The Coastal Challenge 2022 #TCC2022 Stage 1

Hayden Hawks crossing the final river for victory.

Leaving San Jose at 0430, runners eventually arrived at Quepos and transferred to the beach for an 0920 start, the 2022 The Coastal Challenge getting underway! As always, day 1 of TCC starts late and typically it is tough… The heat and humidity is already high and there is no time to adjust. This year, temperatures were cooler and the humidity was not as intense.

The early flat miles ticked away and it was Hayden Hawks who pushed the pace. Hayden raced TCC in 2018 and with that experience, he has arrived with better preparation and heat adaptation. He meant business dictating a fast pace.

Peter van der Zon

Behind Peter van der Zon chased followed by Julien Chorier and local, Erick Agüero, a multiple TCC finisher and often on or close to the podium.

Erick Agüero

Giudy Turini dictated the women’s race and looked comfortable and relaxed, Francis Palacios chased.

Giudy Turini

Cp1 at Boca Naranjito and runner’s were already feeling the heat and the impact of the opening flat miles.

Cooling off

A dense section of rainforest and then some fast trails to cp2, Londres, saw Hayden extend his lead and notably, Erick was now in third place. 

At the third aid station, Los Campesinos, a steep climb and descent before the final river crossing allowed the gaps to open. Hayden never really attacked, he just maintained a fast pace, the cooler day allowing him to close faster than his 2018 time when racing with Tom Evans. A day 1 victory.

Peter ran a smart race with a strong second place, almost 12-minutes behind Hayden. TCC regular, Erick placed third 5-minutes later.

Giudy for the ladies was not in a race on her own, she was pushed by Francis and Paolo Gamboa Sanchez, all three finishing within a 10-minute window.

Paolo Sanchez

Notably, Tomomi Bitoh from Japan, who placed second at Marathon des Sables in October, was unable to start after a positive Covid test pre-race. Needless to say, it was sad news and while the Coronavirus situation is improving, the TCC and race team have strict protocols in place to ensure everyones safety.

Julien Chorier

Julien Chorier and Franco Colle suffered in the heat and humidity today, placing 4th and 7th respectively.

Franco Colle
  • Hayden Hawks 2:35:29
  • Peter van der Zon 2:47:13
  • Erick Agüero 2:51:59
Francis Palacios
  • Giudy Turini 3:44:15
  • Francis Palacios 3:47:28
  • Paolo Gamboa Sanchez 3:53:44

Stage 2 starts at Rafiki Lodge and concludes at Dominical Beach, 41.3km and 1828m of vertical.

Full results at

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The Coastal Challenge 2018 #TCC2018 – Stage 1

It was a hot day, a seriously hot day!

Leaving San Jose at 0430, runners eventually arrived at Quepos after 3hr bus drive and transferred to the beach for a 0930 start. It’s tough starting so late in the morning, particularly on the first day when there is no time to adapt to the heat and humidity.

Yes, the runners are thrown in at the deep end and the best advice is take it easy and ease in to the day!

The early flat miles ticked away, and it was Tom Evans and Michael Wardian who had a short lead over a pursuing Hayden Hawks at cp1 with 10km covered. For the ladies, it was Ragna Debats who stretched the pace and had a conniving gap over Ester Alves.

A dense section of rainforest and then some fast trails to cp2 saw Hawks and Evans move ahead of Wardian. The UK’s Marcus Scotney chased behind and then Timothy Olson. Hawks was pushing the pace but after cp3, Evans made a move and he opened up a small lead which he kept all the way to the line. Hawks finished 2nd and Scotney moved ahead of Wardian to take the 3rd slot. “I felt good today and I kept my heart rate low,” said Evans. “It was hot but all went well, we have a race on our hands!”

Debats for the ladies was in a race of her own despite post-race saying how hot and difficult it was, “I couldn’t breathe at times and I just had to walk to try and keep my temperature down.”

Behind Debats, a competitive race was unfolding with TCC 2016 winner Ester Alves chasing closely followed by Mirta Reaple. Alves held on for 2nd and Reaple finished 3rd 90-seconds later. Suzanna Guadarrama and Josephine Adams placed 4th and 5th.

Tomorrow, stage 2, the runners will cover 39.1km from Rafiki Lodge to Dominical Beach.


