UTMB 2022 with the adidas TERREX #oneteam

©iancorless

I am decompressing.

In the last 4-days I have had around 10-hours broken sleep. That is the reality of working on multiple events during UTMB week.

It all started though the week before, arriving in Chamonix on Thursday to join the adidas TERREX team for a full 10-day UTMB extravaganza. It was my 3rd time at UTMB with the TERREX team so I was under no illusion of what was ahead – amazing friends, quality time with athletes and crew and once the TDS got underway, little sleep.

On the trails with adidas TERREX team ©iancorless

It’s a privilege and honor to work the TERREX team, I have seen them grow and grow in the sport and the ethos of #oneteam personifies what goes on before, during and after every event. Just look at the finish line footage of Emily Hawgood crossing the line to take 6th place at UTMB. The whole team was waiting, they surrounded her and unplanned, went into a frenzied bounce fest to celebrate not only an incredible run but an incredible team effort. No other pro-team does this and it’s noted by all the other media… The TERREX team are doing something very special.

You may well say I am biased. And I am not going to deny that I have a professional and working relationship with the brand. However, this is a choice. Working with the team management, the media crew and the athletes is a dream come true and one that is immensely rewarding.

adidas had once again rented multiple chalets and one huge chalet would act as a base for meeting up and all meals. The chalet had three chefs who provided meals for the entire team and in so doing, dietary needs could be looked after and the need to try to find a restaurant in Chamonix was removed. Physios were literally ‘hands-on’ every day from morning and Charlie and Robert managed the day-to-day team plans.

My emphasis pre-racing was to recorded Season 2 of ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ and provide some photo content.

Ruth Croft decided to not race at UTMB after winning Western States ©iancorless
Luis Alberto Hernando ©iancorless

The shows:

Toni McCann ©iancorless

TONI MCCANN

Holly Page ©iancorless

HOLLY PAGE

Yngvild Kaspersen ©iancorless

YNGVILD KASPERSEN

Taylor Nowlin ©iancorless

TAYLOR NOWLIN

Tom Evans ©iancorless

TOM EVANS

UTMB WEEK

UTMB week may well be what you, the fan or follower sees. But as in all these scenarios, the reality for UTMB 2022 started at the conclusion of UTMB 2021. It’s a 12-month process of building and planning.

This time last year, Tom Evans missed UTMB and instead underwent surgery not knowing if he would be able to run professionally again. However, he there and then set the goal to target UTMB 2022 as a main goal and target. He would put all the processes in place to make that happen. And oh my word, look what happened… He completed the podium with an outstanding and awe-inspiring 3rd place.

But with all the highs, the TERREX team also has lows.

Hugo Deck ©iancorless

TDS did not go to plan, 4-athletes hovered around the podium for much of the race only have dreams taken away. That is racing. There are no guarantees.

Janosch Kowalczyk ©iancorless
Cordis Hall ©iancorless

Sabrina Stanley, after meticulously planning and preparing for UTMB had her dream shattered even before the start of UTMB with a positive Covid test. There are no words to help here, just the unity and backing of oneteam.

Robbie Simpson ©iancorless

Down but not out, the team rallied, and OCC turned out to be a stunning race with Sheila Aviles taking victory and Robbie Simpson making the podium.

Sheila Aviles ©iancorless
Toni McCann ©iancorless

Toni Mccann placing 5, Martin Dematteis placing 10th and Kim Schreiber, Jeshurun Small, Dioni Gorla, Deborah Marti and Anna Hahner all having solid runs. The team was back on track.

Martin Dematteis ©iancorless

CCC was up next and it’s fair to say that myself, and the whole TERREX team were quietly confident that Petter Engdahl could produce something. Little did we know then that the Swede who lives in Norway would light the fire of the UTMB.

Petter Engdahl ©iancorless

He blazed a trail that made the competition look on in awe as he not only won the race but set a course record. Abby Hall from the USA once again had a stellar run placing 3.

Stephen Kersch ©iancorless
Taylor Nowlin ©iancorless

Remigio Huaman, Stephen Kersch, Taylor Nowlin and Yngvild Kaspersen all brought the three stripes home and, on each occasion, the team was waiting with hugs and applause.

