- ASICS will match 24 professional athletes with 24 amateurs from across the world for the annual Beat the Sun race around Mont Blanc
- Former Olympians Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor and speed skater Erben Wennemars join regional teams as expert runners
ASICS has confirmed that former Olympians Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor and Erben Wennemars will be among the expert athletes taking part in the unique ASICS Beat the Sun challenge in Chamonix on June 21st this year.
Ryan Hall, who holds the record for the fastest marathon by an American – sub 2:05 – is joined by 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medallist Deena Kastor and multiple World Champion Dutch sprint speed skater Erben Wennemars.
Hall, Kastor and Wennemars are also joined by British marathon runner Matty Hynes and German extreme obstacle racer Charles Franzke. These athletes will face a new challenge as they are taken out of their comfort zones and attempt to transfer their skills and athleticism into running in the unfamiliar and testing conditions surrounding Mont Blanc.
The other experts taking part in ASICS Beat the Sun are trail running legends American Megan Kimmel, Spaniard Pablo Villalobos, Brazilian Iaza Feitoza, Swede Jonas Buud, Italian Xavier Chevrier and Canadian David Le Porho. The experts will be teamed up with amateurs and allocated their intercontinental teams on the 25th May 2016.
Representing the UK in ASICS Beat the Sun 2016 is former semi-professional footballer, turned marathon runner, Matty Hynes. Middlesbrough born Hynes finished 17th in last year’s London Marathon but will be facing a very different challenge in the Alps as he tackles the varying terrain and elevation associated with ASICS Beat the Sun. However, with a personal best marathon time of 2:16, Hynes will be feared by opposing teams.
ASICS is giving 24 amateur runners the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to team up with these expert athletes as they attempt to beat the sun around Mont Blanc in the time between sunrise and sunset. The eight intercontinental teams (Europe North, South and Central, America North and South, Oceania, Asia and Africa) – each containing three amateur and three expert athletes – will have just 15 hours, 41 minutes and 35 seconds to cover the 130km course.
Amateur runners who want to sign up for this unique challenge can register by joining the ASICS #BeatTheSun online community before 24th April 2016.
Once amateurs have signed up to the #BeatTheSun community they will gain access to an exclusive online training programme, developed by ASICS pro athlete coaches, which includes strength, nutrition, running and trail-specific advice.
On April 25th, ASICS will announce 50 semi-finalists for the event in Chamonix, who will then undertake the elite training phase in preparation for the once-in-a-lifetime event. The final 24 amateurs will be decided through a combination of online voting and a panel of experts, before being announced on May 23rd 2016.
The selected amateurs will then be mentored by an expert athlete from their team in the final month leading up to June 21st, and will also receive ASICS gear for training and race day, on top of the 5 day trip to Chamonix with all travel, accommodation and expenses covered.
Once in Chamonix, each runner will complete two relay sections of between 4.5 km and 17km, across varied altitude and terrain – including trail, road and alpine – whilst crossing the most stunning scenes of nature in France, Italy, and Switzerland in the space of less than one day.
Amateur runners who are interested to taking part in ‘ASICS Beat the Sun’ in Chamonix on the June 21st 2016, can find out more information and register at: http://beatthesun.asics.com
ASICS Beat the Sun will be broadcast live on ASICS’ digital and social channels, and video reports of the race will be distributed on various global networks, inspiring millions of people across the globe. EpicTV has been appointed partner for video production and digital media broadcast. Other technical partners to support ASICS Beat the Sun with specialised product and expertise include Oakley, TomTom, Isostar, Leki, Petzl, Runkeeper and Haglöfs.
Confirmed expert runners as of 31 March 2016:
Matty Hynes (UK): The Middlesbrough born former semi-professional footballer turned long distance runner finished 17th in last year’s London Marathon.
Charles Franzke (Germany): An obstacle race specialist, used to taking on Tough Mudder races, and now turning his hand to ‘nature’s toughest challenge’.
Erben Wennemars (Netherlands): A multiple world champion in sprint speed skating and the 2003 ‘Dutch Sportsman of the Year’.
Sascha Gwerder (Switzerland)
Pablo Villalobos (Spain)
Xavier Chevrier (Italy): Started life as a cross country skier before taking up mountain running. Despite his best efforts in 2015, he finished in the second placed team and will be determined to make amends this year.
Jonas Buud (Sweden): A former 100km European champion and four time World Championship runner up (2009, 2010, 2012, & 2014).
Tomasz Domzalski (Poland)
Sylvaine Cussot (France): Highly regarded French trail team member ‘Sissi’ took part in the very first ASICS Beat the Sun in 2014 and knows the French Alps well.
Megan Kimmel (US): Has played a key role in the previous two Beat the Sun challenges, narrowly missing out on victory for her team in 2014 before winning with Team America last year.
David Le Porho (Canada): Has represented his country twice in the World Mountain Running Championships and excelled in his Beat the Sun debut last year with a rapid time on the highest section of the course.
Rafael De Vito (Argentina)
Iaza Feitoza (Brazil): A veteran of the last two ASICS Beat the Sun challenges, Feitoza has impressed with his determination and trail running skills on some of the toughest sections of the course.
Ryan Hall (US): Recently retired US Olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall has a marathon PB of 2:04:58 and makes his debut in ASICS Beat the Sun 2016.
Deena Kastor (US): A bronze medallist in the women’s Olympic marathon at Athens 2004 and America’s fastest female marathoner.
Carla Huyssteen (SA):
Gladys Kipsoi (Kenya)
Givemore Mudzinganyama (Zimbabwe)
Toru Higashi (Japan)
Eun Ju Kwon (South Korea)
Yadi Guan (China)
Russell Dessaix-Chin (Australia)
Raviin Muthu Kumar (Singapore)
Ka Lun Au (Hong Kong)