5 giants of the Alps: Worlds longest endurance trail race

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 26, 2011 8:05 am

The Tor des Géants® (expression that means “The Tour of the Giants” or “Tour des Géants®” in the patois dialect spoken in the Aosta Valley) was launched in September 2010.

The Tor des Géants®, in the heart of the Italian Alps, is the world’s longest ultra trail (in terms of both elevation gain and kilometres) which crosses the entire Aosta Valley in a single stage.

This one-of-a-kind hiking itinerary came into being thanks to the connection between Alta Via 1 known as the Alta Via of Giants and Alta Via 2, the Naturalist Alta Via. The race has been called “Trekking of the Giants” for a year now.

An ultra-trail in semi-self-sufficiency: 330 kilometres and 24,000 metres of total climb, with 25 passes that are over 2,000 metres to cross and a total of 150 hours of race in a single stage in the heart of the “giants” of the Aosta Valley.

Crossing the two Alte Vie of the Aosta Valley, it is an authentic journey into the heart of Europe’s tallest peaks. The paths unwind at the feet of Mont Blanc (4,810 m), Rutor (3,486 m), Gran Paradiso (4,061 m), Monte Rosa Massif (4,634 m) and the Matterhorn (4,478 m): the 5 giants of the Alps.

A unique footrace that has met with a sensational success since its first edition.

This is the first time for the combination of long distance and semi-self-sufficiency.

The race’s organizers (VDA Trailers Sports Association in collaboration with the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley) have limited this second edition to 500 competitors.

Registration began on 15 January 2011 and was closed out in only 4 days. A waiting list is available and there are already 230 names on it!

Participants are from 4 different continents (Europe, Asia, Africa and America) and 22 countries.

Ultra-trail ?


Races are popular all over the world and each one makes an effort to show the most beautiful courses of the regions hosting them. Trails are becoming “ultra”. Higher and higher, harder and harder with more and more effort.

Trail running is a simple sport in which all one needs is a pair of shorts and a pair of sneakers (or almost!). The apparent simplicity of the sport is probably at the core of the enthusiasm of those familiar with this discipline.

Self-sufficient or semi-self-sufficient race with classification (and timed) that unwinds in a natural environment on roads and paths covering a distance of over 80 kilometres. The total amount of paved roads in the race does not exceed 15% of the race’s total route. Expected elevation gain is over 2,000 metres.

Vertical lines, high altitude, irregular elevation gains and the outstanding paths found in the Aosta Valley make for the ideal scenario for this great athletic challenge.

As proof of this, the Tor des Géants® was created for an extraordinary terrain in front of legendary landscapes. A race that is worthy of those crests and peaks overlooking it. Truly Gigantic!

The race

Departure and arrival are at Courmayeur, only a few metres from the French border. The course is the same as the one in 2010.

Individual race, self-sufficient and in a single stage with a time limit of 150 hours.

There are 7 bases and 43 refreshment point located along the entire trail

2010 Final Results

Men Ranks

1- Ulrich Gross (ITALY) 80h:27m:00s

2 – Salvator Calvo Redondo (SPAIN) 86h:47m:00s

3 – Guillaume Millet (FRANCE) 87h:17m:00s


Women Ranks

1- Anne Marie Gross (ITALY) 91h:19m:00s

2 – Julia Boettger (GERMANY) 100h:03m:00s

3 – Corinne Favre (FRANCE) 114h:40m:00s


Tor des Géants® by the numbers

- 330 kilometre

- 24,000 metres of total climb

- 150 hours at the most (for a total of 6 days, 6 nights and 6 hours!)

- 1,200 volunteers

- 500 participants

- 22 countries involved

- 7 bases

- 43 refreshment points

- 34 municipalities included

- 25 passes at an altitude of over 2,000 metres

- 30 mountain lakes

- 1 national natural park + 1 regional National park



Saturday 10 September

Appointment at the Forum Sport Center in Courmayeur

2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Distribution of bibs

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Baggage Room

8:00 p.m. Pasta party

9:00 p.m. Technical Briefing


Sunday 11 September

Appointment at the Forum Sport Center in Courmayeur

7:30 a. m. – 8:30 a.m. Distribution of the last bibs

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Baggage Room


Piazza Abbé Henry (church)

9:45 a.m. Briefing on the starting line

10:00 a.m. The race begins


Wednesday 14 September

Arrival of first competitors at Courmayeur


Saturday 17 September

4:00 p.m. Arrival of last competitors at Courmayeur


Sunday 18 September

Jardin de l’Ange

11:00 a.m. Award Ceremony

12:30 p.m. Closing Aperitif