Beat the Sun involves eight teams running around Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France in an attempt to complete the 130-kilometre course before sundown (15 hours, 41 minutes and 35 seconds). The race takes place on the summer solstice, the day of the year with the most hours of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.
Joining Le Porho on Team Americas are Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor, the two fastest U.S. marathoners in history. Deena Kastor is the American record holder in the event while Hall has run faster than any other countrymen over 42.2K though his time at Boston is not legal because the course is net downhill.
“Ryan Hall and Deena Castor are true athletes,” says Le Porho. “I have huge respect for their devotion to running competition and for all their past and present performances. As a marathoner, I can really measure their achievements.”
Le Porho will be the only Canadian “expert runner,” though he hopes that there will be other Canadian “amateurs” in the race as each team is made up of top-level runners and less competitive athletes. He ran 2:19:37, Quebec’s fastest marathon in 15 years, at December’s California International Marathon.
He was part of the winning squad, Team Americas, at last year’s Beat the Sun race.
“I had the chance to run the 2011 Boston marathon when Ryan [Hall] ran his 2:04:58 and he was at the finish line of the Sacramento marathon when I ran my PB last December,” says Le Porho on being on the same team as the American. “It was pure coincidence, but each time it was a very strong moment. I’m very excited to know that they are going to be on one of both America teams. It will give us opportunities to share good times during the days in Chamonix.”
Asics will soon announce the amateur athletes who will join the professionals. It’s an all-expenses paid trip courtesy of Asics.
“As you can imagine, the effort given on the mountain trails, versus on the road, is very different,” says Le Porho. “Everyone has their strengths, and it will be very interesting to see how the legs can be best allocated to each runner, based on his running profile and strengths, to make the strongest team possible.”
Le Porho has the advantage of running with a year of experience under his belt. He adds that Team Americas may have an advantage over some of the nations that typically dominate road running because of the terrain.
“It’s interesting to see how strong athletes in their discipline perform in other disciplines. Last year, I remember a strong Kenyan half-marathoner was unable to run fast on the downhill sections. It was surprising, in a way, but logical as well.”
Hall, though retired from professional running, appears to be doing some cross-training ahead of the race as well. The 33-year-old posted the following photo on Twitter on April 21. He was starting to feel a “little soft,” according to photo description.
Me at the end of bulking about to start my first cut (165 lbs). Starting to feel a little soft. pic.twitter.com/wAvb9QAYZz
— Ryan Hall (@ryanhall3) April 21, 2016