Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun 2016 – Registration

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The 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun® became a reality today… runners from all over the world have assembled in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

Race website HERE

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A 200km, five-day foot race from South Africa to Namibia through the ancient arid landscape of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.  From the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa to the infamous giant boulders of Tatasberg deep in the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park; this unparalleled journey then crosses the Orange River into Namibia and the wild lands of the Fish River Canyon.  This is the running experience of a lifetime; this is the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun®.
Day 1 starts tomorrow, Monday June 13th at 0800. Before the race gets underway, we feel it’s important you get to see the faces of those taking part.
Day 1 43.64km Sendelingsdrif to ‘De Koei’
Day 2 32.13km ‘De Koei’ to Hakkiesdoring
Day 3 39.78km Hakkiesdoring to De Hoop
Day 4 48.32km De Hoop to Wilderness Hot Springs
Day 5 21.3km Wilderness Hot Springs to Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort
Race images are available at iancorless.photoshelter.com
About the race:
Early archaeological evidence tells us that the San inhabited the Richtersveld area thousands of years ago. They hunted game (mountain zebra and klipspringer) and gathered berries and herbs. The first Khoekhoen or pastoral people moved to these regions from Botswana some 2000 years ago. Like the San, they were hunter-gatherers, and only slaughtered animals on rare ceremonial occasions.
In tune with the harsh environment, many of the Richtersvelders today are transhumant pastoralists, moving their livestock between stock posts with the changing of seasons. The rotation of pastures has helped to preserve the land from overuse. This is the last place in South Africa where pastoral people live on communal lands and one of the last remaining examples of the transhumant Nama way of living.
The harsh environment of the Richtersveld has through the years witnessed a story of determined peoples with a strong attachment to the land. Early last century declared a “Coloured Rural Reserve”, the land’s ownership moved in 2002 to the peoples of the Richtersveld. In this pristine land, devoid of mining scars and in harmony with transhumant pastoralists, an area of more than 160 000 ha has been put aside – first to create a Community Conservancy, now proclaimed a World Heritage Site.
From a distance you can see rugged mountains, sweeping deserts, a giant blue sky and glimpses of the might Orange River creeping along to the sea. On closer investigation you realise that you are standing in one of Africa’s most diverse and rich ecosystems.
The Richtersveld World Heritage Site sits in the heart of what is called the Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot – an ecosystem with an astounding 4 849 succulent plants, 40% of which are found nowhere else.
To be declared a hotspot, an area must have incredibly high species diversity and a high percentage of endemism. It is quite a unique distinction, as there are only 25 hotspots in the world. Even more unusual is that the Succulent Karoo is a desert and is the only arid biodiversity hotspot on Earth.
Conjure up a desolate and forbidding landscape, seemingly devoid of life, except for some people dotting along the horizon. Make a startling discovery upon closer inspection when the mirage dissolves into the human-like half-mens (half person) and the harsh environment prove to be a treasure-chest containing the world’s richest desert flora. Miniature rock gardens, perfectly designed by nature, cling precariously to cliff faces. Tiny succulents, mere pinpoints against a backdrop of surreal rock formations, revel in the moisture brought by the early morning fog rolling in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.

Rugged kloofs, high mountains and dramatic landscapes that sweep away inland from the Orange River divulge the fact that you are now in the vast mountain desert that is the /Ai-/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, an area managed jointly by the local Nama people, SANParks and Namibia Parks and Wildlife. This is a harsh and unpredictable land where water is scarce and life-sustaining moisture comes in the form of early morning fog – called ‘Ihuries’ or ‘Malmokkies’ by the local people – which rolls in from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, sustaining a remarkable range of small reptiles, birds and mammals. A staggering assortment of plant life, some species occurring nowhere else, is to be found here, with gnarled quiver trees, tall aloes and quaint ‘half-mens’ keeping vigil over this inscrutable landscape.The Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere, and second only to Arizona’s Grand Canyon in terms of size. 161km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest, the southern part of this canyon is largely untouched by tourists and remains one of the wildest and most remote corners of the world.

The /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is only accessible by means of a 4×4 vehicle, but vehicles with high clearances such as combi’s and LDV’s do travel in the park. Sedan vehicles are not permitted.
June temperatures are likely to be cool at night and comfortable during the day. However, it can get as low as 4-5 degrees Celcius during the night and as high as 35 degrees Celcius during the day.
Each day of this 200km, five-day journey will take you on a rollercoaster ride of geological splendour. From the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa, to the infamous giant boulders of Tatasberg, across the green swathe of the Orange River, and into the wild lands of the Fish River Canyon in Namibia – every kilometer is an experience within itself and will leave you stumped for words to describe your journey.

