The 1464 brave souls participating in the TDS (Traces des Ducs de Savoie) took off on Thursday, August 30, at 7:00 a.m. in Courmayeur, Italy, for a 112km, 7150 vertical meter adventure. The winter-like conditions made the course especially difficult this year. Dawa Sherpa, Team Petzl member, was the first to arrive in Chamonix at 9:37 p.m., with a time of 14 hours 37 minutes. Lionel Trivel and Antoine Guillon crossed the finish line not too long after at 10:05 p.m.
Challenging weather conditions
Right from the start the sky looked threatening, and shortly thereafter the first drops fell onto the course. The light rain turned into a downpour at La Thuile.
When runners reached Petit St-Bernard pass (elevation 2188 meters), the landscape had a Scottish feel, with its yellowish hue and the layers of fog. Cows grazing in the alpine pastures along the course had front row seats to the show running by.
The only break in the storm occurred in the afternoon, from Bourg St-Maurice up to Cormet de Roseland pass where even a ray of sun made its way through… at 6 p.m. the calm gave way to a heavy rain, but not without fog and a cold strong wind thrown in for good measure! Nightfall was the only last challenge added to the already rather extreme conditions.
Enthusiasm and hospitality
Spectators, friends and family shared the unwavering motivation of each courageous participant. Some even walked a short way up the path to jog alongside and to cheer their runner on.
Between runners, camaraderie is very important. When leaving the Cormet de Roseland aid station, some participants formed into groups to head into the night together, and to run in more well lit and safe conditions.
Congratulations to the first group of TDS finishers:
Let's hear it for Dawa Sherpa, who was the first to arrive among the spectators' cheers. A symbolic finish seeing as Dawa won the UTMB's first edition 10 years ago.
At the TDS finish line the Team Petzl athlete, with his always bright smile, explained that he thoroughly enjoyed the course, and considered overall conditions to be "pretty good" since he prefers to run in low temperatures and was not too hindered by the rather slick terrain.
The race went well for him, although he was concerned about the volunteers and spectators standing along the course out in the cold. He took every opportunity possible to cheer them on and to provide them with warm thanks for their support…
1. Dawa SHERPA
2. Lionel TRIVEL
3. Antoine GUILLON
4. Pablo Manuel VILLA GONZALEZ
5. Ryan BAUMANN
6. Christophe LE SAUX
7. Damien TRIVEL
8. Jordi MARTIN PASCUAL 9. Olivier MORIN 10. Benjamin DAVID
1. Agnès HERVE
2. Juliette BLANCHET
3. Alessandra CARLINI
4. Laure REBUFFET
5. Helene HAEGEL-ARPIN
Photo © PETZL/Lafouche
For more information
- The official UTMB website
- Dawa Sherpa's complete profile (interview, bio, photos...)
- VIDEO – advice from Kilian Jornet, Seb Chaigneau and Fernanda Maciel on running at night
- Follow webTV live from the event: