Everest Trail Race – Fernanda Maciel Interview

LOGO ETR

Everest! Do you really need any other description? Later this year, the third edition of the Everest Trail Race (ETR) will take place. Starting on the 3rd November and finishing on the 15th November, runners from around the world will join together for one of the toughest high altitude ultra marathons.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©

Set against one of the most awe inspiring backdrops, the race will last for six days covering a total distance of 160km. Daily distances are on the face of it relatively easy at; 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22km, however, daily altitude difference goes from 3000m to almost 6000m.

It is a demanding race and although each participant is required to be self-sufficient during each day, food, water and an evening camp are provided by the race organization.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©

Daily temperatures can vary from -10c to +18c and the terrain will offer incredible variety; frozen earth, snow and rocks of varying color. Without doubt, the ETR is a challenge, why else would you do it? But it is a challenge all can undertake with some specific training. It is ideal for runners or hikers who want to push the limit.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©jordivila

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©jordivila

Created in 2011 by Jordi Abad, a Spanish extreme ultra runner, the ETR is staged at the beginning of the dry season. Why? Well, the air is clean after the monsoons, visibility is impeccable and the surroundings are resplendent.

In order to get a greater understanding of what the ETR may offer, I caught up with Brazilian, Fernanda Maciel. Fernanda is currently preparing for the ‘CCC’ in Chamonix at the end of August and will make the journey to Nepal in November to take part in the 3rd edition of the ETR.

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IC – Fernanda, welcome, how are you, I believe you are currently at your home in Spain?

FM – I am great thanks Ian. Yes, I am in Spain.

IC – I presume you are training in the mountains?

FM – Yes sure, one month ago I damaged my foot so I have been recovering and training. I live in the Pyrenees. It’s a great place to be. It is a great background for training and to prepare for the CCC and other races.

IC – Let’s hope they get good weather at the CCC this year…

FM – I Hope so!

IC – I guess coming from Brazil you would prefer hot weather.

FM – Yes, but I live in the Pyrenees so I am used to the cold and snow but hot weather would be nice for the race.

IC – I often think of you as an ultra runner but you are a much more diverse person than that. Can you take me back to what got you into sport and what made you realize that you had a passion for all things connected to running, cycling and swimming. You have done so many sports with such variety.

FM – From the age of 8 I was training as an Olympic gymnast. At 10yrs old I was in the US doing competitions and training every day for four hours. So, my background in sport was established when I was a child. This helped a great deal. For me the sports I have done in my life I have really enjoyed. I couldn’t separate sport from my life; it is my life. I also did martial arts. My father was a master and my grandfather was also a master in jujitsu. So I was always fighting too…

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IC – So a gymnast and fighter, the message is, don’t mess around with Fernanda!

FM – Yes, it was so funny. My grandfather’s house had a fighting ring.

IC – Like a dojo?

FM – Yes a fighting ring. So my cousin and I would fight all the time. It was so funny. I loved this time. When I was 15/16 years old I started to run, 5k on the road and then 10k. When I was 20 years old I started doing half-marathons. The changing point came at 23 years old. I was invited to do some adventure racing. I purchased a bike and started to do mountain biking. I was running before but not MTB. So I progressed to adventure racing at 23. I became an endurance runner through adventure racing. The races are always long, you don’t stop, you don’t sleep so it was perfect preparation for ultra running and ultra trail. It was easy for me to progress to long distance.

IC – Do you think with ultra and trail you have found ‘your’ sport?

FM – I feel complete when I do trail and ultra. I am not sure if I can try another sport and be better but I love running. I cannot be without one day of running. I love it. Of all the sports I have done, running gives me movement, style and great experiences during and after. To be on the trails, mountains, sand or whatever; it is what I really enjoy. Currently I love the mountains. It provides great views, fresh air; I love it. It completes me. I also love flowers and animals so it’s great. Very interesting. When you go above the clouds the sensations are so amazing. It’s a great feeling.

IC – I’d like to talk about your professional life. I think of you as a professional sports person, which of course you are. But you practiced as an environmental lawyer and a sports nutritionist. Do you still practice law?

FM – I have a company in Brazil. I am a businesswoman. I also work in sport nutrition. I can do all my work remotely, so, I just need a computer. I have people in Brazil who help me. In the past I was a lawyer but when I came to Spain I needed five more years study because the law was different. Lawyers need to be in a city, I chose sport instead. Sport nutrition allows me more flexibility. It fits in with my life. I breathe sport. It’s better. I love law, I love to study and read but I didn’t want to be in an office all day. I didn’t have much contact with nature. I also became an outdoor bound instructor in addition to everything else.

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IC – If we look back over your run career, it starts in 2006 and you have had some great results. You won at Transgrancanaria, you won Andorra Ultra Trail, you were fourth at UTMB, recently you had success at Lavaredo, TNF Mt Fuji but the one thing that sticks out is Camino of Santiago de Compostela, 860km and you did this as a personal challenge in ten days. What was that like?

