Episode 165 – Great Himalayan Trail Special #GHT with Rayn Sandes, Dean Leslie and Ryno Griesel

Episode 165 of Talk Ultra is a Great Himalayan Trail Special to link with the release of ‘Lessons From The Edge’ film. We chat with Ryan Sandes, Ryno Griesel and Wandering Fever film maker, Dean Leslie.
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Talk Ultra is now on Tunein- just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE  You can download the Tunein APP HERE
Talk Ultra needs your help!
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 who have helped via PATREON
Donate HERE
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Read about Ian’s Christmas Nepal Trek HERE
The route, plan and the equipment he will use.
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NEWS
Lessons from the Edge is the new film by Dean Leslie of Wandering Fever that tells the story of Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel’s epic journey on the Great Himalayan Trail. Read a review of the movie HERE.
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00:30:31 Interview with Ryan Sandes
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01:01:40 Interview with DEAN LESLIE
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01:51:36 Interview with RYNO GRIESEL
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02:41:20 CLOSE
02:44:16
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Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein.
Our web page at www.iancorless.comhas all our links and back catalogue.
Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
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Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE
Website- talkultra.com
UP & COMING RACESgo to https://marathons.ahotu.com

Rockhoppin’ Trail – Ian Corless Interview

South Africa’s Linda Doke is not only a very accomplished runner but a great journalist. Recently she has interviewed her favourite photographers and I made the cut for the latest feature.

“This week’s photographer is a personal favourite. Ian Corless is world renowned on the global trail running stage, and his work matches the calibre of the high class races he has photographed over the years. I’ll always have a soft spot for this crazy Englishman – I met him in 2012 when I ran the Sierre-Zinal Skymarathon in Switzerland. The race itself was a fantastic experience, but it was the following day in the mountains that I treasure the most from that trip: Ian and I went on a five hour run/hike up into the mountains above the tiny town of Zinal, and gazed upon the Glacier de Zinal, and an amphitheatre of snow-capped mountains – Zinalrothorn 4221m, Wellenkuppe 3903m, Ober Gabelhorn 4063m, Matterhorn 4476m, Pointe de Zinal 3789m and Dent Blanche 4357m. That day carved in my memory as having the most incredible backdrop to any hike I’ve ever done!”

READ THE FEATURE HERE

Instagram @iancorlessphotography

Photography website at www.iancorlessphotography.com

Photography sales and Image Usage HERE

The Namibia Crossing is HERE! A new journey for 2019.

The 2019 NAMIBIA CROSSING has been confirmed.

A new name, a new adventure! The NAMIBIA CROSSING is a 200km, five-day foot race from South Africa to Namibia through the ancient arid landscape of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The race was previously known as the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun, the new name reflects the ‘crossing’ of the Orange River and the doorway to Namibia.

From the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa to the infamous giant boulders of Tatasberg deep in the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park; this unparalleled journey then crosses the Orange River into Namibia and the wild lands of the Fish River Canyon. This is the running experience of a lifetime; this is the this is the Namibia Crossing.

Add the dates to your diary, June 16th to June 22nd 2019

(additional travel dates required)

Five days, 44km + 33km + 40km + 49km + 26km = 200km.

Official race website HERE

UK and EUROPEAN entries via Steve Diederich HERE

Overlaying the Orange River border line between South Africa and Namibia is a 5,920km2 arid mountain desert wilderness unlike any other in the world. This area is a jointly managed conservation initiative called the /Ai /Ais- Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, that incorporates the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa and the Fish River Canyon National Park in Namibia.

What this area contains is an ancient geological and natural landscape that is quite simply unparalleled on Earth. Not only is this is the oldest mountain desert in the world, it’s the richest one – holding more than a third of the worlds known succulent species. In fact, it’s second only to the Cape Floral Kingdom in terms of botanical diversity.

Throw in the largest canyon in Africa and some uniquely desert-adapted African wildlife and you have yourself a wilderness running experience that is quite simply unmatched.

The Race in Summary:

Day 1:

This 42km day takes us over the crystal fields, past the ‘Vyf Susters’ and up ‘Helskloof’ pass, to break through the ‘Numeesberge’ and into the heart of the Richtersveld and our overnight camp at De Koei.

Day 2: 

This 33kms day takes us into the magnificent valley between the Tswayisberg and Vandersterrberg mountain ranges to a seldom visited ‘Armmanshoek’ (Poor-mans- corner). We overnight at Hakkiesdoring.

Day 3: 

One of the most iconic days on the Namibia Crossing – this 39km day takes us across
the Springbok Vlakte, over the Tatasberg mountain and down to the Orange River.

Relaxing and washing off in the Orange River at De Hoop camp rounds out a thoroughly rewarding day.

Day 4:

The Namibia Crossing – A short boat trip across the Orange will drop you on Namibian soil and to the start of the longest day, at 50kms. This is a tough day but as your reward, you can relax in the hot hot springs right in the riverbed, where you will be staying the night. The final briefing will precede dinner in this open-air, canyon camp.

Day 5: 

The final 25km takes on a final few bends of the Fish River, before we duck out, up Zebra valley, and follow game trails through the rolling foothills. There is a sting in the tail, but the view is worth it! A short elevator drop gets us to the finish at the Hot Springs Resort.

This is a fully supported running experience in a remote wilderness area which includes six nights fully-catered, individual tented accommodation, luxury bus transport from Cape Town to the reception venue and return, exquisite camp cuisine and a fully-stocked, remote camp setup. This also includes all entrance and permit fees, transport of personal items during the event and logistical & medical support throughout.

Embrace the journey of a lifetime!

South African entries and info:

Tamaryn Middleton – tamaryn@wildrunner.co.za or +27 21 789 0318. Otherwise try her mobile phone: +27 72 373 5081.

UK and European entries use the contact form below.

