TRAINING FOR… with DAN LAWSON

Dan Lawson is a respected runner who resides in Brighton, UK. For many, he became ‘known’ after his incredible run at the ‘Gran Union Canal Race’ in 2015 when he won with a new CR of 22-hours 15-minutes.

Later that same year, Dan went to the iconic ‘Spartathlon’ and placed 2ndin 23:53:32.

The stage was set, and Dan Lawson became the UK’s most prolific and respected long-distance runner. He has run in a GB vest and in 2016 he won the IAU 24hr race with an astounding 261.843km covered.

Dan’s Running CV (HERE) is incredible. Most recently he sat an FKT (Fastest Known Time) with Robbie Britton running ‘The Jordan Trail’ in 9-days 10-hours and 17-minutes.

Passionate about the environment, Dan has started a project called ReRun (here) which extends the life of running clothes… “We looked at ideas on how we could reduce the waste in the running community. The idea of ReRun was born, to try and prolong the life of running clothes and equipment and save them from landfill. Extending the life of clothes by just nine months of active use would reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by around 20-30% each.”

In 2019, Dan will toe the line of the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa (here) participating in the 4-day event over 170-km.

“Running brings me peace. I feel so grateful to commune with nature each day and spend time in stillness. Being an Ultra Runner I am part of an adventurous and warm community with whom I can enjoy the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring places in the world.”

 

Training for…

A series of new articles brought to you by the multi-stage and ultra-running specialist store, myRaceKit, http://www.myracekit.com

JORDAN FKT

I caught up with Dan in Brighton at his ReRun office. Dan as usual was calm, relaxed and clad head to toe in ‘used’ apparel. Even his shoes had been pieced together to arguably produce something more aesthetically pleasing the original.

With the initial chat and banter over, I asked how the Jordan FKT had come about?

“Originally, it was like Robbie’s adventure… We were planning to go to Lake Baikal in Siberia, which is a frozen lake, the biggest bit of freshwater in the world. That was the plan. Robbie was going to go with another runner, and he asked me if I was willing to go with him, and I was like, “What? It sounds amazing. Yes, I really want to go and do that.” That was our plan to go and set the FKT running Lake Baikal, which was about 600-kilometers. We were working towards that until I got a call from Rob, maybe two months before we were supposed to go and he was like, “Dan, I think I’m going to pull the plug on it. I’m a little bit worried about our safety out there.” I think Robbie’s biggest concern was the fact that I don’t like the cold…”

 

“We spent a week or so searching for trails around the world and we found the one in Jordan. It was 600-km and Robbie said, “Well, let’s go there and let’s try and run this trail out there.” I was super happy because I much prefer the sunshine and now all of a sudden, we’d be running through a desert and the sun will be out. There wasn’t really any inspiration. It was kind of we just found that and let’s go and run out there.”

As it so happens, I was in Israel working on Mike Wardian’s FKT as he ran the length of Israel, south to north. So, Dan and Robbie, at times, were almost just a few miles away as we skirted on the Jordan border.

“We were never down at the Dead Sea, but when we were up on the mountains, we could look across and we could see the Dead Sea. When it got to night time, we could see the lights across the Dead Sea in Palestine or Israel. Yes, there were times when we were shouting out to Mike and yourself.”

I know only too well the challenges of an FKT, and I asked Dan about the undertaking.

“I think our biggest challenge was the route and the lack of marking. We were running the Jordan trail and when something is called ‘Jordan trail,’ you expect there to be trail, but they need to rename it the Jordan GPS track and I think that’s a better description of what it was. I think our biggest challenge was just, not even navigating but just navigating this rough ground just getting across it.”

I asked Dan if they were following a GR route or was it like the Israel National Trail, sometimes we had markers and sometimes we didn’t. Dan has a real sense of humor and his response, in many ways, was what I expected.

“It sounds like the same person that marked the Jordan trail came across and marked your trail, as well. It was loosely marked, I think. I think that you encountered the same thing, but on the bits where you’re on a road, markers were everywhere.”

A GPS and mapping are always a good back-up, but even on the Jordan Trail, this was not fool proof.

“We thought we could rely on a GPS, but it was never exact. It would mark a point here and then a point 500 meters away. You can’t see those little turns in between. When we were following his watch, we were just going straight, that was what the watch was telling us to do but of course, we had to encounter cliff edges and drops. It needed to be used in conjunction with mapping – lesson learned!”

A successful FKT comes down to planning and support crew, Dan was followed by a filmmaker and stills photographer. They doubled up as crew. That in itself can bring many complications.

“The tourist board was really cool. They provided us with a four by four and a driver. Then we had Dave and James who were videoing and taking pictures and would meet, at the start, they were probably meeting us every 15, 20k or something like that. As the trail went on, it got more desolate and much harder to get into. They were probably leaving us I think for like 50k we’d meet then we’d run 50k and then we’d meet them and then we’d do a little bit longer.”

50km without support, that is a real long way. I wondered how they managed that?

“There was a couple of times when we ran out of water. There was one time we came up this hill, we we’re so lucky, we came up this hill and there was a road and I don’t know if it’s like you, but so many of the towns feel post-apocalyptic, they were like something out of a video game. Just like a mosque built out of breeze blocks and then a couple of camels and then just a few that just these just box houses, I don’t know, like weird places, but we came up this hill so thirsty and then all of a sudden there was just this, it was like a group of like 20 people on bikes from the lake district. They saved us! 50 k out there can be 10 hours or more. 10, 12 hours. Very difficult to plan for. I don’t eat much when running but one needs to be prepared.”

Knowing what Dan now knows about the Jordan Trail, the pros and cons, I wondered if he thought that it would be possible to go faster?

“Yes, I think we probably could. It was quite hard to move at night because you really had to look at the navigation and the ground was so rough that as soon as you looked at the navigation, you’d just be falling over. We could take a day off. Some nights we were stopping and literally we were driving like an hour and a half, two hours to get to the hotel where we were staying, it would be so much easier to wild camp.”

Ultimately though, it was easy to see that the FKT had been a hugely memorable and enjoyable experience.

“Amazing. Amazing. It was so nice to spend time with Robbie, Dave and James. I mean 10-days close knit in this kind of environment… You’d think that there might be moments when people got a bit stressed, but it was just a really nice experience. I was talking to my wife and she said, don’t call it a holiday because then it sounds like it wasn’t hard, but it does feel a bit like it’s such a great way to spend 10-days doing something you love and in some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever been in. I’ve been lucky to run in some amazing places around the world, but some of the places just blew me away. I really like it.I think I do prefer that sort of thing to racing, it has a different feel to it.”

