On 21 June, the longest day of the year, ASICS will host an event featuring two teams of trail runners racing against nature as they attempt to ‘Outrun The Sun’. The athletes will have exactly 15 hours, 41 minutes and 35 seconds to circumnavigate Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, starting at sunrise and finishing at sunset.
The challenge starts and finishes in Chamonix and covers over 162km of mountainous terrain passing through three countries; France, Italy and Switzerland. In order to succeed, each team will have to work together in a relay across 9,600 meters of crippling ascent, and inclement weather conditions from scorching heat to freezing cold temperatures and fierce winds, rain and snow. The trail and endurance athletes will need to combine their own specific trail skills and push their bodies to the limits in order to overcome the challenges that Europe’s highest peak will present.
The course passes through some of Europe’s most breath-taking yet challenging scenery such as the Notre Dame de la Gorge in Courmayeur, which includes a gruelling 6,100 meters of positive height gain, and the Swiss valley of Champex Lac, combining thick forest, glaciers and fiery torrents.
As part of the challenge, the athletes will be divided into two teams; Team ‘Ultra-Trail’ and Team ‘Enduro’. Team Ultra-Trail features four of the world’s best trail runners, each with their own speciality – perfectly fitting the course conditions; 2013 winner of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, Xavier Thevenard, Japanese elite runner Kota Araki, 100-mile world record holder Jonas Buud and former trail running world champion, Thomas Lorblanchet. The team of four will divide the staggering 162km distance, running between 28-46km each.
Team Enduro is made up of seven elite athletes from different endurance disciplines, each running between 17-29km, including; world champion triathlete, Briton Tim Don, Austrian extreme distance runner Christian Schiester, Spanish trail runner and cross country skier, Genis Zapater, American trail runner Megan Kimmel, French runner Sylvaine Cussot, German 1,500m runner Lukas Naegele and Belgium road runner Gert Theunis.
Both teams will have the same goal of completing the gruelling course before the sun sets on Saturday 21 June, but who will be the first to ‘Outrun The Sun’ in this David and Goliath endurance trail challenge?
For more information visit the event website.