Vulcano Ultra Trail 30km - 3rd

In preparation for the Sahara Race in Jordan my coach Ian and I agreed that it would be useful to do some shorter races to work on my speed and to get a feel for competition. The first race in my plan was the Vulcano Ultra Trail (VUT) 30km race in Puerto Varas. This race fits perfectly into my preparation calendar, it is in a beautiful place, my sponsor assisted in organizing the race, my Lafuma teammates would be running and my friends from BossJogging would also be running. That's about as good as it gets!

Puerto Varas and Lago Llanquehue.

The bosses before the race.

My goal for the race was to run hard, but not to run at full race effort as my main objective is the Sahara Race and VUT was a stepping stone towards that. I wanted to enjoy myself in the mountains (climbing and technical descents are not a strength of mine yet), test myself in a race and see what my physical condition was. With this plan, I ran a controlled race sticking at a pace in between a tempo effort and a race effort.

Before the race with Lafuma teammate Ale in front of Volcano Osorno.

A spectacular location for the start and finish of the race.

On the first climb, which was a 1,000m gain over 9km up the side of Volcano Osorno, I held a steady pace. This meant the fast starters ran away from me, but over the course of the climb I slowly caught up again and was in 6th place at the top of the climb. I was really pleased with this effort as I don't do a lot of climbing in my training and I was in a better position than expected. The view was spectacular and the ascent was a fun mix of black volcano sand and smooth rock.

Climbing up Volcano Osorno.

The final section of the climb was very steep.

On the descent from 9km to about 17km I ran a conservative pace as I didn't want to fall and hurt myself and I didn't want to pound my legs too much. I lost a place here and admit that I have a significant opportunity to improve during technical descents. I think that I could reasonably expect to run this section ten minutes faster with some skill improvement and more bravery on the descents. After the descent, the steep climbing and descending of the race were done and it was mostly level terrain all the way to the finish.

The whole race had spectacular views of the volcanoes and mountains.

I stuck to my plan and cruised along, keeping cool, eating and hydrating well and not dropping off the pace. By a turnaround at 23km I was in 5th place and the volunteers in the checkpoint told me I was looking stronger than the few runners ahead of me. Encouraged, I kept the pace even and made sure that the final 10km (the race was actually 34km) were strong and consistent with the rest of the race. I caught 4th and then 3rd place and thoroughly enjoyed the sandy, volcanic terrain in this section that was just like the deserts I love! I finished 3rd with a good time and a respectable race.

At the finish with Pat, Jason and Max - does it get more "ultra" than this?

I was third in the 30km event.

I would really like to come back and do this race next year, maybe the 60km option, or perhaps the 30km option again with the goal of running full out. Without a doubt this was the best race I have run in Chile. An impressive achievement for a race in its first year and organized by a team of Puerto Varas locals who haven't put on a race before. This praise was unanimous amongst all the runners (Max for Trail Running Argentina, Matias, Moises for TrailChile). I highly recommend the race to anyone wants to run a challenging route in possibly the most beautiful place in Chile.

Here's my strava file from the race for those who would like to see the profile and race details:

Thanks to my sponsors for the support during this race:

Lafuma Chile - clothing, race entry, and support over the whole weekend.
32Gi - endurance chewable tabs, foodbar and chews.
Canuto Errazuriz - Hoka One One Mafate shoes.


Dr Gwinyai Masukume, MB ChB(UZ), Dip Obst(SA), MSc(Wits), PhD(UCC) said...

Congrats! 3rd when not even trying hard. I like your meticulous attention to detail and methodical approach to running. Best.

Daniel Rowland said...

Hi Gwinyai, thanks for the continued support and for always reading my blog - I appreciate it! I wouldn't exactly say not trying hard, perhaps more that it was a controlled effort rather than full out. It was still pretty hard my friend :)