This is Episode 109 of Talk Ultra. We speak with inspiring adventurer and I2P ambassador Ray Zahab about his amazing Antarctica 2 Atacama expedition. We also speak with an amazing Australian lady, Mina Guli, who ran 40-marathons across 7 deserts on 7 continents in 7 weeks. We also have a little pre-MDS chat and Speedgoat is here.
It’s a different show this week as Ian is in the Sahara at Marathon des Sables and this show was recorded in advance and then programmed for release.
RAY ZAHAB In February 2016, Ray Zahab (CAN), Jen Segger (CAN) and Stefano Gregoretti (Italy) set out on a unique and challenging expedition that spanned 100 degrees celsius on the thermometer. The team journeyed from -50°C (-58F) to +50°C (120F) over 1,500km, on mountain bikes and foot, crossing both Baffin Island in Canadian winter, and the Atacama Desert in Chilean summer. Website HERE
MINA GULI From 1 February to 22nd March, 2016 Mina did something nobody in the world that has ever done before – she ran across 7 deserts on 7 continents in just 7 weeks. She did it for one reason – to raise awareness about the water crisis. To show the world in pictures and in images, what the water crisis looks like, and to highlight the fact that left unchanged, our water use will increase unsustainably – to a point where by 2030 we will have a 40% greater demand for water than supplies available. Website HERE
Episode 81 of Talk Ultra is out… Mike Murphy talks about pushing to the limits (and beyond) at The Coastal Challenge, Elena Polyakova talks about ultra running in Turkey and the up and coming Cappadocia Ultra Trail and Ray Zahab fills us in on his last expedition. Marc Laithwaite return for Talk Training and we discuss Maffetone. A Blog, Up and Coming Races, the News and Speedgoat Karl co-hosts.
Sean O’Brien 100k
Ryan Smith 8:41
Seth Swanson 8:57
Magdalena Boulet 9:51
Anita Ortiz 10:40
Silke Koester 11:11
Dylan Bowman 7:44 CR
Jorge Maravilla 8:01
Yoshikazu Hara 8:12
Ruby Muir 9:02 CR
Ruth Croft 9:14
Nuria Picas 9:40
MSIG Sai Kung 28k
Dai Matsumoto 2:49
Elisa Desco 3:41
MSIG Sai Kung 50k
Samir Tamang 4:48
Mira Rai 5:39
The Coastal Challenge
Iain Don Wauchope 22:29:08
Ashur Youseffi 26:09:54
Roiny Villegas 26:23:53
Veronica Bravo 29:35:20
Nikki Kimball 32:31:50
Maria Rivera 34:07:13
MIKE MURPHYpushed things to the limit at the 2015 The Coastal Challenge, in this interview we discuss his experiences in-depth.
Black Canyon 100k
Ford Smith 8:31 (18 years old)
Dave Mackey 8:33
Ryan Ghelfi 8:40
Caroline Boller 10:05
Angela Shartel 10:55
Gina Lucrezi 11:51
Red Hot 55k
Alex Nichols 3:48
Rob Krar 3:51
Jim Walmsley 3:54
Ashley Erba (19 years old) 4:29
Kara Henry 4:44
Kerrie Bruxvoort 5:03
David Johnston 21:29
Rachel Gano 29:34
ELENA POLYAKOVA has pioneered ultra running in Turkey. In this interview we discuss her experiences and the up and coming TNF Cappadocia Ultra Trail
RAY ZAHAB is no stranger to adventure, earlier this year he ventured into Patagonia. We hear all about it.
Iain Don Wauchope writes about The Coastal Challenge – HERE
Episode 42 of Talk Ultra – We speak to Fernanda Maciel as she prepares for the up and coming CCC and the Everest Trail Race. Ray Zahab has inspired many a runner and we chat to him about his career, Impossible to Possible and his recent Gobi Crossing. We have a chat with Scott Jurek and Nick Clark about Leadville. Smiles and Miles with Emelie Forsberg, Talk Training, the News, a Blog and the up and coming races. It’s another packed show!
What a race Leadville turned out to be. We had all discussed the race beforehand and the script had been written. However, somebody should have told the runners….
