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Katie Schide wins 90km Marathon du Mont-Blanc

On athlete Katie Schide conquered 6220m of elevation in searing pace despite soaring temperatures to take the women’s 2019 Marathon du Mont-Blanc title in 13 hours, 4 minutes. Katie’s partner Germain Grangier, also an On athlete, finished strong to claim third in the men’s event.


One of the world’s most iconic trail races, in one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes, the full 90km (56-mile) Marathon du Mont Blanc represents a challenge in any conditions, but the 2019 edition was more even more hellish than usual. In addition to the distance and 6220m of elevation, this year's competitors also faced temperatures hitting 95°F (37°C+).  


On athlete Katie Schide took the lead right from the start at 4:00 a.m., leading the race all the way to the return to Chamonix, France, for the victory at 17:04 p.m. – just over 13 hours later. 


Meanwhile in the men’s race, Germain Grangier paced himself to handle the heat in fourth and fifth place, before powering down the final descent into Chamonix to secure third place and a spot on the podium.


After the race, Katie gave us the lowdown on her high-altitude achievement. 


Q&A with Katie Schide


Did you feel well prepared going into the race?
Yes, Germain and I have had a great few months of training and enjoying some long days in the mountains. I knew this course was much steeper and more technical than most other ultras so I was excited to race in the type of terrain I enjoy the most. 


The heat was brutal - how did it affect your race? 
I’m not someone who usually does well in the heat. But I think that’s true for most mountain athletes and humans in general! So I didn’t feel like I had any type of disadvantage, just knew I would have to make smart decisions and prioritize drinking, eating, and staying cool. 


I also had an amazing crew meeting me at aid stations with ice and new shirts soaked in iced water. Fanny Rubin from On was my primary crew and having someone so efficient, supportive, and who really knows the sport was really key on such a hot day. 


Did you have a plan for the race? Did it play out as expected?
Germain and I planned our aid stations and crewing logistics much more than usual knowing we would need to manage the heat well in order to finish strong. It was Fanny’s first time crewing for me, but I was really confident in her and she totally met/exceeded my expectations. Other than that I wanted to try to push a bit more at the beginning before midday when the temperatures were “cooler”, hoping I could take a lead before the heat started to affect me. 


At what point in the race did you know the win was yours? 

You never really know if you've won until you see the finish line – anything can happen in an ultra race

One bad fall or forgetting to eat or drink properly for an hour or two can completely change a race. But when I heard that I had a pretty good lead at Lac d'Emosson (around halfway) I felt confident that if I managed the rest of the the day well I could win.


You wore the new Cloudventure - what do you like about the shoe? 
The Cloudventure has the protection and support needed for an ultra-distance race and is extremely durable in rough terrain. The pink color is also an added bonus!

Katie’s shoe: The new Cloudventure
The lightweight cushioned trail shoe with Missiongrip™. For any off-road mission.
See the details

And how did the On apparel perform on race day? 
The Running Shorts and the Lightweight Cap are perfect for hot, sunny days. I chose to wear the Performance-T instead of the Tank-T in order to keep my pale shoulders covered from the sun. Because it’s lightweight and loose I never felt like I needed a sleeveless shirt. My crew was also giving me new shirts soaked in cold water at some aid stations which definitely helped to keep me from overheating.  


Germain (pictured below) had a great result too- it must be pretty awesome to both get a podium finish? 
Yes definitely! One of the highlights of the day was when I learned at the finish line that he had finished third. The last I had heard he was fourth, and I knew this was still a great result in such a competitive field, but seeing how hard he has been working over the last few months I had really hoped he could make it onto the podium. Germain’s mental strength really inspires me, he never settles when he knows he can push harder and this really shows in the way he races. 



What teamwork does it take to achieve a result like this? 
Being surrounded by the right people is key in every sport, but especially ultra running. It would be difficult to list all of the ways so many different people support and help us in our lives, training, and competitions. 


From friends getting up at 3:00am just to give a quick high five at the top of the first climb, to family cheering at computer screens from afar, and then of course our crews along the course and our amazing team at Organicoach. So much of a race is mental, and feeling supported and cared for is super important for staying positive mentally. 


I’m really grateful for all the people who supported us on this great day, but also because it’s the same people who support us on the not-so-great days.


How did you celebrate your win?!
First, I put a cold towel on my head. But we were pretty busy reorganizing all of our gear and smelly clothes the next day so we’ll be properly celebrating with a week-long camping trip in Utah next week! 


Photo credit: Olivier Vin (@olivierheimana)


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