Berghaus Dragons Back Race 2017 and Transvulcania 2017 on IRUN4ULTRA

May was a busy month of racing and race coverage. The epic Berghaus Dragons Back Race weaved it’s way down the spine of Wales, starting in the north and finishing in the south.

My summary of the race is available to read on IRUN4ULTRA HERE. You can also listen to episode 136 of Talk Ultra which was a Dragons Back special with three incredible interviews, check it out HERE.

You can view the full image galleries from the Dragons Back Race HERE

May would not be May without the Transvulcania Ultramarthon on the magic island of La Palma. It was a record year with Ida Nilsson setting a new course record and Tim Freriks taking the win for the USA. You can read the summary of the race on IRUN4ULTRA HERE.

You can view images for the Transvulcania VK, the Ultra and a few fun days in the mountains HERE

Kilian Jornet starts his 2017 attempt on Everest #OurEverest

“Good feelings today! Climb from Advanced Base Camp to 8.400m in a bit less than 6 hours. Our acclimatization process continues! #OurEverest”

Fast and light and without oxygen, Kilian Jornet has started his 2nd attempt at the summit of Everest. He departed on the 2017 adventure on Saturday May 20th* (Tibet is GMT +8) from the monastery of Rongbuk.

*Schedule in Tibet. 18,15 Spanish time, 17,15 hour in London, from rongbuk monastery 5.100 mts.

Taking the north face route, the world famous runner, climber and ski mountaineer will look to climb to the summit of the 8848m peak in a record time – he failed in 2016 due to bad weather.

Just recently in preparation, Kilian climbed in China with his partner Emelie Forsberg and made a successful summit of Cho You – the sixth highest mountain in the world at 8,188 metres (26,864 ft) above sea level. You can read his summary HERE.

Just a few days ago, Kilian reached 8400m after climbing from advanced base camp at 6400m. He tweeted, “Good feelings today! Climb from Advanced Base Camp to 8.400m in a bit less than 6 hours. Our acclimatization process continues! #OurEverest”

There is no benchmark for what Kilian is trying to achieve as with his ‘Summits Of My Life Project’ he will start from the last inhabited place. Records are usually taken from a base camp on the mountain. Kilian will leave and return to the monastery at Rongbuk.

Fast and Light? Here is Kilian’s equipment:

See the map:

We wish Kilian and the #OurEverest team god speed and good luck for the ultimate #SOML experience.

I have to say, I, like many others have had worries and concerns about the ‘Summits’ program. Let’s be clear here, I don’t doubt or question Kilian’s ability. What I do say and have always said, if you do anything enough times, it will eventually go wrong or something will happen. Kilian has already experienced loss and tragedy on this project. The death of Stephan Brosse was certainly a wake up call  but Kilian understands the risks. Certainly the recent death of Ueli Steck is reminder to all of the challenge ahead.

 “You have to go look for happiness in life, find it in the things that make you feel alive. Life is not something to be preserved or protected, it is to be  explored and lived to the full.” – Kilian Jornet

 

“On the track, there is no risk so we time ourselves to get a benchmark. In the mountains, it is different. We try to become one with the mountain by finding new limits. It’s an emotion, from the heart, very connected to risk.”

Everest is the final test in the #SOML project and will probably be the most demanding challenge of the project and, indeed, of his life. Kilian has broken records on mountains around the world and the final part of this personal project is an incredible one; an attempt to establish a ‘FKT’ (fastest known time) for ascending Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 8,848m. Kilian is taking on this challenge his own way, in the most pure and minimalist manner possible.

UPDATE – Sunday 21st May 1530 UK Time 

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE #SOML #OurEverest @kilianj – Seb has seen Kilian at 7500m, apparently KJ is good! Weather also good!

LATEST UPDATE

KILIAN SUMMITS EVEREST from #SOML 

Kilian Jornet has the Everest summit, midnight (local time) from 21 to 22 May. To do that you have not used or oxygen, fixed ropes and neither has done one go.


The summit has achieved for the north face of the highest mountain in the world (8.848m) following the traditional route. Kilian Jornet started the challenge of Everest Base Camp, located in the old monastery of Rombuk (5.100m) on May 20 at 22h local time (+5: 45 GMT).


