Lanzarote Training Camp 2018 Day 5 and 6

Day 5 is bivouac day! Arguably, it is the day of the Lanzarote Training Camp that the runners dread but learn the most.

It’s quite simple – we simulate many of the feelings and experiences that you will encounter in your chosen multi-day self-sufficient race.

Runners leave with their race packs including sleeping bag, sleeping mat, food for the dinner, snacks, food for breakfast, a minimum 1.5ltr of water and clothes such as down jacket!

The attendees run or walk in guided groups to the bivouac taking a minimum of 2.5 hours. They then pitch a tent (transported for them) and then they are rationed water. Our bivouac is extra special – it is inside a volcano!

We provide hot water but many runners test and try their own cooking skills using Esbit and then they eat a dehydrated meal. It happens every year… “Oh wow, I love this meal!” to the opposite, “Oh my word, that is disgusting!”

It’s invaluable what can be learnt with a simulation night.

We get a roaring fire going and chat into the night – it is special!

The following morning, our camp attendees are welcomed to ‘rise’ with crow of a cockerel around 0630/ 0645. They then must prepare their own breakfast and prepare for another run; again, a minimum 2-hours.

A night under the stars and an opportunity to test sleeping bag, sleeping mat and all other aspects of self-sufficiency makes everyone realise what is good and what is bad.

Back at Club La Santa we have a 2-hour debrief talk and discussion, from here, all our attendees go away armed with the knowledge that will help them achieve the finish line of their next multi-day race.

Why not join our 2019 Training Camp?

More information HERE

100km del Sahara, April 2014

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An adventure, an experience, a stepping stone to something else… the 100km Sahara is multi-day race that will introduce you to a whole new world. Join the journey in April, 2014. 

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Irrespective of your experience, the 100km of the Sahara will provide every participant a definitive sporting accomplishment. For some it may well provide the ultimate challenge, while for others, it may become a launching pad for continued participation in highly demanding extreme running races. The spirit of the race combines many elements; travel, adventure, excitement and ultimately a challenge.
 Pursue your dreams, pursue your passions and let the 100km of the Sahara provide you with a gateway to a new world.

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An annual race taking place over multiple days, participants test themselves against the challenge of running against the desert, while accepting the minimal assistance that is needed. The Sahara is fascinating, however it is one of the least suitable environments for running. If it was easy, anyone would do it… take yourself to a new level, add a new stimulus to your running. The Sahara will not only test your physical parameters but your capacity to control your mind.

Achieve your finish line!

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DETAILS:

The “100 km of Sahara” maintains a departure from the oasis of Ksar Ghilane, in the great Eastern Erg for the 2014, 16th edition of the race. The arrival; the mythical oasis of Douz will be achieved after travelling 100 km’s in 4-stages with 3-nights undertaken in a tented camp.

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The race itinerary is 7 days 6 nights. This competition is designed to bring out the spirit of challenge for those who create their own adventure. The race will have all the necessary ingredients of the extreme, but provides a race structure and format that is accessible to all. It’s a tough race but a race that is possible for all levels of ability!

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The 100 km of Sahara is a qualifying race for the UTMB Race and will count for 2 points.

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Capacity, 150-people.

  • Program flight included € 1.840 Milan or Rome
  • Program without flight € 1.640 
  • Single supplement (3 nights in hotel) € 100

The participation fee includes:

  • Flight to and from Djerba from Italy (only in the program with flight),
  • Transfers by bus and by 4×4 cars,
  • Full board for the whole week,
  • 3 nights in hotel and 3 nights in tents (6 people each),
  • Medical assistance during the race,
  • Tourist assistance,
  • Insurance.

During the race, a catering service provides food for all participants. All produce comes from Italy with the exception of fresh fruits and vegetables; they will be sourced locally in Tunisia. The menu will be balanced and based around runner’s needs and requirements.

