The Coastal Challenge 2018 #TCC2018 – Registration

The 2018 The Coastal Challenge finally got underway today in San Jose, Costa Rica, as over 100 runners from all over the world came to packet pick up and registration for the 14th edition of the race.

As always, it was a mixture of nerves and excitement. The journey ahead, a stunning 6-days running along the coast of Costa Rica from Quepos to the iconic Drake Bay. Flanked on the right by the Pacific and to the left, the amazing Talamanca mountain range. 

The 2018 edition of the race has all the makings of a classic. The men’s field is arguably the best ever with Michael Wardian, Hayden Hawks, Tom Evans, Marcus Scotney and Timothy Olson.

Michael Wardian, TCC champion and previous course record holder.

Hayden Hawks 2017 CCC champion.

Tom Evans 3rd at MDS Morocco 2017 and 4th at CCC and the Eiger Ultra Trail.

Marcus Scotney winner of the Dragons Back Race and Cape Wrath Ultra.

The ladies’ race is equally impressive with past winner Ester Alves returning joined by Ragna Debats, Inge Nijkamp and Josephine Adams.

Ester Alves 2016 The Coastal Challenge champion.

Ragna Debats Skyrunner World Series champion 2017.

Inge Nijkamp 11th at MDS Morocco 2017.

Josephine Adams 6th at MDS Peru 2017.

Full preview HERE

Tomorrow, Sunday 11th, runners depart for San Jose at 0400 for the 4-hour journey to the coast.

It’s a tough day as the race will start at 0900, the sun will already be high in the sky and the heat intense. It’s a day when patience can prevail.

Follow the action as the race unfolds #TCC2018

Twitter @talkultra

Instagram @iancorlessphotography

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/iancorlessphotography/

 

The Coastal Challenge 2018 Race Preview #TCC2018

The 2018 ‘The Coastal Challenge’ is upon us! Six days, 230.5km of racing and 9543m of vertical gain, 9413m of vertical descent – TCC is more than a challenge!

Follow #TCC2018

Over the years, TCC has grown in stature with an ‘A’ list of elite runners from all over the world. The 2017 edition was won by Salomon International Athletes – Anna Frost and Tom Owens. For 2018, the race steps up a notch with arguably the greatest ever male field assembled for a multi-stage race.

The 2018 edition lists a who’s who of elite runners.

Michael Wardian, a past winner and yours record holder returns. The unstoppable Chema Martinez from Spain returns once again looking for that top spot. Rising GB star, Tom Evans heads for his first rainforest experience after planing 3rd at MDS in 2017. Add to this, the legendary and iconic Timothy Olson, Drgagons Back and Cape Wrath winner, Marcus Scotney and the USA’s rising star and fast-man, Hayden Hawks – needless to say, the rainforest of the Talamancas may be ablaze after these guys have forged a path through its stunning trails.

For the ladies’ Ester Alves returns, a past champion, Ester has just placed 2nd at the Everest Trail Race in Nepal. She will be joined by the Dutch mountain goat and fast lady, Ragna Debats. Our top three female contenders should have been rounded out by Elisabet Barnes but unfortunately, illness has taken its toll and she will not make the start in Quepos.

“Due to several occurrences of cold and flu in the last few months I have had to reevaluate my upcoming race schedule. I have raced nine demanding multi-stage races in the last two years and my body is telling me to back off a bit. I plan to come back stronger and one thing is guaranteed, I will be back at TCC2019 – It is a race I love!”

– Elisabet Barnes

The Race:

Stage 1 34.6km 1018m of vert and 886m of descent

Stage 2 39.1km 1898m of vert and 1984m of descent

Stage 3 47.4km 1781m of vert and 1736m of descent

Stage 4 37.1km 2466m of vert and 2424m of descent

Stage 5 49.8km 1767m of vert and 1770m of descent

Stage 6 22.5km 613m of vert and 613m of descent

Stats:

Total 230.5km

Vertical 9543m

Descent 9413m

Description

Hugging the coastline of the tropical Pacific, TCC is the ultimate multi-day experience that weaves in and out of the Talamancas; a coastal mountain range in the Southwest corner of Central America.

The terrain is ever-changing from wide, dusty and runnable fire trails to dense and muddy mountain trails. Runners will cross rivers, boulders, swim through rivers, pass under waterfalls, survive long relentless beaches and finally finish in the incredible Corcovado National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site with a stunning final loop around Drake Bay before departing for their journeys home via speedboat.

THE ROUTE

Stage 1 

It’s a tough day! Runners depart San Jose early morning (around 0530) for a 3-hour drive to Playa Del Rey, Quepos. It’s the only day that the race starts late and ‘in the sun!’. It’s the toughest day of the race, not because the the terrain or distance, but because of the time of day! The runners are fresh and feel great. That is until about 10km and then they realise the heat and humidity is relentless. It’s a day for caution – mark my words! The 34.6km is very runnable with little vertical and technicality – it welcomes the runners to Costa Rica.

Stage 2

From here on in, it is early breakfast. Around 0400 runners wake and the race starts with  the arrival of the sun! The only way is up from the start with a tough and challenging climb. It’s a tough day with an abundance of climbing and descending and a final tough flat stretch on the beach, just as the heat takes hold.

