Just 3 weeks after the first race of the season, which saw an exceptional field of athletes take the start line at Olla de Núria in the Catalan Pyrenees, here we are at the Marathon du Mont Blanc in the French Alps with a new race route adapted to the current health restrictions to respect the safety of all the runners. This race is part of the Golden Trail World Series and the Golden Trail National Series France/Belgium this year.
Originally planned for 27th June, government restrictions that allowed a maximum limit of 500 runners and 11 pm curfew were still in force. These restrictions would have heavily compromised the event, so the race was postponed to the following week.
The second stage of the GTWS plays out in the European trail-running Mecca at the heart of the Chamonix valley. This year’s start line is at the paragliding landing field (1,035m) in Chamonix. From here the trail takes the runners across Argentière, up and over the infamous Aiguillette des Posettes at 2,200m above sea level, to take the steep descent down to Vallorcine ready to attack the climb to Le Bechar (1,700m), La Flégère and keep climbing to reach the finish line at Planpraz (2,048m).
See the full new race specs HERE: Mont Blanc Marathon
The Story So Far…
The first stage at Olla de Núria saw the elite athletes release seismic power on the 21km course.
The women’s race saw Maude Mathys (Team Salomon, Switzerland) atomise the field crossing the line in 2h21m52s! Judith Wyder (Team Salomon, Switzerland) proved her tenacity and force coming back after her second baby to take second place, followed closely by Oihana Kortazar (Team Salomon, Spain) – who was the surprise of the day!
The men saw a tandem battle between Stian Angermund (Team Salomon, Norway) and Rémi Bonnet (Team Salomon, Switzerland) with Stian taking pole position with a supersonic speed of 2h04m16sec and Rémi only just over a minute behind him, after taking a nasty fall on the descent and almost quitting the race. Davide Magnini (Team Salomon, Italy) gave it his all to come into a gritty 3rd position just under two minutes behind Stian. The top 8 men all crossed the line within 6 minutes of each other after Stian.
Just a taster of what this season’s races have in store!
Here’s the some of the line-up for round 2, Marathon du Mont Blanc:
The race’s two-time champion, Ruth Croft, is not on the start line this year, so let’s see who will be taking her place this year! For Maude Mathys (Team Salomon, Switzerland) it’s her first time racing this course, and her second race of the season with a win stashed in her mental motor, what will she deliver? Blandine L’Hirondel (Team Hoka One One, France) 4th place at Olla de Núria making her presence known. For their first race of the season, we will see Anaïs Sabrié (Team Matryx, France) a force to keep an eye on, Fanny Borgstrom (Team The North Face, Sweden) 4th here in 2019, and 8th at the GTC 2020, Marcela Vasinova (Team Salomon, Czech), her first time here, Charlotte Morgan (United Kingdom) Scottish mountain runner and WMRA champion in 2018, Eli Anne Dvergsdal (Team Dynafit, Norway) 3rd here in 2019, new team, new strategy? Dominika Stelmach (Team Adidas Terrex, Poland) WMRC silver medal 2018, Odile Spycher (Team Salomon, Switzerland) The list goes on!
The second race of the season for Stian Angermund (Team Salomon, Norway), one win in and smokin’ to grab the crown from Davide Magnini (Team Salomon, Italy), 2019 Mont-Blanc Marathon champion, and more focused than ever to keep his title and Rémi Bonnet (Team Salomon, Switzerland) is lion strong and bristling from his 2nd place at Olla. We will see Francesco Puppi (Team Nike Trail, Italy) fresh-legged for his debut race of the Series, Pascal Egli (Team Dynafit, Switzerland) another top 10 ITRA runner who’s a VK monster, and feisty young Anthony Felber (Team Matryx), 5th at the French Short-Distance Trail Running Championships 2019. Thibaut Baronian (Team Salomon, France) showed a gritty, explosive first race coming in 5th at Olla, Bart Przedwojewski (Team Salomon, Poland), 3rd in 2019, and GTC 2020 champion, 10th at Olla will be wanting to rev up the pace, and Jan Margarit (Team La Sportiva, Spain) will be pushing the pace. Stephan Wenk (Team Scott, Switzerland) is a World and European Duathlon champion now focused on trail running will be interesting to see what he can do, and Elhousine Elazzaoui (Team Salomon, Morocco) will be on this course for the first time! The list is endless…
Each start line is more momentous than the last! Some athletes have already fought against each other, so know what they are up against, but wild, fresh legs are hitting their first race of the season – this is going to be a Mont-Blanc Mountain Monster Masher – get ready for the electricity, emotion, gut-wrenching excitement, the field is open, the stakes are high, the level is stratospheric!
Follow the race LIVE in French and English on the Marathon du Mont Blanc Facebook page, simaltaneously broadcast on the Golden Trail Series Facebook page. LIVE stories during the race on the Golden Trail Series Instagram.
Check out the Golden Trail World Series 2021 teaser HERE