The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica’s number one multi-day race concluded on Drake Bay today, a 23km loop of ‘the best’ of Costa Rica all wrapped up in a wonderful 23km.
The run manages to bring together, all that has gone before in the previous 5-days, running through rivers, crossing waterfalls, fire road, secluded coves, rainforest trails, single-track, suspension bridges and of course, wonderful empty beaches.
It was a day of fun, with all the major podium positions decided, with the exception of the women’s 3rd podium place after a stunning day 4 by Ashton Keck Keck educing the gap to 8-minutes to Abelone Lyng who suffered badly in the closing 17km of day 4.
Keck Keck pushed from the off and Lyng did not respond, the heart was willing but the body had no reserves to push and push hard. Lyng had accepted the loss of the podium place before the stage 6 start and enjoyed a victory loop of a job well done and 4th overall.
The men’s race was a loop of honour with the top-3 men staying side-by-side all the way to the line, Erick Agüero and Andy Symonds congratulating Cody Lind on an incredible 2020 victory.
“I am so happy, I gave it all on day-5 for the win and to secure the top of the podium, it has been an incredible week of such diversity”
Kaytlyn Gerbin despite taking the foot of the gas still won the last stage making it 6 out of 6.
“I trained for this thinking it would be as hard as a 100-mile race, but the multi-day format is so much harder. It’s nice to get things done in one go. To get up day-after-day and race again has been a learning curve but I have loved it.” Gerbin said on the finish. “I have raced hard and was tested but I had some reserves, you are never quite sure how hard to push. For this race you need to be an all-rounder to win as it has so much variety.”
Natalia López Arrieta once again ran a solid day, like Gerbin, she had no need to push and she finished comfortably with second place secured.
For most people, to have a podium place and then lose it would be heart breaking, but Abelone Lyng had a real sense of perspective:
“I was broken after stage 5 and I knew I could not ‘race’ the last day, but I was convinced I would finish, even if that meant crawling. I have no complaints… What is there to complain about? I am privileged to have run in Costa Rica, the start near Quepos and finish at Drake Bay. I have travelled by foot and the experiences and memories will last a lifetime – Pura Vida as the Costa Rican’s would say!”
Ashton Keck Keck had a tough last day and ran the stage of her life to secure the podium place. Her joy was tangible and she will have great memories.
Each competitor though is a champion, The Coastal Challenge is not an easy race, not at all. To finish is a huge achievement and all who received their medal should be proud. Now it is time to relax, enjoy the beach and a beer, swim in the sea, go snorkelling and enjoy the hard won rest.
Cody Lind 22:42:33
Erick Agüero 23:01:19
Andy Symonds 23:15:49
Kaytlyn Gerbin 27:31:57
Natalia López Arrieta 29:40:34
Ashton Keck Keck 32:54:54
The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica’s number one multi-day race moved to stage 4 and the day started with some bad news, Mauricio Mendez who had been the stage winner on days 1 and 2 would not start day 4 due to a tendonitis injury sustained on day 3. Mendez had showed that he had the potential to win the race, so it was a devastating blow not only for him, but the race.
Also, as day 3 came to conclusion, news came in that Veronica Bravo and Scott Maguire had quit the race due to injury, Bravo sustaining a problem to her achilles and Maguire had a foot issue. It was sad news as both runners figured in the top-5.
It was another early start for the race as the runners had a short transfer for the stage start and the runners were set on their way at 0545.
Erick Agüero was well aware that with such a slender lead, he would need to race hard and smart to keep a hold of the race. He pushed from the off and on the steep rolling terrain to CP2, he lead Cody Lind and Andy Symonds by just seconds.
The race was on and as they traversed up and down the trails in this beautiful high plateau area, the three marked each other knowing that the race was held by a slender thread. The final descent that would drop to the final checkpoint provided an opportunity and finally Lind opened up a gap to take the stage victory with a time of 4:06:51.
Agüero is showing true grit and fought hard for the second place ahead of Symonds, both crossing in 4:08:10 and 4:08:54.
