Tom Evans wins The Coastal Challenge 2018

Last updated: 29-Aug-18

By Alice Morrison

It was by all accounts a doozy of a race. This year’s Coastal Challenge across Costa Rica provided some great running for the old hands and first timers alike.

The Coastal Challenge has two distances: The Expedition Run at 236km and the Adventure Run at 155km. It started on 11th February and finished on the 17th.

Tom Evans came in first on the Expedition Run for the men and set a new record with 21:44:11 with Hayden Hawks right behind him in second. He finished in 22:48:36, just four minutes separating them. Michael Wardian was third with 25:17:42. Hoka One One must be celebrating as all three podium finishers are from their stable.

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Ragna Debats smashed it for the women, also setting a new course record, and coming in 6th overall with 26:14:39.7. It was truly great racing from her and her smile at the finish said it all. Second and third for the women were Ester Alves with 29:59:42 and Suzanna Guadarrama with 30:41:30.

After the race, Tom told RunUltra, “Winning the race was a shock. I’m super happy to have won with such tough competition. Hayden Hawks is a superb athlete and was chasing me down the whole way! He is going to have an amazing year!” Very modest of him but we weren’t shocked – Tom Evans (here’s a longer interview with him) came in third overall in last year’s MDS. 

Hayden was equally sporting about his competitor, “Tom is an amazing person first and then an amazing runner! He is a classy guy, smart runner, and has a great love for the sport and training! He is such an amazing talent and people need to keep them on their radar for the near future! I had a wonderful time running many hard miles with him. He is a competitor and very tough!

One to watch for this year, Hayden is sure that Cost Rica has set him up for the next few months. He told us, “This was a perfect way to start off my season. I will see the training results from this week in my races in the near and far future! I am now preparing for a 125k race in China in March and know this week will help me be fit for that race. My fitness level is right where it needs to be for this time of the year and I definitely have long term fitness goals and races I am focusing on!”.

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In the Adventure Race, it was a great result for the women with Lilian Ochoa first overall with 18:59:01.0, Frederick Solano second with 23:56:54.4 and Kerrianne Rogers third with 23:57:11.9.

Of course, though, the race is not just about the elites, it is also about the doughty runners who are prepared to put themselves out there and just take it on. MDS veteran, Rebecca Adie-Drackley, didn’t make it, but she gave it a good shot and had this to say on her Facebook page, “The Coastal Challenge I think is much harder than the MdS. Humidity coupled with wet, gritty feet from constant river crossings and a very technical course make it so hard. Kudos to anyone who finished the Expedition course, an absolute killer. The Adventure course was no walk in the park but doable.

Unfortunately, I was medically withdrawn after day two as they were concerned that my feet would become completely skinned and then infected, taking months to recover. My little toes are completely skinned. I have the happy job of digging all the grit out of the rest of my feet when I get back to the hotel tomorrow. But I was allowed to do the final stage today and completed with little discomfort compared to previous days.

This race is brutal. I’ll come back in 3 or 4 years with my new buddy Denise. But first we are going to do Ironman Copenhagen next August. For the rest of the year I will train, prepare and get my weight down. No more winging it. Thanks for all your support. Pura Vida amigos!

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The last word goes to the winner, we asked him to tell us what he thought of the race overall. He said, “The whole race is amazing. Some of the technical descents are super tough on the legs. The highlights are how beautiful the views are. Costa Rica is an amazing country and running through, I got to experience it first hand. This race is tough and the heat and humidity should not be underestimated. Having said that, the views are the best I have ever seen. It’s also a small race (120 people) so it’s a really friendly atmosphere. “

Full results here.
And at time of writing there are places still available for The Coastal Challenge 2019…. 

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"Tom is a classy guy, smart runner, and has a great love for the sport and training!"

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