Superior 100 2019 – Summary and Images

It was another year of rugged, relentless and remote on the Superior Hiking Trail as runners gathered on the North Shore of Lake Superior to take on the challenge of running 100-miles in a point-to-point race concluding at the Lutsen Mountains.

There are no guarantees over 100-miles and pre-race favourites, Mallory Richard and Micheal Borst can confirm, that no matter how great ones condition can be, the curve balls of long distance running can make one truly appreciate the good times.

The due both started at a blistering pace as early morning sun bathed the North Shore. Michael extending a short lead over the other male favourite, Mick Jurynec. At Split Rock (10-miles) Michael just had a 30-second lead whereas Mallory was already opening time gaps that extended well into minutes.

Full Image Gallery HERE

       Over 400 images will be uploaded by Monday 9th September

At Mt. Trudee, Michael had lost the lead to Mick Jurynec y 5-minutes and this pattern continued all the way to Sugarloaf aid station where Michael would finally drop allowing Mick to leave a masterclass of 100-mile running on the SHT and cross the line in 20:15:55 for a stunning 1st place – just rewards after placing 2nd in 2018. Benjamin Drexler and Joe Laue placed 2nd and 3rd, 21:34:51 and 22:35:00

Mallory by contrast looked unstoppable throughout the day, she continually extended her lead, looked fresh and smiled her way around the course. But as darkness came and a torrential rain storm hit, Mallory started to fade. She would eventually drop at Cramer Road opening the doorway for a hotly contested podium between Kelly Teeselink and April Anselmo.

It was Kelly who finally took 2019 honours y lees than 4-minutes from April, the duo completing in 25:23:19 and 26:19:01 respectively. Tina Koplinski rounded out the podium in 28:18:22.

Full Image Gallery HERE

     Over 400 images will be uploaded by Monday 9th September

Full results at ultralive.net

A long day, a long night and another long day of struggle and strife made up the 2019 Superior 100. Overall, conditions were good. Saturday was dry and humid, the evening rainstorm a welcome opportunity to cool down for some… But rain makes the SHT slick, slippery and muddy. Some achieved their goals, others failed to complete the challenge that they had set themselves. There was no failure though… just undone business. Superior 100 is more than than a race, it’s an experience. It’s a low-key traditional race experience – a family! The father is John Storkamp, the mother, his wife Cheri. It’s a special race and if the 100 is too far, a 50-mile and classic marathon distance takes place on the same course and concludes at the same venue – the latter two starting on Saturday am.

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#256CHALLENGE

#256challenge

December is here and it is the 1st. So, if you want to have a go at this, you will need to be quick.

Who fancies the #256CHALLENGE ?

Yes, run 256-miles in December and kick start 2016 feeling strong, motivated and fresh?

How does it work?

Well actually it is pretty simple…

For the first 16 days of December you run the miles that correspond to the day. 1-mile on the 1st, 2 on the 2nd, 3 on the 3rd and so on to the 16th.

On the 17th you go back down.

15-miles on the 17th, 14 on the 18th, 13 on the 19th and so on till the 31st when you will run 1-mile.

It’s the perfect pyramid session and one that will give you 256-miles for the month of December.

Who is in?

Ultra Pirineu 2015 Race Preview

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The Skyrunner® World Series for 2015 for the Ultra distance draws to a close in Spain at the Ultra Pirineu. It’s amazing how time flies; it only seems weeks ago that I was writing about Transvulcania.

Taking place on September 201th, Ultra Pirineu follows on from the RUT and as such, it will be an exciting race.

Runners will assemble in the Cade Moixero National Park to do battle over a very challenging race. The 110km race is the main event and the one that gains the most attention. With 6800m of vertical gain it’s a race that will push each and every Skyrunners’ legs and lungs to the limit.

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Luis Alberto Hernando, Skyrunning World and European Champion for the ultra distance will be looking to repeat his victory from 2014. Would you want to bet against him? Luis has been on fire in 2015 with victories at Transvulcania and Ice Trail Tarentaise. Add to this podium finishes at Tromso SkyRace and UTMB and for sure Luis will be a hot favourite for victory.

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However, a certain Kilian Jornet running on home ground may well scupper Luis’s plans. Kilian has had a quitter year in 2015 as he has concentrated on his Alpinrunning projects but that did not stop repeating his 2014 victory at Hardrock 100 and in the process he now holds the course record for both directions.

“I am very excited about competing at home again as this was the very first race I competed in. There is an incredible level of competition this year, so a show is guaranteed.” – Kilian Jornet

And Kilian has hit the nail on the head, rising star of the sport Manuel Merillas (winner in 2011) will run. Manuel is still looking for the big win but a string of high placing and podium finishes will almost certainly guarantee that he is pushing the pace with the rest at the front.

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Franco Colle just the other weekend won the RUT in the USA and has now decided to miss Tor des Geants to content the podium on Spain. Currently Franco leads the Skyrunner World ~Series for the ultra distance and he will bo looking to gain maximum points and the bonus that come with it to secure the overall position in the ranking, it won’t be an easy task!

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Cristofer Clemente was 2nd at the RUT also and now lies 2nd on the ranking for the SWS. He did have some question marks over if he would race here in Spain due to the proximity of the USA race, however, I can’t help but think he will give the race a go and he will see what happens. At 110km it’s a long tough race for this late in the season.

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UTMB duo, Miguel Heras and Tofol Castanyer both had troubled races this year on the big loop of Chamonix and so they will no doubt be looking to put the record straight here. As we all know, on their day they are 2 of the best ultra mountain runners in the world. They also both have a great history with this race.

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Ricky Lightfoot has once again had another incredible 2015 mixing up his race distances and experiences with diverse races races such as Ultra Skymarathon Madeira, DoDo Trail in Mauritius and of course his local fell races in the UK.  *may not race due to illness, me missed the Lakes Sky Ultra?

Jessed Hernandez placed 3rd in 2014 and he will be looking to move up 1 or 2 places in 2015 but the odds may well be stacked against him with such a quality line-up. Yeray Duran, Philipp Reiter and Miguel Caballero will also contend the top 5 but there are more runners than places; who will come out on top?

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Nuria Picas has made a home at Ultra Pirineu, it’s ‘her’ race and 2015 will be the 5th time she will toe the line looking for another victory. Her recent blip at UTMB will soon be behind her and she will no doubt looking to put the record straight on home ground. We can all think back to that epic battle between Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg and Nuria Picas in 2012.

“I am delighted to see that world renowned international athletes are once again coming here, it’s a race that deserves consideration.” – Nuria Picas

 

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Emelie Forsberg ran her very first 80km race at Ultra Pirineu (then called Cavalls del Vent) in 2012. She placed 3rd! What has followed has been an incredible rise in the sport of Skyrunning. While Nuria pursued the UTWT, Emelie has gone on to dominate Skyrunning races worldwide, the 2015 edition of Ultra Pirineu will once again see these two dominant and inspiring ladies once again go head-to-head. It’s an exciting prospect.

