Download >> TCC General Results 2012 : Route of Fire (71.95 kB)
Pura Vida = Pure Life. While embracing the spirit of adventure, discovery and camaraderie, The Coastal Challenge will afford you the opportunity to compete at your highest level against an international field in one of the longest, toughest and most memorable running events you will ever experience. We are confident that competitors, volunteers, organization staff and locals will be forever transformed and enriched by this unprecedented communal approach to expedition length racing.
This could be one of the most challenging experiences of your life. We realize many people who want to attempt The Coastal Challenge may feel intimidated. Don’t be. We’ve incorporated both a Team Category and a short course (Adventure Run) option which allows you to attempt the long course but fall back to the shorter course if necessary. In the Expedition Run category you will be tested and pushed to the very limits of human endurance. The Adventure Run is approximately 30 % shorter than the full Expedition Run course, with less technical terrain and no time cut offs. However this shorter Adventure Run should not be confused with a “fun run” or “walk in the park”. It will also test competitors. It will be tough and it will be a challenge. It will be rugged and exotic. But with the proper training and preparation, competitors should be able to compete and enjoy the experience at a level your body can handle. Come alone, in pairs or as a group. Race at your own individual pace and reunite at the end of each day.
Our focus is living in the moment. Relax, fiesta, siesta and compare notes each evening with fellow competitors. The days will test your resolve while the nights will replenish your spirits.
You will have many opportunities to visit small pueblos, sand swept coastal towns and remote mountain villages. Brushing up on your Spanish might embolden you to strike up a conversation and interact with the local culture. You might also find yourself enjoying traditional Costa Rican dishes and stepping back in time to simpler, more tranquillo (tranquil) approach to life.
The race ends once you’ve thoroughly explored the breathtaking North Western Coast of Costa Rica, ventured through inland lakes, windswept highlands, cloud forests of Monteverde and crossed the barren, bone-dry tropical forests and volcanic regions and finally come to within spitting distance of the Nicaragua border.Although simple in concept, the race will prove to be extremely difficult in terms of distance, terrain and the tropical climate. The heat and sun will take their toll and you may be severely tested at times.All that said, if you enjoy long distance running or multi-sport competitions, the Coastal Challenge should prove the most affordable, hassle free and personally rewarding event you can mark on your race calendar.
At least 3 team members on every Expedition Run Team MUST complete each stage AND make designated time cut-offs on at least two stages in order to remain ranked as an Expedition Run team. These cutoffs will be listed in your Race Guide and are created primarily for safety and logistical reasons. These cutoffs are based on keeping a CONSISTENT pace of no less than 3.75 mph over a variety of terrain.If the team becomes no longer ranked in the Expedition Run they may continue as a team in the Adventure Run category so long as at least 3 team members are still in good standing (have not been issued a DNF). Team members who remain in good standing will also continue to be ranked as individuals in the Expedition Run if they make all time cut-offs or Adventure Run if they miss a cut-off.Those who fail to complete a stage (DNF) will be taken off the long course and no longer ranked in Expedition or Adventure but can continue on the short course (Adventure Run). (This will allow the stronger runners on a team to continue on the Expedition Course if they choose, even if the team itself is no longer ranked in the Expedition Category)
There are only two official rankings: Expedition Run or Adventure Run. Any individual or team member in the Expedition Run category who does not make a cutoff will fall back to the Adventure Run category. Any failure to complete a stage either in Expedition or Adventure will result in a DNF. If you DNF on any stage you may continue to run subsequent stages but you will remain unranked.
