59 year old Marco Olmo from Italy has just won the fifth edition of the one of the toughest mountain races in the world, the North Face Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc. In doing so Olmo has become the only person to have won this gruelling test twice.The 163km, + 8900m ascent challenge around Mont Blanc follows the path through France, Italy and Switzerland which trekkers usually carry out in a week. 2200 athletes (selected on the basis of their running curriculum) participated in the event which must be completed in under 46 hours and which, for the first time ever, kicked off with all winners of the last four editions: Dawa Sherpa (Nepal), Vincent Delebarre (France), Christophe Jaquerod (Switzerland) and Marco Olmo (Italy).

2200 runners start the gruelling The North Face Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc. Ph. by Alice Buffoni

Starting on Friday night, Olmo won the race in 21 hours, 31 minutes and 58 seconds, 52 minutes ahead of Lukas and 59 ahead of Mermoud. Olmo´s victory is striking not only because of his age, but also because of his strict vegetarian diet. Undoubtedly though this age factor demonstrates how the mental aspect, human desire and experience can be determining factors in such taxing stamina race. Nikki Kimball won the women´s event in 25:23:45, almost 2 hours ahead of Monica Aguilera from Spain and 4 hours ahead of third placed Karine Herry from France The 59 year old Marco Olmo is a three time winner of the Marathon des Sables, winner of 4 editions of Desert Cape, 6 time winner of the Cromagnons (out of 6 participations) and a 4 time winner of the Desert Marathon of Libya. Results The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc Men 1 Marco OLMO (ITA) 21:31:582 Jens LUKAS (GER) 22:23:553 Nicolas MERMOUD (FRA) 22:30:51Women 1 Nikki KIMBALL (USA) 25:23:452 Monica AGUILERA (ESP) 27:18:173 Karine HERRY (FRA) 29:06:03 Source: planetmountain.com and The North Face