It’s a stressful week for adidas TERREX staff ©iancorless

The big dance, UTMB would conclude the week. The 171km loop through France, Italy, Switzerland and concluding in France has 10,000m of vertical gain, rugged terrain, variable weather and is arguably, the most competitive ultra of the year. This year, the event was off-the-scale with over 2700 participants and goodness knows how many fans and spectators.

Pablo, Tom and Luis ©iancorless

The event is now huge! The TERREX team had Pablo Villa, Luis Alberto Hernando, Tom Evans, Emily Hawgood toeing the line and sadly, the omission of Sabrina Stanley due to Covid. It’s with noting here that a listen to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ with Tom Evans provides a great insight not only to the event, but how to prepare for it is a ‘must’ listen. The race, despite a quality line-up was always going to be about Jim Walmsley and Kilian Jornet and for much of the race, this was the story. Jim had the lead, lost it to Kilian and and in-form Mathieu Blanchard. Kilian put the hammer down for the win against Mathieu and behind as Jim faded Tom Evans put his plan in action. He left Zach Miller who he had traded run steps with for many an hour and hunted Jim.

Tom coming in to Trient ©iancorless

With Jim caught, Toms head went down, all the processes were put in place and the Brit placed 3rd in the greater ultra in the world! Tears were shed by all… It’s difficult to put into words the emotions of the finish. Tom walked in, somewhat mind-blown about what he was about to achieve, he held hands together, covered his face and then stood stock still and saluted the world. Job done! The TERREX team were in pieces with emotion.

Emily Hawgood ©iancorless

Hours later, Emily Hawgood arrived at Col de Montes, the TERREX team lining the climb to give her one last big push to the finish. Eventually the finish came and a 6th place. Surrounded by her team, the worlds media were amazed at the unity of the TERREX team as they celebrated en-mass the success of one of their own.

#oneteam ©iancorless

This is the oneteam ethos, victories may be individual, but they are not possible without what goes on behind the scenes. We all had roles, but flexibility is key. Athletes became crew, office workers became car drivers, and everyone became a supporter both in a physical and mental capacity.

Once again, it was a real pleasure to be immersed with the adidas TERREX brand and follow closely the whole process that makes a race and team come together. We use the word family and without a doubt, the TERREX team is family. We are all #unitedbysummits

I spent much of the week with Stefan Durst but a huge thanks to Pfefferminzmich – Rapha, Andy, Yannick, Vinz and Christian.

I have the best job in the world!

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Episode 230 – The Chamonix Tapes – Tom Evans

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2022 UTMB.

Starting on Sunday August 21st and running through to UTMB 2022, there will be a series of podcast releases for your audio pleasure in ‘The Chamonix Tapes.’

In episode 5, we speak with Tom Evans who battled a stressful injury and surgery… A process that started 12-months ago.

” What can I do, how do I control the controllables… Western States is more like a 100km in comparison to UTMB… I can’t begin to imagine how many nights I have spent without a head torch… I Can’t wait for the night… The night is coming, like it or not!”

#oneteam

#unitedbysummits

https://talkultra.libsyn.com/episode-229-the-chamonix-tapes-taylor-nowlin

Show links:

Website HERE

Spotify HERE

ITunes HERE

iOS HERE

Android HERE

Web player HERE

Libsyn – HERE 

Tunein – HERE

Episode 229 – The Chamonix Tapes – Taylor Nowlin

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2022 UTMB.

Starting on Sunday August 21st and running through to UTMB 2022, there will be a series of podcast releases for your audio pleasure in ‘The Chamonix Tapes.’

In episode 4, we speak with Taylor Nowlin who battled a stressful 2020 and 2021 working as a nurse and recovering from Covid to place top-10 at Western States.

“I think the biggest theme in the last year has been scaling back on work so that I could focus on running… I needed to be more of a professional at running.”

#oneteam

#unitedbysummits

Show links:

Website HERE

Spotify HERE

ITunes HERE

iOS HERE

Android HERE

Web player HERE

Libsyn – HERE 

Tunein – HERE

Episode 227 – The Chamonix Tapes – Holly Page

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2022 UTMB.

