Tor des Glaciers, which, for its 450 km distance and 34.000 m D+, has gained the epithet of “world’s hardest endurance”, has its first winner. Or, rather, victor. Because Luca Papi, from Varese but living in France, has crossed the finish line in Courmayeur in 134 hours and 10 minutes, leaving his follower, Belgian Richard Victor, more than 20 km behind. His arrival should be expected today in the afternoon. In third position Masahiro Ono, always in the first positions.
Luca Papi was welcomed at the arrival by his wife and son, and he looked fresh as after a short race: no fatigue, perfectly dressed, smiling and hands to the sky.
“A strenuous but amazing journey, where I saw magnificent landscapes and met wonderful people”, were his first words. “I had hard times in the descents, some very hard and steep”. And the first nights of snow and wind? “Luckily I am not sensitive to cold, I always ran in my t-shirt and shorts; sometimes I wore a windbreaker and only once long trousers”. Complicated route? “I am quite used to races using only a Gps, although in these days I have crossed immense and wild lands, and it was not always easy to find the right way. Tor des Glaciers is a superb experience, to be done again”. Meetings on the road? “So many kind people in the refuges and high trails. At Rifugio Coda I met Oliviero Bosatelli, it has been helpful to do some of the road with him, until our paths divided”.
A tired but satisfied, relaxed and friendly Luca Papi. Behind the first three, about sixty runners (out of 98 departed), diluted along the last 100 km of the route. Definitely a good number, considered the difficulties of this fascinating but hard race.
Two women left on the race. Marina Plavan, first from the beginning, is now at Rifugio Duca Degli Abruzzi, under the Cervino, and Anouk Baars, who has not arrived there yet.