Episode 150 – Ryan Sandes and Brian Boyle

This is Episode 150 of Talk Ultra and we chat with Ryan Sandes ahead of his new and exciting FKT attempt in Nepal. Kurt Decker chats with Brian Boyle and Speedgoat is here.
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NEWS
Not much news this early in 2018, Ian and Karl chat about Bandera 100k and HURT 100. We also give a shout out to Dave Mackey!
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00:38:11 – Kurt Decker talks with BRIAN BOYLE
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01:01:55 – Ian Corless talks with RYAN SANDES
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Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel FKT on GHT.
Hope you had an amazing festive season and got to enjoy a very well deserved breakJ In early March 2018, Ryan Sandes and his trail running best bud, Ryno Griesel, will be undertaking their next mission impossible in attempting to set the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Holy Grail of Mountain Trails, the Great Himalaya Trail’s.Ryan and Ryno will be leaving from high altitude training in Afriski on the 5th of Feb before they head out to Nepal on the 21st of Feb.
While most of us mere mortals started off the year setting fitness goals that we hope to achieve by at least the end of 2018, Ryan Sandes and fellow Salomon athlete, Ryno Griesel, have set themselves the goal of running, and hopefully beating, the current fastest known time (FKT) for the Holy Grail of Mountain Trails, the Great Himalaya Trail. They are aiming to tackle the more than 1400km in early March and in under 28 days – that’s essentially running an ultra-marathon every day for under 28 days, in the mountains, and at breathless altitude levels.
What makes this feat so impressive? The Great Himalaya Trail attempt is a single long distance trek from the west end of Nepal across to the East end, covering a staggering 1406km, with 68 500m of ascent and 70 000m of descent, a distance that takes a normal human roughly 5 months to walk. There are currently more people who have walked on the moon than those who have completed this entire trail!
“I am really excited, but also a bit nervous to be attempting to run the Great Himalaya Trail with Ryno in a few weeks’ time,” says Ryan. “This is going to be, by far, the greatest challenge of my life. I have never covered a distance (in one go) this far on my own two feet. There are so many unknowns we are going to have to deal with along the way, but that I guess is what intrigues me most about the challenge. This distance is so great and the mountains are so big that I have not quite gotten my head around the project yet. The plan will be to take it day by day and adjust our strategy accordingly!”
The current FKT was set by fellow South African Andrew Porter in 2016, who completed the challenge in 28days 13hrs 56min.
The Great Himalaya Trail is not a single trail but rather a combination of various trails in either the upper (GHT High Route) or middle (GHT Cultural route) districts of Nepal stretching from the west to the east (or vice versa) end of the country. Ryan and Ryno will traverse the route combining the High GHT and Cultural GHT to challenge the current recognised FKT, whilst self-navigating the best possible route to link up the 12 required check-points as set by Andrew.
“I am extremely excited and humbled by the opportunity to share the Himalayas with Ryan in such a cool adventure,” says Ryno. “Researching a project of this scale, I am nervously aware that we simply cannot prepare for everything and that we will have to rely on the foundation of our friendship built from previous “epics” to find solutions on-the-go and carry each other through! I am really looking forward to it & we will take it day by day – looking after each other!” 
This challenge is a follow on project to Ryan and Ryno’s very successful 2014 Drakensberg Grand Traverse. The much larger mountains and extreme conditions in the Himalayas would be a natural progression for both of them to explore their limits. Although there will be limited points where they meet up with crew to receive permits and basic kit exchange, Ryan and Ryno will rely on local hospitality for nutrition, water and a place to sleep.
The route that Ryan and Ryno will be taking is (based on the Andrew’s current FKT) :
·         Start in the village of Hilsa on the Western Nepal/ Tibetan border and cross the following points (villages and passes).
·         Simikot at roughly 77km
·         Gamgadhi at roughly 150km
·         Jumla at roughly 193km
·         Juphal (280km) or Dunai at roughly 290km
·         Chharka Bhot at roughly 380km
·         Kagbeni at roughly 444km
·         Thorang La Pass at roughly 463km
·         Larkye La Pass at roughly 561km
·         Jiri at roughly 928km
·         Tumlingtar at roughly 1075km
·         Finishing on the Eastern Nepal/ Indian border at Pashupatinagar.
Thanks to our ability to ALWAYS be in contact, Ryan and Ryno will have live tracking throughout the traverse, and will also do regular social media updates to show how they are doing and what they are experiencing.
01:41:07
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Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
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Website – talkultra.com

2017 #VK Vertical Kilometer Youth World Championships – ISF, International Skyrunning Federation

The KV Arinsal kicked of the 2017 ISF Youth Skyrunning World Championships in the Principality of Andorra following on from the success of the inaugural event held in Italy in 2016.

Sixteen countries (double the 2016 number) from four continents participated. Competing in three age group categories:

  • A (16-17 years)
  • B (18-20 years)
  • and U23 (21-23 years)

18 medals were at stake – Gold, Silver and Bronze.

The KV Arinsal is a 3.5 km long Vertical Kilometer® which started in the town of Arinsal and finished at Alt de la Capa summit, 2,570m altitude.

RESULTS

16-17 age group category A

Nicolas Molina (ESP), Arnau Cases (ESP), Diego Gomes (POR), Jana Aguilar (ESP), Erin Margill (USA), Andreu Sinfreu (AND).

18-19 year-old B category

Jan Margarit (ESP), Roberto Delorenzi (SUI), Luca Lizzoli (ITA), Giorgia Felicetti (ITA), Sora Takizawa (JPN), Irati Zubizarreta (ESP).

U23 category

Alex Oberbacher (ITA), Antonio Alcalde (ESP), Daniele Felicetti (ITA), Fatima De Diego (ESP), Claudia Sabata (ESP), Barbora Chica (CZE).

Countries competing in the 2017 Youth Skyrunning Championships are: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.

The Youth Skyrunning World Championships are held annually in different countries with a view to developing and promoting the sport and to highlight young skyrunners, giving them an opportunity to shine on the international stage.

With thanks to the La Massana Ministry of Tourism, Federaciò Andorrana de Muntanysme (FAM) and SkyRace® Comapedrosa organisers Ocisport.

 

Sandes of Time – Ryan Sandes at the 2017 #WSER Western States Endurance Run on IRUN4ULTRA

I recently caught up with South Africa’s Ryan Sandes after his impressive victory at the 2017 Western States. You can listen to a full and in-depth interview HERE on Talk Ultra podcast.

Ryan’s story is one that inspires and it just shows what is possible.

“An impulsive decision one Sunday afternoon completely changed my life back in 2008. Could I run 250km, self-supported through a Desert? Without another thought, I maxed out my credit card and entered a race I knew almost nothing about. The lead up to the Gobi Desert Race consumed me but most importantly it enabled me to dream.”

You can read the full article on IRUN4ULTRA HERE

Episode 138 – Ryan Sandes and Hillary Allen

Episode 138 of Talk Ultra brings and we bring you a full and in-depth interview with Western States 2017 Champ – Ryan Sandes. We also bring you an interview with the USA’s Hillary Allen who is very much pioneering a path for female mountain runners in Europe. We have the news, ultra chat and this weeks co-host is the 2017 Marathon des Sables champion, Elisabet Barnes.
Talk Ultra is now on Tunein – just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE  You can download the Tunein APP HERE
Talk Ultra needs your help!
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 who have helped via PATREON
Donate HERE
BIG NEWS – In June we had a huge product givewaway for our Patreon followers and the lucky winners will be receiving an email in the coming week asking for a postal address and we will get the goodies sent out asap.
00:18:26 NEWS
Firstly, as we record this Hardrock is kicking off. Going to be an exciting race this year… my predictions are for Caroline and Kilian taking the wins. You Elisabet? You have raced against Frosty, Nathalie is a teammate, you were at TCC with Jason – you have some real insight into the runners this year…
High Trail Vanoise and European Championships
Luis Alberto Hernando proves once again he is one of their best in the world by taking victory ahead of Arnaud Durand-Pallaz and Dimitry Mityaev and in the process becoming Skyrunning European Champion. For the ladies’ Megan Kimmel (on fire at the moment) took victory ahead of Ragna Debats and Mimmi Kotka. Ragna was crowned 2017 European Champion.
Buff Epic Trail (series of races)
Eugeni Gil beat Skyrunner World Series leader Aritz Egea (Classic distance) and Adrien Michaud was 3rd – times4:08,4:11and4:16.
Oihana Azkorbebeitia pipped Celia Chiron in a very close finish – just 26 seconds!5:07was the winning time. Laura Sola placed 3rd in5:10.
Ronda del Cims
Antoine Guillon and Lisa Borzani won the ‘classic’ 170km event which has a whopping 13,500m of vert! This year they had a new event, the Euforia which at 233k proved a challenge too far for many… Julian Morcillo and Nahuel Passerat took the victories.
Mount Marathon
Ever since Kilian and Emelie went and raced in Alaska, Mt Marathon is now a one-to-watch and this year Scott Patterson took the male win and Allie Ostrander for the women. Emelie Forsberg still holds the ladies’ record.