Stage 3

It is basically 25km of climbing topping out at 800m followed by a drop to the sea and a final kick in the tail before the arrival at camp. For many, this is a key day and maybe one of the most spectacular. Pura Vida.

Stage 4

It’s another tough start to the day with a relentless climb, but once at 900m the route is a rollercoaster of relentless small climbs and descents, often littered with technical sections, rainforest, river crossings and boulders. At 30km, it’s a short drop to the road and the finish at 37.1km.

Stage 5

The long day but what a beauty! This route was tweaked a couple of years ago and now has become iconic with tough trails, plenty of climbing, sandy beaches and yes, even a boat trip. The finish at Drake Bay is iconic.

Stage 6

The victory lap! For many, this stage is the most beautiful and memorable. In just over 20km, the route manages to include a little of all that has gone before. It’s a stage of fun and challenges and one that concludes on the beach as a 2018 medal is placed over your head – job done!

THE RUNNERS – MALE

 

Michael Wardian has won the race and set a course record. He knows the lay of the land and if anyone knows how to race hard, day-after-day, it is Mike. You can never bet against him and he always comes ‘to race!’ There is no sandbagging, no pretenses, just a full-on let’s race and let the best man win!

Hayden Hawks burst on the scene in recent years blazing a trail of fast running. He is one of the new breed of trail runner who is moving from the road/ track to the trails. That natural speed is making trail racing faster and faster. Hayden won CCC in 2017 – a huge win. He loves to train with big weeks and TCC will feel like a ‘training week’ but just a whole lot faster… he is a favourite for the win! 

Timothy Olson needs no introduction. This man blasted Western States to a whole new level and was the man to beat at any race. A tough 2016 started to overturn in 2017 with a slow but calculated return to form. One of the nicest guys out there, Timothy will bring his love for all things to TCC and will inspire with his feet and his heart. On his day, this guy could rip the legs off the competition.

Tom Evans burst on the scene in 2017 placing 3rd at Marathon des Sables. He played the Moroccans at their own game and had them worried. Interestingly, Michael Wardian also placed 3rd some years ago… Tom placed 4th at the Eiger Ultra and CCC and recently has earned a slot on the GB Squad for the World Trail Championships in May. He is fast and can run technical trails, he has the multi-day format nailed – it is going to be awesome!

Marcus Scotney has represented GB and has won ‘The Challenger’ at the UK’s Spine race, won the Cape Wrath Ultra and most recently, The Dragons Back Race – both of which are gnarly UK multi-stage races. Marcus has all the skills for a great race at TCC, the biggest question may well come with heat adaptation from a cold UK?

Finally, Chema Martinez is slowly but surely become Mr. TCC. He has raced many times and played 2nd year-on-year. Will 2018 be the year when he tips the scales in his favour? Who knows, one thing is for sure, he will race hard every day.

THE RUNNERS – FEMALE

Ester Alves has won the race before and last year placed 3rd. Recently, she placed 2nd at the Everest Trail Race in Nepal. Ester brings experience and excellent mountain/ technical running to TCC and as such, will always be a favourite for the win.

Ragna Debats in recent years has been a revelation mixing fast running (IAU World Trail Champs) with Skyrunning. On paper, Ragna is a hot favourite for victory in Costa Rica. The combination of speed and technical ability may well give her a supreme edge over the competition.

Inge Nijkamp placed 11th at Marathon des Sables and although she won’t appreciate me highlighting her name here, she will be one to watch. Her form, in her own words, “Is not what it should be,’ but, she has the ability and skill to certainly edge onto the podium should all go well.

Of course, we can not rule out the local talent who, over the years, has made the race exhilarating and exciting. We will update this report with a review of both the male and female talent once the race list has been confirmed.

Registration takes place on February 10th

Racing starts on the 11th

Follow On

Daily reports, results and images on THIS website

Twitter @talkultra

Instagram @iancorlessphotography

Facebook HERE and HERE

Race website HERE

2017 #VK Vertical Kilometer Youth World Championships – ISF, International Skyrunning Federation

The KV Arinsal kicked of the 2017 ISF Youth Skyrunning World Championships in the Principality of Andorra following on from the success of the inaugural event held in Italy in 2016.

Sixteen countries (double the 2016 number) from four continents participated. Competing in three age group categories:

  • A (16-17 years)
  • B (18-20 years)
  • and U23 (21-23 years)

18 medals were at stake – Gold, Silver and Bronze.

The KV Arinsal is a 3.5 km long Vertical Kilometer® which started in the town of Arinsal and finished at Alt de la Capa summit, 2,570m altitude.

RESULTS

16-17 age group category A

Nicolas Molina (ESP), Arnau Cases (ESP), Diego Gomes (POR), Jana Aguilar (ESP), Erin Margill (USA), Andreu Sinfreu (AND).

18-19 year-old B category

Jan Margarit (ESP), Roberto Delorenzi (SUI), Luca Lizzoli (ITA), Giorgia Felicetti (ITA), Sora Takizawa (JPN), Irati Zubizarreta (ESP).

U23 category

Alex Oberbacher (ITA), Antonio Alcalde (ESP), Daniele Felicetti (ITA), Fatima De Diego (ESP), Claudia Sabata (ESP), Barbora Chica (CZE).

