LOFOTEN STAGE RUN – NEW FOR 2023

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New for 2023, Norway’s first multi-day trail running event, the LOFOTEN STAGE RUN brought to you by the team behind The Arctic Triple taking place Week 22 2023 (w/c 29th May).

Download the info PDF HERE

Image sheets HERE

Located in the stunning and world-renowned Archipelago of Lofoten, The Arctic Triple team will offer two stunning races, the 175km Expedition Run and the 120km Adventure Run, both starting in the iconic, beautiful, and picturesque Reine and concluding in Svolvær.

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Travel point-to-point, on foot, experiencing the majesty of Norway. Stunning trails, majestic mountains, resplendent views, and all during the endless daytime of the midnight sun. A fully supported journey over 4-days (6-days in total) and remembered for a lifetime.

The Lofoten Stage Run will bring the best of what Norway has to offer – fjords, fishing villages, beaches, mountains, ridges and of course the world-renowned Hytte experience.

Kristian Nashoug at Reine
Kristian Nashoug at Reine

“Lofoten Stage Run came about after the 2021 Arctic Triple and the realisation that only the 100-mile runners were getting a full 360 Lofoten experience. Not everyone wants or can run 100-miles in one go, especially here in Lofoten. So, we have created the Lofoten Stage Run which effectively breaks down our 100-mile race in 4-stages and therefore offers a more manageable way to experience all that Lofoten has to offer.” – Kristian Nashoug

The Lofoten Stage Run, either the 175km or 120km versions offer a full day to cover the respective stages and the opportunity to really experience all that this area has to offer. In the evening, runners will meet local hosts, experience local food, have comfortable lodging, and create new bonds and friendships with like-minded people. Lofoten is one of the most ‘desired’ places to visit in the world, what better way to experience it?

This is no ordinary multi-day race!

Stages will consist of 4-days, 39km, 60k, 31km and 45km for the 175km Expedition Run and 39km, 29km, 31km and 21km for the 120km Adventure Run, it’s The Arctic Triple’s aim to make this experience available to all.

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Day 1 will conclude in one of the best-preserved fishing villages in Lofoten, Nusfjord.

Day 2 at Unstad Arctic Surf.

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Day 3 at Brustranda Fjordcamping in Rolvsfjord, a real gem on the inside of the Lofoten archipelago.

And finally, all races conclude in Svolavær.

Experience Lofoten.

Experience the Arctic Circle.

Experience the midnight sun.

Experience the majesty and beauty of Norway under your own power.

PRICE 26,990. NOK (2550 EURO +/-)

Use the contact form below, the first 10 people get a 10% discount.

LOFOTEN STAGE RUN 2023 – iancorless.com

THIS IS THE LOFOTEN STAGE RUN.

For more information and full detailed itinerary, schedule, and costs.

Please go HERE

Week 22 2023.

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Everest Trail Race 2022 Summary

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The Everest Trail Race (ETR) finally was all systems go after an extended break due to the Coronavirus situation. Needless to say, the return was welcome, not only by ETR staff but all the runner’s, many who had postponed entries for 12 or even 24-months.

Nepal is a magical place and to be back in the magic was special.

ETR organisation had not been dormant between 2020 and 2022, the opposite. With the ever expansio of gravel roads leading toward Lukla, it was important to return ETR to more isolated and raw trails, so, in comparison to pre-2020, the 2022 race would be a new experience, particularly over stages one to four with stages five and six remaining roughly the same to 2019.

Camp 1 at Dhap ©iancorless

THE RACE

  • Stage 1 : 23.08km with 1551m+/ 1012m-
  • Stage 2 : 30.30km with 2365m+/ 3115m-
  • Stage 3 : 28.23km with 2028m+/ 2799m-
  • Stage 4 : 27.40km with 2170m+/ 1515m-
  • Stage 5 : 31.80km with 2850m+/ 1650m-
  • Stage 6 : 29km with 1770m+/ 2802m-
Amazing views to start the race ©iancorless

VIEW THE IMAGE GALLERIES HERE

ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU

Travel is coordinated so all participants meet in Istanbul for an onward red-eye flight through the night to arrive in Kathmandu mid morning. During the Covid period, Kathamandu has not stood still either. There have been major improvements to the airport and what was a very painful arrival and immigration procedure is now considerably less painful if you have the relevant documents, photos and cash to pay for an entry visa.

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Airport welcome ©iancorless

Everyone is welcomed at the airport with a traditional garland and then it’s transfer time to the hotel which will be home for the next two days. For those who have not been to Kathmandu before, the driving is always somewhat of a shock. Organised chaos is the easiest way to explain it.

