Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2021 UTMB.
Starting on Tuesday August 24th and running through to Sunday August 29th, there will be a daily podcast release for your audio pleasure. In The Chamonix Tapes 5, we speak with Robbie Simpson.
“I have always like road and I think there is a place for that… But, I am keen to move towards trail and longer distance events. That feeling of running up a mountain on a smooth or technical trail is magical.”
Niandi Carmont brings us her final two interviews from the 2016 Big Red Run, Alistair Nicol: A Lease on Life and The Tansley Tandem: Carlie and Jade Tansely.
Alistair NICOL: A Second Lease on Life
“To have your childhood dream realized is a really big deal.” – Maya Rudolph
It’s a bit of a process. Three years ago I had some heart problems, mainly due to the extreme stress of building a 3-storey functioning windmill in The Rocks down in Sydney. I found myself in hospital having my heart shocked back into rhythm. My cardiologist suggested I do some exercise and from there a little bit of running led to more focussed training and setting challenges. I’m also interested in the beautiful locations where you can do these challenges. My Dad was a photographer and travel writer for the Automobile Association and when I was a kid he’d come back from his trips and show me these stunning images of magnificent landscapes, remote regions and the outback. He’d interview local personalities and all of that made me dream – I knew then I wanted to visit those places. I got caught up in the stress of life and it’s only when I had my health issues the I took a step back and realised that I’d let go of my legacy.
It is surprising when you look at Alistair as he doesn’t look like a candidate for heart problems. He’s young, lean and lanky and looks athletic.
I was working with site managers and production directors at festivals and events. You end up taking other people’s stress,people who are just not pulling their weight. My tendency is just to make a job happen. After a few years of that, it started catching up. I probably could have been exercising more and I could have been eating a slightly different diet.
For Alistair the Big Red Run is a real challenge and an opportunity to reunite with his father’s legacy.
The first day was the my first marathon too! It’s not always easy to find training time although I have put in a lot of training the last 9 months. My legs are feeling pretty good. I’ve taken a producer, managerial approach to running in that I’ve been working with so many physics and chirps and other sports people. I’m actually not feeling too bad today – I might feel differently in 3 days time. (lLaughs).
I ask him if he’s happy with his preparation.
On account of the rain, I think I should have taken half a dozen pegs to hang up and dry out my kit! Seriously, I think i might have over-catered on the food. I definitely took more than I needed. Also I had planned to do the Big Red Run but with the soft tissue issues I’ve had with my knee, I’ve had to switch back to the shorter version the Little Red Run.
And his impressions of the ambiance, camp life?
It’s funny how there are people from all walks of life. They are all completely different in their personalities. I suppose it’s natural for an event like this in such a remote area that brings people together, people you’d otherwise probably not get to meet. There’s a sense of looking after everyone’s well-being.
The Tansley Tandem: Carlie and Jade Tansely
Endurance and passion for the outdoors definitely run in the Tansely family. In 2015 father Shawn Tansely ran the Big Red Run and his wife Carlie and 2 daughters volunteered. This year Shawn is back running the BRR, accompanied by his wife and daughter, 18-year old Jade. Their youngest daughter is volunteering. Jade is also the youngest participant in the BRR. I caught up with them just after stage 4.
I ask Jade about her impressions so far:
Pretty sore but I’m still OK. The hardest so far is knowing you have to get up every morning and go again. It’s amazing out there – I was struck by the size of the sand dunes, they are massive. This is my first multi-day – I’ve never done anything as weird and wacky. My friends at uni think I’m insane.
Do they train together?
Carlie: We stuck together the first 2 days and then Jade decided to do today by herself, just to find out if she could.
Jade: I needed to know if I could get myself from start to finish without Mum’s help and obviously I could, cos I finished today. It was bit of a confidence boost. I definitely needed to prove to myself that I could be autonomous and independent.
We move on to the topic of race preparation and training.
Carlie: We didn’t always train together because of our different schedules, juggling with uni and work. Endurance and the love for the outdoors is something the girls have grown up with. They have been camping and hiking since they could walk. It’s just part and parcel really.
