work in progress at the moment while i get a handle on setting up this new site, it's a busy year tho so could be a bit of lag between updates with an architecture project in the far north of new zealand, another one ready to start in the central plateau, shoe and clothing design work for inov-8 and shaping for another busy season in the mountains of europe running, racing and generally enjoying life. take care out there, cheers - jono
europe - january thru february - inverno
just a brief trip home over the summer for a month and then back into the winter of europe, its great to be here with the snow and its a bonus to do a few days on the slopes and trying a bit of sci di fondo
a nice race in the cinque mulini and it feels like i am up and running again. i have had plenty of running in the snow including a stint in livigno at 1850m training with antonella. its a tad chilly at times with temperatures hovering around minus 10 to minus 15 but surprisingly its a darn sight more pleasant than running in the odd southerly gale that has been known to pass through wellington from time to time. cinque mulini is a race now in its 75th year so it has a bit of history including the likes of john walker, dixon, quax, barry ellis etc having run in the past. also paul tergat, kinenesa bekela and many more notable names that i have trouble spelling have run in this race
we had very muddy conditions after a half metre of snow dump in milano the week before and this was a help to me being used to slipping and sliding around. during the race you twist and turn through fields before running through buildings that contain working mills, across bridges and up stairways. its pretty exciting stuff - except some one turned out the lights in one of the buildings on the last lap and i almost ran into the wall at the far end! 8th was a solid result and i was making up ground most of the way after getting checked on the start line.
next up for me is the olympics in torino but on the other side of the fence watching this time. I have been able to get to the cross country skiing and also catch up with some of the kiwi team at the womens skeleton help in san sicario, close to where i have been staying in sauze d'oulx
a great day at the olympics - a bronze medal for antonella in the relay! seriously one of the most exciting, nail biting races i have watched with the lead changing constantly and 3 teams fighting for the last 2 medals behind the rusians in the last metres.
from left: sabina valbusa, antonella confortola, arriana follis, gabriella parruzzi
images of torino collage link
could this be the new sport - ahh, no but its not too bad at all!
the happy team with 'CD' and space suit
after all this excitement and not so much quality training i elected to continue with my plan of running in the fukuoka cross country in japan despite not being selected for the world cross being held there on the same course one month later. it wasn't wasted time as it has been good racing in the 3 cross country events i have done this year to get me back into this discipline which i havent been able to do for 5 or 6 years. the lack of quality work showed in the race however and in the last 2k lost a heap of places when the lead group split up due to a progressively tightening calf muscle and that was that. heading down to nz immediately after for some autumn training, organise a house design,.. maybe 2 plus a cafe restaurant and chalets!!! no rest for the wicked!!
i have been chosen to represent the athletes who travel to any of the winter or summer olympics and commonwealth games on the athletes commission. its a good chance to go into bat for the athletes and keep an eye on what our sport and other sports are up to!
women's 30k skating
new zealand - march and april
4 weeks back in new zealand between the winter and summer seasons
able tasman national park and belmont regional park - two of my favourite pics recently
above: views of wellington, new zealand
this area has been recently saved from sale so that like me, future generations can run here
tongiriro national park and the tongiriro crossing, one of the best one day walks in the world, insert shots are taken from mt ngarahoe and bottom from mt tongiriro, check out discovery lodge for the closest accommodation to this great place
right side: lord of the rings style forest in canaan, takaka on the way to harwoods hole (180m straight down!) this is native beach forest. inserts clockwise: akaroa in autumn and split apple rock, motueka quay and some photos to prove i did train while back home - even if it was only chasing sheep!
europe - may till ....
surely i can retire happy now i made it on to a bottle of vino!! - this years vintage (below) celebrates my win in ponte in valtellina 2005. lets hope its a good drop!!
this year coming back so late after all the long travel and also a race two days before meant i couldnt repeat that win of last year at this race and it was a hard effort but a great race, 4 laps with hairpin bends at each end racing round barrels of apples.
the race i had before ponte in valtellina was a team race for the otzi marathon - same as last year but this time we were up against a tough team from redbull and we could only finish number 2. a very nice place there in the far north of italy where german is spoken more than italian and the race climbs over our three disciplines about 2700m in the 42.2km. below is team boss alfred leingruber and daughter martina on the slopes at the finish of the race - there's not too many races where you can ski down after it and we did it this year. you can ski right through the summer on this glacier in sud tirol.
car wise, i am back using the mercedes - very fast - a bit fragile but the only thing i have blown up on it so far is one of the headlights! fingers crossed!
