The whole Aosta valley is waiting for the eight edition of the endurance trail race Tor des Géants. The name, meaning Tour of Giants, in the local language Valdôtain patois, refers of course to the region’s many Four-Thousanders sourronding the trail.
The tour follows the two high-level treks Alta Via 1 and Alta Via 2, passing through both Gran Paradiso Natural Park and the Mont Avic Regional Park, covering a total of 336 km with an altitude range of 24,000 meters (it is like climbing the Mont Blanc five times).
The 860 athletes from 67 different countries will start in Courmayeur on Sunday the 10th September and the last concluding competitor will cut the finish line, always at Courmayeur, seven days later, in what is defined as the “Toughest race in the world”.
The tour brings the participants across the craggy ridges and cols of Italy’s dramatic Val d’Aosta in a circle , from Courmayeur to Valgrisenche, Cogne, Donnas, Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Valtournenche, Ollomont and back to Courmayeur. In each of these villages, there is a base and check-point. Each runner will be provided with a wristband with an ID chip, which will be read as they pass through each checkpoint. At the base there is also possible to stop for some rest and a hot meal.
Even thought the trick seems to be not to sleep. For the best racers the stops do not last for hours, like for most competitors, but minutes. After seven editions, it is now clear that to win counts not only to run as fast as possible, but also the ability to stay awake. The top-tier runners arrive at the finish line in 70 to 80 hours.
See a film about the race