It was a warmer night in camp and the winds that had increased during the afternoon made for a comfortable night in bivouac. The tough stage 2 had left a real positive mood in camp, ‘If we can complete day-2, we stand a good chance of completing this MDS!’ seemed to be the general consensus. Many had loved the tough day, embracing the dunes. Others had found it a struggle. It is the MDS, so, it is to be expected. Of course, the day took its toll and for some, the 34th edition of the MDS ended.
Day 3 at 37.1km in comparison to day-2 would be an ‘easy’ day. Little tough terrain with lots of hard packed ground, stones and some soft sand and dunes. It turned out to be a hot day though, maybe the hottest day so far.
For the first 10km it was hard packed ground and the pace at the front was hard and fast with Rachid El Morabity dictating the the tempo with Julien Chorier – an unusual tactic the MDS champ. Behind a group of 10 followed including lead lady, Ragna Debats.
At 8km. a section of dunes lasted 3km to cp1 and then dunes followed to 16km. Rachid continued to push the pace and now his brother, Mohamed was closing the gap to join them. For the women, Ragna was in a race on her own, to be honest, she is pushing the men and overall top-10 classification.
Aziza Raji continued to chase Ragna as in all the previous day’s, but she just does not have the pace. Today, Gemma Game finally found her stride and started to look at home in the desert running ahead of the chasing women that included Meghan Hicks.
The push from cp2 the finish offered a little of everything in regards to terrain, the heat probably the most troublesome issue. The old village of Taouz provided a stunning and varied backdrop along with the Kfiroun.
As on day-1, Rachid finally put the foot down to gain a slender lead over Mohamed and Abdelaziz Baghazza who finished just seconds apart in 2nd and 3rd.
Ragna once again finished almost 30-minutes ahead of the 2nd women, Aziza, but notably Gemma closed to within a handful of minutes for 3rd.
Tomorrow is the feared long-day! The battle will be very interesting for the 2nd and 3rd women’s podium – can Gemma push ahead of the Moroccan? It would now take a disaster for Ragna to lose this race.
Rachid normally secures his victory on the long-day and one has to assume this will be his plan tomorrow. He will run steady early on and then push making the others follow his relentless pace. The top-3 are close though, anything can happen!
Pau Capell and Magda Laczak once again, win the Transgrancanaria 128 km providing the same result as 2018. For Pau it was his third time topping the podium in Gran Canaria.
Only American Hayden Hawks provided Pau with any competition, the duo ran the first stretch of the course matching each other, stride-for- stride all the way to Teror and beyond.
But Hayden could not match the relentless force of the Catalan. Pau extended his lead and just pulled away, not only from Hayden but the rest of the men. Twenty minutes became thirty and thirty minutes became forty. It was a masterclass of long-distance running and at the line, the 12:42:40 did not show on his face – an incredible victory.
Pablo Villa, Spanish champion of the RFEA 2018 and former champion of the Advanced in 2018, was the next to cross the finish line at Expomeloneras in 13:31:37. Canarian runner, Cristofer Clemente, 13:42:54, came in third position making a truly Spanish podium.
Magda Laczak won, once again after topping the podium as in 2018. In the early stages you ran comfortably as Chinese runner, Miao Yao dictated the pace. Miao dropped and Katlyn Gerbin took over the head of the race.
By Roque Nublo though, Magda took over the head of the race. It was no easy run… she was pursued by Kaytlyn Gerbin and Fernanda Maciel and it remained that way all the way to the line.
Magda did it though, she was the first to arrive in 16:22:56 and she stated, “It was such a hard race, at no point could I relax, I was pursued all the time, I had to push and keep pushing!”
Katlyn, 2nd at Western States in 2018, placed 2nd here in Gran Canaria holding off experienced ultra-runner and UTWT ever-present, Fernanda Maciel, their times 16:35:08 and 17:03:33.
As usual, the race ran on into the night as runners tried to achieve their own personal glory before the 0400 cut-off on Sunday 24th February.
A star-studded final closed the intense 2018 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series season in Italy, Saturday, October 13 at the Limone Extreme SkyRace®.
The event attracted 979 runners from 37 countries who gathered in the popular tourist resort on Lake Garda for the tenth and final race of the Sky Classic category. Here, the title was awarded along with the prestigious Overall ranking title.