A very nice race in a nice town close to venezia, we drove down for the day and found a town with typical italian mix of old and new and incredibly ancient with roman baths buried beneath the town. canals ran thru the centro and we ran over them and on cobbled streets in a 9 lap 10km street race. i made amends for my ponte in fiore effort with a solid 4th place in front of de nard and most of the runners who got me one week before
here the photos show some action and the stage with a bit of a roman theme going on with the costumes for the podium girls. its funny where you see the odd nz shirt popping up (below left)
next day i could take out the corratec road bike for the first time in a 65km giro from trento up to val di fieme cycling past the house of simoni (giro d'italia fame) and thru quiet italian towns and over a smallish pass
I ran again the gp of bern and struck a warm day and i struggled this year to 6th place. more fun was the international launch of the suunto training line of watches. highlights were my theatre debut for the presentation, the dinner in a grand castle overlooking salzburg and our home video work for the suunto ambassador programme (see suunto.com for my profile)
my first ever duathalon followed a week later and while it was hardly spectacular given my 3 training rides before hand and using a borrowed bike on an unfamiliar course (if you sense some excuses then you are right!!!) I can say that it was an enjoyable experience and i didn't smash myself over the 12km run 65km bike and 7.8 km run race
below you can see my excursion on the bike up to see the stage finish of the giro, a better bike race than the tour de france in my opinion and i am sure the thousands of italians up on passo san pelligrino would agree too! it's about 20km from where i live in italy and was amazing being out there with thousands of people and biking back down using all of the road with hundreds and hundreds of other cyclists all on exotic italian machinery.
i was about 3km from the stage finish here and i biked up to this point from about 8km to go and the road was lined like this all the way up - amazing
basso looked like he was riding tempo and just covering any moves whereas most of the others were looking stuffed by this point after close to 7hrs of riding
mountain running season 2006
I am trying to do most of my races closer to home base this year but i did venture back into switzerland just across the austrian border to the gamperney berglauf. it's my first mountain race for the year so always hard to judge the form first up but a nice race and steep last 1500m. the last 1000m took me almost 7minutes! you climb about 250m vertical in that distance. just missed out on the record by about 20s but more than happy for the form so far off not so much specific training. my suunto was saying that i climbed at the rate of 25m/min and we had 966m of up hill and 7m down (amazing what the wristwatch can do these days - can't wait till i get the gps unit).
I had a very productive meeting going through the new product for the next 1-2 years with my shoe sponsor, some very exciting developments for off road running and also clothing starting to make good progress too with a much more athletic - running focus than what's available in the market at the moment. I am providing design direction and feedback / testing and the new training shoe is looking really great - a truly versatile shoe that is comfortable in a range of conditions.
above: a taste of some of the work i have done
a couple of races in italy close to home base, one in meran and the other near to rovereto with pics below. i also headed up and road the sella ronda, or giro di quattro passi. u ride passo pordoi, then campalongo, passo gardena and finish with selle pass. spectacular scenery with a shot also below. The following weekend i raced in val brentonico, 5k climbing 900m. the arrivo overlooks lago di garda, a popular holiday spot - especially for german tourists who can whizz down from munich there in 2 hours.
above left: antonella shows the finish line of merano2000 with the start in the city (background)
above right: top of passo gardena looking to sasso lungo on the right with the sella group on the left
below: inserts, after the race and below left you can see me running as a small dot with the race start in the town. background: looking down from the finish to lago di garda
rode passo mangen near to where i am staying, its a nice normally very quiet road except on weekends when hundreds of motor cycles from germany come down for a cruise! 23km and you climb 1800m with the road no wider than single lane for the last 5k. katrin berglauf a week later, where i managed to break a 12 year old record for the course, very tough with some snow near the top and a hot, hot day. the following weekend i raced again in the graubunden marathon where another hot day meant that i tried to run more conservatively. it obviously worked because i was able to actually run the last 3 km which rises more than 600m to a height of just under 3000m - something i wasnt able to do in the previous two times! its a hard race and with not so much pressure this year i was able to truly enjoy the spectacular swiss mountain scenery.
