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Team Europe North 'Beat the Sun'

by Press Release
Friday 24th June 2016
Team Europe North finished in 1st place beating the sun around Mont Blanc by 51 mins. Team Europe South also beat the sun by 12 mins. 
On Tuesday 21 June 2016, eight relay teams from across the globe - each featuring three expert and three amateur runners - battled it out in ‘ASICS Beat the Sun’, a unique running relay race around Mont Blanc. All the runners were pushed to their physical and mental limits with just 15 hours, 41 minutes and 35 seconds to cover 140.1 km between sunrise at 05.44h and sunset at 21.25h. 
Eight continental teams - featuring 23 countries and 6 continents - were represented: East Asia, Oceania-Pacific, Africa, Europe North, Europe Central and Europe South, plus two teams from the Americas.
Each athlete had prepared rigorously for the most adrenaline-packed race of their lives with the amateur athletes were selected from over 30,000 online applicants following an intensive 16 week training programme. The challenging 140km course was divided into 12 sections with each athlete taking on at least two sections of the course. 

Beat the Sun 1

In an epic finish cheered on by a huge crowd in Chamonix town centre, Team Europe North – featuring one amateur and one expert each from the UK (Matty Hynes, James Rory MacDonald), Sweden (Jonas Buud, Anna Sofie Nelsson) and the Netherlands (Erben Wennemars, Chris Berendse) - finished the global race in 14:50:00, an unbelievable 51 minutes ahead of the sunset. 
Team Europe South were the only other team to beat the sun, finishing ahead of nature’s clock by 12 minutes.
Team Central Europe came in third, but couldn’t quite match the sun for speed around Europe’s highest peak. Team Americas 1, Americas 2, Africa, East Asia and Oceania-Pacific, were all unable to beat the sun, as nature’s toughest challenge took its toll on their athletes’ tired legs as they dealt with the extreme weather conditions including snow, driving rain and wind. 
The race lived up to its billing, with wet weather at low level and knee deep snow on high passes further adding to the already demanding terrain. During leg three, the athletes were paired up and attached to ropes for safety as they made their way across the snowy peak of Fenêtre de L’Arpette at over 2,600 metres. 
The teams faced 9,668 metres of crippling ascent - the equivalent to tackling Mount Everest – and some were on the course for 20 hours on a day when conditions, including snow, driving rain and wind, were against them.   
By the time the athletes reached leg 7, the constant rain had meant the proposed route – a harnessed climb up the Ferrata Mont Chetif – was no longer safe, and race organisers were forced to make a last minute change to the route. 
East Asia and Oceania-Pacific particularly suffered on the gruelling terrain, and failed to meet the cut off time of 15:40h at Courmayeur, and so were unable to run leg 7, from Courmayeur to Maison Vieille, or leg 8 from Maison Vieille to Ville Des Glaciers. 
Africa, East Asia and Oceania-Pacific also missed the cut off of 21:00h at Bellevue and so were unable to run leg 11, from Bellevue to Les Houches, 
By missing these cut off times at these points, the three teams were automatically ruled out of being able to beat the sun, but they battled on to complete the challenge all the same.
There were also two injuries to amateur runners, with Cui Yufeng (China)  being replaced towards the end of leg 4 by Erlinde Scheps (Netherlands), and Team America’s Mariana Bruger (Brazil) being replaced by Vincent Torres Villar (Spain) for the gruelling uphill of leg 7. 

Beat the Sun 2

Mike Brabant, Global Category Manager Running, ASICS commented: “ASICS Beat the Sun is about inspiring runners from all over the world and this year’s event did just that. We set out to make it Nature's Toughest Challenge, and despite all the elements conspiring against the teams they never gave up. This made Team Europe North’s winning performance even more incredible, and we shouldn’t forget Team Europe South who also beat the sun. For the six teams that didn’t quite make it, everyone at ASICS is incredibly proud of their effort; there’s no shame in losing out to the sun - the toughest competitor anyone can face.” 
ASICS Beat the Sun continental team placings:
1. Europe North
2. Europe South
3. Europe Central
4. The Americas 1
5. The Americas 2 
6. Africa
7. East Asia
8. Oceania-Pacific
For more information about ASICS Beat the Sun, please visit: http://races.asics.com/us/en-us/beatthesun/live-race-updates  
ASICS has also shared images from the event using #ASICSBeatTheSun across its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media channels. 

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