00:33:11 Lets go to an interview with HILLARY ALLEN
Badwater 135
Wataro Lino took the 2017 title in 24:56:19 ahead of Marco Bonfiglio and Harvey Lewis III. The almost ‘unbetable’ Pete Kostelnick finished 6th in 28:18 – he also had a below par IAU 24hr champs.
Sandra Villines was ladies’ champ ahead of Amy Costa and Pamela Chapman-Markle – times 34:34:43, 35:30:19 and 35:48:31 respectively.
IAU 24 HR Champs
Patrycja Berenznowska ran an incredible 160.5 miles to take the ladies win – wow! For the men, it was a nail biter with Yoshihiko Ishikawa beating Johan Steene by less than 1-mile! 166.26 to 166.61.
FKT news – Andrew Hamilton finishedthe Nolans14 in 53h 42m going north to south. Apparently he started with 30 miles already in his legs… he tagged the Mount of the Holy Cross first making it 15 peaks not 14.
WESTERN STATES
Well, Western was a surprise huh? I have written about my thoughts on Jim Walmsley but I welcome your outlook Elisabet?
It was a day of surprises and the ladies’ race was an open book with many of the pre-race favourites having bad days – only Magda Boulet rallied for 2nd behind an inspired Cat Bradley taking the win.
My thoughts on Jim Walmsley and Lighting The Fire HERE
Good friend Ryan Sandes ran a classy well placed race to take a huge victory – so well deserved.
01:50:24 Interview with RYAN SANDES
UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Queensland

96 km | 96 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
River Run 100 | 100 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website
River Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website

Victoria

You Yangs 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

La Chouffe Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Brazil

Ultraaratona dos Perdidos | 105 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website

Bulgaria

65km Tryavna Ultra | 65 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Broken Goat 50K | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Ontario

50 Km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
GORE-TEX 50 Mile | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

Quebec

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Pandora 24 Ultra X Trail 100M | 100 miles | July 22, 2017 | website

Finland

Lapland

135 km | 135 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website
55 km | 55 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

France

Corrèze

L’EDFi du Lac | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Le Tour du Cardant | 65 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Drôme

86km | 86 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Eure

Tour de France en Courant | 2750 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Haute-Garonne

52 km | 52 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website
52 km Relais | 52 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website

Hautes-Alpes

Sky Race Max de Montgenèvre | 57 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Sky Race Max de Montgenèvre | 57 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Isère

La Grande Course | 65 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website
Oisans trail tour relais 2 | 80 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Oisans trail tour relais 4 | 80 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Oisans trail tour relais 5 | 80 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Jura

L’intégrale | 110 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Relais de 2 coureurs | 110 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Grand trail de la Vallée d’Ossau | 73 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Savoie

62 km Mad’ Trail | 62 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Ultra Trail du Beaufortain | 105 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Juli | 108 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Brandenburg

Berliner MauerwegNachtlauf | 62 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Greece

Kronion Ultra | 70 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Iceland

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon | 55 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
The Iceland Trek | 84 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website

India

Jammu and Kashmir

120 km | 120 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Back to Back Marathon | 84 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Back to Back Ultra | 78 miles | July 22, 2017 | website
Ultra Marathon | 39 miles | July 22, 2017 | website

Italy

Piedmont

Bettelmatt Trail – 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
BUT – 83 km | 83 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Sicily

Etna Trail | 64 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 121 km | 121 kilometers | July 28, 2017 | website
Südtirol Ultra Skyrace – 66 km | 66 kilometers | July 28, 2017 | website

Veneto

Asolo 100 km | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Asolo 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Trans d’Havet Ultra | 80 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Kenya

Amazing Maasai Ultra | 75 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Mauritius

Xtreme Dodo Trail | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Papua New Guinea

Kokoda Ultra Marathon | 96 kilometers | July 26, 2017 | website

Philippines

Catarman 2 Allen Northern Samar | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
TransCebu Ultramarathon 105 Km | 105 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
TransCebu Ultramarathon 55 Km | 55 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website

Portugal

Running Challenge Linhas de Torres | 100 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Romania

Marathon 7500 Elite | 90 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website
Ultransilvania | 101 kilometers | July 28, 2017 | website

Russia

Golden Ring Ultra Trail T100 | 100 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website
Golden Ring Ultra Trail T50 | 50 kilometers | July 23, 2017 | website

Singapore

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Slovakia

Nízkotatranská stíhačka | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Spain

Andalusia

Ultra Sierra Nevada | 103 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
USN Trail | 62 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Aragon

Gran Trail Aneto-Posets | 109 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Vuelta al Aneto | 58 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Cantabria

Sweden

Swedish Alpine Ultra | 107 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Eiger Ultra Trail E101 | 101 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Eiger Ultra Trail E51 | 51 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Valais

Swiss Alps 100 | 160 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Swiss Alps 50 | 80 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Turkey

100 Miles | 100 miles | July 28, 2017 | website
75 km | 75 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
80K Ultra Maraton | 80 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
ORDU Ultra Trail | 80 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website

United Kingdom

Buckinghamshire

Chiltern Ultra Challenge “Intro” 50km Ultra | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

City of Bristol

Kennet & Avon Canal Race | 140 miles | July 28, 2017 | website

Cumbria

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

East Riding of Yorkshire

The Montane Lakeland 100 | 100 miles | July 28, 2017 | website

Glasgow City

Clyde Stride Ultra Marathon | 40 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

Hertfordshire

Fairlands Valley Challenge – 50km | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Oxfordshire

100 km | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Day 1 50km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Day 2 50km | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website

Scotland

50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Shropshire

Wenlock Olympian Run | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Wenlock Olympian Walk | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

USA

Arkansas

Full mOOn 50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

California

50 km | 50 kilometers | July 16, 2017 | website
Harding Hustle 50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Ragnar Trail Tahoe | 136 miles | July 21, 2017 | website
Salt Point 50 km | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
San Francisco Ultramarathon | 52 miles | July 23, 2017 | website
Santa Barbara 100K | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Santa Barbara 100 Mile | 101 miles | July 14, 2017 | website

Colorado

Hardrock 100 Endurance Run | 100 miles | July 14, 2017 | website
High Lonesome 100 | 100 miles | July 28, 2017 | website
Never Summer 100km | 100 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Idaho

McCall Trailrunning 40 Mile Classic | 40 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

Kansas

Psycho Psummer 50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Maine

Down East Sunrise Trail Team Relay | 102 miles | July 21, 2017 | website

Maryland

Catoctin 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Rosaryville 50k Trail Runs | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website

