inov8 team remains ‘obsessed and committed’

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 29 Aug ’13

© www.inov-8.com

Robbie Simpson

In 2013 inov8 have made their mark on the international mountain, sky and trail running stages with some outstanding results from their team of international runners. This continued recently with some great results at Pikes Peak, Sierre-Zinal and the Matterhorn Ultraks…

Driven by an obsession to stretch limits, our committed athletes have stamped their names all over sky and mountain races across the globe in August.

© www.inov-8.com

Alex Nichols

At the Pikes Peak Marathon (42km, 2382m ascent, 4302m maximum altitude), US athlete Alex Nichols (pictured above) narrowly missed out on victory in his Colorado backyard.

Meanwhile, fellow inov-8 athletes Anna Lupton (UK) and Eirik Haugsnes (Norway) finished fourth female and ninth male respectively in the elite-stacked Matterhorn Ultraks (14km, 3600m ascent, 3100m maximum altitude) race last weekend.

Read the full article here

© www.inov-8.com

Anna Lupton

Reactions so far
  1. Paul Tomlinson
    Aug 29, 01:16 PM

    Matt, are you not sponsored by Inov8? I really enjoy your website, but this just seems like an advert. Shame.

  2. Matt MST
    Aug 29, 01:35 PM

    Hi Paul

    I am definitely NOT sponsored by inov8 🙂

    As you will hopefully know MST is an aggregator of news, we pick up on things, and then if we think people might be interested we fire them out there for others to pick up on.

    As far as I was concerned the above article is about a UK brand supporting some international runners (a few of whom are UK athletes) and it details how they have been getting on over the last couple of months.

    Sorry if it comes across as me somehow pushing inov8, it is not the intention and certainly not an advert.

    Thanks…

    Matt

Tom stays positive on the road to recovery

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 06 Aug ’13

© www.salomonrunning.com

Tom Owens – always positive

Tom Owens’ 2013 season has been a bit of a washout, to date. After the Salomon and Scotland international skyrunning specialist was diagnosed with ruptured peroneus longus tendon in the spring he underwent some pretty extensive surgery…

Some 6 months later and Tom is on the comeback trail after a few months of successful rehabilitation. We caught up with the Glasgow-based runner for a few minutes on his year so far, and what lies ahead:

——————————

MST: 2013 has been a pretty frustrating year for you so far Tom, tell us about what happened.

TO: My peroneal tendon started hurting and became mega swollen during a run at the start of February this year. The pain and swelling remained consistent despite rest & the ankle kept giving way. An ultrasounds scan at the start of May revealed a ruptured peroneus longus – worse than the physios expected … no wonder it wouldn’t heal! My frustrating year ended once I knew the only choice was surgery – it was a big relief to have a proper diagnosis. Operation was in June to fix the tendon and the surgeon also repaired my ATFL ligament which I ruptured playing football several years ago & had never properly healed. The surgery went very well.

© Tom Owens

MST: When you get such an injury it must be pretty hard to stay focussed on the long-range picture and how you might be out for a whole season?

TO: Once I knew the tendon was ruptured I accepted there would be no hill season this year, so the tendon has plenty of time to get strong.

TO: I do miss running but now I’ve been out for 6 months I’ve got pretty used to it! Life has slowed down & I’ve been kept busy enough with other stuff. Also works been good & I’ve been putting in the hours while I can.

MST: Have you been watching with interest on the whole skyrunning, fell running and trail running scene? Or like some other elite athletes do you find it hard to watch the success of others when you are injured?

TO: I’ve missed the running scene & have enjoyed hearing what’s going on, especially when friends are running in races. I don’t feel upset or angry just pretty detached from it all. I’m a pretty lousy sport follower at the best of times (with the exception of the Tour de France this year) & am notoriously bad on social media….fortunately Mud Sweat & Tears keeps me up to date 😉

© Tom Owens

Tom has still been attending fell races!

MST: What have you been doing to stay ‘fit’, if anything?!

TO: When I was in plaster, getting about on crutches was a good work out. Especially living in a top floor tenement flat! The last few weeks I’ve been able to start strengthening the tendon with thera bands and introducing balance work. I’ve also focused on strengthening my injured leg which had wasted away due to the dormancy.

TO: Cardio fitness has been less important than the strength work. I did a few short sessions in the hydrotherapy pool and then progressed to some short sessions on the cross trainer. The last couple of weeks I’ve returned to cycling for some potters including commuting to work. I now feel confident clipping into the pedals again & so should be able to get some decent rides in now. Hopefully the aerobic fitness will return quickly.

MST: You have been in situations before where you have had injuries to overcome, and you have come back stronger than ever. is the prognosis looking good on this one, and when you might be back training and ‘race action’?

