Mike slept like a baby last night! I have known Mike for years and we have often laughed at his typical 4-hours a night sleep… He was in his sleeping bag not long after 8pm after day-1 and then had the ‘best sleep ever!’
The first day of the #FKTIsrael had been a tough one – far tougher than Mike and the crew had anticipated. However, doing any challenge, nothing is guaranteed and to be honest, one has to expect curve balls. The secret is all about how you bounce back.
Day 2 was a planned 103 (ish) km and that was pretty daunting after a long day 1 covering just over 80km. The plus, there is always a plus! Was that the terrain today was considerably more runnable and in principal, would suit Mike.
We immediately had a curve ball to the day! The ‘INT’ route early on passes through a military base and we were told late the night before that the route would be closed between 0730-0900. Bad news for any early start to make up time. However, it did allow the whole team more sleep. A plus for all.
Mike started his day at 0720 from the place he had finished the night before. It was clear, not only had Mike recovered well, he was motivated for the day. He started setting a good pace and maintained consistency, like a finely tuned metronome.
In contrast to day 1, the first marathon was relentlessly boring and featureless, a test for the mind as much as the legs and lungs. But Mike has an ability to switch off and get the job done. Today, we really witnessed why he is such a great ultra-runner.
Mile-after-mile clicked off and at each checkpoint he relaxed for 5-10 minutes, drank coconut water, ate avocado, hard-boiled egg whites, some Pringles, a little bread, hummus, vegetables and then he would fill his bottles and go.
At one point, he received a call from home, greeted his wife and wished his kids a ‘g’day’ before they left for school.
The highlight of the day came at Vardit and Barak Canyons. These natural wonders are truly spectacular, no, mind-blowing. Here Mike was accompanied by Uri, a good-friend of Zoli’s and an ultra-runner. The main reason being for safety as there are many water pools that require you to swim, ladders, via Ferrata and other technical terrain.
Once out of the final canyon, it was flat miles all the way to the end. But Mike at no point lost pace or commitment. He was a man on a mission, and he completed the day in darkness before 20hrs (1945 tbc) having completed the target distance for the day. The final section under strong winds and sand storms.
Mike impressed the whole team today, not only for his powers of recovery, his skill as a runner but by his generosity for all those who helped him, all those who said hello, and anyone who showed an interest. He is a true gent!
It’s Groundhog Day now, eat, wash, prepare kit and recover. It’s all to do again tomorrow.
Michael Wardian never stops…. He is a real life Forest Gump. Just recently he ran 400km in the Gobi Desert, a first for him! Wardian though started the year with a world record running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, you can listen to an in-depth interviewer with him HERE about this incredible feat.
It’s a dangerous question asking Wardian, ‘So, what is next?’
It is never a one word answer.
For example, in a few days, October 14th, he will toe the line at Hartford Marathon Charity Chase. Followed by the Marine Corps Marathon on the 22nd. November brings NYC Marathon, JFK 50 Miler, Flanigan’s 10km… do I need to go on? You get the picture!
In 2014, Wardian toed the line at The Coastal Challenge and had a great race winning and at the time setting a new CR ahead of quality runners such Philipp Reiter, Martin Gaffuri and Nick Clark.
Wardian promised he would return and in 2018, he will once again arrive on Costa Rican soil for a race that he loves.
1. Michael, you run and run, race and race. It seems a weekend never passes without you racing at least one race and more often than not, two or three… How do you keep the enthusiasm to race/ run so much?
MRW: I definitely enjoy toeing the line and throwing down. The thrill of racing is this something that is internal and I believe keeps me fresh and focused. I love seeing what I am capable of and I hope I inspire people to do a bit more than they think they can.
2. This amount of racing and running must take a toll on you and your body – how do you avoid injury?
MRW: I do race a lot and ask my body and mind to perform at the highest levels repeatedly but I think instead of causing injury it actually avoids injury a bit because my body is continually adapting and evolving and always improving. That said since my injuries in 2012, I am super mindful to error on the side of less miles and more recovery if something seems off. I also take massage often, foam roll, stretch and work with a personal trainer to get strong and avoid imbalances and injuries.
3. You have had an incredible 2017 with a full calendar – what are the highlights?
MRW: 2017, has definitely been a banner year, some events that comes to mind are:
1) 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, average pace of 2:45, new World Record
2) Big Sur Marathon Champion
3) Kauai Marathon Champion
4) Leadville 100 miler/ Pikes Peak Marathon double break Marshall Ulrich record from 1993
5) Ultragobi 400k finish, new personal record for distance and time.