00:10:22 – To set the scene, here is a pre race interview with Scott Jurek
Ian Sharman 16:30 (4th fastest time)
Nick Clark 17:06
Mike Aish 18:28
Kyle Pietari 18:37
Andrew Catalano 18:43
Timo Meyer 19:04
Eric Sullivan 19:17
Scott Jurek 19:21
Bob Africa 19:38
Javier Montero 19:45
Ashley Arnold 20:25
Saheen Sattar 22:42
Keila Merino 22:47
Katrin Silva 23:16
Becca Hall 23:43
Kara Henry 23:50
Abby Mcqueeney Menamonte 24:06
Maddy Hribar 24:24
Nicole Struder 24:25
Maggie Nelson 24:37
David Laney 9:05
Jesse Haynes 9:45
Dan Olmstead 9:56
Caren Spore 11:07
Joelle Vaught 11:28
Paulette Zillmer 12:42
Touro Miyahara 3:43:25
Alex Nichols 3:43:48
Jason Delaney 3:53:46
*Stevie Kremer 12th overall and sets new CR for Age Group. Previous record of 4:21:09 and Stevie did 4:17:13. Interestingly, Stevie tells me she can’t run downhill… we all know Emelie Forsberg can! Well Stevie came down quicker than Emelie in 2012, Emelie did 1:34:09, Stevie did 1:33:08 so that is a new descent record too!
Finally, it is the Matterhorn Ultraks this weekend. Going to be exciting to see Kilian, Hernado and some of the other top Europeans going head-to-head.
Also, UTMB, TDS and CCC is just around the corner. Really strong American contingent… Anton K, Dylan Bowman, Gary Robbins, Dakota Jones, Mike Wolfe, Mike Foote, Timmy Olson and so on… is it the year for the US?
01:00:55 BREAKING NEWS
01:07:58 Brazilian, Fernanda Maciel is racing CCC and I caught up with her about her prep and how she is then preparing for Everest Trail Race later in the year!
Ian Sharman couldn’t sleep after his incredible Leadville win and instead decided to get his thoughts down in a blog post. – http://sharmanian.blogspot.co.u
“In summary, there were some fast guys aiming to do ridiculous times. Scott Jurek wanted to be the second man to break 16 hours and Ryan Sandes was coming back after a fast win in 2011… So Nick Clark and I were dark horses given the two 100s in our legs from recent weeks and we weren’t expected to be around the lead at the end.”
01:32:15 TALK TRAINING – Marc Laithwaite
01:57:47 INTERVIEW – Ray Zahab
This week’s interview is with Ray Zahab. Ray is a passionate guy who through Impossible to Possible has inspired many people. I finally had the opportunity to catch up with Ray after he completed yet another expedition, crossing the Gobi desert. We talk about his career and Ray shows his passion for i2P.
03:16:20 CLARKY’S CORNER –It’s three down and one to go for Clarky and the other ‘Slammers’. Leadville is just around the corner. We catch up with Nick, discuss how Leadville went and what his chances are of taking the Grand Slam away from Ian Sharman
In a matter of days renowned international adventurer Ray Zahab is attempting to undertake a challenge that will be the ultimate test of his endurance. On June 23, Ray and his team will set out in the latest inov-8 Challenge Series expedition which will see them attempt to run across the Gobi Desert at its widest point covering a distance of approximately 2,300km, with minimal daily resupply. This would be the first time anyone has set out to run right across the broadest part of the Gobi Desert.
Canadian Ray is a man who has previously accomplished some astonishing feats. The intrepid athlete has run across the Sahara Desert, which was filmed for a documentary produced by actor Matt Damon. Ray has also broken the world speed record for an unsupported team expedition to the South Pole and was the first person to run the length of the entire Atacama Desert. This new test, however, will be the hardest of his life. It’s the equivalent distance of running from New York to Houston, Texas, in an extreme desert environment.
Starting in Mongolia and finishing in China, Ray and his teammate Kevin Lin will face remote conditions that will force them to tackle this desert adventure with extremely limited external support. At best the team will only be able to rely on one or two drops of supplies each day. This is the bare minimum given the harsh conditions that they will be running in. On foot and overland the team plans to meet with Nomads, learn from them and share their stories via live web broadcasting and film.
Ray will use the best equipment that he can to help him achieve his extreme goal. Ray has been working with the international, British-born brand inov-8 to ensure he has the best footwear, apparel and backpacks to survive the extreme conditions. His chosen footwear is the inov-8 Trailroc 245 and the inov-8 Terrafly 303. Ray’s clothing will include the inov-8 Race Elite Stormshell and also Race Elite Windshell to keep him protected from all the elements and he will carry his day supplies in the Race Elite, Race Pro and Race Ultra Vest packs.