TO: I’m physically well rested & mentally more chilled out than I’ve ever been! The ankle is feeling great & moving well. Luckily I’ve felt no pain since the surgery. I’ve been given the nod to try a run in one weeks time & have got some orthotics which should help. It’s going to be a slow build up but exciting times!

TO: I’m not sure about racing timescales. Although fitness should return quickly, mentally it might take a while longer till I can fully trust the ankle on descents. But whatever the level, I’ll be back in the hills in due course!

© www.salomonrunning.com

Tom in race action at Giir di Mont in 2012

“It’s a hill, get over it!”

Posted in The Sweat on Thu 15 Aug ’13

© Sandstone Press

A new book penned by seasoned fell runner Steve Chilton looking at the history and great characters from the sport of fell running, is available for pre-order ahead of it’s release date in September…

Books on fell running are reasonably few and far between, but when they do come out they are generally pretty compelling reading – e.g Bill Smith’s Stud marks on the Summit and Richard Askwith’s Feet in the Clouds.

Chilton’s blog on his book It’s a hill, get over it starts off by stating:

I am not sure who first said “Everyone has a book inside them”, but I do like the take by Christopher Hitchins on the quote which he feels should be completed by “ ……. but in most cases that is where it should stay”.

So with that in mind I will attempt to unfurl the reasoning behind me starting to write a book.

However, with publishers Sandstone Press stating:

The book covers the early days of the sport, right through to it going global with World Championships. Along the way it profiles influential athletes such as Fred Reeves, Bill Teasdale, Kenny Stuart, Joss Naylor, and Billy and Gavin Bland. It gives background to the athletes including their upbringing, introduction to the sport, training, working life, records and achievements. It also includes in-depth conversations with some of the greats, such as Jeff Norman and Rob Jebb.

It all looks very promising! More details here.

Reactions so far
  1. Steve Chilton
    Sep 29, 03:41 PM

    Book is available now. Hope you will review it (Sandstone will provide a copy). Book blog has details at: http://itsahill.wordpress.com/

  2. Matt MST
    Oct 1, 11:04 AM

    Thanks Steve, received a copy late last week, looks brilliant, will be getting my teeth into it over the next few weeks!
    Cheers, Matt

  3. Steve Chilton
    Dec 14, 06:38 PM

    Any idea when review might appear?

  4. Matt MST
    Jan 10, 02:03 PM

    Hi Steve, will be doing it very soon! Cheers

  5. Matt MST
    Jan 14, 07:11 PM

    http://www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk/2014/01/14/its-a-hill-get-over-it/

    Cheers Steve…

Island Trail Race aims to wow visitors

Posted in At the Races on Thu 29 Aug ’13

© Always Aim High Events

According to Wales and GB international Rob Samuel the location for this September’s Island Trail Race on Anglesey is ‘as stunning as any trails that I have run’, as Newborough plays host the event within 700ha of woodland and coastal paths…

Taking place on Sunday, September 29, the event contains some unique all off-road routes, following beautiful single track and forest paths in the heart of the Newborough Forest and also includes a run along the beach and around the iconic Llanddwyn Island.

Off the island runners will return, via the dunes, to run along forest tracks and through open glades where you will tackle a number of rewarding climbs a descents.

Watch Rob’s short promo film here

© Always Aim High Events

As well as running this stunning course, the entry fee also includes electronic chip timing, family entertainment, a unique commemorative race T shirt, bespoke finishers medal and refreshments at the finish line.

The event will also be hosting children’s and junior races on the day with registration for this will be at the race venue. All of the kids races are run in partnership with Anglesey Council’s Sports Development Team who have years of experience of putting on great events for the counties’ youngsters

With 700ha of woodland and 3 miles of sandy beach and stunning views across the Menai Straits to the peaks of Snowdonia, the scene is set for an amazing trail running experience.

Runners can choose from a 10k Trail and Half Trail Marathon and entries are via this link.

Sierre Zinal is this weekend…

Posted in At the Races on Fri 09 Aug ’13

© Ian Corless

Stevie Kremer

One of the world’s most iconic mountain races takes place this Sunday and as ever attracts some of the world’s top mountain runners, with the likes of Stevie Kremer, Kilian and golden-greats Angela Mudge and Jono Wyatt toeing the line at Sierre-Zinal

The latter still holds the course record of an amazing 2:29:12 from 2003 with Anna Pichrtova’s 2008 run of 2:54:26 being the best mark in the women’s class.

Though not as long as some of the big European skyraces these days, runners still face 19 miles and a hefty 7,200ft of climb, and after climbing out of Sierre at the start runners head up to the race highpoint of 2425m before plummeting back to Zinal.