In a way, that segways nicely to the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa. Dan Later in 2019 will take on the 170km 4-stage race that in many ways manages to combine some of the Jordan multi-day running experience and combines it into a race format.

ULTRA TOUR MONTE ROSA

“To be brutally honest, I would have preferred to run the 100-mile race, but it is too close to 24-hour championships. It will be quite enjoyable doing the stage race because it gives me a chance to try and move a little bit quicker over that terrain, and then have a little bit of a rest and then go again.”

Dan, in 2018 attempted to set an FKT for the ‘JOGLE’ in the UK, running John O’Groats to Lands end as quickly as possible. He was running 100-miles a day. Ultra Tour Monte Rosa is a technical mountain race in an absolutely stunning part of the world. It’s going to be a different type of experience to say, running around the track for 24 hours or running along a road. It’s probably going to be more like the Jordan trail. It requires a different type of approach. Living in Brighton I wondered how Dan trained?

“Firstly, I’ve got one more race coming up, a six-day race in Hungary, which will be running around and around a kilometer loop for six days. I suppose that’s my first A race of the year. Once that’s done then I start a big training block for UTMR and for the 24-hour. I’m hoping that it will they’ll compliment themselves quite well because the 24-hour training is mind numbing. I spend a lot of time on Brighton Sea front running around a loop, it is maybe like two and a half kmloop, so, I might spend seven, eight hours just running around that loop. There are not many hills around here, so, I’ll be on the South Downs a little bit but they’re not mountains, they’re not even hills, they just slightly undulating.”

I wondered if that lack of specific terrain that directly relates to the challenges of UTMR worried him?

“No, it doesn’t worry me that much. I’ll go up and down steps a bit. The only thing that worries me is I’m not too fast going down. I need to smash my quads before the race, the is key. Downhill does more damage than going up! I can kind of ride that pain with my quads. I can get to the end of a hundred miler with smashed quads, but in a stage race, I mean it’s going be a bit different because it’s four days.”

“Will you use poles?”

“Probably not. The only time I’ve ever used was when I raced in the UTMB, that was a 100-miler, and that was just before the world championships. Well, maybe two months before the world championships last year, the 24-hour World Championships, and my training was just flat. I hadn’t run up a hill or even a slight gradient for, I don’t know, four months or something and then I went to run the UTMB. But I used the poles to come down, not to go up. My legs were trashed. I don’t think I have time to learn to use them correctly, so, I will go without!”

UTMR will give Dan new challenges, he is going to have to have a pack. He is going to need waterproof trousers, waterproof jacket, thermal layer, a tracker, mobile phone. I wondered, does that play with his head, after all, running around a track for 24-hours requires none of this?

“For me, the best run is when the sun’s out and you just have a pair of trainers and a pair of shorts on, and you can just go mad. I love that. A lot of my training is commuting training, running is my form of transport. I maybe clock up 40/45km a day but most of it’s done running to work, running around, so I always have a backpack. Once a week or twice a week I’ll run without a backpack like a longer run and it feels like a real treat.”

Finding that balance between pace and time is interesting in any event. With something like UTMR, Dan has got a specific distance each day to complete, over 4-days and he will be racing. It’s a completely different dynamic because Dan will not only be racing himself, but he will be racing the other competitors. He will need to balance recovery, sleep time how to get back up the next day and race. What type of approach will Dan have at UTMR?

“I’m going to try and run pretty hard each of the four days because I will have recovery time. I mean each one’s like 40K, each of the stages, so you’d like to think you will finish that under seven hours? I don’t know… I want to try and run each one as hard as I can. There’s no excuse really if you’re only running 40km in a day, you’ve really got to push it. Well, I have!”

Dan is an elite athlete, I wondered, what sort of generic advice could he give to people who are going to toe the line.

  • Should they respect the distance?
  • Should they listen to the body?
  • Should they hold back and save something?

“For me, it’s about what you do in that recovery time and it’s how well you recover in those hours that is really important in a multi-day. How well you eat. How well you rest. Whatever things you do to look after your legs and the pain in your legs. How well you can get yourself feeling fresh and bouncy for the next morning. The most important thing is those hours of recovery rather than the hours of running.”

RERUN

Multi-day races always rely on equipment and a list of mandatory kit is essential. At UTMR Dan is going to have a completely different thought process to equipment because he has created RERUN which is recycling run clothing.

“I made a pledge almost a year ago to not buy anything new including running equipment,trainersand clothes. Everything I have at UTMR will be recycled or secondhand and that includes all the mandatory kit. We run a second-hand online running shop so I’m able to purchase stuff that comes through that if required. I can make do on other things; I’ll just borrow if need be. I feel there’s no need to buy new stuff that I might use once, and you might not even use at all because some of the stuff for the mandatory kit list is there for emergencies.”

I stressed the need for the correct equipment and how mandatory equipment is there for safety…

“I don’t like the cold and that it’s really important for me to be warm. I would prefer to be sweating loads than have the chance of being cold. I’ve seen some of the pictures of UTMR and it’s amazing that in one day, how different the weather can be. So yes, I agree. I may recycle but I will have the correct equipment.”

I was looking at racks of T-shirts, tights, run shoes and many of the elements that one sees in a runner’s kit bag. How did ReRun come about?

“It’s our way of trying to create an awareness around the kind of waste that we do produce as runners. You don’t need that much to run. You just need a pair of shoes and some shorts. We spend so much time running in beautiful places it easy to see how running and the environment go hand-in-hand.It’s crazy the amount of pollution, the amount of waste that’s created from fashion. In all the running community it’s amazing the amount of clothes and stuff that we go through on a yearly basis.Our idea was to create an online second-hand running shop. Where we could use it to spread awareness of practices that would help and enhance running as environmentally friendly.When I run across the Downs and I spend two hours away from all of that kind of consumerism and society it makes me realise how lucky I am and how I do not need new apparel to enjoy the freedom of running. Running is our escape, I was guilty, I was a sponsored athlete because of my success. I was sucked into consumerism. I became an advert…I find it so sad sometimes. Hawking this consumerism and saying, look at all this free kit I’ve got, and now you need to go out and buy this kit because I use it.  A year ago, no, maybe two years ago, and we were speaking my wife, we decided not to seek any sponsorship anymore and to try and promote something that we really wanted to promote. Something that felt good to promote. That’s where ReRun came from.”

So, quite simply, in a world of altruism, sponsorship and the age of the ‘influencer,’ Dan turns his back on sponsorship and in his words, ‘Tries to do the right thing!’