Countries competing in the 2017 Youth Skyrunning Championships are: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.

The Youth Skyrunning World Championships are held annually in different countries with a view to developing and promoting the sport and to highlight young skyrunners, giving them an opportunity to shine on the international stage.

With thanks to the La Massana Ministry of Tourism, Federaciò Andorrana de Muntanysme (FAM) and SkyRace® Comapedrosa organisers Ocisport.

 

EcoTrail Funchal Madeira 2016

The second  edition of the ECOTRAIL Funchal took place this past weekend on the stunning island of Madeira.

Portugal and Madeira has in recent years seen a real boom in trail and mountain running and the ECOTRAIL is quite unique in it’s approach of combining trail and city in one. The Funchal edition of the race is now one of six Ecotrail events, the other five – Brussels, Madrid, Paris, Oslo and Stockholm.

Four events, hundreds of runners and the community of Funchal united make the ECOTRAIL Funchal a real highlight in what is a very busy year for this island paradise that attracts tourists year round due to it’s excellent climate.

Jordi Saragossa traveled to Madeira to cover the race for iancorless.com

 

Starting in the early hours of the day, the 80km main event has a whopping 5400m of elevation gain that climbs up and down the technical trails within the Funchal region. Last year, the race was won by Arnaud Lejeune. Under the illumination of head lamps 100’s of runners set out for a tough day on the trails – Julien Chorier and Casey Morgan headed up a very strong field. Chorier moving up from the 40km distance which he won in 2015.

A weekend of racing, the 80km event is followed  by the 40km event (171 runners) with 2500m of elevation gain, the 25km event (263 runners) and the 15km event (301 runners).

Madeira is known for it’s great all year climate but race day proved to be a mix of glorious sunshine, cloud and light rain. However, the conditions for runners were perfect enabling the majority to run in conditions that were neither to hot or cold.

Although Chorier and Morgan dominated the 80km event,  the ECOTRAIL Funchal is much more than elite names racing and setting records. The race is all about motivation and inspiration. This was reflected in the 15km event which was by far the most popular event of the weekend, where local people arrived in their hundreds to take part and support.

80km Results

In the 80km race, Julien Chorier lead from the front and had a stunning day on the trails of Madeira. He arrived in Funchal looking strong. Casey Morgan placed 2nd just 6-minutes behind the Frenchman and Javi Bodas was 3rd, 19-minutes later. For the ladies, Wasmes Wasmed took a conniving victory 14-minutes ahed of Nadia Meroni and Sylvie Benech was 3rd, 1-hour after 2nd place.

“The race itself was great, I felt really strong all day. Julien put in a big attack on the second major climb and I had to let him go otherwise I was going to explode but I was pulling him back close to the summit but unfortunately missed a turn and added an extra km or so and never saw him again all day! A beautiful course with a lot of variety. Some really steep technical terrain but also some pretty smooth and fast sections. The weather was just as varied, wet and windy up high but sunny and very hot back in Funchal.  A great weekend all round.” – Casey Morgan

 

RESULTADOS (HOMENS)
1 Chorier Julien 08:38:31
2 Casey Morgan 08:44:03
3 Javi Bodas 09:04:31
RESULTADOS (MULHERES)
1 Wasmes Wasmes 14:22:21
2 Nadia Meroni 14:34:24
3 Sylvie Benech 15:34:32

40km Results

In the 40km race, Gence Bertrand was 6-minutes clear of Olivier Morin with Francois Laurent placing 3rd –  ‘very tough challenging and technical!’ Fanny Borgstrom was in her own race for the ladies’ finishing over 1-hour clear of Alice Sousa and Leau Sophie placing 3rd.

RESULTADOS (HOMENS)
1 Gence Bertrand 04:53:18
2 Olivier Morin 04:59:46
3 François Laurent 05:14:40
RESULTADOS (MULHERES)
1 Fanny Borgström 05:26:25
2 Alice Sousa 06:35:41
3 Leau Sophie 06:47:51

25km Results

It was a close 1,2,3 for the men as they all finished within 7-minutes. Manuel Jesus took the tape first ahead of Nuno Pereira and Carlos Pereira finishing just 2-minutes later.  Carla Leite was a conniving winner for the ladies’ with a 20-minute margin over Lulia Fuiorea and Susana Azevedo 3rd.

RESULTADOS (HOMENS)
1 Manuel Jesus 02:40:43
2 Nuno Pereira 02:45:13
3 Carlos Pereira 02:47:08
RESULTADOS (MULHERES)
1 Carla Leite 03:01:22
2 Iulia Fuiorea 03:21:22
3 Susana Azevedo 03:24:59

15km Results

The 15km race was all about fun and in many scenarios it provided a first race opportunity for many locals. No doubt, they will be inspired to look ahead to 2017 and maybe move up to the 25 or 40km distances?

RESULTADOS (HOMENS)
1 Emanuel Freitas 01:07:58
2 José Fernandes 01:08:43
3 Juvenal Faria 01:10:29
RESULTADOS (MULHERES)
1 Michele Faria 01:26:09
2 Carla Caires 01:32:13
3 Fátima Gregório 01:33:47

The 80km and 40km races

80km

The race started by following the main streets of the town heading east and then up to Curral dos Rameiros and Monte. Following trails, technical at times they head to the 1800m summit at Pico do Arieiro and then drop like stones to Allegria (this is the 40km start).

