IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On the longest day of the year, June 21, True Sport Performance brand ASICS accomplished a new feat in ultimate trail running. Two relay teams of trail runners embarked on the ultimate competition against nature as they attempted the ASICS Race The Sun Challenge: circumnavigating Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, starting at sunrise and finishing at sunset. Team Ultra-Trail successfully completed the challenge in 15 hours, 3 minutes and 37 seconds as they beat the sun around Mont-Blanc by an awe-inspiring 37 minutes. It was so near, yet so far for ‘Team Enduro’ – the challenger team consisting of 7 top-level endurance athletes - who just missed out making it around Mont Blanc before sunset by a mere 33 seconds.
The challenge, which started and finished in Chamonix, France, covered 152km of mountainous terrain, as the athletes climbed a crippling ascent through France, Italy and Switzerland in temperatures of 27 degrees whilst facing snow at high altitude. The athletes ran through some of the most breath-taking natural scenery in Europe including the Notre Dame de la Gorge and the Swiss valley of Champex Lac which is made up of a mixture of thick forest, snow drifts, glaciers and fiery torrents. The teams took on this never-before-attempted challenge with great heart and grit, completing relay legs at mind-blowing speeds through the elements, overcoming emotions, and even rescuing an injured animal along the trail.
“ASICS Race The Sun has been 18 months in the making. To see Team Ultra-Trail beat the sun and have Enduro come within just 33 seconds - it is truly incredible,” said Kevin Wulff, President and CEO of ASICS America Corporation. “This journey has inspired us to continue challenging our athletes with these ultimate races and relays. We want to continue to shine a light on the sport of trail running, and share the great stories and athletic achievements that come together at an event like Race The Sun.”
The challenge included the world’s most decorated and accomplished trail runners in the field. Team Ultra-Trail included 2013 winner of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, Xavier Thevenard, Japanese elite runner Kota Araki, 100-mile world record holder Jonas Buud and former trail running World Champion, Thomas Lorblanchet.
Team Enduro was made up of seven elite athletes from different endurance disciplines, each running between 15-29km; English marathon runner Holly Rush, Brazilian Iazaldir ‘Iaza’ Feitoza, Spaniard Genis Zapater, American trail runner Megan Kimmel, French trail team member Sylvaine Cussot, German 1,500m expert Lukas Naegele and Belgian road runner Gert Theunis.
As a true sports performance brand, ASICS has always worked with world-renowned athletes to provide the best in footwear and apparel, no matter the conditions or circumstances. For Race The Sun, all eleven athletes were outfitted in the top trail running footwear and apparel from ASICS including the new GEL-FujiTrabuco™ 3 Neutral shoe and ASICS FujiTrail™apparel collection. The GEL-FujiTrabuco™ 3 Neutral has a rugged exterior that conceals a surprisingly cushioned and comfortable inner. The Trail-Specific Outsole and Rock Protection Plate master any off-road terrain with a slipper-like feel thanks to the modified MONO-Sock® upper and Heel Clutching System™. Apparel includes top products from the ASICS FujiTrail™ collection including the Packable Jacket for lightweight protection and ASICS FujiTrail™ tight with anti-slip rubber grippers and full-coverage protection from brush, bugs and weather.
A documentary of the unique relay was filmed during the ASICS Race The Sun challenge, and will be available for viewing in fall 2014. For more information on Race The Sun and the featured ASICS America trail running footwear and apparel, please visit www.asicsamerica.com.
Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, meaning “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body,” is an old Latin phrase from which ASICS is derived and the fundamental platform on which the brand still stands. The company was founded more than 60 years ago by Kihachiro Onitsuka and is now a leading designer and manufacturer of running shoes, as well as, other athletic footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit www.asics.com.