The Coastal Challenge 2016 #TCC2016 – The Full Story

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The 2016 The Coastal Challenge was an incredible race, year-on-year the race grows and it is now one of the most respected multi-day races on the calendar. Following the classic multi-day format, runners travel in the south of Costa Rica on foot covering approximately 250km’s. Like races such as Marathon des Sables, the TCC is not self-sufficient. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this makes the races easier… read on!

View the full 2016 The Coastal Challenge image gallery HERE

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“Hugging the coastline, the race travels in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range via dense forest trails, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beaches backed by palm trees, dusty access roads, high ridges and open plains. At times technical, the combination of so many challenging elements is only intensified by the heat and high humidity that slowly but surely reduces even the strongest competitors to exhausted shells.”

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READ PART ONE – HERE

“Encapsulating the true sense of adventure, TCC requires a runner to be more than ‘just’ a runner. The race manages to make or break the most experienced competitor. Hopping from rock-to-rock, traversing a ridge, clambering over slimy boulders, swimming river crossings or running up and down single or double track, the race truly requires a rounded athlete to gain victory.”

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READ PART TWO – HERE

“The men’s race looked all set for a group run to the line with Don-Wauchope, Calisto and Martinez running side-by-side over all of the first 25km. Don-Wauchope safe in 1st place, Calisto safe in 2nd and Martinez no threat to the overall standings.”

 

“But where was Sa?”

 

“Sa was trailing a few minutes back. When the trio entered the river bed, Sa apparently flew past like a man possessed. It was a last ditch effort to secure 2nd place ahead of Callisto.”

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READ PART THREE – HERE

Demand for the 2017 The Coastal Challenge is already high with pre-requests and provisional bookings. Entries open in the UK and Europe this week via www.thecoastalchallenge.co.uk

Why not take part in our 2017 Multi-Day Training Camp which takes place in January each year? Details are available HERE

Interested in The Coastal Challenge 2017? Use the form below to secure one of the 100 available places

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Lead From Behind by Niandi Carmont

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“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.” – Nelson Mandela

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I just so love this quote by Mandela one of history’s truly great legendary and inspiring leaders. This guiding principle is what no doubt helped Mandela lead South Africa towards the democracy it is today, even from behind the secluded prison bars of Robbin Island.

Leading from behind is one of the most effective, rewarding and empowering leadership strategies. It goes against the traditional image we hold of great leaders, leading the troops from the front by setting the example.

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As a coach during a 2016 training camp for multi-day racing and specifically the Marathon des Sables (here), I had the opportunity to put this into practice. Marathon des Sables or “MDS” as it is affectionately called by most aficionados is a gruelling self-sufficiency multi-stage running event which takes place every year in April in the Sahara. The event is celebrating its 31st year this year and will gather over 1300 international participants at the start line on 8 April. Participants are required to carry a minimum weight of 6.5kg with a minimum calorie allowance of 2000Kcal/day covering a total distance of 250km with temperatures exceeding 45C over dunes, jebels and scorched sun-dried salt lakes.

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The pre-race training camp last week in Lanzarote provided participants with an opportunity to run long distances on consecutive days in the heat and on demanding terrain simulating that encountered in the Sahara. It also allowed them to test their equipment and exchange with coaches on nutritional and hydration strategies.

Attendees were divided into groups of differing ability depending on the objectives they had set themselves.

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” — Sam Walton

Coaching one of the groups provided me with one of the most insightful weeks on leadership, mentoring and providing feedback. How do you support and develop each participant in the group giving them the self-confidence to learn and grow? This is where leading from behind comes in. At times I would be running ahead setting the pace. Then I would slow down and run in the group egging them on to the next landmark. Other times I would drop down to the back of the pack and let them set the pace. After all isn’t it all about a balance between pushing people outside their comfort zone because you know this is what will help them have the strength to face adversity in the challenge they have set themselves? Then again you also need to be there to monitor their progress and not push them beyond their limits or dampen their enthusiasm. A fine line!

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A good leader is also a good listener. Managers are advised to listen 70% and speak 30% when providing feedback. It is surprising what you learn from coachees when you listen actively. I learnt a wealth of useful information listening to each participant in my run group. Listening gave me a better understanding of the difficulties of each and everyone: ranging from juggling personal and professional commitments to finding the time to train, fitting training around consecutive business trips, adopting a healthy nutritional strategy with a demanding work schedule and business dinners, dealing with sports injuries due to increased mileage, apprehension of the unknown, fear of failure, professional stress impacting on training performance…the list is endless. But listening helped me to be specific in my advice.

