PHOTOGRAPHS #TCC2019 The Coastal Challenge
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The Coastal Challenge reaches new heights in 2019 celebrating 15-years of amazing racing.
The 14th edition completed in February 2018 at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, was a record breaker! Yes, course records were broken daily and Tom Evans and Ragna Debats elevated the overall CR’s to a new level obliterating the 2017 records set by the UK’s Tom Owens and New Zealand’s Anna Frost.
Time never stands still and to make the 15th edition of TCC extra special, race director’s Rodrigo Carazo and Sergio Sanchez have confirmed a new incentive for the 2019 edition of the race.
A reward purse totalling $8000 will be up for grabs as the race gets underway from the stunning beaches of Quepos, Costa Rica.
Each day, $250 will be up for grabs should the stage course records be broken by the fastest male or female. For example, in 2018, Tom Evans broke every stage record, that would have been rewarded with a $1500 payout!
Should the overall course record set in 2018 by Tom Evans or Ragna Debats be broken in 2019, $2500 will be on offer. Should the male and female record go, that is a payout of $5000.
Feel like a fast start to 2019? It comes no faster than the 15th edition of The Coastal Challenge!
TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, travelling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.
Following on from the announcement that UTMB 3rd place and Everest Trail Race winner, Jordi Gamito will race in 2019 (Here) – We now announce the return of Marcus Scotney. Marcus is an experienced multi-day racer having won The Dragons Back Race and the Cape Wrath Ultra in the UK. He toed the line at TCC in 2017 and was gunning for the podium until a huge navigational error pulled him out of the classification – he is coming back to put the record straight!
What attracts you back to Costa Rica?
Undo the wrong turn I made in this year TCC, Costa Rica is an amazingly beautiful place to run with such friendly people.
This is the 15th edition of the TCC, a special one – what do you know about the race after racing in 2018?
It gets very HOT during the day and it takes you through stunning scenery with golden beaches, dense technical forests trails and rivers to cross and run up.
Heat and humidity will play a major factor in the race, how do you plan to adapt?
I hope to get into a heat chamber again and run with lots of layers on, and praying we don’t have such a cold winter in the UK than this year.
Ragna Debats and Tom Evans set incredible course records in 2017. There is prize money available for a new CR in 2019 – does that motivate you? Can you break the record?
Tom was on fire this year, him and Hayden raced as hot as the air temperature was, it will take some beating.
Multi-day racing brings many different challenges to a single-stage race – what are you most looking forward to? What are you most fearful of?
I’m looking forward to running such a beautiful and well organized race, being immersed in the jungle and the spectacular trails and beaches.
I’m most fearful of missing a pink tape ribbon and missing a turn, I wouldn’t live it down if I did that again!
The elite line-up is incredible for 2019, you will need to be in the best shape, does that excite you?
Yes I am super excited to be returning and running with and getting to know the other elite runners. Knowing the course now means I know what I need to focus on to improve on this years performance.
February is early in the season, what will your winter training look like, so you will be ready for February?
Lots of miles in the Peak District this winter, focusing on ascent each week and adding some tempo running into the mix.
And doing a pink ribbon awareness course; getting Jen to hang Pink Ribbons out on runs for me to follow and stay focused on.
I am sure you have looked at past editions of the race, viewed the stages, the profile – it is a tough race that suits a rounded athlete. You need to be able to climb, descend, handle technical trail and run on the flat – where will your strengths be?
I know most of my way around the course now so know what to expect.
My strength is on the technical trail and the steep climbs, I will be working on my flat speed for the 2019 edition of the race.
What experience do you have of multi-day racing?
2016 – The Cape Wrath Ultra Trail
2017 – The Dragons Back Race
2018 – The Coastal Challenge DQ’d
2018 – Ut4M Challenge Grenoble
Racing starts very early in Costa Rica, with the sun! An early finish allows for relaxation on the beach, you can even have a beer – combining racing and relaxation is a key of TCC. It is a ‘Pura Vida’ race – tell us about your hopes and desires for the 2019 edition.
Not getting lost!!!!
What three music choices would sum up your racing style?
Senser – Stubborn
Nick Cave and the bad seeds – The Mercy seat
John Martin – Small hours
Tell us about your nutrition and hydrations strategies for the race?
It gets very hot very quickly in the morning I will be drinking plenty of water, I will carry 3 soft flasks like this year and always keep a spare bottle filled. I will use a mixture of Clif Bloks and Mountain Fuel Jellies.
