EcoTrail Funchal 2015 – Madeira

©iancorless.com_EcoTrailMadeira2015-5747

Arnaud Lejeune winning the 80km

The first edition of the ECOTRAIL Funchal took place today on the stunning island of Madeira.

For those who know, they will say, Madeira? wow, that is a hilly island for a race. I agree! It’s a very hilly island for a race.

Three events, 600+ people and community united are the key statistics from this inaugural edition.

Starting at 0600m the main event of the day, the 80km race (5400m of elevation gain) departed the centre of the town and under the illumination of head lamps the runners set out for what was without doubt a tough day and for many, night, on the trails of Funchal.

At 0900 the 40km event with 2500m of elevation gain departed from Algeria (Alegria) and finally at 1100, the 17km event with just 250m of vertical gain departed from Bico (PICO) de Barcelos.

Madeira is known for it’s great all year climate but race day proved to be a mix of glorious sunshine, cloud and light rain. However, the conditions for runners were perfect enabling the majority to run in conditions that were neither to hot or cold.

First edition races seldom have high quality fields but here in Madeira three world-class French runners toed the line:

Arnaud Lejeune – recent 2nd place at the Ultra Trail Mt Fuji

Julien Chorier – Champion of the Madeira Island Ultra Trail in 2014 and 6th at Western States in 2015.

Fabien Antolinos – 6th at UTMB 2015

Although Lejeune and Antolinus dominated the 80km event and Chorier won the 40km race, the ECOTRAIL Funchal is much more than elite names racing and setting records. The race is all about motivation and inspiration. This was reflected in the 17km event where local people arrived in their hundreds to take part and support

The race, the people and the island rely on tourism and without doubt, the ECOTRAIL race adds a great boost.

©iancorless.com_EcoTrailMadeira2015-8591

The 80km and 40km races

The race started by following the main streets of the town heading east and then up to Curral dos Rameiros and Monte. Following trails, technical at times they head to the 1800m summit at Pico do Arieiro and then drop like stones to Allegria (this is the 40km start). Navigating through suburban streets a brutal uphill follows and then a descent to Ribeira Grande, Santo Antonio. At Levada Negra another steep climb awaits, unfortunately this is the nature of Madeira trails; they go up and down! From Pico de Buxo they drop downhill towards the sea and stunning views of Funchal. Following trails and paths they navigate to the finish in Funchal with a final stretch running along the coast and the finish in  Avenida do Infante.

17km

Starts from Pico de Barelo and takes in the final sections of the 80km and 40km events to finish on the Avenida do Infante in Funchal.

Race Results

In the 80km race, Arnaud Lejeune lead from the front and had a stunning day on the trails of Madeira. Despite a fall, he arrived in Funchal looking strong. Fabien Antoninus played the bridesmaid and as the latter stages of the race unfolded he obviously decided to take his foot of the gas and save some energy.

  1. Arnaud Lejeune 8:30:09
  2. Fabien Antoninus 8:49:46
  3. Leonardo Diogo 9:51:17

Ana Conclaves was the ladies winner in 12:43:24

All 80km results are HERE

In the 40km race, Julien Chorier raced in 2nd place for most of the day behind Marco Silva but at around 34km, he pulled away and took a strong victory on a course that he said was, ‘very tough challenging and technical!’

  1. Julien Chorier 4:29:55
  2. Marco Silva 4:33:57
  3. Virgilio Ornelas 4:46:07

 

All 40km results are HERE

The 17km race was all about fun and in many scenarios it provided a first race opportunity for many locals. No doubt, they will be inspired to look ahead to 2016 and maybe move up to the 40km distance.

  1. Marten Bostrom 59:36
  2. Francisco Freitas 1:03:39
  3. Jorge Pimenta 1:06:01

All 17km results HERE

At the time of writing results are slowly but surely coming in as all races have not finished. We will update this post with information as and when available.

You can check the ECOTRAIL Funchal website HERE

Logo EcoTrail Funchal Madeira

All images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Registration and pre-race click on an image and view the gallery

The early hours click on an image and view the gallery

Race images 1 click on an image and view the gallery

Race images 2 click on an image and view the gallery

Finish 1 click on an image and view the gallery

Finish 2 click on an image and view the gallery

JEZ and the DRAGON

Jez and the Dragon

“…it kind of draws upon my all around hill skills really. My ability to look after myself in tricky weather situations, navigate my way between checkpoint stations and just generally manage myself and be safe. Whilst it is a race there’s a kind of survival element, there’s definitely a lot of appeal in all that. I think that UK ultra-running traditionally drew upon all those skills with mountain marathons and similar events. It’s nice to go back and do a big event based on those elements and test myself in different ways. It brings excitement and gets my adrenaline going.” – Jez Bragg

 

You can read the full article on Jez Bragg on RUNULTRA HERE

run-ultra-logo

The Berghaus Dragons Back Race™

The legendary Dragon’s Back Race™ follows the mountainous spine of Wales from Conwy Castle to Carreg Cennen Castle. This incredible 5-day journey is approximately 300 kilometres long with 17,000 metres of ascent across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain. It is not a trail race.

The original Dragon’s Back Race™ happened in September 1992 and ever since, it has been whispered about with a mix of awe and trepidation. Its reputation had reached legendary status with fell, mountain and ultra runners the World over by September 2012 when the second Dragon’s Back Race™ happened.

The Dragon’s Back Race™ is one of the hardest mountain races in the World.

The next race will be the 22nd-26th June 2015. If you are considering entering or just want to experience the awesome challenge offered by the Dragon’s Back Race™ we strongly recommend that you watch the multi award winning film of the 2012 race.

Potential competitors should read the information here>>>.

Shane Ohly
Race Director

Nick Clark counts down to Salomon SkyRun

Nick Clark

Nick Clark is one of the most respected 100-mile runners in the world. He is known for being tough and getting the job done! Born in the UK he moved to the US way back and started notching up a list of stunning ultra results that dates back to 2006.

He placed 4th at Western States and won Wasatch 100 in 2010. In 2011, ‘Clarky’ did an impressive double of placing 3rd at Western States and then 3rd at Hardrock 100 just 2-weeks later.

For many though, Nick elevated his profile in 2013 when he went head-to-head with Ian Sharman in the Grand Slam of ultra running. In an epic battle, the two US based Brits traded blows in one of the most exciting moments in our sport. Sharman came out on top but only just… Clark has often joked that after he won the last race, Wasatch he was the Grand Slam record holder in 2013 until Sharman finished. It takes some doing just completing four 100-mile races but to place 6th at Western States, 3rd at Vermont, 2nd at Leadville and then win Wasatch blows my mind!