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Arrival at Hotel Shanker, a calm and hidden oasis in noise and craziness of Kathmandu is welcome. Everyone is greeted and then it’s straight into initial race admin before relaxation time after long travel.

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PRE-RACE

Monkey Temple ©iancorless

Day 1 morning is a group excursion to the Monkey Temple and Patan. The Monkey Temple for 2022 was considerably busier than other years due to timing of an important religious festival. It was rammed with people but that only added to the atmosphere.

A time to pray ©iancorless

Of course, it’s always an eye-opener to experience a place like this. No matter how many times you visit, there is always something new and of course, it’s a popular place for beggars who hope to monetise the charity of the visitors.

Nepal always provides a reality check ©iancorless

From the Monkey Temple to historical Patan. *Patan, also known as ‘Lalitpur’, the city of artisans, lies 5 km southeast of Kathmandu, and is home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who have preserved such ancient techniques as the repoussé  and lost wax process used to produce exquisite sculptures. The city retains much of the old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars) and monuments. (*https://ntb.gov.np/patan).

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The buildings, the winding streets, the noise and colour – always special. But for many, the people are what is interesting… So many characters full of life, history and colour.

Local colour ©iancorless

After a morning of relaxation and sightseeing, late afternoon is taken up with pre-race admin checks, number collection, medical checks and onwards to the evenings welcome dinner and race briefing.

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TRAVEL TO CAMP 1

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Travel to camp 1 in Dhap is via bus and it’s a long and lengthy journey of 8 to 12-hours.

Of course regular stops break up the journey and there is an opportunity to see local colour and character on the way, one of the real benefits of travel via road in comparison to taking internal flights.

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Arrival at camp 1 eventually comes. Camp is set up in advance and the glow of lights and yellow tents suddenly makes the whole experience come to life. Now, the ETR finally begins and everyone spends a first night in a tent.

Camp 1 Dhap ©iancorless

THE RACE

Great views to start the race ©iancorless

STAGE 1

A first night under the stars and by Nepal standards in November, it was a relatively mild despite the layer of frost on all the tents and on the ground.

Participants were undecided if it had been cold or not, basically this came down to how good and warm their sleeping bags were. If a runner felt cold last night, the omens are not good for how well they will sleep in the coming days.

Warm sweet tea is a great way to start a day, especially while relaxing in a sleeping bag. But despite that luxury, breakfast called and the need to add layers and absorb calories for the day ahead was an immediate priority.

The sun came and with it warmth. The glow of head torches replaced, bags were packed and racing apparel was made ready.

Rationed water, gels and bars were provided and at the stroke of 0830 the runner’s departed for Stage 1 of the 2022 Everest Trail Race.

Local musicians at the start ©iancorless

At 23.08km with 1551m+/ 1012m- the day was expected to be completed quickly by the front-runners. Miguel Heras did not disappoint crossing the line at exactly 1100am, behind, the 2019 ETR Suman Kulung finished just a couple of minutes later with the 2018 ETR champion, Jordi Gamito, finishing 3rd off the pace.

Suman Kulung ©iancorless

Miguel explained how he had made a silly mistake immediately after Cp2 whilst eating at not concentrating, he missed a marker and went off course. The mistake cost him first place and many minutes… He chased, caught Suman, and still obtained victory; a great run. However, he did say, “There are 5-days to go, anything can happen!”

For the women, Silvina Perez ran a strong stage ahead of Nepali, Ang Furba Sherpa. Ester Alves from Portugal finished 3rd ahead of pre-race favourite, Caroline Turner, who summed her day up with a simple summary, “The altitude and the last climb kicked my ass!”

It was a successful day-1 with all participants completing the course before 1700hrs.

Silvina Perez ©iancorless

STAGE 2

It was a cold night at 3500m. The wind and cloud adding to the chilly temperatures. For those who have raced light, today is the day that they understand the importance of layers and a warm sleeping bag. A lack of sleep with a tired body is not pleasant, even warm tea and a hot breakfast could not lighten the mood of some. After day-1, based on finish times, ETR operates two starts for stage, 0700 and 0800, thus allowing slower competitors additional time to complete the stage.

A cold night ©iancorless

The day started with a 500m climb to the summit of Pikey Peak at 4041m. From here a twisting and technical descent to Jase Bhanjyang (3510m) and the Lamjura Pass towards Langate Peak and onward to Pungmuche and Thumptencholing. From 20.5km another climb to 24.5km, and then a tough finish with a long climb, descent and then a final short climb to the camp at Rinmo.

The climb to Pikey Peak ©iancorless

Everyone was unanimous, it was a seriously tough day and although we missed a peak due to landslide, it added distance, many recording between 34-36km.