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  • Breakfast: 
Coffee, tea, milk, cookies, cakes, fresh bread, jam, honey, muesli, cereals, eggs, cooked ham, cheese, fruits
  • Light lunch: 
Pasta or rice, hot or cold dish of meet, hot or cold side dish, salami and cold pork meat, Parmesan cheese, tuna, tomato salad, fruits
  • Dinner: 
Appetizers, pasta, rice, vegetable soup and broth, hot dishes of meet, hot or cold side dishes, tomato salad, Parmesan cheese, fruits, dessert, wine on the table.

What is not included?

  • Drinks and beverages at the hotel and in the oasis of Ksar Ghilane.
  • Airport tax.

WALKERS

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Max number of participants: 20

A new addition to the race is a walking category. Just 20-places are available, allowing an opportunity to explore the emotions and landscape of the Sahara in a more relaxed way. A special program has been arranged and will be independent of the running race but will run in parallel.

Walkers will be accompanied with a guide, dromedaries and 4×4 vehicles. Dromedaries will carry small personal luggage and the vehicles will provide security and reassurance for all walkers.

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The treatment for walkers will be the same as for the runners; night accommodation will be nomadic tents with personal sleeping bags; breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided in the camp with the entire group of participants.

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ITINERARY

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

  • Flight Milan or Rome-Djerba
  • Transfer to the Hotel ****, dinner and overnight in hotel
  • It will be possible to leave the extra baggage in the hotel; it’s MANDATORY for all the participants to put everything you need in just one bag. Exceptions will not be allowed.

Monday, April 28th, 2014

  • Wake up at 7.30 am, breakfast in the Hotel and transfer to Ksar Ghilane by bus for the opening ceremony
  • Arrival in the oasis, accommodation in the tent camp equipped with common
  • Rest rooms and showers
  • Lunch at the camp with local food specialties
  • 3.00 pm opening of the shop “merchandising 100 km del Sahara”
  • 5.00 pm designation of race bib numbers and assignment of tent
  • groups.
  • 6 people per tent
  • Dinner made by the Zitoway staff and overnight stay in the tent of the oasis

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 – 2nd and 3rd stage 26km + 9km (night stage)

  • 7.00 am breakfast and baggage delivery
  • 7.30 am start of walkers
  • 8.30 am start of the 2nd leg
  • Arrival at the camp, open lunch, relax in the afternoon
  • 7.00 pm dinner at the camp
  • 9.00 pm start of the night leg
  • Overnight at the camp

Thursday, May 1, 2014 – 4th stage marathon 42km

  • 6.00 am breakfast and baggage delivery
  • 6.30 am start of walkers
  • 7.00 am start of the 1st group
  • 8.00 am start of the 2nd group
  • 9.00 am start of the 3rd group
  • Arrival at the Hotel****Sahara Douz, end of the race
  • Lunch by the hotel restaurant
  • Relax in the afternoon

Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Wake up and breakfast
  • Transfer to Djerba, lunch at the hotel
  • Afternoon in relax by the pool
  • 8.00 pm dinner in the hotel and slide show of the race/li>
  • Overnight in hotel

Saturday, May 3, 2014

  • Wake up and breakfast
  • Transfer to the Airport of Djerba, on the way free lunch
  • After lunch transfer in airport for the flight back
THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM MAY CHANGE AND IS SUBJECT TO FINAL CONFIRMATION

PRACTICALITIES:

BAGGAGE

The backpack will be the only hand luggage on the plane, which should contain just what is necessary for the race – running shoes, shorts, t-shirt, and survival kitWe have already had an incident where someone’s personal luggage was in delay and they were at risk for not being able to participate in the race. If you have the necessary items in your backpack, you can run with no problem until your baggage arrives.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

  • I.D. is required to go in Tunisia for Italian people.
  • A valid passport is required and no vaccinations are needed at this time. It’s always recommended to check with your Embassy for any travel advisories.
  • A medical certificate issued by a sports medical center facility with a test of physical efforts confirming that the athlete is physically fit for this race is absolutely MANDATORY. Without this certificate, you will not be allowed to participate.
  • No certificate is required for walkers.

