Japanese Style Dinner

UTMF

by Shona Stephenson on June 26, 2014

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UTMF 2014

 

I love racing in Japan. I love the technical trails, the culture and the hospitality from the amazing Japanese people. Racing a Ultra Trail World Tour event around the only now listed World Heritage site Mt Fuji or Fuji-san is a real special experience of a lifetime. This year the world famous Cherry Blossoms were blooming at Kawaguchiko the town closest to the start of the UTMF with the best views of Fuji-san which in itself is extremely rare to catch, and It is a special treat to experience this world renowned event and the event of the Ultra Trail Mt Fuji UTMF 2014 had changed.

The course had been made harder, longer and more technical. The course will be 169km and with an elevation gain and loss of 9500m. The competition was to be way tougher in both the mens and the women’s field attracted a totally international Ultra Trail Runners to the mountain ranges that circumnavigated Fuji-san. The UTMF was also to be run in reverse, making the climbs longer yet the descents steeper. Who knows what this new course will bring ? An extra mountain range is to be added and sadly my favourite point on the course had been taken out. The highest point, and closest peak to Fuji-san was to be removed from the UTMF due to erosion which is a real shame yet totally understandable. In the lead up to the UTMF I readied myself for the unknown and the new adventure that was to await me.

As in 2013 I was well looked after by my awesome Inov8 + Descente Team and I was given a Inov8 + Descente Japanese Support Crew who were to look after me for the 169km. Milers are so different from 100k events. They run through the entire night, fatigue, dehydration, energy levels and change rapidly in the UTMF. The emotional, physical and mental roller coaster must be managed for the full 169km. My race plan this year was to stay calm, controlled and just finish. Focus on only me and not worry about my position or time throughout the event. I had 4 DNF’s in 2013 and I am determined not to DNF again in 2014. I wanted to have a solid and consistent year and just go for points in the Ultra Trail World Tour events. I was to race with my head and hope that would be enough to gain a top 10 finish in a stacked field of classy women’s runners from all over the world.

Shona Stephenson inov-8 UTMF gear set Up

Gear Setup I’m Lucky enough to be supported by
Inov8, Inov8 + Descente Japan, Injinji, Zenzah, Ay-Up.
Inov8 Trailrocs 255
Injinji Socks
Zenzah Calf Guards
Zenzah Thermal Gloves
Inov8 Elite Race Fitted Shorts
Zenzah Crop Top
Inov8 Race Ultra Vest
Inov8 Race Ultra Belt
Hammer Visor
Ay-Up Ultra Lite Head Torch.
Descente Thermal Arm Warmers
Inov8 Race Elite Shirt
Inov8 Thermoshell
Inov8 Race Elite Rain Shell
Inov-8 Racepant 150
Inov8 Hydrapak Bladder
Inov8 Water Bottles
Sunnto Watch Ambit 2 Black
Ay-Up Ultra Lite Head Torch
Oakley Clear Lenses Glasses (to help stop my eyes from watering)
Injinji Visor and Hammer Visor

Nutrition and Hydration Plan I’m Lucky Enough to be Sponsored by Hammer.
500ml of Fluid with 1 Scoop of Perpetuem Per Hour
Hammer Endurolyte Cap Every 30min
Hammer Gel every 45 minutes
Hammer Choc Chip Bar every 50k
Miso Soup at the Check Points Through the night to warm me up and help with hydration
1/3 Banana when I can

Ankle Strapping
I always strap my ankles when I race.
2x Figure 6
2x Strips
1x Lock only around the front 1/2 of my calf

