The Coastal Challenge #TCC2015 Day 1 Playa de Ray – Savegre Valley

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TCC 2015 Day 1 Playa de Ray – Savegre Valley

36.4km

850m+ ascent

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-9696 Day one of The Coastal Challenge is always a tough day. For many, the heat and the humidity are just too great and along with excitement and adrenaline, the early run pace is too fast and the inevitable happens. In past years runners have dropped the ball on the first day and dug so deep in to reserves that they have not been able to recover. It looks like everyone managed to hold back just a little, however, the story in camp post race was one of fatigue, dehydration and intense heat.

After a 0300 start and a three-hour bus drive to the coast, runners departed Playa del Rey at 0800 and within a couple of kilometres the intense heat and high humidity could visible seen as sweat soaked bodies pushed along the strong. Canadian, Mike Murphy was clearly intending to race hard and it was long before he started to open a gap followed by Iain Don Wauchope from South Africa, a couple of local Costa Ricans, Speedgoat Karl Meltzer and Joe Grant.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-0642Anna Frost and Veronica Bravo raced neck-and-neck and it was very clear that an interesting battle would develop between the two. Nikki Kimball ran in third, Costa Rican, Maria Guevara and then Samantha Gash.

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At Cp1 a pattern was forming as Mike Murphy and Anna Frost opened up gaps in their respective fields, Frosty just had a couple of minutes over Veronica Bravo but Murphy was extending a lead into double -figures.

In the dense forest section that followed, approximately five kilometres later Iain Don Wauchope had taken the lead in the men’s race followed by Costa Rican Roiny Villegas and Karl Meltzer. Anna Frost held a two-minute lead over Veronica Bravo and the stage looked set for a great battle. As runners passed, no sign of Mike Murphy and I was beginning to wonder what had happened?

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Murphy later appeared on the trail out of the top ten; it turned out he missed a key right turn that took the runners from a fire road and into the dense jungle. Mike complained the signs had not been in place but that was not correct. The turn had been clearly marked well in advance of any runners!

Eyes focused, Mike pushed hard on the trail looking to pull back time and although running with great speed and style he paid a price in the intense heat and eventually slowed. However, he did pull back great junks of time and he is certainly not out of the fight.

Iain Don Wauchope held on for victory but said, “A great deal tougher than I expected, I really suffered in the heat and slowed a great deal. Everyone did! The heat was just so intense.”

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Roiny Villegas placed second, Karl Meltzer placed third, Joe Grant fourth and Mike Murphy closed well to place fifth.

At Cp3 Anna Frost still had a strong lead but at Cp4, Veronica Bravo had closed and passed Frosty. Frosty suffered in the intense heat and had no option but to submerge her self in the river to reduce her core.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-9659Veronica pulled away and gained more and more time and eventually gained over seven minutes lead. Post race Veronica said, “I almost didn’t want to pass Anna, but she waved ne through. I couldn’t believe it. I respect her so much. I just held my form, listened to my body and maintained my rhythm.” The coming days are going to be very exciting as Bravo and Frost battle for the lead.

Maria Guevara placed third ahead of Nikki Kimball and Samantha Gash placed fifth.

Day two is going to be a tough day. How will everyone feel, will they have recovered?

The Coastal Challenge – Day 2

Saverge Valley to Dominical Beach via Brujo, Dos Boscas and Hatillo

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The sound didn’t stop… a million ‘Chichara’ echoed into the night providing the most awesome soundtrack to a night in a tent! Believe it or not, most people hit the sack by 1930hrs. For a few adventurous runners it was 2000hrs.

The heat had subsided but it was still a warm and humid night. Tents are pitched ‘inner’ only so as to allow for more airflow and sleeping bag? No, no, no… most definitely not required.

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0330 alarms disturbed the now quiet beach. The Chichara had finally gone for some RnR, it was our turn to disturb them. The kitchen staff had once again done an incredible job. These guys are doing an endurance event themselves. Cook breakfast for 0400, pack up and load up, move to the next stage finish, unpack and set up and then start cooking ready for the arrival of the runners. Provide lunch and then cook dinner. The next day, do it all again.

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I went ahead of the race today, as I wanted to climb to the second summit at 760m and capture images on the way as the front-runners came towards me. This section of the course had dense forest, mud and a whole mixture of different terrain. It was ‘proper’ jungle! I was on the trail by 0630 and I anticipated the front-runners around 0815.

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Back at camp runners assembled and started at 0545 with the start of a new days light. The sky was red… it was going to be a hot day. Total distance for the day was 39km but CP1 and CP2 although only 11k apart on this terrain and with the heat, this is quite far. Carrying enough liquid was essential.

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Day 1’s eagerness was tempered with a little carried over fatigue and the realization that this was going to be a much harder day. Dave James in the lead by 46 mins overall was going to run with Ismael Dris today. He had said to me the night before “I have no need to run any harder that Dris wants too, it will be nice to spend time with him on the trail”.

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Like clockwork they arrived at my ‘hiding place’ at around 0825. Dave, looked very relaxed and in control with no shirt and two hand bottles. Dris looked less secure as he immediately fell behind. They sped past with Dave stopping for a moment “make sure you go up Ian, the trail is awesome, some really dense undergrowth” and they were off!

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Monestel and Lopez placed 3rd and 4th and held these positions to the end. Dripped in sweat they ran along the trail eyes focused on each step ahead.

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I headed up the trail and the undergrowth closed in. It was really great to see. Noises wrung out from all around me. You can’t pinpoint anyone sound, it’s just a carcophony of noise. However the roar I had heard earlier (twice) did prick up my ears.

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Just before I reached the summit a bunch of runners came through, obviously using the approach of safety in numbers. And then the first lady, Tricia Lopez from Costa Rica.

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I continued up the trail and then turned and started my run back to the finish line. The objective to track Tricia and get a selection of images and then leapfrog to get some images on the beach.

iancorless.comP1050662By this stage Dave and Ismael had finished the day in just over 5hr (5:01), 3rd place Monestel arrived 1hr and 20 mins later.

The beach section, although completely flat seemed to be the ‘gripe’ of the day. By this time runners were dehydrated, tired and just wanted to finish. However, it did have a couple of great water crossings to help cool everyone down,

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Tricia held on to her advantage and crossed the line first lady at 1:14 pm, some 2 hours and 22 mins after the lead men, Angela Mayer from the USA and Gemma Slaughter finished in joint 2nd just 10 minutes behind Tina. They had definitely closed over the latter stages.

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The Coastal Challenge is all about participation and as Kami Holtz, Pam Nielsen (both from Minnesota) and Helen Lavin (California) all first timers at The Coastal Challenge are as they say themselves, ‘middle of the packer’ but they had a great day finishing in just over 8 hours – “It was a challenging course, it was muddy, technical with tough climbs but we are rewarded with beautiful views. It is what we are here for. However, the beach at the end went on forever. Plus the sun was up at this point just beating down on us.”

You can see a full set of images from today HERE

Results and other additional race information are available on the race website HERE

Tomorrow

Stage 3 is a longer and tougher stage. Starting at Dominical Beach we head up and up to a highpoint of 800m but this terrain includes river running and some stunning waterfalls. At 48k it will test already tired runners and again, we have another beach finish.

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