Anna Frost – The Times They Are a- Changin’

 Come mothers and fathers

Throughout the land

And don’t criticize

What you can’t understand

Your sons and your daughters

Are beyond your command

Your old road is rapidly ageing

Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand

Cause the times they are a-changing

– Bob Dylan

Anna Frost is arguably one of the most famous mountain runners in the world. Striking good looks, a huge smile, an insatiable addiction for fun and an ability not to take herself too seriously has made her the no1 all over the world – from a runner and fan perspective.

Recently she returned to Costa Rica and ‘put the record straight’ by finally winning The Coastal Challenge at her third attempt. In year one she was unable to start due to doctors’ orders. In year two she was forced to retire due to injury on the penultimate stage whilst in the lead. In 2017 though she nailed it by winning five-stages and cruising the sixth and final stage knowing the job was done!

It had been an emotional ride and one that was clear for all to see as she sobbed on the shoulder of race director Rodrigo Carazo on the finishing line of the final stage.

“Wow, that has been some ride and I am pleased to put the record straight. I love everything about The Coastal Challenge. The organization is amazing, the place is fabulous, the layout of the course is so challenging and rewarding. Contrast that against the communal environment of camp and you have just the perfect race. For me, will I come back? – absolutely! Will I race again? Probably not – but volunteering, helping at aid stations and marking the course appeals.”

Frosty, as she likes to be known is at a new point in her career if you hadn’t guessed. The turmoil, stress, back-to-back travel and the pressure to perform has taken its toll. “It’s a great problem to have and I have been very fortunate. But there are so many places and events to go to – I can’t do them all and in the past I tried. I am now very careful and I listen to my body. My health is far more valuable than trail running.”

A balanced approach has taken time to learn. Of course, Frosty has made some huge mistakes on the way but that is how one progresses, develops, learns and now with experience, the lady from New Zealand seems to tick along nicely. No doubt helped by her long-term relationships with Braz who Frosty has now developed a series of camps and adventures with.

Relaxed, philosophical, balanced – these are not the words I would have used to describe Frosty when I first met her in 2012 on the island of La Palma. She is still the same force, still the same glowing and open personality but then she wanted it all and of course she had it. Her run at Transvulcania in that edition was legendary and it elevated her onto the world stage.

“Social media placed a great deal of pressure on me and I relate that to my downfall if you can call it that? I didn’t respond well to trail running all of a sudden. I ran trail because I loved it and then suddenly I was ‘professional’ with eyes on me. When it became ‘a thing,’ I wasn’t prepared for it. The pressure got too much an I went to a dark hole. Now though, there is no pressure!”

Community, the spirit of running and running on trail is what this lady bought into and that is what she wants moving forward.

“I want to be part of the community and not separated from it with a ‘professional’ tag. This week in Costa Rica I have watched people race, challenge themselves, learn on the trail and they have got the job done – that is so awesome!”

Trail running is booming and female participation in the sport is growing and growing. Frosty has been clear to emphasize that a woman can be a runner and feminine, after all, she has her own clothing line with sponsor, Salomon.

“Clothing is a lot more feminine now with a great deal of bright colours, we have skirts, dresses and all sorts of products that are specific to make us feel great on the trail. Let’s face it, running is an accessible sport – you just need shoes and an outfit and you can join in, let’s embrace that!”

Despite a feminine side, Frosty doesn’t see herself as a woman, at least not when she is running.

“When I am on the start line, I am just there – a human. Obviously, I know that I am racing the women but I never think I am a girl therefore I can’t run up hill fast, or that I can’t compete with the men – I just race and I race whoever I am near, male or female.”

Maturity comes with age but it also comes as boxes are ticked and life becomes more settled. Frosty has a man in her life and a transition is taking place.

“We met at Hardrock – a Hardrock love affair! The last couple of years of coming home to someone has been very settling. I have always searched for home. It would be New Zealand in winter after months on the road but when I met Braz, I was home! That was very satisfying, very fulfilling and I now feel like I can do anything.”

A new outlook on running, a man, home, the patter of tiny feet may well be the next thing in the ultra, trail and mountain world?

“I have dreamed of being a mum since I was 13-years old. With my travel and work a child has not been an option, but now, my mind is shifting focus. I have Hardrock 100 again this year and a few other races and events, but yes, in the close future it’s something that I will put an emphasis on. Nothing is guaranteed though. I would be privileged and lucky to make my own little baby. However, if not, I sponsor a charity called ‘Children of Uganda’ – if I can’t have my own child, I will help other children in the world that are so much in need.”

Inspiration takes many forms. You may well know Frosty as ‘the runner,’ but think outside the box, step back and see the person. A person who has inspired so many by climbing mountains, running fast over trails but I can’t help but think her best work is to come. Be it her own child or someone else’s, Frosty will lead by example. She will blaze a new trail and I can only hope you follow – we all need to be inspired and I can’t think of any other lady in the sport who can do the job better.

Many thanks to Niandi Carmont who produced an extended interview with Frosty in Costa Rica post the 2017 edition of the race. You can listen HERE.

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Barkley 2017 – High Drama and a 15th Finisher

Image ©canadian running

John Kelly was the 15th and only finisher of the 2017 Barkley. An incredible achievement and something that didn’t come easy (his 3rd attempt) for the Washington DC runner. His time of 59:30 shows just how close it was. However, many would say (including Laz the race director) that 30-minutes leeway is far too much in what is universally considered the ‘hardest’ race in the world.

Kelly had ran the first 4-laps with Canada’s Gary Robbins who was faced with a repeat of 2016 when he ran a similar story with Jared Campbell (who went on to win the race) for the 2nd time.

Kelly and Robins had traded blows, helped each other along and then at the end of the 4th lap they went there respective ways – one clockwise and the other counter-clockwise. A rule introduced by Laz to ensure less finishers and a race to the line. Both didn’t finish in 2016!

It was on this lap that the weather changed. Rain, mist, fog and of course sleep deprivation bullied the runners as they searched for the 13 books from which they must tear out a page.

Kelly triumphed arriving at the infamous yellow gate first having taken ‘anything’ he could find from the course to keep warm – a orange hat, a plastic bag and so on. As his hands touched the gate, he asked, “Where is Gary?”

It was a question many asked and as the 60-hour cut-off approached Robbins could be seen sprinting up the road, poles in hand, desperation on his face…

Image©canadianrunning

Would he make it?

Did he make it?

No – he was 6-seconds over the mythical 60-hour cut-off time. There was no way Laz would be lenient… the ultra world collapsed and universal sympathy was sent to Robbins on what was the most heartbreaking 6-seconds in running.

Image ©canadianrunning

The reality is, it wasn’t as close as many first thought. Robbins had made a navigational mistake in the mist and fog. Although he made the yellow gate with all the relevant pages of the book, he did not take the correct course and therefore Laz would not have permitted the finish, even if Robbins had been within the 60-hour cut-off. Robbins tagged the gate from the wrong direction and in the videos posted on Canadian Running  you can see the desperation of a broken man.

 

So, just as Jim Walmsley became famous with going off course at Western States, Gary Robbins may well become more famous and gain more recognition than the 15th Barkley finisher, John Kelly.

He and the 2017 Barkley, rightly or wrongly, will be remembered as the most stunning 6-seconds in ultra running and it is comparable to those 8-seconds that separated Greg Lemond from Laurent Fignon at the 1989 Tour de France.

Both John Kelly and Gary Robbins are legends of the sport for undertaking the 5-loop beast at Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee as are all those who toe the line.

But we should all remember John Kelly for achieving what so few have done… Robbins brings us tears but as he says below, “I did not finish The Barkley Marathons, and that is no one’s fault but my own.”

Over the years, the Barkley has grown and grown in stature – funny for a race with $1.60 entry fee.

Everyone will now look to 2018. Robbins for sure will go away, lick his wounds and will be back… Kelly summed it up though, ‘Oh no, next years course is going to be even harder!’