“We’ve never really gone out there and promoted ourselves. We’ve never said to people, come and bring your kit here. People have come to us and people like Rebeca at myRaceKit have got in contact with us and said that they like what we are doing, and they want to help. For example, myRaceKit has become a drop-off point for ReRun.”

I wondered what the long-term objective was for Dan? Did he have a dream, an ambition to expand so that one can go into any town and find a ReRun shop?

“That would be the opposite of our dream and our ambition. Our dream and ambition is to not have any second-hand running clothes, because if there’s no second-hand running clothes it means that everybody has what they need and are not over consuming.As you can see, we’re here in our little workshop, and most of the clothes we get are in really good condition because running clothes, and especially the running clothes that cost a bit more are built to last.Outultimate success is that we put ourselves out of business…”

It really makes one think. Just think of all the races that provide a t-shirt in the goody bag. Often, they are cheap, poorly designed and a waste of time. Who wants them?

“It is a great example. They’re cheap technical T-shirts and usually they’re really ugly. They’re plastered in sponsor’s names. I would say 70% of the stuff we’ve got are race T-shirts. We cut them up and make them into half/half T-shirts to give them a new identity. We also started working with local businesses to try to re-brand them for their business but it’s still an issue.”

No goodie bag seems a simple and great way to start. I suggest to Dan; it would be a considerably better option when entering a race to have a set of options. For example:

  • Do you want a T-shirt? Yes? £20
  • Do you want a medal? £5 YES/NO

It becomes much more consumer-led rather than everybody gets a T-shirt.

“We’re happy to see T-shirts. But we want people to actually want them. I still wear and I’m really happy to wear some race T’s because they mean a lot to me. I’d be happy to pay for those T-shirts, but we are just get given them and most throw them away…”

By asking questions on an entry form, one makes a conscious decision. Maybe even race entries can be a little cheaper as there will be no need to subsidize the ‘free’ goodies?

“Ordering a finishers T-shirt takes a bit of time if you really want it, you’ll do it, if you don’t, you won’t do it. Quite simple and immediately we start to reduce waste. Taking plastics and making them into bags or T’s is brilliant but all we are doing is just prolonging the life of that plastic for another two or three years. Taking nets out of the sea and making them into trainers is great, sounds great but all you’re doing is taking that stuff out of the sea for another what? How long do trainers last for? How long are they supposed to last for? Another six months then eventually it’s going to go back into the sea. At ReRun we’re giving clothing another life but it’s still going to be out there as a waste product eventually.”

Brands want us to consume, trainers for example have a ‘life’ that typically is quantified in miles, around 400/500 miles. But Dan is wearing shoes that are pieced together. Are we being manipulated I ask him?

“I haven’t bought into the marketing BS! Running is such a natural, simple movement, why do we need to add technology into it? I know some people say, yes, but we’re running on roads now and impact is greater… I think sometimes we get a little bit too precious with our feet and what we’re supposed to be putting on them. When I was in India, there’s a lot of runners in flip flops. Maybe an extreme point, but you see what I mean!”

ReRun really does make one ask questions. Firstly, better to recycle than throw away. But when purchasing, one should ask, ‘Do I really need it, or am I consuming because I want it?’ So how does one purchase from ReRun?

“Firstly, you have to ask the question, do I really need it? We never ever promote or advertise and try to sell this stuff because we want to make sure that people actually need it. If you really need something, then come have a look at our website.”

And my chat concludes. For the first time in my history, I speak to the businessman who is trying to put himself and wife, out of business.

*****

Training for… A series of new articles brought to you by the multi-stage and ultra-running specialist store, myRaceKit, http://www.myracekit.com

As a footnote, in the words of Dan:

“A T-shirt is nine plastic bottles. It’s made from oil, it’s made from fossil fuel, it’s just exactly the same. Once we win the battle with supermarkets and their plastic waste then we can start focus and the emphasis will come on to clothing. We start to realise that it’s an essential thing. In five years hopefully ReRun won’t be around. The onus is on this, the clothing, the sports companies, and the clothing companies to really find solutions. How difficult can it be? They can take nets out of water, they can turn them into a material they can use in a trainer but then they’re saying they can’t then recycle it back into that raw material so that they can use it again?”

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TRAINING FOR… UTMR with Damian Hall

Damian Hall ran his first half marathon race in 2011. In his own words, “It was  a life-changing race.” Just 1-year later he ran his first marathon and first ultra-marathon. Dedicated to the art of running, Damian became a student of the sport and through his journalism work, he gleamed as much information as possible. He became his own test subject.

In a very short period of time, he completed the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc on four occasions progressing each year to finally place 5th. He has run Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert,the Ice Ultra in Arctic Sweden,The Coastal Challenge in Costa and has excelled at multi-discipline and long distance races in the UK such as The Spine, The Dragons Back and the UK Trail Championships.

His love for the sport has also seen him test himself on multiple challenges and FKT’s such as running ‘The Rounds’ such as Bob Graham, the South West Coast Path and most recently the Cape Wrath Trail with Beth Pascall.

A lover of a good mug of tea and a Tunnock biscuit, Damian, the husband and father of two children, has a popular voice on the UK ultra-run scene.

Leaving his beloved UTMB alone in 2019, Damian will challenge himself in September with the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa.

Training for…, a series of new articles brought to you by the multi-stage and ultra-running specialist store, myRaceKit, http://www.myracekit.com

We are very fortunate to have myRaceKit sponsoring several articles on ‘Training for…’ in this scenario, the UTMR, the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa, an epic trail race designed by no less than Lizzy Hawker, who in herself is an absolutely stunning multi-day ultra-runner. Lizzy came up with this beast of a race, or should I say beasts of races because now there is more than one, there is the big one which is a 170 km with 11,300 meters of vertical, there is a four-stagerace which is basically the big one broken down into four days and then there are the Ultra Three Passes which is 100 km with 6420 meters of vertical gain, big statistics. I wondered, what enticed Damian to tackle the UTMR instead of UTMB in 2019?

“I thought if I’m not doing UTMB, I’ll do the race with the closest name,” Damian says with a hint of mischief. “No. I think number one, I love running a hundred miles, I think it’s a really special race distance, I also love running a hundred miles in a lumpy place because it’s just that bit more ‘hurty,’ but I think the number one appeal really for me is Lizzy Hawker actually, I’ve never met her and she’s a huge inspiration to me. When Iwas just getting into the sport, she was winning UTMB every year, and I love her outlook on the sport, I’m sure she probably wouldn’t call it a sport, it’s probably more than that to her and probably to me as well, but I’ve read her book, I love that and she’s just super inspiring. I still have that UTMB obsession to shake off, I did four UTMBs in a row and I’m looking forward to a year without one just to freshen things up and see what that feels like and UTMR, it’s not too far away either, is a similar time of year but in a way it sounds very similar and yet very different. Obviously, the crowds will be a lot smaller, the field’s a lot smaller. It sounds like a tougher course, there’s more climb. From the pictures I’ve seen, it’s possibly more spectacular. I’ve had three good friends do it including Nicky Spinks. They’ve all absolutely raved about it. There’s a whole load of reasons to be attracted to the race. I’m really excited.”