We have two courses at TCC. Expedition is the full course (200-225k) and Adventure is the shorter course (130-150k) We typically have 2-3 ultra days (longer than 26.5 miles) in the Expedition course. Historically the longest stages have been on Days 2 and 5 but that can vary due to course design changes.If you have more than 3 people on your team you may choose to keep a runner in reserve or allow part of the team to relax their pace but you then risk that if less than 3 members make the time cutoffs on any stage the entire team is then knocked out of the Expedition Run as a team.The following is IMPORTANT for both teams and individuals who start out in the Expedition category: If you fail to meet a time cut off, you drop to Adventure and your cumulative daily times are now counted toward your overall time in the Adventure Category. In practical terms this means the longer you stay in Expedition the harder it will be to get a good ranking if you do eventually fall back to Adventure because some days you may have been on course 1 or 2 hours longer than someone running in the Adventure category the entire time. In terms of rankings the worst possible thing is to DNF at any point. While the next worst thing would be for a ranked Expedition Runner to miss the time cut off on Stage 4 (or final ultra day)As the race progresses, with item (3) to consider, you may voluntarily choose to switch from Expedition to Adventure by stopping at a time cutoff or at the end of any stage. You must notify timing officials or race management of your decision ASAP.** Being part of a team won’t affect your individual ranking since individual times and rankings are calculated independently of team rankings
Contact: Carolina Arias, Tel: 011- 506- 2290- 9300 ext. 2805, Fax: 011-506-2520- 2487 or Email:
Requested Information: Room type ( King or two double beds ), occupancy, date of arrival, date of departure and credit card information in order to guarantee the room reservation.Let us know if you have any difficulties.
Mandatory Race Gear List**
Recommended Gear List** (Transported by race mgt.)
** Subject to change
Click HERE to view the current weather in Costa Rica. Click HERE for annual weather and rainfall in Costa Rica.Costa Rica is a tropical country which contains several distinct climatic zones. There is no winter or summer as such and most regions have a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April. Annual rainfall averages 100 inches nationwide with some mountainous regions getting as much as 25 feet on exposed eastern slopes. Temperature is more a matter of elevation than location with a mean of around 72 degrees in the Central Valley, 82 degrees on the Atlantic coast and 89 degrees on the Pacific coast.
Not a camper? Check out the Soft Adventure Tours or the new tent option (sign up on your registration form for tent share which includes tent set-up and break-down each day by staff, leaving you free from the added daily hassle of pitching/packing your own tent)
Online Registration with Active.com (Review the refund and payment policy before registering.) Bank Wire TransferCheck PaymentTravel Insurance (A good way to protect your investment)Cancellation and Refund PolicyAirfare Information and FAQs about Costa Rica
A: Any runner who wants to challenge themselves on many levels and experience the thrill and satisfaction of pushing themselves further than they ever thought possible. If you appreciate the camaraderie that naturally develops when a diverse group of individuals share in that kind of experience together then you’ll appreciate this event. Read Irene Hale’s account and some of a race profiles and you’ll see that many ordinary athletes and casual runners come to “take on the challenge”, as well as world class ultra-runners like Beverly Abbs.
A: Yes, it is mostly a matter of having desire, determination and embracing the unknowns of an adventure. You should also be making every effort to condition your body and your feet to be attempting the distance, even at a brisk jog/walk. Otherwise, while you’re on course it will really help to have a high threshold for discomfort, pain, temporary self-loathing and constant inner-dialogue… “So, why am I doing this again?”
A: We will be utilizing more trails and open lands. In order to cobble together a point-to point-race that encompasses so much varied terrain and covers so much ground in 6 days, there are areas where dirt roads are unavoidable but we'll make every effort to steer clear of paved roads and continue exploring ways to provide varied terrain, varied running surfaces and as much unexpected rugged running adventure as possible. As always, this will include areas rain forest, mountain ranges, cloud forest, trail, beaches, rocky outcroppings/reefs and river crossings.
A: The entire route will be 200-250 k depending on where camps are set and other logistical factors.
A: Days will vary from 18 k to 60 k in length but if possible we attempt to stagger the distances and difficulty so hard days are separated by shorter, relatively easier days (recovery days.)
