In a weekend of racing, the event saw more than 4,000 runners roam through the French Riviera, the peaks of the national park of Mercantour Massif and to Nice itself, as part of four different events: the 100 miles; 100k; 50k and 20k.
Despite it being his first 100-mile race, Frenchman Deck was more than worth his victory.
The route saw runners climb 8700m of elevation, but it was on the descent from the ski resort of Isola 2000 that Deck emerged as the front runner.
Deck was one of the 333 competitors who set off from the start point in Auron at 1pm on the 23rd September, but almost exactly 24 hours later he crossed the line alone as the winner.
Jérémie Marin had led for much of the race until Deck took the lead on his rapid descent from Isola, but the two were engaged in an entertaining battle until they disappeared into the night.
As the sun rose it was Deck alone who led, 40 minutes clear of Marin. In good condition, Deck cruised to victory in a time of 23:59:18, Marin second almost exactly an hour later, finishing with 24:59:22 on the clock.
“This course was incredibly challenging,” Deck said after the race. “Last night, in the fog, we could barely see the ground in front of us. But you find your way on the course and mainly the rocks! It was 165km that is close to my heart, I am delighted to have won today.”
Jérémie Marcucilli and Florent Cuny crossed the line hand-in-hand to both finish third with a time of 26:18:33, ensuring an all-French podium at the Nice event.
Debats shows her class
While Deck was a newcomer to the 100-mile distance, the winner of the women’s race was anything but.
Debats won her second 100-mile race of the season at Nice Côte d’Azur, the event acting as somewhat of a surrogate for her after she had to drop out of the 2022 UTMB.
The Dutchwoman broke 28 hours an on her way to victory in the women’s race and placed eighth overall, completing the race without assistance.
“I really liked the course, from the mountains to the sea,” Debats explained. “It was a very technical race. I’m very grateful to be able to run a 100-mile race, it’s a challenging distance.
“I like to run my own race; I don’t need to compete with other female athletes.”
Those female competitors proved unable to compete at the same level of Debats. Aya Wakabayashi finished as runner up with a time of 31:47:13, while third placed Despoina Simantrakou came seven hours behind the Japanese runner.
Other races prove popular
Norway’s Tobias Dahl Fenre won the men’s 100K race while the German runner Ida-Sophie Hegemann won the women’s.
“The race was amazing,” she said. “It was super-demanding, particularly in descent. I think I have never done such a hard race, but I enjoyed it so much.”
Meanwhile Chinese athlete Tao Luo won the 50km in a time of 5:54, ahead of Icelander Porbergur Jonsson and the British runner George Foster.
Marie Perrier topped the women’s field. “It was hard, trying, very difficult with the rain,” she said. “The course was nice, I liked it and it suited me well, it was quite technical though. I am very happy with my first place.”
The 20k saw Algerian Adrien Chouchou win in incredible fashion, just 9 seconds ahead of Vincent Viallefont, while Anais Sabrie claimed the plaudits in the women’s race.
Nice Côte d’Azur by UTMB 2022 100 mile results
- Hugo Deck: 23:59:18
- Jérémie Marin: 24:59:22
- Jérémie Marcuccilli – Florent Cuny: 26:18:33
- Ragna Debats: 27:45:02
- Aya Wakabayashi: 31:47:13
- Despoina Simantrakou: 38:51:53