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” — Rosalynn Carter

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A leader should also enhance competitiveness. Many in my group had set out with the objective of completing Marathon des Sables and getting that beautiful big shiny medal handed over to them by the race Director Patrick Bauer, ticking MDS off on their bucket-list of ultra-running achievements and adding it to their run CV. I know the runners in my group will cross that finish line but I also know that they can achieve much more. They showed that tenacity, grit and determination in training that will take them to the finish line at MDS.

“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on.” – Walter Lippman

And so my final message to my coachees after a week of learning from them about leadership, mentoring and providing feedback is:

“I won’t be there with you at the start-line although I’d love to be but I will be be tracking your progress live on-line and living every minute of the MDS experience with you.” – Niandi

 

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If you would like to join our 2017 Multi-Day Training Camp, please go HERE

View images from 2016 HERE

View daily images and summaries from 2016 HERE

Multi-Day Training Camp Schedule Jan 28th – Feb 4th 2016

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Located at the iconic Club La Santa resort, our training camp will provide you with all the knowledge, experience and practical training you need to make your next multi-day adventure a success.  Hosted by Ian Corless and 2015 ladies Marathon des Sables champion, Elisabet Barnes,

The 2016 multi-day training camp in conjunction with:

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Lanzarote offers a variety of terrain that can be found in many desert races and therefore it’s the ideal training ground to prepare and acclimatize for an up and coming challenge.

The camp will provide workshops where it will be possible to discuss and test apparel and specific multi-day kit.

You’ll be able to try dehydrated food and test your hydration strategy in a real situation.

You’ll spend a night out under the stars in your sleeping bag and importantly, you’ll be able to test your pack and work out what works and what doesn’t work.

In addition to all this you’ll have 7 days of training geared towards your targets based around your ability and experience. This camp is for everyone; experienced or novice.

Club La Santa as a resort offers a great base and all facilities are included. This is great for relaxation, an opportunity to cross train or more importantly it’s perfect for friends and family to join you as a plethora of opportunities are available.

INFORMATION

The purpose of any training camp is to provide you with specific information and training designed specifically to help you with your future objectives. Although you may run (train) more in this condensed week, it’s not designed to break you! Therefore, all training sessions are flexible and you can dip-in and dip-out as required. Most importantly, just as in any race, we will have a very mixed ability base. You will therefore train at your appropriate pace with like minded people.

Each day will be broken down into one or two specific training sessions, one workshop and leisure time.

Club La Santa as a resort is a great destination for a training camp due to its proximity to Morocco, mixed terrain and the excellent facilities available within the Club La Santa complex. Over 30 different sports are available ‘free’ to anyone staying within the complex and of course they can be included within your schedule or during your free time.

Apartments at Club La Santa are functional and consist of a lounge/ diner with kitchen, bedroom with 2 x single beds and a bathroom. The lounge area coverts to 1 or 2 single beds. Apartments are for 2 adults sharing and 1 or 2 children can join for free as required.

Club La Santa has 4 restaurants: Atlantico is a buffet restaurant, Pool Bar is located outside near the swimming pools and is great for lunch, casual drinks and evening dinner, La Plaza and El Lago are based within the complex and offer a more formal dining experience. La Santa village is less than 2-miles from the CLS resort and a selection of excellent local restaurants are available. Finally, apartments do offer the option to self cater, however, you will find that evenings in CLS are about getting together, relaxing as a group or in smaller groups and bonding. Just as you would in bivouac.

SCHEDULE

This schedule may tweak or change due to situations beyond our control.

 

Thursday 28th

Travel to Arrecife from the UK. Easyjet offer a selection of very affordable flights from London, Bristol, Midlands and Liverpool. Ideally an arrival time at CLS before 1700 hours is preferable.

A taxi from Arrecife airport to CLS is 35-50 euros and that is for 1-4 people. Journey time is less than 30-minutes. Where possible, we can look at journey times and connect people prior to departure so it will be possible to share taxi costs.

1700 – 1900 Meet and greet at the Sports Bar within CLS.

1930 Group dinner and welcome at the Pool Bar (food payable locally)

Friday 29th

Important – unless otherwise stated, all sessions will meet at the run track. Please be punctual. All sessions will start on time.

