Adventurer Mike Horn kicks off the festivities in the most beautiful way possible
After two years of waiting and preparation, the UTMB® Mont-Blanc organization is thrilled to meet the runners once again and to celebrate a shared passion for trail running to mark the start of the 18th edition of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc. On today’s program: the start of the PTL® and the MCC.
This year, the PTL® runners set off from Switzerland, heading for Italy and the Parc du Grand Paradis for an extended tour of Mont-Blanc and the Aosta Valley. 184 runners making up 64 teams including 24 women took the start at Orsières for an adventure of 300km and 25,000 vertical meters.
On the border between trail running and adventure, the PTL® does not designate a winner. The runners are selected based on their experience, and run in complete autonomy except for some resting stops. These seasoned athletes will go to the Tour du Ruitor refuge, a famous drop-off point for ski mountaineering enthusiasts in the Valgrisenche. The first runners are expected to cross the finish line in Chamonix on Friday at midday after an extraordinary journey and more than a hundred hours of effort.
Two hours later it was the turn of the locals and volunteers to continue the celebration in the town of Martigny-Combe with the start of the MCC. This year, there was a joyous atmosphere as 1,000 runners gathered to celebrate the return of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc. On the program for them was 40km and 2300m of vertical drop through the villages which unite Switzerland with Chamonix including the famous for its steep climb to the Col de la Forclaz and beautiful vineyards.
Adding to the festival atmosphere, the participants had the chance to celebrate alongside Mike Horn, the famous adventurer who joined them at the start line. Frenchman Anthony Felber was the first to cross the finish line in Chamonix, winning with relative ease, while his compatriot Lucille Germain won the women’s category. Remarkably both are under 25 years old.
"It was a very demanding course, you had to really run even on the climbs, there were steep parts. And for once I was quite confident, I really enjoyed myself. Thanks to the public on the course who gave us wings", commented Lucille.
1 - Anthony Felber - 3 :39
2 - Anthony Boucard - 3 :41
3 - Pierre-André Ramuz - 3 :48
1 - Lucille Germain - 4:23
2 - Léa Duhet - 4:38
3 - Giovanna Martins - 4:41
TDS® departure tomorrow, Tuesday August 24 at 3pm: The favorites
With a start that is one day earlier than in 2019 to celebrate the arrival of the first women in broad daylight, and a reworked route of 145km that includes the ascent of the Passeur de Pralognan in the evening, a sacred adventure awaits the runners of the TDS® tomorrow in Courmayeur.
With 41 elite athletes confirmed, the pressure will be palpable at the start, which is set for 3pm from Courmayeur Sport Center. Among the women’s favorites, the Russian Ekaterina Mityaeva (743 Index UTMB*) will face the Italian Martina Valmassoi (730) as well as the famous Nepalese Mira Rai (703) - a former child soldier who has found a vocation in trail running.
In the men’s category, Briton Tom Evans is the favorite (903), but he can expect strong competition from the French, who know how to negotiate the crossing of le col du petit Saint Bernard particularly well. Amongst those runners of note wearing the French colors is Martin Kern (857), Gautier Airiau (861), Benoit Girondel (855), Martin Berson (828) and Antoine Guillon (827), who was second in 2017 and will be one to watch closely. The Spanish athletes Cristofer Clemente (885) and Borja Fernandez Fernandez (870) are also serious contenders for the podium. To follow the rankings live, go to UTMB® Live.
*The Performance Index created by Didier Curdy, which has proven its relevance and quality over the years, is at the heart of the new UTMB® World Series sports system. The Performance Index is now only available on UTMB.world and will continue to provide the performance level of each runner participating in UTMB® World Series races.
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