A: The course is set along Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coastline but weaves at times into the Talamancas, a coastal mountain range in the Southwest corner of the country. You’ll finish near the border of Panama in a serene fishing village that until recently was only accessible by boat.Terrain will include: jungle and rainforest trails, mountain trail and single track across ridgelines, highlands and coastal ranges; beaches, rocky outcroppings and reefs, river and estuary crossings, as well as a stage running through Corcovado National Park, one of the premier rainforest experiences in the world and a Unesco World Heritage Site.
A: Surveyors wheel, GPS and odometer where possible.
A: There will be aid-stations with water, fruit, and snacks. We recommend traveling with food that you prefer in case there isn't something that you prefer at the next station. We require you to carry water and whatever food you think you may need to get to the next aid station.
A: It will vary, depending on the length of the leg but they are generally set every 12-18 kilometers apart.
A: It’s difficult to promise at the aid stations because it depends on how long available ice holds out each day but thanks to competitor feedback we’ll try to arrange for cold/cool cokes and an occasional cervasa at the finish/camp where possible, even if means coaxing an enterprising volunteer to go on a coke/beer run into the nearest town and setting up their own refreshment stand. Remember, we’re often in the middle of nowhere. Not many expeditions enjoy the luxury of ice-cold drinks.
A:No, but we will provide maps with the race guides with distance and elevation profiles. (see examples of Route of Fire maps on Route/Itinerary Page)
A: No, a compass is not required at our event.
A: The course will be marked and critical decision points will be staffed. But here may be times where not paying attention at a turn off may result in getting off route. We also mark the route for a good distance just after a turn so if after a split in the trail you don’t see flagging tape or painted marking then you may have to backtrack. When there is no course marking or tape the trail is usually very intuitive. We mark off each runner as they step up to the race start each day and mark them off again when they cross the finish line. We also have staff sweep the course each day.
A: The markers will be presented during the pre-race meeting. These markers will be very visible and will consist (cones, flagging tape, or spray painted symbols)
A: Yes. Placement will vary depending on the stage but they are normally found at critical directional points or aid stations. There are also re-supply and medical and staff vehicles traveling to aid stations or road access areas monitoring the race.
A: No. Using the aid stations and perhaps a few other reference points in your Racer Guide or your own GPS will be the only way to approximately determine your location on route.
A: That depends on the length of the stage each day but on most days the race will start between 5:30 and 7:00.
A: The Expedition route is much harder in terms of terrain and distance, being about 30-40 % longer overall. It also applies some psychological pressure in terms of pacing yourself and pushing yourself to avoid missing a time-cut off. These pre-designated time cut-offs are placed at certain checkpoints on the longest days. This requires many runners to strategize, plan out their days a bit and challenge themselves in interesting ways. These cut-offs are made in the interest of safety and to keep the competitive level very high in the Expedition Category. People who begin to slow down significantly run the risk of missing a cut-off on a long day and being reassigned to Adventure Category. Adventure category also spends time on interesting technical sections but may miss certain course highlights.
A: We don’t have cut-offs each day. On days where the distance is over 40 K there will most likely be cut-offs and they will vary depending on the terrain and distance.
A: Yes, if you race everyday as part of your team you will also be ranked individually. Teams can be made up of 3-6 individuals. So in teams of 4 or more some team members may exercise the option of “sitting out” a day since only the top 3 times are factored into the team’s combined time each day. If a team member takes a rest day they will become unranked on the official leader board.
A: Yes. With the exception of your tent, it must all fit into a 24 Gallon Rubbermaid “Action Packer” or equivalent. Lockable Hard-Case Storage bins (A.K.A. Action Packer) are not provided by Race Management. We require that participants bring a hard case bin that is water resistant, stackable and preferably lockable. We recommend the Rubbermaid Action Packer because it is a field-tested product that has proven reliable in many expeditions events. If you have something that resembles the Action Packer, it should be fine. The reason for requiring lockable hard-case storage bins is primarily for logistical and transportation purposes, as well as being a good theft deterrent. It will also hold up well over the expedition and protect your clothes and valuables from both insects and the elements.