walking above ziano di fiemme
a quick drive across country to return the car proved to be a waste of time and then back in italy and the following weekend another 6.5 hr jaunt via the grand st bernard pass over into the french speaking side of switzerland and a nice race called nerivue - moleson.
il arrivo of the race and from left above, helmut schiesel from germany, me, martin cox, snd marco de gaspari
a great course, hot day and an early start made it a nice race. a tough run for me with steep last climb and some good competition from helmut schiesel (long distance world champ) and marco degaspari (world champ in mountain running '97,'99,'01 and '03). I made it to the finish first tho and all three of us broke the existing record by alexi gex-fabri with marco in second. super people here in this town and sometimes you just strike a group of people organising a race that are just so enthusiastic and happy to make a good race and its nice to be a part of it. the prize giving rapidly turned into a free beer and wine session for all and it was a long day!
this is the valley where i am living and training. as you can see there are some good hills and also the flat valley when needed. the olympic champ (stefano baldini) trains here a bit as well as the national running teams and cross country ski teams.
with no racing planned for this weekend i decided to do a small race close to where i am staying in val di fiemme. it was low key but you start to worry when all the other runners turn up with ski poles - that usually means its bloody steep! and so it proved with a climb of 450m in the space of 1km - that's 45% so those of you watching the tour de france, they talk about a steep climb being 15%.
worse was to come with a descent of close to the same steepness. but it was short and then a nice last 5k in the forest made for a very nice course. antonella won the womens and a set of touring skis each was the prize for us so that's all good for the winter!
its not easy being in italy and being a closet french football supporter - very passionate about the game they are and its great to see so much enthusiasm for sport. cars after the match honking horns and people waving flags
walking above ziano di fiemme
the first of the grand prix mountain races kicked off on the 23rd of july and it was a hot day and like the other 850 people i headed up the 13.2km track which passes from alpine town up through meadows and forest and traverses the side of a long valley to the bottom of a glacier at the foot of austria's highest peak (more about that later). you then do a tough last km up to the arrival to finish at 2500m
picture postcard, the last time in the mercedes - here on the top of the grand st bernard, here you can see the border to switzerland and italy and above the last 50m of the grossglocner berglauf - proof that it is tough (right)
following the grossglockner berglauf someone suggested a quick jaunt up to austria's highest peak below which the mountain race finishes. after another couple of beers all was organised and we set off the next day with crampons and harness up to 3400m to sleep (or the best we could at that altitude). it was rather nice to arrive at a hut at that altitude and still find a cooked meal and cold beer on tap - the joys of being in beer loving austria. still the price of tap water was almost as much as the beer and its very dry at that altitude so you want to drink a lot.
the next morning we set off at 4.30am up to the top at 3798m. we were guided and while all was very safe, and we were roped together for most of the tricky bits, it was still quite a drop in parts - you could fall the best part of 1000m if something went wrong. there are parts you have
all in all a great couple of days and a real opportunity to experience some challenging climbing (for me anyway!!) click on the photos below for full sized versions.
it was a long walk down from the grossglockner mountain and then the following week it was up another mountain, this time in slovenia. the grintovec race is one of the tougher courses - which the organisers have great pride in pointing out! its steep - 2000m of up in just 9.5km. we had great weather for the race, a bit of cloud to keep it cool and then after this a long walk down also. the third grand prix in the space of less than 3 weeks was then held in austria up the hard schlick course where rain made it challenging and reminded me of the old cross country days.
next stop was the feurkoegel in ebensee where i felt ok and despite heading off in the wrong direction i ran quicker than last year, although the course was rumoured to be short.
you might remember i ran a race in italy where people stopped to pick up poles. knowing this i figured it was going to be pretty steep. again in italy on sunday the racers turned up wearing helmets and this got me somewhat worried for the body. luckily this was a relay event and my lap was the first and only uphill which i managed in just under 30mins. the second lap traversed a mountain rock face going near vertical in places, hence the need for a bit of head gear in case someone above launched a few rocks down. and the third lap ran back to the start area in the town with the best times returning in about 15mins - some incredibly steep and technical downhill and lots of road. there were some pretty sore legs at the end of that one. our team managed a win and included local boy gino caniva so the locals were happy. it was a small town and very close to the austrian border on the north eastern side. in fact my lap finished just 100m from the border. incidentally there was also 2 time olympic gold medallist from the torino games, giorgio di centa there. he ran the first lap with me and for sure would give a few mountain runners a scare if he decided to take that up finishing 2nd.