Put like that, it’s self-explanatory why Damian will venture to new ground. After all, the Matterhorn as a backdrop to stunning trails is an easy sell. It’s arguably the most iconic mountain in the world, maybe even more so than Everest. After all, Everest did not make it on to Toblerone packaging!

Damian came to this sport later in life, and in doing so, has inspired a great deal of people to relook at their own running and what they can achieve. I’ve always said, age is just a number, it doesn’t actually really mean anything. Not only are you proving that but there’s countless other people proving that. In 2014, Damian placed fourth in the Spine and second in the Cotswold Way, which was then just about over 100 miles. The following year, I raced at the Dragon’s Back, he placed 29th at UTMB. Then the following year, you came to The Coastal challenging Costa Rica where you placed fifth in a super stacked front field. Second at the Highland Fling which was a UK trail championship, a great result. You moved up from 29th to 19th at UTMB, then 19th to 12th and then 12th to 5th! Actually, 2018 was a great year for you because you won the Ice Ultra, you were sixth at Madeira and you were first at Ultimate Trails and second at Mozart 100.

“Yes, I think I’ve realized that UTMB and similar are the races I like.  Long climbs and some technical aspects and fun. I suppose fun, long technical descents. I’ll be honest, I like a hiking race. I like a long climb that’s so long, you can’t really run it. I like the change in rhythm that that brings. I am not full-time but am dedicated. My progression has been gradual, and I am happy. UTMR in a way is perfect because it’s some of the similar format big mountains, similar distance that kind of thing but it feels quite fresh and that’s a new course.”

Running well for any race usually requires very specific preparation and ideally on opportunity to go and run on some of the race route.

“I’m still undecided whether I’ll be able to go on recce or not. Traditionally, I haven’t really recced races because I’m in the sport for the adventure really. Obviously, I love the athletic, the competitive element of it too. I love the adventure element where you’re not really sure what the course looks like and you’re not sure what’s of the next horizon, the next mountain, the next valley.”

A family man who works, how does Damian plan his training? How does he fit in training? What does his research look like when going into a race? So many questions come to mind! It’s very easy with the Ultra Monte Rosa course I guess, look at a map and it’s a nice big circular loop and you suddenly start to see really key statistics like Zermatt and Saas-Fee and then you start to look at everything else and then suddenly you realise there’s lots of 4,000 meter mountains in this area. It’s going to be quite a hard race. How does Damian start to approach the training process for a race like this?

“I guess the distances is a key statistic and you’d hope people would know the distance before they sign up but then it’s also how much vert as the Americans call it, how much ascent is in the race overall. What I learned from my first UTMBis actually the descending is going to hurt than the climbing. It’s always important to know roughly what that figure is and that’s going to dictate probably the latter block of my training.”

You need to be strong for a race like a long distance ultra, particularly when in the mountains, I wondered on Damian’s approach to strength and conditioning?

“I do additional strength work making sure my legs are strong enough for that. I suppose how technical is the course is something that people think about a lot and quite rightly. UTMB for example has got a couple of short technical sections, I suppose, but mostly it’s good terrain, good hard trails. I must admit I haven’t looked in detail yet at UTMR about how technical it is compared to UTMB.I have heard more technical. Strength is key and another thing I’ve done over the time is I’ve worked with Shane Benzie who’s a movement specialist on having good technique for descending, especially for the technical terrain. I still don’t always get it right. I’ve just seen some of my photos from my recent race and they’re a bit disappointing. My technique was out of step. As you get tired sometimes, old habits slip in.”

I am sure that Damian’s training is more than just going for a run, but what about speed?

“There’s volume of course, ultra-runners need volume and miles. But I’ll be going to the track as well because last year for the first time, I started doing track work. I hate it but know it’s effective. I’m 43, I’m trying to squeeze every… I guess people would call it marginal gains, but I make sure I’m as fast as can be as well legs being as strong as can be and so on. I will be going to the track.”

Vertical climbing is a key element to a race like UTMR, as well as the descending as Damian has mentioned. Breaking training down into blocks, ‘periodization’ is important, I asked Damian how he approaches these elements.

“A good plan is all about periodizing, for now, I am in a good spell of getting fast. Vertical training will come a bit later nearer the race, which thankfully is in the summer when it’s a bit more pleasant getting to mountainous places. Also, what’s changed for me over the couple of years also is that I really look forward to runningraces. Now, I think I’m more sensible in picking three or four key ones for a year. Actually, I really enjoy the training. I love training for the sake of training, which is a nice feeling, a nice place to be, I suppose.”

Adding races in to training can be difficult, especially if one of those ‘other’ races can be as important as another ‘A’ race. For example, Damian hopes to run Western States which is close to UTMR and the courses are very different.

“Yeah, at the moment, I’ve still got this outside hope or outside wish of doing Western States in late June. Obviously, some of the Western States training would benefit UTMR, but some of it would be quite different. I don’t know if I’ll be doing it yet. In a way, I can’t plan too much of that, but I know that July and August will be all about UTMR for me. That probably means a big amount of days and trying to get a lot mountain running.”

Equipment for Western States is pretty straightforward. You need a pair of running shoes, shorts, and a top, and a hydration vest, whereas UTMR is going to be something that is completely different. Variables in terrain, extremes of hot and cold, mandatory kit, poles, etcetera. I asked Damian what are some of the specifics in a mountain race in terms of equipment that he needs, must have, and then the optional extras that he takes?

“There is something special about doing a mountain race where you have a pack, where you’re feeling self-reliant, where you know you can be okay for 6, 8, 10, 12 hours with everything in your pack, maybe even 24 hours if you get off-course. I do like that. That’s mostly why I got into the sport really is to have those mini mountain ventures. I do love agonizing over what kit to take and checking the weight of everything and checking the weather and all that aspect in the few weeks beforehand. I love all that, the anticipation.”

So, what equipment does Damian take?