A:You can order these bins online from a retailer and have them shipped to you. These are no longer available from Rubbermaid directly but you can purchase from Target for $ 19.99. You can also find this for $29.00 at REI http://www.rei.com We recommend that participants have a bin that is approximately 24 gallons per person. However, if you are traveling as a couple or a family you may combine gear into a larger gear bin. Please look at the 48 gallon Action Packer should you choose to share bins.
A: Yes, at a store called EPA but we highly recommend that you purchase one before arriving in Costa Rica. It will be easier.
A: On the course you’ll be camping each night in a variety of pre scouted locations that are comfortable, private and very scenic. The camps are set up to form a wonderful community atmosphere, with the tents and hammocks sequestered away from the noise and bustle of the kitchen, dinning and social areas. All meals are set up in a comfortable dining environment, with tables and chairs as well as a covered tent if needed. The kitchen (a complex of portable stoves, heaters, prep areas and cooks) provides a movable feast, serving plenty of delicious hot food, fresh local fruit and vegetables, great snacks, and lots of liquids to replenish you. We typically camp in areas where we have access to local bathroom and shower facilities or we create our own environmentally responsible and clean privies and outdoor showers. There is a lively social atmosphere every night including a slideshow of the day’s run as well as a race briefing of the next day’s course highlights. We will also try to work in presentations by locals who can describe the course terrain as well as the flora and fauna you will experience each day. Sometimes, we even have local vendors that will set up stands selling local food and goods. Massages are also available along with any medical assistance.
A: Camps are typically located on a town soccer field, a sprawling private property or a beautiful secluded beach.
A: We offer teams of 3 or more the option to use our new 6-8 person tents, which camp staff will set up at camp each day. The fee is $100 pp using TCC provided tent. Any team of 3 or 4 will share a 6-8 person tent so there will be ample room for you and your gear. We will place your action packers next to your tents.
A: This is the Rainforest and we will be running and camping within it or along its fringes so you may bring a hammock but make sure it has a rain fly (many recommend Hennessey Hammocks) If you bring a tent, you will also need a rain fly and a ground tarp. Depending on the daily camp location, the terrain and weather you may opt to either use a tent or a hammock - as racers have done in the past. A good way to insure that you and your belongings stay dry is to take advantage of our (new for 2009) Tent Option.
A: Delicious and Plentiful! Every morning you will awaken to the smell of a savory hot breakfast served with fresh local fruit and juices as well as plenty of piping hot Costa Rican coffee. During the day and right after the race you can find plenty of fruit and snack food to replenish you until dinner which consists of a multi-course hot entrées along with fresh salad, local fruit, more liquids and coffee as well as several options for your sweet tooth.
A: Once the race gets underway you’ll be in a camp each night until you reach the final finish line. Your last night will be spent at a beachfront resort in Bahia Salinas.
A: Camps are typically set either in town soccer fields, on sprawling private properties or on beautiful secluded beaches.
A: Each Stage will have toilet facilities available. There will also be rustic “Tico” Style shower facilities. Depending on the stage, you may be able to shower at the local school, within the town, or we will be building temporary showers for your use.
A: There will be a full breakfast and full dinner with a limited selection of food like sandwiches and snacks available in the kitchen area in the afternoon for competitor. A meal schedule will be in the race guide. The kitchen schedule will be posted in camp and the kitchen area will close for a period of a few hours each afternoon.
A: Yes, but you must notify us by email of your dietary needs when you register. We will try to work with you and accommodate your diet as much as possible. A vegan diet is a bit more complicated so we suggest you work closely with our nutritionist and head chef in advance.
A: Yes, we provide aid stations at regular intervals on the course which have plenty of water, electrolyte, fresh local fruit, and race type snack food.
