The OCC: Orsières – Champex – Chamonix is the “sprint” of the UTMB series. 56 km with a tasty ascent of +3,500 m. You basically start in Orsières, Switzlerand, and run a vertical gain race all the way up to Chamonix.
On Thursday morning, 1500 runners stood at the start line ready to test their legs and their lungs against the mountains. The organisers call it an “explosive course”.
This year, it provided an opportunity for China’s rising star, Erenjia Jia, to prove his form and win the race decisively.
Ultra running is a fast growing sport in China and this win will no doubt help encourage its spread there. He won in 05:28 after leading the race from the start – it was only his second race ever in Europe.
In second place was Spaniard Santiago Mezquita (05:34) and then Frenchman Kevin Vermeulen (05:35:54).
New Zealander Ruth Croft, dominated the women’s race and also placed an impressive 18th overall with her time of 05:53. Ruth has been having a great year, with a win at the Marathon du Mont-Blanc and she has form at UTMB, taking the 2015 CCC® women’s title.
Second was Eli Gordón Rodríguez (Spain) with 06:00:40. And third was Mònica Vives Vila, also from Spain, with 06:40:30.