At the start line of the UTMF I tried to get my usual front row position but I was totally squashed in the mosh pit of eager runners pushing their way towards the starting shoot. The start line was like a rock concert, music was booming, the crowd was cheering, runners names were being announced as they entered the starting shoot. I was happy to be invisible at the start line, no pressure on me in this field I was not a favourite.
Over 1400 runners were crammed into less than a tennis court area. I guess this was good for me. I would not get too excited at the start line and waste valuable energy in adrenaline racing the blokes of the start line.
The count down went off 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and we were off and running along the lake. I wanted to just stay calm, not puff and get up this first mountain range still feeling really fresh. After only a few turns I lost my rear reflector and had to stop, run back and pick it up and attach it to my pack. Bugger. I watched a few female runners pass by. Maybe it was for the best. I would not be pushed into racing too early.
I ran over the bridge, through the temple and started up the mountain along a wide gravel fire trail. I watched a Brazilian Runner Manuela Vilaseca pass me dressed in Orange, and I was soon caught by a French Runner Maria Semerjian. We had a few chats and wished each other good luck. I was not going to try and stay with them on the first climb of the 169km. I decided to stop and re-tie my Inov-8 Trailroc 255’s shoes and get totally organised making sure my kit was functioning properly. I had to run my own race and work on my strengths and stick to my race plan, so I waited and before long the trail became a road and I was soon flying along and catching the females. As I ran past them I indicated that they’d probably catch me on the next climb as I past them.
The track narrowed and climbed up to a communications tower at around 1400m before I was soon descending a lovely trail down to the first aid station at Fujiyoshida 18.2km. I quickly filled up on water in my front Inov8 Water Bottles and I was out of there and again climbing up to the first major mountain range of the course. I had mixed feelings about this range, last year I really suffered in this section and almost wanted to quit. It was so nice to get up through the bamboo that represented to top of a climb and over this peak early at 1597M Elevation. On the climb I was caught and past by Manuela she was so strong on the climbs, just really consistent high cadence running action on her toes. I put my head torch on as it was getting dark as I made it to the top of the steep section and jumped over a rocky outcrop and fully rolled and cracked my problematic right ankle. I heard a crack. Bloody hell. Not again and not so early in a race. Today was ANZAC Day so there was no way I was going to let an ankle put me off. I was sick of that ankle giving me grief. It was so frustrating. I do everything to get myself to an event in my re-hab and just a simple step over a rock sends my ankle on a right angle and I’m in pain. I decided that my ankle can crack and still be okay. There are no ligaments holding it together it’s just my muscles that get up-set and potentially I may aggravate some hard tissue in the mean time. So with my fist ankle roll out of the way for the UTMF I re-focused and continued on to the top of the peak rang the bell, readying myself for the rock-climbing that was ahead.
The trail soon steepened and I grabbed the ropes and did my best to stay up-right whilst dodging the blokes on the dangerous descent off Shakushiyama Mountain Range. After a few more rolling hills on extremely dangerous single trail along a narrow razor back ridge line I rolled into the Niju-Magari Check Point feeling fresh and extremely happy. I quickly filled up with hydration fluid and I was out of there running along side Manuela. We formally introduced ourselves to each other and had a bit of a chat as we figured we’d be racing together for most of the night. I did my best to stay with her up to the top of the next peak Ishiwariyama 1413m but again she was just so strong, lite on her feet, a real toe runner, hopping up the climbs. I soon lost her and just re-grouped and soon rolled down the descent and into the 39.3km Check Point feeling great but slightly worried about what was up ahead.
I meet my Inov8 +Descente Support Crew Taba-san and Nabetani, both who are elite football under 21 players for local Tokyo Teams in Japan and now work for Descente. They’d both never supported a runner before in an Ultra Trail Event so I had to be really clear and simple with my bag drops. I ran into the first check point grabbed my Hammer Nutrition, swapped my water bottles over with more Perpetuem and I was soon out of there running. I again jumped ahead of Manuela in the Check Point.

