Tomorrow the 5th Annual Tour du Mont Blanc gets underway, with the winners of the first four Tour’s facing off for the first time. The ultramarathon event, sponsored by The North Face, is a non-stop race around the iconic Mont Blanc, on trails that will run more than 100 miles, and more than 8900 meters of altitude gain. There will be 2200 competitors in the event, and it is expected to take up to 46 hours to complete.
Amongst those running in this year’s race are Dawa Sherpa of Nepal, Vincent Delebarre from France, Christophe Jaquerod of Switzerland and Italian Marco Olmo. These four men are the winners of the past four events, and will square off against one another for the first time. Other runners of note include American Karl Metzer, who has had an outstanding year, Hal Koerner, winner of this year’s Western States 100, Scott Jurek, one of the best ultra-runners around, and of course North Face sponsored athlete Dean Karnazes.
The trail, which passes through France, Italy, and Switzerland, will offer a challenge to even the best ultra-marathoners. The vertical drops and gains alone should keep things interesting, and the field is has deep and talented as ever. It’s tough to pick a favorite with all the great athletes in this race, but I’d have to think that Jurek will be tough to beat. I’d also guess that Karnazes won’t finish in the top ten, but he has been reportedly training a lot for this event, so we’ll see.
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