40km

Navigating through suburban streets a brutal uphill follows and then a descent to Ribeira Grande, Santo Antonio. At Levada Negra another steep climb awaits, unfortunately this is the nature of Madeira trails; they go up and down! From Pico de Buxo they drop downhill towards the sea and stunning views of Funchal. Following trails and paths they navigate to the finish in Funchal with a final stretch running along the coast and the finish in  Avenida do Infante.

25km

25km

Starts in the highlands of Santo Antonio and takes in the final sections of the 80km and 40km events to finish on the Avenida do Infante in Funchal. The race has 900m+.

15km

15km

The shortest race of the Ecotrail Funchal – Madeira 2016, will start at Pico dos Barcelos, at 355 meters, the athletes will take a route mostly downhill, going past Levada do Curral, Levada do Castelejo and Levada dos Piornais.

ecotrail

RACE WEBSITE AND INFORMATION HERE

RACE RESULTS HERE

Ultra Skymarathon Madeira 2016 #SWS2016 – Race Images and Summary

©iancorless.com_USM2016-5136

The 2016 Skyrunner® World Series arrived in Madeira, Portugal for the Ultra Skymarathon Madeira (USM) – a tough and challenging 55km ultra with 4000m of vertical gain. The 2016 edition had a minor change to 2015, an extra section that added more technicality and potentially more time… could the times of Ricky Lightfoot and Stevie Kremer be beaten?

img_7692-1

The USM course is a unique one. Weaving up and down mountains, around beaches, through dense undergrowth, up a riverbed and of course plenty of climbing and descending. It’s not your ordinary Skyrunning course!

Departing the start line at 0600 on the dot, the runners disappeared down a darkened lane with only head torches for company, it was going to be a great day – the sky was clear and the stars were sparkling in the sky. Just 1km to warm up and then a climb of 1400m straight up to the highest point of the island – pure Skyrunning.

The runners climbed and a section of via ferreta was the prelude to the new course addition, instead of following the stone steps to the off-path climb to the summit, runners dropped down once again to take in a technical descent and ridge climb. A final push to the summit; It wasn’t easy going. The sky was blue, the sun was beating down but despite the picture postcard, it was hard graft.

©iancorless.com_USM2016-5054

Andre Jonsson (Sweden) and Dimitrios Theodorakakos (Greece) were the first to appear. The contrast between the two striking, Andre is tall and with an ultra runner beard. Dimitrios is stocky, well built and all power.

They matched each other step-by-step. A string of runners appeared all looking relatively calm and relaxed considering the severity of the course – it was early days!. At the summit of Pico Ruivo the ladies arrived, first was Anna Frost, closely followed by Gemma Arenas.

Running the ridges and several more climbing sections, the front of the race didn’t change until a decisive phase around the 36km mark. Climbing from the sea and beach, Andre Jonsson continued to lead looking strong. However, Dimitrios looked to be struggling a little and Cristofer Clemente was closing. After 5km of ridge running and a technical descent, a riverbed with boulder hopping awaited. Cristofer made his move and passed Dimitrios and went in pursuit of Andre.

©iancorless.com_USM2016-0328

The final long climb needed to be ascended and descended before the finish line and here the podium changed. Andre crumbled after leading the race all day:

“I had felt great, running within myself and in the riverbed I cooled down but then in the early section of the final climb I just had no energy, the heat hit and that was it!

Cristofer took the lead, opened a gap and won the race by a clear margin. Dimitrios held on for 2nd and local runner, Luis Fernandes went past Andre to take 3rd.

Gemma Arenas was almost in another race by the time the riverbed came and the final climb she held that margin to take a convincing victory. Anna Frost who had lead the race for much of the day was relegated to 2nd by Gemma but then faded to 3rd – a strong performance from US based Hillary Allen reeled ‘Frosty’ in and she sealed 2nd. Frosty said post race:

 “I really gave it everything today, on the ups and the downs, I just didn’t have that extra oomph but what a great (and tough) course!”

©iancorless.com_USM2016-1090

The 3rd edition of the Ultra Skymarathon Madeira has been a great success. Despite a potentially more difficult course, both the men’s and ladies records were broken! The top 2 men and top 5 ladies all broke the previous records. This is extremely significant and reflects the quality of the male and female line-up – world-class runners pushing hard for victory and resulting in fast times. João Canning Clode, USM co-director and PR commented, “We didn’t expect to break the standing records but given the good weather this year and the strong competition, it was a welcome surprise.

Madeira is an amazing island with a tough and challenging course. The future looks bright for this new addition to the Skyrunner® World Series.

Results: (official times to follow)

  1. Cristofer Clemente 6:00:28
  2. Dimitrios Theodorakakos 6:09:06
  3.  Luis Fernandes 6:11:34
  1. Gemma Arenas 6:59:51
  2. Hillary Allen 7:13:12
  3. Anna Frost 7:17:00

Cristofer Clemente now takes over the Ultra Series ranking lead for the men and Gemma Arenas for the women. Look out for the next Ultra Series race with the new High Trail Vanoise in the renowned ski resort of Val d’Isère, France on July 10.

