The race around the Sun
On the 21st of June each year, 48 athletes from all parts of the globe take part in an epic race around Mont Blanc. ‘Asics Beat the Sun’ is organised by Laurent Ardito and is infamously referred to as the toughest race in the world.
The race started in Chamonix last June at 5.42 am. Six athletes stood at the starting line just as the sun began to rise. The race’s objective is to run around Mont Blanc before the sun sets. The race starts and finishes in Chamonix.
Each runner will run two of the twelve stages and have 15 hours 41 minutes to get through 140.1km of running, spanning three different countries.
As this year marks the third year of the race it was decided that the course was to be run in reverse.
There are 8 teams. Team Europe North, Team Europe South, Team Europe Central, Team Americas 1, Team Americas 2, Team East Asia, Team Asia Pacific and Team Africa. The teams are comprised of three amateurs and three experts. This year, the amateurs were selected from over 30,000 applications.
This year’s race was regarded as the toughest one yet. Not just in terms of length, but it saw the athletes hitting huge altitudes, so far up that they had to wade through snow.
For many of the athletes, this was their first time seeing snow.
It was a dramatic race. By stage 5, the two Asian teams were out of contention and the lead team was twenty minutes behind the sun.
The weather conditions became so treacherous that stage seven, the stage that would require harnesses and climbing axes, was cancelled last minute. Instead a slightly less dangerous route was chosen to take its place.
Coming in at 20.34, Team Europe North finished in first place with GB’s Matty Hynes leading the team home. They beat the sun by 51 minutes, and the next team by 40 minutes.
Europe South was next with twelve minutes to spare followed by Europe Central who were six minutes’ shy of beating the sun.
One year I would love to run the parts of the route they followed. Maybe not as part of the race but part of a holiday. These guys really are inspirational and I really recommend you watch the video on YouTube.