Tell us about key equipment such as shoes and apparel that you will use?
Scott Supertrac Ultra’s. Montane VIA Fang Shirt. Suunto 9
Open question – Feel free to tell us something, anything!
I will not get lost this year!
Tell us about your greatest achievement/ result in 2018?
2nd Cappadocia Ultra Trail
Please list a summary of your career highlights for 2017 and 2018:
1 – Winning and setting a new CR for the 2017 Dragons Back Race
2 – Running in the 2018 Coastal Challenge.
3 – 2nd 2018 Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Turkey
4 – 5th 2018 UtM4 Challenge Grenoble 160km
5 – 6th Mozart 100km Austria
6 – 1st Dark Peak Runners 50km
Follow in 2019 #TCC2019
The Coastal Challenge
Website (UK) HERE
Website (Global) HERE
#tcc2019 #thecoastalchallenge #tcc19
Twitter – @tcccostarica
Ultratrack Supramonte, (UTSS) an outdoor event in the breathtaking landscape of the Supramonte of Baunei, considered one of the very few wilderness in Europe and the entire Mediterranean basin.
We will let you run on the paths of the shepherds, the true custodians of this harsh and wild territory, on the mule tracks overlooking the cliffs, built by the charcoal burners in the 19th century.
Sea, woods and a lot of rock, so hard limestone for the toughest trailers, but everyone can count thanks to the many distances of the race.
Race website HERE
6am was the start to the 90km race. Spanish Isaac Riera (Top Ten in the CCC 2018) took an early lead and ran into the morning. Unfortunatly he fell and injured his thigh, so he had to withdraw at km30. After Isaac’s withdrawal, the strong Polish Runner Bartosz Gorcyca ran his own race. He increased the lead to his followers to impressive 2hours. He won in new Course record of 9h51min (old record: Nicola Bassi, 10h15). “I did not know how far the next runners were behind me. If I knew about the gap, I’d have slowed down” smiled Bartosz at the finish line. Behind him, Francesco Pompoli (ITA), Patrik Sondell of Sweden, last year 2nd place finisher Michele Lando and last year’s 43km winner Michael Geisler (AUT) fought over place 2 and 3. Positions changed frequently between Michael and Michele. “Michele was very strong uphill, but I catched him most of the time on the technical downhills” Michael said later. He had to pull out at km 60 due to Stomach issues. Michele had a nasty fall at km50 and had to slow down. Patrik and Francesco ran together for the whole race. They found a common pace and had a great day out in the Wilderness. At the end Patrik and Francesco finished together on second place. Then minute behind them also Michele Lando arrived at the finish line. Immediately after him, the first women arrived in 12:13:42. Corine Kagerer of Switzerland won the UTSS Sardinia the second time (she won also in 2017). Second place female goes to Norwegian Runner Abelone Lyng, who was super happy about her strong finish. Third place on the womens podium went to Ivana Bertasa of Italy.
Roberto Gheduzzi won the 43km Race. Behind Roberto and Overall second place took the first female: Ginevra Cusseau, a strong obstacle racer and Trailrunner from Italy. She won this year already the Ultra Trail de Mugello (25km) and placed 16th at the Dolomites Skyrace (22km).
summary from Michael Geisler
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The Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls is a group of races that show the islands beauty to its full potential. Five races encompass the whole of the island by following the way-marked ‘Cami de Cavalls’ route.
Walking or running 32km’s to 185km’s, there is possibly no better way to embrace the island of Menorca.
Three day’s of running and five races. The TMCDC (Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls)is the longest race at 185km’s, starting in Ciutadella at 0830 and 1430, runners take in the whole perimeter of the island in a clockwise direction to finish back where they started. They have 46-hours to complete the journey! A quality elite line-up will contest the distance and the men’s race includes Gerard Morales, Antoine Guillon, Eugeni Rosella, Casey Morgan, Pere Lluis Garau, Isma Marques, Toni Contesti and Miguel Capo. For the ladies’ Gemma Aveli, Tere Nimes, Alice Modignani-Fasoli and Tina Ameller.
The TMCN (Trail Menorca Costa North) (100km) starts at 0030h but finishes at the opposite end of the island after weaving in, out and up and down the jagged north coast.
At 0600, the 85km TMCS (Trail Menorca Costa South) starts in Es Castell located in the east at 0600. There is a stark contrast in terrain the west and east. The west is rugged, aggressive and relentless whereas the east is lush and the journey south is a plethora of coves, beaches, rock and of course turquoise sea that makes Menorca so appealing to tourists.