2012 champion Aline Camboulives returns to defend her S-Z crown, however we think that US athlete Stevie Kremer must be in the hot-seat when it comes to the women’s race, after a pretty impressive 2013 to date.

In the men’s race it’s hard to look beyond Kilian, but with top US talent Sage Canaday, Rickey Gates and Max King, along with Spain’s Tofol Castanyer and Eritrean Weldemariam Teklay also down to race, things should be very interesting.

Look out for Brits Robbie Simpson and Victoria Wilkinson too as they test themselves against the very best. Full start lists are here

The trail climbs sharply for Joe

Posted in Through the Lens on Thu 15 Aug ’13

© Ian MacLellan

Joe Gray

After his win at the recent USATF Mtn Champs, Joe Gray is now getting ready for the Worlds Poland, this September. The Scott sponsored runner has been on the world mountain scene for a few years now but has obviously lost none of his zip!

Shooter Ian MacLellan has put together a documentary titled Trail Climbs Sharply, which is due for release on 1st of September, and this extract depicts Gray winning that 2013 title. The short film gives us a little insight in what makes Joe tick and why the mountains are what inspire him…

Watch it here

What’s new in the world of shoes?

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 09 Aug ’13

© www.irunfar.com

The 2014 Brooks Cascadia 9

iRunFar have taken a little selection from the OR show over in the US, showcasing what trail runners can expect when it comes to footwear in 2014. There seems to be a swinging towards about 6mm as an average on heel to toe drop too…

With the trend on colour options still getting more and more adventurous you can bet that trail runners the world over will be a sea of colour next year, but that takes nothing away from the fact that the technologies of the brands on offer are also keeping apace.

Read Bryon Powell’s Best Trail Running Shoes of Outdoor Retailer Summer 2013 selection here.

Leadville awaits

Posted in At the Races on Fri 16 Aug ’13

© www.leadvilleraceseries.com

One of the world’s greatest 100 milers kicks off in Silverton, Colorado on Saturday. The Leadvillle 100 is on the bucket list of many an ultra-trailer with it’s legendary Hope Pass ascent to 12,600ft…

The race is 30 years old this year, making it one of the US’ oldest 100-mile races too, and with the glorious Colorado Rockies terrain and base in old Silverton the event is steeped in history.

2011 winner Ryan Sandes is back, after pulling out of the Western States in June with an ankle injury. The South African ultra specialist prepares meticulously for these types of events, and though 7-time winner of the WS100 Scott Jurek is in town it will be Sandes who will be in the hot-seat to take the win.

© www.iRunFar.com

Ryan Sandes wins Leadville 2011

Some excellent pre-event coverage as ever from iRunFar and you can follow all of the happenings with Bryon and the team via this link

GB hopefuls head to World Trials…

Posted in At the Races on Sat 10 Aug ’13

© Dan Vernon

The trials for the World Mountain Running Championships take place in Whinlatter in the Lake District this Sunday and will see a clamouring for places on the UK team heading Poland early next month….

Event incorporates the up and down trial races for selection of UK teams to compete in the World Mountain Running Championships and UKA Mountain Running Championship (senior individual).

2013 sees an up and down year at the World champs, so you can expect to see some of the cream of UK mountain (and fell) running lining up in Whinlatter. Entry is on the day, but you expect the likes of Emma Clayton (senior women) and Nathan Jones (junior men) to be right up there in the hunt for places and that coveted GB vest.

Race programme

11.30am: Junior Women’s Race 4.8km, 250m climb/descent

12.00pm: Senior/U23 Women’s/Junior Men’s Race 9.6km, 500m climb/descent

1.00pm: Senior/U23 Men’s Race 14.4km, 750m climb/descent

  • Age categories/distances are in line with WMRA guidelines rather than UKA/FRA
  • Courses will be marshalled and flagged.
  • See British Athletics website here for information about selection criteria etc.

Jono wins the Skåla

Posted in At the Races on Sun 18 Aug ’13

© www.nrk.no

Jono Wyatt takes Skala Opp 2013

Reversing the 2012 result, Salomon athlete Jonathan Wyatt won the Skåla Opp race in Norway on Saturday, defeating course record hold Arslan Ahmet. Brit Orlando Edwards was an excellent 6th, just under 4 minutes down on Wyatt…

The event is a renowned beast of an ascent, rising to 1848m from just 29m above sea level in a frightening 8.2km – that’s an average gradient of 22%!

Having been beaten by Ahmet in 2012 (when the 6-time Euro mountain running champ also broke the course record), Wyatt put a good 2 minutes plus into Arslan for a very convincing win, underlining the New Zealander’s good form at the moment and following up on his 3rd place at last weekend’s Sierre-Zinal race.