4. You have raced TCC before, you won it! What is bringing you back to Costa Rica?
MRW: I loved TCC, when I won it a few years ago and have been wanting to come back since but with scheduling it didn’t work out but as soon as the schedule permitted I knew I would come back if the opportunity was there. I loved the organization, culture and nature.
5. When you won the race, at times you struggled with some of the technical terrain. You used your run speed to close gaps and seize an advantage – any new plans or strategies for 2018?
MRW: I think I got pretty lucky last time to win the TCC, I was was just getting my fitness back and used what has always been my strength faster road running but since 2014, I have really focused on trails and feel much improved so looking forward to putting those earned skills to use in 2018.
6. You placed 3rd at Marathon des Sables some year’s ago and this year, Tom Evans matched this. Are you excited to race toe-to-toe and see who is the better on Costa Rican soil?
MRW: I am very excited to race Tom Evans but even more excited to get to run with and know the guys and girls racing. I love connecting with people and making new friends so hoping we get to push each other during the race and become friendly after. I am also excited for my family to meet some of the top athletes in the sport on a personal level and see who is causing me to suffer everyday.
7. Chema Martinez will return to TCC and the UK’s Marcus Scotney will run, do you know much about them and do you have any strategies to get the edge for victory?
MRW: I just heard of Chema Martinez from my buddy Paul during the 400k UltraGobi, he sounds strong and exciting to get to race with him. I don’t know Marcus Scotney but I am sitting with some English guys and they said he is very strong and on the English 100k World Team…I think I just need to stay in the hunt and run hard when I sense an opportunity.
8. Heat, humidity, a variety of terrain and stunning views – what excites you most about coming back to TCC and for those new to the race, what three tips can you provide that will make the 2018 experience a special one?
MRW: I definitely think you should be ready for heat, humidity mixed terrain, the views are spectacular and I am super excited about them. A few tips are be ready to run hard because the pace can be fast especially for early in the year, there are legit climbs and some parts can get technical. Also, there is a little altitude that I didn’t expect the first time.
9. You are bringing family to TCC this year, does this make it extra special?
MRW: I am definitely excited to share TCC with Jennifer, Pierce and Grant and it will be super special as none of my family have gotten to experience the Tica hospitality. I think they will be as blown away as I have been by the nature, beauty and landscape but most particularly the people.
10. Finally, TCC is in February, dare I ask what the rest of 2018 holds for you?
MRW: 2018, should be super interesting, I am trying to decide exactly where to race right now and would like to do some new events in different and unique places. If you know anything cool please let me know or your audience.
The 2018 edition of TCC is already looking like a stunning race. Two-time MDS champion Elisabet Barnes will return to Costa Rica and the UK’s Marcus Scotney who won the Cape Wrath Ultra and the Dragons Back Race has his first TCC experience ahead of him. – readHERE.
In addition, the UK’s Tom Evans will also run the 2018 TCC, read HERE.
TCC as it is affectionately known is a multi-day race starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. It is an ultimate multi-day running experience that offers a new challenge even to the most experienced runner. Taking place over 6-days, the race hugs the coastline of Costa Rica, traveling in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range. Even the strongest competitors are reduced to exhausted shells by the arrival of the finish line due to the combination of technical trails, dense forest, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beach, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains.
You can read and view images from the 2017 edition HERE
Episode 128 of Talk Ultra is here and what a show… we speak in-depth with the incredible Michael Wardian after his record breaking World Marathon Challenge. We speak to star in the making, Hayden Hawks and Niandi Carmont brings us her first female ‘one-to-one’ interviews with Pushpa Chandra. We have the news, chat, gossip and of course Speedgoat co-hosts.
New Year and 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 January Patrons
Rene Hess, Daniel Weston, Dan Masters, Kerstin Palmer, Sarah Cameron, Neil Catley, Sam Wilkes, Melissa Bodeau, Lindsay Hamoudi, Aaron Aaker, Simon Darmody, Philippe Lascar, Rohan Aurora, Mathew Melksham, Brian Wolfkamp, Thomas Mueller, Mark Moromisato, Jamie Oliver, Rand Haley, Ron van Liempd, Mike Hewison, Steve Milne and Rupert Hitzenberger.
It was our 2017 Lanzarote Training camp and I have to say what a huge success it was. We had 40-clients who came from as far afield as Canada to take part in our 7-days of fun. It really was special and so great to get so much awesome feedback. I will post a link to images and audio feedback in our show notes.