The 32km TCN (Trekking Costa North) starts in Addaia at 0800. Running into coves, forest, beaches and trail turn Menorca into a playground illuminated by the moon and the glow of head torches.
And finally, at 0900 on day 2, the TCS (Trekking Costa South) 55km runners start their journey back to Ciutadella from Calan Porter.
Trail Menorca have a simple concept to provide runners of all ability an opportunity to experience the best of Menorca. Of course, it’s a huge challenge for the race organisation to cover so many races over so much terrain, however, they have been doing this for many years and the race grows in stature each time. Menorca has a casual, relaxed way of life, for one weekend, the island becomes alive with athletes as they journey around the island.
“I was amazed by the beauty, the varying terrain and the scenery. The final 20km of the 85km event although flat were brutal. I had just not anticipated that the terrain would be so technical,” said Elisabet Barnes post race in 2015. Two bloody knees confirmed her effort and commitment.
“I have to agree, this island was a surprise. I run in Mallorca a great deal,” said Casey Morgan. “I had not anticipated that the island would be as flat as it is but in sections the trail is extremely technical. The contrast from north to south is also quite amazing. It’s a beautiful island.”
The next pedition will soon be underway as runners from all over the world arrive in Menorca from May 16th in anticipation of the 2018 Cami de Cavialls.
Race report: Talk Ultra’s Ian Corless recently travelled to Costa Rica to cover the The Coastal Challenge 2013, a six day stage race
All things must come to an end…. the atmosphere around camp was a little subdued. Some participants looked relieved that they didn’t have to squeeze a pair of shoes onto blistered feet. Others seemed sad that another day on awesome Costa Rican trails didn’t await.
Some required quiet time away from the camp to walk Drake Beach as the sun welcomed a new day. Others huddled in groups telling stories of water crossings, quad busting descents and dehydration.
Ultimately every person had a story. Unique stories, personal to each participant, stories that they would hold within themselves forever. No matter how low the low points, the day after never seems so bad. If it was easy, everyone would do it. The Coastal Challenge offers some very testing terrain with relentless heat and humidity to provide an overall race experience that will test each and every person. To cross the line on the final day requires commitment, dedication and some luck.
Photos © Ian Corless
The logistics of mobilising a camp and moving it everyday in tough terrain is nothing short of remarkable. The course marking and dedication from the TCC crew was available for all to see. This is no easy race to run, but it is certainly no easy race to coordinate. The catering team showed a dedication not often seen, rising at 0200 to have breakfast ready for 0400, break down camp, move to the next location, set up and then cook lunch ready for the runners arrival. Clear lunch and then prepare dinner all for the process to be repeated again. Respect!
Marking the course was done before the race and then every stage had TCC crew heading out in front of the race to ensure that nobody would get lost. While the race was underway, the camp crew would mobilise moving luggage, tents and all other elements of base camp and then set up again. All this in searing heat – it was tough work.
Base camp had a full medical team and feet specialists to ensure that everyone would be in the best shape possible to start the next day. It’s a really important aspect of multi stage racing and without it, many would not see the finish.
Stage races are not meant to be easy! Was the The Coastal Challenge too hard? No, of course not. Was it hard? Yes, without doubt.
Photos © Ian Corless
Several runners at TCC had participated in Marathon des Sables several times, on questioning they all said that The Coastal Challenge was a much harder race. The combination of heat, humidity, climbing and tough technical terrain was a much greater test of mind and body.
A key aspect of this race is camp life. An opportunity to relax in beautiful locations, make new friends and sleep under the stars. Strangers by the end of day 1 became best friends by day 2. The comradeship, the willingness to sacrifice time to help another is a great thing to see. One persons’ suffering was taken on by others and the burden shared.
With the race over these friendships will continue and no doubt be renewed at other races in the future.
The excitement and beauty of 236km’s, with over 30,000ft of climbing in South American rainforest over six days was a joy to behold and conquer. The journey came to an end by boat. We left Drake Beach speeding through the ocean to our bus that would eventually return everyone to San Jose and a comfortable bed.
It was time to switch off, let the experience soak in and remember what had been achieved.
Congratulations to Dave James and Gemma Slaughter for the respective wins in the Expedition category.
Ultimately though, the credit goes to every participant who battled and endured the TCC Expedition or Adventure category. Tam Miller from Vancouver Canada summed it up for me when she said: “I feel whole and complete and I have no unfinished business”
Photos © Ian Corless