FM – It was the hardest run of my life. I knew the Camino. I thought maybe if I run the Camino I could help children with Cancer. When I was in Brazil as Lawyer, I also helped children with cancer. So, I made this project with charity in mind and it was really tough. I was running 90-100km per day without a support team. I carried everything and slept in huts along the route. It was super tough. It think it’s a great way to do the Camino… I am writing a book now about the experience to encourage others to maybe run the Camino instead of hiking.

IC – I remember when we spoke at Haria Extreme race you told me of the difficulty on getting approval. They wouldn’t stamp your card because you moved along the trail too quickly.

FM – Yes, the church think that the runners move too fast so they don’t have time to think and reflect… I told them I had plenty of time! I was running ten or eleven hours a day. I had plenty of time to think. I hope that running will be an option for others in the future.

IC – Other races in your career, what would you pinpoint?

FM – I love the UTMB, CCC and TDS. I did the TDS in 2009 and for me it is an amazing race. It is so technical and beautiful. It is so different to the UTMB. The views are amazing. It is a really great race and one I would recommend. I have run in many races around the world, but I prefer races in Europe because they have more elevation. I prefer high mountains. I would like to try Hardrock 100. Hopefully I can get a place next year? I am going to Patagonia soon, this will give me high mountains and altitude.

IC – You have mentioned the high mountains and both of us will be in the high mountains in November. We are going to Everest Trail Race. I will be along as a journalist and photographer, very exciting for me. You will be participating. An exciting place to race…

(Laughter)

FM – Yeeesssss!

(Laughter)

IC – I can hear the excitement.

FM – Yes, I am so excited. We have support but we also need be self-sufficient too. I prefer this. It is wilder. I like this aspect of racing; it makes things more interesting. The race will provide the best views ever. It will be hard and it will be technical. It is my first stage race. It will be interesting; I can share my feelings and thoughts with other runners. We will all learn so much. The mountains will also teach us. We will be one week in this environment.

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IC – It takes place in the Solukhumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal. It has an altitude gain of more than 25,000m (ouch). It has long hard trails of frozen earth, snow, rocks it is 160km in total over 6-days broken down into 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22km‘s per day. The distances don’t sound too much but when you look at elevation per day of 3000 to 6000m per day that will be extremely tough. It will be a different experience. Have you been doing anything specific in preparation?

FM – I am already preparing as I climb and spend time at elevation. It will be like a climb/run because of the elevation. The race has short distances but high elevation and that will make it tough. I go into the mountains to adapt, in the last two weeks for example I did a 60km race and I did 4500m in elevation. This is good preparation. I need altitude and high elevation. Sometimes I prefer to climb, it is good cross training and it is also good for my mind. It’s good to be in open areas.

IC – In terms of the race, snacks, meals and water are provided both along the route and at camp at the end of each day. During the race you need to be self sufficient in terms of safety kit. You need technical kit, sleeping bag, warm clothes, and mandatory kit. You have already said that this is something that excites you. Do you have any specific things that you will take?

FM – No. I will have what I need and what is specified in the rules. I will want my kit to be light, so, I will use the lightest products possible. I won’t have special drinks or food. I don’t eat cheese or meat but I have made sure that vegetarian food will be available. Apparently we need to be careful with water but apparently we will be supplied good water.

IC – You are sponsored by TNF (The North Face), are they producing any products for you specifically or will you use what is available in the consumer range

FM – I will use normal product. I may have some prototypes to test in the coming weeks, so, I may take some of this with me but I will need to test. But I think for Everest, the pack, sleeping bag, jacket and so on will be normal product in the TNF range.

IC – One thing that has always impressed me is that you like to raise money for charity. You get involved. Are you doing anything in particular for the Everest trip.

FM – Yes, at the Everest trip I have one day free after the race. I have a friend who asked if I could help children for Fundació Muntanyencs per l’Himàlaia. So, the Everest trip was perfect. Last week I had a meeting with the foundation in Spain. They need children’s clothes. In the race, we will pass through the villages of the children, where they were born. So I will hopefully bring clothes and resources to Nepal and provide them for the foundation. In the coming weeks I will start to collect everything and then I can take it with me.

IC – Great, something really incredible to help the local communities.

FM – We will need to run to the Village to help them, so if you can help me that would be great. Also, I hope Lizzy Hawker will help us too.

IC – Absolutely, I would love to get involved. It’s a great thing! Finally, many people will read this and look at your achievements and the experience you have. If you had to give advice to someone who was maybe thinking about going to Nepal, what advice would you give to help him or her?

FM – Have an open mind and open heart. The mountains will talk with you. This is the best experience for everyone. It will be incredible to be in this place. Yes, for sure, you need to train but this is only one aspect. Train the mind and the heart, the rest will follow.

