Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kilian enjoys smashing Mont Blanc Marathon CR again

On Sunday June 30, 2013 I happened to be in Chamonix with nothing to do. I heard world's best trail runner Kilian Jornet was competing in the famous Mont Blanc Marathon and the weather was great, so it was a no-brainer to go see the start at 7am.

A great Sunday morning downtown Chamonix with blue skies. Planpraz in the middle is where the marathon finishes.
I've never seen Kilian live before. It was amazing to see him fly past. All the top runners are fast and powerful, but he seems somewhat lighter and has a great running technique. He stays relaxed and grins a lot. Kilian is clearly having fun doing this, mountain trail running is something he enjoys very much.

The first runners after about 1km. Kilian flies by relaxed, smooth, light and grinning.

The middle of the pack, these are the dead serious dudes and dudettes. Stiff!

The back of the pack. Yes poles are allowed.
Later I took the cable car up to Planpraz (2000m) to see Kilian finish the marathon. Kilian was the favorite to win, because he set the 3:38:24 Course Record in 2012. When asked if this could be improved, Kilian said he could do it maybe about ten minutes faster.

The course profile with the infamous shark fin: Posettes (2201m).

The course is challenging with 2511m elevation gain and 1490m elevation loss. In the middle the route goes up and down Col des Posettes (2201m). A finish is worth one UTMB point.

Planpraz at 2000m altitude. You could climb the VK route up here, or you could choose the cable car.

The scenic restaurant will fill up soon when the marathon mob arrives.

Lots of parapenters were constantly taking off.

I considered taking a tandem flight but didn't feel like sprinting (required for takeoff).

Parapenting is a really popular sports around here, they even have a magazine.

It was fortunate that I arrived at the finish early, because there was a big crowd anticipating a great performance. Also Kilian's mother was there waiting. It was announced that Marco de Gaspari and Kilian Jornet were running together. The announcer told us that at times Kilian had even let Marco run ahead of him. The race was still open.

The crowd including Kilian's mum (green jacket) anticipating a great race.

And then there was Kilian. Alone. The crowd went absolutely wild. Kilian looked relaxed running up to the finish. He saluted the audience and made it look almosty too easy. But the clock doesn't lie: 3:30:41 - a new Course Record!

There is the winner - it's Kilian Jornet!

Look at this style, form and technique - amazing.

Kilian is not grinning anymore, but he is still relaxed, light, smooth and fast.

Kilian driving the crowds crazy as he approaches the finish.

Kilian and everyone else waiting for Marco to arrive next.

Marco De Gaspari of Italy finished a minute after Kilian, 3:31:42. Hernando Alzaga Luis-Alberto (Spain) came in third with 3:36:14 - still two minutes under the old CR. What a race!

Nicola Golinelli (Italy) came in 4th in 3:43:02 and took the first in masters (40 year old) age category.

Stevie Kremer (USA) won the women's race with 4:03:16 - she was 18th overall and beat Sweden's Emelie Forsberg (4:25:10) by a wide margin.

Philippe Brillard (France) took the coveted DFL (Dead F***ing Last) award with 9:27:33. There were 1922 finishers.

And here comes Marco De Gaspari, gesturing there was nothing more he could do.

Kilian and Marco celebrating their great CR-breaking results today.

The dynamic duo discusses the race while waiting for other competitors.

I bet this guy would agree that hunting for great photos is hard work!

The top three was brutally attacked by media. The third finisher on Kilian's right.

Fourth and Masters Champion Nicola Golinelli apparently suffered from stomach cramps.

So if you are looking for a great Alpine marathon for the last weekend of June 2014, this is it. And they also have VK (Vertical Km), 10K, Mini-Cross (for kids), Cross, and even ultra 80km options available.

The video below is a great compilation of last weekend's races in Chamonix.


Keith S said...

Nice report TP, well done.

Rgds Keith.

Trail Plodder said...

Thank you Keith!