At 12h15 local time on 22 May is back to Advanced Base Camp of Everest (6.500m) which confirmed the summit achieved at midnight, 26 hours after starting the ascent.


38 hours after starting the challenge and get back to Advanced Base Camp explains: “Until I felt good 7.700m and planning ahead as planned, but from that point I started find bad guess to a stomach virus. From there I advanced very slowly and had to go stopping every so often to get me to recover. Finally, however, I made the summit at midnight “


Due to illness, Jornet decides to terminate the attempt to Advanced Base Camp instead of down at Everest Base Camp, located in the old monastery Rombuk as planned initially.


Once you have more information about the challenge, informed through the channels Summits of My Life.

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.

Support the podcast and website by becoming a Patron HERE

support_patreon

Facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Twitter @talkultra

Instagram @iancorlessphotography

 

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

Kilian Jornet to take on the fastest #VK in the world – #Fully

©iancorless.comIMG_5813Canazei2014_kilian

KM Vertical de Fully is the fastest VK in the world. Italian VK legend, Urban Zemmer holds the record – a stunning 29 minutes and 42 seconds recorded in 2014.

Overlooking the village of Fully , the very steep path measures exactly 1000 m in altitude. The course uses an old former railroad that has a gradient of 60% and a total distance 1920m. In other words, it’s super steep!

Every 100m, a marker is placed on the track to enable participants to count down the meters to go and to manage the pain and effort.

The arrival to “Garettes” is located 1500 meters above sea level.

©iancorless.com_DolomitesVK2015-1042

This weekend it will be the big showdown, Kilian Jornet will take on Urban Zemmer and Zemmer’s fellow La Sportiva teammate, Marco Moletto.

©iancorless.com_DOLOMITESVK2016-3395-2

Taking place on October 22nd, Kilian will start at 12:11:00, Marco Moletta 12:11:40 and then Urban Zemmer 12:12:20.

fully

It’s a tantalising prospect, 30 minutes of pure pain for the legs and lungs, who will come out on top and more importantly, will this competition bring out a new world record?

Kilian may not have conquered Everest in 2016, will he conquer Fully?

In the ladies’ race, VK specialist and record holder, Christel Dewalle will be the outright favourite. Just last weekend she won the VK at Limone Extreme and was crowned the 2016 Skyrunner World Series Champion of the VK distance. Christel’s record is 34 minutes 44 seconds also recorded in 2014.

©iancorless.com_DolomitesVK2015-0685

The full race start list is available HERE

©iancorless.com_DolomitesVK2015-0139

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography

Kilian Jornet chronicles his #SOML #Everest attempt in 2016

kilian_soml

                                        Image ©kilianjornet/ summitsofmylife

“Time was running out and conditions on the mountain weren’t changing. The unstable weather continued and there continued to be a high risk of avalanches on the higher reaches. We left the mountain feeling somewhat frustrated. We were well acclimatized and could climb without taking serious risks, but at the same time we were very satisfied with the activities that we had been able to carry out.” – Kilian Jornet

The mountain is always the boss. The day that you don’t respect the mountain may well be the last day that you spend in the playground. I am pleased to say that Kilian as an adventurer and mountaineer has progresses not only physically but mentally. He some this up well when despite obvious eagerness to reach the summit of Everest, he was able to step back and think, ‘We had to postpone the challenge of climbing Everest because a rapid ascent would expose us to the risk of accidents.’

I for one am happy to hear Kilian speak these words. The mountain will always be there.

“I’m very happy with what I’ve learned these last few weeks in the Himalayas. We’ve seen what things work and what needs to change. We have learned and personally I have grown as a climber. The expedition has left us feeling very positive in spite of not being able to reach the summit.” – Kilian Jornet

Importantly, Kilian looks at this expedition not as failure but as a stepping stone to a future successful attempt.

In his own words you can read his thoughts on his SOML post HERE.

all content Copyright © 2016 Summits of My Life, All rights reserved.

Jordi Saragossa ‘Through the Lens’ on RUNULTRA

©iancorless.com-8947aKima_

In this modern day era of trail, mountain and ultra running, the need for information via Facebook, Twitter and other social mediums has become essential for the growth of our sport.

Photography, now more than ever is essential in providing an immediate connection with an audience. Of course, as a photographer this not only something I know about but is also something that I am extremely passionate about.