Montana

50 Mile | 50 miles | July 14, 2017 | website
50 Miles | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Seeley Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | July 14, 2017 | website

Nevada

Tahoe Rim Trail 100M | 100 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Tahoe Rim Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Tahoe Rim Trail 50M | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

New York

50K | 50 kilometers | July 28, 2017 | website

Oregon

44 Mile | 44 miles | July 22, 2017 | website
67 Mile | 67 miles | July 22, 2017 | website
Relay | 69 miles | July 22, 2017 | website
Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | July 22, 2017 | website
Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run 50M | 50 miles | July 22, 2017 | website

Texas

60k | 60 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website

Vermont

Vermont 100k Endurance Race | 100 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Race | 100 miles | July 15, 2017 | website

Washington

50K | 50 kilometers | July 15, 2017 | website
Emory Corwine Memorial Ruck Race | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Kaniksu 50 | 50 miles | July 15, 2017 | website
Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage | 190 miles | July 14, 2017 | website
CLOSE
02:58:20
Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB https://www.facebook.com/talkultra/
Tweet us on Twitter – Talk Ultra on Twitter https://twitter.com/Talkultra
And use good old word mouth.
Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein.
Our web page at www.iancorless.comhas all our links and back catalogue.
Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
I’m Ian Corless and she is Elisabet Barnes.
Keep running
FOLLOW and LISTEN and DOWNLOAD
Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE
Website – talkultra.com

Episode 137 – Camille Herron, Tom Withers and Tania Hodgkinson

Episode 137 of Talk Ultra brings you three interviews – Camille Herron talks about the winning the biggest road ultra in the world, Comrades. We delve into the mind of Tom Withers and how he used his brain to finish the UK’s Dragons Back Race. Niandi Carmont talks with Tania Hodgkinson in her next ‘one-on-one’ interviews and yes, Speedgoat is back.
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00:18:37 NEWS
We spoke about  KJ in the last show Karl but welcome your thoughts…
Then of course in a similar theme we need to mention Alex Honnold who in my opinion has just done one of the most amazing feats not only in climbing but in any sport – El Cap free solo is off the scale.
World Trail Champs
Luis Alberto Hernando proves he really is a class act by winning on a course that he said beforehand, would not suit him as it was too flat and too fast. He won 4:23 and proves he is, the worlds best. Cristofer Clemente ran an incredible waiting game and moved out of the top-30 to finish 2nd in 4:24 and Cedric Fleureton was 3rd in 4:28.
Adeline Roche was a surprise winner in 5:00 just 3-seconds ahead of Amandine Ferrato, also a surprise. Silvia Rampazzo is also a new name on the block after placing 2nd at Zegama a few weeks ago, she is now 3rd at the worlds.
I guess also the worlds is about so many who didn’t perform – it’s a story of bad pacing and fatigue… same old story and will they learn?
Scenic 113km
It was a joint win for this super-tough Skyrunning race in Switzerland. 113k and 7500m of vert saw Stephan Hugenschmidt and Matthias Dippacher cross the line together in 15:40. The ladies winner was Francesca Canepa in 19:43. You can read the race story and get full images HERE
Race to the Tower
Notable as MDS 3rd place runner Tom Evans won this with a convincing victory (7:30) and we also Ironman Legend Chrissie Wellington toe the line of her first ultra. Not only did she win the ladies race but she placed 3rd overall in 8:35.
Comrades
Wow, Camille Herron bridges 20-years and Ann Trason victories to be the next US runner to take the title in 6:27. Incredible. Alexandra Morozova 2nd in 6:31 and Charne Bosman who was defending champ was 3rd in 6:39. Good year for the US with three other ladies in the top-10, Sarah Bard, Colleen De Reuck and Devon Yanko 6th, 7th and 10th.
2014 winner Bongmusa Mthembu ran 5:35 for victory ahead of Hatiwande Nyamade in 5:38 and Gift Kelehe in 5:41. The UK’s Steve Way was 9th in 5:49 – a great gold medal.
00:36:00 Lets go to an interview with CAMILLE HERRON
Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira
The UK’s Jon Albon ran a great and perfectly paced race not only take victory but smash the old course record by 15-minutes in 5:45. Aurelien Dunand-Pallaz had lead the race from the front but faded in the last third of the race, he still made 2nd ahead of Dimitry Mityaev, their times 5:55 aND 6:07.
USA’s Hillary Allen progressed her Skyrunning career with victory after placing 2nd last year, Ekaterina Mityaev was 2nd and Elisabet Masanes 3rd, times 7:06, 7:34 and 8:35 respectively.
Bob Graham Round
The UK’s BGR is certainly becoming popular and although not an official time, Ryan Smith ran 14:17 – as far as we know, this is the second fastest time ever? It seems only a matter of time before the stars align and somebody betters the Billy Bland record – will it be Kilian?
In the last show we discussed the Dragons Back Race and I wanted to include an interview with Tom Withers who placed last almost running and walking twice as long as the male winner Marcus Scotney. He had a story to tell and I think for those ultra-runners who don’t understand how important the mind is, this interview will make it clear.
*Although the sound is generally good for the interview, we did have a few connection issues. I hope it doesn’t disrupt your listening pleasure.
01:36:00 Interview with TOM WITHERS
And finally Niandi brings us a great ‘one-on-one’ interview with Tania Hodgkinson
02:25:29 Interview with TANIA HODGKINSON
UP & COMING RACES
The website was down to provide us with our listings.
Please go to marathons.ahotu.com
03:02:18 CLOSE
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Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
I’m Ian Corless and he is Karl Meltzer.
Keep running
03:12:36
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FIZKULTURA, Bulgaria w/ Dean Karnazes, Sean Conway and more!

Inspiration comes in many forms and ways. I have just been to Sofia, Bulgaria for Fizkultura – a one day event put together by Begach Running Club. The event is geared towards inspiring Bulgarian runners to embrace new challenges, it may be just to start running, or maybe move from marathon to ultra-running, or why not try something bold and new like creating their own running challenge.

My participation was facilitated by the Begach Running Club and the British Embassy – I was joined by ‘the beard!’ The crazy, inspiring and distinctive looking adventurer, Sean Conway

Arriving in the early hours of Friday morning, Sean and myself were working right from the off with a breakfast at the Embassy and an improvised individual presentation – good job this ‘on-the-spot’ request didn’t phase us… some years back, I’d have immediately melted into a ball of nerves; not now!

Sofia is without a doubt Eastern European in feel and architecture. There are bold, brazen and striking monuments everywhere to remind us that Russia is not far away. But I was surprised. The centre had a distinct feeling of wealth with a multitude of high-end shops, plenty of bars and a huge selection of hotels. A backdrop of impressive snow-capped mountains made me feel relaxed.

A drive to the mountains and a leisurely lunch (in an incredible restaurant) provided us all with an opportunity to bond. It’s here that I had a little more time to get to know Sean and extend my introduction to Irina Daniela from Romania who is slowly but surely inspiring Romanians to run and notably empowering women to siege their futures by foot power. Irina recently ran a sub 3h for the marathon and in doing so has shown what is possible for the women of Romania. She’s a striking person – tall (too tall for Sean and myself), great figure, long dark hair and striking features. It’s easy to see how she will inspire those around her. She’s a bundle of energy and enthusiasm but Fizkultra is her first big ‘gig’ out of her homeland. Website here.