Clark started 2014 with The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, his first multi-day race… he went on to say it was one of the toughest races he has done. At UTMF he placed 10th and recently he placed 5th at Run Rabbit Run. The only blip this year came at Western States when he toughed out a 47th place… a real bad day at the office!

And now the Salomon SkyRun in South Africa looms. I caught up with Nick to find out about his expectation are for what will be a tough day out in the Drakensberg mountains.

How have the last couple of months been from a racing perspective?

Up and down, I guess. I had a terrible run at Western States this year – I think I was burned out on the race – then came back and had a much better run at the Run Rabbit Run 100 in September, filling me with a good level of confidence for the SkyRun.

How’s training going; have you been training specifically for South Africa?

As noted above, I’m just looking to get into the mountains and to get into remote, steep terrain with some navigational elements thrown in. Off trail and steep is the mantra.

Maybe you have been brushing up on your navigation and looking at some maps?

I’m forever looking at maps dreaming up fun routes in the mountains. It is for this reason that I’m so excited about Sky Run.

Are you intimidated by the navigation element of the SkyRun?

Absolutely not. It adds a unique and seriously fun, in my opinion, element to racing in the mountains.

The course sounds extreme, particularly if the weather turns. Have you researched the course?

Not in depth, but I will. I plan to be as prepared as I possibly can be for this event.

A strong local contingent will be toeing the line… Iain Don Wauchope, AJ Calitz and so on… do you know much about them?

No, but thanks for the heads up. I’ll seek these guys out and assuming I can keep up, probably slot in behind for much of the course. Working together with friends in the mountains is one of the best parts about hitting remote routes.

Michael De Haast has put up a great price purse should somebody post a great time, is that an incentive for you?

Ask me halfway through the route. I have no idea how stout that time really is. If I’m on schedule through halfway and feeling strong, then I’ll definitely be motivated to go after it. If not, then I’ll just continue to enjoy the primary reason for being in South Africa: enjoying a new mountain range and culture.

Have you been to SA before?

First time. I am seriously excited. I’m really looking forward to connecting with the South African running community, eating some local delicacies, and getting stuck into those Witteberg Mountains.

The South Africa Sky Run provides a truly unique opportunity to race in a remote and scenic mountain location. For me the best part about the event is the navigational aspect. Having no markers to follow means that I’ll need to be in tune with the topography and hyper-conscious of my location in relation to that topography. In my experience, the navigational piece really helps to connect with the particular location I am traveling through, which in turn adds a level of appreciation for the terrain that you just don’t get if you’re racing head down through a landscape. I look forward to bringing home a beautiful mental picture of the Witteberg Mountains to share with friends and family.

 

The Salomon SkyRun takes place on November 22nd and you can view the official website HERE.

The Witteberg is a South African mountain range just off the south-west corner of Lesotho. The range, which rises to 2408 metres, stretches for about 60km from Lundin’s Nek in the east to Lady Grey in the west. The range lends its name to the Witteberg Series, the uppermost fossiliferous sequence of the Cape System of sedimentary rocks in South Africa. The race starts in the town of Lady Grey which is famous for its annual Nativity Play and its quaint houses and incredible scenery. Discover the wonder of Balloch cave along the route with it bushman art and idyllic setting nestled between some of the highest peaks in the Witteberg.

The Witteberg range is one of the most picturesque places in South Africa with some distinctive peaks like Avoca and Halston Peaks dominating the skyline.

The Terrain:

The Salomon SkyRun is true mountain running with a variety of terrain from hiking paths that lead you up to the tower, some jeep track is a welcome relief from the majority of the terrain which is on the mountain side as this is a self-supported and self-navigation the route choice is very much in the hands of the individual competitors. Once you have left the town of Lady Grey behind the beauty and remoteness of these mountains soon engulfs you and it is not uncommon to run for the entire race without seeing much civilization around you except those involved in the race.

The fauna and flora is incredible and there are over 650 plant and 80 animal species know to habitat the mountains of the Witteberg.

Episode 60 – Foote, Scotney, Meek, Britton, Spiers

Ep60

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 Spiers. Marc Laithwaite is back for Talk Training. News, a Blog, Up and Coming Races and of course, Speedgoat Karl Meltzer.

NEWS
 
UTMF
 
  1. Francois D’Haene 19:09:13
  2. Ryan Sandes 20:18:59
  3. Mike Foote 20:54:16
 
  1. Nuria Picas 23:27:34
  2. Fernanda Maciel 23:46:24
  3. Maria Semarjian 27:16:13
 
ONER
  1. Rob Sartin 18:19:29
  2. Tom Sutton 18:40:08
  3. Max Woods 20:13:19
  1. Nicky Taylor 18:40:10
  2. Erica Terblanche 20:36:34
  3. Melanie Hawker 21:56:54
 
Iznik Races
 
  1. 130k
  • Marcus Scotney (Montane) 12:53:59 new CR
  • Mahmut Yavuz 13:11:55
  • Zhikica Ivanovski 13:53:41
  • Bakiye Duran 19:09:39
  • Svetiana Stojanoska 22:27:08
AUDIO with Marcus Scotney
80K
  • Jo Meek (Scott Running) 6:52:17 new CR first lady and first overall
  • Aykut Celikbas 7:41:34
  • Firat Kara 7:46:07 (tbc)
  • Jo Meek (Scott Running)
  • Yasemin Goktas 9:45:34
  • Ayse Beril Basliqil 9:54:45
AUDIO with Jo Meek
Marathon
  • Robbie Britton (inov-8) 3:08:19 new CR
  • Benoit Laval (Raidlight) 3:30:38
  • Duygun Yurteri 3:31:56
  • Elena Polyakova 3:47:26
  • Aysen Solak 3:51:01
  • Helen Southcott 4:14:07
AUDIO with Robbie Britton
 
Highland Fling Race 
  1. Sondre Amdahl (Norway) 07:29:15
  2. Justin Maxwell 07:46:35
  3. Neil Macnicol 07:49:08
  1. Jo Zakrzewski 08:30:29
  2. Sally Fawcett 08:38:41
  3. Elaine Omand )8:49:33
 
SDW50 – correction to results
  1. Louise Waterman Evans 7:06:08
  2. Edwina Sutton 7:09:21
  3. Sarah Perkins 7:19:43
**correction – Gemma Carter re SDW50
Oh Ian, that is really very kind of you I know it will mean a lot to Eddy and of course, it means a lot to me (I’m not in the big league YET, so every little result counts! ) thank you… See below: 1st.Edwina Sutton- 7:09:21 2nd. Sarah Perkins-7:19:43 3rd. Gemma Carter-7:32:42
Transvulcania is next week… what a showdown awaits! In-depth preview HERE
BLOG – A Glorious Boston http://www.atrailrunnersblog.com
INTERVIEW
Mike Foote has a great reputation for starting steady and moving his way up through the field. At UTMF he gave another prime example of how to do this….
AUDIO with Mike Foote
 