For years I have travelled the world documenting the action and on many an occasion I have been joined by Catalan photographer, Jordi Saragossa.

Jordi is someone who I respect immensely. Now in his late 20’s, Jordi has progressed through the running photography ranks in the last 4-years and has been employed by Salomon Running to document stories of their athletes in action.

I caught up with Jordi; as the 2014 season closed to find out just what it is like to live a life ‘Through the Lens.’

Read the full article HERE

jordisaragossa

(c)JordiSaragossa_portfoli008

READ THE FULL STORY HERE on RUN ULTRA

run-ultra-logo

A Touch of Frost – Transvulcania La Palma

©iancorless.com.IMG_9258Transvulcania14

It’s the day after the 2014 Transvulcania La Palma and Anna Frost opens the door of her apartment in Tazacorte in a bikini. A huge smile welcomes me and as I enter, she tells me, ‘I hope you’re hungry, we have cooked lunch.’

Sitting on the terrace, the sun beats down and I suddenly feel in holiday mood. It’s only after 20 to 30 minutes of chatting, laughing and eating that I realize I am here to interview Frosty! It’s crazy, it’s difficult to believe that less than 24-hours earlier, Frosty was pushing herself to her limits on the GR131 in one of the greatest comebacks this sport has seen.

We go some way back and I feel fortunate that I have not only shared time on the trails with the Kiwi but I have also often discussed her running and the problems she has had over the past 12-18 months. It’s been quite a battle. Just 1-year ago, I was sitting in the same apartment, drinking a beer surrounded by Timmy Olson, Cameron Clayton, Emelie Forsberg and others… they were all celebrating a successful 2013 edition of ‘Transvulcania’. Frosty enjoyed and participated in those celebrations despite the disappointment of not racing, the time wasn’t right and ultimately she had made the tough, but correct decision not to race.

A jump to the present; 12-months of ups and downs, finally, the struggles are over and we can all celebrate, a touch of Frost…

©iancorless.com.IMG_7030Transvulcania14

IC: I am joined by Frosty, laughing as usual, what a comeback! 

AF: It’s nice to be back!

IC: Nice to see you back. It has been a tough old time. I guess winning the 2014 edition is like a time lapse; it’s where it all started back in 2012. 

AF: Exactly, like I said, it was more than a win yesterday. Just standing on the start line was a win. Getting through the race was a win. You know, feeling competitive, feeling strong, going through ups and downs. Feeling yuck and then feeling good. You know how it is, it was a great feeling… the bonus of winning was incredible but the bonus to run and finish healthy is superb.

IC: The Transvulcania finish is one of the best out there too.

AF: Oh yeah, it’s an extreme one.

IC: Just 48-72 hours ago you said you didn’t have your 2012 form and I purposely in my race preview took the pressure off you. Of course, I said you could win, but this race was more about coming back and finishing healthy. Emelie was going to be at the race and we thought Nuria would be but she dropped out. She made the correct decision in my opinion. 

AF: Yes I agree.

IC: You know what, the sport is in a learning curve at the moment. Runners are going to have to be far more savvy on when to race and when not. 

AF: Yes Nuria is smart and she is a great runner. She has new objectives this year. She has Australia (a race she just won in a new CR) very soon and she is competing in the UTWT. She would have loved to be here and we would have loved it too but as you say, correct decision. 

IC: A couple of months ago we were in Costa Rica. You were going to race a multi day but you had some bad news literally just days before the start. It was a tough time eh? You had to respect the recovery process and it seems as though in such a relatively short time you have come a long way. How and why are you finally finding a way to manage everything?

©iancorless.com.IMG_7028Transvulcania14

AF: I think I was patient. I have had no expectations. I took all the pressure off myself. I just wanted to be healthy and fit. If I hadn’t been I wouldn’t have raced Transvulcania. I haven’t pushed the miles or the hours. I would run an hour a day and no more. Once I could run an hour strong and comfortably then I would add more… I was cycling, walking, paddle boarding… I went back to basics and added core strength. I though I was strong; I did lots of work on it but in fact I was strong in one area but in another area I was weak. It was doing me no good. I am back to basics and I even focus on breathing while walking and running. I am doing yoga and I am calm with the racing. When I arrived in La Palma 3-weeks ago I knew I had 2 solid weeks to get ready. This terrain is hard. I was tired a week ago coming to taper so I knew I felt good. It seems as though I got it right. I wasn’t tired in the race and had no injuries… it worked!

