Athletes Outrun the Sun to conquer Mont Blanc in world first trail challenge

On Saturday June 21st 2014 – the longest day of the year – ASICS hosted a world-first ‘Outrun the Sun’ trail challenge.

Two relay teams of trail runners embarked on the ultimate race against nature as they attempted to ‘Outrun the Sun’. The athletes were challenged to circumnavigate Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, starting at sunrise and finishing at sunset

‘Team Ultra Trail’ – featuring the world best trail runners – successfully completed the unique challenge in 15 hours, 3 minutes and 37 seconds as they beat the sun around Mont-Blanc by an awe-inspiring 37 minutes.

The ASICS Outrun the Sun challenge started and finished in Chamonix, covering 152km of mountainous terrain, as the athletes climbed 9,500 metres of crippling ascent through France, Italy and Switzerland in temperatures of 27 degrees whilst facing snow at high altitude.But it was so near, yet so far for ‘Team Enduro’ – the challenger team consisting of 7 top-level endurance athletes  – who just missed out making it around Mont Blanc before sunset by a mere 33 seconds.

‘Team Ultra-Trail’ featured four specialist trail runners, each with their own speciality – perfectly fitting the course conditions:

Xavier Thevenard, 2013 winner of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc,

Kota Araki, Japanese elite runner

Jonas Buud, 100-mile world record holder

Thomas Lorblanchet, former trail running World Champion

‘Team Enduro’ is made up of seven elite athletes from different endurance disciplines, including;

Genis Zapater, Spanish trail runner and cross country skier

Megan Kimmel, American trail runner

Sylvaine Cussot, French runner

Lukas Naegele, German 1,500m runner

Iazaldir Feitoza Santana, Brazilian runner

Holly Rush, British marathon runner

Gert Theunis, Belgian road runner

Race Director, Laurent Ardito, commented: “I’m so proud of all the incredible athletes who formed a team and took part in, and conquered, this never attempted before challenge. There were so many really special athletic and human moments in this challenge – from Iaza’s tears of joy to Genis rescuing an injured animal and Xavier running a very fast time in testing conditions.”

Michael Price, Marketing Director, ASICS Europe added: “ASICS Outrun The Sun has been 18 months in the making and to see one of the teams beat the sun and the other come within 33 seconds of doing so is just incredible. When we first came up with this challenge, we wanted to shine a light on the sport of trail running and the great stories and athletic achievements that we’ve seen today have done just that.”

For more information about the challenge go to:



Further Reading