North Face Ultra Trail Press Release – July 2008

The 6th Annual The North Face® Ultra -Trail du Mont-Blanc®
27th to 31st August 2008.

UTMB®: 3 countries – 166 km and 9,400 m of altitude gain
46 hours max – 2300 runners – Start Friday 29th August 2008 at 18:30 from the Centre of Chamonix Mont-Blanc
CCC® (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix) : 3 countries – 98 km and 5,600 m of altitude gain
25 h max – 2000 runners – Start Friday 29th August 2008 at 11:00 from centre of Courmayeur
La Petite Trotte à Léon : 3 countries – 220 km and 17,000 m of altitude gain
Start Wednesday 27th August 2008 at 8h00 from Chamonix Mont-Blanc town centre
A non ranking event open to 50 inseparable teams of 3 people over 100 h max

Thursday 10th July 2008

The North Face® Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc®
An exceptional level of ,athlete for this years event

While hundreds of amateurs are busy training and the snow is melting on the Mont Blanc circuit, top-level athletes enrolled for The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® are fine-tuning their preparations with the aim of winning this unique event.

All the winners of the previous races as well as the greatest world specialists in ultra-endurance racing are making their bid this year.
Marco Olmo (ITA), Christophe Jaquerod (CH), Dawa Sherpa (Nepal) and the Frenchman Vincent Delebarre will be attempting to reach the highest step of the podium, after two years of Italian supremacy from Marco Olmo.

However this year, the three countries of the Mont Blanc circuit will be welcoming some heavyweight outsiders! Firstly Scott Jurek, top runner from across the Atlantic who, learning from his unfortunate experience last year, is spending this summer in France specifically to train for the UTMB®. German runner Jens Lukas (2nd in 2007), Hungarian Casaba Nemeth (2nd in 2006) and Thierry Chambry from La Réunion (1st in 2007 for the Diagonale des Fous) are also very serious challengers. One must also not rule out the French Nicolas Mermoud (3rd in 2007), Samuel Bonaudo (4th), Antoine Guillon or Sébastien Chaigneau (this year part of The North Face team), and around thirty other Spanish, British, Italian, Japanese, and Moroccan outsiders capable of causing upset to the favourites.
Focussing on the ladies, if France’s Karine Herry (1st in 2006) wants to regain her title she will need to beat off strong contenders from The North Face Team, this year represented by Nikki Kimbal (USA – 1st in 2007) who is going to attempt the double, Elizabeth Hawker (GB, 1st in 2005) returning to the UTMB® after her victory in the 100km World Championships and Kami Semick (USA) who is taking part for the first time. Alexandra Rousset (1st in the 2007 Diagonale des Fous), Sandrine Béranger (1st in the 2006 Diagonale des Fous) and Simone Kaiser (LU, 2nd in 2006) are also ranked as favourites.

The French, Catherine Dubois, Martine Vollay or the Canadian, Chloé Lanthier are also highly ranked contenders, ensuring this year’s event will be a hard fought battle for the eventual winner.

At the Start of the 2008 UTMB®, 2,300 runners and…
the highest level of ultra-endurance athletes in the World!

New for 2008:
A course with a harder, but even more exciting finish!

A change for a « Grande Finale » Finish.
« The route of the course is the strength of the event » comments Catherine Poletti. Always on the lookout for ways to improve, the organisers have chosen to make some changes.

This year, the world ultra-trail competitors will have to face a final hurdle on The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® course. Just at the end of the race, after Vallorcine, they will have to summit the Flégère (1,877m) before the final finish in Chamonix.
This course modification makes the race noticeably harder than previous years with the additional ascent of 700 metres!
Runners will take their final strides in front of the incredible Mont-Blanc landscape and will have to face one last physical and mental challenge. Will they be capable of finding the physical strength for this final test? Without doubt runners will need nerves of steel and to draw on their final reserves to ascend to 2,130 m of altitude and clear this final hurdle.

So the final section of the race promises suspense right up until the last minute. And with an extremely demanding finish…. emotions will be pushed to the absolute limit!

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