Symonds returns in style!

Posted in At the Races on Mon 24 Oct ’11

© www.salomonrunning.com/fr

With Thomas Lorbanchet (left) and Thierry Breuil

British fell and mountain international Andy Symonds has made an amazing return to racing after almost a year of injury. On Sunday the Scots exile took a great victory at one of France’s great races, the 71km La Grande Course des Templiers

Now living in France with his wife and young family, Andy has battled serious ITB issues over the last year or so and after a tough return race at the Cavalls del Vent in Spain a couple of weeks ago, he had a dream day in this classic French event.

Andy tells his story here:

“It’s the first time a Brit has won the Templiers.

“I really did think that training had gone pretty well the last month or so, but having done no racing for a year i did’t have anything to gauge my current state of fitness on, so I really ran the race at my own pace and enjoyed it all the way through.

“The first two hours were in the dark and largely on large forest tracks, but it was a bit of a novelty for me running at a decent pace through the forests in a peleton of twenty or so runners.

“After the first aid station the group split (mainly due to a semi technical decent down to it) and I settled in in the top five or six, gradually working my way through, meanwhile the two favorites (previous winners) Thiery and Thomas seemed to be having a bit of a battle between themselves, and subsequently pulling away from the field.

“I was a little surprised to find them come back to me so easily and when I finally caught them on the climb to the third aid station with less than 20 km to go they seemed to have slowed big time and I was still feeling super fresh.

“Fully aware that legs can suddenly fall to pieces in the later stages of ultra races, often without warning, I cautiously sat behind Thomas and Thiery for a few km until I couldn’t hold back my desire to go faster any more and left them on the last bit of the climb just after the aid station.

“Originally I thought my main chances of getting a good gap would be on the last technical sections and the downhills, so to be pulling away in the runnable climbs filled me with confidence and I subsequently let loose, opened up my stride and just about held it togetheru till the end. I say just because by the top of the very last steep climb I really was reduced to a crawl, but by then I knew I had several minutes advantage and just had to drop down to Millau to clench it.

© www.vo2.fr

Andy sinks to the ground after his amazing Les Templiers win

“I knew I would have judged my efforts over the 45 miles perfectly if I was only really suffering on the the last climb, so it was a good feeling to be hurting now.

“Super chuffed with the result, especially as this is the my first real race in over a year, having been out with my itb problem. It’s a nice introduction for me into the French trail running circuit as well, something I’ll be seeing a lot more of over the next few years…”

Welcome back Andy!

Men’s top 10
1. Andy Symonds – Team Salomon International -06:33:58.
2 = Thierry Breuil – Team Adidas / Thomas Lorblanchet – Team Salomon – 06:45:10.
4. Fabien Antolinos – Team Running Conseil – 06:48:31.
5. Martin Reyt – Team Platinium Sigvaris – 06:52:14.
6. François D’Haene – Team Salomon – 06:56:39.
7. Ludovic Pommeret – Team Koka Altecsport – 07:05:41.
8. Nicolas Martin – Cornillon en Trièves – 07:07:12.
9. Emmanuel Gault – Team Asics France – 07:11:27.
10. David Pasquio – Team Salomon – 07:12:03.

Reactions so far
  1. Mark Croasdale
    Oct 25, 04:06 PM

    Great run Andy, but is he not English????

  2. Matt MST
    Oct 25, 04:09 PM

    Thanks Mark, he is indeed. I suppose I was trying to say that he has left Scotland for France, probably doesnt read like that does it!?

    Sorry…

Salomon 5 Continents: SA

Posted in Through the Lens on Wed 28 Sep ’11

© www.salomonrunning.com

One of the most beautiful countries in the world recently hosted the Table Mountain Challenge, a 37km trip on and around one the most iconic mountain landscapes in the world. Kilian J, Frosty and home-towner Ryan Sandes were there too.

© www.salomonrunning.com

© www.salomonrunning.com

The Salomon trio, along with team boss Greg Vollet, landed in South Africa for the next leg in their 5 Continent visitation in 2011, as Kilian attempts to not only win big trail races on all 5 zones, but also engage with the communities and learn a little more about global trail running.

Oh, and you even get to Frosty hug a chicken!

© www.salomonrunning.com

King and Bak take control at TRR

Posted in At the Races on Wed 24 Aug ’11

© transrockies.com

Defending Trans Rockies champion Max King, along with new partner Ryan Bak, yesterday took control of the 2011 event with a convincing win on the tough 24 mile stage 3…

If there’s an athlete in the TransRockies field who’s got stage race pacing dialled, it’s defending TransRockies champion Max King. Today, he and partner Ryan Bak gave it a full effort and were able to put time into the rest of their competition finishing the Stage in a scorching 2:47:03, twenty minutes faster than last year’s winning time.