Later this month the Skyrunner® World Series will head for North Eastern Italy with the Santa Caterina VK and the Livigno SkyMarathon® on June 24 & 26.

img_7692-1

Skyrunner® World Series is supported by Migu Xempower, Alpina Watches, Compressport, Salomon and Scott Sports.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner®World Series Follow on:

 Facebook/iancorlessphotography

Twitter (@talkultra)

Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning

Twitter @skyrunning_com

Instagram @skyrunning

THE CHAMPION RETURNS – ESTER ALVES and The Coastal Challenge #TCC2017

©iancorless.com_TCC2016-2474

Ester Alves a former road cyclist from Portugal, who represented her nation at the 2009 UCI Road World Championships and ladies winner of the 2016 The Coastal Challenge has confirmed that she will return to Costa Rica in 2017 to defend her crown.

It was a tremendous experience. Every day is like your last day, and after the end of each stage, you have only few hours to reborn, to recover. It’s an amazing transcendent experience. Similar to a cycling stage race…. You always give your best for each stage and then you just hope your body will recover as soon as possible.

©iancorless.com_TCC2016-6285

The Coastal Challenge is multi-day race over 6-days starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. Considered by many an ultimate multi-day running experience, it challenges even the most experienced runner.

Everything is special, the heat, the forest, the solitude of the race, the hot pacific sea, the intimacy between organisation, camping, athletes, workers and locals from the little villages. The closeness between my new ‘coastal family’ was enormous and in a week of racing and relaxing you create bounds for life… it’s what makes the race so special.

©iancorless.com_TCC2016-1059

‘TCC’ is not a self-sufficient race, but don’t be fooled, MDS and other multi-day veterans confirm the race is considerably harder and more challenging than many other adventures they have participated in. It’s a race that can provide a steep learning curve. Intense heat, high humidity, ever-changing terrain and the need to adapt, Ester says in 2017 she will be better prepared.

I will try to go to Costa Rica or I will do some specific training using heat sessions at home. Maybe a sauna will be a good idea as it is winter in Portugal in the key training phase. In 2016 I went from 8 º C To 34 ºC, the first day was tough! Each day I adapted to heat and the my body recovered better, to make this adaptation in advance would be very beneficial.

©iancorless.com_TCC2016-1841

Hugging the Talamaca coastline, the TCC travels in and out of the stunning mountain range that runs parallel to the sea. Dense forest trails, waterfalls, river crossings, long stretches of golden beaches, an abundance of palm trees and many winding and interconnecting dusty access roads provide a unique challenge.

Every day I ended  a stage with the feeling of lungs burned and legs tired, and in the next day I was running again with a reinforced motivation. I can’t wait to return.

©iancorless.com_TCC2016-1113

At times technical, the combination of so many challenging elements are only intensified by heat and high humidity that slowly but surely reduces even the strongest competitors.  In 2017, Anna Comet, 2x winner of Everest Trail Race and someone you have raced against in Skyrunning along with Elisabet Barnes will be present. When Ester was asked  about the challenge, she replied:

I will run with all my soul and strengths as always, but next year with more knowledge I can hopefully enjoy the forest and the trails even more, TCC is just a wonderful experience.

©iancorless.com_TCC2016-0246

 

With victory in 2016 secured, Ester has a busy year ahead racing in the Skyrunner World Series, something she has embraced, particularly in 2015 where she had great success at races such as Transvulcania. Many runners however will sign up for the 2017 TCC with little or no experience of Costa Rica, the heat, the humidity and the terrain; what advice would Ester give them?

Train hard and consolidate the marathon distance before the race and prepare the body for the heat and dehydration. Also teach your body to be more economic, it’s a long and difficult race!

A long year ahead but Ester is already looking into the distance, thinking of the heat, the humidity and the beautiful surroundings that Costa Rica provides.

The Coastal Challenge is more than a race, it’s an experience, it something to be shared. It provides closeness and an intensity of feelings that will never be forgotten… I wish to be there right now.

©iancorless.com_TCC2016-9965

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Contact Information

Email: HERE

Website: HERE

Facebook: HERE

Twitter: @tcccostarica

Global Contacts: HERE

TCC_2017_JoinUs?

More information:

Read the full 2016 TCC race story HERE

View and purchase images from the 2016 TCC race HERE

You can read daily reports from the 2016 TCC edition HERE

©iancorless.com_TCC2016-0221

Ultra Trail Aldeias do Xisto #UTAX 2016 – All for one, one for all!

©iancorless.com_UTAX-5331

The rain continued to fall, day 2 at UTAX was a continuation of day 1 but the sun did break through every now and again and gladly, overt the midday, a continuous sunny dry spell provided the Da Inclusivo race with a clear spell. The last finisher of the 110km had arrived early in the morning and at 0900 it was time for the Children to race. Axtrail Kids allows 6-16 year olds an opportunity to have their own moment in a full weekend of activity. It’s this all encompassing approach of the Aldeias do Xisto that makes it special.

While the kids raced in the centre of the town, the MTX 10km was also underway, an introduction to trail running that used the first 10km of the UTAX race which finishes in the Schist village of Gondramaz. It may only be 10km but it’s a challenging 10km with plenty of technicality, mud, rocks, water, water-crossings and abundant waterfalls. The finishing village of Gondramaz providing a picture postcard ending.

