On 23 June 2017, South Africa’s top men’s trail athlete, Christiaan Greyling (Jeep Team/Salomon/Garmin) raced the Marathon du Mont-Blanc 80km Ultra-Trail through the Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley in France finishing 6th overall (4th in cat).
Since its inception in 1979, the Marathon du Mont Blanc has grown, featuring 8 races over 3 days and attracting 10 300 registered runners representing 75 countries.
The Marathon du Mont-Blanc 80 Ultra-Trail race started at the Tourist Centre of Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps, and covered exactly 92.5km and 6000m of elevation gain.
The race is limited to 1000 participants and is one of the most technical and demanding ultra-trail races in its category as it crosses an entire valley, traverses over summits with wet narrow paths, snowy sections, and the iconic Aiguilles Rouge Nature Reserve, all at an average altitude of over 2000m.
“What a rollercoaster day on one of the toughest Ultras I’ve ever done. When you start out on an ultra-trail, you will always find something beyond the norm. You are broken down to a point where nothing is important anymore, and then you find yourself on top of this huge mountain, depleted, and wonder how you got there,” says Greyling.
Greyling, pushed hard throughout the race, gaining nine places from the start of his race to finish in 6th place overall in 12h17m42s – an impressive improvement from his 13th place finish in 2016.
First place in the 85.3km race went to Xavier Thevenard (France) in 11h03m05s; Clemente Mora Cristofer (Spain) in second in 11h16m55s; and in third place in 11h33m24s was Romain Berger (France).
Greyling concludes, “I am super happy with 6th place finish in this unbelievable race. It is a great start to a new adventure in my life. In the end, it doesn’t matter what position you finish in, but rather the journey to get you there!”
Results – 80km Marathon du Mont Blanc
1. Xavier Thevenard (FRA) 11:03:05
2. Clemente Mora Cristofer (ESP) 11:16:55
3. Romain Berger (FRA) 11:33:24
4. Cedric Celarier (FRA) 11:40:32
5. Gregory Vollet (FRA) 12:06:38
6. Christiaan Greyling (RSA) 12:17:42
1. Mimmi Kotka (SWE) 12:59:51
2. Lucinda Bartholomew (AUS) 13:23:12
3. Ekaterina Mityaeva (RUS) 13:24:11
4. Landie Greyling (RSA) 13:31:14
5. Marianne Hogan (CAN) 14:36:40
6. Cecile Clet (FRA) 14:39:38