After Angela Mudge won the day in 2012, victory in the women’s race stayed in Norwegian hands in 2013 as Inger Nilson won in 1:23:40

Info on the leading positions here with full results via this link and images to follow.

Top 3 Men
1. Jonathan Wyatt (NZ) 1.09.39
2. Ahmet Arslan (TUR) 1.11.49
3. Thorbjørn Ludvigsen (NOR) 1.11.55

Top 3 Women

1. Inger Liv Bjerkrem Nilsen (NOR) 1.23.40
2. May Britt Buer (NOR) 1.24.58
3. Kirsten Marathon Melkevik (NOR) 1.26.54

Lauenstein takes 40th Sierre-Zinal

Posted in At the Races on Mon 12 Aug ’13

© Fred Bousseau

Marc Lauenstein

If you have the time, you can relive the whole 3hour + show from RTS television on yesterday’s Sierre-Zinal race. It really is worth the watch for the drama that unfolds, befitting of one of the world’s premier mountain races…

Swiss fans were cheering aloud as Marc Lauenstein timed his effort perfectly, overtaking long-time Columbian leader Juan Carlos Cardona in the last 500m of the race, to win by just 18 seconds in 2:32:15. Course record holder and mutiple world mountain running champion Jono Wyatt (2:33:47) had a great run to hold off a fast-finishing Kilian Jornet (2:33:55) for third.

© Ski and Run

Jono Wyatt on his way to 3rd at Sierre-Zinal 2013

Briton Robbie Simpson produced one of the runs of his life to finish 5th in 2:35:32, juts 90 seconds down on Kilian.

In the women’s event, Italian Elisa Desco produced an excellent performance to win by almost 5 mins, from 2012 runner-up Stevie Kremer. Maude Mathys was third.

© Ski and Run

Elisa Desco

© Fred Bousseau

Angela Mudge

Producing yet another great performance was ‘vet’ Angela Mudge in 4th, and breaking the masters record to boot.

Some great images out there from Ski and Run and Endurance Trails, with full results via the S-Z site here (click on Classement 2013).

© Fred Bousseau

Kilian after his 4th place finish

Reactions so far
  1. Hendrik
    Aug 12, 03:44 PM

    Ran this race and it was an incredible experience. The course, the field, the crowds. Epic!

    Also, nice to see the Guardian featuring Sierre-Zinal as their sport picture of the day

  2. Hendrik
    Aug 12, 03:44 PM

    Ran this race and it was an incredible experience. The course, the field, the crowds. Epic!

    Also, nice to see the Guardian featuring Sierre-Zinal as their sport picture of the day

Nick steps up to the plate at Leadville

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Thu 22 Aug ’13

© Nick Clark

In his post-Leadville blog, Nick Clark has produced a candid piece of writing craft. The Pearl Izumi runner beautifully captures the essence of the race from a front- runners’ viewpoint, and perfectly depicts the race from inside the ‘race-bubble’…

In there, Nick also touches on the issues that the US’ premier 100-miler faces, from an organisational and experience viewpoint – something which the Colorado man felt was palpable on the day. The solution? Nick himself.

At least he appears to offer his services within the first few paragraphs, “it is quite apparent to me that somebody who understands ultrarunning needs to be put back in charge of the run series. I’m available.” – and if I were the Leadville Series organiser I think I might be giving Mr.Clark a call ASAP!

Read Leadville 2013: A Report & Some Reflections here.

Running Wild

Posted in Through the Lens on Mon 12 Aug ’13

© Sitka Conservation Society

Running means different things to different people. The essence of trail running, and generally running in the wild outdoors, is beautifully captured in this short film by Alexander Crook…

Featuring Nick Ponzetti, Crook traveled to Red Bluff Bay in the South Baranof Wilderness Area. This video is one of the projects that was produced. Running Wild, a short film about trail running in the wilderness.

It’s showtime!

Posted in At the Races on Fri 23 Aug ’13

© www.solmar.net

The Grasmere Seniors guides race is steeped in history

The next few days will see three very special races take place, as fell-sprinters sharpen their studs for the Burnsall Classic, Grasmere and Kilnsey Show races in what is known as the classic treble in fell running circles…

Within the British fell running scene are the summer shows. Many of the classic short fell races that exist in the north of England are linked to (or at least once were) shows and sports days, some of them hundreds of years old. Similarly with hill racing in Scotland and Wales. But of course some races are more prestigious than others and there exists the ‘treble’.

First-up tomorrow (Saturday) is the Burnsall Classic. 1.5 miles long, with a climb of 900ft. So that will be 900ft of climb in three quarters of a mile then? Amazing. And then – probably top of the shop of these fell-classics – comes the Grasmere Senior Guides race, which follows on Sunday.