In the process, they wrestled the overall lead from Jason Wolfe and Mike Smith who finished nearly seven minutes behind in second place. Team Colorado Runner/INOV-8 (Alex Nichols/Peter Maskimow) jumped onto the podium for the first time finishing third, though they were unable to move the British Salomon pair of Ricky Lightfoot and Tom Owens out of third place overall.

© transrockies.com

Rickey Gates leads Anna Frost

Rickey Gates and Anna Frost continue to pile it on in the mixed category and now lead by almost 25 minutes. Similarly the sister-act of Ashley and Cynthia Arnold dominate the women’s section, leading by 26 mins.

Stage report here, results here and images here

As Stage 4 sees the runners head out of Nova Guides to Red Cliff for 14.2 miles and 2,800 feet of gain, racing should once more be hot…

Reactions so far
  1. Paul Bateson
    Aug 25, 09:40 AM

    Interesting to see pic of Ricky Gates and Anna Frost, they look to be using a tow line. Not often you see this outside of Adventure racing.

Weekend round-up

Posted in At the Races on Tue 30 Aug ’11

© Ian Charters

It was a weekend of lung-burning on the fells and hills of the UK as much of the racing centred around short racing and classic shows. Wins for Lizzie Adams, Robbie Simpson, Morgan D, Math Roberts and Mark McGoldrick amongst others…

© Bryan Mills

Lizzie Adams

Dufton Show
@Daleside serves up a tasty dish in coverage at this one:

Lizzie Adams, winner of the Witton Park World Mountain Trial, gave some of England’s better fell runners a real horror show today at Dufton’s agricultural fair. She finished 6th overall but more shockingly for the local fastest men, led the race out of the show field and on for a mile and a half up to the fell. More here

Cnicht
Over in Wales Eryri vet Martin Cliffe took the ‘Welsh Matterhorn’, with a clear win from team-mate Matt Fortes. Welsh international Andrea Rowlands warmed-up for her 55km jaunt round Newborough Forest at the Commonwealths in 3 weeks, with a comfy win in the ladies section.

Nice images here courtesy of Al Tye at Fell Running Pictures.

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictires.co.uk

Martin Cliffe

Scottish Trials at Menstrie
The Scottish teams for the Commonwealth Mountain Running Champs in a few weeks were selected from the leading lights at the Menstrie race on Sunday. Bright stars Robbie Simpson and Catriona Buchanan took convincing wins to book themselves a place on the Scots team that will travel to Wales. Results via Scottish Hill Racing here

© Gwynfor James / sportpicturescymru.co.uk

Catriona Buchanan

Andy Fallas takes the Ochil 2000s
Whilst many were blasting up and down short, sharp hills, Carnethy duo Andy Fallas and Jasmin Paris were taking comfortable wins in the tough 18 miler that is the Ochil 2000’s . 11 hills and some 5000ft of climbing are what stand between runners as they set off from Glen Devon, and take in the likes of Innerdownie and Ben Cleuch. Results here

Best of the rest…
The Grasmere Senior Guides race is covered by MST here, with wins for those fell thoroughbreds Morgan Donnelly and Pippa Maddams.

Elsewhere, Wharfdale Harrier Mark McGoldrick took a nice win at Pendleton. Nicola Jackson won the ladies race.

© Gwynfor James

Math Roberts

At the short Arnison Horseshoe, Welshman Math Roberts continued his good recent form to take the win, with Bev Thompson winning the ladies race. Results here

And finally at the Rise Hill race, Calder Valley man Karl Gray and leigh Harrier Shannon Johnson took the spoils. Results here.

That should do for now!!

OMM Training Camp is this October…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 25 Aug ’11

© The OMM

Whether you are a novice, or an OMM veteran, there is probably something for everyone at this excellent looking training camp in the heart of Snowdonia this October.

Organisers the OMM will hold seminars on the 1st and 2nd of October, containing sessions on nutrition, footcare, lightweight packing advice and navigational tips plus much more across the 48 hours.

This October we’re running the second OMM Training Camp and it’s set to be bigger, better and more popular than last year’s hugely successful event.

The OMM Training Camp is an information-rich training camp open to everyone from mountain-marathon-newcomers who’d simply like to find out how, right up to experienced campaigners, looking to fine tune their skills.

© www.pyb.co.uk

Tirana awaits GB’s elite

Posted in At the Races on Fri 09 Sep ’11

© Bryan Mills

Lizzie Adams

Tirana is old. Dating back to the 3rd century A.D. As a global sporting nation Albania is young, but this weekend will have its chance to shine on the global sporting stage as it welcomes the 27th World Mountain Running Championships

© www.wmra.ch

WMRA Preview

Tirana, the capital of mysterious Albania will host the 27th World Mountain Running Championships. Although Albania is a mountainous country with the highest peak Korab (2764m), the mountain running as sport discipline has just stared to develop in this part of the world.