driving back i took the scenic route covering 3 passes and a few goat tracks with the new rover 25...good fun to be in a small nimble car again
alberto bolaffi (above), is the patron of the race whose father was the captain of the partisans and is a major sponsor. he is quite famous in the philatelic world
challenge stellina again this year - this is the only race i have run every year since i started coming to europe for mountain running. its a great race and course leaving the old roman trading town of susa and rising up following the line of the battle between the italian partisan force who defeated the germans there in the first world war. now i think its number 7 stellina title for me and one of the things i am most proud of is to be a part of this historic race. pic above shows the commemoration service, the partenza, and the prize giving with the valley and town in background. the poor kiwi girls were duped into silver after the italian trainer changed the rules of the team after the race, much to the consternation also of the race organisers. unfortunately i only discovered this some days after so that was that - sorry mel and anna!
where the old world is fast meeting the new. turkey is undergoing fast expansion, but the muslim tradition and the age of this country is still clearly evident. an interesting place to get to get to with arrival times from istanbul airport anywhere between 2.5 and 9 hours depending on the route and method chosen by the organisers! the wmra president mr danny hughes decided not to wait the extra 20mins at the airport for two of us athletes so our 2.5hour journey then took around 6.5 hours to Bursa - nice guy
disappointing was the lack of public interest in the event. with a city bigger than wellington at the foot of the course there would have been less than 300 people watching the races (and most of these were team coaches or supporters from the foreign teams). some surprises were the italians not winning a single gold medal and for me, i was beaten (easily in the end) in the final sprint to the line so settled for silver.
the tourists have mostly left the area now so these months are great for cycling and i have done a couple of long ones over 3 passes in one day, plus now i am still ticking over with the run training. had a couple of really nice events with the schneeberglauf in austria where the extra challenge is to beat a 110 year old steam train up to the top of the course. only two of us beat it this year and so she is pretty quick! the train even gets its own race number!! a veloce drive cross country to bolzano and a really nice course up the hill from there. its flat and up and down with the last down through forest tracks - very fast. the only trouble i had was finding the hotel at 2am in the morning with this being sud tirol, ie german speaking the organiser had given me the italian name and not the german name of it, so i didnt get a lot of kip before fighting it out again with antonio mollinari (who i run with a lot) and lucio fregona
morat - fribourg again on the first of october and this is a road race but where you do a lot of up and down with a point to point course that has an overall elevation gain. its a tough one and in 2004 i broke the record so they are all out to beat me! viktor rothling is the swiss champ and 2nd at this years european marathon championship so will be good to see him again (he was the guy who has his machine gun (see pic from 2005 at bottom) behind the front door of his house as all swiss men have to have a gun in the home!)
in between races we were up for a walk in the mountains along the front line of world war one where the germans were trying to hold out the italians. from passo san pelligrino you head along a narrow ridge dotted with caves and trenches that the soldiers spent up there in the winter months also
another glorious day in the italian alps. this walk follows the front line of world one where the german's built caves and trenches in the rock to hold out the italians staying right through the winter months
ran in the smarna gora race for the third time and managed to go in the wrong direction 3 times, with the worst being i had to wait for the 2nd runner to arrive to find the track! was running tired but made it up to the finish and not such a bad time either. below check out the picture left - who got this logo first? the 400 year old slovenian beer company? or our (rugby) brand track and field sponsor union?!?
fitted in a 73+km weekend of racing in austria at an interesting event called tour de tirol. you race 3 days 3 races like the legendary kapiti running tour - but organiser was probably thinking more to model it on tour de france where the runner with the fastest time over all days is the winner. the berg marathon while not being stupidly hard was still a bit tough for a mass participation race and a lot dropped out before the final days half marathon. 3 kenyans were entered with dubious mountain running experience found the going tough and i wound up leading by 17mins on the final day - enough time to just have a nice training run round the lake. i enjoyed the event and makes for an interesting tactical competition.