Shona Stephenson leaving the 138km Check Point
I was really scared about the next section. UTMF 2013 I had an asthma attack on the next mountain range and I was just not sure how my body was going to react in 2014. I took it easy up the climbs, not digging into my lungs, concentrating on the trail and just focused on my technique. I caught a fifty plus year old man who I ran with for some time up the climb. He was really struggling and had to stop every now and then and tried to blame his age, suggesting that he should give up. I was not having a bar of it. I got him up and running but he really did need a rest his breathing was extremely laboured. I decided to continue on and let him go at his own pace.
This section of the trail was a cute little single track along a wooded trail outlined with large leaf plants emerging from the soft wooded mulch. On this range I was again caught by Manuela and then by Maria, but was soon able to run down Maria before the next checkpoint Subashiri 55.7km. Again in the check point I leaped ahead of Manuela and headed up to Tarobo.
This section was just a long grinding climb on at first road, then trail then, volcanic pumice stone. In the volcanic soil your feet sink into the ground, the trail is heavily eroded from people trying to avoid the sold soil. The course was heavily marked but every now and again I’d lose the trail from keeping my head down, cadence up and trying my best not to sink into the soil. I loved spotting those cute little plants again emerging from the soil. They bought a smile to my face every time. Again I was caught by Manuela and after a kilometre or so Maria caught me too. I let Maria know that Manuela was not far ahead. She smartly indicated that it was of not importance to her. However on the out and back before the checkpoint I noted that Maria had run Manuela down and was pacing off her.
I ran into the check point, grabbed hydration fluid, miso soup to warm my chest up before the push into the coldest part of the night and towards the Mizugatsuka at 1449M. I ran back through the volcanic soil on the out and back and spotted a Japanese runner flying along the trail, then a French runner close behind her. I kept my cool and decided that it was a long event and anything could happen. I was not top worry about them catching me.
I again focused on the track ahead and I was surprised by the amount of road in this section. It was basically 6km of up hill road running to the next check point. I just grabbed Miso Soup and a Banana and I took on a cup of cola then rolled down the Mountain off Mt Fuji and I was a bit disappointed not to have made it as close to the summit of Fuji as last year but pleased all the same to be heading down and not up.
I was slowing down a bit in the dark and I was caught by the Japanese runner who was now flying. She had a sniff of a scalp and was pushing hard and was really animated. She hopped ahead of me and I pushed to follow her and I again twisted my ankle whilst jumping over a knee high rock. Fark! Not again. My “High Setting” on the Ay-Up was just starting to fade after 6 hours of night running and I was desperate to get to the checkpoint where I could swap Ay-Ups over and start with a fresh full battery in only 5ks. I decided to stop and use my back up battery thinking at it would be safer and faster with good light than poor light. Everyone who caught me on the track stopped and eliminated me up so I could change batteries on the Ay-Up in the total darkness of the forest.
I was soon out on the track and I caught the Japanese Runner again, and had a bit of a chat with her, and only 3 ks later I let her speed away. I was not going to race her so early in the event. I later found out she DNF.
I soon hit the single trail again, running through bamboo and mud, through ankle busting creeks, rocks, stairs and I was releaved to spot the fire trail, turn left and head into the check point spotting Maria and Manuela battling it out on the out and back.
I was un-supported so I had to get my own Drop Bag at this Check Point. I was handed a Drop Bag with the most elaborate tie on it. It took me some time to figure out how to untie it the bag after 80km of running. I eventually got into my pack, switched over my Ay-Up, Food, Perpetuem, Hammer Gels and got back out and running again.
I decided that this section I was going to try and push a little bit and try and make up time on the flat fire trail. After about 5ks of running down a slight descent I spotted an Aussie called Paul who I ran most of TNF100 Australia with in 2013. He had taken the wrong turn at the fire trail and would have to run an extra 10ks to return to the check point. I realised his mistake and did my best not to show my sadness for him as I cruised past heading the correct way. I just cheered him on and wished him luck and not to worry about it. I really felt for him. It would be an easy mistake to make if you did not know the track.
