Ragna Debats to join the The Coastal Challenge 2019 #TCC2019

The Coastal Challenge reaches new heights in 2019 celebrating 15-years of amazing racing.

The 14th edition completed in February 2018 at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, was a record breaker! Yes, course records were broken daily and Tom Evans and Ragna Debats elevated the overall CR’s to a new level obliterating the 2017 records set by the UK’s Tom Owens and New Zealand’s Anna Frost.

Time never stands still and to make the 15th edition of TCC extra special, race director’s Rodrigo Carazo and Sergio Sanchez have confirmed a new incentive for the 2019 edition of the race.

A reward purse totalling $8000 will be up for grabs as the race gets underway from the stunning beaches of Quepos, Costa Rica.

Each day, $250 will be up for grabs should the stage course records be broken by the fastest male or female. For example, in 2018, Tom Evans broke every stage record, that would have been rewarded with a $1500 payout!

Should the overall course record set in 2018 by Tom Evans or Ragna Debats be broken in 2019, $2500 will be on offer. Should the male and female record go, that is a payout of $5000.

Feel like a fast start to 2019? It comes no faster than the 15th edition of The Coastal Challenge!

After announcing a stellar line-up for 2019, (El Kott Twins HEREBartholomew HERE, Nilsson HERE, Page HERE,) today we announce the return of the Queen of TCC and the current course record holder, Ragna Debats.

  1. What attracts you to Costa Rica?

The sea, the coasts, the heat, the ambient,…  It’s a real exotic country for me!

  1. This is the 15th edition of the TCC, a special one – what do you know about the race?

I came last year, so I’ve experienced what it is like to run it. It’s a beautiful race which shows a lot of Costa Rica’s stunning beaches and rainforest. It’s a tough race because of the hot climate and some of the stages are pretty long, so it’s a real challenge!

  1. Heat and humidity will play a major factor in the race, how do you plan to adapt?

Last year I didn’t particularly prepare for the heat. The first day was horrific and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to run the next day, but my body seemed to adapt well and I felt comfortable with it. This year, I hope my body will remember the heat from last year and adapt to it from day 1!

  1. You and Tom Evans set incredible course records in 2017. There is prize money available for a new CR in 2019 – does that motivate you? Can you break the record?

I hope to break my own records. I think that last year I set good times, because most things  went smoothly. Nevertheless, when I’m self critic, I know I can improve my performances.

  1. Multi-day racing brings many different challenges to a single-stage race – what are you most looking forward to? What are you most fearful of?

I’m looking forward to meet all the other runners and share life at the camps with them. I’m also looking very forward to see all those beautiful places I ran through again. I fear all the difficulties multi stage races can bring along like stomach problems, muscle aches, blisters,…

  1. The elite line-up is incredible for 2019, you will need to be in the best shape, does that excite you?

Last year I thought it would be a good block of volume training which could serve as the base for the rest of the season. This year, the line-up is incredible as you say and I want to improve my own times, so I’ll need to be stronger. Anyway, TCC will definitely be a pillar to lean on and to look back upon during 2019 !

  1. February is early in the season, what will your winter training look like, so you will be ready for February?

I will combine running with skiing and cycling, depending on where I am and what the weather conditions are like. In January I’m going to Lanzarote for a training week with MudSweat&Trails (Dutch trailrunning platform) which could be a good preparation for Costa Rica too.

  1. I am sure you have looked at past editions of the race, viewed the stages, the profile – it is a tough race that suits a rounded athlete. You need to be able to climb, descend, handle technical trail and run on the flat – where will your strengths be?

I think I’m quite an all round runner and I can handle the heat, so the race suits me pretty well I guess.

  1. What experience do you have of multi-day racing?

Experiences of hardship, perseverance, friendship, fellowship, … Multi-day races are very intense and emotions are accordingly. I love that.

  1. Racing starts very early in Costa Rica, with the sun! An early finish allows for relaxation on the beach, you can even have a beer – combining racing and relaxation is a key of TCC. It is a ‘Pura Vida’ race – tell us about your hopes and desires for the 2019 edition.

Yes!  In fact, my strongest memory is of the start of day 2. When we lined up at the start it was still dark and we didn’t wait for a specific time of the day to start the race, but for the first daylight to reach the forest in which we were camping. Just enough light to be able to start running without a head light. We were all standing there, in expectation of what the day would bring us. It was such a great moment!!

  1. What three music choices would sum up your racing style?

I really have no idea. I have never associated  my running with music…

  1. Tell us about your nutrition and hydrations strategies for the race?

Together with my nutritionist Anna Sauló we will set up a strategy. Hydration is very important so I will sacrifice minimalist running and carry enough liquid along to satisfy my needs.