Starting on Sunday August 21st and running through to UTMB 2022, there will be a series of podcast releases for your audio pleasure in ‘The Chamonix Tapes.’

In episode 2, we speak with Holly Page who has been fighting against long term injury.

“I started with an ankle injury in Feb 21… I had hoped to run TDS in 2021 and despite my best efforts, the injury has not gone away… Finally, I am on an upward slope!”

#oneteam

#unitedbysummits

https://talkultra.libsyn.com/episode-226-the-chamonix-tapes-toni-mccann

Show links:

Website HERE

Spotify HERE

ITunes HERE

iOS HERE

Android HERE

Web player HERE

Libsyn – HERE 

Tunein – HERE

Episode 226 – – The Chamonix Tapes – Toni McCann

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2022 UTMB.

Starting on Sunday August 21st and running through to UTMB, there will be a daily podcast release for your audio pleasure in The Chamonix Tapes.

In episode 1, we speak with South African and new member to the Terrex team, Toni McCann.

“I am as prepared as I can be… The process has been great. The outcome will happen and whatever that is I can only be happy!”

#oneteam

#unitedbysummits

Show links:

Website HERE

Spotify HERE

ITunes HERE

iOS HERE

Android HERE

Web player HERE

Libsyn – HERE 

Tunein – HERE

La Sportiva AKASHA – Shoe Review

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to run in the La Sportiva Akasha? But, now that I have, I am somewhat perplexed that I have been missing an awesome shoe for months and probably years.

With 350km in the Akasha in just over 2-weeks, I can confirm that they are one of the most comfortable and reassured shoes I have used irrespective of the type of terrain or distance of run.

They are billed as a cushioned, protective and a long-distance shoe. When you first pick them up, you notice two things:

  1. They feel bomb proof.
  2. 2. They are a little heavy.

Of course, bomb proof and additional weight go hand in hand, but if the run comfort and feel is good, a little extra weight is no real issue. Weight is 310g for UK8.

From the off, the Akasha felt immediately comfortable with a great fit, roomy toe box, but not too roomy (3 on a 1-5 scale,) very breathable upper, padded tongue, excellent lacing and foot hold and a comfortable heel box.

The cushioning is notable with 31mm / 25mm stack height for a 6mm drop and lugs are 4.5mm

The cushioning platform is noticeable and especially so when running. It is injected moulded EVA in a single density. It has stabiliser anti torsional inserts and it features the trail rocker that helps slow the transition from heel strike to toe off by isolating and deforming the heel zone separately by providiing a separation

Out if the box I went on an 18km gnarly trail run with loads of rocks and vert. The following day was a 32km run on similar terrain. The shoes were just soooo comfortable and protective. I was cursing that it had taken me so long to use the Akasha and I was already thinking to myself, I need to get another pair…! The cushioning and protection remarkably do not lose ground feel, on the contrary, it’s really good! Of course, not comparable with a more minimalist shoe but hey, the Akasha is not trying to be that!

There is no rock plate, but with this level of cushioning it is no issue. Importantly, there is a real feel for the ground and a life in the shoe. The heal area is very cushioned and bouncy. The Ortholite Mountain Running insert adds to the comfort also. Rocks, irrespective of shape caused no foot discomfort and on no occasion did I feel anything push through the cushioning to make me wince with that all to painful twinge in the bottom of the foot.

Lacing up the shoes, there is an immediate foot hold and security in the instep. This I like. I don’t like sloppy shoes with poor foot hold, especially when running on technical trail. The tongue is gusseted and has a sock-like fit, again, another real bonus!

Overlays provide reinforcement of the very breathable and airy upper around the instep and at the front of the shoe. There is little to restrict the toes at the front and this has been superb when running on any type of terrain. The shoes bend beautifully and make the propulsive phase a pleasure.