It is one of the first time, that a country with no Mountain running tradition is hosting the Championships. Even more, in 2011 Albanian runners participated World’s top event for the first time.

© www.wmra.ch

Bruno gets ready to welcome the world to Tirana

After having some troubles finding the suitable course, the delegate designed the course that fits all WMRA parameters on the margin of the city. The course is a lap course; men will run the 4,5km long lap with 285m elevation gain 3 times, ladies and junior men 2 times and girls once.

35 counties announced participation of more than 300 runners: 131 senior men, 63 senior women, 70 junior men and 51 junior women are untried at the moment!

————————

GB Juniors Men

Karl Billington (Arthur Almond) – Blackburn
Joe Johnston – Rossendale
Garry Rankin (Robert Hawkins) – Kilbarchan
Mark Scott (Ken Harker) – Richmond & Zetland

Junior Women
Laura Riches (Joe Galvin) – Leigh
Amber Watson (Christopher Frapwell) – Stroud

UKA report

Both junior teams are developing, with most athletes having at least one more year in the age group.

The boy’s quartet includes Trials’ winner Marc Scott (Ken Harker), Karl Billington (Arthur Almond), an Aviva GB & NI representative over 10,000m at this summer’s European Junior Championships in Estonia, Joe Johnston and Garry Rankin (Robert Hawkins), the top British junior in July’s European Uphill Mountain Running championships in 18th.

Trials runner-up Laura Riches (Joe Galvin) leads the junior women’s duo alongside Amber Watson (Christopher Frapwell) who finished third.

International Juniors
The junior races are normally unpredictable. 16 and 17 year old runners are handicapped by their age, but eager to show their performances: gold medalists from Youth Challenge 2011 Lea Einfalt from Slovenia and Rafal Matuszczak from Poland and silver medalists from Russia Ekaterina Ivonina and Konstantin Galiullin are the ones to watch.

In the junior men’s race Tekle Andemichale will attempt to defend the title, but will have strong opponents in Turkish runners Dag Sonmez and Yildirmici Sabahatin.

Dragomir Denisa Ionela from Romania and Yasemin Can from Turkey, both gold medalist from top international events and experts on fast courses, are expected to fight for the highest medlas in the junior women’s race.

GB Women
Lizzie Adams – Hallamshire
Emma Clayton – Bingley
Kate Goodhead (Christopher Frapwell) – Bristol & West
Mary Wilkinson – Bingley

© David Brett

Emma Clayton

The British quartet have a good chance of a team medal. Lizzie Adams and Emma Clayton are flying, with the latter having had a great taste of international competition at this year’s WMRA GP series. Mary Wilkinson is hugely experienced and is used to running at this level, similarly Kate Goodhead, and should things go in their favour, expect to see the GB girls on that rostrum come Sunday PM!

International Women
In the ladies division Italian runners are expected to form a strong group. Experienced Valentine Belotti (champion 2009, runner up in 2010) and Antonella Confortola-Wyatt are amongst the favorites.

© www.skaala.no

Another win for Antonella…

European champion 2010 Marie-Laure Dumergues from France is also specialist on this type of course. Current leading in the Grand Prix and bronze medalist from Bursa Slovenian Lucija Krkoc also likes up-down courses and of course there are also strong British, Turkish and US women traveling.

GB men
Matthew Clowes (Bashir Hussain) – Staffordshire Moorlands
Tom Cortnthwaite – Northumberland Fell Runners
Orlando Edwards – Shaftesbury Barnet
James McMullan (Robin Dickson) – Thames Hare & Hounds
Chris Smith – Thames Valley
Rob Samuel – Eryri

The GB boys will probably find it tough going in the Tirana heat, and at the hands of some very fine World-class African and European men. However, they are a squad with experience and all possess good basic speed mixed with tactical nouse. So it will be interesting to see how they go.

© UKA

Orlando Edwards

International Men
In the last years Championships runners from Eritrea and Uganda created the majority of the top10. This year Eritrea have entered a fresh team, but there are experienced runners in the form of James Kibet and Martin Toroitich, who will not be there to make up the numbers!

As

Kilian prepares to perform…

Posted in Through the Lens on Wed 17 Aug ’11

© www.salomonrunning.com

Preparation, preparation, preparation. Kilian Jornet has a young body, but a wise mind – a mind and attitude to life which belies his years. This new episode of Kilian’s Quest Season 3 gives insight into what it takes…

© www.salomonrunning.com

As he prepares for such races as the Western States 100, 1000 hours and 520,000 metres of gain is the kind of output you need to hit the heights Kilian does in competition, and what is perhaps most insightful in this short film is his lack of taper and recovery techniques – not groundbreaking, but in this age of over-cautiousness and analysis, it’s great to see his attitude of basic approaches and not over complicating things. Oh and did I mention that his diet consists mainly of pizza and Nutella!