© Ian Charters

Morgan Donnelly on his way to the Grasmere win in 2011

This race is part of fell running folk-lore and the respect it commands from the fraternity can be seen in the start list that it generates every year. Hundreds line-up for the 1.5 mile race (900ft ascent) over Gray Crags, and the role call of winners is packed with fell running legends from across the decades of the last century and beyond. The course record of 12:21 belongs to a certain Fred Reeves and those in the know say it may never be beaten, we shall see.

© Westmorland Gazzette

The juniors get going at Grasmere

And lastly on Tuesday (27 August) it’s the notoriously treacherous (and a mere 113 editions old!) Kilnsey Show Crag Race. Another blast up and down to a height of 1000ft in the space of one mile, requiring the winner to remove any doubt or fear on the descent and come down the Chimney – see what I mean here.

© The Dones

The Kilnsey flag marks the peak!

So, if you want to really get that ‘show’ feel this next few days and – in a world of commercialism – return yourself to the true essence of sport and the understated fell race, you could do worse than head to the Lakes and open up your lungs to the classic treble.

Laying the seed of thought…

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 31 Jul ’13

© Paul Dobson / fellrunner.net

Ben Abdelnoor is having a pretty good 2013. The Ambleside and inov8 runner won the classic Wasdale a few weeks back, along with the Old County Tops earlier in the year. Last weekend he realised his goal of 2013 – winning the Lakeland 50.

Here Ben tells us how it all panned out on the trails and fells around Coniston:

——————————

The Lakeland 100 is a race that has caught my imagination in a way no other race has, or probably ever will. For the last three years I’d come out and supported the event as it passed through Ambleside; the route passes my front door. Three years ago I cheered on my girlfriend in the 100 mile event.

She passed through Ambleside late at night in the cold and rain, struggling and in pain, but determined to finish; I remember being quite emotional at the time. I’d then proudly watched her finish in Coniston to take the victory after a tortuous 32 hours. That same year I’d witnessed the awesome talent, and an incredible neck-and-neck battle, between Andrew James and Jon Morgan in the Lakeland 50 event. James had won by a few minutes to set a new course record of 7 hours 47 minutes.

A hundred miles involves running through the night, sometimes two. And I’ve watched those 100-mile runners: the agony, the pain, the limping, the tears and the suffering. I didn’t want that. Plus, I like going to bed at night – so that settled it; I’d give the 50-mile event a go.

Planning and race preparation

For me this was going to be my big target for the season. I run on the fells rather than the trails and a 4-hour fell race is what I’d call a ‘big’ event. Early in the season I’d competed in a 37-mile fell race, taking 7 hours, with a similar amount of ascent to the 50, so I knew I had the ability to make it round the course.

Next up was working out what pace to run at. Using the splits from Andrew James’ 2010 victory, I paced the legs from Ambleside to Coniston, and from Pooley Bridge into Ambleside. My training consisted of long runs (2-3 hours), as well as some longer fell races (20+ miles). Mentally I prepared by poring over the map and memorising the route: every climb, every twist of the path and every bit of terrain. I use mentally imagery a lot to help me prepare, and would picture myself running strong throughout the course of the race.

Obviously this wasn’t going to happen, but it builds confidence and self-belief.

A Quick Start!

Marcus Scotney was a fellow competitor who I knew to be a favourite in the race, and with good reason. He’d won a hilly Windermere Marathon in 2 hour 38 minutes, and had marked up a victory at the Coniston Trail Marathon, coming within 30 seconds of the course record. So, when we set off on a loop of Dalemain before heading out onto the route I tried not to panic as he disappeared across the fields. By Pooley Bridge I was informed he was already 4 minutes ahead!

There can be few more pleasurable places to run than along that eastern shore of Ullswater. As I ran I thought to myself, ‘you can keep your Dolomite mountains and Alpine pastures, I want the picture-postcard Lake District.’ A smooth and inviting lake sparkling under a warm sunshine, brown and green slopes rising up to the summits of Helvellyn and the Dodds, and a fine track to tread my feet upon.

By the first checkpoint at Howtown three of us were following Marcus, not that we could see him. By the time we dropped into checkpoint two at Mardale, after a sweltering traverse along Haweswater Reservoir, we were down to two.

And, as I headed off from a quick checkpoint turn-around, up a stiff climb over Gatesgarth Pass, I was on my own. I say on my own, but actually I had the Lakeland 100 runners for company who’d set off the previous evening. Without them I think I would have struggled. I don’t think it was any coincidence that my two low points in the race were the times when I had no 100 runner to aim for and no one to offer, or receive, encouragement to or from.

