Many say the annual 105-mile Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, which starts in Chamonix, France, is the toughest race on earth. Runners in this ultramarathon summit 10 peaks in the Alps, scramble up more than 30,000 feet of vert, cross several glaciers, and run through three European countries. It takes most participants almost two days and two nights to traverse the whole course.
This year’s event, which took place August 28 to 30, defeated more than a third of the people who entered. French runners came out on top. Xavier Thévenard won his second UTMB in 21:09:15, more than 50 minutes ahead of second place. Nathalie Mauclair took the lead for the women, finishing in 25:15:33.