The Coastal Challenge is a magical race in an equally magical place. The actual running is quite tough with lots of challenging terrain but offers great variety with dirt roads, jungle, beaches, highland, river crossings and even several stretches in river beds. The humidity and the heat adds to the test. This is however balanced by relaxing camp life with cooked meals supplied and luggage transported by the organisation every day. The atmosphere is fantastic and very friendly and you soon feel like you are part of a big family where everyone support each other. One of the best races I’ve done. Read my full blog here: http://ultraruneli.com/2016/02/27/the-coastal-challenge-pura-vida/



I raced in this superb event in 2014. The race itself is relatively small so everyone can be looked after as they journey through the rainforest. The food was provided and it was nutritious, filling and fresh. It was well organised and the route was well marked so no navigation was required. The atmosphere was of hard work and great morale as everyone got to know each other and support one another. The challenge can’t be underestimated- it was humid and hilly to say the least. It was set in the most beautiful location and I was glad to explore more if it afterwards holidaying with my husband.


Damian Hall  (UK)  07:41 26-02-16 5 star review

I loved this event. It was a fantastic holiday with some great running thrown in amongst the glorious beaches, jungles, mountains and rivers. The course was a real mix, some technical bits, hearty ascents and descents, but lots of faster sections on dirt roads and I especially liked the river sections. It could get hot at times, but not stupidly so. We were well looked after and the campsites were usually next to long, quiet, palm-fringed beaches. Ahhh, wish I was still there.

TRACY ELLIS (USA)  My name is Tracy…I had no idea this was such an international event with pro runners when I signed up for it. I’m not even an ultra runner though I did do 1 ultra of 32 miles before this. I’m 59 yrs old. I have fabulous heat endurance. I trained by running 50 miles a week every third week and maybe 20 mile weeks in between, on moderately hilly terrain. I did the shorter course. if i can do it, you can do it!!

Jen Garretson and Nic Stover (USA) First time at TCC

“We had traversed back and forth from beach to jungle for the last few hours, making our own path to escape the sun. We had forgotten to bring headlamps and as the jungle trail got darker, we found a strange urgency welling up inside us: jungle motivation – that compelling need to get away from areas where you can’t see things, but things can see you. We were back on the beach as soon as the sun was down.”


“I had never done a stage race before, but now I am hooked. I also feel like, if I died tomorrow, I would die happy because this race made me feel complete.”

– Kelly Ridgeway (USA)  first time at TCC  


“Now, after three months has passed from the ending of the race, it happens that I woke up in the middle of the night thinking everything was just a dream. So I need to open my photo album to reassure me it was all real (do you think I should sue Tim Holmstrom for having lost my sleep???!!!!)”

– Leonardo Soresi, (Italy)  first time at TCC  


“The race I did in 2006 still ranks among the very best experiences of my life… It really recharged my ‘batteries’ psychologically.  I’ve done a lot of races all over the world…and I’m not REALLY a runner per-say so when I say it was one of the best experiences it’s saying a lot.”

– Ben Nachrieb,  (USA)


“Seriously, it was one of the best experiences of my life.  I know in terms of my running it was not my finest hours… : )  , but what I gained in every other way far outweighed a medal at the end.  You and your staff were wonderful, the people of Costa Rica were awesome and I will definitely plan another stage race.    Thank you for everything!   I hope you are well and enjoyed a little down time after we departed.    Take care and like it or not you will see me again.  : )   – Tamara,  (USA)


“The 2009 Coastal Challenge was the hardest race I have ever done. The pain you feel on the race course goes away, but the memories and experiences of the whole event leave such a lasting impression that I can’t wait for the next one!!! Thanks to all the TCC Event Staff and Volunteers for providing such an amazing racing experience. Bring on Panama and the Route of Fire!” – Jennifer Samway, (USA) first time at TCC  


“Doesn’t really matter what happens – it will be an incredible experience. I have run races in China, Saudi, the Barbados and Jamaica as well as Canada and the US but nothing has been as seductive as this race.” -Doone Watson,  (CANADA )4 time TCC competitor and achieved 4th place finish in women’s division in 2009

We were adolescents amongst the elders of endurance racing, ignorant of what we were about to get ourselves into, but open to learning as much as possible from these amazing athletes who surrounded us. At times, it felt as if we had tapped into some secret fraternity or brotherhood of physical pain. Little did I know we were about to get the hazing of a lifetime.”  (USA)– Jen Garretson and Nic Stover/ Boise Idaho, TCC 2005


“We were all in competition with one another –but at the same time, we were out there, on our own in the Costa Rican jungle for each other” “I hadn’t finished, but I had learned so much. I had gained experience and wisdom… My plan was to go easy, to better my chance of making it to the finish line. Instead, I had suddenly got competitive, tried to push, and had injured myself. So I come out of this both wiser and stronger…and so totally ready to go again.”

-Jaqueline Windh 2008,  (CANADA) In 2009 she would return to for a strong finish.


“My secret wish is that I would become younger so that I can continue to run TCC again next year and the year after and the year after that. The experience is indescribable to the uninitiated. The friendships gained invaluable”.

– Jay Norman,  (USA)  5th TCC under his belt ! ( Only person to race at every TCC, he had just turned 71 years young on course and we had Betty to thank for letting him spend his birthday with us.)



I will never forget…. The smiles I had, the laughs I shared, the photos we took, the people I met, the things I saw, the places I explored, the food that nourished me, the staff who guided me, the team that encouraged me, the strangers that welcomed me, the friends who helped me, my family that supported me, and the future that awaits me.

On day two I was asked to choose one word to describe what I was feeling, and it remains the same today.

I am forever GREAT FULL.  – Gemma  Slaughter – Team Canada – 2013



Epic! The only word that can really sum up the experience I’ve just had! I will never forget all the special moments we all shared!

 Pavel Stepczynski – Team Canada – 2013


 I have to tell you that randomly there were three race participants on my flight from San Jose. I saw them at baggage claim and Chance walked up wearing the TCC medal around his neck. He said he didn’t care if anyone stole his backpack or bag, but he “wasn’t losing his passport OR his medal. he “earned that”. It was a really great to see the significance of it. – 2013

 Team Canada – 2013

TCC Perspectives