Miguel Heras ©iancorless

The race at the front was intense and today, with so much altitude and added distance, Nepali Suman had the advantage over Miguel Hera, Jordi Gamito once again placing 3rd.

Purwha Lhamu Sherpa ©iancorless

For the women, it was a similar story with Nepali, Purwha Lhamu Sherpa having the advantage over Sivina Perez.

The impact of the day will no doubt be seen in stage 3, when the runners tackle 28.23km with 2028m+/ 2799m-

Many are already discussing the drop of over 2000m from 3855m at km7.5, to 1625m at km23. A tough day!

Himalayan Vista from Pikey Peak ©iancorless

STAGE 3

Nothing better than starting a 30km day with a 1200m climb to just under 4000m through forest trails. The downside, depending on viewpoint and preferences, was the 2700m of descent that followed via steep, technical, challenging and rocky trails. And then just when you think it’s all over, you finish the day with 500m of vert followed by another short decent to camp. It was a tough day!

Miguel Heras ©iancorless

The action started early with Miguel Heras and Sumun Kulung setting a harsh pace up the first climb, they were inseparable. Event the relentless descent could not break them. It was at the last checkpoint, with approximately 5km to go, 500m of vert, that Miguel put the hammer down and opened up an 11min gap over the Nepali. Quite incredible.

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Once again, Jordi Gamito, the 2018 ETR champion, seemed happy to settle for the third spot – the duo ahead are at the moment, untouchable.

Blai Llopis Aulet ©iancorless

Purwha Lhamu Sherpa certainly has settled in to women’s race and once again took victory. Ester Alves, equally has found her comfort on the Nepal trails and today relished the relentless downhill trails to finish second. Day 1 victor, Silvina Perez, finished third.

Ester Alves ©iancorless

Mood in the camp was positive after the stage, these trails are quiet and remote. It was only in the final 5km, the climb to Kharikola, that it was possible to see homes and locals working the fields.

STAGE 4

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KhariKola has been the stage 3 camp, day 4 start for many years. However, for 2022, the ETR no longer camped at the monastery but a little lower down in an isolated spot. Temperatures were mild for the night, just dipping below zero. So, runner’s were refreshed for the start of day 4 with a good nights sleep.

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Today is the day the race enters the main trekking routes as Lukla approaches and the end of the day, Phakding.

However, unlike previous years, a new route was developed to avoid the ongoing dirt road development that is impacting on this area greatly.

Miguel and Suman ©iancorless

A tough 1000m climb kicked off the day to Karila at 3080m and then technical rocky trails to the lowest point of the day, Surke at 2300m. From here, a climb to Chaurikara (2621m) a steep descent and then a steep climb to Segma at 2742m. The ETR is now on new trails on the opposite side of the river all the way to the Phakding finish.

Once again it was the Miguel and Suman show at the front, the duo running together, again at a relentless pace. With the longest and arguably the toughest day of the race tomorrow, they crossed the line together, just a 1-second apart, no doubt saving some reserves.

Jordi Gamito finished third, quite a long way behind the leading two, his overall position is safe and he is no doubt just running a smart race now.

Caroline Turner ©iancorless

The women’s race was different today, with all three women running extremely close together, separated by just minutes. Today, the glory went to Ester Alves who gets better with each day, In the final km’s, Silvina Perez caught a fading Purwha Lhamu Sherpa  to place second.

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STAGE 5

Stage 5, the highlight of the ETR. Today is the day the runners pass through Namche Bazaar and head up higher in the direction of the big peaks.

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With much of the day above 3800m, it’s a brute, but the compensation is the magnificent backdrop of Everest, Lohtse, Nuptse and the stunning and iconic Ama Dablam.

Tyangboche ©iancorless

Starting in Phakding, it’s up, up and up to Namche and then onwards to Syangboche at 3760m. From here, a descent to Kumjung and then a climb to Mong La, 3973m. Phortse and a stunning single-track trail to Pangboche with amazing views is the cream on the Himalayan cake as the route travels at 4000m. Finally a descent to Debuche, 3741m, and then the climb to the finish at Tyangboche at 3875m.

Ama Dablam ©iancorless

The day held no surprises with Miguel and Suman running together and at tge line it was red-line effort from the Spaniard to take the stage win. Jordi Gamito once again placing third.

A tough day… ©iancorless

Purwha Lhamu Sherpa for the women took the stage with a truly gritty performance. With one ankle heavily taped and carrying an injury, she still managed a stellar performance, the altitude no doubt being an advantage. Ester Alves finished second, exhausted, expressing, “One of the hardest things I have ever done!’ Once again, Silvina Perez placed 3rd.