Lind know leads the 2020 The Coastal Challenge by the slender margin of 29-seconds. Symonds is less than 3-minutes behind Agüero, this race will go down to the line!
“It was a tough day and I was feeling it towards the end of the last climb,” said Symonds. “I had dropped off Erick and Cody and then on the final descent, Cody let go, he descends really well and he opened up the gap, it is getting exciting!”
Kaytlyn Gerbin had control of the women’s race and despite her being close to Natalia López Arrieta at CP2, when she decided to put the foot down, she really opened up a gap. She crossed the line in 5:08:29, 25-minutes ahead of Arrieta.
“I loved today’s route, it was very different to the previous days with no beaches and sea and lots more trail and climbing, it was a good day!” – Kaytlyn Gerbin
Abelone Lyng recovered well from day 3 and losing time by going off course. With more trail and technical sections, it played into her skill set and she loved the day.
However, on the final descent, she moved slower than Viviana Piedra Solano who pulled back time. From the last CP it was a head-to-head race to the line. Lyng calculated the distance incorrectly thinking it was a 4km stretch to the line, when actually it was 2km. Due to the intense heat, she held back allowing Solano to cross the line in 6:08:23 and she followed in 6:10:30. Lyng’s 3rd place on the podium still very safe as she has over a 1-hour lead to 4th .
Stage 5 tomorrow is a tough day with the longest stage of the race. We can expect fireworks in the men’s race as the podium places are so close.
Cody Lind 4:06:51
Eick Agüero 4:08:10
Andy Symonds 4:08:54
Mauricio Mendez 5:42:36
Kaytlyn Gerbin 5:08:29
Natalia López Arrieta 5:33:59
Vivian Piedra Solano 6:08:23
Cody Lind 15:55:31
Erick Agüero 15:56:00
Andy Symonds 16:00:03
Kaytlyn Gerbin 19:01:55
Natalia López Arrieta 20:12:52
Abelone Lyng 22:58:51
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Runners departed San Jose at 4am for a 4 hour transfer to the coast for the start of the 2020 The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica’s number one multi-day race.
It’s always a tough day as the runners depart the stage start after 0900 and the heat of the day is already intense.
It’s a day for caution!
From the off, the elite men pushed hard setting a relentless pace to checkpoint 1 with the UK’s Andy Symonds leading the way with Mauricio Mendez. Cody Lind and local, Erick Agüero followed. For the women, pre-race favourite Kaytlyn Gerbin lead from the front pulling away from Brazils, Manuela Vilaseca.
After checkpoint one, the heat was starting to influence the race with Symonds and Vilaseca both going through bad patches, this allowed Mendez and Gerbin to extend their leads.
Mendez took hold of the front of the race and the 2016 Xterra World Champion pushed home for the win looking very strong and relaxed in 2:44:35. The USA’s Lind moved in to second place with 2:49:08 and Symonds rallied in the closing stages to hold on the a podium place in 2:51:37 ahead of the local hero, Scott Maguire from Canada in 2:53:06. Local hero Agüero was 5th in 2:54:12.
“It was so hot today. Although a three hour race for me I treated it like an ultra and held things back. I never ran past water, I immersed myself all the time when I could. As the day progressed and I moved up through the field and finished 2nd, a good day!” – Cody Lind
Gerbin pushed for line with a convincing lead in 3:18:47 and behind her, Costa Rican runners, Natalia López Arrieta and Ashton Keck Keck placed 2nd and 3rd ahead of Norway’s, Abelone Lyng in 3:31:37, 3:48:09 and 3:56:49 respectively.
“I wanted a strong first day but I needed to respect the heat. A great deal if fire road today and that was tough…” Gerbin said after the finish. “But I have a lead now and I will run my own race each day. It was hot today, it needs so much respect.”
Mauricio Mendez 2:44:35
Cody Lind 2:49:08
Andy Symonds 2:51:37
Kaytlyn Gerbin 3:18:47
Natalia López Arrieta 3:31:37
Ashton Keck Keck 3:48:09
Stage 2 of #TCC2020 with depart with sunrise, ahead 40.2km to Dominical beach. The ‘Adventure’ category will run 17.4km starting from aid station 2.