IC: Lets talk about that 2-weeks of quality training. It will provide an insight and it will also tell us how you approached this race and maybe contrast it to 2012. I think back a couple of years, to 2012. You trained like a demon. You openly said, ‘I have trained like hell for this.’

AF: In 2012 I had 6-weeks of solid training. In this heat, on this terrain and your body gets drilled. Everything is extreme; the wind, the heat, the cold, everything… this time I had 2-weeks and I attempted 2 similar weeks to 2012 the only difference was I did many more hard weeks 2-years ago. For example, I did 4-5 hour runs, 3 times a week and the rest was 5-hours of training a day. Maybe running for 2-3 hours followed with yoga, swimming and cycling. I spiced it up.

IC: That’s a big training block.

AF: It was solid!

IC: I was thinking you wouldn’t have done that much… impressive! The course has altitude, much of the race is up around 2000m, and it can feel like a cold in your chest. Anyone who wants to run well in La Palma does need to acclimatize. How important is it for you? 

AF: My first runs felt like that. The altitude kicked my butt. I felt sick, I felt tired and I could hardly move. But I think once you have spent time at altitude you adapt. For example, I was in Nepal in 2013 and that adaptation carries over and your body soon learns and switches on. I just need 2-3 runs and I feel okay. 

IC: La Palma is not an easy place to train on the course, as you do need a fair amount of driving to access certain pints. I guess Tazacorte is as good as any… you can run up and down to Roques de los Muchachos.

AF: That’s what I love about this island. It’s tiny but intricate. You can go the same place and find a new trail, a new sight and a new experience; La Palma has so much to see. 

IC: Lets talk about the race. Emelie was coming off skis and I have to say, I don’t think I have seen Emelie look so nervous before.

AF: Yes, she did seem nervous.

IC: Maybe it was the weight of expectation? Nuria of course wasn’t racing and my dark horse tip was Maite Maiora. I am pleased to say she didn’t let me down with 2nd place. After that, the ladies race was open. Krissy Moehl, Jodee Adams-Moore I guess was a contender, certainly early on she was in the mix in the top-3 but she struggled later on. Uxue Fraile always picks off people and she is strong in the latter stages and once again she placed 3rd. When you were racing did you realize Emelie was out? 

AF: No, early on Emelie and I ran together. The start is chaos, people sprint and then suddenly you are in a 1-meter wide trail. Rocks are everywhere, it’s a black sandpit and it’s dark. Along with that you have supporters making noise… it really is bonkers. To get around people you have to go around the rocks. It’s volcano after all, the floor moves. You could hear people fall. I heard some commotion over someone falling and then a little later I could hear Emelie. I saw she had blood on her hand and I asked if all was ok? She said, ‘Yes.’ So we pushed on… after Los Canarios, around 7km I knew Emelie wasn’t around. I didn’t think too much of it. I just assumed she would come back to me. However I never saw her again. I was at Pico de Neive…

©iancorless.com.IMG_7464Transvulcania14

IC: So that ‘s 40K?

AF: Yes, 40k. I saw Jono Wyatt and asked about Emelie and Jono told me she was out. I said, ‘No way!’ I really wanted to run with Emelie. It was hard; I know only too well what it’s like to make that decision. I don’t think Emelie had a choice. It was a bad cut. Emelie wanted to race, she would have been strong I am sure.

IC: You pretty much took the race by the scruff of the neck and lead from the start. It’s all very well feeling good, feeling confident and being at the front… we can use Sage Canaday as an example, he takes the front, opens a gap and then he has to run scared. Sage does it to gain a buffer, as he doesn’t descend well, so he tries to keep Kilian and Luis at bay. But for you, you were chased for the whole race.

©iancorless.com.IMG_8044Transvulcania14

AF: Yes, you run scared. You have no idea… people try to help. Apparently in one place I was 20-min ahead, then 1k later it was 6-mins and so on and so on. You can’t rely on the info so you just have to run hard.