LIMONE EXTREME SKYRACE® WINNERS In a deeply stacked international field, youngster Davide Magnini not only took the win but crushed the record by almost eight minutes delivering a memorable performance. He covered the challenging and technically demanding 29 km long course with 2,500m vertical climb in 2h59’24”.
“I’m really surprised by this result. Before the start, I thought I couldn’t finish the first climb, but I found my pace and my legs worked really well. I stayed focused all the time and beating the record held by a legend like Marco De Gasperi is simply humbling,” said the 21-year old Italian. Second man was Switzerland’s Rémi Bonnet, fresh from yesterday’s Vertical Kilometer® World Champion title at the same venue. Spaniard Oriol Cardana closed the podium.
The women’s race was won again by orienteering world champion Tove Alexandersson from Sweden who raced her first skyrunning race here last year. Known to give it her all, today’s win was no different.
“It was so tough for me today. I’ve had a long season with many orienteering competitions so I finished the season last weekend with seven races in four days. I wasn’t sure to come here because I was so destroyed,” said the winner. “When I started I felt terrible but I was just fighting, fighting all the way. I come from Sweden where there was snow and I’m not used to this heat so it was a fight from the start to the finish but now I’m so satisfied that I did it. I really enjoy these challenges and that’s what I love!” She didn’t beat her own record but finished in 3h31’36”, just 25” short. Ragna Debats closed second, triumphant with her new Overall title. Third was Spaniard Sheila Avilés.
SKY CLASSIC CHAMPIONS The Sky Classic category champions were Pascal Egli from Switzerland and Briton Holly Page. Egli commented, “It’s indescribable. I’m super-happy because I thought I might lose it if some people run really strong today, so I really tried to be smart and stay top ten and not to burn out in the end.
Because it is one year ago that my mother died, I thought I would be very weak emotionally, but I managed to hold on, so I dedicate this win to her. I love skyrunning because it’s an amazing community, so international and the most beautiful races!”
For Page, it was a climb to stardom after racing her first skyrunning race here last year. “It was actually the best start of a race I’ve had of the season. I felt really good on the first climb which is unusual for me and I pushed really hard. After half way I was sick and had to keep stopping so it was more like survival,” said Page. “I came here last year, it was my first sky race and I never thought I’d be here one year later having won the Sky Classic. When I won the first race in China I thought it was amazing but that it would never happen again – and then I won again and again and just tried to stay consistent all season but it’s been very long. I’m looking forward to next year!”
The Sky Classic title was based on the five best results out of ten with an extra 50% bonus pointsawarded here.
OVERALL CHAMPIONS After winning three races outright, the Catalan king of skyrunning, Kilian Jornet took the Overall champion title, unaffected by his sixth place in today’s race. He said, “This season I was coming back from an injury, so I didn’t have real goals, but I saw I could do the Skyrunning Overall because it was four races, possible with some long and some short races. Today here in Limone I wanted to give it everything and actually with Petter had a nice 14 km of fighting. It’s good to see these guys coming from all over the world and very young. It was like looking at the next generation.
“After Glen Coe I had some problems, so I wasn’t able to run, just skiing and cycling. Today I came here and thought if I do top six I’ll win the Series even if Petter was first. That was my goal today. I knew he was super strong – he’s an amazing runner and very talented I’m so happy for him. Next season? I haven’t thought about that yet but I’m always in the game!”
Ragna Debats was overjoyed by her title, which she had to fight hard for. “I’m really, really pleased and even more pleased to get the Overall which is what I aimed for as I was second last year. I was a bit worried because this year I didn’t do any really good Sky races as I was training for the longer races. I started the year with a very long race so it was hard to get fast for the shorter races. I’m very pleased that I finally did and said to myself (mainly) that I can hard go hard if I want to!” The words of a true champion.
The Overall ranking took into account a maximum of the best two results in each category, Sky Classic and Sky Extra.
The 2018 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series awarded an end of season bonus pool amounting to € 66,000 across the Sky Classic, Sky Extra and Overall rankings.
Eighteen races across three continents saw a selection of the best skyrunning events with the best runners, great champions and rising young stars. The 2018 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series has come to a close and it’s time to look forward to the 2019 calendar.
