Athletics: Anderson conquers Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
10:00am Sunday 29th September 2013 in Sport
DURSLEY Running Club member Dan Anderson completed the gruelling Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc recently.
Whilst on holiday in the Alps a little over two years ago, Anderson noticed a poster advertising the event, which consists of 104 miles, climbing 10,000 metres through three countries around one iconic mountain range.
The idea of taking on this challenge nagged away until Anderson decided to compete in a number of qualifying events.
In a crowded square in Chamonix, Anderson was joined by approximately 2,500 other hardened runners, each with a wealth of ultra marathon experience dictated by the stringent qualifying criteria.
At the front of the starting area were the professionals, whose aim was to bag the most prestigious crown in ultra marathon running.
Anderson said: “The atmosphere was like nothing I have experienced before.
“I was both excited and almost overwhelmed by emotion at the same time.”
The start took them quickly through the town where crowds gave every runner the encouragement to run tall and fast.
For Anderson, after the emotion of the start, the race seemed to pass in a bit of a blur and the intensity left him feeling ill at one point.
After letting his legs stiffen at Courmayeur, the halfway point (77km), the climb up to the Bertone Refuge was particularly punishing.
He reaped his rewards, though, seeing the Mont Blanc at sunrise, an event he described as “truly incredible.”
After 18 hours of racing Anderson was greeted by his girlfriend Liz at La Fourly.
This support buoyed his spirits and he continued, confident he could finish the event and with his legs feeling good.
Approaching La Flegere, the final checkpoint, he could see Chamonix in the valley with Mont Blanc rising like a giant above, the setting sun just kissing its glacier peak.
Anderson ran the last mile in sub seven minutes. to complete the event in a total time of 28:56:36, in 89th position overall, finishing 57th position in his age group category.
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