RACE CLOTHES

  • Shoes should be suitable for off road running, and should be a little oversized to allow for sore and swollen feet.
  • It is advisable to use gaiters for the sand, but make sure they are good quality and don’t impede performance.
  • If you tend to burn easily in the sun, it is not advisable to wear a singlet or tank top during the race.
  • T-shirts should be made of a suitable anti-sweat material like dryfit, etc.
  • It’s strongly recommended  to bring a Saharan scarf, called a “cechès”, that can be useful to protect nose and mouth in case of wind or sand storm as well as motorcycle glasses.

RACE BACKPACK

For safety reasons it is MANDATORY that participants have a race backpack that contains the following items:

  • A minimum of 1-litre of water (inside the backpack or in flasks around the waist), salt tablets, survival blanket, whistle, lighter and chemical light .
  • A hat, sunglasses, protective sun lotion, a small knife and some Compeed plasters are also recommended.
  • The mandatory equipment may be verified at any moment and if an item is missing a penalty will be immediately applied per regulations.
  • The survival kit can be purchased from the Organisation.

MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

  • A medical certificate issued by a sports medical center facility with a test on physical efforts confirming that the athlete is physically fit for this race is absolutely MANDATORY.
  • No certificate is required for walkers.

SAFETY KIT

For safety reasons it is MANDATORY that participants have a race backpack

that must contain the following items:

  • A minimum of 1-litre of water
  • Salt tablets
  • Survival blanket
  • Whistle and lighter
  • Chemical light
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Protective sun lotion
  • Small knife
  • Compeed plasters

The mandatory equipment may be verified at any moment and if an item is missing a penalty will be immediately applied per regulations.

Test yourself!

If it was easy, anyone would do it… take yourself to a new level, add a new stimulus to your running. The Sahara will not only test your physical parameters but your capacity to control your mind.

Achieve your finish line!

More information or booking here:

GALLERY:

Organisation:

ZITOWAY Sport & Adventure
P.I. 02510760362
Tel. +39 059 359813
Fax +39 059 2920013
Port. + 39 337 573662
Skype: Adrizito

Bungle in the Jungle – A guide

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No matter how experienced, no matter how long you have been running, you can always learn something…. My recent trip to Costa Rica and The Coastal Challenge which took place in a rainforest made me realize that I knew very little about running in heat with high humidity, running in a rain forest and also running on consecutive days in this environment.

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I am quite meticulous in my planning. I like to tick boxes, cross ‘to do’s’ off a list and feel content that when I am at an airport travelling to a race that I feel that I have done everything I possibly can to get the best out of myself and the race when I arrive at my destination.

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Costa Rica was nothing like this….

I only found out I was going about four weeks before, so, that 12-20 week training plan that I would have created to then taper into an event didn’t exist. I was realistically just a week or two weeks away from the taper. When you add to this that since January 2012 I hadn’t been training due to knee issues. Of course I had been ‘working out’ but I hadn’t been training. Nothing specific. Training had consisted of runs every other day with the longest being at 2hrs 15m, other days had been cross training, plenty of time on the stairmaster and stretching and core.

My brief was not to race at The Coastal Challenge. This was a good thing, however, I was working as a journalist and my need to document, photograph and experience the course would mean getting involved.

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My plan was simple. Start the day on the course at a great advantage point, photograph the front runners and then run to the end capturing more images, experience the terrain and then write up and download photos at the end of the day. Simple!

In addition to running we would be staying in a different campsite each day. Luggage and tents would be transferred ahead and food was provided.

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So what did I learn?

Pacing & Hydration: Costa Rica is hot and humid. Oh yes, hot and humid. Coming from a UK winter the shock is pretty drastic. But I found it manageable. You certainly need to adjust many things and you need to make those adjustments on day one. In simple terms you need to ‘slow down’ and ‘hydrate’ more. Within 10-15 minutes of exercise your body is soaked and your clothing is completely wet.

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It stays that way all day so get used to it. Sweat rates vary but in the excessive humidity and adding exercise to this it is fair to assume that 750ml + will be required per hour. Replacing electrolytes will also be important so look into what works for you. Runners used a combination of ‘adding’ electrolyte to water or taking salt tabs. Day one of our race started with a 10k road section, in retrospect this was designed to ease the runners into the terrain and heat/humidity, however, I think it actually allowed to many fresh runners to run too quick right from the gun.