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The 2020 ‘The Coastal Challenge’ is upon us! Six days, 230.5km of racing and 9543m of vertical gain, 9413m of vertical descent – TCC is more than a challenge!
Hugging the coastline of the tropical Pacific, TCC is the ultimate multi-day experience that weaves in and out of the Talamancas; a coastal mountain range in the Southwest corner of this Central American country.
The terrain is ever-changing from wide, dusty and runnable fire trails to dense and muddy mountain trails. Runners will cross rivers, boulders, swim through rivers, pass under waterfalls, survive long and relentless beaches and finally finish in the incredible Corcovado National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site with a stunning final loop around Drake Bay before departing for their journeys home via speedboat.
Stage 1 34.6km 1018m of vert and 886m of descent
Stage 2 39.1km 1898m of vert and 1984m of descent
Stage 3 47.4km 1781m of vert and 1736m of descent
Stage 4 37.1km 2466m of vert and 2424m of descent
Stage 5 49.8km 1767m of vert and 1770m of descent
Stage 6 22.5km 613m of vert and 613m of descent
Total 230.5km – Vertical 9543m/ Descent 9413m
It’s a tough day! Runners depart San Jose early morning (around 0530) for a 3-hour drive to Playa Del Rey, Quepos. It’s the only day that the race starts late and ‘in the sun!’. It’s the toughest day of the race, not because the the terrain or distance, but because of the time of day! The runners are fresh and feel great. That is until about 10km and then they realise the heat and humidity is relentless. It’s a day for caution – mark my words! The 34.6km is very runnable with little vertical and technicality, it welcomes the runners to Costa Rica.
From here on in, it is an early breakfast, around 0400, the race starts with the arrival of the sun! The only way is up from the start with a tough and challenging climb. It’s a tough day with an abundance of climbing and descending and a final tough flat stretch on the beach, just as the heat takes hold.
It is basically 25km of climbing topping out at 800m followed by a drop to sea and a final kick in the tail before the arrival at camp. For many, this is a key day and maybe one of the most spectacular.
It’s another tough start to the day with a relentless climb, but once at 900m the route is a roller coaster of relentless small climbs and descents, often littered with technical sections, rain forest, river crossings and boulders. At 30km, it’s a short drop to the line and the finish at 37.1km.
The long day but what a beauty! This route was tweaked a couple of years ago and now has become iconic with tough trails, plenty of climbing, sandy beaches and yes, even a boat trip. The finish at Drake Bay is iconic.
The victory lap! For many, this stage is the most beautiful and memorable. In just over 20km, the route manages to include a little of all that has gone before. It’s a stage of fun and challenges and one that concludes on the beach as a 2018 medal is placed over your head – job done!
THE 2020 ELITE LINE UP
Kaytlyn joins the line-up of the 2020 TCC with an extremely solid and consistent resume, known in Canada and the USA for a string of top performances, it was a podium place (2nd) at Transgrancanaria that introduced her to worldwide attention. Winner of the Pine to Palm 100 in 2016, Kaytlyn has mixed races distances for the last 3-years, excelling at 50km and 100km with victories at Gorge Waterfalls and Sun Mountain amongst others. In 2017 she won Cascade Crest 100 but her calling cards are 4th place and 2nd place at the 2017 and 2018 Western States.
Is a last-minute entry to the race but that is no problem for the experienced ultra-trail and mountain runner. In November, she once again made the podium at the Everest Trail Race. She has two top-10 finishes at UTMB and a high-ranking in the UTWT. Born in Brazil, Manuela will embrace the Pura Vida approach of The Coastal Challenge.
Hailing from Scandinavia, Abe has gained a reputation in just 4-years for tenacity in ultra-trail races. She recently won the 230km Ice Ultra in the Arctic wilderness and placed 4th overall. TCC no doubt will give this cold weather expert some new challenges but Abe embraces a challenge!
