggests, why is Calisto still listed as 5th at UTMB?

I have contacted both UTMB and UTWT. I have received no reply from UTMB but the UTWT did respond immediately saying:

“We will communicate very shortly on this matter. “

I have also contacted Calisto and asked for feedback. I know him, not very well I must add, but I did spend an extended time with him earlier this year while he raced in Costa Rica.

Ultimately, there are two sides to every story and we should hear a balanced argument. However, the lack of response from UTWT, UTMB and Calisto himself is somewhat alarming. I think it’s important now to be proactive, not hide our heads in the sand and fight this face on. If not, we are doomed….

UPDATE 19th July 17:43 Europe time – UTMB respond

“Hi Ian, UTMB® is preparing a news release which is ready tonight or tomorrow morning.”

BREAKING NEWS UTMB PRESS RELEASE 19th July 1930 hours

HERE

Look at the current mess in athletics, the mess cycling has been in. We don’t want this for trail, ultra, mountain and Skyrunning.

Doping sanctions – News 174

The above document dated 24th June is worrying. Go to the IAAF website and look at how many athletes are currently sanctioned according to information received by IAAF as of June 24th. http://www.iaaf.org/about-iaaf/documents/anti-doping click on the ‘EN’ black box:

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Or download the list HERE

In Callisto’s case his test is confirmed as ‘in competition’

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In competition testing is imperative and more importantly, out of competition testing and blood passports are the way forward. It’s time we have these protocols put in place, in particular for key events such as UTMB. Ironically, UTMB has no prize money!

UPDATES

UTMB PRESS RELEASE HERE
MICHEL POLETTI RESPONSE HERE
IAAF RESPONSE HERE

Welcome your thoughts and I am sure we will have many!