40-runners will receive the letter notifying them that they have been unlucky to gain entry to the 2018 Barkley – would you like to be one of them?

Perspective – a statement from RD Laz:

I wish I had never said 6 seconds… Gary had just come in after having run off course and missing the last 2 miles of the Barkley, that is of course, not a finish. I do, however, always record when runners come in, whether they are finishing a loop, or not. So I had looked at the watch, even tho there was no possibility that he would be counted as a finisher. When someone asked if he had gotten in before the limit; I foolishly answered. I never expected the story to somehow become that he had missed the time limit by 6 seconds. He failed to complete the course by 2 miles. The time, in that situation, is meaningless. I hate it, because this tale perpetuates the myth that the Barkley does not have a course. The Barkley is a footrace. It is not an orienteering contest, nor a scavenger hunt. The books are nothing more than unmanned checkpoints. The Boston marathon has checkpoints and you have to show up at all of them or you can be disqualified… that does not mean you are allowed to follow any route you choose between checkpoints. Now, the class with which Gary handled this terrible disappoinment at the end of a truly magnificent performance… that was exceptional and is, in and of itself, a remarkable achievement. But he did not miss the time limit by 6 seconds, he failed to complete the Barkley by 2 miles.

– Laz

Of course, Gary Robbins, ever the gentleman has soon penned just a few words to congratulate John Kelly and clarify the final moments of his 2017 Barkley. Read the full article and post HERE

“…I thrashed my way to the road and put my head down and gutted out the hardest three minutes of my life to collapse at the gate, overtime, and from the wrong direction. I did not finish The Barkley Marathons, and that is no one’s fault but my own. That one fatal error with just over two miles to go haunts me.”

– Gary Robbins

 

  Images ©canadianrunning please go to http://runningmagazine.ca

Episode 131 – Tom Owens, Jo Meek and Inge Nijkamp

Episode 131 of Talk Ultra and we bring you an interview with TCC winner, Tom Owens. We also speak with Jo Meek who recently placed on the podium in Hong Kong at Translantau 100km. Niandi brings us a ‘one-on-one’ interview with Inge Nijkamp. We have the news and ultra-chat!

Niandi still is injured but back in the pool

Ian has been to Bulgaria w/ Dean Karnazes, Sean Conway and more…

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We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons you can even join us on the show! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create! 

Many thanks to our Patrons

Rand Hayley, Simon Darmody, Mike Hewison, Tom Flummerfelt, Rupert Hitzenberger, Derek Doran, Dan Masters, Steve Milne. Daniel Weston, Andi Dunn, Sam Wilkes, Ron van Liempd, William Sichel, Jonni Suckling, Ally Spiers, Lindsay Harmoudi, Rene Hess, Mathew Melksham, Jamie Oliver, Kent Keeler, Aaron Aaker, David H, Brian Wolfkamp, Neil Catley, Craig South, Melissa Bodeau, Mark Moromisato, Sarah Cameron, Kerstin Palmer, Nicola Scott, Rohan, Aurora, Thomas Mueller, Fredrik Rantarkyrl, LostTrailRunner, Neil Staveley, Philippe Lascar, Marc Mills, John De Martin, Brian Walters and Martin Gray.

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Niandi is joining me and yes, her foot is still in a moon boot. How’s the fracture?

Lets kick off with Niandi’s next ‘one-on-one’ interviews, this week she talks with Inge Nijkamp who attended our training camp in Lanzarote. In early April, Inge will toe the line at MDS and here Niandi discusses balances life, children and how you fit it all in…

INTERVIEW with INGE NIJKAMP

NEWS

Chuckanut 50k

Max King once again showed his speed ahead of Hayden Hawks. However, both went under to old CR! It was close with Hawks just over 30 seconds back. Max gets an auto qualifier for the IAU Trail World Champs. Sage Canaday placed 3rd.

Ladia Albertson-Junkans (?) won the race in 4:17 and the IAU slot ahead of Yiou Wang and Rachel Jaten

Trail du Ventoux

Marc Lauenstein and Caroline Chaverot too top honours in a race that also gave IAU qualificition. Lauenstein from Switzerland didn’t qulify (obviously) for the French place and this went to UTMB winner Ludovic Pommeret.

Kilian Jornet

Kilian announced his year! Everest figures and an attempt at the Bob Graham Round.

Surprisingly, his run calendar is full, no doubt due to the run series that is currently a little under the radar…. Mont Blanc Marathon, Sierre Zinal, a return to a super stacked UTMB and of course Hardrock 100 and Ultra Pirineu figure. From a UK perspective, KJ will race at Glen Coe which is awesome news.

Antelope Island Buffalo Run

Great to see Sondre Amdahl take the win for the men and Sage Balloock Dixon for the ladies – 6:45 and 8:087 respectively.

Translantau 100km

Harry Jones from the UK took the win ahead of Jacky Leung and Jeremy Ritcey, their times 12:47, 13:28 and 13:44. Marie McNaughton 14:10 once agin won the ladies’ race ahead of Brit Jo Meek 15:05 and  Wei-Ling Tseng 17:42.

I caught up with Jo to hear about the race.

INTERVIEW with JO MEEK

INTERVIEW with TOM OWENS

UP & COMING RACES

Algeria

Ultramarathon des Ziban | 100 kilometers | April 06, 2017 | website

Argentina

50 km | 50 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

80 km | 80 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Patagonia Run 130k | 130 kilometers | April 07, 2017 | website

Australia

Victoria

100 km | 100 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Down Under 135 | 135 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

Ultra SkyMarathon | 75 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

55 km | 55 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Chile

Ultra Fiord 100K | 100 kilometers | April 06, 2017 | website

Ultra Fiord 100M | 100 miles | April 05, 2017 | website

Ultra Fiord 70K | 70 kilometers | April 06, 2017 | website

Croatia

100 Miles of Istria | 108 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

100 Miles of Istria – 110 km | 110 kilometers | April 07, 2017 | website

France

Bouches-du-Rhône

58 km | 58 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Essonne

Rendez-vous de la marche nordique | 100 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Jura

Le Savagnin | 58 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Landes

80 km | 80 kilometers | April 03, 2017 | website

La Ronde des Pains | 80 kilometers | April 03, 2017 | website

Morbihan

66 km | 66 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Puy-de-Dôme

52 km | 52 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Germany

Hesse

Eschollbrücker Ultra-Marathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Hungary

BSI Half Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 95 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Balatonfüred – Siófok | 51 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 24, 2017 | website

Italy

Lombardy

100 km di Seregno | 100 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

60 km di Seregno | 60 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Tuscany

Ultratrail delle Valli Etrusche | 50 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Malaysia

50 km | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

70 km | 70 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Mexico

50 km | 50 kilometers | April 02, 2017 | website

Morocco

Marathon des Sables | 250 kilometers | April 07, 2017 | website

Morocco Tizi N’Trail | 120 kilometers | March 24, 2017 | website

New Zealand

Oxfam Trailwalker NZ | 100 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Norway

Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – 1 1/2 Marathon | 63 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – Ultra 100km | 100 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Poland

Beskidzka 160 Na – Long Distance | 84 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Portugal

Inatel Piódão Trail Running – 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Réunion

62 km | 62 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Spain

Andalusia

TrailRunning BRIMZ “Guzmán el Bueno” X Sierra Morena – 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Catalonia

Long Trail Barcelona | 69 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Marxa dels Castells PLUS | 81 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Oxfam Intermón Spain – Girona | 100 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Ultra Trail Barcelona | 100 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Sweden

Silva Ursvik Ultra – 75 km | 75 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Calderdale

The Calderdale Hike – Long | 36 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Cheshire West and Chester

Chester Ultra | 50 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

East Lothian

2x25K Relay | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Glasgow City

Glasgow – Edinburgh Double Marathon | 55 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Highland

