ASICS Descends Upon Mont Blanc for Race The Sun, The Ultimate Trail Challenge

The World's Most Elite Trail Runners Undertake the First-Ever Attempt to Circumnavigate Europe's Highest Peak in an Unprecedented and Epic Race Against Nature

IRVINE, CA, May 21, 2013 – On June 21st, the 2014 Summer Solstice and longest day of the year, True Sport Performance brand ASICS will attempt a record-breaking challenge and inspirational world-first. Two relay teams of the world’s best trail runners will embark on the ultimate race against nature as they attempt to ‘Race The Sun’. The athletes will start at sunrise and have exactly 15 hours, 41 minutes and 35 seconds to run around Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, before the sun sets.

The challenge, which starts and finishes in Chamonix, France, covers more than 166 grueling kilometers of mountainous terrain and passes through three countries; France, Italy and Switzerland. The athletes will run through some of the most breath-taking scenery in Europe including the Notre Dame de la Gorge, the Courmayeur which boasts an arduous 6,100 meters of positive height gain and the Swiss valley of Champex Lac which is made up of a mixture of thick forest, glaciers and fiery torrents.

"This is one of the most groundbreaking and exciting programs ASICS has ever been a part of and it’s a testament to our recent innovations and product developments in the trail running category, further solidifying ASICS as a true sport performance brand,” said ASICS America CEO Kevin Wulff. “We have brought together some of the world’s best trail runners and outfitted them in industry-leading products as they take on this momentous challenge. We look forward to supporting all competing athletes as they strive to break world records and push the limits of trail running."

To succeed, the athletes will have to work together in a relay covering 9,600 meters of crippling ascent and decent, facing unpredictable weather conditions from scorching heat and freezing cold temperatures to fierce winds, rain and snow. By combining their specialty skills, these elite athletes will continuously strive to overcome the challenges Mont Blanc puts in front of them as they push their bodies to the limits and better their best. The ten world-renowned athletes will be divided into two teams, both with the same goal of completing the grueling course before the sun sets.

Team Ultra-Trail features four of the world’s best trail runners, each with their own running and terrain specialty to complement the course conditions. The team includes 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. The team of four will divide the staggering 166 kilometer distance, running 28 – 46 kilometers each.

Team Enduro consists of seven elite athletes hailing from different endurance disciplines for a combined all star team that will divide the run into 17 – 29 kilometer splits. Team Enduro includes World Champion Triathlete, Briton Tim Don; Austrian extreme distance runner, Christian Schiester; Spanish trail runner and cross country skier, Genis Zapater; American trail runner Megan Kimmel; French runner, Sylvaine Cussot; and long distance runner, Gert Theunis.

All eleven athletes will be 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.

For more information on Race The Sun and the featured ASICS America trail running footwear and apparel, please visit www.asicsamerica.com.

Notes to Editors: The athletes taking part in the challenge are as follows;

Team Mount Fuji

  • Relay 1 Kota Araki (Japan) 28.6km
  • Relay 2 Thomas Lorblanchet (France) 46.4km
  • Relay 3 Jonas Buud (Sweden) 44.1km
  • Relay 4 Xavier Thevenard (France) 43k km
  • Substitute Emmanuel Gault (France)


Team Mont Blanc

  • Relay 1 Tim Don (UK) 28.6km
  • Relay 2A Sissi Cussot (France) 19.3km
  • Relay 2B Genis Zapater (Spa) 27.9km
  • Relay 3A Christian Schiester (Austria) 19.2km
  • Relay 3B Gert Theunis (Belgium) 27.9km
  • Relay 4A TBC 25.8km
  • Relay 4B Megan Kimmel (USA) 17.2km