A big thanks go to all the runners that took part, the teams, the race organisers and to our partners for their support with whom there will always be: Less cloud. More Sky!
In recent articles, we’ve discussed the 2 main fuel sources for endurance exercise (fat and carbohydrate) and how you should optimise your body to burn fat, thereby allowing you to save precious carbohydrate stores. When it comes to race day then the game and the rules change completely. As a recap, when training you should:
1. Ride or run at the correct intensity or follow a specific protocol such as Maffetone
2. Avoid fluctuations in intensity, remember that average heart rate or power output are NOT the critical figures, it’s TIME IN ZONE that counts
3. Eat foods which are balanced with low GI carbohydrates and fats to encourage fat usage and avoid sugar spikes
4. Avoid gels and sugar products based on point 3 above
If you follow the above guidance, over a 12-16 week training period, you can teach your body to utilise a greater amount of fat as fuel and also to use less calories overall, making you more economical. The important thing to remember is that ‘training’ and ‘racing’ are 2 separate things and your fuelling approach should reflect this.
What happens during the race?
Okay, let’s presume that you have trained correctly and maximised your fat burning potential and fuel economy. You reach the first event of the year and when riding or running at race pace you are using 700kcal per hour, 50% of which comes from carbohydrate and 50% of which comes from fat. You only need to worry about the carbohydrate loss as that’s the one which is critical, so let’s focus on the 350kcal of carbohydrate which equates to 88 grams of carbohydrate (4 kcal per gram).
The limitation of carbohydrate intake
Here’s the big problem, you can only absorb approximately 60g of carbohydrate per hour. Imagine that there are small boats, which ‘ferry’ carbohydrate across the intestine wall into your blood stream. Unfortunately you only have so many ‘ferry boats’ so no matter how much carbohydrate you throw in there, the amount which can be ferried is limited to a pretty standard 60g. For our example above, that means that you’re going to fall short. You’re using 88 grams per hour and you can only replace 60 grams per hour. That’s a 28 gram / 112 kcal per hour deficit.
So I can’t just eat more?
Unfortunately not. If you eat more, it’s unlikely to be digested and will simply sit in your stomach or intestines without providing energy. There are a lot of people who suffer from gastric problems during long distance events and this is generally caused by eating too much food which they are unable to digest. It’s really important that you understand, eating more food doesn’t mean you’ll have more energy and it may well mean that you’ll face stomach upsets. I stress this point knowing how obsessed Ironman athletes in particular become with regards to feeding on the bike.
A deficit of 112 Kcal per hour doesn’t sound too bad
No, it doesn’t. But that is based on the presumption that you are only using 700kcal per hour, bigger people and less efficient people may be using more. It’s also based on the assumption that 50% is coming from fat and that may not be the case at all, in fact, as much as 80-100% may be coming from carbohydrate. What makes this worse is that bigger people can’t necessarily take on board more fuel, the 60g limit still pretty much applies. It’s a gut issue, it’s not about how big your muscles are and how much you can store in there.
So the 3 things you might want to know are:
1. How many calories do I burn per hour?
2. How many of them come from fat and carbohydrate?
3. How much should I be taking in as a consequence?
As a start point, you can probably work out your calorie usage by using a heart rate monitor or power meter. Run or ride at race pace and it’ll do the calculation for you, although the power meter is a lot more accurate than the heart rate monitor, it’s still a start point. Warm up, then do an hour at your ‘race pace’ and work out the figures. It’s amazing how many people who consider their training and racing to be ‘serious’, still have no clue how many kcal they use when racing. How can you have any grasp of nutrition requirements without knowing this figure? Once you’ve calculated that figure, apply the following rule:
80/20: If you are struggling to ride 50 miles / run 15 miles even when fuelling yourself throughout, then apply the 80/20 rule. That means 80% of your fuel is carbohydrate and 20% is fat.
65/35: If you can ride 50 miles / run 15 miles comfortably using fuel, then apply the 65/35 rule. That means 65% of your fuel is carbohydrate and 20% is fat.
50/50: If you can ride 50 miles / run 15 miles comfortably without using any fuel whatsoever, then apply the 50/50 rule. That means 50% of your fuel is carbohydrate and 50% is fat.
Are those figures accurate?
