The Tor Des Géants

October 25, 2018

Trailers are runners, but not all runners are trailers, and not all trailers are brave enough to face one of the hardest trails in the world – the Tor des Géants!

The ‘Tour of Giants’ is a 330 kilometre (205 mile) race, with elevations totalling 24,000 meters (78,740 feet), across the Aosta Valley in Northern Italy. If that doesn’t sound hard enough, participants must also complete the race in less than 150 hours!

Among the 894 participants in the 2018 Tor des Géants was runner number 1104, Carmelo Perrone, a member of our Product Quality Department, Inspection in Torino. Carmelo was ‘lucky’ enough to be selected in the draw that took place in February. He trained hard for the race – walking, running and climbing across the mountains in Piedmont and Vale d’Aosta both day and night, dedicating himself to training.

The race began in Courmayeur at 12 noon on September 9, 2018 and at the start line Carmelo excitedly mingled with runners from many different countries. In 2017 more than 60% of competitors did not complete the Tor des Géants – Carmelo was determined to be one of the few that finish.
Throughout the race there are 43 refreshment points, and seven larger Life Bases (‘Basi Vita’), where runners can eat, sleep and obtain medical care. Carmelo checked into his first Basi Vita in Valgrisanche 12 hours after beginning the race, having already completed 50km and summited three mountains. He pushed straight on to the next Basi Vita in Cogne at 106km, summiting a further three mountains. This had taken Carmelo nearly 28 hours with no rest, and he was placed around 100th at this point in the race.
Carmelo decided to continue the race with just a short nap at one of the refreshment points on his way to the next Basi Vita at Donnas. From Donnas onwards is one of the hardest legs of the race, passing the halfway stage at the Coda Hut, before climbing down and up the Gressoney Valley. Carmelo arrived in Gressoney St Jean (205km) at 3.30am on September 12. After a short rest he rejoined the race, arriving at Ollomont (290km), at 3.52pm on September 13. Arriving in Ollomont was a huge moment for Carmelo – he had just 40km to go!
Carmelo reached Colle del Malatrà, the final peak in the race, in the early morning of September 14 and, shortly after, he crossed the finishing line in 118 hours, 55 minutes and 24 seconds! Surviving on just five hours sleep in the whole race, Carmelo finished in 120th place, the 49th Italian runner to cross the line.

There were many friends, family and colleagues waiting in Courmayeur to cheer Carmelo over the finishing line, and those who could not be there were watching his amazing journey via a live video stream. Carmelo recounted his incredible experience to his supporters – the beautiful scenery, the people he met, the solitary moments, the temperature swings, and the sheer exhaustion.

Congratulations Carmelo, we are so proud of you!