Chamonix Mont Blanc Marathon 2012

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Running is becoming such a part of my life now that the weirdest thing about running the Chamonix Mont Blanc 10k (Saturday) and marathon (Sunday) was that I had flown from london only on the friday night and had work on Monday morning! It felt odd whilst running through the misty forests that tomorrow i’d be sat at my desk typing out some Excel document or Powerpoint presentation! Running over 2600meters of climb and 6+27.3 miles seemed by contrast quite normal.

Or course it wasn’t normal, Chamonix is one of Europe’s Premier trail mountain races and attracts some of the best competitors the sport has to offer.  Kelly and I came 6:hr 14mins, 8 mins slower than last year but with energy to spare and about 5,000,000 photos taken with my new Sony Nex-7 camera.  The winner Kilian Jornet somehow managed to complete the same course in 3hr:38, which is unexplainably fast, I genuinely don’t understand.  6hr:14 was good enough to put us in the top 20-25% of finishers and Kelly got 30th woman (about 230 women starters).
So as usual I’ll let the photos take over this blog but a few highlights of this years race, my fourth Mont Blanc marathon:
– last years Davos marathon was one of the few races I have been in where the mountain has turned suddenly nasty, wet, cold with a serious risk of hypothermia.  This marathon was great as there was a threat of a storm but it only rained at the end when it didn’t matter and the course was littered with low cloud, ery mist and a cool breeze, albeit very humid and I was sweating ay more than usual.  When we arrived on Friday it was 30degrees, so we were all grateful it was cooler on race day. I was just pleased it looked so amazing, making being in the mountains so much more thrilling.
– I love the trail running community, it is a great leveller of people – everyone gets scruffy hair, no one has an unfair advantage and everyone supports each other.  Along the course I spoke to so many people, high five’d all the kids I saw, cheered on the bands, pick up a guy who had fallen in front of me (and begrudgingly handed him his poles – I wish people would not run with them), shook hands with a few guys who had sat at the side of the road looking a little shocked and tired of the climbs (tried to get them up), thanked all the marshals and support food station staff and shared the occasional nodding glance to the French competitors (because I can’t speak the language!) in a show of – yep this is pretty hard isn’t it – but isn’t this awesome!
– the prize giving ceremony.  Kilian stood on the podium on his own as second and third pace did not turn up which was a little sad to see, however on the whole it was great to see the winners, particularly the over 40, over 50’s, over 60’s and 70’s who all completed the course in a not so sluggish fashion!  I very much hope I am that fit at their age!

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9 Replies to “Chamonix Mont Blanc Marathon 2012”

  1. Wow – looks like a great event! Well done! Fantastic photos, as usual. I really enjoy reading your race reports – it makes me wish I could spend more time running.

  2. Thanks Kris for taking these wonderful photos which give a great deal more credit to the race than my shots do!

    I hope your photos can give an idea of what’s involved to some of those who have intimated to me today…
    “the London Marathon can be done in 2h4m… what were you doing?” !!
    … yes, you’re right, they don’t run… and, of course, claim they never could… but then again a few years ago I probably thought that too.

    Yes, I am one of those who, at 55 decided to do the Mont Blanc Marathon. According to my Garmin it took me 7h19m. Even I think that sounds slow but jeez, was it tough.
    I’m not a fell runner, I’m not used to rock climbing or rock descent, on concentrating so hard for such long periods of time on my footfall, nor trying to get past people with poles on narrow paths with a sheer drop to one side. I’m not used to running at altitude. I was third English female in my age group and and I take heart that the other two ahead of me are clearly well versed in fell running and do all their training on the “real” hills… “up north”.

    The experience was tough but absolutely amazing and I have to thank the two guys from my running club who ran with me, we all went through good and bad times and we helped each other along. The organisation of the race was fantastic and the support from the locals wonderful and, as you rightly say, the trail running community is a great leveller of people.

    If you believe you can get round, you will, and that is what kept me going.

    Jannion Ireland

    1. Excellent Work Jannion,

      That was actually my fourth time in the Chamonix marathon and my first two finishing times were similar to yours – it certainly was a shock the first time! A very difficult marathon indeed.

      Well done for third place – my girlfriend and I went to the results ceremony and so must have seen you up on the podium – very impressed – the standard is high in ever category and only the brave or the very well trained would do it! i’m running the Swiss Alpine Davos marathon in a few weeks and apparently an 83 year old man has signed up to it… amazing!

      See you there next year!


    2. Hi Jannion. Congratulations on the Mont Blanc – I hope you are still smiling from it, I run it every year (last 4) and it’s by far the toughest mountain marathon I complete each year. Well done and glad you like the photos. I hope I am as fit at 55 as you are!

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