- Title: Gruelling Mont Blanc race aims to raise climate change awareness
- Date: 31st August 2019
- Summary: CHAMONIX, FRANCE (AUGUST 29, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF RUNNERS QUEUING FOR REGISTRATION (SOUNDBITE) (English) SCOTTISH TRAIL RUNNER MATTHEW LEMMON, SAYING: "It's the ultimate challenge. I love getting out there, exploring the hills, just challenging myself both physically, mentally, and really just trying to push and see how far I can push both my body and my mind." RACE ORGANISER, CATHERINE POLETTI, SPEAKING TO JOURNALISTS SOUNDBITE) (French) MONT-BLANC ULTRA-MARATHON ORGANISER, CATHERINE POLETTI, SAYING: "Little by little, we try to solve all the waste and plastic issues. And also, we changed the course to avoid wet areas, to respect some areas with too much erosion. So, all of our work consists in part of adjusting the race to leave as few footprints as possible behind us, but also to raise awareness among runners." VIEW OF MOUNTAIN
- 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: LVA002AUJTQVB
- 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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