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Nepalese sensation Mira Rai will also race. Her victory at the Mont-Blanc 80km turned heads and I think it’s fair to say that the 110km distance will suit her running style.

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Anna Comet has been a revelation in 2015 and has consistently placed on the podium. Like Nuria, Anna is placing a great emphasis on Ultra Pirineu as she considers it a home race. The ‘home’ advantage really motivates and Anna’s recent non-racing will almost certainly mean that she will be fresh for an epic battle.

Ester Alves, Julia Boetger, Gemma Arenas and Roser Espanol will also be looking to mix it up at the front of the race. Ester in particular has seemed unstoppable in 2015 after going from one race to the next.

You can follow the stories through words and images on this website, via Twitter @talkultra, on Instagram @iancorlessphotography and on Facebook at facebook.com/iancorlessphotography.

In addition, the official Skyrunning Facebook page (here) and Twitter @skyrunning_com will have regular updates and news.

RUNNER – A Short Story about a Long Run : Lizzy Hawker

Lizzy Hawker

RUNNER tells a story, it uncovers a journey of the physical, mental and emotional challenges that runners go through at the edge of human endurance. From a school girl running on the streets of London to breaking records on the worlds mountains and toughest races, Lizzy Hawker is an inspiration to anyone who would like to see how far they can go, running or not.

“Lizzy never ceases to enthuse, inspire and amaze! She knows what it truly means to live life to the absolute fullest, step out of your comfort zone and truly test your limits. So much more than a book about running, this memoir is about an enthralling life journey replete with peaks and troughs, highs and lows and many twists and turns. Most importantly, Lizzy reminds all of us to never stop exploring, discovering and challenging ourselves to do more than we think possible.” – Chrissie Wellington MBE

Runner - Lizzy HawkerLizzy Hawker needs no introduction. Often called the Queen of UTMB, her running has inspired many… me included. Her ability to run tough, relentless mountain trail races has also been matched with road running.

100km Women’s World Champion,  five times winner of the UTMB, record holder for the 24-hour and the first woman to stand on the overall winners’ podium at the iconic Spartathlon; Lizzy is a formidable force irrespective of the distance or terrain.

Lizzy’s remarkable spirit was recognised in 2013 when she was awarded National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award for running 320km in the Himalayas from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu.

RUNNER provides an insight into the mind of one of the most inspiring ladies in the ultra world, Lizzy Hawker.

Order the book HERE

*****

We will have an exclusive interview with Lizzy in the coming weeks so please watch this space.

RUNNER will be published on April 2nd 2015 £12.99 Paperback by Aurum Press

We have two editions to give away as prizes.

Please answer the following question on post your answer on this website:

“How many times has Lizzy won UTMB and what was the fastest time?”

Two winners will be announced after April 18th

Lizzy Hawker website HERE

Aurum Publishing HERE

 

A Year of Podcasting

2014 Podcast
A year comes to an end and with it an opportunity to look back. Talk Ultra podcast has a 3-year anniversary in January… Yes, 3-years!
The show has come a long way in those 36+ months and I have to say I am very proud of what we have created. The running community have been extremely supportive of the show and this has been reflected in 1000’s and 1000’s of downloads for every show all over the world. Over 162 countries! Little did we know way back in 2011 that a 3-hour plus show that talked about running would be so popular.
Our guests have always been and always will be a who’s who of ultra running. In our very small way, Talk Ultra is creating an audio history of our sport at arguably one of its most exciting periods of it’s development.
Needless to say, we thank each and every interviewee who has been so generous of their time.
Talk Training, Smiles and Miles with Emelie Forsberg, A Meltzer Moment, The News, A Blog, Up & Coming Races and so on all add up to something quite unique but we don’t want to be complacent… not at all. We will always be looking for new ways to make the show that little bit better!
Speedgoat Karl Meltzer has been an invaluable co-host. Speedgoat says it like it is and with his history in the sport, who is going to argue with him? Injecting humour, experience and a unique perspective on the world of ultra, Speedgoat is a pleasure to work with. Thanks Karl!  When Mr Meltzer has been ‘off the radar’ I have had the pleasure of some stunning stand in co-hosts: Stevie Kremer, Holly Rush, Mike Wolfe, Kurt Decker and Niandi Carmont to name just a few.
*****
You can catch up on the last 3-years of shows HERE
*****
To keep things nice and simple, I have provided a summary and links to all the 2014 shows below – Episode 52 to Episode 77.
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Just look at the list of names that have appeared in 2014…
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Ellie Greenwood Max King Joe Grant Grant Maughan Lisa Smith Batchen Iain Don Wauchope Tina Lewis Timothy Olson Landie Greyling Julia Boettger Gary Robbins Adrian Saffy Michael de Haast Mimi Anderson Samantah Gash Luke Nelson Emelie Forsberg Marc Laithwaite Niandi Carmont Stevie Kremer Kim Collison Charlie Sproson Jason Schlarb Donnie Campbell Claus Rasmussen Frosty Ty Draney Caine Warburton Lizzy Hawker Sam Robson Adam Schwarz-Lowe Eirik Haugsness Daniel Doherty Kurt Decker Marco De Gasperi Kilian Jornet Adam Campbell David Johnston William Sichel Debbie Martin Consani Jo Meek Torill Fonn Rob Krar Kasie Enman Simon Forbes Renee McGregor Anton Krupicka Steve Birkinshaw Tom Owens Mark Perkins Ricardo Almeida Nicky Spinks Morgan Williams The African Attachment Greg Fell Richard Fluck Mike Wardian Nick Clark Holly Rush Rickey Gates Mike Foote Marcus Scotney Steve Spiers Robbie Britton Danny Kendall Bertie Portal Jamil Coury Jared Campbell Ryan Sandes Clare Walton Jennifer Steiman Scott Jurek Casey Morgan Fernanda Maciel Sebastien Chaigneau Rin Cobb Vlad Ixel Pavel Paloncy Johan Van De Merwe Joe Fejes Jon Steele Gemma Slaughter

*****

 