Taking the lead

By Kentmere I’d been running for over four hours, but was still looking forward to the climbing. I was finding the flat sections a bit of a struggle, dropping to what felt like a rather slow pace a little too easily. I was buoyed on by spotting Marcus up ahead, who I’d

Robbie heads for Europe

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Fri 21 Jun ’13

© Paul Dobson

Robbie Simpson at the Melmerby International

21- year old Robbie Simpson has blazed a trail on the hills, fells and mountain over the last few years and this summer the young Scot is planning to take to the mountains of Europe

The Deeside runner will spend the summer racing and training at altitude in the Alps, and is targeting a big performance at next month’s European Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria.

Robbie, the youngest ever winner of the International Snowdon Race when aged 18, said:

“I want to test myself racing against the top guys in Europe, and hopefully become one of them. I’m going to be in the Alps until September, learning from some of the best and pushing my own boundaries.”

On the back of an outstanding winter which saw Robbie win the Scottish 10-mile road title and finish second in the national cross-country championships north of the border, he returned to the mountains last month.

His first major assignment was the European Mountain Running Championship trial race held at Keswick, where, despite sickness, he finished third, thus guaranteeing a place in the Great Britain team for the high-profile uphill-only event in Bulgaria.

Robbie then began his European summer adventure with a fifth-place finish in the World Mountain Running Association Grand Prix’s traditional season opener at La Montee du Grand Ballon in France.

© www.inov-8.com

Robbie at the Grand Ballon race

Not only was Robbie the first Briton, he also took the scalps of notable previous European and World Championship medalists.

And just last weekend he finished a superb second-place among a classy field at the Neirivue – Le Moleson mountain race in Switzerland.

“The trail at Keswick didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. I ate something that made me feel really sick and that troubled me during the race. The Grand Ballon went much better. Again it was uphill only, for about 14km, but it was a world-class field, so to come fifth and run strongly was really good. I then had another strong run at Neirivue – Le Moleson.

“The European Championships is what I have been training hard for. Last year I was 19th, but this year I want to get in the top-10, and then who knows what can happen. Some of the guys I was racing, and not far behind, at Grand Ballon are among the favourites to win in Bulgaria, so I’m feeling good about how things are going.”

Robbie, who has high hopes for August’s prestigious 31km Sierre-Zinal race in Switzerland, also spent much of his 2012 summer in the Alps, recording several outstanding results, including a ninth-place finish at the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships.

New on his agenda this summer is inov-8’s first-ever athlete’s retreat, to be held in Chamonix, France, between June 27 and July 5.

Robbie will join a number of fellow inov-8 athletes, many of who will race the Mount-Blanc Marathon on June 30, in testing innovative new product. He is also excited about the updated versions of the classic X-talon shoe range, which inov-8 will deliver later this year.

“The X-talon 212 is my favorite of all running shoes. Lightweight and supportive, the X-talon 212 has awesome grip and speed. It has the lot. If I’m not in the X-talon 212, I’m usually wearing the X-talon 190 or the Road-x 233, both of which are super fast.”

© www.inov-8.com

The X-Talon 212

More details about the updated versions of the X-talon 212 and 190, both new for autumn/winter, will be released via the inov8 website soon.

4 Trails is underway…

Posted in At the Races on Wed 10 Jul ’13

© www.4trails.de

The Salomon 4 Trails got underway in Garmisch today, with Salomon athlete Tofol Castanyer easily taking the spoils. The 4-stage event will cover around 160 kilometers and take in 10,000 metres of ascent over the four days…

In the women’s race Scot’s runners Claire Gordon and Angela Mudge took the top two places with Claire putting a mighty eleven and a half minutes into Angela after stage one.

Top snappers Klaus Fengler and Kelvin Trautman got some lovely shots, and the first stage results are here.

© www.4trails.de

“Allez Ricky”! Lightfoot delights locals on La Reunion

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 25 Jun ’13

© Ricky Lightfoot

Last weekend top Cumbrian fell man and Salomon UK trail team member Ricky Lightfoot stormed around the 2013 Trail International du Colorado route on La Reunion island, smashing the course record to boot…

Here he gives us his thoughts on a week to remember:

Kààféélàà… Ole de la Reunion: Trail International du Colorado

Its hard to put Reunion Island into words, amazing trails, friendly people, beautiful flowers, the mountains, active volcanos, beautiful coastlines and a magical place called Mafate only accessable by foot and that’s only half of it!

© Ricky Lightfoot

Reunion Island has always been a place I’ve wanted to race, since I first saw the pictures from Le Grand Raid (Diagonale des Fous) race, the mountains looked spectacular akin to something straight out of a storey book. So when given the opportunity to go and race The Trail du Colorado I jumped at the chance.