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0900 – 1200 Coast run to Famara and return. This is a flat run along mixed terrain (sand, lava, rocks) to the coastal town of Famara and then return back to CLS. This is an out and back route and therefore suitable for all abilities.

12-00 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation.

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1500 – 1700 What goes in the multi-day rucksack

1730 Optional easy 20-40min run or walk.

1900 Drinks and the Sports Bar.

2000 Dinner as a group or as per your requirements.

Saturday 30th

Meet 0830 CLS Reception

©iancorless.com_MDS2015Day3-68620900 – 1530 Volcano Walks – 5 hours trekking over 3 different routes catered for all abilities. This is an organized CLS excursion and is suitable for all providing an opportunity to sight see and gain time on feet. Make sure you have sun cream, water and snacks. An official guide and a snack is provided. This is for adults only, apologies for anyone who may be travelling with children.

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1730 – 1900 Food and Hydration for the multi-day adventure (workshop and talk).

1930 Drinks at the Sport Bar.

2000 Dinner – as a group or as per your requirements.

Sunday 31st

0800 – 1200 Coastal run to Timanfaya over mixed undulating terrain. This run has some challenging terrain, a little scrambling and provides an excellent opportunity to test oneself.

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1500 – 1630 Foot care what to do and what not to do.

1700 – 1800 Easy run of 20, 40 or 60min.

1930 Meet Sports Bar.

2000 Dinner as a group or as per your requirements.

Monday 1st

0700 – 0800 Optional pre breakfast run.

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0900 – 1200 Rucksack discussion (look at Raidlight, WAA, Ultimate Direction, OMM) We discuss fitting, packing and how to ensure that the pack you choose is specific to your needs and how to pack.

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1200 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation.

1530 Run and Bivouac – This will provide all of you with an opportunity to test your pack, sleeping bag, clothing, food, hydration, cooking options and dehydrated food in a real situation. We will run/ hike out of CLS camp departing at 1700 for an estimated 3-4 hours. We will then bivouac and depart the following morning back to CLS early.

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*Note – due to logistics and functionality we will not be able to provide shelter for the bivouac, so, if you wish you can bring a bivvy bag or you can buddy up with another runner and share a 2-man tent. Alternatively, you can sleep under the stars (weather depending). We strongly recommend that you bring a sleeping matt even though you may wish not to use or carry one when racing. Also, your multi-desert sleeping bag may well be a little cool for a bivouac night in February! Please bring long sleeve base layer and tights. We also recommend that you bring a lightweight jacket (down) for added evening and/ or sleeping warmth. This is all very specific and applicable to a typical evening in a desert race. We will be available to provide any help and advice prior to departure to ensure that you have all you need.

Tuesday 2nd

0700 Depart bivouac and head back to CLS.

1200 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation.

1530 – 1700 Debrief from bivouac run. Lessons learnt, what worked and what didn’t work.

1730 Easy 30min run or walk.

1900 Drinks at Sport Bar.

2000 Dinner as a group or as per requirements.

Wednesday 3rd
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0900 – 1200 Run/ walk with dune/ sand familiarization and technique.

1200 – 1500 Lunch and relaxation.

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1500 What can go wrong and how to prevent it. Be prepared workshop!

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1600 Shoe choice and gaiters.

1730 – 1830 Coast run/ walk – out and back route for all abilities.

1930 Drinks at the Sports Bar.

2000 Farewell group meal. 

Thursday 4th

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0700 – 1000 Coastal run for all abilities with pack and putting into practice everything learned during your week in Lanzarote. We appreciate that Thursday is departure day, so this run is optional and a bonus for those who can make it. You can obviously cut this run short at anytime, hence the out and back route.

Thursday am/pm return back to the UK.

Please book your taxi or bus at CLS reception.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

This training camp is designed to provide an insight into the demands that a multi-day adventure will bring. It is aimed at all abilities and although training and adaptation is a key element of the camp, it is not the most important aspect. Your week in Lanzarote has been designed to provide you with all the information you will need in a ‘real’ environment so that you can ask questions and make mistakes during your training week, not during your race. Leave nothing to chance!

Places are limited and the camp is currently over 50% full.

Camp cost £800 (early booking discounts now have expired, apartments and places now on application)

This includes a self catering apartment on a share basis. Inclusion in the above schedule and access to all facilities within the Club La Santa complex. 

non-running partner cost is £500 or £530.00 if they wish to attend the Volcano walk which is suitable for all abilities.

Balance deadline is now due on booking due to the proximity of the training camp.

What is not included?

