Difficult conditions on the high passes created a headache for the organisers of the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa this weekend. Heavy snow was coming in and there was no way that runners could be sent out into the night on the second half of the race.
The runners in the 170k race were stopped at Gressoney on Friday afternoon as it had became clear that the snow wasn’t going to abate, making it too dangerous for competitors to continue over summits up to 3000m. So the result of the 170k race was declared at Gressoney (82k). Damian Hall was pronounced winner as he arrived there with a 24 minute lead. Corine Kagerer of Switzerland won the women’s race, with GB’s Lizzie Wraith in 2nd.
The first 2 stages of the 4 stage race were unaffected, but unfortunately stages 3 and 4 had to be cancelled because of the snow. The 100k race also had to be cancelled. There was some consolation for the runners in the form of the 23k Grachen Berglauf race, which was new this year, and many runners of the affected races took part in this instead. In true Lizzy Hawker style even the ‘easy’ race had 1600m of ascent. Lizzie Wraith won this race, managing to bag 2 podiums in 1 weekend!
It must have been an incredibly difficult weekend for the organisers but a good reminder that conditions can change quickly in the mountains and safety is paramount. The logistics involved in contacting and stopping all the runners, accommodating them safely and getting them back to where they needed to be must have been complicated. The race should be applauded for their actions and it should definitely be one for people to consider for next year.
Find more information on the race HERE.
Read our race report from the 2018 race HERE.