 
AUDIO with Steve Spiers… the British Bulldog
 
 
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat
 
 
TRAINING TALK with Marc Laithwaite
 
 
UP & COMING RACES
 
 

Australia

New South Wales

WildEndurance 100km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

WildEndurance 50km Team Challenge | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

WildEndurance event | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Queensland

Mt Mee Classic Trail 66 km Teams race | 66 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

The Great Wheelbarrow Race – Mareeba to Dimbulah | 104 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

South Australia

Hubert 100km | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Hubert 100 Miles | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Hubert 50km | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Victoria

Macedon Ranges 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 100km | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 60 km | 60 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Wilsons Prom 100 – 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Belgium

Wallonia

La Bouillonnante – 56 km | 56 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 100K | 100 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras – 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

The North Face Dirty Feet Kal Park 50 | 50 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Ontario

Seaton Trail 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

China

Trail de la Grande Muraille de Chine | 73 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Denmark

Hovedstaden

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm -100 Miles | 100 miles | May 02, 2014 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 miles | 50 miles | May 02, 2014 | website

Finland

Oulu

NUTS Karhunkierros Trail Ultra – 160 km | 160 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

France

Ardèche

Trail l’Ardéchois – 57 km | 57 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail l’Ardéchois | 98 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Bas-Rhin

Trail du Wurzel | 52 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Drôme

Challenge Charles & Alice | 148 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Les Aventuriers de la Drôme | 65 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Les Aventuriers du Bout de Drôme | 105 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Haute-Loire

Ultra Techni Trail de Tiranges | 50 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Oise

Trail’Oise – 60 km | 60 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Rhône

Ultra des Coursières | 103 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Savoie

Nivolet – Revard | 51 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Yonne

The Trail 110 | 110 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The Trail 63 | 65 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Lauf “Rund um Wolfach” | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Stromberg Extrem 54,4 KM | 54 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Lower Saxony

German 100 mile Trail Run | 100 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Bödefelder Hollenlauf 101 KM | 101 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Bödefelder Hollenlauf 67 KM | 67 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Saarland

RAG-Hartfüßler – Trail 58 km | 58 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Greece

Doliho Ultra-Marathon | 260 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Euchidios Athlos 107.5 Km | 107 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Euchidios Hyper-Athlos 215 Km | 215 kilometers | May 09, 2014 | website

Olympian Race – 180 km | 180 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Olympian Race – 62 km | 62 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Indonesia

Volcans de l’Extrême | 164 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Ireland

Connacht

Causeway Crossing 100K | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Causeway Crossing 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Israel

Mountain to Valley Relay | 215 kilometers | May 15, 2014 | website

Italy

Liguria

Gran Trail Rensen | 62 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Sardinia

Sardinia Trail | 90 kilometers | May 09, 2014 | website

Tuscany

Elba Trail “Eleonoraxvincere” | 56 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

Japan

Oxfam Trailwalker Japan | 100 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Madagascar

Semi Trail des Ô Plateaux | 65 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail des Ô Plateaux | 130 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Martinique

Tchimbé du Volcan | 70 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Tchimbé Raid 110 km | 110 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Mauritius

Royal Raid 80 km | 80 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Mayotte

Mahoraid | 70 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Peru

Jungle Ultra | 220 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Philippines

The North Face 100®, Philippines – 100 km | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The North Face 100®, Philippines – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Portugal

Madeira Island Ultra Trail 115 | 116 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Madeira Island Ultra Trail 85 | 85 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Ultra-Trail de Sesimbra | 55 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Spain

Andalusia

La Legión 101 km | 101 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Balearic Islands

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls | 185 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls Costa Nord | 100 kilometers | May 16, 2014 | website

Basque Country

Apuko Long Trail – 65 Km | 60 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail Apuko Extreme | 90 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Canary Islands

Transvulcania | 83 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Castile and León

101 Peregrinos | 101 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Switzerland

Berne

Bielersee XXL 100 Meilen | 100 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Turkey

Cekmekoy 60K Ultramarathon | 60 kilometers | May 11, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Argyll and Bute

Kintyre Way Ultra Run | 66 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Kintyre Way Ultra Run – Tayinloan – Campbeltown | 35 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

County of Pembrokeshire

Coastal Trail Series – Pembrokeshire – Ultra | 34 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Greater London

Thames Path 100 | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Hampshire

XNRG Pony Express Ultra | 60 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Kent

National 100K | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

National 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nottinghamshire

Dukeries Ultra 40 | 40 miles | May 11, 2014 | website

Oxfordshire

T60 Nigh Race | 60 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Wiltshire

Marlborough Downs Challenge – 33 mile | 33 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Worcestershire

Malvern Hills 53 Mile Ultra | 53 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Malvern Hills 83 Mile Ultra | 83 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

USA

Alabama

Run for Kids Challenge 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Arizona

Sinister Night 54K Trail Run | 54 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

California

Armstrong Redwoods 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Badwater Salton Sea | 81 miles | May 05, 2014 | website

Canyons 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Cinderella Trail Run 50 km (May) | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Diablo 50K | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Golden Gate Relay | 191 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Me-Ow Quads | 104 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Me-Ow Siamese | 42 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Miwok 100K Trail Race | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 100K | 100 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 100 Mile | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Nirvana Ultra Big Bear 50 Mile | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

PCT50 Trail Run | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Quicksilver 100K Endurance Run | 100 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Quicksilver 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Whoos in El Moro 50k | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Wild Wild West 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Colorado

Cimarron 50k Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | May 04, 2014 | website

Collegiate Peaks 50M Trail Run | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Greenland Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Quad Rock 50 | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

The Divide 135 Ultra | 135 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Georgia

Cruel Jewel 100 | 100 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Cruel Jewel 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Indiana

DWD Gnaw Bone 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

DWD Gnaw Bone 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Iowa

Market to Market Relay | Iowa | 75 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Kansas

Heartland 50 Mile Spring Race | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Rock On! Lake Perry 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Massachusetts

Ragnar Relay Cape Cod | 186 miles | May 09, 2014 | website

Wapack and Back Trail Races 50 Miles | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Nevada

Labor of Love 100M | 100 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Labor of Love 50K | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Labor of Love 50M | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Ride the Wind 100M | 100 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Ride the Wind 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