So, what are some of my highlights of 2014? Always a difficult one as every guest is special, but here are a few I really enjoyed for so many varied reasons.
Pavel Paloncy in Episode 53
David Johnston in Episode 57
Jared Campbell in Episode 59
Rickey Gates in Episode 61
Morgan Williams in Episode 63
Anton Krupicka and Steve Birkinshaw in Episode 65
Rob Krar in Episode 66
William Sichel in Episode 68
Kilian Jornet and Marco De Gasperi in Episode 69
Jason Schlarb in Episode 72
Luke Nelson in Episode 74
Tina Lewis and Timmy Olson in Episode 76
and finally,
Episode 77 was a super packed show.
*****
Please remember the show is available on STITCHER, iTUNES, RSS
Go to our Facebook page HERE and ‘Like’ us
please ‘Follow’ us on Twitter @talkultra
*****
Episode 77  It’s our Christmas Special. Ian and Karl discuss 2014 and some of our highlights. We have in depth interviews with Ellie GreenwoodMax KingJoe Grant and Grant Maughan. Importantly, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to joining you on your ultra journies in 2015.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 76 has a catch up interview with Lisa Smith Batchen on her Badwater Quad. We speak with Iain Don Wauchope about his record breaking Salomon SkyRun and we have two inspiring  chats with Tina Lewis and Timmy Olson. The news, Up and Coming Races and Speedboat Karl.
Episode 75 is all about the Salomon Skyrun and South Africa. We bring an interview with the ladies winner Landie Greyling. We also talk with the ladies 2nd place, Julia Boettger. Gary Robbins placed 2nd overall and discusses in-depth his race and co hosts the show. We bring sounds from Moketsi Game Ranch, experiences from Cape Town and talk Skyrun with Adrian Saffy and Michael de Haast.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 74 has Mimi Anderson and Samantha Gash talking about their epic South African journey. Luke Nelson talk about his running career, recent 100-mile success and how going out hard can pay off! Emelie Forsberg is back for Smiles & Miles and Marc Laithwaite talks the long run in Talk Training. The News, a Blog, up & Coming races and Niandi Carmont co-hosts.
Episode 73 and on this weeks show we speak with Skyrunner World Series Champ and Mourne Skyline winner, Stevie KremerKim Collison tells us all about his running and his great 2014 season. Landie Greyling discusses running in South Africa and the up and coming Salomon SkyRun. In Talk Training it is episode 3 of our navigation special with Charlie Sproson, the News, a Blog, Up & Coming races and Speedgoat Karl talks busting quads. 
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 72 has a full and in-depth interview with Jason Schlarb after his recent 4th place at the 2014 UTMB. Donnie Campbell talks about his running career and winning the recent 3×3 80km in the UK and Claus Rasmussen talk about running Spartathlon… in sandals. The News a Blog, UP & Coming Races and Speedgoat Karl.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 71 we speak to Frosty who not only ran her first 100-miler but won it with a new CR. Ty Draney talks about his career and we discuss running the Bear 100… twice! Caine Warburton discusses running in the Southern Hemisphere and the comparisons with Europe. Lizzy Hawker announces a race and Sam Robson tells us what it’s like being the first Brit at the iconic Spartathlon. The News, a Blog, Up and Coming races and Speedgoat.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 70 we speak with the winner of Superior 100, Adam Schwarz-LoweEirik Haugsness talks Tromso Skyrace and Daniel Doherty tells us all about placing in the top-10 at Tor des Geants. Talk Training has part 2 of our Navigation 101 and we have the News, a Blog, Up & Coming Races and I am pleased to say… Speedgoat is back as co host with an in-depth chat on his AT attempt.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 69 is going to be a little different… we are recording live from a RV in the middle of Minneapolis. My co host is Kurt Decker from Twin Cities Running Co. This weeks interviews are quite special, we speak with Italian mountain running legend, Marco De Gaspreri and man of the moment, Kilian Jornet. The news a blog and the up and coming races.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 68 Adam Campbell talks about Hardrock 100 and that lightning strike. David Johnston discusses 6-days in the Dome. William Sichel tells us what it is like to run 3100-miles in 50-days and in Talk Training we discuss basic navigation. The News, a Blog, Up & Coming races and Niandi Carmont co-hosts.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 67 On this weeks show we speak with Lakeland 100 and Lakeland 50 winners, Debbie Martin Conasani and Jo Meek. We speak with Norwegian powerhouse, Torill Fonn about her recent world record for running 374.999km’s in 48-hours. Julia Böttger joins us for a catch up and tells us about her running journey in Turkey and winning Ronda dels Cims. We have the News, a Blog, Up & Coming Races, Emelie Forsberg for Smile and Miles and Niandi Carmont once again joins us as co host.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 66 on this weeks show e catch up with Rob Krar after his incredible Western States. Kasie Enman is on the comeback trail after her 2nd child and we chat after a stellar 2nd place at Speedgoat 50k. Simon Forbes just this last weekend won Race to the Stones in the UK… a great result but Simon has an incredible story. In Talk Training we talk nutrition with Renee McGregor. The News, a Blog, Smile and Miles with Emelie Forsberg, Up and Coming Races and Pocket Rocket is back… Stevie Kremer.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 65 On this weeks show we speak with Anton Krupicka about injury, Hardrock 100, Lavaredo Ultra Trail, future plans and the Bob Graham Round. Steve Birkinshaw recently set a new FKT for the Wainwrights. An epic journey in the Lakeland fells, Steve tells us all about it. Brit Tom Owens made the podium in the Skyrunning World Champs and we chat about the past 18-months and the future. Emelie talks smilesandmiles, a website, news, up and coming races.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 64 Lisa Smith-Btachen tells us all about her incredible career and the challenge of running Badwater 135 4-times back-to-back with 2 Mt Whitney ascents. Mark Perkins discusses his win and CR at SDW100. Ricardo Almeida gives us a minimalist viewpoint of Comrades. Claus Rasmussen discusses minimal running and tells us of an up and coming challnege and Marc Laithwaite is back in Talk Training. The News, a Blog, Up and Coming Races and of course, Speedgoat Karl.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 63 We have a great interview with Queen of the Fells, Nicky Spinks. An in-depth interview with Morgan Williams all about the Bob Graham Round and we speak to Greg Fell from The African Attachment about what it’s like producing iconic ‘trail’ films such as Travailen, Wandering Fever and the Salomon series of films. We also catch up with Jo Meek on that incredible 5th place at Comrades and in Talk Training, we speak with the UK’s expert, Richard Fluck on kidneys and the effects of NSAID’s. The News, a Blog, Up & Coming races and Speedgoat is back from the wilderness….
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 62 a Comrades Special show. We have a full and in-depth interview with Mike Wardian who is looking for a top-10 placing. Live from Durban, we speak to Jo Meek who is having her first experience of this race. Nick Clark joins us to discuss UTMF, WSER and the up and coming Salomon Skyrun South Africa. We have a ladies perspective on running with children in Talk Training. The News, a Blog and joining me as a special Comrades co-host we have 2013 7th placed lady, Holly RushImportantly, this show is dedicated to Manya Claassen – RIP
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 61 of Talk Ultra – Anna Frost tells us all about the incredible comeback at Transvulcania. Rickey Gates talks running in the UK with Scott Jurek and the Bob Graham Round. Eirik Haugsnes discusses his 2014 season and Emelie Forsberg is back in smilesandmiles with a sore hand. Michael de Haast, race director for the Salomon SkyRun in South Africa talks us through the course and tells us about a great opportunity. The News, a Blog, Up and Coming Races and our favourite, Pocket Rocket, Stevie Kremer co-hosts the show.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 60 of Talk Ultra – This weeks show has an interview with one of the best ‘closers’ in the ultra scene, Mike Foote. We have a series of interviews from the Iznik Ultra series of races, Marcus Scotney from the 130k, Jo Meek from the 80k and Robbie Britton from the marathon. We speak to British Bulldog, Steve SpiersMarc Laithewaite is back for Talk Training. News, a Blog, Up and Coming Races and of course, Speedgoat Karl. 03:09:50
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 59 of Talk Ultra – This weeks show is a Marathon des Sables and Barkley Marathons special. We have daily chats from the Sahara with top Brit and 5th overall, Danny Kendall. By contrast, we also have daily chats with actor, Bertie Portal who undertook the challenge of a lifetime at his first MDS. Barkley Marathons are infamous and we speak with rookie ‘fun run’ finisher Jamil Coury and we also speak with two time finisher and 2014 champ, Jared Campbell. The News, a Meltzer Moment, Up & Coming Races and of cousre Speedgoat Karl.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 58 of Talk Ultra – Ryan Sandes discusses his record breaking FKT on the DrakTraverse with Ryno GrieselDanny Kendall and Bertie Portal discuss Marathon des Sables in the days before the 29th edition starts and 2nd placed lady at Tarawera, Claire Walton talks about her running, Tarawera and what the future holds. Talk Training is a Comrades special with Holly Rush, a Blog, the News, Up & Coming Races and of course, Speedgoat.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 57 of Talk Ultra – David Jonston gives us a blow-by-blow account of his record breaking run at the ITI350 (Iditarod Trail Invitational), Ellie Greenwood talks about her comeback run and win at Chuckanut 50 and her plans for 2014. We speak with Jennifer Steiman, Director of the Desert Runners Movie and Samantha Gash who appeared in the film. Team inov-8 provide some chat from the 2014 athlete retreat and Emelie Forsberg brings us smilesandmiles, a Blog, the News, Up and Coming Races and of course Speedgoat! It’s a stacked show.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 56 of Talk Ultra is a Transgrancanaria special. We have am in-depth interview w/ race winner Ryan Sandes. Chat w/ Scott JurekCasey MorganFernanda Maciel and Sebastien Chaigneau. In addition, we have Danny Kendall, top-10 Brit for the 2013 MDS talk about his preparation for this years race. The News, a Blog and Up & Coming Races.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 55 of Talk Ultra – We have a Coastal Challenge special with an interview with male overall winner, Mike Wardian. Jo Meek, ladies overall winner talks about her training and preparation for the TCC race and Nick Clark discusses how stage racing compares to 100-milers. We have an interview with the 2013 ITI350 winner and recent Susitna 100 winner and new course record holder, David Johnston before he embarks, once again on the ITI350 just one week after his impressive Susitna win! A special Talk Training on nutrition specific to Marathon des Sables with Rin Cobb (PND Consulting). Emelie Forsberg is back for smilesandmiles and of course we have the News, Up and Coming Races and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 54 of Talk Ultra – Gary Robbins once again returned to the tough and gnarly Hurt 100 and came away with another victory, in this weeks show he tells us all about it and his plans for 2014. HK100 took place just a couple of weeks ago and young Australian sensation, Vlad Ixel placed 3rd overall in a top quality field, we interviewed him about his running and what the future hold. Talk Training as ‘Hint’s n Tips for running from Speedgoat himsel, the News, a Blog, Up and Coming races.. another great show in store!
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 53 of Talk Ultra is once again a packed show… We have two interviews from the Montane Spine race, regarded as one of the toughest races out there. We speak with Pavel Paloncy who won the 268-mile event with a new course record and Marcus Scotney who won the 106-mile Challenger event. We also speak with South African long distance runner, Johan Van De Merwe about ultra running in South Africa and his new African 24-hour record. The News, a Blog, Talk Training, Up & Coming Races, Smiles and Miles and Speedgoat is back from the Love Boat!
Website – talkultra.com
Episode 52 – We have a full show with two in-depth interviews about running really long… Joe Fejes recently won the Aravaipa Running 6-day event, Across the Years by clocking up 555+ miles and beating running legend, Yiannis Kouros in the process. By contrast, we speak to UK runner Jon Steele who tackled ‘The Hill’ ultra; 160-miles of hill rips on a 2.9m course in under 48-hours. Gemma Slaughter, The Coastal Challenge winner from 2013 talks to us about her expectations as she prepares for the 2014 edition. Emelie Forsberg is back for smilesandmiles, Marc is with us for Talk Training and believe it or not, Speedgoat is on a cruise! That’s great for Talk Ultra as we have the lovely Stevie Kremer joining us as co host.
Website – talkultra.com
 *****
THANK YOU FOR THE AMAZING SUPPORT
Ian & Speedgoat