Absolutely not, I just made them up. They are by no means 100% accurate but they will give you a good start point and will allow you to calculate an approximate figure. The running figures are less ‘straight forwards’ than the cycling, as the impact of running can really fatigue your legs, so you may find 15 miles difficult, even if your fat burning and fuel economy is good. for cycling, the impact is low, so it’s more likely governed by metabolism and fuel.
Ok, so what’s the next step?
Here’s what we’re going to do. Prior to next week you are going to do a 1 hour ride or run at your ‘race pace’ and then using your cycle power meter, GPS or heart rate monitor, calculate how many calories per hour you are using when exercising at that intensity. I feel this is a pretty important thing for you to understand if you are to race successfully. It’s easy with a power meter for cycling, it does the maths for you. Most heart rate monitors will use your age and weight to work out kcal per hour. There are some tools on the internet such as: http://www.braydenwm.com/calburn.htm which can help to give you a basic idea.
Go forwards my endurance friends and do the maths, next week, we will be looking at planning your intake.
Until then, stay healthy.
– Marc Laithwaite
Sports Science lecturer for 10 years at St Helens HE College.
2004 established The Endurance Coach LTD sports science and coaching business. Worked with British Cycling as physiology support 2008-2008. Previous Triathlon England Regional Academy Head Coach, North West.
In 2006 established Epic Events Management LTD. Now one of the largest event companies in the NW, organising a range of triathlon, swimming and cycling events. EPIC EVENTS also encompasses Montane Trail 26 and Petzl Night Runner events.
In 2010 established Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 LTD. This has now become the UKs leading ultra distance trail running event.
In 2010 established The Endurance Store triathlon, trail running and open water swimming store. Based in Appley Bridge, Wigan, we are the North West’s community store, organising and supporting local athletes and local events.
Episode 41 of Talk Ultra – We speak to Stevie Kremer 12 months on after she burst on the Skyrunning scene with a 2nd at Sierre-Zinal. We have 15 mins of fame with double leg amputee, Richard Whitehead. An interview with Lakeland 100 winner, Stuart Mills. A catch up with Nick Clark on the Grand Slam of ultra. Smiles and Miles with Emelie Forsberg. The news, a blog, up and coming races. Marc is back for Talk Training and of course, Speedgoat co hosts!
Sage Canaday 5:08:07
Anton Krupicka 5:09:36
Jason Schlarb 5:19:34
Max King 5:29:02
Justin Yates 5:42:24
Luke Nelson 5:47:09
Timothy Olson 5:47:10
Jason Loutitt 5:49:35
Michael Barlow 5:53:37
Ryan Smith 5:53:51
Stephanie Howe 6:17:02
Jodee Adams-Moore 6:18:06
Ruby Muir 6:25:54
Emma Roca 6:41:21
Krissy Moehl 6:43:54
Becky Wheeler 6:48:43
Silke Koester 6:52:16
Erica Baron 6:55:46
Anita Ortiz 7:02:18
Francesca Canepa 7:05:14
Steve Way 6:40:14, Linus Holmsater 7:24:18 and Frijof Fagerlund 7:29:01
Kilian Jornet (Spain) 08:59:47
Luis Alberto Hernando (Spain) 08:59:49
Casaba Nemeth (Hungary) 09:43:25
Emelie Forsberg (Sweden) 10:21:32
Nuria Picas (Spain) 10:33:34
Uxue Fraile (Spain) 10:34:20
Stuart Mills 22:17:50
Charlie Sharpe 23:02:45
Ed Batty 23:07:40
Lizzie Wraith 24:15:06 (smashed old CR)
Debbie Martin Consani 26:02:00,
Julie Gardner 28:16:47
Ben Abdelnoor 7:39:26
Riichard Ashton 8:20:58
Robin Houghton 8:33:30
Katherine Brougham 9:44:10
Alice Briscoe 10:35:42
Rachel Ball 10:43:43
WMRA – 10. WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running
Mitjia Kosovelj won Andrew Davies from Wales 2nd and Ionut Zinca 3rd
Antonella Confortola won Omella Ferrara 2nd and Anna Celisnska 3rd. Have to give a shout out to Claire Gordon from Scotland who was 4th and Anna Lupton from England who was 5th
Ann Trason to run a 100 in September – Idaho Mountain Trail Ultra Festival – HERE
Now the iconic Sierre-Zinal is coming up this weekend. I remember being at this race last year… pre race I got chatting to this shy girl who just seemed a little uncomfortable being surrounded by some of the best in the world. Needless to say, this shy girl performed out of her skin and finished second on the podium. One year on, I catch up with Stevie Kremer and find out what the last 12 months have been like and what the future holds.
