Fuego y Agua 2015 - Director's Report


Photo by Jeff Genova Photography

Photo by Jeff Genova Photography

Fuego y Agua has become so much more than an ultra running event. The people, the camaraderie, the landscape, the culture, the island and the extreme courses all come together to create the Fuego y Agua experience. Many of us come away with new friendships, life changing experiences, and a new insight into ourselves. 

The 6th edition of Fuego y Agua was no different, and with the tougher race courses, everyone found the challenge of a lifetime on the slopes of the Maderas and Concepcion volcanos. Our start/finish venue on the white sand beach of Playa Santo Domingo was an excellent choice for the second year in a row. With a record number of runners from all over the world, we had the most epic Fuego y Agua experience to date. 

Many runners brought school supplies and donations for the village of Los Ramos on Isla de Ometepe. Los Ramos recently suffered from landslides on Volcan Concepcion and many homes and buildings were destroyed. The largest donations were from Team Platinum Rig of Quebec, Canada and SUSAETA publishing from Managua, Nicaragua. Team Platinum Rig donated backpacks and school supplies while SUSAETA donated over 400 brand new schoolbooks! Thank you everyone for your wonderful donations! 


Survival Run 2015 - "adapt or die"

Mark Wheeler harvesting plantains during the Survival Run. Mark finished the Survival Run and the 100k, becoming one of two Devil's Double finishers in 2015  Photo by Jeff Genova Photography

Mark Wheeler harvesting plantains during the Survival Run. Mark finished the Survival Run and the 100k, becoming one of two Devil's Double finishers in 2015 

Photo by Jeff Genova Photography

Our race week began on Wednesday at 4pm with the 3rd Annual Survival Run. 43 racers lined up on the beach at Playa Santo Domingo, ready for 30 hours of unknown challenges. After gear check the racers headed up the beach for their first challenge, a swim to "birdshit" island, to retrieve a raw egg they must carry with them the entire race. The race progressed through the night, some of the challenges including, a free dive into a tank, ascent up Volcan Maderas, swim across the crater lake, boulder roll, bamboo harvest, raft build, island swim with raft, and much more! 

As the race continued, the race took its toll on racers and the numbers began to thin. By the time the race reached the base of Volcan Concepcion (the second volcano climb in the race), there were only three racers left on the course. 

Paco Raptor from Chihuahua City, Mexico won the Survival Run in 27:01. This was Paco's second year to finish the Survival Run, he went on to finish the 100k three days later, for his second Devil's Double finish! 

New Englander Christopher Shanks came in second place in 27:24. Chris is a part-time resident of the island and owner of Finca Bonafide, one of the top Permaculture training facilities in the world. Severe chafing kept Chris from finishing in 2014. 

The three finishers of the 2015 Survival Run Photo by Jeff Genova Photography

The three finishers of the 2015 Survival Run

Photo by Jeff Genova Photography

Idaho ultrarunner Mark Wheeler placed third in 29:14. Mark came in just a few days before his 50th birthday with the intention to finish the Survival Run then the 100k three days later. He succeeded and became the only other person to complete the Devil's Double in 2015. 

While only three people finished, everyone who pushed as far as they could in the Survival Run gave it extreme effort! This is a very tough race and many competitors raced for over 18 hours. This was also our first year with the Team Race Category, we had four 2-person teams begin the race, with Team Beard (Chris Acord and Ben Sexton) making it the furthest. 

What will 2016 bring? We have now reduced the race distance/time to fit within a 24 hour format, our gear list is less strict, but the race will not be easier. 

Read the Survival Run report by Sean Meehan for more details on the Survival Run 2015. 


Fuego y Agua Ultras (25k, 50k, 100k)

descending the first Volcan Concepcion climb on the 50k and 100k course.  photo by Marianela Chow

descending the first Volcan Concepcion climb on the 50k and 100k course. 

photo by Marianela Chow

Not to be outdone by the Survival Run, the 50k and 100k course started at 5am Saturday morning with a very tough double ascent of Volcan Concepcion! Many would argue this first section was tougher than anything in the Survival Run. This was the first time 50k'ers were able to experience Concepcion, as the races have always started on the Volcan Maderas climb first.

The first ascent of Concepcion was a brand new route designed mostly by Ben Slow, our Regional Director for Nicaragua. It took trail running to a new level, with a 3200ft ascent up a lava flow canyon with semi-technical rock scrambles and steep loose sand ascents. The second ascent took runners back up to 5200ft near the active crater of Volcan Concepcion, finishing the 50km with a descent and a beach finish. 

After the first 50k (more like 54k) the 100k runners continued on toward Volcan Maderas, with their third and final ascent in sight. The Maderas ascent was a new trail up the backside of the volcano, with a longer, steeper and muddier trail taking most runners into the crater lagoon in the foggy darkness. 

Out of 80 starters in the 100k race, only 21 finished. The Costa Rican men took the field with 1st place finishes in all three distances.