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By the time they reached CP1 and the start of the jungle many were already in trouble… they didn’t know it at that point but they certainly knew it in the final 25% of the day. By pushing too hard at the beginning of the day they couldn’t then pull back the deficits in the latter stages  and suffered. By the end of day one, the race had several drops and a far too large group suffering from dehydration.

Feet: Oh boy. Multi stage races are renowned for damaging feet but really this shouldn’t happen. If you look after your feet, have the correct socks and the correct shoes it should all be straightforward. Of course unexpected things can happen such as a little rubbing and the odd blister BUT at TCC I saw people with literally no skin left on bruised and damaged feet. I am actually amazed that some of these runners managed to finish the race. The rainforest will guarantee several things:

  • Your feet will be hot
  • Your feet will be wet regularly
  • Your feet will be twisted and turned
  • Over the six days you will run/walk over 200k

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With the above in mind you need to plan accordingly. This race is not self sufficient so this is a big advantage. Why? Well for a start you can bring several run shoes. I took the two ‘styles’ of shoe, Salomon Speedcross 3 and TNF Hayasa,

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I had two pairs of each. One my correct size and the other pair a ½ size larger (just in case). A larger shoe will allow some room should my feet expand. The two styles of shoe also allowed me options in regard to ‘grip’. The Speedcross is far more aggressive than the Hayasa. Certainly something with an aggressive tread suited the environment.

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Socks, like shoes are personal but I am a firm believer in Injinji socks. Each toe is in its own ‘little pocket’. This for me reduces the possibility of problems or issues and over the 6 days of the race I never got one blister! The race had a foot doctor. Without him some runners would have been out of the race. If you have this option, take advantage.

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In training understand what you will be doing at your race. Practice walking, running, climbing, descending and run with wet feet. Find out what does and doesn’t work. Get the mistakes out of the way before you start the race.

I did not tape my feet prior to running and I added no Vaseline. After each day the first thing I did was to remove socks and shoes, clean them and the wear flip flops to allow them to breath.

*note – many of the runners who had problems had worn shoes too big. They had expected feet to expand but on day one and day two, the ‘larger’ shoes had allowed the foot to move within the shoe and consequently the foot had blistered. I am a firm believer that the shoe should ‘fit’. Excessive movement is a recipe for disaster.

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Clothing:  Six days racing means six sets of kit. As far as I was concerned. It’s a simple strategy. You run in one set, get showered and cleaned up, put another set on to relax post run and then you use that kit the next day. I was fortunate that The North Face did provide me with some clothing but not six days worth.

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I added my existing TNF stock to the pile. Clothing is personal but the key elements for the jungle are comfort and the ability to wick sweat. I wore T-shirts instead of vests to cover my shoulders (always vulnerable) and I wore loose baggy shorts. It’s not rocket science but shirts with a mesh back certainly help with breathability, especially if using a pack. Race winner, Dave James wore no top! I don’t recommend this… it works for him but his skin looked well adjusted to the sun and I am sure he applied protection too.

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Dave also wasn’t using a pack, he used hand bottles only. Ladies have a multitude of kit options available to them, ‘looks’ can be far more important to some than functionality. However, simple functionality works best (in my opinion). Some ladies wore ‘strappy’ tops that offered minimal coverage on the shoulders and after 5+ hours on the trails the inevitable would happen… very unusual tan lines and some sunburn.

 

TNF Mica 1 Tent

TNF Mica 1 Tent

Equipment: This race was supported with feed stations. We had no ‘essential’ kit needs other than carrying adequate liquid supplies. Dave James was the only person in the race who used just hand bottles. Everyone else used a pack of some description. In my opinion, some used packs that were way too big and heavy. I am not sure what some people were carrying but the heat, humidity and long days on the trail should mean ‘minimal’ is a priority. Bladders or bottles? I have to say I am a bottle fan. Bladders are just too awkward.

