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mont blanc massif
personal autonomy
high altitude
finish line
weather conditions
Lizzy Hawker, Ultra Runner And Winner Of The Utmb
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Lizzy Hawker, Ultra Runner And Winner Of the Utmb

Races longer than the traditional 42,2 km marathon are referred to as ultrarunning. Distances like 50 km, 50 miles, 100 km and 100 miles are common, but anything over 42,2 kilometers can count as an ultra race.

One of the famous ultra races is the UTMB, Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, which is 166 kilometers, or a bit longer than 100 miles. It goes around the Mont Blanc massif and the runners run through three countries. They start in Chamonix in France, run south of Mont Blanc to Italy, pass through Courmayeur and run through Swiss on their way to Chamonix again. This route is very uneven and has 9,700 meters of ascent. Runners that want to run the UTMB have to finish difficult ultra races to qualify for admission. In spite of those demands the race 2012 had almost twice as many registered as could get in. This means there has been a draw among qualified registrants and more than half of them didn't get in and have to try again next year, 2013.

The UTMB is a mountain race that requires very good training. There are numerous passages in high altitude over 2500m. The weather conditions can get very difficult with wind, cold and rain and maybe even snow at the highest altitudes. The runners are out there during the night also and have to have adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy.

The winners of the UTMB in august 2011 were Lizzy Hawker who was the first woman and Kilian Jornet, the fastest man. She crossed the UTMB finish line first for the fourth time in 25:02 and in 13th place overall. This is amazing when taken into account that she had to deal with pain in the hip the last 40 miles. The second woman to cross the finish line was almost three hours after Lizzie Hawker. Lizzies pace was unbeatable among the women and she was among the fastest 20 runners throughout the entire race. In 2011 the route was almost 170 km due to difficult weather conditions at the high passes between Champex in Swiss and Chamonix in France.

Lizzy Hawker lives and trains in Swiss and she competes in several ultra races around the world. She won the 24 Hour Commonwealth Championships in September 2011 in a world´s best performance of 247.06km. The International Association of Ultra runners held a competition recently and Lizzy Hawker beat 17 other women ultrarunners and was crowned athlete of the year 2012.

She is without doubt a role model for women around the world. It is unbelievable that one can run so fast and far. She shows that everything is possible. Almost.


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Steve37  

good article...

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  about 9 years ago
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