And mid-morning, in the town of Vila Nova, the ‘Da Inclusivo’ race was due to start. Five teams carrying five disabled people on an 8km trail journey to the race finish in the centre of Miranda do Corvo. It’s this race that personifies trail running, the people, the ethos and the sharing of our sport. It’s an inclusive sport, not exclusive. Despite the at times technical trails, the five teams worked together as one. On occasion, from the outside looking in, it almost appeared like a rescue mission but the journey was completed to a welcoming crowd.

It’s this foresight and all encompassing attitude that has seen Portugal rise as a key influencer in the sport of trail and mountain running. Of course, trail running brings tourism and this is an important element in any growing race series. The natural conditions of the region, the stunning Schist villages combined with local hospitality make Aldeias do Xisto and Portugal the perfect destination for a family of trail runners; all are welcome. Mum, dad and children can race and they have a custom events geared to their abilities. Or maybe they can reach out and push a new boundary, move up say from the 22km event and run the 50km, or even take on the UTAX? This area has so much to offer, an extended stay to explore many of the 27 Schist villages makes logical sense for those travelling from overseas.

Fernando Pinto, one of the key organisers at AXtrail sums it up, “The AXtrail®series is an event for everyone, with a comprehensive character. Children, youth, adults, experienced athletes, sports teams or families; everyone is welcome and will find a place!”

Racing is more than racing, it’s a series of experiences! Participating, watching, supporting or cheering, many a runner who ran one of the events over the Aldeias do Xisto weekend gained as much satisfaction on Sunday watching children arrive with beaming smiles or watching the arrival of the five Da Inclusivo teams. AXtrail know how to put on a weekend of racing. I will be back, I am sure.

Many thanks to:
Fernando Pinto, Miguel Pessoa, João Lamas, Aldeias do Xisto, Marli Monteiro, Palacio do Lousa, AXtrail® and many thanks to Centro de Portugal Touristic Office http://www.centerofportugal.com.

Ultra Trail Aldeias do Xisto #UTAX 2016 – Race Images and Summary

©iancorless.com_UTAX-4190

The Aldeias do Xisto Ultra Trail, offers a series of races that is all encompassing with six races on offer: Da Inclusivo, Kids, Mini-Trail Do Xisto, Trail Do Xisto, TSL and the main event, the UTAX (the largest event in the territories of the Shist Villages) which is 110km’s in length, has 5300m of vertical gain and a 26-hour cut-off time for the participants.

Go Outdoor are embracing the rise and demand in the sport of trail and the Astral®series reflect this!

A breakdown of the events is as follows:

▪UTAX – 110 Km

▪TSL – 50 Km

▪TX – 22 Km

▪MTX – 10 Km

▪Axtrail Kids – For kids with 6 to 16 years old

▪Axtrail Inclusion – For people with reduced mobility.

This year the UTAX race started in Miranda do Corvo, in the Plaza José Falcão, this was also the logistical centre of the race too and due to the inclement weather, it was tested to the maximum. From the ticking of the midnight bell, the rain was already falling and although the occasional dry patch provided a welcome break, it was going to be a race of rain, rain and rain.

Gondramaz, welcomed the front runners after approximately just one hour of running – the runners ‘enjoyed’ a beautiful single-track that was hard and technical; only made more challenging by the falling rain. Lousã followed and it here in that stunning Hotal Palacio da Lousã is located.

Candal is a small typical Schist Village and here the runners winded up narrow streets as the rain continued to pour. It was now 0300 for the front runners and the temperatures were dropping well below 5deg and with the slight wind and constant wt, this will have felt like zero or colder.

Cerdeira offers panoramic views of the mountains and is a place of peace and tranquility but on the night of the UTAX, no views were visible; just darkness and the glow of a head-torch. The Schist Villages are magical places and key feature of the UTAX race, it is what make this race so unique. But don’t be fooled, the villages where time passes more slowly are hidden between rock and lush vegetation, this is what must be navigated to completee the UTAX.

From Pena a climb followed to the highest point of the race, for the front runners, the early signs of dawn were making an appearance, not that anyone would know… a shroud of mist and a cold blowing wind made a deceiving blanket that would fool the runners.

Castanheira de Pera then northwest for Ameal, a fantastic single-track rises up and winds to a farm at the top of Lousã, continuing on in the direction of the House of the Forest Guard the trail then descended to the villages of Catarredor and Vaqueirinho, and follows to the Schist Villages Talasnal and Casal Novo.

Casal Novo’s trails of mud, rock, trees and slippery ground provided one of the last key challenges before the arrival back to the Square José Falcão in Miranda do Corvo for the finish.

The race was full of drama, Jêrome Rodrigues, the pre-race favourite unfortunately had to drop from the race with injury and for the ladies, Ester Alves who recently won The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica was forced to retire with fatigue and cold after 4-5 hours. No surprise really, 40-degrees and high humidity to zero degrees and torrential rain would force the most hardy competitor to crumble.

The withdrawal of two hot favourites opened the door for Luis Duarte, a previous winner of the mens race and Sofia Lopes Roquette finished the race as she started, from the front!

Nuno Silva ran to a strong and consistent 2nd place ahead of Bruno Coelho, but it was some way off the dominating performance of Duarte. Duarte finished the race in a sprint and looked extremely fresh on the line; something that many looked  on, me included, and failed to understand. The UTAX is a seriously tough, challenging race, only made considerably harder with weather but Duarte dominated it!