IC – Perfect. Of course, the Everest Trail Race is about experience. Due to the nature of the terrain and altitude it will not be a full on running race, you will also need to be a good hiker…

FM – Yeeesss. For sure! I think if you have confidence and a good mind then it won’t be a problem. Yes we will walk, we will also run but we will also take photographs. It’s about being in the mountains. After all, it is Everest! It is another world.

IC – Fernanda, than you so much for your time. I am looking forward to catching up at CCC and of course later in the year in Nepal.

FM – Great. Here are the details of the foundation:

The children (5 to 18 years old) that we can help…

Mountaineers for Himalayas Foundation

Fundació Muntanyencs per l’Himàlaia

info@mount4him.org

www.mount4him.org

Finally, a word from Jordi Abad, ETR director.

” If this was only a pure and hard competition, it would be a nonsense; environment gives its hardness but not the competitiveness itself. We are here to share and to help each other. It is possible to make the effort running any city marathon in the world, but the sensations, the environment and the feelings are to share them with friends, to know new people with whom laughing and weeping. This is what remains in the end and what makes it an unique experience for all”.

LINKS:

  • Website for ETR – HERE
  • Fernanda Maciel – HERE
  • The North Face – HERE 

INTERESTED? in participating in the 2013 Everest Trail Race? It is not too late… some places are still available. Please use the contact form below and obtain a discount, only available through this contact form:

*Note, I will attend the 2013 ETR at the invite of the race organisation.

Emotions of 2012

What a year! what a year indeed… it is the last day of 2012 and like so many others I wanted to sit down, reflect on what has happened and put a post together documenting some of the special moments of 2012. But as I looked back, so many sprung to mind… many moments I witnessed through social media such as Facebook and Twitter and others I witnessed first hand. So I have decided to select key moments that I witnessed personally, however, before I do that I do want to give a ‘nod’ to some key moments that I didn’t witness first hand…

Australian Pat Farmer finally made it to the South Pole after starting at the North Pole (view here). Pat is a multiple world record holder for endurance running. He has run around Australia and across North America twice.

Salomon launched the Sense. A shoe that created a stir and a buzz that could only be compared to the same sort of buzz around an iPhone, iPad or equally another key moment of 2012, the Suunto Ambit.

Ryan Sandes arguably one of the best ultra performers in 2012 started of his year in style with a win at the Vibram 100km in Hong Kong.

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Micah True passed way from heart related issues while out running in Mexico. The ultra community bonded together as initially he was lost for days causing Scott Jurek and Chris McDougall (Micah was made famous in the book ‘Born to Run‘) to travel to Mexico and aid the search for him.

Jez Bragg won the Fellsman race for the 3rd time in preparation for his attempt on winning the UTMB. Unfortunately Jez was plagued throughout 2012 with stomach issues. We are pleased to say that he now seems to have rectified these issues and is currently blazing a trail on ‘The Long Pathway‘ in New Zealand.

Kilian Jornet announced his new project ‘Summits of my Life‘. A long term project that will take four years, during which he will travel to the greatest mountain ranges in the world attempting to climb some of the most breathtaking peaks and come back down again as fast as he can. Unfortunately on the first project, the crossing of Mont Blanc, the project was struck with disaster as Kilian’s ski guide and partner for the project, Stéphane Brosse fell to his death. Kilian devestated by the incident spent time with Stéphane’s family and withdrew from Western States.

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The big dance, Western States did not disappoint with two incredible performances and two course records. Timothy Olson beat Geoff Roes record with an incredible performance made all the sweeter when you hear his incredible life story… (listen to our interview on Talk Ultra) Ellie Greenwood confirmed herself as possibly the greatest female ultra runner of the moment breaking Ann Trason‘s long standing (considered by many unbeatable) course record.

Ellie greenwood

Dakota Jones after a storming win at Transvulcania La Palma went to Hardrock 100 as the one to beat… as it happened, Hal Koerner took the win with Joe Grant in second place.

Speedgoat 50K raised the question about trail, course markings and when and when you should not deviate from a course… ultimately our one and only Speedgoat made a decision that relegated Kilian Jornet from the top of the podium and replaced him with his team mate Rickey Gates. It all got a little crazy and of course RD’s will now make sure they specify the ‘rules’ when putting a race briefing together.

UTMB – It rained, it snowed, the cloud came in, the course got shortened and Lizzy Hawker won her fifth UTMB albeit NOT the UTMB as it was not a full course, so, Lizzy will be back! Francois d’Haene however was very pleased with his win over the shortened course.

Just a week after the UTMB, Francesca Canepa from the Vibram Team turned up at the super tough and long Tor des Geants and won it… amazing considering just 7 days before she was second behind Lizzy Hawker.

Lance Armstrong… need I say more!

Mike Morton had an incredible 2012 with a stunning performance at Badwater 135 just missing the CR by 75 seconds. In addition to this, Mike ran and won may 100’s all around the 13 hour mark. However his performance of the year came in Poland at the 24 hour Championships. Running 277.54 kms he dislodged Scott Jurek as the Amercan holder and set a new benchmark.