Depa ©iancorless

STAGE 6

Everest, Lohtse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam ©iancorless

The final stage back to Lukla. At 29km with 1770m+/ 2802m- it is by no means and easy day or chilled day and that was reflected in Miguel and Suman pushing hard all the way to the line finishing well under 3-hours and in course record for the stage. Miguel Heras was the 2022 ETR champion.

Miguel leading Suman with an iconic backdrop ©iancorless

For the rest of the participants, the day was one of victory, the finish line providing the completion of an epic journey. The top women and a group of others, decided to enjoy the day and they all finished together.

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Lukla provided an end to the 2022 ETR and the mood was high. For many, the experience had been a tough one. The altitude, climbing and descending providing a much harder and more challenging experience than other multi-day adventures.

“MDS is a walk in the park in comparison to the ETR. MDS may well be self-sufficient, but the terrain here is so much harder, add the altitude and cold nights, the challenge is considerably harder.”

One of the many bridges ©iancorless

Now attention turn to 2023 and the next edition of the ETR. It really is one of the ‘must-do’ races not only for the challenge but for the immersive beauty and experience that Nepal brings.

VIEW THE IMAGE GALLERIES HERE

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Goal Setting for a MULTI-DAY Adventure or RACE

Before you start a multi-day, be that a race or a personal challenge, one thing is for sure, NOW is the time to set a goal and focus, fine-tune everything, including training, so that you can be at the start in the best shape possible.

First and foremost, have a complete understanding of the task ahead and set a goal or target. This is key not only in the physical adaptations that are required, but also the mental adaptations. There is a huge difference in doing something supported and in doing something self-sufficient. Marathon des Sables a prime example, understand the nature of the event and set a realistic but challenging goal.

MDS is an extreme event that takes place in the Sahara. The nature of the event is self-management both physically and mentally to endure the challenge, survive and reach the finish line. The weather (heat) is one of those challenges and surviving the weather is integral to the nature of the event. As is the ‘self-sufficient’ nature. Other than rationed water and a bivouac, be prepared to endure and complete this event with no outside assistance. Of course, help is at hand, but that help is and should be a safety element that is required in emergency. Equally, if undertaking a solo multi-day experience, do the research, plan routes, look at back-up options, can you re-supply with food, is water available?

Plan and prepare.

TRAINING

We are all unique and individual. Some of us are faster, some are mentally tough, some have a capacity to go for hours and hours and even days and yes, some runners combine all those elements.

Therefore, a multi-day training plan must be used as a template and framework to provide a structure for you, the individual, to achieve your goal.

Be sensible and adjust training plans so that they fit your ability, aspirations, training history and time available.

Think about when you place rest days, when you do long runs and when you work on hills and faster running. A training plan is like a jigsaw puzzle and managing the pieces and adding them together sensibly is how you make a successful and complete picture.

Any training plan is designed to progressively build strength, endurance, and confidence with gradual load increases. Rest is an important element of any training plan, so, rest with the same intensity that you train. Ultimately, you have decided to undertake this adventure, so, enjoy the process and make it fun.

Be specific. Make sure the training terrain, as much as possible, simulates your target event.

Always focus on the goal. Training plans for me start with the goal date and I then count back in time to a start point. That start point for you may well be before the 12-weeks but once you start the plan, focus on the target, and always make every session is as specific to the goal as possible.

For example, if participating in Marathon des Sables, you already know some key and important information:

  1. It will be hot.
  2. You will need to deal with hard and rocky plateaus, but you will also need to deal
    with soft sand and dunes.
  3. You will be on rationed food/ calories.
  4. You will only be supplied water to drink, and this is *rationed. In extreme weather such as the October 2021 edition, water rations were increased.
  5. Everything (not the tent) will be carried in a pack, on day 1 this will be at a minimum weight of *8kg. (*Minimum pack weight is 6.5kg but you must carry 1.5 liters of water which equates to 1.5kg.)
  6. You will sleep in an open tent, on the floor using a mat and sleeping bag.
  7. The long day comes on day 4 after approximately 90-100km of running, so, you
    need to be able to run for consecutive days and manage your pace and effort.
  8. The long day is (typically) between 70 and 90km and you have one full day, one night and most of the next day to complete it.
  9. After the ‘rest day’ is a marathon.
  10. You can complete the race by covering just 3km’s per hour.
  11. In 2019, the MDS was won by Rachid El Morabity and Ragna Debats in 18:31:24 and 22:33:36 respectively. The last runner was Ka Chun Chan from China in 69:29:16. For perspective, Rachid could have run the race nearly four times in 69:29! We are all individual.
     

Key elements each runner needs for a multi-day like MDS.

