Last updated: 18-Dec-18
By Luke Jarmey
We’re pleased to announce our top reviews for November. So congratulations to Sarah Whittington who will receive a pack of 33Shake Chia Energy Gels.
Valle del Genal Ultra Trail – Spain
A fantastically written and detailed review of the Valle del Genal Ultra Trail by Sarah takes the top spot this month. Her descriptions of the course and praise for the organisation makes this a very attractive sounding race indeed.
‘With just shy of 9000m positive gain, there is not a flat section on this course. As one Spanish runner commented it’s either “arriba o bajo” – up or down! The route takes a general theme of uphill, downhill and uphill into the next pueblo blanco (white town) and checkpoint. Except of course Juzcar which is blue!’
‘Extra credit goes to organizers this year for putting on the event, since a terrific storm hit the area just 5 days before the race. Mountain sides literally slide off down the valley taking everything in their path, with much evidence in the villages we passed through. But the team got out and found diversions for us to take with just a few days’ notice.’
In no particular order, here’s our remaining top reviews for November:
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent Trail Shoe
Pete Morgan gives a solid appraisal of the fit and feel in his review of the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent Trail Shoe.
‘They also lack the rocker effect of the ATR4, which for me is a good thing as it allows a more natural foot movement, rather than the feeling of being thrown of the shoe at toe off.’
Ring O’ Fire – UK
Another review from Pete Morgan, this time of the Ring O’ Fire. A tough but beautiful sounding ultra.
‘The dnf stats say it all really, less than half of the starters are likely to finish in a given year. In 2017 I was one of those statistics, having raced too hard on the first day to complete the challenge. 2018 was the year for me to go back and complete the challenge.’
‘The second day starts bright and early, just before sun rise and takes in the west and south coasts of Anglesey, with the stunning views across to the Snowdonia national park as the view for most of the day’
Gun31 – UK
Well, Pete Morgan certainly is on a bit of review roll this month. Up next is his account of the Gun31.
‘The race setup was very professional, with full kit check and gps tracking of all the competitors. Add in the roving marshals and the welcome checkpoint at the half way point, I don’t recall a race on this scale where I’ve been so well looked after.’
‘You get a real sense of being out in the wilds, and the route offers a good opportunity to test out night running kit, in a well-supported friendly environment.’
Endurancelife Gower Coastal Trail Series – UK
Marc Davies offers a critical viewpoint of the Coastal Trail Series – Gower. Aspects of this race sound like they could be improved next year with some tweaks to the organisation.
‘The race briefing was poor and I was shocked that there was no DQ for dropping litter at what is a AONB, the race briefer jocked about awarding a spot prize to the person who picked up the most litter.’
‘Would recommend the route but not the event so save yourself some money and run the route yourself’
Escape from Meriden – UK
Peter Telford lays out the lessons he learnt during the Escape from Meriden.
‘1. My route selection was poor – the distance measured is as the crow flies so I straight lined and took in more elevation than I should have done…’
‘However it was very satisfying – there was no pressure of checkpoints – you just did your best.’
The Desert Ultra – Namibia
An exotic-sounding race indeed; Michelle Hinkes paints a picture of great atmosphere and tough conditions during the Desert Ultra.
‘This was an amazing event, with a small field and everyone became almost a travelling family – running their own races through the day but then cheering each other across the finish line at the end of each day. The banter and camaraderie was second to none among the runners, crew and Exile Medics.’
‘Serious training is needed to do this race justice and enjoy the surroundings and close attention to your hydration, nutrition and foot care is paramount. Make sure you train with your kit and get used to carrying it on long runs…. otherwise be prepared for the shoulder/back pain!’