“I’ll take two if not three waterproof jackets because probably the last weather forecast, the day before the race, will probably determine which one I take. With UTMB, I learned in the past that the weather can do anything and you’re not really sure. You need to be prepared for bad weather in high mountains. Any jacket should have taped seams and of course one needs appropriate trousers to go with the jacket.”

 

“I’ll probably, depending on the time of year, take a Protec-Shell which is probably a winter jacket. I wouldn’t expect to use that, but you never know, the weather really might come in and you don’t want to be caught out. I don’t expect to race in that, but I’ll take that out with me just in case.”

 

“Base layers, I use merino wool because that just gives you a little bit of extra warmth. For the last two years at UTMB I’ve worn merino gloves. I’m pretty sure they’ll be on mandatory kit list. If the weather is rough, I might be taking two, I might be taking a pair of mitts to go over the top of the gloves. I imagine there’ll be some mid layer. Again, that’s a tricky one. Sometimes if you go the lightest possible then you might get caught out. Again, I’ll probably go two different options maybe a merino one and maybe a PrimaLoft. I’ll probably take a light pair of tights as well if it’s on the mandatory kit.”

 

“Headlamp and spare batteries are essential, I really like the Petzl NAO+ which you can program in an app. You can decide exactly how many hours you want it to last for. It’s really bright. It’s been dependable so far. Poles, I like the Black Diamond Z Pole.”

Poles have become increasingly popular in ultra-races, particularly in mountain races. Certainly, in America, you wouldn’t see anybody using poles. I think that’s primarily because the terrain out there is probably more runnable. I’m not saying that they don’t have plenty of vert. For example, Hard Rock has got plenty of vert. Hard Rock is a good example because now if you look at the elite field in Hard Rock, they’re pretty much all using poles. Poles have become almost the ‘go to’ in races like UTMB and all these other mountain races but a lot of people think that they can just pick up a pair of poles the day before a race and use them. There is absolutely a real skill to using poles. Damian has used poles on many occasions, I wondered about his thought process?

Read about using poles HERE

“Poles still causing some debate definitely in some British circles where I think they still get called cheat sticks. About whether they’re really useful or not, in the last couple years I’ve seen definitely even people like Jim Mann and Nicky Spinks, Jasmin Paris and so on use them. Personally, I think they help me with long climbs. I can’t prove they do really unless I suppose I did a huge climb without them and then a huge climb with them to compare. I suppose I’ve never actually done that. Some of it may be psychological. You might feel you’re climbing better with them, but I really believe in this sport the mental side is so important. If you think you’re climbing well, then chances are it will help, positive mindsetis key and think. I really feel they helped with climbing. It’s not just spreading the load of the muscles. It keeps you more upright as well which can aid your breathing. It also means your muscles, especially your quads, get less stress because there’s always a temptation to bend. Practice in training is essential, especially on your long runs. Also, press-ups are excellent to tone the required muscles.”

 

“Also, the better your arms are moving your legs tend to follow your arms. If your arms are keeping a decent cadence your legs are hopefully not being too lazy and keeping a decent smaller cadence. A bigger cadence but a smaller gap, smaller stride. That’s what I found. I also try hard to tuck them away for any flats or downhills because I think they seem to slow me up. I think that’s a cadence thing where if you’re holding poles your arms move less and therefore your legs can move less. Poles also aid travelling down hill,  sometimes I’ve been so wrecked that my quads have needed the extra help on the downhill.”

Safety is a key element in mountain races, the need for minimum calories, minimum liquid, a mobile phone and so on. I wondered if Damian had witnessed key changes?

“When I started out in the sport, I think I’d usually go with a bladder, that seemed to make more sense but the last few years I’ve been using soft flasks. I think it’s easier to see how much water you’ve got and to monitor how much you’re drinking. For example, at Station A, you might just fill them both up and try and drink them both by the time you get to the next one. I think if I need to carry one and a half, I’d probably just take three soft flasks. One might stay in the back of my pack depending on how hot it is. If it’s getting hot I’ll maybe bring that into play, but what I’ve learned as well as sometimes you have a third one that’s full of water and you use that for tipping over your head if it’s really hot rather than drinking because it can be more important to bring the body temperature down, definitely what I learned at Costa Rica! In regard to nutrition, it goes in waves and it constantly changes, I usually go with one gel and some nuts to be honest because nuts are high calorie per weight. If you are in trouble or you found someone else is in trouble, the sugar from a gel is going to help them quicker. Emergency food is very personal. In addition to a phone, often a space blanket or even a form of bivvy bag is required along with a whistle and compass. It all makes sense. Now I even would consider a GPS like a Garmin inReach as a really useful safety addition.”

Most mandatory kit lists include whistle and compass, that’s pretty normal. Some sort of elastic bandage or strapping is also useful should you have a bad ankle or a knee that you can strap it up is useful. Also, your own cup just makes sense.

“Yes, definitely, it is kind of horrifying especially in road running. I’m not trying to beat up on road running necessarily but when you see a city half marathon or marathon. Then you just see the debris left behind afterwards of water bottles. I don’t know how practical it is to turn that to road races and stuff but obviously, this is the way forward. We’re all in the last year or two become really aware of plastic wastage and yes it’s horrifying some of the stuff we’ve seen in the oceans.”

Finally, I asked Damian for a top-tip to get ready for UTMR.

“There are a few things. An obvious thing is a bit more strength work which obviously has other benefits and should help prevent injury and stuff. I must credit Ian Sharman who used to coach me, his signature session is probably the weight vest hike which I’ve become a fan of, and a weight vest is only probably only about £30 or £40 online, maybe eight to 10 kilograms and you wear for half an hour at a time, one or two miles, ideally a little bit of hill involved. Not running and just hiking you definitely don’t run downhill because that’s a hell of a lot of weight to go through your knees. If you just get in the habit of doing a short walk, often for people it’s a dog walk maybe, that can grow a bit of strength quite safely.Ultimately if you live somewhere flat it’s probably a good idea if you can sometimes get away to somewhere lumpier and do some specific training. Personally, I live near Bath in the bottom of the Cotswold’s, I go to the Brecon Beacons quite regularly, which is a three-hour round trip for me. The longest climb there still is just only 400 meters, that’s not even half of what it will be in the Alps, but one can do repeats.”

One thing is for sure, in any running adventure, if you want to progress and perform, you need to be specific. Damian has applied these principles and year-on-year, as he has learnt and has progressed. It’s not just the ‘running’ part but the planning, the equipment, the strength, core, nutrition and importantly the mind. To achieve one must address all those aspects to perform.

Training for…A series of new articles brought to you by the multi-stage and ultra-running specialist store myRaceKit, http://www.myracekits.com.