We had some inspiring people attend and in future shows we will have audio following some of the incredible stories. To kick it off and following on from my discussion with Niandi in our last show. Niandi brings you the very first of female ‘one-to-one’ interviews with Pushpa Chandra.
00:27:30 INTERVIEW with Pushpa Chandra
World Marathon Challenge
Well, the big news is Mike Wardian ran 7-marathons on 7-continents in 7-days. Wow. He ran 2:54 in Antarctica, 2:45 in South America, 2:42 in North America, 2:37 in Europe, 2:45 in Africa, 2:49 in Asia, and 2:45 in Australia. In the process he set a new world record average time of 2:45.
01:22:54 INTERVIEW with Michael Wardian
Women’s winner, Chile’s Silvana Camelio ran 4:14 in Antarctica, 3:45 in South America, 3:58 in North America, 4:08 in Europe, 4:10 in Africa, 4:34 in Asia), and 4:37 in Australia. The last result almost gave away her overall victory but she held on by just 6-minutes That 4:37 in Australia left her just six minutes ahead of China’s Guoping Xie.
Carol Morgan blasted around the tough course in 109-hours 54-minutes – unbelievably, 43-hours quicker than the previous ladies best.
In the men’s race it looked to be a battle between two previous winners, Pavel Paloncy and Eugeni Rosello Sole but Tom Hollins came from behind and clinched victory in 99-hours 25-minutes. Tom won the 2016 edition of The Challenger, the Spines ‘fun run’ race! We hope to have an interview with Tom in the next show.
The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica has a super stacked field with Chema Martinez, Tom Owens, Sondre Amdahl, Jason Schlarb and so many more in the men’s race.
For the ladies we have to previous champions, Veronica Bravo and Ester Alves heading up strong competition from Elisabet Barnes and Anna Cometi.
In the US it’s the Sean O’Brien 100k.
RUNNING BEYOND BOOK
This week I will be in Amsterdam on Feb 3rd, 4th and 5th for a Trails in Motion event and Running Beyond book signing with Mud Sweat and Trails
We are going to have Running Beyond Event which will take place 3, 4 and 5th March in London, plans are progressing for that… watch this space.
I will be also going to Sofia in Bulgaria on the 17th, 18th and 19th March for a trail, mountain and Skyrunning expo
Michael Wardian needs no introduction. The dude has been blowing our minds for years with a stunning display of running. Only recently I wrote an article for IRUN4ULTRA (here) about Wardian’s incredible 2016.
Well, ‘The Running Man’ has kicked off 2017 in fine style with the World Marathon Challenge. Yes, 7-marathons on 7-continents in 7-days.
Ask anyone, running 7-marathons back-to-back is a tough challenge but doing them with just 16-hours sleep and all at an average pace of a new world record 2:45:56 sets the mark to a whole new level The fastest marathon was in Miami where Wardian clocked 2:37:56 – he said it was a tough day!
The challenge began in Antarctica on Jan 23rd and concluded in Sydney, Australia just 7-days later. Argentina, Miami, Madrid, Morocco and Dubai filled the gap.
The previous record of 3:32:25 held by Dan Cartica was blown off the scale by Wardian who in his interview for Talk Ultra podcast discussed how tough, physically and mentally this challenge was.
The World Marathon Challenge was the brainchild of Richard Donovan (Ireland). He himself completed the challenge twice, the first time for a charity, GOAL and the 2nd time in 2012 when he lowered the elapsed record to 4-days, 22-hours and 3-minutes. The first ‘official’ challenge took place in 2015.
You can listen to a 1-hour special with Michael Wardian on Talk Ultra podcast released Friday 3rd February on this website.
“He keeps running and running. Michael Wardian just never stops. Many runners have been given the tag, ‘Forest Gump’ and in 2016 we certainly witnessed a couple of real life ‘Gump’s’ in Pete Kostelnick and Karl Speedgoat Meltzer who respectively set two new records: Running Across the USA and setting an FKT on the Appalachian Trail. Kostelnick and Speedgoat produced two remarkable performances, but Michael Wardian raced 47 events in 2016, he raced 1,254-miles in total and in the process, he set 2 World records, had 8-victories, 22-podiums, 31-top ten placings and 26 ‘master’s’ victories. Wardian is a man on a mission and 2016 is not an unusual year… this committed husband and father of two races like this, year-in and year-out.”