IC: How do you manage your effort? I guess the temptation can be to push, push and push. As you said, you can’t rely on info but you do have Salomon teammates at key feed stations so that does provide some security. Arnau for example told me about a story about Miguel Heras and San Fran. Arnau told Miguel he was 1st and Miguel heard ‘3rd’. He won the race but he was wrecked… he ran so hard.

AF: Yes he won by 30-min! 

(Laughter) 

IC: Yes, great win though.

AF: Anything can happen so you have to run to the best of your ability. You can loose 6-min in a couple of miles if you have a bad patch. A race of this distance takes so much out of you, so, you just have to run your own race. If you push too hard, run someone else’s race, you will blow up! I know this course so well; I know every aspect of it. I know exactly how an effort should feel on every part of the course and I know how hard to push. I know when I can rest, when to climb, when to let go. I am fortunate to have this course nailed in my memory. But water, food, pace and self-awareness are so important. It can be over in seconds.

IC: From the start at Fuencaliente to Tazacorte, that’s the bulk of the trail. Where are the areas that you think are the most strenuous and the most difficult on the course? 

AF: For me it’s the downhill. It’s a weakness for me. I want to get to the top of the hill as quick as I can…

IC: But that is 50k of running uphill?

AF: Yes, it’s part one of the race. Race one finishes here and then I start part two on the downhill. I ran the first half well but felt off in the second half as I was cramping a little. I eased a little but I was worried that I would give away time. It was about maintaining an effort, I felt okay in Tazacorte and then the third part of the race starts, Tazacorte to the line. It is about turning pain off and going for it. 

IC: It’s easy to look at a course and worry. Many would worry about 50k uphill in a 73k race. The course is so varied; it has flat sections, long climbing sections, pine forest and plenty of technical train. It adds so much different stress. The Caldera weaves in, out and over, it’s a fantastic place to run but when racing it’s extremely difficult. It’s risky in this section. Do you take risks. 

AF: A little of both, you are right, risk going too fast and you risk going over? 

IC: I think that is what happened to Emma Roca?

AF: Yes, she was chasing 3rd place and went over on her ankle. She managed to hold on to 4th though. For me, I know I need to push because I need a buffer for the downhill but if you fall over, you can give it all away. 

©iancorless.com.IMG_7544Transvulcania14

IC: The downhill is tough eh? It changes constantly. Dusty trail, pine trail which is extremely slippery by the way and then you have really tough rocks that are extremely technical.

AF: Oh yeah, the pine is slippery and then the lower you get the heat increases. 

IC: The zigzag path to Tazacorte, another tough section, how long does it take to go from the summit to the sea?

AF: Around 90-min!

IC: Wow, that is a long time of 100% concentration.

AF: Yes, it’s really tough. When you come down the zigzags you can hear the crowds in the port… it is uplifting. I also had guys I was overtaking shouting encouragement, ‘Go Anna, go Anna.’ It was brilliant.

IC: In Tazacorte you had a course change this year, same distance but 2k of road was replaced with a riverbed trail. It was going to make the course slower… it certainly wouldn’t suit the faster ‘roadies’ but it would suit you, Kilian and Luis. While you are in the section, your watch had stopped so you had no idea of time, also, you didn’t know how far back Maite was, so, what impact did that 2km course change make? 

AF: Your legs are like jelly after running downhill for 90-min. In the port I just refocused. The riverbed wasn’t a surprise but when you hit the beach and your feet sink it isn’t great… particularly knowing the road is just at the side. Mentally it is exhausting but it is a beautiful trail. You have cliff walls and you do get some shade. For me, I just knew it was nothing in the bigger picture, I knew I could hold on and keep going at a decent pace.

IC: You are making your way to the finish, you can hear the crowds from some way off…

AF: It’s amazing; you can hear the noise from a long way off. The final stretch seems miles away. I assumed the record was off! I was appreciating the time and I was enjoying the crowds. It was crazy, they were Mexican waving, cheering and clapping. It’s such a long way… It was only on the final few 100-meters that I realized that the course record was on. I turned the corner, saw the official clock and I took a breath and had to push and push for the record. It was a huge surprise. I was amazed!

IC: You were amazed, so were we! No disrespect but you said you didn’t have 2012 form, the course was tougher and Maite wasn’t on your heels so to come away with a new CR is quite incredible. It was 1min10sec yes?

