Mark Gillett

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The Yukon Quest

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I have never seen the moon as in I did in Yukon

I have never seen the moon as in I did in Yukon

I find myself back in the Yukon having said I would probably miss this year. Its now the 5th year I’ve ventured and more and more the North seems to suck me back into the wilderness and beauty that it exudes.

The team this year is myself, Tom Barber and Heidi McGuire. Tom has been with me the last three trips I’ve made and Heidi I met in 2009 on the YAU. I can’t imagine better people to work with and combined with the OTC team and Yukon Quest team, I am really looking forward to the next two weeks of trail, fun, tiredness and usual battles to get the job done.

Yukon Quest 2012, Day3

The Thinking Musher

Already the curveballs have started and the main one has been the weather. The heaviest snow the Yukon has seen for years has all but been discarded by the spring like temperatures of the last week or so. The roads are near clear and the trail is very different. But this does not hold the Quest back. In fact it probably enhances it. Teams will have to be at their best to win this year. Now that the temperatures have fallen again, there will be ice, and possibly overflow. All great stuff for the thinking musher!

Its these conditions or changing conditions that make this such a great race. Like some of the desert stuff I cover, it can be very unpredictable, very demanding and a great challenge. If it were the same each year, how easy that would be to calculate? How boring would it be to follow? The North will always have its say whatever.

We drive up to Fairbanks tomorrow and a few nights of functions before the action start and then we set off back to Whitehorse. We will be posting videos and images along the route and your participation is vital. Comments, posts, opinions (not to strong of course) and questions on Facebook and Twitter.

Yukon Quest

My favourite

Give us your thoughts on who you want to win, or if you don’t mind.. Our stories will be unique as they always are as the trail will, Im sure, give us plenty to talk about.  Can Hugh Neff do it again or will Allen Moore pip him to the post. Or will we have a new winner this year? Will Normand be the darling of the race? Or will that go back to Brent Sass again.. Is it Brent’s year to hold that trophy?

Well, by the 10th Feb we should know the answers to those questions so here’s to the Yukon Quest 2014. Im toasting with a glass of red in the High Country Inn, Whitehorse!

See you on the trail

Coaching Bad

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Like so many people I have recently watched Breaking Bad. I am not a TV fan and only watch a few things on catchup or the streaming channels if they really appeal or come recommended. I am not sure why I watched Breaking Bad as it neither appealed nor came recommended, I was just intrigued by the press and media surrounding it. If you intend watching it and don’t want to know any detail it might be an idea to stop reading now but if you have seen it, I would love to read your opinion too. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by markgillett

October 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Coaching, Film, Life, News

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UTWT – Launch Analysis

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Its been two days now since the launch of UTWT, UltraTrail World Tour and there has been a fair amount of discussion on the TalkUltra site of Ian Corless. Just check here http://iancorless.org/

My own assessment will not be as detailed as Ian’s and not as authoritative but based more on my last 40 years in sport. Ian spends most of his time following Ultra’s and is probably right now, even tho I hate saying it, the most clued up in this area. So take a good look at his blog too.

My involvement over the last years has been in a media capacity for some extreme events/races and also as a runner or marathons and the MDS.

As I mentioned in my last post the ultra running world is a moving feast right now… Its exciting, growing, professionalising and attracting a very high level of disciplined runner. A new breed has appeared over the last three years that even when covering the MDS you can see a noticeable difference from year to year. Stronger, faster and and harder runners are appearing from nowhere.

With this, professionalisation is inevitable. Money will flow (unless we all go to war very soon, that is) into the races. Runners will become known and branded and there will be a call for a true ranking system.

It is here that I believe the UTWT or UTW[a]T as someone called it on Facebook, will sink or swim. Right now in its current form I think it will sink, be tossed around, choke, spit, and come to the surface spewing. It will then recover, maybe with new members or even a different name and be stronger. Its what normally happens especially when you rush in. A bit like diving in at the deep end at 3 years old with no armbands.

For a start they have put commercial reasons for setting up the tour in front of progressing the world of ultra racing. This can never work. Put the races and passions first and money will come and seek out the passionate. A ranking system is a logical next step for the ultra world. Also the categorising of races who wish to be considered competitive.

At the moment there is a mix of events. Those that are more “man challenges” and those that are races. This needs sorting out. Then the two, categorising and rankings system, go hand in hand. Races begin to flourish and the the sport becomes truly competitive and effective. More people get involved on a recreational level as a result because people love to follow their heroes. Its how the world works in sport.

So for me right now the analysis is quite simple. Its a bit of a cock up that will sort itself out in time. Or someone else will come up with a better thought out version that is true to the sport, true to the events and not solely a purpose of generating revenue and increasing personal exposure.

Written by markgillett

September 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Cairo Ramblings

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If I were going to LA people would say, “have a good time”, When I told people I was coming to Cairo they said “Stay safe!” however is LA I would fear being out alone after dark, being shot, raped or mugged, and would have a hell of a time at the Airport. Cairo? Read on……

Now I know you cant judge a country on a few hours but I have…I’ve now reached 50, so I can. Ha!

Its all a bit surreal.. tired and back in the Middle East but North Africa this time… I arrived in Cairo by bus from Sharm. The road was fast and the journey so easy. One stop for food and one for a police check, nod off and wake up in Cairo.

On the flight I spoke to two passengers next to me who asked where I was going.. when I told them Cairo, their immediate reaction was “oh? thats off limits. No flights in or out”. I couldn’t believe that they had heard the Foreign Office had stopped flights.. My bus was pretty full and everyone was friendly.. Asked where I was going and helped if they could..I paid my €8.

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December 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

Drawing a Line in the Sand……

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From Suitcase Media & Productions uploading from the Sahara desert, our final GoPro video of the Marathon des Sables 2012, Stage 6:

I would just like to say a big thank you to the rest of the SMP team – editors Rob Antill, Maite Luque and photographer Romaine Sepulchre, for their collective inspiration, creativity and passion.

Home & Dry!

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A total of 791 competitors today crossed the line of the last stage of the Marathon des Sables 2012, with 4 ‘ranking in progress.’ The fact that 59 runners abandoned the course for reason or another, shows just how tough the conditions were this year. Rain, wind, hail, and lightning; baking temps of nearly 50 degrees C and sand storms – they had it all!

For final rankings visit darbaroud.com.

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April 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

GoPro VIDEO OF THE DAY, Woo-hoo!

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This film by the ‘Marathon des Sables’ media team was chosen as the GoPro VIDEO OF THE DAY, receiving 1346+ likes last counted & reaching an audience of 2 million GoPro fans!!!

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April 15, 2012 at 12:28 am