The Coastal Challenge – Stage 2 – Rafiki Lodge to Dominical Beach

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Sleep is a precious commodity in any multi-stage race. The ability to recover from one day’s effort and then go again requires discipline not only in training but also the ability to get to sleep early and ensure a full battery charge for the next day!

At The Costal Challenge, this ‘strength of will’ is tested to the max… each day starts at 0330 to ensure an adequate breakfast and a race start that coincides with the sun. It’s important; the heat beats down here in Costa Rica with a strength and power that can wilt the most ardent sun worshiper.

©iancorless.com.P1120120

Today’s route involved two tough climbs in succession and then a long drop down to the coast before a final 8-km along the beach that involved two water crossings.

The last water crossing less than 1-km form the finish #TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The last water crossing less than 1-km form the finish #TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

The 10th edition of the TCC was always going to be a stunning race; the quality of the elite line up was second to none. Stage 2 did not disappoint…

From the off, Wardian, Gaffuri, Clark, Reiter, Beneito and Sa marked each other’s move on the tough first climb. It was all-together at the summit with just seconds spreading the whole group. Gaffuri, loving to run downhill fast moved to the front and pushed hard but even Sa who must have been feeling his ‘extra’ miles from the previous day matched his effort.

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek opened up a gap in the ladies race right from the start but today’s stage was for more to the liking of Bottger and although initially Meek gained some time, the gap was matched and held.

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

At the checkpoint before the second climb, the banter in the men’s race was superb. So much so, Reiter, Wardian and Gaffuri thought an impromptu sprint trying to be first for the water was a good idea…

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Sprint for the aid station. TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Reiter was first to leave the aid station and he committed himself. He started to open up a gap and push. A remarkable run considering on day-1 he suffered in the heat; not helped by long travel and little sleep.

Clark and Wardian pursuing Reiter at the bottom of the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Clark and Wardian pursuing Reiter at the bottom of the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Continuing to open up a gap, one would have assumed that Reiter would have succumbed to Wardian’s natural speed when on the flat. However, in the final 8-km’s of beach, Reiter pushed on and held for a great stage win. Wardian placed second and Beneito and Clark finished together taking 3rd and 4th. The men’s race without doubt is poised for some heated competition over the coming days; Wardian leads Beneito and Clark by 3:42, Reiter is just over 22-mins back after his unfortunate day-1. I wonder, can Reiter pull back that time? It would take something remarkable from Reiter in this quality of field. Nick Clark post race said, “Wardian didn’t close on Reiter as we expected in those e final stages, he may have gained a little more time on me but a time gap of 4-mins is easily pulled back. It’s all to up for grabs.”

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Julia Bottger on the second climb TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Bottger caught Meek on the second climb and lead much of the way on the descent; however, with approximately 20-km’s of relatively flat road and beach to the finish we all expected Meek to open up a gap and start to pull away. She certainly opened a gap and enough of a gap to secure a comfortable stage-2 victory, however, it wasn’t a performance of complete dominance as expressed on day-1. Post race I asked her how she felt, “That was a tough day. You can’t run those climbs; it’s all about economy of effort and hiking. I am less used to technical descents so I played safe, however, over the last km’s I could get in my run stride and take the lead again.”

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek just before the finish TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Meek has a 46:02 lead going into stage-3 and barring a disaster; I can’t see her loosing such a margin. She no longer needs to be aggressive and certainly, Meek can ease off a gear and see if Bottger wants to take up the challenge to pull back time.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Third place lady, Veronica Bravo is now 1:32 in arrears and has a comfortable margin of almost 50-minutes over 2013 The Coastal Challenge winner, Gemma Slaughter for 3rd place.

RESULTS Stage-2

  1. Philipp Reiter
  2. Mike Wardian
  3. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito
  1. Jo Meek
  2. Julia Bottger
  3. Veronica Bravo

General Classification after Stage 2

  1. Mike Wardian 7:14:05
  2. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito 7:17:47
  3. Nick Clark 7:17:48
  4. Philipp Reiter 7:36:27
  5. Martin Gaffuri 7:45:37
  1. Jo Meek 8:40:45
  2. Julia Bottger 9:26:47
  3. Veronica Bravo 10:12:57
  4. Gemma Slaughter 11:02:34
  5. Wendy Tseng 11:35:13

 

The Coastal Challenge – Stage 1 – Quepos to Rafiki Lodge

©iancorless.com.P1110517

HOT! Hot racing and hot temperatures. The 10th edition of The Coastal Challenge was always going to be a competitive race and stage-1 did not disappoint.

