The attention all seems to be on the Ultra Trail World Tour races this weekend, however the Marathon du Mont-Blanc is also on and the 42 and 80 kilometre events have both attracted deep fields in what is often one of the most competitive events on the European trail running calendar. The 42 kilometre event includes over 2,500 meters of elevation gain and the 80 kilometre event includes around 6,000 meters of elevation gain, both courses follow routes that start and finish near Chamonix, and awesome part of the world where the raclette flows and the stomach bulges with delight.
Marathon du Mont-Blanc 80k
The Marathon du Mont-Blanc women’s 80k field is headed by Lucy Bartholomew, Sophie Grant, Landie Greyling and Mimmi Kotka. The exciting thing for us Aussies is that Lucy is in for a real chance at the title for this following on from her win at UTA last month. She’s one of the strongest up and coming youngsters on the trail scene at the moment and has already achieved so much by the young age of just 21. In the last couple years her results include 1st at Buffalo Stampede 75k 2016, 9th at Matterhorn Ultraks 46k 2016, 5th at Six Foot Track 2017 and 1st at Ultra Trail Australia 100k 2017.
Sophie has raced very consistently in Europe over the last couple years and has experienced success over all matter of distances, in 2016 she was 6th at Transgrancanaria 125k, 6th at Lavaredo Ultra Trail and 10th at UTMB, and so far in 2017 she has been 10th at Tarawera Ultra 100k and 4th at Transgrancanaria Advanced 82k.
Landie has demonstrated many solid results over the last couple years and appears to handle all terrains and distances well, in 2016 she was 6th at the Maxi Race, 4th at Festival des Templiers 76k and 1st at Ultra Trail Cape Town 100k, and so far in 2017 she has been 1st at Azores Trail 48k.
Mimmi is someone who will probably fly under most people’s radars and is probably the one who has the potential to surprise the most, but this should not be the case given her incredible racing history. In 2014 she was 2nd at UltraVasan 90k, in 2015 she was 8th at the Trail World Championships and in 2016 she was 1st at Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix (CCC). The final female podium positions will most likely come from the above group of women but there are several of other strong female runners.
Other Marathon du Mont-Blanc 80K female contenders:
- Marianne Hogan – 1st Moab Red Hot 55k 2017, 1st Behind the Rocks 50 Mile 2017
- Sonia Locatelli – 3rd CCC 2016, 10th Festival des Templiers 76k 2016
- Ekaterina Mityaeva – 4th Ultra Pirineu Trail 110k 2016, 2nd Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira 55k 2017
The Marathon du Mont-Blanc men’s 80k field is headed by Michel Lanne, Xavier Thevenard and Aurelien Collet. Michel brings many years of racing experience to the table over a variety of distances, however his results suggest that his sweet spot is the 80-100 kilometer range. In 2016 he was 3rd at the Maxi Race and 1st at CCC, and so far in 2017 he has been 2nd at the Maxi Race.
Xavier’s versatility is incredible as is his racing resume and he is the only person I believe to have won all of the UTMB sister races (and UTMB itself). In 2015 he was 1st at UTMB, in 2016 he was 3rd at Hardrock 100 Mile and 1st at OCC, and so far in 2017 he has been 8th at Trail du Ventoux 46k and 3rd at Madeira Island Ultra Trail 115k. Given his strength and consistency over such a variety of courses Xavier will certainly be pushing for the win, if not a podium position.
Aurelien is a name many Europeans will be familiar with and now many Australians given his recent 3rd place at the Ultra Trail Australia 100k last month. He has however been experiencing success on the European trail running scene for many years, in 2014 he was 3rd at Grand Raid Reunion, in 2015 he was 1st at Festival des Templiers 100k, and in 2016 he was 9th at Transvulcania, 2nd at the Maxi Race and 7th at the Trail World Championships. These three men are likely to take out the podium positions but there are always surprises and the other male contenders listed below are surely going to give them a run for their money.
Other Marathon du Mont-Blanc 80K male contenders:
- Michael Ambrose – 14th Leadville 100 Mile 2014, 10th Caumsett Park 50k (National Championships)
- Mathieu Blanchard – 2nd Behind the Rocks 50 Mile 2017, 1st North Face 50 Mile New York
- Donald Campbell – 6th Marathon du Mont Blanc 80k 2015, 1st Highland Fling Race 2016
- Giuliano Cavallo – 10th Transgrancanaria Advanced 82k 2017, 10th Maxi Race 2017
- Guo-Min Deng – 4th North Face 50k Hong Kong 2016, 19th Vibram 100 2017
- Clement Molliet – 3rd Ice Trail Tarentaise 2015, 4th CCC 2016,
- Philipp Reiter – 10th Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira 55k 2016, 7th Glen Coe Skyline 2016
Marathon du Mont-Blanc 42k Event
The women’s 42k field is headed by Kasie Enman, Emelie Forsberg, Megan Kimmel, Stevie Kremer and Ida Nilsson. Kasie has performed well on a variety of courses around the world in the 40-60 kilometer range and is very consistent. In 2014 she was 1st at Trofeo Kima and 2nd at the Rut 50k, in 2015 she was 3rd at the MSIG Sai Kung 50k, and in 2016 she was 7th at the North Face 50 Mile Championships.
