Wednesday, September 18, 2013

beauty and the beast

This is Champex Lac in the Swiss Alpine town of Champex.  It's at about the 80-mile mark on the 104-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc which I arrived at by car, after following the runners overnight. This was taken at about 6:30 a.m. Of an outrageously scenic trip, this was probably the most ridiculously beautiful.

This is the beast, first place woman, Rory Bosio from the US of A.  She has run for 20 hours here, about 92 miles of trail like this but steeper, and is in 7th place overall.  Here she looks like the suffering Rory, the object of spectators' stares and cheers but oblivious, focused, though for most of the race she was quite goofy. Eg, both her headlamps died leaving her alone in the dark at the highest point on the course, yawning chasms 9" from her right foot.  No worries -- she busted out her iPhone and used the flashlight app to navigate the treacherous two-hour descent. As she approached the cheering spectators at the aid station, she said, "Oh gosh, my hair's a mess."  She's facing one last climb over a 9000' pass and subsequent descent into Chamonix in 75 degree heat. She finished in a course record time of 22 hours 37 minutes of constant movement, was only two hours behind the overall winner who also set a course record, and was closing on 6th place.  She rocked the running skirt the whole way and curtseyed to the crowds at the finish line. Four hours after crossing the line, she went out dancing.

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