Sean by contrast looks like a lion under a mane of ginger. He’s a small and a slight figure who brims with confidence and an accent that’s hard to work out – South African, Irish and British public school make an interesting mix that is captivating to the ear. He casually talks of his up and coming challenge of cycling ridiculous daily distances in Australia to set a new world record. He has a simple motto – to be the first or the fastest – it works for him! His list of achievements is impressive, but more on that later. Website here.

It was early evening before I finally met Dean Karnazes. Dean, aka ‘Marathon Man’ is someone who I have emailed and spoke too on many times but this is my first face-to-face. He taps me on the shoulder. I turn, he grabs my hand and pulls me in close in a tight embrace and says, ‘Ian, finally, good to see you man!’ For once I feel tall, Dean is my height and we are both taller than Sean and if Irina had not been in our presence, for once I may well have been the tallest – just! However, Dean looks incredible – he’s ripped, chiseled, has a Californian tan and he’s swearing shorts. His legs bulge with muscles and I suddenly realize that the reality of meeting Dean didn’t disappoint. This guy, for me, helped change the way the sport of ultra has grown in the last 10-years. It was his book, Confessions of an all Night Runner’ that suddenly made ‘others’ aware of the crazy sport of running long; ultra-running! Website here.

Dinner took place in ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ and we joke, discuss love, life, running and politics. Bed soon arrives for Dean, he has no idea what day or time it is. Jet lag has hit hard and he leaves early. Our trio relax with our hosts and a late-night walk back to our hotel is followed with a night-cap in the bar. I felt at home with my two new friends and like all good new friendships, 12-hours have made them both feel like lifelong friends. We laughed the night away till bed finally called.

FIZKULTURA

Dean kicked off the day 0945. Short clad, the audience welcome him with rapturous applause and he quickly goes into a 30-minute presentation that gives an overview of his running. Of course, it’s an impossible task – he has achieved so much! Despite the launch of his recent book, ‘The Road to Sparta,’ Dean takes us back on a journey to his first book as Fizkultura coincides with its release in Bulgarian. Many of you will know those early stories of taking the shoes out of the garage on his 30th birthday and then running 30-miles. His first Western States, Badwater 135 and running a marathon at the South Pole. It’s classic ‘Dean’ and the audience lap it up.

Irina power dresses and looks like an air hostess wearing a suit, shirt, scarf and ridiculous high-heels. Sean and myself refuse to stand close to her… The style of dress was important, Irina’s background was in banking and she wanted to show everyone that it has been possible to still be a business professional and a runner. “My Story’ was about dreaming, having no limits and empowering herself, other women and yes, men, to wear run shoes and find out what is possible. The story of how she achieved sub-3, one of the fastest female performances for a Romanian and how her dreams may well lead to Olympic selection.

Antoniya Grigorova, Bulgaria’s top female ultra-runner, talked about her plans, planning and training in preparation for running the longest trail in Bulgaria: Kom-Emine. A journey of 600km. A professional athlete she provided an insight into the mind, the training and the nutrition of what the journey will take.

Lunch was followed with the lion roaring. Sean was in fine form and told the story of his world’s longest triathlon with great skill and humor. He was a natural on the stage and it’s fair to say the audience loved him. His presentation was interspersed with still images and small videos that documented the journey – and what a journey! A bent bamboo bike, a Sunday roast dinner blended into liquid form for lunch, skinny dipping in an icy river and his face being stung constantly by jelly fish while swimming.

I followed Sean and what an act to follow. My talk was always going to be a visual one as I planned on taking that audience around the world with a selection of races and images from Running Beyond (here). Of course, I had to provide some context on my journey and my opening dialogue provided a glimpse on how I got to where I am today.

Boyan Petrov is a legend in Bulgaria. An Alpinist, he talked us through the training, the planning and the equipment required to climb 8000+m peaks without oxygen. He’s one of the few climbers to make 3 x 8000m peak in one year, something he has done twice. He also discussed the dream of climbing all 8000+m peaks – more people have been to space than done this!

The day concluded with Dimitrina Sivkova talking about trauma prevention and getting back in shape.

It was an incredible day of challenges, feats, adventure, goals, inspiration and living a life with barriers or restrictions. The takeaway was, ‘make dreams happen!’ Dean concluded his talk with a famous quote, it’s not new but it’s apt and it somehow summed up exactly what Fizkultura was trying to achieve:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Despite tiredness and fatigue, an evening dinner in a vegan and vegetarian restaurant provided us all with an opportunity to discuss the day – we were all motivated. We of course were reminded that the following day, Sunday, there was a race in a local park running a 600m loop and two events, a 12-hour and 6-hour race called Project 360. A small selection of runners would start at 0630 looking to log mileage and a qualifying time for Spartathlon. The main event would start at 0900 with a 6-hour event that would allow runners to do as little or as much as they required. Travel plans scuppered any

Despite tiredness and fatigue, an evening dinner in a vegan and vegetarian restaurant provided us all with an opportunity to discuss the day – we were all motivated. We of course were reminded that the following day, Sunday, there was a race in a local park running a 600m loop. A small selection of runners would start at 0630 looking to log mileage and qualifying time for Spartathlon. The main event would start at 0900 with a 6-hour event that would allow runners to do as little or as much as they required. Travel plans scuppered any participation plans for me but I went and cheered on with Irina for an hour and of course, we just had to run a loop with ‘Marathon Man!’

Watch Dean in the video HERE

I love the fact that despite jet-lag, bust days of presenting and travel, Dean rocked up to the start line and run for 6-hours. He personifies his name.

I must say, I was sad to leave Sofia, my new friends and a great, developing running community. Dean, Sean, Irina and myself were there to inspire others but we left inspired. We were each individually energized by our time in Bulgaria. Sean will be bashing out the bike miles for Australia, Irina will be looking for the speed and endurance for a fast marathon, Dean? well, Dean will just keep running and running and me; travel, photography and telling stories. I love to do that and the story of Fizkultura and Bulgaria is a special one – a personal one!

Thanks to:

A huge thanks to the British Embassy, Elenko Elenkov, Begach Running Club and the many new Bulgarian runners who hosted, entertained and looked after us – Alexander, Milen, Vladi and so many more.

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The Ultimate Equipment Guide to Desert Multi-Day Racing – Hints ‘n’ Tips

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Desert running brings many challenges and running in a desert for multiple days brings a whole new set of challenges. Over 30-years ago (1984), Patrick Bauer, filled up a pack with food and water and trekked off alone into the Algerian Sahara to cover 350km’s on foot in a self-sufficient manner. Little did he know at the time, but this journey was the start of something incredible, the Marathon des Sables.

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Also read

Top Tips To Better Multi-Day Running HERE

Multi-Day Food On The Cheap HERE

MDS as it is affectionately known paved the way not only for multi-day desert racing but ‘all’ multi-day racing, be that in snow, ice, rainforest, jungle or the mountains. If multi-day racing was the mafia, MDS would be the Corleone family and Patrick Bauer would be the Godfather – Don Vito Corleone.