2XU Jogle | 860 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Lancashire

The Canalathon 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

The Canalathon 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

The Canalathon 75 km | 75 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

USA

Alabama

Oak Moutain 50+ | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Alaska

White Mountains 100 | 100 miles | March 26, 2017 | website

Arizona

100 Mile | 100 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

50 Mile | 50 miles | March 26, 2017 | website

Crown King Scramble 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

California

50km | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

American River 50-mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 100 Miler | 100 miles | April 06, 2017 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50K | 50 kilometers | April 06, 2017 | website

Beyond Limits Ultra and BLU Relentless 50 Miler | 50 miles | April 06, 2017 | website

Nine Trails 35 Mile Endurance Run | 35 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Old Goats 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Old Goats 50 Mile Trail Race | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Ragnar Relay So Cal | 200 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

Florida

Fort Clinch 100M | 100 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Fort Clinch 50M | 50 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Georgia

Georgia Death Race | 60 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Idaho

Pickled Feet 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Kansas

Prairie Spirit Trail 100 Mile Ultra Race | 100 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Prairie Spirit Trail 50 Mile Ultra Race | 50 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Rocking K Trail 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Maryland

50K HAT Run | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Minnesota

Zumbro 100M | 100 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

Mississippi

150 miles | 150 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

New Jersey

100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

100M Trail Race | 100 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

50M Trail Race | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

North Carolina

Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Umstead 50 Mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Ohio

Fools 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Oregon

Shotgun Trail Blast 50K | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Pennsylvania

Mt. Tammany 10 | 40 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

South Carolina

70 mile | 70 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

Palmetto200 Relay | 200 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Tennessee

Ragnar Relay Tennessee | 196 miles | March 24, 2017 | website

Texas

Hells Hills 50 km Endurance Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 01, 2017 | website

Hells Hills 50 Mile Endurance Trail Run | 50 miles | April 01, 2017 | website

Utah

100k | 100 kilometers | April 07, 2017 | website

100 Mile | 100 miles | April 07, 2017 | website

Behind the Rocks 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Behind the Rocks 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 25, 2017 | website

West Virginia

Haulin’ in the Holler 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | March 25, 2017 | website

Vietnam

Ultra ASIA Race | 160 kilometers | March 26, 2017 | website

Close

01:41:21

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Kilian Jornet to race in the UK at Salomon Glen Coe Skyline

“If you build it, they will come…”

I have always loved that simple quote from the movie, ‘Field of Dreams.’ I had the same thought process when I started the Skyrunner National Series in the UK. I was told, Skyrunning in the UK, don’t be silly. It’s not possible.

However, over the last three years the small but perfectly balanced series has gone from strength-to-strength. We had Stevie Kremer and Jo Meek race in year-1. In year-2, Emelie Forsberg, Jasmin Paris and wealth of other world-class talent toed the line.

And last year, the world came to Scotland for the UK’s first ever Skyrunner World Series race. This knock-on effect has seen a sell out 2017 calendar and all the races with in the UK Series personify pure Skyrunning.

The season starts with the V3K in Wales, the series then moves to the Lake District with Scaffell SkyRace and Lakes SkyUltra. Skyline Scotland follows with no-less than three World Series events – in the SKY, ULTRA and EXTREME category, the Mamores VK also joins the new VK Series. Finally we finish in Ireland with the Mourne Skyline MTR.

It’s never good to pinpoint one person, but when Kilian Jornet confirms that he will come to the UK and race in the series. That is worth shouting about!

Roll on June when the series starts – we hope you can join us in what will be the pinnacle of mountain racing in the UK!

Did I mention, he’s having a go at the BOB GRAHAM ROUND too!

Kilian marking his own Skyrunning race, TROMSO in Norway.

Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 Review #Peak20

Packs for a multi-day race or a running multi-day adventure were once the domain of Raidlight. Of course, other brands ventured into the arena but it was only really the arrival of WAA that made everyone start to stop, look and see what else existed.

Packs are personal.

I think a pack becomes even more personal when one requires something to be comfortable for multiple days and also when carrying 6.5kg or more.

Salomon have now extended their ‘vest design’ to the S-LAB PEAK 20 and in doing so, they will turn the head of many a runner and make them question, is this THE pack for them for their next multi-day adventure or race.

Shape, gender, size, height and so many other variables dictate if a pack is comfortable or not and this depends on you, so, when looking at this pack I try to be impartial and when possible I always try to cross reference with a female perspective. The plus of this pack is it comes in S, M, L and XL so no compromising to be made. I am 38/40 chest and I have a medium which fits perfect.

If you are heading to the mountain for an overnight adventure, I am pretty sure the Peak 20 will work for you. However, would the pack work for a race like Marathon des Sables, Grand to Grand, Everest Trail Race or one of the 4 Desert races when one is completely self-sufficient for multiple days?

Let’s look at the packs highlights:

  • 1 main compartment with a full length zip (double slider) that open up allowing easy access and organisation of what is inside.
  • Fabrics that wick and are quick drying.
  • Three sizes – S, M and L.
  • Soft trims so no chafing.
  • Sensifit is a Salomon buzz word that ultimately means it should be the Rolls Royce of bags when coming to fit and comfort.
  • Front hydration pockets x2 (designed for 500ml soft flasks).
  • Adjustable front straps for customized fit.
  • Zipper pockets – It has 2 large pockets on the front, 2 expandable pockets on the shoulder straps and 2 top zipped mesh pockets.
  • Will take a bladder.
  • Ability to carry poles or ice axes.
  • Lightweight at 484g +/-.

THE PACK

This pack will work for an overnight adventure, mountain marathon race or an adventure when an excessive mandatory kit will be required. But, the big question for many will be, can this pack work for a 6-day self-sufficient race?

In a word – Yes!

Simple reasons why:

  • Yes, it can hold 2 x 750ml of liquid at the front
  • Yes, it has 4 pockets on the front that will allow immediate access to anything you will need whilst running a stage.
  • Yes, it can hold another liter to 1.5 liters on the rear in two external pockets.
  • Yes, it can hold everything you need for 6-days self-sufficiency.

OVERVIEW

The pack has a 20L capacity (typical for Marathon des Sables and comparable with the competition from Ultimate Direction, WAA, Raidlight, OMM and others) and has one large external zip on the rear that works two ways so that you can zip down or zip up depending on preference. Once open, it’s possible to access the pack easily and arrange contents. Internally there is a small mesh panel so that you divide the large compartment in two – a good thing for maybe an overnight jaunt but not required for a multi-day adventure.

It’s light, very light! It has a vest style that echoes and follows on from the designs from Salomon’s other models.

The front of the pack has two stretch pockets for soft-flasks or bottles. On top of these pockets sitting a little lower are two large pockets with zips that hold a surprising amount. On top of the shoulder straps are two stretch zip pockets that provide additional storage.

On the sides of the vest are adjustable cords that pull the pack closer to the body or allow the pack to be looser.

On the top of the rear of the pack above the zip, is a central cord pull. Pull this and the yellow cord that wraps around the pack pulls tighter and compresses the contents. Great when the pack is full to make everything tight and secure but especially useful as the days pass when racing and the pack contents become less.

IN DETAIL

The pack tapers and as you can see from this side-view is narrow at the bottom and then opens up wider as one gets closer to the top. On both sides is an open topped stretch pocket that will take a bottle or other items.

The pack has thin blue padding that does not sit inside the pack but on the outside and underneath the mesh back. The is ingenious as it has been designed so that it can be removed.

It is held in place by small metal buckles that attach to web loops. I removed the padding and used my sleeping mat inside the pack as my padding. Ingenious – not only do you save weight but your mat doubles up as protection when running and sleeping.


The two-way external zip is great to allow access to upper items or lower items in the pack without having to un-zip the whole pack. Importantly, when un-zipped it’s easy to access the inside and arrange items. An internal mesh panel can be used to split the pack into two halves. For some this may be useful but if like me you use the sleeping mat inside, you can only have one large compartment. It’s a great space and like any pack, you will want to play around with how you pack your contents to find the correct balance. As a tip I recommend you leave your sleeping bag out when packing. Put all the contents in and then add the sleeping bag filing in all the empty spaces – you will be amazed how a lightweight down bag will compress.