I continued on flying down the hill, loving my Inov-8 255 Trailroc and just enjoying the ride. I stopped at a check point Awakura 94.9km and downed some coke, wanting to eat as much as possible in preparation for the Tenshi Mountains. Just the thought of them brings fear into most Ultra Trail Runners.
About 5ks after sculling some coke I had a massive up then a huge crash. I felt sick and I now has a gastric up-set. I could not eat any food and I felt like crap. I was now back to fixing my hydration needs first before I could take on any more food. I was back on taking Endurolytes every 30 minutes. I was slowed to a shuffle and just willed my way to the next check point. After some ankle breaking single trails under power lines and now at dawn with the sun starting to peep through the clouds I popped out onto the road, turned left followed an arrow, but soon found that the arrows had run out. I was lost.
Okay stay calm. Your a couriers daughter you can find your way to the check point. I did not want to head back up the hill, and I knew the arrow had pointed this way. An arrow was missing. Use your gut. You can navigate your way out of anything. I assured myself.
I had a bit of a look at the landscape and tried to remember what the check point looked like from last year, however this year I was running it in the opposite direction, it was also night time last year not it was the morning. The streets were empty and I could not see any other runners on the road at all. I was totally alone. I ran towards a bridge and before going under it, I decided to turn right, follow the road up a slight hill. I crossed a footpath, up the little hill, across a few blocks and I spotted some cones up ahead. I looked to my right again and saw a stream of runners coming out of a nature strip. I asked them where to go and if the check point was in this direction.
They pointed me towards to cones and I was soon at the check point. Feeling sick as ever. But dam relieved that I did not have to run any extra kilometers than needed.
I met with my amazing support crew who I could tell from the look on their faces that I looked like shit. I sat down and grabbed some miso soup. The Japanese have it so right. That miso soup always make you feel amazing when your dehydrated. After a few minutes I spotted the French runner coming into the check point. She looked injured, but she is still strong runner, I knew I’d have to tough it out to beat her.
I regrouped my kit. Swapped my Ay-Up over with my smaller lighter head touches for the day section, grabbed my perpetuem, hammer gels, choc chip hammer bars and started walking out of the check point. Here our packs were weighed and our iPhones were checked for maps and whilst I was in the line a French bloke asked me to give him my iPhone so he could transfer the maps from my iPhone onto his iPhone. I looked at him like “Are you kidding me?”. This is mandatory gear! I feel like CRAP after 104.4 ks of running, I have a French Female runner on my arse and you want me to transfer data onto your iPhone and wait at the check point until you sort out your mandatory gear which should have been there on the start line. I wish I said go ask the French runner but she probably already told him to fuck off! FUCK OFF was also what I felt like saying! I’m racing for position here. No idea which one, but who cares. I’m not here just for a ride a tourist trip. This is real to me.
I tried to be as diplomatic as possible. “Sorry I can’t stop. I am feeling way to sick, tired and sore to stop. I’m really down at the moment and I have not been able to eat for an hour. I must keep my momentum. I will ask my support crew to help you out though.” I politely informed him.
I just did not have the brain capacity to work this problem out for him. My awesome and totally professional support crew were all over it and they were more than happy to help him out. Far out if he’d left it up to me there was not way I’d even be able to think straight enough to help him quickly.
With my gear check completed I was off and walking along the road, then running down the hill, around the corner, across a field and I soon found the Tenshi Mountains. I took some Simbacort expecting my asthma to hit me on the mountain and just readied myself for the relentless climbing ahead of me.
For me the difference between my lead up to the UTMF in 2013 was that I’d completed Northburn 100 M in the month before hand. I just felt like Northburn 100M hardened up up more. I felt like I just did not have the same strength in my quads as in 2013. But with just this acknowledgement I just sucked it up and headed up the vertical 800m ascent over a little more than 2 Ks. A few Japanese Blokes past me, and so did The French girl. She caught me near the top of the climb and we wished each other luck. She suggested that she’d been lost before the check point and was now trying to cheer herself up by listening to tunes. I informed her that I was suffering a bit too, I was just trying to work my way back into it again, taking on food slowly and hoping that I’d feel better soon enough. This is miler racing. It’s about suffering and knowing that eventually you will feel better.