New Jersey

3 Days at the Fair – 50K | 50 kilometers | May 15, 2014 | website

New York

Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Rock The Ridge 50-Mile Endurance Challenge | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain 50k | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain 50 Mile | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

North Carolina

OBX Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Ohio

50’s For Yo Momma 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

50’s For Yo Momma 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Oregon

McDonald Forest 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Smith Rock Ascent 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

South Carolina

Oconee 50k | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Wambaw Swamp Stomp 50 Miler Trail Run and Relay | 50 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Xterra Myrtle Beach 50 km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Tennessee

Rock/Creek Thunder Rock 100 Mile Trail Race | 100 miles | May 16, 2014 | website

Strolling Jim 40 Mile Run | 40 miles | May 03, 2014 | website

Texas

Hog’s Hunt 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Vermont

PEAK Ultra Marathon – 500 Miles | 500 miles | May 13, 2014 | website

Virginia

Singletrack Maniac 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Washington

50K Ultradash | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

50 Mile Ultradash | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

Grand Ridge 50K Trail Run (May) | 50 kilometers | May 03, 2014 | website

Lost Lake 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

West Virginia

Capon Valley 50K Run | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Wisconsin

Ice Age Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | May 10, 2014 | website

Ice Age Trail 50M | 50 miles | May 10, 2014 | website

 

LINKS

Ultra Trail Mount Fuji 2014 Preview #UTMF2014

logo

 The UTWT rolls on and Japan will host what will arguably be one of the most competitive 100-mile races we will see this year… certainly over a tough course (Hardrock excluded). I say a 100-miles but actually the course is 105 with approximately 10,000 meters of altitude gain. The fifth race in the UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour) in reality, UTMF is a follow on race from Transgrancanaria as many of the big hitters will re-assemble in Japan, to do battle once again for key ranking points. Nuria Picas was always going to race on the clockwise loop around Mount Fuji, by contrast, Ryan Sandes after his success in the Canaries has shifted focus from Australia and placed his emphasis and efforts on this tough and challenging race.

utmf_map

Without doubt, at the stroke of 3pm (local time) on Friday 25th April a battle royal will unfold both in the ladies and men’s respective races. Dropout rates are usually around 30% to give an indication of how tough this race is.

utmf_elevation

Race statement:

The ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI is an unparalleled event that challenges the human spirit through the outdoor sport of trail running. By connecting mountain trails, local footpaths and forest roads around the foothills of Mt. Fuji, this 168km course allows participants to enjoy majestic 360 degree views of Mt. Fuji while experiencing the stunning natural beauty and culture of this region.’

LADIES

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas; would you want to bet against her? Nuria has transformed herself in the last 24-months into one of the most competitive and focused female mountain, trail and ultra runners in the world. Her skill, dedication and focused attitude has seen the Catalan excel over every distance and terrain. Her only nemesis has been her good friend, Emelie Forsberg. In 2013, Nuria raced TNFUTMB, her first 100-mile race and placed 2nd behind an unstoppable Rory Bosio. Earlier this year at Transgrancanaria we once again had a master class in how to prepare for, run and win a race! Without doubt, Nuria is a hot favourite for UTMF.

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa excels at tough, long and hilly races when the terrain is not too technical. To be honest; the longer, the better. A 100-km race is very much a warm up for Francesca as her impressive victories at Ronda dels Cims and Tor des Geants confirm in 2013. However, Francesca is no one trick pony. She has placed highly at shorter and faster races such as Speedgoat 50k and UROC. UTMF will without doubt suit Francesca’s running style and after her win at HK100 and second at Transgrancanaria earlier this year, Francesca will without doubt be looking for a consistently strong repeat performance and important UTWT points.

Nathalie Mauclair Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair Transvulcania ©iancorless.com

Nathalie Mauclair burst onto the scene in 2013 with a stunning top placing at Transvulcania La Palma. A relative unknown, Nathalie went on to impress her female competitors (especially Emelie Forsberg) and not only did she become IAU World Trail Champion that required pace, she also was crowned Raid de le Reunion (Diagonale des Fous) champion. Her diversity of pace, endurance and technical ability earmarks Nathalie as ‘one-to-watch’ at UTMF.

Shona Stepenson, Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Shona Stepenson, Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Shona Stephenson placed 2nd at UTMF last year but had a very mixed 2013. Shona dropped from TNFUTMB and Ice Trail Tarentaise and just recently placed 6th at Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon (also a UTWT race) where I expected her to place top-3, so, the jury is out. She will be in the game early on pushing at the front, let’s hope she can hold on and keep the momentum going.

Fernanda Maciel Everest Trail Race ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel Everest Trail Race ©iancorless.com

Fernanda Maciel after a 3rd place at Transgrancanaria is looking for more UTWT points to boost her overall rankings. Her Everest Trail Race win in late November 2013 would appear to have boosted Fernanda’s running after a troubled 2013 season. Certainly Fernanda’s 7th at TNFUTMB and Transgrancanaria win in 2012 shows that she has all the required armory to compete with the best-of-the-best; she will just need a little luck!

Nerea Martinez Ronda dels Cims ©ianccorless.com

Nerea Martinez Ronda dels Cims ©ianccorless.com

Nerea Martinez like Francesca Canepa like races that are long and tough. Winner of the inaugural UTMF, Nerea won’t repeat that performance in 2014. She has all the required abilities but lacks the pace required that Picas, Mauclair and Canepa have in abundance. However, if it comes down to survival and pushing on through to the line, Nerea will be around and ready to mop up the places. Her 2nd place at the 2012 Tor des Geants proves that she cannot be ruled out in any race.

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Julia Boettger had a solid start to 2013 placing 2nd behind Jo Meek at the tough multi day race, The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. However, she was DNS at Transgrancanaria due a potential niggling injury. Recently she has been working on and providing instruction on several training camps. If in form, UTMF will suit Julia’s skill set and we can expect a top-10 performance and if she has ‘one of those days’ we may well see her top-5.

Nora Senn placed 3rd at UTMF in 2012 behind Nerea Martinez. Taking into consideration that result and the ladies previously mentioned, Nora can hope for top-10.

Hitomi Ogawa along with Kumiko Amikura and Akemi Ban may well have the hopes of Japan in their legs, placing 3rd, 4th and 6th respectively in 2013; they all have the knowledge and understanding of what UTMF requires from a race and survival aspect. Top-10 is possible for all-3 and top-5 with this quality of field would be an incredible result.