Outsole is the aggressive FriXion XT which is unique to La Sportiva and is superb. The grip (4.5mm lugs) is well spaced out to help shed mud. With a built in ‘Trail Rocker’ these Akasha really role along. You will notice red areas on the sole which have a different look to the black areas. This allows for superb heel to toe transition should it be required – depending on your run style and gait.

No matter what I have thrown at the Akasha, they have responded superbly with superb ride, excellent comfort, and superb grip. They even accompanied me on a 16km road run and even then, the performance and feel were excellent.

They are a heavier shoe, but when running in them you just don’t notice it, especially when on challenging terrain.

Regarding size, you may want to consider going a half size larger. I am pretty much always a UK9.5/ EU44 in most shoes. The La Sportiva comes as a EU442/3 (which is a UK9.5+) and they have been great with no problems. However, just recently I ordered a second pair (because I have been so happy with the first) and I ordered an EU45 which has given me just a little more space and toe room. I have yet to run in the EU45.

Summary

Soft and breathable with a slipper like comfort, reinforced upper, superb cushioning, excellent grip and a 6mm drop – The La Sportiva Akasha has been revelation.

Irrespective of the terrain, the Akasha is a shoe that you can grab for any run, and they will perform superbly, be that for a short distance trail runs or a long and lengthy mountain run. It’s a shoe that would be ideal for say UTMB or similar. Feet feel fresh for mile-after-mile in the Akasha and when running back-to-back days, I got no sore points or aches.

It’s rare that a shoe can feel so good on any terrain and yes, they may tip the scales a little heavier than some of the competition but the ride and comfort more than justifies this.

The outsole, like the upper is bombproof and offers excellent grip on trail and rock and while not recommended, it ticks along on the road with no discomfort.

There are several shoes that I go to daily, the Hoka Torrent 2 being one that I can pick up and run on pretty much any terrain and for any length of time. The Akasha has now replaced the Torrent 2 as my daily ‘go-to’ and should I travel and only be able to take one pair of shoes, the Akasha would be the choice. The adidas Speed Ultra is still up there as one of my ‘shoes of 2021’ and for faster runs on more groomed trail, the Speed Ultra would win out. The Akasha will take some beating as a ‘grab and go’ shoe though and it’s rare to find one shoe that does so much so well and in a package that will last and last.

La Sportiva have long and respected heritage in the footwear world in particular with the mountains. This heritage is apparent in the Akasha where they have made attention to detail a priority along with comfort and durability. They have avoided compromise with a little extra weight.

Key Stats

Uppers:

Breathable Air Mesh + PU leather at the rear and Dynamic ProTechTion at the toe.

Lining:

Mesh non slip.

Midsole:

Injected EVA and Cushion Platform.

Footbed:

Ortholite Mountain Running.

Sole:

FriXion XT dual density with Trail Rocker system.

Cushioning:

31/25mm

Drop:

6mm

Ultra Trail Snowdonia 2021 Summary #UTS

Josh Bakker-Dyos

Persistent rain, low cloud, poor visibility, mud, bogs, wet rocks, climbs and descents that made even the most adapted legs scream in pain, yes, that was Ultra Trail Snowdonia 2021.

Missing in 2020 due to the dreaded ‘C’ word, the UTS returned in 2021 to Capel Curig as part of the Ultra Trail World Tour and supported by Hoka One One to confirm the dream of Michael Jones of Apex Running – A big UTMB style weekend of racing in the heart of Wales.

VIEW THE IMAGE GALLERY

With distances of 50km, 100km and the whopping 165km, one word was touted pretty much everywhere all weekend, brutal! And it was… A savage weekend of racing but as Michael says, ‘beautifully beyond belief, savage beyond reason.’

Despite the rain, despite the lack of views, Wales was a stunning playground for trail running. Let’s be clear here, there is no ‘easy’ running at UTS. The 50km is a wonderfully challenging route that may well have surprised many with some of its technical challenges, particularly the climb from Ogwen up to Carnedd Dafydd, compensated for what could be then considered a ‘relatively’ easy run in to the finish via Lyn Cowlyd and Blaen-Y-Nant.