  1. You need to be mentally tough.
  2. Physically strong to endure multiple days of back-to-back exercise.
  3. Strong enough to carry a loaded pack and still move at a good pace.
  4. Adapted to function on restricted calories and food choices.
  5. Able to drink only water.
  6. Adapted to perform and function in heat.
  7. You need to be able to walk.
  8. You need to be able to handle un-planned situations.
  9. Have A, B and C goals.
  10. Be self-sufficient.

Multi-day racing and multi-day adventures are unique and particularly self-sufficient ones when you must carry all you need for the duration of the event. In a race, you will carry clothing, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, essential items and food for the duration of the event. At MDS minimum weight is 6.5kg plus water. Just as you prepare physically and mentally, also be meticulous with equipment and food preparation. You ideally need your pack to be 6.5kg and no more… Additional weight is additional stress.

If fastpacking, you may possibly be as above, but you will need to carry your own tent and you will need to re-supply with water en-route either using natural water supplies or utilizing retail outlets.

Be specific and understand the demands of the event you are undertaking and plan accordingly.
 

WHAT SHOULD A TRAINING PLAN LOOK LIKE?

All plans need to be progressive and geared towards the end goal of a multi-day like Marathon des Sables or a fast-packing adventure.

Remember, we are all individual, so while a generic plan may provide a guide and structure from which to work from, it’s important to adapt and tweak to individual needs. For example, the training plan for someone who is trying to be top 100 at a race will vary greatly to someone who hopes to complete and not compete.

Each week will typically have one or two rest days.

A simple strength training structure that can be done at home or in a gym.

Hill sessions and speed sessions (tempo/ intervals/ fartlek) have a place in any training plan, but the quantity and duration will depend on what type of runner you are and what your aspirations are.

Long sessions are essential and most certainly, an element of back-to-back sessions will help adapt the mind and body for the challenge ahead. However, injury risk goes up with any block like this, so, it needs to be placed carefully with adequate rest and recovery.

Learn to walk. There is a huge difference walking with purpose and pace to ‘just’ walking. Except for the top runners, walking is an integral element to a successful completion of a multi-day race or adventure. Many only realise during the event. Get walking dialed in training.

Do some specific work with a pack and weight BUT be careful as it is easy to get injured.

Think of training as blocks of 4-weeks, build for 3-weeks and then rest/ take it easier on the 4th. An example could be as below.

The final phase of a training plan should taper to allow you to be strong and fresh when the start comes, typically this 2 or 3-weeks long. This a perfect time to add specific race adaptations such as heat training, preparing for humidity, preparing for a cold environment and of course fine-tuning equipment and packing.

CONCLUSION

Multi-day running or racing is exciting and adds many more elements to think about than ‘just’ running. Taking time to plan training and working to a goal is a worthwhile and constructive – it gives you something to aim for!

Further reading:

  • MDS 2021 Summary HERE
    The Ultimate Guide to Desert Multi-Day HERE
  • Fuelling for a Multi-Day HERE
  • How to find your Running Shoe size and fit HERE
  • Sleeping Bag for an Adventure HERE
    Ten Top Tips for Multi-Day HERE
  • Top Tips to better Multi-Day Running HERE
  • Multi-Day Running in a Rainforest HERE
  • Fastpacking – A Guide HERE
  • Fastpacking Light – HERE
  • Fastpacking and Camping in Winter HERE
  • Fastpacking in Nepal HERE
  • Poles for Running and Walking HERE
  • Sleeping bags – PHD, Sea to Summit and Rab HERE


Recommended Races:

  • Marathon des Sables, Morocco (self-sufficient)
  • The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica (supported)
  • Everest Trail Race, Nepal (semi self-sufficient)

JOIN OUR MULTI-DAY TRAINING CAMP IN JANUARY – INFO HERE

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Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2022 – Day 6

Day 6 of the Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp is the ‘long day’ covering a marathon on a beautiful point-to-point course that starts in Uga and concludes at Club La Santa.

The route was first introduced in 2020 with great feedback. The 2022 route was extra special due to the current weather – sun, warm, high winds and Calima. You actually couldn’t get better training conditions for a desert race.

The route is a perfect way to sight see and experience the best of Lanzarote. Early miles pass through countless black sand and wine fields.

At all times, the landscape is magical and unique, the resulting backdrop from the greatest recorded eruptions which occurred between 1730 and 1736.

The area is delicate and protected, so, for the most part, a route weaves its way through the landscape which must be followed.

While there are few high points (in meters) on the island, it is possible to ‘rollercoaster’ and in our marathon point-to-point we accumulated 1500m+.

The wind was strong all day, gusts almost lifting us of our feet.

From Tinajo, the fina third of the route, the conditions became increasingly hard as the harder ground became softer with large amounts of soft sand. A Buff making for great protection.