MANDATORY EQUIPMENT for UTMR

Mobile Phone HERE

Head Torch and batteriesHERE

Bottles x2 or bladder (1.5ltr)  HEREor HERE

Emergency food (400 cal)HERE

Bivvy bagHERE

Whistle

Elastic bandageHERE

Drinking cupHERE

Waterproof jacket w/ hoodHERE

Waterproof trousers HERE

3/4 or full run tightsHERE

Warm hatHERE

GlovesHERE

GPS tracker (provided)

Identity papers– Passport is required in a waterproof bag

Rear lightHERE

Thermal warm layerHERE

Run packHERE

PolesHERE

Dry BagHERE

LINKS:

myRaceKit – HERE

UTMR – HERE

Damian Hall – HERE

 

Listen to the ‘Training for…’ article on Talk Ultra Podcast HERE

Join Ian Corless in London with Lizzy Hawker ‪@lizzihawker in June for a special @myRaceKit ‬#Tailsfromthetrails couple of days!

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Episode 169 – Michael Wardian #fktisrael and Damian Hall #training for by myRaceKit

Episode 169 of Talk Ultra is here… We bring you an interview with Michael Wardian ahead of his 631-mile #fktisrael – We also introduce a new segment to Talk Ultra ’Training for…’ brought to you by myRaceKit – this week we chat with Damian Hall and Ultra Tour Monte Rosa
*****
Talk Ultra is now on Tunein- just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE  You can download the Tunein APP HERE
Talk Ultra needs your help!
We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons… you can even join us on the show! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create!
Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
Donate HERE
*****
NEWS
THE COASTAL CHALLENGE
Well we discussed on the last episode how The Coastal Challenge would be an epic race and wow, it was! Pere Aurell from Spain won the race outright but the real drama came from the women with Ida Nilsson winning two stages outright, setting 4 female stage records, obliterating the old CR by 3-hours and placing 2nd overall! We also need to shout out to Holly Page who set 2 female stage records… It was an incredible edition of the race. Read the race reports 1 HERE 2 HERE 3 HERE 4 HERE 5 HERE 6 HERE and Photographs HERE
WAY TOO COOL 50km
Anthony Costales (3:17) and Clare Gallagher (3:53) topped the podium for a very muddy 50k!
TRANSGRANCANARIA
Pau Capell produced a masterclass performance to dominate the race ahead of Pablo Villa and Cristofer Clemente12:42, 13:31 and 13:42.
The women’s race was much closer with an interesting dynamic at the front, last-year’s winner Magdalena Laczak triumphed in 16:22 ahead of Kaytlyn Gerbin and Fernanda Maciel, 16:35 and 17:03.
Read HERE
BLACK CANYON 100KM
Matt Daniels took top honours ahead of Chris Mocko and Eric Senseman. The top 2 obtaining WSER Golden Tickets but Mocko already had a ticket from Bandera 100km and therefore Senseman benefited.
Kaci Lickteig is back and now back at WSER after her victory ahead of YiOu Wang and Mallory Richard.
FKT ISRAEL
Michael Wardian on March 11th (tbc) plans to take on the Israel National Trail running the approximate 631-miles in a target window of 10-days. Read HERE. 
I will be along to document the attempt in words and images with daily updates on this website and of course on all the relevant social media. Follow #fktisrael
READ HERE
*****
00:10:45 Interview with MICHAEL WARDIAN
*****
TRAINING FOR…
In a series of new podcasts and articles, ’TRAINING FOR…’ will bring you discussion with runners on how they will prepare for their next big adventure.
This is brought to you by myRaceKit – the multi-stage and ultra-running specialist store  www.myracekit.com
 
01:00:23 TRAINING FOR… with DAMIAN HALL
*****
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And use good old word mouth.
Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein.
Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
Keep running
01:47:30
*****
Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE, Android HERE or via a web player HERE
Website- talkultra.com
UP & COMING RACESgo to https://marathons.ahotu.com

Ultra Tour de Monte Rosa 2015 #UTMR gets underway

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All images ©LloydBelcherVisuals – no reproduction, sharing or distribution

Inaugural stage of the Ultra Tour de Monte Rosa.

Cervinia, Val d’Aosta 20 August 2015

119 runners from 17 countries started the inaugural Ultra Tour de Monte Rosa (UTMR), a 106km trail race in three-stages, from Cervinia (Italy) to Grächen (Switzerland).

Lizzy Hawker, five-times Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) winner and UTMR Race Director, launched her zero-edition three-stage trail race in the shadow of Cervino.

“These mountains have held my curiosity and passion since I was a child. I realised that these are the trails that I wanted to share with other runners. It is something special to create a race here,” said Hawker.

31% of the participants are women at UTMR, which is unusually high for a long distance trail race.

“It’s great to have increasing numbers of women entering into this sport,” said Hawker.

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“There were so many happy people out there”, said Anna Troup, from the flatlands of London.

The race was started by Hervé Barmasse, Alpine Mountain Guide Instructor and Tourism Ambassador for Val D’Aosta.

“It’s very exciting to have a new trail running concept starting in Cervinia on the region’s premier hiking trails.”

Stage one saw a close competition between Matthias Ihler from Germany who pipped Austrian Martin Gansterer by less than a minute. The first female runner Katie Roby came in ranked seventh overall and takes a 14 minute advantage into day two over Krissy Moehl (US).

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The second stage begins tomorrow morning at 6am and will be started by the oldest Mountain Guide in Gressoney. The second stage runs from Staffal to Macugnaga, a 36.5km route with a positive elevation of 2673m. It crosses the Col de Turlo, an ancient road, rebuilt by prisoners of war in World War II.

A 150km single-stage edition of the race is planned for August 2016. UTMR Leaders after Day 1

TOP 5 MEN

Matthias Ihler (DEU) 03:30:04

Martin Gansterer (AUT) 03:30:29

José Luis Arnal (ESP) 03:39:55

Andrea Zangarini (ITA) 03:43:15

Adam Stirk (GBR) 03:52:34

TOP 5 WOMEN

Katie Roby (GBR) 04:07:51

Krissy Moehl (USA) 04:22:55

Jennifer Bradley (GBR) 04:37:11

Denise Janin (ITA) 04:37:39

Elisabeth Blanc (FRA) 04:39:29

All images ©LloydBelcherVisuals – no reproduction, sharing or distribution

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Follow the UTMR on Facebook HERE

Episode 71 – Frosty, Hawker, Draney, Warburton, Robson

Ep71

This is episode 71 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show 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 New, a Blog, Up and Coming races and Speedgoat.