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I used the TNF Enduro 13 pack with two bottles that sit on the waist. In the pack I was carrying two cameras inside and one camera which I added to the waist belt. However, this pack can also take a bladder too. So, if required I could have carried 3 liters. Had I been ‘racing’ I most certainly would have done this on the two long stages as feed stations were wider apart. Always best to stick to just water in a bladder to avoid problems with taste and bacteria. In regard to ‘essential’ kit I had a whistle, first aid kit, some food, purification tablets, phone, cash, small pocketknife and additional sun cream. With regular feed stations and such a hot climate it really wasn’t necessary to carry anything else.

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Tips on the trail: Run in the shade whenever you can. I found that as the day got hotter it was effective to run all shaded sections and then reduce pace or power walk in the open sun sections to regulate temperature.

On hills I power walked as fast as I could. On some sections of the course, depending on your run style and ability, ‘poles’ may well have been useful.

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Descents on the whole were easy, however, one stage in particular was brutal. It’s always a good idea to practice going down hill. Poles again may have been useful BUT vegetation can be very thick and poles would have got caught and may very well have been an additional hazard. Remember that you want to reduce fatigue and impact as much as possible. This is not a one-day race but a six-day race. Short steps reduce the impact.

Utilize all water on the course! Any chance you get, submerge yourself in water crossings, wet your head, wet your neck and take a minute to let your core temperature drop before moving on. The route has plenty of opportunities for this, it’s crazy not to take advantage of it. I

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f you find ‘flowing’ water that is not near farmland then use it to drink. Many runners did this and as far as I know, nobody had issues. I carry ‘purification tablets’ just in case. Better safe than sorry.

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Feed stations are important. Always refill your bottles and take on energy. If you are struggling take some time out. Five minutes in the shade can make a world of difference.

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Depending on your ability, ‘buddying up’ is a great idea. If your plan is to maximize the experience and not race then buddy running can make the experience far more rewarding and potentially less stressful. The course was exceptionally well marked but you could go off course and many did. A buddy is a nice security blanket. In actual fact, 2nd and 3rd placed ladies in the 2013 edition buddied for the last two stages.

You are in a jungle so wildlife is all around you. You hear it all the time but the reality is that you see very little. All wildlife is far more scared of us than we are of them. Main issues may come from snakes or spiders. In thick vegetation its wise to look at foot and hand placement just to make sure!

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Calf guards (or compression) on one or two stages would have been good. I personally prefer not to have additional skin coverage so that I can keep cool, however, one stage in particular had undergrowth that was well above knee height and it did cut, graze and irritate my legs.

Camp life: Camp was a great place. You had very little to worry about as food and drinks are provided. It becomes a social mecca in the sun. Sites were strategically placed next to the sea or a river so you could swim or cool down that way. All sites had toilet and shower facilities (some better than others). Important factors were:

  • Tent/ Hammock
  • Clothes
  • Kit

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Tents that pitch ‘inner only’ are essential. It is so hot you need nothing else. Of course, it is a rainforest so make sure you bring the flysheet just in case. Other than a few short showers we had no rain (unusual apparently). I use a small one man tent, the TNF Mica 1 and it was perfect. I had an sleeping matt and inflatable pillow. I didn’t use a sleeping bag but I did take a ‘sleeping bag liner’ for any potentially cold or chilly nights. I slept in my next day run kit.

Your clothes and kit are outside all night, so, the organization recommend  ‘spacepackers’ they are waterproof containers that hold all your kit. They are a good idea but hopeless for travel. One or two people had large ‘Stanley’ toolboxes that had wheels and a pull handle; much better idea.

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I used a TNF ‘Basecamp’ bag which was waterproof and easy to transport. I also had a TNF waterproof rucksack. It was essential. In this I stored my computer, cameras, cables, phone, microphone, etc, etc. I can’t recommend this pack enough.

Waterproof Pack

Waterproof Pack

I had a full medical kit that included everything that I would need. It had all sorts of medication, scissors, tapes, creams, antiseptics etc to cover pretty much all eventualities. The race does have a medical team and foot doc but you should be responsible for all the essentials.

