CCC, 101 km / 6100 m
Start: 9AM, 30TH AUG
The lil’ sis’ race of UTMB week follows the same course as the biggun’ starting from the Italian side of Monte Bianco in Courmayeure and is often seen as something of a warm up race for the ‘real deal’. It usually attracts a big field of American and Asian runners who want to test their legs on European rocks.
At last years CCC (Courmayeure-Champex-Chamonix) Miao Yao set a new course record with a blisteringly fast race, I don’t think we are gonna see anyone match her time this week but that does not mean that the 2019 field of fierce elites runs deep, in fact i cant remember seeing a field as competitive as this at CCC before.
Two months ago Brittany treated us all to a trail-nail-biter as she crept closer and closer to the leading Clare Gallagher during a fast year at Western States. She did catch up at one point but Gallagher who was determined to not loose her grip of the cougar trophy found an extra gear and Brittany had to make do with taking second with the forth fastest female time in States history. Peterson earned her golden ticket space by winning Bandera 100 in January and tuned up for WS with a 6th at Way Too Cool in March. Since her stellar performance in squaw she’s revisited the sky running series with a fourth at Tromso Skyrace last month. Brittany is fast, and especially so on mountainous terrain so CCC should be right up her Chamonix valley!
You might remember how in last week’s preview I was hoping that Holly would surprise me by not starting at Ultraks Extreme this week, well she did not hear my shred-prayer and it looks like she took a fall out on the gnarly course. Judging by Hollys instagram account it was her face that took the worst of the fall so fingers crossed she will be fighting fit to give Brittany some serious competition on Friday. After her return from an early season foot injury Holly has more than made up for what she missed with relentless racing and continuous top 5 positions on the sky running series. Most recently she placed 8th at a hugely competitive Sierre Zinal just a week after taking second at Tromso Skyrace. Hollys intense racing schedule doesn’t appear to have taken a toll on her legs and I think she’s in with a big chance of a podium place at CCC.
If you are a flat-lander in need of inspiration to attempt rugged mountain races then take a look at the running resume of this Dutch crusher. Debats has been a frequent podium visitor on the sky racing series for a few years proving that hailing from a pancake shaped landscape does not mean you can’t grow up to ace a ridge scramble. In 2019 Ragna has tried to put her running shoes in new conditions and started her season with a win at Marathon Des Sables. She followed that up with a third place behind Ida Nilsson and Holly Page in another legendary stage race; the Costa Rica Coastal challenge and finally to prove she hadn’t lost her short and sharp kick won at a stacked Transvulcania.
The OG poster girl for competitive mountain trails is back in her first race after giving birth to a beautiful little future ultra crusher in March. Forsberg who has been back in her old hoods in Chamonix to tune up for the race is stating that though she is yet to reach her best shape she is feeling good enough to give CCC a proper go. It will be exciting to see what a race eager Forsberg can deliver! Heja Emelie!
Other runners to look out for on Friday are UK’s ANNA MARIE WATSON who took 8th at Lavaredo earlier in the summer and GEMMA ARENAS who’s though she has had a bit of a quiet year sits on enough experience and consistency to be able to perform well on a good day. American runners STEPHANIE HOWE VIOLETTE and AMANDA BASHAM should also be able to run well on the CCC course and old timer MIRA RAI is back ready to race!
CCC starts in Courmayeure at 9 am this Friday morning.