Matt Carpenter and Kami Semick win the 2008 North Face Endurace Challenge

Last year it was Uli Steidl who took first with Matt Carpenter in second in the inaugural North Face Endurance Challenge this year it was the legendary mountain runner Matt Carpenter who took first and earning a well deserved $10,000 for his efforts. From the looks of the results it was a close race. The always strong Kami Semick was well ahead of second place Anita Ortiz who finished 20 minutes back.

Documentary on legendary Marco Olmo

This was just forwarded to me looks interesting:

“One Step Beyond”.
This will be one of the first documentaries about the world of ultra-trail running. The movie will tell Marco Olmo’s history. Marco is one of the best extreme runners in the world. We has one two Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (2006 and 2007), six Cro-Magnons, four Lybia Desert Marathon, three Marathon des Sables and many other races.

Marco is 60 years old. He is training for what could be his last race. Winning is his only goal. Running is his reason for living. “One Step beyond” tells his history.

The movie will come out in 2009 and it will be subtitled in English. Visit or to view the movie’s trailer ( and to read more about the documentary.

Tips For Injury Free Running

Contrary to popular belief, running should not hurt your body. It is the way you run that is doing the damage and causing pain. Sadly, for many runners, injury becomes a regular inconvenience and a way of life, something that just has to be dealt with and endured. Running is a sport that has a competitive aspect to it. When competition comes before knowledge, the goal changes from minimizing stress to the body to minimize running time. This is when injuries begin to surface. However, with a little practice on technique, injuries are reduced drastically, stress to the body diminishes, and personal running times can be greatly improved. Remember, speed comes after form.

Poor running form leads to injury, wears the joints down at an accelerated rate, and puts high levels of stress on the body. Unfortunately, much of what the vast majority of runners believe they know about running technique is wrong. So what is good form and bad form? Bad form can consist of any or all of the following incorrect techniques, which will lead to pain and injury over time.

Over striding- This consists of when the legs move to far forward in front of the body, putting heavy stress on the knee joints.

Poor foot position- When the feet deviate from a straight line, the joints have to twist with each step. As they move forward while twisting, unnecessary wear occurs.

Poor arm movement patterns- Moving arms across the entire front of the body not only is a waste of energy, but unnaturally twists the hips and torso with each stride. It is an extraordinarily inefficient running style.

Clinched fists or tense face- When you clench your fists and tighten your face, you create tension through the upper body. This causes arm movements and torso position to change, leads to neck and upper back pain and will wear out the runner much faster.

Torso bent to far forward or backward- When bent to far forward, the air is constricted to the lungs and the impact the body receives from being out of alignment increases. When bent to far back, pressure increases on the lower back and over striding usually occurs, stressing the knees.

Landing on the heel of the foot- Your feet should not slap loudly as they hit the ground. Good running should be springy and quiet. Landing on the heel of the foot leads to more stress than any other running problem. It delivers an immediate shock to the lower back and can lead to chronic pain and even stress fractures.

Improving your running form can help you run quicker, more efficiently, and with less stress on your body. It helps to reduce the changes of injuries, and allows for a more pleasant run. Making these small adjustments to your form can literally mean the difference between an enjoyable complete run and a DNF (Did Not Finish)

Land on mid-foot- Although heel striking is very common for recreational runners, it is not the preferable way to run. Constantly landing on the heels wastes energy and jars the body. It can lead to significant stress injuries throughout the lower extremities, and even chronic pain throughout the entire back. It should be noted that most running shoes are designed for the runner who lands on their heel. Inevitably these shoes allow a runner with poor form to slide by and develop bad habits. Be wary of expensive running shoes unless you take the time to learn how to run!

Use gravity to pull you forward- Using your legs to push yourself forward will rob you of energy faster than anything. Try to relax, bend your knees, and lean forward at the ankles, rather than the waist. As you lean, gravity pulls you forward. Your feet will begin to come down underneath you, rather than in front of you. Your foot should never hit the ground in front of your body, as this puts maximum strain on your knees. Essentially, the runner’s center of gravity should be directly over the foot.

Posture- Focus on maintaining good posture. Keep your hips, shoulders, and ankles in a straight line. Good posture builds strong core muscles and allows the body to move more efficiently, using less energy overall.

Relax your body- Relaxing your leg muscles, in particular, lessens their resistance to forward momentum as you run.

Breathe- Inefficient breathing forces the body to work harder to meet its oxygen requirements. Breathe naturally and fully from your diaphragm, instead of shallow chest breaths.