  1. Tom Evans 2:38:35
  2. Hayden Hawks 2:42:52
  3. Marcus Scotney 2:47:18
  4. Michael Wardian 2:50:22
  5. Timothy Olson 2:55:44


  1. Ragna Debats 3:20:55
  2. Ester Alves 3:34:16
  3. Mirta Reaple 3:35:51
  4. Suzanna Guadarrama 3:48:50
  5. Josephine Adams 3:51:16


Full results at

Follow the action as the race unfolds #TCC2018

Twitter @talkultra

Instagram @iancorlessphotography


The Coastal Challenge – Stage 2 – Rafiki Lodge to Dominical Beach

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©

Sleep is a precious commodity in any multi-stage race. The ability to recover from one day’s effort and then go again requires discipline not only in training but also the ability to get to sleep early and ensure a full battery charge for the next day!

At The Costal Challenge, this ‘strength of will’ is tested to the max… each day starts at 0330 to ensure an adequate breakfast and a race start that coincides with the sun. It’s important; the heat beats down here in Costa Rica with a strength and power that can wilt the most ardent sun worshiper.


Today’s route involved two tough climbs in succession and then a long drop down to the coast before a final 8-km along the beach that involved two water crossings.

The last water crossing less than 1-km form the finish #TCC2014 ©

The last water crossing less than 1-km form the finish #TCC2014 ©

The 10th edition of the TCC was always going to be a stunning race; the quality of the elite line up was second to none. Stage 2 did not disappoint…

From the off, Wardian, Gaffuri, Clark, Reiter, Beneito and Sa marked each other’s move on the tough first climb. It was all-together at the summit with just seconds spreading the whole group. Gaffuri, loving to run downhill fast moved to the front and pushed hard but even Sa who must have been feeling his ‘extra’ miles from the previous day matched his effort.

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©

Meek opened up a gap in the ladies race right from the start but today’s stage was for more to the liking of Bottger and although initially Meek gained some time, the gap was matched and held.

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©

At the checkpoint before the second climb, the banter in the men’s race was superb. So much so, Reiter, Wardian and Gaffuri thought an impromptu sprint trying to be first for the water was a good idea…

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©

Reiter was first to leave the aid station and he committed himself. He started to open up a gap and push. A remarkable run considering on day-1 he suffered in the heat; not helped by long travel and little sleep.

Clark and Wardian pursuing Reiter at the bottom of the second climb TCC2014 ©

Clark and Wardian pursuing Reiter at the bottom of the second climb TCC2014 ©

Continuing to open up a gap, one would have assumed that Reiter would have succumbed to Wardian’s natural speed when on the flat. However, in the final 8-km’s of beach, Reiter pushed on and held for a great stage win. Wardian placed second and Beneito and Clark finished together taking 3rd and 4th. The men’s race without doubt is poised for some heated competition over the coming days; Wardian leads Beneito and Clark by 3:42, Reiter is just over 22-mins back after his unfortunate day-1. I wonder, can Reiter pull back that time? It would take something remarkable from Reiter in this quality of field. Nick Clark post race said, “Wardian didn’t close on Reiter as we expected in those e final stages, he may have gained a little more time on me but a time gap of 4-mins is easily pulled back. It’s all to up for grabs.”

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©

Bottger caught Meek on the second climb and lead much of the way on the descent; however, with approximately 20-km’s of relatively flat road and beach to the finish we all expected Meek to open up a gap and start to pull away. She certainly opened a gap and enough of a gap to secure a comfortable stage-2 victory, however, it wasn’t a performance of complete dominance as expressed on day-1. Post race I asked her how she felt, “That was a tough day. You can’t run those climbs; it’s all about economy of effort and hiking. I am less used to technical descents so I played safe, however, over the last km’s I could get in my run stride and take the lead again.”

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©

Meek has a 46:02 lead going into stage-3 and barring a disaster; I can’t see her loosing such a margin. She no longer needs to be aggressive and certainly, Meek can ease off a gear and see if Bottger wants to take up the challenge to pull back time.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©

Third place lady, Veronica Bravo is now 1:32 in arrears and has a comfortable margin of almost 50-minutes over 2013 The Coastal Challenge winner, Gemma Slaughter for 3rd place.


  1. Philipp Reiter
  2. Mike Wardian
  3. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito
  1. Jo Meek
  2. Julia Bottger
  3. Veronica Bravo

General Classification after Stage 2

  1. Mike Wardian 7:14:05
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 7:17:47
  3. Nick Clark 7:17:48
  4. Philipp Reiter 7:36:27
  5. Martin Gaffuri 7:45:37
  1. Jo Meek 8:40:45
  2. Julia Bottger 9:26:47
  3. Veronica Bravo 10:12:57
  4. Gemma Slaughter 11:02:34
  5. Wendy Tseng 11:35:13