BEAUTIFUL IN ITS BRUTALITY: TEAM MONTANE GEARS UP FOR THE MONTANE TOR DES GÉANTS
With just over 2 weeks until the start of the 2017 Montane Tor des Géants (TDG) 205 mile / 330km mountain endurance race, we re-discover the challenges of this brutal ultra distance event and the #TeamMontane athletes taking part. This year also sees the inaugural Tot Dret ultra race – a shorter, 80 mile / 130km, but no less gruelling variation of the TDG.
Classed as one of the 5 “hardest runs” in the world, those that stand on the TDG start line will be facing the challenge head on. Containing 24,000m / 78,700ft of ascent (the equivalent of climbing Everest nearly three times) within its 205 miles / 330km, competitors need to be at the peak of their physical ability and mentally agile enough to cope with up to 7 days of unpredictable and changeable mountain weather across an entire region of the Italian Alps. Add to this sleep deprivation, altitude acclimatisation and a cut-off time of only 150 hours. High levels of endurance are critical to ensure you are one of the 60% to complete the race.
With pre-inscriptions to the 2017 TDG surpassing 2,500, organisers used a lottery system to select just under 860 final participants. In testament to the TDG’s international appeal, racers from over 67 countries have put themselves forwards, with organisers reporting over 100 competitors from Asia. Diverse countries as far flung as Madagascar, Costa Rica and the Sultanate of Brunei are also represented.
Explore the full list of Montane TDG entrants here
2017 also sees the very first Tot Dret. This race is 80 miles / 130km long and includes 12,000m of ascent, along with a cut-off time of 38 hours. 380 athletes will depart from Gressoney-St-Jean on Wednesday 13 September at 21:00 and will follow the second half of the longer TDG route. But beware considering the Tot Dret the ‘easier TDG’. The shorter, sharper format means higher levels of pressure as participants will want to run as fast as possible on as little sleep as possible, traversing some of the more fearsome Cols of the TDG – Col di Nana (2,770m), Col Champillon (2,709m) and the final, excruciating Col Malatrà (2,936m).
Supporting all Montane TDG and Tot Dret runners as they push their limits is a small army of volunteers –approx. 2,000 ‘volontors’ come from all over the world to man lifestations, provide refreshments and vital encouragement.
Read more about the first Tot Dret here
This year, Montane will be represented by an elite team of international athletes on the TDG. Debbie Martin-Consani (UK), Stefano Gregoretti (ITA), Julio Cernuda Aldecoa (ES), Kota Toriumi (JP) and Kevin Hadfield (USA).
Debbie Martin-Consani (UK)
The first female ultra runner to join Team Montane in 2011, Debbie has represented Scotland and Great Britain in 100K and 24 hour races. No stranger to endurance, she has an incredible string of achievements to her name, not least the North Downs Way 100, South Downs Way 100, Montane Lakeland 100 & 50 and the IAU World 24hr championships
Stefano Gregoretti (ITA)
With a triathlon and ironman background, Stefano is addicted to endurance. His love of trail running is a natural extension of a childhood of sport and discovery. Used to relying on just the power of his legs and the strength of his brain, Stefano has a strong pedigree upon entering the 2017 TDG. This includes the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 100 miles, Racing the Planet Gobi Desert Ultra 250km, Grand2Grand Ultra 270km and an 1,100 km Pacific to Atlantic crossing.
Julio Cernuda Aldecoa (ES)
Julio is an experienced Montane TDG runner, having finished 2015’s race within the top 10. In 2016, after running alongside 2nd place finisher Oscar Perez Lopez for many miles, Julio eventually succumbed to illness, although impressively still managed to complete the race. He returns to this year’s TDG full of determination and looks set to compete for a podium finish.
Kota Toriumi (JP)
A relative newcomer to trail running, starting in earnest in 2013, Kota is a dedicated athlete. Approaching all aspects of his training, time management and nutrition seriously, he pushes his boundaries by taking part in both road and trail endurance races. This attitude pays off as he often ups his pace in the latter stages of races, taking other competitors by surprise!
He has placed highly in the Challenge Fuji 5 Lakes ultramarathon 118km, Sado Toki marathon 195km, OSJ Ontake Ultra Trail 100 mile and FunTrails 100km Round Chichibu and Okumusashi, to list a few.
Kevin Hadfield (USA)
Starting out as a climber, injury forced Kevin to try something new. Enter trail running. Taking to it like a duck to water, Kevin leapt from 5km loops to ultra distance mountain events. With podium finishes for the Silverton 1000 – 24 hr race, Dead Horse 50, Cimarron 50k and 30k, Coldwater Rumble 100 mile, to name but a few, this will be Kevin’s first Montane TDG.