NEWS

BEAR 100

Brian Peterson 18:59:24
Luke Nelson 19:51:21
Jason Koop 20:06:58

Anna Frost 20:59:24
Sarah Vlach 24:47:32
Petra McDowell 25:45:51
 
INTERVIEW with ANNA FROST

SPARTATHLON

Ivan Cudin 22:29:29
Florian Reus 23:57:13
Andrzej Radzikowski 25:49:05

Szilvia Lubics 26:53:40
Katalin Nagy 28:55:03
Esnaola Eva 30:52:41

Sam Robson 51st and 1st Brit 32:04:48

INTERVIEW with SAM ROBSON
·
LIZZY HAWKER announces new race – HERE

INTERVIEW with LIZZY HAWKER
 
ULTRA PIRINEU (Cavalls del Vent)

Luis Alberto Hernando
Francesc Sole Duocastella
Jessed Hernandez Gispert

Nuria Picas
Raquel Rivero Delgado
Angels Llobera Vicens
 
BLOG
 
‘Most of us will never forego mountain boots for trail running shoes or just a pack of gel and 40cl of water for a 20-hour day on the hill, but at the uber light end of the game, this is exactly what the elite are doing. To travel in this fashion imagines a mountain day without mishaps, bad weather, a slip or twisted ankle. The lightweight rucksacks are filled with immense self-belief and partnered with sure-footedness over difficult ground now branded as ‘sky running.’ TREK & MOUNTAIN magazine

 
INTERVIEW

CAINE WARBURTON tells us all about running in the Southern Hemisphere and how it contrasts to his European experiences in 2014

 
INTERVIEW
 
TY DRANEY has been running ultras for a looooong time. Just this last weekend he ran the Bear 100 for the 4th time…. and the 5th! We catch up and discuss his career

 
UP & COMING RACES

Argentina
La Pachamama 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
La Pachamama 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website

Australia
Queensland
Bribie Beach Bash 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Victoria
Great Ocean Walk 100 km Trail Run | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Great Ocean Walk 100 mile Trail Run | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Western Australia
Oxfam Trailwalker Australia – Perth | 100 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website

Canada
Alberta
Iron Horse Ultra 100 Km (CAN) | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Iron Horse Ultra 100 Miles (CAN) | 100 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Nova Scotia
Valley Harvest Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Ontario
Run for the Toad 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website

Chile
Atacama Crossing | 250 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
Rapa Nui GrandTrail – 80 K | 80 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website

Croatia
Valamar Trail 53 | 53 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Valamar Trail 73 | 73 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website

Finland
Eastern Finland
Vaarojen Ultramaraton | 84 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Western Finland
Wihan kilometrit – 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Wihan kilometrit – 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

France
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
Trail Gapen’Cimes Edelweiss | 52 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
Charente-Maritime
100 km de Royan | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
50 km de Royan | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Essonne
Trail du Viaduc des Fauvettes 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Haute-Corse
A Paolina | 70 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Loire-Atlantique
Trail de Mauves en Vert – 50 km | 53 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
Pyrénées-Orientales
100 Miles Sud de France | 100 miles | October 10, 2014 | website
Grande Traversée Mer Montagne | 110 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Somme
100 km de la Somme | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

Germany
Bavaria
Herbstlauf Schloss Thurn Hobbylauf | 87 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
North Rhine-Westphalia
50 km von Hitdorf | 50 kilometers | October 03, 2014 | website

Greece
Rodopi Advendurun 100 miles | 100 miles | October 17, 2014 | website

Hong-Kong
Challenger – Whole Course | 78 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Prohiker – Round-trip Course | 156 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website

India
Bhatti Lakes 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Bhatti Lakes 220 km | 220 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website
Bhatti Lakes 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 10, 2014 | website

Italy
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Magredi Mountain Trail 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Magredi Mountain Trail 40 Mile | 40 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Piedmont
100 km delle Alpi | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Morenic Trail | 109 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Puglia
Run & Go 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Run & Go 100 Miglia | 100 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Umbria
Ultra Trail le vie di San Francesco Long Way | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Ultra Trail le vie di San Francesco Short Way | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

Macedonia
Krali Marko Trails 60 km | 64 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website

Nepal
Royal Penguin Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website

Netherlands
Gelderland
Herfst Ultraloop Berg en Dal | 60 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

Philippines
Olango Island Ultramarathon Eco Adventure 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website

Poland
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 150K | 150 kilometers | October 03, 2014 | website
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 220K | 220 kilometers | October 03, 2014 | website
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 55K | 55 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Beskidy Ultra Trail – 85K | 85 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website

South Africa
Legends 68km Ultra Marathon | 68 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
The Hobbit 100 | 100 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website

Spain
Aragon
Long Trail Guara Somontano | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Ultra Trail Guara Somontano | 98 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Madrid
Sunrise Trail Ultra International | 68 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Valencian Community
Ultra Trail Del Rincon 100 km | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Ultra Trail Del Rincon 170 km | 170 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website

Sweden
Sörmland Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

Switzerland
Valais
Les Défis du Jubilé – 52 km | 52 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Les Défis du Jubilé – 68 km | 68 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Les Défis du Jubilé – 71 km | 71 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website

United Kingdom
Cornwall
Atlantic Coast 3-Day Challenge | 78 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Cumbria
3×3000 Ultra Trail | 80 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Devon
Bideford Bay 50km | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Greater London
Royal Parks Foundation Ultra | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
North Yorkshire
“Round Ripon” Ultra Studley Roger | 35 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Shropshire
The Longmynd Hike | 50 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Surrey
Downslink Ultra | 38 miles | October 05, 2014 | website