One mustn’t mistake here however that Jornet isn’t meticulous. He is. And he embraces technology, whether it is his Movescount profile or his kit and nutritional planning for events and training. Kilian is a guy with his gaze fixed on the future, but not forgetting the past.

© www.salomonrunning.com
© www.salomonrunning.com

Overall, the feeling one is left with after watching this excellent piece is that Kilian Jornet is a man in touch with his mind, body and trail running soul and his respect for his surroundings and fellow runners, is humbling. As he puts it: You look at them and you think “man, they really won”.

© www.salomonrunning.com

Ted’s secret is revealed!

Posted in Through the Lens on Thu 25 Aug ’11

© mylittlewalshes

This excellent film of last weekend’s Burnsall Race by mylittlewalshes shows just how important a line selection can be when it comes to fell running. Wharfdale’s Ted Mason obviously knew his onions…

At the stage where Ted takes the left hand line, he is being hotly pursued by one of the best descenders ever seen in the sport of fell running, Ian Holmes, who along with the rest of the field are taking the right hand route.

But Ted’s choice proved decisive, as he opened up a gap and went to win handsomely by 12 seconds in this classic 15 minute lung-buster which forms part of the Classic Treble (Burnsall, Grasmere Senior Guides race and the Kilnsey Show Crag race).

Fascinating stuff…

Lopez and Caballero prove strongest to win 7th Transalpine-Run

Posted in At the Races on Sun 11 Sep ’11

© Stephan Repke

Lopez and Cabellero – Trans Alps champs 2011

Although the pairing of Jethro Lennox and Joe Symonds appeared to be the strongest runners in the final two stages, the Spainish duo did enough in the early stages to win the 2011 GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run.

Event release

David Lopez and Miguel Caballero have won the 2011 GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run. The two 29-year-old trail experts of Spanish Team Trangoworld Gore-Tex covered the monstrous distance of 273.73 kilometers and a cumulative ascent of 15,436 meters in astonishing 26:37:51.0 hours.

Trailing the overall victors by merely 17 minutes after eight intense days of trail running are Jethro Lennox and Joe Symonds of Scottish Team Inov-8 Gore-Tex Footwear (26:54:18.5). The finishing touch of their race performance, however, was not just a well-deserved second place position in the overall ranking but today’s stage victory well ahead of any other team (2:50:26.9).

© Stephan Repke

Julien Chorier and Philipp Reiter

Julien Chorier (FRA) and Philipp Reiter (GER) of Team Salomon International ended the globally recognized trail running event in third place overall after a total of 27:54:37.2 hours on the trail. After logging a distance of 30.2 kilometers today that packed 1,807 meters into a single sustained climb, the two racers even managed to come in second (3:02:33.1) ahead of the Spanish overall race champions.

© Kelvin Trautman

For the first time in its seven-year history, a Spanish team made up of members of the National Trail Running team, won the Transalpine Run.

“It’s simply an incredible feeling right now. We are overjoyed that we ended up winning the race as first-time participants”… shared Miguel Caballero who was clearly the stronger of the two team members on the last two stages.

Apparently, his teammate

“David started experiencing an increasingly upset stomach. That ended up costing valuable time. In view of that, our overall victory ended up being a real piece of work.”

Scottish sprint finish ultimately without appropriate reward

Closest competitors of the Spanish overall victors, Jethro Lennox and Joe Symonds, had experienced similar health issues early on in the race. Having fully recovered, they went full bore today winning the hearts of spectators with a riveting sprint to the finish line in sun-drenched Latsch.

© Stephan Repke

Lennox and Symonds stride out to win the final stage

In the end, though, that extra effort didn’t pay off in real terms. Joe Symonds, junior brother of last year’s champion Andrew, put it in plain language

“Naturally, it is nice to know that we ended up being the strongest runners in the field today. However, in the end that doesn’t count. The prize goes to those who went all the way in the least amount of time.”

Still, the audacious attack the two Scotsmen launched on the overall leaders was laudable if only as a daring expression of not accepting defeat without at least trying.

After setting a punishing pace up to the Göflaner Scharte (2,396m) and beating it back down to valley elevation (640m) at break-neck speed, Symonds and Lennox had managed to reduce the Spaniards’ extensive lead by one half. That, in turn, prompted Symonds’ tongue-in-cheek request to “extend the Transalpine Run by yet another two stages.”

Team Shettletrot crowned as Women champs

Claire Gordon and Fiona Maxwell have claimed the trophy among the Women teams at the 2011 GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run. The two Scottish racers definitely dominated not just yesterday’s stage but also the final day of racing ending up in Latsch in less than four hours (3:57.32.8) and with a sizeable overall lead of nearly five hours ahead of the closest competition (34:40:28.5).