Previously I’d never heard of the race which starts near the capitol St Denis (Sin-Deni) in the north of the Island. This year was the 3rd edition and already had capped last years entrants at over 800 pre entries which is pretty amazing considering the size of the island.

There was International invites from Mauritious, Rodrigues, Reunion Island, France, Madagascar, New Zealand and the UK as its part of a four race series. The race is organised by the local running club which has some brilliant athletes and a great set up.

I arrived in Reunion on the week leading unto the race so it gave me a chance to have a look at the route and recover from the long flight from the UK, I arrived the same day as Anna Frost who also made the trip, recently returning from an injury only a few weeks ago.

One of the organising committee of the race Jérome Desire had offered himself as a guide to the Island for the week which made our job a lot easier, there was so many places to see but getting around on some of the roads was difficult.

We got the chance to look at part of the course on the Tuesday, so we ran the middle 20km of the route starting from the small village of Dos d’Ane at 1000m (lightly translated to “donkey back”) it didn’t take too long to realise the technicality of the course but, we were assured by Jerome and Thierry that the course was fast (at this point we were doing 14min/mile).

© Ricky Lightfoot

The course was really rough, rocky and narrow which wasn’t great being 6ft 3, there was quite a few times on the route where I got a bit of a whipping off the trees and shrubs that were over hanging, all this made the going really slow, added in to the mix was the spiders, I got quite a few of them in the face. They were huge!

We also got the chance to visit Mafate, its a magical place in the mountains where the only way in is by foot of helicopter. To get there we drove up to 2000m to descend by foot 1000m into a small village called Roche Plate. There are a number of villages in Mafate which are situated in the remains of a extinct volcano, Piton des Neiges at 3070m.

The race is a mainly run on narrow single track with only a couple of sections run on open fire track, it owes to a quick course but looking at the record before hand it was roughly 10min/mile pace which sounds slow but this due to the technicality of the terrain.

A quick stop at the physio, the local Kinepodiste Cedric Tshibasu in Saint Denis on Thursday and we were ready to go, Thanks to Cedric for the great treatment, which was well and truly needed after the week we’d had.

Race day came round quick, up at 4.45am for breakfast and out of the door at 5.50am to drive up to the start just over 25 minutes away. The start was in Colorado Park at 650 meters, with the large number of runners the park was pretty full with spectators, runners and the organisation team by 6.30 who looked like they’d been working all morning to get things ready.

The sun began to rise just before the start at 7.00am, I was told the runners would go off fast and they did that! A short loop back through the start line and it was off onto the technical undulating single track, I quickly established a small lead by 5km and never looked back. It was difficult to see if anyone was chasing as there wasn’t more than 30 yards of stright trail.

© Ricky

Ricky Lightfoot: “It was a good race for me..”

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Wed 10 Jul ’13

© www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk

Thumbs-up for Ricky!

Given a few days to download exactly what he achieved, Ricky Lightfoot has put in words his IAU world title winning run the weekend. Humble and relaxed as ever, the Cumbrian-based Salomon athlete explains to MST how the day panned out…

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“What a weekend – nerves, shock, surprised, amazed, humbled! I don’t want to say I was due a big run, but my initial goal earlier in the year was to qualify for the Great Britain Team to go to the World Championships in Wales, I achieved that by finishing 2nd in the trial which was the Highland Fling, a great race which isn’t to be underestimated.

I had qualified for the World Trail Champs, so I was happy, and though the trial race was run at the end of April it gave me just over 9 weeks to train. I did have a few races penciled in so I had to fit my longer runs and speed work in around them.

July came around quick and before I knew it I was in Wales with the Great Britain team for the opening ceremony. A few pictures and a chance to look at the course the day before, I ended up in bed due to being ill, so the first I saw of the course was on the day of the race!

A meal in the Grand Hotel in Llandudno and an early night were on the cards. We were up at 6.30 for breakfast in the Grand Hotel then down to the start for 8am. The first I see of the course is the long stretch of road which leads up to the forest where we were to run 5 ×16km laps.

Some more pictures and an interview later and the start was upon us. I went for the new Salomon Fellraiser – good grip, light and comfortable which on a hot day like today was most important. We gathered inside the stone circle with the 18 other nations, in race previews there were to be strong teams from France (reigning Men’s & Women’s Team Champions), Italy and the USA to name but a few.

The race started on the bridge so being the last team to leave the stone circle meant we were first on the start, a quick briefing and a count down to the start and we were off.

I quickly got to the front to avoid any bottle necks, the pace was quick but steady, after climbing up through the forest a small group began to pull away from the rest of the field – three French guys, a Norwegian, a German and a Argentinian I think, I didn’t really take much notice at this point as there was a long way to go!

We went through one lap in just over the hour, it was the start of the second lap where a couple of the guys dropped off the pace and I was left with France’s Julien Rancon and his team.