Emelie is coming back from an injury and has raced less over the last 12 months however her recent results and experience suggest that she is well on the comeback and ready to contest for the win. In 2015 Emelie had a smashing year that included wins at Transvulcania, Glen Coe Skyline, The Rut 50k, and Ultra Pirineu 110k, and although her 2016 was fairly quiet due to injury she did win Trofeo Kima.
Megan is another incredibly consistent performer over the 40-60 kilometer range and her results over the last few years include 1st at the 2015 North Face 50 Mile Championships, 1st at the 2016 Matterhorn Ultraks 46k and 10th at the 2016 North Face 50 Mile Championships.
Stevie is known for her speed and climbing ability on mountainous courses and her recent results include 1st at 2014 MSIG Lantau 50k, 1st at 2015 Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira 55k, 2nd at 2015 Matterhorn Ultraks 46k and 2nd at 2017 Broken Arrow Skyrace 52k.
Ida has burst onto the trail running scene the last 12 months and had an incredible 2016 that included wins at Transvulcania, The Rut 50k and The North Face 50 Mile Championships. Ida has demonstrated both raw speed and great climbing abilities thus is highly likely to feature on the podium if not win. The final female podium positions will most likely come from the above group of women but there are plenty of other strong female runners.
Other Marathon du Mont-Blanc 42K female contenders:
- Celia Chiron – 1st OCC 2015, 3rd Matterhorn Ultraks 46k 2016
- Maria Dalzot – 5th Chuckanut 50k 2017
- Annie Jean – 4th North Face 50 Mile Championships 2016, 2nd Behind the Rocks 50 Mile 2017
- Yngvild Kaspersen – 2nd Festival des Templiers 76k 2016
- Celine Lafaye – 3rd Trail du Ventoux 46k 2016, 6th Trail World Championships 2017
The Marathon du Mont-Blanc men’s 42k field is headed by Stian Angermund-Vik, Sage Canaday, Dakota Jones, Kilian Jornet and Tom Owens. Stian has a reputation as a great climber on vertical kilometer courses and made a huge statement this year when he absolutely crushed the Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon to set a new course record. Stian will certainly be pushing for the win given his recent successes and experience with mountainous courses.
Sage is a runner who epitomises what it means to be a mountain ultra trail (MUT) runner and appears to do well on all course types plus brings a fair amount of speed from his marathon running background. His most recent results this year suggest that he is in good form with 3rd at Vibram 100, 1st at Lake Sonoma 50 Mile and 2nd at the Mount Washington Road Race.
Dakota has had a rough time the last 12 months with injuries however his results history speaks for itself and he has pulled together some great races recently that suggest he is in form and ready to contest for the win, most recently he was 2nd at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile.
Kilian needs no introduction, although he races a lot less than what he used to, he is always competitive in whatever event he enters and I do not think this weekend will be any different. Some of his recent achievements include 1st at 2016 Hardrock 100 Mile and 1st at a local Norwegian half marathon in 1:30 (might seem rather slow, except the course had 1,700 meters of elevation gain). The final podium contender is the ever consistent Tom Owens who loves the 40-50 kilometer racing distance. His recent results include 5th at 2016 Trofeo Kima, 2nd at 2016 Glen Coe Skyline and 1st at the 2017 Coastal Challenge. The final male podium positions are highly likely to come from the above group of men, but as usual there are several other strong male runners and we can expect a few surprises.
Other Marathon du Mont-Blanc 42K male contenders:
- Thibaut Baronian – 3rd CCC 2016, 3rd Ultra Trail Australia 50 2017
- Daniel Green – 2nd Six Foot Track 2006, 5th Six Foot Track 2016
- Marc Lauenstein – 3rd Glen Coe Skyline 2016, 1st Trail du Ventoux 26k 2017
- Andy Wacker – 1st Tamalpa Headlands 50k 2016, 20th Trail World Championships 2017
- Remi Bonnet
- Max King
Feature image credit: Marathon du Mont-Blanc
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