The external cord the wraps around the pack is designed to be pulled tight and compress the contents. This is adjusted on the rear of the pack just above the zip.

Simply hold the buckle and pull the cord. The cords pulls tight and compresses to make the pack smaller and tight – perfect! You can make this even tighter by pulling the cords on the side and then taking up the the slack by the top adjustment. This on days 3, 4, and 5 will be just incredible at making the pack smaller and smaller as contents are used up.
On the shoulder straps, the yellow cord is also present under the two shoulder zip pockets. Pull the cord here and take up the slack and you pull the top of the pack closer to your back.

 On the sides of the pack between the bottom rear and the front lower pockets there is a yellow cord on each side – again this allows you to pull the bottom of the pack as close to your back as you require.

In a nutshell, this level of adjustment is just perfect and is the best of all packs I have tried.

 The front of the pack is classic Salomon vest design but with some differences. Fitting to the torso comes via 3 straps. Two go right to left and one goes left to right. These attach via a black plastic hooks to a yellow cord.

They can be moved up or down and they can also be made tighter or looser. In particular, this will be useful for lady runners who need to adjust the pack to fit around their chest. It’s a method that works and the on-the-go adjustment is welcome.

There are two stretch pockets that are designed for soft-flasks. This for me caused concern as I was under the impression that they would only hold 500ml. Not so! These pockets will take the Hydrapak SF750 soft-flasks and you can drink from these without the need to remove them.

Prefer straws? The Hydrapak 600ml bottles with straws will fit.

Prefer hard bottles? This is where I needed to think outside the box… OMM make very slim 500ml bottles and they fit like a glove.

Have no fears, you can carry enough water up at the front. Also, lets not forget the two external pockets. In my tests, I had 2x 500ml OMM flasks on the rear too. So, at a minimum you could carry 1litre or 2litres with 2 bottles on the rear. At a max you could carry 3litres with 1.5 up front and 1.5 at the rear.

UPDATE on the bottle situation. I finally obtained 2x 750ml Raidlight bottles with straws and they fit like a glove to the front pockets!


The two pockets that sit below the bottles are a real welcome addition. They are easy to get at. They have great capacity, trust me, you need no more additional space up front, especially when one considers the two additional sip pockets on the shoulder straps. These pockets are less spacious but they will take a phone, snacks or other essentials.

 

There is an attachment system for poles that comes over the right shoulder. I personally though would probably attach to bungee cords to the front of the pack so that I can place the poles across my chest when not in use.

Fit is sweet and with all the adjusters you can really get this pack close to your torso. It fits like a piece of clothing and there are no rough edges – all the seams are soft. Salomon actually say that the pack may be worn against the skin and it will feel like apparel.

At 484g it’s light.

INITIAL SUMMARY

This pack is still under test and things such as longevity, strength, weaknesses, durability and so on have not been tested as it’s too early to say.

However, what I can say is that this is the best pack I have tested for running when the contents are heavy and I require 20L capacity.

I have long been a fan of the Ultimate Direction Fastpack as I loved its simplicity and no nonsense approach to the task of carrying many items and weight. The Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 has now become my new favourite.

It’s not without flaws – what pack is? The yellow cord compression works like a dream but it can be a little tricky to set up – it’s a small price to pay though.

The front bottle pockets almost certainly require soft-flask use or using the OMM 500ml bottles. I personally would always caution against soft-flasks for a multi-day, if they puncture, you are screwed. However, the Hydrapak soft-flasks are more durable than much of the competition and they have never let me down. The 600 or 750 versions work with the vest – perfect.

We will follow up with some action shots of the pack and an overall summary from a male and female perspective in the coming weeks, for now, this pack gets an ‘A’ for awesome.

Photo below is copyright Ricky Gates – he’s currently using a prototype Peak 20 with front pack. Interesting!

You can read Ricky’s specs and the contents of the pack on his Facebook page #transamerica 

In use at Everest Trail Race, November 2016

Some comments:

Paul Wilson Used one on the spine race. It was ace. Did most of my training with an ultimate direction fast pack then seen got the Salomon pack. Which proved to be far better.

Jana Studzinska Tested on fully self supported solo running trip across Serra de Tramuntana. Can’t recommend more.

Sito Castello perfecta para la Everest Trail Race.

Robert Kampczyk Cool bag. Like it because my complete Photo Equipment can insert.

What Salomon say:

Ideal for alpine running, superlight mountaineering or fast hiking, the streamlined S-LAB Peak 20 set uses our trail running knowledge to move fast in the mountain, with stretch fit and complete stability. With convenient access to the 20L compartment, both the pack and the load are easily compressed for maximum stability under partial load. It includes front storage solutions for two 500ml soft flasks and essentials and possibility to carry poles, ice axes…

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable fit
  • Breathability

FEATURES:
Back systems
MotionFit Trail
Sensifit (pack)

Load Management
Soft Twin Link
Compression quick lace
Top and bottom sensi load lifter

Pockets & compartments
2 front soft hydration elastic pockets
2 front zipped large pockets
2 shoulder expandable pockets
2 top zipped mesh pocket

Carrying system
4D Pole holder

Opening & closure
Wide front opening with double sliders

Miscellaneous
Soft trims
Apparel sizing
Patent pending

Fabrics
PVC free
Elastic Power mesh
Fast wicking fabrics
70D Nylon Double Ripstop, Waterproof 500mm
70D Nylon Triple Ripstop – Silicone coating, Waterproof 500mm
Elastic Jersey

Pack weight (lb oz) : 17.073
Pack weight (g) : 484
Pack volume (l) : 20
Pack volume (ci) : 1220

Episode 129 – Anna Frost, James Stewart and Fred Streatfield

A_GRAVATAR

Episode 129 of Talk Ultra brings you an in-depth interview with Anna Frost. We speak with the inspiring Fred Streatfield we talk with the Rocky Racoon 100 winner, James Stewart.

We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons you can even join us on the show! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create! 

Many thanks to our January Patrons

Rene Hess, Daniel Weston, Dan Masters, Kerstin Palmer, Sarah Cameron, Neil Catley, Sam Wilkes, Melissa Bodeau, Lindsay Hamoudi, Aaron Aaker, Simon Darmody, Philippe Lascar, Rohan Aurora, Mathew Melksham, Brian Wolfkamp, Thomas Mueller, Mark Moromisato, Jamie Oliver, Rand Haley, Ron van Liempd, Mike Hewison, Steve Milne and Rupert Hitzenberger.

Donate HERE

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This weeks show is full of inspiring interviews but you will have to forgive us for it being a little late… I blame a full-on trip to Costa Rica to cover The Coastal Challenge. It was an incredible race and full of brilliant racing and excitement. The UK’s Tom Owens dominated the men’s race ahead of Chema Martinez from Spain and the USA’s Jason Schlarb.

In the ladies race, Anna Frost from New Zealand made it third time lucky showing Spain’s Anna Comet and Portugals Ester Alves a clean pair of heals.

The 2017 edition of the race really was spectacular and on the next show we will discuss the race in detail and bring you interviews from the race.

Read all about and view images of the 2017 edition HERE

For Anna Frost it was a special race and significant in more ways than just winning. Frosty first arrived in Costa Rica in 2014 but didn’t even make the start due to doctors orders. In 2015 while leading the race, she was forced to withdraw on the penultimate day with injury. In 2017 she came back and put the demons to rest.

Frosty is an inspiring lady and it seemed only correct that Niandi had a ‘one-to-one’ with the Green of the trails.

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00:03:50 INTERVIEW with ANNA FROST

00:54:50 NEWS

Moab Red Hot 55K

On the last show we interviewed Hayden Hawks and he fulfilled his promise with a win and course record at Moab Red Hot 55k. His 3:39 bettered Rob Krar’s record by 5-minutes. Marie Hogan won the ladies’ race in 4:44.