The 100km route followed the early miles of the UTS50 all the way to Pen-Y-Pass but then headed along the Miners’ Track for an extended loop to return via the Pyg Track heading off to Y Garn, a loop around Tryfan and then head up to Carnedd Dafydd via a different route to the 50km and then follow the same run in to the finish.

The 165km is well, just a monster! As expected, it created carnage amongst the competitors. It’s a relentless beasting of mind and body that passes through the whole of Snowdonia. The 100km and 50km routes all utilizing sections of this all-encompassing journey but only the 165km giving the full perspective of how beautiful and hard the Welsh mountains are. As with all races at UTS, it started and concluded in Capel Curig. Heading off to Blaenau Ffestiniog, Croesor it then picked up the 50km and 100km routes to Pen-Y-Pass. Nantmoor, Moel Hebdog, Llyn-y-Gadair and then after Yr Wyddfa it followed the Snowdon Ranger Path for an extended loop before returning via the Snowdon Massif and Pyg Track to Pen-y-Pass. From here, the 100km and 165km routes were identical all the way back to Capel Curig.

Tremayne Dill Cowdry summed it up:
“45 hours to do just over 100 miles and every minute of that was a hard slog.
Mountains, bog, wet rock, tough nav on a marked course, sleep deprivation, mist, rain and the terrain!! Very little was even runnable. I can’t imagine a 100 miler more difficult than that. Easily the hardest I’ve done and definitely the hardest in the UK. I was going ok although I would have happily dropped given the chance but my feet succumb to the permanent wet and I had to hobble the last 20-ish miles…

Stunning landscape

As with all races, someone has to cross the line first, and of course there was stunning performances all weekend. However, the real sense of achievement came firstly from toeing the line and being in with a chance of completing a journey. The second came from completing the journey. Every medal was hard earned.

Josh Bakker-Dyos

In the 165km event, Josh Bakker-Dyos lead from the start and while many expected him to blow up, so fast was his pace, he never did. He was relentless and consistent crossing the line in 28:51:43. It was easy to say, ‘he made it look easy!’ But for every other runner who crossed the 165km line, it was very clear, there was nothing easy on this route! Toby Hazelwood was less than 60-minutes behind in second, 29:45:17, another stunning run! Adam Jeffs rounded the podium with 34:09:54. Alice Sheldon and Becky Wightman were the only female finishers, 45:09:55 and 47:41:06 their hard-earned efforts stopping the clock – a brutal two nights and days out in the Welsh mountains. Only 32 completed the race.

Mark Darbyshire

The 100km route was won, but not dominated by Lakeland 100 champ, Mark Darbyshire ahead of Josh Wade and Jack Scott. Mark crossed in 14:25:47 with 14:33:36 going to second. It was 16:02:05 elapsed before the third crossed the line. Sarah Stavely (21:41:03) won the women’s race with Kajsa Holgersson and Julie Finn in second and third, 22:28:49 and 22:44:53.

Lauren Woodwiss

Harry Jones flew around the UTS 50 route and looked as strong at the finish as when he started, his 6:13:33 a stunning time. It was 6:56:54 elapsed before second place Will Simmons crossed ahead of Spencer Shaw in 7:14:53. Lauren Woodwiss, like Jones, lead from the start dictating an excellent pace over the 50km route and completed her journey in an excellent 7:54:18. Celia Waring placed second in 8:36:18 and Abelone Lyng from Norway, moved up from outside the top-10 women to eventually finish third in 8:43:16 after sprinting for the line ahead of Jenna Shail who was just 13-seconds behind.

VIEW THE IMAGE GALLERY

Abelone Lyng

As Capel Curig slowly returned to some normality on Sunday, it was easy to see that the UTS will become one of the ultimate trail running events not only in the UK but the world. It may not have all the glamour and glitz of Chamonix and the UTMB. It’s a much more grass roots event, some would say a ‘true’ trail running event. Ultimately though, Wales was the hero of the weekend offering stunning routes. This landscape combined with the vision of Michael Jones of Apex Running and a team of dedicated volunteers and supporters will make UTS a ‘one to do!’ However, if you are thinking about the 165 event? Think long hard and without doubt, train hard, it’s a beautifully brutal beast.