She was soon off and I then decided to put some tunes on. That was the last I saw of her she DNF. The music that Mikey had downloaded for me was ear busting club dance tunes about hooking up. I just could not stand it. In that state I did not want to know what this female singer wanted to do to the bloke she was singing about. The whole visual image I was getting just repulsed me. I pulled the earphones out and reverted to my counting up the climb, trying to keep my cadence high and block those visuals out of my mind and think about just my running action and nothing else.
The funny thing about the Tenshi Mountains is that the Range just goes on and on and on. It should be renamed the never ending mountain range. It has 4 major peaks over the 5ks on running. The range is narrow, like running along a spine of a stegosaurus. One false step and the fall could lead to broken bones down the bottom of a 500m jagged rocky power drop. I took it easy, safety at the top of the 2nd peak I asked the marshall how many more to go? “Two More Peaks”. I laughed it always seemed to be two more bloody peaks to climb in every mountain range in Japan that I seem to race in. The mapless French Guy caught me around this stage and thanked me for helping him out. I apologised for me not being able to stop with him, but my mind and body had to keep going. I was afraid of loosing momentum.
I climbed two more peaks and what felt like 100 small peaks finally after about an hour of hands on quads climbing and quad ripping descending through sharp pyramid jutting toe tripping rocks along the single trail, I was totally out of all my supplies, I’d been away from the check point for over 5 hours. At 1605m I came across a marshall and a few guys resting under the shade of the tree. I asked the marshall if he could spare any water. It was now in the middle of the day, and with the accumulative effect of the 120km of running I was starting to feel dehydrated. I looked at the blokes, they’d whizzed past be on the first climbs and now were dehydrated and by the looks of it injured.
“If I give it to you you’ll have to retire”. He replied with my best interest in heart. “Be careful, the trees are down and it is very dangerous for the next kilometre.”
How bad could it be? Can’t be that bad? Surely? I thought.
Two other blokes stayed under the tree and looked like they were not going any further. One guy got up and hopped ahead of me down the mountain. He just seemed to start the descent with absolute ease. Soon the track became un-navigable. A storm had blown down all the trees on the side of the mountain. The descent is the steepest descent of the entire course and there is no formal track to follow. If there was a trail, it was soft and unstable. I had no idea what lied beneath the dusty surface as I descended the Vertical Kilometre in less than 2kms. All I was trying to do was stop myself from injuring myself.
I jumped over a log, then scooted through some soft dirt, jumped another long, got my shoelaces caught on a branch, fell onto the branch, spinning around the branch, bear hugging it for dear life, if I let go I would tumble down the mountain. I untangled myself and re grouped, I started hobbling, then running again, jumped over a rock then twisted my ankle, FUCK! Got up kept going ran, jumped, bubbled, twisted my ankle. Ran jumped twist, scream. Ran, jumps, twist scream! I collapsed down on my butt. I yelled “FUCK!” But this was ANZAC day and I did not care what shape my ankle was going to be in at the end I was fucking finishing this bloody event. I grabbed my Soleus and worked some pressure point magic that I’d been shown to do by my Physio. It was so frustrating I was sick of my ankle. I started to cry. I was so frustrated. A few seconds later I pulled it all together and used my pressure point this trick on my calf. I got back up and asked the trail running gods to help me down the mountain safety. I made a pact with myself not to use this as an excuse and to also not to lose a place until the finish.
I started sliding down on my butt. It seemed the safest way to get down. Every now and then I’d get up but soon I was back on my arse again enjoying the safety of the soft tera-furmer. Before long I could see the valley below and I was soon on flat ground. Man if they’d set up a continuos movie running on the side of that mountain I think with would be the source of thousands of laughs. It must just look so funny.
I rolled into the check point and I was surprised to still see s Salomon Crew Member there. One of their runners must be just up ahead. I kind of thought this was odd. But thought nothing of it. I spotted Kellie, an Aussie Mate from VIC, who was supporting Tegyen, who was not that far behind me. She was my saviour. “Do you need anything?” She kindly asked.
“Yeah I need ridged strapping tape. I have stretch tape on and it is just not strong enough. I busted my ankle 4 times on that descent. I’m really happy though. Happy that section is over”. I replied.

