The first thing many of the participants did this morning upon waking up, was look at the sky (a few even confessed to not sleeping much due to the excitement of the adventure ahead). After it rained on Saturday, and at dawn this morning, there was a great sigh of relief: a few clouds lingered in the otherwise blue sky. The 850 ultra-trail participants (including 106 women) lined up along the start line in ideal conditions, both with regards to the weather, and the atmosphere enrobing Courmayeur.
The start of the race was slightly delayed due to a few extra random checks to runners' bags, as it is imperative everyone is competing with all the required materials in their bags, including crampons, necessary to safely pass the highest passes which already have a dusting of snow. Summer has not only left high up on the peaks, as further down in the valleys the weather is getting a little chilly, and people have started taking out their heavier jackets.
After crossing the start line, the runners passed through the centre of Courmayeur, where cheering crowds lined the streets. They then made their way to La Thuile, the bivouac Promoud, the Colle Crosatie (2829 meters), and then descended to the first of six bases, in Valgrisenche, with the race leaders arriving at 17:30. The first to leave, and get back to the trail was Franco Collé, winner of the 2014 edition, after a speedy 7 minute transition. The first woman to pass through Valgrisenche was Lisa Borzani, winner of the 2016 Tor. The race continues, tirelessly and without interruption, until the next base in Cogne, by which time the participants will have passed the 100 km mark, and will have almost covered one third of their journey.