above: a training run near the dachstein glacier in austria, and inset: 1) antonella, race director and i at san genesio, italy. 2) smaran gora arrival at an old castle. 3) mountain racing vienna style. 4) how to get out of our slovenian hotel in the event of fire (and that was only the first floor level of three to negotiate)!
the final race in gibralter for the gp described by one athlete as being a 'ghost' race was the final of the wmra grand prix. there was not any local interest in the event but the course was actually ok but all on the road. vincente capitain added some spanish interest since this was his first race since collapsing at the europeans this year. he finished 2nd and i was able to pull away on the final uphill to win. in the last km local monkeys were covering the road and weaving through them added a bit of a difference to this event. they will come up to you if you have food and grab it and leaving your bag unguarded will see it being stolen by these aggressive primates who have learnt its easier to get a feed this way.
having a few weeks without races was a bit of a novelty and i put in some good training work for the obudu mountain race in nigeria. another 5 vaccinations for yellow fever, typhoid, hep A, Meningitis kept me going back and forth to the local hospital in italy. malaria prevention is also a must in this spot.
the race itself was a well organised event and of course this year with the word well and truly out, a world class field turned up. the final week before saw me take a cold and with the hot weather on the day i struggled at the 6km mark as the pace went on. with 3k to go i was able to shake one of the kenyans (john korir a sub 27min 10k man). still it wasnt enough to quite catch the group of the amsterdam marathon winner, the columbian who beat me in turkey and the eritrean athlete i beat in the 2004 worlds and who subsequently finished 9th at this years world cross country
result 5th, and the 50k went to east africa, so not giving up the day job just yet!
nigeria was a fun experience and some highlights:
seeing and experiencing the friendliness of local people and not being intimidated or feeling unsafe while there. seeing a real pride in themselves and their country by the locals who would dress well and keep their environment clean and free of rubbish. seeing the countryside kept intact and forest free of deforestation. banana and palm oil, cocoa are all exported.
nigeria has huge oil reserves and this is fast making the country more wealthy. some states such as the one i visited in cross river seem to be proactive and improving the lives and providing work for local people. unfortunately the same cannot be said of all and 31 from the 35 nigerian states are currently under investigation for corruption.
it is africa's most populous nation of 130 million with 15 million living Lagos the capital, arguably the worlds most populous city.
the race was held in obudu, a ranch now being promoted for tourists. it is near to the border with camaroon and it boasts the worlds longest ski cable teleferique - without the snow of course. it stretches more than 4km from the ranch entrance to the restaurant and the restaurant, chalets and facilities are at a height of 1600m above sea level.
transport has received a bit of bad press lately in nigeria with about 700 people this year losing their lives in domestic plane crashes - so it was with some relief that we used a company just 2 months old (100% safety record!) and with a brand new aircraft. old dc3's from the '70's were scattered around the runway so i was happy we weren't flying air nigeria, air development company (adc) or aero contractors!
the race was 11.25km, all on the road bringing a middle ground to events held as mountain races and those which are predominantly flat road races. all in all a good place to visit but glad to get back to italy too!
wrapping up the season included 2 races after nigeria. the first the famous escalade in geneva. it celebrates the battle in 1602 when the french tried to take the swiss by surprise invading at night. a women cooking a huge pot of soup sounded the alarm by pouring it over the invading army. now chocolate comemorates this occasion with a cauldren shaped pot and marzipan vegetables and of course the running race. it winds through the old town of geneva covering 7km in 3 laps and is quite up and down. stacked with african runners from eritrea, kenya and ethiopia as is now the norm, so it was a fast and furious pace from the beginning. i was 25th after the first lap but a good 2nd giro saw me come through to 4th which i held until the finish. christian belz from switzerland was just behind me in 5th and the race won by micah kogo who had run the fastest 10000m earlier this year at 26min 35s.
post race celebrations included cutting a metre high chocolate cauldren with a sword and long but nice dinner.
the following week was spent at inov-8 hq designing and specifying product for 2007/2008. very exciting working with a company whose philosophy is to create the best products that we can for real runners as well as good english ales!