© Stephan Repke

Claire Gordon and Fiona Maxwell – women’s champions at Trans Alpine-run 2011

Gerti Ott and Sabina Kraus of Orthomol Sport Team Lautrach finished as runner-ups in the overall ranking (38:07:46.7) while Switzerland’s Brigitte Eggerling and Daniela Nusseck of Team Alpinrunner rounded out the overall podium as third (39:57:25.5) after eight exhausting days on the trails across the High Divide.

Final overall standings here, with some nice closing shots from the Gripmaster here

How low can you go?

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 19 Aug ’11

© www.iRunFar.com

Very low, if the the news coming out the US Outdoor Retailer show is to be taken as a benchmark. The trend towards minimal shoes continues unabated, with the likes of New Balance and Brooks showing off their Minimus and Pure ranges for 2012…

Bryon Powell gives us a comprehensive rundown as to what we can expect, along with a general synopsis on trail shoe brands’ developments for the coming seasons.

One of the leading players in this field is of course inov8, and this film by Toe Salad is a great insight into what the UK-based off-road (and now road!) brand has in store…

© www.toesalad.com

U T M B

Posted in At the Races on Thu 25 Aug ’11

© The North Face

Known as the unofficial world championships of trail running, the The North Face® UTMB is one of the monuments of world running, never mind trail running. To put this as a win on your ‘palmares’ cements your name in trail running history…

At 166km long with a total climb of 9,500 meters+, the race is far more of a challenge for the majority of the sell-out 2300 runners – this one really is all about finishing. But for a select few the event is a race, a battle, of minds and bodies.

Taking place in the valley area which surrounds the Mont-Blanc massif, the event can be unpredictable. 2010 showed us just that, when rain of biblical proportions stopped the event in its tracks, some 21km into the event. What followed was a debacle of sorts whereby runners didn’t quite know what was going on, the race was restarted then wasn’t. The likes of Kilian Jornet and Geoff Roes thought better of hanging around and headed off to Italy for the Kima race.

© The North Face

Jez Bragg, victorious

The UK’s Jez Bragg hung around, went to bed, then awoke to a text on the Saturday morning saying the race was on, in 45 minutes! He got lift from iRunFar man Bryon Powell, and well, the rest is history.

And so to 2011.

The start lists of the men’s and women’s events read a bit like a whos who of mountainous trail running. Kilian Jornet, Geoff Roes, Jez Bragg, Mike Wolfe, Scott Jurek, Miguel Heras, François D’Haene, Lizzie Hawker, Krissy Moehl, Nerea Martinez, Julia Böttger, Darcy Africa – the list goes on and on.

© The North Face

Lizzie Hawker

As well as getting ready for the event himself, Bryon Powell has found the time for some pretty juicy pre-event interviews from the men’s side, and with some of the women’s leading contenders.

2008 and 2009 winner Kilian Jornet is a man on a mission in 2011. After wins at the TNF 100k in Australia, The Western States 100 in the US, Giir di Mont in Italy and a recent third place at Sierre Zinal behind Marco de Gasperi, the powerful Catalan is ready for a race which has a special place in his heart.

© www.skyrunning.com

Kilian Jornet

“The UTMB is a race that goes through spectacular countryside. Just being in those valleys is a treat. Also the race level is really exceptional, which increases your motivation and the relationship between volunteers and spectators is excellent.

After some very long runs last week (30 hours), this week Jornet plans to “try to relax, have some peace and quiet, lead a normal life without training, just 3 to 5hours total training in the week.” Not much of a taper in some people’s books, but this is what works for Kilian, as documented in this recent film on his ultra race preparations.

This year Killan has stated that his objective is:

“To do it as well as I can and to fight to win if at all possible, though that will be difficult if you consider the level. If the race conditions are good and there is a fast start, I think I can finish in 20 hours.”

Moreover, Killan has commented that in an ultra distance race like the UTMB, “Everything is equally important, the training, the preparation of the kit, the race strategy and the nutrition”, and when talking about the competition, Kilian is respectful of the quality of this year’s line-up:

“Miguel Heras is very good, he’s run a really good season so far. Also Geoff Roes, Iker Carrera, Kaburaki, Jez Bragg, Mike Wolfe, Nick Clark, Dakota Jones, Seb Chaigneau, François d’Haene. The level is really high.“

A full programme of events can be found at the UTMB site, and as reported earlier this month on MST you’ll be able to track runners live throughout the whole event.

Racing gets underway tomorrow in Chamonix at 18.30 CET, and you can expect full updates and reports from MST throughout the weekend via this site, and our Twitter feed.

Reactions so far
  1. Grant
    Aug 25, 09:03 PM

    nice Matt, look forward to the updates

Digital meets the trail at UTMB…

Posted in At the Races on Tue 09 Aug ’11

© The North Face

The North Face® have unveiled an exciting new LiveTrail APP integrating Facebook© and Twitter© which allows fans, family and followers to virtually run alongside the world’s premier ultra-runners at The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® 2011.