In the latter miles it was head down and push on… Finally Club La Santa could be see in the distance. A marathon done in perfect test conditions.

As training days go, they don’t come any better than today…! With just one day left, many of the attendees are now tired and looking forward to some recovery time to let the stimulus from this training take hold.

Each runner has covered different distances but the below is typical for many!

Day 6 concluded with showers, food, recovery and well-earned calm and peaceful night.

Interested in our 2023 Training Camp? Info HERE

Photo Galleries HERE

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2022 – Day 4 and 5

Day 4 of the Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp was after a sleepless night in bivouac. The wind started at midnight and built through the night making for a ‘perfect’ test scenario for a multi-day race, particularly one in a desert.

Tents were broken, clothing items were lost, tents (those that survived) were full of sand and all the participants had a great learning curve that ultimately was a priceless experience.

After a dehydrated breakfast, we split in to four groups, Inge taking a walking group, Sondre taking a run/walk group and Ian and Pierre taking run groups. Distances varied for the groups but Ian and Pierre took on a new route for the Lanzarote camp which totalled 18/ 20-miles and over 1000m vert with El Castillejo (615m) and Peñas del Chache (673m) the two high points. The wind made the challenge all the harder.

From the summit, you have great views of the ocean, Famara, and off in the distance, La Santa.

Back in Club La Santa, Elisabet and Pierre hosted a talk, Elisabet addressing foot care/ taping and Pierre bringing his physio skills to great use with a talk and practical on how to look after your body.

At 1730, Ian did a practical demonstration on compass and how to follow a bearing. An often neglected but required skill for races such as Marathon des Sables.

As day 4 concluded, the winds and ‘*Calima’ raged on. While the winds and sand bring a challenge, they are perfect for a training camp providing the clients with a great opportunity to really experience and learn.

*Calima – Link

Day 5

The winds raged on and the Calima intensified. Day 5 started with a soft sand/ dune run and we warned all participants to be mindful of the Calima and suggested wearing Buff (or similar) to protect nose and mouth. The reality was we had perfect sand storm conditions to run in.

After 10km of running in a strong headwind, battered by sand, we eventually settled in a soft-sand and small dune area to practice skills.

While many may consider strong winds and sand make for miserable running, we were all thankful of the opportunity that these conditions brought. Running in a sand storm takes skill, patience and a required mental approach.

With 20km done, it was a great morning of running and learning.

The afternoon talk by Elisabet and Sondre was about equipment, packing and how to ensure you choose the correct equipment for your desired race and how to get as light as possible without compromising what you need to race safely and effectively.

At 1730, the final session of the day was done by Ian who discussed poles and how to use them.

Day 6 tomorrow is a big day… A marathon over a point-to-point route starting in Uga and concluding at Club La Santa.

Interested in our 2023 Training Camp? Info HERE

Photo Galleries HERE

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

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Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

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Tomomi Bitoh joins The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica 2022

Tomomi winning the final stage of the 35th MDS.

A second-place finish at the 35th Marathon des Sables in October 2021 has set Japans Tomomi Bitoh up for  The Coastal Challenge that will take place in Costa Rica, February 2022.

A relatively unknown when standing on the start line of MDS in Morocco, it soon became apparent that Tomomi was ‘one-to-watch’ as the race unfolded. Her relentless smile, positive attitude shone through resulting not only in a victory of the final stage marathon distance but 2nd overall.

Tomomi is new to the sport, in 2018 she became a freelance professional trainer and in April that year ran her first marathon, she now has a PB 2:59:32. Winner of the Fuji Five Lakes Ultra Marathon and the Fuji Goko Ultra Marathon 118km, Tomomi also races at a competitive level in Spartan events. Spartan will provide Tomomi a great level of skill sets that she will be able to utilize at TCC, especially with the mixed and challenging terrain.

Marathon des Sables was a breakthrough performance and the multi-day format of TCC in Costa Rica will bring a new challenge.

The Race

Hugging the coastline of the tropical Pacific, The Coastal Challenge is the ultimate multi-day experience that weaves in and out of the Talamancas, a coastal mountain range in the Southwest corner of Central America. The terrain is ever-changing from wide, dusty and runnable fire trails to dense and muddy mountain trails. Runners will cross rivers, boulders, pass under waterfalls, survive long relentless beaches and finally finish in the incredible Corcovado National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site with a stunning final loop around Drake Bay.

With two races available, an Expedition Run of 230km and an Adventure Run of 155km – TCC is a race not to be missed!

230km and 10.000m+

Join the race in 2022, February 5th to 12th, registration HERE

Please note, TCC requires full vaccination and documented proof will be required.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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Marathon des Sables 2021 #MDS – Stage 1

The 35th Marathon des Sables finally got underway today after three postponements.