Montane JAWS 10 Ultra Distance Race Pack Review

 

Jaws 10 front

Jaws 10

Montane know a thing or two about lightweight. Arguably, they are one of the first companies truly to push the boundaries of going light to the mountains with single layer clothing. For over 18-years, Montane have developed and tweaked ideas and recently they have moved into trail and mountain running. It was a natural progression. Involvement on the Lakeland 100 and 50-mile races has progressed to sponsorship of The Spine and the Yukon Arctic Ultra amongst others. Involvement in these races and the development of a trail running team is an invaluable process for a brand that are looking to push boundaries and we as consumers benefit from this explorative work. Let’s face it the Minimus Jacket and Pants have become almost essential items for anyone requiring light, functional fully waterproof outer layers for demanding sports. So, I was excited to see Montane’s new packs in late 2013 and even happier to get hold of samples to test in 2014.

In summary, Montane have developed 3 new run packs and 1 waist belt. The packs are as follows:

Fang 5

Jaws 10

Dragon 20

and as the name would suggest each have a capacity of 5, 10 and 20 liters. The waist best, Bite 1, is a stretch trail running belt that holds one bottle and has a small waterproof pocket for essential items.

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The packs have many of the same features and for the purpose of a review I have the Jaws 10, which sits nicely in the middle of the range and ultimately, if you were only going to purchase 1-pack for many running scenarios, this pack would offer the most options excluding any OMM type of event.

Montane say, ‘The Jaws 10 is the world’s most weather resistant ultra distance trail running pack. Designed for mountain trails in wet or changeable conditions, it uses RAPTOR Hydroseal waterproof fabric and fully taped seams to help protect kit from the elements. Through its stretch body fit, the new MONTANE® Freelight Chassis provides an even weight balance whilst trail running and keeps the weight away from the lower back allowing for nimble agility. With a super lightweight 10 liter storage capacity, two specially adapted MONTANE® water bottles and a bladder compartment, the Jaws 10 is perfect for ultra distance race events or long trail days.’

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On first look, the Jaws 10 conforms to many of the ‘new’ packs on the market. It has a ‘vest’-fitting fitting scenario that fits and hugs the body like a piece of clothing. We could argue all day about which company first invented this system and to be honest, I don’t know than answer. For many though, Salomon rightly or wrongly get the recognition and I am not going to argue, The S-Lab vest was a key moment that changed how run packs are designed. Montane are following the trend but with a difference.