Departing from the beaches just outside the center of Quepos at 0930, the heat of the day was already beating down. Broad smiles, arm waves and cheers were immediately followed a rush for the head of the race.

Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

As expected, the elite runners dictate the early pace with Mike Wardian immediately taking the front of the race closely followed by Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark.

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek started conservatively finding her legs after the long journey from San Jose. However, once she had found them, she pressed on the gas pedal and didn’t let up. Entering the dense forest canopy at just over halfway into the days stage she had that ‘glare’ I had witnessed at the 2013 Marathon des Sables. Completely focused on the task at hand, Jo was calm and relaxed and looked surprisingly in control despite of the oppressive heat. “It pays to get adjusted to the heat before you come out here” said Jo, “I have been doing heat chamber session in the UK to prepare myself; it works!”

At the same point in the course for the men’s race, Mike Wardian had a 45-second lead over a pursuing Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark…. Less than a minute in arrears, Carlos Sa and Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito chased.

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Carlos Sa TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Dense jungle, the noise of the wildlife and the oppressive heat tested each and every participant. “I wasn’t prepared for that,” said Martin Gaffuri, “I was running well and then suddenly just felt a switch turn off. I knew it wasn’t liquid or food as I had kept on top of both; it was the heat… I was overheating and I just needed to cool down”

Crossing the river to CP3, Mike Wardian had taken the lead once again after a little toing and froing with Nick and Vicente. Carlos Sa was running in fourth and Martin Gaffuri was fighting the pressure of the heat. At the line, Mike had pulled out 3-minutes over Nick and Vicente. However, the big looser of the day was Carlos Sa. With just a few 100-meters to go he made a disastrous navigation error and somehow managed to do an extra 20-30km…. missing from the finish he arrived several hours later.

©iancorless.com.P1110558

Jo Meek dominated the ladies race on the first day putting 30-minutes in to Julia Bottger and Veronica Bravo.

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Veronica Bravo TCC2014 ©iancorless.com

Day-1 at The Coastal Challenge is always a tough day. It may only be just over 30-km’s but the travel, early starts and oppressive heat really do take the toll. In camp post run, runners unpacked tents, ate food and raised their legs just with one thing in mind; recovery.

Stage-2 at just under 50-kilometers with two tough climbs will be a challenge. However, a 0530 start will allow everyone an opportunity to ease into the day. The sting comes towards the end of the day as participants enter a long stretch of beach that takes them to the finish. For many, this will be just when the sun is at its highest and most harmful.

RESULTS Stage-1

1. Mike Wardian (USA): 3:03:30
2. Vicente Juan García (España): 3:06:23
3. Nick Clark (UK): – 3:06:23

1. Jo Meek (UK): 3:31:45
2. Julia Bottger (Germany): 4:13:20
3. Verónica Bravo (Chile): 4:29:48

Anna Frost followed the race route offering support and encouragement. Obviously frustrated and not being able to run but embracing Costa Rica….

PURA VIDA

Anna Frost TCC204 ©iancorless.com

Anna Frost TCC204 ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge #TCC2014 – Stage 2 Preview

tcc-stg-2

Day 2 – Rafki Lodge to Dominical

Today is a tough day… two climbs with a total elevation gain of 2250m and some muddy, dense forest to negotiate. One would think that the final 9-km along a flat beach would be easy; think again! You arrive at the ocean, the views are spectacular and you look into the distance and you see nothing. No sign of the finish, it’s too far away. Footstep after footstep you make new marks in virgin sand as the heat of the day beats down on your head and reflects back up from the sand. Water crossings are in abundance today and the route encompasses the TCC perfectly. A total distance of 39-kms; once again 3-checkpoints are available; Brujo (11km), Dos Bocas (22km) and then Hatillo (31km) before the long flat push to the line at Dominical Beach. This is a tough day and will test each and every runner, particularly those who pushed too hard on day-1 or didn’t recover adequately.

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1050826 ©iancorless.com.©copyright .iancorless.com.P1050500

Follow the race at www.iancorless.com

Twitter @talkultrs

Facebook/talkultra

#TCC2014

The Coastal Challenge #TCC2014 – Pre race audio and images

©iancorless.com.P1100848

 

The stage is set for the 2014, 10th edition Coastal Challenge. Without doubt a quality field will toe the line in Quepos tomorrow for stage one of the race (route preview here).

We held an impromptu press conference and had an opportunity to chat to each of the lite runners on how they have prepared and how they thing this 10th edition will unfold. As you well be able to tell from the audio… spirits are high and we are going to see a very exciting race.

