The world summit of trail running once again took place around the Mont Blanc massive in the French, Swiss and Italian alps. Chamonix, the epicenter of the event, showed as usual thousands of spectators cheering to the best trail runners as well as the amateurs finishing hours later. Besides a big party the event with it’s four races showed some awesome sport and thrilling competitions.
The youngest race of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc week that started two years ago takes off in the Swiss city of Orsières and finishes as well in Chamonix covering a distance of almost 60km and an elevation gain of around 3’500m. The race is still new but this years winner in the men’s race was a common name in the UTMB week. Xavier Thévenard who managed to win the TDS, CCC and UTMB in the past, lead the OCC from start to finish becoming the first runner to win all four solo competitions of the UTMB.
The one and only Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, a 170km trail run around the mountain range of the highest peak of the alps, also took place in perfect but very hot weather conditions. The women’s competition seemed to be decided early as Caroline Chaverot took the lead with Swiss runner Andrea Huser just a couple of minutes behind for dozens of kilometers. The two raced the UTMB within a couple of minutes in between and Chaverot managed to take the win with just 8 minutes ahead of Huser. Chaverot stated she had stomach issues and cramps like the year before but the difference this year was that she just run through it. Uxue Fraile from Spain completed the women’s podium with almost two hours behind the winner. iRunFar made some Interviews with the athletes to which I link below.
The men’s race was an exciting one. The American Zach Miller from the Nike team ran off fast and took an early lead. He showed a strong race and kept the first position for around 100km until he met his French pursuers in the aid station of Champex-Lac in Switzerland. He tried to counterattack but needed to let Ludovic Pommeret and Lithuania’s Grinius go in the last stage of the race. Pommeret who was in 50th position after the first 50km got stronger and stronger and saved the best for last as he won the UTMB in 22 hours and two seconds almost half an hour in front of Gediminas Grinius. Third place was taken by the American Tim Tollefsen the first of three Nike runners in the top 10 this year. Zach Miller, the most aggressive athlete of the 2016 competition, came in 6th after struggling on the last stretch.