All multi-day races have followed and tried to replicate the MDS format, however, the reality is, I have yet to experience a race that matches the size, the scale, the organisation and awe-inspiring splendor of what Bauer and his team have created in the Sahara. Ask anyone, despite experience, despite achievement, MDS is usually ‘on the bucket list!’ It’s fair to say, that MDS is directly attributable for many new ultra-runners. You see, MDS offers more than just running, it offers a challenge, it offers something quite unique – the Sahara and the MDS strips the runner back to basics and deprives them of all luxuries so that they are stripped raw. Runners find themselves in the desert.

 

The 32nd Marathon des Sables takes place in 2017 and runners all over the world are wondering and asking the question, “What equipment do I need for the MDS?”

This question is the same for many other desert races but I need to be clear, not all races are the same. For example, MDS requires the runner to be completely self-sufficient. This harks back to Bauer’s pioneering expedition in 1984. The runner must carry ‘all’ they need for the duration of the event, the only exception being:

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Bivouac – A simple tent cover is provided at the end of each day and this tent must be shared with 7 other runners.

Water – Water is provided in bivouac and out on the course but is rationed.

Anything else the runner needs must be carried – pack, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, food, snacks, luxuries etc.…

The above format is very similar for races such as the Grand to Grand in the USA, Racing the Planet races such as Atacama, Gobi and so on.

So, items discussed in this post directly relate to a ‘self-sufficient’ race in the MDS style. To clarify, races such as Big Red Run in Australia and The Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun in South Africa are ‘semi’ self-sufficient races and therefore runners can carry far less items and often bags are transported each day and therefore the runner can run light and fast. However, please keep in mind that many of the kit items and needs directly relate and are transferable.

The Detail

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Let’s be clear, it is important to note that equipment will not make you complete any race. What it can do is make the process easier and more comfortable. Equipment is something we all must take to any race and finding out what works and doing the research is part of the fun.

If you want to increase your chances of completing your chosen race, commit to the training required, get your head in the correct place and then finish off with the appropriate equipment for the job. Far too many stress about what equipment they need and neglect the appropriate training.

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Multi-day racing in its purest form should be very simple. However, over the year’s deciding what equipment to take has become increasingly more complicated.

It shouldn’t be complicated and in all honesty, it isn’t!

Here is just a simple list of absolute essentials, one could say that this list is mandatory:

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Buff
  • Jacket
  • T-Shirt
  • Shorts/ Skort
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Gaiters
  • Rucksack
  • Sleeping Mat (optional)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Head Torch
  • Flip-flops or similar
  • Toilet paper
  • Personal medical kit (feet etc.)
  • Spot Tracker (supplied at MDS, optional at other races)
  • Road Book (supplied)
  • Salt Tablets (supplied)
  • *Food for the required days
  • **Mandatory kit
  • ***Water

Optional items:

  • Warm jacket (usually down that packs small and light) – I consider this essential and not optional
  • Stove and Esbit fuel blocks
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Spare socks
  • Walking Poles
  • Goggles
  • Spare clothes (?)

Luxuries:

  • Mp3 player
  • Phone
  • Solar charger
  • Kitchen sink…

Perspective:

©iancorless.com_MDS2016-8805

Any multi-day race has (arguably) five types of participant:

  1. The elite races who will contest the high-ranking positions.
  2. Top age groupers who will look to race for a high place and test themselves overall.
  3. Competitive runners looking for a challenge.
  4. Those who wish to complete and not compete.
  5. Newbies who are out of their comfort zone.

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When one looks at kit and requirements, it’s easy to think that the needs of the top elites in group 1 will vary from those in group 5. I would arguably say no! All the runners need the same things; they all must carry the same mandatory kit and they all must carry the same minimum food requirement.

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I think the differences come with experience. Novices and newbies will more than likely prepare for the unknown, the ‘just in case’ scenario. Whereas top runners will be on a minimum, the absolute minimum. Groups 2- 4 are a mix of groups 1 and 5 and they fall somewhere between.

So, for me, groups 2, 3, 4 and 5 should (where possible) aim to be like group 1. The only key difference comes with shoe choice. Runners who will spend much longer on their feet and out on the course will most definitely need a shoe that can withstand that pressure and the shoe must also be good for walking. Groups 2-5 never fully appreciate (often until it’s too late) how much they will walk in a desert race.

EQUIPMENT IN DETAIL

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When looking at equipment, I am going to provide a brief synopsis and then some recommendations. I will then supply ‘my’ equipment list.

Hat – A hat is essential to keep the sun off your head; options exist that have a neck cover built in to avoid that delicate area that will almost certainly be in the sun all day.

Sunglasses – So many choice, but you need a good pair that has ideally a large lens to protect the eye. Some desert specific sunglasses include a brow pad that helps stop sweat dripping in your eye. Do you need prescription? If so, I use prescription Oakley and they are excellent. Do you need goggles? Yes and no. If you have good sunglasses with good coverage, then no. However, should a sand storm hit, it can be uncomfortable. Goggles guarantee no sand in the eyes.

Buff – A buff or even two are essential. One around the neck helps keep the sun off and you can also wet it to help reduce core temperature. In wind and sand storms, the Buff is lifted and protects mouth, nose and sometimes eyes. A spare Buff is a luxury but worth considering.

Jacket – Jacket choice will depend on sleeping bag choice. If you are using a light bag, a lightweight down jacket is an essential item. Look at Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, Yeti Companyon Strato, Mont-Bell Plasma 1000 Down, Berghaus VapourLight (not down) and/ or PHD custom made.

T-Shirt – It’s not rocket science, you will have been running in a shirt already, if it works, why change it? I read countless arguments about should it be black or white – you know what, it doesn’t matter. Look at the elite runners, they are often sponsored and have little or no choice on colour. Comfort however is key.

Shorts/ Skort – Same answer as T-Shirt.

Socks – Getting the correct socks are key for any race and like I have said for shirt and shorts, if you have socks that work, why change? So many options exist but for me I am a firm believer in Injinji toe socks.

Shoes – Shoes are personal and must be suited to you, the individual. Consider your gait (neutral, supinate or pronate), consider time on feet, consider your weight, consider how much you will walk (and then double it) also consider shoe drop and how much cushioning you need. It’s impossible to recommend any one shoe because of these variables. You will see top runners using a lighter shoe, remember, these shoes only need to last 20-30 hours. However, you may well need a shoe for 40, 50 or 60-hours. Do you need a trail shoe? No, you don’t need a trail shoe but I would say that many trail shoes are more durable as they are designed for the rough and tumble of variable terrain. Do you need an aggressive outsole? No, you don’t, but I do think some grip is better than none and therefore I would use a trail shoe over road. Protection? Toe box protection is a good idea as deserts include lots or rocks, far more than you may think. Do I need a size bigger? Shoe sizing does depend on what is ‘normal’ for you. I always recommend a thumb nail of space above the big toe, you don’t need any more than this. Recommendations of going a size is bigger is bad advice in my opinion. A shoe that is too large allows your foot to move, a moving foot causes friction, friction causes blisters and the rest is the same old story that I see at desert races all over the world. However, I would recommend a shoe with a little more width in the toe box, this will allow for some comfort as the days progress. If you are prone to feet swelling, discomfort, blisters and so on, get a strategy sorted before you head out to your chosen race.