MEN

Yoshikazu Hara gets the nod first as last years UTMF champ. One could arguably say it was a lucky day… but hold on a minute, you don’t beat Julien Chorier and Seb Chaigneau on luck alone! Had Hara excelled at the 2013 TNFUTMB I would be hailing him as a potential 2014 champ as he does seem able to use some seriously fast 100km speed (6:33) on long courses. However, Hara dropped from Tarawera with injury and this leaves some huge question marks in this quality of field.

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes is on a roll… having spent a great deal of time with him on Gran Canaria and getting a great understanding of the man, his training and his thought processes, I’d find it difficult to bet against Ryan at UTMF. As we are all aware, his 2013 season was one to forget but his 2012 season had moments of brilliance and his 2014 victory at Transgrancanaria and then subsequent FKT on the Drakensberg Traverse with Rhyno Griesel will either mean ‘Sandman’ will be in the form of his life or a little jaded. What do you think?

Seb Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Seb Chaigneau Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Seb Chaigneau placed 3rd at UTMF in 2013 so knows the course. A tough competitor with a unique and endearing view of our sport, he is a true champion. His win at Hardrock 100 and CR in 2013 was a popular result and without doubt he would be a popular champion in Japan. His recent drop from Transgrancanaria leaves a couple of question marks but I don’t have the answers… you see, dropping from a race whilst in the lead leaves the door wide open. I think we will see Seb pushing top-3.

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.com

Iker Karrera is understated and arguably one of the best ultra distance runners out there. His quiet, modest, no nonsense approach of arriving, winning and leaving a race often leaves a void in this media savvy world. However, you would have to have been in an ultra void not to notice his impressive victory at Grand Raid des Pyrenees in 2013 and then his follow on victory at Tor des Geants. Potential winner!

Francois D'Haene ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene ©iancorless.com

Francois D’Haene has a vineyard and that has taken a priority. His run season now evolves around seasons, grape picking and bottling, however, it hasn’t affected Francois’s performances. When Francois races, he races in top form. His 2nd at Ice Trail Tarentaise where he raced side-by-side with fellow teammate, Kilian Jornet shows he has all the skill and speed required to win any race. He proved this with a great victory at the tough and technical Raid de la Reunion (Diagonale des Fous). This race amongst all his experiences, even his victory over a shortened UTMB course, will put him in a great place for success at UTMF.

Nick Clark The Coastal Challenge ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark The Coastal Challenge ©iancorless.com

Nick Clark; enough said really! Tough as nails, really competitive and one of the best 100-mile runners out there; his consistent performance over the ‘Grand Slam’ in 2013 was a joy to behold. Nick kicked off 2014 with a tough outing at his first multi day race at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, a race that provided Nick with a new perspective on how tough running back-to-back, day-after-day can be. With some solid training behind him and experience on tough courses such as Hardrock 100, one has to give a nod to Nick and put him on the ‘hot’ list for this race.

Mike Foote TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Mike Foote has been super consistent at TNFUTMB with 3rd place at the shortened race when Francois D’Haene won and 5th place in 2013. Don’t expect to see him up front in the early stages… Mike has a canny knack of almost being out of the race and then in the latter third applying the afterburners and moving up through the field. In addition to great climbing ability, he also has speed. This natural speed will be extremely useful on the faster section of the UTMF course.

Gary Robbins TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Gary Robbins TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com

Gary Robbins 4th at UTMF in 2013 and recent winner at HURT100 will bring his adventure racing background, the love of the tough and gnarly and some pure old grit back to Japan and armed with knowledge, I can’t help but think that Gary will be a force this year. Of course, one must consider that this field is super stacked and to repeat 4th or move even in higher in 2014 will be a supreme effort, but Gary on his day can do it.

Thomas Lorblanchet looked to be about to break into the big time after winning Leadville 100 and placing highly at Transvulcania whilst running under Salomon colours. However, since moving to a new sponsor, Thomas appears to have been in a running wilderness. Surely a win at the highly competitive ‘Templiers’ was a great result in late 2013 but I have little else to go on… he may well surprise us.

Joe Grant Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Joe Grant Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Joe Grant recently won Alaska White Mountains 100 with a new CR; a great result! However, it is extremely difficult to say how this performance will set up Joe for UTMF. Post his impressive Iditarod performance in 2013, Joe struggled to find form (more due to fatigue) and even at his beloved Hardrock 100, he had to drop (whilst in 2nd place) with medical issues. Regularly training with Anton Krupicka, Joe is very much a new breed of ultra runner, inspired by Kilian Jornet, who combines running, climbing and time in the mountains to fulfill his passion. UTMF in principal will suit Joe 100% and if in form, we can expect him to be a main protagonist at the front of the race.

Brendan Davies Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Brendan Davies Chamonix ©iancorless.com

Brendan Davies 5th at UTMF in 2013 has plenty of speed but lacks true mountain experience. He openly said that the 2013 edition of the race was a shock to the system and the time he lost going up, he pulled back on the fast flatter sections. I am sure Brendan will come to UTMF with more vertical training. However, this field is stacked with out-and-out mountain men. It’s going to be a tough race to keep in touch with the top-5 and repeat his 2013 performance.

Antoine Guillon 4th at Reunion and 5th at Transgrancanaria will be hunting UTWT points. I think he will be in the mix but not top-5.

Dave Mackey was one of the first runners to embrace the UTWT and I am sure we will see his presence throughout the series. One of the most respected ultra runners out there, had this been a 100km race he would be a hot favourite. But over the 100-mile distance and on this terrain, I don’t see Dave making top-5 despite his success at Western States. But he is due a big performance…

John Tidd to many will be a complete unknown, I first met him at Transgrancanaria in 2013 when he went on to place 6th running a strong and consistent race. Later in the year he repeated this consistency with 6th at UTMF and then 10th at TNFUTMB. I very much doubt he will make top-5 but top-10 is a distinct possibility.

Emmanuel Gault recently won the Eco Trail de Paris in a quick 5:40, so, he’s in good shape. However, even dating back to 2007, I am not sure he has raced over 100km. So, he may be up front in the early stages but past 80km he may well fade. It’s an unknown? Without doubt, Emmanuel specialises in French races such as Templiers, SainteLyon, CCC and so on, his recent 22bd place at Transvulcania gives us little insight into what may be achieved at the tough UTMF.

Stone Tsang from Hong Kong will potentially be a ‘one-to-watch’ after solid UTMB and HK100 performances, but he will need a great day to break top-5.

Minehiro Yokoyama,

Kenichi Yamamoto,

Koji Yamaya,

Minehiro Yokoyama,

Shougo Mochizuki

And Shinsuke Isomura have all raced UTMF in the past and in reality it is about as much insight as I can provide.