Kilian Jornet went back to his ‘Summits‘ project and set a second record on Mont Blanc. This time crossing from Italy (Courmayer) to France (Chamonix) in 8hrs 40min. Article here

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Fresh from a record attempt over Mont Blanc, Kilian Jornet went to Mt Kinabalu Climbathon in Borneo as part of the Skyrunning calendar, won and became World Champion…. again! Of course this race had some controversy as it didn’t go to the summit. Another outstanding performance was that of Emelie Forsberg, she won the ladies race and in doing so confirmed herself as one of the most talented and dominant females of 2012. Kilian now warmed up went over to Reunion Island and took on the tough ‘Raid de la Reunion‘. He made it look easy and he even had time to do interviews at the feed stations during the race… without doubt, Kilian is one of the most talented and gifted athletes in the world.

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Max King and Ellie Greenwood blazed a trail and set records (once again) at JFK 50… oh, did I mention Max’s run at UROC and did I mention Karl Meltzer and Lizzy Hawker winning at Run Rabbit Run… of course, what about Miguel Heras and Emelie Forsberg at San Francisco 50Darn it…. so many great moments…. what about Lizzy Hawker at Spartathlon, second overall and a new female record.

So finally Skyrunning announce the new calendar for 2013 and the big news is a simpler format, the inclusion of a 100 mile race and a season final in America at the Ultra Race of Champions. Without doubt (I am biased) Skyrunning was a game changer in 2012 and the new calendar has already created great excitement for the coming year…

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Believe me, the above list is by no means comprehensive and I am sure I will look back and think… ooh, what about this and what about that… I could go on.

But now here is my pick of personal moments from a great year. Rest assured, I am picking one month; one moment!

JANUARY

Talk Ultra was launched and thank goodness the format of an ultra running podcast that was more than just interviews was accepted. Taking the risk to do a ‘long show’ seemed to pay off and the loyal followers and support has been fantastic. I can’t thank you all enough for the growth of the podcast and 2013 will see it grow!

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FEBRUARY

For the 7th year running I went out to Club La Santa on Lanzarote and had another incredible week training in the sun with friends and clients. It has become a fixture in my year and never fails to disappoint. 2013 will see us arrive on the Canary Island once again for more fun in the sun.

Lanz

MARCH

A race fixture on my calendar for several years, the EcoTrail de Paris came around once again and I went out to Paris with Niandi for another great weekend of running and spending time in our favourite city. As it turned out we both had terrible races and DNF’d at the same time… you can always learn something!

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APRIL

I was fortunate enough to be invited over to Turkey to take part in and report on the inaugural Iznik Ultra. I had only been to Turkey once before, many many years before and that was to the South. So I  was very excited to spend time in Istanbul with Niandi and then head down to Iznik. The race was superb offering a selection of race distances over a varied course. Both Niandi and myself took part in the 60k event. I was pleased to come away with a win and Niandi made the podium in 2nd place in the ladies race.

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MAY

May signified a change in my year and very much set a format for what was to come… I was invited to the Transvulcania La Palma on the island of La Palma. Skyrunning had assembled one of the most competitive fields in ultra you will ever see or witness. It turned out to be a who’s who of ultra running. The whole experience is a memory I will never forget… training on the trails pre and post race with the best in the world, witnessing the race were Dakota Jones ran an incredible course record for the win and were Frosty (Anna Frost) set and smashed the old course record in what was to be one of the best performances of the year. This was followed with the conference ‘Less Cloud, More Sky‘ providing the ultra community an opportunity to help establish a direction for the sport in the future. We all then packed up and moved to mainland Spain for ‘Zegama‘ but that’s another story…

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JUNE

Zegama arrived and the heat and sun of La Palma was replaced with rain and mud. Lots of mud. Kilian Jornet just 7 days earlier had collapsed on the finish line at Transvulcania La Palma with exhaustion. At Zegama he showed his recovery powers and showed everyone in the race how to run in the cold, wet and mud. Oihana Kortazar took out the win for the ladies ahead of Nuria Picas who was slowly becoming ‘runner of the year’.

Nuria Picas - Zegama

Nuria Picas – Zegama

JULY

The Pyrenees and an invitation from ARC’TERYX to go and test out the new clothing range called ‘Endorphin‘ on the Skyrunning Ribargoza VK course. Great friends, great memories and some stunning scenery.

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AUGUST

Wow – Trofeo Kima and one of the most impressive run courses I have ever seen. I was told by Lauri Van Houten before the event that this course would blow my mind. Little did I expect what lay ahead… 6 hours being flown around via helicopter on the most stunning and awe inspiring run terrain I have ever witnessed. Kilian Jornet won the mens race and Nuria Picas won the ladies race. A stunning stunning race that signifies everything that Skyrunning is. Want to enter…? Don’t hold your breath. This race happens only every other year and typically only has about 125 places available.