The Pack

©iancorless.com_S0272148MontaneJaws10

At first glance, you notice the bottles on the shoulder straps and then you take a second look and contemplate the fastening system. They look like they are held by 2-elastic bungees. They are but the bottle has a specially developed clip (not dissimilar to a pen) that hooks into a specially reinforced pocket on the shoulder straps. This system is actually quite ingenious and really is thinking out of the box.

©iancorless.com_S0412218MontaneJaws10

 

Below the left hand bottle is a small open-ended stretch mesh pocket for small essentials that are required while running. On the opposite side is a larger mesh pocket added on top of a zipper pocket. The zipper pocket would be ideal for valuable items such as phone, gps, money or small camera. Above these pockets is a series of elasticated loops that would hold a bladder feed tube if this was your preferred drink method.

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A whistle is attached to the front of the pack on a small cord and the pack is fastened with an adjustable chest stretch that hooks onto reinforced loops. Lower down the pack a large/ wide adjustable stretch Velcro holds the pack close to ones body.

©iancorless.com_S0352188MontaneJaws10

On the rear the pack splits into 3.

©iancorless.com_S0282153MontaneJaws10

The zip on the left allows access to the bladder pocket (bladder not supplied) which would offer additional storage should you wish to just use bottles.

©iancorless.com_S0292158MontaneJaws10

The right zip is sealed and taped and offers a large waterproof pocket.

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On the face of the pack is a zipped mesh pocket for smaller items.

©iancorless.com_S0302163MontaneJaws10

On the lower section of the pack is an elasticated adjustable cord for attaching poles and the pack has an external draw cord should you wish to compress the pack. On the right hand side is a hole to allow the bladder pipe to exit and run around the pack, under the arm to the front of the pack.

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On the side are two large stretch mesh panels that allow the pack to conform to your body and adjust with movement.

©iancorless.com_S0322173MontaneJaws10

The pack in use

The Jaws 10 comes in 2-sizes*: S/M and M/L. I was literally the borderline measurement and received a M/L from Montane.

*For our SS15 season, Montane have introduced new chest sizes for the Jaws 10 and Fang 5 – they both now come in S/M and M/L..  Chest measurements of the wearer respectively are: 76-97 cm (S/M) and 97-112 cm (M/L).

The pack didn’t feel too large but I was adjusting to the tightest fitting. So, it would be interesting to try the S/M and see if I noticed any difference in fit. On the body, the Jaws 10 fits snuggly just as all vest products should. Under the arms I didn’t feel too compressed and the lightweight and stretchy mesh in this area allowed the pack to adjust and conform to my body movement. I can’t help but think that Montane missed a trick in this area! The stretch panels under the arms are large and may well have provided another storage option by adding an open top mesh pocket on each side. It would have been perfect for bars, gels, hat, gloves and so on.

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Adjusting the pack to the body is done via the sternum strap, it can be moved up and down.

©iancorless.com_S0442229MontaneJaws10

An elasticated belt that sits just below the rib cage provides the main adjustment. It’s interesting to see a brand using this method as most manufacturers have now moved away from this. Adjustment was easy and secure and the elastic does allow for fine tune adjustment and expansion while wearing. As stated, the Jaws 10 fits like clothing, however, the added pressure this elasticated belt provides may not be to everyone’s liking?

©iancorless.com_S0222127MontaneJaws10 The key USP of this pack are the bottles and the way they fasten. It’s a little like putting a pen in your shirt pocket… the specially designed bottles have a clip that slips into a reinforced pocket on each shoulder strap and the bottle is then held in place with a top and bottom bungee cord.

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In use, the bottles never came loose which I have to say was a surprise! The design really is quite clever and moving bottles and then replacing them on the go is a breeze. Again, much easier than I expected!

©iancorless.com_S0252142MontaneJaws10

However, for me the bottles have far too much bounce when running. Not only do they move up and down but left to right. With each bottle full I felt a little like one of the ladies from Baywatch (heavy chested) running along the beach and wearing no bra! I did get used to the bounce over repeated runs, however, for me it’s not something I could tolerate. I must stress here that I personally have never been a fan of bottles on shoulder straps, particularly when they are allowed to move around. The recent invention of soft flasks and mesh pockets have addressed this issue and eradicated bounce. In my opinion, it’s a far more preferable way to hold liquid in this area of the body. I can’t speak for the ladies, but I don’t see how this pack could be comfortable for the female anatomy, especially when one considers the placement of the bottles in relation to a ladies chest? (We will come back to you on this with a female viewpoint)

©iancorless.com_S0342183MontaneJaws10

The zippered pocket below the right bottle is ideal for a valuable item such as phone, gps, money or iPod and has room for several items.

©iancorless.com_S0332178MontaneJaws10

The mesh pocket attached here is great for gels, bars or similar but it ‘s not the ‘Tardis’ so you will be restricted.

©iancorless.com_S0362193MontaneJaws10

On the opposite side is another mesh pocket, however, this is smaller than the right hand side and only really for small items such as salt tabs, shot blocks or similar.

I preferred the feel of the pack with a bladder and the rooting system works well bringing the feed pipe out of the lower right hand side of the rear pack and rooting it under the arm while securing it in elastic loops. You can then place the feed nozzle at your preferred heights for feeding hassle free. Of course, you can use a bladder with bottles that would potentially provide you with 3-4lts of liquid storage, a real plus in some self-sufficient events. But, if you don’t use the bottles you are left with two wasted spaces on the shoulder straps and elastic bungee hanging loose!

The waterproof compartment on the rear will fit ‘mandatory kit’ for most events and I include UTMB or Lakeland 100 if you pack smartly. The main issue is that the pocket is just an open pocket with no compartments, so, fill it up and off you go. Should you need something it will be a case of rummaging around and finding it or potentially lifting everything out one-by-one until you find what you need. It’s a pay off! One compartment will be less weight than several compartments, so, you pay your money and make your choice. The waterproof compartment and zip is a real plus. I poured water over it, submerged the pack and used it in rain and it did not leak. The zips also have a ‘garage’ to add security and sealing, The outer rear mesh pocket is ideal for small things and it does expand, The bladder pocket adds additional storage should you need it. For most people, if you are planning doing a one-day race or a 100-mile event, this pack will provide a great lightweight option. In addition the Jaws 10 has bungee cords for poles and a compression bungee to tighten the pack should it be required.