I carried very little additional clothing. I had lightweight long travel pants, travel shorts, hat with neck cover and some lightweight shirts all supplied by Arc’teryx. Perfect!

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I had one lightweight showerproof/ windproof jacket should it be required. I didn’t need it at any point during or after the racing but San Jose before and after the race was much cooler. It came in handy then.

Flip flops or similar are essential!

I had one towel, a travel towel that you can get from any ‘outdoor’ store. Small pack size and dries quickly.

RECOVERY: Important. After each stage, recover. Drink, eat, look after your feet and then get some time with your legs in cool water and elevate. Find some shade and relax. Get a massage if it’s a possibility. At the TCC they had a team of masseurs.

Extras: Don’t get too involved in the racing. The course (and others) has so much to see and experience that you don’t want to get to the end and it be a blur. I feel very fortunate that I ran with cameras and had a job to do. I had to stop, look around, decide on photo opportunities and often wait. I really feel as though I experienced the rainforest. I will never forget sitting in the middle of a river at 0600 one morning waiting for the runners to run towards me. I saw birds, snakes, monkeys and I heard so much more… special moments that all added to the experience.

Stage racing is all about bonding and making friends. I am pretty sure that every runner left with so many more new friends. Go into these experiences with open arms and you will leave with them full.

Understand that before you start you will need to dig deep. This may be a holiday but it is no picnic. The Coastal Challenge is a tough course. The dnf’s and drop downs to the shorter Adventure category confirm this. But it is achievable for everyone. If you get day one and day two right, three, four, five and six fall into place. It’s not meant to be easy. If you understand that, the outcome will be a positive one.

Essential Kit:

  • Run shoes 2 pairs
  • Run kit for six days – tops, shorst and socks (I recommend 6 sets)
  • Rucksack that can hold 2-3 litres – bottles/ bladder or both
  • Medical supplies
  • Food for on the trail
  • Whistle
  • Sun Cream
  • Electrolytes
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel Towel
  • Tent that pitches inner only
  • Waterproof bag or box for all kit
  • Additional waterproof bag for electronics
  • Phone
  • Pocket Knife
  • Money
  • Credit Card

Optional Kit:

  • Run Poles
  • Gaiters
  • Sleeping bag
  • Music (ipod or similar)

El Cruce 2013

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El Cruce this year will celebrate the 12th edition. The format is a three day stage race from Chile to Argentina covering 30 – 40km per day.

Like other multi stage races such as the Marathon des Sables or The Coastal Challenge, runners will sleep in a ‘camp’ each evening. The camp is an important element of multi day racing as bonds are made and memories forged.

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Event dates are 8-10th February for individual runners and 7-9th February for teams.

The ‘solo category‘ in 2013 has an impressive field assembled. It will be without doubt quite a race… Adam Campbell, Iker Karera, Max King and Francois d’Haene take on previous winners Gustavo Reyes and Nelson Ortega.

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The ladies race has Frosty (Anna Frost) hopefully toeing the line feeling refreshed after a winter of recuperation. This won’t be an easy race for her though… the presence of Emma Rocca, Oihana Kortazar and previous race winners Rosalia Camargo Guarischi and Cristina de Carvallho will mean that a battle ‘royal’ will be played out over the three race days.

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This years race sees runners race around the theme of a volcano for each stage. Apparently they will go around, up or down to make a loop. Given the name of ‘Through the Volcanoes‘ the race is billed as a tough three days. The three stages are as follows:

  • Villarica Volcano near Pucón, Chile.
  • Quetrupillan Volcano between Chile and Argentina.
  • Lanin Volcano

With plenty of vertical kilometres this race will certainly suit Iker Karera, Anna Frost and Oihana Kortazar but will Francois d’Haene after his success at UTMB and his top placing at  Transvulcania in 2012 push for the win or will the speed kings  Max King and Adam Campbell make a difference over the three days.

The Andes are a beautiful mountain range. Combined with three days of running and camp life in the evening, the 2013 edition will be a race to remember.

Website HERE

Full runners list available HERE