USA
Arizona
Canyon De Chelly Ultra | 55 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Flagstaff 56K Endurance Run | 56 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Arkansas
Arkansas Traveller 100 | 100 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
California
Boggs Mountain Boogie 50k | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Cuyamaca 100K Endurance Run | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Dick Collins Firetrails 50 | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Euchre Bar Massacre 50 M | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Owen’s Peak Man vs Horse 50K Trail Adventure | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Pioneer Spirit 50M | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Skyline to the Sea 50km | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Weaver Basin 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Weaver Basin Trails 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Whoos in El Moro 50k | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Colorado
24 Hrs of Boulder – 100 K | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
24 Hrs of Boulder – 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
24 Hrs of Boulder – 50 K | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Animas Surgical Hospital Durango 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Florida
John Holmes 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Hawaii
Peacock Ultramarathons 100K | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Peacock Ultramarathons 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Idaho
Foothills 50K Frenzy | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Illinois
Farmdale 33 Mile Trail Runs | 33 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Farmdale 50 Mile Ultra Trail Run | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Iowa
The Runner’s Flat 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Kansas
Heartland 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Heartland 50 Mile Race | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Lake Perry Rocks! 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Kentucky
Cloudsplitter 100K | 100 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Cloudsplitter 100 Mile | 100 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Cloudsplitter 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Maine
Farm To Farm Ultra 50K Run | 50 kilometers | October 13, 2014 | website
Farm To Farm Ultra 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | October 13, 2014 | website
Maryland
Ragnar Relay Washington D.C. | 200 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
Montana
Le Grizz Ultramarathon | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Nebraska
Market to Market 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Market to Market Relay | Nebraska | 78 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
New Hampshire
Pinnacle Ultra Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
New York
Can Lake 50 K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Can Lake 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Tesla Hertz 100K Run | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Tesla Hertz 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Tesla Hertz 50K Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Tesla Hertz 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
North Carolina
Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock Ultra 50K Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock Ultra 50- Mile Run | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Pennsylvania
Blues Cruise 50k Trail Ultra | 50 kilometers | October 05, 2014 | website
Green Monster 50K Trail Challenge | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Oil Creek Trail Runs 100 Miles | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Oil Creek Trail Runs 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Oil Creek Trail Runs 50 Miles | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
South Carolina
Swamp Rabbit Urban Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Tennessee
Cumberland Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Rock/Creek StumpJump 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Texas
Hunter Gatherer 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Survival Run: Hunter Gatherer | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Utah
Antelope Island 100K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Antelope Island 50K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
Pony Express Trail 100 | 100 miles | October 17, 2014 | website
Pony Express Trail 50 | 50 miles | October 17, 2014 | website
Red Rock Relay Park City Edition | 65 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Utah 50K | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Utah Gore-Tex® 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 04, 2014 | website
Virginia
GrindStone 100 | 101 miles | October 03, 2014 | website
New River Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
The Wild Oak Trail 100 “Hot” TWOT | 100 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Washington
Baker Lake 50k | 50 kilometers | October 04, 2014 | website
Defiance 50K | 50 kilometers | October 11, 2014 | website
West Virginia
West Virginia Trilogy – Day One 50 km | 50 kilometers | October 10, 2014 | website
West Virginia Trilogy – Day Two 50 Mile | 50 miles | October 11, 2014 | website
Wisconsin
Glacial 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | October 12, 2014 | website
Glacial 50M Trail Run | 50 miles | October 12, 2014 | website

CLOSE

LINKS

http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkultra/Episode_71_-_Frost_Hawker_Draney_Warburton_Robson.mp3

ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

Lizzy Hawker announces Ultra Tour Monte Rosa #UTMR

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

I was fortunate to meet up with TNF athlete, Lizzy Hawker earlier this year in Zermatt. I was curious as to the health of Lizzy and also how she had been filling her time whilst away from the sport.

From an injury perspective, it is slowly does it. One step at a time in the hope that Lizzie’s injury woes are behind her. Lizzy said, ‘but I just need to be careful.’

Ironically, our chat in Zermatt was just days before the TNFUTMB, a race Lizzy has dominated in the past. Lizzy would be at the 2014 UTMB but in a role as an ambassador and not racing.

So, what has Lizzy been up to?

Well, to put it quite simply, Lizzy has been working hard to create a race of epic proportions, the ULTRA TOUR MONTE ROSA (UTMR).

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‘I have been working hard to develop a beautiful trail race around Monte Rosa on the Swiss / Italian border. We will hold a zero edition 4 day stage race in August 2015, and the full inaugural 150km ultra marathon in 2016,’ said Lizzy.

The website: www.ultratourmonterosa.com

all images ©alextreadway

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‘I first went to Zermatt at the age of 6, and that is where my love of the mountains started. The opportunity to create a race here and to share this love means a lot to me. Having explored the trails in this region extensively, I am convinced they are some of the most magnificent in the alps.’ As we all know, Lizzy has very much pioneered the way for trail and mountain running, particularly for women, so, to have this passion reflected back as a race director can only be a good thing. ‘My intention in founding this race is simply to give people an opportunity to explore these trails, and to experience the value of challenging themselves within the context of an ultra distance race. Running and racing has, over the years, given me so much, and this is what I would like to share with others now.’

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Crossing six high passes, this race will be a very tough event! Passing through Zermatt, the iconic Matterhorn will provide a backdrop as the race heads away accumulating over 10,000 m of ascent/ descent with an average altitude of 2000m.

‘It is a circumnambulation around the huge and imposing massif of the Monte Rosa. On often technical trails. It is firmly in the “hard” category. It is tough, beautiful and alluring!’

Lizzy is certainly in a reflective period of her career, summed up in her comments, ‘As race director, I would really like to encourage more women to participate and we will work towards achieving this in various ways. It will also be really important to us to support all our runners in their journey to reach the start line, and beyond, so that as many as possible can finish and enjoy their experience.’

Entry criteria for the ultra marathon will be tough, but Lizzy and her team will encourage participation and greater access through our stage race and provision of training camps.

More information will follow in due course and I will be looking to provide a full and in-depth interview with Lizzy in the coming days/ weeks.

Entry opens January 1st 2015

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2015 Race Route & Details:

RACE DATE20 – 23 August 2015 

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  • TOTAL DISTANCE: 150km
  • TOTAL ASCENT: +10,000m
  • AVERAGE ALTITUDE: +2,000m
  • COUNTRIES: Switzerland and Italy

 

STAGE I:  Grächen to Zermatt 

  • Date: Thursday 20 August
  • Start: Grächen (CH)
  • Finish: Zermatt (CH)
  • Distance: 33 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2200m / -2000m
  • Time Limit: 12 hours

 

STAGE II:  Zermatt to Stafal 

  • Date: Friday 21 August
  • Start: Zermatt (CH)
  • Finish: Stafal (IT)
  • Distance: 38 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2700m / -2500m
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

 

STAGE III: Stafal – Macugnaga

  • Date: Saturday 22 August
  • Start: Stafal (IT)
  • Finish: Macugnaga (IT)
  • Distance: 36.5 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2700m / -3200m
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

 

STAGE IV: Macugnaga – Grächen

  • Date: Sunday 23 August
  • Start: Macugnaga (IT)
  • Finish: Grächen (CH)
  • Distance: 40 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2600m / -2250
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

*PLEASE NOTE: 2016 will be the first edition and single stage!

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IMAGE GALLERY HERE all images ©alextreadway

LINKS

For more information, follow on Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE and via the website, HERE

You can sign up to the mailing list, HERE

2015 Registration is available HERE