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SEPTEMBER

Berga in September, the weather breaks and Cavalls del Vent turns into a race of survival. Despite runners struggling with hypothermia the race produced a classic. The mens race was competitive seeing Kilian Jornet once again taking the win but this time ahead of Tony Krupicka finally finding some form after over 18 months out of the sport due to injury. Finishing off the podium was Dakota Jones. The ladies race produced the race of the year for me… so often in the longer distance races we see an outright winner crossing the line with 10’s of minutes to spare… not here! Nuria Picas, Frosty and Emelie Forsberg pushed each other right to the line with Nuria taking the win on home ground.

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OCTOBER

Southern France in the town of Millau. The temperatures dropped and I slowly froze myself following the La Course des Templiers, the final in the Skyrunning calendar. I will remember this race for the incredible win by Nuria Picas ahead of a sprinting Emelie Forsberg who put Lizzy Hawker into third place. In addition to this, Kilian Jornet and Nuria Picas were crowned World Champions. Incredible performers in an incredible series of races.

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NOVEMBER

The quiet town of Begeggi on the Italian coast and the Berg Trail. I had an invite from Salomon Carnifast to follow and photograph the race to help promote the first edition of the race. The race was being attended by mountain running legend, Marco de Gasperi. In the weeks before the race I contacted Stevie Kremer who had moved from America to Italy earlier in the year. We had met at Sierre-Zinal where Marco de Gasperi won the race and Stevie placed second. Marco unfortunately went of course in the Berg Trail and therefore spoiled any chances of a win. Stevie however showed her class winning the ladies race convincingly and placed top 10 in the overall. A name to watch for the future…

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DECEMBER

After a stunning year of following races, reporting and photographing I finally took some time out and headed back to the island of La Palma with my partner Niandi to play on the Transvulcania La Palma course. Two weeks of perfect weather and stunning trails provided the perfect end to a stunning year. It was great to spend that time on the trails in our own space and in our own time. Running when we could, hiking when we couldn’t run and walking when no other option was left… the latter half of the year was plagued by knee issues for me and although they havent gone, my time on the Transvulcania course with Niandi was a real highlight in an incredible year!

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support I have received in 2012. From race organisers, athletes, team managers, brand managers and all those connected to the sport I love. In particular I would like to thank Niandi for her patience. I also need to give a special mention to Lauri Van Houten and Marino Giacometti from Skyrunning for the trust they placed in me for 2012 and the continued trust for 2013.

It has been an awesome year and 2013 is already looking like another year of moments, emotions and memories.

Sincere thanks to all of you

The Arc’teryx Advantage

The Arc’teryx advantage

Published in RUN247
Wednesday 8th August 2012
Tags Arcteryxs   |   TalkUltra   |   Ian Corless

TalkUltra’s Ian Corless reports back from the Arc’teryx Media Camp in the Pyrenees, and explains why Arc’teryx’s North American manufacturing facility gives them the edge when it comes to incorporating athlete feedback into their designs

The Arc’teryx advantage

About Arc’teryx

Mention the word Arc’teryx to any outdoor lover and you will typically get a one word answer that is drawn out as though the word is made of too many letters;  N  I  C  E  !
And they would be correct. Arc’teryx make nice kit. Just like Stellar Artois, it is reassuringly expensive.

The first big question is the name… explanation please! Named for ARCHAEOPTERYX LITHOGRAPHICA, the first reptile to develop the feather for flight, freeing itself from the constraints of the horizontal world.

Arc’teryx achieves an advantage with its products by merging un-rivaled designs with the highest quality and highest performing materials. They use innovation and unique assembling techniques to make durable products that perform in the intended environment for the intended sport. The Endorphin range is the epitome of this ethos.

I was very fortunate to be invited to the Pyrenees in July for a ‘media camp’ to review and test the new Endorphin running range for 2013. This media camp was arranged in conjunction with Skyrunning and the Skygames of which Arc’teryx are a partner and as such they had several Arc’teryx sponsored athletes taking part, Adam Campbell, Murray Strain and Nicola Gollinelli to name just a few who participated in the events.

The media camp assembled journalists from Italy, France, UK, Germany, Spain and Sweden and we all congregated after a lengthy transfer from Barcelona in Ribagossa. Nestled in a mountain hotel we spent a superb three days learning about the Arc’teryx brand, running in the mountains testing the Endorphin range and of course we had some wonderful relaxation time with great food and great company.

The Arc’teryx advantage

Photos: Departing for VerticalK. Arc’teryx athlete Adam Campbell

The Arc’teryx advantage

Arc’teryx have an advantage! They are one of only a few major outdoor industry outerwear brands to have its own domestic North American manufacturing facility. This allows them to readily develop proprietary manufacturing processes, enabling them to efficiently create superior features that other manufacturers simply cannot build. They are able to design a product one day, manufacture it the next day and then by the third day the product is being tested out on the trail or in the mountains. It is this level of immediate feedback that enables Arc’teryx to select the right fabrics, construction and weight to ensure that not only the garment performs to the best of it’s ability but importantly, so that you perform to the best of your ability! It’s a synergy of design, fabric, manufacturing and performance.