00:42:38 INTERVIEW Stevie Kremer
We have given Stuart Mills, the Lakeland 100 winner plenty of coverage this week with a long interview, however, his interview does go very much hand-in-hand with his blog… so, this weeks blog is ultrastu.blogspot.co.uk
You can read his very unique and in-depth analysis of how he races. Word of warning… make yourself a coffee. It’s a long one!
This week’s interview is with Brit, Stuart Mills. Stuart as you will hear has a very unusual approach to running… or should I say, training and racing. Without doubt it works! Just the other week, Stuart once again won the Lakeland 100 for a second time. In this in-depth interview we discuss everything. I am sure you will find it fascinating.
03:23:30 MELTZER MOMENT – It’s good, good, good this week
03:29:52 CLARKY’S CORNER – It’s two down and two to go for Clarky and the other ‘Slammers’. Leadville is just around the corner. We catch up with Nick, discuss how Vermont went and what lies ahead…
It’s a big question and one of the things that we spent three days discussing at the ISF Skyrunning Conference in La Palma, the Canaries.
Ultrarunning is without doubt is becoming more popular and more main stream. When you look at the crowds supporting and participating in many European ultras one can see that the sport has only one way to go; up!
By contrast, the sport in America is so much more niche. This was confirmed by the running elite that came over from America. As Dakota Jones said ‘You camp on the start line, roll out of bed and then go run’. Even Western States, the pinnacle 100 miler does not match the European races. Certainly the start has a buzz and of course the finish. But not much happens between the two.
Transvulcania La Palma and Zegama over the last 10 days had thousands upon thousands of spectators, one would compare it to the Tour de France. They narrow the trail down, cheer and shout at the runners, ring cow bells, blow horns… it’s a party atmosphere and they love the runners.
The sport will progress and the more spectators the races attract, the more the sponsors are likely to invest. Thousands screaming on a start line, all ages, from young girls to old men. Sport has no age criteria and when you get a good looking American finishing in first place you could almost imagine that you are at a rock concert and not an ultra.
We all love a quiet trail, we all love the isolation of running with one or two friends but the future of racing, particularly if we want more money, money, money will see bigger crowds, more buzz and I guess a sport that will become more media savvy.
What is important and this is one thing that we discussed in La Palma, is that we don’t want the sport to loose what is so good about it. The unity, the friendship and bonding that we all have.
By pure coincidence the Washington Post has had a related article on the subject. You may like to read it:
In the article, Karl Meltzer who has a regular spot on Talk Ultra says:
“Am I making money running races? No,” said Meltzer, who has consistently won some of the biggest trail races each year since 1996. “Even if you win them all, you would still only be making about $30,000 a year. . . . It’s sponsorships that make it possible for the elites to travel to the races and eke out a living at the sport.”
Of course he is right. However some new races are appearing in America such as UROC (Ultra Race of Champions) and Run Rabbit Run which are offering prize money. However, they still don’t have the buzz of European races. A sponsor needs a return!
One thing that is clear is that we live in a digital age. Social media is now imperative if you want to get a message across. Not only do the runners need to Tweet, Blog and Facebook but so do the teams, the sponsors and everyone related to the sport.
In Transvulcana La Palma and Zegama, I combined forces with iRunFar and ULTRA168 and we lit up Twitter and Facebook. We became the outlet and feed of the race. Not only updating the positions of the runners but importantly feeding back how the runners felt, how they looked and sending photos ‘live’ as it happened. It is the way forward.
Tony Krupicka said in the article:
“In just the last few years, there have been huge gains made in the media aspect of the sport, mainly via following races on Twitter, and in the production of various films”
It’s early days, the sport although well established is now just being born. It is an infant about to move up to a bigger school.
Let’s keep the bullies away and retain the integrity of the sport while at the same time allowing it to expand so that we can make a living but also still love it for what it is; running!