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"My favourite moment!" - The North Face Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc 2013

by Editor
Tuesday 10th September 2013
Tags  The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc   |   The North Face   |   ULTRA-TRAIL DU MONT-BLANC   |   UTMB   |   TDS   |   CCC   |   PTL   |   Bon Courage
 
 

Race feature: The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 was full of drama and beauty! Here runners and supporters share their favourite moments and we include a small selection of our favourite photos

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 © Pete Aylward

Photo: The first event of the week gets underway with the PTL (La Petite Trotte à Léon). Feelings run high as the participants set off on their adventure - from here on they only have each other to rely on © Pete Aylward

 

Jez Bragg (UTMB® 23:50:01)

Reaching La Tete Aux Vents (157km) was, without doubt, my high point in this year's race. As the top of the final climb of the race, it was the first time I allowed myself to think a finish was in the bag and that a sub-24 hour time was achievable. It's crazy to think this realisation can come so late in a race, but so unforgiving this race is, you'd be foolish to let your guard down any earlier. There were also some pretty impressive views of Mont Blanc and the massif; a real reminder of what this race is all about. At this point I also finally managed to break away from the 12th and 13th placed runners who chased me up the final climb. Every notch on the UTMB results list is closely fought, more so than any race I've been involved with. Phew, job done.

 

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 © Pete Aylward

Photo: The sign of a true ultra - sometimes runners and supporters just have to put their feet up! © Pete Aylward

 

Britta Sendlhofer (Run247 editor)

On Friday night, after watching the UTMB runners come through Les Contamines and before heading on to Courmayeur, I had time to return to Chamonix and joined up with Kirsty and Pete, my Run247 team-mates. We sat at the finish and cheered in the CCC runners - each finisher's eyes and smile told a story. While their journey had finished we knew so many others were heading into the night and up the mountains...

 

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 © Pete Aylward

Photo: Family celebrations - everyone joins in for the final run through the finish © Pete Aylward

 

Isobel Wykes (CCC® 16:44:39)

Fighting back the tears watching complete strangers finishing their race, but knowing that they and you had both shared something very special.

 

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 © Pete Aylward

Photo: Sharing the end of a personal journey © Pete Aylward

 

Kirsty Reade (TDS™ 28:37:38)

Running down towards Les Houches (the last checkpoint). There were suddenly lots of people around again (you hadn't seen any for ages), who were all cheering for you - you knew the worst was over and you knew there was no way you weren't going to finish from here. It was the first time I dared to say 'I've done it!'. Probably out loud. 

 

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 © Pete Aylward

Photo: Carry me home... © Pete Aylward

 

Nick Ham (UTMB® 42:01:49)

My favourite moment is probably obvious and almost unanimous: FINISHING. I felt reinvigorated by the descent into Chamonix knowing that it would be third time lucky.

Running around the outskirts of town alone with the bystanders cheering, and knowing that all that cheering was aimed at me.

Kneeling down to touch that hallowed patch of ground just across the finishing line while giving thanks that I FINALLY nailed the UTMB.

Chewing the fat with fellow finishers over a couple of beers at the finishers’ buffet gazebo in the warm morning sunshine, with a post-race feeling of accomplishment that beat everything that went before (and I've been around a bit).

 

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 © Pete Aylward

Photo: No. 1 - The next generation pays respect © Pete Aylward

 

Penny Taylor (The North Face PR Co-ordinator)

It's so difficult to think of just one moment! So I've put together the things that  take my mind back to The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.....

  • Vangelis - Conquest of Paradise
  • Sunrise at La Fouly
  • Runners both young and old being cheered through the streets of Chamonix - The spirit and encouragement of the spectators throughout the race is infectious
  • Cow Bells
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Weather conditions!

 

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 © Pete Aylward

Photo: Mission accomplished - Kim Collison, the first Brit and the top three finishers of the CCC © Pete Aylward

 

Gemma Bragg (CCC® 19:46:26)

After the last big checkpoint at Vallorcine, my dad had sent me on my way. It had been a hard checkpoint, one where you feel exhausted having run 80k and your body is beginning to shut down and say 'why are you running when you should be in bed?!' my breathing had become quite heavy, I guess because of the elevation and I was struggling a bit with a funny tum after consuming a lot of sugar, electrolytes and coke- I think my stomach was having difficulty digesting it all!

Anyway I set off again into the dark with my head torch and a picture I will always remember will be looking up at the final climb and seeing a line of head torches climbing up the side of the mountain as far as the eye can see... quite a surreal picture really... my thought 'I've got to climb all the way up there!'. I was half way up the climb and looked up again to see all the headtorches and they looked even higher than before, but then I realised it was the stars - phew!

 

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 © Pete Aylward

Photo: Jumping high and flying in the wind during the TDS © Pete Aylward

 

Helen Samson (The North Face PR Co-ordinator)

My favourite moment from The North Face® Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc® 2013 was during the media trip.  On the Friday night the journalists and I were following the race by bus. Firstly we hiked up to Col Checrouit in the dark with head torches to see the first runners come through. At 3am we descended into Courmayeur where we boarded the bus and  were taken to Arnuva and given the opportunity to hike to the top of the Grand Col Ferret where we saw the sun rise on the Mont Blanc massif – simply beautiful.

 

The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® 2013 © Pete Aylward

Photo: Here's a toast to the next time! © Pete Aylward

 

Reuben Tabner, Torq Trail Team (TDS™ 29:31:37)

The key moment for me on the TDS was late at night coming down off Col Est de la Gitte heading towards the Col du Joly, it was dark, pitch dark and the stars were amazing… really uplifting, even in a period of pain.

I stopped and lay down on the ground just to stare at them. I then got up feeling privileged to be alive and having seen them. It's for moments like these that I love to run in the mountains.

 

Photo: Sebastien Camus (FRA) celebrates his second place in the CCC © Pete Aylward

 

Stuart Brooke - Ashmei (Exhibitor)

Personally I loved this moment when ICEBREAKER came to check out how to really do it.

Icebreaker have taken a keen interest in ashmei since we launched a couple of years ago as we are the only other running brand to focus on merino wool. This interest increased when we turned up to the UTMB with our recently restored 1964 airstream "pop up shop". 

 

 

 

If you want to share your 'favourite moment' or a great photo please send an email to britta@run247.com. We will add the best contributions to this article!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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