Gaiters – Are essential and they should be sewn and glued on to the shoe to guarantee that no sand can enter. Raidlight, MyRaceKit, WAA and Sandbaggers make versions of gaiters.

Rucksack – A rucksack is one of the most essential items for the race as it will hold on your kit for the duration of the event. Many versions exist and the type of pack you choose depends on many things: Male/ Female, Small/ Large, Tall/ Short and so on. Some packs just don’t work for some people. You also need to consider if you need a front pack to hold essential items. How will you drink on the go? How much do you plan to run in comparison to walk? I have some simple advice:

  • Keep the pack as small as possible, if you have a bigger pack you will just fill it.
  • Keep the pack simple – far too many packs are over complicated and messy
  • Keep the pack light
  • Make sure that drinks are accessible, easy to use and don’t bounce
  • See how the pack feels full with all food and then see how the pack feels with 5-days food missing.

Raidlight used to be ‘the’ pack for a multi-day race but that has changed in recent years. For sure, Raidlight are still one of the main options, however, the WAA pack is a ‘go-to’ at many races and the Ultimate Direction Fastpack is slowly but surely becoming a favourite. New entries to the market are coming from Salomon and OMM have been making packs for multi-day adventures for years.

Sleeping Mat (optional) – Inflatable, Foam or no mat. I’m a firm believer in taking a mat, the weight v comfort is a no brainer. I would also choose an inflatable mat even though it does run a risk of puncture. However, with good admin, good care, in years of using inflatable I have never had an issue. A foam mat is guaranteed to last the race but for me a large and cumbersome. OMM make a very thin foam mat that they use as the back padding for their packs – this may be a god option for the real minimalist runner. Look at products from Thermarest, Sea to Summit, Klymvit and OMM.

Sleeping bag – Like the pack, a sleeping bag is a key item is it is likely to be the largest and heaviest item (except food and water) that you will carry. A sleeping bag is important as a good night’s rest is key for day-to-day running. If you are on a budget, Raidlight offer a ‘Combi’ that is a sleeping bag that converts into a jacket. You kill two birds with one stone and the price is a bargain. However, for me it has downsides – it’s large, heavy and offers limited flexibility with temperature regulation. I will always go with a sleeping bag and down jacket scenario is this for me provides less weight, less packed size, more flexibility and the option to get warmer at night by wearing the jacket inside the bag. Problem is, this comes at a price. A lightweight down bag and jacket will be more than likely three to four times the price of the Raidlight Combi. Also, consider your size, shoulder width, height and so on. Some bags are very small whereas bags such as PHD and Yeti can be purchased in small, medium or large. Recommended bags are PHD (custom or off-the peg), Yeti, Western Mountaineering, Haglofs, OMM (not down) and Raidlight.

Head Torch – Don’t compromise, you need a good head-torch that provides enough light for running in a black desert at night. Don’t use rechargeable or a torch with gizmos. You just ideally need variable power, a red-light option so you don’t disturb others at night and it will either take AA or AAA batteries. Recommendations are Black Diamond, Petzl, Silva or LED Lenser.

Flip-flops – Free slippers that hotels give away are popular as they are small, fold and are lightweight. However, they don’t stay on and they don’t protect from thorns or stones. Cheap, lightweight plastic or rubber flip flops work for me. I have seen some improvised flip-flops made from run shoe insoles and some string. It’s that group 1 to group 5 scenario again!

Personal medical kit (feet etc.) – Foot care is essential and although many races have a medical team on hand to look after you and your feet, understanding how to do this yourself is key. learn foot care and treatment and understand how to tape your feet. Ready-made foot care kits are available such as this at MyRaceKit here

Spot Tracker (supplied at MDS, optional at other races)

Road Book (supplied)

*Food for the required days – (see clarification below). Food is very personal and it’s imperative you find out what works for you based on your size, gender, calorie burn and speed of running. The front runners will use carbohydrate and fat as fuel as they will run at a faster pace and therefore they will potentially fuel ‘during’ each stage with carbs. However, as you move through the pack going into groups 2-5 the need for fat as a fuel is more important and therefore ALL runners before heading out to any multi-stage race should ideally have taught their bodies to use fat – we have an unlimited supply of this fuel! Post run it’s important to repair, we need protein for this and re-stock energy supplies, we need carbs for this. Dehydrated meals for many runners form the basis of a morning meal and evening meal. Many options are available, some people can eat anything, others are very particular. Keep in mind allergies such as gluten intolerance and decide in advance will you go hot or cold food. For me, the additional weight of a Titanium stove and fuel is worth it for hot food and a drink. We sampled some dehydrated food in 2015 HERE. In 2015, my partner Niandi Carmont ran Marathon des Sables and we worked hard to reduce pack weight to the minimum and we made sure we dialed food choices in to provide her with her desired calorie needs but also keep weight low.

As an example:

  • Dehydrated Meals x6 672g
  • Dried Mango 93g x 4 372g
  • Porridge 59g x 7 413g
  • Coffee 1g x 10 10g
  • Peanut Butter 33g x 5 165g
  • Honey 21g x 8 168g
  • Mini Salami 10g x 10 100g
  • Tropical Mix Bag 194g
  • Sesame Bites 27g x 6 162g
  • Dried Banana Block 270g
  • Mixed Nuts 200g x 2 400g
  • Macademia Nuts Bag 153g
  • Cranberries Bag 175g
  • Pitta Wraps 296g

Total Weight 3550g

**Mandatory kit – see clarification

***Water – see clarification

MY EQUIPMENT LIST

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It’s important to note that equipment must be specific to the race you are doing and race conditions. The list below is an example of equipment for Marathon des Sables. However, if I was going to Atacama or the Grand to Grand (both self-sufficient) I would be looking at a heavier and warmer sleeping bag and a warmer jacket. Temperatures at night get much colder than the Sahara. The Grand to Grand can also have rain. If a rain jacket is on your list, the inov-8 AT/C Stormshell at 150g is hard to beat.

It’s important to note that equipment will not make you complete any race. What it can do is make the process easier and more comfortable. If you were looking for a one-stop solution, I would say that if you went away and purchased the equipment list below, you would have a comfortable and successful race. The exceptions come with shoes, that is personal and food. Food choices below are personal but a good example, you must find what works for you.

Also, note that minimum pack weight (on day one) at MDS is 6.5kg. So, you can keep purchasing lighter and lighter and then find that you are too light. I have done this. The plus side of this, is that lighter equipment allows you to take more food and/ or more options – again a good thing. For example, in my equipment list, I could go with a slightly lighter jacket, I could not take poles and I could leave the iPods at home and that would allow me 2 or 3 more dehydrated meals. However, I would prefer the equipment I want and am happy with and add 2,3,4 or 500g for the first day. Remember, the pack gets lighter as the day’s pass.

