After a much needed escape to the sunny volcanic island trails of Tenerife I'm back to fill in the gaps from the past fortnights off-road runnings. Starting with the beast on the other side of the bay from where I was too busy running to write;
TRANSGRANCANARIA 128 km / 7500 m, ADVANCED 65 km / 3200 m
After spending a paragraph of my TGC preview on hyping up the 23 year old Miao Yao (I:@YaoMiao1) as a likely unchallenged winner I followed up the same forecast with something contradictory like; 'Transgrancanaria is the race where young elites go to have their confidence taken away in one big aloe vera flavoured bonk'. Sadly this is just what happened to the talented Chinese runner and after leading the grueling race across the less frequented parts of an otherwise tourist infested island for its first half she was overtaken by the 2018 champion Magdalena Laczak (I: :@magdalena_laczak) around the 65 k mark before dropping from the race at the 74 k aid station. The experienced Laczak ran a strong race from here and though at times it looked like Fernanda Maciel (I: @fernandamaciel_oficial/) was going to catch up she remained calm and kept her position into the finish. She was not the only veteran executing a solid race plan though, with a third of the race to go at the majestic Roque Nublo Americas Kaytlyn Gerbin looked like she had a lot left to give as she caught up with Fernanda and overtook the hunt on Laczak. Over the long technical descent into Maspalomas she kept pulling away from Maciel and finished a mere ten minutes behind Laczak who took her second straight victory at TGC. Impressive early season performances from all three podium finishers, it's especially good to see Kaytlyn Gerbin running so well on technical European trails ahead of her UTMB debut later in the year.
1. Magdalena Laczak POL 16:22:56
2. Kaytlyn Gerbin USA 16:35:08
3. Fernanda Maciel BRA 17:03:33
In the 62 k edition Irina Raczynska took her first win in an international race outside of her home trails of Russia. Second lady was Belgiums Dominique Van Mechgelen who was third on the marathon distance at TGC last year and third was strong local runner Maria Jose Guillen.
1. Irina Raczynska RUS 07:17:29
2. Dominique Van Mechgelen BEL 07:29:01
3. Maria Jose Guillen ESP 07:42:04
Full results below (worth noting is that Caroline Chaverot and Azara Garcia did not start.)
Its easy to underestimate a race across an island mostly known for giving mainland europeans a mid term week to fry off their frostbite on a beach whilst sipping on a sub par mojito but the TGC aint no flip flop stroll across a dune. It's Dune the death planet. For an accurate (and very funny) description of how hard the course is tune into this interview where Tim Tollefson recaps his first encounter with the race in 2016;
Next race in the WTUT calendar is 100 miles of Istria in April.
WAY TOO COOL 50 k / 1475 m
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The definition of EARTHRAGING! 🌎🏃♀️🌲 🌊 Even though that felt like a four-hour sprint, I still took a few moments to enjoy the vibrant green glistening moss on the trees, the ‘refreshing’ stream crossings, the puddles ten-times the size of me, and the comfort of the dense, wet forest, plus the joy of such delightful humans to laugh and sprint with. Trail running at its finest! . Thanks cheering friends, volunteers, @norcalultras, @addiebracy for pulling me along and @am.madden for pushing us from behind! And our amazing new friend, Audrey, who ran the original Cool Crawls and WS100 in the 90s, and most importantly, she’s one inspiring #nastywoman. . @patagonia_trailrunning 📷 @jwlevitt 🙏 #wtc50k #wet #trailrunning #earthraging
Over in the US of A Clare Gallagher (I:@clare_gallagher_runs) proved that she is back in crusher mode after a tough 2018 by winning over a stacked field at the legendary Way Too Cool 50k. Though Gallagher did not have any great success in her races she finished off last year in style by setting two FKT's (Trans-Zion and HIgh Lonesome Loop) so whilst there was no mistaking that she was in good running form it is great to see her back on top of a podium again! Second behind Clare was early leading lady Addie Bracy and in third Anne-Marie Madden.
1. Clare Gallagher 3:53:10
2. Addie Bracy 3:54:50
3. Anne-Marie Madden 4:00:53
Full results here:
ENDURANCE LIFE NORTHUMBERLAND 35 miles / 300 m
Endurance life kicked off their annual Coastal Trail Series with a 35 mile long point to point route along the flat Northumberland seaside. The ladies race was a tight one! First to make her way from Benthall to the finish in Bamburgh was Molly Smith closely followed by Claire Baudouin and Tessa Nash all within nine minutes of each other.
1. Molly Smith 5:27:29
2. Claire Baudouin 5:31:44
3. Tessa Nash 05:36:05
THE MILLENNIUM WAY 41 miles / not much
Just as the name suggests the route of this race follows the national trail of the Millennium Way from Newport to Burton-on-Trent for 41 flat miles. With flat I am not speaking in some diluted hardened trail ultra language here, the total elevation gain is 91 meter so this is a race that makes for perfect flat-ish 100 mile race pace training. It remains to see whether that was the aim of the day for the ladies on the podium but one thing is for certain, they played a tight game! Fastest woman home was Lindsay Browning in 7:25 just one minute ahead of Lyndsey Rowley in second who in her turn had just 6 minutes down to Amanda Purves in third.
1. Lindsay Browning 7:25:43
2. Lyndsey Rowley 7:26:42
3. Amanda Purves 7:32:36
It seems to be a bit of a quiet one next week so with the time saved on writing previews I had a nose at the UTMB site to see if there were any new heavy names on the lists of participants and behold, there certainly were!
TDS has had a massive upgrade with not only the addition of last years second woman and multiple UTMB champ Rory Bosio but COURTNEY DAUWALTER has joined the registered runner rooster for the updated version of this most technical race of the UTMB week too. Azara Garcia and Jasmin Nunige have been added to the list of CCC runners and Andrea Huser who was injured for most of 2018 is noted down for UTMB.
I'll leave you with a link to James & Max interviewing the always inspiring Hillary Allen for the 7th episode of The Track House podcast. Back for more mudfestivites in seven!