Conclusions

The Jaws 10 really fits well and is extremely comfortable (for men) providing you like the adjustable elastic chassis. It’s a light breathable product that functions extremely well on the trail when racing or training. The bottles are an ingenious idea, work well but bounce around too much for me! Storage is good (but not great) and the addition of a waterproof pocket is a unique addition but may very well over engineer something that can be solved with a plastic bag? Using a bladder is easy and very comfortable and the separate pocket allows for on the go filling and replacing. Storage pockets are adequate but are less capacious than like for like products. The Jaws 10 has many great features and pluses but I firmly believe that a few tweaks would make what is a good pack a much better pack. For example, the addition of ‘dump’ pockets under the arms would increase storage for the essentials we all need when running long events.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Adjustable
  • Waterproof compartment
  • Will take bladder and bottles
  • Bladder compartment can be used for storage
  • Will hold poles
  • Unique bottles that are easy to use
  • Two size options

Cons

  • Bottles have too much bounce
  • On the go storage is minimal
  • Montane only bottles so I suggest you purchase spares
  • Not convinced how practical for ladies?

 *****

Tech Specs provided by Montane

CONSTRUCTION

  • Main body fabric constructed from super lightweight RAPTOR Hydroseal waterproof fabric that has a PU inner coating and a silicone outer face
  • MONTANE® Freelight Chassis constructed from lightweight CONTACT Flyte Mesh that is fast drying and highly breathable
  • Fully taped internal seams in the main pack compartment
  • Bound seams on the chassis give stronger, neater edges
  • YKK semi-auto zips that lock shut and are rustle free
  • All zip openings feature zip garages to help prevent weather ingress

MONTANE® FREELIGHT CHASSIS

  • Technically tailored ergonomic MONTANE® Freelight Chassis vest designed for body hugging load carrying comfort during movement over long distances and whilst running
  • Front stretch Velcro lower body adjustment enables chassis to grip the body whilst running
  • Chassis elastication also allows the user’s rib cage to expand freely for unrestricted breathing during exertion
  • Low profile sternum stretch adjustment with adjustable hook and multiple attachment points
  • 2 x MONTANE® customized water bottles with unique easy clip to harness for rapid hydration
  • Water bottle is anti-roll, curved to fit to chest / torso
  • Right hand front zipped storage pocket with stretch mesh
  • Lower right and left hand front sleeve pockets with stretch mesh
  • Upper left hand chest gear loop on shoulder straps
  • Trekking pole attachment point with low profile ‘penny cordlock’ adjustment that is easy to access whilst on the move
  • Removable whistle accessory for mountain and race safety

MAIN COMPARTMENT

  • Two way YKK Aqua Guard® MONTANE® semi-auto main body zip that has been laser cut and bonded into opening
  • External pocket with stretch mesh panel
  • External drawcord provides rear pack compression and additional storage with low profile ‘penny cordlock’ adjustment
  • Hydration bladder pocket behind rear back panel with stretch loops for hydration tube on chassis

Top lightweight hang loop

Colours:

Black / Blue spark zips / Blue spark trims

Blue spark / Kiwi zips / Kiwi trims

Weight: 281.5g / 9.9oz

Size: S/M and M/L

Fit: Active Mountain

Activities: Fast Alpine / Mountain Walking / Alpine Running / Mountain Marathon / Trail Running

RRP: £85.00

Montane products are available to view HERE

******

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inov-8 – Race Ultra™ 290 – Shoe Review

Race Ultra 290 1[2][2]

inov-8 release their first ever ultra running shoe and we were lucky enough to get hold of a test pair 3-months ago, albeit in a UK8. That ruled myself out of any run testing but Niandi Carmont stepped up to the mark and gave the new Race Ultra™ 290’s a beating in the build up to Comrades. Here are her thoughts.

The Race Ultra™ 290’s is a first for UK shoe manufacturer, inov-8 but definitely not the last based on my testing of them. I picked up these shoes in the middle of March, so, I have had them for exactly 3-months; a perfect test period for any shoe!

In preparation for the 2014 Comrades I was reluctant to do all my training on road. Funny really, I used to be a ‘roadie.’ However, like so many others, after finding trail I have been reluctant to go back to the hard stuff… Road running was going to require a lot of motivation so I decided to alternate between trail and road just to get the miles in and to keep my motivation going. The Race Ultra™ 290’s proved to be the perfect shoe when mixing things up.

Usually it takes me a while to get used to new shoe models never mind new brands. I was a little anxious this time as this was my first experience of inov-8 footwear. I was pleasantly surprised – I required no adaptation or transition. The shoe has a slipper-like feel and is a perfect compromise in terms of cushioning and weight (290g/UK8). The gusseted tongue is padded, holds the foot firm and the thin laces pull tight, stay tight and provide reassuring security to my foot irrespective of the conditions. The toe box is wide, spacious and certainly has room for swelling feet should the need arise from multiple hours of running. Toe protection comes from a reinforced area that actually extends all the way around the shoe.

Prone to foot injuries I need cushioning but usually find it hard to get a trail shoe that is able to offer:

  • Cushioning.
  • Lightweight.
  • Good grip.

The Race Ultra™ 290 ticks all these boxes. Yes I know you can get lighter shoes. Yes I know you can get more cushioning and yes I know I can get a shoe with more grip. The secret of the Race Ultra™ 290 is that it has averaged all these elements and comes up with a great all round package. So much so, that I would say if you were looking for one shoe to do all things, you wouldn’t go wrong with a pair of these!

©iancorless.com_P6100027RaceUltra290

Injected with EVA, the footbed is 6mm with 10mm at the front and 18mm at the rear offering a heel to toe drop of 8mm. Inov-8 as a brand have pioneered the transition to a lower drop shoes for 11-years and the Race Ultra™ 290 may well provide ultra-runners seeking to transition say from 12/13mm drop shoes towards a more minimalist drop a perfect opportunity. Equally, if you run in 6/4/3 or zero drop shoes, the 8mm may well provide you with a more ‘relaxed’ day on the trails. After all, this is the purpose of the Race Ultra™ 290. It’s all about making hours on trail and/ or road more pleasurable and less tiresome but this depends on your own run style and preferences. For me 8mm sits very well for longer runs. The flatter outsole ensures a stable ride without the loss of proprioception and as the hour’s pass and fatigue sets in, the 8mm drop and added cushioning are welcome.

©iancorless.com_P6100002RaceUltra290

Transitioning from road to trail is not an issue as obviously this shoe has been designed specifically for this purpose. It’s without doubt an all round shoe that excels on hard pack trail events that may include road and rocky sections. Tested on dry sun baked French trail that incorporated a mixture of hard clay, stones and rocks the Ultra 290 excelled, in softer / grassy sections the ‘Tri Endurance’ compound provided confidence. Should the trail become very boggy and/or muddy, grip is compromised. This is to be expected in a shoe that is trying to be all things in one package. However, if these sections are short and provide a very small percentage of your run (say 10-20%) this is a compromise worth making for the comfort and security the shoe will provide for the remainder of your run.

Race Ultra 290 2[1][2]

On UK trail it proved to be a good all-weather shoe offering good grip for a multitude of conditions. Door-to-Trail is a term that is being used quite considerably at the moment and I do feel that the Race Ultra™ 290 fits well in this bracket.

