Monthly Archives: November 2015



DSC_7195UTMB is a monster of a course covering three countries in its 170km. It starts in Chamonix, France heads into Italy and then Switzerland before crossing the border once again to return to France and the screaming crowds lining the Chamonix streets. Chamonix gets all the plaudits but Courmayeur in Italy plays an important role in UTMB. It’s a pleasant mountain town in the Aosta Valley at the base of Mont Blanc. It’s also the start for CCC and is the first major place on the UTMB course where runners can pick up a drop bag and take on substantial fuel.


Hernando concentrates on every detail

The UTMB start time is 6pm and by the time the elite runners reach Courmayeur at 78km it’s around 2:43am. The aid station is in the large Sports Center.  Food, drink and the all-important drop bags have been laid out awaiting the runners. The station stays open until 1pm the next day, and the volunteers will be in for a long night and day.

The café in the aid station is doing a roaring trade selling espressos and beer. There are some late night revellers, lots of media and the elite runners crews. Their pitstop is not too different from that of a Formula 1 team, and just like in F1, there are differing processes.

There is an air of anticipation. Everyone has been waiting for a long time, we are all high on espressos.


Chaverot arrives with media attention

Then cheering announces the arrival of the lead group. There are four runners and each of their crews is ready for action. The runners head in to the building and are guided up two flights of stairs. Their sweat is dripping.  It’s a mild night out there, and they have been moving at a good pace. The iRunFar crew has already recorded and snapped the arrival.  Other media and photographers charge around the airy hall to see each of the four runners and their crew, taking photos, filming, and trying to find out any snippets of info and observe how they feel and what they are eating and drinking.


Last few details before Thevenard heads out


Castanyer eyes the others while taking vital fluids

Practised crews replace water bottles and load up with new gels while the runner quickly drinks and eats, whilst also looking out the corner of their eye at the other three runners. Thevenard is first to start to leave and there is a sudden rush of activity from the others. Each of them doesn’t want to lose seconds or minutes but they are also acutely aware that they must take on vital fuel otherwise their race could end. It’s a fine line.

Quickly, the four are gone and the crews are packing up. They must head to the next aid station. It’s been less than five minutes of frantic activity and we all return to a sense of calm and anticipation until the next arrival.


This article appeared in the November edition of Ultra Running Magazine.  Get your subscription here.

All images are copyright – Ian Campbell Photography




Julbo have been making optical sports wear since 1888.  I tested the Julbo Venturi  whilst recently in Portugal.  A pair of sunglasses might seem like a simple object but Julbo listen to their athletes and design sleek looking glasses that not only look good but also provide unbeatable performance.



Out of the box statistics 

  • Colours – Blue/Green, Matt Black/Grey, White/Green, Matt Black/Red, Matt Black/Blue, Shiny Black/Grey
  • Weight – 30grms
  • Grip Tech – inserts at stem end for comfort
  • Curved Wrapping Temples – shaped for hold
  • Panoramic – wide lens surface for broad vision
  • 3D Fit Nose – adjustable in every direction to ensure perfect fit





Field test

I have just returned from a vacation in Portugal where I did a fair bit of running, sightseeing and relaxing on the beach. I know… its a tough life!  I took a pair of Venturi’s as my go to pair of sunglasses having just been given them by Julbo. Now I am torn between the Julbo Trail and these cracking pair of sunglasses.

As you would expect in late summer early autumn in Portugal there is still fair bit of sun and the Venturi’s performed excellently whether I was out for my morning run or on the beach with the family.


Unbeatable hold through adjustable arms

Let’s start with the fit. Julbo have this nailed.   On the Venturi you have the ability to flex the nose grip to get a perfect fit with their 3D Fit Nose technology. The arms can be adjusted to make sure that they sit properly and have the best hold.

Now for what I think is the best feature, Julbo have got the best lens around. They call it Zebra Light it adjusts the lens brightness instantly. So you know when you are running in bright sunlight and then suddenly drop into shade, its usually takes a few seconds to adjust but the Venturi crack on with it instantly.


3D Nose Fit for a perfect match

Also, with their anti-fog ability there is none of that awful misting up that means you have to wipe them or wait for them to clear. The little side vents on the lens help with this – a neat little feature that aids ventilation but does nothing to the overall panoramic vision which by the way is superb.

At 30grms these glasses are lightweight and after having worn them for long runs of 2 – 3 hours and then most of the day they were a delight to wear.


Zebra Light Lenses & Vent for optimal panoramic anti-fog vision

These glasses come in a range of cool colours but also have degrees of photochromic categories to tailor towards the sports and activities i.e. trail running, mountain biking, climbing, cross country skiing (cat 2 to 4) or all purpose (Cat 1 to 3).

The glasses also come in a protective case and sleeve, great for when you are travelling. At around £80 they are not necessarily cheap but you wouldn’t expect them to be if you know the heritage and investment that goes into developing them.

All images copyright – Ian Campbell – Photography