Lizzy Hawker Wins The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® for Incredible Fifth Time
The North Face®, the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear proudly announces several top ten placements, including an incredible fifth-time win for Lizzy Hawker (GBR), at the 10th edition of The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®, August 27th-September 2nd 2012, Chamonix, France.
Extreme weather conditions forced organisers to establish a new route for The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® races. The headline UTMB® race was revised to trail only through France, starting in Chamonix, Friday 31th August at 7pm, for a distance of 103km at 6000 D+, with 2,482 participants. Conditions included heavy rain, glacial wind, and slippery mud and rock.
In the women’s category, The North Face® athlete, Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Hawker (GBR), claimed first place for an unsurpassed fifth time at The North Face® UTMB®. The only athlete ever to have achieved the coveted title five times (2005, 2008, 2010, 2011 & 2012), 36-year-old Hawker (GBR) finished a strong 45 minutes ahead of 2nd placed Francesca Canepa (ITA), and ranked 16th in the race overall.
“Sometimes the best race is not when you win but when you overcome the inner competition. This year shows you have to look inside of yourself and stay in the moment. You can’t control the weather. I’d like to thank all the supporters and volunteers for all their encouragement,” commented Hawker.
In the men’s division, Frenchman François D’Haene (FRA) took first place with a time of 10h:32m:36s followed 30 minutes later by Jonas Buud (SWE) (11h:03m:19s). The North Face® athlete, Mike Foote (USA), crossed the finish line just sixteen minutes later to take 3rd spot (11h:19m:00s). Speaking of his experience, Foote explained: ”It was wet, rainy and miserable the first half, but at about 50km I just committed to race my hardest. I just kept thinking about my family and friends back home in Montana, and my cross country team and it got me though it.”
The North Face® female athletes also achieved notable Top Ten positions: 28-year-old Rory Bosio (USA) just missed out on podium by finishing in 4th place at a time of 13h:43m:10s, and finishing in the top 50 overall. Fernanda Maciel (BRA) achieved a merited 7th place finish, to add to her recent 2nd place achievement at The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail 120km; Helen Cospolich (USA) arrived in 17th position and in the top 200 overall.
Next level digital engagement attracted fans, family and followers around the world. More than half of the total athletes attending The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® signed up for the live Tracking APP, creating 35,000 Facebook posts resulting in a reach of 120,000 contacts. Web viewers across Europe, N.America and Asia linked in to the live web TV service attracting nearly 1 million visitors throughout the week. Watch replays, special reports and behind-the-scenes action on ultratrail.tv
The North Face® athlete Tsuyoshi Kaburaki (JAP) finished a significant 10th place with a time of 12h:03m:04s. Unfortunately, having been at the head of the pack during most of the race, Sebastien Chaigneau (FRA) had to pull out at the last aid station (Argentiere) after 93km due to vision problems, and stomach issues took hold of Jez Bragg (UK) requiring him to abandon the race just 21km (St. Gervais) into the course.
The TDS, the only race of the weekend to have maintained its original course, had the highest number of drop-outs with nearly 57% of athletes abandoning the race. Dawa Sherpa (FRA) and Agnes Hervé (FRA) placed 1st among the 631 participants. The CCC® crowned two new athletes out of the 1582 competitors who completed the race: Spanish runner Tofol Castaner and Scotland’s Ellie Greenwood.
Racers in the PTL faced many difficult hours juggling with atrocious weather, creating dangerous conditions. Even if the ascension of the main summits, like the Col de l’Ane at 3033m – the highest pass on the course – left unforgettable memories for the 67 teams, the night from Friday to Saturday was more than chaotic. Only 5 teams reached the summit of Col de la Seigne (2516m) with knee-deep snow. The rest of the group was deviated from the original route via the UTMB® course in reverse.