A nice little non-negligible feature for the runner with smelly feet is the patented X-STATIC® foot bed, ensuring that the bacteria feeding on sweat will be kept at bay! I’ve had these shoes for a while, they have been through mud, wet and grass and I guarantee they are completely odourless!

The shoe also has the option to take custom Race Ultra™ Gaiters (available separately). They clip onto inov-8’s unique on-the-shoe attachment system. This is very cool. The shoe has attachment points built in and thus allows the gaiter to be added or removed as required with minimum fuss. I don’t use gaiters very often, however, having tried these I think I will use them more. They stopped mud and stones entering the shoe from the top and to be honest, once on, I didn’t even know I was using them. I can see this feature being added to more shoes in the inov-8 range. Should you wish to use the gaiter with other shoes, a fastener is supplied to make this possible.

A feature I would have liked is a more trail-friendly lacing system that offers a place to secure or store excess lace when the shoes are tied. It’s a minor quibble and may very well have been an omission as this would be redundant if the gaiter was worn.

In conclusion, inov-8’s new Race Ultra™ 290 shoe will be a hit. I am sure of it. If you are already an inov-8 user this may well be your new ‘go to’ shoe for your daily runs when an ‘all rounder’ is just what you need. If you are new to ultra running and only want one shoe, this will be perfect place to start. I really can’t find any negatives about this shoe other than the obvious…. If it’s really muddy you won’t have enough grip but that isn’t a criticism of the shoe, it’s more about having the wrong shoe for the job.

Check out inov-8 HERE

Shoe will be available from July 2014

 

Niandi Carmont

Niandi Carmont – Niandi is South African born, a former resident of Paris, she now lives in the UK. A runner for over 20-years; Niandi has completed Comrades Marathon 13-times, Washie 100 2-times and has finished well over 100 marathons and ultras  all over the world. Currently residing in the UK, Niandi splits her work life between the UK and France.

 ******

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Contribute to Talk Ultra Podcast

Talk Ultra

 

WANT TO BE A PART OF TALK ULTRA?

Yes? Okay… I am going try a little experiment. Use the link provided HERE

speakpipe

What is important is sound quality, so, you MUST use either a headset with microphone or an external microphone connected to your computer. This will usually be through your USB port. Make sure you are in a quiet place and have decent to good acoustics.

And then…

Call in and record (within 60-seconds) what it is ‘you’ LOVE about Trail, Mountain and Ultra Running.

You must start by saying:

  • ‘Hello’
  • Who you are
  • Where you are
  • and then your snippet of audio. NB – max 60-seconds

If this works, we will have a regular feature on the show with a selection of the best in every episode. Of course, we will theme this, so currently, the audio content could be about Comrades or the up and coming Skyrunning World Championships.

It’s an experiment. Good luck.

Please Note:

  • We have set this process up only to allow 20-mins of recording per two week period, so, in theory, the first 20 are the only ones who can record.
  • PLEASE no swearing or profanity. Your log in details and usage will be tracked and we take this seriously.

******

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Top Brits head to Turkey for the Iznik Ultra race series, April 2014

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Now in its third year, the Iznik series of races in Turkey are assembling a strong UK contingent of runners to race over the marathon, 80km or 130km distances, featuring Jo MeekRobbie BrittonTracy DeanStu Air and Marcus Scotney. With several races on offer, Robbie Britton and Stu Air will race the marathon distance, Tracy Dean and Jo Meek the 80km and Marcus Scotney the 130km.

Map

Surrounded by eight countries, Turkey has significant geographical importance as it is at a crossroads with Europe and Asia. The noise and colour from an over populated Istanbul are completely contradicted by the sublime tranquility of Iznik, situated on a beautiful lake. Don’t get me wrong! Istanbul is remarkable; it’s an exciting place and certainly, any journey to this region should at least include one-day sight seeing around the old town. The Fire Tower, the Blue MosqueHippodromeGrand Bazaar and Sultanhamet Square; believe me, there is no shortage of things to do.

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Located in Bursa, on the banks of Lake Iznik, Caner Odabasoglu and his team have worked tirelessly to make the Iznik Races not only the premier event in Turkey but also with the 130km race, they also have the longest single stage race in the whole of the country.

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Running and particularly, Ultra running is not a big sport in this region, to that end, Caner with the help of the Iznik community have continually worked hard to put the races and the local community on the running map.

Profile

Using the Iznik Lake as a backdrop, all the races utilize the local terrain to not only provide a beautiful course but also a challenging course. All the elevation comes in the first 80 km’s, so, the marathon and the shorter ultra are very much about going up and down on trails that vary from single-track to wide rutted farm roads. From the town of Soloz (appx 67km) the course flattens and follows the Iznik Lake in a circular route tracing the perimeter to arrive back at the start some 130 km’s later.

Jo Meek ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek ©iancorless.com

Jo Meek (Scott Running) fresh from a victory at The Coastal Challenge multi-day race in Costa Rica has been eagerly awaiting this trip, I have been to Turkey before but only the touristic bits so travelling to Turkey this time to run through the areas I wouldn’t otherwise see holds a lot of appeal. See the culture as I experience the highs and lows of the countryside is a privilege anywhere but especially as a guest in a foreign country.”

Tracy Dean - inov-8

Tracy Dean – inov-8

Jo is right, racing in Turkey is a great opportunity to combine so many different elements, of course the opportunity to test oneself against new competition but also to see a new place and explore a new culture, Iznik has a wonderful history. The Aphasia Mosque amongst others for example intrigues me and it will be amazing to see the architecture of the Hoffman period. I am interested in seeing the tiles that Iznik has a reputation for producing. The main attraction though… food, ha ha to have Turkish delight and fish kebab will be a real treat, just not both on the same dish.” Explained Tracy Dean (inov-8).

Marcus Scotney - Montane

Marcus Scotney – Montane

Marcus Scotney (Montane) recently won the ‘Challenger’ race at The Spine in the UK, “I wasn’t aware of an ultra scene in Turkey, I hadn’t looked into opportunities until I heard about the Iznik ultra. I’m sure the competition will be very tough, especially from local people who will know the route and what the trails are like.”

Robbie Britton - inov-8

Robbie Britton – inov-8

Robbie Britton (inov-8) backs this up, “I’ve met a couple of Turkish ultra runners in the UK but I didn’t know much about the scene in Turkey itself. I like competition so hopefully there will be a few guys to enjoy the hills with and we can push each other along.“

Robbie has a reputation for running long and fast, he has represented GB at the 24-hour distance, however, in Iznik he will race the shorter (but hillier) marathon race, “I’m racing the marathon distance this time, a little shorter than usual but it looks like a tough event! The ups and downs look very similar to the profile at Transvulcania on the island of La Palma so I see it as a good chance to race some tough ascents and fly down some steep downhill’s!”

