Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mont Blanc Marathon weekend

The finish at Plan Praz
Another June, another weekend of Mont Blanc Marathon madness… 24, 25 & 26th June saw a hot weekend of ultra running in the Chamonix Valley. 

  • Friday 24th: New this year the Vertical 1k race from Chamonix centre to Plan Praz, Brevent.
  • Saturday 25th: 33rd edition Cross- 23k & 1500 mtrs of ascent.
  • 8th edition Chamonix 10k race.
  • Sunday 26th: 9th edition Marathon- 42k 2500 mtrs of ascent. 
After a poor week weather wise the forecast came good just in time for the weekend of sport. With the introduction of a new race '1k vertical' things got started at 4pm Friday afternoon by competitors setting off at 30 second intervals from the town centre and heading as fast as possible up what seems to be a near vertical track ascending underneath the Brevant gondola.

Saturday saw the 8.30pm start of the 33rd edition Cross a 23k race from Chamonix to Brevent via Lavancher, Argentierre, Montroc, Tre la Champ and then ascending steeply up to the Flegere and on to the Finish at Plan Praz, Brevant at 2000 meters. Wining time by Guillame Fontaine of 1h 55mins and the first female Mireia Miro at 2hrs 8 mins. Maximum time allowed to complete the race is 5 hours with cut off points at Tre le Champ & Flegere.

The 10 K race followed at 9am where Manu Ranchin finished in 40 mins 8 seconds.

An early morning start to avoid the heat on the Sunday for the 9th edition Marathon. The course takes the same route as the Cross with the added section from Tre la Champ to Vallocine, a ridiculously steep rise to the Col du Possettes and on to Aiguillette de Possets summit at 2200 mts. The route then descends steeply down the ridge towards Montroc and cuts back left to Le Tour. Running through the old village of Le Tour, across the meadows back to Montroc the route takes you through Tre la Champ for the second time before the final 10k rise all the way to Brevent via Flegere. With a maximum 9 hours to complete the course and cut of points along the route to stop runners if they are going too slow this years winner Nicholas Pianet came home in 3hrs 56 with the first women Stephanie Jimenez at 4hr 39.

Cross finishers photo- Dervla, Dee, Sara, Bekah, Jason
We all had a go at something Cross or Marathon and all managed to finish. After two marathons in previous 2 years I opted for the Cross for a change which was a wise decision given the 30+ temperatures for the Marathon on the Sunday. Karl, Bill & Norma however slogged their way round in the ridiculous heat to finish in 5hr 46, 6hr 20 & 7hr 9mins respectively.

Well done to all, more of the same next year? 

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