A1: For the Rainforest Run you can expect warm weather, sometimes humid, sometimes balmy and sometimes windy depending on coastal weather systems. You can also expect short bursts of cyclical rain, mostly in the late afternoon or evenings as we get closer to the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park.A2: For the Route of Fire you can expect damp, tropical conditions the first 2 days. You probably have some days of mixed sun and clouds. Then the last 3 days you’ll experience hot, arid and often very windy conditions.
A: No. Our staff however does plan their day so that they get to local Internet Access points along the course to send out daily briefings and retrieve “shout outs” from your family and friends who may be tracking your progress on our website.
A:You may see small markets on route or in towns that have many basic items. Larger stores are located in San Jose
Please also refer to the event itinerary for more travel and event information
A: Fly into San Jose: Airport code (SJO) The official name is Juan Santamaria International Airport.
A: We recommend The Best Western Irazu since that is where we will have the pre-race registration, reception and briefing.
A: Our contact at Best Western is either Olger Villalobos or Carolina Arias: Contact: Carolina Arias,Tel: 011- 506- 2290- 9300 ext. 2805, Fax: 011-506- 2520- 2487 or Email:
A: There is a free and direct shuttle from the airport to the hotel every 30-45 minutes. If you choose to take a cab it takes about 20 minutes and should cost you about $10 last time we checked.
A: When the race is over you will be transported back to the Best Western Hotel the next day. Plan on arriving late afternoon unless you take an early morning shuttle and then plan on arriving late morning or early afternoon. Book your travel accordingly. If you need the early morning shuttle please let race staff know in advance. There will be a sign up sheet and space may be limited.
A: The only place we can drop you on our way back to San Jose would be Liberia where you rent a car or can arrange for a shuttle if you are going to a nearby resort.
A: Not from the US or Canada. If you’re entering from another country you may want to inquire about Costa Rica’s visa requirements.
A: Yes. $ 26.00
A: We encourage it but as we are in a moving camp all guests must be registered and travel with the camp. Non-competitors have two choices. They can sign up for the Standard Guest Package or the Adventure Guest Package. Pricing and details can be found by going to the registration page. Click on the Adventure Tour Packages photo.
A: We now offer guests the opportunity to come to the main racer's camp everyday, go on our Adventure Tours, and then return to nearby haciendas, hotels or bungalows for the evening.
A: Water is clean and safe to drink from the tap. All water, including tap water, is overseen by a governmental agency and the quality is not in question. We’ve never had any water related health issues reported in 3 years of running the event.
A: It's not usually something that we hear any complaints about but it really depends on your individual body chemistry and where you find yourself along the route. Mosquitoes and “No-See-Ems” do exist and we do recommend having spray or Mosquito netting at night just in case. It often depends on the weather, the amount of moisture or recent rainfall in the area and your individual body chemistry. We're in the jungle/rainforest much of the time. Come prepared.
A: There are dangers to be sure and possibilities for injury do exist. Costa Rica does have venomous snakes, exotic insects and small, snarly dogs. Our routes do take you through rugged, uneven terrain, deep rivers and jagged coastlines. Costa Rica does have animals that living in the Jungle that may choose to give chase. There is always inherent risk in an authentic adventure.
A: Yes, we will have our committed contingent of US doctor(s) from Adventure Med www.adventuremed.com, volunteers with EMT experience and local paramedics and Red Cross ambulances on course during the event. If possible, we will continue to have foot care clinics at camps. Along with any necessary patching up you'll also receive guidance and pointers in the areas of blister prevention and overall foot care so that you may become more self sufficient as the week progresses.
A: We have a straightforward but strict refund policy. It’s based on when you notify us, not on the reason for your cancellation. This is to avoid being placed in the difficult position of having to decide which reasons merit a refund. We strongly recommend that you review our refund policy when registering. We also recommend that you consider travel insurance. You can find a link to a good insurer next to our refund policy on the website’s registration page.
A: Yes. If you require one just let us know.