Equally, Sofia Lopes Roquette used her skills, strength of mind and her ability to endure the long run and take out victory over Fernanda Verde with Raquel Campos taking the 3rd spot.

More information and interviews will follow.

  1. Luis Duarte 12:25:36
  2. Nuno Silva 12:50:24
  3. Bruno Coelho 12:57:26
  1. Sofia Roquette 16:20:40
  2. Fernanda Verde 16:57:42
  3. Raquel Campos 20:09:36

Tourism Portugal

Aldeias do Xisto Ultra Trail race coverage would not be possible without the support ofAXtrail® Go Outdoor and many thanks to Centro de Portugal Touristic Office www.centerofportugal.com. Special thanks to to ADXTUR – Schist Villages. 

GoOutdoor

UTAX

Ultra Trail Aldeias do Xisto #UTAX, Portugal – Race Preview

UTAX

Ultra, trail, mountain and Skyrunning is booming in Portugal. In recent years the sport has grown from strength-to-strength and now a plethora of races are available. Most certainly, Carlos Sa paved the way for this new breed of runner and recently, runners like Ester Alves have kept that momentum flowing. Ester in particular has just recently won The Coastal Challenge multi-day race in Costa Rica.

Go Outdoor are embracing the rise and demand in the sport and in March 2016 (18th to 20th) they will host a series of races, the AXtrail®series.

The Aldeias do Xisto Ultra Trail, offers a series of races that is all encompassing with six races on offer: Da Inclusivo, Kids, Mini-Trail Do Xisto, Trail Do Xisto, TSL and the main event, the UTAX (the largest event in the territories of the Shist Villages) which is 110km’s in length, has 5300m of vertical gain and a 26-hour cut-off time for the participants.

A breakdown of the events is as follows:

  • UTAX – 110 Km
  • TSL – 50 Km
  • TX – 22 Km
  • MTX – 10 Km
  • Axtrail Kids – For kids with 6 to 16 years old
  • Axtrail Inclusion – For people with reduced mobility.

It’s this foresight and ell encompassing attitude that has seen Portugal rise as key influencer in the sport of trail and mountain running. Of course, trail running brings tourism and this is an important element in any growing race series. The natural conditions of the region combined with the hospitality of the local population ensures that visitors to Portugal are extremely happy with their stay, whether participating in one of the six event, or in relation to the destination where an event takes place.

As the event race director says:

 “The AXtrail®series is an event for everyone, with a comprehensive character. Children, youth, adults, experienced athletes, sports teams or families, everyone is welcome and will find a place!”

©iancorless.com_TCC2016-4537

The UTAX is the main event of the weekend and first took place in 2013 with shortened course, Salomon Portugal athlete, Armando Teixeira won in a time of 7:44:29. The first lady was Ester Alves, her time of 10:03:48 reflecting the reduced distance. Alves won again in 2014 but this time it took 16:53:49 for victory and in the men’s race, Luis Duarte recorded a time of 13:06:46. Current course records were set in 2015 by Jérôme Rodrigues and Sofia Lopes Roquete, their respective times of 12:49:57 and 16:12:53 set the benchmark for the 2016 edition.

Alves was missing in 2015 but returns in 2016 and no doubt she will be looking not only for victory but maybe setting a new fas time for the UTAX course. Her recent growth in the sport with top results at UTMB, Transvulcania and recent victory in Costa Rica certainly bodes well. A big question mark will come in regard to Alves’s recovery, The Coastal Challenge was only four weeks ago! Sofia Lopes Roquette, 2015 champion will return to defend her crown.

In the men’s race, the battle for the front to f the race may well come down to Jêrome Rodrigues who ran 12:49 in 2015 and Luis Duarte who ran 13:06 in 2014. However, it may not be that simple? Anything can happen in 110km’s and Nuno Silva along with Ricardo Silva will look to mix things up at the front of the race.

Other names to watch and look out for are: Amândio Antunes, Rui Luz, Luis Mota (veteran), Guilherme Lourenço, Rui Seixo, Raquel Campos, André Rodrigues, Cláudio Quelhas, Juan Delgado (veteran), Nádia Pasteleiro, and Júlia Conceição. A full list of all participants in UTAX ( 230) – HERE

UTAX 110 km – 5300 D+

This year the UTAX race will start and finish in Miranda do Corvo, in the Plaza José Falcão, this will be the logistical center of the race. The first village to be visited will be Gondramaz, allowing athletes enjoy a beautiful single-track but the opening limiters are hard and technical. Lousã follows and here the most anticipated moment of the race will come as this local location is known as the “Amazon.”  After Candal runners only travel about 3 km to the village of Cerdeira which offers panoramic views of the mountains and is a place of peace and tranquility. The Schist Villages are magical places where time passes more slowly and the villages are hidden between rock and lush vegetation – Góis, Aigra Nova, Comareira and Pena. From Pena a climb starts to the highest point of the race and then down to Castanheira de Pera. Following a northwest direction for Ameal, a fantastic single-track rises up and winds to a farm at the top of Lousã, the trail continues in the direction of the House of the Forest Guard. It is then that begins the descent to the villages of Catarredor and Vaqueirinho, and follows to the Schist Villages Talasnal and Casal Novo. Following the route for the “Terreiro Halloween”, runners go up to the Vila Nova which is in the Miranda Municipality of Corvo. The end is now getting close, Fluvial Beach Louçainha (Municipality of Penela),  Vila Nova and then heading back to the Square José Falcão in Miranda do Corvo for the finish.