It was a very special moment to see over 700 runners from 40 nationalities depart under the sound of AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell.’ 

And what a highway to hell the 1st stage of 32.2km’s was!

The heatwave from the previous days did not disappear despite strong winds and sand storms throughout the previous night and race day turned out to be a scorching 45deg in the shade in the mid afternoon heat. As I write, there are currently 25 dropouts and and many runners required medical help from Doc Trotters out on the course.

The route, billed as an easy day was beautiful one with a little of everything, hard rocky plateau, villages with many children and soft sand and small dunettes to conclude the day.

The heat though and lack of any shade turned out to be the beast of the day and it reduced nearly the whole field to a slower pace and for most, that means walking!

Even the desert king, Rachid El Morabity, although wining easily ahead of his brother, looked tired and a little more exhausted from his 2h 36m run.

Aziza Raji from Morocco started the day at an easier pace and eventually took the lead ahead of the UK’s Anna Brown, however, just like Rachid, in the final km’s she looked ready to be over with the day.

The intense heat has now impacted on day 2 with the organisation bringing start time 30-minutes forward, 0800 instead of 0830. In addition, 1 extra bottle of water will be provided for each runner and CP1 and CP2.

The stage is another 32km day, BUT, many of those km’s take place in the relentless dunes of Merzouga (Erg Chebbi), the highest in Morocco.

Day 1 standings:

  • Rachid El Morabity
  • Mhoamed El Morabity
  • Aziz Yachou

  • Aziza Raji
  • Anna Brown
  • Aicha Omrani

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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Marathon des Sables 2018 #MDS2018 – Stage 3

One could be forgiven in thinking that today, the two fastest runners in the 2018 Marathon des Sables, Rachid El Morabity and Natalia Sedykh had an easier day… They both won again, for Rachid that is two stage victories and for Natalia it is 3 out of 3. But the winning margin was just a handful of minutes for the duo. I think they are saving something for tomorrow’s long day of 86.2km.

Today’s stage by MDS standards was an epic one that combined a multitude of terrain. Soft sand, dunes, gorges, stoney climbs, exposed ridges, the technical climb and descent of Jebel El Oftal and then an easy and relatively flat fast run in to the finish.

Rachid and Natalia dictated the day but Mohamed El Morabity and Magdalena Boulet was never far behind. It was a controlled day. In the end, Rachid finished the 31.6km in 2:36:20. Mohamed followed just over 1-minute later in 2:37:32 and then ever present Abdelkader El Mouaziz was 3rd in 2:40:43. Peru’s Remigio Huaman had a good day today with 4th ahead of Aziz El Akad.

Despite the 1-hour time penalty, Russia’s Natalia Sedykh continues to push at the front. Today she finished 1st again just over 5-minutes ahead of Magdalena, 3:28:27 to 3:33:45. Magdalena leads the race overall but Natalia claws back the 1-hour time penalty little by little. I can’t help but think we may see an all out effort on the long day to bring things equal. It could be a risky strategy but what has Natalia to lose? Bouchra Eriksen once again was 3rd ahead of the UK’s Anna Marie Watson and Gemma Game who placed 4th and 5th respectively.

Despite some strong winds and sand storms in the night, day 3 of the MDS was calm with little wind, clear skies and relentless heat. It’s amazing to watch runners of all abilities fight their demons, particularly on the climb of the Jebel – it brings out some serious inner strength.

The key now is recovery. The long stage of the MDS is tomorrow and they have 35h to complete the 86.2km distance. Bodies and minds are now tired – everyone will need to dig deep!

  1. Natalia Sedykh 2:28:27
  2. Magdalena Boulet 3:33:45
  3. Bouchra Ericksen 3:39:13
  4. Anna Marie Watson 3:44:13
  5. Gemma Game 3:47:03

 

  1. Rachid El Morabity 2:36:20
  2. Mohamed El Morabity 2:37:32
  3. Abdlekader El Mouaziz 2:40:43
  4. Remigio Huaman 2:41:11
  5. Aziz El Akad 2:48:10

 

Overall GC going into the long stage:

  1. Rachid El Morabity 7:52:03
  2. Mohamed El Morabity 8:03:38
  3. Abdelkader El Mouaziz 8:08:59

 

  1. Magdalena Boulet 10:21:42
  2. Bouchra Eriksen 10:42:26
  3. Gemma Game 11:01:52

*Natalia Sedykh 11:03:22

Full Results HERE

Marathon des Sables PERU 2017 #MDSPeru – RACE DAY 5

Stage 5 of MDS Peru was a classic and beautiful stage. Staring on the beach in Barlovento, the runners covered 42.2km to Mendieta hugging the coastline of the Pacific.