A Podcast LogoAUDIO HERE

http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/TCC2014_pre_race.mp3

Unfortunately, Anna Frost has to make the difficult decision to remove herself from the race on doctors advice. However, she will follow, help out and participate in her own unique way. You see her interview HERE

 

Anna Frost – The Coastal Challenge pre race interview #TCC2014

©iancorless.com.P1100794

 

The Coastal Challenge welcomes Anna Frost for the 10th edition of the race. Frosty always smiling, always happy unfortunately though has some unfortunate news to share with us all before this years race.

We wish you all the very vest of luck Frosty!

The Coastal Challence #TCC2014 – Stage 1 Preview

tcc-stg-1

Day 1 – Quepos to Rafki Lodge

RACE START SUNDAY FEB 2nd 0930 +/- Costa Rica Time

Total distance for day-1 of the 2014 and 10th edition of the TCC is 33.5km. Although the depart will still be from Quepos, the start point has been changed to avoid approximately 10km’s of road that in the past was used to ‘ease’ the runners into the race. However, through general consensus, this road start was not only a little uninspiring, but also it also caused runners to go off far too fast. Today, the runners will head straight into the forest and head for the final destination of Rafki Lodge in the Saverge Valley. A total elevation gain of 850m will see runners pass through 3-checkpoints; Palmas (10km), the small village of Cruce al Saverge (21km) and then at the end of a long pontoon bridge at Andarivel (29.6km) before the final push to the beautiful grounds and hotel of Rafki Lodge. In terms of terrain, it’s a relatively easy day with some wide double track. The biggest issue will be the heat… get your pace and hydration wrong on day-1 and you may just not recover as many found out in the 2013 edition of the race.

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1050156 ©copyright .iancorless.com.P1050258

Ones to watch:

Ladies

  • Gemma Slaughter – 2013 champion – Canadian
  • Julia Bottger (Salomon Germany) – German
  • Anna Frost (Salomon International) – New Zealnd
  • Jo Meek (unattached) – United Kingdom

Men

  • Nick Clark (Peal Izumi) – United Kingdom
  • Michael Wardian (Hoak One One/ UVU) – USA
  • Philipp Reiter (Salomon International) – Germany
  • Carlos Sa (Berg)  – Portugal
  • Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito (Lurbel) – Spain
  • Martin Gaffuri (New Balance)- France
  • Karim Mosta – France

Local ones to watch:

  • Marcelo Jiminez
  • Daniel Calderon (Altra Ambasador)

Philipp Reiter and Juilia Boettger to race The Coastal Challenge, 2014

Philipp Reiter, Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Nine incredible editions of The Coastal Challenge and in the words of race director, Rodrigo Carazo, ‘believe me, the 10th is going to be extra special’.

The Coastal Challenge has not been without some premier names from the ultra world in past editions, Scott Jurek raced in 2009 and Dave James has been a regular attendee for multiple years.

However, the 2014 edition of the race is going to see the race create a higher profile in the world of multi day racing. The announcement of Salomon sponsored duo, Philipp Reiter and Julia Boettger joining the race apparently is only the first of several big announcements that are due in coming weeks.

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Rodrigo Carazo confirmed to me that the TCC is a passion for him and for the 10th edition of the race he wanted to ensure something special. When I asked him about the inclusion of Philipp and Julia he said, “It has always been a long term aim to have elite runners at The Coastal Challenge. We have had Scott Jurek in a past edition! It’s great to have Philipp and Julia join us and it will be great to see how they perform. However, TCC is all about enjoyment, participation and inclusion. Every participant will be treated the same. We will be one big happy family.”

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

It also appears that Philipp and Julia are only the first two names to be announced, I asked Rodrigo did he have any other surprises for us?

“Well, we have already made public that Brit, Jo Meek (interview HERE) will join us in Costa Rica. Jo was 2nd lady overall at the 2013 Marathon des Sables, so that will add some interest to the race. Also, we have some other ‘names’ from the ultra world to announce in the coming weeks. We are just making final preparations. It is all very exciting.”

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

Of course, Philipp and Julia need no introduction to the ultra running community. Philipp Reiter despite his youth has been competing on the ultra and Skyrunning calendar for several years with repeated impressive results. He has won the Zugspitze several times and just this year he won the 100km race. He is also a repeated winner at the multi day Transalpine race. However, Philipp is gaining a higher profile for consistently strong performances in the Skyrunner World Series.

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

I asked Philipp what had enticed him to race in Costa Rica?