A: There is no visa required for travel from the US or Canada. If you’re entering from another country you may want to inquire about Costa Rica’s visa requirements.
A: We are exploring a Southern Route in 2009. We will be doing the Route of Fire again in 2010
A: No, but we will provide maps with the race guides with distance and elevation profiles. (see examples of Route of Fire maps on Route/Itinerary Page)
A:The Race Guide issued to each runner at competitor registration/check in will be based on course information gathered by Course Designer and Race Director as well as recommendations from our Advisory Board, including our newly appointed member, Jim Mandelli. Jim is a veteran Coastal Challenge competitor and AR athlete with a great grasp of the events’ unique hybrid appeal as well as it’s evolution and goals. With distance information and terrain legends The Race Guide will help you map out your six running stages. Yet we will we still certainly include enough and terrain surprises and there will always be a wide range of things impossible to control or predict, such as the weather, so that you never lose the Expedition feel.
A: At least 3 team members on every Expedition Run Team MUST complete each stage AND make designated time cut-offs on at least two stages in order to remain ranked as an Expedition Run team. These cutoffs will be listed in your Race Guide and are created primarily for safety and logistical reasons. These cutoffs are based on keeping a CONSISTENT pace of no less than 3.75 mph over a variety of terrain.If the team becomes no longer ranked in the Expedition Run they may continue as a team in the Adventure Run category so long as at least 3 team members are still in good standing (have not been issued a DNF). Team members who remain in good standing will also continue to be ranked as individuals in the Expedition Run if they make all time cut-offs or Adventure Run if they miss a cut-off.Those who fail to complete a stage (DNF) will be taken off the long course and no longer ranked in Expedition or Adventure but can continue on the short course (Adventure Run). (This will allow the stronger runners on a team to continue on the Expedition Course if they choose, even if the team itself is no longer ranked in the Expedition Category)Important to note: There are only two official rankings: Expedition Run or Adventure Run. Any individual or team member in the Expedition Run category who does not make a cutoff will fall back to the Adventure Run category. Any failure to complete a stage either in Expedition or Adventure will result in a DNF. If you DNF on any stage you may continue to run subsequent stages but you will remain unranked.
A: We have two courses at TCC. Expedition is the full course (200-225k) and Adventure is the shorter course (130-150k) We typically have 2-3 ultra days (longer than 26.5 miles) in the Expedition course. Historically the longest stages have been on Days 2 and 5 but that can vary due to course design changes.If you have more than 3 people on your team you may choose to keep a runner in reserve or allow part of the team to relax their pace but you then risk that if less than 3 members make the time cutoffs on any stage the entire team is then knocked out of the Expedition Run as a team.The following is IMPORTANT for both teams and individuals who start out in the Expedition category: If you fail to meet a time cut off, you drop to Adventure and your cumulative daily times are now counted toward your overall time in the Adventure Category. In practical terms this means the longer you stay in Expedition the harder it will be to get a good ranking if you do eventually fall back to Adventure because some days you may have been on course 1 or 2 hours longer than someone running in the Adventure category the entire time. In terms of rankings the worst possible thing is to DNF at any point. While the next worst thing would be for a ranked Expedition Runner to miss the time cut off on Stage 4 (or final ultra day)As the race progresses, with item (3) to consider, you may voluntarily choose to switch from Expedition to Adventure by stopping at a time cutoff or at the end of any stage. You must notify timing officials or race management of your decision ASAP.
The Coastal Challenge is honored and privileged to have some of the world's most recognizable endurance athletes working with us. The advisory board has been formed to ensure that The Coastal Challenge is unsurpassed in its efforts to create and maintain a world class running event. The board is committed to sharing their insights, knowledge, and vast experience in endurance racing. As a team, we are committed to creating an environment of exploration, cultural exchange, and personal growth. We are also happy to include sponsorship partner, John d'Arbeloff of Rail Riders, who shares our passion for adventure.