The Coastal Challenge

Anna Frost won in 27:08. Anna Comet (Spain) and Ester Alves (Portugal) were second and third in 27:58 and 28:23, respectively. Tom Owens dominated the men’s in 22:29. Chema Martinez (Spain) 23:43 and Jason Schlarb 24:34 were second and third.

Formidable 50K

Max King beat the old CR by 37-minutes to win in 3:32. Yiou Wang took the ladies win in 4:18.

Black Canyon 100K

Alex Nichols is on a roll and gets a coveted WSER slot after his win 7:55 ahead of Elov Olson and Eric Sensman. Olov also getting a WSER slot. Nicole Kalogeropoulos placed 1st for the ladies in 9:30, Clare Gallagher was 2nd and Ailsa MacDonald 3rd. First two also get WSER slots.

On the last show we discussed our Lanzarote Training Camp and one attendee stood out with an inspirational story, Niandi caught up with Fred Streatfield.

00:58:05 INTERVIEW with FRED STREATFIELD

Join us in Lanzarote, January 2018 for our MULTI-DAY TRAINING CAMP HERE

RUNNING BEYOND BOOK – I will be also going to Sofia in Bulgaria on the 17th, 18th and 19th March for a trail, mountain and Skyrunning expo.

Rocky Raccoon has been one of those races that has always attracted a high quality field early in the season for a fast 100-miles. Just think Ian Sharman… so, it’s great pleasure to catch up with fellow Brit James Stewart on his impressive 2017 victory.

01:33:22 INTERVIEW with JAMES STEWART

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

New South Wales

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 100 km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | March 03, 2017 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Party All Night | 50 kilometers | March 03, 2017 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Sun, Sand, Surf | 50 kilometers | March 03, 2017 | website

Tasmania

50 km | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

50 km Relay | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

Canada

Yukon

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 120 Mile | 120 miles | March 10, 2017 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 350 Mile | 350 miles | March 10, 2017 | website

Cayman Islands

Off the Beaten Track | 50 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

France

Côtes-d’Armor

Trail des Douaniers | 50 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

Ultra Trail | 80 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

Dordogne

50 km | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

Finistère

100 km | 100 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Gard

Trail aux Etoiles | 62 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Ultra du Bout du Cirque | 100 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Loire-Atlantique

Le Trail du Vignoble Nantais – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

Puy-de-Dôme

Ultra trail de Vulcain | 81 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

Tarn

Black Mountain Trail – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon März | 108 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Hesse

50 km Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Hong-Kong

Translantau 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 10, 2017 | website

Italy

Piedmont

100 km di Torino | 100 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

Tuscany

Terre di Siena 50 km | 50 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

Umbria

Trasimeno Lake Ultramarathon | 58 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

Nepal

Buddhist Stupa Trail Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

New Zealand

Old Ghost Ultra | 85 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

The Hillary 80 km Trail Race | 80 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Philippines

Davao50 | 50 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

Portugal

111 km | 111 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

50 km | 50 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

75 km | 75 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

South Africa

Three Cranes Challenge | 106 kilometers | February 24, 2017 | website

Spain

Andalusia

150 km | 150 kilometers | March 03, 2017 | website

73 km | 73 kilometers | March 03, 2017 | website

Canary Islands

Transgrancanaria | 125 kilometers | February 24, 2017 | website

Transgrancanaria – Advanced | 84 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Catalonia

UT les Fonts | 120 kilometers | March 10, 2017 | website

Sweden

Ice Ultra | 230 kilometers | February 24, 2017 | website

Thailand

Columbia Trails Masters – 50K | 50 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Bihar

Green Man Ultra | 44 miles | March 04, 2017 | website

Essex

St Peters Way Ultra | 45 miles | February 26, 2017 | website

Northumberland

Ultra | 34 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Telford and Wrekin

Millennium Way | 38 miles | March 05, 2017 | website

Wiltshire

Imber Ultra Marathon | 33 miles | March 05, 2017 | website

USA

Alabama

Delano Park 50 Mile Solo | 50 miles | March 04, 2017 | website

Mount Cheaha 50K | 50 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Alaska

Chena River to Ridge Endurance Race 45 Mile | 45 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 mile | 1000 miles | February 26, 2017 | website

Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 mile | 350 miles | February 26, 2017 | website

Arizona

Old Pueblo 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 04, 2017 | website

Ultra Adventures Antelope Canyon 100 Mile | 100 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Ultra Adventures Antelope Canyon 50 Mile | 50 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Ultra Adventures Antelope Canyon 55K | 55 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Arkansas

LOVit 100k | 100 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

LOVit 100 Mile | 100 miles | February 24, 2017 | website

California

50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Orange Curtain 100K | 100 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Orange Curtain 50K Afternoon | 50 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Orange Curtain 50K Morning | 50 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Salmon Falls 50K | 50 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Sycamore 100k | 100 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Way Too Cool 50k | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Florida

100 Miler | 100 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

100 Mile Team Relay | 100 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

50 Miler | 50 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Kansas

Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K | 50 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Louisiana

Rouge-Orleans Ultramarathon & Team Relay | 126 miles | February 26, 2017 | website

Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

Ultra 50M Plus | 50 miles | March 05, 2017 | website

Maryland

Hashawha Hills 50 km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Seneca Creek Greenway Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Mississippi

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 04, 2017 | website

Missouri

Soggy Bottom 100 Miler | 100 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Soggy Bottom 100 Mile Relay | 100 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Soggy Bottom 40 Miler | 40 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Soggy Bottom 40 Mile Relay | 40 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

New Jersey

Lenape Trail Run | 34 miles | March 04, 2017 | website

New York

50K Run | 50 kilometers | March 05, 2017 | website

North Carolina

Mount Mitchell Challenge | 40 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Ohio

Olde Girdled Grit 50K | 50 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

Oklahoma

Tulsa Running Club Post Oak Lodge 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | February 25, 2017 | website

Pennsylvania

Naked Bavarian 40M | 40 miles | March 04, 2017 | website

South Carolina

Foothills 50k | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Texas

100K | 100 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

50K Ultra Marathon presented by Miller Lite | 50 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

Utah

Lake to Lake Relay | 50 miles | March 04, 2017 | website

Red Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | March 04, 2017 | website

Vermont

PEAK Snowshoe 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | March 10, 2017 | website

Virginia

The Reverse Ring | 71 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

Washington

Lord Hill 50 Km | 50 kilometers | February 26, 2017 | website

Orcas Island 100 | 100 miles | February 25, 2017 | website

02:21:44 Close

02:24:03

 

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Transgrancanaria 125km 2017 Race Preview

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From the heat and humidity of Costa Rica and The Coastal Challenge to the the Canary island of Gran Canaria and the Transgrancanaria 125km.

This is my fourth year working on the flagship 125km race and once again it appears in the UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour) calendar. The race starts on Friday evening, 24th February at 2300 hours’ local time. If it was ever in doubt, this race is a tough one! With over 8000m of positive gain, each and everyone of those 125km’s will be felt by the the time the runners reach the finish.

Starting on the north-west coast, the race travels south via the mountainous spine of Gran Canaria and then arrives at the finish, close to the sea in Maspalomas. The route is logical and therefore very appealing from a run aesthetic point of view. 

Over the years, the race has had some stellar performances and 2017 will see the return of the 2016 champions, Caroline Chaverot and Didrik Hermansen.

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Male Contenders

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Didrik Hermansen won the race last year with a high quality and well paced performance. He followed Transgrancanaria up with a stunning Western States and world-class 100km races. Didrik can mix running and climbing and therefore goes into the 2017 race as the hot favourite. Fellow Norwegian, Sondre Amdahl, tells me that Didrik is in great shape!

©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-2824©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-0660 The UK’s Andy Symonds ran a stunning race in 2016 and placed 5th – I have a felling he will be on the podium this year! His 2016 season was solid one with UTMB being his only blip. A win at Lavaredo, 2nd at Buff Epic behind Luis Alberto Hernando and 4th at Transvulcania confirms that Andy’s stepping stones to longer racing is working – 2017 will be his year and I also hear he will be racing at Marathon des Sables.

 ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-1724

Diego Pazos finished 3rd last year and what followed was a steady growth in the sport. I predicted he was a ‘one-to-watch’ for 2017 and I stand by that. His victory Mont-Blanc 80km confirmed that he is on the up.

©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-2663 Antoine Guillon placed on the podium previously and I have no reason to doubt that he can provide a repeat performance. In real terms, the podium may well be decided by those who pace themselves and come strong in the latter stages. Antoine may well be one of these guys – he will be able to bring the ‘long game’ to the race, something he learned when he won Diagonale des Fous (Raid de la Reunion) in 2015. ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-0072

Yeray Duran is Transgrancanaria regular and is very popular within Spain and the Canary Islands. Arguably, it was Transgrancanaria that elevated his profile. He had a tough race last year but that blip is not indicative of how Yeray runs – I think we will see him up there this year.
©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-0823

Julien Chorier is always a tip for the podium and victory – he is one seriously classy runner. He was 2nd at Transgrancaria in 2014 and 7th last year. Mixing Hardrock and Western States shows that Julien can mix speed and climbing perfectly – one to watch for the top-5 for sure and maybe the podium!

 ©iancorless.com.IMG_8905Transvulcania14

Timothy Olson has raced on the island before (2014) and placed 3rd. He arrived in advance of this years race to train and prepare, something he has done on many occasions for multiple races. Normally, I would be pushing Timmy for the win but for the past year or so, the form has been missing. So, it’s difficult to predict the outcome here in the Canaries. Can Timmy win? Absolutely! So, lets cross our fingers and hope that we see a return to 2013 when this guy was on fire! 

Pau Capell won the 85km event previously and last year held hands with Diego Pazoz and crossed the line for an equal 3rd place. He will be up there!

 ©iancorless.com_ITT2015-9960

Fabien Antolinus is a runner I first met at Les Templiers and since then he has continually impressed with his ability to mix speed and climbing to great results. Two years ago he was 5th at UTMB but for me, his performances at Ice Trail Tarentaise were stand out. He’s a top-5 contender for sure.

iancorless-com_etr2016-8828 Casey Morgan will keep UK interest high. He’s been up there at Transgrancanaria in the past and currently he is on a roll with a series of top quality victories. I last saw him race at Everest Trail Race and he was in great shape. He followed that race with another race victory in the Spanish mountains and just recently he raced in Hong Kong with great success.

Fulvio Dapit has come close in the past and is often let down with stomach issues. He won’t make the podium but he will be up in the top-10.

Ones to watch: 

  • Freddy Thevenin
  • Daniel Jung
  • Ben Duffus
  • Gerard Morales
  • Fritjof Fagerlund
  • Nicola Bassi
  • Dimity Mityaev

and many more…

 ©iancorless.com_Transgrancanaria2016-2054

Female Contenders

©iancorless.com_SWC2016-6618This race has Caroline Chaverot’s name written all over it and no disrespect to the other female competitors but I don’t see anyone coming close to this French lady. Caroline was on fire in 2016 and was for me, THE, female ultra-runner of the year. She was unstoppable with a sting of high-profile victories. In summary, anyone who wins UTMB, becomes UTWT champion, becomes Skyrunning World Champion and IAU World Trail Champion all in one-year deserves the upmost respect. I think she will win the race by at least 1-hour!
©iancorless.com_DragonsBack2015Day3-7244

I am going to throw a curve ball in and put my neck on the line with a stunning performance expectation from the UK’s Beth Pascall. She will be somewhat of a dark horse over in Gran Canaria but she has all the potential to produce a shock. She has with the UK’s Spine Race and the shorter distance, Challenge Race. She obliterated the ladies’ record at the Lakeland 100 and won the Hoka Highland Fling. One to watch! *Update 21st Feb, Beth will not race due to an injury to her foot.

Andrea Huser never stops. She is like Michael Wardian and each time she runs I am amazed with her ability to recover and race again. She doesn’t have the speed of Caroline and therefore, providing Caroline has no problems. I don’t see the Swiss lady beating her. However, she has a list of results that makes the podium almost guaranteed – victories at Lavaredo, Diagonale des Fous and Swiss Irontrail and let’s not forget 2nd at UTMB behind Caroline!


iancorless-com_ultrapirineu2016-7671

Azara Garcia and Gemma Arenas have set their tables out in Skyrunning races and we know that have speed and can climb with the best. However, 125km and 8000m of vertical is a long way and this may well be the downfall for the Spanish duo. Gemma probably has the edge over Azara as she has excelled at Ultra Pirineu with victory. For Gemma, I see 125km possibly being a real learning curve.

Lisa Borzani likes the long and mountainous races such as Tor des Geants and Ronda dels Cims – that will set her up well for this tough and challenging Transgrancanaria course. She may lack the speed but as others fade, she will continue to push strong. 

Manuela Vilaseca was 5th at Transgrancanaria two-years ago and in this line-up, I believe the podium is a possibility – a win would only really come should Andrea and Caroline have bad races.  

Ildiko Wermescher would be a long shot for the podium but a top-5 and certainly a top-10 is a distinct possibility. 2016 seemed to be a below par year but 2014 saw the German lady place 4th at Transgrancanaria.
©iancorless.comIMG_8631UTLD2014

Debbie Martin-Consani is my dark horse for a shake up in the ladies’ rankings. Like Beth Pascall, she is a Lakeland 100 winner and she has excelled at other 100-milers and races like Spartathlon, she ha s also raced in a GB vest. Word on the street (or the hills) is that Debbie has been going up and down those Scottish mountains to prepare for this 125km race. 

Ones to watch:

  • Yulia Baykova
  • Jen Benna
  • Laura Barrera
  • Caroline Rohrl
  • Laia Diez

and many more…

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The Coastal Challenge 2017 #TCC2017 – Stage 6 Results and Images

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The Coastal Challenge 2017 Stage 6

 Words by Niandi Carmont. Images by iancorless.

Stage 6 of the Costa Rica Coastal Challenge 2017 aka “The Victory Loop” and epilogue to this gruelling multi-stage race started at 7am. This allowed runners to “sleep in” a little and get some much-needed recovery before the final sprint, well, half-marathon! The final stage is always relatively short and the same distance for Adventure racers and Expedition racers. Many take this final stage easier as by now the podium is pretty much a given. An additional incentive for outsiders to race this stage is guaranteed free entry to the winners of the stage in both the male and female categories as well as the winners of each category in the overall ranking. Some race volunteers also like to join the runners in the final stage as a gesture of solidarity.

The final stage is a 22.5km representation of the whole race with all the course elements thrown in: fire trail, a magnificent waterfall, forest single track, more fire trail, beach sections and a lovely final 10km along the coast on shaded single track. With a total ascent of 613m and a descent of 613m it is a relatively flat route. There was only one CP at 22.5km.

iancorless-com_tcc2017-2469

In the men’s race Tom Owens seemed relaxed chatting at the start and not too worried about racing. However, Chema Martinez had his race hat on and chased Tom right from the start egging him on. Chema had a lot of competition from the Costa Rican field especially Jorge Paniagua who joined the two leaders, battling it out with them until the final sprint, where the 3 finished barely a second of each other. Jorge was first, Chema second and to complete the stage podium Tom Owens in third position. The Costa Rican was delighted to gain a free entry to the 2018 edition and has promised to be back to perform even better.

iancorless-com_tcc2017-6494

Tom Owens was crowned 2017 champion and he was full of praise and thanks on the line.

“This has been an incredible journey. It’s a stunning and magnificent part of the world and the course, terrain, views and the racing has been world-class. I have been blown away by everything – the final stage was just stunning and it managed to compress the whole TCC experience in just 22km. I’d be back to TCC and Costa Rica in a shot…!”