Each runner, tracked by a chip, provides data such as location, ranking and timing each time they go through a checkpoint. LiveTrail APP, a widget that connects the live tracking with the runner’s social media profiles, automatically posts their location details on their Facebook© and Twitter© pages.

Runners can connect to LiveTrail APP from August 2011 directly from their personal runner’s page on the race website or on eu.thenorthface.com.

Reporting in real-time from Chamonix throughout the weekend of the 26th-28th August, race highlights and behind-the-scene stories will be posted on The North Face® Facebook© page at regular intervals.

© The North Face

From the start to the finish line, live updates will be posted from the course via Twitter©. On The North Face® blog, thenorthfacejournal.com, text, video posts & photos will be posted daily. The North Face® is the leading community outdoor brand with nearly 1.3 million Facebook© fans.

In a unique opportunity, ultra-run fans can also post their questions to The North Face® top athletes via Facebook©. Videoed athlete responses will be posted on Facebook® the day before The North Face® UTMB® starts.

In its 9th edition, The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® takes place during August 22-28th 2011 in Chamonix, France. 5,500 competitors from 58 different nations take part in one of four races: headline course The North Face® UTMB® 166km max. 46 hrs; CCC® 98km max. 26 hrs; TDS 110km max. 31hrs; PTL 300km: non-stop.

The North Face® UTMB®, of which 2,300 will compete, crosses nine high elevation mountain passes, with a total positive height gain of 9,500 metres, circling the Mont Blanc massif through three countries—France, Italy and Switzerland.

© www.ultratrailmb.com

Skaala takes top athlete’s breath away…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 19 Aug ’11

© www.skaala.no

Ahmet Arslan

One of the most breathtaking uphill mountain races in the world took place last weekend in Norway. The Skaala race is a classic, you only have to look at the array of winners over the years to confirm that…

This year’s race saw a new record in the men’s race from Turkey’s Ahmet Arslan (1:07:38), ahead of a resurgent Jono Wyatt, retuning from injury and getting stronger with every race. His wife Antonella Confortolla-Wyatt continued her excellent 2011 form by convincingly winning the women’s race in 1:23:05.

© www.skaala.no

Another win for Antonella…

There was some good UK representation there too with Lauren Jeska and Fiona Maxwell finishing 4th and 6th respectively in the women’s race. Scots Robbie Simpson and Sam Hesling also had excellent trips in the men’s race finishing 11th and 14th.

© www.skaala.no

Robbie Simpson

The event is a renowned beast of an ascent, rising to 1848m from just 29 above sea level in a frightening 8.2km – that’s an average gradient of 22%. There are some great images now online too, with the effort that this monster climb takes etched on the finishers faces!

Men’s results are here and women’s are here.

© www.skaala.no

Wolfe and Smith get the job done at TRR…

Posted in At the Races on Sat 27 Aug ’11

© transrockies.com

Smith and Wolfe at the 2011 Trans Rockies

Holding on to a leaders jersey in any sport can often be harder than getting it in the first place. So, with just one stage to go in the 2011 Trans Rockies Run Smith and Wolfe at the 2011 Trans Rockies Mike Smith and Jason Wolfe had to dig deep and keep their nerve…

The 2011 event has been notable for its competitive nature up front, especially in the Open men’s race. Speak to MST this week the UK’s Tom Owens has stated how surprised he and partner Ricky Lightfoot have been at the pace of the event, and how hard the racing has been at times. The fact that this pretty swift duo have found he tempo too high for them, for most of the week, is testament to this.

After 120 miles across some of the most breathtaking and strength-sapping terrain in the US, Wolfe and Smith enjoyed a win that they will savour for many year. Not in the least because they first held the leaders jerseys, then relinquished them to sparring partners Max King and Ryan Bak after stage 3, taking the golden fleeces back on stage 4 and holding on to them as they entered today’s final stage 6 finish into Beaver Creak for a win to savour in 14:57:23.

Bak and King were second over 20 min behind in 15:19:14, with Lightfoot and Owens comfortably in third, in an overall time of 15:31:19.

© transrockies.com

Rickey Gates leads Anna Frost

A pairing which had been at the fore in their category (mixed) from the very first stage was that of Rickey Gates and Anna Frost. The US/NZ pairing were simply too strong for the opposition, eventually covering the course in 17:07:37, over one hour ahead of their nearest rivals Greg and Amy Friedman.

In fact so good was their performance that their time would have put them in 4th position overall!

In the women’s section is was a crushing victory to for the sisterly pairing of Ashley and Cynthia Arnold. Their time of 18:46:20, a 1 hour 28 min lead over Arcteryx runners Rosemarie Gerspacher and Amy Golumbia.

Provisional results have been posted up here, with further reports and image galleries to follow.

© Martin Gaffuri

Frosty relaxes!