Shona Stephenson inov-8 after the Tenshi Mountains
I found the medical office and they patched up my cuts and grazes. I knew I looked like shit but my sprits were really high. Something happened to me on that mountain. I was just really proud of myself not not even considering giving up. I just wanted more tape on my ankle and to just keep going. I was really happy. So happy I was now crying. It was funny trying to explain this to my Young Male Japanese Support Crew. This was their first Ultra Trail event they’d even witnessed. What an education.
With more miso soup, Hammer perpetuem, gels, bars refilled I was off and power walking , and running intervals of 20 steps running and 20 steps walking out of the check point. This section just made me laugh. Due to traffic and not able to obtain road closures the race organisers decided to add in an extra mountain range just because the 2013 course did not seem to be hard enough. I ran out along the field, then was entertained by the choice in track direction though a rocky creek bed for the next 3 kilometers. I was starting to see things and thought that the track was meant to head up the mountain, yet it was a mountain too soon. I was about to take a left turn thinking I’d seen a marker but I was lucky enough to be stopped by a Japanese runner who soon showed me the correct way, further more up the rocky creek, then soon snaking it’s way up to the top of Ryugatake. Here I had the best view of Mt Fuji. It was late afternoon now, and Fuji-san was just surrounded my white fluffy clouds and a bit of haze. The sun was out and I gave thanks to the great Fuji-san for making an appearance for me.
At the top I rolled on down the now muddy descent and enjoyed the soft ride, trying to catch glimpses of the glorious mountain and now Lake Motosuko that I was approaching. At the base of the mountain I was given a cheer by the crowd and then powered my way along the road, punching out a tempo feeling strong at 138ks now feeling recovered from my slump around the 90k mark. It never ceases to amaze me how one can recover from a low as long as you have enough time to recover and in the process of doing so don’t loose too many positions. I spotted a Salomon German Runner walking into the check point with a jacket on.
“Do you need anything?” I offered as I passed her.
She waved me on not wanting anything. She suggested that she was pulling out at the next checkpoint. She DNF at the Check Point.
I had no idea what position I was in. It’s a miler. Milers are always a war of attrition and what I have learnt from my UTMB DNF is that it sucks and you are probably doing better on paper than you think you are.
I ran into the check point feeling much better. My support crew looked so releaved. I was in good sprits and I was going to finish! I grabbed my kit and powered my way up the second last mountain range of the event. It was almost over. I could almost taste the finish line.
I ran and walked my way up to the top of Nakanokurayama 1247M with a smile on my face. I asked a marshall if this was the top.
“Two more peaks”. He replied. Always two more bloody peaks!
Back at the check point Kellie told me other female runners had pulled out also. I was well into the top 10 females. All I had to do was finish. Again I promised myself I was not going to lose any positions. I rolled down the mountain in absolute pain. My quads were shot to shit from trying to stop my descent on the Tenshi Mountains. I had no descending control now. I could also feel a shin pain too. Every step now I was hurting. Hurting really bad. I took two panadols and just tried to keep going and a pace and with purpose. I counted out my steps on the climbs but the descent were pathetic. I was running down them like a cripple. I did not trust my ankles, quads, or shins. I was totally stuffed.
At the top of Panoramadai Mountain I realised that I was going to finish in the dark with my head torches on. I had not prepared for this. There was no more support crew check points between now and the finish line. I was going to have to use my craps back up torches that I never change my batteries on. Whoops! You idiot! How stupid can you be not preparing for the worst.
I pushed this out of my mind and I was caught by a Japanese Female runner Nishida Yukari. What is it with me and about 25ks to go and having to fight for position.
We said hello and she implied that I was injured. She pointed out that I had a dirty bottom. Had I fallen over ? What do you expect I felt like saying, are you kidding me? I implied that I was more than fine which was a lie. She implied I was to put more clothing on. I suggested I did not need to stop I was warm enough.