"If I get hurt, lost or die, it is my own damn fault" - taking the Caballo Blanco oath before the 50k/100k start Photo by Photo Runners SV

"If I get hurt, lost or die, it is my own damn fault" - taking the Caballo Blanco oath before the 50k/100k start

Photo by Photo Runners SV

100k Results Summary

Mainor Ramirez of Tilaran, Costa Rica won the Men's 100k in 17:05. Mainor was 2nd to Nick Hollon in 2014 and came back faster and stronger than ever. 2nd place was Seamus Tompkins of Flagstaff, Arizona, in 17:39. 3rd place was local favorite Johnson Cruz Barrios, coming in at 17:54.

The Women's 100k race was won by Cinthia Espinoza of Hidalgo, Mexico in 23:41. Shanna Bordner of Hatfield, PA was the second and only other woman to finish the 100k in 27:49. It must be noted that Shanna also started the Survival Run 3 days before, racing all night and lasting over 20 hours before being cutoff. 

Compared to the 100k courses of years before, this course was the toughest, a completely new level of racing. The sub 11 hour Nick Clark put down in 2013 cannot even be compared, Nick will need to come back to test his abilities on this course! 

50k Results Summary

The 50k Men's race was won by Federico Pacheco Rojas of Tres Rios, Costa Rica in 8:28. 2nd place was Luis Ricardo Forrest of San Jose, Costa Rica in 8:34 and 3rd Eddy Dimas Garcia of Rivas, Nicaragua in 8:37. Eddy Dimas was the 2014 50k winner. 

he 50k Women's race was won by Zoe Romano of Richmond, VA in 9:02, 2nd place Jennifer Nuñez from Guy, AL in 10:48 and 3rd place Soto Zamora from San Jose, Costa Rica in 11:19. 

25k Results Summary

The 25k was a gorgeous 33km loop on the slopes of Volcan Maderas to the remote village of Las Cuchillas. It was a hot course, but fast and very different from the 25k Maderas crater ascent of 2014. 

The 25k Men's race was won by Feliciano Rodriguez of Heredia, Costa Rica in 2:49. 2nd Place by Keith Laverty of Seattle, WA in 2:50 and 3d place by Reynol Peraza of San Rafael, Costa Rica in 3:09. 

The 25k Women's race was won by Samantha Voorhees of Knoxville, TN in 3:25, 2nd place by Megan Hurster of St Louis, MO in 3:28 and 3rd place by Monica Weir from Managua, Nicaragua in 3:53. 

Beer Mile

The Beer Mile was started in 2013 by Patrick Sweeney and has since become a yearly occurrence on the Friday before the Ultras. Little Morgan's Hotel and Restaurant sponsored the event this year and donated 50% of proceeds to the village of Los Ramos for the landslide relief project. It was a fun time on the sand and something we will do for years to come. 


Beer Mile antics Photo by Jeff Genova Photography

Beer Mile antics

Photo by Jeff Genova Photography


Photo by Jeff Genova Photography

Photo by Jeff Genova Photography

Registration

  • 25k, 50k, 100k Registration is open for 2016 here on UltraSignup, a 20% Early Bird discount is available until Feb 28th using the coupon code FYA2016EARLYBIRD
  • Survival Run registration requires an application process, you can read more about it HERE, submit an application and get your entry in by Feb 28th for the 20% discount. **Survival Run entry is limited and is first come, first served. 

Special Thanks

  • Ben Slow, new Regional Director for Fuego y Agua in Nicaragua, and not to forget his Cafe Campestre, one of the best places to eat in Nicaragua!
  • Jorge Arguello, Director of Operations and Marketing in Nicaragua!
  • Sean Meehan, Gabi Stephens, Yishai Horowitz and Peter Marston for Survival Run and Ultras support
  • Jeff Genova for his amazing photography and time on the course! 
  • Joel Castillo Photography team for shooting both races and providing great photos!
  • Managua Medical Team for their medical support
  • Dive Nicaragua for their time in the water during the Survival Run
  • All of our Volunteers for their tireless efforts! 
  • Team Platinum Rig for their school supply donations! 
  • SUSAETA for their generous donation of over 400 schoolbooks! 
  • TOÑA and FUENTE PURA for water, Aid Station Logistics, beer and much more! 
  • UltraRuner Chats for GU Gels and Electrolytes!
  • Easy Rent-A-Car for Toyota Hilux race vehicles! 
  • EMTEX and IT Factory for shirt and banner printing! 
  • INTUR Nicaragua for logistics and marketing support! 
  • Canal 8 and La Prensa for publicity! 
  • CITI Nicaragua for Start/Finish infrastructure 
  • CLARO Nicaragua, Red Bull, Bayer Aleve and Target Ogilvy for their Sponsorship and support of the races! 
  • Luna Sandals for donating gift certificates to all 1st place winners!
  • Hotel Villa Paraiso as our host hotel and for providing a gorgeous venue! 

Until next year! 

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