I wonder if Jade is mature enough to step back and analyse her performance. I ask her if she would do things differently next time.
A whole lot more training. I’d probably try to do some events and longer distances beforehand to be better prepared mentally.
I ask Carlie about her takeaways on doing this event with her daughter.
I think it has bonded us. I get to see how Jade has developed as an adult and how she can stand on her own two feet and achieve. I’m very proud of her. Today was very tough, knowing I wasn’t with her. I was a bit stressed but she made it and it’s fantastic. Tomorrow for the long day we will stick together at Jade’s pace, walking, running, whatever!
This is Episode 109 of Talk Ultra. We speak with inspiring adventurer and I2P ambassador Ray Zahab about his amazing Antarctica 2 Atacama expedition. We also speak with an amazing Australian lady, Mina Guli, who ran 40-marathons across 7 deserts on 7 continents in 7 weeks. We also have a little pre-MDS chat and Speedgoat is here.
It’s a different show this week as Ian is in the Sahara at Marathon des Sables and this show was recorded in advance and then programmed for release.
RAY ZAHAB In February 2016, Ray Zahab (CAN), Jen Segger (CAN) and Stefano Gregoretti (Italy) set out on a unique and challenging expedition that spanned 100 degrees celsius on the thermometer. The team journeyed from -50°C (-58F) to +50°C (120F) over 1,500km, on mountain bikes and foot, crossing both Baffin Island in Canadian winter, and the Atacama Desert in Chilean summer. Website HERE
MINA GULI From 1 February to 22nd March, 2016 Mina did something nobody in the world that has ever done before – she ran across 7 deserts on 7 continents in just 7 weeks. She did it for one reason – to raise awareness about the water crisis. To show the world in pictures and in images, what the water crisis looks like, and to highlight the fact that left unchanged, our water use will increase unsustainably – to a point where by 2030 we will have a 40% greater demand for water than supplies available. Website HERE
Another incredible day on the trails and mountains between Sierre and Zinal. The 2014 edition of the race was always going to be hugely competitive with an incredibly deep field both for the ladies and the men.
Kilian Jornet rallied in the closing stages of the race and pulled back race leader, Jo Gray and then used his blistering downhill ability to open an incredible gap of just over 1-minute. His time of 2:31:54 was a personal best for the Catalan on this course but was outside Jono Wyatt’s 2003 course record of 2:29:12.
Stevie Kremer made it 3rd time lucky and finally topped the Sierre-Zinal podium after placing 2nd for the past 2-years. Stevie took the race on from the front and held off Sierre-Zinal ever presents, Maud Mathys and 2012 winner, Aline Camboulives.
1. Jornet Burgada Kilian (ESP) 2:31.54
2. Gray Jo (USA) 2:32.58
3. Costa Cesar (SUI) 2:34.07
4. Gonon François (FRA) 2:34.56
5. Simpson Rob (GBR) 2:35.13
6. Zinca Ionut (ROM) 2:35.44
7. Schneider David (SUI) 2:36.32
8. Wyatt Jonathan (NZL) 2:38.54
9. Bostrom Marten 2:39.26
10. Pivk Tadei (ITA) 2:40.23
Top sky and mountain runner Robbie Simpson has joined some of the UK’s finest trail, fell and mountain running talent at the Salomon Trail Team UK for 2014, bolstering the team to be one of the strongest domestic trail teams in the world. With such talent as Ricky Lightfoot, Tom Owens, Angela Mudge, Andy Davies and Emma Clayton already on the UK team, Simpson’s addition to the squad for 2014 will create even more interest for the team on the UK and global stage.
The world-class team of UK athletes will be unveiled at Coed y Brenin, Wales this weekend, as the 11-strong team meets for the annual training and product summit, along with its fledgling squad of five junior athletes, Salomon Avenir.
