This evening saw the beginning of the longest race in the programme for the twelfth edition of TORX®, with around sixty heroic trail runners pitted against each other over the “monstrous” distance of 450 km, with a difference in height of 32,000 metres. From the start line in the centre of Courmayeur, the race will see the first runners returning on Thursday morning
At a certain moment, during the pre-race brief, her voice betrayed her emotions, although she immediately gathered herself with her characteristic decisiveness. There is no denying that for Alessandra Nicoletti, the President of VDA Trailers, the race director and deus ex machina of TORX® and her team, there is something very special about this 2021 edition. “It has been a complicated two years - she explained - during which we have worked extremely hard to make it to today, to once again give you, the most authentic representation of this sport, the opportunity to be here. Thank you all!”.
And so, under a leaden sky that was fortunately less full of rain that it seemed, 56 racers took their places beneath the starting banner, with the names of each competitor epically called out, one by one, before the start, in an atmosphere full of emotion and enthusiasm, until the final, liberating “go!” that filled the Jardin de l’Ange in the centre of Courmayeur with light and sound.
A race of an extremely high level from a competitive and sporting point of view; one that calls for a level of preparation that cannot be improvised (one pre-requisite for participation is to have taken part at least once in the TOR330 - Tor De Géants® and to have completed it in less than 120 hours), but which is also heavily characterised by enterprise and very close contact with the most uncontaminated nature, in the midst of the peaks of the Val d’Aosta. There is a spirit of authenticity, reflected, for example, in the fact that the race takes place in complete autonomy and without any signage, if not that marking the trail.
Contenders for the final victory include Luca Papi, the winner two years ago of the first edition of this “extra-large” version of the TOR, the Swiss Jules Henry Gabioud, a past winner of the TOR330 - Tor des Géants®, and the American John Anderson, a veteran of long-distance racing with extensive experience at TOR. Among the women fighting for first place - but with a great sense of solidarity - are the only three superwomen enrolled: the Italian Marina Plavan, who came second in 2019, and Emanuela Marzotto, and the formidable Canadian Stephanie Case.
The intense and adrenaline-fueled programme for TORX® will continue on Sunday 12 September with the TOR330 - Tor des Géants®, the most highly anticipated race, capable of attracting athletes from 50 nations, and which will see two separate starts (at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.) in order to guarantee the necessary social distancing. On Tuesday the 14th at 9 p.m., it will be the turn of the TOR130 - Tot Dret, starting from Gressoney Saint-Jean. The last event is scheduled for Saturday the 18th, starting from Saint-Rhémy-En-Bosses, with the TOR30 - Passage au Malatrà, the shortest race in the TORX® programme.
As well as on Facebook and Instagram, the website www.tordesgeants.it/en will offer the opportunity to follow the progress of all the races and the individual athletes thanks to an updated live-tracking system.