On September 16, 2021, one of Näak’s elite ambassadors, Luca Papi, crossed the finish line for what is called to be the ‘world’s hardest endurance’. With a time of 134 hours and 10 minutes, Luca claimed victory at the Tor des Glaciers, a truly unforgettable event for ultra trail runners. Our team at Näak proudly congratulates Luca for his amazing accomplishment and asked him to share about his journey to the finish line.
Tor des Glaciers, or also known as TOR450, is an endurance trail event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Tor de Geants (TOR330). This trail encompasses 450 km and 32 000m altitude along the forgotten Alte Vie 3 and 4 trail of Courmayeur, Valle d’Aosta in northwest Italy. TOR450 commenced at the Jardin de l’Ange in Courmayeur, Italy at 8pm on Friday, September 10, 2021 and ended at 6pm, Saturday, September 28 in Courmayeur, Italy.
The challenging physical and mental nature of the TOR450 meant that participating in such an event is a very selective process. First, to participate in the TOR450, a runner must have completed a TOR330 event (i.e 330km and 24000 D+ elevation) in less than 130 hours. Second, this race is only open to 200 runners. Third, if you are a runner participating in this TOR, you must complete the race within 190 hours.
Luca Papi is a French-Italian runner whose name is not unrecognisable in the world of ultra endurance trailers. He has participated and won several global ULTRA trail races, such as the Transgrancanaria 360 (262km) in 2020, Transkarukera Guadeloupe (140km) in 2017 and Montagn’hard Ultra Trail (104km) in 2015.
Upon winning the first edition of Tor des Glaciers in 2019, Luca tells us that “it seemed natural to come back and try to repeat the performance in this year's race. It was a personal challenge!". As running has become Luca’s way of life, he came into the Tor without feeling intimidated despite this race being the toughest endurance race in the world!
“I went there to make the most of the experience and have fun. It was a beautiful trip, a beautiful ride, it was super fun!”
- Luca Papi
As far as training for the event, Luca participated in several races beforehand to accumulate the miles just to prepare himself. This included Transgrancanaria 360ºC (240km), Tenerife Bluetrail Ultra (106km), La Montagn’Hard (112km) and UTMB TDS Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (147km), all completed in 2021. When asked if he had any pre-race rituals to prepare him for races, he answers that he simply focuses on himself and “really try to enjoy the event as much as possible, without any headaches".
During the magnificent journey of the TOR, Luca formed a pairing with Jules-Henri Gabioud, a Swiss runner who crossed the TOR450 finish line with our athlete. Luca shares that despite natural difficulties of the race, the pairing he formed with Gabioud allowed both of them to keep heading towards the finish line. He says, “We didn't stop helping each other, motivating each other and we managed our race together”. This includes being chased by a donkey in this race!
Luca’s passion for ultra running is exceptionally inspirational. Like our team at Näak, many endurance athletes look up to him as an elite figure within this sport. He encourages his fellow runners to “take [their] time and put in the miles” when it comes to those who dream about participating in races such as the TOR450. His advice:
- Luca Papi
Näak is incredibly proud to support Luca throughout his races. He mentions that the Peanut Butter and Chocolate ULTRA Energy Bar is a product that he takes with him everywhere. Moreso, he “can't wait to try the little waffles, it's this kind of product that I particularly like during my outdoor trips!"
Join us in congratulating Luca for his top-notch achievement at the TOR! Näak looks forward to continuously encouraging him, all our other ambassadors and fellow athletes in any adventure embarked on!