It is a weekend party where everyone without exception can practice and enjoy the wonderful sport to trail and mountain running.

You can follow the race in words and images on this website, iancorless.com and on my other media channels: Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE.

Facebook LogoTwitter_logoInstagram

The race website is available HERE

You can download a PDF race information document HERE

Tourism Portugal

Aldeias do Xisto Ultra Trail race coverage would not be possible without the support of AXtrail® Go Outdoor and many thanks to Centro de Portugal Touristic Office www.centerofportugal.com.

GoOutdoor

Episode 106 – The Coastal Challenge 2016 Special #TCC2016

A_GRAVATAR

This is Episode 106 of Talk Ultra. This show is all about The Coastal Challenge multi-day race in Costa Rica. We talk in-depth about Niandi’s experience and we bring you a selection of interviews to give you a feel for the race.

Book writing – RUNNING BEYOND will be released in November 2016 by Aurum Publishing.

00:01:04 Show Start

00:04:58 NEWS

ACONCAGUA – Fernanda Maciel established the first women’s FKT on , Aconcagua, earlier this month and I caught up with her immediately afterwards.

06:07:00 INTERVIEW

Fernanda said at the time should the weather be okay for a 2nd attempt that she would return. Return she did to established the first women’s FKT on the longer route. She traveled from the Horcones entrance gate to the summit and back – 60 kilometers and 4,100 meters of climb in 22:52. The mens record is almost have this time set by Karl Egloff who took the record from Kilian Jornet

ADDO ELEPHANT in South Africa

“As the only national Park in the world that offers visitors a chance to see the ‘Big Seven’ (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and the southern right whale and the great white shark in the marine area), we’re thrilled to be hosting the race again this year,” says Fayroush Ludick, SANParks Regional Communications Manager. “Because athletes will be running through areas of the park that they wouldn’t traditionally have access to, they will experience the park and its residents as never before.”

1 – Bennie Roux and Tom Adams finished together 21:45:08

2 – Chris Darke 22:24

3 – Ryno Griesel 24:55

1 – Linda Doke 29:25:34

2 – Kim Van Kets 33:34:12

ROCKY RACCOON 100 

1 – Ian Sharman 13:45, Paul Terranova 2nd and Will Swenson 3rd.

1 – Sabrina Little ran the 2nd fastest lasted time of 14:55, Amy Clark and Olga Buber were 2nd

and 3rd.

Notably, WSER legend Gordy Ainsleigh ran 28:31 to gain his WSER entry slot which many feel should have been guaranteed anyway!

TARAWERA

Jonas Buud won the race in 8:00 followed by David Bryne in 8:22 and Ryan Sandes 3rd in 8:30

Fiona Hayvice won the ladies race in 10:34 despite Ruby Muir leading for much of the race and then dropping with injury. Melissa Robertson and Fiona Eagles placed 2nd and 3rd with 10:56 and 11:24.

This weekend as the show comes out Transgrancanaria will be staring and it is quite a stacked field, certainly the first big race of 2016. Read the preview HERE

01:16:56 INTERVIEW THE TCC INTERVIEWS

Read the daily reports from Costa Rica HERE

The Coastal Challenge 2016 – The Full Story HERE

Images from The Coastal Challenge 2016 HERE

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Australian Capital Territory

100km | 100 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

New South Wales

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 100 km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Party All Night | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Sun, Sand, Surf | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

55 km | 55 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Dirty Duo 50 km Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

Yukon

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 120 Mile | 120 miles | March 11, 2016 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 350 Mile | 350 miles | March 11, 2016 | website

Costa Rica

51 km | 51 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

80 km | 80 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

France

Gard

Trail aux Etoiles | 58 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

Ultra du Bout du Cirque | 100 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

Ille-et-Vilaine

Endu’Rance Trail des Corsaires | 64 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

Pas-de-Calais

Le Poilu | 51 kilometers | March 13, 2016 | website

Puy-de-Dôme

Ultra trail de Vulcain | 81 kilometers | March 06, 2016 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon März | 108 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

Hong-Kong

Translantau 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 11, 2016 | website

Translantau 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Hungary

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 18, 2016 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 195 kilometers | March 17, 2016 | website

Italy

Umbria

Trasimeno Lake Ultramarathon | 58 kilometers | March 06, 2016 | website

Malaysia

KubUltra 60 | 60 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

TITI 200KM | 200 kilometers | March 18, 2016 | website

New Zealand

Old Ghost Ultra | 85 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Te Houtaewa Challenge 60 km Open Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Waiheke Round Island 100 km Relay | 100 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Philippines

All Women Ultra-Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Portugal

75 km | 75 kilometers | March 05, 2016 | website

South Africa

Om Die Dam 50 km Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 12, 2016 | website

Spain

Andalusia

150 km | 150 kilometers | March 04, 2016 | website

73 km | 73 kilometers | March 04, 2016 |