Reactions so far
  1. anna frost
    Aug 28, 12:43 AM

    Thanks Mud Sweat and Tears for keeping everyone updated on our races.
    It was a fantastic week with an awesome team mate Rickey Gates! Super strong!
    Resting up now…phew
    Frosty

Jornet and De Gasperi go head-to-head once again

Posted in At the Races on Wed 10 Aug ’11

© www.skyrunning.com

Kilian Jornet and Marco De Gasperi – sparring partners

This weekend sees one of two of the biggest names in European mountain running take on one of the classics in world mountain running. After their epic battle at Giir di Mont a couple of weeks back Kilian Jornet and Marco de Gasperi go head-to-head once again at Sierre Zinal

The race Sierre-Zinal (August 14, 2011, 38th edition), also called the Race of Five 4000m Peaks, is considered to be one of the finest mountain races in the world. It was once written that it is to mountain races what the New York Marathon is to marathons. It is the oldest mountain race found in its category in Europe’s mountains.

The race also forms Rd 4 of the 2011 Skyrunner World Series and the ISF have a full preview as follows:

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Kilian Jornet and Marco De Gasperi are two names that say it all in skyrunning. We have seen them “battle” recently in two events where Kilian has had the edge over Marco. Next Sunday, the fourth leg of the World Series, will see the two contend in Switzerland at the prestigious Course de Sierre Zinal …a race where Marco was just 98 seconds short of Jonathan Wyatt’s long standing record set in 2003.

The women’s field is equally impressive with the world’s top runners competing: reigning world champion and ranking leader Emanuela Brizio from Italy; Spain’s Oihana Kortazar, ranked 2nd and Americans Brandy Erholtz (3rd at the Dolomites SkyRace®) and Megan Lund, last year’s winner. The women’s record stands at 2h54’26” set in 2008 by Czech Anna Pichrtova.

© www.wmra.ch

Anna Pichrtova

Megan Lund. USA – last year’s winnerLook out also for another Czech. Robert Krupicka, winner of the International SkyRace® in Switzerland in June, (first leg of the European Skyrunning Championships, is a promising runner with an eye on the Olympics. He was third in this race last year.

The strong Spanish squad apart from Kilian and Oihana includes reigning world champion Tofol Castañer and Pere Aurell and Just Sociats, ranked 4th and 10th respectively.

The 31 km course with a total 2,200m elevation gain is favoured by runners from different backgrounds. Add 38 years of history and a unique panorama of five 4,000 mountains and hey presto: a perfect recipe that attracts runners from 20 countries and several thousand participants. In fact, Sunday’s line-up counts 1,119 runners and more than 1,700 participants in the non-competitive category.

© www.sierre-zinal.com

Whatever the result on Sunday, it’s not yet the final showdown for these two giants: their “final” encounter this year will be on October 23 in Malaysia on Mount Kinabalu’s 4,195 metres with the Skyrunner® SuperCup where Jornet and De Gasperi, together with the World Series and European champions, past race winners and record holders will contend for the “champion of champions” title.

Reactions so far
  1. JMock
    Aug 10, 01:54 AM

    A strong American men’s field is said to be racing too. Max King could contend for the overall win. 2010 Pikes Peak Ascent surprise winner Glen Randall and US Mountain Running Team member Joe Gray as well.

Macias wins Pike Peak Ascent in style

Posted in At the Races on Sat 20 Aug ’11

© www.pikespeaksports.us

Mario Macias

Self-proclaimed ‘road racer’ Mario Macias took a gun to tape victory in today’s Pikes Peak Ascent race in Colorado. The 29 year-old’s time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 57 seconds being the second-fastest time ever on the event…

© www.pikespeakmarathon.org

In superb conditions, and having built a 50 metre lead into mile one, Macias built an advantage that it was a full 7 minutes by the time they reached the top of this famous mountain, ahead of ‘local’ athlete Tommy Manning. 2-time PPA winner Simon Gutierrez was third.

Provisional top 6 – men
1 Mario Macias 2:08:57 Alamosa, CO
2 Tommy Manning 2:15:43 Colorado Spgs, CO
3 Simon Gutierrez 2:18:15 Colorado Spgs, CO
4 Jason C Delaney 2:20:03 Golden, CO
5 Josh Eberly 2:22:26 Gunnison, CO
6 Rickey Gates 2:22:58 Woody Creek, CO

© gazettephoto.mycapture.com

Kim Dobson nears the Pikes Peak summit

In the women’s race there was a massive win for Kim Dobson. Her winning time of 2:34:07 was just 36 seconds outside of the women’s record of 2:33:41 set 30 years ago by Lynn Bjorklund! Such Dobson’s effort that she finished a massive 14 minutes up on Cynthia Arnold, who was followed by Lisa Goldsmith for third.