Forward movement- Forward movement should not be muscular. It should happen by itself, because of gravity. When you have the proper form, gravity will carry you forward, allowing for an enormous reduction in energy output.

Running can be a sport that is done up until your final days if practiced correctly. Taking the time to learn about running is no different than learning golf, football, or any other sport. If you put in the time to learn, your runs will be fruitful, enjoyable, and your endurance and stamina will increase over time.


Stress and Its Symptoms and Its Treatment

We all have experienced some form and level of stress. But what are the symptoms? Well first of all those experiencing very high levels of stress will certainly feel the adverse affect it has on their body and subsequently on their behaviour. Their mind will almost certainly be in overdrive and their sense of well being will be low. They may well have been suffering from stress for a considerable period of time before these symptoms became noticeable.

Those suffering badly tend to feel ‘less important’ than they used to feel, as their self esteem takes a sharp spiral in a downward direction. They become more and more anxious, and their mood becomes changeable and erratic. They often fear the worst as their troubled mind races away with them. They worry continuously, usually unnecessarily. They analyse over and over again all the possible scenarios that may or may not result of any given situation or situations. Their mind is in turmoil. Often their moods are very bad indeed, which leads to verbal outbursts of seemingly irrational abuse, even to those who they love the most. They seldom sit down for any reasonable period to eat and therefore their eating habits become irregular.

Their whole body becomes tense and starts to suffer as a consequence. Their muscles tense up giving pain to various parts of their anatomy. Their neck can be particularly affected, becoming very painful indeed with restricted movement. This tension causes headaches and as a result lots of pain killers are needed and therefore taken for temporary relief. However, as their body becomes accustomed to the taking of these pills etc. more and more pain killers are needed to give the same level of pain relief. Inevitably they are then on a path of either continuously increased dosage or devouring even more powerful drugs in order for them to function. If they are smokers, they smoke more and many resort to drinking excessive quantities of alcohol, often during the day in order to get some relief. This alcohol intake does help some to achieve a feeling of well being. However it is short lived as when they awake their anxiety increases dramatically as they probably suffer from dehydration. This only makes the situation far worse.

Symptoms are always noticed by others, especially those who know the sufferer well. They see them ‘never sitting still’ always ‘on the go’ and their energy levels continuously high. It is also possible, that the sufferer perspires as a result of talking rapidly and without any apparent direction. In their exited state they can become breathless as they do not take in enough Oxygen whilst speaking. Simply telling them to ‘get a grip’ or ‘pull themselves together’ can often exacerbate the situation, thus making the sufferer worse, especially with increased verbal abuse…

Their mouth becomes dry and therefore their liquid intake increases significantly as a result. It results in more visits to the toilet and they may well have bladder and/or stomach problems. This can lead to various diseases including cancers, strokes etc. if allowed to continue for a long period of time untreated. Their sex life is often adversely affected as it can lead to sexual dysfunction and that presents its own set of problems putting an extra negative effect on their marriage.

Their work ethic deteriorates and they are on a very steep downward slope, and if not rectified can have a severe adverse affect on their financial situation and that, of course, will make the problem for them and their family much worse.

There are many techniques that can be employed to help reduce stress but it would help enormously if the sufferer is aware that they are suffering and accepts that they do need help and therefore are not paying ‘lip service’ just to satisfy a loved one.

I myself have suffered high levels of stress and know just how dreadful it is. It can become quite debilitating. It sometimes takes courage to admit that you are a sufferer. But by accepting that you need help you are on the first step to recovery.

For many people, simply ‘getting away from it all’ is very helpful. Being surrounded by beautiful countryside without the general day to day problems can have a positive effect. If you are suffering, or indeed have identified that a loved one is suffering, you may consider a holiday ‘away from the madding crowd’.

I run ‘stress relief courses’ from my tranquil away from it all Villa in the Portuguese Algarve.

I have helped hundreds of individuals, especially in industry, who are experiencing hypertension, usually caused by business related problems. Sometimes, simply having a break from the grueling day to day grind of everyday living helps. With others more is needed. Therefore my approach is to find the ‘root cause’ of stress and eradicate it and not simply treating the symptoms. I run mentoring workshops in my wonderful tranquil Villa in the Algarve, Portugal.

  1. Why going for a run reduces stress –
  2. Stress relief activities, running –
  3. Physical effect of stress on the body –