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Copyright Jeantet Stefano

Day four at the Tor!

by Robert Britton
Thursday 15th September 2016
AND WE HAVE A WINNER! Oliviero Bosatelli crosses the finish line in an excellent 75 hours and 10 minutes after leading from before halfway. There was even the time to get giant flags with his face on made up, probably ordered halfway through the race as nobody wants giant face flags unless you’re winning.

TDG winner
Oliviero Bosatelli is our winner (photos by Jeantet Stefano)

Eighty five hours have passed at the time of writing and still only four runners have made it to Courmayeur and the weather is looking to take a turn for the worst all over the Aosta Valley. Sometimes rain storms are limited to a single valley but the forecast is for thunder and lightning across the region, not a pleasant thought above 2000m. Some of the cols may even have snow!
The ladies race is almost a foregone conclusion with Liza Borzani still in 7th overall and about 10km from the finish, nearing the Refugio Bertone, just above Courmayeur. Stephanie Case is going without sleep and chasing hard, but is still 20km behind in 2nd place, 14th overall. Both are fantastic performance and I might suggest they’ll be finished by the time this is published in the morning!

night Tor
Photo by Roberto Roux

Natalie is up high, crossing a number of cols around 2700m and above 2000m for a significant amount of time, at night and in potential thunder storms, so she’ll be looking forward to a sleep or two along the way. Catching power naps of 20-30 minutes may not make for the happiest of Natalies but it is enough to recharge the batteries and keep powering on. Half a pizza helps too.
As is always the case you make many friends along the way and see the highs and lows of lots of peoples’ races. Jamie Aarons, another GB female, went for 70 hours without sleep and has slowed a little in the second half but is still just in the top 10 ladies. Hopefully the earlier exertion won’t take too much of a toll on the latter stages, but we’ll know more in the morning. 

Nats day 4
Nats grabs some rest despite Majell's photo-bombing and leaves the checkpoint after espresso and Fanta!

Elisabet Margeirsdottir, of Arctic Running, Iceland, has been back and forth with Natalie throughout the race and Birgir, or Biggie as Majell has been calling him to avoid mispronunciations, has become an honorary member of the Run247 team, mainly so he can use a press pass to get into the checkpoints to get some free beer and chill out with us. We’ll probably have another Iceland trip planned by the end of the week…
Alan Tung, of flat as a pancake Singapore, is our Lanterne Rouge and has yet to make the life base at Gressoney-St. Jean, 205.9km into the race. The cutoff for entering the life base was 37 minutes ago and the cut off for leaving is 01:00, but we are unaware if a runner is allowed to pass straight through if close to the cut off? We will find out in the morning as to Alan’s dilemma.

Nats day 4

The trails around Aosta never cease to amaze and Majell and I discovered a huge glacial cirque that gave back a rather epic echo. Who’d have thought hollering like a banshee would have brought so much joy to two grown men sitting on a mountain side. The runners hopefully enjoyed it too, for miles around. 
Not that we wish any runner ill fortune but it is getting to the sharp end now, storm clouds are gathering and we get to see just how tough this people are. The term “toughest race in the world” is bandied around way too often, but the Tor des Geants makes the Marathon des Sables look like a day at the beach.
Right now we’ve got to sleep as we have an athlete to crew around sunrise and we’re taking this journalist thing a little too seriously. We just wanted to have good wifi and free food but now we’re actually taking pictures and putting words together each day.

About The Author

Robert Britton

Robbie is a 100 mile runner who is a member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad and Team Centurion and likes to run ridiculous distances as quickly as possible.

To provide enough food to feed a monster running habit, Robbie coaches other ultra marathon runners through www.robbiebritton.co.uk and is also a member of the coaching team at Centurion Running. He likes to dabble with a bit of writing so that others can learn from his mistakes and enjoy the sport as much as he does.

Robbie is also a is a Profeet ambassador.


"Pain is inevitable, suffering is just part of the fun"


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