Commenting on the task ahead, Ray said: “The team at inov-8 has been so helpful in preparation for this expedition. Truly…they have thought about everything my feet will go through, plus all the other kit I’ll need to support me. If we make it we will be the first humans to cross this desert running across its widest point – it’s crazy!!”
During the Gobi Expedition, professional photographers and videographers will join the team to capture footage and photos of the desert, the people and the expedition. At the end of the expedition, footage will be made available to schools for free download, for use in classroom projects leading up to the as yet not announced impossible2Possible Youth Expedition.
Ray added: “Our i2P Youth Expeditions are 100% free for participants and schools. My goal is to reach as many youth as possible- and through i2P give them the opportunity through their own adventures to learn that they can indeed achieve the extraordinary in their lives.”
In the final days of the expedition, Ray and Kevin will be joined by youth team members from Asia, and during the expedition a member of the i2P Youth Ambassador Alumni will join as support.
The expedition team will head into the desert on June 19. Ray and Kevin will start their epic run on June 23 and hope to reach the finish line in 35 days. The team hopes to cover an average of 70 kms a day.
For the latest information visit: http://www.facebook.com/Impossible2Possible
Natalie White, is the sports and marketing manager for UK Company Inov-8 who this year celebrate 10 years in the business. With less than one week to go to Zegama, I caught up with Natalie to discuss the brand and the expansion for the future. In 2013, Inov-8 has put together an International Skyrunning Team, it is a new departure for the brand, I asked how this has come about and why now?
NW: Yes, when I began at Inov-8 in Feb 2012 budgets had already been set so I had to focus on what people were telling me to do based on the budgets we had. However, in September 2012 I sat down with the European marketing manager and I said that we need to get involved in Skyrunning. It is a passion of mine anyway but all the high profile athletes are at these races and we as a brand needed to be involved. So, it made sense. I set up an International Skyrunning Team with runners from Australia, America, UK and France. Hopefully we are going to make an impact.
IC: It is an ambitious project and one that will test the financial strings as much as the runner’s legs. How do you go about putting something like this together, particularly in this current market?
NW: It takes some serious logistics. I also have a 101 other jobs to plan and budget for. I really need to manage my time well. It’s a case of getting a small International team and focusing and what needs the athletes have. Such as kit, what they expect from the brand, travel expenses and then budgeting all that. We shall review the total cost at the end of the year and then make adjustments for future years. I am a runner myself so I know what the runners want. I need to balance all the costs, hopefully everyone will be happy.
IC: Is part of the project also to develop new products such as clothing and shoes that you can take forward in future years?
NW: Yes! We have just sent our SS2014 workbook to print with some very exciting new products. I can’t talk about that yet…
IC: Your lips are sealed?
NW: Yes, we have our launch this month, in May. We are also working on other new products. It is all very exciting.
IC: In the past, as a company you have been renowned for your shoes and packs but you are moving into clothing?
NW: Yes we launched AW2013 running apparel and showed it in February 2013. Our athletes will be wearing our new mountain running wear in Zegama. I hope it will make retail outlets in July and August. It’s a very exciting time for the brand and the athletes.
IC: How have these products been designed? Do they all have athlete input?
NW: Yes, everything we do has runner feedback and athlete feedback. We put everything together, produce a product and then test it. Our athletes test it in training and our marketing team test the products. We go out at lunch and run on local trails. We debrief and then make adjustments as appropriate.
IC: You have mentioned the athletes. You have some real variety for 2013. Such as Brendan Davies and Shona Stephenson from Australia and then we have Americans, UK runners and then somebody like Joe Grant who is a Brit who lives in the US. Zegama will see the British runners head to Zegama… it is quite a mix.
NW: Yes, it is a mix. Prior to me joining we only had a small team of UK based athletes. To get more brand awareness across the world I thought we needed an International team. So, the best athletes from around the world put them in one team and then send them out to run in the Skyrunning series. We support them and help them travel the world to race. We want to help them achieve.
