Last updated: 06-Nov-18
By Ian Corless
The Coastal Challenge is pleased to announce that Anna Comet (Spain), two times winner of the Everest Trail Race will participate in the 2017 edition of the race.
A multi-day race over six days starting in the southern coastal town of Quepos, Costa Rica and finishing at the stunning Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, The Coastal Challenge is a great multi-day running experience.
Intense heat, high humidity, ever-changing terrain, stunning views, Costa Rican charm, exceptional organisation; the race encompasses Pura Vida! Unlike races such as the Marathon des Sables, ‘TCC’ is not self-sufficient, but don’t be fooled, MDS veterans confirm the race is considerably harder and more challenging than the Saharan adventure.
Hugging the coastline, the race travels in and out of the stunning Talamanca mountain range via dense forest trails, river crossings, waterfalls, long stretches of golden beaches backed by palm trees, dusty access roads, high ridges and open expansive plains. At times technical, the combination of so many challenging elements is only intensified by heat and high humidity that slowly but surely reduces even the strongest competitors to exhausted shells by the finish line.
2017 will signify the ‘lucky for some’ 13th edition and building on the success of the 2016 edition, Central America’s most important multi-day race looks set to elevate itself to new heights with an excellent elite field.
Anna Comet has shot to fame as a trail and mountain runner after a very successful career as an Alpine skier and ski mountaineer. Her 2014 victory at the Everest Trail Race (also a multi-day race) paved the way for a strong and consistent Skyrunning year in 2015.
Born in Girona, the mountain has always been a passion for Anna. Four years living in the French Alps when she was fourteen and two years in Andorra laid the foundations for selection for the Spanish National Team for Alpine Skiing. A six-year career saw Anna race many European Cups and the FIS World Cup Races.
Injury removed Anna from competitive sport for four years and when she returned, trail running and ski mountaineering were her chosen disciplines.
“Although my heart says to me that I have to keep pushing on ski mountaineering competition, common sense and my mind are pushing me to focus all my efforts to one goal; trail running. I feel that this is what I have to do!” – Anna Comet
Despite placing 6th on two occasions at Pierramenta, 2nd at Patrouille des glaciers and many top 10-places on the World Cup races, during the 2014 season Anna slowly moved purely to trail and mountain running. Victory at the 2014 Everest Trail Race confirmed she had made a wise decision.
INTERVIEW WITH ANNA COMET
Q. You have raced multi-day races twice before, the Everest Trail Race, on both occasions you won. What do you like about multi-day racing?
EN: I think there are two big special things: 1. there is more race strategy than in other races and 2. the contact and the experience with the rest of the racers is very special.
SP: Creo que hay dos cosas muy especiales: 1. hay más estrategia que en otro tipo de carreras y 2. el contacto y la convivencia con el resto de corredores es muy especial.
Q. The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica will be very different to Nepal, what is the attraction?
EN: The biggest attraction is that it will be very different to Nepal and to all the other races I have done before; the terrain, the heat, the sea, etc.
SP: La mayor atracción es esto, será muy distinto que Nepal y que el resto de carreras que he hecho antes, el terreno, el calor, el mar, etc.
Q. Like ETR, TCC is not self-sufficient, you don’t need to carry all your equipment like MDS, is that more appealing? You are free to run!
EN: Of course yes! I like running free, you can run faster and one of the things that I like most of running is to run as fast as I can.
SP: ¡Por supuesto! Me gusta correr libre, se puede correr más rápido y una de las cosas que más me gusta de correr es hacerlo tan rápido como pueda.
Q. High heat and intense humidity makes the TCC an extreme challenge, will you prepare specifically for this?
EN: I would like to, but I think it will be impossible. In Catalonia where I live it is cold from November, so I will have to get used to the heat and humidity during my stay in Costa Rica.
SP: Me encantaría pero creo que será imposible. En Cataluña, donde vivo, hace frío a partir de noviembre… así que tendré que acostumbrarme cuando llegue a Costa Rica.
Q. You have excelled at Skyrunning in recent years, will the combination of technical trails, water crossings, climbing etc., of Costa Rica appeal to you?
EN: I’m sure of it! I am really looking forward to going and running there!
SP: ¡Estoy segura que si! ¡Tengo muchas ganas de ir y correr allí!
Q. TCC is almost one year away and you have a busy year ahead, what does your race calendar look like for 2016?
EN: This year I’m going to participate in all the races of the Skyrunner World Series. I am going to start in May with Transvulcania, then USM (Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira) in Madeira in June, Ultra Trail Vanoise (formerly Ice Trail) in Val d’Isère in July, The Rut, USA in September and Ultra Pirineu, Spain in September again.
SP: Este año volveré a participar en las carreras del Ultra World Tour de la ISF. Empezaré en mayo en Transvulcania, después Madeira en junio, Val d’Isère en julio, USA en septiembre y UP también en septiembre.
Q. What are your long term goals with running?
EN: My goal for this season is to be the best that I can be in the Skyrunner World Series and of course, enjoy what I do!
SP: Mis objetivos para esta temporada es probar de volver a quedar entre las mejores de las world series y, por supuesto, disfrutar de lo que hago.
Q. Do you have a dream race other than The Coastal Challenge?
EN: There are a lot of races around the world and a lot of nice places to go. I like to go step-by-step, I’ve been twice to Nepal and now I really want to go to Cost Rica.
SP: Hay muchas carreras y muchos lugares bonitos en el mundo. Me gusta ir paso a paso, he estado dos años en Nepal y ahora me apetece mucho ir a Costa Rica.
Q. Ester Alves won the TCC in 2016. You have raced against her in Skyrunning races. Should she return to Costa Rica to defend her crown, would you embrace the challenge?
EN: Of course! I like to compete against strong competition. I think it’s a chance to grow as an athlete and to become better. And of course I will be happy to meet Ester in competition and then relax later in the camp chatting.
SP: ¡Por supuesto! Me gusta competir con buenas corredoras. Creo que es la forma de crecer como atleta y mejorar día a día. Y por supuesto me encantará conocerla en competición y después en el campamento tranquilamente.
Q. Anna, any final thoughts…
EN: Since I decided to go to TCC next year I can’t stop watching videos and photos from there! I’m excited!
SP: ¡Desde que he decidido ir a TCC el próximo año no puedo parar de mirar videos y fotos! ¡Estoy emocionada!
RESULTS FOR 2015
In a very short space of time, Anna has elevated her status as one of the world’s best female Skyrunners as reflected in her 2015 results.
- 2nd Transvulcania Ultramarathon, La Palma, Spain
- 5th European Skyrunning Championships, Ice Trail Tarentaise, Val d’Isère, France
- 2nd Mont-Blanc 80km, Chamonix, France
- 4th Matterhorn Ultraks, Zermatt, Switzerland
- 1st Everest Trail Race, Nepal – new course record
- Ranked 3rd lady overall in the ISF Skyrunning World Series 2015
A full 2016 calendar lies ahead but rest assured, Anna will be firing on all cylinders for the 2017 edition of The Coastal Challenge which will take place Feb 10th – 19th, 2017.