For one week every year, the ultra-trail-running community descends on the small town of Chamonix in the French Alps for what many regard as the pinnacle of the trail running season.
With seven races across three countries, more than 10,000 athletes from 100 different nations and thousands more fans and volunteers on the streets and foothills of the Alps, Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is an event that means so much to the community of ultra runners around the world.
The international festival of trail running provides the perfect opportunity for our elite athletes from across the world to come together as one team, one HOKA ONE ONE.
Audrey Tanguy was aiming to create new memories after her success in the same event in 2018, and boy did she succeed.
Audrey arrived into Chamonix in the early hours of the morning after more than 21 hours of racing. In a race of 145km, it all came down to the final 10km where Audrey broke clear to win the title for the second year in a row.
The 2016 UTMB winner, Ludovic Pommeret, rolled back the years to prove why he’s a true legend of ultra-trail running. Ludo moved through the field from 39th at the first checkpoint to 3rd at the last.
While Audrey, Ludo and co were up in the mountains, the rest of the HOKA team were in town to meet the trail running community that had gathered in Chamonix.
Fans had the chance to meet their favourite HOKA stars before heading out on a run in the Evo Mafate and Evo Speedgoat with our friends from i-Run.
High-quality races kept on coming. Hot on the heels of the OCC came the race that has climbed from being the little sister of the UTMB to one of the world’s most prestigious in its own right.
It was touch and go whether Thibaut Garrivier would be able to line up at all for the CCC after injury earlier this summer. After a year of ups and downs, the 29-year-old aimed to simply come away with a positive experience.
The flying Frenchman proved that he can more than compete with the best. Despite two months of missed training and a cautious first 50km on Friday, Thibaut finished second in his first race over 100km.
Shortly before the CCC ended, more than 2,000 runners gathered on the streets of Chamonix to set off on their 2019 UTMB adventure.
We all have our own markers of individual success. For many, the challenge of running 171km around the Mont Blanc massif is the peak of their ultra-running ambitions.
When you can empty the tank and get the result you deserve, it is the best feeling in the world, as it was for Guillaume Beauxis and Harry Jones.
But sport is full of highs and lows, and sometimes it just doesn’t come off. When the going gets tough, you’ve just got to stick it out and smile, soak up the support and have the courage to make the decisions you believe in.
Photo credits: PEIGNÉE VERTICALE