IC: Skyrunning is a very different sport to a lot of other running. UK runners in particular seem to adapt well particularly if coming from a fell running background… of course fell doesn’t have the altitude but it does have some tough terrain. How do you think Brendan and Shona will handle Skyrunning? It will be very different for them. How do you help them and help them adapt to the challenges?
NW: I speak with Brendan and Shona every other day via email and we have regular Skype chats. Because I have done plenty of Skyrunning I can help them. They are currently preparing with adjustments for altitude. They are in form. Look at the results from UTMF and TNF 100. Incredible! (Brendan just won and set a new CR at TNF100 in Australia, a record previously held by Kilian Jornet)
Brendan Davies – Inov-8
IC: How will Brendan and Shona recover from these high profile and demanding races and be ready for Skyrunning?
NW: To be honest, they both seem to recover very well. I don’t think recovery will be a problem. Of course flying and travel may impact but I think, fingers crossed, they will be fine.
IC: Zegama is the first race that you will attend, yes?
NW: Correct, yes.
IC: Zegama is the classic mountain race. It is famous for the terrain, the racing and a top quality field. What team will run?
NW: Alex Nichols from the US, he is in great shape. We have three UK runners, Ben Bardsley who is coming from a SkiMo season. He has actually been racing Kilian. He has been in the Alps doing some fastest known time attempts too. We have two ladies, Sarah Ridgeway and Anna Lupton. Sarah has been training on the Isle of Skye doing some ridge running. Ana Lupton is in good form too…. Hopefully everyone will be fit and healthy and will be able to have a great race!
Ben Bardsley – Inov-8
IC: Yes, it is going to be a great way to kick off the series for Inov-8. I have just done a race preview and I think Ben and Alex are potential dark horses.
NW: Ben came into our office just the other week and he looks super fit and healthy. He is very keen for the first race. He is very appreciative to be part of this team. It’s a dream come true for him. He is very happy.
IC: As the season progresses the priorities will fall with the Sky marathon and Sky ultra series. What at the end of the year will mean that this year has been a success?
NW: Ultimately brand awareness. We have many plans and we will attend many races. After Mont Blanc marathon we will stay on in Chamonix to do product testing, photography, video and so on. It will be great to have everyone in the same place at the same time. It is taking some planning but I am sure it will be fine! We then have Alex Nichols at Pikes Peak and then we have a team at Ultraks in Switzerland. Shona and myself will race Ice Trail Tarantaise…. Not sure why I signed up for that! Speedgoat and UROC will see some American runners participate and then we will have a team at the last race in Limone, Italy. It will be a great finish to the year. It will be a case of having representation across the world with athletes in the overall rankings. All about developing the brand.
IC: Inov-8 has been going almost ten years. As a company it has achieved a great deal. From a shoe perspective you have always been highly respected. You understood the needs of particular terrain and developed products accordingly. For example, the mud claw, it is a classic. How will the brand develop in the future? Will you have any shoes developed specifically for Skyrunning?
NW: My lips are sealed!
IC: Okay, enough said. That is a yes then!
IC: If we look forward to 2014, do you have a plan to increase your team or do you think you will look after the team you have and help them progress.
NW: We will progress the team we have and build on that. We are always inundated with requests for sponsorship but it is just not possible to help everyone. We just don’t have the budget. We need to look after the people that we have currently. We need them to have the results and we need to help them achieve that.
IC: Much better to have a hardcore team of eight to ten who you can help, finance and support so that they can get results. No point having a team of thirty and no results.
IC: Finally, you have Joe Grant on the team. Joe has done some crazy exploits such as the Iditarod Trail Invitational… a crazy event! 350 miles in sub zero temperatures. Do you plan to help progress ideas like this as a brand, for example, will you create projects that your athletes can undertake. I guess adventures which Inov-8 can help finance.
NW: Definitely, we have Ray Zahab from Canada who is currently taking on a challenge of crossing the Gobi Dessert. He is doing that in June this year and we are helping to support him. We love this sort of thing. Crazy challenges… the crazier the better!
IC: It creates a story and it creates a buzz. Ultimately that is great for you as a brand. You need your name out in the arena and that comes from inspiration. It filters back to consumers.
NW: Yes, exactly. We are all about making the brand the best it can be and ultimately providing the customers with the right footwear and clothing for them to achieve!
IC: Natalie, it has been great chatting with you and I am looking forward to Zegama this coming weekend. Best of luck for you and the team!