In about ten days, the other event that characterizes the end of summer for lovers of ultra marathons in the alpine environment will begin: the Tor des Geants (TORX Trail Running Races 9-18 September 2022 | TOR330 Tor des Geants® – TOR450 Tor des Glaciers – TOR130 Tot Dret – TOR30 Passage au Malatrà).
It is an Endurance Trail race with an official distance of 330 km, an altitude difference of 24,000 m uphill (and as many downhill) and a maximum time of 150 hours to return to Courmayeur, the starting and finishing point of the race.
In recent years I have often followed the evolution of this race and in the weeks, days, months prior to its start, I have often talked and chatted with the various protagonists and not of the Tor.
One of the most classic affirmations I have come across is that “it takes a lot of experience to go fast in this race. The older ones definitely have an advantage over the younger ones. It’s a whole other story compared to over 100 miles or over 100 km in the mountains “.
Similarly to the analysis regarding the UTMB (Is there a right age to run well at UTMB? | EmigranTrailer), I tried to verify how truthful this statement was by going through the average age of the protagonists in the editions from 2011 to 2021.
Statistical analysis: the winners at Tor Des Geants
Undoubtedly, if we look at the winners in the male and female field, it can be observed that the average age is above 40 years (41.2 for men and 40.5 for women) and that there has been a general increase over the years. age of the winner, with a window between 40 and 50 years clearly evident from the 2015 edition onwards.
The only real exception is represented by the Swiss Jules Henri Gabioud who won the Tor in 2011 at the age of 24.
This first analysis certainly represents data in support of the aforementioned statement and is also a substantial difference compared to what happens on a race such as the UTMB.
Statistical analysis: the Top 3 at Tor Des Geants
Does anything change by extending the analysis to those who got on the podium?
I would say no.
In fact, for both male and female categories, the average age is mainly around 40 years, with a marked stability of results in the last 7 years.
Beyond the average age, the interesting thing is that in the men’s field only once there was a podium with everyone over 40: 2016 edition, with Bosatelli Oliviero (first, 47 years old), Perez Lopez Oscar (second, 43 years old ) and Criado Pablo (third, 40 years old). In all other editions there has always been an athlete or two under 40.
In the women’s field the situation was different with two podiums with all over 40 (2011 and 2012 edition) but also a podium with all under 40: 2014 edition with Lecomte (first, 35 years old), Borzani (second, 35 years old) and Zimmermann (third, 39 years old).
It should also be noted that the only woman under 30 to be on the podium was the Italian Melissa Paganelli (second in 2021) and that the only woman over 50 to have been on the podium was another Italian athlete: Marina Plavan, third both in 2015 and 2017.
Statistical analysis: the Top 10 at Tor Des Geants
If we extend the analysis to the Top 10, there is not much to add and we can only have further confirmation of the fact that the average age to do well at the Tor Des Geant is around 40 or slightly higher.
As written in the previous analysis regarding the UTMB, these are obviously statistical and numerical analyzes. They are absolutely not to be taken as a necessary condition.
However, I would like to say that by combining the data from the three graphs, the statement that if you are older in age, you could do really well at the Tor des Geants seems just right (or not entirely wrong). Obviously, it requires a long experience of mountain running and adequate training. Without these two factors, you are not going well anywhere ;-).
Andrea De Filippo
Original post in english language. For other languages, please open with a web browser (i.e. Chrome) and apply the automatic translation.