Adam Campbell explained in detail how he had specific demands for the Ultra Trail Mt Fuji in which he placed second overall.  A tough 100-mile run that had very specific equipment requirements.

Adam needed a lightweight race pack that could hold mandatory equipment and allow him to hydrate easily while on the move. He needed a lightweight waterproof jacket with hood and over trousers. All these items were manufactured to Adam’s exacting needs, all within one week. It is this on site facility of design, manufacture and immediate testing that allows these new innovations to transfer down to us, the consumer.

Working in conjunction with textile manufacturers, Arc’teryx are able to select and develop the highest performing and most durable materials that are specific to the demands of the sport in which the garment will be worn. It’s about finding that balance between weight, breathability, waterproofness and durability.

  1. GORE-TEX® Pro Shell
  2. WINDSTOPPER®
  3. Coreloft™ & Thermatek™ Insulation
  4. Fortius™ & Polartec® Softshell
  5. Phasic™ base layer fabrics
  6. MAPP Merino Wool
  7. 420ACT™ AC² pack materials
  8. Watertight™ zippers

Engineered to meet the needs of the most demanding athlete. Activity-specific patterning ensures complete freedom of movement, and each product is critically scrutinized and detailed for the intended end use.

  1. e3D patterning for enhanced range-of-motion
  2. Snowsports specific outerwear features
  3. Hoods with quick, one-hand adjustment
  4. Tri-Dex glove patterning
  5. Packs with articulated & breathable components

All these elements combine to ensure that Arc’teryx maintain an advantage over its competition. The synergy may make the products a little more expensive but believe me, when you see the difference; it is a price worth paying!

The Arc’teryx advantage

Photos: The author Ian Corless and the group at the top of the VerticalK

Testing in the Pyrenees

I can’t think of a better way to test a product than to put the stuff on and go and run it. Luckily the Arc’teryx staff very kindly provided all of us with the opportunity to run (walk) the VerticalK course as used in the Skygames. If you are new to Skyrunning and the races that they have, the VerticalK goes up 1000m with a typical gradient of some 30+% so effectively you cover a distance of around 3.5km and ascend 1000m. They are tough to do, particularly if you race them!

We congregated in the car park and with the help of Arc’teryx athletes as guides, we started on our way. A promise of a sumptuous picnic and cold drinks on our return was surely just a ploy to get us up the mountain…

Like a flock of canaries we took flight. Our citrus Motus SS shirts made us look like a professional team out on a training camp. Unfortunately the reality was quite different. No sooner had we crossed the main road, gone up a small alleyway, that the climb started. The laughter and chat soon subsided as, one by one, everyone started to power walk.

Steep climbing and rutted technical trail underfoot made the 1000m ascent good fun. We had great company, beautiful weather, stunning views and incredible scenery. Overhead birds soared. Giant birds, eagle like in groups of 3’s and 4’s. It was incredible.

In our own time we each made our ascent to the imaginary finish line. Several of us ascended higher to get a panoramic vista of the whole mountain range, it was an incredible view.

The 1000 m drop back down to the car park offered a different test. Not a demand on aerobic ability and fitness, but a test of technique, nerve and confidence. As promised, cold drinks and a picnic awaited!

Endorphin by Arc’teryx

The new Arc’teryx Endorphin range

Published in RUN247
Wednesday 8th August 2012
Tags Arcteryxs   |   Incendo Jacket   |   Incendo Vest   |  Motus SS   |   Incendo Short   |   Accelero Cap   |  Aerios 7L Backpackstrong   |   TalkUltra   |   Ian Corless

Product review: Arc’teryx Incendo Jacket, Incendo Vest, Motus SS, Incendo Short, Accelero Cap and Aerios 7L Backpackstrong


Accelero CapAccelero Cap

I always wear a hat or visor when running. Without wishing to add to much detail… I sweat and I tend to sweat quite considerably. A good head product stops all that salty liquid running into the eyes and causing irritation. I typically have a preference for a Visor and I have to say that the Arv’teryx ‘Neutro‘ Visor is the best on the market for me. For testing purposes though I was using the Accelero Cap.

The  cap is short brimmed and highly breathable with mesh side panels. It has the all important comfortable sweat band that caused no irritation and at the rear it has an adjustable stretch closure with a quick release buckle. Considering I was using this hat in the mountains with 30 deg temperature and I was running up a 30% incline I found the hat incredibly comfortable and cool, even with the heat absorbing black colour.


Motus SS T ShirtMotus SS T Shirt

The Motus SScrew neck shirt was probably the greatest revelation of all the test kit provided. We all think a shirt is a shirt and the differences between products are minimal but believe me, the Motus is a world apart. Using Phasic SL fabric this performance orientated lightweight (97g for M) running top has bi-component construction and all important flat locked seems to remove any potential irritation.

