Athletes Outrun the Sun to conquer Mont Blanc in world first trail challenge

On Saturday June 21st 2014 - the longest day of the year – we hosted a world-first ‘Outrun the Sun’ trail challenge. Two relay teams of trail runners embarked on the ultimate race against nature as they attempted to ‘Outrun the Sun’. The athletes were challenged to circumnavigate Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, starting at sunrise and finishing before sunset.

LIVE UPDATES FROM THE CHALLENGE

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The Teams

A selection of ASICS’ finest endurance athletes from across the globe take on the sun. Learn more about them, and see what path they’ve taken to get here.

TEAM ULTRA-TRAIL

  • Kota Araki JAPAN
    Kota Araki
    Age 30 - JAPAN
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Kota Araki
    Kota Araki

    A former member of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, Kota took pride of place within the force’s marathon running team where he convincingly won the Lake Kawaguchi Marathon. Kota is now a formidable trail runner who moved across so strongly that he was nominated for the ‘Trail Runners of the Year’ award in 2013.

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  • Xavier Thevenard FRANCE
    Xavier Thevenard
    Age 26 - FRANCE
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Xavier Thevenard
    Xavier Thevenard

    As a child his parent's would often lose track of where Xavier was as he made the most of his local environment, but it was never for long as they were time and again called to the local refuge who’d let him know that he had run there of his own accord. This was all at the tender age of only nine years old. At the age of 22, he won the famous CCC (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix) and despite being a newcomer to the trail community, Xavier went onto win the UTMB (Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc) with a time of 20 hours, 34 minutes and 57 seconds in 2013

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  • Jonas Buud SWEDEN
    Jonas Buud
    Age 40 - SWEDEN
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Jonas Buud
    Jonas Buud

    His passion for the specialist discipline of trail came about by accident whilst at a training camp, a friend encouraged him to enter an ultra-run and to his surprise he finished the race in first place! In 2013 Jonas claimed his 7th consecutive win at the Swiss Alpine Marathon, that same year, Jonas also finished second in the world’s oldest and largest ultra-distance race, the Comrades Marathon in South Africa.

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  • Thomas Lorblanchet FRANCE
    Thomas Lorblanchet
    Age 34 - FRANCE
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Thomas Lorblanchet
    Thomas Lorblanchet

    Thomas is a world-class trail runner hailing from France who has been at the top of his game for 10 seasons. He is four times winner of the Great Race of the Templars, held in France every year of which he is the most successful ever participant. He trained in the multi-disciplinary triathlon where he was one of the best French juniors.

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  • Emannuel Gault FRANCE
    Emannuel Gault
    Age 37 - FRANCE
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Emannuel Gault
    Emannuel Gault

    When Emmanuel, or Manu, to his friends, was young he was a very promising runner destined for the top. However his life was left on hold when he suffered a severe accident which left him paralysed for two years and with doctors saying he would never be able to run again. Miraculously, Manu made a full recovery and moved over to trail running after he was persuaded by a friend. By profession Manu is a Teacher/ Headmaster but his passion lies in performance sports, specifically trail running.

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TEAM ENDURO

  • Iazaldir Feitoza
    Iazaldir Feitoza
    Age 36 - BRAZIL
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Iazaldir Feitoza
    Iazaldir Feitoza

    Born in Brazil, Iazaldir Feitoza started running at 14 years old; he had no interest in becoming a professional runner and simply enjoyed taking part in local running for fun. At the age of 18, Iazaldir was sent to serve in the armed forces and it was here that he realised how much he enjoyed running.

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  • Holly Rush UK
    Holly Rush
    Age 35 - UK
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Holly Rush
    Holly Rush

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  • GENIS ZAPATER SPAIN
    GENIS ZAPATER
    Age 23 - SPAIN
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    GENIS ZAPATER
    GENIS ZAPATER

    Genis began trail running as a child, running around the grounds of their family home in Terrassa, Spain, with his father. Genis’ brother, Xavi, is a double World Champion trail runner with the Catalonian trail team and an influential figure who encouraged Genis to follow his passion for trail running.

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  • Sissi Cussot FRANCE
    Sissi Cussot
    Age 32 - FRANCE
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Sissi Cussot
    Sissi Cussot

    Regarded as one of the best female trail runners in France, Sissi only took up the sport professionally in 2011. At the age of 10 she began running with her brother and sister in the local woods of her home town of Epau near Le Mans. However, the unpredictable terrain and slippery descents have also being challenging for her especially as she’s the first to admit she’s not a nature lover!

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  • Gert Theunis BELGIUM
    Gert Theunis
    Age 39 - BELGIUM
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Gert Theunis
    Gert Theunis

    Belgian Gert Theunis is currently in his sixth year of working as a Technical Representative for ASICS Benelux. The Belgian has experimented with various distances on the road but has recently taken to trail running as the popularity has increased throughout Europe

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  • Lukas Naegele GERMANY
    Lukas Naegele
    Age 25 - GERMANY
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Lukas Naegele
    Lukas Naegele

    Lukas has always enjoyed endurance sports, so it’s no wonder he took too long distance road running when he tried it for the first time. He is currently a professional running coach and enjoys everything to do with the outdoors. It was his dream to win the marathon in Freiburg and so he did in April 2014.

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  • Megan Kimmel USA
    Megan Kimmel
    Age 34 - USA
    Technique
    Speed
    Stamina
    Megan Kimmel
    Megan Kimmel

    Megan started off life living in a VW campervan in the hills of Colarado, with her rural upbringing and outdoor lifestyle she soon turned to trail running in the hills – resulting in a start to a new career and passion adventure trail running. A few of her racing successes include being a part of the USA Moutain Running Team and placing 1st at Pikes Peaks Ascent in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

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  • RELAY 1

    RELAY 1
    CHAMONIX (FR) - NOTRE DAME DE LA GORGES (FR)

    Distance: 28,6k 1475m D+ 1300m D- The course starts off fast with a smooth undulating path. After 10k the terrain becomes aggressive with a steep climb to Col du Tricot. Beautiful views of the Glacier, but a dangerous valley with falling rock and ice.

  • RELAY 2

    RELAY 2
    Notre Dame de la Gorges (FR) - Courmayeur (IT)

    Distance: 46.4km 2667m D+ 2699m D- Very technical terrain where runner will ascend and descend with 3 high passes. Two highlights are the Col de Bonhomme – a snowy pass between two high mountains. The second Col de la Seigne, with a spectacular view of the valley. The relay finishes with the runner taking on a tortuous 1500m downhill toward Courmayeur.

  • RELAY 3

    RELAY 3
    Courmayeur (IT) - Champeix (CH)

    Distance: 44.1km 2,659m D+ 2,888m D- Starts with an easy path then quickly turns into the steepest 5km climb towards two high mountain passes, the first Col de Sapin. This is followed by a short downhill, and then climbs again to the highest point of the race – Grand Col Ferret – at a height of 2537m. Then there is a very fast part before a 1k climb, finishing at the stunning Champeix lake.

  • RELAY 4

    RELAY 4
    Champeix (CH) - CHAMONIX (FR)

    Distance 43km 2,420m D+ 2,850m D- Begins with a tough climb to Col de Bovine. They cross the Swiss side at Forclaz and then into a rough, steep downhill towards Vallorcine. The finishing route to Chamonix crosses a high and dangerous rocky climb to La tete Aux Vents and finishes with a glimpse of The Pink Mountain. Then it’s a race to the finish line in Chamonix!