Cross Country skier Sophia Laukli won the Marathon du Mont-Blanc this week on June 25, on the 43rd anniversary of the event in Chamonix, France. Sophia is a 23-year-old from Yarmouth, Maine, and a member of the U.S. Cross Country ski team. She has raced in three world cup seasons to date.
Finishing the marathon with a time of 4 hours, 12 minutes, and 39 seconds, Sophia took first with a time of 11 minutes and 45 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Despite this year’s marathon requiring a detour that added 70 meters of elevation (230 feet) and 1 kilometer of distance (3,281 feet), Sophia Laukli broke the previous time record by two minutes and 10 seconds. The men’s winner, Remi Bonnet from Switzerland, also broke the men’s time record.
“I started off quite slowly,” Sophia told Golden Trail Series, “I’d heard so many times before that people who started out too fast blew up, so I started out slower in the first part and managed it well. Even so, I don’t think I fuelled myself properly because on the second climb I started to get lightheaded and feel a bit of heatstroke. But I was told that I had a 12-minute lead, so I just made sure I got through the last descent. Being up front I was afraid of missing a turn or falling. I’m really happy with this result!”
This year’s Marathon du Mont-Blanc was 42 km (26.1 miles), with a height difference of 2,540 m (8,333 feet) and 2,170 finishing participants. Completing it alone is no small feat, and a big congratulations go to Sophia for making American skiers proud.