Kenichi Yamamoto Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

Kenichi Yamamoto Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

If I had to pick one runner it would be Kenichi Yamamoto. Kenichi raced against Julien Chorier in 2013 and placed 2nd. A happy and talented guy (expect film crews following him) he has had success with a top-3 at UTMF in 2012 but not against a field of this quality.

The 2014 UTMF will be quite a race. In addition to all the above, several other notable runners are taking part and it almost feels rude not to mention the ever present Christophe Le Saux, Jeremy Ritcey or Timo Meyer. But I have tried to preview who will contend top-5.

UTMF website – http://www.ultratrailmtfuji.com/en/

Runner entry list – http://www.ultratrailmtfuji.com/en/about/entrylist/

Julien Chorier joins Hoka One One

Julien Chorier iancorless.com

Winner of the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (UTMF) in 2012, two times winner of the Grand Raid de la Reunion, winner of the Hardrock 100, 2011 and the 2013 winner of the Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord (Rond dels Cims), representing the Salomon International Team, Julien Chorier has decided on a new venture for 2014 signing a new contract with Hoka One One.

Julien, the consummate professional has always been attentive to technological advances and has been sensitive to the ambitions and the sensitivities offered by Team Hoka.

Julien Chorier iancorless.com

Signing a three year contract, Julien has decided to offer impetus to his passion for trail running and will act as ‘Team Captain’. In parallel, Julien will also participate in the development of the Hoka trail community in Europe.

An exciting 2014 awaits for Julien when he will return to Hardrock 100. It proves to be an exciting edition of the race with arguably the best field ever assembled.

Julien Chorier iancorless.com

“After great years in the Salomon team, I thank with my heart for all the support and advice given during these years , I have decided to give a new impetus to my career providing myself with a very important challenge: to race and test myself on new trails , create innovative dynamics in the Hoka team, to make my contribution to product development
and develop a Hoka community in Europe. Hoka honours, both athletically and professionally; my contract offers new opportunities to live my passion for trail . The desire to always innovate and move forward , the stated priority to draw naturally from the requirement of the highest level , involving me full in product development are all factors that convinced me of this new challenge.”

Without doubt, this new departure for Julien will provide exciting moments on the trails of Europe and of course, worldwide.

I personally still think back in awe and wonder at Julien’s performance at Ronda dels Cims in Andorra, 2013. It was a consummate performance of a professional in the form of his life, dominating a race from the front.

Bonne chance Julien!

Links:

 

Seb Chaigneau – Get Ready for S4 EP07

©copyright .iancorless.com._1080347

Great season for Sebastien Chaigneau who start his ultra season in Canaria for the Transgrancanaria, 120kms – 7000D+ that he won. Seb then travelled to Japan to discover the asian culture of trail across at the Ultra trail Mount Fuji, 160 kms — 9000D+, where he took the third place.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1080251During July, Sebastien was in the Colorado, US for the Hardrock 100, a 160kms with more of 10 000D+ and 3300m of altitude average. He won the race with the best time for the anti-clockwise direction

.
A six week gap between the Hardrock 100 and the TNFUTMB. For the recovery, it’s a real challenge for Seb. Unfortunately, after 30kms of the race, he needed to stop because of fatigue.
The 2013 edition of the TNFUTMB®  had sun and every runner had an opportunity to  do the full tour of the Mont-Blanc. And the party was more beautiful with the presence of American’s runner like Anton Krupicka, Timothy Olson, Michael Foote, Mike Wolf and also Rory Bosio. They competed against great european runners like Julien Chorier, Jonas Buud, Miguel Herras, Carlos Sà… but the nice surprise came from the young french runner, Xavier Thevenard who won the UTMB®in 20h38.

Seb is a legend… enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP_s9vcg2v0

Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT) response from FPerrin

Hi Ian,

I will try to answer as clearly as possible. I understand that you want the progression of the sport. Be assured that I feel the same. I am open to any discussion if it can make the project better.

1. It’s an ultra world tour over multiple distances and terrains. Therefore, does a runner need to do different distance and different terrain to be the world champion?

Maybe was I not clear enough during the presentation, sorry for that. The runner who will
have the best results at the end of the Ultra-Trail World Tour will
be the “UTWT 2014 Champion”, NOT the “Trail Running 2014 Champion”!
For me, it is a completely different vision.

2. Your criteria stipulates a minimum two editions, min 500 entrants and
open to ALL! What will happen with races like Western States? It’s
a lottery with only 20 guaranteed places and an entry limit under
500. More like 397 entries.


There was a precision of “around min 500 entrants” :-)… the first objective of the project was to bring together the most emblematic races of the world, the races of all our dreams… well… we could not imagine it without the Western States… “Open to all” means for us that elite athletes and average runners are running together, that the races are not reserved for elites. The UTWT will change nothing to the entry rules of the different races. The WS100 has its specific rules, the UTMB too, and the UTMF… each race will keep complete control over its organization.

3. How will a multi stage race such as MDS fit into this series? And
are you planning to add more multi day events?

Well, some of us ran it, and are completely sure that the MDS has all its place in the UTWT, that it shows all the diversity of trail running. The race directors all agreed on this initial list which will soon be completed with other races.

4. It would appear, at least to me that the UTWT may almost be perceived as a travel agent to a series of races over the world. What are the benefits that
UTWT will bring to elite and non-elite runners? Why would we join the UTWT?

For non-elite runners, but also for elite runners, the main reason is -for me- the “challenge” over the years, and the promise to discover different races, terrains, people, countries. The project was born at the UTMF this year: we were discussing how enriching it was for us to discover this country, the runners from Japan and from other countries, the specific trails of Mt. Fuji… We started to list the races that we had already finished, and our “wish-list” races… and it all started. This project is about culture, passion, traveling, and common values. For elite runners, I hope that they will have the same motivation than non-elite, but I think that an other reason should be -for me again-be part of a circuit which story will be told all over the year.

5. Do the runners need to purchase ‘The Passport’?

The first idea was to make it free.We will decide it with the race directors, but maybe the runners will have to pay a small participation if we send it through postal mail.

6. Does it cost each runner any extra to be part of the UTWT?

No.

7. What are the races paying to be part of the UTWT and what does that bring what are the benefits?

They pay a contribution of 15’000 EUR, which will be 100% used for the promotion of the Ultra-Trail World Tour, and the travel fares of the athletes.

8. Who is the UTWT? Who are the people involved, for example WAA, UTMB all seem involved. Can we have clarification?

The 2 main partners (and operationals) are Jean-Charles Perrin (eco-trail de
Paris race director), and myself, Fabrice Perrin. We are not relatives. Cyril Gauthier from WAA is also involved (no operational role), and we asked Catherine and Michel Polett (from UTMB) to be part of it too, but they have no operational role.