Read about Michael Wardian in my article for IRUN4ULTRA HERE
Episode 87 od Talk Ultra is all about Transvulcania with interviews with Emelie Forsberg and Blake Hose. We speak with Mike Wardian who set a treadmill 50k world record (again). The News, a Blog, Up and Coming Races and Niandi Carmont co hosts.
Karl is running the Cruel Jewel 108 miler on Friday at noon. 33,000′ of climb in the North Georgia Mountains. Very cool course. So, I could do Thursday, our same normal time. I’ll adjust for a time change when I get there, you just call the normal time. PS – He won the race!
Joe Fejes EMU 6-day world trophy
Joe Fejes finished the event with 606.243 miles, which resets the American record for miles run in six days on a non-track surface. – Congratulations to the incredible Joe Fejes. 606 miles in 6 days. Yes, 101 miles everyday for 6 straight days.
1. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) Adidas Trail – 6h52’39”
Episode 62 of Talk Ultra ia a Comrades Special show. We have a full and in-depth interview with Michael Wardian who is looking for a top-10 placing. Live from Durban, we speak to Jo Kelsey (Meek) who is having her first experience of this race. Nick Clark joins us to discuss UTMF, WSER and the up and coming Salomon SkyRun South Africa. We have a ladies perspective on running with children in Talk Training. The News, a Blog and joining me as a special Comrades Marathon co-host we have 2013 7th placed lady, Holly Rush.
This show is dedicated to Manya Claassen – RIP
‘As you all know, Niandi my partner has run Comrades 13-times. She has been on the show and discussed it… this year she returns for her 14th. IT IS THE ULTIMATE HUMAN RACE, you need to experience it to fully understand the emotions and the coming together of so many people. For Niandi, this year will be the hardest race ever, not only Comrades but of all the races she has done. I’m very sad to say that last week, Niandi’s sister, Manya, lost a 6-year long battle with cancer. Words can’t express the loss but despite everything she went through, she was and is one of the strongest ladies I have ever known. I remember Manya running Comrades with Niandi whilst in remission a few years ago. I was glued to the live feed whilst home in the UK. The emotions when she crossed the line will last with me forever… on June 1st, at the crow of the cockerel, Niandi will run one more time, not for herself but for her sister, her sisters children and her family… run strong, run free, run proud.’ Ian Corless
Niandi Carmont has asked that we read these words on her behalf:
‘It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
― Ursula Le Guin
She was so perky and positive. I’ll will remember her this way.
Sifting through my e-mail I came across this message by my sister. These were words she’d written about a friend who like herself had lost the struggle against breast cancer. Manya had helped the same friend complete the Manya-Tough-One, a race in honour of breast cancer survivors.
Manya called herself a survivor. She was both a survivor and tough. And she loved a challenge. Nothing would irk her more than the words You can’t do that! Once she put her mind to something she did it, irrespective of the difficulty and the dissuasive arguments.
She ran 3 Comrades 2000, 2003 and 2010 – the latter in remission from breast cancer! Manya climbed Kiliminjaro, trekked Europe’s toughest hike the GR20 in Corsica with me, flew over at the drop of a hat to hike the UTMB route, did a crash course on artificial slopes in South Africa to ski on the black slopes in the Alps, bought a road bike and entered the Argus for the fun of it, drove from Jo’burg along the Mozambican coast on her own, transported tons of cement in her SUV to lay the foundations of a house she was building whilst raising 2 generations of kids.
I can honestly say she had no regrets – she lived life to the full and loved life. Manya’s leitmotiv was Carpe Diem but at the same time she was generous and thoughtful of those she loved giving of her time and energy especially to her sons Nathan and Dylan who meant the world to her.
I will miss my little sister – as will her boys, her family and all her friends.
THIS IS SKYRUNNING…. WATCH THE VIDEO Can you imagine it, one day, hopefully these scenes in the Lakes, the Peaks, Welsh mountains HERE
1. Kilian Jornet (Salomon) 3h48’38”
2. Marco De Gasperi (SCOTT Sports) 3h50’38”
3. Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas) 3h50’57”
4. Ionut Zinca (Valetudo Skyrunning Italia) 3h53’14”
5. Zaid Ait Malek (Buff) 3h55’06”
1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon) 4h46’44”
2. Elisa Desco (SCOTT Sports) 4h50’21”
3. Maite Mayora (La Sportiva) 4h51’48”
4. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) 4h52’11”
5. Kasie Enman (Salomon) 4h53’35”
Stu Gibson – 9:31:11
Andrew Tuckey (The North Face) – 9:31:??