WEARING:

Hat: inov-8 or The North Face

inov-8-hat

Shirt: inov-8 AT/C Base with zip or The North Face ‘Flight’ Series – Both light and functional and allow air flow. I don’t like tight or compression as they are too hot.

inov-8-atc-t-shirt

Shorts: inov-8 AT/C 8” Short or The North Face ‘Flight’ Series – Both light and functional and allow air flow. I don’t like tight or compression as they are too hot.

inov-8-atc-trail-short

Socks: Injinji Trail Midweight or Injinji Outdoor 2.0 (which is Merino wool)

injinji-midweight

Shoes: The North Face Ultra Endurance, Scott Kinabalu Supertrac or inov-8 Trail Talon – Please note, I am a ‘neutral’ runner who prefers a moderately cushioned shoe with an 8mm drop. I would happily use any of these shoes in any multi-day race. They are comfortable, take a gaiter well, have good protection and they work excellently when walking. Remember what I said, shoes are very personal.

scott-kinabalu-supertrac

tnf-ultra-enduranceinov-8-trail-talon-275

Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Peak 3 – Has enough battery life for a whole race. If I was worried about weight I would just go with a cheap digital.

Buff: Any

Glasses: Oakley Prescription – Prizm Trail Flak 2.0 has interchangeable lenses so I can switch from clear and smoke

oakley-flak-20-xl-matte-black-black-iridium

IN THE PACK:

Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20L 520g – It’s a simple pack that is light, fits to the torso well, comes in S/M or M/L, holds two large bottles comfortably against the torso and importantly they don’t bounce and it has 3 external stretch pockets. The main compartment has a roll-top closure, so, as pack contents get less, you can roll the pack smaller to reduce any problems with contents moving around.

ultimate-direction-fastpack-20

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket 180g – is super light, has a full zip and pockets, it’s a jacket I can use anywhere. I could go lighter, a little lighter, for example, the Mont-Bell is 50g lighter!

mountain-hardwear-ghost-whisperer

PHD Minimus K Sleeping Bag 380g – PHD work for me, you can have them custom made with or without zips and they are excellent. Yeti make a bag that is more than 100g lighter but I prefer the warmth and comfort of the PHD.

phd-minim-ultra-k

Thermarest Prolite Small 310g – Small, comfortable and you can double up and use it as padding in your pack.

 thermarest-prolite-small

Black Diamond Carbon Z Poles 290g – Lightweight and folding that provide 4-wheel drive when walking.

black-diamond-carbon-z-pole

Black Diamond Spot Headtorch w/ batteries and spares 120g – Powerful (200 lumens), lightweight with many varied settings.

 black-diamond-spot

Esbit Stove 11g – Small, lightweight and simple.

esbit-stove

Esbit Titanium Pot 106g – Small, lightweight and durable.

esbit-pot 

Esbit Fuel 168g

esbit-fuel

iPod Shuffle x2 64g – Life saver

Buff 16g – Essential

Spare Socks 91g – Injinji Trail Midweight or Injinji Outdoor 2.0 (which is Merino wool) 

Flip-Flops 150g – But Xero True Feel are good.

 sandals

Total Weight 2406g If I was looking to be very minimalist and as light as possible, I would not take the stove, pot and fuel and the poles, total 1831g. But, I would probably prefer the option for hot food/ drinks and work around no poles, so total weight would be 2116g.

EXTRAS:

  • Compeed 22g
  • Sportshield 8g
  • Corn Wraps 8g
  • Spork 10g
  • Pen Knife 22g
  • Compass 32g
  • Matches 20g
  • Savlon Antiseptic 18g
  • Toothpaste 36g
  • Tooth Brush 15g
  • Superglue 3g
  • Space Blanket 60g
  • Hand Gel 59g
  • Wipes 85g
  • Toilet Paper 36g
  • Safety Pins 5g
  • Ear Plugs 2g
  • Venom Pump 28g
  • Blindfold 15g
  • Sun Cream 80g
  • Whistle 15g
  • Signal Mirror 12g
  • SPOT Tracker 113g

Total Weight 806g

TOTALS:

Pack and Main Kit Contents: 2406g

Extras: 806g

Food: 3550g

Total 6762g

This pack weight includes poles and cooking utensils plus luxuries like Mp3

 (water would be added to this weight)

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IN SUMMARY

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I enjoy the process of looking at kit, looking at the options available and working out what is best for me and my situation. In some respects, I am lucky as I can test many items out in the market place and decide what I do and what I don’t like. However, trust me, products these days are so good that you can’t go wrong with almost any of the choices. Yeti, PHD, Haglofs etc. all make great sleeping bags, they will all work. Mountain Hardwear, Yeti, Mont-Bell etc. down jackets are all excellent, they all work. I could go on, but you get the picture. Like I said at the beginning, multi-day and desert racing is not complicated, don’t make it so. The only item you need to be sure on is shoes, make sure you get that right. But then again, I am sure you were running before you entered your multi-day race? You were using run shoes, be them road or trail and one must assume that they gave you no problems? If the answer is yes – why change them!

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Finally, we all love equipment and gadgets, it’s fun to go shopping and get new items. However, being physically fit and mentally strong is what will get you to the finish line – equipment is just part of the process, remember that.

Good luck!

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Clarification:

*Food (As required at Marathon des Sables)

He/she must select the type of food best suited to his/her personal needs, health, weather conditions, weight and backpack conditions. We remind you that airlines strictly forbid the carrying of gas (for cooking) on board either as hand luggage or otherwise. Each competitor must have 14 000 k/calories, that is to say a minimum of 2,000 k/calories per day, otherwise he/she will be penalized (see ART. 27 and 28). Any food out of its original packaging must be equipped, legibly, of the nutrition label shown on the product concerned. Any food out its original packaging must be equipped, legibly, of the nutrition label shown on the product concerned. 

**Mandatory Kit (as specified at Marathon des Sables)

  • 10 safety pins
  • Compass 1deg precision
  • Whistle
  • Knife
  • Disinfectant
  • Venom pump
  • Signal mirror
  • Survival blanket
  • Sun cream
  • 200-euro note
  • Passport
  • Medical certificate

***Water (as specified for Marathon des Sables)

Liaison stage: 10.5 liters per person per day

  • 1.5 liters before the start each morning,
  • 2 or 3 x 1.5 liters during the race, at check points,
  • 4.5 liters at arrival post.

Marathon stage: 12 liters per person per day:

  • 1.5 litre before the start in the morning,
  • 1.5 liters at check-points 1 and 3,
  • 3 liters at check-point 2,
  • 4.5 liters at arrival post. 

Non-stop stage: 22.5 liters per person over 2 days:

  • 1.5 liters before the start of the race in the morning,
  • 1.5 liters at check-points 1, 3, 6,
  • 1.5 or 3 liters at check-points 2, 4 and 5,
  • 4.5 liters at arrival post,
  • 4.5 liters at the bivouac.

Why not join our Multi-Day Training Camp in Lanzarote with 2015 Marathon des Sables ladies champion, Elisabet Barnes. The camp takes place in January each year.

Information HERE

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Support on PATREON HERE

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