9. What are the elite packages. It was mentioned that they will get travel and hotels for Elite1. Is this open ended, will all eligible elites get this package?

We will try to help the athletes at the maximum (travel and lodging), with the money that we will be able to raise. We will discuss this fall the rules with the race organizers.

10. What prize money will be available at each race and will prizes be split. Elite and non elite?


Each race will keep its rules. Some have prizes, some not. The UTWT will not change this.

11. A world champion is awarded each year, make and female. What do they get, what remuneration will the world champion receive and in addition, will you have non elite world champions too?

No “remuneration” is planned so far for 2014. Again, I would like to precise that it will not be a “world champion”, but an “UTWT Champion”. The non-elite will be in the same ranking than the elite runners.

I would like to thank the UTWT and Fabrice for the answers to the above questions. It really does clarify some initial questions. I am sure more questions will arise and I feel confident that the UTWT will provide responses as and when required.

UTWT – Ultra Trail World Tour analysis

“We could make runners stash their own gatorade bottles (glass) and run with the horses, but it’s not 1974.” Craig Thornley, Western States race director.

It’s a good place to start. The world of trail, mountain, road ultra running is changing. In recent years we have seen rapid growth. Runners, elite and non elite want to test themselves on ever demanding courses and ultimately test themselves against each other and see who comes out on top.

However, ultra running is not quite like any other sport. It places extreme demands on the body. Pushed too hard and the body breaks… ask Geoff Roes what he thinks.

So, although an Ultra Trail World Tour sounds attractive caution is needed. But before we worry about those aspects, we first need to look at what this UTWT entails.

The UTWT was launched on September 1st amidst the Ultra-Tour du Mont-Blanc. The fact that the race was not over and that many runners were still trying to get to the finish line may well have been a touch of bad timing. Admittedly though, many press leave immediately after the event so this may very well have been a logistical issue.

One by one, the initial races were announced and with them a representative from each race came to the stage.

2014 confirmed races are as follows:

  • January 18th Vibram Hing Kong 100
  • March 1st The North Face Transgrancanaria
  • March 15th Vibram Tarawera 100km
  • April 4th to 14th Marathon des Sables
  • April 25th Ultra Trail Mt Fuji
  • June 27th The North Face Lavaredo Trail
  • June 29th Western States
  • August 29th The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

So, this takes us up to August and apparently other races have been asked to participate and we can expect confirmation of these, on or before September 15th.

Of course, alarm bells initially ring at the presence of Western States. Secondary alarm bells ring at the presence on Marathon des Sables but I will come onto that later.

How does it work?

The UTWT will propose an international competitive circuit in partnership with the International Trail Running Association. The events should already be open to the widest public and will offer ‘everyone’ a unique chance, throughout each year, to participate. Question: How does that relate to Western States with limited capacity and demand far outweighing places available? Also, Marathon des Sables… UK entrants for example are on a three year waiting list.

In each race points are awarded to every runner and therefore at the end of the year, a male and female UTWT world champion will be announced. To attract elite athletes, certain events will have Ultra Trail Series status and these will offer more important weighting in the ranking. (I assume this will be for races like Western States?)

Runners will be presented with a Passport. This can be ordered online before the end of the year, it was not made clear if these passports need to be paid for? When you complete a race, you are awarded a visa, this is added to your passport and shows your completion.

The minimum race distance will be 100km, races must have had two previous editions to qualify and already have 500 minimum participants (again, Western States has less than 400). A minimum of twenty countries will be represented and be emblematic venues.

So, how do you become World Champ?

All finishers in every race will be awarded points according to his performance. These points will be added to the International ranking and updated after each race. This ranking will be available on line at the UTWT website. The circuit will be an International competitive circuit in partnership with the ITRA (International Trail Running Association).

As mentioned, a limited number of races will be called Ultra Trail Series and you may only use two best performances from these races in building up points for the world title. In total, three races score, so, you could have two UTS races and one other.

A world champion lady and male will be announced each year.

ANALYSIS

Okay, first and foremost, we don’t have the complete picture, so, you will need to be patient.

The press conference was slick, enticing and all was going well until a call for questions came. I jumped in and asked about Western States…

It’s not just ‘any’ race, it has a limited field, it’s a desirable race, what is the impact and so on a and so on.

The answer was vague and very unconvincing. In actual fact it was embarrassing. One comment that came from the stage was, “it’s early days and we haven’t worked these things out yet”. Not a good start.

One journalist asked several questions:

Will you have doping control? YES

Will you have prize money? EACH INDIVIDUAL RACE CAN HAVE PRIZE MONEY, IT’S UP TO THE RACE. We did not have clarification though if the world title had a prize, other than the ‘title’ of world champ.

What will the elites get? ELITE 1 RUNNERS WILL GET TRAVEL AND HOTELS PAID FOR. But they never clarified if that is open to all elite 1. Lets say 50 want to do Western States, will they all get hotels and travel?

The series very much seems like the Skyrunning concept, is this competition or are you offering something different?. THE RACES WILL BE 100km OR MORE AND ON VARIED TERRAIN, SKYRUNNING WORK TO A SPECIFIC FORMAT AND WITH THE ODD EXCEPTION, ALL RACES ARE UNDER 100k. I agree, the UTWT is very different to Skyrunning, it is taking some principles from the Skyrunning ethos, for example, a series of races, three qualify out of five and the winner is world Skyrunner champion but the terrain is varied. Skyrunning look at altitude and technical.

At this point, the stage participants could feel more and more questions were coming and the conference was drawn to a close quite quickly.

Overall, it started well and ended badly. It certainly appears that the UTWT team wanted to maximise the UTMB as a platform to launch but they had far too many question marks and lack of answers to leave me feeling reassured or convinced.

POINTS TO CONSIDER

I have to say, I like a championship that includes mixed terrains and distances. That will provide a true rounded athlete. However, the UTWT never specified how runners enter, so, for example, to qualify, do you have to do one 100k, one 100m and one stage race? Do you have to do one on sand, one in the mountains and one jungle for example? Without this specified, I could maybe do three 100k races on fast trail and get maximum points if that is what I was best at? We need clarification.

World destinations, iconic races are great. I can see the beauty and excitement of going to New Zealand, Hong Kong and so on, BUT these races already exist and to be honest, if I went to one it would be highly unlikely I would go to another. Far too expensive for the average pocket.