Becks, as she is known to her friends, has gained a reputation in recent years for achieving great results, be that Everest Trail Race or on the UK trails setting course records. She comes to the TCC with excellent experience of multi-day racing and is a prime contender for the podium.
Brittany Peterson and Kelly Wolfe were due to race and both have sustained injuries preventing participation in the 2020 race. Brittany however will still join us in Costa Rica.
Cody has been racing for some years, but may well have only come on your radar after 2017 with a very committed foray in the Skyrunning circuit – He placed 8th at Tromso in 2017 and then followed the SWS circuit racing on iconic courses throughout the world. Recently he raced them Rut in the USA and came away with victory. Cody manages to mix speed and technical ability, it’s a perfect mix for the trails in Costa Rica.
Andy is one of the UK’s greatest mountain runners. He has traditions in fell running and has mixed Skyrunning and ultra-running throughout a long and successful career. He recently placed 5th at UTMB after 3 attempts. He has raced Marathon des Sables and placed in the top-10 but Andy will always be considered a mountain specialist. He has won Lavaredo, placed 3rd at Marathon Mont Blanc, 5th at Transgrancanaria and has represented his country at many World Championships. The technical and demanding trails of Costa Rica with plenty of climbing and descending provide Andy a perfect playground.
Mauricio is a rising star from Mexico who is currently an Xterra World Champion. He joins TCC as somewhat as a dark horse but no doubt he will be the hope of the locals. He started running because of his Father and in his own words, is a dreamer!
Julien Chorier unfortunately, took a fall in training and sustained a fracture and therefore is unable top race in the 2020 edition of the race. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope he can join TCC2021. Jordi Gamito should have toed the line at the 2019 TCC but injury prevented his participation and once again, while training in Africa over Christmas, he has sustained a knee injury which unfortunately will keep him away from the race.
The 2020 TCC starts in February as runners from all over the world will assemble in San Jose before transferring to the coast for stage 1 of the race starting on Saturday 8th. Year-on-year, the TCC has grown to be one of ‘the’ most iconic multi-day races.
Ran 350 miles (560 km) in 80 hours and 44 minutes without sleep in 2005.
Single-handedly completed “The Relay”, a 199-mile (320 km) run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz, eleven times
Ran a marathon to the South Pole in −13 °F (−25 °C) temperatures without snowshoes in 2002
Ran a marathon in each of the 50 states in 50 consecutive days in 2006
Winner (male), Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles (217 km) across Death Valley in 120 °F (49 °C) temperatures), 2004 (with five other top-10 finishes from 2000-2008)
Winner, Vermont Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run, 2006
Overall Winner, 4 Deserts Race Series, 2008
American Ultrarunning Team, World Championships, 2005, 2008
148 miles (238 km) in 24 hours on a treadmill, 2004
Eleven-time 100-Mile/1 Day Silver Buckleholder at the Western States Endurance Run
Ran 3,000 miles (4,800 km) across the United States from Disneyland to New York City in 75 days, running 40 to 50 miles (65 to 80 km) per day, 2011
Competitor magazine Endurance Athlete of the Year Award winner, 2008, 2006, 2005
ESPN ESPY Award winner, “Best Outdoor Athlete”, 2007
Men’s Journal, Adventure Hall of Fame, 2007
Outside magazine, Ultimate Top 10 Outdoor Athletes, 2004
Geoff Roes was raised in Cleveland, New York and excelled in track and cross country at Paul V. Moore High School in Central Square, NY. He competed in cross-country at Syracuse University for one year before becoming injured. Roes took a hiatus from competitive running until trying his hand at ultra marathon running in 2006 when he won his first event, the Little Susitna 50K. In 2007, he set a course record in the process of winning the Susitna 100 miler. In 2010 Roes won the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run. Roes also won the 2010 Western States Endurance Run in a record time of 15:07:04. Roes set the still-standing course record for the Wasatch 100 (a 100-mile race along the Wasatch Front range of the Rocky Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT) in 2009 with a time of 18:30:55, beating the previous course record by nearly one hour and five minutes. Roes now resides in Juneau, Alaska. (Reference wikipedia)
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