Perfect race conditions for the 13th edition of the Trail Verbier Saint Bernard by UTMB!
“The trails are in excellent conditions” announced Tiphaine Artur, the co-founder of the event, to the runners attacking the X-Alpine on Friday evening during the starting line briefing. Perfect race conditions are anticipated for all the runners who set off for the three flagship races here in Verbier, the X-Alpine (140km), the X-Traversée (76km) and the Verbier Marathon (45km) while the Verbier X- Plore (26km) kicks off Sunday at 9 am.
By the light of their headlamps, the X-Alpine participants set off on an adventure under an idyllic starry night with temperatures around 8°C. Saturday morning saw the departures of the X-Traversée from La Fouly and the Verbier Marathon from Liddes. The sun was there for the runners, not too hot during the day, under mild weather and only around twenty degrees, a godsend for the runners and the organization.
The three race routes were true to their reputations - authentic, mountainous and steep. All day long, local Valais runners proved to be the fastest. Emily Vaudan, was playing with a home-field advantage and had every intention of making it known. The one that will line up with the UTMB® at the end of August in Chamonix wins in 24:24.
X-Alpine (140km) Results
"An incredible day, 24 hours doing what we love. At the beginning there are many of us. At the end, much less. This year, I said to myself that I would ride quietly in La Chaux. I will discuss with Catherine about the length of the course. I promised myself that if I won this year, I would stop running Verbier. But if we add another 10 kilometers..." comments Emily Vaudin. The Swiss athlete had checked off this stage in her calendar, a must do for her after her victory in 2021 on the previous course. She demonstrated all her mountaineering abilities on this new course, that this year had been extended to 140km.
Among men, the French, Antoine Bouchet came away with the win in the 21h23. A nice comeback by Sangé Sherpa, tired who resigned at midday to better rest in view of his next deadlines.
"It was a challenging race that caused a lot of dropouts. It's a wonderful race that has a special importance. The first part is really nice with a great view on Verbier at night, then some technical balcony paths. Panossières is exceptional. It was hard though, a race known for its difficulty. Maybe it's a bit masochistic but that's what we come for."
X-traversée (76km) Results
On the X-Traversée, the French runner, Manon Bohard of the Hoka team, shined on the course with her unanticipated presence, following the cancellation of the 90km of the Mont-Blanc Marathon. The Frenchwoman won in 10:17 and finishes 4th overall.
"I love this course. it was a very beautiful day but I really struggled with the heat. The climbs were difficult. I recovered on the descents and the flats. I wasn't at my top form. But my muscles are really fine. I met lots of great people. I am very happy. I didn't expect have such a good time with the heat” explains Manon Bohard at the finish line.
Among the men, the Swiss, Martin Lustenberger is the new winner of the 76k race in de 09:19. Starting in the lead from the beginning of the fight, he never wavered and confirmed his status as a Swiss runner to follow with a UTMB Index of 825.
“Today was very tough. At first, it goes very quickly. Then I had a bit of a problem with the food. I didn't have a lot of energy but it was wonderful. The temperature was very pleasant. The volunteers are great."
Verbier Marathon (45km) Results
In the Verbier Marathon, the most technical race of the weekend, the Chinese Jiasheng Shen, a recent top 3 at La Sportiva Lavarado Ultra-Trail by UTMB, won the Verbier Marathon in 05h34. He led the race from start to finish, unbeatable for this athlete with a UTMB Index of 897.
"It's the most beautiful but also the hardest marathon I've done. Compared to the OCC it is much harder,” said Jiasheng Shen on arrival. The Chinese will be competing at the CCC at the end of August in Chamonix, after his 5th place in 2019.
Fifteen minutes later, it was the Chamonix runner, Bastien Fleury, who completed the podium: "I did my race, I didn't worry too much about him. I knew he was very strong. I had fun with a beautiful performance at the end. This is the first year that I have really been training and it is paying off," explained the delighted trail runner who is also a mountain guide.
Among the women, it was the Frenchwoman, Lucie Ochs, who made her mountaineering talents speak for themselves, as she was crowned the winner in an impressive 06:41.
“I really wasn't really feeling it after the Panossières at kilometer 22, but I got my energy back and I was able to run my race."