Light to wear it has a trim fit and is designed to quickly remove moisture from the skin. Running up steep gradients with a Backpack certainly helps generate some heat. I was impressed 100% at the ability of the Phasic SL fabric to not only remain comfortable when my sweat rate increased but also how quickly it dried. All in all this is a very impressive shirt and the addition of reflective strips to aid visibility this is one shirt that I will be using again and again for future runs.A streamlined, trim fitting zipper vest is a popular addition to any runners wardrobe. It provides that all important protection for the chest in cooler temperatures but also allows for the arms to be free and therefore controls temperature regulation.


Incendo VestIncendo Vest

This Incendo Vest is made of ultra-lightweight (95g) Luminara fabric which is 100% nylon. To the rear of the product is a 100% polyester mesh back that allows internal heat to escape from the body. It has a side (reverse) stow pocket (the vest will stow inside this) and reflective blades to increase visibly. The most important aspects of a product like this are lightweight, small pack size and ease of use. The Incendo Vest does all these things perfectly and is a great addition to any runners ‘essential’ kit list.


Incendo Jacket

The Incendo Jacket uses the same fabric as the Incendo Vest but has some obvious significant differences. It has no mesh rear panel but mesh panels under the arms to provide temperature control. Obviously designed for cooler temperatures and/ or early morning/ late evening runs. It has reflective strips to increase visibility and at 119g is super light. At the top of the summit in testing it provided perfect protection from the wind and importantly it will reflect light rain. It has a trim fit and therefore when running it did not flap or move around in the wind.

Incendo JacketIt is a product that is designed to ‘fit’ the body and in doing so I suggest that you make sure that you get the correct fit. I personally found the jacket and the vest sized a little large, so, if you are around a 38″ to 40″ chest I would recommend a ‘small’. Like the Incendo Vest it has a small pocket and the jacket will stow into it. Inside the zippered pocket is a media pocket with MP3 cord passage. In use it is a pleasure to wear. Once on you don’t even know you are wearing it. Perfect. When running or racing this jacket offers the perfect combination of wight, size and practicality.

Obviously should you anticipate ‘harsh’ conditions then this jacket may very well be too ‘light’ and I would recommend the Visio FL Jacket. For 2013 the Incendo will also have the option of a ‘hood’. This product will be called Incendo Hoody.


Aerios 7L BackpackAerios 7L Backpack

A Backpack is an all important essential item to any trail, mountain or ultra runner. Because of the variables we encounter when out running the need to carry ‘essential’ items, food and water mean that a practical and comfortable pack is essential. Now if you are like me, I am sure you will have spent a fortune on constantly trying to find that ‘perfect pack’. We have so many variables to consider and I personally find that no ‘one’ pack does all jobs well.

The Aerios 7L (also 10L available) weighs in at 400g and comes in either black or blue. It has two internal pockets, one for a bladder and the other pocket is a small zippered type with a key holder that could hold a wallet, phone or both. It is a simple pack that can hold a surprisingly large amount of kit. In the test case I had a buff, gloves, head torch, Incendo Jacket, Incendo Vest and 2 collapsable poles inside and I still had plenty of room for additional kit. On the outside is a drawstring elastic cord with a ‘garage’ to stow excess cord. This elastic is ideal for adding a jacket such as the ‘Gore Tex’ Visio FL. It has an elastic waist belt with a ‘quick release’ adjustable buckle and if required the waist belt can be removed from the pack completely with two fasteners. On the chest it has an adjustable chest strap that can be placed in one of four positions depending on your body shape and desired fit. In use it is really comfortable to wear and has minimal bounce.

The rear of the pack has ‘Aeroform’ mesh that provides a stable support and minimal heat retention. At the bottom of the pack on either side are two small expandable mesh pockets that are easy to reach without removing the pack and can easily hold several gels or food. At 7L it has a particular use and for me I personally would like the addition of pockets on either the shoulder straps or waist belt. This would provide more options for food and or other essentials such as mobile phone or GPS.


Incendo ShortsIncendo Shorts

Incendo Shorts are one of the best that I have worn. Made from two fabrics called ‘Invigor’ and Viente both of which are Polyester. They fit and hold shape perfectly. They weigh 132g for a medium and have a relaxed fit. An internal liner provides excellent comfort and no irritation. A drawstring waist allows for precise adjustment and at the rear a small mesh vent panel allows for heat to escape. It has two pockets, a hip stash pocket and hip zippered security pocket. In use they are extremely comfortable and allow for plenty of movement with no discomfort. Running or walking up steep gradients in the Pyrenees allowed my legs to move through a whole series of positions with no restraint applied by the fabric or the cut of the short. The waist band was just the right size and like all Arc’teryx products the attention to detail was second to no other make them ideal for a short or long run on road or trail. The addition of reflective strips to increase visibility make them a perfect choice.


I would like to thank Arc’teryx for the opportunity to travel to the Pyrenees and test the products. My reviews are independent, open and transparent.