AF: About that!

IC: Amazing comeback, amazing victory, you must be on cloud-9?

AF: Oh yeah… I got to the line and I pumped my first through the finishing tape. It was a massive relive mentally, not for the day, not for the win, not for the record… It was more than a yearlong race. It was a massive mental relief.

©iancorless.com.IMG_9270Transvulcania14

IC: And Emelie was there to give you the Champagne. 

AF: Amazing, I saw her arm and I was thinking, ‘Oh my goodness.’ But it was brilliant to share that moment.

IC: Do you feel a weight off your shoulders; do you feel in a good place? Moving forward, how do you take what you have learnt and what is the impact?

AF: I am happy. It’s a dream come true to finish injury free and feeling great. Of course the CR is a bonus! I have shared the experience and not just the people who were racing but also all those people who have followed and believed in me for the last 2-years. So many people are going through similar situations, hopefully what I have done will inspire people! The learning for me is patience, listening to my body and talking. We all need to talk, ask questions, seek help, don’t just ask one person, ask many and be open. Try different things, together we can help each other.

IC: This year’s race for me was the ‘Dream Race’, your victory is extremely popular and Luis Alberto topping the podium is such a popular win, he is one of the best in the world. He has often played 2nd fiddle to Kilian and now he has the win, the big win! 

AF: Absolutely, it has been an incredible race and at the awards, Luis reached across to me and whispered, ‘I will never forget this day!’ It was just awesome.

IC: Frosty, we all will never forget this race! Many, many congratulations on such an incredible comeback it has been a pleasure to watch, support and follow. We all love a touch of Frost!

 ©iancorless.com.S0841194Transvulcania14

You can win Frosty’s signed Transvulcania La Palma T-Shirt by entering:

HERE

 

Follow Skyrunning and check out the 2014 calendar at www.skyrunning.com 

Anna Frost is a Salomon athlete and her blog is HERE

Into the Light – Salomon Running TV S03 E08

©copyright .iancorless.com._1020451

I remember it well, Zegama-Aizkorri in 2012. Smiling, bubbly, full of anticipation, Emelie Forsberg joined the Salomon International Team for what was to be the start of an incredible and awe inspiring career.

In 3-weeks time, it will be Zegama-Aizkorri once again, in just 2-years, Emelie has not only become one of the most dominant mountain runners in the world but in the process, in her own unique way, has become an inspiration and an example to all.

I feel honoured to have shared many of Emelie’s moments on the trail, capturing her effortless running style and smile in images.

Generous with her thoughts and time, Emelie even has a regular slot on Talk Ultra, co-hosting a segment of the show called, ‘Smiles and Miles with Emelie Forsberg.’

Here, The African Attachment, once again work the magic behind the lens to provide us with a insight into a wonderful and inspirational lady.

Enjoy…

©theafricanattachment ©salomonrunning

The African Attachment HERE

Salomon Running HERE

Emelie Forsberg HERE

The Mother – Salomon Running TV S03 E04

screenshot_493“Running to me is a way to keep happy…” Kasie Enman

Kasie Enman hails from the small town of Huntington, Vermont where she lives with her husband and family. She was World Mountain Running Champion in 2011 and had a string of podiums in the 2012 SkyRunning Series before falling pregnant with her second child.

In this episode we discover Kasie’s home and family life as she shares her thoughts and feelings on running during pregnancy.

**********

Another great film from Salomon Running and The African Attachment that shows us the importance of balance and passion.

Kasie Enman is not your normal runner!  2011 World Mountain Running Champion, Olympic Trials Team Member, 2012 winner of the Skyrunning Giir di Mont and 2:39 marathon runner (Marathon PB 2:37:14 set in 2008) just 9-months after her first child was born.

Kasie has said many times before that her priorities changed after the birth of her first child;

“I’m not the same person any more in terms of priorities. Running is no longer as important as it used to be and I have to work a lot harder at hanging on to my goals and not letting opportunities pass me by.” credit http://www.baa.org

©TheAfricanAttachment ©salomonrunning

Credits:

Music:
“That’s When I Knew” & “Birth”
By SignPost
Written for The African Attachment & SRTV
http://www.signpostsound.co.za