Food and drinks are all payable locally. Any additional day trips or excursions and flights/ transfers to and from the UK and internal transfers to and from the airport in Lanzarote.

How to book?

 

 

 

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, FEET ON THE GROUND

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Read my first hand account of the incredible Tromso SkyRace on RUNULTRA

I clamber, drop, grip and ascend and descend as required by the ridge. The rocks were wet and grip via hand or foot was going to be compromised. I was already wearing light gloves to protect from the cold, my shoes were mountain running shoes designed for grip of softer/ muddier ground. I wondered, ‘What will the grip be like on these rocks?’

Read the FULL ARTICLE HERE

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To provide a perspective, take a look at Jordi’s video via GoPro from the ridge

Marathon des Sables Hints ‘n’ Tips on RUNULTRA from JoMeek, Danny Kendall and Nikki Kimball

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Running the Marathon des Sables or any other multi-day race? Read some of the Hints ‘n’ Tips from Nikki Kimball, winner of the 2014 MDS, Jo Meek, 2nd at the 2013 MDS and winner, course record holder for The Coastal Challenge and Danny Kendall, highest male British finisher, MDS 2014.

The Marathon des Sables dates back to 1984 when a 28-year old Patrick Bauer ventured into the Sahara to traverse solo a 350km journey. It was the ultimate self-sufficient expedition. Lasting 12-days, Patrick carried all he required in a 35kg pack. Inspired by the experience, the first edition was created in 1986; just 23-pioneers embarked on that journey… a journey into the unknown.

Who would have thought those formative years would have laid the foundations for what is, without question, the father of multi-day racing. In 2015 the race is 30-years old. It’s quite remarkable, The MDS as it is known has had memorable moments; in ‘91’ the Gulf drama had an impact on the race, in ‘94’ the arrival of Doc Trotters medical team, in ‘96’ Mohamed Ahansal participated for the first time, in ‘97’ Lahcen Ahansal won his first MDS, in ‘2000’ internet arrived in the Sahara, in ‘01’ the long day exceeded 70km, in ‘02’ a week of sandstorms and wind made the journey extra difficult, in ‘09’ the MDS had flooding and in ‘13’ solar energy arrived.

Much has been written about how to survive at the Marathon des Sables. With the 30th edition looming on the horizon I caught up with previous winner, Nikki Kimball, 2nd placed lady in 2013, Jo Meek and the UK’s highest ever male finisher, Danny Kendall to pass on some words of wisdom.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON RUNULTRA HERE

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Darkness to Light

Darkness to LightThe Marathon des Sables needs no introduction. It has been hailed as one of the toughest races in the world. Like it or love it, it has produced some wonderful and epic stories.

One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I marvel at the front runners moving fast through the dunes, up a jebel and ignoring the heat. However, the middle of the field and those who struggle each day to make the cut off no doubt provide me with incredible inspiration.

Gilles and Didier have provided such thoughts on numerous occasions.

Tears stream down his face as he sobs uncontrollably. Gilles, all smiles, pulls away and kisses him on each cheek with a passion seldom seen. It’s a moment to savor! They are the last two runners on the course and the moment epitomizes all that the Marathon des Sables represents. It shows a bond between two people and confirms all that is good and pure in human nature and ultra running.
Read the full article on RUNULTRA HERE
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William Sichel – A RUN IN THE PARK on RUNULTRA

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Read my article on the incredible William Sichel. He has been flying the flag for ultra running for 20-years. This year he took on the intimidating 3,1000 mile SRI CHIMNOY.

‘On day 19 I was 71-miles behind the target pace. I was aware of this but during the race I didn’t know this… it wouldn’t have been helpful. I needed to blank this and work on my mind. I adjusted and went into mental lockdown. I lived in the moment. I focused on each step, each minute detail and I said to myself, just run the greatest distance possible each day and repeat. Lap by lap, day by day I started to adapt and I found that at night I could speed up. After 9pm I could run, I could speed up and I could move quickly. This is coincided with the course being quieter too. The race and the other runners had written me off; they all didn’t think it was possible to pull back such a deficit.’

 

You can read the full article HERE

Make sure to check out RUNULTRA HERE

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Jo Meek on RUNULTRA

 

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Jo Meek has illuminated the ultra world in the past 18-months placing 2nd at the 28th edition of Marathon des Sables, winning The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, setting a new course record and an outright win at Iznik Ultra and then placed 5th at the iconic Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa. But it didn’t end…

I caught up with Jo and wrote an article for RUNULTRA on this rising star of our sport.

Please check it out HERE

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