 

iancorless-com_tcc2017-6595

In the Ladies field, Ester Alves led the race. She needed to defend her third overall position. Anna Comet followed in hot pursuit to secure her second position and not allow Ester to close the gap significantly in the overall ranking. Anna Frost then also gave chase. Elisabet Barnes who had intended to race this final stage very hard in a final attempt to secure third felt weak and tired.

iancorless-com_tcc2017-6653

“It is only once I started running hat I realized my body wasn’t responding and that my legs were tired, that I wasn’t going to be able to race this stage. I decided to consider it a recovery run as my focus is on MDS 2017 which is just round the corner. I didn’t want to compromise that.” – Elisabet Barnes

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Ester Alves did not even stop at CP1 to replenish her water supply or drink.

“I decided not to waste any time and ran the last 10km full out skipping the water point. I had run out of water before the checkpoint but I wanted to gain as much time as possible. I squeezed my soft flasks but not a drop came out. It’s amazing what the body can do in this heat, running 10km on no water, when the mind takes control and the drive is there. I must admit it was very stressful and it is a stage I enjoyed last year.” – Ester Alves

 

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Ester led the race until the finish completing this stage 9min ahead of second lady Melanie Langer (9th lady overall) who had run hard all day.

iancorless-com_tcc2017-6894In the closing stages, Melanie took advantage of Anna Comet and Anna Frost relaxing into the finish with Sondre Amdahl – the trio had run together from half-way enjoying the closing of the 2017 TCC. Elisabet Barnes completed the stage 30min behind Ester in 6th place and 4th overall.

Anna Frost cried on the shoulder of race director, Rodrigo Carazo on the finish line.

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“This has been a tough and emotional journey, three editions in the making. I have finally won the race I love! I think I am done, not with Costa Rica or the TCC – next time I will be watching and spectating though!” – Anna Frost

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Nothing can describe the emotion of those finishing this tough 6-day multi-stage in some of the hardest conditions or the joy and relief on their faces on being handed the well-deserved finisher medal. Many have vowed to return to better their performances or tick this box.

Tonight (or this afternoon), will be a long night of post-race celebration where the ‘Imperial’ will flow and spirits will be high.

PURA VIDA!

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Stage Results

  1. Jorge Paniagua 2:04:33
  2. Chema Martinez 2:04:38
  3. Tom Owens 2:04:39
  4. Neruda Cespedes 2:06:54
  5. Erick Aguero 2:14:39
  1. Ester Alves 2:23:41
  2. Melanie Langer 2:32:17
  3. Anna Comet 2:32:33
  4. Anna Frost 2:32:36
  5. Katelyn Tocci 2:43:03

Overall Results for the 2017 The Coastal Challenge #TCC2017

1. Anna Frost (New Zealand): 27:08:41.9
2. Ana Comet (Spain): 27:58:45.4
3. Ester Alves (Portugal): 28:23:27.5
4. Elisabet Barnes (Sweden): 29:00:11.2
5. Katelyn Tocci (Costa Rica): 29:58:09.1

1. Tom Owens (Scotland): 22:29:45.2
2. Chema Martínez (Spain): 23:43:36.2
3. Jason Shlarb (USA): 24:34:57.0
4. Eric Agüero (Costa Rica): 24:57:43.3
5. Pancho Pinto (Ecuador): 25:43:37

All results HERE

You can also follow on Facebook HERE, on Twitter HERE and on Instagram HERE

#TCC2017 concludes, get ready for #TCC2018

Want to run The Coastal Challenge 2018 #TCC2018 entries will open soon through the official channels. Only go to http://thecoastalchallengecostarica.com

Stage Results

  1. Jorge Paniagua 2:04:33
  2. Chema Martinez 2:04:38
  3. Tom Owens 2:04:39
  4. Neruda Cespedes 2:06:54
  5. Erick Aguero 2:14:39
  1. Ester Alves 2:23:41
  2. Anna Comet 2:32:33
  3. Anna Frost 2:32:36
  4. Katelyn Tocci 2:43:03
  5. Ana Gonzales 2:43:31

Overall Results for the 2017 The Coastal Challenge #TCC2017

1. Anna Frost (New Zealand): 27:08:41.9
2. Ana Comet (Spain): 27:58:45.4
3. Ester Alves (Portugal): 28:23:27.5
4. Elisabet Barnes (Sweden): 29:00:11.2
5. Katelyn Tocci (Costa Rica): 29:58:09.1

1. Tom Owens (Scotland): 22:29:45.2
2. Chema Martínez (Spain): 23:43:36.2
3. Jason Shlarb (USA): 24:34:57.0
4. Eric Agüero (Costa Rica): 24:57:43.3
5. Pancho Pinto (Ecuador): 25:43:37.

 

Anna Frost to run The Coastal Challenge #TCC2017 – BREAKING NEWS!

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Anna Frost to join the line-up of the 2017 The Coastal Challenge

The 2017 was all set to be the most competitive edition of the race with a stunning line-up of both male and female competitors. The male race has Hardrock 100 winner Jason Schlarb, Sondre Amdahl, Chema Martinez, Vicente Beneito and so many more.

The ladies race has two previous champions with Ester Alves and Veronica Bravo joined by Elisabet Barnes and Anna Cometi.

Well, the ladies race has just been blown off the scale with the 11th hour confirmation that New Zealand’s Anna Frost will toe the line in Quepos.

This is not Frosty’s first time in Costa Rica. Her love affair with the country and the race started several years ago. In 2014 she arrived to race but due to health issues was forced not to make the start.

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 “I learnt a lot about the course and was able to see the challenges without putting myself through them. Although nothing really prepares you like the experience itself. I hadn’t expected such long beach sections so I will be prepared.”

In 2015 while leading the race she was forced to withdraw with foot issues leaving the doorway open for eventual race winner, Veronica Bravo. I refreshed myself of a moment from the 2015 edition:

Day 3

“In the ladies race, Anna Frost ran a smart day matching Veronica Bravo step-by-step. From the moment they started, till the moment they crossed the finish line, the duo never left each other’s side. In many respects, Frosty can run this way all the way to the end now and play safe. The question mark will come if Veronica feels strong one day and takes a risk to pull back the time between the two of them? This is always a risky tactic, push too hard and you may blow up opening a doorway for third place to gain time.”

Day 5

In the ladies race, Anna Frost’s injury woes came to a head when she sprained an ankle causing a muscle sprain in her soleus muscle. Frosty tried to push on but it was no good. The plantar issues, ankle and muscle sprain brought an end to the 2015 TCC at Cp3.

”I could run in pain no longer and sometimes you just have to stop and look at the bigger picture.”

Cut to 2017 and it may well be third time lucky for the lady who has pioneered the way for female runners in the trail and mountain world.

Like Schlarb, Frosty won Hardrock 100 in 2016, she also won in 2014. She has won races all over the world and many remember her iconic victories on the island of La Palma at the Transvulcania race.

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Currently in Colorado amongst the snow, Frosty admits that it may well not be the best preparation for the heat and humidity of Costa Rica, however, the opportunity to run raised its head and she could not refuse!

Speaking from Colorado, Frosty told me,

“I am so excited to come back, 3rd time luck?”

Race director Rodrigo Carazo in conversation with myself whilst trying to put logistics in place confirmed for me,

“We need to make this happen, this will be, without doubt, the best ladies field ever at the race.” I confirmed, my thoughts exactly! Rodrigo went on to say, “We have surprises in store for 2017 – new sections, more hills and more jungle!”

The stage is set, the 2017 edition of The Coastal Challenge is going to be epic. Runners will start to arrive in San Jose from Thursday 9th this week and they will then transfer to the coast for the start of the race in Quepos.

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“I had a serious case of fear of missing out when I saw the ladies line-up,” Frosty went on to say. “Costa Rica and the TCC is just full of great people, stunning trails, water, heat, more water, wildlife and running, it all equal Coastal Challenge love!”

The Coastal Challenge is a multi-day race over 6-days starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, The Coastal Challenge is an ultimate multi-day running experience.

