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Aug 22, 2016
Chamonix - France


Vibram, the leading manufacturer of high-performance rubber soles, is a sponsor of the Ultra Trail Du Mont-Blanc, due to take place in Chamonix from 22nd to 28th August, with a programme of five races including the UTMB of the event's title, a race which is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour. A meeting place for enthusiasts from all over the world, the foothills of Mont Blanc will see more than 8,000 runners participating in the various races: among the athletes taking their places on the starting line will be the Trailrunning Team Vibram, ready to tackle the challenges ahead.

In the TDS, the 119 km race from Courmayeur to Chamonix on Wednesday 24th August, the yellow octagon will be represented by French runner Ronan Moalic, who is a surgeon in everyday life and who can already boast two wins in the Over 40s category of the UTMB (in 2013 and 2015). Part of the Trailrunning Team for several years, and more recently the SkiAlp Team, Ronan returns to Chamonix in better form than ever.

Two Vibram athletes will take part in the OCC, whose route touches Orsières – Champex – Chamonix. They are Sylvain Montagny (also in the SkiAlp Team) and Lara Crivelli, both of whom will tackle the 55 km route, which has an elevation gain of 3,500 metres. Competing in the UTMB for the first time, Lara is absolutely thrilled to be involved in this fabulous event, and ready to give it her all.

Running the 101 km of the CCC, which departs from Courmayeur and reaches Chamonix with an elevation gain of 6,100 metres, are Yulia Baykova and Sébastien Nain. The young Russian woman, Italian by adoption, is returning to the sport after a break, and having taken 10th place in the recent LUT, arrives in Chamonix optimistic about her chances. For the Frenchman, a pillar of Trailrunning Team Vibram who loves "running around the world" and who has already competed in the TDS, the goal is to cross the finishing line beside his number one fan, his son Mathys!

Lastly, the yellow octagon’s athletes are out in force for the main event. A grand total of seven trail runners will represent Vibram in the spectacular UTMB, 170 km of unpaved roads with an elevation gain of 10,000 metres. A thrilling circuit of Mont Blanc, in which 2,300 athletes will depart Chamonix at 6pm on Friday 26th August, arriving back in the French town on Saturday evening. The only female Vibram runner taking part is Spaniard Uxue Fraile, who has been involved in high-level competitions for over 20 years, and declares every year that this will be her last! Alongside Uxue is fellow Spaniard Javier Dominguez, fresh from the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, where he took third place on the podium. Dominguez also won the Ehunmilak (160 km) and finished third in the Epic Trail Skyrunning World Series. And the UTMB? Javier’s ready for it! Italian competitors include Marco Zanchi and Stefano Ruzza, both veterans of the Trailrunning Team Vibram and among the first “Ordinary people being extraordinary”. The two share a special pre-race excitement; Marco Zanchi is returning to the competition with a great desire for success after a break due to injury during the 2014 event. Englishman Carlton Rowlands, born 1988, is at home in Chamonix, where he lives and works as an osteopath. He knows these mountains well and regularly trains here. All eyes are on Lithuanian runner Gediminas Grinius, who has been part of the team since last December. A NATO analyst, he has been collecting excellent results - most recently a silver in the Lavaredo Ultra Trail - and his goal is to beat his 2014 time, while enjoying practising the sport he loves best in the magnificent surroundings of Mont Blanc. A special guest in the Vibram team is Huang Yedi, on loan from Team Vibram China.

The team Vibram athletes, who have followed meticulous training programmes, will arrive at the starting line ready to go and with excellent race companions, their footwear, featuring the Vibram Megagrip compound, the very best solution for speed on the most demanding terrains.

But attention will not only be on the athletes taking part in the races. Vibram will also be at the disposal of enthusiasts and interested visitors in Chamonix for the competition. The Sole Factor Truck will be making a stopover in this little town at the foot of Mont Blanc: a 110-square metre travelling workshop, inside which Vibram professionals will demonstrate their method of upgrading trail running shoes by the application of a Vibram® MEGAGRIP sole. The first lucky visitors to the truck will have the opportunity to personally test the transformation of their own footwear! Thanks to Vibram® MEGAGRIP, runners can tackle even the most demanding trails with complete safety and peace of mind. Unprecedented grip and traction on wet and slippery surfaces. While “technically” limited, the number of re-soling operations will be decided by the truck’s management according to demand and available time.

Furthermore, everyone present will have the chance to try out the excellent performance of the compound in the “Megagrip Test Zone”, located in front of the truck. Vibram staff will be available to explain the properties of the technology, and visitors will be able to test its functioning on a specially designed platform. There will be entertainment for the youngest visitors too, with the Mini UTMB: on Wednesday 24th mini trail races will be held, where budding runners can wear a numbered bib and have their photos taken - and delivered the following day free of charge - with one of the athletes in yellow! The team members will also be available at the truck for photos and conversation on Thursday between 4pm and 5pm.

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