“It sounds like a great adventure to me. Running eight days in the jungle, crossing rivers, hopefully seeing some wild and dangerous animals, sleeping in a tent-village and of course tasting some new food and local specialties. Running is such a great sport that we can all experience, I am really excited to share the trails with others who are equally passionate. It’s what I love and want to experience.”

Philipp already has experience of multi day racing. For example, he has raced Transalpine several times and been incredibly successful. When I asked him about the challenge of Costa Rica and the rainforest environment he looked excited.

“Yes, so far I have done some stages races in summer (4-Trails, Transalpine Run) and also a few in winter (Pierra Menta, Tour du Rutor) so I know how it feels to have a race day by day in a row. But as I have never been to Costa Rica and the jungle there, it’s definitely going to be a new challenge for me. It’s a very different climate and the terrain will be a challenge. I am sure at times it will be tough!

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Of course one issue that may arise for those who live in Europe is the timing of the race, late January and early February, our weather is somewhat different to Costa Rica. I asked Philipp about cross training over the winter, as he is an experienced Ski Mountaineer. “Are you planning on doing any specific training for the TCC?”

“Yes, you are right, it’s the prime time of the SkiMo races and a lot of competitions take place. But for the Costal Challenge it’s not problem for me to skip these races. I usually have a lot of snow at this time of the year near my home and finding good trails can be difficult but I hope I can get some running in until January and maybe the ‘white gold’ will fall late this season? I recently saw some pictures of a guy from Norway cycling indoors with his down jacket on to prepare for the heat of Transvulcania (laughs) I am sure will also find a solution to prepare for the warm weather; running indoors in a Sauna?

On a final note, I asked Philipp what he was most looking forward to… the competition, a new place, travel or all those elements combined?

“It is more the experience in the jungle, a new area to explore, the wildlife and totally different nature.”

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger is without doubt a lover of longer distances and enjoys multi days in the mountains, she has placed 2nd at the extremely tough 160km Diagonale des Fous on Reunion Island and just recently placed 3rd at the 80km Grand Raid des Pyrenees.

“I have never been to Costa Rica before. I am really excited to see the trails and landscape over there. The climate will be very different, the terrain and of course the culture and people. It is just a very nice mix of a lot of new things and impressions. I have never done a multi day race like this before; sleeping in tents next to the beach in a foreign country, spending some days with great people and becoming a “family”. It’s going to be really exciting”

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

And Julia is correct, it really is a great adventure that manages to combine many different elements. Runners have no need to be self sufficient, food is provided and all your belongings are transported to the next camp/ rendezvous point.

“It’s fantastic! It’s a great way to start a new year and a new season with some lovely running in beautiful locations. I am just fortunate to be able to do what I love. Running and then spending the rest of the day at a beautiful location, get some real food and not have to take care about anything else. Recovery will be so much easier for everyone each day.”

Like Philipp, Julia loves the mountains and technical terrain. The rainforests of Costa Rica do have some elevation but nothing like the Alps or Pyrenees. I asked Julia if she would do any specific training to prepare?

“Preparation will be different because the race is very early in the season. So for me it is hard to train in the mountains at this time of the year because we have a lot of snow. In winter I do a lot of cross country skiing and ski mountaineering. As the several stages of the race are not as long as the courses I normally do it will be easier to train for at this time of the year. I will do more running in the flat and get some speed work in.”

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

For many, a trip to Costa Rica is a once in a lifetime possibility. The ability to combine this trip with a passion for running is something that all participants will relish. Julia is no different!

“The combination of traveling to a new place, running on different trails and meeting new lovely people who are sharing our passion will make this very special. I think Costa Rica is a very interesting country with a lot of different aspects and surprises. So I am looking forward to this adventure, the warm sunny weather will also be a great break from cold misty weather in Germany.”

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

Steve Diederich, the UK agent for The Coastal Challenge is excited about the inclusion of Philipp and Julia (and maybe more?) and although race entry is now closed, Steve has made several places available to coincide with this announcement. In addition, a 5% discount will be offered to the first five applicants. Steve had this to say, “The Coastal Challenge has come of age and has joined the exclusive club of iconic multi-day ultras – with the added twist of a backdrop of some of the most breathtaking rainforest and coast on the planet and accompanied with now legendary catering that outclasses any other event. The TCC in 2014 is a vintage race in the making.”

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

The Coastal Challenge, TCC, Costa Rica ©iancorless.com

Race dates: 2nd to 9th February 2014

If you would like to attend the 2014 event and take advantage of a 5% discount, please email sarah@thecoastalchallenge.co.uk

 The Coastal Challenge website HERE