‘beautifully beyond belief, savage beyond reason.’

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Ultra Trail Snowdonia 2021 Preview

Coronavirus pretty much wiped out the 2020 racing calendar and unfortunately, UTS was a casualty at the 11th hour. Gladly, UTS returns for 2021 bigger and better than ever… Supported by Hoka One One® and now part of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour, UTS is the UK’s answer to other big European ultras! Learn more about the Ultra-Trail® World Tour HERE.

Michael Jones of Apex Running Co is a runner himself, so, he has understood the need and desire to race, but also abide by government guidelines and provide a safe race – a thankless task for anyone. Michael has been positive though, always looking ahead, planning and working within government guidelines to bring a safe and stunning weekend of racing to Wales.

Three events that show Snowdonia at its best. The 50km has a 14-hour cut-off, the 100km 33-hours and the 165km a whopping 50-hour limit. Needless to say, 3 very tough events in a tough and challenging part of the world. Covering an area of 827 square miles and established in 1951, Snowdonia is the second largest National Park in the UK and home to the highest peaks in the UK outside of Scotland. From its 37 miles of beautiful beaches where you can surf, to rugged, ridge-laden mountain peaks and an array of pristine lakes inbetween: there is something to please every outdoor enthusiast here! Keen to learn a bit more about beautiful Snowdonia? A great place to start is the Snowdonia National Park Authority website HERE.

The 165km event is the main event of the weekend starting at 11am on Friday 10th September. A route that starts and finishes in Capel Curig, it’s a monster of a challenge.

The schedule for the weekend is HERE

UTS Facebook HERE

UTS Instagram HERE

UTS Twitter HERE

Each distance features 3300/6700/10,000m+ elevation gain, on predominantly technical mountain trails. This makes UTS one of, if not THE toughest Ultra-Trail® events in the world. UTS isn’t just challenging for the sake of it though. With routes that explore Snowdonia’s most scenic valleys, rugged peaks and epic landscapes, these race routes are truly the most beautiful in the UK!

Entry lists are available to view via the UTS website. While most entrants are from the UK, there is a multinational feel with Poland, Sweden, Norway, South Africa, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic, Australia, Spain, USA, Germany, Netherlands and more… listed on the start sheets.

The UTS 165 is the stand-out and flagship event offering a stunningly brutal and beautiful tour of the Snowdonia National Park. Starting in Capel Curig, the route takes in the most notable peaks of north Wales.

UTS 100 has technical trails, epic views and is a highlight tour of north Wales.

Arguably, the UTS 50 is an entry level race but still requires respect for the challenges that Wales and its mountains can bring.

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Episode 218 – The Chamonix Tapes 6 – Emily Hawgood and Petter Engdahl

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2021 UTMB.

Starting on Tuesday August 24th and running through to Sunday August 29th, there will be a daily podcast release for your audio pleasure.
In The Chamonix Tapes 6, we speak with Emily Hawgood and Petter Engdahl.

“This summer has been amazing, from not being able to travel to being here in the Alps for 2-months has been superb! The big goal for this Summer has been OCC. So far the adidas Terrex Team support has exceeded my expectations… The team is growing and we will have some really good years ahead of us, adidas Terrex have the aim to move the boundaries of trail running in a new area of professionalism without losing the sport ethos.” – Petter Engdahl

Show links:


Website HERE

Spotify HERE  

ITunes HERE  

iOS HERE

Android HERE  

Web player HERE  

Libsyn – HERE   

Tunein – HERE

Episode 217 – The Chamonix Tapes 5 – Robbie Simpson

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2021 UTMB.

Starting on Tuesday August 24th and running through to Sunday August 29th, there will be a daily podcast release for your audio pleasure.
In The Chamonix Tapes 5, we speak with Robbie Simpson.

“I have always like road and I think there is a place for that… But, I am keen to move towards trail and longer distance events. That feeling of running up a mountain on a smooth or technical trail is magical.”

Show links:


Website HERE

Spotify HERE  

ITunes HERE  

iOS HERE

Android HERE  

Web player HERE  

Libsyn – HERE   

Tunein – HERE