© Al Tye / www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Rancon leads through the Saw Bench

I knew the French would be strong, Julien and the previous World Trail Champion from Connemara Erik Clavery, and the bronze medalist Patrick Bringer.

I not sure if it was the way they run but, in turn the three French guys were taking turns at running hard and easing off, this would continue for the next 10 miles or so. I stuck with it and tried to keep my pace steady, we came round to the 3rd lap and two of the French guys dropped off the pace so I was left with Julien.

It was at this point that he put a huge effort in on the first climb on the 3rd lap, I stuck with him until the top and put another effort in on the rough undulating track, when to my surprise I dropped him, I didn’t know if this was race tactics or if he was tired so I pushed on.

At the beginning of the 4th lap I had pulled out a 2 minute lead, this wasn’t ideal as there was still the best part of 20 miles to run. I worked hard and felt strong, picking a Kinetica Gel and some water up at every opportunity from the excellent GB support crew which were manning two stations along the route.

© Al Tye / www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk

Ricky tries to cool off

It came round to the last lap pretty quick, someone was there to give me an update, the gap was 5 minutes, great, it wasn’t much but at least I was pulling away.

I didn’t relax though, as from previous experience in the Highland Fling I knew if it

Chorier and Canepa winners at “Ronda dels Cims” – the world’s toughest 100-miler…

Posted in At the Races on Tue 25 Jun ’13

© Jordi Saragossa

Canepa and Chorier – Ronde dels Cims winners

More than one hundred miles and 12,200 metres vertical climb – Julien Chorier and Francesca Canepa are victorious in the world’s toughest 100-miler, Andorra’s Ronda dels Cims, the second race in the SWS Ultra Series

Full race report via the ISF

Recent heavy snowfalls meant the original course with 13,000m vertical climb was modified to ensure the safety of the runners. Seven extra kilometres were added to “compensate” the reduction in elevation, which in the end represented nearly one and a half times the height of Everest!

Three-hundred-and-fifteen runners lined up for the 7am start on Friday where initially good weather deteriorated in the afternoon. Nearly 50 km into the race at 2,572m, one of the highest points, swirling mists descended to the haunting sound of a bagpipe…By early evening the sky cleared and, just as programmed, the full moon lit the course.

Frenchman Chorier (Salomon) crossed the finish line after 28h41’06” hours on the course followed by Kenichi Yamamoto (Houdini) from Japan, in 31h12’00” and Australian Matt Cooper (Salomon), who finished a close third just twelve minutes later in 31h24’54”.

© Jordi Saragossa

Julien Chorier

Cooper had led for the first 12 km, with Chorier hot on his heels. From the town of Ordino, the course initially traversed lush forest and waterlogged trail which gave way to an alpine environment with long, steep climbs and short, sharp descents with some snowfields on the upper stretches.

Chorier looked relaxed. In fact, throughout the entire race he was composed and totally in command – of his performance and the rest of the field. He was pursued by Yamamoto, Cooper, Armando Teixeira, Spaniards Pep Ballester, Aleson Orbegozo and Americans Jared Campbell, Ty Draney and Benjamin Lewis who all finished in the top ten.

The women’s field was led early on by Frenchwoman Emilie Lecomte (Quechua), with Nerea Martinez (Salomon Santiveri), who set the 2012 Ronda dels Cims record in 35h31’21’’.

Italy’s Francesca Canepa (Montura-Vibram), second at UTMB and Tor des Geants winner, proceeded with Emilie behind Nerea, at her own pace, focussing on her own race. At the first big summit 50 km she was on her own in the lead and powered on to finish what she describes as her “hardest race ever”, in 36h18’55”, she placed 16th overall.

© Jordi Saragossa

Francesca Canepa

Second was Olga Mankò from the Ukraine who closed in 38h19’47” and third, Emilie Lecomte in 39h30’14” who, with her 5th place in Transvulcania, now leads the SWS Ultra Series. Nerea later abandoned the race.

The second race in the Ultra race comes to a close: 177 kilometres, 12,200m vertical climb, the Ronda dels Cims counts more than numbers. The longest day and the night of the full moon create a magical atmosphere that make this race unique race and, don’t let’s forget, the world’s toughest 100-miler.

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Race results

Men
1. Julien Chorier (FRA) – Salomon – 28h41’06”
2. Kenichi Yamamoto (JAP) – Houdini) – 31h12’00”
3. Matt Cooper (AUS) – Salomon – 31h24’54

Women
1. Francesca Canepa (ITA) – Montura-Vibrio – 36h18’55”
2. Olga Mankò (UKR) – 38h19’47”
3. Emilie Lecomte (FRA) – Quechua -39h30’14”