This was kind of funny. I am use to runners trying to put me off or slow me down so this was nothing. Yet in the end when we descended down the mountain I could not stay with her and decided to run my own race.
I soon reached the top of Eboshidake 1257M and noticed the rusted toilets and decided to take advantage of them. On my exit of the loos, I was caught by a Japanese runner and an Aussie, Michael who’d I’d met the day before at registration and I knew at some stage of the event I would be running with him.
The Japanese runner let me know that there was a Japanese runner behind me. Shit! With this in mind we were off and running. The guys said that they’d work with me to stay ahead of her. I think after some time we realised that it was the Nishida Yukari who’d just past me.
On the switch back descent we spotted the Japanese runner below and I decided that my quads just needed to shut up, I had to trust my ankle and did my best to run her down. She was amazing on the descent I could only hold my position behind her. I hit the valley floor with my guts screaming, the boys soon caught me and said jump on we will run her down, as she was still in sight. There was 16ks to go I still needed to race smart. I stopped and peed in the bushes. I was hydrated. But I needed to re-group and run her down at my own pace. I watch the boys disappear in the distance.
I got up and just started to count out my steps. Concentrating on only my steps and nothing else. The trail snaked this way through a beautiful forest, along soft dirt trails and soon enough I was out on the road and pleased to see Nishida Yukari about 1km ahead of me, with the boys in between me and the Japanese runner. I punched out a rhythm, rolling along the slight ascent and locked my vision onto the blokes then onto the Japanese runner. The blokes soon caught and past the Nishida Yukari, who was running and walking, and I was soon on her tail also.
I made sure I did not push to hard, and kept a constant rate up the road towards the check point, passing Nishida Yukari and then soon speeding past the blokes. I ran into the check point with about a 500m gap between me and Nishida Yukari. I got my head torches out and decided it was best to wear tow on my head at once to mimic the Ay-Up’s that I was missing. I grabbed some water and got the hell out of there, up the climb ahead of the blokes and hoping to hide in front of them and soon on the single trail.
I summited Koyadai 1165M, then pushed on and upwards to Ashiwadayama 1355M, where the Japanese guy pushed ahead then the Aussie Michael guy dropped off. I did my best on the technical descents. Totally freaked out that my ankle was going to fall of my leg in the dark and I was caught by Aussie Teygen, who flew past me in the inov-8 X-Talons 212, which I wished I had on right at that moment.
I was then caught by Nishida Yukari and I had to tun on the after burners, and ignore my fear, I was not loosing a position this close to the finish line. I rolled down the mountain, up over the final hill, and what felt like I was running around in a circle and out on to the footpath around Lake Kawaguchiko. I knew I had her on the flat so I pushed harder, dig deep and willed my way for the next 1500m along to the finish line in 29 hours 47 minutes. I finished in 6th place and I was absolutely stoked. I was totally spent, mentally and physically. It was the longest time I was to have on my legs thus far.
Nishida Yukari she finished in 29 hours 49 minutes. After the finish of the event I was carried to the car by my support crew. I could not hold my own weight on my legs any more. I was really in a bad way. The next day after presentation I was not ably to walk to catch my train then plane back to Brisbane. I had to hop across the Tokyo road not able to bear weight on my foot. My edemea was so bad and my shin was swollen. When I arrived back in Brisbane I put myself on crutches for 2 days until the swelling had reduced. I was able to run by the weekend.

Here are the Top 10 Women Results for the UTMF 2014

1 NURIA PICAS Spain
2 FERNANDA MACIEL Brazil
3 MARIA SEMERJIAN France
4 NEREA MARTINEZ URRUZOLA Spain
5 MANUELA VILASECA Brazil
6 SHONA STEPHENSON Australia
7 NISHIDA YUKARI Japan
8 NIWA KAORI Japan
9 KURODA KIYOMI Japan
10 BAN AKEMI Japan

Here are the Top 10 Mens Results for the UTMF 2014

1 FRANCOIS DHAENE France
2 RYAN NICHOLAS SANDES South Africa
3 MIKE ADAM FOOTE USA
4 ANTOINE GUILLON France
5 LIONEL TRIVEL France
6 BRENDAN DAVIES Australia
7 NOMOTO TETSUAKI Japan
8 KOBAYASHI KEITA Japan
9 PIOTR HERCOG Polland
10 NICK CLARK USA

Shona Stephenson finishing in 6th Place at the UTMF

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