Intense heat, high humidity, ever-changing terrain, stunning views, Costa Rican charm, exceptional organisation; the race encompasses Pura Vida! Unlike races such as the Marathon des Sables, ‘TCC’ is not self-sufficient, but don’t be fooled, MDS veterans confirm the race is considerably harder and more challenging than the Saharan adventure.

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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 expansive plains. At times technical, the combination of so many challenging elements are only intensified by heat and high humidity that slowly but surely reduces even the strongest competitors to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line.

The Coastal Challenge which will take place Feb 10th – 19th, 2017.

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

View and purchase images  HERE

Follow #TCC2017

Read a preview of the 2017 race HERE

Support the podcast and website by becoming a Patron HERE

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Episode 126 – Stevie Kremer, Trails Are Free Movie, Sondre Amdahl

A_GRAVATAR

Episode 126 of Talk Ultra is here, Happy New Year! – We have an interview with Stevie Kremer, we chat with Lindsey Topham about her movie, ‘The Trails Are Free’ and Sondre Amdahl tells us about racing in Hong Kong and how is preparation for The Coastal Challenge is going… Speedgoat is back too!

New Year and Talk Ultra needs your help!

We are five year’s old this January and as a show we are proud that we have produced a wealth of content for free. The show will always be free! However, demands on time, production costs, editing really impact on Talk Ultra, therefore, if you love the show please help us out. You can make a one-off donation, a yearly donation or maybe donate monthly… just £1 or $1 would make a huge difference. We are currently in the process of setting up a Patreon page that will allow you to gain access to the Patreon Activity Feed that will be for Patreon supporters ONLY! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create!

More info to follow. Thanks!

Donate HERE

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Support on PATREON HERE

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RUNNING BEYOND BOOK is travelling the world and of course I recommend it as a great Christmas present… we mentioned in the last show about Running Beyond Event which will take place 3, 4 and 5th March in London, plans are progressing for that… in addition, Niandi and myself will now be in Amsterdam on Feb 3rd, 4th and 5th for a Trails in Motion event and Running Beyond book signing with Mud Sweat and Trails and I will be also going to Sofia in Bulgaria on the 17th, 18th and 19th March for a trail, mountain and Skyrunning expo.

00:26:32 NEWS

Across The Years – 24, 48, 72-hours and 6-Days

24: Kelly Agnew and Chavet Breslin ran 124 and 119-miles

48: Karen Bonnett Natraj and Alex Ramset ran 140 and 177-miles

72: Iso Yucra and Anne Lang ran 248 and 200-miles

6-Day: Ed Ettinghausen and Liz Bauer ran 451.4 and 418.9-miles

Ultra-Trail Tai Mo Shan

Gediminas Grinius and Andrea Huser won the 100-mile in 20:04 and 26:01.

Sondre Amdahl and Marie McNaughton won the 115km in 16:15 and 16:20

“TCC will be my main target for the winter/spring of 2017. I have had a couple of easy months after a DNS at the Tor des Géants (due to injury). I have had a good block of training in November, December, I raced at Ultra-Trail Tai Mo Shan in Hong Kong (115km) on New Year’s Eve which I won and then in January I will go to Gran Canaria to prepare for TCC.”

00:53:34 INTERVIEW with Sondre Amdahl

Read a preview of the 2017 The Coastal Challenge HERE

01:20:36 INTERVIEW with Stevie Kremer

02:12:14 INTERVIEW with Lindsey Topham about the film ‘The Trails Are Free’

The Trails are Free tells the story of how Boston based trail running club, the Trail Animals Running Club (TARC), promotes and preserves the culture of ultra running through a series of grassroots, community based races in the greater Boston area. The film captures the history of the club and how it has grown from a few members to over 4000 since its founding in the early 1990’s. From its start TARC has been more focused on camaraderie and community among runners than on competition and winning. The club’s motto “Leave No Animal Behind” exemplifies their welcoming spirit, as well as their humility, level playing field, and love for the outdoors. Trail Animals come from all walks of life and all abilities and there is no pecking order.

The club’s rapid growth has mirrored a nationwide trend in the sport in recent years. Where ultra running used to be considered an oddball sport, it is now the subject of many books and is gaining more mainstream coverage in film and on television. The threat of this community spirit becoming consumed by competition and commercialisation is becoming a realistic, legitimate concern.

In 2011 the club introduced the TARC Trail Series, a group of 10 trail races of varying distances, from 10K to 100 Miles. This film documents the ways these races have become a vehicle for preserving, promoting, and sharing the culture of the sport with new members. Race organisers keep race costs down by organising volunteers to mark courses, maintain trails, and provide support, provisions, and food for potluck-style aid stations. First place finishers win handmade trophies. There is no prize money.

“The Trails Are Free” was shot on location at various TARC races over the years. It is quintessentially New England. There is snow, mud, peepers, rocks, roots, and bright foliage.

Website HERE

vimeo trailer HERE

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Victoria

Two Bays Trail Run 56km | 56 kilometers | January 15, 2017 | website

Brazil

Brazil 135 Ultramarathon | 135 miles | January 12, 2017 | website

Brazil 281 Relay | 281 miles | January 12, 2017 | website

Chile

Ultramaratón Licanray – Villarrica | 70 kilometers | January 08, 2017 | website

Ecuador

100 km Relevos | 100 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

150 km Relevos | 150 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Germany

Lower Saxony

  1. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website
  2. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | January 08, 2017 | website
  3. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website
  4. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website
  5. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | January 08, 2017 | website
  6. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Nord Eifel Ultra | 56 kilometers | January 08, 2017 | website

Hong-Kong

Vibram® Hong Kong 100 Ultra Trail® Race | 100 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website

Italy

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

S1 TRAIL – LA CORSA DELLA BORA | 57 kilometers | January 06, 2017 | website

Spain

Valencian Community

GR10-Xtrem Valencia Ultra Trail | 93 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website

Sweden

82 km | 82 kilometers | January 15, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Buckinghamshire

Country to Capital | 45 miles | January 14, 2017 | website

Derbyshire

Montane Spine Challenger | 108 miles | January 14, 2017 | website

Montane Spine Race | 268 miles | January 14, 2017 | website

USA

Arizona

50K | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

California

50 miler | 50 miles | January 14, 2017 | website

Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | January 07, 2017 | website

Pacifica Foothills Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website

Steep Ravine 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website

Florida

100K | 100 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website

100M | 100 miles | January 14, 2017 | website

Croom Zoom 100 Km Run | 100 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Croom Zoom 50 Km Run | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Hawaii

H.U.R.T. 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | January 14, 2017 | website

Idaho

Wilson Creek Frozen 50k | 50 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website

Illinois

Frozen Gnome 50K | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Iowa

Tripple D Winter Ultramarathon Run | 50 kilometers | January 15, 2017 | website

Louisiana

Wild Azalea Trail Challenge 50 | 50 miles | January 07, 2017 | website

Maryland

PHUNT 50K | 50 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website

Michigan

Yankee Winter Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

New Jersey

Watchung Winter Ultras Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

North Carolina

Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50k | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50k Relay | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Salem Lake Shore Frosty Fifty | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Weymouth Woods 100k Trail Run | 100 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website

Oklahoma

Ouachita Switchbacks 50K | 50 kilometers | January 14, 2017 | website

South Carolina

Harbison 50K | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Tennessee

Swampstomper 50k | 50 kilometers | January 15, 2017 | website

Texas

Bandera 100km | 100 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Bandera 50km | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Big Bend 50 | 50 kilometers | January 15, 2017 | website

West Virginia

Frozen Sasquatch Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | January 07, 2017 | website

Wisconsin

Frozen Otter Ultra Trek – 32 Miles | 32 miles | January 14, 2017 | website

Frozen Otter Ultra Trek – 64 Miles | 64 miles | January 14, 2017 | website

Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon 150 Mile Run | 150 miles | January 06, 2017 | website

Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon 35 Mile Run | 35 miles | January 07, 2017 | website

Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon 75 Mile Run | 75 miles | January 07, 2017 | website

02:42:05 Close

02:47:07

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Website – talkultra.com