Brendan Davies (Inov-8) – 9:53:10
Jonathan O’Loughlin – 9:53:30
Ben Duffus (Hoka OneOne) – 9:56:16
Núria Picas (Buff) – 10:57:46
Joelle Vaught (Montrail) – 11:45:15
Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) – 11:47:52
Gill Fowler (La Sportiva) – 11:56:01
Claire Walton – 12:05:30
GUCR – 145 miles
1st Pat Robbins 26:20
2nd Jon Kinder 27:48
3rd Stuart Gillet 29:35
7th Isobel Wykes 31:18 (1st Lady)
14th Heike Bergman 33:18 (2nd Lady)
19th Natasha Farid-Doyle 34:35 (3rd Lady)
Richard La Cock 7:05:12
John Melbourne 7:47:36
Thomas Jeffrey 7:52:40
Annabelle Streams 8:18:32
Gemma Carter 8:36:15
Deborah Turner 8:54:36
Speedgoat Karl Meltzer puts in another day at the office at the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run this past weekend. Karl punched the clock for his 4th win at Massanutten in 18:40:23 extending his world record at the 100 Mile distance to 36 wins and counting. Karl’s win comes on the heels of a 100k win and course record in early April at the Zion 100k.
Kapiti’s Jo Johannsen only started running a year ago and she’s raced just a handful of times.
But on Saturday, she blitzed some of the world’s best trail runners in the central North Island’s Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon.
Johannsen, 33, took the lead about 15km after the Rotorua Redwoods start. Showing powerful composure in difficult conditions, she steadily opened a nine-minute gap over Claire Walton (UK) and Dawn Tuffery (NZ), stopping the clock at 7hrs 2min after 69 demanding kilometres.
“I felt comfortable the whole way,” Johannsen said at the Lake Okareka finish, while pelted by heavy rain. “I was just making sure my legs were ticking over, tick-tick-tick-tick, and keeping my back straight.”
“I didn’t know what to expect beforehand — if I could keep up with the elites. I’m so new to all this. But I must be doing something right!”
She reckons she’s become “obsessed” with ultra trail running the last year, packing in 30 hours a week training, starting at 4am before work. According to her running friend and crew support at the Tarawera Ultra, she also has mental toughness in spades.
“I like pushing it to the limit,” is how Johannsen expressed it.
In the face of Cyclone Lusi, the Ultramarathon had revised courses of 69 km and 55km. The field of 850 from 28 countries still experienced the Bay of Plenty’s lakes and bush clad slopes. But the forecast proved accurate and there was no question race director, Paul Charteris made the right call in revising the route.
The men’s title was superbly defended by 2013 Tarawera Ultramarathon champion, Sage Canaday of Colorado, USA — whose online blog was a key inspiration for Johannsen.
Canaday was one of a large bunch that formed over the early kilometres, alongside other contenders including Kiwi’s Michael Aish,Vajin Armstrong and Scott Hawker and Mike Wardian from the USA.
Top Coast to Coast athlete Sam Clark of Whakatane dangled out front until about the 20km mark, at which stage Canaday, Aish and Armstrong moved clear.
“After Millar road [about half way] I made my big move on a very hard mile uphill. I kept pushing. I didn’t look back,” Canaday recounted. Fifteen kilometres later, he’d established a seven-minute lead, and by the finish, that had more than doubled.
Canaday kept the effort dialled up all the way, finishing in 5hrs 33min.
“You’re always on a fine line,” he said. “It was an honour to win for a second year – I love New Zealand and this race and it was great to be back.”
Second place in the men’s race went to China’s Yun Yanqiao, who put in a sterling display of smart pacing, moving up from fourth spot over the challenging Okataina Trail, which peaks out at almost 700m.
Yanqiao has little English, but his delight was abundantly clear: “Very enjoyed! In China [there are] no trails this way,” he said, beaming. His time was 5hrs 52min.
Next home was a trio of flying kiwis, with Armstrong (5hrs 57min) besting Aish by under a minute, and Hawker another eight minutes back. As late as 3 kilometres to go, Armstrong and Aish were almost neck and neck.
“For me it’s a learning curve — I left it all out there,” said Aish, who’s just starting out on the trails after retiring from road racing four years ago. “But Sage was in a different category today.”