Travel and hotels for elites are all well and good but who is paying? Surely that is what sponsorship from a team is about. I am we’ll aware that places are offered and expenses paid already exists but this is very much in conjunction with a race, the RD and the athlete. Blanket travel and hotels need to be paid for and by someone and that will come down to the everyday runners and the races themselves who I am assuming are paying a yearly fee to be part of the UTWT. Transparency is needed here. Many figures have been mentioned that ravces are paying 15,000 to 30,000 euro to be part of UTWT. I believe this to be speculation.

The UTWT title needs additional incentives. Prize money! However, that has no bearing on all the other runners. I can’t help but think that only a small few (who are rich enough) will travel to several continents to experience the world tour.

What will the races get out of it? Well, recognition and exposure for one. But, I know I go back to Western States, does that race need more exposure… Does it need more entries, does it need more PR? Same applies for UTMB, you already have to get points and enter a lottery, so, if you get a ‘Passport’ does it mean you get automatic entry in a UTWT event? Confusing!

MDS is a completely different race to all the others, to have just one stage race and no others would be long term problematic. In addition, I am not even sure it should be in this series. A great race but is a unique race.

We also need to think about the runners, all the runners. The calendar is increasingly becoming larger with more and more choice. Do we really need to insist that participants run three races over 100k to be a world champion? In addition, for this to be a true championship, one of those three races would need to be a 100-miles.

Ultra is not always better when longer. I wonder if some races under 100k should be allowed?

Why not have an Ultra World Tour and include road? Comrades is an iconic race for example and surely a true ultra world champ should be able to run road too?

Are we seeing the creation of an ‘Ironman’ for trail or is this ‘just’ a series of races with quite simply a world title?

I’d like to know who is beyond this with clear transparency. I have experienced many things in the last twelve months that I have questioned and now suddenly they all add up. For example, late 2012 WAA (What an Adventure) became the official pack for MDS. At the 2013 MDS, Catherine Poletti was present at the finish in the Sahara and then WAA became the official supplier of the blue UTMB bag. Also, I believe that Catherine Poletti visited Western States to view the event… So, is the UTWT an extension of the UTMB organisation and what does it mean? Is this good or bad? I merely ask the question.

At this stage we do not have any answers. Paul Charteris from Tarawera ultra was prepared on Sunday at the press conference, although he did not attend he was online and responded to my tweets. He also had a press release ready and he has been open and transparent. Equally, Transgrancaria have been proactive and the team at Lavaredo I spoke with personally. They all want the races to be valued, increase in size and stature and be part of something bigger. I think Craig Thornley and team are having a harder time. Western States is the holy grail and change here will be difficult and in many cases not welcome. The sport must move on and grow and that means all the sport, Craig in many ways is correct when he tweeted, “We could make runners stash their own gatorade bottles (glass) and run with the horses, but it’s not 1974.”

So what do YOU think?

I don’t have the answers and I will have missed many points. Please provide some input.

*Please note, for reasons of clarity, I do work alongside the ISF Skyrunning Federation and my thoughts and comments in this posting are impartial and with the pure objective of what is the best for our sport.

Ultra Trail World Tour announcement (UTWT)

Ultra-Trail® World Tour: bringing together the most emblematic trails (of 100km or more) in the World.

Chamonix, 1st September 2013
The organizers of:

– The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
– Marathon des Sables
– The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®
– The North Face® Transgrancanaria
– The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra-Trail
– Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon
– Vibram® Hong Kong 100
– Ultra-Trail® Mont. Fuji

have today announced at Chamonix their participation in the 2014 Ultra-Trail® World Tour.

International circuit, shared values
The races in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour, in their specific natures, illustrate all the diversity of trail: steep paths of the Alps, California trails, hills and beaches of Hong Kong, Moroccan desert…
The races’ many different formats will present participants with a real adaptation challenge .

Between The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra-Trail and the Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon, between the Ultra-Trail Mont Fuji and The North Face® Transgrancanaria, participants will need very different qualities to win, or simply to become a finisher.

While being fundamentally different, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour races will have common values, which they are proud to share and to promote. Ethics, equality in sports, self-respect, respect for others, for the Environment…
Taking part in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour will be the opportunity, throughout the years, to discover cultural and sporting differences. Every continent will be visited: Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Oceania… providing opportunities to enhance their sporting culture, create new friendships, and to feed on emotions in order, one day perhaps, to be a “finisher” in all the events!

Simple criteria of eligibility

Long distance trail running races of at least 100km.
Emblematic venues.
Popular races (around 500 runners minimum).
International events (a minimum of 20 countries represented).
Minimum 2 realized editions
An annual ranking for the award of the title of champion of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour
Any “Finisher”, according to his performance, will be assigned a number of points and be integrated into the international ranking , updated for each race, and available online at http://www.ultratrailworldtour.com site.
The Ultra-Trail® World Tour will propose an international competitive circuit, in partnership with the International Trail Running Association (http://www.i-tra.org).

With the goal of bringing together top athletes, a limited number of races will be labelled «Ultra-Trail® Series». Only the 3 best results should be taken in consideration, with a maximum of 2 “Ultra-Trail® Series”.

At the end of the year, after the last race, the titles of “Ultra-Trail® World Tour 2014” champion, male and female, will be awarded.
Who will win? Encourage your favorites!

A passport for all races
By the end of 2013, all runners planning to participate in one or more stages of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour can order their “Ultra-Trail® World Tour” passport on the http://www.ultratrailworldtour.com site.
Whenever they are “finishers” in a racing circuit, they receive a visa to stick in this passport.
Participation in one of these circuit races will automatically imply integration in the rankings for the Ultra-Trail® World Tour of the given year .

2014, a year full of promise
For its very first year, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour will be present on all the continents, with a dozen venues spaced out throughout the year.
The following have already been confirmed:
– January 18th: Vibram® Hong Kong 100 (Hong Kong, China)
– March 1st: The North Face® Transgrancanaria (Spain)
– March 15th: Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon (New Zealand)
– April 4th to 14th: Marathon des Sables (Morocco)
– April 25th to 26th : Ultra-Trail Mt.Fuji® (Japan)
– June 27th to 29th : The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail (Italy)
– June 29th: The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (USA)
– August 29th: The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® (France, Italy, Switzerland)

Other emblematic races will soon be confirming their participation.

Many questions were left unanswered at the press conference. It felt as though the organisation wanted to monopolise on the media presence available for the UTMB and spread the UTWT news.

Importantly, when I asked questions directly about Western States the answer was less than reassuring. I can’t help but think all those who love WSER will be asking serious questions.

I will update more on this but please respond? Make your points here.

For in depth live coverage from the press conference go to @talkultra twitter feed and follow by blow-by-blow comments from 0930 French time. Or use #UTWT and follow the thread.

More to follow

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