Stu Air - Ronda dels Cims

Stu Air – Ronda dels Cims

Stu Air (Scott Running) equally has gained a reputation for racing tough, technical and long events; in 2013 Stu had great results at Ronda dels Cims in Andorra and the tough Tor des Geants. Fresh from a top-10 placing at MSIG50 in Hong Kong, Stu too has chosen the marathon distance race, “I have chosen the Mountain Marathon 42km course, as I feel that this distance will help me focus on my weakness (speed) over some of the longer races. I have several races in 2014 which are 100-miles. Transvulcania (80km) on the island of La Palma is a few weeks after Iznik too, so I thought this race would be perfect to help me in preparation for this longer race.”

Caner and the team

Caner and the team

Caner Odabasoglu and the MCR Racesetter Team are passionate ultra runners and have devoted an incredible amount of time, energy and money in creating a stunning weekend of racing on the shores of Iznik Lake. Dedicated to the cause, the 2013 edition will be bigger, better and potentially faster across all three key race distances… watch this space, the Brits are coming!

Race website: HERE

Follow the race at: iancorless.com and on Twitter @talkultra 

Athlete race calendars 2104: 

  • Jo Meek – Iznik Ultra, Comrades (South Africa) and Lakeland 50 (UK) Trail Running Championships.
  • Tracy Dean – Iznik Ultra and Lakeland 50 (UK) Trail Running Championships.
  • Marcus Scotney – Iznik Ultra, British 100km Championships and Ultra Tour of the Peak District (UK).
  • Robbie Britton – Iznik Ultra and Skyrunning Transvulcania La Palma 80km (La Palma).
  • Stu Air – Iznik Ultra, Skyrunning Transvulcania La Palma 80km (La Palma), Hardrock 100 (USA), Skyrunning Kima Trophy 50km (Italy) and Diagonale des Fous 160km (Reunion Island).

Athlete sponsors:

  • inov-8 – HERE
  • Montane – HERE
  • Scott Running – HERE 

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GB international joins world champions at Salomon Trail Team UK

R-Simpson-Jungfrau-2012

Top sky and mountain runner Robbie Simpson has joined some of the UK’s finest trail, fell and mountain running talent at the Salomon Trail Team UK for 2014, bolstering the team to be one of the strongest domestic trail teams in the world. With such talent as Ricky Lightfoot, Tom Owens, Angela Mudge, Andy Davies and Emma Clayton already on the UK team, Simpson’s addition to the squad for 2014 will create even more interest for the team on the UK and global stage.
The world-class team of UK athletes will be unveiled at Coed y Brenin, Wales this weekend, as the 11-strong team meets for the annual training and product summit, along with its fledgling squad of five junior athletes, Salomon Avenir.
The full line-up of the UK-based team for 2014 is:
2014 Salomon Trail Team UK
 
Emma Clayton
Rob Hope
Ricky Lightfoot
Angela Mudge
Tom Owens
Rob Samuel
Andy Davies
Joe Symonds
Robbie Simpson
Katie Walshaw
Nathan Jones
 
Salomon Avenir line-up for 2014
 
Georgia Malir
Max Nicholls
James Hall
Andrew Lawler
Iolo Hughes
Speaking about his move back to the team which helped kick-start his international career some 4 years ago, Simpson states:

 

“Over the summer I was in the Alps for four months and started seeing some of the new Salomon range at a lot of big races. A few months later a conversation at a wedding with Tom Owens was what got things started. He suggested trying some of these shoes I’d seen to see how I found them. My feet are a bit strange so I wasn’t sure if they would get on well with them. After trying the Sense Ultra I knew it was the perfect shoe for mountain racing and it suited my feet really well. I tried some of the other new shoes like the Fellcross and got on very well with that too. After that I knew it was the right decision. I was very fortunate that Salomon were prepared to give me a chance on the team for 2014.
 
“It will be great to be working with some of the world’s top mountain and trail runners. I would say already I’ve been learning from these athletes for at least five years now and they have been definitely helped me develop. Angela (Mudge) has won pretty much every race I’ve competed in whether in Scotland or Europe so she knows so much about how everything works. Her knowledge has been very valuable to me and I still have a lot to learn. Tom and Ricky also have a lot of experience and I am very keen to learn from them too; especially about the long mountain and trail races which they are so good at. I’m hoping I can continue to improve and be a strong addition to the team.”
Commenting on some of the changes to the product in the last few seasons Robbie is impressed with what he has seen to date:
“Lots of very great kit has been developed in the last few years! Now there is a great range of off road shoes that can cope with anything from fast smooth trails to thick mud and fells. Previously the range was a bit restricted so there was a lack of a very light racing shoe or a very aggressive fell shoe; this has changed now. The Sense Ultra is one of my favourite shoes that I have tried and I look forward to using it on the mountains this season. It’s incredibly light and fast but has enough grip for most conditions. I’ve run up big hills on rough terrain in the shoe but also set road PB’s in it! I think this would be perfect for most Alpine races with reasonably good trails and also for flat races.
 
“The Fellcross is another great shoe that gets taken out for the really wet or muddy conditions. It has very aggressive grip and is also very comfortable on long runs. I think it would be the best shoe for most UK hill and fell races. As well as these I have tried the Fellraiser which is another shoe with very good grip but it also copes well with firmer ground like forest tracks. It’s perfect for runs of mixed terrain where you need good grip and it is very comfortable.”
 
After another very strong season in 2013 which saw the Scot pull-off a tremendous 5th place finish at the world-renowned Sierre-Zinal race, Robbie has spent some time this winter honing his speed on the roads of Scotland, with PBs and wins at such events as the Cupar 5 (24:02) and a win at the Inverness Half Marathon (66:03) only this weekend. Looking ahead to the coming year he concludes:
“The aim is to run at the European and World championships plus some other big mountain races like Sierre Zinal once again. Last year I was very happy with my season in the Alps but this year I want to perform even better. I’m planning to go to the Alps for a few months over the summer so I can focus on preparing well and get used to racing against some of the world’s best. In the months before then I will be aiming to improve my road PB’s and also to do a few hill races to get in as good shape as possible.”
Commenting on Simpson’s addition to the team for 2014, team co-ordinator Matt Ward states:
 
“We are very pleased to see Robbie back with Salomon in 2014. He was on the squad as a teenager, which was perhaps a little young for someone to be thrown into a brand team with so many top-class internationals and this is one of the reasons that we brought in the Avenir squad project with senior team ‘mentors’. Robbie is now 22 and has matured over the last 2-3 years to be one of the UK’s brightest trail and mountain running talents, so naturally we are very happy to have secured him on the team for the coming season. 
 
“However, the UK team is much more one one athlete. We have some of the best athletes in the world on the team for 2014 and Robbie will hopefully gel into what has been a phenomenal set-up under the guidance of Tim Lloyd over the last decade or so. This weekend we will all meet in Wales to discuss the season ahead, look at product from our main sponsors Salomon, Suunto, Petzl, Super Feet and Kinetica, share some runs on the amazing trails of Coed y Brenin, and hopefully have a little fun whilst we are at it!”