ULTRA TOUR MONTE ROSA 2019 (170km/D+11300): 100 MILES CUT SHORT AT 82K. WINNERS DAMIAN HALL AND CORINE KAGERER

 

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The 2019 Ultra Tour Monte Rosa was significantly affected by a severe weather system unusual for the time of year. The flagship race, the 170 km full tour of Monte Rosa was stopped at Gressoney La Trinité in Aosta, 82 km into the race, for reasons of safety. Of the 239 starters, 5 women and 90 men reached Gressoney.  The 100 mile endurance race around the giant massif of Monte Rosa cut short at 82 km due to bad weather. The interrupted race was won by Damian Hall from the United Kingdom in 11:30:00 and Corine Kagerer from Switzerland in 13:52:56.

 

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ULTRA TOUR MONTE ROSA 2019 (170km/D+11300)

 

Thre UTMR 2019 event offered up to three races for the weekned, the non-stop ultra tour of Monte Rosa (170km – D+11300m) accompanied by a stage race over four days in the same course and a sister race ‘Three  Passes Ultra’ covers 100 km from Gressoney-la-Trinité to Grächen, with D+6,300m, crossing  Passo Turlo and Passo Monte Moro.

 

 

Unfortunately, the main event, the 100 mile endurance race around the giant massif of Monte Rosa was the first to be cut short at 82 km upon arrival at Gressoney due to bad weather. The 170 km course has 11,600m of elevation change and crosses six passes of around 3000m altitude, with a highest point of 3,295m. This adds to the challenge of the distance but it also means the route is vulnerable to bad weather and after the race started 10 to 30cm of snow fell on these high passes. The technical descents off Turlo and Monte Moro in these conditions were simply impassable for runners in a race situation.

The 2019 Ultra Tour Monte Rosa was significantly affected by a severe weather system unusual for the time of year. The flagship race, the 170 km full tour of Monte Rosa was stopped at Gressoney La Trinité in Aosta, 82 km into the race, for reasons of safety. Of the 239 starters, 5 women and 90 men reached Gressoney. The interrupted race was won by Damian Hall from the United Kingdom in 11:30:00 and Corine Kagerer from Switzerland in 13:52:56.

Race leader, Damian Hall (UK), said, “I loved [the first half of] the UTMR course, the perfect combination of beauty and brutishness. Flowing singletrack, long climbs, fun descents, huge views, the excitement of a glacier crossing. Altogether thrilling technical running with a more remote feel than many other mountain races.” Hall was called by Race Director Lizzy Hawker with the news that the race had been stopped. Hall said, “There was some relief to be honest. It sounded like it would be a long, cold, wet night,” and added, “but there is some disappointment of not being able to see the whole course. So I’ll just have to come back!”

The first woman at the time of race stoppage was Corine Kagerer from Wetzikon, Switzerland in 13:52:56 who finished 18th overall. She noted that one of the beautiful things about UTMR is the privilege of being, “often alone on the way in a huge landscape”. About the shortened race she stated, “safety comes first and the mountains and the weather should be respected. The mountains are still there and we can come back healthy and happy.”

 

The UTMR has two other race events – the 100 km 3 Passes from Gressoney to Grachen & the 4-day Stage Race, both of which were also affected by the weather. Snow and freezing temperatures above 2400m meant that cancelation was the only safe option for the 100 km 3 Passes & for the third and fourth stages of the Stage Race. Stage race runners had the option of a low altitude 23 km race from Macugnaga which did not count towards the final standing. Winners were Bikash Tamang of Nepal in 10:24:21 and Céline Finas of France in 12:48:40. All 100 km and 170 km runners were also given the option to take part in the first edition of the Grächen Berglauf on Saturday 7 September.

“The UTMR aims to give an authentic mountain race experience, but with an intimate feel. We start and finish in a small mountain village and places are limited, so it’s easy for runners to meet each other, which is sometimes difficult in more commercial races,” Hawker comments on the difference of her race.

Around 200 volunteers and staff gave their service to make the event happen. The fourth edition is scheduled for 2-5th September 2020.

 

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Info by Mayayo for Trailrunningspain