The race formed part of the season-long Skyrunner World Series, and full results are available here, with a great report by local new outlet Pikes Peak Sports here.

© www.skyrunning.com

Macias and Dobson celebrate

Reactions so far
  1. Tony Mollica
    Aug 21, 02:17 AM

    Congratulations to Mario and Kim on a great race!

English Champs round-up

Posted in At the Races on Sun 28 Aug ’11

© Al Tye / fellrunningpictires.co.uk

Lloyd Taggart early-on in 2011

@Daleside caps off a great English Fell Running Championship season with a round-up of the salient points on the racing, Lloyd’s hsitoric ‘double’ and the category winners…

Lloyd’s second place put him at the top of the MV40s table too – the fist time, according to published records (that’s back to 1986!), anyone has done this in the Fell Running English Championships.

That’s not the only ‘making history’ event this year, as never before has one club doubled up and won the Open and the MV40 Team prizes in the same year. That honour has gone to 90’s super club Borrowdale FR who have proved they shouldn’t be written off just yet!

Full article over at Fell Running Briefs

© Andy Holden

Lloyd Taggart leads Tim Davies at Sedbergh

Kit ‘churn’ examined

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 10 Aug ’11

© Kevin Arnold

This article on the Grough examines the rate at which we seem to get though kit these days. Most of us would probably admit to replacing kit before it’s natural lifespan is through and the average dedicated runner’s wardrobe is pretty full these days…

The article is aimed at the walker / hiker fraternity, but the principles are the same for all of us who get out there into the outdoors. Founder of the Expore RED (Re-use, Explore, Discover) project is Don Gladstone, who has a jacket that is still serving him very well after 13 years of use, states:

“It takes little imagination to realise the amount of used outdoor sports products in wardrobes, lofts and garages. The majority of these items still retain a great deal of the comfort and performance they originally provided their owners. Indeed, many of these items will provide the exact same comfort and performance as they did when first purchased.”

© www.explorered.com

“At best this category of product is barely worn and at worst it is discarded and can potentially be disposed of in landfill. In the last five years there have been numerous cases of companies being paid by councils to recycle unwanted clothing only for it to be found in landfill sites as far away as Indonesia”.

“The Explore Red initiative will seek to raise public awareness of the many advantages of reusing discarded outdoor products.”.

© www.grough.co.uk

Of course many runners are more careful with their kit and by buying good quality products in the first place we can extend the lifespan of shoes and apparel. Similarly, new purchases are the lifeblood of brands and the churn of product purchases keep the running and outdoor industry alive. So, looking at extending the life of kit and being more frugal with the earth’s resources is a double-edged sword.

Equally runners should be especially aware that extending shoes (in particular) beyond their natural life can result in poor performance and possible injury issues. (A lack of grip after wear, and degraded EVA in the midsole, etc.)

Overall, it’s an interesting initiative and anything that helps our world and provokes thought can’t be a bad thing, so interesting is the project that the University of Leeds are carrying out an 24 month study on these habits and Lancaster University is looking at “potential charity partnerships, consumer buying habits and potential trade partnerships for a scheme re-using discarded gear.”

More can be found on the Explore RED website

Reactions so far
  1. Terry
    Aug 17, 02:27 PM

    I am a member of Exmouth Harriers down here in Devon. For reasons which are too lengthy to explain here, we have a connection with a university in Ethiopia. One of the young men from there has been a guest of the club and a local family. He came to our evening run last night to thank us for the equipment we have sent over for him and his colleagues. His heartfelt thanks were moving indeed and his summary of why they are grateful a stark reminder of just how much we take for granted. We have sent some new gear over but it has mainly been old kit. We will be sending more. So, don’t just use your old kit more often, think about cleaning it up and sending it to us to forward on. Running spikes are extremely sought after.

Mason takes Burnsall

Posted in At the Races on Sat 20 Aug ’11

© www.bofra.co.uk

Ted Mason

The last week or so in August sees three races, all extremely short, all extremely tough and all extremely coveted. First up is the 1.5 mile Burnsall race. Just over a week later and it’s the Grasmere Senior Guides race, over 160 years old!

© www.solmar.net

The Grasmere Seniors guides race is steeped in history

And lastly it’s the notoriously treacherous (and a mere 113 editions old!) Kilnsey Show Crag Race in a couple of week’s time.

Today it was Wharfdale Harrier and short-distance specialist Ted Mason who came out a clear winner of the Burnsall event, ahead of Sam Tosh and Tom Adams, who both recorded the same time (14:30). Having won the 2010 BOFRA race on the same route 2010, Mason is well acquainted with the route and his time of 14.18, though fast, is still a fair way down on John Wild’s amazing 1983 record of 12.48.

Ian Holmes was 4th with Eryri’s Math Roberts making the long trip from North Wales worthwhile with 5th. Steph Curtis won the womens race in 19.35.

Full results are here