kolsassberg was my final race for the year. a great way to finish the year with a flat out 5km uphill sprint in the snow and plenty of wiesen biers following it! italians marco de gaspari and elisa desco made it more international this year along with athletes from poland, slovakia plus returning runners helmet schiesel and robert stark.
now its time for a rest from running - and the start of cross country skiing - bring it on!
|22 january||cross villa lagarina||8th||29min||9.8km||villa lagarina, italia|
|5 february||cinque mulini, iaaf permit||8th||31min16s||10km||san vitoria olano, italia|
|5 march||fukuoka cross, iaaf permit||22nd||30min29s||10km||fukuoka, japan|
|23 april||otzi marathon (run section)||2nd team||44min50s||11.3km||val senales, italia|
|25 april||ponte in fiore (valtellina)||11th||23min50s||8.4km||valtellina, italia|
|1 may||oderzo||4th||29min||10km||oderzo (vn), italia|
|13 may||gp bern||6th||50min10s||16km||bern, switzerland|
|20 may||bad haring duathlon||10th||3hr11min11s||12k-65k-8k||bad haring, austria|
|28 may||gamperney berglauf, grabs||1st||41min55s||9km, HD 966m+||grabs, switzerland|
|4 june||merrano 2000||1st||1hr 21min (rr)||10km, HD 1400m+||merano, italy|
|10 june||monte altissimo||1st||34min00s (rr)||5km, HD 900m+||san giacomo, italy|
|17 june||katrin berglauf||1st||31min14s (rr)||4.5km HD 970m+||bad ischl, austria|
|24 june||graubunden marathon||1st||3hr 37min||42.2km HD 2658m+||lenzerheide, switzerland|
|2 july||neirivue le moleson||1st||57min56s (rr)||10.6km HD 1280m+||neirivue, switzerland|
|9 july||lavaze skyrace||1st||1hr 43min 26s (rr)||19km HD 1500m+, 820m-||varena, val di fiemme, italy|
|16 july||bolognano corsa in montagne||1st||49 min 13s (rr)||9.6km HD 1100m+||bolognano, italy|
|23 july||grossglockner berglauf, wmra gp1||1st||1hr 11min 43s (rr)||13.2km HD 1100m+||heligenblut, austria|
|30 july||grintovec mountain race, wmra gp2||1st||1hr 15min43s (rr)||9.5km HD 2000m+||kamnik, slovenia|
|6 august||schlickeralmlauf, wmra gp3||1st||58 min 08s||11.1km HD 1400m+||telfes, austria|
|13 august||feurkoegel berglauf||1st||55min 19s (rr)||10.4km HD 950m+||ebensee, austria|
|19 august||outdoor trophy||team dnf||1hr 18min (rr)||15km HD 1400m+||lingenau, austria|
|20 august||gare di tre rifugi||1st team||29min 11s (rr)||4.5km HD 750m+||colina, italy|
|27 august||challenge stellina||1st||1hr 15min||17km HD 1500m+||susa, italy|
|3 sept||achenseelauf||1st||1hr 18min 39s||23km HD 200m +/-||achensee, austria|
|10 sept||world mountain running trophy||2nd||56min||12.5km HD1275m+||bursa, turkey|
|23 sept||schneeberglauf||1st||52min 29s (rr)||10.5km HD1200m+||puchberg, austria|
|24 sept||maratonino san genesio||1st||1hr12min 29s||21.2km HD 500m +/-||san genesio, italy|
|1 oct||morat - fribourg||9th||54min 48s||17.2km||fribourg, switzerland|
|7 oct||smarna gora, wmra gp5||1st||38min45s||10km HD 600m+ 300m-||ljubljana, slovenia|
|11,12,13 oct||tour de tirol||3rd,1st,3rd||4hr 38min 03s||73.293km HD 1800m||elmau, austria|
|28 oct||rock of gibralter, wmra gp6||1st||42min||11.8km HD650m+ 250m-||gibralter|
|25 nov||obudu international mountain race||5th||43min 41s||11.25km HD800m+||cross river state, nigeria|
|2 dec||l'escalade, geneva||4th||20min 36s||7km||geneva, switzerland|
|10 dec||kolsassberglauf||1st||23min 18s||5.2km HD 570m +||kolsass, austria|
jono's running cv / athlete profile