Just two weeks after Transgrancanaria, the UTWT show continues. The stellar line up in Gran Canaria is not reflected in New Zealand as only certain races in the UTWT circuit have the relevant point coefficient that will make an outright win a possibility, so, expect to see Sandes, Olson, Chaigneau, Picas, Maciel, Canepa and other ‘top’ contenders toe the line at UTMF in Japan.
However, Tarawera 100k does (or should I say did) have a battle royal to look forward too… Sage Canaday (last years winner) going head-to-head with Rob Krar was going to be quite a prospect. However, just a couple of days ago, Krar took a tumble and is out. This leaves ‘the showdown’ to reappear somewhere else in the calendar at another time of the year.
For the ladies, Ruby Muir was looking to defend her title after illuminating the trails in 2013 with a stunning win and top overall placing, however, Muir has too fallen foul of the injury demons.
Who to watch out for?
Sage Canaday returns as defending champion and after a disappointing end to 2013 will without doubt be firing on all cylinders for a race win. Sage had a great first half of ‘13’ with wins and CR’s a plenty. However, maybe racing too much and some bad timed illness found him falter a little at Sierre-Zinal, UROC and he didn’t make the start at San Francisco 50. When on form, Canaday is unstoppable and without doubt he is ‘favourite’ for the 2014 race.
Michael Wardian never stops and has already raced extensively in 2014 and won. He produced a stunning and impressive performance against top competition at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, and his recent 2nd at the 50k champs shows he has all it takes to push Canaday on the NZ trails.
Two-time Olympian and sub 2:15 marathon runner, Mike Aish may well mess things up for Wardian and Canaday. Racing on home soil, Aish must be fired up for the opportunity to compete against such quality competition. Known to go out hard, Aish has faltered in the past; his impressive blow-up at Leadville a great example. However, in 2013 he put the Leadville demons to bed with a podium place and 18:27 finish.
Local talent is in abundance with Brendan Davies, Scott Hawker and Vajin Armstrong. All three have had great results recently, Armstrong raced and placed well at Tarawera in 2013, Hawker raced well at HK100 and Davies recently had top-3 at MSIG50 in Honk Kong. You can expect all of them to push the front of the field and it’s only going to take an error by Wardian or Canaday and a ‘good’ day by one of the other 3 to make the Tarawera podium look very interesting.
Yoshikazu Hara won UTMF in 2013 and that firmly places him as hot tip and a potential surprise win at Tarawera. He has a great record of results from 2013 with wins at: Tapei 24h (273.650km), River Shimanto 100km and UTMF. Word from friends in Asia say; Hara’s form is excellent… winner? Injured and will not run
Yun Yanqiao was 5th at HK100 in 2012 and the only other result I have for him is 30th at San Fran 50km in 2009. Rumors say that Yanqiao has good form so he may well be a top-10 surprise.
Martin Gaffuri from France placed 4th overall in the Skyrunning World Series in 2013 and his form is on the rise. In December he placed well at San Fran 50 and his recent run at The Coastal Challenge will put him in a great place for the 100km. Gaffuri will be up there, top-10 would be a great result.
With Ruby Muir out all eyes will fall on Meghan Arbogast. She had 8-results on Ultra Signup for 2013 with 4th at Western States and 13th at TNFUTMB as highlights. Arbogast also won Ice Age Trail 50km and Way to Cool 50km, however, her recent win (Jan 11th) at Bandera 100km in 10:12:57 surely means that Tarawera will play in the hands of Arbogast.
Beth Cardelli had a great time in Europe in 2013 and without doubt this will have added an extra skill level to Cardelli’s armory. A win at TNF100km, 2nd at Tarawera Ultra and 4th at Lavaredo Ultra Trail certainly will mean that Arbogast won’t have her own way!
Shona Stephenson, like Cardelli, spent time in Europe with mixed results. However, when everything clicks into place, Stephenson can push the best in the world. Stephenson’s result at UTMF a shining example in 2013.
Tomoko Hara won River Shimanto100km and Yatsugatakae Nobeyama 100km in 2013 and also placed 2nd at Sarom-See 100km. Without doubt, comfortable at the 100km distance, I personally think we will see a surprise from Hara and a podium place.
Finally, Sandi Nypaver from Ohio will definitely make top-10 and has the potential for top-5. In 2013, Nypaver was 2nd at Cayuga Trails 50km and 11th at Speedgoat 50km. A winner at Grindstone 100-mile in 2010 confirms that she has not only the mental but physical requirements for a solid Tarawera.