 

Taking a break S2 E05

Gathered for Kilian’s Classik in the Pyrenees, the team takes time out together on Kilian’s home turf. They run and they have fun! What if that’s their secret…?

Once again another great Salomon Running video filmed by The African Attachment.

If you ever wonder why you run or wonder why you perform well, surely the secret must be because you love what you do. This movie for me sums up that enjoyment, the pleasure of running and enjoying the trails with like minded people.

SkyGames – 2012 summary

July 8, 2012

Skyrunners worldwide celebrated their own games today with the final events of the 2012 SkyGames®.  Six skyrunning disciplines stretching over two weekends had 1,300 participants and twenty nations competing for the forty medals and 14 world titles at stake.

Host country Spain dominated throughout with a formidable contingent including no less than three skyrunning world champions in their ranks.  Luis Alberto Hernando and Nuria Picas were crowned 2012 SkyGames® World Champions in the combined category.  The title was based on the highest points scored in the SkySpeed® (100m ascent), the Vertical Kilometer® (1,000m ascent) and the SkyMarathon®.

Both champions clinched the title by winning the compulsory SkyMarathon® outright today – a tough, 42 km race with a punishing 3,000m vertical climb.

The final medal count had Spain soaring ahead with 7 gold medals, 6 silver and 4 bronze, followed by France, Italy, Japan, Andorra and Venezuela.

Japan's Dai MatsumotoThe ranking points, based on the best results of three men and one woman per nation, read as follows:  Spain, Italy, France, Holland, Greece, Andorra, USA, Great Britain, Poland and Switzerland.

New entries we’ll no doubt be seeing more of were Alex Nichols (USA) who, in his first SkyMarathon®, placed an excellent 6th, and Japan’s Dai Matsumoto(6th in the 2006 Andorra SkyGames®) placed 2nd in today’s SkyRace®.  Look out for him in the World Series’ races coming up soon.

The six SkyGames® disciplines: SkySpeed, 100 metres vertical climb with a 45% incline; Vertical Kilometer, the universally popular formula, here a mere 3.5 km with a 30% incline;  SkyBike – a duathlon combining mtb and skyrunning to 2,000m altitude;  SkyRaid – a multi-discipline team relay; the 21 km SkyRace with 1,350m vertical climb, reserved for runners aged 16-21.  The events concluded with an epic SkyMarathon reaching 3,100m altitude – valid for the combined points title.

Medal count

  • Spain – 7 gold, 6 silver, 4 bronze
  • France – 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
  • Italy – 1 gold, 1 bronze
  • Japan – 1 gold
  • Andorra – 1 silver
  • Venezuela – 1 silver

After months of preparation, an invasion of thousands, and the spectacular week-long celebrations, the people of the small towns scattered around Ribagorza Románica will return to their quiet ways, welcoming tourists to the Romanic Churches for which they are famed and, possibly, feel just a little nostalgia for the stirring sports events that have touched citizens and participants alike.

The event was sanctioned by FEDME, the Spanish Federation for Mountain Sports.

Follow the events on twitter and Facebook.  Official website: www.ocisport.net for details.

ARC’TERYX Endorphin

I have just returned from a three day media event in the Pyrenees arranged by Arc’teryx and in conjunction with Skyrunning.

Arc’teryx are synonymous for providing superior clothing, backpacks and accessories for mountain sports. In 2013 they are launching a new clothing range called Endorphin. This new range of clothing has been created for male and female runners.

Endorphin will push limits on weight, comfort and protection. Faster and lighter they are designed to maximise athletic performance in varied conditions. Controlling moisture, providing protection from the wind, repelling rain and providing warmth, Endorphin will provide all runners with a selection of products that will not only enhance running experience but will also be a pleasure to wear.

Over the coming months I will testing many products within the range before the release in 2013.

In the Pyrenees I was able to do an initial test on the Skrunning VerticalK course and on a 3.5 hour mountain run in 30 deg temperatures. Attending the camp we had journalists from Sweden, Germany, USA, Spain and Italy and we had the pleasure of being joined by Arc’teryx sponsored athletes Adam Campbell (Canada) Nicola Gollinelli (Italy) Didier Zago (France) Tessa Hill (UK) and Murray Strain (UK).  You can read my initial thoughts HERE

The Gap between US & Europe…

Americans on tour

Last weekend I was standing around in the pouring 45F rain in the town square of Zegama in the Basque Country of northern Spain.  Montana mountain runner Mike Wolfe had just crossed the finish threshold of the Zegama-Aizkorri SkyMarathon in 14th place as the top American and was still visibly amped up about the weather, the course, his race.

“I was passing people like crazy on the climbs, and I consider myself comfortable on technical trails, but these guys just go nuts on the downhills.  I’ve never seen people run downhill like that before!”

Hearing that from such an accomplished mountain athlete as Mike helped me realize the true gap that currently exists between long distance mountain races in the U.S. versus those in Europe.

Read the great post in full by Anton Krupicka HERE