Tor des Glaciers 450k Race Report – Anouk B

Race: Tor des Glaciers- Aosta Valley-Italy 450km (279 miles) with 36.000m+ (118110 feet)

Runner: Anouk B

Race Date: 09/06/2019

Location: Courmayeur-Aosta-Italy

Results: 1st Lady; 25th Overall. 100 starters-40 finishers.

Strava Activity Link:

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

-The remoteness, and it was all in the high mountains- the scenery was beautiful. Glacier after glacier, peak after peak mostly above 3000m.
-The terrain, it was a series of different technical sky races all and stringed together.
-All the aid station were remote mountain huts-it was so special to be there. Only helicopters could get to those huts often.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

-The first few days there was literally no food- as an inaugurated race I think they must have just given a budget to the huts and left it up to them to look after us, so they just didn’t really give us anything except for a bowl of pasta with some tomato sauce; nothing to take en route either for the next 8hrs. We literally were all hungry. After day 3, it changed -either the huts were by themselves better or organization understood it had to change.
-The amazing cheering, happy helpful volunteers you have at Tor des Geants are not en route for Tor des Glaciers. No help, practically no volunteers.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The length of the race, after a week you still out there.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I just loved it all, it was like a mini holidays that was 24/7 going on. My climbing was very strong and felt the whole way so easy. I had a positive and very calm attitude towards it from the start and never even thought about either the amount of kilometers still to go or the finish line. I just took it aid station by aid station. Some I would arrive totally broken, other I was on a high.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Understand your GPS like the back of your hand, be able to hold it, while using poles, navigate with it in the dark on no sleep for days. I had practiced a lot and made no mistakes- it will cost you a lot of time, energy and frustration if you go wrong. Then trust yourself completely with it, because you will be at times with others who will have the opposite opinion on navigation.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Need to sleep earlier on in the race a bit more, so I don’t need to play catch up on sleep. It’s all about managing yourself. I will push harder the first 160 miles, cause that way the more technical sections I will hopefully be able to do during daylight instead of night.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Planaval and Mont Gele are the most hectic sections of the course. Prepare, stay calm and get out as fast as you can 🙂

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

To me way more beautiful than Tor des Geants, just stunning.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Insane. Sky race after sky race. We were all wondering if they are doing a practical joke on us. The cut offs are super tight and most people drop because of the cut offs unfortunately.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

It wasn’t that well organized but I think I was very well meant. And I am sure they improve it for next year if they decide to host it again.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

You need to have completed the Tor des Geants in under 130hrs. so that makes the overall field already on another level. Everyone trained super hard for that.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Finished TOR in 130hrs, then get lucky.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Bring lots of your own food- especially bars etc. also only 3 drop bags, and the last one being still 2/3 days out from finish.

Weather and typical race conditions

We started with full on snow storm for 2 days – yes 15cm snow under our feet. going down fia ferratas in snow storms was hectic, then last two days were insanely hot- heat wave.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

Poles of course, full gear.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

I had a crew and it was a lot of driving and hiking up to huts to be able to see me- but they loved it as they got to see a lot too.

How’s the Swag?

A medal worth gold I’d say. And cotton horrible T-shirt also worth gold.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

100% but be prepared to suffer and test the limits, and not be afraid of heights of sky running/ridges/scrambles.