The full line-up of the UK-based team for 2014 is:
2014 Salomon Trail Team UK
Salomon Avenir line-up for 2014
Speaking about his move back to the team which helped kick-start his international career some 4 years ago, Simpson states:
“Over the summer I was in the Alps for four months and started seeing some of the new Salomon range at a lot of big races. A few months later a conversation at a wedding with Tom Owens was what got things started. He suggested trying some of these shoes I’d seen to see how I found them. My feet are a bit strange so I wasn’t sure if they would get on well with them. After trying the Sense Ultra I knew it was the perfect shoe for mountain racing and it suited my feet really well. I tried some of the other new shoes like the Fellcross and got on very well with that too. After that I knew it was the right decision. I was very fortunate that Salomon were prepared to give me a chance on the team for 2014.
“It will be great to be working with some of the world’s top mountain and trail runners. I would say already I’ve been learning from these athletes for at least five years now and they have been definitely helped me develop. Angela (Mudge) has won pretty much every race I’ve competed in whether in Scotland or Europe so she knows so much about how everything works. Her knowledge has been very valuable to me and I still have a lot to learn. Tom and Ricky also have a lot of experience and I am very keen to learn from them too; especially about the long mountain and trail races which they are so good at.I’m hoping I can continue to improve and be a strong addition to the team.”
Commenting on some of the changes to the product in the last few seasons Robbie is impressed with what he has seen to date:
“Lots of very great kit has been developed in the last few years! Now there is a great range of off road shoes that can cope with anything from fast smooth trails to thick mud and fells. Previously the range was a bit restricted so there was a lack of a very light racing shoe or a very aggressive fell shoe; this has changed now. The Sense Ultra is one of my favourite shoes that I have tried and I look forward to using it on the mountains this season. It’s incredibly light and fast but has enough grip for most conditions. I’ve run up big hills on rough terrain in the shoe but also set road PB’s in it! I think this would be perfect for most Alpine races with reasonably good trails and also for flat races.
“The Fellcross is another great shoe that gets taken out for the really wet or muddy conditions. It has very aggressive grip and is also very comfortable on long runs. I think it would be the best shoe for most UK hill and fell races. As well as these I have tried the Fellraiser which is another shoe with very good grip but it also copes well with firmer ground like forest tracks. It’s perfect for runs of mixed terrain where you need good grip and it is very comfortable.”
After another very strong season in 2013 which saw the Scot pull-off a tremendous 5th place finish at the world-renowned Sierre-Zinal race, Robbie has spent some time this winter honing his speed on the roads of Scotland, with PBs and wins at such events as the Cupar 5 (24:02) and a win at the Inverness Half Marathon (66:03) only this weekend. Looking ahead to the coming year he concludes:
“The aim is to run at the European and World championships plus some other big mountain races like Sierre Zinal once again. Last year I was very happy with my season in the Alps but this year I want to perform even better. I’m planning to go to the Alps for a few months over the summer so I can focus on preparing well and get used to racing against some of the world’s best. In the months before then I will be aiming to improve my road PB’s and also to do a few hill races to get in as good shape as possible.”
Commenting on Simpson’s addition to the team for 2014, team co-ordinator Matt Ward states:
“We are very pleased to see Robbie back with Salomon in 2014. He was on the squad as a teenager, which was perhaps a little young for someone to be thrown into a brand team with so many top-class internationals and this is one of the reasons that we brought in the Avenir squad project with senior team ‘mentors’. Robbie is now 22 and has matured over the last 2-3 years to be one of the UK’s brightest trail and mountain running talents, so naturally we are very happy to have secured him on the team for the coming season.
“However, the UK team is much more one one athlete. We have some of the best athletes in the world on the team for 2014 and Robbie will hopefully gel into what has been a phenomenal set-up under the guidance of Tim Lloyd over the last decade or so. This weekend we will all meet in Wales to discuss the season ahead, look at product from our main sponsors Salomon, Suunto, Petzl, Super Feet and Kinetica, share some runs on the amazing trails of Coed y Brenin, and hopefully have a little fun whilst we are at it!”