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10 November 2023   |   trail running   |   

From an operating table to trail running – Carolyn’s story running the Mont Blanc Marathon

Every year comes the time when Chamonix, the ski capital of France, turns into a trail-running mecca, with a host of different running events on offer. With tough courses and challenging routes, the Mont Blanc Marathon series offers a phenomenal spectacle and unique experience of this wondrous mountain range.

Two years ago, a valued Sports Tours customer decided that “I needed to take a more ‘global’ approach regarding my ‘life challenges’ so, living in Europe, the Mont Blanc Marathon Trail seemed a natural choice. Having had my knee replacement five months prior, it was important that I trained appropriately. I’d been certified as sufficiently sound in this respect, even though operating table to trail was so soon after!”

In 2021, Carolyn took on the 42km trail race at 5:50am when the sun had just risen, giving a soft glow to the snow on the tops of the surrounding mountains. She was in the final group of runners, the overall time to complete the event was 9½ hours but there were 2 checkpoints en route. These must be reached by a certain time to enable competitors to continue to the next stage. “I’d agreed with my ‘Training Team’ that I’d walk at a maximum constant pace rather than opt for a run, this would probably give me an equivalent average speed; certainly, minimise my knee loading and maximise my endurance” explained Carolyn. However, being in the final group she had the least time to cover the distance checkpoint and evidently missed the deadline by 15 minutes! And as a result, she was disqualified from the race.

Despite not finishing the race, Carolyn was able to embrace the opportunity to take in her stunning surroundings and continue the walk along the mountain trail. Her unwavering positivity is absolutely inspirational! “As I had some unexpected time to spare, as well as water and other provisions, I decided to go mountain trail walking on my own for a short while to admire the view and soak up the full experience”.

Carolyn may have only completed part of the 42km Mont Blanc Marathon, but it was all about raising money for a charity very close to her heart. “Admittedly, it wasn’t planned to be quite such an adventure, but I think it is important to go the ‘extra mile’! If you’re thinking of signing up to any Sports Tours trips, I couldn’t recommend a better and more caring organisation to book with. Equally, for those who wish to, I would wholeheartedly recommend taking part in the Mont Blanc Marathon.”

We are truly proud of Carolyn for taking on this miraculous marathon! Despite her surgery, it didn’t stop her from making the bold decision to race up a mountain and take the leap. As Sports Tours always says, anyone can run a marathon!

For more information about the 2024 Mont Blanc Marathon and how you can participate, please visit the 2024 Mont Blanc Marathon event page 

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