- Title: Gruelling Mont Blanc race aims to raise climate change awareness
- Date: 31st August 2019
- Summary: CHAMONIX, FRANCE (AUGUST 29, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWISS TRAIL RUNNER ALEX SAYING: "I think this kind of race is in particular good because it brings more people to the Alps and makes a raise of awareness for the issue of climate change, so I support it very much. I also see that the organization takes a lot of actions regarding waste reduction, and so on and so forth. I think the spirit of sustainability is there, and I will just live it and enjoy the glaciers as long as they are here, and maybe we can still do something about it, at least the next generation."
- Embargoed: 14th September 2019 15:35
- Keywords: mountains France runners trail Mont-Blanc Alps ultramarathon Chamonix race
- Location: CHAMONIX AND MONT-BLANC MOUNTAIN, FRANCE
- City: CHAMONIX AND MONT-BLANC MOUNTAIN, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Marathon,Sport,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA004AUJTQVB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Facing tough conditions and high altitudes, runners from around the world gathered in the eastern French city of Chamonix on Friday (August 30) as the Mont-Blanc Ultra-Marathon, one of Europe's most intensive running races, kicked off.
The ultra-marathon, which takes participants through France, Italy and Switzerland, follows the trail taken by hikers around the 4,810-metre-high mountain.
Around 2,300 people are taking part in the 170-km (106-mile) race, where they could face cold, windy and even snowy conditions. Runners can take up to 46 hours of total running time to complete the course - "the ultimate challenge" as described by Scottish participant Matthew Lemmon.
Runners and organisers are also hoping to raise awareness on climate change as glaciers around the world, including the Alps' highest mountain, are melting due to climate change.
Race organiser Catherine Poletti said the event has been adjusted to "leave as few footprints as possible behind" during the race. The course has been modified to avoid wet areas of Mont-Blanc, which are prone to erosion.
American runner Hayden Hawks said it is important to treat the race as an opportunity to call for the protection of mountains.
"We (should) try our hardest to be advocates for the mountain, that we stand up for the mountains, because the mountains don't have a voice," he said. "They can't talk, but as human beings, we can talk."
The race is due to finish on Monday (September 2).
(Production: Cecile Mantovani, Ardee Napolitano)
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