  1. Tell us about key equipment such as shoes and apparel that you will use?

Last year I had quite  big bag which I had to carry to my tent from the drop off place. This year I’ll try to have a lighter bag: 2 pairs of running equipment , sleeping and shower gear, a bikini, a thermo, and alimentation.

  1. Open question – Feel free to tell us something, anything!

I hope to have inspired people to participate in TCC ! I highly recommend this race to everyone who is up for a magnificent adventure!

  1. Tell us about your greatest achievement/ result in 2018?

My triple crown: Penyagolosa Trails (Trail World Championship IAAF), Ben Nevis Ultra (Skyrunning World Championship ISF) and the Overall World Championship (Overall Skyrunning World Series ISF).

It’s been an unbelievable amazing year!

Please list a summary of your career highlights for 2017 and 2018:

1 World Champion Snowshoe running (Saranac lake) and World Champion/European champion Skyrunning Ultra

2 1st place and course record Olympus Marathon, 2017

3 1st place Matterhorn Ultraks, 2017

4 1st place and course record The Rut 50K (American Championship)

5 1st place and course record TCC, 2018

6 World Champion Trail (Penyagolosa Trails), World Champion Skyrunning Ultra and Overall Skyrunning World Champion

7 1st place and course record Madeira Skymarathon

8 1st place High Trail Vanoise 

*****

TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, travelling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.

You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE and the the 2018 edition HERE

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The Coastal Challenge

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Website (UK) HERE

Website (Global) HERE

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The Coastal Challenge #TCC2015 Day 1 Playa de Ray – Savegre Valley

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TCC 2015 Day 1 Playa de Ray – Savegre Valley

36.4km

850m+ ascent

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-9696 Day one of The Coastal Challenge is always a tough day. For many, the heat and the humidity are just too great and along with excitement and adrenaline, the early run pace is too fast and the inevitable happens. In past years runners have dropped the ball on the first day and dug so deep in to reserves that they have not been able to recover. It looks like everyone managed to hold back just a little, however, the story in camp post race was one of fatigue, dehydration and intense heat.

After a 0300 start and a three-hour bus drive to the coast, runners departed Playa del Rey at 0800 and within a couple of kilometres the intense heat and high humidity could visible seen as sweat soaked bodies pushed along the strong. Canadian, Mike Murphy was clearly intending to race hard and it was long before he started to open a gap followed by Iain Don Wauchope from South Africa, a couple of local Costa Ricans, Speedgoat Karl Meltzer and Joe Grant.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-0642Anna Frost and Veronica Bravo raced neck-and-neck and it was very clear that an interesting battle would develop between the two. Nikki Kimball ran in third, Costa Rican, Maria Guevara and then Samantha Gash.

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At Cp1 a pattern was forming as Mike Murphy and Anna Frost opened up gaps in their respective fields, Frosty just had a couple of minutes over Veronica Bravo but Murphy was extending a lead into double -figures.

In the dense forest section that followed, approximately five kilometres later Iain Don Wauchope had taken the lead in the men’s race followed by Costa Rican Roiny Villegas and Karl Meltzer. Anna Frost held a two-minute lead over Veronica Bravo and the stage looked set for a great battle. As runners passed, no sign of Mike Murphy and I was beginning to wonder what had happened?

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Murphy later appeared on the trail out of the top ten; it turned out he missed a key right turn that took the runners from a fire road and into the dense jungle. Mike complained the signs had not been in place but that was not correct. The turn had been clearly marked well in advance of any runners!

Eyes focused, Mike pushed hard on the trail looking to pull back time and although running with great speed and style he paid a price in the intense heat and eventually slowed. However, he did pull back great junks of time and he is certainly not out of the fight.

Iain Don Wauchope held on for victory but said, “A great deal tougher than I expected, I really suffered in the heat and slowed a great deal. Everyone did! The heat was just so intense.”

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Roiny Villegas placed second, Karl Meltzer placed third, Joe Grant fourth and Mike Murphy closed well to place fifth.

At Cp3 Anna Frost still had a strong lead but at Cp4, Veronica Bravo had closed and passed Frosty. Frosty suffered in the intense heat and had no option but to submerge her self in the river to reduce her core.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day1-9659Veronica pulled away and gained more and more time and eventually gained over seven minutes lead. Post race Veronica said, “I almost didn’t want to pass Anna, but she waved ne through. I couldn’t believe it. I respect her so much. I just held my form, listened to my body and maintained my rhythm.” The coming days are going to be very exciting as Bravo and Frost battle for the lead.

Maria Guevara placed third ahead of Nikki Kimball and Samantha Gash placed fifth.

Day two is going to be a tough day. How will everyone feel, will they have recovered?