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Trail running video of the year candidate: Racing in the Alps

The film "Mont Blanc," a story about three U.S. trail runners who travelled to Europe last summer to compete in endurance events, was released on Thursday.

Trail Running Video
Trail Running Video
The French town of Chamonix with Mont Blanc in the background. Photo: Screenshot of the film Mont Blanc.

To prove that Americans have a presence in trail running, three U.S. athletes travelled to Europe last summer to compete at a pair of endurance events considered among the toughest in the world: Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and Chamonix-Courmayeur-Champex.

Both events were documented in a 21-minute film entitled, Mont Blanc, which was released yesterday.

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB): A 170-kilometre race near the borders of Italy, France and Switzerland which circumvents the Alps. The race has 33,000 ft of elevation change.

Chamonix-Courmayeur-Champex (CCC): A 101-kilometre race from Courmayeur, Italy to Chamonix, France, a resort known for alpine skiing at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. The race has 25,000 feet of elevation change.

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David Laney competed at the UTMB while Tim Tollefson and Zach Miller raced the CCC. In addition to being accomplished trail runners, both Laney and Tollefson recently competed at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles.

According to the video’s description, the three Nike athletes “set out to prove that American men can compete and compete well in the imposing European mountains.”


No American male had ever finished on the podium at the CCC and only four American men had finished on the podium at UTMB prior to the 2015 event.

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The film is directed by Billy Yang who has also worked with Western Time, a film about the Western States 100-mile endurance race, 15 hours, a day in the life of a trail runner, in addition to films about The North Face Endurance Challenge.

RELATED: New Zealand runner documents running 50 back-to-back mountain marathons in new trail film.

The filming began on Aug. 25. Miller ended up winning the CCC with Tollefson placing in second. Laney was third at UTMB.