Unfortunately, Remigio Huaman, 2nd overall on GC, yesterday received a 2-hour time penalty for an infringement of MDS rules in regard to the calories available in his backpack. This penalty moves him out of the top-3 and needless to say, he was less than is smiling self on the start line of the penultimate stage.

The day promised to be amazing and it was. The route was a roller coaster of small climbs and decent as the route covered 42.2km.

The ladies race was as it had been all week with Nathalie Mauclair leading from the front and being pursued by Melanie Rousset. The result was as in the previous 4-days, Mauclair took the stage. Rousset once again finished 2nd and Rocio Carrion finished 3rd. The result may sound like a formality but these three ladies have raced hard all week. Mauclair in particular has pushed and pushed when she had no need too. For Peru, Carrion on the podium will be a great result and when the race finishes tomorrow, I expect a Peruvian party.

Rachid El Morabity is the master of the desert, and today he proved t once again! He starts relaxed, off the pace and running at times minutes back from the lead men. He then decides to move up a gear and when he does, t is incredible. He glides across the sand when others sink, he is a Fennec – a master of the sand and heat. Once again, he took the stage.

Remigio Huaman, Erik Clavery, Aldo Ramirez, Julien Chorier and Gediminas Grinius had set the early pace ahead of the Moroccan but it was all to no avail. Huaman was obviously looking to make amends for his penalty and once again he finished 2nd ahead of Clavery in 3rd. But it was Ramirez who benefited most, he is now 2nd in GC and flying the flag for Peru.

 

  1. Rachid El Morabity 3:12:51
  2. Remigio Huaman 3:15:07
  3. Erik Clavery 3:24:04

 

  1. Nathalie Mauclair 3:59:00
  2. Melanie Rousset 4:30:19
  3. Rocio Carrion 4:46:30

 

GC

 

  1. Rachid El Morabity 20:22:43
  2. Aldo Ramirez 22:21:03
  3. Erik Clavery 122:30:23

 

  1. Nathalie Mauclair 24:22:35
  2. Melanie Rousset 27:46:03
  3. Rocio Carrion 30:33:20

Stage 6 of MDS Peru is the last day and although the runners have 19km to cover along the coast of Peru next to the Pacific, the race, at least for the top-3 males and female’s s over. It’s a party day!

Marathon des Sables PERU 2017 #MDSPeru – RACE DAY 4

Stage 4 of MDS Peru was the eagerly anticipated long-day, it was billed as a stunning stage and it didn’t disappoint, however, with beauty came difficulty and many said how hard it was. The thought of views of the Pacific Ocean pulled the runners through to the 51km mark and then from here, the sea was by their side all the way to the finish line.

Erik Clavery dictated the race early on but by Cp2 he was caught and it was Also Ramirez from Peru who forged a fast pace looking for a top-3 finish. Fellow Peruvian, Remigio Huaman, was never going to let a countryman run away from him and the duo ran at the head of the race before Rachid El Morabity budged the gap. It was interesting to see the dynamics at the front of the race, it would appear, that El Morabity was not having a ‘normal’ dominating day and this was reflected in him crossing the line with Huaman, hand-in-hand, in 7:10:24. Ramirez held on for 3rd just 7-minutes later with Gediminas Grinius and Clavery placing 4th and 5th.

The ladies race once again had a very similar format as all the previous days with Nathalie Mauclair dictating from the front and never looking back. She is, with all due respect to the other ladies, in a race on her own! She crossed the line in 8:08:45 and Melanie Rousset finished 2nd once again over 1-hour later in 9:19:10. Peruvian, Rocio Carrion, was as consistent as ever placing 3rd in 10:01.

The long-day will be remembered for the stunning landscape and the variety. Beautiful white dunes, white stone flats, amazing valleys flanked by mountains and then the stunning sandy drop to the Pacific and bivouac 4 next to the sea.

 

  1. Remigio Huaman 7:10:24
  2. Rachid El Morabity 7:10:25
  3. Aldo Ramirez 7:17:21

 

  1. Nathalie Mauclair 8:08:45
  2. Melanie Rousset 9:19:10
  3. Rocio Carrion 10:01:15

 

GC

 

  1. Rachid El Morabity 17:09:53
  2. Remigio Huaman 17:47:54
  3. Aldo Ramirez 18:49:51

 

  1. Nathalie Mauclair 20:23:35
  2. Melanie Rousset 23:15:44
  3. Rocio Carrion 25:46:50

 

Stage 5 of MDS Peru is as the Moroccan brother, the marathon stage. Staring on the beach in Barlovento, the runners will cover 42.2km to Mendieta hugging the coastline of the Pacific. It will be a stunning stage!